Saturday, April 20, 2013

Chase Rules for Pathfinder

I just came across these rules on "", a website for, well, geeks. As the author details in his commentary, if there is one thing I have never been satisfied with it's the lack of good cinematic chase scene rules. There is just no incentive to run or chase or to ever have to move once combat has engaged.

These VERY SIMPLE rules are a quick and easy read....AND easy to implement.

The gist?

Step 1. Roll Initiative (if you haven't already started)

Step 2. Roll your movement for the round and apply modifiers

Step 3. Avoid or surmount obstacles

Step 4. Determine if you are closer or further from your quarry / pursuers - the scale is from 1 to 6. If you hit 1, you are caught or you catch your quarry. If it's a 6, you have lost them or your target has lost you.

SIMPLE. The DM can get as cinematic as necessary, but the rules themselves lend themselves to a natural, fast-paced chase.

Bravo to The Geek for this super slick rule set.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Beautiful rendition of 'The Rains of Castamere'

If you are a Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones) fan, you are no-doubt familiar with "The Rains of Castamere" - a tragic dirge in which the Lord of House Reyne of Castamere, a bannerman to House Lannister, betrays Lord Tywin Lannister only to suffer the most severe and ultimate of punishments; the complete and ultimate destruction of his house. There are several renditions of the song only written in the books, but these are the the most impressive.

The version by Karliene Reynolds (below) is by far the most haunting

This awesome is how I imagine The Man in Black, Johnny Cash, would sing The Rains of Castamere! Awesome!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Extended Trailer - World War Z

I realize the zombie genre has been beaten to death (ahem..pun intended), but I am nevertheless WAY excited about this movie. I have not read the book (World War Z), but just judging by the preview this is no typical "zombie flick" where the undead are slow creepers who prey upon bumbling idiots throughout the film. These zombies are strong, fast, feral...and pissed off!

According to the following review (which follows the movie preview), this movie doesn't follow the book very well - but it still looks epic in scope. I'm a fan of Brad Pitt too and I'm reasonably confident he is not going to play the star role in a stinker film.

Personally, I think this is going to be bad's hoping I'm not disappointed!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Elemental Manacles

Elemental Manacles, Greater - These mithral manacles play host to a bound large earth elemental. These manacles behave in every way as a pair of mithral manacles with two magical exceptions.

First, if the manacles are thrown at and hit a small or medium target using a ranged touch attack, the elemental manacles will automatically attempt a grapple (CMB +16, CMD 25). If the Elemental Manacles successfully win the grapple, the binders clamp around targets wrists, trapping them. The victim is considered grappled until the manacles are removed. The Escape Artist check is a DC 40 (vs. a 35 for Masterwork), 15 hardness, 68 HP (as per the large earth elemental), and a break DC of 35. If the ranged touch attack misses or the initial grapple attempt fails, the charge is still spent. This ability uses one charge.

Using the second ability, the owner may command the earth elemental to engulf the person entrapped by the manacles. For 8 rounds (the HD of the large earth elemental), the elemental will attack and attempt to completely draw the victim into the ground where it will smother and crush them.

Starting on their initiative, the target gets a DC 17 (Str-based) Reflex save each round to avoid being engulfed. This is a standard action. Once the target is engulfed, the elemental automatically does 2d6+7 crushing damage to the target and the target is pinned for the remainder of the 8 rounds. Each round the target is engulfed, he may make an opposed grapple check (see stats above). If the target wins the opposed check, he is not considered pinned for that round, but still takes damage. He must continue to make the opposed grapple check for the remainder of the 8 rounds to avoid becoming pinned again. This ability uses two charges.

Elemental Manacles, Lesser - These masterwork manacles behave very similar to the greater version, except there is a medium-sized earth elemental bound to these. The CMB is +9, CMD 18, Escape Artist check is 35, Break check DC is 28, they have a 10 hardness and 34 hit points. The lesser elemental manacles do not gain the engulf ability.

Both the greater and the lesser have 3 charges per day.


Lesser - Craft Wonderous Item, Bind Elemental (Feat), Lesser Planar Binding, Cost: 9,000
Greater - Craft Wonderous Item, Bind Elemental (Feat), Greater Planar Binding, Cost: 36,000

NOTE: Elemental Manacles is based upon the creation feat conversion of Bind Elemental for Eberron. This feat and creation process can easily be adapted into your campaign by removing the Khyber Dragonshard requirement and placing a standard Pathfinder gem type of the same value in its place.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pathfinder Feat: Alchemical Precision

For use with Pathfinder

Alchemical PrecisionYou have developed a preternatural precision with the various mundane alchemical items often found in your repertoire. You deal precision damage using alchemical items (such as acid or alchemist's fire) that already normally deal damage.

