Creating the Psychic Spell List

February 22, 2020

Psychic powers are a staple of science fiction. Many sci-fi games have a psychic powers or even a whole psychic class. Starfinder only sort of does, in that many mystic and technomancer powers feel kind of psychic-y. There’s a phrenic adept archetype and a few psychic power feats, but there isn’t anything that just says “here’s what a psychic gets.” It strikes me that there must be some better spell list that’s something between the mystic’s and technomancer’s (with some of the witchwarper’s as well). So let’s make the psychic spell list today.

As a default, I’m going to built this from the mystic spell list; it seems that’s more psychic in feel than the technomancer or witchwarper spell lists. I imagine that the best way to use this would be as a substitute spell list for the mystic: you get either this spell list or the mystic spell list when you make up a mystic character, but not both, and once you make that decision, it’s permanent. Maybe the choice is mandatory for certain mystic connections, like empath or mindbreaker. The best class to use it would be a whole separate psychic class, I suppose, but we’ll go with mystics for now.

This spell list will be smaller and more focused than other spell lists, but should still provide a lot of good options in play.

I’m going to take the mystic spell list and start by stripping out anything that doesn’t seem overtly psychic in flavor. I’m then going to add in any technomancer and witchwarper spells that seem particularly psychic-themed (normally, enchantment and divination spells, but others might work). I’ll then peek at a few spells from other sources, like the Character Operations Manual (COM), Alien Archives 3 (AA3), and Pact World (PW), to see if those fit. Finally, to make sure I’ve got it right, I’ll check rules like the phrenic adept archetype and psychic feats to be sure all those abilities show up on my spell list. Having done all that...here it is!

 

Psychic Spell List

0-LEVEL

Charming Veneer (COM): Give a creature a bonus to Charisma-based checks, and speed its gathering of information.

Dancing Lights: Create and direct up to four lights.

Daze: Humanoid creature of CR 3 or lower is dazed.

Detect Affliction: Determine whether a creature or object has been poisoned, is diseased, is cursed, or is suffering a

similar affliction.

Detect Magic: Detect spells and magic items within 60 feet. 

Ghost Sound: Create minor illusory sounds.

Grave Words: Force a corpse to babble.

Mending: Restore 1d4 Hit Points to an object or construct.

Psychokinetic Hand: Telekinetically move an object of 1 bulk or less.

Telekinetic Projectile: Telekinetically hurl an object, dealing 1d6 damage to the target and object.

Telepathic Message: Send a short telepathic message and hear simple telepathic replies.

Token Spell: Perform simple magical effects.


1ST-LEVEL

Charm Person: Make one humanoid creature believe that it is your ally.

Command: One creature obeys a select command for 1 round. 

Comprehend Languages: You understand all spoken, signed, and written or tactile languages.

Comprehend Customs (COM): Gain a +2 insight bonus to Culture checks about a specific culture made within the spell’s duration.

Confusion, Lesser: One living creature is confused for 1 round. 

Detect Thoughts: “Listen” to surface thoughts.

Fear: Frighten a single living creature that’s of CR 4 or lower for 1d4 rounds.

Flight: One creature or object per level falls slowly. 

Identify: Gain a +10 bonus to identify items of a magic or technological nature.

Incompetence (Armory): Cause a target to lose a proficiency.

Keen Senses: Target gains low-light vision and a +2 bonus to Perception checks.

Know Coordinates (COM): Learn the exact location of one creature on the same world as you.

Mind Link: Instantly and telepathically communicate information to a creature.

Mind Thrust: Mentally deal 2d10 damage to one target.

Seeking Shot (PW): Create a link between a weapon you touch and a target you perceive. 

Share Language: Target understands chosen languages.

Share Memory (COM): Target shares memory with you and five others.

Unseen Servant: Invisible force obeys your commands.


2ND-LEVEL

Augury(R): Learn whether an action will be good or bad.

Command Undead: Undead creature obeys your commands. 

Darkvision: Grant ability to see 60 feet in total darkness.

Daze Monster: Target living creature of CR 5 or lower is dazed. 

Fear: Frighten multiple creatures of CR 4 or lower for 1 minute.

