book of exalted deeds

Random joke magic items

Here’s a list of random joke items to use for fun in your campaign. I’d recommend adding them to treasure hoards rather than subbing normal items for them.
Anyway here they are:

1. Ace of Spades - An ace of spades from a standard card deck. No matter where you store it on your body, you will always be able to find it in your right sleeve afterwards.

2. Amulet of Extra Amulet Slot - This amulet allows you to gain the benefit from two magical amulets rather than one. It cannot be further enchanted.

3. Amulet of Feather Fall - When worn, this amulet turns into a feather and falls to the ground.

4. Amulet of Unbreaking Bones - Con-man says you can’t break any bones. Really, he means other’s bones. -100% damage against skeletons.

5. Amulet of weather detection - yells that it is or is not raining.

6. Anti-Matches - A box of matches. Striking one will make it begin to drip water from the tip while the match shrivels away. The amount of water a match releases is about enough to fill a tablespoon.

7. Arrow of Euarere - A silver arrow, suspended on a string. It always points to the person holding the string.

8. Arrow of Slaying, The - This magical arrow is capable of killing a creature.

9. Artist’s Bludgeon, The - Inanimate objects hit with this bludgeon will receive no damage; they will however change color.

10. Attentive Guardsman’s Pike - These ornate and deadly-looking ceremonial pikes are reach weapons and appear to weigh at least 20 lbs, not counting the weight of the fluttering banners that can be unfurled for parade use. Constructed of shadowstuff, they weigh one pound, and inflict only a single point of damage on an attack, being almost entirely for show, although they also have the unique property of remaining in place when set (although unable to support more than 20 lbs), allowing a ‘resting his eyes’ guardsman to prop it up and leave it standing under its own power, while his hand sags off of it.

11. Attentive Guardsman’s Tabard - A dozen of these tabards were fashioned for palace guardsmen in the Empire of Sard, 250 miles from the nearest enemy. The bearer is placed under a glamour that causes him to appear alert and awake, even if his eyes are closed and he is snoring lightly.

12. Axe of Big Numbers - This axe shouts “Big numbers baby, come on!” whenever it is swung, but always deals 1 damage or less.

13. Axe of Empathy - Every time you hit something with this +5 greataxe, you get dealt an equal amount of damage. Both you and the thing you hit are then healed the amount of damage dealt by the axe, even if either are dead. The Axe hopes you have learned your lesson.

14. Axe of Pain - The axe is always moaning and groaning with pain.

15. Bag of Faerie Gold - This sack appears to be full of gold coins and jewels. When one attempts to spend them, however, the glamour on them soon vanishes, revealing them to be nothing but leaves and pebbles. Obviously, most shopkeepers will not be happy about this, and no amount of ‘we didn’t know, I swear!’ will change their mind.

16. Bag of Holding - This item functions as a normal backpack, however when attempting to retrieve an item, a calm female voice tells them there is a wait time of 4d10 minutes before they can retrieve their item (actual time is stated time plus 6d6 additional minutes). During this wait, the bag plays either annoying muzak or advertisements for the bag’s creator’s other products/services. Upon attempting to retrieve an item, there is a chance that the wrong item is retrieved, or that the intended item is simply missing. Obtaining the original item requires an additional 4d10+6d6 minutes and has only a 5% chance of success.

17. Bag of Trading - You can take one thing out of the bag for each object you put in the bag. However, you have no control over what you get, and there are no trade-backs. Past research seems to imply there’s some sort of correlation to what gets you what, but it’s extremely convoluted and far from understood.

18. Bag of Trick - This bag operates like a Bag of Tricks, except it only works once a week and produces a rat each time it is used.

19. Bag of Unholding - Quite a large backpack but even the smallest item doesn’t fit.

20. Bagpipe of Stealth - Grants the user invisibility as long as it is being played.

21. Ball of Eyes - A snow-globe filled with miniature eyeballs. When shaken, it grants the user a blurry, jittery vision of some future event.

