We regret to inform our avid readers that the AaWBlog is being retired (sans Tales from the Tabletop). We would like to take this opportunity to recognize the entire AaWBlog team: Mike Myler, Justin Andrew Mason, Rory Toma, Lance Kepner, Tim Snow, Stefanos Patelis, Brian Wiborg, Jonathan Ely, and the rest of our fantastic contributors.
AAW Games would like to thank Mike Myler for all his hard work managing the AaWBlog and contributing to many Adventureaweek.com projects including the Aventyr Campaign Setting. Going forward Mike Myler will no longer be working with AAW Games but will continue to be a driving force in the roleplaying game industry, AAW Games wishes him well in his future ventures.
Fret not! Our brand new Adventurer’s Chronicle magazine will release its first issue in Spring 2016. This magazine will be free and have a plethora of content for both the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and 5th Edition. In issue #1 we will have a fantastic guest article by Wolfgang Baur (Kobold Press, Tyranny of Dragons) and an in-person candid interview with actress and fellow gamer Jen Page!
Read more about the brand new FREE Adventurer’s Chronicle magazine below and make sure you sign up for our newsletter so you can be notified when it has been released (don’t worry, we won’t spam you).
Throughout the beginning of Mohkba Mania, Medium-sized PCs are reduced to Minuscule size (1/2 an inch tall) and Small-sized PCs are reduced to Infinitesimal size (1/4 an inch tall). Rather than using the existing rules for the Pathfinder RPG or 5th Edition, use these new size rules to bring a level of nuance to a part of the adventure so down to earth. Even though your group might be playing little characters, big adventures await them!
TABLE: New Size Modifiers
Old Size Modifier
New Size Modifier
Bijou Bashing / Trample Damage
Bijou Bashing / Trample DC
New Space / Reach
` For all intents and purposes not otherwise specified below, treat Diminutive creatures as though they were Medium-sized when determining weapon damage, spell effects, and the like. ^ New size categories introduced in Mohkba Mania. * It is virtually impossible for a creature of Huge size or larger to perceive a character of Miniscule or smaller size without magnification (be it magical or scientific). Miniscule creatures cannot be knowingly targeted by creatures of that size, but may be in danger should they tread in the same occupied squares. Note Creatures three size categories larger than their attacker automatically resist non-steal combat maneuvers. Tiny-sized or larger creatures take no size penalty to CMB or CMD.
New Size Modifiers for AC, Attack, CMB, CMD and Fly Skill
In addition to the changes listed below and to the augmented numbers in Table: New Size Modifiers, when calculating the size bonus or penalty to Stealth checks, simply double the number (for example, a Medium-sized creature suffers a -16 to Stealth checks).
Bijou Bashing (Ex)Creatures of Medium size or larger do not resolve melee or ranged attacks that deal bludgeoning damage normally when targeting a creature of Diminutive size or smaller. On a successful hit, the smaller creature saves as though they were also being trampled by the larger creature (slam damage + 1-1/2 times its Strength modifier). If the hit was a critical hit, increase the number of the trample’s damage die by 1 per critical multiplier (from 2d6 to 3d6 for a Medium creature wielding a club or other x2 modifier weapon, from 3d8 to 5d8 for a Large creature wielding a warhammer or other x3 modifier weapon, etc.) and the DC to avoid it by +5 per critical multiplier. A creature that fails their Reflex save must make a Fortitude save (DC 5 + opponent’s attack roll) or be knocked prone. On a successful Reflex save, the smaller creature takes half the damage from the the trample. Unlike normal trample attacks, diminutive creatures are not able to make attacks of opportunity against their attacker.
Constitutive Capacity (Ex)Creatures of Diminutive or lesser size may determine their heavy load by their Constitution rather than Strength score, but suffer 1 hit point of damage each hour traveling or strenuous round (moving greater than their base speed or engaging in combat) and must make a Fortitude save (DC 12 + cumulative damage taken from Constitutive Capacity) or also become fatigued. Constitutive Capacity cannot be used by fatigued characters. If using this rule, disregard Table: Modified Carrying Capacity.