Prerequisites: Sneak Attack +3d6, Stealth 5 Ranks, Master Alchemist Feat, Throw Anything Feat

Benefit: You gain the ability to apply your sneak attack  to mundane alchemical weapons such as acid flasks or alchmist's fire. Performing an attack in this way does no splash damage. The sneak attack damage type is the same damage type dealt by the weapon (i.e. acid, fire, ice, etc.). Critical hits do not multiply the precision damage. Continual damage beyond the initial attack (such as burning, etc.) does not receive any additional precision damage. The target must otherwise still qualify as a valid sneak attack target.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Evil Dead - Trailer (2013)

The re-invention of Evil Dead looks absolutely terrifying!!

Check out the trailer here!

Pathfinder Quick Encounters - The Imp made me do it! 1st Level Encounter

DOWNLOAD THE PDF - Quick Encounters #1

"Quick Encounters" are plug-ins for virtually any adventure or campaign series. These events can act to fill a gap in the action or even as a launching off point for other adventures. Each Quick Encounter has some campaign hooks as well as ideas for scaling the encounter for higher or lower level as needed.

This "Quick Encounter" is for 1st level characters, but could probably still present a slight challenge to level 2 characters.

"The Imp made me do it!" is a story of what happens to those devilish familiars after they have outlived their evil masters. Many are able to return to their native plane, but every so often, the tiny devils decide they like it right where they are. In these instances, the devil will usually find itself another master to serve and pervert to its own ends.  Some, however, revel in the idea of becoming a puppet master, dominating the low intelligence of various goblinoid tribes they encounter.

The latter is where we find ourselves in this "Quick Encounter". Grixzl, an Imp and formerly a familiar to a none-to-goodly wizard, has maintained his presence on the material plane and begun the process of creating his own "kingdom" among the kobold tribes in the area. Grixzl has already subverted the leadership of one clan and, when this encounter begins, he is in the process of moving on to a rival clan across the valley. Grixzl and his kobolds inhabit one of the caves in the bluffs high above the trail in the base of the valley in which the PCs find themselves. The valley floor itself is mostly forested with a few small lakes and clearings from time to time and a small, winding trail following a stream up its entire length.

This encounter should be timed at such time as when the PCs are preparing to camp for the night. Near midnight, the kobolds along with their new master move down from the cave and prepare to assault their rivals on the other side of the valley. They become aware of the groups campsite and after careful deliberation (or as close to that as kobolds ever get), they decide to go around the camp to avoid the stinky humans. It is in the process of going around they are themselves ambushed by a pack of hungry wolves eager for a quick meal.

It is the ensuing combat that draws the attention of the party - and presumably draw their presences to the battle. The kobold war party initially consists of 12 kobold foot warriors, 8 mounted kobold calvary riding trained dire rats, 1 kobold alchemist and Grixzl. The pack consists of 12 wolves who see the plump rats as a tasty dinner. No matter how long it actually takes the PCs to get to the combat, by the time they arrive, the kobolds (with the significant help of their devilish leader) have run the wolves out. Not without sustaining some unforeseen losses, however. The war party loses 6 of their dire rats and the kobolds riding them - they were the primary target of the wolves - as well as another 4 of the kobolds on foot.

The PCs come upon the remnants of the war party just as the last of the wolves is leaping into the forest. The kobolds themselves have definitely lost the taste for battle and the remainder of the group breaks as soon as they spot the humans entering their midst. Grixzl, having no desire appear weak to his minions, makes a stand for at least a round or two before fleeing. The kobolds flee straight back to their cave to hide. It is only about 1/2 mile away and they immediately post sentries to warn if the wolves or the humans come calling.

For purposes of this encounter, the assumption is the PCs will eagerly hunt down the devil and his kobold clan, if not that night then in the morning. Grixzl assumes they will be coming and sets his minions to work setting a few traps for the party in advance of their arrival. When the group does arrive, the sentries shriek and run into the cave, hoping the traps will do the work for them. In the end, the party will likely prevail - slaying the remaining kobolds and defeating the impish devil.