22. Banana Walkie-Talkies - There exist two, and only two, of these items in the world. One of which is possessed by a cranky and lonely half-orc. It appears to be an innocuous wooden banana with a coat of faded yellow paint. When an end (doesn’t matter which one) is placed against your ear, you can hear a ringing followed by a click and a half-orc yelling at you for waking him up at this ungodly hour. If you drop the banana or “hang up,” the call ends. If you stay and listen, the half-orc will yell at you, call out obscenities, and start going on about his daily problems and mishaps in his love life. Every so often (2% chance/day), the banana will ring while you are sleeping and the half-orc will want to talk to you about his problems.

23. Barrel of Holding - This large wooden barrel measuring √(12/π) feet in diameter and 5 feet in height can hold up to 15 cubic feet of matter.

24. Beam Sword of Severed Nerves - A beam sword. It cannot cut anything but nerve strings. Will pass through any other material leaving no harm.

25. Belt of Pants - This belt creates illusory pants on the wearer. The wearer can suppress the illusion at will

26. Belt of Tightening - Every time you put this belt on, all of your clothes permanently shrink a fraction of a millimeter. The effect is compound.

27. Belt of Unbathed Breath - When worn around the waist, allows the user to breathe underwater. Does not function when wet.

28. Boogie Skeleton - This pile of bones is small, such as one that might be obtained from a bird or a toad, though it can look as though it came from any creature. When a song is sung or played in the vicinity of the skeleton, it begins to dance appropriately. As soon as the music stops, it collapses into the pile of bones again. The skeleton, when dancing, can be no larger than Diminutive.

29. Book of Canon - A book that automatically transforms into a copy of the sacred text of any religion, translated into the language the user is most familiar with.

30. Book of Confusion - The letters in this book always appear to be upside down, even if viewed from different directions at the same time. The book is a bad novel about zombies.

31. Book of Curses - When opened, the book verbally berates anyone in the immediate vicinity, calling into question their combat ability, intellect, personal hygiene, lineage and profession of their mothers, and other delightful insults. Once closed the book continues shouting (although it is muffled) until placed inside a bag or some other similar container for 1d4+1 minutes and ignored. Replying to the book in any other way causes the insults to get louder and more childish the more time you spend replying to it.

32. Book of Exalted Deeds - Contains a listing of some of the finest houses ever sold and the specifics of the titles to the properties.

33. Boots of Blinding Speed - The wearer’s speed is doubled, and they are blinded.

34. Boots of Levitation - These boots levitate a few inches off the ground when not worn.

35. Boots of Stylishness - Knee high black boots that are always clean and shiny. They never take in water, thus feet are always dry.

36. Boots of Teleportation - Allows the player to teleport wherever they like, but don’t carry the wearer with them when activated; the boots teleport just fine, though.

37. Boots of Walking - The wearer of the boots cannot run, nor can he take a double move action, and takes a -5 to Tumble checks. These boots are made for walkin’, and that’s just what they’ll do.

38. Bottle of Air - It’s a bottle. Full of air. Congratulations.

39. Bottomless Beer Mug - Any liquid poured into this mug treats the bottom as incorporeal, but solid objects don’t.

40. Bowl of Comfortable Warmth - Any liquid in the bowl will feel comfortably warm, so icy cold water will feel like it’s a bit over room temperature. Do note, however, that it’s still icy cold water, it just feels warmer.

50. Breastplate of Secret Detection - If the wearer of this breastplate gains a piece of information that is somehow connected to the concealment of a hidden conspiracy or plot, a live and still wet red herring forms on the inside of the armor.

51. Bullying Gloves - At random intervals, these gloves instil the wearer with a near-irresistible urge to hit themselves.

52. Bunyan’s Belt - When worn, causes an enormous, bushy black beard to appear on the wearer’s face.

53. Cape of Resistance - When this item is placed on any living thing it somehow manages to fall off, untie itself, slip past the owner’s neck entirely, or otherwise avoid being worn.

54. Case of the Litigator - Translates any document placed in the case into legal jargon; non-reversible. Does not confer the ability to understand legal jargon.

55. Cat of Schrodinger - When this cat is not being observed in any way it is both dead and alive. When something observes it, it suddenly becomes either dead or alive with a 50% chance of either.

