Monday, January 28, 2013

Mercenaries Continued: Part 5

Man, now that I've got five posts about mercenaries in the bag I find myself kind of running out of steam. I mean there is plenty I could write, but like I said last time, I feel like if I get into specifics I might as well start writing myself another campaign book or something and that feels like it would be cheating on the Orcunraytrel campaign. I think I can meander about nobles this post though, so we'll go with nobles today.

So we have these noble races, we call them nobles because they primarily live in and rule the city-states and have the majority of the money and control the majority of property available in this continent. I see them set up in clans and families. With like a half dozen or so families ruling each city through a council of some kind. In some city-states this might vary with one family having essentially made a monarchy of themselves in some city-states. In the cities I see them as pretty much absolute power. They have all the jobs that out of work folks want to get hired for, they run the banks and the loan offices, they run everything and anyone who wants a job needs to go through them essentially. If you pay taxes, you pay it to them, law enforcement serves at their pleasure and better keep its nose out of what they do and so on and so forth. They're nobles that happily abuse their power as the cliche' villainous noble of fiction is what I am saying.

So we have all these nobles that utilize mercenaries to enact their will and fight for stuff they want. My next thought is, what do they fight for? We've already established that the Shale empire is a pile of ruins containing highly valued psionic artifacts and stuff that schools and universities and very rich private collectors pay them to dig around for. I envision this continent as having conventional banditry and brigandry (?), so mercenaries would obviously be hired to protect against that sort of thing. Now one of the main facets of this campaign is that the nobles use mercenaries to hack each other apart because they have long lives and low populations and don't want to weaken their houses by having dozens of them dying in battle when they can have a few hundred mercenaries do so for them.

Now I am thinking each city-state is sort of surrounded by a handful of towns that handle farming or lumbering or that sort of thing. These people owe fealty to the nobles of the city-state and are taxed by them and tithe what they produce to the city-state, perhaps the city-state even owns the town and the citizens just rent the space they occupy or something crazy like that. I'm imaging that a big brunt of mercenary work stems from the archaeological digs, but another big chunk comes from seasonal rearrangements of borders. City-state X decides they need a town right on the edge of their area of control and decides to take it. The other city-state is notified (or perhaps not) and the mercenaries head to somewhere away from the town they want (so as not to destroy that which the nobles desire) and beat the piss out of each other. How the battles play out would partly be determined by the mercenary captains and the nobles themselves. I imagine mercenaries having something of a camaraderie like you see with some of the Northmen in Joe Abercrombie's books. I also imagine they want money, but not to die for the shithead nobles. So with this in mind, I imagine mercenary captains meeting on the eve of battle or communicating in some way beforehand and setting the boundaries for issues regarding surrender and looting enemy companies and that sort of thing. Some captains might be a wee bit more bloodthirsty and eschew that sort of friendly behavior in the hopes of straight up hatemurdering potential competition.

I'm also thinking that non-noble races can purchase rank for themselves, should they want some manner of power within a city-state's walls. This would require a pile of coin, and a noble of a certain rank to vouch for them in some way. I think there would also be a certain cap to the rank a non-noble could buy themselves, and they would be more limited in scope to that of born nobles. Obviously, those that purchase their nobility would be much maligned in noble society. Of course, allowing this sort of thing forces me to actually come up with all the legal rights and such that a particular rank of noble has, and I'm not sure anyone would be interested in this sort of thing, but creating these sorts of things does kind of offer a means of actually showing that nobles do possess tangible power and aren't just folks with lots of money and such. 

I guess I didn't have quite so much for you today, a little bit shorter than my usual mercenary post length. As I said, I'm kind of running out of steam. I think this will be the last mercenary related post for a while. So I guess that is all for now. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Bruce Banner: Adventurer

Alright, so this appears on Saturday instead of Thursday because Eric told me we weren't going to do Iron Man this week, then posted the Hulk on Wednesday while I was working. Anyways.

My understanding of the Hulk is that Bruce Banner got hit with some gamma rays and now his anger is a living thing inside of him that he has to control. So there are two routes you can go, the Barbarian route or the Alchemist route. I am choosing Alchemist because when Bruce hulks out, in most representations, he becomes a completely different individual. I know there are smart Hulk versions and that sort of thing, but I am going with this version. When Bruce gets mad or injured, if he can't control himself, he physically and mentally changes to become the Hulk. There is an Alchemist based prestige class called the Master Chymist that utilizes the mutagen in the same way, even going so far as to give the mutagenic form a completely different alignment from the Alchemist's normal form. It is meant as more of Jekyll/Hyde thing, but so is the Hulk. At least in my opinion. Who knows what Stan Lee was thinking when he made the character (he created the Hulk, right?). I've seen an interview with Stan Lee where he says his brother came up with the name Mjolnir for Thor's hammer.

So the big problem initially is the whole alchemy aspect of the Alchemist class. I guess we can say that Bruce Banner is a scientist, so he can make things? I dunno, that's the best I've got. Sorry. Class based rpgs are rigid and really hard to do this kind of thing with. Additionally, the bombs are a problem too, and here I don't even have a thin justification for their presence. ::shrug::

I was initially thinking of using the Ragechemist archetype of the Alchemist, but that version of the mutagen can end up raging itself into a coma. Instead, I think I'll just go with Alchemist 10/Master Chymist 10. The Master Chymist is a neat class, it allows you to mutagen out a few times per day without using a mutagen, it can also force you into a mutagen form if you're injured and fail a Will save. I feel like that is a very Hulk-like mechanic that fits this concept well.

Anyway. As human scientist, Bruce's stats wouldn't be terribly impressive. High Intelligence and Wisdom, fairly average everything else. Maybe above average Constitution, as he did survive the fallout from a gamma bomb test or some such.

Bruce will end up with eleven feats at 20th level. My thoughts on what he should take are as follows: Great Fortitude (because the Hulk is fucking tough), Greater Unarmored Combatant (because the Hulk doesn't wear armor), Improved Unarmored Combatant (because the Hulk doesn't wear armor), Ironhide (I know he doesn't fit the race requirement, but come on, the Hulk's skin is tough), Power Attack (because the Hulk hits hard), Toughness (because the Hulk should have a lot of hit points), and Unarmored Combatant (because the Hulk doesn't wear armor). I'm not sure what to take for the next four feats, but stuff that improves his ability to bull rush or overrun opponents, as the Hulk has a tendency to charge in and run down his opponents. Iron Will also might be appropriate, as the Master Chymist prestige class can force a character to enter into the mutagen state against his will and Bruce Banner might have practiced resisting that. 

