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 Post subject: The Weary Grave: Houserules and Setting Mechanics
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:51 pm 
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If there are questions or comments on these rulings, bring them up in the OOC thread. This one is here to serve as a convenient reference point.


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 Post subject: Re: The Weary Grave: Houserules and Setting Mechanics
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:53 pm 
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Universal Mechanics

Ability Scores At 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 20th level, characters receive a +1 bonus to two separate ability scores. At 5th and 15th level, characters receive a +1 bonus to one of their three lowest ability scores. At 10th and 20th level, characters receive a +1 bonus to all ability scores.

Items that provide enhancement bonuses to ability scores are rare. Newly created characters may have access to an item (or set of items) that provides a +4 enhancement bonus to two ability scores, or a +6 enhancement bonus to one ability score.

Alignment The Shroudlands does not use alignment. For mechanical purposes (alignment-based spells, effects, and so on), characters are treated as morally and ethically neutral.

Characters with strong alignment auras (clerics, paladins, outsiders) retain those auras, and are treated as its alignment for purposes of spells and effects. Undead are always treated as evil. These auras are unrelated to a person's actual moral character; a fallen angel or corrupt, child-molesting priest may be able to safely wield a holy relic that scars and blisters the ghost of a heroic paladin. Scholars throughout the Shroudlands have numerous theories on why this is, but no universal consensus. Many wonder why the gods see fit to extend protection against holy energies to servants whose hearts are unworthy.

Though good and evil are subjective concepts in the Shroudlands, many individuals and religions still have their own deeply set notions of right and wrong, and find morality anything but relative. There is simply no metagame standard to hold these views against.

Clerics can choose whether to spontaneously cast positive/negative energy spells and channel positive/negative energy at 1st level (as can other classes that receive those abilities at whatever level). Once made, this choice cannot be changed.

Detect <alignment> class abilities are replaced with detect thoughts. DCs are equal to 10 + 1/2 class level + relevant ability modifier.

Detect <alignment> spells are deleted.

Paladins/blackguards are held to their religion's tenants rather than a general code of conduct.

Smite evil functions against all creatures. It does not automatically overcome DR, but treats the character's attacks as magic and good-aligned. It deals double damage on its first attack against against creatures with an aura of evil (undead, some outsiders, some clerics, blackguards.) Smite good functions the same, dealing its extra damage against creatures with an aura of good (some outsiders, some clerics, paladins), and treats the character's attacks as magic and evil-aligned.

Called Shots This variant rule is open for use. When committing a coup de grace, characters can elect to inflict a critical or debilitating called shot instead of killing the target. (This is essentially how you maim a helpless person.)

Classes Antipaladins are called blackguards.

Monks receive d10 HD and full BAB. They may add their Wisdom modifier instead of their Strength modifier to attack and damage rolls with unarmed strikes and monk weapons.

Summoners can use their summon monster SLA and have an eidolon summoned simultaneously. An eidolon uses separate magic item slots from its summoner.

Thassilonian specialists are called school specialists. They can use their specialty school spell slots to spontaneously cast any spell from their specialty school of the same level or lower.

Divine grace and similar abilities let characters add their Charisma modifier to saving throws in place of other ability scores, rather than in addition to. (For example, a 9th level paladin with 15 Dex and 20 Cha has Reflex +8.)

Damage Reduction High enhancement bonus weapons do not ignore material or alignment-based damage reduction. Bypassing DR/silver takes a silver weapon.

'Greater magic' and 'high magic' are introduced as new DR penetrators. A greater magic weapon has +3 or greater enhancement, high magic has +5.

Leadership Many PCs have personal followers or hold positions of authority that give them command over others. These effective cohorts are built with NPC wealth and will be DM-controlled in most instances. The Leadership feat allows a cohort to be player-controlled at all times and built with PC wealth. Cohorts may not possess ability score enhancement items.

Cohorts are built with 15 point buy stats if they are 1st-5th level, 20 point buy if they are 6th-10th, and 25 point buy if they are 11th+.


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 Post subject: Re: The Weary Grave: Houserules and Setting Mechanics
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:54 pm 
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Skills

Climb/Swim These skills are combined into Athletics. Climb and swim speeds still only grant their bonus on the relevant form of movement.

Fly Characters damaged while flying must make a Fly check (DC = damage dealt) or fall a number of feet equal to their margin of failure (essentially, Fly DC – Fly check result = feet fallen, round down to nearest 5). If their total altitude loss is greater than their initial altitude, they crash into the ground, taking falling damage as appropriate. This supersedes the 'attacked while flying' section of the Fly skill.

