Keyword Design – “Encapsulate”

In Keyword Design, Ryan Costello uses a single word as inspiration for a mundane item, a magic item, a feat, a spell, and a class option. Today’s word is “encapsulate” as suggested by Peter.

Greetings! I’m not Ryan Costello, but I’ll do my best to fill the Ryan Costello-shaped hole in your biweekly blog content. For this Keyword Design, Peter wants to cover it all with design based on the word encapsulate. To the best of my knowledge, this is the most difficult word yet on Keyword Design and it’s only fitting for Ryan to place the task of tackling this word upon my shoulders. I will gladly take it on as I’m happy to have but a small respite from the dreaded blog mines. Let’s see if I can cover it all!

Mundane Item Sealed Sack An airtight sack that protects against water damage.
Magic Item Revitalizing Screen Magical shield that blocks damage and can renew.
Feat Succinct Identification Recall all information on a creature with a knowledge check once per day.
Spell Anti-Undead Shell 10-ft.-radius field hedges out undead creatures.
Class Option Capture Spell Arcanist exploit that allows the trapping of a spell for later use.

New Mundane Item
Price 100 gp; Weight 2 lbs
This leather sack can hold up to 1 cubic foot of material and sports a large, alchemically treated flap that covers the sack’s opening. Once the alchemical treatment is activated as a standard action, the flap closes on the sack creating an air tight seal. This protects the contents of the sack from water or exposure to a vacuum. A sealed sack protects contents from water up to a depth of 1,000 feet. Once the airtight seal is broken as a move action, the sack serves as a normal bag. A sealed sack’s alchemical treatment can be restored with 10 gp of alchemical materials.

Using encapsulate as a keyword means there will be a lot of things contained within other things. This is the first of such things. I considered creating some kind of capsule, but I felt that it would be a bit on the nose for the article. Instead, I made a waterproof bag! This bag is great for underwater adventures or adventures of space. Such a bag feels somewhat topical, but I can’t explain why. Oh! It’s also a perfect place for to store gunpowder, but the one-time use nature of the bag made it not as useful as one would like, which is why I added the bit about “recharging” the bag. It’s not something I see in too many pieces of mundane equipment and I’d love to see more equipment with “ammo” properties.

New Magic Item
Aura moderate abjuration; CL 10th
Slot none; Price 4,500 gp; Weight 2 lbs
This small, magnetic device is covered in intricate runes detailing a prayer of healing and safety. On command, a creature holding a revitalizing screen can attach it to itself or another creature within reach. The device creates a thin aura of defensive energy that clings to the creature and absorbs blows. The creature gains DR 10/adamantine. Once the screen has prevented a total of 20 points of damage, the screen momentarily collapses and no longer offers any kind of defense. After 1 round, the screen renews and can prevent an additional 20 points of damage. This process repeats until the screen prevents a total of 200 points of damage, after which it falls off the creature and becomes a large, simple magnet.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, stoneskin; Cost 2,250 gp

There is no getting around this one. This is the energy shield from Halo. It makes an energy field that takes damage for you and that’s exactly the energy shield from Halo. I even gave it the regenerating property! I tried pricing at just a slightly bit above a fully powered stoneskin spell. It has more damage it can reduce than the normal spell, but the regenerating feature I think keeps it in check.

New Feat
You are able to summarize information on particular creatures with great speed.
Benefit: Choose a creature type from the ranger’s favored enemy list such as aberration or humanoid (giant). When you attempt a knowledge check to identify creatures of the chosen type, you can treat your result as if it were 20 higher than the original result. You may use this ability a number of times per day equal to your Intelligence modifier (minimum 1).
Special: You can gain this feat multiple times. Its effects do not stack. Each time you take the feat, it applies to a new creature type.

Encapsulate also means “expressing something succinctly” and I wanted to create some option to express that. This feat allows that monster hunter in the group to immediately know at least 4 different bits of information for a particular creature, which I think covers that aspect pretty well. As a feat, it might not be as sexy as other feats, but I can see players considering the feat as something to take. At the very least, I feel it would be a great bonus feat to give away as a GM.

New Spell
School abjuration; Level cleric/oracle 3, psychic 3, shaman 3, spiritualist 2, warpriest 3, witch 3
Casting Time 1 round
Components V, S, DF
Range 10 ft.
Area 10-ft.-radius emanation centered on you
Duration 1 minute/level (D)
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance yes
You bring into being a mobile, hemispherical energy field that undead creatures cannot enter.
This spell can be used only defensively, not aggressively. Forcing an abjuration barrier against creatures that the spell keeps at bay collapses the barrier.

This one is simple: it encapsulates life. All life is contained within the bubble and undead life is kept out. There’s not much more to this one, but it’s a nice little spell that I feel could stand to exist.

New Class Option
Arcanist Exploit
A number of arcanists learn to call upon the opposite energies of particular magics to work with what is known as “negative magic.” Among other things, this understanding allows arcanists to negate or even reverse magic used against them in unforeseen ways. The following exploit is one such use of negative magic.
Capture Spell (Su): When the arcanist is the only target of a spell or spell-like ability cast by another creature that she has identified, she can attempt a Spellcraft check as an immediate action to understand the opposing structure of the spell (DC = 20 + spell level). On a successful check, the arcanist can expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir per spell level of the understood spell. The spell is captured and negated as if it were countered, but the spell’s energies remain available to the arcanist. The captured spell is treated as if it were prepared and can be cast again at a later time. The captured spell energies are lost once the spell is cast or the next time the arcanist prepares her spells. An arcanist can only have one spell captured in this way at a time. If she captures another spell, the currently captured spell is lost.

This one is a little bit more of a stretch than the other options. The main portion of the word encanpsulate is capsule. Encapsulate is literally to place into a capsule. Capsule’s root is from the Latin capse, which means to hold. This all seems logical to me, but I also wanted to tap into the “hold” bit of the origins. My first idea was essentially to cast a spell into an almost literal capsule, but I quickly realized that those are called potions and magic items. Instead, I tweaked it a bit and decided to put someone else’s spells into my own capsules by capturing said spells. The arcanist’s flavor of understanding magic felt a like a perfect fit and thus, this kind of complicated exploit.

Thanks again to Peter for the keyword suggestion. If you have thoughts on the balance and use of these abilities, or you would like to offer a single word that you think can inspire a mundane item, a magic item, a feat, a spell, and a class option, let us know in the comments below.

Luis Loza

Luis Loza is a developer at Paizo, working on the Pathfinder Lost Omens line and formerly on Campaign Setting and Player Companion lines. He's done freelance for Paizo Inc, Legendary Games, Rogue Genius Games, and more third-party publishers. His hobbies include gaming both tabletop and video, making jokes, obsessing over time travel, taking naps with Nova his cat, and walks with his wife. He is eternally plagued with a hunger for tacos. Consider checking his material on his Patreon at

1 Comment

  1. Quo

    I’ve never played Halo, but the revitalizing screen looks incredibly awesome. I also like Anti-Undead Shell.