CRB is a repository of all the creative things that float through my mind about the RPG Pathfinder. Two major features are random character generation and building characters based on the god they worship. Anything that seems like it adds to the creative aspects of the game will pop up from time to time, including location descriptions, adventure ideas and even short stories. CRB won't just be my own creativity, it will open the floor to anyone who has an idea sparked by what I present to you.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Fight In the Dog

Digging Deep into the Background of your Fighter

There was an interesting topic of discussion that came up this week on one of the Pathfinder Facebook pages I’m on. Someone wanted to expand the possibilities of the backgrounds he uses for fighters. A lot of fighters end up either being a kid off a farm who picked up his father’s sword and just walked off into the world or a trained military man. There are, however, a lot of ways to go in between, so today we’re going to look a little at bringing your fighter to life.

The first thing about fighting is that there are two basic types: those who are trained and those who are self-taught. The world can be a tough place, so learning to defend yourself is common among all walks of life. The untrained, for the most part, are thrown into situations where they are forced to fight or die, or at least be grievously injured. Anyone who’s lived in a rough neighborhood knows what that’s like. The trained more often want to learn how to fight instead of have to.

When coming up with untrained characters you also have to think about why they had to fight. You’ll find that most people who’ve learned to stand up for themselves on their own are poor or low on the social ladder. If you grow up on the wrong side of town you have to learn to defend yourself from thugs. Slaves or criminals may be forced to fight for the enjoyment of their masters. Those who live on the frontier may have to learn to fend off wildlife, bandits, or marauders.

The thing to consider about these self-taught warriors is also that their fighting “style” is really no style. It is usually a mish-mash of techniques that they’ve learned work through trial and error. While a trained fighter might be more focused – in game terms, taking specific feat lines – a self-taught fighter will know a little bit of everything. They will also usually have a ‘whatever works’ mentality which can probably be seen in their personalities as well as their fighting styles.

Trained fighters come in many forms as well. You’ll find that outside of the officers much of the rank and file of any military are – like untrained fighters – poor. Although not as highly trained as our modern military, soldiers of the day still went through rigorous training. Becoming a soldier, much like it is today, was often a way the poor thought they could elevate their station. You’ll notice a vast difference in fighting style between a foot soldier and an officer who went to military school as a child before gaining his rank.

Outside of the military, you’ll find trained fighters are more often well-off. It costs a lot of money to hire a tutor or to send a child to school. Now there will often be a child so naturally gifted that a teacher takes her on at no cost – and this is a common story trope – but generally, this is not the case. When deciding to make a character who’s trained in a certain style of fighting, keep in mind how she was able to afford to be trained.

Those who can afford training will have two options. The first is going to a well-known combat school. A teacher there will have many students, usually other noble born whose parents want to get them out of the house. The second is a personal tutor. In the Golarion setting, the Aldori Swordlords come to mind; each master trying to train the best student he can so his specific style may live on after he’s gone.

Trained fighters tend to be more orderly: for this attack there is this defense. To properly mount a battlefield defense all members of the unit must work in unison. This can also play out in a character’s personality – just like the untrained fighter – with the character being much more precise and deliberate.

So when creating your fighter’s background consider how he would get where he is when the game starts. Is he trained or untrained? How did his family’s status affect what and how he learned? How does his personality play into how he fights?

Many of us are self-trained GMs, the CRB hopes to add to your pool of GM knowledge. If you’ve found this article useful please consider becoming a contributor. Monthly donations of as little as one dollar can be made to my Patreon. A one-time donation can easily be made to my Paypal. Every bit helps me keep the lights on so I can concentrate on bringing you the content you deserve.

The CRB has been growing as a community on social media. Please join us on FacebookGoogle+Tumblr, and Twitter. My inbox is open on all forums for questions, comments, and discussion. If you don’t want to miss a beat make sure you sign up to have the CRB pushed directly to your e-reading device with Kindle Subscriptions through Amazon.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Fear of the Unknown

Corrupters of Barbatos

We’ve looked at many of the powerful beings of hell in our exploration of the lesser deities of Golarion. This week we look at the ruler of the first level of hell. A being who ranks just under Asmodeus but is not himself a devil. He is a powerful divine agent with many names including The Mistletoe Monk and The Wiseman of the Wilds. This week we look and Barbatos, the Archdevil of animals, corruption, and gateways. I present to you three possible sects of The Lord of the First.