The intent for this encounter is for it to take roughly 30-45 minutes of game time. There are no plot twists or conspiracies to uncover, just a straightforward hack and slash! Good luck! When the Quick Encounter begins, read the following:

1. Wolves and Rats - The sun has set on another day in your journey. Once again you have set up camp and prepare for a chilly night's sleep after a bone-jarring day of travel. The valley you have entered, while less traveled than some more traditional routes, promises to shorten your trip by more than a week. Caravans and other groups avoid this part of the mountains because everyone back in town says it is infested with feral goblinoids of all types. Now finishing your second day walking up the narrow trail in the bottom of the vale, you still have yet to encounter a cross-looking squirrel, let alone any goblins or other nasty creatures.  It is around midnight that very night when you think your luck in that particular area has come to an end.

The sounds of wolves snapping and snarling erupts in the forest somewhat near to your camp. Shortly thereafter the wolves are joined by various squeals and shrieks before a small explosion is heard, the flash of it bright in the dark night. Bright and close. You judge it to be no more than 100 yards from your campsite. Earlier in the evening you and your companions had waved off the howling of a wolf pack more than a miles distant, if the sound in the valley could be judged correctly. Now it would seem they have crept much closer to you, but you appear to not be the target of their hunger. 

The wolves have ambushed Grixzl's raiding party, targeting the dire rats and the kobolds riding them. When the party arrives, the last of the wolves have been chased off leaving a bloodied troupe of kobolds behind.

First Round: 
Kobolds: Flee immediately upon their initiative, blending back into the forest and getting away as fast as possible
Kobold Alchemist: Not much braver, but he sees his leader is staying, so he takes the time to throw one bomb at the nearest PC and then uses his move action to fall back into the forest
Graxzl: Angry at the wolves and having just quaffed a Potion of Bull's Strength, Graxzl sees the PCs as a way to vent his fury. With that being said, he is not stupid. While he runs towards the interlopers, it only takes him a few seconds to realize his war party has fled him. He casts Suggestion (DC 15) on the nearest PC, telling him to stop his or her attack. If he does not take any damage in this round (including from being hit, but absorbing it via DR), he will press into the second round; otherwise he flees.

Second Round:
All Kobolds: They continue to run. The party is not likely to catch them in the forest at night.
Graxzl: Turns Invisible and moves towards the next nearest PC for a sneak attack next round.

Third Round:
Graxzl: If he has still not been hit, he will use the cover of his invisibility to sneak behind one of the PCs for a sneak attack (1d4+1d6+2 / Poison).

Fourth Round: 
Graxzl: If he remains unscathed at this point, he counts himself lucky - goes Invisible one more time and flees the area, back to the cave.

Kobold (12 - 4 mounted, 8 on foot)
XP 100 ea.
Kobold warrior 1
LE Small humanoid (reptilian)

Init +1;
Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +5

AC 15, touch 12, flat-footed 14 (+2 armor, +1 Dex, +1 natural, +1 size)
hp 5 (1d10)
Fort +2, Ref +1, Will –1

Weaknesses: light sensitivity

Speed 30 ft.
Melee spear +1 (1d6–1/x3)
Ranged sling +3 (1d3-1)

Str 9, Dex 13, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 9, Cha 8
Base Atk +1; CMB –1; CMD 10

Feats: Skill Focus (Perception)

Skills: Craft (trapmaking) +6, Perception +5, Stealth +5; Racial Modifiers +2 Craft (trapmaking), +2 Perception, +2 Profession (miner) Languages Draconic

Crafty (Ex) - Craft (trapmaking) and Stealth are always class skills for a kobold.

Kobold Shaman (1)
XP 200
Kobold alchemist 1
LE Small humanoid (reptilian)

Init +1;
Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +5

AC 15, touch 12, flat-footed 14 (+2 armor, +1 Dex, +1 natural, +1 size)
hp 5 (1d10)
Fort +2, Ref +1, Will –1

Weaknesses: light sensitivity

Speed 30 ft.
Bomb, Alchemy +4 (1d6/x2)
Sling +3 (1d3-1)

Str 6, Dex 15, Con 10, Int 12, Wis 9, Cha 8
Base Atk +1; CMB –1; CMD 10

Feats: Throw Anything (bonus), Weapon Focus (Bomb)

Skills: Craft (trapmaking) +6, Perception +5, Stealth +5, Craft (Alchemy) +4; Racial Modifiers +2 Craft (trapmaking), +2 Perception, +2 Profession (miner) Languages Draconic

Brew Potion, mutagen, Throw Anything, Bomb 2/day, Alchemy Craft (trapmaking) and Stealth are always class skills for a kobold.