Precise Piercing (Ex)In addition to the changes in size bonus to AC, the nature of piercing weapons at so small a size fundamentally changes how the armaments function. Creatures using piercing weapons receive their size bonus twice when calculating attack rolls made with piercing weapons or their AC against piercing weapons.
Spell Slipping (Su) To adventurers of truly little size, magic operates differently. Animals often lack the intelligence to realize it, but at Diminutive size or smaller, it’s possible that any given spell or spell-like ability might be avoided much like a physical attack. When targeted by a creature of Small size or larger by a magical effect that allows for spell resistance, the Diminutive or smaller creature may make an opposed size check (1d20+size modifier) against the caster of the spell (1d20+caster level). In the event that the reduced creature’s check exceeds the caster, the spell washes around them. All characters of Diminutive size or smaller gain this ability for free. Spell slipping is ineffective towards spellcasters or manifesters of spell-like abilities of Tiny size or less.
Titanic Trample (Ex) Creatures of Medium size or larger receive trample as a special attack, dealing an amount of damage determined by size. They automatically make a trample attack against non-flying creatures of Diminutive size or smaller whenever they occupy the same square, avoided with a successful Reflex save (no damage). The DC of this Reflex save increases by +2 for every leg the trampling creature possesses beyond two. Creatures that have no Fly speed that cannot be tripped (such as oozes and shoggoths) receive a +20 bonus to the DC of their trample attack.
*This assumes the character is of Diminutive size. For Fine creatures, reduce these scores by ½ and for Tiny creatures, multiply them by x2. For Miniscule creatures, reduce these scores by ⅓ and for Small creatures, multiply them by x3. For Infinitesimal creatures reduces these scores by ⅙ and for Medium creatures multiply them by x6. For Microscopic creatures reduce these scores by 1/12 and for Large creatures multiply them by x12.
Converted Size Attribute Modifiers: When creating new monsters or using existing creatures from the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, use these size modifiers to determine a creature’s size bonuses or penalties to attributes.
Obviously creatures of extremely small size can’t succeed on a DC 16 Acrobatics check to soar well over their height; new rules for jumping are detailed here for creatures of Tiny size or smaller. Characters of Tiny size or smaller do not, however, require any running start to make an Acrobatics check to jump.
Otherwise a creature’s normal speeds are reduced by -5 feet per size category (minimum 5 feet).
TABLE: NEW JUMP DISTANCES
1 and a ½ feet
2 and a ½ feet
Greater than 6 feet
+4 per 5 feet
Greater than 3 feet
+3 per half foot
When interacting with the shrunken PCs, treat Small or larger creatures as having:
advantage on all damage rolls
disadvantage on all attack rolls that deal piercing or slashing damage
and disadvantage on all skill checks.
At their reduced size the PCs:
are at disadvantage on all attack rolls made with non-piercing weapons
deal half damage with non-piercing weapons
take double damage from bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage
gain advantage on all skill checks made to creatures of Small size or larger.
The deadly Transgression is covered in more detail in two different Trap Tuesdays this month (here and here!), but not every creature exposed to the powerful effects of the Shard of the Sun is incinerated. Some survive the experience though few are ever left unchanged by the immense ray of energy that rage across Aventyr each day. When the results on Table SL-1: Ashen Death result in a mutation, roll on Table SL-2: Transgression Mutations to see what befalls those who “escape” an Ashen Death (acquiring one of the effects below and therein the ashen template).
[The Transgression and its Ashen Death are by writer Lance Keppner!]