As a level 10 Alchemist, Bruce will end up with 5 discoveries. My thoughts on which discoveries he'd have are as follows: Feral Mutagen (to simulate the Hulk's punching and smashing and whatnot, and to qualify for Master Chymist), Preserve Organs (to simulate the Hulk's toughness and to simulate Bruce's ability to Hulk out when injured and shrug off said injury), and Spontaneous Healing (to simulate the Hulk's toughness and general unkillability). There are two more discoveries to take, but I can't think of what they should be. I wonder if the one that makes the Alchemist's skin toxic would be appropriate? I mean, the Hulk probably tastes like gamma radiation, and I imagine that doesn't exactly taste stellar.

Additionally, as a level 10 Master Chymist, Bruce will end up with 5 advanced mutagen abilities. My thoughts on which ones he'd have are as follows: Extended Mutagen (so Bruce can Hulk out for long periods of time), Furious Mutagen (to further increase the natural attack damage of the Hulk), Grand Mutagen (to further increase the physical bonuses of the mutagen form), and Growth Mutagen (so the Hulk is Large size when Bruce enters the form, which will up has fist damage to 2d6 and that is impressive).

As far as gear, pants, the Hulk should have stretchy pants.

I think that is about the best I can do with creating the Hulk. The bomb aspect still bugs me, but there isn't an archetype that trades it away for anything relevant to the Hulk. There's one that grants sneak attack in its place, but I don't really think Bruce Banner is prone to hacking up bodies and such the way a Vivisectionist would be. Oh well, like I said, this is the best I've got. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Cultural vs. Racial Traits

Alright, so I have a beef with Pathfinder and 3.5 DnD, and it is a beef that strangely enough 4th Edition fixes somewhat. It is also a beef I am guilty of at times.  

So we have the Dwarf,  a race from folklore known for axes and hammers and craftsmanship and so on and so forth since the time of the Vikings and when Odin was still Odin and hadn't been folded into Santa Claus. In 3.5 DnD, Dwarves are pretty much as they've been depicted in fantasy games and novels since time immemorial. They have a knack for stonework and figuring out stuff based on stone like secret doors and passages and that sort of thing, they also have bonuses on attack rolls against Orcs and Goblinoids because they know special combat tricks to fight them. It makes sense, as Dwarves are typically enemies of those types of creatures in fantasy. They also have a bonus to their armor class vs. Giants, not because they're small, but because they're trained to fight these guys in the same way they're trained to fight Orcs and Goblinoids. They're also good at appraising the value of stone and metal items, because Dwarves are good with stone and metal. They also treat Dwarven waraxes and urgroshes as martial weapons instead of exotic, because they are Dwarven weapons. Dwarves also have some bonuses to saves vs. poison and disease and saving throws. They're also hard to knock down and they are slow, but their encumbrance doesn't ever affect their movement because they're so hardy. The Pathfinder version of the Dwarf hits all those same notes, but the effects are altered a bit because of some rules and mechanics changes that happen between 3.5 and Pathfinder. 

Now, 4th Edition Dwarves. The hardiness is there, as is the encumbrance speed, and the standard bonus to Constitution. The stability is there as well. The stonework bonuses are translated to a Dungeoneering bonus, and they are proficient with hammers. What they lack is the bonus to fighting against Goblinoids and Giants. This ability appears later in the Player's Handbook as a feat that gives a defense bonus against Giants. I'm sure the Goblinoid one is in the game somewhere, but fuck if I know where it is, I haven't perused a 4th Edition book in over a year. These stats are the same in the Essentials version of the Dwarf race as well. 

Ok, my first beef is that all Dwarves everywhere, regardless of upbringing, apparently know all things stone and metal. To the point where they can guess the value of items with some degree of skill with no education or experience whatsoever. The second beef is that Dwarven DNA apparently has some genetic predisposition to using hammers and axes to beat on things, and yet another genetic predisposition to use those axes and hammers to beat on Goblinoids and Orcs and to avoid being hit by Giants. These are not genetic traits. It's like saying Hitler wanted to throw Jews in ovens because it was in his DNA. He was born and his DNA just filled his brain with the knowledge that the Jewish people were susceptible to ovens and gas chambers and then he just woke up one morning and knew how to get them all on the trains with no planning or secret meetings with other officials of any kind. Just woke up, brushed his stache, and said, "Do this, this and this, and the evil Jews are done." and everyone related to him knew all these same things. 

Ok, that is a bit inflammatory and not a particularly good analogy. What I am saying is that I like the style of fighting against Giants as a feat available to Dwarves. Dwarves are known for that kind of thing, but not all Dwarves would necessarily know how to best fight Giants, unless they were taught it. The resistance to poison and disease and magic is a genetic thing. If you're a Dwarf, you're born with it, it isn't some secret Dwarven alchemical beer recipe that all young Dwarves get dipped in after they're born that their father quaffs after consuming the placenta. It makes sense for all Dwarves to have those abilities. If you are a Dwarf raised amongst Thri-Kreen in a massive wasteland of a desert, how the fuck do you even know what a Dwarven waraxe is or what stonework looks like and how to tell if there is some sort of architectural flaw that means there is a secret room or door? 

I dunno, it is goofy. I kind of do the same thing with some of the races in Hekinoe. What I think would be more appropriate would be going back to what I did in the first Hekinoe campaign. Instead of one trait at first level, you gain a background trait, a cultural trait, and a racial trait. Cultural traits are much more appropriate for stuff like bonuses against fighting a certain race your race has been an enemy of for ages.  Hmm, a thought occurs. If Goblins and Orcs have been fighting Dwarves as long as Dwarves have been fighting them, and Giants have been fighting them as long as Dwarves have been fighting them, wouldn't A) the Dwarf opposed race in question have come up ways of circumventing the Dwarven techniques, and B) come up with their own dirty little tricks to fight Dwarves? I dunno, it suddenly seems very odd to me that Giants don't have a fancy little ability called Dwarf Stomper where they just leap ten feet into the air to avoid a Dwarf's axe and then come down on his face with their feet.

