Recreating comic book heroes for your Pathfinder game is easy if you know where to start. Today we’ll build everyone’s favorite wall-crawler – Spider-Man.
Where to Start
I recently came across this post and decided to take a shot at building Spidey, who happens to be my fav Marvel character. My build needs to be playable in a campaign and I don’t want to home-brew too much, because I’d like to use him for an Icon adventure module I’m writing for 2014, and home-brewing means I need to do more playtesting. Peter should have all the powers he has in the comics, but the technological limitations of the setting and the presence of magic can be taken into account.
Mutations and Men
mutant n. a living thing differing from its parents as a result of genetic change.
To start out, we need a race that reflects the mutation of our hero. Peter Parker might have been human, but that radioactive spider bite changed his DNA and gave him his superpowers. Call in the Advanced Race Guide.
Using the Race Builder I came up with the following:
Radioactive Spider Bite Mutation (30 RP)
Humanoid (0 Race Points) Size
Medium (0 RP) Base Speed
Normal (0RP) We’ll make him faster with traits. Ability Score Modifiers
Flexible (Str +2, Dex +2) (2 RP) Languages Standard (0 RP) Racial Traits Ability Score Traits Advanced Str (+2) (4 RP)
Advanced Dex (+2) (4 RP)
Advanced Con (+2) (4 RP) Defence Racial Traits Defensive Training, Greater (4 RP): +2 dodge bonus to AC, which we put up to his spider sense.
Lucky, Greater (4 RP): +2 to all saving throw, again this will be part of his spider sense. Movement Traits
Climb (2 RP): Climb speed of 20 feet and a +8 on climb.
Jumper (2 RP): Always considered to have a running start for acrobatics checks.
Expert Climber (4 RP): another +8 to climb and can crawl on ceilings, as long as he has hand holds.
Advanced Level (+10 RP)
Racial Traits Defensive Racial Traits Cat’s Luck (1 RP): Better agility or spider-sense, you decide. Feat and Skill Traits Nimble Faller (2 RP): so he always lands on his feet
Skill Bonus (2 RP): Acrobatics +2. Movement Traits Fleet-Footed (3 RP): Run bonus feat and +2 to init checks.
Mountaineer (1RP): Immunity to altitude sickness and lets him keep his Dex bonus to AC when climbing.
Fast (1 RP): +10 to speed
At 30 or 40 Race Points the mutation would be more than playable alongside similarly constructed races, we haven’t broken the game and we’re just getting started.
A Touch of Class
So if the mutation above reflects the effect of the radioactive spider, Spider-Man’s class and character traits should reflect his upbringing (having been bullied, being raised by his aunt and uncle), personal talent (Peter’s high intelligence) and life experiences (studying, working as a reporter, and so on).
Bullied or Reactionary
As for class, there are plenty of good arguments for Monk, Rogue, Alchemist and a bunch of other classes. Ideally, I’d like to give a player the Spider Bite Mutation and let them fill out the rest as they see fit. But since I’m building a pre-gen, let’s take a look at some choices.
Alchemist has been suggested to cover some of Spider-Man’s powers, but I don’t think this is necessary with the mutation/race. Alchemist or Rogue can cover Peters studies (think ranks in disable device and craft alchemy), while Monk covers his combat experience and reflects his Lawful alignment. Depending on what level I decide on, I might go with a ratio of 3 Monk levels for every 1 Rogue level.
Stat wise, I’ll go for a high Intelligence and low Wisdom, probably using a 25 point buy. Do you get anything more Epic than this? High Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution are important while Charisma can be low, as long as he has ranks in Disguise and Bluff.
Peter built his own web shooters using technology that wouldn’t be available in a fantasy setting. Luckily he has magic.
Magical ropes are one option, and a Rope of Climbing combined with a Rope of Entanglement would be great. This still leaves out many of the cool things Spider-Man’s webbing can do though. Items like Slippers of Spider Climb are good, but sometimes have more powerful effects than in the comics.
I like the Equipment Trick, Rope Tricks, from the Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Pathfinder Society Field Guide. This feat lets him coil rope quickly, hog-tie better, use the rope as a bludgeoning weapon, as a whip, to rescue anyone falling, to retrieve rope with a tug, to escape ropes easier and to tangle enemies as a ranged attack!
For a lower level build, I’ll stay away from magic, give Spider-Man a few lengths of spider-silk rope and the Rope Trick feat and be done.
So that’s Spider-Man. What do you think? Any suggestions? Leave a comment below.
Disclaimer: There are a thousand and one ways to build superheroes for Pathfinder, and each route can yield very different results. This is just one possible option. If you disagree with my build, leave a comment below, but be civil or your post will go up in smoke.
I’ve seen the first draft of the cover design for Claustrophobia! and it looks amazing. Any time now I’ll be getting it back with more polish and then I’ll give you a sneak peak.
