#Starfinder – Starfinder Month: Themes

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Character Themes give an additional level of flavour and characterisation in Starfinder and that’s almost always good. The examples given in the base book are:

  • Ace Pilot
  • Bounty Hunter
  • Icon
  • Mercenary
  • Outlaw
  • Priest
  • Scholar
  • Spacefarer
  • Xenoseeker
  • Themeless

There’s obvious overlap with class choices, allowing specialisation or broadening of character capabilities.

For the kinds of game more suited to MotSP I’d want to see some additions.

  • Animist
  • Blademaster
  • Fanatic
  • Gearhead
  • Gunslinger
  • Hoodlum
  • Mastermind
  • Noble
  • Officer
  • Seducer
  • Sleaze
  • Zwilnik

Taking ‘Noble’ as an example…

Noble: +1 Wis

You have been bred for generations and trained since you were born for comportment and the capacity to lead. A strangely high number of interstellar societies bind themselves using tradition, and monarchies give them a strong sense of identity. Thanks to genetic engineering and technological learning tools, the ruling class can now be empowered to be truly benevolent dictators, not that it always takes. Still, you have a sagacity and an aura of command that comes from your noble birth and which gives you a great deal of influence. You can’t buy class, you have to be born to it.

Theme Knowledge (1st)
You have an encyclopaedic knowledge of bloodlines, heraldry, marriages and relationships between noble houses. When attempting a skill check to gain knowledge relating to noble (or mercantile or religious) positions, relationships or history you gain a +1 bonus. You gain Culture as a class skill, or gain a +1 bonus if it already is a class skill. You also gain an ability bonus of +1 to Wisdom.

Poise (6th)
You have the noble bearing that comes with your blood and your rigorous manners. You gain a +2 bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate towards anyone who recognises your authority and standing (subjects, diplomats, fellow nobles etc).

Authority (12th)
Your bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate doubles to +4 and even those who do not acknowledge your standing cannot help but be impressed by you, giving you +2 to these checks against them.

Court Intrigue (18th)
You can hold court up to twice a day, officiating and meeting with people for at least an hour. At the end of the courtly session, you recover 1 Resolve point. Holding court is also a good way to gather information using Culture, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Sense Motive and Profession skills. Tests you make of these kinds during court gain a +2 bonus in addition to other bonuses.

#Starfinder – Starfinder Month – Introduction

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June is going to be Starfinder Month here on the Postmortem Studios blog. I’ve been thinking of doing a Machinations of the Space Princess conversion and some rules modifications for the game and that’ll be the core of what I do this month. I’ll take some suggestions too though, so if you have a picture of a cool spaceship, alien or some sci-fi gear you’d like to see statted up for MotSP or Starfinder (or both), comment with a link to the image below!

This month’s content is going to be free for everyone, sometimes – however – I paywall what I write other than a preview. If you want to support me you can do so for as little as $1 a month on Patreon or 1 token a month on Minds.com.

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So what we’re going to do, to start with, is we’re going to go through the Starfinder book, chapter by chapter, doing some modified rules and some sexy, sleazy, swords and sci-fi twists.

You can expect balance to be thrown halfway out the window, racial options to be thrown wide open, some potential new classes and feats for your characters to take. You can also expect the armour and weapons ‘levels’ to be fixed in a way that – at least to me – seems less retarded, some new starship options and combat rules and psionics and tech magic.

You’ll also see some new religions and whatever the heck else turns up in my fevered little brain while I’m working away.

You can also consider this a dry run for a potential Starfinder version-book of Machinations of the Space Princess.

#RPG #TTRPG #DnD – Things by me that aren’t sold by me!

You can get a lot of stuff on RPGNOW, and some of my freelance work is up there too. If you buy using these links, I also get a kickback, which is helpful to me! So worth pimping some of these out! Plus, I wrote them, so you know they’re cool. I’ll get a kickback if you use this link to purchase anything from there, so if you want to help me out on a more regular basis, you can bookmark that link and use it whenever you go to RPGNOW!

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Like a hell of a lot of other game designers, I did a lot of stuff for D&D 3.5/Pathfinder. Amongst those, I wrote a good chunk of CITY OF STORMREACH for Eberron, bringing the setting from D&D Online (which I was in the position of having played) into tabletop. It was a bit of a challenging project with far ‘too many cooks’ making it hard to coordinate, but people seemed to like it!

Books of feats and other rules faff were a plage on 3rd edition, and I did more than my fair share of spreading that plague, but always with an eye to making things fun rather than just making things for the sake of it. I did a couple of Unorthodox books, RANGED COMBATANTS and MONK FEATS.

Louis Porter Junior is a rapid-fire powerhouse of OGL material and I worked with him on two things. One of these, the underdeveloped Pirates of the Bronze Sky, had me fleshing out races such as the KAYLATHEON and TOCARRA. With a little work these might even make interesting character races for Starfinder.