56. Chair of Steadiness - This chair can be moved but cannot be tipped over by anything less than a DC 35 Strength check.

57. Charles - This small, unremarkable figurine of a gnome refuses to be called anything but Charles. No other name will leave the lips of the speaker. It has no other powers.

58. Chime of Interruption - This instrument can be struck once every round, which takes a standard action. On any round the chime is activated the user may ready one action without spending an action to do so.

59. Chime of Opening - Commonly affixed to or near doors, when pressed it emits a sound on the interior of the owner’s home to let them know guests have arrived.

60. Chime of Opening (Alternate) - When struck against a solid surface, this chime emits a loud click, and opens along its length, to reveal a tiny compartment adequate to conceal a single 'smoke’ worth of pipeweed or a blowgun needle. When the compartment is closed, it is seamless and can be detected only with a DC 20 Search check. If hit with an instrument such as a small mallet, it chimes.

61. Cloak of Billowing - This black and silver cloak will always billow dramatically behind the wearer, it has no other effects.

62. Cloak of Displacement, Minor - This item appears to be a normal cloak, but when worn by a character its magical properties distort and warp reality. When any attack is made against the wearer the cloak has a 20% chance of falling off, no matter how it is secured.

63. Compacting hammer - The force imparted by it is multiplied, but is spread around the surface of a struck object facing inward.

64. Cymbal of Symbols - This musical instrument enables the user to comprehend dead languages, but only while they are deafened by noise.

65. Dagger of Told Secrets - A simple-looking dagger. If used to backstab someone to death, it will whisper your most embarrassing secret to that person.

66. Dagger of unnatural sharpness - The blade is exceptionally sharp to your touch. It confers no combat bonuses but can be used as a normal dagger for fighting or crafting, but the user seems to always cut himself in minor ways when using it.

67. Dagger of Untold Secrets - A simple looking dagger. If used to backstab someone to death, it will whisper the most embarrassing secret of that person to you.

68. Decanter of Endless Sorrow - A pewter flask that produces limitless alcohol when held to their lips by someone who is troubled. It gets them drunk but they never feel any better.

69. Diadem of Brothaurity - When wearing this headpiece, you are as elegant and well-spoken as a famous diplomat or regent, but you can’t stop calling everyone bro.

70. Enchanted Book of Collected Stories - Opening this will cause miniature creatures/people to pour out and perform a chapter from the book much like a theater.

71. Focusing Ring - The digit on which this ring is worn can be viewed in extremely high definition from a great distance.

72. Gloves of Tinkering - Wearing the gloves will make you able to almost repair any broken item. However, you will always end up with pieces from the item that don’t seem to fit anywhere.

73. Glowing sword of orc detection - When it gets orc blood on it the sword glows.

74. Good Luck ring - Gives your enemies good luck!

75. Greater Staff of Random Summoning - Summons a random creature at a random place. You could be summoning a giant Ogre on the other side of the globe for all you know.

76. Helm of Awareness, The - The wearer is acutely aware of the fact that they are wearing this helmet and that it has a magical effect. - All you need to do to make this work as a DM is frequently remind the player that the helm is magical while they are wearing it but be evasive about exactly what it does.

77. Hoarder’s Wand - Does nothing but for some reason you think it might be important later in your quest.

78. Hood of Offensive Facades - This hood will change your identity in the eyes of others to the appearance of the person they most personally dislike.

79. Hood Of Worrisome Facades - This hood will change your identity in the eyes of others, however the identity used will be random.

80. Indestructible Notebook of Memories - This otherwise normal notepad of normal notepad size cannot be damaged or destroyed, and anything written in it cannot be obscured or defaced. It also has unlimited pages despite its finite size. However, the data it holds only lasts as long as the writer independently remembers it, and decays in exact proportion to the relevant memories. Remember who and when, but not where? Then the words describing the location in that particular entry are the only ones gone.

81. Intransigent Rod - When the button on this artifact is pressed in, the holder’s opinions solidify and they become impossible to convince.

