You were expecting their fiercest warrior. It wasn’t until after you’d fallen into her trap that you remembered that bugbears value trickery and deceit more than they respect brute force.
Bugbear expert 6
CE Medium humanoid (goblinoid)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft., scent; Perception +11
AC 21, touch 13, flat-footed 18 (+2 armor, +3 Dex, +5 natural, +1 shield)
hp 30 (6d8+3)
Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +7
Speed 30 ft.
Melee morningstar +9 (1d8+5)
Ranged javelin +7 (1d6+5)
Str 20, Dex 15, Con 15, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 13
Base Atk +4; CMB +9; CMD 21
Feats Deft Hands, Skill Focus (Craft), Skill Focus (Perception)
Skills Acrobatics +10, Bluff +8, Climb +12, Craft (traps) +18, Disable Device +9, Escape Artist +11, Intimidate +5,
Perception +11, Sleight of Hand +11, Stealth +13; Racial Modifiers +4 Intimidate, +4 Stealth
Languages Common, Goblin, Orc, Undercommon
Environment temperate mountains
Organization solitary, pair, gang (3–6), or warband (7–12 plus 2 warriors of 1st level and 1 chieftain of 3rd–5th level)
Treasure NPC Gear (leather armor, heavy wooden shield, morningstar, 3 javelins, climber’s kit, masterwork thieves’ tools, tanglefoot bag , ring of feather falling).
Bugbears don’t select their heroes from among the biggest, strongest, and scariest members of their clans. They’re all big, strong, and scary. Instead, they honor the cleverest and sneakiest individuals. Any bugbear can smash a foe into a squishy pile of meat; it takes real talent to make your enemy look like a fool. A bugbear champion is a practical joker, a prankster, a devotee of trickster gods. They will use traps, misdirection, and even a long con, allowing you to think you’ve won only to discover later that you’ve been scammed or set up.
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Got friends who play poker? This may make it easier for you to convince them to join your latest campaign!
When it comes to table games, including those outside the usual role playing sphere, there’s no doubt that poker is one of the biggest right now. The number of people who either play in home games or are aiming for a spot on the major tournament circuit is probably in the millions now.
The game’s popularity is thanks largely to ESPN’s coverage of the World Series of Poker as well as the numerous online poker sites out there. To a lesser extent, poker’s inclusion in video games as optional minigames could also be counted. Some have even transcended the barrier and become self-contained titles such as those made by 2K Games based on the World Poker Tour which is constantly being promoted by WPT brand owner PartyPoker on Twitter.
Now, not every RPG fan plays poker, but there are some who do. This observation begs the question: is it possible to integrate poker into the role playing experience? The answer is a resounding “Yes!”
In fact, it has been done before. Remember Shane Hensley and Pinnacle’s Weird West RPG classic Deadlands? It was one of the first tabletop RPGs that used poker as an actual game mechanic to great effect. Character creation didn’t revolve around spending character points. Instead, Deadlands had players determine their characters’ basic attributes, called Traits in-game, by drawing from a 54-card Jokers included poker deck.
It didn’t stop there. Deadlands features a spellcasting character class known as the Huckster. Huckster players have to make the best possible poker hand after drawing five or more cards from a poker deck in order to determine if the spell is successful and how strong it is. Calculating initiative is also based on a combination of dice and a deck of cards. Basically, instead of rolling for initiative, players draw for it.
As the examples above suggest, the idea of integrating poker into a campaign is definitely sound. The only question is how to do it seamlessly. For Pathfinder, a stack of poker chips could help new players get a handle on the sometimes labyrinthine round mechanics. As mentioned in this old RPG.net thread, players can use them to keep track of how many rounds have passed.
As for the actual game of poker itself, RoleplayingTips.net has an interesting campaign starter idea from Mark L. Chance as well as other tips on using poker in your game. The idea basically recommends eschewing the standard “adventurers meet in a tavern” kickoff point and starting things off with some action to keep the energy high. It’s a good read and would work for any type of campaign be it high-fantasy, Western, or even sci-fi.
