Slave to one’s Vices

So, I’ve been toying around with an idea for a new “Villain” class.  For the desperate, the silly, the ridiculous.

For your Joker like villains.  For your addicts.  For Your uncontrollable force of nature villains, I give you the Viceslave.
A being unable to control just what they do.

 

Viceslave

You can’t stop. You want to on some level, and maybe you can for a few days… but the urge will get too strong. The whispers clawing behind your eyes guide you. They show you the way, they tell you the when and where. Maybe, maybe you shouldn’t have done it the first time? But, then you wouldn’t have all this power. Each time you give in, each time you sink a little lower into the whispers, you get stronger. A better grip, a firmer handle, a general clear headedness that can’t be compared too.
You can’t stop, and while on some level you don’t want to, on another level, you want to. The voices that claw at the back of your mind beckon you, and who are you to say no to what makes you stronger? But what you are doing is wrong… so why does it make you better?
Role: The Viceslave is an inconsolable creature. So self-adsorbed in the internal conflict with the struggle to control itself that it does not take consideration or precaution for external collateral damage. As a force of nature, this villain is a glorious example of the all too human nature to self-consume.
Alignment: Any Evil. Though Good and Neutral Habit fiends may exist, generally the drive to sate it’s own dark desires will eventually turn it evil.
Hit Die: d10
Class Skills: Acrobatics, Bluff, Climb, Craft, Heal, Intimidate, Knowledge(local), Perception, Profession, Ride, Sense Motive, Stealth, Survival, Swim, Use Magic Device
Skills Per Level: 2 + Int modifier

ClassFeature Table 2

Class Features
Weapon and Armor Proficiency
This class is proficient with simple weapons and with light armor.
Unstable Urge (Ex) — The life of a Viceslave doesn’t start easy. It starts with an urge that cannot be controlled. Once per day, the Viceslave must partake in some kind of depraved vice to gain his powers. At first level, the Viceslave must select an urge to draw power from. Once selected, the Viceslave many not change it.:
Blackmail
Urge: You must collect secrets. Once every 24 hours you must collect a secret from someone you know of, and expose them to the idea that someone else knows.
Indecency
Urge: You hunger for the discomfort of others. Once every 24 hours, you must create a scene that makes at least one other person uncomfortable.
Impulsivity
Urge: The everyday hum of life makes your skin crawl. Once every 24 hours you must disrupt the flow of some formal process or daily routine within someone’s life.
Murder
Urge: Your dark hunger can only be sated when something else’s life ends. Once every 24 hours you must slay a living creature that you do not own.
Vandalism
Urge: Each clean surface and pristine statue is an affront to your senses. Once every 24 hours you must damage an object that does not belong to you.

