Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Snake Eyes: The Arcane Swordsage - The Most Powerful Class You Didn't Know Exists

This article is a write-up on a character class variant that is covered in Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords but in fairly ambiguous language. The following is how I'll be handling the rules for it, should one of you powergaming freaks decide to play it.

Arcane Swordsage
All Class Features are identical to those presented for the normal Swordsage on Page 16 of Tome of Battle: The Book of Nines Swords except the following:
Hit Die: d6 (Note: This class is powerful, and as a result breaks 3.75's normal rule of 3/4 base attack always getting at least a d8 hit die)
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: An Arcane Swordsage is proficient with all simple weapons and all martial melee weapons (but not martial ranged weapons, although they are proficient with weapons that can be used as thrown weapons). An Arcane Swordsage is not proficient with any form of armor or shield.
AC Bonus: An Arcane Swordsage adds his Wisdom modifier to his AC as long he is not wearing medium or heavy armor and is not carrying a shield. This bonus applies even against touch attacks and when the Arcane Swordsage is flat-footed, but is lost when the Arcane Swordsage is immobilized or helpless.
Maneuvers and Spells: Maneuvers are learned as normal and can be exchanged for new maneuvers as written. However, in place of a maneuver, a Swordsage can learn a single Arcane spell chosen from the Sorceror/Wizard or Wu Jen spell list. The chosen spell may only be of the schools of Abjuration, Evocation, or Transmutation and is learned in place of a maneuver of equivalent level.
An Arcane Swordsage must have a Wisdom score of at least 10 plus the spell level to learn a spell. Save DCs are determined using the Arcane Swordsage's Wisdom modifier. Since Arcane Swordsages cast their spells as maneuvers instead of using spell slots, Arcane Swordsages do not gain bonus spells per day. All Arcane Swordsage spells incur normal arcane spell failure chance.
For the purpose of feats, class feature, etc., all spells known by an Arcane Swordsage are considered to be known spells. However, an Arcane Swordsage does not have a class spell list, and thus can only use wands or other items if they have a spell he personally knows (unless he has ranks in Use Magic Device). An Arcane Swordsage prepares and casts his spells as if they were maneuvers, with the spells occupying slots as readied maneuvers. Note that an Arcane Swordsage can only use Reserve Feats (or any other effect requiring a spell being "available to cast") if he has a spell of the corresponding type readied--simply knowing the spell will not suffice (although, if time allows, the Arcane Swordsage can simply change his readied maneuvers to regain access to the effect). In addition, a single spell cannot be readied more than once--it must be refreshed as a maneuver if the Arcane Swordsage wants to use it again.
An Arcane Swordsage's caster level is equal to his Arcane Swordsage level. Unlike his Initiator level, his caster level does not increase by 1/2 when taking levels of other classes (nor will multiclassing with other martial adepts increase his caster level). Note that because maneuvers are class features, not spells, only Prestige Classes that grant "+1 Level of Class Features" will increase his spells/maneuvers known and caster level. The maximum level of spell he can learn at any given level is determined by his Arcane Swordsage level:
Spell Level/Class Level
For the purposes of gaining/losing maneuvers and spells, consider all known spells to be martial maneuvers. An Arcane Swordsage can use the Martial Maneuver feat to choose another spell if he so desires.
Spells are used and refreshed in the same manner that maneuvers are. That is, they can be refreshed with 5 minutes of downtime, swapped out between known and readied with 5 minutes of meditation. Using the Adaptive Style feat will let an Arcane Swordsage swap out and refresh all his spells and maneuvers as a full-round action, or he can quickly meditate to refresh a single maneuver or spell as a full-round action.
Due to the fact that an Arcane Swordsage does not have spell slots, he cannot use metamagic feats that increase or decrease a spell's level. He can, however, make use of metamagic feats that do not (for example, Sudden Empower from Complete Arcane).
For the purposes of qualifying for maneuvers and stances, spells of the following schools count as maneuvers of the corrosponding Schools of the Sublime way:
Abjuration: Setting Sun, Shadow Hand
Evocation: Desert Wind, Tiger Claw
Transmutation: Diamond Mind, Stone Dragon
Feats that affect maneuvers of the Sublime school do not effect spells of the corresponding school of magic.