I dunno, this is kind of nitpicking, but I feel like it is goofy. For a game where you can come up with some zany Dwarf raised by Thri-Kreen concept race to explain why your Dwarven Ranger is so hunter/prey relationship focused and likes bugs, it feels too restrictive and counter-intuitive. Wouldn't that make Survival or Nature (depending on the edition) more appropriate than Craft or Appraise checks or detecting secret doors? This example of Dwarves certainly isn't unique, all Elves are good with Bows and magic, all Gnomes like badgers, all Halfings are good with slings, all Half-Elves are tormented half breeds never fully a part of either races and constantly seek acceptance, etc, etc. 

To a certain extent, you get different cultural attributes through subraces like Whisper Gnomes and Gold Elves, and Strongheart Halfings, but now you have an entirely different race write up when all you need to says is that Dwarves raised here are probably good at fighting Goblins and Dwarves raised here are more resistant to magic because the Drow try to murder and enslave them every other day of the week. Blah blah blah. 

I dunno, just some thoughts. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Super Heroes: Avenger Series: The Incredible, Edible (?) Hulk

My plan was to do an Iron Man post for today and life got in the way. I really wanted to put some thought and creativity in it... So, I decided to go with the Hulk. Which version? Does he "Hulk out?" The 90's version where he is always the Hulk.

The Hulk: aka: Hulk

I would make him a Green Skin Abraxen and of course focus on strength and constitution as his primary attributes. Done with all that mess...

Then comes the hard part (actually, really easy). He would be a Barbarian with two archtypes, Invulnerable Rager and Wild Rager, one which adds damage reduction and the other which can make you go into rage at random. It just seems appropriate. Focus on hand to hand combat using the Superior Unarmed Combat feat and the Unarmored Combatant feats to make him not wear armor and help with AC and the assist with damage done.

Rage powers: I would focus yet again on unarmed combat and the Brawler powers, maybe the Ground Breaker and it's improved version. The Hurler powers also seem appropriate as well as anything that helps with any type of damage reduction. We want this guy to take a beating and walk away laughing. There is one that helps and gives you fast healing after you use Renewed Vigor, which allows you to heal some damage after a rage.

But, as this is, he needs no equipment and actually, this seems to be almost it. Fairly simple.

There is also of course the Alchemist version of him, which we may explore a different day.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mercenaries Continued: Part 4

There is still plenty to work out with this campaign concept. Jason and I had some pretty interesting discussions about how to manage the improvement of the company. My initial thought was that it be based on the average level of everyone in the company. The problem with that is that as more new members are recruited, the average level will decrease, not a big deal, as you can just say that when your company hits a level it stays that level. Jason's initial thought was that your company gains a chunk of experience from missions as well as characters and levels up using its own advancement chart. My second thought was that your company gains levels based on how much loot you have. I thought it would make sense, as mercenaries are primarily oriented towards cash and I was looking at the wealth by character level in the core book when the idea struck me. Jason actually came up with something that I liked a lot more. 

His idea revolved around a series of licenses. Like each company starts out with a basic license governing how many members they can have, what classes they can use, and so on. Then, as they make money and stuff they can buy other licenses to increase size, recruit other classes, grant them the right to possess firearms and alchemical supplies, and so on. I really like this system. It kind of offers a company a certain level of customization. You could spend all your money on gun rights and alchemical rights and have yourself a small, elite company loaded to the gills with guns and bombs. Or you could have a massive company with only a few class options and just the basic weapons. 

So, to figure out what licenses to make, I first need to have an idea as to what a basic company is allowed to be made up of. I want to start with a small amount, something like 20 characters, maybe 25. Something along those lines. There will be a restriction on classes among your mercenaries as well. No psionic classes or the Monk, obviously as they are a strongly kept secret by the Shale. I'm thinking Barbarian, Bard, Cavalier, Fighter, Magus, Rogue, Sorcerer, and Witch. I am pretty sure I'm yanking out the Druid and Ranger from my class options as the only reason I really included the Druid in the first place was so that there was a class that had access to a lot of Cleric healing spells, but the Witch has access to more and is already an arcane class. As I've said on here before, the Ranger kind of bugs me and seems like a class with multiple personality disorder. At some point here I am planning on setting my sights on a good hard review of the Scout class and I would add it to this roster of basic mercenary company classes. 

Now the classes we don't see here are the Alchemist, Gunslinger, Summoner, and Wizard. I see those as the highly restricted classes of the nobility. I don't feel like the Gunslinger should really be restricted though, but what is the point of having Gunslingers in your company if nobles will confiscate any firearms your company possesses if you don't have the proper license? So I guess Gunslinger isn't a restricted class, but firearms are. So you run the risk of having your battered firearm confiscated if the company or the character gets searched by nobles, which is going to be pretty much mandatory if you wander anywhere near the walls of a city-state, and since we're using the Emerging Guns rule in this campaign, it'll costs a few thousand gold/marks/whatever to buy a new one. Probably more, as you'd have to buy it on some sort of black market if you don't have the license for your company to possess firearms. 

Now, I am not entirely sure how I want to figure out the costs of the licenses. I don't think I want to assign specific costs to each license, instead I think I want to assign costs that scale up based on what number of licenses you have. For instance, your first license, whatever it may be, costs 250 gold, the second one costs 500, third 750, and so on. Like I said, I don't have specific costs in mind yet, but I would like the costs to scale up as you accrue more licenses. I'd also have certain licenses available only when certain prerequisites, like the license to allow Wizards into the company only be available if you do a specific job or jobs for the Wizard guilds/schools of the city-states. 

In addition to the thoughts above regarding classes, I think I have a few thoughts on restricting certain class archetypes. For instance, the Reanimator and Vivisectionist Alchemist archetypes seem like they might leave people in charge of cities and stuff with  a big frowny face, as their experiments and nature are kind of icky. I dunno, it is something I'm toying with, but I'm not entirely set on. I'm also considering making racial archetypes mandatory, but I feel like that might be too restrictive for players. It would make sense that all Shale Monks use the same archetype, as they all learned to be Monk through similar training regimes, but one of the points of Pathfinder is to build your character to your specifications, so I probably won't go that route. 

I think that's all for now. I'll probably post another one of these next Monday, maybe not though, as I feel like if I come up with any more concrete information I need to start penning a new campaign book. We'll see. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Twenty Questions

Some guy named Jeff Rients has a blog and posted some questions on it (upwards of a year ago) to ask yourself to help build a campaign. Because I spend way too much time on r/rpg, r/Pathfinder, and r/Pathfinder_RPG (in addition to the extensiiiivvvveee amount of time I spend on r/atheism doing scholarly readings and never once venturing to r/gonewild or r/nsfw) I found the questions and decided to answer them for shits and giggles about The Known World.