As always, let us imagine we are sitting at our theoretical gaming table. Our imaginary GM sets out the rules for the game that we will play. In this game, we are to make a follower of Barbatos. The character does not need to be a divine caster, just a devotee of The Bearded Lord. What character do you make?

For more information on Barbatos
Barbatos’s Pathfinder Wiki Page
Barbatos’s Archives of Nethys Page

The Truth Peddlers


One of Barbatos’ many names is the Iron Hierophant. He is known to trade prophecies with one of the Whore Queens of hell. How he gains these insights is unknown. The Truth Peddlers follow in his footsteps as diviners of the highest order. They operate around Avistan and are well known for the accuracy of their predictions, although few know of their true purpose or master.

The Truth Peddlers are oracles, diviners, and witches with potent divination ability. They work their clients by either purposefully withholding information while suggesting there is something there. Or they will give so much information as to overwhelm a supplicant’s sensibility. They do this because they know that knowledge or lack thereof corrupts, and they watch as those who come to them do whatever it takes to find knowledge denied, or survive dire portents given.

The Grievers


Babratos works the souls of those who take their own lives in hell, tricking them into sacrificing another soul for their own freedom. The Grievers are The Keeper of Lost Children’s mortal agents who work the still living loved ones of the deceased. They make promises of a soul freed to be re-judged by Pharasma and in the process corrupt the soul of the grieving as well as the soul they get the bereaved to taint for them.

The Grievers are the ultimate connivers. Socially adept clerics, inquisitors, bards, and rogues all find a home among these ultimate conmen. Many who joined the sect have loved ones who took their own lives and their corruption is becoming a member.

The Carrion Birds


This sect takes its moniker and imagery from their lord’s dominion over birds that consume the recently dead. Most members use the raven as their symbol as it is Barbatos’ favored animal. These wildmen take delight in showing the civilized how dangerous a life without order can be, bringing the full brunt of the power of nature to bear against cities and towns. When animal attacks in the region are on the rise The Carrion Birds are very likely the cause of the disturbance.

This sect is made up of druids, shaman, hunters, rangers, and witches. They use their connections to the natural world to drive the land itself into a frenzy. Members of the sect are often cultivated since birth. The sect will steal babies and small children, leaving them in the wilds. If they survive, their bestial nature allows them to fit well within the sect.

The Lord of the First faithful are cruel bordering on bestial. Who is your disciple of Barbatos? Why have they chosen to dedicate themselves to The Bearded Lord? Where does their devotion to this Archdevil come from? Let me know in the comments.

If the CRB has helped you take a closer look at those inspired by the divine, please consider showing support and become one of my patrons by donating to to my Patreon or making a donation to my Paypal. Looking for more out of the CRB? Then you’re in luck! FacebookGoogle +Tumblr, and Twitter all have a CRB presence. And if you’re as impatient as I am, have the CRB pushed directly to your Kindle with every new post by signing up for Kindle Subscriptions.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What Lies Beneath

Five Creatures (other than rats) You'll Find in the Sewers

In many urban adventures, the party eventually must head down into the depths below the city. They will slog through the sewers to continue whatever it is their quest needs of them. Sewers have some common monsters within them such as rats, wererats, alligators, and other vermin. Today I want to look at some other interesting things one might challenge their players within a sewer system. I present to you five things you’ll find in the sewers that aren’t bugs or rats.


The first of two oozes on this list, the alchemical ooze swarm combines two things that low-level parties find challenging. Creatures of the ooze type can’t “see” although they have blindsight which negates invisibility or concealment, they have no mind which makes them immune to mind-affecting spells, and they have an amorphous body making them immune to flanking and precision damage. Tiny swarms, on the other hand, take half damage from slashing and piercing damage, are immune to spells that target one creature, and cannot be tripped or grapple. Even being between CR 1/3 and 2 these creatures can be tough for a party that isn’t prepared.

