Pathfinder Off the Beaten Path
House Rules and Clarifications
GM RULINGS AND INTERPRETATIONS Rulings and interpretations that are in line with published source material and the Pathfinder RPG Reference Document.
5-foot Step A 5-foot step may be taken between attacks as part of a full attack.
Aid another The aid another maneuver uses an attack roll against AC 10. Modifiers to target AC do not generally apply. Modifiers to the attack roll do apply. Concealment does not apply to the bonus from aid another, although aid another directed at an empty square in an effort to aid against an invisible or otherwise undetected opponent has no effect.
Ability damage and drain I am going to limit the effects of ability damage and drain to those specifically listed under ability damage for each ability.
Aquatic Terrain creatures with the aquatic subtype never suffer penalties to theirs attacks, damage or movement when fighting in water. Creatures with a swim speed but without the aquatic subtype adjust their attacks using the “has a swim speed” entry on Table: Combat Adjustments Underwater.
Channel Energy a cleric may choose whether or not to include herself in this effect. (CRB 40)
Constructs Commanding a golem, or other construct that requires verbal commands, is a move action.
Disease Hereditary and genetic diseases are not cured by remove disease, nor are their effects lessened by restoration spells. Creatures that die of such diseases are treated the same as if they died of old age, and cannot be raised or resurrected.
Alchemical Cartridges Non-magical enhancements and other modifications to bullets, such as the application of weapon blanch or a poison compound to a pitted bullet, cannot be done to completed alchemical cartridges.
Hardness and Hit Points Firearms are treated as appropriately sized hafted weapons (one-handed have hardness 5, hp 5; two-handed have hardness 5, hp 10)
Pitted Bullets Replace references to Craft (poison) in the description of pitted bullets to Craft (alchemy) (There is no Craft (poison) skill).
Weapon Blanch alchemical weapon blanch may be applied to firearm ammunition.
Incorporeal Creatures with the incorporeal subtype are only affected by critical hits and precision damage from weapons with the ghost touch special weapon quality. Creatures with the incorporeal special quality but not the incorporeal subtype are affected normally by critical hits and precision damage, although critical or precision damage with an attack that does half damage is also halved.
Jumping down onto an opponent There are no special rules for jumping down onto an opponent. Apply the rules for jumping, or falling, followed by an attack, charge (must jump or fall at least 10 feet) or maneuver. A jumping/falling character is subject to Attacks of Opportunity as if moving horizontally, and suffers the penalties for being prone on all attacks if landing prone.
The minimum spell and caster levels for magic items always use core classes. Player characters with other classes may craft items using the spell and caster levels for those classes.
Command Word Activation In order to activate a magic item with a command word, the item must either be properly worn, if it has a slot, or held in the hand, if slotless. For example, to use a pearl of power to recall a spell, a spellcaster must retrieve the pearl as a move action that provokes an attack or opportunity before using a standard action to invoke the command word to activate the pearl.
Create Reliquary Arms and Shield uses consecrate or desecrate, as noted in the description, not hallow or unhallow as listed on Table 3-1 in Ultimate Magic and on the Feat Tree on the SRD.
Sash of the War Champion A character must have at least one level in Fighter to benefit from a Sash of the War Champion.
Monster Skills As GM I reserve the right to rule on whether or not a creature can Jump, Climb, or Swim. My rulings will be based on common sense, real-world equivalents, my youthful fascination with nature shows, and my current addiction to Wikipedia articles and YouTube videos about the natural world.
Natural Invisibility Natural invisibility is not subject to invisibility purge (Bestiary 2 299). The reference to invisibility purge in the stat block for the invisible stalker in the Bestiary is a reiteration, not an exception.
Negative Levels Negative levels reduce a creature’s level by one for purposes of calculating level-dependent variables of spells, spell-like, supernatural and extraordinary abilities. Creatures affected by level drain do not lose spells, spell slots or other abilities gained at a specific level. Since casters are not voluntarily reducing the caster level of spells, they may cast spells with effects below the minimum level to cast the spell.
Power Attack I cannot find a consensus or official ruling on the Paizo boards concerning power attack and rake, rend or constrict. In any case where an attack roll modified by power attack precedes a damage roll modified by strength, the power attack bonus is added to the roll. This includes rake, rend, constrict, and the bite damage from swallow whole (but not the damage each round from being swallowed).
Transmutation (polymorph) Non-enhancement bonus magic armor effects remain in effect when polymorphed into a form with melded equipment.
