Saturday, February 25, 2017

Pathfinder Freeport Bestiary (P)Review

Last week I had the present surprise of seeing the Freeport Bestiary released in PDF format, as a $5 add-on for ordering the print version. Here, then is a (p)review of that book.

First, the book provides a solid mix of old monsters and new. I always liked the format for the Creatures of Freeport book from back in 3rd Edition, and some of my favorites are back, updated for Pathfinder. Some highlights include the deadwood tree, fire spectre, ghost eater and multiple stat blocks for serpent people.

There are some great new creatures, too, like the bloathsome, sail dragon and werewalrus. All in all, there's a great variety of monsters that can be used to populate the ocean and islands around Freeport (or similar settings).

The mix of CRs is useful, too. Of the eighty or so monsters listed, more than half of them are CR 6 or lower. This isn't to say that there aren't any high-level foes, but I prefer to have more options for the levels at which I'm more likely to play.

This book also retains the "Lore" table for each creature, with DCs for Knowledge checks and the details that PCs can recall about them. That helps the GM generate plot ideas and integrate these monsters into adventures and campaigns.

If I must be picky, I don't love the fact that the creatures are limited to their own specific pages, as is the case in the Pathfinder Bestiaries. This can make finding information a little more challenging, but I can understand why the layout decision was made.

All in all, this book is a solid addition to any Pathfinder GM's library, but especially useful for those who are running nautical fantasy campaigns.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Nova Dust

Tying into yesterday's post, here's a new magical substance: nova dust.


Nova Dust
Aura strong conjuration; CL NA
Slot NA; Price NA; Weight varies
This gleaming, dust-like substance can on rare occasions be found inside a nebula, the remains of a star that has died. It is imbued with potent life-creating energy, what some believe is the potential for creating inhabited planets that the star possessed. The exact effect that it has depends on the quantity that is applied to someone.

½ ounce = Stabilize (25 gp)
1 ounce = Cure light wounds (50gp)
2 ounces = Cure moderate wounds (300 gp)
4 ounces = Cure serious wounds (750 gp)
½ pound = Cure critical wounds (1400 gp)
1 pound = Breath of life (2250 gp)
2 pounds = Heal (3300 gp)
4 pounds = Regenerate (4550 gp)
13 pounds = Resurrection (14,550 gp)

Because of these curative properties, nova dust fetches a price equivalent to a potion for a spell of the same effect.
Requirements NA; Cost varies

Friday, February 10, 2017

Sentient Nebula

This post, inspired by the play The Tempest, tales of the mirage phenomenon known as the Fata Morgana, and Arthurian legend, presents a creature for use in space fantasy campaigns.


(Artwork courtesy of

Sentient Nebula
This cloud of gas and interstellar dust might seem unremarkable, except for the fact that it moves of its own accord.

CR 16
XP 76,800
N Huge outsider (air, elemental, native) Wizard 10
Init +17; Senses Perception +21; darkvision 60 ft.
AC 30, touch 22, flat-footed 16 (+13 Dex, +1 Dodge, +8 natural, -2 size)
hp 152 (16d10+64)
Fort +17, Ref +26, Will +16
Resist Air mastery; DR 10/--; elemental traits
Spd fly 100 ft. (perfect)
Melee 2 slams +32 (2d8+8)
Special Attacks Whirlwind (DC 27)
Str 26, Dex 37, Con 18, Int 16, Wis 13, Cha 13
Base Atk +21; CMB +32; CMD 56
Feats Blind-Fight, Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Eschew Materials, Flyby Attack, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Mobility, Power Attack, Spell Focus (illusion), Spell Mastery x6 (affected spells are marked with an * below), Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +32, Escape Artist +32, Fly +34, Knowledge (arcane) +23, Knowledge (local) +23, Perception +21, Spellcraft +23, Stealth +24
Languages None?
SQ Spells, cantrips, arcane bond (familiar), arcane school (illusion)
Combat Gear None
Spells per Day: 4/4/4/3/3/2
Spells Known: Arcane mark, daze, dancing lights*, detect magic, ghost sound*, message*, read magic; color spray*, comprehend languages*, expeditious retreat, identify, mage armor, silent image*, unseen servant, ventriloquism; blur, detect thoughts*, hypnotic pattern*, invisibility, minor image*, mirror image; arcane sight, clairaudience/clairvoyance*, dispel magic, displacement, major image*, tongues*; greater invisibility, hallucinatory terrain*, illusory wall*, phantasmal killer, rainbow pattern*, shadow conjuration; break enchantment, dream*, mirage arcana*, persistent image*, shadow evocation, telekinesis