Subterranean environments are one of the most beloved locales for exploration or adventure in tabletop gaming. Synonymous with the concept of “dungeon delving,” underground realms have been a consistent trope used by GMs for decades. That’s not to suggest that explorations into the world below don’t have their place or serve a very important function—there are many good reasons that world builders, both novice and professional, continue returning beneath the surface to spark both intrigue and wonder as well as cast a foreboding sense of dread.
To understand the natural draw to subterranean adventures and the psychology that sustains the tabletop RPG motif, one must first examine human nature and our history as a species. Since the human race first started crafting stories and myths around ancient campfires, venturing into the earth has always remained a powerful theme—it is often the dwelling place of supernatural beings and spirits, the land of the dead, and the domain of devils, demons, dragons, trolls, and countless other mysterious creatures, as well as a focal point of religion and mythology or places of power. For millennia, our ancestors have assigned mystery to the world beneath our feet more than to any other tangible environment.
As a world forever trapped in night, the ever present darkness in subterranean adventures provides a sense of danger that forms a sound foundation for excitement—a danger that is hard to willfully dismiss (even when taking into consideration magic or other means of illumination). Anticipation and apprehension of the unknown and unseen are biologically ingrained into our very beings, and we are mentally hardwired to perceived risk, providing a psychological route for more fully immersing players, making it easier to create epic and memorable experiences.
In a world of layers the subterranean adventure can encompass immense caverns, winding corridors, steep pitfalls, narrow chutes, and vents that access ascending or descending pathways that all interlink with vast chambers and crisscross over and under one another. Without a reliable means of orientation, it is incredibly easy to become hopelessly lost in these vast complexes, but a grandiose sense of scale can be easily obtained within a multi-tiered subterranean environment. Whether purposefully crafted by sentient minds or naturally occurring, the more this knotwork of connectivity is utilized, the more challenging (and rewarding) the subterranean environment will be to explore. It’s worth noting that you are also able to utilize the entirety of the environment much more easily (making climbing PCs far more mobile, but generally changing the expectations of a regular gaming experience on land rather than inside of it). Underground networks of streams, reservoirs of groundwater, and enormous aquifers can provide the same boundaries and hazards as their aboveground counterparts, and dark waters rich with bioluminescent algae and a surfeit of creatures that have adapted to a sunless world can provide a rich food source to support unique and complex ecosystems.
While a subterranean adventure can be as simple as the basement of a castle, the ground beneath our feet provides a ready palette the beckons for deeper and grander exploration. One good source for ready-to-play content to prepare such adventures is the AAW Games Underworld series that provide over a dozen books filled with races and classes designed specifically for a subterranean setting. If you’re looking for a complete subterranean adventure path, also check out Rise of the Drow.
THE BEST monsters from the vast library of AdventureAWeek.com modules and the ENnie winning-AaWBlog, carefully curated and developed for maximum dismemberment, maiming, and mayhem! There’s a growing number of creatures in this fantastic Pathfinder RPG supplement and you (or your GM!) needs to take a look at this amazing project before the campaign ends!
Amber Creature (CR +1) Though natives of the planar byways are relatively rare some creatures manage to live on the Amber Roads. Over time their bodies change dramatically, taking on more and more of the traits of the magical environment around them until they become things of amber.
Creating an Amber Creature “Amber” is an acquired template that can be added to any corporeal creature. An amber creature retains all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +1.
Type: The creature gains the earth subtype. Do not recalculate the creature’s base attack bonus, saves, or skill points.
Senses: An amber creature gains darkvision 120 ft. and tremorsense 50 ft.
Armor Class: Natural armor improves by +4.
Defensive Abilities: An amber creature retains all of the defensive abilities of the base creature. Amber creatures gain immunity to disease, immunity to poison, resist acid 15, and the vulnerability to sonic weakness. Amber creatures also gain the ablative amber ability.
