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.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Better Living Through Modern Chemistry

Begetters of Haagenti

Under the cloak of normality this week’s divine being hides his depravity and need for destruction. So, too, do his followers who -- unlike many worship of the lords of the abyss -- seem completely normal to outside scrutiny. Today we look at Haagenti, the Demon Lord of alchemy, invention, and transformation. I present to you three possible sects of The Whisperer Within.

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

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

The Society for the Advancement of Discovery


Like Haagenti himself, the members of The Society try to hide under a veneer of propriety. They mingle with the topmost thinkers of every nation to discuss invention and the advancement of science. In truth, they seek to make the most profane of creations in an attempt to unmake the world. They are especially fond of the fabrication of constructs, flesh golems being the favored among them.

The sect itself is comprised of a mix of alchemists and wizards who work in conjunction to make their creations. The creations that can be produced by either alone is not enough for followers of The Whisperer Within. Acceptance into the cult is by invitation only; after a long period of observation, which is why the group keeps up airs and mingles with academia.

The Sons of the Transformed


To many werewolves, they are the pinnacle of what it means to be a lycanthrope. The Demon Lord Jezelda and her followers believe that other werecreatures should be hunted down and killed and have thus created The Werehunters. The Sons of the Transformed are lycanthropes who battle against these hunters. Although they themselves are undeniably evil they fight to maintain their way of life. Even some normally good werecreatures can be convinced to join to preserve their own life.

All of the members of the sect are lycanthropes of one sort or another, except for werewolves. Since they spend a lot of time hunting down those who are hunting them, they tend to be rangers, anti-paladins, and assassins. The group seeks out those who are being run down and by The Werehunters and gives them a choice.

The Bettermen


Better living through modern chemistry, that is the motto of The Bettermen. They seek to make themselves smarter, stronger, and more powerful through the use of alchemical mutagens. The problem is that this leads to psychological deficiencies. Often they become a completely different person when they ingest the chemicals that allow them more power, and often this person is even more cruel, vindictive, and murderous then their unchanged alter ego.

Anyone that has mastered the art of the mutagen can join the sect. Alchemists (especially the beastmorph archetype), mutagen warrior fighters, and mutagenic mauler brawlers make up the core of the sect. The alter egos are usually the one who seek admittance to the group, but eventually, the main personalities come along for the ride.

All things come through science and change to the followers of this dark entity. Who is your disciple of Haagenti? Why have they chosen to dedicate themselves to The Whisper Within? Where does their devotion to this Demon Lord 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, October 18, 2017

Building a Better Monster

Thoughts on Flesh Golems

Hello, boys and ghouls (there really needs to be an undead or monster to turn the word boys into but I can’t think of one offhand) it’s time to continue our month-long Halloween extravaganza here on the CRB. We’ve touched on some of the iconic horror monsters so far, including undead ofall stripes and the bestial creatures known as lycanthropes. This week we’re going to tackle another classic monster (and its relatives): the flesh golem.

The flesh golem in D&D has always been analogous to the Frankenstein’s Monster. Although not quite identical to the seminal construct from Mary Shelley’s book it does have enough similarities to fit our bill. Like “The Monster,” the flesh golem is a hulking hideous amalgam of body parts from various corpses, stitched together to make a grotesque whole. Brought to life by some forces humans find hard to control, science and magic both, it takes on a bizarre mockery of life. Although the monster in the book seems to retain some shred of intelligence and flesh golems do not, they both might fly into a rage when attacked.

One of the things I find interesting about flesh golems – and that a lot of people overlook – is the fact it requires casting animate dead to construct one of these behemoths. There is a saying that goes something like, "knowledge is knowing Frankenstein is not the monster. Wisdom is knowing Frankenstein is a monster." Since casting any type of raise undead spells is an evil act, any person who creates a flesh golem is most likely leaning toward being evil.

Just throwing a flesh golem at your players doesn’t really evoke the kind of horror I’m looking for when I’m running a horror game. Sure, they are powerful creatures, but power isn’t the only terrible thing. One of the ways I’ve used these monsters to terrify my players is by making some of their parts recognizable. There is nothing more likely to break a character’s morale than noticing the tattoo on the arm of the flesh golem belongs to one of their dead siblings. Or imagine staring into the face of your mother as the roiling mound of skin attacking you.

Admittedly a house rule of mine, seeing as Flesh Golems are created using the animate dead spell, I’ve occasionally attached a soul to them. I reason that the spell allows the soul to get sucked in along with the elemental that is the usual driving force behind such a monster.  When confronted with a golem that shows some occasional spark of humanity – albeit tortured – that can throw the players for a loop.

As a low-level adventure you could have the party hunting down a mad arcanist who is trying construct one of the creatures. The caster trying to build the thing is looking for very specific corpses to create his monstrosity and the players face off against his minions who are gathering the pieces. Whether he gets the exact dead bits he needs or has to stitch together his second choices, the players will face the doctor, his creation, and maybe even a right-hand man named Igor.

