Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Pop Creature - The Sylvari

The sylvari from Guild Wars 2.
What a wild week it has already been! Right now I'm in the middle of working on a freelance assignment for Crystal Frasier's Rogue Genius Games, as well as preparing for a pair of interviews that will appear here on the Encounter Table—though more on those at a later date. 
Right now, some of you may be aware that I've been selected to the Top 32 of Paizo Publishing's RPG Superstar competition. I'm competing alongside some of the brightest undiscovered talent for the reward of writing a full 64-page adventure module (or the runner up prize of a Pathfinder Society Scenario). 

So, for the next few weeks, updates from the Encounter Table may be a bit thinner than usual as I focus my efforts on these projects. That said, I've got something special for you all! 

Today's Pop Creature article comes from one of the few massively-multiplayer RPGs I've really grown to love: Guild Wars 2. While I don't really have the time to run around busting heads with my engineer anymore, I do hold a singular adoration for their wonderful races and finely crafted lore. So today's article goes out to the enigmatic sylvari race, presented—not as a bestiary entry—but as a playable race using the rules for race creation found in the Advanced Race Guide. You may also notice a shout-out to a certain mythic creature introduced in the recent Bestiary released.


Friday, January 17, 2014

System Shock - (Product Preview) Aspects of Axis

A marut caste knight of axis;
art by Robert Brookes
Before I get into today's System Shock article, which comes straight from the pages of my upcoming Pathfinder project, Aspects of Axis, I thought I'd poll you readers about what you might like to see in upcoming Encounter Table articles. I've had some requests come in by email for the Mass Effect races to be represented in Pathfinder using the system built into the Advanced Race Guide. I've also had more than a few people ask me to stat up some of the races from Guild Wars 2 in the same vein. What would you be interested in seeing from a Pop Creature article? Additionally, are there any kinds of Pathfinder game subsystems or new rules you'd like to see addressed? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot me an email and let me know what you think.

Today's System Shock article can be found, along with some of the new inevitables mentioned in its text, in the upcoming Aspects of Axis. The Knight of Axis is a pretige class themed directly off of the Hellknight prestige class found in Pathfinder's Inner Sea World Guide. The Knight of Axis was developed from an in-game notion that perhaps the Hellknights weren't the original practitioners of their craft, and that the founder of the Hellknights may have based his teachings on an older, different order.

After the jump, that hypothetical organization of knights in service to Axis' laws is presented. It mirrors the same framework of the Hellknight prestige class, but its abilities are less diabolically themed. Let me know what you think about this preview in the comments!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pop Creature - Thresher Maw

A thresher maw on the world of Edolus, as seen in
Mass Effect. Screenshot courtesy of the Mass Effect Wiki.
Today's Pop Creature entry concludes our week-long desert themed excursion in preparation for the upcoming Mummy's Mask adventure path from Paizo. This entry details a creature from a media source the Encounter Table touched on a few weeks back, the Mass Effect universe.

In Mass Effect, the thresher maws are alien creatures that populate distant worlds by seeding highly resistant spores that develop into their voracious progeny. With the advent of space travel on worlds populated by thresher maws, these creatures spores have been pollinated by travelers across many worlds beyond the desert wasteland of their origin. As such, it isn't hard to imagine one of the many extraterrestrial visitors to Golarion unintentionally (or perhaps intentionally) seeding the world with a thresher maw or two.

If you put this burrowing terror up against your PCs let us know in the comments how they handled the encounter!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Pop Creature - Deathclaw

A deathclaw from Fallout: New Vegas.
"Big! Big! The size of three men! Claws as long as my forearm! Ripped apart! Ripped apart!"

Day 3 of Encounter Table's desert-themed series comes from one of my favorite post-apocalyptic computer RPGs, Fallout. While it feels like the original game was released more than a thousand years ago, my love for it and its sequels is quite strong yet! The above quote, from the first Fallout references today's Pop Creature — the deathclaw — who graces our front page courtesy of a screenshot from the latest offering in the series, Fallout: New Vegas.

The deathclaw is a magically engineered killing machine that could be found in any arid or mountainous environment when the PCs least expect it. If you surprise your PCs with a deathclaw, share your story in the comments below!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

System Shock - The Living Mirage

The Mummy's Mask, Book 1: The Half-Dead
City, by Jim Groves.
The cover image today comes from Paizo Publishing's upcoming first installment of the Mummy's Mask, "The Half-Dead City," written by Jim Groves. In part 2 of Encounter Table's desert-themed week, we take a look at the living mirage; a prestige class that blends illusion magic and martial arts to create a fighting style based on the hazy heat mirages of the desert. The living mirage should fit right in among the PCs or NPCs of your Mummy's Mask campaign as ally or adversary.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

System Shock - The Sandshaper

Pathfinder Player Companion: People of the
This month Paizo is giving us a look at some of the desert nations of Garund with its latest Player Companion: People of the Sands. This prelude to the upcoming desert-set adventure path The Mummy's Mask details the nations of Rahadoum, Thuvia and Osirion as well as its peoples and magical traditions. In addition to these books, Paizo Fans United will be publishing Wayfinder issue #10, featuring a plethora of desert-themed supplements for your Mummy's Mask campaign and beyond.

My excitement levels for The Mummy's Mask are reaching critical levels and in order to join in on the tomb-crawling, desert-exploring fun I thought I'd share a few desert-themed articles over the next two installments of System Shock and Pop Creature!

These pieces were originally going to be submitted to Wayfinder for issue #10, but had to be put on the back burner well beyond the submission deadline due to other obligations and holiday-related shenanigans. Now that the holidays are over and my plate has started to clear up, I'll be putting the finishing touches on the remainder of these articles.

Today, we'll be taking a look at the sandshaper summoner archetype. Feel free to voice your opinions in the comments!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Art - Aspects of Axis

Aspects of Axis fan-made companion.
Cover art by Carolina Eade.
Today I thought I'd share some finalized character vignettes from my upcoming Aspects of Axis project. The cover art, headlining this post, is courtesy of the wonderful Carolina Eade and features the Pathfinder iconics Merisiel and Kyra in a frantic battle with one of the new inevitables revealed in the book, the Aevarut. The art after the jump is courtesy of the stupendous Alena Lane! I hope you enjoy!