Keyword Design – “Delivery”

In Keyword Design, I use a single word as inspiration for a mundane item, a magic item, a feat, a spell, and a class option. Today’s word is “delivery” as suggested by Quo.

A fresh new keyword design has arrived at your doorstep! Enjoy.

Message for you, sir.

New Mundane Items
Cost: 2 gp (8) Weight: 1 lb
Treated with bright red, yellow, blue, or green dyes and carved to whistle when flown, with each colour whistling a different note, mark arrows are used to delivery instructions at a distance.

In high school, my friend Marc typically GMed our group. He often referenced “mark arrows,” which I assumed were some kind of upgraded arrows for marksmen. It ends up Marc wasn’t a fan of the variety of arrows in 2nd edition and unilaterally declared all arrows were “Marc arrows”. Combine that with how Larry Hama justified laser troopers as long range laser pointers in the 80s GI Joe comics (where non-laser troopers used bullets,unlike on the cartoon) and you have another hodgepodge of hidden personal references in a seemingly typical item.

New Magic Item
Aura strong evocation; CL 9th; Slot -; Price 4000 gp; Weight 25 lbs
This hefty boulder shutters perpetually when not grounded. Once placed on the ground, it rolls in circles around its owner. Whenever an item touched the ground within a 30 ft radius of the owner, the gathering stone moves towards the discarded item on the owner’s next turn. This includes ammunition that misses its target and items dropped to the ground as a free action, but not items carefully placed on the ground as a move action. When the gathering stone enters the same space as an unattended item, the item adheres to its rocky surface. Gathered items remain on a gathering stone’s surface remain there until the owner picks the boulder back up.
A gathering stone has a 30 ft land speed. It can only take a single move action every round.
Craft Wondrous Item, interposing hand, mage hand; Cost 2000 gp

Other than the expression “a rolling stone gathers no moss,” I don’t know where this magic item comes from. I do know it’s a disarm specialist’s best friend.

New Feat
You feel comfortable in your ability to throw dangerous materials to allies without endangering them.
Prerequisite: Dex 13+
Benefit: You can safely throw ranged weapons, including splash weapons, to allies with a AC 5 ranged attack roll. On a success, the ally catches the thrown item safely. On a miss, roll to determine the misdirection of the throw as you would a missed splash weapon. Your ally must be aware that you are throwing the item, willing to catch it, and have a hand free to catch the throw, otherwise the attempt automatically fails.

I’m just throwing this out there. 😀

New Spell
School transmutation [language-dependent]; Level bard 1, sorcerer/wizard 1, summoner/unchained summoner 1, witch 1;
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components S, M (a bar of soap)
Range close (25 ft. +5 ft./2 levels)
Effect 1d4 thought bubble/level
Duration permanent
Saving Throw: no; Spell Resistance: no
With a thought, you create a number of transparent bubbles containing a single sentence of 25 words or less equal to 1d4/level. These bubbles remain within range unless moved deliberately. A thought bubble has AC 5 and 1 hp. Bursting a thought bubble releases the sentence, as though it was spoken in an even tone.

Anthony mentioned floating ideas in Discord the other day, and, being a literal-minded type, immediately pictured bubbles floating about that pop with ideas. Punception: a thought bubble is also a thing.  

New Class Option
STEADFAST MESSENGER (skald archetype)
Loyal, efficient, and hands-on, steadfast messengers are everywhere on the battlefield their allies need them to be.
Crier: A steadfast messenger trains to perform in rhythm with his breathing as he moves about the battlefield. Any round in which a steadfast messenger moves at least 10 ft while performing a raging song does not count against the number of rounds he can use his raging songs ability that day. However, any round he moves less than 10 ft while performing a raging song counts as 2 rounds against the number of rounds he can use his raging songs ability that day.
This ability replaces bardic knowledge.
Fast Movement (Ex): A steadfast messenger’s speed is faster than the norm for his race by +10 feet. This benefit applies to all of the steadfast messenger’s types of speed. This benefit applies only when he is wearing no armor, or light armor, and not carrying a heavy load. Apply this bonus before modifying the steadfast messenger’s speed because of any load carried or armor worn. This bonus stacks with any other bonuses to the steadfast messenger’s speed.
This ability replaces the steadfast messenger’s medium armor proficiency and ability to cast skald spells while wearing medium armor.
Quicken Pulse (Su): A steadfast messenger favors quickness over power. When he uses his inspire rage ability, allies gain a bonus to Dexterity instead of Strength, and are able to use the Acrobatics skill on his turn in addition to the other Dexterity-based skills allowed while benefiting from inspire rage
Otherwise, this functions like inspire rage.
This ability alters the inspire rage raging song.
Versatile Delivery (Ex or Su): At 3rd level, a steadfast messenger finds better ways to deliver aid to his alies. As a swift action, he can choose to gain the benefits of one of the following extraordinary abilities until the end of this round:

  • A +10 feet bonus to land speed;
  • Ignore difficult terrain;
  • A climb, or swim speed equal to his land speed;
  • An additional 5-foot step. This acts just like a standard 5-foot step, but the steadfast messenger can take a second one as a free action this turn. If he uses both 5-foot steps, he counts as moving 10 ft this round for the benefits of his crier ability but can still take a full attack action as though he hadn’t moved;
  • Gain the benefits of the Mobility feat;
  • Add his steadfast messenger level to Acrobatics skill checks.

At 9th level, he gains any two of the above abilities as a single swift action.
At 15th level, he can choose to gain the benefits of one of the following supernatural abilities until the end of this round instead of two of the above abilities:

  • Cast haste, as the spell, except the steadfast messenger can only target himself;
  • Gain the benefits of the Spring Attack feat;
  • Teleport, as dimension door, up to 5 feet per 2 steadfast messenger levels;
  • Gain a fly speed, with good maneuverability, equal to his land speed.

At 18th level, he gains any two of the above abilities as a single swift action.
This ability replaces rage powers.

I don’t have much commentary for this one. It’s a skald class based on Mercury, Roman god of financial gain, commerce, messages/communication, travelers, boundaries, luck, trickery and thieves. I hope it delivers.

Thanks again to Quo 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 me know in the comments below.

Ryan Costello

What started as one gamer wanting to talk about his love of a game grew into a podcast network. Ryan founded what would become the Know Direction Podcast network with Jason "Jay" Dubsky, his friend and fellow 3.5 enthusiast. They and their game group moved on to Pathfinder, and the Know Direction podcast network was born. Now married and a father, Ryan continues to serve the network as the director of logistics and co-host of Upshift podcast, dedicated to the Essence20 RPG system he writes for and helped design. You can find out more about Ryan and the history of the network in this episode of Presenting: