Gear is a funny thing in a game like Pathfinder. I’ve spoken my peace about gear-focused progression before, so I’ll try not to repeat myself, but I do enjoy the general vibes of equipment being important. Be it in the numbers or the plot, there’s something cool about a guy with a magical weapon taking center stage. But what if we went even further beyond the Big Six? What if we cut out the middleman? And by middleman, I mean the guy who’s holding the sword.
Hello and welcome to Eldritch Excursion, the blog where I slave over a hot forge to bring you the freshest new mechanics that have been crafted with an artisan flavor underlay. This time, I’m going to kick off another multi-part set of articles because my insatiable urge to bring abominations in this world has inspired me to stuff sentient souls into unfeeling steel like some kind of abyssal panini press.
Time is money and money is words and words are at a premium so let’s get right to the mechanics. Allow me to present the Soulwrought ancestry.
Hit Points 8
Size Sized for Medium and Small creatures
Speed 10 feet
Ability Boosts Constitution, Free
Languages Common. Additional languages equal to your Intelligence modifier (if positive). Choose from Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Gnomish, Infernal, and any other languages to which you have access (such as the languages prevalent to your region).
Traits Construct, Soulwrought
Constructed The materials of your body resist ailments that assail the flesh. You gain a +1 circumstance bonus to saving throws against death effects, disease and poison as well as to saving throws against effects that would give you the drained, paralyzed or sickened conditions. Your unique construction means that you’re a living creature, and you can be healed by positive energy and harmed by negative energy as normal.
Inflexible While not entirely inanimate, the construction of your body limits mobility. You gain resistance against physical damage equal to one third your level, rounded up. You can’t use other weapons, shields, or held items of any sort, and you cannot take actions with the manipulate trait. None of these restrictions apply when using an ability granted by your ancestry, heritage, or an ancestry feat.
Moment of Influence Those who carry you with them tend to fall under your sway. You gain the Moment of Influence ability.
Moment of Influence
[One to Three Actions]
[Arcane] [Enchantment] [Incapacitate] [Soulwrought]
Prerequisites you are being worn, wielded, or otherwise held at the ready by an intelligent creature
You temporarily take the reigns of the creature that holds you. You may take any action that is purely verbal, speaking through the creature in its own voice. You may also will the creature’s body to move, spending two actions to make it take one Stride action or three actions to make it take two Stride actions.
If the creature is unwilling to cooperate, it is allowed a Will save against your Class DC or Spell DC (whichever is higher) to resist your influence for one full turn, or for one full hour on a critical success.
Life on the Item Rack
Instead of a regular body, your consciousness inhabits a piece of gear. Your general size, weight, and proportions are determined by what kind of equipment, which is typically specified by your heritage. If your heritage does not determine the specifics, then assume you weigh 1 bulk, require one hand to use, and are made out of commonly available materials. While many effects are determined by what type of equipment you are, you do not gain the equipment’s Hit Points or hardness.
Each soulwrought construct is made for a particular kind of task. Some are forged as weapons, while others are created to protect, and some are built to be advanced tools. A soulwrought’s heritage represents their general purpose. Versatile heritages represent soulwrought constructs with far more esoteric designs that often eschew traditional functionality.
Your body is made of layered chain, infused leather, or some other protective material. Choose a suit of level 0 armor that you are proficient in to determine the protection you provide. Choose whether you are designed to fit Small or Medium creatures. You become a construct of that size and your Speed increases to 20.
When using Moment of Influence, you may make unarmed Strikes using your fists or any other natural attack. You don’t take the usual -2 circumstance penalty when making lethal attacks with nonlethal unarmed attacks.
You were designed to channel magical energies, similar to a staff or wand. Choose one cantrip from the arcane spell list. You can cast this spell as an arcane innate spell at will. A cantrip is heightened to a spell level equal to half your level rounded up.
When using Moment of Influence, you may Cast a Spell through your wielder’s body. Any creature that successfully identifies the spell also detects you as the true caster.
Your body is a wall that safeguards others from danger. Choose a level 0 shield to determine the protection you provide. Your resistance to physical damage increases to one half your level, rounded up.
When using Moment of Influence, you may attempt a Shove maneuver or perform the Raise Shield action. For all intents and purposes related to shields, you may treat your wielder as yourself.
You were built to assist with a specific suite of tasks. Choose one skill. Your body functions as a multi-purpose tool that covers any typical function of that skill. You also become trained in that skill and gain the Assurance feat for that same skill.
When using Moment of Influence, you may make a check with your chosen skill, use a skill feat tied to that skill, or Aid your wielder with that skill.
You are an implement of war, carried into battle by the brave and the desperate alike. Choose one commonly available weapon to determine your statistics when wielded. You become trained in that weapon if you weren’t already.
When using Moment of Influence, you may Strike with yourself as a weapon or use any feat or ability that involves making an attack roll with yourself as a weapon. If another ability would allow you to take an attack of opportunity, you may use Moment of Influence as a reaction to take the action instead.
Mister Sword’s Wild Ride
It’s no surprise that handling a sentient piece of magically-imbued equipment can seem like pretty bad idea for both parties involved if it doesn’t like you. A conflict of interests is to be treated like a grapple. In the case of soulwrought armor, treat the wielder as being grabbed by the armor. In most other cases, treat the soulwrought character as being grabbed by the wielder.
And there we have the start of something wonderful. Not quite enough to play a first level character (unless you get weird with it) but hopefully enough to catch your interest! Come back next time and I’ll write you up some ancestry feats so you can finally live out your fantasy as the world’s greatest kitchen set.