Flight: Target moves up and down at your direction.

Hold Person: Paralyze one humanoid.

Inflict Pain: Wracking pain imposes –2 penalty to ability checks, attack rolls, and skill checks on one target.

Mind Thrust: Mentally deal 4d10 damage to one target.

Mirror Image: Creature decoy duplicates of yourself.

Perfect Recall (COM): Recall one memory unaltered by magic perfectly.

Predict Foe (COM): As a reaction, shout a warning to an ally and grant that ally concealment against an attack.

See Invisibility: See invisible creatures or objects.

Status: Monitor condition and position of allies.

Zone of Truth: Creatures within range can’t lie.


3RD-LEVEL

Bestow Curse: Target takes –4 penalty to attack rolls, saves, and checks or 50% chance of not acting on each of its turns.

Charm Monster: Make one creature believe it is your ally or one day per level.

Clairaudience/Clairvoyance: Hear or see at a distance for 1 minute per level.

Deep Slumber: Put a number of creatures whose CRs total 8 or less to sleep.

Dispel Magic: Cancel one magical spell or effect.

Fear: Targets of CR 8 or lower within a cone are panicked for 1 minute.

Flight: Target flies at a speed of 60 feet. 

Mental Block (PW): Prevent a creature from accessing its procedural memory.

Mind Thrust: Mentally deal 7d10 damage to one target.

Nondetection(R): Hide target from divination and surveillance. 

Prescience (COM): Concentrate on an enemy, predict their reactions, and prepare an appropriate response.

Probability Prediction: Reroll one attack roll, save, or check.

Psychokinetic Strangulation: Concentrate to immobilize target and deal 3d8 damage per round.

Resistant Armor, Lesser: Grant DR 5/— or energy resistance 5 against two energy types. 

Speak with Dead: Corpse answers up to six questions. 

Suggestion: Compel a target to follow stated course of action. 

Synaptic Pulse: Stun all creatures within 20 feet for 1 round. 

Tongues: Target can speak and understand any language. 


4TH-LEVEL

Awaken Computer (COM): Turn a computer into a friendly AI that you and up to four other creatures are authorized to use.

Confusion: Targets behave randomly for 1 round per level. 

Discern Lies: Reveal deliberate falsehoods.

Dismissal: Force a creature to return to its native plane. 

Displace Memory (COM): You deposit a memory into a small object.

Divination(R): Gain useful advice for specific proposed actions. 

Fear: All targets within a cone are panicked for 1 minute. 

Flight: Target flies at a speed of 70 feet. 

Hateful Visage (COM): The target’s illusory face grants them a bonus to Intimidate checks and the ability to frighten foes. 

Hold Monster: Paralyze one creature.

Mind Probe: Potentially access a target creature’s memories and its knowledge.

Mind Thrust: Mentally deal 10d10 damage to and fatigue a single target.

Planar Binding: Trap an extraplanar creature of CR 4 or lower until it performs a task.

Resistant Armor: Grant DR 10/— or energy resistance 10 to three energy types. 

Telepathic Bond: Link allows allies to communicate.


5TH-LEVEL

Break Enchantment: Free creatures from curses, enchantments, and transmutations.

Command, Greater: One creature per level obeys select command for 1 round per level.

Commune With Nature: Learn about terrain for 1 mile per level. 

Commune With Planet (COM): Learn information about the planet you occupy, or about a planet in whose orbit you’re within.

Contact Other Plane: Ask questions of extraplanar entity. 

Control Machines: Command technological constructs within range telepathically.

Crush Skull: Deal 18d8 damage to a living creature’s head.

Dismissal: Force extraplanar creatures whose total CR is no greater than your level + 2 to return to their native planes. 

Dispel Magic, Greater: Cancel multiple spells or effects. 

Dominate Person: Control humanoid telepathically. 

Feeblemind: Target’s Intelligence and Charisma scores drop to 1. 

Flight: You can fly at a speed of 70 feet and hustle over long distances. 

Mind Thrust: Mentally deal 15d10 damage to and exhaust one target.

Modify Memory: Change 5 minutes of target’s memories.

Planar Binding: Trap an extraplanar creature of CR 7 or lower until it performs a task.