1. What is the deal with my cleric's religion? 

2. Where can we go to buy standard equipment? 
-Pretty much any city.

3. Where can we go to get plate mail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended? 
-Pretty much any city with an armorsmith in The New Empire. Don't bring the monster though.

4. Who is the mightiest wizard in the land? 
-Nakmander's brother, though he is pretty near death at this point and has done about all he can do to extend his life.

5. Who is the greatest warrior in the land? 

6. Who is the richest person in the land? 
-The head of the Dwenoren banking guild of Whurent, Int Ard Ger.

7. Where can we go to get some magical healing? 
-Any Alchemist's shop and some Wizard and Sorcerer run establishments, lots of back woods Witches can help you out as well. Any similar psionic themed place of business. So every city bigger than Ye Olde Farming Community With No Soldiers But Plenty Of Gold I Mean Marks To Pay Strangers To Fight Equally Ye Olde Bandits, pretty much.

8. Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath? 
-See number seven.

9. Is there a magic guild my magic user belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells? 
-There are schools and guilds yes, but whether or not you belong to one is up to you.

10. Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC? 
-See number seven.

11. Where can I hire mercenaries? 
-Pretty much any big city.

12. Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law? 
-Sorcery is outlawed in The New Empire and The Plains of Dust. No real weapon restrictions beyond giving up your sidearms when meeting with officials though. Kusseth has a dizzying array of laws as well, but not much you'd need to know, and if you did know a law you  were about to break, I'd let you know. 

13. Which way to the nearest tavern? 
-The same direction as the closest city, on Main Street.

14. What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous? 
-None. The Known World is a 10000 year old continent, all the Here Be Dragons spots on the map got farmed for loot and rep gains ages ago.

15. Are there any wars brewing I could go fight? 
-Pretty much every nation regularly skirmishes with its neighbors. The Great Trench of the Kusseth/Whurent is pretty much a sea of shed blood though.

16. How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes? 
-Only in Vyanthnem, and to get in the games you have to be a slave, and your owner gets the prize money. There are fighting competitions in Volungshemle as well.

17. Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?
-Plenty. The Organization, The Cult of Screaming Stars, and the Rebellion of Meroteth are just a few.

18. What is there to eat around here? 
-In Kusseth, boar meat.

19. Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for? 
-Walthuler probably found it already.

20. Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?
-See number fourteen.

On a side note, r/incest is a real thing. What the fuck Internet(s)/reddit? Seriously, you are as terrifying as you are beautiful.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Clint Barton: Adventurer

So I guess this is going to be a theme, you remember Phil Spiderman: Adventurer? Eric will take a hero from comics and figure out how to build it in Pathfinder and then I'll do the same. There will likely be a variety of differences between our implementations of the rules to make these characters, so it should be kind of neat. Mind you, I've never been big on comics, though I have perused Wikipedia frequently and there are lots of Marvel and DC articles on there. Eric will likely know characters a lot better than me, but I feel my knowledge of the rules will be superior to his. Also, Eric seems to be gearing his guys more towards Hekinoe rules, I won't be doing so. Here we go. 

My thought is that he'd be a Fighter with the Archer archetype. See you next time.

Oh, you wanted more? 

So Hawkeye, also known as Clint Barton is an Avenger who uses a bow. My understanding is that he is a completely normal human dude that is just an expert marksmen with a pile of trick arrows. I won't profess to know all the trick arrows he has, but explosive ones seem likely. Or maybe just a boxing glove arrow, oh wait, that is the Green Arrow. 

When thinking archery, most people go to the Ranger. Which is wrong. Eric likely chose Ranger because of the combat style ability that gives bonus feats, and perhaps the Skirmisher archetype's abilities. So, the thing you need to be aware of is that combat style gives like five bonus feats over twenty levels. Whereas the Fighter gains eleven bonus combat feats over twenty levels, in addition to all the weapon mastery bonuses and such. Beyond the five bonus feats the Ranger has no archery abilities. To be fair, the Ranger bonus feats are granted without a need for any prerequisites, which is handy. Most of those prerequisites are going to be other feats useful to archery though, so you might as well have them and with the Fighter you have enough bonus feats that you don't need to sacrifice much to get them. Looking at the Archer archetype, there is also an ability that eliminates the need for one of the Ranger bonus feats. The safe shot ability does what the Point Blank Master feat does.

Additionally, as far as I know Hawkeye had no pet and did not specialize in terrain or fighting certain foes, at least not any more than any other Avenger does. The focus of the Fighter class is their weapon, or their armor, so a Fighter with the Archer archetype seems most appropriate to me. This is a case of taking a class because of one feature you need for a build idea and gaining a whole slew of abilities that make no sense in the context of the build. You can argue that Spiderman is not a thief or assassin, so he shouldn't have sneak attack or trapfinding or trap sense, which is why you take the Acrobat archetype and lose the trap abilities and gain agility abilities. Also, while Spiderman doesn't really attack with a conventional kind of sneak attack, he does tend to lurk and surprise his foes and gain a jump on them, which makes him more effective in a fight and sneak attack can kind of fit with that. 

While I do like the Alchemist's discovery that allows them to incorporate their bombs into ammo, and have built the new version of Gob around that concept, you have to look at what you sacrifice for that ability. Because you're taking levels of Alchemist, you're progression in gaining bonus archery combat style feats from being a Ranger is slowed down, and you are reducing your bonuses to attack rolls. You're also gaining the mutagen and magic and poison resistance and other abilities that make no sense for Hawkeye to have. There's already a Hulk in the Avengers, no need for Hawkeye to Hulk out too, and any bonuses to damage and attack rolls you could get from the mutagen being keyed to Dexterity can already be gained from Fighter weapon training without negatively impacting mental ability scores and are also permanent bonuses, rather than only existing until the mutagen wears off.

With the Archer archetype he would gain bonuses to Perception and increased range with his attacks. He'd also gain the ability to perform a few combat maneuvers with his arrows, like tripping or disarming his enemies, which is not normally possible but is really fitting for a combatant with the kind of expertise that Hawkeye would have. Obviously, as a Fighter he'd have all the appropriate Weapon Focus and Specialization feats which further increases his ability to hit and kill targets. Coupled with feats like Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Manyshot, and so on and so forth we're working towards someone incredibly deadly and versatile with a bow, which is kind of Hawkeye's schtick. 