Aura of Malevolence (Su) — Each time the Viceslave partakes of his desires, the power builds. This power is palpable as an evil aura that radiates from the Viceslave. The strength of the aura is directly proportional to the HD of the Viceslave. The aura reaches out 5 feet per hit die.
Dormancy (Su) — When the Viceslave goes one day per Hit Die without giving into the villain’s urge; the Viceslave becomes dormant. The Viceslave loses all class features and his Aura of Malevolence, until the Viceslave gives into the urge again. Upon giving into the urge, the Viceslave gains all his class features back. Should the Viceslave give up on his urge for a time period equal to twice his HD… he must make a will save DC: 15 or lose one level of Viceslave. Each time he loses a level, the urges in his head get stronger, urging the Viceslave to go back to it’s old ways. The Viceslave continues to make this save each day beyond the first save until he returns to Level 1. At which point, the urge is just a constantly mewling in his head for his attention.
Urge Powers — At 2nd level, and every even level there, a Viceslave may choose a power from below. Unless stated otherwise, activating an urge power is a move action.
Anonymous message (Sp) — With 10 minutes of work, you can create hand written missive that is delivered via magic to the addressed person in 1 hour. The missive appears somewhere personal, like a private study, a desk drawer or a favorite book at the addressee’s home. The message may contain 1 sentence per character level. The addressee is the only person who can read this letter, afterword it puffs away in smoke.
Act out (Ex) — With a mind like yours, you can take a free-action to feint, you gain a +2 bonus to your bluff check. Your unpredictable nature is hard for even magic to detect, your movements, invisible opponents do not treat you as flat-footed.
Arson (Su) — When you deal fire damage to an object, you ignore all hardness the object has. When you deal damage with a non-magical fire source, you double your Devastating strike damage.
Break-Down (Su) —When you attempt to break something, you gain a +1 bonus to your strength check versus the break DC. This +1 bonus increases by 1 each time you get an Urge power.
Chaotic Mind (Su) — When someone tries to interact with your mind either via detect thoughts, or a similar mind effect, your brain is so scattered and chaotic that it renders the detector staggered for a round.
Compelling Evidence (Sp) — As a full-round action, you can produce reasonable physical evidence of an untasteful act. The exact nature of the evidence is relevant to a particular person the Viceslave can see. As long as the evidence can fit in the palm of someone’s hand or a small box, any kind of evidence can be fabricated for any kind of act. The fabricated evidence lasts 1 day per Viceslave level then fades to dust.
Confusing State (Su) — You are so used to acting unpredictable that you become immune to confusion and confusion like spells and effects. You may willingly “Roll” to act as if confused. If you do, one opponent you can see must succeed a will save DC: 11 + your charisma modifier + ½ your Viceslave level. IF they fail, they suffer the effects of confusion, lesser.
Copy Cat (Ex) — You gain a cohort as if you had the Leadership feat. This cohort’s level is two less than yours, and must be the same race as you. The treatment of this cohort, or any of your followers does not affect your leadership score, nor does your alignment, or previous deeds.
Death Stroke (Su) — When you roll a critical threat, you may forfeit rolling to confirm or rolling damage. Instead, the target succeed make a fort save, DC: 10 + ½ your Viceslave level + your dexterity modifier, or suffer 10 points of damage per Viceslave level. Succeeding the save deals no damage. Creatures that are not susceptible to critical hits are immune to this effect.
Expert stroke (Ex) — You have honed masterful swings to maximum effect. Your devastating strikes deal 1 additional damage per die. This is precision damage.
Fear Aura (Su) — Your aura of malevolence carries the screams of each soul you’ve sent off this coil. A creature within your aura must succeed a Will Save DC: 10 + ½ your HD or be shaken. If you have twice the HD of the creature in your aura, they are frightened instead. If you have 10 more HD then a creature in your aura, they become panicked instead.
From the Shadows (Sp) — Once per day, you may move through shadows as a move action. You may move 20 feet per Viceslave level. You must be in dim light at the start of your movement, and you must end your movement in dim light or darker. The end of your movement must be within 30 feet of a creature.
Got you! (Ex) — During the surprise round, you may act even if you normally would not, as long as you activate an urge power during the surprise round. If you do not activate an urge power, you are staggered during your next round.
Grotesque Verbiage (Su) — As a full-round action you may begin to babble utter insanities that are unsettling to listeners. Creatures that can hear you or understand you within 30 feet must succeed a Sense Motive check with a DC equal to 15 + your ranks in bluff. Those that fail suffer the effects of confusion, lesser. You may continue babbling as a free action. Each round that you babble, forces a new Sense Motive check for those who are succeeded the save. Failure renders you immune to the babbling for 24 hours, as they start to make a perverse sense to you. This is a mind-effect.
I wanna do now! (Ex) — Once per day, you may gain the benefits of a moral bonus that you see someone else gain, for the duration of said moral bonus.
Inspire Want (Sp) — You may as a full-round action cast the spell unnatural lust as a spell-like ability. The DC to resist the effects is 10+ ½ the Viceslave level + charisma mod.
Laughter (Ex) — As a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity, you may cackle madly. You may maintain the laughter as a free action each round beyond the first. Creatures that hear your cackle do not know what will come next and suffer a -1 circumstance penalty to attack rolls. This penalty increases by 1 each time an affect creature hits you. When a creature misses you, this penalty resets to -1.
Painful Words (Sp) — You may as a full-round action babble horrific profanities. Such profanities when directed towards a single creature are difficult for most creatures to withstand; acting as the spell resonating words with a duration of a single round. The save is 10 + ½ the Viceslave level. The duration increases by 1 round for every 10 levels the Viceslave attains.
Perfect Forgery (Ex) — As long as you have a physical copy of someone’s handwriting, you can mimic it exactly. The DC to discern the fact that the handwriting is a forgery requires a Linguistics check DC 20 + the Viceslave’s level + the Viceslave’s ranks in Linguistics or Bluff (Whichever is higher).
Perfect Vandal (Ex) — You gain the Improved Sunder as a bonus feat. You do not have to meet the prerequisites. If you already have the Improved Sunder Feat, you gain the Greater Sunder feat as a bonus feat.
Pressing Influence (Sp) — In a small conversation, you can pick up social cues to create an uncomfortable situation for someone. When you speak with an individual for a considerable period of time, you can implant a course of action as a suggestion, as per the spell. The suggestion spell lasts a single hour. The save for the spell is 10 + ½ the Viceslave Level + charisma Modifier.
Ride the Emotion (Su) — When you suffer the effects of a spell or effect with the compel or emotion descriptor, you may give in without a saving throw. Upon giving in, you may give yourself the staggered condition to disobey compels, or change emotional states.