Private Sanctum: Prevent anyone from viewing or scrying an area for 24 hours.

Resistant Aegis: Grant up to 10 creatures DR 5/— or energy resistance 5 to all energy types.

Retrocognition: Gain psychic impressions of past events in a certain location.

Synapse Overload: Target takes 18d8 damage and is staggered for 1 minute.

Synaptic Pulse, Greater: Stun all creatures within 20 feet for 1d4 rounds.

Telepathy: Communicate mentally with any creatures within 100 feet.

Transfer Consciousness (COM): Transfer your mind into a computer or willing technological construct, and control its functions.

Unwilling Guardian: Charm a target into protecting you during combat.

Waves of Fatigue: Several targets become fatigued.


6TH-LEVEL

Control Undead: Undead creatures follow your commands and don’t attack you.

Enshrining Refuge: Targets can’t attack or be attacked, but can exist comfortably.

Ethereal Jaunt: You become ethereal for 1 round per level. 

Flight: Multiple targets can fly at a speed of 60 feet. 

Inflict Pain, Mass: Wracking pain imposes –2 penalty to ability checks, attack rolls, and skill checks on one target per level. 

Mind Swap (AA3): Trade minds with another creature.

Mind Thrust: Mentally deal 17d10 damage to, exhaust, and stun one target.

Planar Barrier: Seal an area against all planar travel into or within it. 

Planar Binding: Trap an extraplanar creature of CR 10 or lower until it performs a task.

Plane Shift: As many as eight creatures travel to another plane you choose.

Psychic Surgery: Cure all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma damage and drain, plus remove other mental afflictions and conditions.

Resistant Armor, Greater: Grant DR 15/— or energy resistance 15 against four energy types.

Shadow Walk: Step into a shadowy realm to travel to a destination rapidly.

Snuff Life: Instantly kill or massively damage one creature per 2 caster levels, depending on targets’ CRs.

Subjective Reality: You convince yourself one creature or object is an illusion.

Suggestion, Mass: Compel one target per level to follow stated course of action.

Sympathetic Vibration: Deal 2d10 damage per round to freestanding structure. 

Telepathic Jaunt: Use your telepathic bond with a creature to teleport to its location.

True Seeing: Target can see things as they really are. 

Unspeakable Presences (COM): Enemies in the area take 4d6 damage per round, cannot move, and might be devoured whole.

Veil: Change the appearance of a group of creatures.

Vision(R): Answer a question about a person, place, or object.

 

Stripping a Starfinder Monster to Its Gears

February 19, 2020

Today, I wanted to give you a bit more use out of your Starfinder monster books. There are a ton of monsters available in Starfinder, with three Alien Archivebooks and even more monsters in the back of every adventure path volume. If you need more to prepare for a session, it’s easy to make them; the tables at the back of the first Alien Archiveallows you to quickly build a monster based on its role (combatant, expert, or spellcaster) and the Challenge Rating (CR) that you need. But if your...


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Monsters That Should Not Be

February 13, 2020
We have a lot of neat internal tools at Paizo. These include spreadsheets to let us know what parameters new Pathfinder Second Edition monsters should meet to be appropriate for their level. (This information is going to be in the upcoming Gamemastery Guide for everyone to see, although in a table form, not a spreadsheet.) These spreadsheets are fun to manipulate, and my friend James Case is a wizard at such things. He invented a very rough tool to translate monster stats to different levels:...
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Dungeon Mapping Practical Advice

February 11, 2020
This mini-series of suggestions started with what tools you should have to drawn dungeon maps and how to concept the map as a flowchart. Here are some practical tips to render your map into a final product to go to a cartographer. Most of these are "consider X, but also Y," and it's important to maintain a balance between conflicting considerations.

