This section of the wiki will detail the major changes to the core rules that will be present within the campaign. This wiki will also be updated with any new changes that occur during the course of the campaign.
We will be using a spell point system instead of the normal number of spells per day system. A spellcaster’s number of spell points equals the total spell levels of spells the caster can cast in one day. (For example, a 3rd level wizard with a 16 Intelligence would normally be able to cast 3 1st-level spells and 2 2nd-level spell per day. This would translate to 7 spell points.) A spellcaster may cast any spell he knows at a cost in spell points equal to the level of the spell. This applies to all spellcasters, both arcane and divine.
This grants all spellcasters two major benefits. First, all casters are now essentially spontaneous casters. They do not need to memorize spells ahead of time. Casters that would have previously had to memorize their spells still need to perform their other preparations (read from their spellbooks, pray, etc.). The second major benefit is that all casters will be able to cast more spells of a higher level than before. This will give spellcasters much greater usefulness and versatility in a variety of situations.
At first, this may seem to give wizards more of an advantage than their sorcerer counterparts, but the sorcerer will at many times have many more spell points than the wizard. For example, let’s say we have 2 spellcasters – a 4th level wizard and a 4th level sorcerer, and give both of them a 16 in their primary casting attribute. The wizard will have 10 spell points while the sorcerer will have 15. The sorcerer is still limited to the total number of spells known, while the wizard will have to study from his spellbooks (and thus risk his spellcasting ability being discovered). As you can see, the benefits are great to both spellcasting types.
Another aspect to spell points that all casters may utilize is the ability to overchannel. If a caster is in dire need of a spell, but does not have the spell points remaining to cast it, he may instead draw upon his own life force to power the spell. When a caster overchannels, he uses his remaining spell points (if any) and suffers 1d6 Vitality damage per spell point that he was not able to pay. If this vitality damage takes the caster into wounds, he instead takes 1 wound point for each d6 he still has left to roll. Note that overchanneling is difficult and very taxing upon the caster’s body. It requires a concentration check as if the caster was damaged in combat, but the caster does not add in the spell level to the DC (DC = 10 + overchannel damage). Failure to make the required DC means that the caster not only suffered the damage, but the spell was also not successfully cast.
All spellcasters (those characters able to cast 1st-level or higher spells (not including spell-like abilities) and some special creatures are able to sense magic, both as it is being cast as well as feel an area where magic has been used recently. When a spell is cast, whether divine or arcane, it creates a perceptible wave of magic that can be felt by those sensitive to such things. When a spell is cast, any creature with the Sense Power ability can make a Sense Power check. This is a simple caster level check (1d20 + caster level) vs a DC of 20 – 2x the spell’s level (0-level spells are a flat DC 20). Distance and background factors will either add or subtract from the DC, as will the amount of time since the spell was cast (in the case of sensing an area of magic). The DM will let you know what your DC is for any given check. In many cases, if your character is unaware of a spellcaster in the area that is casting a spell, the DM will simply give you a passive Sense Power score (usually equal to 10 + your caster level). Success indicates that you are aware of a spell being cast in the immediate area. Every 5 points that you beat the DC by gives you one additional piece of information (such as distance and direction).
Elves and Gnomes are especially sensitive to the ebb and flow of magic, and thus receive a + 2 racial bonus on Sense Power checks, and they may Sense Power even if they are not spellcasters, using their Charisma modifier in place of a caster level. Dwarves and Halflings, on the other hand, are less attuned to magic and receive a -2 racial penalty to all Sense Power checks. Dwarves with the stonesinger alternate racial trait do not suffer this penalty.
Magic items are much harder to detect than spells. Generally speaking, in order to sense the magic in an item without casting detect magic, a caster would have to hold and study an item for several moments. The DC to sense the presence of magic in an item is 20. One-use items, such as potions or elixirs, cannot be detected with a Sense Power check, nor can Covenant Items. Spells or abilities used through the item (such as using a wand or staff, or casting a spell-like ability from a Covenant Item) can be detected as normal.
With the coming of Izrador came also The Sundering. The details on what it is exactly and how it has affected the world is unknown to the general masses. What is known is that divine casters lost their abilities and summoners of all kinds were unable to conjure beasts or beings from other planes. With the loss of their healing clerics, the armies of the free peoples quickly fell before the forces of Izrador.
Within the last several years, rumors of clerics once again rising among the free peoples began to spread. It is not known if the force behind the Sundering is weakening or if another power is in play that is countering that of Izrador, but all divine casters will have full access to their spells.