82. Key to anywhere - opens any door into a closet with a water bucket that falls and hits the player’s head. Inside this closet is the treasure of true adventurers. If opened with a key, it opens a closet…

83. Lunch Box of Delicious Unfulfillment - This lunch box will hold whatever food you desire. However you will never get full and the food will deliver no nourishment.

84. Mask of Concealment - Hides the wearer’s face and conceals everything from them by blocking their eyes! Bonus points for requiring a strength check or a time limit to expire to be removed.

85. Mattress of Poverty, The - No matter how you fluff this gorgeous, thick, mattress, you will always sleep on the thin part of it.

86. Mug O’ Dissatisfaction - A mug that always produces a steaming hot cup of coffee or tea when tapped on the bottom. It conjures the opposite of what the tapper prefers, so if you like tea you get coffee and vice versa. Handing the full mug to another person will make the drink in it transform to the opposite of that person’s preferences.

87. Murder Dagger - All damage it would deal is instead replaced by the target being harassed by crows for that many hours.

88. Needle Of Learned Compromise - This needle will create beautiful tattoos of any design, however they hurt a tiny bit more. When used to sew it is entirely normal.

89. Portable Dark Tavern Corner - Consisting of two wooden boards connected by a hinge, this artifact draws those nearby into assuming it is a perfect spot to conduct seedy business.

90. Potion of fire breathing - For the length of time that the potion is in effect, every breath out is on fire, whether you want it to be or not.

91. Potion of Quelchment - Cures thirst when consumed

92. Ring of Fire Detection - becomes warm when placed into Fire.

93. Ring of First Impression - Wearing the ring will make you able to perform a perfect handshake with the hand wearing it.

94. Ring of Stoneskin - Turns your skin, muscles, and organs into stone! Character is now a stationary statue. Can’t be reversed until someone takes the ring off.

95. Rope of Entanglement - Becomes entangled when left in a pack

96. Sack of Hive Eggs - Crushing one of the numerous tiny eggs will cause the thoughts of everybody in the proximity to merge. Everybody can hear what you think and you can hear everybody.

97. Shirt of fire protection - this shirt is sopping wet.

98. Shoes of the Restless Traveler - These shoes allow their user to run for miles without feeling fatigue, but if they try to do anything else with it (walk, sit down, jump), they will instantly trip

99. Sword of Parrying - Parries every attack, swinging it yourself will force it to “parry” your opponent’s weapon/attack even though he/she/it is defenseless.

100. Torch of Night Vision - grants bearer Night Vision while lit.

101. Vorpal Grindstone - It can “sharpen” any object to become vorpal. Any object.

102. Wand of command - Lets your character be controlled after saying the command word!

103. Wand of Create Wand of Create Wand - Creates a Wand of Create Wand. Consumes original Wand.

104. Wand of Pigeon Summoning - summons 1d20 pigeons everyday. On a 20 it breaks and summons a giant pigeon god (can be the size of Godzilla or like 5 pigeons.) Giant pigeon god should be in the mid 20s for CR, but is uninterested in attacking, and will simply fly away when summoned.

105. Water Hat, The - A small red hat, when worn, causes water to pour from the wearer’s fingers at the speed and pressure of a kitchen faucet at half power.

106. Wineskin of the Eternal Primary - This wineskin never runs out of water, but even the tiniest sip makes you have to go potty, like, super bad. Right now.

The 18 Most Rewarding 3e D&D Books for Pathfinder GMs (Part 5)

And here’s the epic conclusion!

2) Ghostwalk Monte Cook and Sean K Reynolds

You probably think I’m crazy.

In fact, half the reason I wrote this list might have been so I had an excuse to tell you how good Ghostwalk is.

PS: This book is nearly perfect.

First, it adds a completely original notion to the game: that you could play your character as a ghost after death. Even better is why Monte Cook and Sean K Reynolds came up with this notion: to turn the hassle of character death into an opportunity. Which is mind-blowing: It solves an out-of-game problem with an in-game, ingenious solution. Simply glorious.