Ablative Amber (Ex): Amber creatures are covered in a sheen of otherworldly mineral that constantly breaks and shifts around their bodies. At the start of an amber creature’s turn, this covering reforms and it ignores a number of points of damage (be it from a spell, weapon attack, or otherwise so long as it is an external effect) equal to 1/10th its current hit point total (rounded down; minimum 4). Amber creatures with damage reduction or energy resistance subtract damage normally before it applies to ablative amber. Spells with the earth descriptor and the abilities of stonespeakers ignore ablative amber.
Speed: Amber creatures gain a burrow speed of 30 feet and the earth glide ability.
Melee: An amber creature gains a slam attack if the base creature didn’t have one. Damage for the slam depends on the amber creature’s size (see Natural Attacks in the Universal Monster Rules section of Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary). An amber creature’s slam deals damage as though it were two sizes larger and its natural weapons are treated as magic weapons for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction.
Abilities: Str +4, Dex -2, Con +6, Wis +2.
Skills: Amber creatures have a +4 racial bonus on Perception and Stealth checks. An amber creature always treats Climb, Knowledge (geography), Knowledge (planes), Perception, Stealth, and Survival as class skills. Otherwise, skills are the same as the base creature.
Whether you’re running a prepared adventure, using the AaWBlog as part of your table’s story, or running a campaign all your own, clues are likely to play a critical role in the overall structure of the game. The best sessions don’t reveal information right out with a skill check, however, and sometimes incorporating nuanced clues just doesn’t go right. Maybe there’s a very distracting and talkative PC, or the neighbor’s dog was barking during your reveal, or folks were too tired at the end of a session to remember that thing the merchant said; for whatever reason, the progression of the tale isn’t going as smoothly as you liked so what do you do?
Today’s Meta Thursday is for you! Below are some tips and tricks to get a wayward group back on track and busting through important narrative junctures like bosses!
Encourage Investigation and Be Patient It’s not easy but this is one of the most important elements to using clues in your game. Over the months a campaign can encapsulate sessions can be delayed, memories can be warped, and life can rip attention away from the narrative and obscure the framework you’ve established. So long as the PCs are good about it—writing down important information and working with one another—hold your tongue until the time is nigh (see below).
Welcome to the Clue Farm Don’t hesitate to give the adventurers plenty of clues! It’s important to remember that not everything you say needs to be relevant to the overall plot (indeed, that’d be counterproductive!), but otherwise be generous with leads and foreshadowing to put the party on the right path.
Two elements are critical when you start handing out plenty of hints, however. Make sure that you spread these out (both geographically in the game and in terms of time) and that each individual clue doesn’t give too much away, needing to be integrated with other clues to really reveal something important. The other priority is that some clues are far more important that others! If you’ve given the PCs a sea of clues they may quickly become lost, so make sure that the really crucial elements are in places and at times that don’t lend themselves to being forgotten (traditionally this comes at the end of a story arch, but any resolved intense situation qualifies).
Did You Get That Thing That I Sent You? Sometimes it’s going to go right over their heads (why can vary from your own inconsistency or lack of emphasis, or because a player is hungry, owns a smart phone, or is just as human as you). When this happens remember that while the player may have forgotten, the character may not have so give the PCs checks to see if it swims up out of their consciousness and to the forefront of their mind! To keep things lively and discourage parties from using this like a crutch, don’t just hand over these clues—explain around the hint and don’t come out and say it (leave that up to the player).
Playing the Long Game The most satisfying gaming narratives are usually those that are formed from bits and pieces that coalesce over a period of years, but making clues that don’t give too much away and remain memorable after so long is no easy feat! My favorite method is to weave these into the history of characters—it allows the dropping of hints throughout a campaign without tipping your hand, sticks with the PC in question, and allows more flexibility in their parameters (since they aren’t played through)—but another tack is to have the clues themselves part of a nuanced motif that can easily be incorporated into encounters (whether they be combat, exploratory, or social).
However you do it, as long as they remain disparate at first and seem to be unrelated for most of the adventure, some of the clues you give out to PCs are sure to hit home and make the campaign something truly memorable!