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Sunday, 27 April 2014

Vanim the Half-Elf Alchemist

PCs! in some ways I find doing player characters a little easier than monsters as we tend to push the monster designs a bit wackier. This guy is a character I created for a PvP tournament we're running at the moment, shown here in both his normal and steroid-enhanced forms.

The tournament is using the Pathfinder system, and this guy uses a Pathfinder class called an Alchemist. Alchemists are kind of weird, highly adaptible support spellcasters who are able to fill in a number of roles. Well, I say "spellcasters" but obviously all their abilities are themed around (al)chemical concoctions. Your base alchemist has three principal abilities:

  1. Extracts, which are just spell equivalents that you select from a limited pool. They function as potions, and are mostly single-target buffs (like Bull's Strength etc) that target the drinker (they only work on the alchemist herself by default, although you can spec into the ability to give them to your allies too).
  2. Bombs, which are just alchemical explosives that the alchemist mixes up on the spot - these hit a single target for fair damage and do a bit of splash too.
  3. Mutagen, which is a neat sort of Barbarian-style steroid that gives a +4 bonus to one physical stat (typically STR) at the expense of -2 to a corresponding mental one. This, again, is drank as a potion but only ever affects the alchemist herself.
The usual use of mutagen is to induce an incredible-hulk-esque last resort in melee combat with the STR boost, but Vanim instead goes for a mutagen that gives +4 to DEX and -2 to WIS (I guess to represent the lack of caution you would feel having become spontaneously nimble). I've paired this with Weapon Finesse and Improved Feint, as well as an Alchemist variant that replaces Bombs with a rogue-equivalent sneak attack, so the game plan is going to be to run up to people, feint them repeatedly while sneak attacking them in the face. Will it work?!??!?!?!? Possibly.

As for actual character backstory - it's deliberately a bit thin on the ground (it's just a tournament, after all), but the idea is that Vanim is this half-elf with a bit of facial disfiguration. Blaming the blemish on his human ancestry, he becomes an alchemist to try and "enhance" his elven qualities, the result of which being his mutagen (his transformed body is supposed to be a caricature of an Elvish appearance - he thinks it's beautiful but in reality it looks pretty horrible).

Anyway, sorry for the long delays. What do you think of the way I've statted Vanim? Got any cool character creation stories? When will I post next? NOBODY KNOWS 

- Joe

Monday, 21 April 2014

Tortella the Half-Orc Acrobat

It's been a while since we've posted, so I'm gonna post what the peoples wants: more PCs! (we'll get back to actual monsters soon i'm really sorry).

So we're currently playing the Fangwood Keep campaign as run by Joe. When we came to lieutenant #2, Daigo Longtooth, Joe spun it so that he would face us on 1v1 combat. It the member of our chosen party (it was Fitz-Auk) defeated him, he would surrender. I managed to win with the help of a lot of disarm maneuvers. However, the rest of the party felt like it would've been cool if they'd had a chance for the 1v1.

So alongside the actual campaing, we're gonna be running a little tournament. Each one of us (eight in total), will submit a 7th-level character for a series of 1v1 matches on some custom maps. We're going to be using the duelling and performce rules from Ultimate Combat. It's all going to be quite exciting.

So my submission for the tournament will be Tortella, acrobat-on-sabbatical, a half-orc discovering what it means to be an orc by beating up things and taking their teeth. She actually uses the flowing monk archetype, because I felt that fit the character the best for what I wanted her to be. The whole monks must be lawful thing feels a bit more like a guideline to me anyway.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Angel of Decay

The Angel of Decay is not a true angel -- it's not any sort of extradimensional. Nor is it a true angel that has succumbed to some vicious corruption. The Angel of Decay is a physical manifestation of rot and gain nourishment from the decay of others. It's almost always in flight, but upon touching the ground, a pool of oozing putresence will form around it.

Sorry about the delay in updating. We've been quite busy and drained lately. But thanks to all of you who visit the site and to those who have purchased our book.

The Angel of Decay is a much more interesting creature that the original illustration led me to believe. In that image, the flesh of the angel seems to be dry and torn away from its bones in ragged strips. An while that's a valid way to potray an undead creature, it doesn't seem quite adequate for something symbolizing the decomposition of flesh. I ended up doing a fair bit of research on the spoilage of carcasses which is, needless to say, fascinating but gross. There are various stages to decomposition. First there's bloating as gases build up and various frothing liquids are expelled. Then the soft exposed tissues (eyes, mouth, wounds...) are consumed by insects -- a few videos I've watched had the heads of the experimental pig carcass dissolve into nothingness before there was much of a mark on the rest of the body. Then the body goops up until all the moisture leaves the body, and sometimes the stuff left after evaporation leaves a dark strain behind. Finally you have remaining dry tissue and bone. Decomposition changes according to the environment (see mummification).

So I decided to make the angel really goopy. The physical body of angel is in that state of decay where all the flesh is runny and blackened and being consumed by maggots. The angel's path is strewn with its own cast off rotting meat.

I also took inspiration from Biblical sources. I originally was looking as Pestilence of the Four Horsemen, but in the end I wanted to emphasize the angelic shape of the creature more. At the same time, I still wanted it to look alien and wrong. In the end I decided to make it look like a rotting seraphim. Seraphim were depicted as having six wings hiding the rest of the angel's body from view, save sometimes for a glimpse of the face, and covered in divine flame.