The birth of a star is an event deeply imbued with the potential for creating new life. Indeed, it is this explosive moment that creates worlds, which through their interaction with the sun become the home for almost all living things in the Known Galaxy. For that reason, some scholars who study life in the void believe that interstellar nebulae are inherently male in nature. Others disagree, however, arguing that the process if giving birth is a distinctly female ability. Whatever the case, it is confirmed that sometimes parts of those nebulae develop intelligence of their own, that they obsess about wondering what that life might have been like on their worlds, and therefore use their magical powers to learn more the character of other creatures.

Sentient nebulae wield powerful illusory magic. They use it to test the living creatures who pass through them, creating phantasmal situations which lure beings into making moral and ethical judgments. It is believed that these entities are neutral in nature, but tales persist of ones that seek to corrupt mortals or lead them toward spiritual improvement. Some legends even tell of how a sentient nebula, when an aethership bearing a beautiful woman passed through it, became enamored with her and thus pursued that vessel throughout the void, trying to win her love.

Sentient nebulae are also known to possess a rare and magical substance known as nova dust. This material is imbued with the potential for creating new life, and so possesses curative qualities when used by living creatures.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sound Effects

Props go to That Other Guy, who shared this site in a post over on the RPG.Net forum. Here's a site that has all kinds of nautical sound effects.

"Age of Sail" SoundPad


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Populating Planets

Continuing some of my recent worlds-building, I've been speculating about which monsters from the Pathfinder Bestiaries could be used on other planets. In my next few posts I'll be grouping some of these according to the ecologies that they can be used to build on different types of worlds.


Otherworldly Monsters
At first glance, the notion of populating planets in a space fantasy RPG campaign with new, exotic and challenging monsters might seem to be a daunting task. A quick review of the Pathfinder Bestiary and its sequels, however, provides plenty of options for inhabitants of different worlds. The trick here, though, is to make sure that the campaign setting's Homeworld is inhabited only by familiar creatures (that is, ones that players recognize from known mythological sources). More unusual monsters, then—that are neither constructs, undead, nor outsiders—can become inhabitants of those alien worlds.

