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…)

 

 

Classes of Porphyra: Part One

The Lands of Porphyra Campaign Setting is a very accomodating place. The Patchwork Planet was described by Endzeitgeist as:

Porphyra is inspired in that it consciously inorganic – like its namesake. Instead of trying to put a layer of consistency over the hodgepodge nature that campaigns become when one allows a ton of material, it embraces the theme and makes it internally consistent; Porphyra’s central achievement lies in the sheer guts of managing to properly depict a world that is rooted in a can-do attitude, in a design philosophy that embraces the diversity of tastes and themes.

The setting itself has grown over time as we continue to explore new ideas. Since the Land of Porphyra is consistently, inconsistent it allows us the flexibility to welcome all sorts of classes and races into our setting. Starting today, we will review some of the classes we have created for the setting.

Legendary Classes

Back before Legendary Games existed as a company we had released a number of “Legendary” titled releases (Legendary Weapons, Legendary Races, Legendary Classes). We have since abandoned that naming scheme as we don’t want to cause confusion or step on anyone’s toes.  Still many of our pre-Porphyra releases carry those sorts of names an a number of our original classes come from that line.

Legendary Class: The Rook

Written by Thomas Baumbach in 2011, the Rook was our take on magic-using thief that specializes in enchantment and illusion magic. Looking at it from a 2017-lens, I think we would now consider it to be a hybrid bard/sorcerer class with a focus on illusion, enchantment, and necromancy. This Charisma-based spontaneous caster has a dedicated spell list of 1st through 6th level spells.

Legendary Classes: Rune Magic

Written by Josh McCrowell in 2013, Rune Magic introduced two alternate classes. First up was the runecaster, an alternate alchemist class, who draws explosive runes on surfaces and uses words of power (from Ultimate Magic) as their primary spellcasting option. Second was the runereaper, an alternate barbarian class, who has runes etched into their body that they can activate to unlock additional power in combat. They do not rage but instead always deal damage on the first round of combat. Rune magic, with its ionic elf and orc characters cemented the early concepts that lead to the development of The Calling in the Lands of Porphyra Campaign Setting.

Legendary Classes: Covenant Magic

Written by David N. Ross in 2013, Covenant Magic introduced the medium class to the game. Since then Paizo has released their own medium class, so later this year we will be releasing an updated and expanded Covenant Magic book that rechristens our class as a covenant mage. Similar to Radiance House’s Secrets of Pact Magic, our covenant mage makes pacts with otherworld powers to gain access to magical power. Julian Neale later came on board to write two additional supplements for the Covenant Magic series (More Covenant Magic and Further Covenants).

Legendary Class: Illuminatus

Written by David N. Ross in 2017, Illuminatus introduced the chaos illuminatus or chaos mage. This 9-level caster gains a number of random tables of spells. Everytime they cast a spell of a particular school, dice are rolled to determine which spell is used. Perry played an illuminatus in our home campaign. I can’t say the character was the most helpful party member, but he certainly kept things lively. The chaos illuminatus uses implements to focus their magical power like books, bottles, cards, coins, knucklebones, rods, seeing stones, or flickering flames.

Legendary Classes: Quartermaster

In 2016, Carl Cramer wrote the Quartermaster for me in an effort to create a class that didn’t rely on magic but that could still be very versatile. The quartermaster has resources, an Int-based renewable pool like the gunslinger’s grit. They use Resources to power deeds, which gives it a range of different abilities, including the ability to craft temporary items at no cost in gold (McGyverism). Quartermasters also have Deep Pockets, which allows them a large pool of undefined items in their inventory, items they can specify on demand; they then have to pay to refill their deep pockets capacity. They can also coax additional uses out of charged items like scrolls and wands, but do not create magic themselves. They also gain Equipment Trick as a bonus feat several times, learning new ways to use mundane items.

Legendary Classes: Eternal Mage

In 2015, N. Jolly created the Eternal Mage for us. The eternal mage is able to cast spells from only three schools of magic and from those schools only a limited number of spells. Castings spells causes the eternal mage to accumulate eldritch burnout which weakens the effectiveness of their casting. Eldritch burnout degrades over time when the eternal mage is not casting spells. With an eternal mage, you shouldn’t need to worry about running out of spells in the middle of the dungeon.

Legendary Classes: Sacerdote

In 2015, Carl Cramer created the sacerdote class for us (I always spell the name of this class wrong). The sacerdote is a wisdom and intelligence class, a scholar and divine spellcaster class that is powerful and versatile enough to compete with the arcane wizard. Specialized in magic, they are less practical than clerics and are not leaders or warriors. They cast cleric and domain spells, know numerous divine secrets, and can use all the domains of a typical deity or draw power from a whole pantheon. They have a huge number of spells per day and rely on magic in combat and on channeling their spells into devastating manifestations of divine wrath. Sacerdote maintain two spell lists, the clerical spell list and a 5-domain spell list.

(continued in part 2).