Small but Mighty!

Welcome back to the blog. I have been busy for a while, as I am a schoolteacher and have just gotten back in business, conventions and teacher stuff and the like, rewiring my brain for work after my vast, well-paid vacation, ha ha.  So far in exploring the Patchwork Planet of Porphyra we have visited The Middle Kingdoms, Nor-Du-Mag, and the Trade Consortium of Blix.  Moving northwest of Blix, we cross the bizarre sculpted towers of the Ashmounds and enter the land called the Bulwark of the Halfling Nations.  This is a country with a harrowing and richly varied history, and is rendered in the present day into several distinct areas; the Plains of Ash/Plains of

So far in exploring the Patchwork Planet of Porphyra we have visited The Middle Kingdoms, Nor-Du-Mag, and the Trade Consortium of Blix.  Moving northwest of Blix, we cross the bizarre sculpted towers of the Ashmounds and enter the land called the Bulwark of the Halfling Nations.  This is a country with a harrowing and richly varied history, and is rendered in the present day into several distinct areas; the Plains of Ash/Plains of Enor which are the more-or-less “safe” areas of the land, the former farms and gardens of the previous nation of Enoria; the Forest of Gora, a Landed territory of plant growth gone insane and full of horrible extraplanar creatures call Mâlites (found in the useful Gods of Porphyra); and a second Landed territory named ‘Faldon Town’, a district of conglomerated ruins from many lands, a weird region of wreckage and leftover flotsam from a thousand deceased dimensions.  Several cities containing the ‘Small’ races of Porphyra dot the landscape, mostly to make the uber-powerful members of an adventuring party feel out-of-place and make them do a bit of roleplaying.  Plenty of opportunities for adventure here, going on mâlite hunting expeditions in the Forest of Gora, which also contains many deliciously-named Mage Towers which are scattered throughout the Forest, an obvious draw for treasure hunters to chance a run through the dangerous land, and typically avoided by the hostile and malicious Mâlites.  I have been writing some sketches for adventures in Faldon Town as well, and I have imagined it as a land of leftover cities of many eras- imagine a fantasy land where ruined skyscrapers from a destroyed New York City are the homes and lairs of packs of warring goblins and kobolds, each with their own muse (a Porphyra fantasy race) prophet to lead them in mad campaigns against one another for the limited food resources one finds in a ruined urban landscape!  The Bulwark of the Halfling Nations is a serious place, but the fact that the inhabitants are all small folk makes for an unusual setting.  Let’s look at a spell for the little people…


Big’un Bowl

School transmutation

Level inquisitor 4, magus 4, wizard 4

Casting Time 1 standard action

Components V, S, M (a pair of leather shoes and 10 gp in coins)

Range personal

Target you

Duration 1 round/level

Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

This spell can only be cast by a spellcaster who is of Small size. The caster’s body condenses in to a 3 ft. round spherical shape, granting him a +2 size bonus to attacks rolls and AC, and DR 5/adamantine; the sphere counts as adamantine for hardness and bypassing damage reduction. In this form the caster gains all-around vision, but cannot hear, speak, wield objects, climb stairs, cast spells, or perform any actions that require limbs or a humanoid body. The caster can move 30 ft. per round on level ground, 50 ft. per round going downhill, and 10 ft. per round going uphill. The only attack they can make is a bowling charge attack, requiring at least 10 feet of movement space; they may act as though they are performing a bull charge, overrun, or trip combat maneuver that adds big’un bowl’s spell level to the caster’s CMD, and negating strength and size penalties. If successful, the attack also deals 4 points of bludgeoning damage per caster level. The attack does not draw attacks of opportunity but movement through threatened squares would.

The Phedexian Cargo Fleet!

Hi, everyone, I start back to work tomorrow, which may or may not mean time to get blogs done, according to the wishes of the publisher!  I will continue my discussion with the Trade Consortium of Blix, looking at the industry of the lesser city of Phedexia, ten leagues south of Bossel.  Phedexia maintains the Phedexian Cargo Fleet, a series of airships that move Blixian cargo all over the world.  Their service is cheaper in that they are not armed with typical naval weapons, powered with magical engines or crewed with large numbers of naval troops, but stripped down for fast and cheap flight, powered by summoned elementals and protected and directed by skilled professionals.  Note that when entering Middle Kingdoms airspace, the elementals are stowed and giant wasps take over a towing capacity.  So- to the Phedexian Cargo Fleet!