RIGHT NOW! (Sp) — Once per day, as an immediate action, you may take your turn as if you had delayed your action that round.
Secret Touch (Su) — As a standard action, you may make a touch-attack against a single creature. If you succeed, the target must succeed at a Will save DC: 10 + your charisma mod + ½ your Viceslave level. Failure means that you learn a vitally important secret to the target. The target is not aware that you know, just that you touched them. The knowledge of the secret is only contained within your mind for 24 hours. To retain such secrets you must store them either on paper or in some other medium before the end of the 24 hours.
Sense of Purpose (Ex) — when you attempt to sunder a piece of equipment or attack a structure, you ignore one hardness per Viceslave level.
Slip of the Tongue (Su) — In a conversation, you can drop subliminal commands to the individual you are speaking to. These commands generally involve revealing information that otherwise wouldn’t happen. The target must succeed Sense Motive check DC: 15 + your bluff ranks + ½ your Viceslave level, or accidently spill something they didn’t intend to share with the group. You may do this once a day per Viceslave level. Any who succeeds the check is immune to this power for 24 hours.
Soul Window (Su) —As a move action you may gaze into the eyes of another creature. If the target fails a Will save, DC: 10 + your charisma mod + ½ your Viceslave level, the target must tell you the truth about a single question you ask.
Stalk (Ex) — When you roll a stealth check to pursue someone, you roll 2d20’s and take the higher number.
Strength from Death (Su) — When you strike a humanoid and kill it, you gain the effects of the death knell spell. The benefits last for one round per Viceslave level.
Study Mark (Ex) — As a full-round action, you may study a single character that you can see. Upon finishing your study the target gets a -4 circumstance penalty to Sense Motive checks against you, as well as a -2 circumstance to will-saves. The penalty to Sense Motive increases by 1 for every 3 levels the Viceslave attains. These penalties last until the target leaves your line of sight.
Sudden Display (Ex) — As a Move action, you can create a very distracting display of action and motion. One creature within 30 feet is dazzled for a single round. You may do this 4 + your charisma modifier times a day. This is a fear effect.
Surprise! (Su) — You always act during the surprise round. You cannot be surprised.
Symbolic Destruction (Sp) — Upon destroying an object or a piece of equipment with the Sunder maneuver, you may link that object with a single person. The person must be touching the object destroyed, wearing it, or the object must have that person’s likeness upon it (like a painting or a statue). The creature linked takes damage for each point of hardness the object had. A creature can only be effected by this once per 24 hours.
Thrill of the Hunt (Ex) — Once a day when you would deal damage to a humanoid you may forfeit your damage roll and the rest of your attacks that round. If you do, you again the benefits of haste for one round per Viceslave level.
Traceless Entry (Ex) — In opening a door or passing through a home that isn’t yours, you simply leave no trace. This is identical to the trackless step druid class ability, except it is specifically to places that are owned by someone else.
Uncanny Laughter (Sp) — Once your day, you may cast Hideous Laughter as a spell like ability.
Unpredictability (Su) — Once per day, when someone would succeed a sense motive skill check against you: you may change your course of action, and your intention. You may do this an additional time for every two Viceslave levels you attain.
Unpredictable (Su) — You gain a +1 luck bonus on your initiative rolls. For each creature going after you in combat you gain a +1 circumstance bonus to attack rolls. For each creature going before you, you suffer a -1 penalty to AC, but a +2 bonus on damage rolls.
Unsettling Act (Su) — As a standard action you can perform an act that is profane. This taboo action causes those that are within 60 feet of you to be shaken. Those that are within 10 feet of you must make a DC: 10 + ½ your Viceslave level + charisma modifier or be frightened for 1 round per 2 Viceslave levels. You may perform this act 3 + your charisma modifier times per day. This is a fear effect.
Word of Agony (Sp) — As a move action, you may study the language somebody uses, and the way they talk. After listening, you learn an exact phrase that you can utter to send the target reeling in guilt and regret. Using this phrase acts as a symbol of pain spell for just that specific target, with you acting as the symbol. The penalty lasts for 1 hour per Viceslave level, or if the character moves further than 60 feet from the Viceslave the effect immediately ends. You retain this phrase until you use a move action to study another target, or the target is reduced to 0 hit points. You must be level 8 before taking this power.
Devastating Strike (Ex) — At 3rd level, you’ve gained enough power in your quest to sate your own internal desires that your unhinged-nature is made manifest in your attacks. While you are wilding a light weapon, improvised, or simple weapon, your attacks deal an extra 1d4 damage. At 5th level and every odd level thereafter, your attacks deal another extra 1d4 damage.
Imparting Mark (Su) — At 5th the Viceslave has the ability to impart part of his constantly nagging mind into the psyche of another being. As a full-round action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity, the Viceslave may strike out with his fists against someone. Dealing damage to the target transfers the curse from the Viceslave to the victim. This relieves the Viceslave of his unnatural urges for just a little bit. This brief reprieve lasts 1 hour per Viceslave level. The other being however feels the full force of the urge during this duration. This person must make a Will save, DC: 11 + ½ the Viceslave’s level, or blackout and succumb to the urges sating them as soon as an opportunity presents itself.
Improved Imparting Mark (Su) — At 10th level, the Viceslave has the ability to instill the mark in someone for slightly longer. The reprieve lasts 1 day per level. The marked being however, must succeed a will save, DC 10 + 1 per day since being marked, or succumb to the urge, and black out for the duration of the day.
Greater Imparting Mark (Su) — At 15th level, the Viceslave has the ability to instill it’s mark in someone for a really long time. The Viceslave is relieved of all urges for 1 week per level, and at this point, begins to go into dormancy when someone is marked. The marked person must succeed a DC 12 + 1 per week will save, or succumb to your horrid urge that week, waking the next with no memory of what happened.
Leaving the Urge (Su) — At 20th level, when the Viceslave leaves an imparting mark on another humanoid, they lose 1 level in their current class and gain 1 level in Viceslave. They are now a viceslave.
Urge Sated (Ex) — The Dark whispers in the mind of the viceslave do not need to be heeded anymore. They no longer whisper any desire. The Viceslave knows that each of his powers comes from giving in. At this point, you may enter “dormancy” as a free action any time your aura is off. While dormant, you are unable to be detected as a vice slave, and anything that would detect your alignment detects it as neutral instead. You may exit dormancy whenever you wish as a free action.