You could also go the craftsman route and take ranks in Craft (Bowyer/Fletcher) and build all kinds of fancy arrows. There are arrows that cause bleed damage, ones that explode into shrapnel, tanglefoot arrows, distance arrows, and so on. At one time I thought there was some sort of specialty arrow that would allow you to fire it with an alchemical weapon on the end, but I cannot currently find such a thing anywhere. My personal belief is that if you can make a holy water arrow and a tanglefoot arrow, you should probably be able to make other stuff work. Granted, certain heavier items would likely offer a penalty to attack rolls and range. I realize that being a Fighter penalizes this aspect of the build, but with Clint Barton being human and favored class bonuses, we can increase the amount of skill points the character has at his disposal, and you can always give him a twelve in Intelligence and have plenty left over for a high Dexterity and above average Strength so he can use composite bows to add in the Strength damage. 

I realize this is a pretty light description of how to build Hawkeye, but what do you want? He shoots arrows, take feats and use a class that is good at that, heh. Obviously, finding a very nice quality bow is beneficial to such a character. You could also improve his versatility by using the Master Craftsman and Craft Arms and Armor, which are two of the twenty-two total feats he'll have over twenty levels, to create magic arrows and bows such. 

So I guess that is the gist of Hawkeye. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Super Heroes: Avenger Series: Hawkeye

Steve and I were talking the other day and I liked the idea of making some more super hero types using the Pathfinder system. To make it a bit more challenging, I am also going to work with Steve's world, Hekinoe. I like the idea of them being Steampunk and fantasy mixed in. I am going to try to have a post up like this every Wednesday, hopefully.

This week I start with The Avengers Series: Hawkeye. I chose him because it would get me started and should be fairly easy. If I feel like it eventually, I will figure out how they are a team. I think I will have them all centrally located in Meroteth.

Klint Bar'ten

He would be Fell Human to gain bonuses in both Dex and Strength, of course he would be a Ranger (Skirmisher archtype) who uses a compound bow (for the bonus Str damage), I don't think it would be nessasary for him to be high level, but 11th for Ranger should be good to get as many ranged combat feats from that tree as possible, like Precise Shot, Many Shot, Rapid Shot, Point Blank Shot, Pinpoint Targeting and Shot on the Run (to name a few, if not almost all of them).

He has an animal companion (from the Ranger) that is a Hawk, who he calls... Ready for it? Bird. You thought I was going somewhere else with that, didn't you?

I mean really, it seems pretty straight forward, he is an archer. But here comes the fun...

Make him at least a level 8th Alchemist (or higher). If you wanted, you could alternate leveling each class so he develops with his trick arrows. There is a discovery from Alchemist that allows you to imbue a missile or bullet with your bombs from that class and as long as you keep focusing on his bombs with the discoveries, you can make an "arrow" for almost any situation. There is also a discovery called Quick Bombs which allows you to use as many in a round as you have attacks, so... bonus!

If you wanted this to be your goal, you could focus more on Intelligence than in Strength to gain more bombs per day and take a discovery called "Extra Bombs." I am thinking any and all Feats gained as an Alchemist should be put in to Extra Discoveries.

Of course, this doesn't even figure in the class feature of the Alchemist to craft alchemical items in record time. Tanglefoot bag on an arrow anyone? You could also use the mutagen to enhance his already decent Dexterity. Have some skill ranks in Craft Bow and Arrow to make specialty arrows...  After all, he fights crime at night on the streets of Meroteth, don't you think he should be able to make his own equipment?

During the day he is just a mild manored Alchemist.

There is of course the Prestige class Arcane Archer, which is neat and allows you to imbue the arrows with spell like abilities, but I think I rather like the idea of the Alchemist a tad bit better. It just... fits better.

Thoughts, anyone?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mercenaries Continued: Part 3

Welcome to another installment of Mighty Mercenary Mondays! I've come up with a name for the continent of this campaign, Myrecenar. Because, well, you know, sometimes I write silly things because I am silly. Anywhosen.

So back to the topic of races. In the previous post about this campaign idea I said something like three or four noble city-state races. Jason suggested that if a race had risen to power, they probably wouldn't be willing to share it among three other races. So I think what I'll do is have the majority of the continent divided into five pieces. An area controlled by noble race one, one controlled by noble race two, a section where all the non-noble and mercenary races kind of bum around and set up their towns, the Shale fungus ruins, and the untouched frontier. The way I am conceiving of the two noble races is that they've always been allies, even in their tribal days. Since we have that whole long-lived and slow to change thing going on we'll kind of say they are of the mentality that they've always been allied with each other so they'll always be allied with each other. Nevermind the fact that they both still want power and riches and wheel and deal behind closed doors to undercut each other's power. But no hard feelings, I mean, it's just mercenaries dying in their disputes, right?

I think I have a place for the Kroot-esque race, but I'm not sure. I may find a place to put them, but I'm not entirely adamant on having them in this campaign. It's probably better that I don't, but we'll see. I've perused the Advanced Race Guide a bit and I have one idea for a mercenary race and another for the sentient fungus race. I'm not sure if I'll use either but I have some thoughts. I still plan on putting in something human or human-like though, so that'll be in there for those that love themselves some humans. I still don't have any clear cut thoughts on either of the main noble races, but that'll come with time, and I do want to throw in a half-breed race of the two noble races. One thing I am considering is pulling races from other continents. When you look at most game worlds, you don't have every continent full of completely different races, usually just variations or name changes on a few common ones and I think it might be appropriate to do the same here. I mean the Mork of Orcunraytrel are related to the Dwenoren. The Goebleen, Hulderfolk, and Cinder Ghosts are related to the Ethryll of Fresgulen. The Norvenmik and Nock races are also related.

Actually, it might make sense for one of the noble races to be a breed of Dwenoren. Dwenoren are the oldest native race of Hekinoe and have literally spread everywhere in one way or another, except the south pole. The second oldest and most plentiful are the Glenwighta. So maybe the noble races are the Glenwighta and the Dwenoren. Hmm, but how to place the Glenwighta, as that is a race of three breeds in and of itself? Ah, ideas. So the Glenwighta are composed of three races, the Okwighta (the smart scrawny guys), the Conwighta (the bigger tougher brute guys), and the Solwighta (the even bigger, even tougher, longer lived guys that are supposed to be born to be kings). The weird feature of the Glenwighta race is that their eggs hatch into whichever breed is most needed by the nest (i.e. because magic). But how do we slim them down to a single race though? Perhaps because of the long history of not battling it out and instead using mercenaries, they don't really produce Conwighta or Solwighta? Or perhaps that occurrence has been made rare and the Solwighta have ceased to exist, but the rare Conwighta that are born are typically thrown out? Maybe bundled off to mercenary towns or something along those lines?