Arcane mark may not be used with a Magus’ Spellstrike ability. A visible arcane mark applied to an invisible creature reveals the location of the creature but confers no other benefits. The application of a new invisibility effect renders the arcane mark invisible.
Detect chaos/good/law The aligned undead category under detect evil only applies to evil undead. The spell descriptions for detect chaos, detect good, and detect law make no mention of undead, but do specifically list other categories. Good and non-evil chaotic or lawful undead use the “aligned creature” category for aura strength.
Harrowing and greater harrowing Bonuses may not be used for frivolous or unnecessary rolls unrelated to the set of events or course of action the harrowing informs. Nor may they be used in response to the actions of allies in an effort to avoid a penalty by quickly expending all bonuses. The Harrow is not to be taken so lightly.
Silence Creatures within or entering the area of a silence spell do not receive a saving throw to avoid its effects. Creatures with spell resistance who resist the effects while within the area cannot be heard nor affect others with sonic attacks, but may cast spells with verbal components and use sonic effects on themselves.
Summon minor ally and summon minor monster may not be used to summon creatures that may be summoned with summon monster I or summon nature’s ally I, specifically poisonous frogs and vipers. Only creatures that appear in a Bestiary or the Familiar Folio may be summoned, not those that only appear in an adventure, such as the slimy hagfish.
Summoned creatures Although not explicitly stated under the description of conjuration (summoning) spells, I am going to rule that spells cast by a summoned creature expire when the summoned creature goes away for any reason, not just when the spell that summoned the creature ends. This also applies to spell-like abilities, but not extraordinary abilities – a summoned giant spider’s web and the effects of its poison remain after it goes away.
Creatures summoned with a spell with a 1 round casting time appear just before the beginning of the caster’s turn on her next round (Core Rulebook 213). They therefore enter the initiative order before the caster.
Summoning spells may not be used to summon 3rd-party elementals (cold iron, gravity, negative energy, positive energy, psionic).
Summoned animals are not trained. A DC 25 Handle Animal check can be used to push a summoned animal to perform a trick. Summoned animals attack the nearest enemy of the summoner in the manner in which a natural animal would do so.
Celestial and fiendish smite evil/good. The smite evil and smite good abilities of celestial and fiendish creatures are poorly described and inconsistent among sources. In all cases smite evil/good is usable by a celestial or fiendish creature once per day on a single target. This is a supernatural ability that only has the effect described in the celestial or fiendish template – it does not do additional damage to outsiders, dragons or undead, does not bypass DR and does not provide a bonus to AC. Smite evil/good may be used on a non-evil/non-good target, but has no effect if done so. Note that summoned animals and vermin will generally use smite evil/good at the first opportunity and at the nearest target. I will be using the following description for the ability:
Smite evil/good (Su) 1/day as a swift action target a foe, and if evil/good add CHA bonus (+ X) to attack rolls and damage bonus equal to HD (+X); smite persists until the target is dead or the celestial/fiendish creature rests.
Summon monster I/summon nature’s ally I Add great horned owl to the list for summon monster I and summon nature’s ally I (I have great horned owl miniatures).
Summon monster IV Add young salamander to the list for summon monster IV (I have a Small salamander miniature, but not a Medium one).
Total defense You cannot make attacks of opportunity while using total defense. Based on the entry for threatened squares under attacks of opportunity, creatures that use the total defense action do not threaten. (Core Rulebook 186 & 180)
Templates and class skills I cannot find an official ruling on the Paizo message boards, so I am going to rule that templates applied to creatures with only class levels that change the creature type make type-based class skills class skills for that creature. For example, a human turned into a vampire treats class skills from the Undead type as class skills.
Weapons Based on the description of the Quick Draw feat, alchemical items, potions, scrolls, and wands do not count as weapons for purposes of drawing a weapon as part of movement.
Wild Shape Until and unless a character encounters other creatures, he is assumed to only be familiar with creatures found in a Pathfinder Bestiary.
Wordstrike (Su) No range or damage type is listed for wordstrike. Based on all other ranged uses of bardsong except fascinate, and the phrase “sonically charged words,” I’m going to rule that wordstrike has a range of 30 ft. and does sonic damage. Wordstrike deals 1d2+1 per two bard levels to living targets.
HOUSE RULES Changes and additions to published source material and the Pathfinder RPG Reference Document based on common sense, play balance, fun, and issues raised during play that are not addressed by the rules.