Monster (page #)
Aboleth (8), ankheg (15), basidirond (28), behir (34), boggard (37), bulette (39), cave fisher (41), choker (45), chuul (46), cloaker (47), darkmantle (55), froghemoth (136), intellect devourer (180), morlock (209), neothelid (214), otyugh (223), purple worm (230), remorhaz (233), roper (237), shambling mound (246), shoggoth (249), skum (253), stirge (260), vegepygmy (273), violet fungus (274), xill (283), xorn (284), yellow musk creeper (285)
Akata (23), aranea (30), athach (33), aurumvorax (35), blindheim (46), bunyip (50), carnivorous blob (51), catobplepas (52), charda (55), death worm (76), decapus (77), destrachan (83), devilfish (88), dust digger (112), faceless stalker (122), frost worm (126), fungal crawler (127), gray render (140), grick (146), grindylow (148), grippli (149), gug (151), krenshar (174), magma ooze (184), mercane (188), mongrelman (191), moonflower (192), neh-thalggu (197), pech (206), phycomid (210), quickwood (228), reefclaw (234), sard (237), seugathi (243), shantak (244), skulk (248), slime mold (249), slurk (251), solifugid (253), tendriculos (259), tentamort (261), thrasfyr (263), vemerak (278), witch-wyrd (285), xtabay (289), yrthak (290)
Adaro (7), ahuizotl (10), akhlut (11), alraune (13), ascomoid (20), axe beak (29), azruverda (30), baku (31), behemeoths (36-9), brain ooze (43), carbuncle (44), carnivorous crystal (45), cecaelia (49), ceratidoidi (50), cerebric fungus (52), flumph (119), garden ooze (122), ghorazagh (124), globster (131), gorynych (137), grodair (143), grootslang (144), hodag (148), iku-turso (153), lukwata (187), mobogo (194), moon-beast (195), myceloid (196), phantom fungus (219), plasma ooze (220), popobala (221), siyokoy (246), tojanida (270), trollhound (274), vodyanoi (282), voonith (283), yithian (286), zoog (288)
Abaia (7), argus (13), astral leviathan (14), bhole (18), body thief (20-1), brethedan (23), buggane (26), colour out of space (28-9), dossenus (63), outer dragon (63-75), formian (108-13), inctulis (157), karkinoi (173), kasatha (174), leaf ray (179), lunarma (185), lur-king ray (186-7), mi-go (193), myrmecoleon (198), nependis (202), nycar (207), oma (209), pard (211), qallupilluk (224), samsaran (230), sea cat (233). shard slag (240), shobhad (242), shriezyx (244), snallygaster (247), trox (264), weedwhip (276), xanthos (282)
Aatheriexa (7), ahool (15), amphiptere (18), bagiennik (40), brain mole (46), cameroceras (49), capramace (50), cerynitis (53), cetus (54), cytillipede (65), digmaul (82), doppeldrek (85), echeneis (103), aether elemental (106-7), gegenees (118), ghoran (119), eclipse giant (121), moon giant (122), sun giant (123), grioth (137), muckdweller (175), nulmind (184), reptoid (202), rhu-chalik (203), scitalis (222), shasalqu (229), somalcygot (234), stormghost (236), stranglereed (237), tizheruk (249), tsaalgrend (251), ursikka (261), wolliped (279)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Another PDF Compilation, Again

This post links to a PDF compilation of recent space fantasy material, including an asteroid settlement known as the Grotto, an article about creating a calendar for a campaign world, and writeups for four factions in that setting.

Aetherial Adventures 5


Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Navigators

This post presents another faction that could be used in a space fantasy or nautical Pathfinder campaign.


The Navigators
Ostensibly a professional organization dedicated to studying the galaxy and practicing the art of charting courses between bodies floating in the aether, this group is in fact the cover for a secret society. Them are obsessed with the idea that interaction between the (as they see it) male sun and the (in their view) female earth is the source of all creation. While some promote belief in the Universal Architect, they see the aforementioned relationship as a necessary emanation from that being in order to facilitate the rest of the creative act. Such notions are, it should be noted, controversial.

Goal: Discovery and, um, Knowledge
While their publicly stated goals focus on exploring the galaxy and promulgating knowledge of the planets, asteroids and other bodies that can be found in it, their unofficial activities that focus on the male-female relationship mentioned above. Indeed, in said act they see a ritual that can promote the essential virility of life in the universe, one that should be conducted over and over in order to promote such vital energies. As such, they're also dedicated to worshiping the Goddess of Love and Beauty.

Alignment: NG
Given the nature of their rituals, members of the Navigators are not accepting of social strictures that impede natural desires. On the other hand, given their respect for all living things, they also don't like doctrines that are enforced against the will of common people.

Although the hierarchy in this organization is not as strict as those in other groups, the acknowledged leader is a mystic theurge named Giovanni di Savilla—an individual who combines the studies of a diviner wizard with the passion of cleric who worships the Love Goddess.

Instead of just one location that provides a focus for the group's activities, the Navigators maintain a variety of places in which they conduct their trade and undertake their rituals. A typical example of this is a well-regarded bookshop, one in which buyers can find a variety of tomes and maps detailing the worlds of the Sol System, along with assorted curiosities and other, more mundane texts. 

1. Front Room
In the front of the shop there is a table at which the shopkeeper is stationed to receive customers.

2. Stacks
All manner of books, maps and other such items can be found throughout this area. Additionally, in the space behind the front room is a table at which visitors can sit and take their time in examining items.