Bomb (link): 2/day may throw a fire bomb dealing d6+1 points of damage. Mutagen: +2 AC, +4 to Dex, 1/day

1 Banshee Ballerina firework, 1 Smokestick

Dire Rat (4)
XP 135
N Small animal

Init +3;
Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +4

AC 14, touch 14, flat-footed 11 (+3 Dex, +1 size)
hp 5 (1d8+1)
Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +1

Speed 40 ft., climb 20 ft., swim 20 ft.
Melee bite +1 (1d4 plus disease)
Special Attacks disease

Str 10, Dex 17, Con 13, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 4
Base Atk +0; CMB –1; CMD 12 (16 vs. trip)
Feats Skill Focus (Perception)
Skills Climb +11, Perception +4, Stealth +11, Swim +11; Racial Modifiers uses Dex to modify Climb and Swim

Disease (Ex)

Filth fever: Bite—injury; save Fort DC 11; onset 1d3 days; frequency 1/day; effect 1d3 Dex damage and 1d3 Con damage; cure 2 consecutive saves. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Graxzl, Imp
XP 800
Rogue 1*
LE Tiny outsider (devil, evil, extraplanar, lawful)
Init +3;
Senses darkvision 60 ft., detect good, detect magic, see in darkness; Perception +7

AC 17, touch 16, flat-footed 13 (+3 Dex, +1 dodge, +1 natural, +2 size)
hp 16 (3d10); fast healing 2
Fort +1, Ref +6, Will +4
DR 5/good or silver; Immune fire, poison; Resist acid 10, cold 10

Speed 20 ft., fly 50 ft. (perfect)
Melee sting +10 (1d4+2 plus poison)
Space 2-1/2 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 6th)

Constant—detect good, detect magic
At will—invisibility (self only)
1/day—augury, suggestion (DC 15)
1/week—commune (6 questions, CL 12th)

Str 10 (14 with Bull's Str), Dex 17, Con 10, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 14
Base Atk +3 (+5 w/ Bull's Str); CMB +1; CMD 15
Feats Dodge, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +9, Bluff +8, Fly +21, Knowledge (arcana) +7, Knowledge (planes) +7, Perception +7, Spellcraft +7, Stealth +9
Languages Common, Infernal

SQ change shape (boar, giant spider, rat, or raven, beast shape I)

Poison (Ex)
Sneak Attack (Ex) +1d6 (as per rogue ability)
Skill Focus (Stealth)

Sting—injury; save Fort DC 13; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d2 Dex; cure 1 save. The save DC is Constitution-based, and includes a +2 racial bonus.

 2. The Approach - The kobolds flee up into their cave with Graxzl following behind. He is angry, but does not blame his followers for fleeing the humans. He appreciates they would have all likely been destroyed had they stayed to fight. He also assumes the humans will follow them to their lair. As such, he orders the survivors to immediately begin setting up traps for the soon-to-be intruders.

The cave is less than half a mile from their campsite and a blind troll could follow the trail left behind by the fleeing kobolds. In all likelihood, the PCs decide to wait until morning to follow the kobolds. If they do not, use the remaining 10 wolves as incentive to stay close to the fire for the rest of the night. The wolves can be used to keep the PCs in check, but only attack the party with the pack if they should disregard the signs they should wait and attempt to find the kobolds at night.

The next morning it takes less than an hour to get to the cave. When they arrive, read the following:

Just up the slope, you spot a hole in the earth. You are perhaps 50 feet from it when two small reptilian humanoids scramble from previously unseen perches in the rocks. With a series of screeches and yelps, they flee into the cave. 

3. The Kobold Cave - When the group makes it to the entrance of the cave, read the following:

The cave entrance is small, but not so much so that you would be cramped where you to enter. You will have to go in one at a time, however. From inside you hear more of the yelping and dog-like barking as the vermin within ready for you. 

Walking into the entrance, there is a spiked pitfall. The kobolds have not dug a Punji spike trap right inside the entrance.

Punji Trap
CR 1/2 XP 200

Type mechanical; Perception DC 20; Disable Device DC 20

Trigger location; Reset manual

Effect spikes (atk +10 melee, 2d4); spikes hold the target in place; the trap can be escaped with a DC 20 Disable Device check, DC 20 Escape Artist check, or DC 24 Strength check.