Much more complete was our horror/post apocalyptic setting ‘Obsidian Twilight’ over which I had a lot more influence. There’s a lot of material available for that, some of it free. So do check out the OBSIDIAN TWILIGHT CAMPAIGN SETTING and other material like THE WELL OF DEAD FLESH, OBSIDIAN APOCALYPSE, and more.

I also wrote an unusual adventure ‘Cross City Race’ for 4e in DUNGEON, but easily adaptable to other versions. That was good enough for me to win signed copies of the 4th Edition core books. Cool then, a source of eternal shame now!

For 5th Edition I’ve written a couple of third party products, freelance, for Asatania. THE PRISONER OF SPUR ROCK and THE NEW MINE MASTERS, which have been praised for accessibility and atmospheric writing.

Way back in the mists of time, when men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures were called halflings, I wrote a d20/OGL PUBLISHING GUIDE. Some of this is out of date, but since the OGL is still being used it’s not quite as out of date as it could have been. You may still find it useful.

Outside of D&D I’ve written material for lots of people. Not all of it is still available, it seems, or I’m not listed as a contributor, but of those that do there’s still plenty.

84193For Victoriana I contributed material to FACES IN THE SMOKE and FAULKNER’S MISCELLANY. I always preferred a more grounded type of Steampunk, so you may find the parts I wrote – at least – suited to other Steampunk games than the Victorian Shadowrun that Victoriana brings to mind.

While my relationship with the SLA Industries team has become a little fraught since Gamergate they still make very good stuff, and Dave Allsop is an artistic genius with a mind for horror that is unparalleled in games media, in my opinion. More recent material the publish with my name to it include URSA CARRIEN and HUNTER SHEETS 2.

If you’ve like my other fiction, you might enjoy the story I contributed to the DARK HARVEST collection, a number of stories set in the Legacy of Frankenstein RPG setting.

Some of my stuff has been republished in nicer format by Chronicle City, where I am still partnered with keystone of the UK RPG scene, Angus Abranson. We hope to get back into production there eventually, meanwhile you can buy the following things there:

FOREVER SUMMER: You play as a gang of children solving mysteries in the town Oceanview. If you liked Goonies, Monster Squad, Explorers, Eerie Indiana or even Stranger Things you might find something fun here.

@CTIV8: This is the second edition of my activist game, drawing on influences such as Anonymous and Global Frequency, it’s about ordinary – but skilled – people, making a difference in the world. This second edition is much tighter and more playable.

ARS GOETIA: If you’re after an ‘old school’ magic system that isn’t just the same old ‘whiz-bang’ Vancian magic or similar, this is for you. Based on the Goetia, a ‘real’ book of magic, this allows you to create a magician whose power and skill derives from his pacts and command over demons, angels and spirits – and whose soul is always at risk. This would work well with RPGPundit’s Lion & Dragon, with a bit of kitbashing.

dice-png-transparent-images--png-all-4100 SEEDS: I still publish most of these myself, but several turbocharged editions were created for Cubicle 7 and the rights have since moved to Chronicle City. So if you want the more professionally laid out versions of 100 FANTASY, 100 SCI FI or 100 HORROR adventure seeds, you know where to look!

#RPG Fifth Fantasy: The Chancer – A gambling character class for 5e RELEASED!

gamblerBUY HERE

There are gamblers of all kinds across the many worlds, but a Chancer is something different. Lady Luck is not a god, she is something more and less, though she is embodied by and in many gods. Sometimes she reaches out and touches people with her blessing. For every unlucky person whose life is one of ruin and endless misfortune, there are others with blessed and lucky lives, raised or damned by her fickle favour.

Chancers are gamblers who have been touched by The Lady. Their abilities can be random and unpredictable, but their luck, itself, is predictable. Things tend to go right for them, not always, but often enough to make them, and those around them, supernaturally fortunate.

This book also contains gambling rules, magic items and equipment.

Having a Chancer in your party can easily mean the difference between success and failure and if you’re relying on luck, they’re essential.

Chancers are assets, making things easier not just for themselves but for everyone around them. The randomness of some of their special abilities can disrupt and disorder an otherwise ordered battlefield, usually to your benefit, sometimes to your detriment. They’re good in social situations and can raise money quickly, since they’re far more likely to win games of chance or bluff than anyone else. The trouble with that of course is that it makes enemies who don’t like being cheated.

Fifth Fantasy is intended to be a short series of alternative character classes, which are supposed to emulate the kinds of characters and roles found in classic JRPG and Anime games. As such they are most suited to high-magic games, and games which play up to the style of anime, manga and Japanese computer games.

No world is explicitly described, but the character class books will also contain magical items and some background material that will build an implicit setting – which may be detailed in the future.

You can keep up with Grim and Postmortem Studios in various ways…

Blog: https://postmortemstudios.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/grimachu
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PostmortemStudios/
G+: https://plus.google.com/+JamesGrimDesborough/posts
Buy Merchandise: http://www.cafepress.com/postmortmerch

Board & Card Games: https://www.thegamecrafter.com/designers/postmortem-studios

Hardcopy: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/grim1031

PDFs: http://www.rpgnow.com/browse/pub/384/Postmortem-Studios?affiliate_id=50144

And should you feel so inclined, you can support my work regularly with a Patreon donation. https://www.patreon.com/grimachu

#RPG – Fifth Edition goes OGL

dungeon-masters-guild-2FINALLY

And while various RPG companies have been sidestepping it to produce things for 5th edition already, this makes it far easier and – more importantly – seems to have learned from the 4th Edition situation with a return to 3rd edition era openness.