Linguistics "We are in Transylvania, and Transylvania is not England. Our ways are not your ways, and there shall be to you many strange things. Nay, from what you have told me of your experiences already, you know something of what strange things there may be."

Linguistics works a lil' bit differently in the Shroudlands. A big theme the setting aims to highlight is cultural dissonance; characters who travel outside the lands of their birth are strangers in a strange land. Locals keep to themselves when foreigners are about and whisper suspiciously in their own tongues. To better establish this insular and xenophobic feel, learning new languages takes more investment than it does in standard PF. Characters must spend multiple skill ranks in Linguistics to become fully fluent in a language.

1 rank: Poor fluency. You can barely communicate in the language and native speakers constantly ask you to repeat yourself (or simply smile and nod). You take a -10 penalty on Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Linguistics, and Sense Motive checks made against speakers of the language, but also gain a +10 circumstance bonus on saving throws against language-dependent effects delivered in it.

2 ranks: Fair fluency. You speak with a thick accent but are capable of holding prolonged conversations, even if a good deal of nuance and intended meaning is lost. You take a -5 penalty on Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Linguistics, and Sense Motive checks made against speakers of the language, but also gain a +5 circumstance bonus on saving throws against language-dependent effects delivered in it.

3 ranks: Good fluency. You have a mild accent and are a proficient speaker, though fine nuances can still escape you. Career diplomats and interpreters are likely to have at least this level of fluency in their non-native tongues. You take a -2 penalty on Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Linguistics, and Sense Motive checks made against speakers of the language, but also gain a +2 circumstance bonus on saving throws against language-dependent effects delivered in it.

4 ranks: Full fluency. You can speak and even think in the language as flawlessly as your native tongue (if it isn't already). No penalties.

Characters begin play fully fluent in their starting languages. Bonus languages from a high Intelligence score count as free effective ranks. (For example, someone from Carsk with 14 Int could begin play with full fluency in Ursault and fair fluency (2 ranks) in Nether Cant, or full fluency in Ursault and poor fluency (1 rank) in both Morthic and Nether Cant.) Language sections in statblocks change to look as follows: Languages Abyssal (fair), Morthic (good), Torkosic (poor), Vraegyth (fluent)

See [url]this[/url] post for a list of setting regional languages.

Use Magic Device Characters trained in this skill add 1/2 their HD to the save DCs of non-scaling magic items.


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 Post subject: Re: The Weary Grave: Houserules and Setting Mechanics
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:54 pm 
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Feats

Fighter-Only Feats are available to all classes, with a BAB prereq equal to the former fighter level. Fighters who take the feats (and any feat that applies to a single weapon) apply them to entire weapon groups.

Improved Familiar
This feat allows you to acquire a more powerful familiar, but only when you could normally acquire a familiar.
Prerequisites: Ability to acquire a familiar, compatible alignment, sufficiently high level.
Benefit: When choosing a familiar you may choose from an additional list of creatures. Familiars gained through this feat otherwise use the rules for regular familiars, with the following exceptions.
Your familiar is treated as an animal companion for the purposes of Str/Dex, natural armor and HD.

Vital Strike can be used in conjunction with the charge action, Spring Attack, Cleave, Deadly Stroke, and other standard action attacks.

Weapon Finesse lets characters use Dexterity instead of Strength for melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks. Agile Maneuvers no longer exists. The following variants are available in addition to Weapon Finesse. One must be proficient with the weapon employed to make use of the feat.

Brutal Throw Use Str for thrown ranged attacks.
Dazzling Strike Use Cha for melee attacks and CMB checks.*
Insightful Strike Use Wis for melee attacks and CMB checks.*
Reasoned Strike Use Int for melee attacks and CMB checks.*
Zen Archery Use Wis for ranged attacks.
*This feat can be used in place of Weapon Finesse as a prerequisite.

Whirlwind Attack is a standard action.

The following additional feats are available:

Archmage
You can effortlessly enhance your lesser spells.
Prerequisites Able to cast 7th level arcane spells, Knowledge (arcana) 13 ranks, Spellcraft 13 ranks, any two of the following feats: any metamagic feat, Skill Focus (Knowledge [arcana]), Skill Focus (Spellcraft), Spell Focus.
Benefit You can spontaneously apply any metamagic feat you know to a spell by sacrificing another spell of equal or greater level to the metamagic feat's level increase. You cannot increase a spell's total modified level beyond a spell level you are capable of casting.

