Thursday, July 6, 2017

Campaign Concepts- Pathfinder: Outcasts Part 2- Player's Guide I: Character Creation and Traits

Continuing my exploration of an unofficial Adventure Path for Pathfinder RPG. The following is the first part of what would be a Player's Guide highlighting character creation and campaign traits in the proud Paizo tradition.

Character Tips

Your friends are all you have left.

Whatever you did that caused you to become a pariah in your hometown, you’ve come to realize that only your traveling companions can truly be relied on for allies, comrades, even friends. But that doesn’t mean you’ve found a home. Far from it. You’ve left Cheliax behind, and the lot of you have had to keep running.

While pooling storylines that Paizo and 3rd party companies have written in the past, Outcasts doesn’t resemble Paizo’s brilliant adventure paths in structure nearly as much as it does in spirit. But Player’s Guides have helped build PCs that fit with the themes and stories of past Adventure Paths. So, below are several things to keep in mind while designing characters for Outcasts.

Pariahs: For whatever reason, the PCs are pariahs and monsters, cast out of their various homelands and on the run for some reason or another. The characters are in search of a home, but could come from nearly any background. In addition to the following campaign
traits, resources like Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea World Guide and nearly any Pathfinder Player’s Companion will be invaluable to help build your character.

Class Tips: This campaign will take you through a number of dungeons and cities. Knowledge (local) and racial low-light vision or darkvision might come in handy.
Classes that rely on animal companions or mounts might find Large creatures a liability in tight underground corridors or when interacting in some civilized environments, but that should not be the reason to avoid those classes. Social classes should also do well, if only to smooth over the common people’s (read: mob) interaction with the party.

The Bad Guys: Outcasts features the gamut of monster types, so be ready for
anything! You’ll face many different creature types— from vermin, humanoids, and fey at low levels to giants, undead, constructs, aberrations, and evil outsiders at higher levels. But more than anything, the most common enemy will always be the regular humans around you. They don’t like you, will try to scare you off or hunt you down, so be prepared for them first.

Campaign Traits

In Outcasts, the players have been cast out of their respective societies- either through deed, choice, or birth. They’ve banded together to seek kinship, assistance, and a refuge from a world that doesn’t allow for them to fit in. These aren’t crusading knights, adventurous Pathfinders, or even hardened mercenaries. These are the heroes that Golarion forgot and never really cared for.

For whatever reason, you were forced to flee your homeland. Chance or fate has brought you here, and it’s here that your money ran out. Now you can only rely on each other.

Forlorn (Elves and Half-elves only)
Having lived outside of traditional elf society for much or all of your life, you know the world can be cruel, dangerous, and unforgiving of the weak. No matter how hard you have tried, most elves shun your company.

Benefit: You take a -1 penalty on all Charisma-based skill checks made when dealing with elves but gain a +1 trait bonus on Fortitude saves as a result of your steadfast determination to survive. (The penalty aspect of this trait is removed if you ever manage to establish yourself among elven society.)

Monster (Featured and Uncommon Races only)
People fear what they don’t understand. In the towns and countryside you grew up in, you and your family were the only ones of your kind. The public fear of your species was enough to run your family out of town with fire and pitchforks- or worse, adventurers. It only got worse after your parents passed on as a lone monster became oddly scarier than a family.

Benefit: You gain a +1 trait bonus on Intimidate checks, and Intimidate is a class skill for you. In addition, you gain a +1 trait bonus on Will saves against fear effects.

You've spent years at the wrong end of a closed fist. It might have been family, acquaintances, even those you trusted. In the end, you found you could trust relatively few souls and that has made you paranoid and quick to react to danger.

Benefit You gain a +2 trait bonus on Initiative checks.

Religious Pariah
In your homeland, your faith is at best frowned upon, but more likely is illegal (such as non-Asmodean faiths in Cheliax or worship of an evil god in most other regions). But your calling is true and you have no interest in seeking another god to follow.

Benefit: You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (religion) checks, and Knowledge (religion) is a class skill for you. If you cast divine spells, pick three spells on your spell list. You are particularly adept at casting these spells, so they function at +1 caster level when you cast them, and their save DCs (if any) gain a +1 bonus.

Former Criminal
Life has been hard for you. Perhaps your parents and siblings were crooks and con artists, or maybe your rough, lonely life led you to fall in with thieves and worse. You know how to ambush travelers, bully traders, avoid the law, and camp where no one might find you. Recently, you've run into some trouble, either with the law or with other bandits, and you're looking to get away to somewhere no one would ever think to look for you.

Benefit: You begin the campaign with an extra 100 gp in ill-gotten gains. You also gain a +1 trait bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Sense Motive checks when dealing with brigands, thieves, bandits, and their ilk.

Political Liability (Humans or Half-humans only)
One of your parents was a member of one of the great families of the Inner Sea (likely from Taldor, Cheliax, or Ustalav). But ill tidings and intrigue has caused terrible tidings to befall your family, and you are likely the last of your line. Yet you have no substantive proof of your nobility, and you've learned that claiming nobility without evidence makes you as good as a liar. While you might own a piece of jewelry, a scrap of once-rich fabric, or an aged confession of love, none of this directly supports your claim.

Benefit: You take a -1 penalty on all Charisma-based skill checks made when dealing with members of nobility but gain a +1 trait bonus on Will saves as a result of your stubbornness and individuality. (The penalty aspect of this trait is removed if you ever manage to establish yourself as a true noble.)

There’s something very wrong with the world. Spouses were not meant to huddle at their windows hoping and fearing day after day that their loved ones returned from work safely. Parents were not meant to hush their children when questioned about what happened to their neighbors. Citizens were not meant to avert their eyes and hurry by as guardsmen beat old friends in the street. The people of your country suffered long enough! Unfortunately, you were not the voice of change you could have hoped. Instead, your nation’s guards and knights want your head on a spike. So you ran.

Benefit: You gain a +1 trait bonus on Initiative checks, and if you act in a surprise round, you gain a +1 trait bonus on all attack rolls.

Your mind works differently than others. You’ve considered that the voices might be some form of mental disorder, or they might be some kind of enlightenment. After all, they make you better able to see the truth of things. In any case, your situation marked you as different from those around you, and those that tried to get close to you were unnerved by your abnormal personality quirks and ability to see right through them. But as far as you are concerned, you are likely the only one that can see things clearly.

Benefit: You gain a +1 trait bonus on Sense Motive checks, and Sense Motive is a class skill for you. In addition, you gain a +1 trait bonus on all Will saves made to resist mind-affecting effects.