Consider Reality, But Only a Little Bit. Its important that you consider real-world aspects of the creatures who live in your dungeon. Where do th...
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Designing Dungeon Maps as Flowcharts

February 4, 2020
When designing a dungeon map, you should first start with a flowchart. Draw each room as a small circle or little box, and then draw all the connections to each other room. Make this a solid line if it's an easy passage, or a dotted line if there's something tricky about that passage (such as it's behind a secret door, or needs to be cleared of rubble, or must be opened with a special key). You'll end up with more lines than circles or boxes, and that's just fine; this initial exercise is to ...
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Tools for Mapping

January 25, 2020
We've been talking a lot about mapping here in Paizo: what makes a good encounter-level map (like a dungeon, or a starship) and what doesn't. Most of us spend time redrawing at least some maps we get it, and doing that well is important. After all, we don't want to replace a map that isn't in good enough shape to go to a cartographer with a different map that isn't in good enough shape to go to a cartographer, but for different reasons. So we've been talking about standards.

To be clear, this ...
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The Hidden Bestiary!

January 21, 2020

I’ve got a point to make about something tricky in Pathfinder, but first let me give you three new statblocks for mythological creatures.

Nephilim

Giants descended from deities in ancient times, nephilims are all but extinct today. They resemble enormous, noble humanoids with feathery wings, handsome features, and a crown of bone horns growing from their heads. Masters of magical essences and the arts of war alike, nephilims are gracious in peace and fearsome in battle.

Nephilim Hero Cr...


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Looking Over Changes: The God-Host Ascends

January 14, 2020

One of the most exciting times for a freelancer is seeing the final product of the work you wrote. For me, there’s something indescribably satisfying about holding something in my hands that has the words I wrote on a printed page. This is also a good time to look over the product and see what your developer and editors changed! This helps you align future work to what they want.

First and most importantly, realize that not every change is due to a mistake. A freelancer can do everything abs...


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Placing Art

January 9, 2020

I talked a lot in my last two blogs about all the things to do with adventure text when you’re done with it. One of the last steps I do here at work when I’m done developing an adventure is to write up an “art brief.” This is the direction for the pieces of art to appear in the text. There are a couple things to keep in mind when doing this, and I’ll talk about the first one today: where to place your art in the adventure. 

Note that you’ll be ordering art before you layout your ad...


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I'm Writing an AP in Front of You, Part 28 of 28

January 1, 2020
I'm finally at the end, both of this project and of the year (and the decade)! There are dozens of teeny steps I've taken with my final text, and I still have more to do, but I wanted to lay them out for you to answer the question: "I've written an entire adventure path, now what?"

Now, it's got to get into a publishable product people can buy and use and play. If you're freelancing for another company, you just send it in and your job is done. If you're publishing it yourself--like I'm doing-...
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I'm Writing an AP in Front of You, Part 27 of 28

December 19, 2019
Okay! My writing is done, and I have two more things to share on this whole project. The first is what to do when the writing is done, and the second is a bit about layout. So now I know that there are 28 points in this whole series, and I'm declaring myself too lazy to go back and add "of 28" to all the prior posts!

Completing the writing doesn't mean you're done! You should aim to complete a freelance writing project at least a few days before your turnover date, so you've got some time to d...
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I'm Writing an AP in Front of You, Part 26

December 17, 2019
And that's it! Below are my last two chapters, Chapter 15 and Chapter 19. They're very different! One has a bargain with a lich gone wrong (which ends in a fight with the lich on the heroes' side) and the other has the heroes quashing evil in more discrete adventure locations than I've used in any chapter thus far. 

So, now, if you go back through all my blog posts, you'll have every chapter of an entire adventure path. But I intend to make this much easier on the reader and compile it all tog...
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I'm Writing an AP in Front of You, Part 25

December 12, 2019
Part 25, already? Wow, this has been a much longer road than I initially thought. But I'm almost done!

It should be clear by now that adventures (like most movies, and most books) aren't simply written from beginning to end in a line. There's a lot of jumping around. A case in point is today's adventures, which include the finale for this adventure path even though I'm not wholly done with the middle bits (although I have more middle bits to share, too).