Ok, so we have our two noble races, the Okwighta and Dwenoren. However, now we can't have a half-breed as the Okwighta are an egg laying mammal and the Dwenoren reproduce by asexual reproduction, specifically through budding. Now, to the next issue, lifespan. Both the Okwighta and Glenwighta are short lived creatures in The Known World with a human lifespan, 90s being the upper limit of their age. In Myrecenar, we want two long-lived races that have been running things for a long time. There is some evidence in The Known World that the sorcery there does have a tendency to limit lifespan (full blooded Fell Humans have shorter lifespans than Uncout or Fell Descendants), but there are also creatures like the Sereth, Vyanth, Eldumans, and Children of Volung that have lengthy or eternal lifespans. The Children of Volung originate from a very different place than The Known World and perhaps their immortality would have protected them from the hostile to life nature of The Known World's sorcery? A similar kind of situation is in play for the Eldumans, plus they aren't exactly living flesh. The Sereth and Vyanth are an odd case, as they have been completely reshaped by their use of sorcery from their original form and have in fact built up a resistance to sorcery. I don't think is is out of the realm of possibility to say that Okwighta and Dwenoren would perhaps live longer if they've never encountered the flesh warping sorcery of The Know World, so I think that is what I'll go with. We won't make it extravagant like a thousand year lifespan or anything, but maybe something in the vein of a few hundred years. I'm not 100% certain about the inclusion of the Okwighta yet, but I do like the Dwenoren as one of the noble races. If I come up with an idea that I like better, I'll probably throw out the Okwighta for something else.

Well, apparently this post is about races. So let's come up with races. I have a soft spot for the Goebleen, and I am a big fan of the Ethryll (I blame Dark Sun), so I think we'll add them in as a mercenary race. They're small and sneaky, so any differences from the Goebleen will have to come up during construction of their background info. In terms of game mechanics, they'll basically be Goblins. I think with the mercenary races I want to stick to somewhat uncivilized races, tribal societies and that sort of thing, or at least go with that theme for the majority of them.

Already we have five races  so far (Dwenoren, Noble 2, human equivalent, Shale, and Goebleen), though technically it is six because the Shale are dimorphic. In The Known World there are fifteen different races to choose from, though two of them are just subraces and two more are sort of offshoots from another race. Let's start with ten races (not including offshoots and subraces) and see how that goes. Fifteen races seems like a lot when you look at the core book and the seven races it contains. So we'll start with ten and go from there.

So after a few days of thinking and pondering and whatnot, I have an idea for the second noble race. A very tough and hardy race with a slightly martial bent. Now, as we've stated earlier in this series, I want the noble races to favor dueling over outright fisticuffs and battle. This race will be called the Ashlar, because that was a kind of cool sounding name that popped into my head. They'll be very long lived, and strong and hardy. I think they'll favor more physical endeavors, management of mining operations and that sort of thing. They'll still be a noble race and their involvement with hands on stuff will be minimal, but they'll favor running operations that are more physical, whereas the Dwenoren of this continent will favor more mental operations like accounting, banking, and that sort of thing. Again, I don't have all this set in stone or completely thought of yet, but this is kind of the way my brain is going.

I think I want a really savage nasty race as well. The kind where when you want bodies on the ground and don't care about collateral damage, these are the guys you hire. Something animalistic too...hmm. I think I want these guys to be lizardmen. These guys will still be mucking about in the stone age I think. All tribal, feathers and bones and witch doctors and that sort of thing. I think I like the lizardmen army from the Warhammer game too much, all their faux-Mayan stuff looks kind of neat and has always stuck with me whenever I picture lizardmen. I'll go with lizardmen as one of the other races, and a particularly tough and savage breed at that.

With the human equivalent, I'm not too worried. I'll come up with something mundane to fill in the blanks with something mundane enough that people can relate to as a human type thing. It'll have the variable +2 to ability scores, a bonus feat, and bonus skill points but they'll be different enough that it isn't just a repeat of Asosans and Uncout. I think I want them as some kind of farmer race. Populous, and present among the mercenaries, but primarily kept around by the nobles for their large population and use as laborers and workers and that sort of thing. Working for the nobles is probably safer in the long term, but probably much harsher on their minds and will to live.

So we have both noble races, a Goebleen cousin, a human, a really nasty savage race, and the Shale. We're at six races and we're shooting for four more. I dunno, now that I am typing about it, it seems like a lot. Looking at the fifteen races in The Known World, actually, let's be honest, it's seventeen separate races to choose from in total. In the threeish campaigns played using the rules from the campaign book, the only races players have used are Elduman, Elduman Descended Uncout, Fell Human, Fell Descendants, Rankethlek, and Sereth. Six of seventeen available races have been chosen over the course of three campaigns, so perhaps we don't need a full ten races plus their offshoots. Maybe eight is enough. That actually sounds reasonable, enough for variety but not so many that there is an endless section of race descriptions and statistics to be found in the campaign book, if I decide to do one. Two more races.

What are we lacking in this continent? We have a race that will favor stealth, a race that will favor warriors, a race that will favor everything, and a race that will favor psionics. I won't say we have a race that favors magic yet, but the noble races do have a monopoly on the most powerful magic using class in terms of sheer spellcasting power. One of the decisions that always plagues me when I make a new set of races is the choice to either make something completely alien and new and weird, or something mundane or a mere variation on what has already been done. We've got humans and Goebleen, and lizardmen and I think those are familiar enough. Let's go with something strange and new and wondrous.

Spider men? Nah, we have the Mawkethnay of Fresgulen. Panther men, nah, we have the Panthermen of Ieanegatniv, and this continent isn't a jungle so panthers would be slightly out of place. I have an idea, and it isn't exactly new and unusual, but I like it. So, one thing I am pretty much obsessed with is the Plane of Shadow. Shadow dragons are my favorite type of dragon in DnD (Negative energy breath weapon? Come on! That's pretty badass.) and the Shadowdancer is pretty much my favorite prestige class (Hide in plain sight and summon your shadow self to do battle on your behalf? And fake conjuration and evocation spells? Come on!) I think what I would like to add is some variation of the Fetchling, which is a kind of Plane of Shadow Tiefling sort of race that Paizo has. I'll modify them a bit using options from the Advanced Race Guide so we don't have to deal with the issue of a planar race in a cosmology that doesn't have planes, but I'll include them. For background material, I am considering a race that a long long time ago started experimenting with sorcery in an attempt to modify the occasional unreliability of it and was over time altered by their experimentation. Maybe at one time they were a third noble race, but were exiled from their status because of said experimentation and now they are the most mercenary of the mercenary races? I dunno, just spitballing here.

