Pelgrane Press

 

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Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff: I Barely Killed Anybody

Mar 24 2017

In the latest episode of their tapas-strewn podcast, Ken and Robin talk vampires in Asturias, Slenderman, plot immunity and Glenn Miller.

13th Age Character Builds: Dragon Sorcerer

Mar 22 2017

THE SORCERER

By ASH LAW

Sorcerers are all about timing, forgoing attacks now to cast an empowered spell later. Last week we introduced the Arcane Sorcerer. Today, it’s a new build with a draconic spin.

DRAGON SORCERER

Download the Dragon Sorcerer character sheets here.

This sorcerer build is all about being as dragon-like as possible, and resisting energy attacks.

The build’s focus on breath weapons means that the sorcerer works best when close to the action (but not too close).

This sorcerer can resist energy attacks, so can move to the frontline against enemies whose damage it can shrug off. Otherwise it is best darting in and out of the battle, avoiding being pinned down and taking out multiple enemies with its breath weapon. Your metallic protector talent lets you resist energy as a quick action so do it as soon as you spot energy attacks being used (or you suspect that they might be), and use your resist energy spell to grant the same resistance to your allies. At epic tier you also gain once-per-day resistance to demon and dragon attacks—useful if you’ve gained dragon or infernal enemies.

Your talents make you optimized for breath weapons, so use them—even if you blow them on low-level mooks early in the adventuring day it you’ll have still saved the resources of the rest of the party. As a dragonic you get a once-per-battle breath weapon—if you run out of sorcerous breath you can still use your racial breath weapon.

When this sorcerer fails to recharge a breath weapon it is sometimes better to gather power and hope that the breath weapon recharges in time for it to be cast empowered on the following turn.

Your familiar is a small dragonette—make regular use of your familiar’s random abilities, it is your third talent and while not as useful in combat as other talents has lots of out of combat applications. At 4th level this sorcerer learns ritual casting, so keep imaginative non-combat uses of breath weapons in mind when playing this character.

 

Talents

Chromatic Destroyer

Keep multiple breath weapon spells active at the same time.

Metallic Protector

Improves chances of re-using breath weapons.

Sorcerer’s Familiar

A small dragonette with the flight ability, and one random ability that changes each day.

 

Race

Dragonic, obviously.

 

Attributes

Charisma and Constitution are important sorcerer attributes: Str 8, Con 16, Dex 12, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 20.

 

1st level

Attributes: Str 8 (-1) Con 16 (+3) Dex 12 (+1) Int 8 (-1) Wis 10 (0) Cha 20 (+5)

Racial Power: breath weapon

Talents: chromatic destroyer, metallic protector, spell sorcerer’s familiar

Feats: metallic protector

Spells: breath of the white, burning hands, chaos bolt, resist energy

 

2nd level

New spell (scorching ray), new feat (chromatic destroyer).

 

3rd level

New spell (breath of the green), level-up spells (breath of the white, resist energy), new feat (burning hands).

 

4th level

+1 to three attributes (Charisma, Dexterity, Constitution), all spells now 3rd level, new feat (ritual casting).

 

5th level

New spell (breath of the black), level-up spells (breath of the white, breath of the green, resist energy), new feat (chromatic destroyer).

 

6th level

New spell (swap scorching ray for dragon’s leap), all spells now 5th level, new feat (breath weapon).

 

7th level

+1 to three attributes (Charisma, Dexterity, Constitution), new spell (breath of the blue), level-up spells (breath of the white, breath of the green, breath of the black, dragon’s leap), new feat (metallic protector).

 

8th level

All spells now 7th level, new feat (chromatic destroyer).

 

9th level

New spells (breath of the void), level-up spells (breath of the white, breath of the green, breath of the black, breath of the blue, dragon’s leap) new feat (metallic protector).

 

10th level

+1 to three attributes (Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom), all spells now 9th level, new feat (breath of the blue).

Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff: It’s Peter Framptons All the Way Down

Mar 17 2017

In the latest episode of their fourth wall shattering podcast, Ken and Robin talk metagaming, food crimes, and Ken’s Bay Area book haul.

13th Age Character Builds: Arcane Sorcerer

Mar 15 2017

THE SORCERER

By ASH LAW

Sorcerers are all about timing, forgoing attacks now to cast an empowered spell later. Today we’ll be presenting a sorcerer with a touch of wizardry, the Arcane Sorcerer. Next week, we’ll share one inspired by and infused with the power of dragons.

Sorcerers can be ‘swingy’—they are for players who like sudden unexpected surges of power that turn the tide of battle in their favor.

 

ARCANE SORCERER

Download the Arcane Sorcerer character sheets here.

This sorcerer build focuses on close-up dependable magic, a ‘semi-melee caster’ that evolves into a flying teleporting menace as it levels up through higher tiers of play.

This sorcerer is an all-rounder, able to go toe-to-toe when needed or switch to ranged combat to support tougher warriors. As this sorcerer relies upon mobility and deterrence to avoid damage, if there are tougher warriors in the party let them handle melee while you hang back. Your sorcerer isn’t as tough as a fighter or paladin, so make wise use of spells that encourage enemies to keep their distance.