Alchemical oozes would be found in the sewers around potion makers shops or magical institutions that teach alchemy. When these places eliminate the waste their experimentation creates the run-off which might mix in unexpected ways to create one of the four types of ooze swarm: Choleric, Melancholic, Phlegmatic, and Sanguine. These collections of slime are one of the many hazards of an unthinking alchemist.

Goblin Snake


Although not technically goblins, these aberrations have a goblin-like face on a serpentine body. Like goblins, they are in a constant search for things to fill their gullet and if forced to they can be deadly predators. Given the chance, however, they would rather subsist off of things that they don’t have to hunt and are known to eat anything that falls in their path; from carrion to straight up rubbish. A sewer system is the perfect place to have their meals delivered to them by an unsuspecting populace.

Eating all that refuse gives these creatures a fetid breath, which can send low-level adventurers into bouts of upheaval. They also tend to keep snakes as pets, which can make for a more interesting encounter using the goblin snake as a puppet master for a number of vipers. Goblin snakes don’t even need to end up a combat encounter. These creatures are cowards at heart and can be bribed, especially with magical knowledge, to be helpful.

Gelatinous Cube


The second of the two oozes on this list, the gelatinous cube is a classic monster that pretty much everyone has faced at one point or another. Its engulf and paralysis abilities, on top of the already mentioned ooze immunities, can make it a formidable opponent to low-level parties. The fact that you can walk right into it if it’s motionless can start a battle off on rather the wrong foot.  There are some variations from the classic, including the ebony cube (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/oozes/gelatinous-cube/gelatinous-cube-ebony/), which is not transparent but can dissolve metal and stone, and the electric cube (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/oozes/gelatinous-cube/gelatinous-cube-electric/), which is only partially transparent but has a stunning electrical attack.

Like many of the other creatures on this list, the gelatinous cube is a devourer. It lives off of organic material which can be found in quantity in most sewer systems. It will eat everything from organic refuse to the vermin that tend to congregate in a city’s waste disposal system. With the origins of the transparent oozes being a mystery, there are any number of reasons one could have found its way into this urban environment.

Otyugh


The otyugh is a creature that is actually best known for dwelling in sewers, as well as middens, cesspools, and toxic swamps. These creatures are often used as sewer cleaners in large cities such as Korvosa in Paizo’sGolarion campaign setting. Of the creatures mentioned, this is probably the most common to be found in a sewer, although its use among GMs doesn’t always reflect that.

Although both intelligent and usually indifferent to the plight of good and evil, otyughs will, however, defend their lairs if attacked. This creature can add both an interesting fight and a moral conundrum to an encounter. If the party is traversing the sewer then they are the trespassers and many people refuse to believe that the choice of diet and lair make the Otyugh anything more than a mindless scavenger.

Flail Snail


Our last creature is both bizarre and deadly. The flail snail is one of those oddball monsters that made you say, “what the heck?” when you first saw it. The ability to pull itself up on a long mucus rope and adhere to ceilings and walls made for a twisted visual. Its sticky or gooey trail of snot slime, as well as being able to retract into its shell, made it a challenge to many parties. But the one thing that really sets the flail snail apart is its shell’s ability to warp the magic that is cast at the creature.

Flail snails are omnivorous and will eat vermin as well as fungus and occasionally organic human waste. Although not the most likely to be found in a city’s refuse system, the dank sewers replicate their normal underground territory enough that the basically free food delivered in the form of garbage would be enough to keep one or even a whole group around. Like the otyugh, these creatures are often mistaken for mere animals, but they do have an intelligence and thousands of years of racial memory. Sadly, they have no means of verbal communication.

Next time you’re looking to spice up your party’s trek into the fetid reaches of your city’s waste disposal system, consider these creatures. But they aren’t the only things you can find there. Other than rats and other vermin, what kind of creatures do you like to include in your sub-urban adventures?

The CRB likes to bring you the unusual and the out of the ordinary. If you’ve found today’s article helpful for your games please consider becoming a contributor to the CRB. Monthly donations of as little as one dollar can be made to my Patreon. A one-time donation can easily be made to my Paypal. Every bit helps me keep the lights on so I can concentrate on bringing you the content you deserve.