So you get two new ghost classes, new feats and spells, and some nifty new gear. Already this book is ahead of the game. But on top of that, it’s a Core +1 book—you get an entire setting to put it all in. (If only, say, Tome of Magic or Magic of Incarnum had done the same…) The city of Manifest and the surrounding nations are compelling: ectoplasmic ghosts mingle with humans, embattled elves fight yuan-ti, dwarves guard the Paths of the Dead, humans oversee ogre slaves, clerics worship interesting deities and guard against Orcus, etc. In fact, one of the successes of this book is that it works just as well without the new rules—take away the ghost PCs (or even the ghosts full stop) and I still want to play there. Manifest is as alive to me as Korvosa or Waterdeep.

But what makes this book indispensible is what happened next: The authors put every other spare great idea they had into the setting as well. Just because.

There are sidebars, paragraphs, even throwaway sentences in GW that would have rated whole articles in Dragon Magazine. For example: 1) Every magic weapon in GW has a name—if it was worth enchanting, it was worth naming. 2) One of the feats is a result of your PC undergoing sorcerous manipulation…while in the womb. 3) Because their elements cancel out, the fire god and the water god literally cannot perceive each other; they have to infer the other’s presence from context.

The whole book is like that!!!

It never feels not-D&D—it doesn’t try too hard (like I felt Cook’s Arcana Unearthed was somewhat guilty of) nor is it even as extreme Eberron. It’s just D&D thought out absurdly well.

(And I want to be sure that Reynolds gets as much credit for that as Cook—Monte Cook is (quite rightly) the splashy name of the 3.0 era, but every Pathfinder fan knows the outstanding level of work Reynolds brings to the table.)

The only thing about this book that falls short is its conception of the afterlife (a vague, underpowered and underpopulated archipelago that calls to mind old-school fantasy/sci-fi settings à la Philip José Farmer’s Riverworld or the edges of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea. I’m sure that was intentional but I didn’t dig it—treat it as a way station on the way to Pharasma’s Boneyard or just ignore it create your own. [Edit: Turns out that section and the adventures were requested by WotC.] Also, they didn’t manage to squeeze in a map for the setting (thankfully, you can find the misplaced map online). But these are small quibbles.

Since it’s a Core +1 book, you can start playing Pathfinder campaigns in Manifest right away with just a little rule-nudging. If you play in Golarion, Manifest could easily replace or sit alongside Magnimar or Absalom. Or it might be across the world—perhaps with the Starstone on one side of the world, a city of the dead provides balance on the other. Or you might never use Manifest as a setting to itself, but you’ll read and re-read GW over and over for ideas to steal for your own campaign.

Here’s the kicker. In fact, it almost puts this book at #1. This book is crazy cheap. WotC barely advertised or supported it at all. No one talks about it. Currently Amazon has it selling used for under eight bucks—that’s Chipotle burrito money—and I’ve occasionally seen it offered for as little as $3. Even Reynolds’s own company, Paizo, lists it for only $9.99—and there are zero reviews.

This. Book. Is. A. Steal. Get. It.

In fact, the only reason this book isn’t #1 is that one of its authors had already written…

1) Book of Vile Darkness Monte Cook

Every great hero needs great villains. Book of Vile Darkness gives you the tools to make them.

Chapter 1, all by itself, serves up six new evil gods, two new evil races (one of them the most terrifying halflings outside of Dark Sun), seven fetishes and addictions, two malign sites, and four evil villains (one of whom leads children on a chains to power his armor). Oh, and a meditation on the nature of evil in role-playing game.

Want more? Chapter 2 has delicious variant rules including curses, possession, hiveminds, and how to suggest the lingering affects of evil. Need to know how much an iron maiden costs? Look in Chapter 3. The cancer mage and vermin lord prestige classes? Skip ahead to Chapter 5.

I could go on like this. But I’d be wasting your time. You already know whether or not this book is for you.

I will add that that this book also happens to be the perfect mix of crunch and lore. The new vile spells are as evocative as they are effective, as is the tidy feat list. And while lore GMs will enjoy devouring the demon lord and archdevil write-ups, crunch GMs will be salivating over their savagely high CRs and their fully statted-up servitor NPCs.