Oh my Goodness!

So, I’ve been tackling the idea of unfair BBEG’s that are beatable.  Creating feats, creating a class, running mental exorcises to make things more interesting.  What good has come of it if I don’t create a sample character?  Can I Create an interesting story using said villainy type stuff.

Sure you can!  Anyone can.  It’s pretty easy to make a compelling villain.  You’ve been digesting them all your life.   If you’ve read a book or watched a movie in the past few years.  You’ve probably found yourself hating a bad-guy or two.  The big idea with a Role-playing game Villain is to serve as a counter point to your Heroes, generally the PC’s.

So, how do you make a compelling villain if it’s as easy as I’ve claimed?  A clear, demonstrable motives and goals.  The goal doesn’t even have to be diametrical opposed to the PC’s goals either.  The goal simply could be a minor inconvenience for the PC’s.

A good example of this; from a video game stand point, is Hoggmiester from the Disgaea series.  IF you have not played the disgaea series… here is a quick synopsis:  Demon boy wants to become ruler of the underworld.  Literally EVERYONE ELSE does not want him to be the ruler.  Hoggmeister is a mid-boss about half-way through the game, who is a REAL pain in the neck.  He eventually JOINS you.  But man is he a villain for a while.  He’s a greedy some-of-a-bitch who wants to be an overlord simply so that he can tax people into oblivion.  That’s it.  No other reason.  He wants money.  Simple motivation.  Easy to remember.  Easy to manipulate.  The protagonist in all his tragic flaws, cannot realize this.  Eventually he swears fealty to you after you pound him into submission enough, running through his multitudes of cash.  Why am I using such a simple character as an example for a villain.  Villains do not have to be complex characters, they do not have to be an example of masterful writing.  They simply must be memorable, and they must be enough of a threat to your main-characters that there is concern for safety.

Have you EVER played a game, and thought to yourself “Who is the villain?” after you have been introduced to the main conflict in the game?  Not all villains are people mind you, sometimes they are simply a force that one wrestles against, but most RPG’s are about CHARACTERS.  Characters are, in general, a better villain choice then say a god, time, or some natural force.  The narrative is richer if it is a person at the other end of the table then a force of some kind.

As long as your villain sticks out in your player’s minds, it has done it’s job.  A villain, in a sense, is a force that creates interest in the story.  The villain exists to create a source of dramatic tension or a sense of threat in your story.  That sense of tension is not going to happen if he isn’t memorable.  How do you make something memorable, or interesting?  Making it something easy to digest, understand, and identify with.

What makes something fictional all of those things:  It’s easy to identify with motivations, goals, ambitions.  We all have them.  We can identify those that we can see in other people, and we can understand what makes that person more an individual.  These can be as simple or as complex as you want, but they are in the end, the core of making your villains more compelling.

IT seems like a very simple idea.  But often there villains written in games that do things “Just because”, with no real developed goals.  This is something that needs to be avoided when your creating your own RPG villainous characters.. as those are not characters… those are forces of nature, and those have a DIFFERENT set of characteristics all together.

Reaction Feats

Hello everyone, it’s me again.  This post is dedicated to something I introduced in my last post.
Reaction Feats.

Reaction feats are intended to be compatible with the Pathfinder Role-Playing Game.  They are not intended to be used often.

Special Rules on Reaction Feats:  Reaction feats may indicate a prerequisite against player characters.  Not regular characters, specifically player characters.  These effects are only usable with characters that are being played by a player.  “target a player character”, means the effect can only affect a character targeting a player character.

You might be thinking:  “Hold up!?  What’s a player supposed to do if they take one of these feats!?”  And you’d be thinking along the wrong lines.  These are designed to be taken by the player’s enemies.  These are additional tools for the GM to wield in the ever increasing desire to challenge the PC’s.

You may also be asking “why are these called reaction feats!? why not villain feats!?”  And that’s because villain feats are already a thing.  They are called “Betrayal Feats”, and they are pretty awesome.  These are called reaction feats because they specifically REACT to things the players may do.  They also tend to have prerequisites that specifically call out things the Player characters have to do for someone to get access to these feats.

Otherwise, they operate like normal feats; granting powers to the character who has them.  Thank you for reading.  With out further ado… a small collection of Reaction feats to scare the pants off your players with!

Enjoy!