There are plenty of other constructs to use. Their usual immunities to a lot of magic, damage reduction, and spell resistance mean that they often require more than the tactics as usual. Scarecrows can be interesting at mid-lower levels, as can caryatid columns. The shatter weapon ability of the latter has led to some interesting times with my players.

Have you used flesh golems in your games? What interesting twists have you used to make the more horrific? Have you added any special house rules to your flesh golems? What other constructs have you used in your game, beyond the normal stone and iron types?

Much like creating a flesh golem the CRB hopes to stitch together some new and fun ways to do things. If we’ve helped you build on your existing campaign, 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 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, October 14, 2017

Moon over Terror

Predators of Jezelda

Monsters prey on the weak and the innocent. Many of them were created by the Mother of Monsters, the Demon Lord turned deity Lamashtu. Some dark creatures like ghouls had their start with a different diviner being. Werewolves got their start from a third Demon Lord. This week we look at Jezelda, the Demon Lord of desolation, the moon, and werewolves. I present to you three possible sects of this foul shapeshifter.

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 Jezelda. The character does not need to be a divine caster, just a devotee of The Mistress of the Hungry Moon. What character do you make?

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

The Werehunters


Jezelda hates all werecreatures that are not werewolves. She is especially spiteful of good-aligned shapeshifters like werebears. The Werehunters are a group who specialize in finding and slaying other lycanthropes.

Members of the sect are carefully chosen; rangers, anti-paladins, and clerics make up the core of the sect. Occasionally an arcane caster will be recruited, usually witches but occasionally wizards. All of the group’s members are werewolves so they can more easily do battle with their prey.

The Moonlighters


The moon itself falls within the realm of Jezelda’s portfolio. Her followers are also some of the most crazed madmen next to the followers of Rovagug. The Moonlighters are a group that thinks the will of their goddess is to make it to the moon. She does nothing to refute this idea.

Casters, alchemists, astronomers, and crafters of all kind want to claim the moon as their own. A few of them have actually made it to the moon but none of them have ever made it back. Speculation among the sect abounds about what these members found, but their research – like much of the notes of the group – is gibberish and almost impossible to decipher, even for other members.

The Nothing


The followers of Jezelda enjoy the open spaces, the places where nothing exists. They hate other sentient beings with a passion and wish to see them all wiped away. They want to make the land as desolate as their souls. To this end, they try to wipe out small villages to let the land retake its place, with the eventual goal of leveling whole cities.

This group consists of mostly corrupt druids. They hate humanity with a passion and want nothing short of the total destruction of all that man has created. The members of this sect spend most of their time in dark secluded forests in the form of an animal instead of in their human guise.

This being’s followers erupt to life and bring something new to the table every time. Who is your disciple of Jezelda? Why have they chosen to dedicate themselves to The Mistress of the Hungry Moon? Where does their devotion to this Demon Lord 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.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Night to Howl

Lycanthropes and You

As we continue to delve into the best holiday of the year – Halloween – we’re going to take a look at one a classic monster. This is one of my favorite monsters, the werewolf. We’re actually going to take a look at all lycanthropes but the wolf is obviously the most iconic. Although in this instance we’ll be talking about the creature in Pathfinder, one of my favorite incarnations of the beast is from White Wolf’s Werewolf the Apocalypse.

For those of you who don’t use lycanthropes in your games often, Pathfinder takes from the old D&D rules and has two differing forms of these emblematic shapechangers. There are those who much like in the movies – One of my favorites being The Howling –  get bitten and are overcome by the curse of lycanthropy, and we call these the afflicted. There are also those with the inborn ability to shift form inherited from a parent, and these are known as natural lycanthropes. These two types will become important as we look at how to use these creatures in our games.

Part of using werewolves, and other were-creatures, in our games is the primal terror created by the beasts. Things like zombies are unthinking, vampires tend to be romanticized, but werewolves are pure rage and brutality. This is contrasted by the fact that for most of their lives they have human form and can blend in among the normal populace if they so choose. The fact that there could be a beast among the villagers or even the party and the group just doesn’t know, even the lycanthrope may not know, can instill just the right amount of terror and paranoia.

We learn in the very well written “Ecology of the Lycanthrope” in the third book of the Carrion Crown adventure path called Broken Moon, that for the most part afflicted lycnathropes may not even know they carry the curse. They often have no memory of the nights the change. When an afflicted werecreature learns of his curse, much like thewererats in book one of the Shattered Star Adventure Path, they can try and change form outside of the full moon. Where the afflicted will never try and change back to their human form during the forced changes, natural lycanthropes can attempt to revert back with some difficulty.

Once we understand that the afflicted may not know about their change we get a great means of throwing off our players. When the cursed being is not under the throes of the beast within she retains the alignment she had before the change. So a lawful good town sheriff will detect as being good to magic even though a few nights a month he turns into a chaotic evil mass of fur and claws. When confronted by the fact that the villain is actually a nice honest man most of the time, how do our players work toward solving this issue? This can lead to some great role play opportunities, especially if one of the characters is Ulfen, because their people see lycanthropy as a gift not a curse.

