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Old Jan 5th, 2021, 07:25 AM
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The Four Spears, an Adventure in Gost

Game NameThe Four Spears, an Adventure in Gost
Game SystemPathfinder
ThemeAdventure, One-shot
FlavourA classic story of a simple mission gone wrong.
Plot Summary
The Four Spears, an Adventure in Gost
The Land of the HalflingsA thousand years since first landing on its bleak shores, the halflings of Gost ruled the subcontinent virtually unchallenged. Then, in the year 1309 of the Old Calendar, the world of their forefathers changed forever. Over mountainous, forsaken land long thought trackless, new and strange peoples fled south, escaping a cataclysm none could explain. This disparate tide of races and nationalities all spoke of the heavens falling, and the rise of a vicious, madness spawning mist that pursued them to the very border of the halfling enclave at Hearth. From the mist poured monsters the likes of which the halfling peoples had never seen before; a fourth enclave, Border, was quickly established to guard the north while the heads of the Head Families sought answers. The fishermen of Hook soon confirmed the mist along the entire western coast, some thirteen wheels out from shore, and reported strange new shapes cutting the clouded waters. Quickly it became clear that Gost was surrounded by the strange malevolence. A new age had begun.

The newcomers found hospitality but no welcome. They were soon convinced by their halfling hosts to move to the uninhabited lands to the east of Hearth. With the exception of the near fatally depleted gnomish peoples and the unbending, immortal elves, the refugees from beyond the north dispersed, creating several new kingdoms and cultures which would change the face of Gost forever. The Kellids, implacable foes of the halfling nation, lost long wheels of land as their society faced a mysterious tragedy long-buried and never again spoken of thereafter. The human nation of Ansador was born, forming a buffer between the ancestral enemies. Eventually too grew the Unity Free States of the south, and the dwarves and white orcs established their domains in the Last Look Mountains to the north and far east. The remaining elves became a nation in exile, forever following the Path north in an attempt to regain their homelands. The gnomish peoples, on the verge of extinction, took the halfling's offer of stewardship and became the lowest cast in the intense halfling social hierarchy.

By the new calendar, it is now the year 3047 since the Advent of Mist and Gost is unrecognizable as it once was. Aided by the secrets of alchemy extorted from the imperiled gnomes and new magics traded from the fledgling nations, the halflings have maintained their dominance in every facet from trade to military prowess. The once-mighty Kellids are a society in shambles, forever haunted by a curse that ties them to their capital city of Last Bastion and a few sparse wheels of land around it. The nation of Ansador -whose name means "gentle waters" in the ancient human tongue- thrives on the trade provided by its many rivers, and produces some of the finest timber on the continent in its northern reaches. The Unity Free States of the south are as diverse as they are populace, currently undergoing a cultural renaissance long denied by their fractious past. Declining even before their exile from the far north, the white orcs of the Tower of Zelas have dwindled to a pitiful number, and leave their refuge only at great need. The dwarves of Higarde are likewise rarely seen. They are content to remain in their alien city high in the clouds, only descending to trade their fine wares or occasionally employee their phenomenal engineering skills by contract.

The Followers of the Path, however, are not content. For three thousand years the undying elves have sought to penetrate the secrets of the mist, forging their society into a single purpose intolerant of those that stray. Though nearly universally abhorred by the settled peoples, their knowledge of the mist and the lands it conceals is often too valuable or dire to be ignored. Always their tales have filled the common folk with imagined terrors but lately, their warnings come darker than ever before. Long quiet, the mist to the north roils with new horrors and the Followers are dying by the score. They fear it won't be long before these battles spill south into more vulnerable lands. To the east, a star has fallen. To the far south, new, strange peoples are seen on The Shrouded Isles. A white orc has been encountered by travelers crossing halfling lands near Hearthome, though none can remember the purpose and portent of their meeting. This is the state of the world as the sun finally throws off the reigns of winter and returns to herald the first spring of the last days of the Age of Mist.

Welcome to Gost.

