Yetis (and content!)

So about a week and a half ago now, I released my first dungeon crawl (yay!) and promised to release one every single week. I made that promise right before my direction in life took a strong right hand turn in a positive direction (and ate a lot of my time and energy). One dungeon crawl a week is an ambitious undertaking  (all the more so when I get distracted by ideas and concepts) and really isn’t feasible at this time. However, I do believe that I can release a dungeon crawl every two weeks. In addition (somewhat as a way of an apology), I have some yeti themed content to share, namely a Half-Yeti race and two Yeti Bloodlines, one for Bloodrager and one for Sorcerer!


“That guy? Oh that guy was the best! Strong as an ox and never seemed to mind the cold! Saved my entire expedition from falling down the pass to our deaths. I don’t see what his shaggy father has to do with this.” – Don Haverdasher in an interview about a local hero.

Navarians are the result of Yeti and human blood mixing. Whether the result of a crazed wizard, rampaging Yeti savages or a special inbuement of wintry power, Navarians are perfectly adapted for living in colder climates. Navarians are usually tall and heavily muscled with shaggy white hair and strong claws on their hands.

Navarians Racial Traits

+2 Str, +2 Wis, -2 Int: Navarians are strong and deeply connected to nature, but tend to be rigid in their thinking.
Type: Navarians are humanoids with the human and yeti subtypes.
Base Speed: Navarians have a normal land speed of 30ft and a climb speed of 30ft.
Low-Light Vision: Navarians can see twice as far as humans in conditions of low light.
Cold Weather Endurance: Navarians have cold energy resistance 5 and are immune to the effects of cold weather.
Frightening: Navarians receive a racial +2 bonus on intimidate.
Languages: Navarians begin play speaking Common and Aklo.

Yeti Bloodline – Bloodrager

Bonus Feats: Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Great Fortitude, Skill Focus (Stealth), Surprise Follow-Through, Toughness, Wind Stance

Bonus Spells: Snowball (7th), Frigid Touch (10th), Ice Spears (13th), Phantasmal Killer (16th)

Bloodline Powers
A Yeti-blooded bloodrager exhibits traits of a yeti both during a bloodrage and normally.
Winter’s Endurance (Ex): Your hair thickens, turns white and grows at an increased rate. This grants you immunity to the effects of cold weather and resistance 5 to cold. At 7th this increases to 10, at 11th this increases to 20, at 15th this increases to 30 and at 20th you become immune to cold damage. You have these benefits constantly, even while not bloodraging.
Claws of the Snow Demon (Ex):
At 4th level, you gain a climb speed equal to your normal land speed. 
Winter’s Strike (Su):
At 8th level you channel the icy power of your blood into your attacks. The first hit each round gains the benefits of the vital strike feat. This additional damage is cold damage and stacks with the normal effect of using the vital strike feat.
Bulk of the Snow Demon (Su):
At 12th level, you increase in size and bulk, gaining a +4 size bonus to strength and increasing in size by one category.
Winter’s Wrath (Su):
At 16th level, you may choose to manifest a 20ft aura as a swift action. Each creature within the aura must make a save (DC 10 + 1/2 Bloodrager Level + Charisma Mod) at the beginning of their turn. Creatures that fail the save take 3d6 cold and 3d6 bludgeoning damage and may only make a 5ft move. Creature that pass the save take half damage and treat the aura’s area as difficult terrain.
Avatar of the Snow Demon (Su): 
At 20th level, when starting a bloodrage you may choose to embody the snow demon living in your blood, transforming into a yeti. While in yeti form, you gain a +8 Strength, +4 Dexterity and +4 Constitution bonus, increase in size by one category, gain darkvision 60ft and scent, and two claw attacks that deal 1d8 damage plus 1d6 cold damage.

Yeti Bloodline – Sorcerer

Class Skill: Stealth

Bonus Feats: Antagonize, Combat Casting, Die Hard, Endurance, Power Attack, Spell Focus, Stealthy, Toughness

Bonus Spells: Snowball (3rd), Unshakable Chill (5th), Sleet Storm (7th), Phantasmal Killer (9th), Icy Prison (11th), Freezing Sphere (13th), Hungry Darkness (15th), Polar Ray (17th), Suffocation, Mass (19th)

Bloodline Arcana: Spells you cast with the cold or fear descriptor increase their save DC (if any) by 1.