4. Fork in the tunnel - 

After only about 20 feet, the tunnel splits into two different directions. Down the right tunnel, although pitch black, shouts and yelps can be heard. It sounds as though a small crowd of the humanoids have gathered there. Down the left tunnel there are no sounds, but a soft yellow light, perhaps a torch glows softly around the corner. 

The kobolds have setup two traps down the right hallway. The first is a tripwire trap that will trigger a pot of alchemist fire to drop and explode in the hallway. The second one is after that, but before the next room. It is simply caltrops spread along the floor.

Alchemist Fire Tripwire
CR 1 / XP 400

Type mechanical; Perception DC 25; Disable Device DC 25

Trigger proximity; Reset manual

Effect Alchemist Fire (1d6 damage), Multiple Targets (everyone in a 10' radius), target must spend 1 full round putting out the flames or take an additional d6 fire damage the next round. Reflex DC 18 for no damage

Hidden Caltrops
CR 1/2 XP 200

Type mechanical; Perception DC 20; Disable Device N/A (can pick up or avoid)

Effect: Covers the 5' area leading into area #5. BAB +0. Anyone stepping through the square is attacked. They get no armor, dex or magical modifiers to AC. If they are wearing shoes, they receive a +2 to their AC.
Victim takes 1 hp damage and has his movement reduced by 1/2. See Caltrops for more information.

5. Kobold's Hovel -

Once the PCs reach the caltrops, the sounds from this area stop. All of the kobolds in the area scramble to hide amid the junk and debris that constitutes their living area. Most of the kobolds and all of the rats are in this room. When the PCs entire with a light source, all the immediately see (without a perception test) is the rats who then scramble to get out of the light.

It smells absolutely horrible in this room. The sounds you heard before have stopped, the only noise remaining is the same persistent clawing and scratching sound rats make in the rafters of your house back home. The area is covered in debris of all types. There are some digging tools, bits of armor,  some wooden weapons or spikes, broken metal weapons, scraps, tree trimmings, utensils, but mostly piles of refuse. Mounds of it. Everywhere. From where you stand, there does not appear to be any other exit from this room.

The rats will only fight if cornered or if one of the kobolds manages to get mounted on it. The kobolds will remain hidden as long as they can, but once one of them is found, they will fall upon the PCs with the fury of those trying to protect their home. Once combat is joined, they will not flee.

Kobolds (8)
Dire Rats (4)

6. Graxzl's Den -

In the hallway leading to Graxzl's small chamber, there is one final trap. A snare trap, commonly called an Ettercap's Noose is here. If one of the PCs is snared, the four remaining kobolds and the kobold alchemist will charge out of their hiding spot in Graxzl's chamber and focus their attacks on that person.

Ettercap Noose
CR 1 / XP 400

Type mechanical; Perception DC 20; Disable Device DC 20

Trigger location; Reset repair

Effect +15 CMB check (grapple)

Upon your approach to what appears to be a rather small chamber, the light source there suddenly goes out. The room is now pitch black and eerily silent. 

If the trap was disarmed, there are 4 kobolds, the kobold alchemist and Graxzl in this chamber. They are hiding behind a few rocks and other debris, waiting for the PCs to enter. Because the room is so small, only 1 melee type is able to enter at a time. Additionally, due to the debris and free space only one ranged character will likely be able to assist as well. As the kobolds begin to drop, as many as three PCs can get into the room.

Use the tactics above for Graxzl. If at anytime he is below 5 hit points, he attempts to flee using Invisibility and running from the cave. The kobolds fight to the death, they have nowhere else to flee. The alchemist uses his 2 daily bombs before switching to his sling.

1 Potion Cure Light Wounds
1 Potion Darkvision
1 Potion Sanctuary

Wizard's Spellbook - This is a simple, unadorned spellbook. Notes on improving the efficiency of each spell crowd the margins, most of them hopelessly misguided.
Value 275 gp

2nd—fox’s cunning, scorching ray
1st—alarm, feather fall, obscuring mist, mount, shield, shocking grasp, silent image, sleep
0—standard plus jolt [UM] [errata removes 0-level spells]

46gp in coins and small gem stones scattered about the room

1 Masterwork Shortsword

CreditsThis product was written under the Pathfinder Open Gaming License and is free for personal use. No reproductions of this product are authorized without written consent by the author.

Written and produced by Matt Everhart, 2013
Artwork by Matt Everhart, 2013
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