Aid another and skill rolls After some very disappointing results with using aid another on research rolls (the character using aid another rolls a 20 and the primary character a 7), when using aid another to help with a skill roll every 5 by which the roll is made adds an additional +1 to the bonus (+3 at 15, +4 at 20, +5 at 25, etc.), in addition, on a natural 20, the aider can either substitute her unassisted result for the result of the character she is aiding, or add double the bonus that would be generated by the roll.
Alchemists and Item Creation Feats Treat the alchemist base class as a spellcaster for purposes of meeting the prerequisites for item creation feats.
Antagonize the listed game effects for a successful Antagonize action only apply to targets that already have a hostile attitude toward the user of Antagonize. Successful use of Antagonize on other targets decreases their attitude toward the Antagonizer by one step. Antagonize may only be used on a target once in a 24 hour period, regardless of the skill used or the success or failure of the attempt.
Bleed and channel energy In the description for bleed it states that it is stopped by “the application of any spell that cures hit point damage.” I am also going to allow bleed to be stopped by any spell-like or supernatural ability, such as channel energy, that cures hit point damage.
Call Out from People of the River may only be used in a duel.
Alchemical Cartridges Characters with the gunsmithing feat may “disassemble” alchemical cartridges into their component bullets and black powder, which are then treated as bullets and black powder for all purposes.
Blunderbuss When firing shot, a blunderbuss has a scatter area of a 30 ft. line, with range penalties applied to to hit rolls and making non-touch attacks beyond the first range increment (10 ft.).
Horses Heavy horses treat all attacks as secondary. Combat trained heavy horses treat hoof attacks as primary and bite attacks as secondary.
Improved Parry from People of the River may only be used in a duel or by a character with the parry class feature.
Instruments Bards may treat an instrument as a weapon for purposes of drawing a weapon as part of a move action and for feats and spells that target weapons. For feats with a Base Attack Bonus prerequisite bards may substitute ranks in the Perform skill that covers an instrument.
Mighty Blow rule Creatures wielding a non-light weapon two-handed that do not have a +2 or greater Strength bonus may make a single attack as a full round action to add +1 to their damage.
Partial falls Add 1d3 to falls that include a 5-foot increment, such as a 15 or 25 foot fall. The d3 is treated as a separate die and is always the final damage die of a fall.
Player facing rolls With the exception of highly dramatic struggles, such as CL contests, players will have a fixed DC for opposed skill checks against NPC’s. The base DC is 10 + the NPC’s skill modifier. When multiple similar NPC’s are involved, such as several guards in close proximity, the DC increases by the same amount encounter CR increases by for multiple creatures to a maximum of +10 (2 creatures +2, 3 creatures +3, 4 creatures +4, 6 creatures +5, 8 creatures +6, 12 creatures +7, 16 creatures +8, 20 or more creatures +10). For groups of different NPC’s, the higher DC is used. The number of creatures in a group with a higher starting DC are added to a larger group with a higher total DC.
Highest-Level Locals I am using Table 4-43 from the 3.5 DMG. Note that this is separate from and does not change the spellcasting level available in a settlement. NPC locals may be able to cast spells at a higher level than a settlement’s spellcasting level, but will always require interaction to do so.
Magic Items and Spells The 75% availability for magic items up to a settlement’s base gp value and spells up to the spellcasting level is for common items and spells, based on the tables in Ultimate Equipment. The tables for scrolls will be used to determine if a particular spell is common or uncommon. Uncommon items and spells can be found 25% of the time. Unique items and spells, or those not appearing in Ultimate Equipment and not associated with a particular settlement or region have 10%, 5% or 0% availability, determined by the GM. For example, even though Lepidstadt has a 6,000 gp base value, there would only be a 5% chance of finding a +1 silversheen scimitar for sale without roleplaying trying to track one down, since Lepidstadt has a strong dueling tradition that does not include scimitars, is based on a gothic eastern European city, and is far from the region associated with silversheen. There would be a 75% chance of finding the same item in the capital of Qadira, where silversheen is first described and scimitars are everywhere.
Total Community Value Settlements have a weekly maximum total purchase limit based on the formula from the 3.5 DMG (half base magic item value multiplied by one-tenth settlement population).
Sub-Settlements Some areas within settlements may have their own values and available magic items based not on treasure type and CR, but on settlement size. Sub-settlements will usually be used to represent organizations with limited access, such as temples of a particular deity, thieves’ guilds, or secret societies.
