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, September 20, 2017

With Your Powers Combine

 Thoughts on Multiclassing

When I’m building a character I like to think about things I want him to be able to do and how best I can get those abilities onto my sheet. Sometimes the things I want to accomplish for my character cannot be done with just the base class. Now Paizo has made it easier to switch around some class abilities with the cunning use of archetypes, but often you have to resort to the dreaded practice of multiclassing.

Now multiclassing is a touchy subject for some people. I personally enjoy the hell out of mixing and matching class abilities to find odd synergies. I’ve always found it odd that some folk will claim that level dipping is min-maxing a character while others will claim that multiclassing at all is always subpar. I’m not sure how it can be both things. I just look at it as a way to get the character the abilities that you need. And as I’ve already discussed, since your character isn’t a class you can very well make a sword fighter by mixing rogue and fighter, or slayer and swashbuckler.

One of the main arguments against multiclassing is the decrease in effectiveness of level based abilities. Anything that has a DC based on your level or gives you a bonus that is half your class level will be affected. It’s also a big no-no to multiclass out of a full spellcasting class because it hinders your growth into the more powerful spells in the game. And while all this can be mechanically true, you can build a character that can have a lot of fun with one or two abilities that synergize well by multiclassing.

Now there is a fine line between fun and useful and completely ineffective. You should be making a character that can do interesting things but can still contribute to the party. I’m not one of those folks that thinks you should level dip into commoner or anything. I just don’t think every character has to be made exactly to a formula, or else you just get the same exact wizard or the same exact rogue at every table and that gets dull.

One of the current characters I am playing is a multiclass character with three classes. The character originated from an idea that Alex Augunas put up on his Iconic Designs section of know direction. I did, however, make some adjustments to make it fit what I was going for. When I first did the build neither my GM nor I realized that sleuth and steel hound didn’t stack, and although we left it be for the game I’m going to present the character that actually works without the stacking issues.

Like Alex’s build, I went with investigator and gunslinger, but I also added in a level of swashbuckler. For my version of the build I went with the sleuth archetype of investigator, the mysterious stranger archetype of gunslinger, and the picaroon archetype of swashbuckler. So what is the synergy of these classes you might ask? Grit, luck, and panache are different pools that combine into one bigger pool, and with these archetypes each of those pools is based on charisma. So I get a combine grit/luck/panache pool of charisma times three.  And once I’ve hit one level in each of these classes I have nine deeds as well, all fueled by the same pool.

Now is this the most overpowered combination of classes to build from? Probably not, but it has been effective and most of all it’s been a lot of fun to play. Now I just took a one level dip in both gunslinger and swashbuckler because the core of my character is a detective for the Magnimar city guard, but from there I could have gone five levels in gunslinger for dexterity to damage and played him a little more combat heavy.

One of my other favorite multiclass combinations is barbarian and the mutagenic mauler archetype for brawler. It’s an idea that got better fleshed out by other people, particularly when our friend Neal over at Improved Initiative used it as a conversion for Bane, but it’s something that seemed pretty obvious, and I played it as my first brawler character ever. The obvious mechanical synergy is stacking the increased physical stat bonus (usually strength) with the bonuses granted from rage. The thematics of the multiclass is a person who takes a drug and gets both angry and more powerful. To run with the idea that the drug makes you angry, though, it makes sense to only rage when you take your mutagen.

There are hundreds if not thousands of other ways to multiclass. Although many times the prestige classes out there are not that great many of them you need to combine some classes to get into. Mystic Theurge gets a lot of crap because people are dead set on the idea that you must hit level nine spells for full casting class, but I’ve seen it played pretty effectively. There are also dozens of different ways to multiclass into eldritch knight which can be fun as well. It all depends on your balance between fun (or thematic) and useful.

Do you like to multiclass or do you prefer staying one single class straight through? If you do enjoy it what are some of your favorite multiclass combos? What kind of synergies do you search for when multiclassing?

Like multiclassing, the CRB combines my love of gaming with my need to write. If that’s a synergy you enjoy, 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.

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Random Roll 94 - The Randomness

It’s been awhile since we’ve had a human as the race for our random roll race. Sometimes the random rolls are your friends and sometimes they are. This week we ended up with two tanked stats. Our character this week is both weak of body, and deficient in mind. A woman from Rahadoum who was left for dead at birth, and betrayed later in life but still ends up being lawful good. So lets see what reasons we can come up for that this week.