Arcane Fire
You can channel spells into bolts of raw magical energy.
Prerequisite Able to cast 7th level arcane spells, Knowledge (arcana) 13 ranks, Spellcraft 13 ranks, Archmage, any two of the following feats: any metamagic feat, Skill Focus (Knowledge [arcana]), Skill Focus (Spellcraft), Spell Focus.
Benefit If you prepare spells, you can choose to prepare one less spell than normal. If you cast spells spontaneously, you can choose to expend one spell slot during your daily readying of spells. For 24 hours, you can hurl a bolt of arcane fire as an attack action, targeting any foe within 400 feet plus 40 feet per caster level as a ranged touch attack. On a hit, you deal 1d6 points of damage per four caster levels plus an additional 1d6 points of damage per level of the spell slot used to power the arcane fire. This is a spell-like ability.

Craft Magic Item (Item Creation)
You can craft magic items.
Prerequisite Caster level 1st.
Benefit You can create any magic item whose prerequisites you meet. Enchanting a magic item takes one day for each 1,000 gp in its price. To enchant a magic item, you must use raw materials costing 75% of the item's market price. You can also mend a broken magic item if it is one that you could make. Doing so costs half the raw materials, and half the time it would take to craft that item in the first place. Some magic items incur extra costs in material components, as noted in their descriptions. These costs are in addition to those derived from the item’s base price. You must pay such a cost to create an item or to mend a broken one.
Special This feat is a prereq for all other non-epic core item creation feats. The caster level prerequisites for those feats are still required to craft such items. Thus, a 5th level wizard with this feat could not forge a magical ring.
Special Wizards gain Scribe Scroll for free. This feature allows them to craft scrolls, but not other magical items without the benefit of this feat.
Special The other feats represent a focus on a particular type of item that reduces the cost to 50% of the market price and increases your effective caster level by 2 for crafting items.

Forge Arcane Bond
Flavor.
Prerequisite Arcane caster level 3rd.
Benefit You gain an arcane bond, as the wizard class feature of the same name. You treat your class level in a single spellcasting class as your effective wizard level.
Special Acquiring this feat requires a ritual that costs 200 gp per class level. If you have a familiar, you can treat your familiar as your bonded object.

Summon Familiar
Flavor.
Prerequisite Arcane caster level 3rd.
Benefit You gain a familiar, as the wizard class feature of the same name. You treat your class level in a single spellcasting class as your effective wizard level.
Special Acquiring this feat requires a ritual that costs 200 gp per class level. If you have a familiar, you can treat your familiar as your bonded object.

(Followers of Kain's game may notice that Mastery of Counterspelling and Elemental Substitution are missing from this list; Paizo did their own subsequent versions with Parry Spell and Elemental Spell.)


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 Post subject: Re: The Weary Grave: Houserules and Setting Mechanics
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:13 pm 
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Equipment/Items

Additional Abilities Adding additional abilities to an item, such as by combining a ring of protection +2 with a ring of invisibility, does not increase the cost by 50%. This isn't so characters can deck themselves out in more bling, but to let them begin play with a small number of special items as opposed to a dozen+ less personal ones.

Extradimensional Spaces always measure their contents limit by weight rather than cubic feet.

Firearms add the wielder's Dexterity bonus to damage rolls. Mysterious strangers do not receive focused aim in place of quick clear.

Item Slots The 15 magical item limit is kept, but specific slot restrictions are loosened.

Armor - 1
Belts - 1
Body/Chest - 3
Ears - 8 (if you possess the piercings for such)
Eyes - 1
Feet - 1
Hands - 2
Head - 1
Headband -1
Neck - 2
Ring - 8
Shield - 1
Shoulders -1
Wrist - 3 (bracelets) or 1 (bracers)

The DM who first implemented this wrote:
This will not gainsay common sense. Wear a vest over a shirt beneath your robe, fine. Try to stack on three vests or two coats, and I'll be annoyed. If a set of gloves comes as a set of two, then you can't wear one and a magic glove on the other hand. This is not to game the system, this is simply to allow people to have a bit more control over what sort of stuff they use.


Weapon Enhancement Bonuses deal an additional die of damage at +3 and +5 enhancement. For example, a +5 flaming longsword deals +3d6 fire damage. A +3 shocking burst greataxe deals +2d6 electricity damage/+2d10 on a crit.