The CRB has been growing as a community on social media. Please join us on FacebookGoogle+Tumblr, and Twitter. My inbox is open on all forums for questions, comments, and discussion. If you don’t want to miss a beat make sure you sign up to have the CRB pushed directly to your e-reading device with Kindle Subscriptions through Amazon.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Past Informs the Present

Faithful of Bergelmir

Although many of the deities, demons, and demigods are worshipped by followers of a specific race, only a few races have deities that belong only to them. The orcs, elves, halflings, and storm giants are some of those special creatures with their own pantheons. This week we look at one of the storm giant deities, Bergelmir, the demi-goddess of elders, family, and genealogy. I present to you three possible sects for use in your campaign.

As always, let us imagine we are sitting at our theoretical gaming table. Our imaginary GM sets out the rules for the game that we will play. In this game, we are to make a follower of Bergelmir. The character does not need to be a divine caster, just a devotee of Mother of Memories. What character do you make?

For more information on Bergelmir
Bergelmir’s Pathfinder Wiki Page
Bergelmir’s Archives of Nethys Page

Librarians of the Shrouded Isle


Bergelmir is known to keep her list of the genealogies of the storm giants in one massive tome; for this reason, many of her followers have a great love of books. The Librarians are book collectors who live on an island off the coast of Katapesh called The Shrouded Isle. The land mass isn’t actually hidden but is covered in fog most of the time, making it harder to dock there. Their library is situated atop one of the mountain peaks above the perpetual fog bank. Other races will often attempt to get to the library to use it for research.

The sect accepts any member who brings them a new tome to add to their collection. The worshippers are separated into three groups: those who work in the library, those who guard the library, and those who search the world for new volumes. Common members include archivist bards, living grimoire inquisitors, investigators, and rogues.

Mothers of Memory


Among the storm giant collectives, one of the most influential elders is the Mother of Memory. She is a living connection to the ancestors of the giants, and takes her name from the moniker of her goddess. She has the ability to connect with these ancestors in some way and uses that power to help guide her tribe. The Mothers also gather once a year for a reconnection of all the ancient ancestors from the various tribes.

This sect is almost all casters of some type. Oracles with the ancestor mystery, shamans with an ancestor spirit – especially the name-keeper and speaker for the past archetypes, storyteller and legend channeler mediums, and spiritualists all find a home in the sect. Regardless of how they connect to the spirits of the past, each mother is revered for her ability to do so.

The Shared Thought


This collective of Bergelmir worshipers clings to her aspect as a teacher. She represents both knowledge and memory, and they seek to pass these things down to the next generation. The Shared Thought often tutors the young of a storm giant tribe. They guide those ready to become adults with the vast wealth of knowledge that they have gathered themselves.

Members of The Shared Thought are all giants who have survived their period of wanderlust and returned home to live out the rest of their days. They believe that to teach is their sacred duty as ascribed by their patroness. The members come from all backgrounds and a tribe may have a handful of this sect among their numbers, each teaching a different thing.

Followers of this demi-goddess are teaching their young the lessons of the past. Who is your disciple of Bergelmir? Why have they chosen to dedicate themselves to The Mother of Memories? Where does their devotion to this Giant Goddess come from? Let me know in the comments.

If the CRB has helped you take a closer look at those inspired by the divine, please consider showing support and become one of my patrons by donating to my Patreon or making a donation to my Paypal. Looking for more out of the CRB? Then you’re in luck! FacebookGoogle +Tumblr, and Twitter all have a CRB presence. And if you’re as impatient as I am, have the CRB pushed directly to your Kindle with every new post by signing up for Kindle Subscriptions.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Following In Footsteps

Thoughts on Cohorts

This week on one of the Pathfinder Facebook pages there was an interesting question that got me thinking: A poster’s GM had apparently let him kind of adopt a young goblin. The player wanted to figure out what he could do, mechanics-wise, to make this goblin a pet. Now, I’ve never been a huge fan of extra characters granted by the leadership, which is odd because I love animal companions and familiars. So today I’m gonna talk about cohorts and as both a mechanic and a roleplay opportunity.

As I mentioned love animal companions and I’ve written about them before so I’m going to skip talking about that for a second time. But there are a few ways to get a cohort in Pathfinder, so let’s talk about those.