This stripped-down version of the armed airship vehicle is held aloft by a massive balloon connected by chain to a ship that hangs below. This ship is similar to a sailing ship, complete with an open top, and is propelled by magically controlled air elementals, with a master summoner in charge of their care. Passengers and cargo are carried in the ship.

Phedexian Cargo Fleet

Colossal Air vehicle
Squares 48 (20 ft. by 60 ft.); Cost 35,000 gp


AC 2; Hardness 5
hp 620 (310)
Base Save +0


Maximum Speed 100 ft.; Acceleration 30 ft.
Weapons none; crew defended only
Attack ram 6d8
CMB +8; CMD 18


Propulsion current (air; 90 squares of dirigible, hp 400) and air elemental
Driving Check none (magic)
Forward Facing the ship’s forward
Driving Device air elementals (see below)
Driving Space the nine squares around the controlled elementals caged sits at the back of the ship
Typical Crew 1 7th level master summoner (summoner archetype), 3 3rd level sky warden (see below) rangers, 2 5th level evoker mages, and a 5th level of Linium or Toma Thule, possessing the Artifice domain.  At least a dozen halfling crewman round out the crew, use the seasoned trapper (expert 3) statistics.


Decks 2
Cargo Up to 30 tons or 100 passengers

The Phedexian Cargo Fleet goes by the call signs “P.C.F. 5” or “P.C.F. 7”, though long-term crews often name their ships in the local vernacular.  The below-decks master summoner is the de facto captain of each vessel, as he is its most important member. His first mate is one of the sky warden rangers up top, who also serves as navigator.  Another of the rangers serves as executive officer, who directs the halfling crew and is in charge of any ship’s combat; note that one of the three will likely have darkvision.  Senior of the ship’s mages is the purser, in charge of the cargo, and the cleric is in charge of the crew’s well-being, and is knowledgeable in the structure of the ship, having ranks in Knowledge (engineering) and skill in magical mending.  Ship’s cleric is also in charge of any crew that is on board especially that they should not get in the crew’s way during flight.

Elemental Propulsion

The captain of any Phedexian cargo-ship is a 7th level master summoner, using that particular archetype.  He has carefully planned the 56 minutes of his spell-like ability summon monster IV available to him to summon medium air elementals to power his ship to its destination, gliding on currents and momentum in-between, with his spells available for emergency maneuvering.  His company-mandated “spells known” list typically reads: 1/ alarm, feather fall, jury-rig, lesser rejuvenate eidolon, lighten object; 2/ bull’s strength, glide, levitate, summon monster III; 3/ dispel magic, summon monster IV.

Sky Warden

This specialty ranger archetype is identical to the warden archetype, except that it has the ‘Airborne’ terrain type available, which is always selected by the sky warden at 1st level.  Airborne terrain applies when the ranger is flying under his own magical or mechanical power, such as on board an airship, and allows access to all those abilities regardless of the terrain below.

On-Board Mercenaries

Often hired for trips to difficult areas, a prime chance for PCs to get to a new adventuring area, and have some exciting possible combat on the way!  Pay can be commensurate with level, but a typical fee is 2,500 gp per party per trip

Classes of Porphyra – Part III

In early 2014, Carl Cramer approached me about developing something called a Prestige Archetype. I had no idea what he meant initially. He described them as follows:

The goal when making these prestige archetypes has been to capture the flavor of the prestige class rather than to make an exact copy of how it would normally be. Attack bonuses, hit dice, class skills, spells, and class features have been unified and spread evenly over levels. This means that most prestige archetypes have their prestige abilities spread over the entire 20 level spread.

Unlike how prestige classes normally work, these archetypes have a few complete class abilities rather than many abilities limited to a low level. In some cases, you get the choice of one of several class abilities rather than stymied versions of all the abilities.

A prestige archetype generally has elements of one or more regular character classes, to represent how prestige prerequisites were met and character development after the prestige class has ended. Sometimes there is more than one class that naturally leads itself to a particular prestige class, which can lead to several different prestige archetypes for different combinations. A few are not built on a regular class, instead expanding the idea behind the prestige class to a full 20 levels.

