Character Creation Rules

Character Creation Rules

Ability Score Points

Players start with 20 points to construct their characters through Pathfinder’s point-buy system.

Races

Players can play Humans, Androids, Aasimar, Tieflings, Ifrits, Oreads, Sylphs, Undines, and Kobolds from the Pathfinder SRD, and they can purchase traits to bring these races up to 20 race points; the only restriction on what traits they can pick are the following: 

  • They cannot modify any of the base creature’s racial traits, except through alternate racial traits found on the race’s page on the SRD. 

  • They cannot take any traits that add natural weapons to the character.

  • They can only take 2 Advanced Traits

    • If characters take a trait to acquire a Spell-Like Ability of their choice, they must choose one from a full caster’s spell list, such as the Cleric or Wizard spell lists.

  • Additional traits are drawn from here: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/other-rules/creating-new-races/

Players with access to the books “In the Company of Dragons” or “In The Company of Monsters” can also take the Jotun and Taninim races, with some restrictions: 

  • Taninim are Dragons in Epoch; there is no distinction between the two, as I won’t be using normal statistics for true dragons and will instead base any dragons the party encounters on taninim and the Draconic Exemplar class. Jotun likewise replace normal giants because I like their Paragon class better.

  • Dragons and Jotun can only take the Draconic Exemplar or Jotun Paragon classes respectively, or they can take classes with archetypes from their respective books such as the Draconic Hero, Scaled Juggernaut, or Trueblood Sorcerer archetypes from “In the Company of Dragons.” Their base class (see Classes) can be whatever the player wants. 

  • Both Dragons and Jotun get the Change Shape, Lesser racial feature. They are restricted to appearing as a human, the form of which must have some similarities to their draconic or giant forms (red haired Jotun or red-scaled dragons must have red hair, they have the same eye color in dragon or giant form that do in human form, ect). They keep the same ability scores whether they are in monster or human form, as appropriate for a medium sized creature of their race. While in Human form, both Dragons and Jotun can use any weapons or armor with which they are proficient with no difficulties.

    • Dragons do not get any additional race points because I estimate them to be roughly equivalent to a 20 RP race as is, and Lesser Change Shape adds 3 points to that for a total of 23 RP.

    • Jotun get 12 more Race Points to upgrade themselves, as I estimate their Total RP to be about 8, not including the +3 RP from Lesser Change Shape. They are otherwise subject to the same limitations on how they can spend race points as humans are.

Alternatively, players can pick one of my custom monstrous races, found in the link below: 

Classes

Characters will be built using Gestalt rules. Basically, characters get the benefits of two classes when they level up, gaining both sets of class features and the better of each class' Hit Dice, BAB, Saving Throws, and Skill Points. 

  • One of the two will be a NPC class (Adept, Aristocrat, Commoner, Expert, or Warrior). Depending on their second class, players can get a secondary feature. This will be called their Base Class.

  • The second can be any approved, normal player character class (Fighter, Rogue, ect). This is called their Elite Class, so called because NPCs with these levels gain an Elite stat array.

Base Class Options

The point of letting players go Gestalt and take an NPC class alongside their normal class levels is to let players create more versatile characters. That said, there are choices for class levels that would render some of their options for NPC classes more pointless; there’s no reason to play a choose Warrior as their Base class if the player is already a fighter, and Commoner has nothing to offer on its own merits. To insure that there are fewer dead options for players, here are some bonuses players can get from their Base Class in the place of benefits they cannot make use of. 

Characters who choose the Commoner class get one of the following feats: Acrobatic, Alertness, Animal Affinity, Athletic, Deceitful, Deft Hands, Great Fortitude, Hermean Blood, Ironhide, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Magical Aptitude, Persuasive, Prodigy, Scholar, Self-Sufficient, Skill Focus, Stealthy, Street Smarts, or Technologist.

If players choose Warrior as their Base Class and a class with a full BAB as their second, they get Combat Stamina as a bonus feat. The link for Combat Stamina can be found below: 

If players choose Expert as their Base Class and a class with 6 or more skill points per level as their second, they get either Cunning, Skill Focus, or Technologist as a bonus feat.

If players choose Aristocrat as their first class, and their second class has a 3/4ths Base Attack Bonus and at least 4 skill points per level, they get the Additional Traits feat; one of the traits must be the Rich Parents social trait, and the second can be an approved Campaign trait of the player’s choice. In this case, Rich Parents doesn’t count as the one Social Trait a character is allowed to have (they could, for example, take Rich Parents through their Aristocrat class and choose Student of Philosophy as one of their normal traits).