Bloodline Powers:
Winter’s Endurance (Ex): 
Your hair thickens, turns white and grows at an increased rate. This grants you immunity to the effects of cold weather and resistance 5 to cold. At 7th this increases to 10, at 11th this increases to 20, at 15th this increases to 30 and at 20th you become immune to cold damage.
Frightful Gaze (Ex): At 3rd level, whenever you demoralize an opponent for more then one round you may reduce the duration to 1 round and increase the severity of the condition by one step (shaken progresses to frightened).
Sapping Pulse (Su): At 9th level, for a number of rounds a day equal to your charisma bonus, you can suck the heat from a 30ft radius area around you as a move action. Enemies within that are gain the fatigued condition.
Winter’s Aegis (Su): At 15th level, you may wreath yourself in the winds and cold energy of deep winter granting you a 50% miss chance as if you had total concealment. Additionally the aura protects you from heat, reducing damage from fire-based attacks, spells and effects by half. Attackers that successfully strike you while the aura is manifested take 3d6 points of cold damage. Manifesting the aura is a swift action and dismissing it is a free action. You may manifest your aura for a number of rounds per day equal to your charisma mod plus your sorcerer level. These rounds do not have to be consecutive.
Winter’s Avatar (Su): At 20th level you become a dark Avatar of winter’s power. Spells with the cold descriptor that you cast benefit from the Empower spell metamagic without increasing the cast time or spell level. Spells with the fear descriptor that you cast increase their DC by 2 (this stacks with the Bloodline Arcana). Additionally, once per day when you would be killed due to hp loss, your body instead explodes into a flurry of snowflakes (this flurry functions as Gaseous Form). While in this form, you remain conscious and may only make move actions. At the end of the duration, you reform at -1 hit points, stable and unconscious.

So this is a taste of what is to come in this upcoming dungeon crawl (its coming on Saturday!). I also have a pile of written things to revise, refine, and digitalize (I have a lot of time to write without access to a keyboard). So as a look to the future, I’ll leave this picture here.



Behind the Curve: Firefall

So a couple years ago I played the third person, open world, MMO shooter, Firefall beta by Red 5 Studios.  It was fun, but suffered from a number of issues (including lack of content and multiple concept redesigns). It was fun, but not particularly noteworthy. When I was looking for a summer game to play (and as we all know, free is better), Firefall cropped up on my Steam feed. To be frank, I had forgotten about Firefall and so I took the dive again to see what had changed from the beta to the release and I’m (mostly) happily surprised.

Jetpacks – Probably the number 1 reason Firefall is at all successful. Having a jetpack constantly in a shooter is such a freeing experience. I will sometimes stubbornly climb a mountain with my jetpack instead of going around it simply because I can! Combat with jetpacks is absolutely intense with projectiles and powers flying every which way. I still sometimes forget I have a jetpack and amazingly that doesn’t ruin the game. Red 5 made a solid shooter and then added jetpacks to it.

Content – There’s Content! Probably one of the biggest issues with the beta (and understandably so) was lack of content. Firefall is a game where there is always something to do (which makes it a good game to play with friends). Around the world random events are constantly spawning (scaled to server population statistics so there’s never a “too many players, not enough events” effect). There are also static “job boards” that have a selection of missions to run in addition to instanced missions and raids. There’s also a zone purely dedicated to the Players vs Chosen experience that was the overwhelming theme in the beta (that game play centers around capturing, controlling and defending key buildings).

Group vs Solo – I’ve done both in Firefall and I have to say that it’s definitely a game that gets better with more people. Events dynamically scale to the number of players present and classes have their own roles to play on a team. That’s not to say that a player can’t solo and have a good time (I did that for a while), but the group experience is a good one!

Crafting – I love crafting in games, especially when it enables a player to tinker and make exactly the gear they need and Firefall does a respectable job of letting me tinker some without reaching the “I glued all the prefixes and suffixes onto the best gun, lol”-point. It does require quite a bit of gameplay and time to get to the point of making what you want (but it it does feel good) and endgame gear can come from crafting OR drops (which I think is an overall good thing).

Now for the not so happy parts of an open-world, jetpacking, MMO shooter.

Lag (of the connection and MEH FPS kind) – I have a reasonable computer that can run most everything and I normally bottom out graphics (for a couple reasons, the most interesting is that lower resolution textures generally results in higher contrast making it easier to see and react to things). Firefall manages to have comedic graphical lag when things get busy and points to Red 5 for making things busy. In larger scale events with bosses, particle effects and tons of players the game lags, it happens. The game also lags if anything else is trying to access the hard drive, anything downloads, or you sneeze. I played some last night with a full group (including a Red 5 dev, they actually hang out with players, its amazing!) where two of the players couldn’t really play due to lag (one was a shoddy connection, the other had Nvidia driver issues). Firefall is comically sensitive to bad connections and being an action shooter, even a little lag can kill you.

Progression – The current progression in this game is rough. When a player starts, they have access to 5 “accord” battleframes that are supposed to represent the 5 core classes (medic, heavy, recon, engineer and assault). When you reach level 40 with a frame, you can unlock any advanced frame that is supposed to represent a more specialized role of the core frames. For example, the engineer advanced frames are the Bastion (who specializes in deployable turrets) and the Electron (which specializes in bubble shields). The kick in the teeth is that each of those two frames have a few unique abilities AND are able to equip all of the basic frame’s abilities and weapons (each frame has a unique primary weapon and a selection of special powers that define the class). The problem I have with this is that when I group with a new friend, I run around in my low level advanced frame spamming all of the cool basic abilities and replacing the lame ones with my frame’s unique powers (for example, my buddy started on the accord engineer frame, I was playing the bastion. I could deploy the heavy turret he could AND three mini-turrets) just because I was a beta player and had those frames unlocked already (whoo! beta powah!).

Anyways, I would recommend giving Firefall a spin. Due to its rather trouble development history, it did launch rather quietly, but it is FREE (and not pay2win) with all content accessible to player for FREE (which is something special I feel).