Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Let the E Presses Roll!



Look for the Flying Pincushion's latest installment of our Into the Breach series, Into the Breach: The Rogue, coming soon to a fine E-Book seller near you.  So, make those Sleight of Hand checks, lift some gold from your party mates, and get ready to do things the rogue way.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Frog God Games Calls for Aid, and the Flying Pincushion Shall Answer!


If you have not heard the news, Chuck Wright of Frog God Games is currently in the midst of a serious health issue.  The entire staff of Flying Pincushion Games has Chuck in our thoughts, and we of course wish him a speedy recovery.

Medical bills are not cheap, and we all know that the game design industry does not make us all millionaires, so bellow is a link to Chuck's Go Fund Me page.  If you can help, please do.  While we may be rivals in print, we are all gamers, and we look out for our own. Good luck Chuck, and hang in there!


Best wishes for a quick recovery,

Jeff Harris
Flying Pincushion Games

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Questions about Class: the Rogue


Greetings fine readers, it is my, Frank Gori’s, first go as questioner in our ongoing series Questions about Class.  For this installment we are interviewing esteemed Flying Pincushioner David McCrae as we prepare to release Into The Breach: The Rogue and Tides of War: Rogue/X Feats..

FG: First off, thanks a lot for taking the time to let us pick your brain and for all the times you’ve been the “guy behind the mic.”

DM: No problem at all. I’m completely stoked for these two releases. And you guys know you can always count on me to step forward when I’m able to!

FG: Please, tell us a little about yourself and your contributions to Flying Pincushion.

DM: I hail from New Jersey, USA. I’m the author of 2 novels, and currently in the process of drafting my third. For Flying Pincushion, I’ve been developing the “Tides of War: Class/X” Feat books. I also have several archetypes and an alternate class submitted for more of the upcoming Into the Breach books. For Into the Breach: Rogue, I designed the Booksmart Scout, Honeypot, and (my favorite) the Trickster Chef.

FG: Rogues are one of my jams but I often end up in debates about the value of a rogue over say a bard or vivisectionist or even the investigator, what makes rogues unique and worth playing over other similar themed classes?

DM: Sometimes it’s hard to make a case for the rogue against classes such as those since those three classes have access to spells and extracts. I think that sometimes the only people who really understand the usefulness of the Core Rogue are the ones who look at what the class has to offer and strive to make it work as designed. I feel power creeping plays a huge factor into why many find the core rogue unappealing. If it doesn’t wreck bad guys consistently, it’s not worth a second look to many. But those who understand that playing a rogue is not about “wrecking bad guys” find them much more fun to play.

FG: I’ve seen a lot of debate over the traditional way to play a rogue so I’m curious what makes a rogue a rogue to you? Is there some sort of needed roleplaying trait or cannot lose class feature that makes a rogue a rogue for you?
DM: Roleplaying is HUGE for rogues. Their ability to be a party face stands right on par with the bard. But what really makes the rogue can be summed up in three words: Talents, talents, talents! The Rogue talents, like Alchemist discoveries for example, allow full and complete customization. Does your rogue talk the party out of fights? Does it use poisons? Does it blend in the shadows? How about using spell-like abilities? Does it do all four, and then some? This treasure trove of options to make effective, efficient rogues.

FG: Is there a best rogue build?

DM: As silly as this is going to sound at first, the best rogue build is the one you build for yourself and your party. Different parties have different needs. And no party, let alone single character, can be prepared for every possible situation. I like to play and grow my rogue to meet the party’s needs; pick up slack where others lack. In many cases, it’s becoming the party face.

FG: From an optimization standpoint what’s your favorite rogue trick?

DM: 3 simple feats: Skill Focus (Bluff), Combat Expertise, and Improved Feint. Nothing frustrates me more than to see a person playing a rogue trying to dictate where the other players should move during their turn just because they want to flank and get their sneak attack damage. Improved Feint allows you to do all the sneak attacks you want, without having to divert others from where they need to be or what they need to do.

FG: Is there a class dip that compliments the rogue well in particular?

DM: I can mention 10 classes a rogue can dip into, but then I’d be shamelessly plugging Tides of War; Rogue/X (haha). Really, though, I think bard is a shoe-in dipping class. It allows you to still maintain your party-face, grants you party buffs via bardic performances, and still gives you 6 +INT skill ranks per class level. Not to mention the spellcasting capabilities.