At 1st level this character has simple blast-away spells (burning hands and magic missile), and two more involved spells (the chaining lightning fork and the random chaos bolt)—at higher levels the spells become more complex.

The addition of the auto-hits wizard spell balances ‘swinginess’ from the wood elf racial and infernal heritage talent—so on a bad dice day use magic missile often (at champion tier it can be empowered).

Gather power is a worthwhile action in a fight—do it early and often so that when you let fly with empowered spells the following round the chances of hitting will be higher due to the escalation die. The wood elf’s racial power gives you extra actions—use these when they come up to gather power and cast on the same turn.

 

Talents

Arcane Heritage

A +2 magical background, and a wizard spell as an equal-level alternative to a sorcerer spell.

Infernal Heritage

This adds daily barbarian-rage-like ‘spell frenzy’, and damage resistance.

Spell Fist

A +2 AC bonus and you don’t provoke opportunity attacks when casting spells.

 

Race

Wood elves’ elven grace nets us extra standard actions to gather power.

 

Attributes

For this sorcerer, Charisma and Constitution are important attributes: Str 8, Con 16, Dex 16, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 16.

 

1st level

Attributes: Str 8 (-1) Con 16 (+3) Dex 16 (+3) Int 12 (+1) Wis 10 (0) Cha 16 (+3)

Racial Power: elven grace

Talents: arcane heritage, infernal heritage, spell fist

Feats: infernal heritage

Spells: magic missile, burning hands, chaos bolt, lightning fork

 

2nd level

New spell (breath of the white), new feat (spell fist).

 

3rd level

New spell (echoing thunder), level-up spells (lightning fork, chaos bolt), new feat (lightning fork).

 

4th level

+1 to three attributes (Charisma, Dexterity, Constitution), all spells now 3rd level, new feat (arcane heritage).

 

5th level

New spell (queen’s shadows), level-up spells (lightning fork, echoing thunder, magic missile), new feat (arcane heritage).

 

6th level

New spell (swap breath of the white for dragon’s leap), all spells now 5th level, new feat (elven grace).

 

7th level

+1 to three attributes (Charisma, Dexterity, Constitution), new spell (touch of evil), level-up spells (magic missile, lightning fork, echoing thunder, queen’s shadows), new feat (spell fist).

 

8th level

All spells now 7th level, new feat (spell fist).

 

9th level

New spells (resist energy, swap burning hands for three dooms), level-up spells (magic missile, chaos bolt, lightning fork, echoing thunder, queen’s shadows) new feat (infernal heritage).

 

10th level

+1 to three attributes (Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom), all spells now 9th level, new feat (echoing thunder).

 

 

 

Queen Bess

Mar 13 2017

Ripped from the history books, here’s a great choice the next time you’re asked to create a Trail of Cthulhu player character: Bessie Coleman, aka Queen Bess, pioneering African American aviator. An active protagonist if ever there was one, she taught herself to fly when neither women nor black people were supposed to do so. So she went to France to get her pilot’s license, dated two years before Amelia Earhart’s. Unable to get conventional piloting work back in the states, she returned to Europe to learn barrel rolls and other aerobatic techniques, then toured the US as a popular barnstormer. Coleman forced promoters to desegregate her audiences, and turned her back on a Hollywood career when asked to play a stereotypical role.

(In some of her publicity shots, she bears a striking resemblance to Janelle Monae. Somebody call somboedy’s agent.)

History tells us that she died in an air accident in 1926. Those of us steeped in horror adventure can see the flaws in that story, in which she allowed her mechanic to fly the plane, and it went out of control due to a literal wrench left in the engine case. A little too on the nose, surely—clearly she’s signaling to those in the know that she’s faking her own death. And if she’s doing that in ‘26, clearly she has to drop from sight to settle some business with Nyarlathotep.

That’s her backstory when it comes time to play her a few years later, in the Trail era.

Pilots can be a little hard to work into the action of a standard multiplayer game. As a GM you might build a Cthulhu Confidential series around her, with lots of aerial Challenges and problem solving. She speaks fluent French, so one of her globe-trotting Mythos-busting cases could take her to Paris to rub elbows with the Dreamhounds of the surrealist movement. Chauvinists like Andre Breton and Luis Buñuel might not know what to make of her, but a romp into Unknown Kadath with Gala Dalí and Kiki de Montparnasse might be just the thing. Perhaps she would also insist on taking Josephine Baker along, too. I’m sure she’ll be entirely careful while buzzing Mount Hatheg-Kla in the butterfly ornithopter Kiki has dreamed up for her.

Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff: Cat Hamlet Half-Elf Robot

Mar 10 2017

In the latest episode of their melodic yet searching podcast, Ken and Robin talk riffed townie conspirators, theosophical composers, NPC party members and Wilhelm Reich.

The Book of Demons

Mar 10 2017

The Archmage BANISHES them.

The Crusader CONQUERS them.

The Great Gold Wyrm DEFIES them.

The Diabolist SUMMONS them.