Now that I can see the whole shape of th...
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I'm Writing an AP in Front of You, Part 24

December 10, 2019
Another chapter! I realized that although I'd given the stat block I intend to use in Chapter 17 (which details the final confrontation against the devil cult), I never actually got around to writing up that chapter. So I did so, and here it is. It's the longest by far (nearly 1,000 words over my 1,500-word limit), and that's for three reasons. First, I wanted to build in a plot reason to confront the pit fiend other than "we just don't like pit fiends running around doing their evil," so I c...
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I'm Writing an AP in Front of You, Part 23

December 5, 2019
Here's another chapter! With this, I'm 70% of the way done. I'm starting to feel less like I can pick whatever I'd like for a chapter (as was the case for the first two chapters I wrote, 3 and 16) and now feel like I need to be building the right connective tissue. The plot threads are all coming together now. For example, at the end of Chapter 9, the heroes know their villain (Treerazer/Treereaver) and his location (the Heartwood), and want to go there. I have to get across that the Heartwoo...
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I'm Writing an AP in Front of You, Part 22

December 4, 2019
It's easy to put mazes in an adventure, but it's really hard to do it well. You can have an intricate maze as a map, but that becomes tedious to draw and boring to navigate. Worse, it doesn't feel particularly immersive for the players (as opposed to the characters), since the players can see the whole maze from a superior top-down perspective at all times. 

The best mazes in adventures give the players the wait-where-are-we-now feeling that their characters should have, and that usually means...
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I'm Writing an AP in Front of You, Part 21

November 27, 2019
I've been doing a lot of skipping around in my adventure path writing; to be honest, the very fact I've given myself some direction for chapters 12 through 15 has made me feel like I can tackle those a little later. So I've got chapters 9 and 18 to post today.

But first I wanted to talk about maps! I discovered an excellent cartographer named Dyson Logos, who has a ton of maps on his site at dysonlogos.blog. Many of his maps are free for commercial use (which is great for me!), although he has...
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I'm Writing an AP in Front of You, Part 20

November 25, 2019
I'm taking a close look at the mid-levels of my adventure path, particularly the events of chapters 11 through 15 or so. I sort of just threw chapter numbers on the map, but I want a way to link them together. You'll remember the lower levels are about "experiencing weird stuff" and "figuring out what's going on," so by these mid levels the heroes should be in the "doing something about it" phase.

But doing something can be really simple ("go to location X and do a thing") or very complex ("he...
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I'm Writing an AP in Front of You, Part 19

November 15, 2019
Hard to believe, but I'm just about halfway done with my full 2E AP. I've now got a good thread of story and I've dropped a lot of locations, but I don't feel like I can tie down the second half without making some map decisions. I need to know where in the Northfells the rest of the action is going to occur. Looking over the map and what I've got so far, I see a few changes I need to make. I should have a few more small forests near the "starter towns" of Fallinghollow and Jannasthorpe. I al...
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Getting the Most from Monster Damage

November 13, 2019

I've stepped briefly away from the Heartwood Blight Adventure Path for another project (see here), but I'll turn back to it soon enough. In the meantime, though, I had a good conversation to bring here.

I’ve been working with a new-ish freelancer on monster design for Pathfinder 2nd Edition. His narrative prose is very strong, and his monster design is good, but I recently talked with him about his monster’s damage, and I thought it would be good to share this.

His monster, which we’ll ca...


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I'm Writing an AP in Front of You, Part 18

November 5, 2019
This adventure path has been rolling along consistently in the design process: I think about where I need the story to be, look at monsters available for the chapter's level, list out 12 encounters in a variety of themes, write up the 1500 word (or so) adventure, then seed in the right amount of treasure for the level. Repeat over and over!

I knew I wanted to get back into the forest threats for the 7th level adventure, and I have my eye on that scrap of forest at the eastern edge of my map. I...
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I'm Writing an AP in Front of You, Part 17

October 31, 2019
Warning! This post is long, because it includes 10 percent of an entire adventure path!

Last time, I talked about how I had to do some creative thinking to fill out the 17th level adventure. In building the 5th level adventure, I found I had way too much cool stuff I wanted to pack in. A hobgoblin/barghest thieves guild, a sinister alchemist, and salt miners all working for the secretive devil cult, plus a raid on the devil cult in the Owlbear House, and mind-controlling vampires, and plots ag...
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I'm Writing an AP in Front of You, Part 16

October 30, 2019
I've been working on a couple different components of my adventure path at once: the pieces that are urban and focus on the devil activity. This is something of a side quest; the main thrust of the adventure path is about evil fey and demons, after all. But a devil-focused, urban, intrigue-based subplot allows players who really like that type of adventure to shine, and gives the whole adventure path some variety.