Alright, one more race and we're up to a total of eight or so. I don't think I want to go with a perfectly Kroot-like race. Some of their features from 40k, like absorbing genetic material through eating dead enemies, would be nearly impossible to write up as just a feature of the race. I think I will stick with something avian themed though. I have a soft spot for the Tengu, little crow bird men guys. I don't think I'll copy and paste them precisely, but I think that'll offer a good starting point for a bird race. 

So, our roster stands as follows: the Dwenoren and Ashlar as the noble races. The psionic Shale as a sort of nearly extinct keepers of psionic secrets race. Then we have the mercenary races, the human-like, the Goebleen-like, lizardmen, birdmen, and the Fetchling-like race. So there's our roster of races to pick and choose from. I think they offer enough variety that everyone will have something they'll like.  Now I just need to write up their stats, but there's no real rush for that. 

That's all for now. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Alternate Rules: Taint

Ok, so in a previous post I talked about wanting to alter the way magic works in Hekinoe to cause taint. Looking through the Heroes of Horror 3.5 book (on a side note, the Heroes of Horror and Battle are both really good sourcebooks) there is a system for physical corruption and mental depravity based on evil. I've no interest in mental stuff, I want sorcery to corrupt the physical body of the caster and my campaign has no alignments and no concept of ultimate evil and ultimate good. Shit is what it is and it isn't intrinsically linked to the cosmos or anything.

So the way it works in Heroes of Horror is that you do bad things and accrue corruption points. When you get permanent corruption, nasty physical side effects occur like swollen gums, peeling skin, etc. As your corruption increases, these side effects get worse and they all have negative effects on gameplay. There are four ranks of corruption, none, mild, moderate, and severe. You start at none and as you achieve a new rank of corruption, you gain a bonus feat. Additionally, the amount of corruption it takes you to rank up is dependent upon your Constitution score. Depravity is based upon Wisdom and uses a similar system, but we don't care about depravity here. I want sorcery to manipulate flesh, not drive casters crazy.

Now, here is what I am proposing with spells causing corruption in Hekinoe, specifically The Known World. My thought is that when a spellcaster casts a spell, regardless of whether or not it misfires, he makes a Fortitude save with a DC of like 10 or 12 plus the spell's level. If he saves, he is fine, if he fails, he adds corruption points. My thought is that 0 through 3rd level spells add one point of corruption, 4th through 6th add 1d4, 7th and 8th add 1d6, and 9th level spells add 1d8. Instead of just gaining any feat you qualify for when your corruption rank increases, you can only gain a bonus Warped Flesh feat. There would of course be feats to improve your saves vs. corruption and to reduce the amount you take from failing a save. This system would also remove the mandatory Warped Flesh feats that I make spellcasters take at first level.

This system would only affect living creatures, not Fallen, Rankethlek, or Soulless. I also feel like the spell resistance of Vyanth and some Sereth would offer some sort of resistance to it as well. Like their corruption is at 0 until they have more corruption than their spell resistance, then they move into mild corruption. Spell resistance would kind of offer a buffer against corruption, but I think innate spell resistance provided by a race or class feature should be the only kind of spell resistance to do this. Obviously, power resistance would not affect this. 

I am almost positive I'll be adding this rule into the campaign book, but I have no intention of altering the way current characters work. Plus, magic works fine in Orcunraytrel. Also, while I am thinking of it, it would also be a much better explanation as to why the original Robust Five became so mutated and damaged when Nakmander cloned them than just saying magic did it. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Mercenaries Continued: Part 2

Alright, this meanders as well, but again, this is essentially a stream of consciousness campaign construction series of posts. Additionally, Jason has had some input as well so some of this is his idea or inspired by our discussions.

So where do we go now? I guess with the geography. I think what I'll do is have a somewhat mild climate to the area. Normal weather with normal seasons and that sort of thing with the fallen empire of the Shale being somewhat in southern chunk of the continent. I think I'll go with primarily mountain and forest terrain, maybe some swamps as well. No deserts or frozen wastelands though. I think what I'd also like to do is throw something like a frontier area beyond the fungus hell of the Shale. Kind of an untamed wilderness. So there is this push to get ancient psionic artifacts from the Shale ruins, but also a goal of reclaiming sections of it to expand into this frontier. The frontier will kind of be a wilder area full of monstrous humanoids and various beasts as well. Probably dragons too.

For the rest of the continent, I'm not really picturing nations and empires really. More along the lines of various city-states and the areas and outlying towns they control. So the conflicts using mercenaries are generally for control over resources or towns and territory, rather than straight up conquering the shit out of everyone else. But perhaps the point of a campaign might be someone bent on unity, for good or ill purposes. Who knows?

I'm envisioning these city-states and their populations as feeling very superior to the mercenaries. Lots of racism and arrogance. I'm picturing the cities as occupied by very elfy races. Long-lived races that are slow to breed and slower to change their ways of doing things and thinking. I'm picturing the mercenaries as primarily composed of races that are half breeds and short-lived with a big taboo on the noble races against becoming a mercenary and a strong racism among the mercenaries against noble races. I kind of see the noble races as the sort of cliche noble. They want power and to keep what they have and they see mercenaries as the brute force idiot weapon to achieve that. They also like dueling for honor, but since they are long-lived, slow to breed races, there is a law against nasty bloody death dealing duels in the streets. That sort of thing is considered wasteful and common. On the other side of things, the mercs consider the nobles and their honor scars and nearly bloodless duels to be arrogant poofs with no balls. Despite this mutual racism, the two factions need each other. Nobles have money, but lack manpower. The mercs have manpower, but no real worldly power except for the cash they make off of nobles and the squabbling between city-states. If mercs went and seized a city-state or waged war on a city-state, they'd immediately find themselves fighting a bunch of other bought and paid for mercenary companies. They'd find themselves cut off from the supplies and resources they need to keep their company in shape as well, as the city-states control most resource production. Can't feed troops without food or arm troops without iron to be forged. I'm also thinking sometimes bored noble youths finance companies as something exciting and illegal to do for shits and giggles, something they brag about to their friends that causes their father to scowl and their mother to faint.