What is affected, however, is any spell that summons creatures (summon monster, summon animal, etc…), opens a portal to another plane (such as dimension door, planar travel, etc…), or contacts beings on another plane (such as augury). These spells function, but do not always have the desired effect the caster would normal hope for.
The first penalty for any such spell is the fact that they seem to be much easier to detect, almost like ringing a large magical gong. The DC to detect such spells is 20 – 4x the spell’s level, and all range penalties are halved. The second penalty is that the power of the Sundering often has random effects. The DM will have the caster make a caster level check and will inform the player as to whether or not the spell was successful, and whether or not there were unintentional consequences.
Examples of a planar spell going wrong could be something minor like the wrong kind of animal being summoned or something major like summoning a large group of fell instead (see Fell below).
This is another big boon for spellcasters. Metamagic feats are no longer feats, but are abilities available to all spellcasters. The prerequisites of any metamagic feat must still be met before it can be used, unless the prerequisite is another metamagic feat. The spell level slot requirement for any metamagic enhancement is paid for in spell points rather than in a spell level slot. This means that a 1st level caster could cast a 1st level spell (modified by the silent spell metamagic feat) by paying 2 spell points. The caster does not need to be able to cast spells of the modified spell level, he just has to pay the appropriate amount of spell points.
In addition to the normal metamagic effects, a caster may also make his spells harder to detect. For every spell point spent, in addition to the normal costs, the DC to detect that spell increases by + 5.
One of the most horrendous side effects of the Sundering was the creation of the Fell. Fell are the risen corpses of the dead, their souls having been trapped upon this plane after death with nowhere to go except back into their bodies. While a majority of Fell are little more than mindless zombies with an all-consuming need to feast upon living flesh, some Fell retain a portion of their old memories and abilities, even retaining class skills and feats. However, upon being reanimated, they are under full influence of the Shadow, and many Fell are often found around dark clerics and the dreaded legates.
Due to the emergence of the Fell, almost every culture in the known world has modified their treatment of the dead. Cremation seems to be the only way to ensure that a body does not rise again. Even headless corpses have risen up, clumsily searching for their heads.
Fell can be found in all corners of the world and among almost all of the species found there, including animals and beasts. Extra-planar creatures, constructs, and the like are immune to rising as Fell. Native outsiders can become Fell.
One of the first laws established by the Shadow after the conquering of Golarion was to outlaw the teaching of reading and writing and to outlaw all books and scrolls. Due to this forced illiteracy, there will be a change in how the Linguistics skill works. Each language now has two parts; speaking and reading/writing. A separate rank in linguistics is required for each (1 rank to speak and 1 more to read/write the language). This even includes the character’s own native tongue. All automatic languages due to race are in spoken form only. The exceptions to this rule are secret languages (such as druidic), or languages that have only one part (such as drow sign language).
These days, things once thought precious – gold, silver, diamonds, rubies – have completely lost their value. In a starving land where trade is highly taxed, skilled crafts are dying out, and feeble crops wither on the vine, there is little value in anything that cannot be eaten to fill one’s belly, worn to fend off the cold, or used as a weapon to keep away one’s enemies. The entire economy of Golarion, once a world-spanning collection of trade routes, craft houses, agricultural collectives, mining guilds, and more, has been utterly shattered. It has been reduced to local substance farming and cottage crafts that cannot support their own regional population let alone an economy driven by the flow of coins. As a result, most races of Golarion now live in economies where barter is the chief means of trade in goods and services. The relative worth of these items differs from region to region.
Starting characters must spend all of their gold on equipment, as coins are not used anymore. A starting character is encouraged to buy survival gear and plenty of food. A character may, if he chooses, trade in an amount of gold for general trade goods. These are common and easy to find items that will generally always be in need. Each unit of general trade goods costs 10 gps and weighs 1 pound. This is a good way to provide a common barter system without too many complicated charts and tables to keep track of trade. General goods will never be food items, weapons, alchemical or special material items, or anything with special properties or functions.
Magic items in the world of Midnight are even more prized than in other campaigns by virtue of their rarity and power. This campaign attempts to convey the classic fantasy image of a weapon, suit of armor, or other piece of magical gear that becomes inseparable and indeed defines its wielder, rather than just serving as a commodity to be traded away at the first sign of a likely upgrade. Prime examples of this are King Arthur’s Excalibur and Elric’s Stormbringer. In Midnight these sort of items are called covenant items.