Now I was originally quite hesitant on the prestige archetype concept when Carl first pitched it to me but he had brought me a number of interesting and successful things in the past so I thought I would take a chance. We launched the line with a subscription, which helped to offset the initial costs a bit. Now there are three volumes, a handful of psionics PAs, and a fourth line in development. But let us just consider what is out first.

Prestige Archetypes

The first prestige archetype series focused on the most traditional prestige classes from the 3.X era days. Sometimes, where alternate builds were appropriate there were appropriate two prestige archetypes were created.

Arcane Archer: Arcane archers deal death from afar, winnowing down opponents while their allies rush into hand-to-hand combat. With their capacity to unleash hails of arrows on the enemy, they represent the pinnacle of ranged combat. The arcane archer is a 3/4 BAB character built from a magus/ranger/wizard chassis. They have spellcaster from 0th to 6th level and pull their spells from the wizard spell list. They carry as spellbook and have an archery pool similar to the magus’s arcane pool.

Arcane Trickster: With their mastery of magic, arcane tricksters can make for even more subtle or confounding opponents than standard rogues. Ranged legerdemain enhances their skill as thieves, and their ability to make sneak attacks without flanking or as part of a spell can make arcane tricksters formidable damage-dealers. Arcane tricksters are 3/4 BAB characters built from the rogue/wizard chassis. The arcane trickster in all ways is your dual-class wizard, rogue.

Assassin: Assassins tend to be loners by nature, seeing companions as liabilities at best. Sometimes an assassin’s missions put him in the company of adventurers for long stretches at a time, but few people are comfortable trusting a professional assassin to watch their backs in a fight, and are more likely to let the emotionless killer scout ahead or help prepare ambushes. The assassin is a 3/4 BAB character built from the rogue class. It is a very traditional translation of the original prestige class. If you are looking for an assassin that takes more risks in terms of design Carl also produced the porphyran assassin for Assassins of Porphyra.

Blood Mystic: The blood mystic has a unique palette of powers, and is able to both support her party and control the battlefield. Skimming across such a wide array of abilities forces the blood mystic to make many hard choices, both between what powers to seek in their blood and in how to use those powers. The blood mystic is a 1/2 BAB character build from the oracle and sorcerer to stand as a mystic theurge. It draws spells from both the cleric and the wizard list.

Chronicler: The chronicler’s missions often thrust her into the role of party leader, and adventures typically result from, and revolve around, her endless quests. Other chroniclers find themselves as sidekicks recording the adventures of their own chosen hero and comrades. The chronicler is a 3/4 BAB character built on the bard chassis. They have 0th to 4th level spells drawn from the bard spell list.

Dragon Disciple: With the magic at their disposal, dragon disciples can assume the typical role of a magic-user, hampering the movement of the enemy and hurling damage-dealing spells at their opponents. The dragon disciples’ draconic abilities make these versatile spellcasters even more formidable, as they use their breath, natural weapons, and flight to destroy their foes directly. The dragon disciple is as 3/4 BAB class with an enhanced Hit Dice build off of a magus and and sorcerer chassis. They are a spontaneous caster with spells drawn from the magus spell list.

Duelist: Duelists fight in the forefront alongside fighters, barbarians, and other melee combatants, deftly avoiding the blades of their opponents while expertly targeting their vulnerabilities. Duelists are full BAB bonus characters built off the fighter chassis.

Eldritch Hunter: Eldritch hunters are masters of the wild, alpha predators using both might and magic to establish their dominance.  The eldritch hunter is a 3/4 BAB variant of the eldritch knight PRC build with a ranger/sorcerer chassis. Spellcasting is spontaneous using the wizard spell list for 0th to 9th level spells but the spellcasting is slowed in its progression [does not reach 2nd level spells until 6th level). At very high level, they add in ranger spells as well.

Eldritch Knight: Eldritch knights master the abilities of both fighting and magic, hurling magic at the enemy one moment and hewing down their opponents with steel the next. They are just as comfortable in the thick of combat as they are casting spells at foes while remaining safely behind their compatriots. Their versatility makes them valuable allies.