 

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The first day of true Spring was a cause for long-delayed celebration for the people of Hearthome. For twenty-three years, a coalition of dwarves, Ansadorans, halflings, and their gnomish servants worked tirelessly to create a vessel that would lift the people of Gost into the clouds. At long last Gost's first airship, the Hilde Garde, was complete and awaiting only the return of fair weather for her maiden voyage. The morning of the thirteenth of Thaw dawned fair and clear and launch proceedings were commenced as planned. On her decks stood the heads of the First Family of Hearthome, representing all of halfling kind, the top engineers and representatives of the dwarves of Higarde, and Princess Aurar of Ansador, and any number of gnomish pilots and workmen. Her first trip was to be a short one, and she rose into the air light as a feather on a warm breeze. That was the last time anyone in Hearthome saw the Hilde Garde, the members of the First Family, any of the dwarves of Higarde, or Princess Aurar, ever again.
Within days the greatest heroes the enclaves could offer set out from Hearthome, tracking spore on the wind. Empowered by the writ of the Head Families, they traveled the length and breadth of Gost and as deeply into the misty north as they dared, accompanying the detested elves of the Path. What they discovered in their journeys are matters of story and song; this, however, is not any of those legends. Back in Hearthome, the loss of the heads of the First Family incited panic among its members. Ever the social opportunists, the Third Family launched a campaign to erode away as much of their power as possible, consolidating a hold on the reigns of the Hearth military forces. Many conspiracies abound as to the nature of the Hilde Garde's abduction, and talk lately has threatened war with Hearth's neighbors in an attempt to reveal the truth of the matter.
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It is in this climate that Harold Talltalker Founder, a chief military officer of Hearth's vaunted Home Gaurd and brilliant strategist of the Third Family, has summoned four members of the auxiliary forces to his office in central Post at Hearthome. A young man, little more than a boy, really, sits disconsolately in a chair in the corner of the office. He is Barber Whitewool Shearer of Peak and Hearthome is no longer the safest of places for him to be. The mission is a simple one - get Barber Whitewool Shearer to his home in the enclave of Heights. Strange rumors have sprouted about the roads north of Hearthhome all spring, of shadows that move strangely, and drums in the distant night. Still, the journey to Peak from Hearthome is not a difficult one, especially not for four members of the highly trained Home Gaurd.
This is the story being told. Is there a part here for you?


For the players...
Application Information
Number of Players: 4
Level: 5
Point Buy: 20
Traits: 2I find traits a very good way to pick up abilities for unusual concepts, like lock picking clerics. I will only overtly limit campaign traits. All others I reserve the right to change my mind on at character generation.*
Alternate Rules: Background skills, Feat Tax, Unchained

Name:
Race: Halfling (see below)
Class: PHBarchetypes approved on a case by case basis* plus Alchemistbase class only* and Investigatorbase class only*
Role: Combat, Traps, Healing, or Magic (see below)
Affiliation: The Home Guard (see below)
Description (physical, personality, history, etc.):

That's right, folks. This is a halflings-only game. See the blurb below on the Halflings of Gost to learn a little about their culture and how they differ from your run-of-the-mill Golarion halflings. Your characters are well-trained members of the local policing force, The Home Guard, tasked with the duty of escorting young Barber Whitewool Shearer to his family compound in Heights following the abduction of the Hilde Garde and the First Family of Hearthome. Odds are you know each other and you have all worked together before - I will let it be the player's decision whether their character is part of an existing unit or transferred in from a different one. I did not want to overwhelm potential candidates with lore, due to the somewhat experimental and stand-alone nature of this game, so I have only included what I think is absolutely necessary. I will also include some additional information here, with more added as I finalize it. Otherwise, I'm happy to answer any other questions about thinly covered areas that catch your interest.

I will take into account several factors when deciding on the party. When designing this adventure, I tried to give players as many options to resolve situations as possible. However, it is my estimation that you will need at least one character that can handle Traps, one that will be strong in close Combat, one that can administer various forms of Healing, and one that can handle various forms of Magic. There is nothing saying characters cannot cover some or all of these subjects in one way or another and I encourage diversity and creativity, but they should have one primary design goal in mind, indicated by a single role. IT IS NOT GUARANTEED THAT I WILL CHOSE ONE OF EACH ROLE. The roles are simply a useful indicator of your character's focus. I will also make selections based on over-all writing ability, the care taken in the presentation, and the tone the character sets - whether I feel they belong in the environment or not.