When the world cracks open and the demons attack, what will YOU do?

The Book of Demons takes an in-depth look at the Abyssal enemies of the 13th Age – the demonic hordes whose eternal struggle to shatter reality causes hellholes, dimensional breaches, and other, even weirder assaults on the world.

For Players:

  • Master the forbidden arts of the demonologist class
  • Claim demon-tainted magic items (or be claimed by them…)
  • Discover how to seal a hellhole and save the world

For Game Masters:

  • Five detailed hellholes, and advice on making your own
  • Secrets of the Crusader and the Diabolist
  • Demons! Demons! Demons!

Status: In development

(Cover art by Melissa Gay)

Lions & Tigers & Owlbears: The 13th Age Bestiary 2

Mar 9 2017

Fallen icons, apocalyptic fire giants, and a purple dragon who throws the best parties: welcome to 13th Age Bestiary 2!

We had so much fun with the first 13th Age Bestiary that we’re making an even bigger monster book! More than 250 individual stat blocks appear in 40+ all-new entries, plus a dozen revised and expanded monsters that first appeared in 13th Age Monthly. Each monster comes with story hooks, icon relationships, customizable campaign variants, and advice on creating exciting battles.

New monsters for your campaign include:

  • Fallen icons like the Gold King and the Forest that Walks, powerful beings who must be defeated by a blend of swords, spells, and campaign victories.
  • A wizard bonded to their spellbook, a rogue bonded to their magic cloak, and other former heroes who took shortcuts to power by merging with their magic items.
  • The Lich King’s covert undead propaganda force: the Cult of the Silver Hand.
  • Fomorians, monstrous worshipers and children of the ancient chaos gods (fomorian art by Ania Kryczkowska).
  • Rattletales, dangerous spirits who will probably leave you alone if you can tell them a truly scary story (ideally, one about rattletales).
  • Malatyne, the purple dragon whose entertainments are legendary—and the player characters might be the main attraction…
  • Lions (temple); tigers (elemental & rakshasa); and owlbears (plumed).

Coming in the fall of 2017.

Lead Designers: Rob Heinsoo, ASH LAW

Developer: Rob Heinsoo

Art Direction: Rob Heinsoo, Cathriona Tobin

Interior Art: Rich Longmore, Ania Kryczkowska, Aaron McConnell, Lee Moyer, Patricia Smith, Naomi VanDoren

Authors: Liz Argall, Paul Fanning, Jaym Gates, Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, Lynne Hardy, Rob Heinsoo, ASH LAW, Cal Moore, Carrie Rasmussen-Law, Wade Rockett, Aaron Roudabush, Michael E. Shea, Ruth Tillman, Jonathan Tweet, Steven Warzeha, Emily Westfall

Announcing the Yellow King RPG

Mar 9 2017

 

The book has been written.

The book has been read.

Now it rewrites you.

Across time it spreads, creating dread new realities.

And you’re in all of them.

Pelgrane Press is terrified to announce that The Yellow King Roleplaying Game is coming soon to a Kickstarter near you.

Written and designed by GUMSHOE master Robin D. Laws, YKRPG takes you on a brain-bending spiral through multiple selves and timelines.

Inspired by Robert W. Chambers’ influential cycle of short stories, it pits the characters against the reality-altering horror of The King in Yellow. This suppressed play, once read, invites madness or a visit from its titular character, an alien ruler intent on invading and remolding our world into a colony of their planet, Carcosa.

Four books, served up together in a beautiful slipcase, confront your players with an epic journey into reality horror:

  • Belle Epoque Paris, where a printed version of the dread play is first published. Players portray American art students in its absinthe-soaked world, navigating the Parisian demimonde and investigating mysteries involving gargoyles, vampires, and decadent alien royalty.
  • The Wars, an alternate reality in which the players take on the role of soldiers bogged down in the great European conflict of 1947. While trying to stay alive on an eerie, shifting battlefield, they investigate supernatural mysteries generated by the occult machinations of the Yellow King and his rebellious daughters.
  • Aftermath, set later in the same reality, in 2017 North America. A bloody insurrection has toppled a dictatorial regime loyal to Carcosa. Players become former partisans adjusting to ordinary life, trying to build a just society from the ashes of civil war. But not all of the monsters have been thoroughly banished—and like it or not, they’re the ones with the skills to hunt them and finish them off.
  • This is Normal Now. In the 2017 we know, albeit one subtly permeated by supernatural beings and maddening reality shifts, ordinary people band together, slowly realizing that they are the key to ending a menace spanning eras and realities.

New GUMSHOE features include:

  • A completely new player-facing combat system.
  • A fresh, evocative approach to wounds, physical and psychic, inspired by the innovations of GUMSHOE One-2-One.
  • Linked character creation across multiple settings.

Crowdfunding in 2017 for a 2018 release.

Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff: Please Compensate For Our Brutal Incompetence

Mar 3 2017

In the latest episode of their swirly, psychedelic podcast, Ken and Robin talk Ditko landscapes, Nikolai Vavilov, climactic scenes and the occult secrets of the Denver airport.

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