The leadership feat is the most common way to gain a cohort. The thing about the actual leadership feat is that it also gives you followers and some GMs, myself included, feel like this can get a little unbalancing. One player wandering the countryside with a small cadre of low-level NPCs can become quite daunting.  I try and push for followers to be left at home, in a keep, castle, or organization’s headquarters, as I’ve seen GMs lose their minds keeping track of all these people on the road.

Leadership can’t be taken till seventh level, and the poster mentioned was looking to take his goblin as a companion-of-sorts fairly early on. I pointed out to him one way of doing this and in researching for this article I’ve found two others. All of these methods give you just a cohort, which is handy, although one of them allows you to switch to leadership at seventh level and the other automatically switches, gaining you the noted followers.

The one I brought up – and I think the one I like best – is the squire feat. This is available at third level but only to martial-based characters, as you must have proficiency with all martial weapons. The squire himself must also be a martial class with proficiency in all martial weapons, although it does not need to be whatever your class is. The fighter class has two archetypes which are not really what I would call optimal but they could be fun for your squire. The weapon bearer squire and the pack mule could both make for an interesting hanger-on.

Much like the squire feat, the imperial knight feat requires martial weapon proficiency but also heavy armor proficiency. The base attack bonus of plus six means that at best you could take it at sixth level – only one level lower than leadership – if you were a full BAB class with a bonus feat available at sixth level. The one problem with this feat is that you can only take a human or a Halfling with one of a handful of NPC classes. This is offset by an initiative and armor class bonus because the cohort automatically gets the feat, imperial squire.

The last feat that gains you a cohort is interesting in that it allows you to have more than one cohort in the amount equal to have your character level. This is balanced by the fact that unlike a regular cohort from leadership, which can be at highest two levels behind you, and the squire from the squire feat (three), your recruits can only at most be up to four levels behind you. Although you do gain multiple minions, only one can follow you on an adventure -- which leaves the other ones back at home doing your chores, like crafting things for you.

Since these all count as leadership for the purpose of qualifying for other feats, you could also take the practiced leadership feat to give your cohorts and yourself some extra bonuses. The plus to your cohort’s will saves against enchantment is nice. The real benefit for you, however, is that they count as having all your teamwork feats to determine whether or not you would get the bonus from said feats.

So now that you’ve figured out how you are going to be gaining the services of a cohort it’s time to figure out how you interact with said underling. In the same thread as the one that sparked this idea, someone brought up the idea of playing it along the lines of Don Quixote. The squire would be a Sancho-like character who centers the over-the-top deeds of his master. This may work best with the imperial knight feat seeing as Sancho was a peasant farmer and that feat gives a commoner as a cohort.

You could also play it as student learning from the master. This would probably mean your cohort is the same class as you are, which may seem counterproductive to having a second character in the first place. Still, the idea does have some merit as a pupil learns to be a samurai – or whatever class you are – as you pass down the knowledge that your master had once imparted to you. The dynamic here could be very amusing as you give instructions during combat or other inappropriate time. The Student could also be a sidekick a la Batman and Robin.

One of my favorite ideas for a cohort is a chronicler. Your minion follows you around and writes the story of your adventures for you. This works best for bards, but rogues or investigators might work as well. A support class that can do party buffs or maybe debuff the bad guys but doesn’t really get into the mix of combat makes the dynamic of recorder-of-deeds make sense. This dynamic is best suited to a self-centered character.

So there you have it, ideas on how to gain and use cohorts. How often do you take a cohort of some type? What path do you use to gain your follower? What roleplay dynamic do you use for you hanger-on?

Much like characters who take the leadership feat, the CRB has many followers across social media. As loyal readers, your support is incredibly helpful, so please consider becoming a contributor to the CRB. Monthly donations of as little as one dollar can be made to  my Patreon. A one-time donation can easily be made to my Paypal. Every bit helps me keep the lights on so I can concentrate on bringing you the content you deserve.

The CRB has been growing as a community on social media. Please join us on FacebookGoogle+Tumblr, and Twitter. My inbox is open on all forums for questions, comments, and discussion. If you don’t want to miss a beat make sure you sign up to have the CRB pushed directly to your e-reading device with Kindle Subscriptions through Amazon.