And that about covers it. Use it wisely.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Snake Eyes: New Races

While the following races aren't necessarily new, they either aren't statted in Pathfinder or are a variant of existing races. All of these are available to players whenever they want to build one.

Dwarf, Highland
After the Devastation, some dwarves found themselves unwilling to return to their caverns, feeling that banding together with other survivors made their continued existence more likely. These dwarves are more social than most, but their long exposure to human impulsivity makes them less prone to the usual dwarven patience.

Racial Abilities:
Ability Scores: +2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom. Highland Dwarves are as tough as normal dwarves and resoundingly clever, but have a tendency towards recklessness. They're more personable than normal dwarves, but not to an extent that makes them stand out against other races.
Medium: Highland dwarves are shorter than humans, but stocky and are therefore medium size.
Slow and Steady: Highland Dwarves have a base land speed of 20 feet, but are unhindered by armor or loads.
Darkvision: Since they have only been above ground for a generation, Highland dwarves retain Darkvision out to 60 feet.
Highland Song: Highland Dwarves may always treat Perform (Wind Instruments) as a class skill. In addition, Highland Dwarves get a +2 racial bonus to Perform (Wind Instruments) checks made to play the bagpipes.
Keen Senses: Highland Dwarves get a +2 bonus on taste and touch-based Perception checks.
Greed: Highland Dwarves treat Appraise as a class skill to determine the value of precious metals, gemstones, or any nonmagical item that includes them.
Hearty: Highland Dwarves recieve a +2 bonus to saving throws against spells and spell-like abilities. In addition, Highland Dwarves may add their Charisma bonus to saving throws against Compulsion and Fear effects, do to their tendency to be natural leaders.
Weapon Familiarity: Highland Dwarves are automatically proficient with Warhammer, Great Axe, and Heavy Pick. In addition, they treat any exotic weapon with "Dwarven" in its name as a martial weapon.
Hatred: Since Highland Dwarves have been busy with the horrors above ground rather than below, they recieve +1 bonus on attack rolls against evil outsiders.
Defensive Training: Highland Dwarves receive a +4 dodge bonus against giants.
Stability: Highland Dwarves receive a +4 bonus to resist trip or bull rush attempts while standing on the ground.
Favored Class: Fighter or Wizard
Languages: Highland Dwarves speak common and dwarven, and can learn Elemental, Giant, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, and Undercommon.
Level Adjustment: +0

Humans have a recorded tendency to breed with nearly anything, and fiends are no exception. Tieflings may be descended from Devils as well as Demons, but most on Otep are of demonic stock due to their presence over their lawful counterparts. Tieflings may appear completely human, or may have horns, fangs, or claws, but a large percentage of their number have tails. Tieflings are quick-witted, as slow individuals rarely survive to reproduce, or even into adulthood.

Ability Scores: +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma. Tieflings are quick in body and mind, but those that are not sociopathic still seem a bit "off."
Medium Size: Tieflings are the standard size for humans, though individual heights may vary.
Outsider: Tieflings are Outsiders with the Native subtype. They can be resurrected as if they were humans.
Fiendish Quickness: Tiefling base landspeed is 40 feet. In addition, Tieflings get a +2 racial bonus to Initiative checks. This speed is the result of slow Tieflings being eliminated from the population, usually by bands of peasants with torches and pitchforks.
Unholy Vision: Tieflings have Darkvision out to 60 feet. In addition, they can use their darkvision to see through magical darkness created by spells and spell-like abilities they cast (but not those cast by others).
Inborn Training: As Outsiders, Tieflings are automatically proficient with all simple and martial weapons.
Quick Witted: Tieflings have a +2 racial bonus on Bluff checks and Stealth checks. This tendency has developed as Tieflings unable to talk or sneak their way out of trouble rarely survive.
Demonic Vestiges: All Tieflings bear some traces of their fiendish legacy. All Tieflings have resistance 5 to Cold, Electricity, and Fire. In addition, each Tiefling has one of the four following traits with the accompanying physical sign. If the physical sign is removed (to permit blending in with the human masses), the benefit is lost:
-Claws. Tiefling claws may be long and curved or short and razor sharp. If a Tiefling wears gauntlets or thick gloves the claws are not visible but cannot be used. Each claw deals 1d4 slashing damage.
-Fangs. A Tiefling may have only a longer pair of canines, or an entire set of pointed teeth. A Tiefling with Fangs gains a bite attack that deals 1d6 of piercing damage.
-Horns. Tiefling horns may be pointed (like a bull) or curved (like a ram), and grant the Tiefling a gore attack that deals 1d6 piercing damage plus the Tiefling's strength modifier.
-Tail. Tiefling tails are typically non-prehensile. The tale gives the Tiefling a better sense of balance, resulting in a +2 racial bonus to Acrobatics checks and a +4 racial bonus to resist a bull rush.
Spell-like abilities: A Tiefling can cast Darkness once per day, using his character level as his caster level. Starting at level 6, a Tiefling can cast Darkness one additional time per day. At level 10, a Tiefling can cast his Darkness spell-like ability as a Swift action instead of a standard action.
Favored Class: Rogue or Fighter
Languages: Tieflings speak Common and either Infernal or Abyssal and can choose any bonus language, provided they have a high enough intelligence.
Level Adjustment: +1