Human Ethnicity:Mwangi (Zenj)
Height:5’ 11”
Alignment:Lawful Good

Str: 14
Dex: 11
Con:  8
Int: 8
Wis: 19
Cha: 14

Homeland: City or Metropolis
Parents: Both of your parents are alive.
Siblings: You have 2 biological siblings.
- biological younger sister
- biological twin sister
Circumstance of Birth: [Left to Die] When you were born you were left to die, but by some twist of circumstance you survived.
Parent's Profession: Yeomen
Major Childhood Event: [Betrayal] A friend or family member whom you trusted more than anyone else betrayed you. You have never fully trusted anyone since and prefer to rely on your own abilities rather than place your trust in others.

Influential Associate:The Wanderer] You knew someone who traveled from place to place with the changing of the wind, such as a minstrel, convict, merchant, outcast, soldier, or sailor. This person brought you wondrous mementos and told you of all the places he had traveled and the people who lived there, inspiring a wanderlust within you.

Conflict: [Told a Lie] You deliberately made someone believe something that was not true to further your own goals.
Conflict Subject: Noble.
Conflict Motivation: Hatred or Malice.
Conflict Resolution: [Sincere Regret] Though you feel sincere regret for the event and its memory affects your behavior, it’s still a secret. Only your trusted companions know of the conflict, and they have promised a degree of discretion.
Deity/Religious Philosophy: No Deity

Romantic Relationship(s):[Several Significant Relationships] You’ve engaged in a number of partnerships, but for some reason or another your relationships always fail.
Drawback:[Pleasure] You crave luxury, entertainment, and pleasure. You might indulge in every passing fancy or hold strong against a temptation that constantly eats at you.

(Trait) Civilized
(Trait) Courageous
(Trait) Kin Guardian
(Trait) Savage
(Trait) Savanna Child
(Trait) Suspicious
(Trait) Vagabond Child
(Trait) Worldly
(Story Feat) Arisen
(Drawback) Hedonistic

In the comments give us your ideas for how to make this into a fully realized character? What class do you think best suits this characters stats and background? Why was she left for dead? Who betrayed her? And don’t forget to stay tuned Friday when my background hits the CRB.

The CRB not only brings you the creative content you desire but makes you look inside for your own creativity. If you feel both inspired and pushed to created please consider supporting your favorite content provider – that’s me right – by pledging as little as $1 on my Patreon or making a direct donation to my Paypal.

If you don’t want to miss a beat make sure you sign up to get the CRB pushed directly to your e-reading device with Kindle Subscriptions through Amazon. And to keep up with my other musings and thoughts you can follow the CRB on Facebook, Google+Tumblr, and Twitter.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Kiss From A Rose

Devotees of Milani

Many of the minor divine beings that I look to expand upon have little to nothing written about them. This week’s minor deity, however,  is one of the most written about lesser beings of the divine pantheons. Milani is the minor deity of hope, devotion, and uprisings. Her followers are especially active in Cheliax and Galt, so I’m going to try and steer away from both of those locations as I present to you three possible sects of this week’s goddess.

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 Milani. The character does not need to be a divine caster, just a devotee of The Everbloom. What character do you make?

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

The First Light

Milani’s followers cling to her teachings for hope in dark times. One of the truly darkest places on Golarion is the realm of Nidal. Led by followers of one of two deities opposed to Milani,  Zon-Kuthon, it is here that the Everbloom sees a great need for hope among the people.

In places like Galt and Cheliax her follower bring an active and aggressive resistance. The people of Nidal are not quite ready for that and so members of the First Light bring hope in the way of good deeds and entertainment. Clerics and bards make up a majority of the sect’s following, but they usually keep a low profile knowing that should they be found out they will suffer the exquisite tortures of the Kuthites.

The Desert Bloom

When Milani’s followers band together to fight for freedom, it is usually against some sinister or evil oppressors. In the lands of Rahadoum they do not fight against the oppression of a people’s political rights, but against the oppression of faith itself. The land of the laws of man seeks to keep down dedication to the deities of the multiverse, but Milani’s faithful want to see the light of faith bloom in the eyes of the people of the Kingdom of Man once more.

