Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Basics of the New Year

So far, 2014 is off to an unusual start. My bout of unemployment has prevented me from commissioning as much original art as I would have liked, and delayed some projects I wanted to complete- namely Even Heavier Weapons for Heavy Future, and the Advanced Guide for Black Tokyo Unlimited.

I've been working on smaller side projects that I can illustrate with stock or existing artwork and have a nice backlog of releases for the first part of the year lined up. The Nemesis Bestiary remains one of my most popular and consistently well-reviewed products, and was a lot of fun to produce. Building new monsters around existing art is a fun creative challenge. So expect Volume II and Volume III of the Nemesis Bestiary this month! In addition, I put together Free20: The Lesser Nemesis Bestiary, which collects all the CR 1 and CR 2 creatures from all three volumes in one ten-monster mini-sourcebook.

Expect a similar monster-book for Heavy Future soon, mingling stock art with artwork from John and Amanda soon. I'm also putting out a short gear book, that collects all (or at least almost all, I've left out a few that are either too setting specific or just boring) the futuristic guns from all my high tech settings: Otherverse America, Psi-Watch and Heavy Future, and presents them as generic weapons, suitable for any sci-fi campaign, fully compatible with Pathfinder. I'll lay out the gun book, titled The Advanced Arsenal, tonight or tomorrow and it'll also be up for sale this month. It'll be useful to me as a designer- to have all these guns in one place, in a standard format, and will make it easier to produce magic items for my settings. Instead of describing something as a +2 heartseeking Campanelli MP Plasma Rifle, which is a rather clunky and setting-specific appaleation, I can just call it a +2 heartseeking Plasma Rifle and be done with it.

You'll notice I mentioned magic items for Otherverse America.... I had so much fun with Heavy Future as a future-magic/science-fantasy setting, I want to revisit Otherverse America in the same vein, perhaps reimagining it as a magi-tech setting? I've got some ideas in that vein, but would love to hear the opinions of regular posters here.

Finally, I thought I'd highlight two of the monsters presented in Nemesis Bestiary, one from Vol II and the other from Vol III. The artwork for the Coral Reaver is provided by Nicholas Cloister and Amanda Webb's Hell Maid illustration originally appeared as a racial illustration for the Phade race in One Planet, One Power.


Coral Reaver (CR 9)
Huge N Magical Beast (aquatic, cold)
XP 6,400
Init +1 Senses Blindsense 60 ft, Darkvision 60 ft, Perception +12       

AC 22 Touch 9 Flatfooted 21 (-2 size, +1 DEX, + 13 natural)  
HP 12d10 + 60 hp (126 HP)
FORT +13 REF +9 WILL +7
Immune Cold
Weaknesses Vulnerability to Fire

Spd 30 ft Swim 30 ft
Melee two +17 claws (1d8+6 slashing plus 1d6 cold)
Special Attacks Ice Bound Breath Weapon (100 ft line, 6d6 cold (REF DC 21 half) plus encasement and grease effects, see text)
Special Qualities amphibious

Str 22 Dex 12 Con 20 Int 2 Wis 17 Cha 8
Base Atk +12 CMB +20 CMD 31
Feats Bull Rush Strike, Charge Through, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Overrun, Run, Power Attack
Skills Perception +12, Stealth +8, Survival +12, Swim +19 (Racial bonus +4 Swim)

Environment cold aquatic or coastal
Organization solitary or pod (4-6)
Treasure none

Special Abilities
            Ice-Bound Breath Weapon (SU)
            Every 1d4 rounds, the Coral Reaver can use its breath weapon, which takes the form of a 100 ft x 50 ft line of ice. All creatures and objects within this area suffer 6d6 cold damage (REF DC 21 half).

Creatures who take full damage from this attack are entombed in thick layers of rapidly hardening ice. They are considered pinned, and suffer 2d6 ongoing Cold damage per round of entrapment. These ice cocoons have Hardness 5 and 25 HP, and take double damage from fire. The ice can be burst with a DC 21 STR check.

Furthermore, the length of the line is coated in a thin layer of slippery ice, which functions identically to a grease spell save that it has the cold descriptor, for one round after the breath weapon fires. (REF DC 21 not to fall prone).

This breath weapon is usable both underwater and on the surface. If used underwater, creatures encased in icy cocoons become positively buoyant, and float towards the surface at 60 ft per round of encasement.