Descended from humans and celestial, Aasimar are beautiful, graceful creatures infused with the holy light. Aasimar are regarded highly in Otep, where their light touches all too few in a land in the shadow of darkness.

Ability Scores: +2 Wisdom, +2 Charisma. Aasimar are calm and beautiful.
Medium Size: Aasimar recieve no bonuses or penalties for their size.
Normal Speed: Aasimar have a base land speed of 30 feet.
Outsider: Aasimar are Outsiders with the Native subtype. They can be resurrected as if they were humans.
Darkvision: Aasimar have Darkvision out to 60 feet.
Natural Champion: As Outsiders, Aasimar are automatically proficient with all simple and martial weapons.
Celestial Hide: Aasimar have resistance 5 to acid, cold, and electricity.
Radiance: Aasimar can channel the holy light that is part of their being. Activating or deactivating Radiance is a free action and can be used for a total number of rounds each day equal to the Aasimar Charisma bonus plus 3, (minimum 3 rounds). While Radiance is in effect, attack rolls and damage rolls made against the Aasimar take a -1 penalty. Creatures that aim their attacks without using sight (for example, blindsight) do not suffer this penalty. Using Radiance eliminates any concealment the Aasimar possesses. Using Radiance while invisible has no effect, but counts against the Aasimar's total rounds per day of Radiance.
Keen: Aasimar get a +2 racial bonus to Perception and Diplomacy checks because they are perceptive and charitable.
Spell-like abilities: An Aasimar can cast Daylight once per day, using his character level as his caster level. Starting at level 6, an Aasimar can cast Daylight one additional time per day. At level 10, an Aasimar can cast his Daylight spell-like ability as a Swift action instead of a standard action.
Favored Class: Paladin or Bard
Languages: Aasimar speak Common and Celestial, and can choose any language, assuming they have a high enough Intelligence.
Level Adjustment: +1

Fragments: The History of Before

This is part of the campaign setting im starting to write. It's short and to the point, details a very specific area and includes a side bar (highlighted in green).

Rahab- or what came before

Knowledge of the time before the Devastation is limited to the few surviving creatures that lived through it, and the rarest of surviving tomes detailing its history. What can be learned through research is limited- less than 10 books survive in Otep telling of the once great Mageocracy that ruled the land. Of those 10 only 3 have had any true scholarly influence and they are; The Lawless of Kym, Emissary: The holy tome of Bahamut, and Gwideon I’s journal.

What has been gleaned about the Mageocracy of Kym is sparce. Mostly gathered from Gwideon’s journal it appears that Kym was divided into multiple principalities; each of which was ruled by a council of powerful wizard. These individual councils elected “Kings” to run the daily issues while the mages studied and grew in power. Each council sent their most powerful member to the city of Somnium where the council of Archmages met to discuss the course of the Mageocracy as a whole. Gwideon’s diary covered the lessons he learned while under the tutelage of Name Here, a distinguished Archmage whose fate remains unknown. Among those entries are recollections in which Gwideon served as an assistant to Name Here and accompanied him to council.