 

Apocalyptic Spell
Prerequisite: Ability to cast 5th level spells, swear bloody vengeance against the Player Characters within ear-shot.
When you cast a spell you may choose to grant it the apocalyptic descriptor. These spells can affect a rather large area, or way more targets. The caster may consume extra spell slots to cast the spell. The spell affects one extra target, or one extra area within range of the spell per Spell Level consumed.

 

Chains of Attrition
Prerequisite: Fight at least 3 Player Characters and survive.
As a move action you may wrap a single player character in the ethereal chains of fate. When you would take damage, that player character talks half the damage for you. If you would take negative energy damage, or sustain a status change, or take a moral penalty, the wrapped character also takes the effect as well. This ends when another character is wrapped or the character with this feat dies, or the character with this feat moves 50 feet away.

 

Craven Retreat
Prerequisite: Fought at least 4 Player characters and have died, and was resurrected.
When you take a withdraw action, you do not provoke attacks of opportunity on any square of movement. At the end of your withdraw action, you may attempt a run action as well. This run action is at 6 times your base speed instead of your normal run speed.

 
Danger Zone!
Prerequisite: Power attack or Point Blank Shot, Cleave or Rapid Shot, and have fought at least 3 Player Characters and survived.
When you take an attack action, you may select a 5 feet square within your reach, or within the first range increment of your weapon. You may designate an additional 5 foot square if your Base Attack Bonus is +4, and every 4 beyond that. These additional 5 foot squares must be adjacent to at least one previously selected 5 foot squares. All characters in the selected squares are considered targets of the attack action.

 

I Refuse Death!
Prerequisites: Be defeated by at least 4 Player Characters in combat and escape.
As a free action, you may forgo all additional attacks beyond your first attack to use your attacks of opportunity to negate damage. You lose all remaining attacks of opportunity, but gain one “Parry Charge” for each Attack of Opportunity lost. You may expend a Parry Charge as an immediate action to negate all HP damage from a single Player Character for a turn. Parry Charges fade at the start of your next turn.

 

Magical Attack Mastery
Prerequisite: The ability to cast 4th level spells. Be fighting at least 2 Player Character’s.
As a Full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity, you can choose a single spell of 2nd level or lower that is a ray or requires a melee or ranged touch attack. When a PC ends a movement, you may resolve an attack as if you had just cast the selected spell on the PC that ended its movement. At the start of your next round, that spell is consumed.

 
Move and Die
Prerequisites: have a group of at least 3 PC’s thwart one of your plots, Rapid Reload or Quicken Spell.
As a full-round action you can declare a readied ranged attack against each Player Character in range. When a Player Character takes an action that does not result in an attack roll against you, you may immediately attack them with the readied ranged attack. This attack may be a ranged touch attack, a spell or spell-like ability, or a ranged weapon. Ammo is immediately reloaded, and the prepared spell slot is not expended until the start of your next turn.

 
Oppress the Offender
Prerequisites: have a group of at least 4 PC’s thwart one of your plots
As a full-round action you can enter the stance of the Oppressor. When a Player Character takes an attack action targeting you; you may immediately charge the PC as a free action. If you cannot charge the Player Character, make a single Melee attack using your highest Attack bonus against the PC. If this attack hits, and deals damage, the PC suffers a -2 morale penalty to the attack roll.

 
Rapid Brutality
Prerequisite: 3 other Reaction Feats
When you take a Full-Attack action, you gain one additional attack at your full Base Attack Bonus – 5. If this extra attack misses, you suffer a -2 penalty to AC.

 

Revenge is Sweet
Prerequisites: Have had 6 friends, allies or cohorts killed by Player Characters at least 2 player characters, Weapon Focus
As a Move action, you can enter a Revenge Stance. While in Revenge stance, when you take HP damage from Player Character takes, you may immediately take an Attack action against a player character in range of your current weapon. Each time you take this attack action, your AC and Saves are reduced by 2 while you remain in Revenge Stance.

 
Ruthless Efficiency
Prerequisite: 2 other Reaction Feats
When a player character within your reach provokes an attack of opportunity, you may expend all of your attacks of opportunity you may attack as if you had used a Full-Attack Action. If the character that provokes your attack of opportunity is reduced to 0 hit points or less, you change your target to another character in reach.

 

Spell-Hatred
Prerequisite: Have fought at least one Player Character that is a spell-caster.
When a Player character casts a spell on you and you fail a save versus the effect, you may make a charge action against the spell caster ignoring obstacles in the way. If your charge attack succeeds, you get a second save versus the spell at a -4 penalty. The caster may opt that you succeed the save, to prevent the charge.

 

Treasure Doppelganger
Prerequisite: Fought at least 3 player characters and have died, and was resurrected; Craft Magical Arms and armor, Craft wondrous Item, Craft Construct
When you wear a piece of magical equipment in every magical equipment slot, you may meditate for 6 hours. Doing so creates a magical doppelganger of yourself held together by the magical field created by each piece of equipment adorn by it. The Doppelganger can act and has all of your abilities, and is wearing your equipment. Removing any equipment or sundering a piece of gear causes the doppelganger to fade, as well as physical damage equal to your own maximum Hit point value. If the doppelganger fades, all it’s equipment drops where it was, and your ability to wear or gain benefit of magical equipment for 24 hours. This doppelganger can be commanded by you mentally as long as you and the doppelganger exist on the same plane. You may only have one Treasure Doppelganger active at a time.