All covenant items started out as mundane objects whose possessors undertook or were part of some heroic or dramatic action. Upon completion of these deeds, and usually culminating in the death or heroic sacrifice of the object’s wielder, it is imbued with some mystic combination of that person’s life essence and magical energy. Covenant items are never created by PCs and cannot be forced into being.
Weapons and armor are the most common types of covenant items, as these tend to stay with the character throughout his career. Wondrous items are sometimes also covenant items, ring especially. Items with limited uses such as wands and potions are never covenant items. It has been rumored, though, that there are a few powerful staves that are covenant items.
Covenant items can remain unknown and undetected for centuries, one sword among many or a single cloak trampled in the dirt, lost in the darkness. Created as they are by the innate magic of their original possessors’ actions, beliefs, and emotions, they are not detected by the magic-hunting legates. For that matter, a covenant item does not even detect as magic until its abilities are unlocked. They seem mundane, common, and wholly non-magical until they reveal their powers to those they feel are worthy to wield them.
A character never needs to identify a covenant item, as it reveals its abilities to its chosen wielder. The more similar a character is to the item’s original possessor or the more closely aligned he is with its original possessor’s mission, the more likely the item will be to reveal itself to the character. Whether or not an item reveals itself to a character is up to the DM’s discretion.
A Covenant item’s abilities have a caster level equal to the wielder’s class level, and have DCs equal to 10 + the wielder’s Charisma modifier + the spell’s level. Attempts to dispel or suppress a covenant item’s abilities treat the item’s caster level as 20. Covenant items are treated in all other respects like an intelligent item.
Crossbows have fallen behind bows in rules mechanics that I don’t ever recall playing or even seeing a character that specialized in crossbow use. Because of this, I feel some changes are in order.
Crossbows may now have a strength adjustment bonus, just like regular bows. The wielder does not need to have the same Strength score or greater to use the crossbow. Crossbows must be of masterwork or magical quality for this enhancement, and the cost is 200gps per + 1 Strength bonus. There is also a limit on how much Strength bonus can be placed upon a crossbow. Hand crossbows have a limit of + 1, light + 3, and heavy + 6. Repeating crossbows have a maximum Strength modifier allowance 1 point less than their normal type.
The point has been brought up before that a character with a ranged weapon should be able to generate threat as a melee combatant would. It seems like a good idea, and I think we will try out some experimental house rules on this subject. These rules should not be considered permanent, but may be used until further notice.
A character that has the Point Blank Shot combat feat that also has a loaded ranged weapon in hand generates threat out to a range of 30’, but for the purposes of flanking only.
While we are on the subject of experimental rules, there are a couple of melee weapon rules I would also like to try out.
I have had the opportunity to train with a naginata in my kendo class and I found the weapon to be very graceful, quick, and potentially deadly even close up. The current game rules state that the naginata is a reach weapon, and therefor unusable at normal melee range. This seems very ridiculous. There is nobody in the world that wields a reach weapon by placing both hands at the base of weapon and holding it out in front of them as far as it will go. This is where the rules need to be altered.
Reach weapons will now be treated in a similar manner as a double weapon. That is to say, their use can be changed from round to round. The wielder of a double weapon can choose to use it as a one-handed weapon, a two-handed weapon, or a double weapon, and can change its use from round to round. A reach weapon will now be usable as either reach or close, and once the choice of use is made, it lasts until the character’s next turn. Many reach weapons will also be usable as double weapons, such as the spear and naginata; their blunt bases will use the quarterstaff stats. If a reach weapon is used as a double weapon, it cannot also be used as a reach weapon, the wielder must use it as a close (melee range) weapon.
I want to expand the list of weapons that a character may use with weapon finesse, but I do not have a fixed list. I am very tempted to allow the use of weapon finesse with any weapon the character is proficient with, and I think we will go with that ruling for now.
Equipment and Crafting Items
As the forces of Izrador closed in on the last remnants of the free peoples, the need for quality items was at its greatest. With many of those opposing the Shadow doing so from within occupied territories, the need remain unnoticed was even greater. The dwarves stepped forward in this time of need and produced some of the finest items the world had ever seen. These greater masterwork items would normally have been handed out only to kings and heroes, but now were being distributed to any who would wield them against the dark armies.
Greater Masterwork Items: Greater masterwork weapons provide a + 1 enhancement bonus to attack and damage rolls made with the weapon. These bonuses do not stack with any magical enhancements. The cost of a greater masterwork weapon adds 600 gps to the normal cost of the weapon.
Greater Masterwork armor, in addition to lowering the armor check penalty by -1, also increases the max Dex bonus by + 1. Greater masterwork armor and shields adds 300 gps to the cost of the base item.