Spellbooks Every wizard’s spellbook includes the 20 standard Cantrips (those appearing in the Core Rule Book). As a result, those pages of a spellbook are generally worth only the cost of scribing less 10% for a flooded market (90 gp, sale value 45 gp). Magus’ spellbooks include 14 standard Cantrips, worth 63 gp, sale value 31.5 gp).
Swashbuckler A swashbuckler may regain panache with any weapon the character can apply Weapon Finesse to, not just a Light or One-Handed Piercing Melee Weapon.
Sweeping Dodge from People of the River may only be used in a duel.
Tiny Dogpile rule As a medium creature I can be attacked by 100 Diminutive enemies, 8 Small or Medium enemies, but only 4 Tiny enemies. While the rules for swarms address this to some extent, this just makes no sense to me. If all of a Small or larger creature’s square(s) is already occupied by Tiny enemies, any adjacent Tiny enemies not in a square occupied by an enemy may attack the adjacent enemy without provoking an attack of opportunity. Note that this does not allow all Tiny enemies in an adjacent square to attack, only those with bases touching the target’s square. This would allow a maximum of 16 non-swarm Tiny creatures to attack a single Small or Medium opponent, rather than a paltry 4.
Treat Deadly Wounds and Drowning Recently drowned (no more than Constitution score in minutes) characters may be revived by a successful use of the Heal skill to treat deadly wounds, recovering hit points from a starting point of negative Constitution.
Passengers All vehicles may carry twice the number of listed passengers, but each additional passenger requires two passengers to take the penalties for being squeezed (-4 to attack rolls, -4 AC). Note that seated squeezed passengers apply the modifiers for both squeezing and sitting (-4 to attack rolls, -2 AC vs. ranged attacks, -6 AC vs. melee attacks).
Vertical Measurement In 3-D environments vertical movement is restricted to 5 ft. increments, much like horizontal movement.
Wizard bound items Adam suggested Ryuni have a tattoo as a bound item, which really fits with his background and is something I enjoy as a player, unfortunately, tattoo is not on the list of allowable bound items (amulet, ring, staff, wand or weapon). As a GM I am inclined to allow additional bound items, such as a tattoo, musical instrument, crafting tool, book, harrow deck, or some other item significant to the wizard and appropriate to his background.
NEW SPELL-LIKE, SUPERNATURAL AND EXTRAORDINARY ABILITIES
Embodiment of Undeath (Su) The Risen Renchurch Penitent’s undead state makes his body a holy symbol of Urgathoa.
Legless (Ex) The Renchurch Penitent was cut in half by the devastating blow that slew him. As a result his size is reduced to Small and he is always treated as being prone (-4 melee attacks, cannot use ranged weapons (except crossbows), +4 AC vs. ranged attacks, -4 AC vs. melee attacks), and can only move by crawling. This adjusts the Risen Penitent’s CR by -1.
Primary Attack (Ex) This creature treats a usual primary natural attack, such as a bite, as a secondary attack and a usual secondary attack, such as hooves, as a primary attack. Examples include heavy warhorses and larval slime crawlers.
NEW, EXPANDED OR ALTERED ITEMS
Dragon Hide In addition to the listed armors, a dragon’s hide can be used to craft a masterwork hide shirt for a creature the same size as the dragon. A Medium dragon’s hide can be used to craft a masterwork heavy shield, and a Small dragon’s hide a masterwork light shield if no other armor is crafted from that dragon’s hide.
Gaff An ordinary gaff is treated as a boarding gaff that does not have the double quality, weighs 6 lbs., and costs 4 gp.
Magic Artisan’s Tools and Musical Instruments Masterwork artisan’s tools and musical instruments may be crafted to add a competence bonus to the appropriate Craft or Perform skill using the Craft Wondrous item feat. Artisan’s tools and musical instruments only grant the bonus when being used or played. Instruments and tools do not gain additional hardness or hp when so enchanted. Magical artisan’s tools and musical instruments have a value of 100 gp for +1, 400 gp for +2, 900 gp for +3, 1,600 gp for +4, and 2,500 gp for +5. Instruments and tools may have additional magical effects but may not be enchanted above a +5 competence bonus. Note that the bonus for masterwork artisan’s tools or a masterwork musical instrument is a circumstance bonus and the bonus for a magic instrument or tool is a competence bonus, so both bonuses apply to skill checks made with a magic instrument or tools. The cost for masterwork artisan’s tools (55 gp) or a masterwork instrument (100 gp) is added to the cost of enchantment. Construction Craft Wondrous Item, creator must have three times the instrument’s or tool’s bonus in ranks of the Perform skill used to play the instrument, or the Craft skill used to construct the instrument, or the Craft skill the tools provide a bonus to; Cost 50 gp (+1), 200 gp (+2), 450 gp (+3), 800 gp (+4), 1,250 gp (+5)
Note that the cost for magic artisan’s tools and musical instruments are subject to review, and may be doubled, as is the case with magic weapons vs. magic armor, at a future date.