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 Post subject: Re: The Weary Grave: Houserules and Setting Mechanics
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:14 pm 
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Magic

Bonus Spells Spellcasters whose ability scores grant higher level bonus spells than they have access to can prepare/cast those spells in lower level slots. (For instance, a 1st level 16 Int wizard has 3 bonus 1st level slots, a 20th level oracle with 30 Cha has 2 bonus 9th level slots.)

Enchantments If a creature values something as much (or more) than its own life, that something is treated as the creature itself for purposes of what commands its enchanter can give. For example, ordering a devout knight to slay his liege or a mother to kill her children counts as a suicidal/self-destructive order.

Commands given via compulsion spells are divorced from context. For example, leaving a room is against few individuals' natures. A character ordered to do so via dominate person doesn't receive an additional save, whether the room is empty or contains their dying and soon to bleed out wife.

Spontaneous Spellcasters do not increase the casting time of metamagic. Ones with access to 9th level spells know spells and receive spell slots per day as if they were 1 level higher. (A 13th level sorcerer has access to 7th level slots, a 9th level oracle has access to 5th level slots, etc.)

Create demiplane spells work a bit differently. There is only one create demiplane spell (a renamed greater create demiplane), which has a duration of instantaneous and costs 23,000 gp. (Effectively, only the 9th level spell is available, and is always cast to create a permanent demiplane.) Lower-level spells able to create demiplanes may exist, but are more likely to be found in planar settings than the Shroudlands.

Detect magic, arcane sight and greater arcane sight do not reveal magical auras if their source is hidden from the caster's mundane senses. (For example, detect magic only reveals the aura of a phantasmal killer trap that has first been located through a Perception check.)

Protective penumbra works a lil' bit differently for vampires. It absorbs 10 points of sunlight damage per caster level before collapsing and offers no other special protection. They are still staggered, can't use supernatural abilities/fast healing, it just buys them a bit more time before they crisp. Circumventing their curse's signature weakness takes bigger mojo than a 2nd level spell.


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 Post subject: Re: The Weary Grave: Houserules and Setting Mechanics
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:14 pm 
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Blood Bonds

Within the Shroudlands, one of the most wondrous and terrible properties of vampire blood is its ability to enslave nearly any being who drinks of it three times. Each sip of such a vampire's blood gives the vampire in question a greater emotional hold over the drinker. If a being drinks three times, on three separate nights, from the same vampire, she falls victim to a state known as the blood bond. A vampire who holds a blood bond over another being is said to be that victim’s regnant, while the being subordinate to the bond is called the thrall.

Put simply, the blood bond is one of the most potent emotional sensations known. A blood-bound victim is absolutely devoted to her regnant and will do nearly anything for him. The blood bond is most commonly used to ensnare mortals, but vampires can bind each other as well. Such is the blood bond’s power that a mighty elder can be bound to a lowly neonate; in this respect, the blood of a days-old fledgling is as strong as a thousand-year-old's ancient's. As such, the blood bond forms an essential strategy in vampiric politics; many elders hold vast numbers of pawns in secret thrall.

Each night that a creature consumes any quantity of a vampire's blood, they must make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 vampire's HD + Cha mod + 5 per consecutive night they drink its blood) or suffer the following effects; the regnant instinctively senses whether or not the would-be thrall has succumbed to them. A blood bond is a mind-affecting emotion effect. A blood bond can affect any undead creature that gains sustenance from flesh or blood, bypassing their normal immunity to mind-affecting effects.

• First drink: The drinker begins to experience intermittent but strong feelings about the vampire. She may dream of him, or find herself “coincidentally” frequenting places where he might show up. At this level, the thrall is considered "very familiar" towards the regnant for purposes of divination spells and effects. All newly made vampires have this level of bond toward their sires, for the act of the vampire's creation forces one drink upon them; they may love their “parents,” hate them, or both, but are rarely indifferent toward them.

• Second drink: The drinker’s feelings grow strong enough to influence her behavior. Though she is by no means enslaved to the vampire, he is definitely an important figure in her life. At this level, the thrall is affected by charm monster towards the regnant, with the following differences from the spell:
- The thrall freely volunteers information and tactics her master doesn't ask for. The blood bond's strength runs deeper than superficial mortal enchantments, and creates genuine desire for the regnant's well-being in the thrall.
- The thrall cannot be ordered to commit actions against her nature.
- Sense Motive cannot be used to detect that the thrall is under enchantment, nor does she radiate an aura of enchantment. Certain spells and effects can detect blood bonds, but these means are rarely known by non-vampires.