 
Waltz of Combat
Prerequisite: 30 feet movement speed or higher, have home invaded at least once by 3 or more Player Characters.
As a Move action you may enter a Waltz stance. While in the Waltz stance, when a PC you can see takes a move action you may move 5 feet. This 5 feet increases by an additional 5 feet every time a PC makes a move action. This bonus movement resets to 5 feet at the start of your next turn. Sustaining the Waltz stance is a move action.

 

Wound Catch
Prerequisite: Toughness, be wounded by a Melee weapon from a Player character.
When a player character would deal damage to you with a Melee weapon, you may opt to have the weapon embedded in your flesh. Pulling the weapon free provokes an attack of opportunity. Otherwise the player may drop the weapon as a free action.  When you would be reduced to 0 Hit points, the weapon may be pulled free without provoking attacks of opportunity.

Recent thoughts on Unfair but Beatable.

I have been playing a lot of a very specific board game recently.  Kingdom Death:  Monster.  It’s a glorious game.  I’m going to break it down a little.  (I keep talking about it, so I figure I might as well make a blog post about it).

The game comes in three phases:
A Showdown Phase, where 4 humans fight a heinous monster.  They survive and return victorious with spoils.  Or die, and people starve.

A Settlement Phase, where the players decide how to use resources and supplies to best  a fighting chance against the trials beset upon them.  There is a lot of strategy here in either trying to out breed the things that kill you or out power them.

The Hunt phase, where 4 humans track down another monster to kill and eat for basic survival.

What is most applicable to Role-playing games is the Showdown Phase.  The Showdown phase has 4 humans square off a Single Monster.  The Single monster is going to wreck your face.  It just happens.  Even if the monster is a Level 1 monster (the weakest kind of monster in the game), it can tear apart a veteran crew if the cards and dice are just right.  The fights are always hard won.

The monster fights are always memorable, and always a challenge.

I want to bring this to The Pathfinder Role-Playing Game and other role-playing games.  However, to really do this you have to analyze WHAT makes the fights so different.  There are a large number of differences, mostly a board-game vs a role-playing game here, and after weeks of analysis (I seriously can’t stop playing this game, I might need help) The key element here, is the monster has a chance, albeit a rather large chance,  to “react” to the player’s.  The reactions are as powerful as a normal turn for the monster.  The players attack the monster, the monster gets hit… the monster swings back in response.  The player gets trashed, but in return the players as a whole are closer to it’s goal.

To accomplish this “feeling” I’ve created a small number of feats, and a special class that is compatible for The Pathfinder Roleplaying game.    Using this class, and a few of these feats, will definitely change the feel of the game for your players.  I suggest if you use these, you use them sparingly, and perhaps only once to seal in just how special the fight is.  These are designed for encounters with a Single Dominating Threat, also known as, the Big Bad Evil Guy.

I will bring you the class here first.  And Wednesday, I shall bring you the first of a series of feats called playfully Reaction Feats that are intended to be used in conjunction with this class.  I give you:  The Egomaniac.

Egomaniac
Toiling away into the dim hours of the night, recklessly pursuing a goal that even the most bold of adventures dare not attempt. They do not stop, they will not yield, and they always move forward. Dying isn’t in the plan, and quite frankly, they do not have time for what is not in the plan. Meticulous in what they do, it’s this planning nature to which they draw all the endurance, patience and necessary reserves of strength or cunning to deal with whatever might attempt to thwart the plan.
Not quite a god, and defiantly beyond mortal, any individual who pursues this path is obsessed with a specific goal, and blind to all else. Each step is calculated, thought through, and then executed regardless of outside consequence, as long as the goal gets closer. Egomaniacs they are called, but that does not concern them. There is no price to which they will not pay to meet the goal, and perhaps that is the deciding factor of what makes that person enduring, so driven, and so unendingly persistent.
Role: The Egomaniac is a villain that simply refuses to stop. Perpetually attempting to further goals, the egomaniac does not care whom or what is damaged in the course of accomplishing the goal, making it the perfect villain to a group of PCs.
Alignment: Typically lawful people make up the Egomaniac, following on the very nature of themselves, reinforcing the plan with codified actions. However Neutral people do see the draw, and are often adaptable enough to see a plan-able course of action take place. Chaotic Egomaniacs are perhaps the rarest and most effective,
Hit Die: d8
Class Skills: Bluff, Climb, Craft, Diplomacy, Escape Artist, Fly, Knowledge(history), Knowledge(local), Knowledge(nature), Knowledge(nobility), Linguistics, Ride, Sense Motive, Survival, Swim, Use Magic Device
Skills Per Level: 4 + Int modifier<Class advancement table is above>