Masterwork Black Powder Masterwork black powder has an additional cost of 300 gp for 50 doses (an additional 6 gp per dose, or a total coast of 16 gp per dose). The cost for masterwork black powder may not be added to the materials cost for individual alchemical cartridges or powder charges, it must be crafted separately using standard crafting time and materials cost, using Craft (alchemy), but may then be used as an additional component when crafting alchemical cartridges. Characters may not use the Crafting Ammunition feature of the Gunsmithing feat to craft masterwork powder. Masterwork black powder reduces the misfire chance of a firearm by 1, to a minimum of 1. Construction Craft (alchemy), 75 gp
Non-magic “magic items” Sometimes I may use the rules for creating magic items to create non-magical items that can grant similar bonuses, such as the Treatise on Beneficial Transmutation found among Fylru’s effects. Such items have the materials cost of an item created using the Craft skill but take the time and skill check(s) of a magic item of the same cost.
Poison Grooves A slashing or piercing weapon may have cunning grooves added that cause poison to be retained longer on the blade. A weapon with poison grooves eliminates the saving throw DC bonus for the second strike when using the Lasting Poison rogue talent. +50 gp; Construction Craft (weapons), 12.5 gp
Underwater Crossbows Underwater crossbows have a range increment of 20 ft. both on land and underwater. Underwater crossbows do not take a -2 penalty on attack rolls for every 5 feet of water their bolts pass through.
CORRECTIONS I have updated all Tiny or smaller creatures to consistently use Dex for Climb and Swim, and deleted Racial Modifiers to that effect.
Air Elemental, Huge has too many skill points (43). It should have 40 (6 outsider -2 Int x 10). I reduced ranks in Acrobatics, Escape Artist and Knowledge (planes) from 6 to 5, changing Acrobatics and Escape Artist to +17 and Knowledge (planes) to +6.
Crawling Hand should have a climb of +8
Demon, Andrazku (Pathfinder Adventure Path 69: Mother, Maiden, Crone 84-85) does not appear to have applied an outsiders four additional class skills. I added Intimidate, Survival, and Swim as class skills. This raises Intimidate to +11, Survival to +9 and Swim to +14. Also, Climb should be +13 (5 Str +8 climb speed).
Devil, Accuser (Zebub) (Bestiary 2 84) has too many skill points (25). It should have 20 (6 outsider -1 Int x 4 HD). I reduced Fly from +21 to +14.
Dire Ape does not have enough skills ranks (3). It should have 4. I put another rank into Acrobatics for a +7.
Frog, Poison (Bestiary 135) bite damage should be 1d3-4
Hedgehog should have Climb +3 and Swim +3
Kakapo should have Climb +9
Leaf Leshy should have a fly maneuverability of poor and does not appear to have spent its 1 skill rank.
Magma Mephit AC should be 17, touch 14, and CMD should be 16. Dodge is not added in.
Moon Beast has 114 skill ranks but should have 112. I reduced Climb to +12. DC for charm monster should be 21 (10+4+7).
Otter should have Swim +11
Porcupine should have Climb +5
Pufferfish should have Swim +10
Raccoon should have Climb +10
Snapping Turtle should have Swim +7
Tripurasura has regeneration 2 (good), not fast healing
Young Void Dragon should have Fly +17. It also has too many skill points. I reduced Intimidate, Knowledge (planes), and Spellcraft to +11; and Survival to +5.
Approved 3rd party resources
Frog God Games: selected creatures from The Tome of Horrors Complete
Legendary Games: Feasting at Lanterngeist, The Fiddler’s Lament, The Murmuring Fountain, Mythic Monsters: Mythos, Tomes of Ancient Knowledge
Skortched Urf’ Studios: Cityscapes – New Settlement Options