Pathfinder’s authors have made no secret that they wanted Golarion to be darker, wilder, and more adult than previous settings had been. Their answers to the Caves of Chaos and Iuz the Undying were Hook Mountain and Lamashtu. In a world of bloatmages and Red Mantis assassins, BoVD’s vile feats and spells fit right in. In terms of rules and atmosphere, BoVD is essential for your Pathfinder game.

Find a copy. It won’t be cheap. You can probably snag a used one for $20–$30, depending on how pristine you want to go. But you won’t be disappointed.

Further reading: Good isn’t nearly as much fun as evil to read about. But it can be more fun to play. So while Book of Exalted Deeds was never going to delight in the same way as BoVD, it earns high praise just for trying. More feats and spells make it a useful player resource, and the wide range of new monsters and personality-filled NPCs should please GMs. Once you have your copy of BoVD—particularly if there’s a paladin or strongly good cleric in your group, or if you’re planning on a lot of planar play—BoED is not a bad next choice. [Edit: It also marries well with Chronicle of the Righteous.]

That’s my list. 18+ books, all with D&D on the cover, but with plenty of Pathfinder potential inside waiting to be unlocked. I hope you enjoyed.

Now what books are on yours?

And we’re done! 

Again, here’s the original thread if you want to see redditors’ comments.  Once more, thank you all for the likes, reblogs, and comments.  I know we usually do monsters here, but I love diving back into old books and trading memories and recommendations, so this is definitely a conversation we can continue.  If you’ve got a list, definitely let us know.

Meanwhile, here are some thoughts I’ve had in the 10 months since I first submitted this post to Reddit:

As I said in Part 1, there are conspicuous absences here.  I’ve seen too many glowing reviews of Heroes of Battle, Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords, and Weapons of Legacy to feel like this list is complete until I’ve read them.  (That still hasn’t happened yet in the intervening year.  Also, since writing the original version of this, I’ve seen enough reviews of the Spell Compendium to make me go “Hmmmm…” on that as well.)

What if we throw away my “…for Pathfinder GMs” part of my thesis?  There might be some shifts in order— the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, for instance, would climb into the top tier—but I think the list holds up.

Other books that aren’t particularly useful for Pathfinder fans but are strong on their own: I’m not a class splatbook guy and don’t even have most of the Complete series.  But Complete Arcane is too interesting to overlook, and Complete Mage’s reserve feats go a long way toward solving the “I’m out of spells; we have to sleep” problem in a fast-paced-combat or story-oriented campaign.  As a subrace junkie, I have a soft spot for Races of Faerûn (even if Pathfinder’s Advanced Race Guide is even more awesome).  (Other Forgotten Realms books that kept catching my eye last night as I browsed my collection: I could read Eric Boyd write about gods in Faiths and Pantheons all day, and I was actually shocked at how much I enjoyed Lost Empires of Faerûn, especially since I originally bought it only because there weren’t any more Realms sourcebooks on the shelves.)

Also, I still pick up used 3.0/3.5 books from time to time when I get lucky in used bookstores or online.  Currently sitting in my half-read pile are City of the Spider Queen, Magic of Incarnum, Player’s Guide to Faerûn, Power of Faerûn, and (though technically not a WotC project) the Rokugan setting book.  It’s a toss-up as to whether my next move is to finish them off first—half-read books really bug me—or get caught up on my unread-but-anxiously-awaited stack of Pathfinder softcovers (unread Pathfinder books bug me even more, and Wrath of the Righteous is calling…).  I’ve also got a stack of unread Dungeon Magazines and third-party books (Coliseum Morpheuon, for instance) waiting for me.  If they’re good, I’ll be sure to report back…

One last big thought: I also would really love it if the books I’ve called Core +1 books became a model for a certain number of Pathfinder or third-party books in the future. 

It’s so, so thrilling to pick up a book and find both a sensible amount of new rules material and a setting to go with it.  To pick up a book like Ghostwalk and get Manifest in the bargain is pure joy…let alone to get Eberron, the Forgotten Realms, or Rokugan.  To know that you can run a campaign with nothing more than that new book, the Bestiaries, and the Core Rulebook—bliss.