The membership of this sect is separated into small cells that work independently of each other. No one person knows more than one or two others, and most members wear masks or some other covering when doing the deity’s work. Bards, rogues, clerics, and oracles make up a large percentage of this sect’s membership, but any person from any walk of life whose faith has blossomed can join -- pending a thorough background check.

The Forbidden Fruit

Across Golarion half-elves are looked up unfavorably by both their parent races. For many half-elves, Milani is proof that their life can have a greater purpose. They also know that without love between elves and humans, half-elves wouldn’t exist. The Forbidden Fruit is a group that helps lovers of other races find a way to be with one another.

The sect operates mostly on the border between Kyonin and The River Kingdoms. They smuggle lovers back and forth between the two kingdoms so that they can be together. The sect is exclusively made up of half-elves who have been seeking purpose most of their lives. Inquisitors, rogues, and rangers make up a good portion of the group as travel through the forests requires some know-how.

Freedom not just for the faithful, but for all people is what our deity’s followers seek. Who is your disciple of Milani? Why have they chosen to dedicate themselves to The Everbloom? Where does their devotion to this minor deity come from? Let me know in the comments.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Character 93 - Danior Herne

I found this week’s character rather interesting and I had an idea for him the instant he was rolled up. I’ve done one other character from Lastwall and I really like the history the region has with the whispering tyrant. Seeing as the land is a constant battlefield, both to protect the land from outside incursion by the orcs of the Hold of Belzken and to guard what is believed to be the tyrant’s final resting place, the idea of knights went through my head. Although the charisma for the character was high enough to be a paladin we got neutral good and not lawful neutral as an alignment, so I went cavalier instead.

Danior Herne

Danior’s family came to Lastwall a few generations ago. His great grandfather built a business on importing the weapons and armor that the crusaders needed to defend the line from the orcish invaders. His grandfather and father would continue the tradition. It was assumed that Danior would as well, but his father passed on before he had grown into a man.

The business passed on to his father’s partners, which was all well and good because Danior didn’t have a head for it. Pricing and inventory was not the boy’s strong suit. Anything with numbers was beyond him, as the younger Herne turned out to be more than a little slow. Being a trader was never something the boy wanted anyway. He dreamed of being one of the knights he saw daily heading to the front, or to guard some other location important to the region’s defense.

It wasn’t just the knights. One of the things that Danior’s father left him before he died was a small shield that had been enchanted. The boy would use it to play knight every chance he got. Even though his mother told him that his father wasn’t one of the crusaders, Danior always imagined his father as a knight in a full suit of resplendent armor.

Not all the warriors on the front were knights. Some of them were mercenaries, hired to fill gaps in the defenses. One of them took a liking to the boy and started training him at an early age. He taught Danior how to swing a sword and carry a shield. The sword-for-hire also taught him how to make a deal for his services, to always be fair, and to always uphold your end of the bargain.

Things changed for Danior around his thirteenth birthday. Some tieflings are born with the outward traits that expose them as such. In Danior’s case he lived a normal childhood, but when he hit puberty his body changed. Whether it was from his mother’s side or his father’s, the blood of some abyssal creature flowed through his veins, deforming him.

At first Danior covered his body. He thought that if he could conceal himself in a suit of armor like the knights he could just pretend this wasn’t happening to him; that he was as perfect as they were. That never really worked, so eventually he ran off. He was turned away from the knighthood so he joined up with one of the mercenary bands.

Danior was only a decent fighter but he had a certain presence about him which helped to motivate others. And his visage could be quite intimidating, which he used to his advantage when he wasn’t trying to hide it from the world. But he was young and impressionable as well, and not every group of sellswords was like the man who showed him how to use a weapon back when he was a kid.

The mercenaries were nominally working for the government of Lastwall, usually doing missions that the knights saw as beneath them. The group had been tracking down an item that was deemed too dangerous to be left about, and it was in the hands of a young and reckless sorcerer. Danior was tasked with stealing it from the man, which he did, but no matter how he played it out after it always felt wrong.

Eventually, though, Danior’s talent and dedication to his homeland got noticed. A group of crusaders not officially tasked by the government approached him. Their order has been working to keep the creeping evil of the whispering tyrant locked away and thwart those who would try to unleash his power or follow in his footsteps.

