Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Paizo RPG Superstar Competition

Paizo is holding their annual RPG Superstar competition, and the first entry deadline is in early December. I was excited about working on an entry, but sadly I noticed the side-bar about auto-rejecting entries a bit too late. Oh well... my first entry will now remain a Web-published curiosity:
Gozreh’s Baresman
I thought it might be fun to look into how I created this item, so here you go:

My first thought was that I wanted to create a religious artifact, so I did some Web searches with the names of older religions and Zoroastrian history provided the "baresman" now known as a barsom. In reality, these are collections of rods with no binding. They are usually held or laid out in a receptacle where they naturally form a crescent. If one end of that bunch were gathered up into a circular group, it would look like a tear or drop of water. This made me think of the tear-drop shape of the water in Gozreh's holy symbol and how the tip could symbolize a wave when it crests on the ocean, bringing Gozreh's dual nature into play (wind and water, male and female).

From there, it was just a matter of finding an appropriate spell, and Aqueous Orb from the Advanced Player's Guide seemed to fit the bill. It's a ball of water, but it's collected up into a sphere and moved around as a weapon. Saying that this was accomplished via the power of air or wind made sense, and this again tied both natures into the one device. I chose human priests of Gozreh in Garund because they seem to me to be the ones most tied to this deity. They have the permanent Maelstrom to contend with along with a tropical environment and as a continent, they have the most open-ocean exposure of the Inner Sea region. Elves aren't as common in Garund, so human priests seemed an apt choice, and allowed for enough baresmans having been created for a few to fall into ruins or other locations that players would encounter one.

Of course, a magical/religious relic like this wouldn't be treated as a simple tool by the clergy, so I wrote it up as both a protective item for the temples and as a tool used for the consecration of newly built temples. This opened the door for the solution to my final problem: clerics don't get Aqueous Orb. Because this is such a special event, however, I'm allowing that Gozreh grants his high priests this otherwise only druidic (in terms of divine casters) spell for the purpose of item creation.

The rest of the mechanical details are covered in the Magic Item Creation rules from the basic book.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

How roleplayers see Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is, perhaps, the best known play in the world. We all know many of the lines like: "What's in a name," "A plague o' both your houses!" But have you ever thought about how this play would have turned out, had Shakespeare been a roleplayer? Well, here you go:

If Shakespeare played White Wolf's World of Darkness

Actually, I think he would have written the play pretty much as-is, but the set design would have made it impossible to tell where the actors were standing. Also, he would have instructed them to read aloud the stage direction, "they fight" when Paris dies at Romeo's hands, instead of actually attacking each other. The initial Prologue would be several times longer, side-tracking into a small play within the play about Romeo's father.

If Shakespeare played Pathfinder

Most of the first act would be cut short, but the initial fight scene would take up most of the left-over time with choreography directions for the actors consuming twice the length of the original first act text. The balcony scene would be much shorter, amounting to a quick confirmation that both had lost their will saves, after which Romeo would have to fight several squads of guards as he made is way out of the Capulet estate. In tomb at the end, Romeo would have to fight off grave robbers and a risen corpse of Juliet's grandfather in addition to Paris. When Juliet arrives, she would be killed by a trap which she failed to search for.

If Shakespeare played Dungeons & Dragons

The dialogue would mostly be cut short. The fight scenes would take up most of the play, thought the balcony scene would still exist as a test of skill for Romeo who would demonstrate his ability to hide in shadows and climb. Sadly, Juliet's part would have to be cut for time.

If Shakespeare played GURPS

The play would proceed as expected, but Romeo would have a handgun that a mysterious, time-traveling stranger had handed him and Paris would have telekinetic powers. Their fight would last until a team of men in black showed up to contain Paris and lock him away deep under the Capulet estate where a secret facility keeps the rest of the play safe from the things best left unmentioned.

If Shakespeare played Hero System

The play would never start. He'd still be statting up guard and trying to figure out what Romeo's energy defense came out to.

If Shakespeare played Fudge

The entire play would be improvisational.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pathfinder has moved

It looks like the Pathfinder Wiki has moved from a Wikia-hosted thing to http://pathfinderwiki.com. I wish them the best of luck in the turbulent waters of self-hosting!