Loremaster: Loremasters’ lives are spent in study, research, and fieldwork. While the first two lend themselves to the loremaster’s reputation as a bookish recluse, the latter oftentimes forces a loremaster to seek out the aid of adventurers who, through a mutually beneficial arrangement, might provide a degree of protection to the scholar while he seeks whatever knowledge he is after. For his part, the loremaster provides a wealth of information and arcane firepower to a party. The loremaster is a 1/2 BAB character built from a wizard chasis. They follow a fairly typical loremaster progression.

Mystic Archer: Mystic archers are superlative support characters, changing from archery to control or buffs and healing at a moment’s notice. The mystic archer is a 3/4 BAB character build from the druid and ranger classes as an alternate form of the arcane archer… more of a divine archer.

Mystic Theurge: The mystic theurge is a powerful component for any party, supplying magic for attack, defense, and healing. Mystic theurges travel the world in search of arcane and holy artifacts, magical lore, or divine revelations, and most have no qualms about teaming up with groups of adventurers so long as that group’s goals do not directly conflict with their own. The mystic theurge is a 1/2 BAB character with a cleric and wizard base. They draw spells from 0th to 9th on both the wizard and cleric lists. They possess the ability (a limited number of times per day to launch two spells as a single action).

Shadow Monk: Shadow monks are scouts extraordinaire but also warriors and mystics, able to shift from one role to another in the blink of an eye. Shadow monks are 3/4 BAB characters built from a monk base. They are one of three shadowdancer variants in the first collection.

Shadow Ranger: Shadow rangers make excellent scouts, as they are not bound to any one terrain and can move from shadow to shadow with impunity. They also make versatile skirmishers. Shadow rangers are full BAB characters built from a ranger base. They are the second of three shadowdancer variants in the first collection.

Shadowdancer: Shadowdancers adventure for a wide variety of reasons. Many adventuring parties find shadowdancers valuable members of their teams due to their incredible stealth and ability to surprise enemies with lightning-quick attacks where they’re least expected. For this reason, their services are often sought out by those groups in need of scouts or spies. Shadowdancers are 3/4 BAB characters built from the ninja alternate class. They are the final shadowdancer variant in the first collection.

(To be continued)…

To the Trade Consortium of Blix!

This is a not-so-subtle segue way into another Land of Porphyra, bordering to the west of Nor-du-Mag, a much more peaceful land which is nonetheless very occupied with one major industry: trade and commerce.  This is the Trade Consortium of Blix, a land of pleasant terrain, including beautiful Coin Lake and the breathtaking Sunbright Glacier, which feeds the vital Callin River which flows north, and the Oliti River flowing west into northern Siwath, artery of life to the anpur race and the zendiqi nomads of that region.  A land of servants to merchant lords in the distant past, it is now concerned with making goods that the rest of the world wants, and getting those goods to their customers, where they might be, in short order.

Looking at the races that are prevalent in Blix (boggles, halflings, numistians and ratfolk) and the civilized nature of the place, adventuring in Blix is an almost polar opposite of Nor-du-Mag.  Whereas in The Cloven Lands survival is #1, in Blix profit is key. If you are not in a place to make profit, you will get fleeced, by taxes, fees, prices, what have you.  This is not a place for rampaging dragons, a necromancer’s castle, or the ruins of a temple of the Great Old Ones- though, come to think of it, there might be situations where those could be put to profit!  Blix is a great place for thinking parties, low-level parties, and those who want to roleplay a lot.  There might be opportunities for barbarians, paladins, and fire-spewing kineticists, but they would be extremely temporary.  What is the main income of characters? Taking stuff from “bad guys” or finding valuables that were “left behind” a long time ago.  Apart from the quaint Profession skill, few classes have real money-making power- or do they?

Barbarian – it is not likely that there are any native barbaric people in Blix, which makes any true barbarians exotic and coin-worthy.  There is a rather busy arena in Pult that is constantly looking for new talent, and well-paid, too.

Bard –actually equipped in text with the Perform skill and encouraged to do their thing for cash.  Bards can stage shows, run a theatre company, entertain royalty, bards are built for Blix.

