Although this year is already a week in, I still find myself looking back on the last year and how much of a wild ride it was. I got my first author credit on a full Pathfinder Society scenario, my entry in the Mwangi Expanse gave us access to the delightful Anadi, and Pathfinder 2e finally came out of extended beta with the release of its coolest class in Secrets of Magic. I also launched the very blog you’re reading! On the ttrpg front, if nothing else, 2021 has felt like a gift to me. And in the (belated) holiday spirit, I’ve decided to give you all a gift as well.
Hello and welcome to Eldritch Excursion, the blog where every entry is perfectly timed so long as you’re able to willfully disassociate from a linear progression of chronological traversal in this observably corporeal timeline. It’s easier than you think, but not as easy as fitting all of your ideas into a roughly 1k word count. As I reflect on the events of last year, I’d like to revisit a few of my previous articles and add some additional content that I didn’t have the time and/or word count to add before.
Let’s begin with my first entry, Heresy. While I’m pleased with the results of my opening salvo, it’s plain to see that it’s heavy on flavor but light on mechanics. Let’s fix that.
Through your misdeeds, misconceptions, or simply your misfortune, you’ve been branded as a heretic by the religion that once welcomed you with open arms. However, unlike those who have faded into obscurity or died by the blade of an inquisitor, you’ve found the determination and wit to continue on your life’s path. Work with the GM to determine the exact cause of your character’s excommunication and whether they’re guilty or innocent.
Choose two ability boosts. One must be Intelligence or Charisma, and one is a free ability boost.
You are trained in Religion as well as a Lore skill related to why you were branded as a heretic (such as Academia Lore, Demon Lore, or Undercity Lore)
While branded as a heretic, all loyal members of the faith that exiled you have a starting attitude one step lower than normal towards you and your known allies. You gain the Will of Anathema reaction.
Will of Anathema [free action]
(divination, divine, fortune)
Frequency once per day
In a moment of clarity, you embrace your status as an enemy of the church and use it against your pursuers. The next time that you would roll a Deception, Intimidate, or Stealth check against a known member of that faith, you may roll twice and take the better result.
Special If you are able to clear your name (or truly repent for your crimes, if guilty) and rejoin your former church, you lose access to Will of Anathema and gain the Will of the Faithful reaction. It functions as Reassuring Presence (Lost Omens: The Mwangi Expanse p104) except it loses the Anadi trait, gains the trait of your deity, and can only benefit someone who worships that same deity.
Now then, let’s take a look back at Your First Summoning. As Paizo has yet to bless us with an aberration type for eidolons, the little story at the end doesn’t fit all too well. What follows is just one possible interpretation of whatever the heck that lone conjurer brought into his world.
Skinswimmers were originally tamed by outcasts and heretics desperate to gain power at any cost. With their instinctual understanding of anatomy, Skinswimmers have a more literal and visceral bond with their summoners. These aberrant shape shifters even evolved over time to better suit their new role, often merging with their masters by taking the place of one of their vital organs. In their natural form, skinswimmers tend to look like a fleshy amalgam of their favorite creatures to hunt: one may appear to be a swarm of squirrels fused together, while another may look like a mutated elf protected by insectoid chitin.
Alignment cannot be good
Traits aberration, eidolon, skinswimmer
Home Plane Material Plane
Suggested Attacks claw (slashing), jaws (piercing), tentacle (bludgeoning)
Lurking Skinswimmer Str 14, Dex 18, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 10; +1 AC (+4 Dex cap)
Skinswimmer Mauler Str 18, Dex 14, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 10; +2 AC (+3 Dex cap)
Skills Medicine, Occultism
Speed 25 feet
Eidolon Abilities Initial parasitic infusion; Symbiosis alpha mutation; Transcendence flesh heist
Your eidolon can compress its essence and invade a smaller creature, granting the host a sliver of your power. You gain a familiar (Core Rulebook p217). When manifesting your eidolon, you draw its essence from the familiar, causing it to lay dormant within your eidolon’s body. If the familiar is not in your space or adjacent to you at this time, it is instead slain by the process as you must draw upon it more forcefully. When your eidolon is unmanifested from any effect, including Manifest Eidolon or the summoner reaching 0 Hit Points, your familiar to reappears in an open space adjacent to you.
If your familiar is dead, the eidolon’s essence is safely transferred to your body, allowing you to manifested it as normal. During your daily preparations, you may gain a new familiar, so long as the environment has a suitable vessel for your eidolon to invade.
After sampling material from a variety of creatures, your eidolon undergoes a metamorphosis that boosts its efficiency. Your eidolon gains resistance to precision damage and critical strikes equal to your level; if this resistance is greater than the critical strike’s extra damage, it reduces the extra damage to 0 but doesn’t reduce the attack’s normal damage.
Your eidolon also grows several ancillary limbs that aid in making precise incisions and sealing wounds with biomorphic secretions. These function as expanded healer’s tools.
Your skinswimmer realizes its full potential and gains the ability to invade fully sentient creatures. It gains the Flesh Heist activity.
Flesh Heist [two actions]
(eidolon) (incapacitation) (transmutation)
Frequency once per target per day
Your eidolon unravels its physical form and dives into the body of an adjacent creature, rapidly fusing with its flesh and taking control from the inside. The target must attempt a Fortitude save against your spell DC with the following effects. The effect lasts until your next daily preparations. The creature gains the aberration type while infested and bears the same sigil shared between you and your eidolon. While a creature is infested, it can be controlled as though it were your eidolon, though it gains no benefits from your eidolon’s evolutions, and any damage dealt to the host (after resistances, weaknesses and immunities) is also dealt to you. This may also be used on a fresh and intact corpse, which temporarily revives it. A dead host is still allowed a Fortitude save, representing the difficulty of resuscitating a dead body. The host is instantly freed when your eidolon is dismissed.
Critical Success The host is unaffected.
Success The target is stunned 1 and sickened 1 after fighting off your eidolon’s invasion.
Failure The target follows your orders but maintains its consciousness. It may take purely mental actions on its turn and can attempt a Fortitude save at the end of each of its turns. On a success, the effect ends.
Critical Failure As a failure, but the target may not take mental actions and receives a new save only if you give it a new order that is against its nature, such as killing its allies.
One more thing. Back when I was writing my take on the Oozemorph, I was torn on how to include the iconic compression ability. The fleshwarp already had a pretty good version, and I didn’t want to copy it. But honestly? Take that feat, replace the ancestry tags, add “can only be used in your base form or a form you take with Change Shape” and you’re pretty much good to go.
And that’s it for now. Feel free to use any one of those options. Or heck, use them all on the same character! After all, corruption is like potato chips: extremely poisonous but more popular than you think.
I might have a potato allergy.