The only other information readily available about Kym comes from the short tome The Lawless of Kym, a classification system for renegade wizards. Rankings range from A-C, and the colors White, Red and Black; An A rank threat was the equivalent to a mad Archmage rampaging throughout the kingdom. A Rank threats required the immediate dispatch of War Wizards and Spell Slayers to destroy, no matter the cost. B Rank wizards represented malicious, cruel or evil wizards who had yet to loose control of their magic or infringe on the laws openly. These B rankers faced heavy sanctions. A C rank threat was a rogue apprentice or terminally late payers of dues, these only required a stern reprimand until they became a higher level threat. White threats represented individuals that could be destroyed with little loss of life in the kingdom. Red threats represented a substantial threat, including the potential destruction of a city or principality should true fighting break out. Black threats represented planar wide catastrophe should they be engaged in open combat.

 Besides the classification system, the Lawless of Kym includes a listing of the 5 most dangerous threats identified by the order, compiled approximately 6 years before the Devastation. It is assumed that the A rank threats were constantly being hunted, while the B rank threats were under intense supervision. The lack of any Black rank threats only shows how little the Order knew about the coming darkness. What became of these 5 is unknown to even the most dedicated scholar.

             1) Yves the Lucid- Red A

            2) The Mirror Maiden of Somnium- Red B

            3) The Shadow Sage of Blackport- Red B

            4) Vio Pio the Hell Wizard- White B

            5) Mary Two-Hearts- White A 

Scholars of Epistorium have many reasons to cheer on the new settlement of “Gra”. Besides the reclamation of lands from Chaos, the settlement opens the doors to entirely new scholarly frontiers. Libraries unseen for half a millennia can now be perused for surviving tomes and ruins thought lost forever to the madness of chaos are available for excavation. Combined with the longer life span of elves, many of whom are only 1 or 2 generations removed the loss of their ancestral empire, it is possible that Epsitorium’s former grandeur may yet return to Otep. 

Of the lands known once as Disharpa there is no surviving knowledge known to the world. This western continent is referenced only once in the journal of Gwideon in the following passage. 

            I traveled across the sea to the mighty lands of Disharpa. The land of the Orcs is dead, their palaces and temples are in ruins, the immortal Priest-Kings are nothing more than bone.


Monday, September 1, 2008

Snake Eyes: New Base Class - Spellwarrior


Out of the depths of the lost nation of Kagamaro comes a different breed of warrior. Initially developed as a counter to the Duskblade of Epistorium, the spellwarrior seeks to integrate the various nuances of the arcanist with the brute force of a swordsman. He manages to accomplish both feats by specialization, only learning certain aspects of combat and magic, but then combining the aspects he best understands.

Abilities: The Spellwarrior relies on Intelligence for his spellcasting and class features. Spellwarriors focusing on melee combat also benefit from a high Strength and Constitution. All Spellwarriors favor a high Dexterity both for defense and for ranged attack rolls.

Alignment: Most Spellwarriors are lawful, due to the rigors that advancement as a Spellwarrior requires, but Spellwarriors can be of any alignment.

Hit Die: d8

Class Skills: Balance, Concentration, Craft, Diplomacy, Escape Artist, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (Arcana, History, The Planes), Profession, Spellcraft

Skill Points: 2+INT (X4 at first level)

Base Attack: Average (as Rogue)

Good Save: Will

Bad Saves: Fortitude, Reflex

Weapons and Armor Proficiencies: Spellwarriors are proficient will all simple and martial weapons, bucklers, light armor, and medium armor. However, Spellwarrior spells incur arcane spell failure chance until his skill in casting can accommodate it.

    Class Features:
    The Spellwarrior casts Arcane spells from the Sorceror/Wizard spell list. In order to learn a spell, a Spellwarrior must have an Intelligence score of at least the spell’s level plus ten. The save DCs of a Spellwarrior’s spells are determined by his Intelligence modifier, and he receives bonus spells per day for having a high Intelligence score.
    A Spellwarrior must prepare and cast his spells just as a Wizard does. A Spellwarrior may cast a number of spells each day as if he were a Wizard. Unlike a Wizard, a Spellwarrior cannot specialize in a school to gain bonus spells per day. A Spellwarrior begins play knowing 2 1st level spells. These spells may be divided in any combination between his two granted schools (see below). A Spellwarrior gains one new spell known each level, and can only choose spells from the Granted Schools available to him. A Spellwarrior uses a complicated system of mnemonics and mental conditioning to recall his spells and does not use a spellbook, thus a Spellwarrior cannot add spells to his spells known via scrolls the way a Wizard can. In addition, a Spellwarrior's time is vital, and thus he does not bother to learn cantrips.
    Like all Arcane spellcasters, a Spellwarrior needs 8 hours of uninterrupted rest in order to regain expended spells.