“Adversarial gamemastering” is not something I am a fan of. In my experience, cooperation and collaboration between the players and the gamemaster has always been more rewarding, both creatively and socially. I would rather people go home talking about how much fun they had and enthusiastically looking forward to our next game session than cursing the GM’s name under their breath.
I’ve never understood how a “total party kill”, where none of the characters survives an adventure, is something to brag about either. A good gamemaster will present players with tough challenges, yes, but the monsters must be beatable, the puzzles much be solvable. You don’t have to hand over all of the clues, the tools, the resources they need to successfully complete an adventure or reach the end of the story, but those elements need to be there where the characters can find them with a reasonable amount of effort.
A good gamemaster tailors adventures to suit the characters. I’m not just talking about scaling the challenge ratings of encounters to fit party level (or whatever equivalent exists in the system of your choice). I’m talking about looking at each characters’ abilities and presenting them with opportunities to use those abilities. Give warriors the chance to get into a good fight, thieves the opportunity to face traps and steal cool things, wizards a chance to use their magic in interesting and creative ways. Make sure you get outside on a regular basis so that ranger has a chance to show off. Let the sage discover new books, then offer a stage for them to show off their knowledge. Allow the tinkerer not only time but plot-driven reasons to build things.
When a party is lacking skills, change the encounters. Scale down the traps, or replace them with a battle or a puzzle anyone can solve, if there is no thief among the player characters; reverse that and replace combat with traps if there are more lockpickers than sword-swingers. In not only insures that they have a greater chance of success and survival, it puts them at the center of the story. The players will be appropriately challenged and still have a good time, and you, as a gamemaster, can show off your skills without making the players and their characters suffer.
The humanoid before you has wiry green fur that matches the flesh of its pig-like snout. Razor sharp tusks protrude from its lower jaw.
Hobgoblin wereboar warrior 1
LE Medium humanoid (goblinoid shapechanger)
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent; Perception +3
AC 18, touch 12, flat-footed 16 (+2 Dex, +6 natural)
hp 13 (1d10+7)
Fort +6, Ref +2, Will +1
Speed 40 ft.
Melee longsword +4 (1d8+3/19–20), bite +4 (1d4+3)
Ranged longbow +3 (1d8/×3)
Str 17, Dex 15, Con 18, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 6
Base Atk +1; CMB +4; CMD 16
Feats Toughness, Weapon Focus (natural weapons)
Skills Perception +3, Stealth +7; Racial Modifiers +4 Stealth
Languages Common, Goblin
SQ change shape (human, hybrid, and boar; polymorph), fast movement, lycanthropic empathy (boars and dire boars)
Environment temperate hills
Organization solitary or squad (4–9)
Treasure NPC Gear (studded leather armor, light steel shield, longsword, longbow with 20 arrows, other treasure)
Survivors of hobgoblin attacks have helped to popularize the image of orcs as pig-faced humanoids. Those who later encounter orcs — or hobgoblins — are confused when their appearance doesn’t sync up with the myths and legends. There is truth to it, though. Not only do hobgoblins utilize trained boars, ride dire boards, and utilize boars’ heads in their heraldry, wereboar lycanthropy is fairly common in hobgoblin bloodlines.
Pigmen tend to be squad leaders, reporting to the commanding jarl, or working together as elite attack squads. They tend to stay in their hybrid form all the time, to strike fear and awe into their normal kin, and to show off their rank.
Their lycanthropy is not communicable, but does breed true. The high mortality rate of these front-line warriors keeps their overall numbers low, otherwise all hobgoblins might eventually be wereboars.
condottiere: A mercenary military leader from 14th century Italy and later in other parts of Europe
Source: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/condottiere Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License; additional terms may apply.
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Development continues on our Fate+Fiction line. We’ve got several short stories, some classic, some original, that we’re deconstructing and mining for Aspects. Each release will have the whole story, plus situations, characters, locations, and other elements in a format that can be plugged into your own Fate RPG game. The stories are all worth reading on their own, but if you’re a gamemaster looking for an adventure or a player looking for more examples of Aspects, each will be a treasure trove of ideas. We want to get these just right, so we’ll be looking for playtesters in the near future to read over a few of our initial releases and provide us with feedback. Stay tuned!