Elite Class Options

Players can play any Paizo class, including the Gunslinger because firearms are relatively common in this setting. Characters who want to play a Barbarian, Monk, or Summoner must use the Unchained versions of those classes; I will work with anyone who wants to play a monk to convert desired Archetypes from the normal version of the class. 

  • The Master Summoner archetype is off limits to Summoners.

  • Players can take the 3rd Party Unchained Ninja class from Everyman Gaming if they want to be a Ninja.

Alignment will not be a factor in this campaign. Classes have no alignment restrictions, though paladins and other divine classes will have codes of conduct they must follow according to what Paragon they follow.

Players can choose from the following 3rd Party classes: 

  • Nokizaru (Super Genius Games)

  • Aegis, Soul Knife, and all Path of War classes (Dreamscarred Press).

  • Draconic Exemplar and Jotun Paragon (Rite Publishing)

    • A Dragon or Jotun can use any of the spell-like or supernatural abilities from these classes while in human form, but they cannot use any EX abilities until they’re in dragon/giant form.

Other 3rd party classes must be submitted to and approved by the Game Master. Classes that have been include: 

  • Battle Scion (Kobold Press)

Feats

Characters can take any feats from Paizo, Dreamscarred Press, or Starjammer. Other third party feats, including those from D&D 3.5, are unavailable unless I introduce them first. The more a player tries to press me on allowing a piece of 3rd party material, the more likely I will say no. 

Characters can take Craft feats, though they are limited to making items published by Paizo. They cannot make custom items that mimics a spell if it's already an existing item.

The following feats from Flaming Crab Games are allowed: Cunning, Defensive, Goliath Grip, Improved Combat Reflexes, Second Skin, Vicious Spring Attack, Boon Pack, Cunning, Expanded Bloodrager/Paladin/Ranger Spell List, Greater Combat Reflexes, and Intuitive Spellcaster. All others from this publisher are unavailable.

Leadership and other feats that grant companions or cohorts like Squire will be available, but the character must earn their followers before I will allow them to take such a feat. This can be done by either making friends with or intimidating NPCs, starting a company and treating employees well, or participating in other story events that make it possible to get cohorts. Generally, followers will only have out of combat roles or be usable in side-missions only, though cohorts can be brought along on normal game sessions. For details, see the Leadership, Army Maintenance, and NPC Recruitment document.

Traits

Players will start with 2 traits each, and they can acquire a third by taking a Drawback. I’m willing to work with players who want custom traits or drawbacks if they can’t find something they like or that fits their character. 

Starting Equipment

Players will start off with maximum gold appropriate for their Elite class with which to purchase equipment. They can find any armor and weapons fairly easily, and they can purchase Eastern Armor and Weapons. Shields are not available in this particular region. 

  • Characters can purchase any Early Firearms if they wish. Advanced firearms like the Revolver or Rifle exist, but not in the particular part of the world the campaign will be taking place in, so players will have to get creative to find these weapons if they want them. 

  • Players are encouraged to use Eastern Weapons and Armor because they are more fitting of the campaign’s flavor to start, but they are not required to use these items. 

  • Players will start off purchasing equipment with Gold, Silver, and Copper as usual for Pathfinder, but if and when they move to the main continent, they will have to switch the Credit standard, which condenses the 3 types of currency down to one. Don’t worry about this for now, but it is something that will happen.

    • For flavor purposes, gold will be called Koban, silver is Ichibuban, and copper is Mon while the party stays in the starting country. 

Optional Rules and House Rules

I’m implementing the following alternate rule sets that will drastically change the feel of a normal Pathfinder campaign: 

  • Armor as Damage Reduction: This is a custom version made by me based on Paizo’s system.

  • Wounds: this is a modified version of James' Wounds mechanic, designed to be less punishing but still penalize players for stupid, reckless behavior.

  • Investments: The pace will be increased from one year to one month for collecting profit, but this will otherwise be the exact same system as Paizo’s

  • Downtime: I have some minor changes to how Downtime functions, but otherwise it’s more or less the same system as Paizo’s.

I’m also issuing house rules that affect the following areas of Pathfinder

  • Upgrading Consumables: I like consumables in theory, but they suck in practice. This set of house rules is designed to make them better as the game progresses. 

  • Currency: Copper, Silver, Gold, and Platinum have been a staple of roleplaying games for decades, but they have two problems: they make for terrible economics, and they’re a pain to carry. If and when they leave the starting country, I’m instead using a credit system that nullifies the weight of coins and translates three money standards down to one.

  • Mass Combat rules: This is my own set of rules for massive battles that have nothing to do with Paizo’ takes on the subject, since their version is A) basically its own game that’s incompatible with Pathfinder, and B) not very good. I’m not claiming these rules are better, but they are more compatible with Pathfinder. 