Cleric – No religion is forbidden in Blix, none. That is firm in their constitution.  Even apocalypse can be good for business.  The second trade is impeded by a clerical branch, those adherents, good or evil, are politely and firmly asked to leave the premises.  Vortain and Veiloaria are very popular, as are Toma Thule, Linium and Lyvalia.  Rolterra, Fenris Kul and Tulis have mostly worn out their welcome.

Fighter- Money and the muscle to protect it go hand in hand, and a man-at-arms can always find employment.  Merchant lords do not, however, tolerate military buildup for long, as war is good for Blix to sell supplies to, not be a subject of!  Swordfighting in the street over trade advantages is not the Blixian way.

Monk – Monks by their nature disdain material goods, and as such most dislike Blix immensely.  That being said, monks sometimes have a missionary attitude, as well, and there is at least one monastery that is staffed by defeated businessmen who can opt out of debtors prison or The Engine and take vows of poverty- the Temple of Dust near in the north is spoken of in hushed terms among Blixians…

Paladin – little true evil is afoot in Blix, and that mostly of a financial and corporate nature.  It would take a new type of savvy paladin to use laws, policy and public sentiment to defeat oppressive and scurrilous businessmen, which would be an interesting campaign, wouldn’t it?

Ranger – there are lots of wild spaces in Blix, left for herb collection, lumber, farming, etc.  Those that have preferred terrain in these areas (plains, forest, urban) are employed as escorts as a matter of course.  Many rangers are employed as captains of the Air Cargo Service (stay tuned for next week on them!)

Rogue– Blix is a rogue’s paradise, but blatant theft in a land of merchants has grim penalties.  The primary prison in Blix is The Daftin Manufactory for the Contemplation of Wrongdoing- called The Engine.  Inmates in The Engine move turbines that power machinery in that city. But apart from that, any “skilled” agent is cheerfully welcomed!

Sorcerer/Wizard – the rules for spellcasting services is an excellent way to make money, if not particularly exciting.  Corporate espionage with certain spells could be a lot of fun, though! Magic item manufacture, guard duty on warehouses and the like, many tasks for mages.

Piggins of Porphyra

Porphyra is a world with two distinct types of land mass. There are the indigenous territories that have been present since the lost formation of the world in the age before the Elemental Lords and there are the Landed Territories. When aboriginal orcs and elves of Porphyra combined forces to call new Gods to the world to help overthrow the Elemental Lords, those New Gods brought pieces of their favourite worlds with them. These regions are known as Landed Territories.

From the Landed Territories come the Landed Races. There are dozens of races Landed on Porphyra that are similar to their indigenous cousins. One of these is the Landed Races of orcs (or Piggins as they are called by the indigenous).

Landed Orcs Racial Characteristics

  • +2 Str, +2 Wis, -2 Int: Landed orcs are strong willed with strong devotion to physical fitness. They do not value formal learning systems or schooling.
  • Orc: Landed orcs are humanoids with the orc subtype. Landed orcs do not possess light sensitivity they have the day runner characteristic (see below) instead.
  • Medium: Landed orcs are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Normal Speed: Landed orcs have a base speed of 30 feet.

  • Darkvision: Landed orcs can see in the dark up to 60 feet.

  • Cornered Fury: When a landed orc is reduced to half its hit points or fewer and has no conscious ally within 30 feet, it gains a +2 racial bonus on melee attack rolls and to Armor Class.
  • Dayrunner: Landed orcs refuse to yield to any foe, including the sun. Some spend hour upon hour glaring at the sun until their ruined eyes acclimatize to bright light. Landed orcs with this racial trait take a –2 penalty on all ranged attack rolls.
  • Greed: Raiding is part of every landed orc’s education, as such they gain a +2 bonus on Appraise checks to determine the price of nonmagical goods that contain precious metals or gemstones.
  • Illusion Resistance: Landed orcs are not easily fooled by the coloured lights made by mages. They gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against illusion spells or effects.
  • Orc Ferocity: Once per day, when a landed orc is brought below 0 hit points but not killed, he can fight on for 1 more round as if disabled. At the end of his next turn, unless brought to above 0 hit points, he immediately falls unconscious and begins dying.
  • Resentment: Landed orcs resent their transport to the Patchwork Planet and they hold all other orcs and elves personally responsible. Landed orcs gain a +1 racial bonus on damage rolls against creatures with the orc or elf subtype.
  • Survivalists: Landed orcs have learned to thrive in all environments. They gain as +2 racial bonus to all Survival checks.
  • Languages: Landed orcs speak Orcish. Landed orcs with high Intelligence scores can chose from the following: Dwarven, Giant, Goblin, Undercommon.