Don’t get me wrong—I love Golarion.  And I hope Paizo keeps adventuring there for a long time.  But even the game world that billed itself “The Best of All Possible Worlds” can’t be a home for every concept.  I’d love it if a book like Ghostwalk let Paizo stretch their legs a little bit—perhaps for a niche Golarion setting, like the Dragon Empires, Vudra, or Arcadia, that deserves more than a softcover but not the full Inner Sea World Guide treatment.  Or perhaps for a rules system that would work in one city: bullfighting, dueling, and an honor system in Taldor, maybe, or genie-taming in Qadira.  Or perhaps there’s a style of play or a rules concept that doesn’t fit in Golarion but is still worth exploring.  Steampunk…aerial adventures…Arabian adventures…low-magic…an all-Darklands campaign…aquatic adventures…Gothic horror…frequent resurrections…a double world involving the fey or spirits…evil humanoids…all of the above and more might deserve the Core +1 rules plus setting treatment.

I also know that, for a lot of publishers, hardcovers pay the bills.  (That may not be the case for Paizo, with its subscription models, but still…)  And there are only so many more hardcovers Paizo can put out before veterans like me start doing the math and worrying that a new edition is on its way, if only to keep the lights on.  New rules/setting combos might be a way to extend the life of the edition and expand the brand.  Certainly it’s one of the reasons 2e AD&D last so long. 

This can go too far—one of the things WotC learned from TSR was not to cannibalize its audience with too many settings.  But by keeping new settings to limited runs of a single book or two, you avoid that problem.  You draw in players with new options, crunch GMs with new rules, and fluff GMs like me with new setting and story.  (I’m slogging through Magic of Incarnum’s new powers and feats as we speak, and I so keep wishing they’d devoted the back half of the book to a setting that made the concepts come alive and convinced me to spend time learning the new mechanics.)

There’s another change to the landscape that makes me wonder if this is a viable idea: the rise of indie RPGs.  So many people out there are putting out their version of slimmed-down 1e D&D or are exploring places fantasy role-playing doesn’t normally go (names like Dungeon World, Savage Worlds, Lamentations of the Flame Princess…even Monsterhearts!).  I wonder how many of them could be satisfied by Pathfinder, so long as they knew they only needed the Core Rulebook, the Bestiary, and one other book?

Finally, the reason I want more Core +1 books is I want to be surprised and delighted within Pathfinder.  Golarion has managed to do so, over and over, but it is still a known commodity, with a map that gets more filled in by the day.  Magazines might fill that role—one of the old joys of picking up Dungeon Magazine (or Dragon Magazine’s fiction) was getting new sites, towns, cities, and worlds with every issue, worlds both canon and non-—but magazines are hard to maintain.  (The only candidate I know of, Gygax, is a quarterly labor of love.)  So a book format is the way to go. 

Give me Golarion, but once a year, give me Ghostwalk.  Give me Golarion and Paizo’s Al-Qadim.  Give me the Pathfinder version of Tome of Magic’s binders or Magic of Incarnum’s soul magic, but with a home and gods and a land.  Once a year, give me elemental-powered steampunk.  Give musketeers vs. faeries, or dirigible fights over a fantasy North America with dinosaurs and a shamanic spirit world.  Give me Golarion and that—just once or twice a year—so I have a home and vacation destinations for my imagination.

Thanks again for reading and for your patience this week as I focused on life stuff.  (I still have more life stuff to tackle, but regular Daily Bestiary entries should resume next week, and I’ll try to play catch-up as my schedule allows.  Have a great weekend!

Demon Week: Demon Hunting

image credit: Brom

As Demon Week draws to a close, I wanted to provide some options for some of the good-aligned characters that want to combat demons and other fiends. So here are some new feats, spells, items, and a Demon Hunter prestige class!

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Rhek (Simplified Race)

Also known as Rhox in their native tongue, the Rhek’s home plane was torn asunder, it’s crystal sphere shattered into pieces and then forcefully reassembled again by a mad dragon millennia later. During this time, a Harmonium expeditionary forces encountered the Rhek and using a combination of portals and magic, they were able to save hundreds of thousands of the humanoid rhinos from the center of the lethal maelstrom. The Rhek were settled on the second and third layer of Arcadia where they prospered and while still humanoids, they are so attuned to the plane that they are considered native to it. Many of them use the Rhek name, which was their designation by the Harmonium, out of respect for their saviors even though it is difficult for them to pronounce. 