Danior joined with the order and swore to defend Lastwall and the world from the insidious evil. But even with their acceptance, he is never sure he really belongs or even deserves that honor. He works hard to make them proud, but in every step he has his own doubts.

What became of your tiefling? What class do you think his life and stats led him down the road to? How did his father die? Why did he steal an object from a spellcaster? Who was his mercenary mentor?

The CRB not only brings you the creative content you desire but helps you look inside for your own creativity. If you feel both inspired and pushed to create, please consider supporting your favorite content provider – that’s me, right? – by pledging as little as $1 on  my Patreon or making a direct donation to my Paypal.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Talk It Out

On Punishing Player's IC for OOC Problems

We’re gonna take a break from world building today because I’ve seen a particular conversation pop up no less than a dozen times between all of the Facebook and Reddit RPG boards I’m on. A GM has a problem with a player -- whether it’s their gaming style, one little habit they have with their character, or even something out of game like chewing on ice really loudly -- and they want to know how they can deal with it. The problem is that they don’t ask about dealing with the player, they ask how they can punish the player. And even when the petitioner doesn’t specifically say punish it seems that the first thing a lot of GMs will chime in with is how to punish them.

First off this isn’t kindergarten. You aren’t a teacher. Your players are not unruly five-year-olds. It is not your job to punish them. There are going to be problems, that is is the nature of groups of humans getting together. Not everyone is going to be able to handle every little quirk or idiosyncrasy of other human beings. But we’re adults now, for the most part, and the way we deal with these problems isn’t by taking it out on other people. What we should be doing is talking with them.

Now I don’t know where or when this started. It may have been before I started gaming but it needs to stop. A lot of times the problem is a juxtaposition of gaming styles. This isn’t insurmountable, but every time a GM laments that one of his players is a powergamer the first answer from a lot of people find a way to in game torture them, or to just stymie them at every turn. When a GM asked about a player who tried to find weird ways to make the rules get a job done even Chris Perkins tweeted back to just tell him that you won’t allow it. The problem is that this doesn’t solve the problem; it just causes new ones.

If someone did something wrong and you don’t say what it is they did but just go out of your way to stymie their every move it’s not going to change their behavior. I’ve seen it time and time again, it only escalates the situation. Now the player feels like you’re picking on them and their attitude sours, which leads to other undesirable behaviors. Instead of fixing the problem you’ve created new ones. If your answer to these new issues is more denial and in game torture then it just becomes a vicious cycle.

I’ve seen people recommend giving people a curse, killing their family, taking all their magic items, and many other petty acts of revenge to deal with a minmaxer, powergamer, or spotlight hog. The truth of the matter is if you resort to these types of tactics then regardless of what the player did you are now the bad guy. There are places where fighting fire with fire works, this is not one of them.

So how do we deal with these issues instead? It’s a pretty simple answer; a novel concept some may have heard of: we talk with them. If you have a player who likes to tool with rules to get interesting things done but steps on other people’s toes just talk with them. “Hey Bob it’s nice that you like to think outside the box, but when you have to spend 15 minutes trying to see if you can cajole thing A to do thing B it slows the game down for everyone. And really thing B is Tim’s niche so it would be nice if you could let him have his time to shine. I promise I’ll make sure you have some big moments for you too.” It really is quite that simple.

And sometimes the problem can’t be solved. The player is dead set in their ways and it’s going to be a constant clash. It’s ok to ask that person to leave the game. Or if that person is central to the group – friends with all the other players – it’s ok to say you can’t deal with it and remove yourself. Look, I know finding a gaming group is not the easiest thing in the world, but this is your free time. If you’re like me you have very little of it and having to deal with people who take the fun out of your free time is just something you shouldn’t do.

There are also ways to nip this kind of thing in the bud before it starts. Session zero, which goes around a lot, is super important for this. Not just for character creation but for talking with your players about what their expectations of a game are and what yours are. There are a number of questionnaires out there that will help you determine if what you are looking for in a game is the same thing your players are looking for. If you take the time to do this in the beginning there are usually fewer hiccups further down the line.

So in closing, don’t be that guy. If you have a problem talk it out.

How do you handle issues when they arise at your table?

Words are one of our greatest tools. Not only can we use them to solve problems but also to relate ideas to one another. If today’s words have hit home, 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.