I urge you not to make character sheets before player selection. For one, starting at level five means you could do a lot of research for no reason and I'd feel a little guilty. For another, I encourage selected players to communicate to a small extent during character generation. I'd like these characters to feel like a fairly cohesive unit and maybe give you guys a plausible excuse to tactically select your feats and abilities to complement each other. This is by no means a requirement. I'll leave this here simply to help guide your thoughts. Concepts that emphasize survival and, to a lesser extent, combat skills are good choices for this adventure. Social abilities will be of limited use but will offer sizeable benefits when the opportunity presents itself.


Adventures in Gost
Adventures in Gost are a subsection of games set in my Gost campaign setting. Think of them as one-shots. They rarely directly affect the overarching story-line and usually serve as a testing ground for me as a DM. I keep them short - they typically span one level, sometimes two, and are very localized, unlike I describe below. I still take them seriously, however. I always aim to entertain my audience.

[insert form letter]Hello potential players, and welcome! This is where I tell you what to expect from me as both a DM and a storyteller. Let's get the crunch out the way, first. I design encounters that are mechanically and tactically difficult. I favor well-played to well-rolled characters, but I encourage you to build with survivability in mind. I scale up and down how "smart" the opponents are in any given encounter so as to give everyone a fair shot, but don't expect freebies. I award experience based on milestones. I follow the r00l of c00l; but remember, it's only c00l when it happens sporadically.

My goal is to tell a captivating story underpinned by the structure of Pathfinder mechanics. I aim to give my players a variety of goals and objectives over the course of an adventure, with a bit of freedom to roam and explore around Gost thrown in for good measure. The over-arching nature of the story of Gost prevents any one character from seeing it all, however, and there is a lot of material to get through. When appropriate, I'll guide the party back on track as firmly as necessary.

I currently make GM posts on Sunday and Wednesday. I ask players to post at least once a week and promise in turn that I will limit the situations that hinge on one specific player's response as often as possible. I am a very understanding GM when it comes to real-life priorities. Never feel guilty if those things must come before this luxury item. All I ask is that you communicate to me when you'll need time so that I can work that in to my plans in one way or another. Thank you for your interest in my little project, and I hope you enjoy your time in Gost!

 

 

 

 
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Icereach#8108 | Gost, a campaign setting

Last edited by Icereach; Jan 21st, 2021 at 08:21 PM.
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Old Jan 5th, 2021, 07:26 AM
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Reserved for Q&A

I wanna play a cleric! Who do I pray to?: You pray to your ancestors. I'm interested to see how you players interpret that, as it's not a firm concept for me either. In exchange for your inspiration, I'm trusting you to be responsible and present a clear theme for your worship, and letting you pick from any two domains you'd like.

Offensive potions?!: Sure. Offensive potions, provided they only target a single target and discharge only once. Potions consider the person that imbibes them both caster and target for the purposes of spell effects. A potion does not allow the drinker to "hold the charge", instead applying that effect directly to the drinker. Examples: A potion of cure light wounds heals the drinker for 1d8+1 HP. A potion of Shocking Grasp harms the drinker for 1d6 electricity damage. A potion of Chill Touch harms the drinker only once, not each round. Note: variables assume potions purchased from vendors, which are always at minimum required spell level.

Hey look ma', we're famous?: Nope. Sorry, Charlotte. This time, level 5 just means you're well trained.

I'm not sure I'm really "optimizing"? Don't sweat it. Don't feel like you need to be a munchkin. Just make choices that enhance your core character concept.

I wanna submit my character with someone else!: Get to it, soldier! Joint applications are welcome. Just ensure both characters are fully realized and can do their own thing, in case both players aren't chosen together.

Can I apply multiple times? Nope.

I feel like my hands are tied! Oh no! How about if I... Unchain them a bit? Monks and Rogues will use the Unchained variants of their classes, found here. Characters may also take advantage of skill unlocks, with the correct feat (typically Signature Skill, but I'm sure there are others.)