Although a common method of curing the afflicted lycanthrope – such as our fictitious sheriff – is with the remove curse spell, this may not always be available. If the party meets a werewolf before level six they won’t have access to the spell at all. At level six they have about a fifty-fifty chance of dispelling the afflicted’s curse. But the biggest issue is going to be that to remove a curse you have to touch the creature, and in the case of lycanthropes you can only cure them when they are in hybrid form. In the case of an afflicted werecreature this means they are most likely trying to kill you.

If they don’t have access to remove curse, a party can always try and find another way to cure the poor soul. There are a lot of folk remedies for curing a werewolf of this curse; which ones work in your game are up to you. Crazy mystical cures might include blood of a unicorn or a cup of moonlight. A common one from the movies is to kill the creature that turned them afflicted in the first place. An interesting possible cure from Classic Horrors Revisited is to skin the werewolf in its hybrid or wolf form.

One of the other questions we have to ask ourselves is: are all werewolves evil? Obviously there are other evil werecreatures as well, like the werebat and wererat. But there are also good lycanthropes like the bear. It is my understanding that being a werecreature does not actually change your alignment at all. You just become that monster’s alignment when you lose control on the full moon. Since natural lycanthropes can attempt to control their change during the full moon, there is a chance they will never be tempted by their own beast. Gods like Ashava use half-celestial werewolves as minions so there is precedence even of goodness in these creatures.

In our games finding a werewolf – or other generally evil werecreature – that is trying to stay the beast is another interesting story to tell. How does a party of good characters try and reconcile these normally ravening beasts being good? Does the party help the creature try and maintain is goodly nature? Or do they kill it for the threat it might become? If the killing starts will he get blamed? As a GM you could use that as the perfect time for another killer to set up the werecreature holding on to its morality as a patsy.

Werewolves can play a part in your game as barbaric monster, unfortunate victim, or tragic outcast. How do you use werecreatures in your games? What are some of your favorite folk cures for lycanthropy? How do you handle good aligned werecreatures in your game? What happens to werewolves on a planet with more than one moon?

The only thing the CRB looks to afflict you with in interesting ideas for your next game. If you found today’s article sparks some fun ideas, 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, October 7, 2017

All Ghoul Things

Ravenous of Kabriri 

In the depths of the abyss lies necropolis of Everglut, home to the first ghoul. Being the first to devour the flesh of your brother brings with it great power apparently, and today we are going to look at the being that started cannibalism. Kabriri, the Demon Lord of ghouls, graves, and secrets kept by the dead is this week’s divine focus. I present to you three possible sects of the Lord of Ghouls, He Who Gnaws, Kabriri.

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 Kabriri. The character does not need to be a divine caster, just a devotee of He Who Gnaws. What character do you make?

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

The Gravedigger’s Union


Members of the Gravedigger’s Union pose as mild-mannered undertakers in small communities around Andoran. Unionized labor is not unheard of in the fledgling democracy, but it is the perfect cover for this group’s true motives. The Gravediggers are highly trained assassins who worship the murder aspect of Kapriri’s portfolio. Their calling card is that their victims are always found in a grave with a wooden tomb marker giving the exact time of their death.

Becoming a member of the Gravedigger’s Union is an honor bestowed, not sought. The assassins are selected from the ranks of smaller cults of the Demon Lord, and the prospective members are trained in both the art of death and funerary. The sect has members that originated from many professions, martial or magical.

The Feast of Memory


Some explorers seek to gain knowledge from scouring the ruins of ancient civilizations. The Feast of Memory plumbs the knowledge of the ancients by ripping it from their cold, dead minds. These grave robbers search ancient tombs for the remains of those who once walked the earth to commune with the spirits. They do so by devouring a portion of the dead person, whether from the canopic jar of mummy organs or a skeleton’s bones crushed into an easily ingested paste.

The sect consists of mostly masters of the necromantic arts, arcane and divine. The sect has some few support staff who assist with actually getting into the hoary tombs, but often the members will just hire on with adventuring parties as a magical backup to achieve their goals. Admittance into the sect requires that one has feasted upon the flesh of the dead with a pack of ghouls.

The Rotters


Of the intelligent undead, ghouls are the most social. They often live in packs in the wild and have even formed vast underground cities in the Darklands and the undead friendly nation of Geb. To the living the flesh of the dead seems vile. However, to the ghouls, differing amounts of rot and decay have a variety of flavors. The Rotters are a sect of ghouls who experiment with corpses to produce differing flavors incurred by degrees of decomposition and manners of burial.

The leader of the sect, a ghoul who in life was named Ulmer Khemt, was a connoisseur of food and wine. He was a vintner of his own wines and brought in chefs from around the world to sate his eclectic palate. It was when one chef failed him and he had the man killed that he tasted his first bit of human flesh. Now he and his Rotters bring new and different flavors of putrefied flesh to the ghouls of Geb.

This being’s followers erupt to life and bring something new to the table every time. Who is your disciple of Kabriri? Why have they chosen to dedicate themselves to He Who Gnaws? Where does their devotion to this Demon Lord 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 KindleSubscriptions.