3. Office
This room is furnished with a bookcase, desk and storage trunk. The latter item is sealed with a good lock, and contains the bookstore's working capital: 124 gp, 381 sp and 274 cp. There's also a ledger with a record of the shop's legitimate business transactions.

4. Stairways
In addition to the stairs that lead up to the building's upper level, a secret door (DC 20 Perception) provides access to the basement, in which the organization's more private entertainments occur. 

 5. Bedrooms
Each of these rooms is comfortably appointed, due to the relative affluence of those who run the bookshop. Furnishings include a bed and a wardrobe—along with a desk in the smaller room.

6. Study
The larger bedroom (see above) connects to a small library, a room lined with bookshelves and filled by a large writing desk. It is from here that the group's leader steers the organization, writing texts that present sacred instructions, responding to letters from the faithful, and the like.

7. Kitchen
Given their hedonistic tendencies, it should come as not surprise that this group provides plenty of food and drink for its members. As such, the kitchen is outfitted with all manner of pots, pans, dishes and utensils, along with a pantry stocked with beverages and foodstuffs, and a closet containing linens, silverware and the like.

8. Dining Room
A table and chairs here provide a place where the shop's everyday inhabitants can take their meals.

9. Lounge
This is where the society holds its meetings. There's a smaller semi-circle of chairs for more intimate groups, or a ring of couches for larger gatherings.

10. Storage
The shelves that line the walls of this room are stocked with all manner of beverage, along with dainty preserved foods and sweetmeats. There are also candles, incense, linens and the like.

11. Meeting Room
A broad table surrounded by high-backed chairs fills this space, which is reserved for those times when the group holds more formal meetings.

Using the Navigators in an Aetherial Adventures Campaign
This organization can provide plenty of plot elements for a space fantasy RPG campaign; presented here are a few of the possibilities.
  • Ostensibly, characters can seek out these Navigator chapter houses in order to find information about other planets as well as the space that lies between them. Given their expansive knowledge, members of this group are accomplished scholars and herbalists.
  • In a similar vein, a Navigator could seek to hire the PCs as part of an expedition to acquire some lost relic, bit of lore or potent magical component that the organization needs for one of its rituals or projects.
  • When the son or daughter of a high-society family decides to join the Navigators, that young person's parents asks the PCs to bring back the wayward individual. Will the PCs do so, or will they develop sympathy for the youth?
  • Those who are strong warriors, beautiful magicians, charming bards or the like might be invited to participate in one of the organization's secret rituals.
  • Indeed, this group can be used to add some drama to a campaign, should a PC fall for one of its members—one who does not believe in committed relationships. This might create difficulty for the PC in question, or for an NPC who becomes jealous and vengeful as a result.
  • One of the Navigators begins trading in secrets gained from intimate interactions with outsiders, and decides to sell that information to a rival or enemy. What is the secret, and what are others willing to do to learn it, or to see that it remains unknown?
  • A foul murder, using poison or some other stealthy means, happens at one of the Navigators' meetings that's being held as a masquerade; the ensuing investigation becomes complicated because of the illicit nature of the group's ritual activities.
  • These matters become even more complicated when an opponent of the organization accuses the Navigators of summoning demons and devils as part of their rituals. Is this claim true, or just an attempt to sully the group's already delicate reputation?
  • When a crusading group of clerics—possibly followers of the Sun God or the Universal Architect—decides to shut down this organization, one or more of its members could look to the PCs for help in leaving town quickly.