  • Magic in Epoch: Characters can use standard rules for magic, but I will also let them use alternative mechanics based on Psionics and the Advanced d20 Magic system.

  • Free and Merged Feats: Pathfinder has a lot of feats, some of which are practically mandatory and others being virtually useless except as prereqs for better feats. This document shows what feats all players get for free, and it issues modifications on typically niche or useless feats to make them more enticing options. 

Links for these house rules, plus another document addressing changes too small to warrant their own page, can be found in the links below. Most of the smaller house rules deal with setting specific details that don’t mesh well with vanilla Pathfinder, or they concern uses for skills that either don’t exist and should or that I have seen abused in other campaigns. 

Actual materials for character creation can be found at the Pathfinder SRD or the Archives of Nethys, with links below: 

A Brief Summary of the Setting

This campaign will be taking place in the world of Epoch around what they call the year 1246, in a land far to the East called Mizuseiki (also known as The Land of Water). All of Mizuseiki is contained on a mini continent to the southeast of Epoch’s main continent, and the whole land has been engulfed in a civil war for the past 100 years. 

Important Recent History

The civil war erupted in the year 1146, when two clans called the Kasumoto and Yamana declared war on each other after a border dispute. The two families bled each other and their armies dry, and it wasn’t much longer until the clans neighboring them swooped in to destroy them and take their land for themselves. This triggered new border disputes until every family in Mizuseiki was at war with each other. 

Because their nation was deemed “disruptive” and “unstable”, The League of United Nations of Epoch (or The LUNES), an international organization of diplomats almost every country in Epoch sends representatives to for developing peace treaties and trade agreements, ejected Mizuseiki’s diplomats and cut off all trade with the island. This has left the land impoverished and isolated compared to the rest of Epoch, as the remaining 9 noble families of Mizuseiki fight it out for dominance over the country. 

The Nine Families

Mizuseiki is a feudal kingdom based on Japan during the Sengoku Jidae, the warring states period that saw the development of the samurai and ninja into what we stereotype them as today. At the top of the system is the Imperial Family, and below them are the Nine Noble Families that run the various regions of the island. These families are: The Asakura, Azai, Date, Imagawa, Matsudaira, Oda, Saito, Takeda, and Uesugi. 

None of these families particularly like each other, and all of them have the same goal; seize the capital city Tengoku and rule the land as Shogun, or kings. 

Technological Advancement

Mizuseiki is more advanced than Japan was in the historical period it most closely resembles, but it's still far behind the rest of Epoch. Where as most nations have reached the same level as Earth accomplished in the early 1910s, Mizuseiki has hardly reached the level of France at the start of the Napoleonic Wars in 1805, putting them more than a century back from the rest of the world. They have some machines from the Industrial Revolution that have aided the development of weapons and armor, but otherwise they have access to whatever technologies France might have had shortly after Napoleon assumed control of the country. The rest of the world uses paper money on a Credit system, while Mizuseiki had to revert back to the Gold, Silver, Copper standard after getting ejected from UETCE.

Who are the players, and where are they in all this

Commoners, Experts, and Warriors: You are all young men and women in the employ of a mercenary company called Toru’s Sons, who are contracted with the Imagawa. Your jobs aren’t great; you have great potential for battle, but your commander Toru Maruba sees you all as insubordinate or useless, and so you’ve been kept off the front-lines and instead back at base to perform menial labor. He’s abusive, greedy, and dishonorable, and the only reason you work for him is because there’s no other jobs in the region that pay enough for you to take care of yourselves or your loved ones. You’re all performing your usual duties at your home base of Irogan-Ji when a small group of nobles arrive and hire Toru’s Sons for protection to Kitamorishi, the region’s capital. 

Adepts and Aristocrats: You are all retainers for Matsudaira Takechiyo, the young heir of the Matsudaira throne and next to be daimyo and lord of the family. He has been kept hostage by the Imagawa to secure an alliance between the Imagawa and Matsudaira families for their fight against the Oda, their greatest enemies. Now 15 years old, he is headed for his home in Kitamorishi to succeed his recently deceased father as the new daimyo and vassal to the Imagawa. He’s not an experienced leader by any means, but he’s a kind young lord who has been good to you, and you’ve spent enough time with him to realize he’s determined to end the civil war at all costs. You’ve all been following the young lord on his journey when you stop at a small city called Irogan to resupply for the trip and hire some more guards from the local mercenary company, some group called Toru’s Sons, to assist in your journey. 

TL;DR:

You’re all peasants and nobles in a fictional country based on Sengoku-era Japan with Napoleon-era technologies. There’s a civil war going on, and you’re all in the middle of it.

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