  1. Armored Mage (light armor), Granted School (X2), Basic Arcane Combat.
    Armored Mage: Due to their skill in using arcane spells in combat, Spellwarriors slowly learn to overcome the encumbering nature of armor. Starting at level 1, a Spellwarrior can ignore the arcane spell failure chance caused by light armor. At level 2, a Spellwarrior can ignore the spell failure chance of a buckler. At level 7, he can overcome the spell failure chance of medium armor. Spells he knows from other classes incur their normal arcane spell failure chance.
    Granted Schools: At level one, a Spellwarrior chooses two schools of magic. He gains the ability to cast spells from those schools and only those schools—the other six schools are treated as forbidden schools for specialist wizards. A Spellwarrior gains a third Granted School at level 5 and fourth at level 10.
    Basic Arcane Combat: At level one, the Spellwarrior begins to combine weapon combat and arcane spellcasting. He selects a single arcane combat style, choosing one style from one of his granted schools.
  2. Armored Mage (buckler)
  3. -
  4. Combat Casting
    Combat Casting:
    At level 4, the Spellwarrior gains Combat Casting as a bonus feat.
  5. Granted School
  6. Intermediate Arcane Combat
    Intermediate Arcane Combat:
    At level 6, a Spellwarrior may select a Basic or Intermediate Arcane Combat maneuver for any school he knows. He is not required to choose an Intermediate maneuver of the same school that his basic maneuver is from, as long as both maneuvers are taken from granted schools.
  7. Armored Mage (Medium Armor)
  8. Somatic Weaponry
    Somatic Weaponry:
    At level 8, a Spellwarrior gains Somatic Weaponry as a bonus feat, allowing him to cast spells with somatic components even if both hands are full.
  9. Granted School

Capstone Feat

Advanced Pupil [Capstone]
Requires: Spellwarrior 10, Spellcraft 13 ranks

Benefit: You may select an Advanced Arcane Combat Maneuver from any of your granted schools.

Arcane Combat


  • Abjuration: As long as a spell effect is providing a bonus to your Armor, Shield, or Deflection armor class, you may add your Intelligence modifier to your saves, up to your class level.
  • Conjuration: Whenever you and a summoned creature are flanking a foe, you may add your Intelligence bonus to your weapon damage rolls.
  • Divination: You may ignore miss chances and bonuses to AC provided by cover that your opponents possess, as long as you are capable of detecting a magical aura on them.
  • Enchantment: Whenever an enemy’s attitude toward you improves, that target is flat-footed against your attacks until you or one of your allies attacks him. In addition, enemies do not receive combat bonuses to saves against spells you cast against them.
  • Evocation: You gain a competence bonus on ranged attack rolls and damage rolls with ranged weapons equal to your Intelligence modifier. This bonus only applied against foes that have been struck by a ray spell since the beginning of your last turn.
  • Illusion: You may use image spells to flank with foes.
  • Necromancy: As long as you have temporary hitpoints, you gain a +1 competence bonus on attack rolls for each 5 temporary hit points you possess (up to your Intelligence modifier).
  • Transmutation: Weapons you wield have their critical multiplier increased by one against any opponent who has a different size category than you. This bonus stacks with the Improved Critical feat and Keen weapon enhancement, but is applied after the feat/enhancement effect (for example, a weapon with a normal critical range of 19-20 would instead critical on 16-20).