If you don’t own the game yet, here’s your chance, a special discount on Claustrophobia! Get it while stocks last!
I’ve been working on my own little solo/GMless game, and blogging about it right here, here and here. I’m offering you the chance to help me build an awesome game, which will work with D&D 4e and Pathfinder, so take a look and let me know what you think.
Lastly, I’ve been fixing up the website. All this game designing and adventuring sure distracts me from doing a proper job of the home page, but it’s already improved and I have many plans to execute over the following weeks. Check it out here and let me know if there’s something you’d like to see.
DriveThruRPG is having a massive Pathfinder sale, but hurry, it ends in a few days!
Copies of the Claustrophobia! Beta rules are flying off the shelves and feedback is streaming in. My thanks to everyone who downloaded the book so far. It’s never to late to send in your feedback and I’m reading it all, keep it coming!
An update is in progress, mostly rules clarifications at this stage. Remember that once you order the PDF, you can always download the latest updates from the DTRPG site, you don’t need to buy a new copy.
More is brewing too. I’ll be on summer holiday soon and that will mean some interruptions, but hopefully I’ll deliver some juicy new content to you soon!
One of the hot topics for Pathfinder fans at the moment is the Pathfinder Online Kickstarter. This sandbox MMO, built by Goblinworks Inc., sister company of Paizo, has some nice rewards on offer. Even if you don’t play digital (and good for you) there’s something to catch your interest. Checkout the Crowdforger PDF Superpack, which includes work by yours truly, or the Emerald Spire Super Dungeon.
If you’ve never tried the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game or pen and paper role-playing games then check out the Beginners Box, which includes everything you need to get started.
“Yo ho ho and a bottle of cheap rum!” Oh how we love pirates! They may be scumbags, but we love them so much! A salty campaign at sea always sounds like a good idea doesn’t it? In fact, I recently finished writing a pirate adventure which our group is playing though at the moment, and through that I did some research into the great stuff available for the sea bound gaming group.
Please note, some of these products have affiliate links so that I can make some money, which helps me keep this site going. However, I’ve only reviewed stuff I actually thought was worth recommending.
What are pirates without their maps? And what’s a game session without a good battle map? A decent ship map has to be the first port of call for any piratical GM.
I went onto Amazon and bought the GameMastery Flip-Mat: Pirate Ship. It’s super useful, but there were aspects I didn’t like. One side has a top down view of two ships with gang planks between them while the other side has the lower levels of the primary ship, with parts repeated and parts missing (such as the ship’s wheel). I would have liked to be able to fold the map to reveal only one top view of a ship at a time. A nice aspect is that you can fold the map to show just one level of the ship, however, it is at the cost of multiple views of the action. Also, while masts are represented, there’s not much indication of where all the rigging is. There are some cheaper print and play maps out there that have done a nice job with rigging, so I really would have liked to see that here. My last gripe is about the ship’s texturing. I really like how they did the water, but the deck of the actual ship is a little too fake, in my opinion. That said, the map is fully compatible with the GameMastery Map Pack: Ship’s Cabins and makes it that little bit more useful. Unlike anything print and play, this is dry erase, which means you can write on it with markers – a huge plus.
I’ve been listening to the Pirates of the Caribbean Soundtrack as inspiration for my pirate adventure, which I actually got onto because our GM uses it in our current campaign. It creates the perfect mood whether your adventure’s nautical or other.
Also, because I’m a big fan, check out Blackmore’s Night’s – Loreley, which works nicely when timed right. They have a bunch more stuff that I’ve played at LARP’s, so I generally punt Blackmore’s Night whenever I can. I mean it’s Richie Blackmore for crying out loud. Deep Purple… you know. Smoke on the Water. Okay, okay, I’ve had my say.
Another band worth checking out, if only for inspiration, is Turisas, and their song Hunting Pirates.
I really like proper miniatures, in metal or plastic, but recently I’ve found paper miniatures to be super useful, especially when travelling to the next game session on a crowded train. I’ve looked at a number of printable miniatures and nothing “pirate” really appeals to me, whereas I really like the Militia Men available from onemonk.com. I think real pirates probably looked more like these guys than the popularised image of pirates. Then again, I was raised on Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play, so I may be biased.
As for metal and plastic figures, there are plenty out there, so I won’t review anything now. I just wish Wizards had released a few more pirate figures with their Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures; I think they only ever did one. Luckily though, there are also hundreds of pirate toys out there, like these, which may fit into your game, even if they’re a little cheesy. My advice: shop around.
Pretty much any toy store will carry loads of pirate props – typically hats, eye-patches, pistols and swords. Look around a bit and you might even find pirate loot. Making a map is a pretty neat touch to any campaign and you can do that in a number of ways, from dipping paper in tea to stain it and burning the edges to designing something in Photoshop. Check out this tutorial on Wired.
Well, that should be enough to keep you, *ahem*, afloat. Got any other neat ideas? Please share, I’d love to hear from you.