Is the Home Guard the national military? No, the national military is named the Bulwark. They are responsible for the safety of the enclaves as a whole and only concern themselves with matters that affect the entire halfling nation. Each enclave except Border has its own internal police force. For Hearth, that's the Home Guard.
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Icereach#8108 | Gost, a campaign setting

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Old Jan 5th, 2021, 07:27 AM
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Applicants
Character Player Class Role Status
Nedly Aimes Moonharvest (and Ripley) Attitude Urban Druid Healing or Magic -
Tess D'Urwell pianoman90 Rouge / Fighter Traps or Combat -
Randall Dugdale Swineheard Tales Unchained Monk Combat -
Jocinta Quakemire Arjuna332 Sorcerer Magic -
Amos Holmer Coalburn MundayKnight Sorcerer Magic/Healing -
Yorn Pickety Hornblast Norse Paladin Combat -

Application deadline: on or around February 1
The game thread is located here.
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Icereach#8108 | Gost, a campaign setting

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Old Jan 6th, 2021, 12:54 AM
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Definitely posting interest! Probably a traps-based character.

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Old Jan 6th, 2021, 01:29 AM
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Definitely posting interest! Probably a traps-based character.
Huzzah! Good to see you and thanks for coming!

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Old Jan 6th, 2021, 03:44 AM
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Level 5 presumes some adventuring or deeds of renown already. How well known in Gost are the halflings that you are looking for?

And are you happy with joint applications?
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Old Jan 6th, 2021, 05:16 AM
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Level 5 presumes some adventuring or deeds of renown already. How well known in Gost are the halflings that you are looking for?

And are you happy with joint applications?
Typically this is the case (and probably will be in future Gost games). However for the purposes of this one-off, it really just indicates they're well trained members of the Guard. I would say your characters are known in their respective communities within Hearthome, but probably not in the district over and certainly not beyond the city walls.

Joint applications are fine, and I appreciate players working together from the start. Make sure your character can stand alone on their own merits, however. I may not chose both players for this game.

On a similar subject, only one application per player.
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Old Jan 6th, 2021, 12:48 PM
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I should say I only have a few of the main books of Pathfinder 1e so optimizing may be a little off, but I was thinking a cleric from the Heights who specializes in Luck and Charm, the idea being he draws on family ties to weave fate and people together with a focused role of a healer. Might that work as ancestor worship?
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Old Jan 6th, 2021, 03:25 PM
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Hello Icereach. What a marvelous project. I normally like to sit at the DM end of a table, but I might just deviate from that path to try my hand with a halfling here. I looked over the options for a sorcerer and would like to hear if it would be okay that I took the Phoenix Bloodline (it is from Paizo: Heroes of Golarion)?

I think I have been around all the threads, also in the game folder, but can you point me to a few words on how arcane magic plays in with the Home Guard and the halfling society in general?

Thanks.
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Old Jan 6th, 2021, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kadakithis View Post
I should say I only have a few of the main books of Pathfinder 1e so optimizing may be a little off, but I was thinking a cleric from the Heights who specializes in Luck and Charm, the idea being he draws on family ties to weave fate and people together with a focused role of a healer. Might that work as ancestor worship?
That would, indeed, work as ancestor worship and I'm interested to see how you portray that in the application. Don't let the concept of optimization stress you out. More than anything I'm cautioning players to build around a unified theme. Don't let your character be so versatile that they're not effective at their core task. A minor note: your character may have been born in Heights but would have moved to Hearth at a fairly young age if they were to be considered for the Home Guard.

Quote:
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Hello Icereach. What a marvelous project. I normally like to sit at the DM end of a table, but I might just deviate from that path to try my hand with a halfling here. I looked over the options for a sorcerer and would like to hear if it would be okay that I took the Phoenix Bloodline (it is from Paizo: Heroes of Golarion)?

I think I have been around all the threads, also in the game folder, but can you point me to a few words on how arcane magic plays in with the Home Guard and the halfling society in general?