            The Coral Reaver is a powerful, ursine predator whose limbs, torso and skull are sheathed in overlapping plates of thickly grown purple and cerulean coral. Frills and ridgs of iridescent violet shimmer in the light, between the great beast’s segmented armor. Sharklike teeth fill the Coral Reaver’s wide jaw. The monster steams constantly, enshrouded by frigid mist.

Reports From The Field
            “Coral Reavers are far too dangerous for most whalers and trappers, but for those few able to rise to the challenge, rewards are immense. Coral from the skin of the beasts is in high demand by sculptors, the creature’s fat deposits can be boiled down to make a fragrant and long-burning oil. Coral Reaver flesh is a delicacy. Virtually every part of the animal may be utilized in some fashion.”
            -Usable Beasts of Shore and Sea

            “My first a’reaving was a thrilling thing. I was a lad of twelve and a half, and I was tasked with firing the arrows launched by the reaver-ship Coldheart’s starboard ballista. I rushed from arrow to arrow, putting them to the torch, barely ducking clear ‘fore The Captain ordered the flaming bolts launched at a pod of Coral Reavers sunning themselves on an iceberg…..”
            -The Memoirs of Captain Richard Wesmuiel, whaler and reaver

Hell’s Maid (CR 3)
Medium LE Outsider (devil, evil, extraplanar, lawful)
XP 800
Init +7 Senses Perception +9, See in Darkness          
Languages Infernal, Common, Telepathy 100 ft

AC 15 Touch 15 Flatfooted 12 (+3 DEX, +2 deflection)
HP 4d10 + 4 hp (22HP)
FORT +2 REF +7 WILL +6
Immune Fire, Poison
Resist Acid 10, Cold 10

Spd 30 ft
Melee +4 dagger (1d4 slashing, 19-20/x2)
Ranged +7 fire bolt (1d4 fire, 50 ft range increment)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 1st Concentration +4) 
At Will – Cantrips (most commonly: Bleed, Daze, Lullaby, Mending, Ray of Enfeeblement, Prestidigitation; DC 13 for all)

1x/day  - Summon (level 1, one Hell Maid 90%)

Str 11 Dex 17 Con 13 Int 12 Wis 15 Cha 16
Base Atk +4 CMB +7 CMD 17
Feats Agile Maneuvers, Improved Initiative
Skills Acrobatics +10, Bluff +10, Diplomacy +10, Knowledge (the planes) +8, Perception +9, Sense Motive +9, Stealth +10
Gear dagger, ring of protection +2

Environment any urban (extraplanar)
Organization solitary or household (3-6, often in the service of a more powerful devil or Infernal Duke)
Treasure standard (including combat gear)

Special Abilities
            Cantrip Mastery (SP)
            The Hell’s Maid makes good use of extremely low level spells. She knows all non-damage dealing 0 level spells from all spell-lists. These spells are considered arcane when cast by a Hell’s Maid. Each day, the Hell’s Maid selects 6 different cantrips that she can cast at will that day. She cannot prepare cantrips that inflict direct damage.

            Patient Service (SU)
            If the Hell’s Maid makes no standard or attack actions during a round, an allied devil within 30 ft recovers a number of hit points equal to the Hell’s Maid CHA modifier (3 HP) if wounded. Excess healing are gained as temporary HP which remain for 1 minute. The Hit Points are gained immediately after the Hell’s Maid turn ends.

            Hell’s Maids are attractive devilish women, with pale crimson skin and short, dark horns at their hairline. They are dressed in starched servants’ uniforms, decorated with elaborate lace and ruffles. They wear hoop skirts and bustles well, and have an almost perpetual expression of polite disinterest.

Reports From The Field
            “I’ve had occasion to parley with a Hell’s Maid on a few occasions. Each time, the devil women were nothing other than polite and proper. I had to remind myself- forcefully-that these pretty maids are the transformed souls of nannies who poisoned their charges.”
-Petrov Arkarada, paladin of the planes

“The Handmaiden Devil Bathory is accompanied everywhere by a retinue of lesser devils, dressed primly and in archaic style. These lesser devils rarely speak, and then only to share gossip with their mistress, and do not attack, but strengthen Bathory by their mere presence.”
- Being a Treatise on the Personalities, Principalities and Powers of Hell, their Tactics and Guards Against Their Corruption 

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