I've been specifically working on the 5th-level adventure (which introduces the ...
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Sparwell Lodge is Here!

October 25, 2019
My second Pathfinder Second Edition product with Rogue Genius Games is now out! You can get it right here. It's called the Ghosts of Sparwell Lodge, a haunted-house adventure for 4th level characters. This is a reworking of my Pathfinder 1st edition adventure Six Griffons Haunt (my first Run Amok Games product!), which is itself a reworking of a D&D 3.5 edition adventure I wrote called The Haunted House of bin-Khadij. Each time the adventure has grown and been refined a bit more, and I'm very...
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I'm Writing an AP in Front of You, Part 15

October 24, 2019
So, I've now got my first three adventures done, and they do sort of what I wanted when I outlined this; the heroes are getting their first taste of troubles, and relying on NPCs a lot (in particular, the scholar Gendal). I ended that by pointing to a place called the Wailing Grove, and someone named Nelthek Sharpleaf (which isn't a very viking-themed name, so I'm already planning to change it to Njoln).

Looking back at my outline, I see that levels 4 to 7 were the ones where I want the heroes...
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I'm Writing an AP in Front of You, Part 14

October 22, 2019
So, I've got the 1st level adventure, and I've got the 3rd level adventure. Now I need to connect them by filling in the 2nd level adventure. I look at how the first adventure ends (an arboreal has killed a duergar from the Wastingdeep Mine, the scholar Gendal is kidnapped) and how the third adventure begins (upon returning to Fallinghollow with Gendal, stuff happens) and see that the second adventure is about rescuing Gendal from duergars. That seems like a dungeon crawl to me, and having th...
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I'm Writing an AP in Front of You, Part 13

October 17, 2019
Last time, I presented the first adventure in the adventure path I'm writing. Today, I want to talk about how to end it. I haven't yet put this together, because I think it will depend a lot on how the 19th-level adventure goes, but I want to put down some thoughts about the 20th level finale of this campaign.

* It need not have 12 encounters. I've been building every chapter with 12 encounters to make sure there's enough experience for the heroes to level up for the following chapter. Since t...
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I'm Writing an AP in Front of You, Part 12

October 10, 2019
Okay! Here is the entire 1st level adventure. This is how the Heartwood Blight Adventure Path will kick off!

Chapter 1: Raiders of Fallinghollow (1st level)

The heroes all begin in the town of Fallinghollow, a small community in the Northfells of about 1,000 people. It’s best if the heroes have some connection to this town, such as by being from there, or having recently moved there. They might be connected to Headman Sigrir, the town’s efficient and no-nonsense mayor; Sheriff Arskej, who i...


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I'm Writing an AP in Front of You, Part 11

October 8, 2019
Now that I'm 11 posts into this project about writing an entire Pathfinder Second Edition adventure path, I'm ready to start! That is, I'm ready to take a look at how I'm going to design the first adventure, which will launch this adventure path right. The start of an adventure path needs to do these things:

* Establish the Theme. The way the adventure path feels should be established in the first adventure. If the adventure path is going to be a gritty, urban, noir theme, the first adventure ...
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I'm Writing an AP in Front of You, Part 10

October 3, 2019
Okay! Now that I've got some names I can plug in, let me finish up the 16th level chapter I outlined earlier. This is a bit long, 1,600 words rather than 1,500, but I can trim it up a bit when I ensure it's connected to the 15th level adventure that comes before it and the 17th level adventure that comes after it, which I already know is going to be an urban adventure culminating against the pit fiend Balzzevarian, which I set up here.

Chapter 16: Monastery of Frozen Stone (16th level)

The hero...


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About Me


I'm Ron Lundeen, developer for Paizo, Inc., active gamer, and RPG freelancer. I've recently had products in print for Paizo, Wizards of the Coast, Raging Swan, Open Design, Headless Hydra Games, and Rite Publishing. I'm still taking freelance writing assignments, but also focusing on writing for Run Amok Games.


 

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