Nor-Du-Mag (Part III)

Final Words on Nor-Du-Mag, and the Mysteries of Porphyrite…

Not to brag, blog followers, but I have been hitting the beach every day for the last week or two, so double thumbs to all of you working stiffs suffering this summer LOL.  Just want to continue some of the observations of adventuring in the magic-dead wasteland of Nor-Du-Mag… I suppose it is a bit of a stereotype that a region in a magic-normal world would be a wasteland, but it kind of stands to reason that it would be a ravaged place- or is it?  The Shire of Tolkien bore no magic that I could remember- though the coming of The One Ring changed all that, didn’t it?  And Gandalf came often enough with his magic fireworks… my point is that playing in Nor-Du-Mag should take a harrowing turn, in the spirit of the Mad Max movies, the excellent Rutger Hauer movie The Blood of Heroes, Steel Dawn and Tank Girl.  Throw in poor old Chekov finding the lost home of Khan Noonien Singh on Ceti Alpha ummm… 5? And you will have it.  No comfort.  No safety.  Grim survival.  If you are lucky, finding a local to band together until you can reach the Dwarven Mines, and then… will they let you in?  And, no doubt, the lands on the other side of the western porphyrite border will have resources to deal with those who dare to cross over to the “magic side”… Not to harp on this fascinating region, moving on.

New General/Metamagic Feat

Porphyritic Magic

By means of the magical mineral porphyrite, deeds of magic can be done!

Prerequisites: any Spell Focus feat, able to cast porphyrite passage or Porphyrologist global trait

Benefit: You can modify the effect of spells you cast, by expending a porphyrite flake as an added spell component.  The available effect is listed by school of magic, with an added effect for schools that the caster possesses Spell Focus upon.  Wizards cannot use Porphyritic Magic on spells from their opposition schools, if they have any. “CL” in this case indicates caster level for the spell in question.  0-level spells cannot be modified with Porphyritic Magic.

Drawback: Any spellcaster practicing Porphyritic Magic suffers a +CL bonus to opponents using Spellcraft against them to identify the spells they are casting; practitioners are suffused with a radiant purple glow when they cast their spells, about the same brightness as a candle.

Special: This feat can be taken in place of any metamagic feat, if such is offered as a bonus or class feature.  Though it does not increase the level of the modified spell, any spell modified by Porphyritic Magic must be cast as a full-round action.


Abjuration +1 deflection bonus to AC for 1 round/ 4 CL

SF: DR 1/ 4 CL vs. elemental subtype creatures for 1 round.

Conjuration Add 1 round to duration of summoning spells [summon spells do not change casting time]  

SF: add additional 1 round/ 4 CL to elemental-typed spell durations.

Divination You may combine 2 detect spells in one casting, their durations are concurrent.                     

SF: You may combine any divination spells in one casting, their durations are concurrent.

Enchantment Add +1 to mental-related skill checks for 1 round/ caster level after spell is cast.

SF: elemental subtypes are dazed for 1 round if affected by spell.

Evocation Add 1 to Spell Penetration rolls/ 4 CL OR +1 untyped damage (if part of a damaging spell) /4 caster levels.                                                                                                    

SF: add an additional +1/ 2 CL to spell damage vs. elemental subtype creatures.

Illusion Add an addition +1 to the DC of saving throws vs. illusion spells.

SF:  Add an additional +1 to the DC of saving throws vs. illusion spells-  though the illusion must have significantly purple elements.

Necromancy Add +1 to non-magic-related saving throws that affect the body for 1 round/ 4 CL

SF: elemental subtypes suffer -1/ 4 CL to saving throws if affected by spell, 1 round/ 4 CL

Transmutation Add +1 to a physical ability score for 1 round/ character level.