Giovanni di Savilla
CR 8
XP 4800
Male human cleric 3/wizard 3/mystic theurge 3
NG medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Perception +3
AC 10, touch 10, flat-footed 10 (+0 Dex)
hp 38 (6d6+3d8)
Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +11
Resist None
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Quarterstaff +4 (1d6)
Ranged Shortbow +4 (1d6)
Special Attacks Spells
Str 10, Dex 10, Con 11, Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 14
Base Atk +4; CMB +4; CMD 14
Feats Extra Channel, Scribe Scroll, Selective Channeling, Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus(enchantment)
Skills Craft (writing) +12, Heal +12, Knowledge (arcane) +12, Knowledge (Geography) +12, Knowledge (religion) +12, Linguistics +12, Spellcraft +9
Languages Common, Draconic, Elven, Gnomish
SQ Aura, channel energy 1d6, domains (Charm, Community), orisons; arcane bond (amulet), arcane school (enchantment), cantrips; combined spells (1st and 2nd)
Combat Gear Fancy clothing, masterwork quarterstaff, masterwork shortbow, ring of protection +1, ring of sustenance, cloak of resistance +2, elixir of love, spellbook, silver holy symbol, pouch of writing materials
Cleric Spells per Day: 4/4+1/4+1/3+1
Spells Prepared: Create water, guidance, purify food and drink, resistance; bless, charm person, comprehend languages, endure elements, protection from evil, sanctuary; calm emotions, eagle's splendor, hold person, owl's wisdom, status; dispel magic, locate object, prayer, suggestion
Wizard Spells per Day: 4/4/4/3
Wizard Spells Known: All cantrips; charm person, comprehend languages, hypnotism, identify, mage armor, sleep, true strike; daze monster, detect thoughts, fox's cunning, hypnotic pattern; arcane sight, clairaudience/clairvoyance, heroism, tongues

Giovanni di Savilla is, to put it bluntly, a hedonist. He is good-regarding his fellow people, and brilliant in his study of the heavens, but still a hedonist. That is what led him to develop his theology of divine coupling, as he calls it, and to combine the study of arcane magic with devotion toward the holy. As such, he is content to play the role of a modest research and bookseller, helping others go about their business, so long as he and his followers have time in which to conduct their own rituals.

Cleric of the Love Goddess
CR ½
XP 200
Various human cleric 1
NG medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception +2
AC 13, touch 11, flat-footed 12 (+1 Dex, +2 armor)
hp 9 (1d8+1)
Fort +3, Ref +1, Will +4
Resist None
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Light mace +0 (1d6)
Ranged Shortbow +1 (1d6)
Special Attacks Spells
Str 10, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 15, Cha 14
Base Atk +0; CMB +0; CMD 11
Feats Extra Channel, Selective Channeling
Skills Heal +6, Knowledge (religion) +3
Languages Common
SQ Aura, channel energy 1d6, domains (Charm, Community), orisons
Combat Gear Clothing, leather armor, silver holy symbol, light mace, shortbow, quiver of 20 arrows, healer's kit
Spells per Day: 3/2+1
Spells Prepared: Create water, guidance, resistance; bless, charm person, protection from evil

Some might call these clerics naive, but they would argue that their message is true: the more love that people have for each other, the better life will be for all. They are truly free spirits, always interested in going somewhere or meeting someone new.

Wizard Enchanter
CR ½
XP 200
Various human wizard 1
NG medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception -1
AC 11, touch 11, flat-footed 10 (+1 Dex)
hp 7 (1d6+1)
Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +1
Resist None
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Quarterstaff +0 (1d6)
Ranged Light crossbow +1 (1d8)
Special Attacks Spells
Str 10, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 15, Wis 8, Cha 14
Base Atk +0; CMB +0; CMD 11
Feats Scribe Scroll, Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus(enchantment)
Skills Craft (writing) +6, Knowledge (arcane) +6, Knowledge (geography) +6, Linguistics +6, Spellcraft +6
Languages Common, Elven, Draconic
SQ Arcane bond (amulet), arcane school (enchantment), cantrips
Combat Gear Clothing, spellbook, quarterstaff, light crossbow, case of 10 bolts, amulet, pouch with writing materials
Spells per Day: 3/2
Spells Known: All cantrips; charm person, comprehend languages, hypnotism, identify, sleep

While a little more business-minded than their cleric colleagues, the wizards who work in Mr. di Savilla's bookshop still delight in using their magic to influence the minds of others. They are friendly people who enjoy good food, good drink, and good company.