Wizards have also created their own, semi-open, online webstore in which D&D material can be sold called the ‘Dungeon Master’s Guild’ though, with a cut of 50% and more stringent rules on content etc, it’s really not that tempting to a publisher like me, save – perhaps – as a place to sling a few short products.

The good thing about it is that it’s just another ‘face’ to Drivethrurpg/RPGNOW, which means an account on one of their sites is an account on all of them. That should help bring more people over to the other sites and increased attention and sales all around. Again though, recent greater pushes for censorship under the Onebookshelf banner is a cause for concern and getting the D&D online sales is another concentration of power in a single place, vulnerable to censorious pressure.

So, what to do with it, now I can play with it?

Brainstorming

There’s a couple of projects I’ve been developing for the OSR:

  • A ‘city crawl’ inspired by Bloodborne and other Renaissance/Restoration/Victorian horror.
  • A post-apocalyptic fantasy hex-crawl across an environmentally ravaged landscape.
  • A dark-fantasy waste-world, mingling technology and magic in an interdimensional junkyard city.

A 5th Edition version of Machinations of the Space Princess could be done, though it would be a lot of work for a repeat project and probably not cost effective.

House rules options – like I did in the past for 3rd Edition – might be an option. Some people prefer grimmer and grittier rules more suited to low fantasy and dark fantasy but this kind of thing is more complicated than it seems if you want to retain game balance.

New races are always an option, but it’s hard to create something that truly stands out. The work I’ve done on various fantasy worlds makes me think I could come up with some possibilities.

New classes are popular, but it’s hard to find effective niches for new character types and there’s a lot of competition in creating them. The old Prestige Class system in 3rd Edition was a way around that, but doesn’t exist in 5e, though there are sub-classes to the classes which fulfil some of the same role. It might be interesting to do some anime-JRPG style classes, inspired by Final Fantasy ‘job’ systems though. A new ‘Actual Monk’ is a definite possibility though.

Backgrounds have plenty of room for additions, but are a thin thing to hang supplementary material on.

Equipment can always use additions, but as with background probably needs to be wedded to something else. A deeper crafting system definitely has some appeal.

Mass combat rules would be a useful edition, an updated Feast of Crows might be a good thing to do.

Feats were popular things to create lists of in 3rd Edition, and it doesn’t seem unlikely that they’d be popular again. Again though, a thin thing to hang a whole supplement off.

The Skill system is not remotely as deep or interesting – or adaptable – as 3rd edition and some alternative rules for skills might be a useful thing to introduce.

There’s always room for new spells, or types of magic.

There’s all manner of real and fantastical gods and pantheons to be potentially detailed.

There’s an insatiable hunger for new magic items.

People always need more monsters.

Then there’s adventures, but they never sell well and have limited long term use to purchasers.

Conclusion

If I do anything for 5e, I don’t want it to be the kind of mindless blown-through make-work that a lot of 3e products were. A few of the shorter ideas above appeal – such as the JRPG character classes – but otherwise I’m far more interested in the potential of creating worlds and lore and tapping into the 5e audience that way.

What do you think, what would you be after?

Camelot Cosmos: Plots of the Nephilim

In The Camelot Cosmos the followers of the Nephilim are the most likely source of opposition to the ambitions and plans of player characters. All of the Nephilim Ascended believe that humanity should either be corrupted and enslaved (the position adopted most famously by Lucifer) or utterly destroyed. The thought of a human society, let alone human individuals, who refuse to bow down and serve the Nephilim is hateful to them in the extreme, and in the case of powerful individuals who refuse to serve the situation cannot be regarded as anything other than a threat. The Nephilim remember the attempts of First Empire corporations to destroy them, and the myths and legends which have accrued over the centuries since have not lessened their hatred and fear. It is for this reason that every Nephilim Ascended seeks to recruit cults of followers and continually engage in schemes designed to increase their influence and power not only over humanity but also over each other. The Nephilim are not in any sense united, and employ cultists as disposable weapons in their schemes against their fellows. GMs should remember that any of these schemes are just as likely to be aimed at other Nephilim worshippers as they are to be aimed at followers of the Seraphim.

Buy this plot/adventure inspiration and background addition HERE

Camelot Cosmos: Lords of Brass and Vassal Knights RELEASED!

124935Lords of Brass and Vassal Knights provides full details for 130 noble families including a one or two paragraph description, a motto, a heraldic device and details of strengths and weaknesses common to that family. These descriptions are for the families of the Pendragon realm in the Camelot Cosmos RPG but are generic enough to be useable with minor adaptation in any fantasy gaming setting.

Get it HERE