SF: elemental subtypes lose 1 DR/ 4 CL if affected by spell, OR reduce SR by 1/ 2 CL if affected

Classes of Porphyra – Part Two

In February of 2013, Purple Duck Games acquired 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming from Robert and Connie Thomson. With this acquisition we gained a number of books created and released by 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming as well as a number of partially finished projects.

Part Two – Four Strong Winds

One of the first books of 4WFG to expand the number of class options for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game was Paths of Power. Paths of Power was released almost a year before the Advanced Player’s Guide from Paizo Publishing. Paths of Power debuted a number of new classes that would later find name-clones in Paizo releases. In fact there turned out to be many similarities between this book and what Paizo would do a year later.

  • Antipaladin – The chaotic evil anti-paladin is the opposite of, and in many respects the antithesis of, the lawful good paladin. It was a full BAB class with access to many class abilities and a dedicated antipaladin spell list. They radiated an aura of despair that hampered opponents, use poison, and have access to a number of debilitating.
  • Elemental Wizard – Air, Earth, Fire, and Water schools of magic are introduced to work as an alternative to the arcane school set-up.
  • Gladiator – The gladiator is a skilled showman and warrior specializing in arena combat. Gladiators are masters of exotic weapons, they abilities are tied to having an audience for their exploits. They build a reputation and persona for themselves over the course of their careers.
  • Samurai – Samurai are highly specialized and skilled warriors that serve as retainers to powerful warlords. These samurai have a combat style similar to the ranger (Iaijutsu which enables lightning fast attacks as one draws the blade; Kenjutsu, the swordsman’s art of fencing; Sojutsu, the art of spear-fighting; and, Kyujutsu, the art of the longbow). So, if your samurai is more of a master of combat forms than a mounted warrior, this build may suit you better. I think it would now be classed as an alternate ranger class.
  • Voyageur – The voyageur is jack-of-all-trades class, part scout, part bard, and part merchant. This is by far the most Canadian of classes, as the voyageur is an outdoorsman inspired by the French-Canadian coureur de bois (runner in the woods). They are a 3/4 BAB class designed for survival in the wilderness and for meeting and negotiating with new peoples.
  • Witch – Witches are divine spellcasters with a close connection to the home and hearth, and to nature. Witches were a d6, divine caster who had a unique spell list, carry a broom, cast magic circles and come from a variety of traditions (black magic, healer, protector, or seer). Their spellcasting is sort of a mix of cleric and druid with a few arcane spells in the mix.

Additionally, there were three NPC classes introduced:

  • Captain – The captain is part warrior and part entrepreneur. He is a little like the voyageur, but far more martial than that class. The captain is primarily an organizer of expeditions, an employer for PCs looking for work.
  • Courtesan – The courtesan is aristocratic, but not an aristocrat. Whereas an aristocrat is usually born into her role, the courtesan achieves her position through skill and training. Often considered nothing more than a high-class, expensive prostitute, the courtesan is actually much more than that.
  • Sycophant: Where the courtesan uses charm, grace and beauty, the sycophant is an individual who uses guile and cunning to work their way through the ranks of society. They may not be born into aristocracy, but quickly take on the airs of high society. The uninformed often confuse the courtesan and the sycophant, thinking they are simply male and female versions of the same thing. In truth, men and women can be both.

Most of the class builds in Paths of Power have limited choice (like the bard class or the cleric class).

Paths of Power was written by: Katheryn Bauer, Sean O’Connor, Connie J. Thomson, Robert W. Thomson, Patricia Willenborg

The next book to feature new classes was Ryan Costello Jr’s Strategists and Tacticians. This book was designed to provide a number of new tactical options for non-spellcasters. Though much of the classwork in this book is focused on prestige classes there were a couple of core classes introduced:

  • Apprentice – The apprentice class is unique among base classes. It allows character concepts dependant on multiclassing to be viable from 1st level. Rather than playing a character with one set of abilities at first level who gains an entirely new set of abilities at second level, a character can begin play with a combination of a lesser version of both sets of abilities. A character can only choose to be an apprentice at 1st level. This class only has a single level.
  • Schooled Bard – In what would be called an alternate class now, the schooled bard has a school of study to choose from (mesmerizing, minstral, rousing, sentry, or war chant). It basically, adds a choice-based stucture to the deployment of bardic abilities so that not all bards are identical.