• Third drink: Full-scale blood bond. At this level, the drinker is more or less completely bound to the vampire. He is the most important person in her life; lovers, relatives, and even children become secondary to her all-consuming passion. At this level, the thrall is affected by dominate monster towards their regnant, with the following differences from the spell:
- The thrall freely volunteers information and tactics her master doesn't ask for. The blood bond's strength runs deeper than superficial mortal enchantments, and creates genuine desire for the regnant's well-being in the thrall.
- The regnant can issue new commands to the thrall as a free action instead of a move action.
- The regnant cannot concentrate to receive sensory input from the thrall.
- The regnant does not need to spend 1 round concentrating on the domination each day.
- Protection from evil and similar spells prevent the regnant from using the telepathic link, but do not otherwise prevent him from exercising control over the thrall.
- Sense Motive cannot be used to detect that the thrall is under enchantment, nor does she radiate an aura of enchantment. Certain spells and effects can detect blood bonds, but these means are rarely known by non-vampires.

A full blood bond, once formed, is nearly inviolate. Once bound, a thrall is under the sway of her regnant and her regnant only. She cannot be bound again by another vampire unless the first blood bond wears away “naturally.” A vampire can experience lesser (one- and two-drink) bonds toward several individuals; indeed, some vampires enjoy such bonds, as they create artificial passion in their dead hearts. Upon the formation of a full blood bond, though, all lesser sensations are wiped away. Vampire lovers occasionally enter into mutual blood bonds with each other; this is the closest thing the undead can feel to true love. Even this sensation can turn to disgust or hate over the centuries, though, and in any event few vampires trust each other enough to initiate it.

A blood bond is a mighty force, but it is at its most potent when perpetually reinforced with further drinks. Feeding a thrall often reinforces the bond (causing them to take a -4 penalty on Will saves to resist its effects for 24 hours), while depriving a thrall of blood may cause the bond to grow tepid over time. Like any other relationship, treatment and courtesy play a part in the dynamics of the bond. A thrall who is treated well and fed often will likely fall even more deeply in love, while a thrall who is degraded and humiliated may find resentment and anger eating away at the bond.

It is possible for a creature to temporarily resist a blood bond when ordered to commit an action against its nature. If the thrall succeeds on her Will save, she is unaffected by the blood bond for a number of minutes equal to her Will save result. This duration is reduced from minutes to rounds if the thrall attacks the regnant, or has consumed his blood in the past 24 hours (if she has done both, the duration is reduced to 1 round). Once this duration elapses, the blood bond resumes at full force.

A first or second stage blood bond can be broken by break enchantment, greater restoration, limited wish, or if the thrall is slain and returned to life. A third stage blood bond can only be broken by miracle or wish, and survives even the thrall's death. A blood bond can also be broken naturally, though this requires the thrall to not only avoid the regnant entirely for an extended period of time, but also spend great amounts of willpower to overcome the addiction. As a general rule, a thrall who neither sees nor feeds from her regnant for a period of (12 - Wisdom modifier, minimum 1) months can make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 regnant's HD + Cha mod) to reduce her bond by one level. If the bond is reduced to zero in this fashion, it is nullified entirely. Each month the thrall goes without seeing her regnant, however, she must make a Will save at the same DC or be compelled to seek out the regnant to the exclusion of all other activities except those necessary for day-to-day survival (such as sleeping, eating, and so forth).

Another, though somewhat less certain, way to be rid of the bond is to kill the regnant. Such a choice is extremely perilous on many levels, and makes no guarantees that everything will go smoothly. Those who have been released by such means claim the bond shatters like spun glass upon the moment of the regnant’s destruction. When a regnant is destroyed, a thrall must make a Madness save (DC 20 + 1/2 regnant's HD + Cha mod). If the thrall is a vampire and fails her saving throw by 16 or more points (or rolls a natural 1), she is permanently destroyed.

A vampire can maintain a number of blood bonds equal to its Hit Dice times its age category. These blood bonds can be any degree of strength, so most regnants choose to maintain third-stage blood bonds in their thralls. First-stage blood bonds that result from creating other vampires do not count towards this limit. A regnant cannot release a thrall from a blood bond, though they are free to end the bond by any of the above methods (or to simply kill the thrall). If another creature drinks any amount of blood from a vampire maintaining the maximum number of blood bonds, it must make a Madness save (DC 10 + 1/2 vampire's HD + Cha mod). Whether or not the save is successful, that creature cannot be affected again by the same vampire's blood for 24 hours.


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