Thanks.
Heya Tales, and thanks for giving it all a look. I'll admit, I don't have everything posted or even finalized for Gost but I'm filling in the blanks quickly for later games. I don't see a problem with the Phoenix Bloodline. It should be noted that most of the really fantastical creatures such as unicorns, phoenix, and dragons were mostly hunted and driven off of Gost before the advent of mist. Some might still roam the forests of Kellid but that's pure speculation. Kellid is even less welcoming of outsiders than the Halfling enclaves.

Arcane magic is fairly common in Hearth and Heights, and to a lesser degree in Hook. There are a few academies that offer magical instruction up to a point, but they are expensive to attend without a commission from some branch of the military. In combat, Halflings favor magic that shapes the ground to their benefit, and have an affinity for illusion magic taught by the gnomish exiles.

Arcane magic users, however, are not common enough to replace more mundane resources. Electricity is produced in Hearth based on alchemy, and is still very rare and expensive to the common populace.

Everyone should note that the bottom of the entry for halflings contains a list of approved Alternate Racial Traits as well as Favored Classes. These are finalized. Players may choose any class to be their character's favored class but should note they only receive the alternative FCB when selecting one of the listed options. For Fighters, the halfling FCB has been changed (to the one for humans, if I remember correctly.)
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Old Jan 6th, 2021, 05:30 PM
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Thank you. That was exactly the kind of information I was looking for. I have been looking for a way to fill out a wider range of choices and would like to pitch a choice here to see what you (and fellow players) might think would fit? The Eldritch scrapper archetype (if allowed? It is from Paizo Advanced Class Guide) is a brawling kind of sorcerous halfling and I like the idea of the wee magician coming in to be all close and forceful, but is it too dangerous and is it outright stupidity to miss out on detect magic, read magic and auto identify?
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Old Jan 6th, 2021, 05:39 PM
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Thank you. That was exactly the kind of information I was looking for. I have been looking for a way to fill out a wider range of choices and would like to pitch a choice here to see what you (and fellow players) might think would fit? The Eldritch scrapper archetype (if allowed? It is from Paizo Advanced Class Guide) is a brawling kind of sorcerous halfling and I like the idea of the wee magician coming in to be all close and forceful, but is it too dangerous and is it outright stupidity to miss out on detect magic, read magic and auto identify?
For setting reasons, I'm going to have to nix this archetype. Halflings haven't quite learned to mix magic and melee yet. They prefer combat at a distance whenever possible. This is the reason they don't have Magus and also the reason I wanted to approve all archetypes.
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Old Jan 6th, 2021, 05:44 PM
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Thanks. Easier choice then. I am hesitant in terms of the phoenix bloodline 3rd power if it is unatural for halflings to mix magic and melee up, though. Hmm.. will give it some thought.
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Old Jan 6th, 2021, 06:02 PM
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Thanks. Easier choice then. I am hesitant in terms of the phoenix bloodline 3rd power if it is unatural for halflings to mix magic and melee up, though. Hmm.. will give it some thought.
A note on that Bloodline that I forgot to mention earlier. These are things that I don't find explicitly spelled out so I would rather be clear than make assumptions.

The Bloodline arcana ability will work like Cleric channeling. When casting spells with the Fire descriptor, you choose either harming or healing all of your targets. The choice is made when the spell is cast, before any variable factors are rolled. This is especially important for spells that grant you multiple attacks, like Scorching Ray: each ray will have the same effect, either healing or harming.

The fire wall ability is fine in canon; they may not really incorporate arcane and melee, but they would value last ditch abilities that might save your bacon. It does not give you an action to deactivate the shield but does state that rounds do not have to be consecutive. I'm going to rule that it requires a Free action (on your turn) to end the effect. Further, there's no indication of how it interacts with the Bloodline arcana, as the ability isn't a spell. I can see how this is probably nitpicking, but in the end, this ability could be used as free mass healing earlier than intended. Therefore I'm going to rule that your fire shield ability can only be used to harm.
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Old Jan 6th, 2021, 06:11 PM
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I've decided to include Unchained as a part of Gost. For this game, that should only really affect your decisions if you're considering playing a Rogue or Monk, which are now the Unchained variants of those classes. You may also take the Signature Skill feat to qualify for skill unlocks as normal.
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