Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pop Creature - The Infected

One of last year's most spectacular console titles was Sony's The Last of Us, a story about survival in a post-apocalyptic world where the (very real) fungus Cordyceps militaris branched off from insects and arthropods to humans, bringing about the end of society. The primary antagonist in The Last of Us (unless you count humanity itself) are known as "the infected." The infected are the remnants of humanity that are ravaged by the cordyceps fungus, which has taken control of their nervous system and turned them into self-propagating spore colonies with one, singular purpose: reproduce.

The human suffering in The Last of Us is underscored by the visible suffering of the infected themselves. Some who—fleetingly—still have control of themselves are tortured by their very existence. Bringing creatures like that into Pathfinder was an obvious decision, but developing them outward from the original design was also a strong intention. While the cordyceps infected shown in the game are relegated to humans alone (though concept art for cordyceps infected animals was made in pre-production, they had to be cut) the infected featured below can come from any corporeal, living creature capable of being ravaged by disease.

If someone would like to do fanart of cordyceps infected monsters, I'd love to see it and will gladly showcase it here!

Enjoy the cordyceps-related nightmares below, and let us know what you think of them in the comments!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

System Shock - The Vanguard

The vanguard class overview from
Mass Effect 2.
You may have noticed a subtle change to the Encounter Table this week. As a part of the ongoing improvement and development of this blog, the encounter table can now be found at instead of its old Blogger address. More changes to come!

Last week, as a part of our celebration of People of the Stars being announced, the Encounter Table detailed how to bring the asari race from the Mass Effect series into Pathfinder. This week the Encounter Table takes a look at one of the most iconic character archetypes from the Mass Effect series: the vanguard.

Presented below is the Encounter Table's take on a Pathfinder class built around the core concepts of the vanguard. It is a highly-mobile front-line class that delivers devastating charge attacks and channels kinetic energy to protect themselves and enhance their damage-dealing capabilities. Let us know what you think of the vanguard in the comments!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pop Creature - Mummy Lord

The Mummy's Mask, Part 2: The Empty Graves,
by Crystal Frasier
Innumerable pieces of fiction include mummies as antagonists. From Karl Freund's 1932 classic The Mummy and on to more contemporary titles. Today's Encounter Table entry is inspired by one specific fictional mummy, Akmodan II, from the classic horror-inspired video game Castlevania. In Castlevania, Akmodan II is but one of Dracula's many undead servants standing in the way the game's protagonist on their way to slay the king of vampires.

With Paizo's The Mummy's Mask Adventure Path moving into Part 2 this month, I thought I'd offer up a variant of the traditional mummy found in Pathfinder based loosely on Akmodan's incarnations throughout Castlevania history along with some unique twists on mummy lore garnered from across popular fiction. This entry includes a bestiary entry for a mummy lord, as well as the mummy lord template.

If you use this undead antagonist in your Pathfinder games, let us know how in the comments!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Interview - James Jacobs

Iron Gods part 1: Fires of Creation
Paizo recently revealed support books for their upcoming Iron Gods Adventure Path, the Technology Guide and People of the Stars. This came hot on the heels of an official blog post revealing the authors for Iron Gods and the titles of each of its six parts. I'm beyond excited to see all of this information coming out now and my anticipation for the release of Iron Gods has simply blown up!

The Encounter Table is fortunate enough to have been able to sit down with Paizo's Creative Director James Jacobs, the mastermind behind Iron Gods, to talk about the upcoming sci-fi/fantasy Adventure Path as well as his history with RPGs as well as a few glimpses into the future.

Please note, portions of this interview discuss the plot elements of Iron Gods and contain spoilers about the identity of the Adventure Path's antagonists.

So read on, if you dare, and discover the secrets of the Iron Gods!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Pop Creature - Asari

People of the Stars by Paizo Inc.
This week Paizo announced — and almost had people thinking it was an April Fool's joke — two new publications in support of its upcoming Iron Gods Adventure Path. One book of particular interest to me is People of the Stars. This product will delve into the extraterrestrial races found in Golarion's solar system, and some from beyond. In celebration of this book's announcement, I've decided to dip back into a trusty old well of creativity for today's Pop Creature article: Mass Effect.

In the spirit of the Iron Gods Adventure Path and People of the Stars, the Encounter Table presents rules for playable asari characters in Pathfinder. This unique, monogendered alien race is fames for their exploration, long lives, and ability to intermingle with the genetics of other species. See how they translated to Pathfinder below, and let us know what you think in the comments!