Physical Description:

A rhek stands roughly six feet tall and can easily weigh between 300 and 400 pounds unarmored. They have wrinkled, thick skin who’s tones vary between white, brown, black and grey. Their faces are slightly shorter and jaws are more humanoid than wild rhinos, but otherwise their skulls are identical. As they are strict herbivores, rheks only possess molars and premolars for grinding and do not have the cutting and slicing foreteeth of other humanoids. This makes hard and clicking sounds difficult for them, giving them a slight slur when they speak, but with practice it can be overcome. 

Society:

Being extremely durable to the point of being magical, rhek society is considered very violent to other beings standards, but the rhek themselves find it puzzling, since everyone still gets their say and no one is permanently injured. Rhek place law and order above all things, although they also stress altruism and generosity heavily. Rhek lawkeepers are quick to quell any threat to the community with force and it is not uncommon for lawbreakers to be knocked out without warning. Trial by combat is the norm and a series of successive punches to one another’s face is considered to be a roughly equivalent way of solving debates as rock-paper-scissors is for humans. Despite their willingness to withstand physical punishment, most rhek are peaceful at heart, preferring meditation and contemplation to battle. Many have fallen upon their horns, however, for misunderstanding this. Even the most peaceful rhek is both willing and able to make war, if there is a just cause for it. The majority of rhek children are kept in seclusion from visitors. This is not for the youth’s protection, but the outsider’s. Adults fully understand that they are more durable than most races, but children don’t always, so they are kept separate until they can demonstrate proper restraint when dealing with others. The rhek also consider this alone time to be valuable in and of itself, as it allows the youth to turn their eyes inwards to their own soul.   

Relations:

Rheks work are accustomed to humans and work well with them. While humans are more diverse than the rhino-people, rheks admire both their adaptability and their determination. Likewise, they appreciate half-orcs for their ferocity and power, if not their wild natures. Those half-orcs who have the willpower and drive to become great are favored companions of rheks, although most of the time they simply admire their exploits from afar. Given their lawful and gruff natures, some may assume that rheks and dwarves get along with each other, but they would be mistaken. Both are too set in their own ways to accommodate the other, and rheks prefer open grasslands, thus find dwarven designs to be cramped and claustrophobic. Rheks try to avoid elves, lizardfolk and the undead whenever possible. These were races they fought in their homeland, and they still tell tails of the monstrosities they were able to bring to bear. For similar reasons, they find constructs disturbing and actively avoid Mechanus, the Modrons and the Inevitables whenever possible. 

Alignment and Religion:

Even before they came to Arcadia, the rhek were prone to both law and goodness. While understanding is not their strength, both charity and forgiveness are valued among greater rhek society because of the discipline that they represent. Religious rheks then to have a very philosophical bent and despite their lawful manner, they are often found to be a part of obscure mystery cults or heterodox factions within religious movements. Inevitably though, they worship powers and demigods who are lawful or good in some way. 

Adventurers:

Rhek are bold and forwards in their actions, often becoming planer explorers and troubleshooters. Any class can be found amongst the rest, though the arcane spellcasters are less common than the divine, as are archery-focused warriors. 

Racial Traits

* +2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom, -2 Dexterity: Rheks are naturally introspective and have many redundant organs throughout their body, but this adds greatly to their already great mass, preventing them from reacting as quickly.  

* Monstrous Humanoid: As a monstrous humanoid, Rheks have darkvision to 60 feet.

* Medium: As Medium creatures, Rheks have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.

* Gore: Rhek have a gore attack as a natural weapon which deals 1d4 damage. It is a primary weapon, or a secondary weapon if used with weapons.

* Instant Stabilization: Rhek automatically stabilize when they drop below 0 hit points. They still die when they have negative hit points equal to their constitution. This is a supernatural ability. 

* Spell-like Abilities: 3/day - detect chaos  

* Stability: Rheks gain +4 to their CMD when resisting bull rushes or trip attempts while standing on ground.