Class Features
Weapon and Armor Proficiency
This class is proficient with martial, simple weapons and with light and medium armor and light, heavy shields.
Age Resistance (Su) — At fifth level, the egomaniac absolutely will not die until its grand work is done. The egomaniac ages at roughly half the rate of a normal person once they completely dedicate themselves to a cause. An egomaniac will gain the benefits of aging, but does not gain the penalties until it has completely aged through the category. The age at which the Egomaniac will die naturally is delayed 50%.
Bonus HP (Ex) — An egomaniac is particularly difficult to put down, and as such gains bonus HP every level. Each level of egomaniac gained, the character gains 8 additional HP.
HD Boost (Ex) — The egomaniac’s ability to put his goal above all else is staggering and the egomaniac’s unrelenting force of personality refuses him the ability to yield in the face of adversity. At third level, and every odd level thereafter, the egomaniac gains a 1 bonus Hit Die for the purpose of spells or spell-like effects. Each of these bonus HD may be traded when the egomaniac suffers damage or fails a saving throw to completely ignore effects of the spell or attack. The bonus HD traded in this way comes back when the Egomaniac are recovered each time the egomaniac rests.
Mimic-Class (Ex) — The egomaniac is all about the adapting itself to a specific goal. At first level, the egomaniac may select a single other class. The class must be a core class. The egomaniac may choose a single feature granted to the selected class at level 1, and mimic that class feature in every way. The egomaniac’s level is counted as the selected class for the purposes of advancement along the class. An egomaniac may pick a spell-casting to be mimic, in which case the egomaniac uses the spell list provided by the class that is mimicked, as well as the relevant required attribute for spell casting.
Example: A 5th level Egomaniac who chose the sneak attack class feature to mimic from the Rogue class, counts as a 5th level Rogue for determining Sneak attack.
Follow up Example: A 9th level egomaniac counts as a 9th level wizard for spell-casting purposes should the egomaniac pick spell-casting. The Egomaniac uses his Intelligence for spell casting, just as if he’s a wizard. The Egomaniac’s caster level would be 9, and would gain new spells as a wizard.
Ultimate Reward (Su) — The egomaniac’s goal is so close at hand, truly grand things will occur. The egomaniac simply cannot die, and its soul will not leave the mortal realm until the goal is attained. Death granted to the egomaniac will simply cause the egomaniac to rise 1d10 days later, almost as if a lich. This comes at a cost, the moment the goal is realized, the egomaniac is all but assured. The egomaniac loses all class features and all HD beyond the first upon reaching a conclusion to its grand plot. Often times, this leaves the egomaniac nothing but a corpse.
Last Ditch Escape (Ex) — Perhaps a large part of planning is part of the fact that egomaniacs are perhaps so difficult to stop, and not just rugged resilience. Starting at 2nd level the egomaniac can escape any situation that leaves its body intact. If the egomaniac has less than 1/4th its hit points, and it is able to use the stealth skill either due to low-light, concealment or blocked line of sight, the Egomaniac may enact a plan to leave the situation.  Enacting the plan is a swift action that moves the egomaniac 50 + 10 feet per character level.  The egomaniac must be able to see the end square of the movement to get there.  The Egomaniac may move as if he had teleported to the location.
Villain Feat — Often in the attempt to attain the goal despite all incoming obstacles, a character creates a vast quantity of powerful foes. These foes have the resources, and they have the skill, but they are weak. They will forget the egomaniac, and they do not have the drive to mirror the egomaniac’s drive. At every even level the egomaniac may select a Reaction Feat. This feat can be substituted with any general feat, or combat feat if the egomaniac does not meet the perquisites.
Any general or combat feat gained through this class feature may be replaced by a Reaction feat when the egomaniac attains a new level.

 

Designing without Fear for balance!

A game is an experience. Specifically, it is a vehicle for delivering an experience that is fun and engaging. Fun and engaging are the key phrases of that sentence. I’ve been trying to write RPGs for years, and all my privately shared experiences in that the most memorable experiences are always the ones that bend rules in FUN or CHALLENGING ways. People today talk about games I ran when I was a teenager, and that is a badge of pride in my book. I’m going to break down one of the MOST memorable.

-The Tower of Bosses-

Forgive the name, I was a young teen and I was unabashedly ripping from video games. However, one thing I will tip to my younger self, I Did not care ONE IOTA for balance. That was, actually a good thing for me. Because I cared about something that made this particular segment VERY memorable.

There were 5 floors. Each floor had a ridiculous boss I had concocted, and a ridiculously built room specifically to make the boss more difficult. This was the fortress to fight my villain (…Snort… General Gallows, and his enslaved angels, did I mention I was the BEST at names as a teenager), and to get to him, you had to get through his minions.

His 1st floor was guarded by his “invincible” bodyguard. He was in such heavy armor that no combat spell or weapon could pierce. He swung once a turn, but that was all he needed had a large furnace in the room that he would avoid, but he would activate to fling fire into the room to damage people who were lined up stupidly. His gimmick was simple: He was stupidly loyal.