For races, I don't really have any hard ideas at the moment. I'm thinking something like three or four noble races, an equal amount of mercenary races, the Shale, and a few half breeds. I'm thinking there would be a human analogue among the mercenary races. For some reason, I keep wanting to throw something like Warhammer 40k's kroot into the mix as well, and maybe some sort of fungus plant race from the ruins of the Shale empire as well. I think ultimately, I'll continue with the theme of just making new races or re-imagining old ones as something new. Orcunraytrel has really filled my fairly mild urge to put "regular" fantasy races into Hekinoe.

Another thing I am considering doing is giving the mercenary company itself a level. This level would be the average level of the entire company itself. It would constantly be in flux though, and I am not sure quite how to implement it. But I'm thinking that it determines how many mercenaries can be in the company and a few other things I don't quite have figured out yet. I'm thinking that there should be some sort of morale statistic to cover stuff like desertion, and a reputation statistic. I'm also thinking there should be mercenary company feats, but again, I'm not entirely sure what those should be beyond feats that offer a bonus to morale, how many mercs can be in your company, and reputation bonuses.

Jason and I were discussing technology and magic earlier today as well. I initially said the technology level was going to be standard faux-medieval, I am starting to have doubts about that though. I'm wondering if it might be worth it to add in early firearms and the Gunslinger class and use the Emerging Guns rule from Ultimate Combat, rather than Guns Everywhere, like in The Known World. I figure with the nobles having all this money and power and time, someone somewhere is bound to have financed a engineer and his plan to find a better way to kill people. Not sure on this yet. This place isn't going to be heavily industrialized like The Known World, but I do like guns in my fantasy. We'll see.

With magic, Jason suggested restricting it somewhat to noble races. That seems appropriate to me. I can imagine Wizards being a class restricted to the noble races, as it is learned and taught and whatnot. Intuitive spellcasters like Sorcerer, Bard, and Summoner can't really be controlled though. Magic gets learned because it is in their blood. With the Magus, I feel like that would be the Wizard of the mercenary races. Learn a few spells, but more importantly, learn some combat magic. I feel like it belongs more to mercenaries. With the Witch, I feel it would be out of place in civilized areas. They're the iconic back woods spellcaster that knows as much about manipulating nature as they do flinging spells, so I think they fit in more among the mercenary races. With the Alchemist, I could go either way. The fact that they make bombs leads me to believe that the mercenary companies would be Hell bent on getting a hold of their know how for themselves and would not allow the the nobles to keep them to themselves. But perhaps the nobles do have a monopoly on Alchemists and alchemy is highly restricted. That might make a good quest line, augmenting a company by recruiting a rogue Alchemist or something. Actually, that sounds good. Wizards and Alchemists are restricted to the nobles and their city-states with the Alchemists being responsible for guns and alchemy and mercenaries wanting as much alchemist's fire and explosives and guns as they can get their grubby, uncivilized hands on. I like the sound of that. I think the Wizards and Alchemists would have guilds as well, and sort of a contract that says they owe fealty to the city-states over everything else, and they find themselves hunted if they share their secrets. This makes Craft (Alchemy) something of a restricted skill as well and could get you in trouble if you're found to have extensive know how regarding it.

Alright, that's all for now. Jason and I have been bouncing ideas back and forth, so I definitely have a few more thoughts on some of this. So, expect a part three here shortly. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Alternate Rules: Caster Level & Misfire Chance

So magic is wild and unpredictable in Hekinoe, and it effects changes upon the user. 

Hmm, just had a thought. I'm always bothered by all the Fell Heritage and Warped Flesh feats. The reasoning for them is that magic does weird stuff to living creatures. It is why Fallen, Soulless, and Rankethlek don't have to take Warped Flesh feats if they are spellcasters, they're not living creatures. However, the weird thing is that all these nasty fleshwarping mutations do beneficial things. If I could do it over again, I'd keep the Warped Flesh and Fell Heritage feats but not make the Warped Flesh feats mandatory for spellcasters at first level, but I'd also try to implement some sort of taint system. Not sanity like in Jason's campaign, but taint where you start looking icky and being icky and maybe get an icky aura that makes normal folks vomit and sends animals scurrying away from you. All this icky would not be beneficial to you, the point is that there is a cost to sorcery and that cost is icky and unreliable. I dunno, never really thought about it before, and that isn't what this post is about anyway.

Back to the matter at hand, magic is wild and unpredictable in Hekinoe. There are various places where if functions in a more stable fashion or in a completely stable fashion like in Orcunraytrel, but there are also areas where it is completely bat shit crazy uncontrollable to the point where the rate of misfire percentages you find in The Known World Campaign Book are doubled or tripled. Casters in these areas, to my mind, would possess a greater amount of control, skill, and luck to wield magic without dying messily.

My thought is that a caster growing up and learning magic in a more wild area would have an easier time casting spells in a more stable area. For instance, Karl learned magic in The Known World. Granted, magic became easier to control between The Rebellion Arc campaign and the aborted Psychogenic Fugue Arc campaign, but only by shaving 1% off the misfire chances, so it isn't really a big noticeable change. So Karl grew up in The Known World where magic is tough to control and he diligently learns to do so. Then he goes to Orcunraytrel where magic is apparently stable and does not do things like give extra limbs and huge eyes and that sort of thing. By comparison, magic is easy in Orcunraytrel. Since he has all this experience controlling spells with great difficulty, wouldn't he have more energy and focus to devote to his sorcery now that it isn't trying to knock him around and slip out of his control?

What I'm am thinking is that a caster from a higher unreliability area who moves to an area with a lower unreliability area shaves additional percentage points off of his misfire chance. Don't have the exact system worked out yet, but nothing extravagant, and there will always be that no lower than 1% misfire chance rule regardless of where you are casting a spell (except in special cases like Orcunraytrel). A caster from an area with a misfire chance the moves to an area that has no misfire chance, like Orcunraytrel, adds a +1 to his caster level. Finally, a caster who moves from a low misfire or no misfire chance area to an area with a higher misfire chance, increases his misfire chance by a small amount. There would also be feats you can take to kind of work off that excess misfire chance so you could simulate your character becoming accustomed to the wilder magic of an area. Or maybe traits, traits might be better. 

Fucking magic. I hate magic. Psionics are better and cooler. I'd take a Soulknife over a Magus any day of the week.