When I took over 4WFG there were two big Pathfinder project that I took on. One was Paths of Power II and one was Tyranny and Manipulation (more on this one later). Paths of Power II was announced, solicited, and some text had been produced but there was still a lot of work to be done on it to bring it into being as a final release.

  • Awalim – The awalim is a battledancer. She is a full BAB combatant who grants benefits to herself and allies while she is dancing. She can take on both a combat and support role.
  • Ayutthayan Monk – The ayutthayan monk is a full-BAB monk that gained a number of martial arts styles as part of their training. The ayutthayan monk always seemed like more of a practical martial artist instead of a mystical ninja.
  • Brujo – The brujo is a spontaneous caster drawing spells from the witch spell list. Brujo operate within secretive cabals and can shapeshift into animal form.
  • Corsair – Corsairs are sea-faring warriors that make their way in the world through strength of arms. Corsairs are highly skilled, lightly armored combatants.
  • Hetaera – Hetaera are sacred prostitutes who rely on Charisma to shape their interactions with the world. They make contacts and cast spells that benefit their allies and patrons. They have a dedicated spell list.
  • Infinyte – The infinyte is a based on the questions, “What would happen if you integrated hero points into regular game play”. Infinytes are eternal champions who are defined by their heroic deeds, legendary weapons, and their eternal enemies.
  • Reaper – The reaper is a killer empowered by the soul fragments their collect as they kill more and more opponents. They are death made manifest in the world.
  • Sheriff – Sheriff is a martial character entrusted with the good sense and honor to uphold the law in dark times. They are capable on the front line, and have a range of combat options beyond straight onslaught, but their true strength lies in their legal authority and ability to find and pursue criminals.
  • Shinobi – Shinobi are covert agents or mercenaries who specializes in commando-
    style operations, a shinobi is a professional spy, thief, saboteur, and assassin. Using a variety of unconventional weapons and her rigorous training in Ninjutsu, a shinobi can handle a large variety of tasks capably.
  • Timebender – Timebenders are agile front-line fighters, ducking and weaving in and out of the fray, speeding up time to make several strikes or a clever escape. Timebenders generally find other characters plodding and slow in action as well as thought, and cannot resist the opportunity to display their incredible powers.

Paths of Power II: Paths of Blood was written by Ryan Costello Jr., Carl Cramér, Perry Fehr, Mark Gedak, Sasha Hall, Ron Lundeen, Josh McCrowell, Sean O’Connor, Robert W. Thomson, Patricia Willenborg.

Lastly, there is one of our newest releases Tyranny and Manipulation by Ryan Costello Jr. This book was essentially done when I took over 4WFGs products but I didn’t have a space for it in my schedule so I eventually released it back to Ryan so he could find a good home for it. I suspect Ryan wrote it immediately after the release of Strategists and Tacticians as it could be sort of seen as a DM’s companion to the former release. Eventually, a spot opened up in our schedule and I bought the book from Ryan. There are two new core classes in this book designed for DM Villains or for players in an evil campaign.

  • Shepherd – Shepherds out in the fields care for their flocks of sheep, offering them protection and helping them meet all their needs. This is not for love of the animals. Shepherds use their sheep. They sheer their wool for profit, kill and eat them for their own needs. This is the way of life for the shepherd. This is the way of life for the shepherd’s flock. Like the sheep herders they take their name from, tyrannical shepherds care for their underlings only as long as it advances their goals. They use their magic to protect their flock, but only long enough to claim victories. More often than rarely, shepherds use their underlings for their personal gain, draining their health to heal wounds or sacrificing them outright to gain temporary magical ascendancy.
  • Warmonger – Warmongers are excellent combatants and skilled leaders. Eventually they are able to lead and fight in tangent. What makes warmongers so effective is their uncompassionate resolve. They revel in the death of their enemies, laugh at pleas for mercy, and give no quarter to innocents, children, or the elderly. Yet despite their lich-like disrespect for the lives of those they fight, they portray a genuine concern for those they lead into battle.

Additionally, the book suggestions for simplifying the base classes found in the core rulebook and advanced players guide for easy management as a DM or new player at the table.

(To be continued…)