  • Abjuration: You may cast an Abjuration spell with a range of personal or touch as a swift action. Spells with a range of touch can only be cast on you. Treat the spell as if it were prepared with the Quicken Spell feat, but do not increase it’s level.
  • Conjuration: Before you make a full attack with a melee weapon, you may cast a Conjuration (Summoning) or Conjuration (Calling) spell to summon a creature into flanking position with you as a swift action. If your base attack bonus is +5 or lower, you must spend a full-round action to attack. The summoned creature cannot attack the turn you summon it, but it can make attacks of opportunity. You may only use this ability if you control no summoned or called creatures.
  • Divination: Whenever you succeed in a saving throw against an opponent’s spell or ability or an opponent misses you with a weapon attack, you may cast a Divination spell that targets either your or that opponent as an immediate action.
  • Enchantment: Whenever you hit an opponent with a melee weapon attack, you may cast an enchantment spell on that opponent as a swift action. If that spell requires a touch attack, your attack will suffice (you do not need to roll again). If the spell allows a save, the target takes a -2 penalty on that save.
  • Evocation: When you make a full attack with a ranged weapon, you may substitute an Evocation ray spell for any single attack in the sequence. Casting a ray spell this way is a Swift action.
  • Illusion: When an opponent attacks you, you may cast an Illusion spell targeting either yourself, that opponent, or a square either of you occupy as an immediate action. This ability is resolved before the attack roll, but the enemy automatically attacks the correct square (for example, if you cast Invisibility using this ability, you would gain total concealment, but the enemy still knows what square you occupy).
  • Necromancy: When an opponent hits you with an attack or spell, you may cast a Necromancy spell targeting that opponent as an immediate action.
  • Transmutation: When an attack or spell you control drops a foe, you may cast a Transmutation spell as an immediate action.


  • Abjuration: You may sacrifice a prepared Abjuration spell in order to gain a bonus on your saves equal to the spell’s level. Activating this ability is an immediate action, and it lasts for a number of rounds equal to your intelligence modifier.
  • Conjuration: You may sacrifice a prepared Conjuration spell to teleport (yourself and your equipment only) a number of feet up to 20 times the spell’s level as a move action. You do not need line of sight for this teleportation. If you teleport into an occupied square or solid object, you are shunted into the nearest available square and take 1d6 per square you are shunted.
  • Divination: You may sacrifice a prepared Divination spell to a bonus to your Initiative checks and Reflex saves equal to the spell level sacrificed as an immediate action. If you use this ability during or before the first round of combat, you do not begin that encounter flat-footed. This bonus lasts for a number of rounds equal to your intelligence modifier. Allies with Divination spells on them that you have cast also recieve this bonus.
  • Enchantment: When you hit an opponent with a melee weapon, you may sacrifice a prepared Enchantment spell as a swift action in order to add one point of mental ability damage to your attack per level of the spell sacrificed. You may only damage one attribute at a time this way (for example, sacrificing a 5th level spell slot could deal 5 Charisma damage, but not 3 Intelligence and 2 Charisma). This ability cannot lower an ability score below 1.
  • Evocation: You may sacrifice a prepared Evocation spell in order to add 1d6 per level of the spell to the damage of all ranged attacks you make until the end of your turn. Using this ability is a swift action.
  • Illusion: You may sacrifice a prepared Illusion spell to gain 1d6 of sudden strike damage per spell level. Using this ability is a swift action, and it lasts for a number of rounds equal to your Intelligence modifier.
  • Necromancy: When an opponent hits you with an attack or spell, you may sacrifice a prepared Necromancy spell as an immediate action to bestow a curse on your foe. That foe immediately gains a negative level. Any foe that strikes you while the curse remains in effect also gains a negative level. These negative levels disappear after a number of minutes equal to your intelligence modifier and cannot cause level loss. You cannot cause a single target to gain more than one negative level per round with this ability, and the curse lasts a number of rounds equal to the spell level sacrificed. You may activate this ability as a swift action at will.
  • Transmutation: Whenever an opponent attacks you and misses, you may sacrifice a prepared Transmutation spell in order to gain a fly speed (perfect maneuverability) equal to 20 times the level of the spell sacrificed. You may then take a move action, but can use it only to move (not to perform move-equivalent actions). Because your opponent is already occupied, you do not provoke attacks of opportunity for this movement from the opponent that just missed you (and that opponent only). You may also choose not to move. If you move out of your opponent's range this way, he cannot continue to attack you. This ability is an immediate action and the flight speed lasts a number of rounds equal to your intelligence modifier.