The PC’s had a hell of a time dealing with him… until they cast a desperate dominate spell on him, and had him jump into the furnace. His gimmick of being stupidly loyal meant he would do anything if commanded, regardless of danger to himself. The PC’s won. There was much rejoicing.

The 2nd Floor was guarded by a monk. The monk had a pool of water the pool of water hasted the monk and refilled his HP to full. The monk would jump kick out of the water, pummel the PCs, and get pummeled and jump back into the water… Repeat. The SECOND time that happened the group wizards was like “Oh hellz no” and decided to boil the water. The group dragon decided “No no no… we are not letting him get HP everywhere in this room” and used his frost breath weapon to freeze the water.

Turned the battle into an interesting Ice-Rink of the Monk sliding around ninja kicking people until the group fighter tripped him, and kept him prone and stabbed. There was much rejoicing.

The 3rd floor was not hard: but it was a completely open portion of the tower. There was a dragon man who was flying out of the tower and through the tower lancing people, but the tower had four supports that the PC’s could easily knock out. Which they picked up on right away… and caused the tower to crash down on the poor dragon man and squish him flat.

The 4th floor was not very memorable, it was a traditional brawl but the PC’s won. This is a key bit of information to hold onto later.

The 5th floor and then the big ol battle. It was 4 level 15 pc’s versus 1 enslaved fallen angel, and 1 very evil general, who was a “master” (read unfair) tactician.

So… the Enslaved Angel had very few HPs, a low AC, and a small saves. However, the first turn of combat, I reduced all the PC’s to a Level between 1 and 4. (I had them roll a D4 for what level they were set to) and the General’s turn was dead last. They had to quickly kill the Angel to get the levels back, and they knew it because the memories, skills and spells were visible on the Angel. The angel reduced levels every turn, that’s all it did. Not negative energy damage. No… they had to revert spells, and levels, and class features.

The General didn’t have many attacks in a round, or even interesting or broken feats. He didn’t need any… He was going to rock some worlds right now, and the PC’s really hated him. To this day they still talk about his “bullshit”. However, they still talk about it, they still engage in conversation about it. SOME even still talk about how they could have gone about that battle better.

And to this day, some get bored with more conventional encounters. Some of my encounters today are borderline unfair, but they are still all winnable. That is what I took away; keep it unfair, but winnable. The PC’s after all, are supposed to be heroes. They need to feel like they can win, they just need to feel the imminent threat of death.

 

Why am I bringing up this old game? To bring up how bad of a GM I was as a young teen? No. Actually, it’s the pattern of rooms. Each room with a gimmick was easy to remember. It was memorable: the solution to the problem at hand was a clever one. The blow-by-blow isn’t recorded (With exception of that particularly brutal last room) but the feelings intense and enjoyable remain.

What was curious to me was that floor 4 was a void in my memory. It was not the “Good time” that the players enjoyed. It was not the floor that was enjoyable. I remember it as a regular ol slug-fest that didn’t even have memorable NPCs. That is what is the take-away here.

The key is to creating excellent, engaging and fun content is to make it memorable. After-all a game is all about delivering an experience, we might as well make it one worth keeping. Over the next few posts, I’m going to be posting some Pathfinder and/or RPG mechanics to attempt to build those “Completely unfair but beatable” villains. I’m going to create feats, classes, and maybe a few new spells that have the goals of completely throwing off PC’s and make GM’s question how they run games. I’m not saying these features are balanced. In fact, I dare say they are not. They are not intended for PC’s to get ahold of, or to use. And that is of course what will make the players remember it all the more.

Self-Introduction!

Hello Internet,  Gamers, and other people of interest.

My name is Jarrett “AetherHunter” Sigler.  I’m an aspiring Role-playing and Board-Game Designer with a heavy interest in board-games, dice games, card games, and Video games.  Generally just games in general.

I’ve been trying to find a way to apply my amassed gaming experience and studies to my life, and it’s helped me out.  I’ve spent the better part of my life making game designs privately, and sharing them with friends and family.  However, it wasn’t until RPG superstar I started finding an outlet for my designs professionally.

In two years, I managed to reach the top 32.  In as much time I’ve been pushing myself to share more of my designs with others.  Following in the footsteps in some people I look up to, I have created this word press to present my personal thoughts on Game-Design, and my various ideas for the many RPGs and Board games I play.

Creating for me is very stream of conscious, and requires sounding boards, and someone generally to talk to.  The process of sharing the idea helps me refine it.

And this is where this blog comes in.  I’ll be sharing my ideas here.  You are FREE to use them for your home games.  Feel free to adapt them to your own games.

Currently, my personal projects include:

  • Practicing writing my dungeon rooms
  • Practicing sharing mechanics
  • A Game meant to emulate the random loot of Diablo and Borderlands
  • A Setting (and possibly a game system) I’ve been developing since my childhood
  • Making a Single Pathfinder “Boss” more interesting to fight then “Claw/Claw/Bite” tactics
  • Trying to tackle “Random” effects and making them more interesting.