FG: You’re trying to sell someone on the idea of trying a Rogue, but they seem reluctant. What do you tell them?

DM: I think it’s easier to sell the idea to people who are accustomed to playing ¾ BAB classes and/or classes with only 1 good save. You would hear a lot of “Muh damage output!” and “Muh Will save!” if you were to try and convince the heavy hitters and the spell-slingers that a rogue is a good direction to take.

For someone who likes their damage output, direct them to options that optimize sneak attack, as well as the high skill ranks. Plenty of room to fit in Acrobatics to avoid those attacks of opportunity, and Bluff to more effectively feint, therefore making your ability to score sneak attack damage more consistent.

For spellcaster players it might be a little tougher. But Use Magic Device being a Charisma-based skill, a rogue can take Skill Focus (UMD) and optimize for Charisma. This way, they can stash wands and just UMD them when they want to cast a spell. Think of it like having 50+ spells per day.

FG: What makes the Rogue fun to play?

DM: Let’s not kid ourselves: there is a certain thrill you get when you’re rolling an extra 2, 3, 4, 5 dice when you deal damage for sneak attacks. But what makes playing a rogue more fun are those moments where you’ve helped that party make great progress without even having to draw a weapon. Bluffing your way through an encounter; sneaking past guards and dispatching them stealthily. Many encounters I’ve seen made easier or completely circumvented using a rogue’s skills, and it’s often hysterical.

When the rogue picks a lock, opens the door, and hears, “Who’s there?”...

And the rogue’s response is, “Housekeeping!”...

And the enemy believes it long enough for the rogue to get in close, dirty trick (blind), then shank for +4d6 sneak attack and drow poison to knock them out and steal all their gear...

...comedy gold that I don’t think many, if any, other classes can replicate.

FG: What do you feel is, bar-none, the most useful class feature of the Rogue?

DM: I’ll reiterate: the talents! Bar-none. Talents are what can make each individual rogue unique in the same sense bonus feats makes unique fighters, and discoveries make unique alchemists. The talents have such a wide variety of boons, bonuses, and effects, you could make a multitalented jack-of-all-trades just as easily as a well-optimized powerhouse.

FG: If there was one thing you could change about the Rogue class, what would it be?

DM: Fortitude save. Give the rogue a Fortitude save. Rogues deal with poisons and such things. They should have the Fortitude save to better protect themselves if they don’t feel the need to invest in Poisoner archetype.

FG: Thanks David for letting us interrogate you?

DM: Well, it was a successful interrogation for you! I know you had Zone of Truth up! You’re quite welcome all the same! ^.^

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Behind Every Cover, there is a Story: Into the Beach: the Magus, 2nd Wave "Santiago"

The following short story was written by our resident cover artist, Anthony Butler.  As you may notice, the story features "Santiago", an ebonheart magus (one of the new archetypes included in Into the Breach: the Magus, 2nd Wave) and whom graces the cover of our newest Into the Breach series offering.  Santiago is a personal character of Anthony's in an ongoing Pathfinder Skull and Shackles game.  

The following just goes to show that there is indeed a story behind every cover, though be warned, Santiago's tale features mature content, and is NSFW (not suitable for work).


 Blood, Sex, Magic, and Steel

“So there I stand, stark naked, alone in the center of a drow city, in the chambers of the priestess herself, with said priestess fast asleep on the bed. And despite my best efforts, she’s had the presence of mind to chain me to the wall before she passed out,” Santiago regaled the attentive crowd, slouching back in his chair as one of the sailors brought him a drink. “Gracias, mi amor,” he tipped his head in the woman’s direction. “Where was I? Ah yes, chained to the wall. Couldn’t even walk, but somehow, she remembers the keys.”

“Can’t have done that good a job,” another interrupted, to the raucous laughter of the bunch.

“I don’t know, she only chained my feet,” Santiago quipped. The dwarf who had cut in, a grizzled, one-eyed bastard, let out a barking laugh, before refilling Santiago’s tankard, the international signal for “keep talking, friend”. Santiago loved old sailors, they were fun. “Where was I?” He took a quick sip. “The priestess, she’s been dead to the world for over an hour now, and in that time, I find the means by which to break that chains, so I’ve my freedom, if nothing else. Except that, does one of her guards not decide to come in to check on us? And there’s me, wearing little more than a smile. Naturally, he’s suspicious. After all,” Santiago shrugged, “As far as he knows, I’m nothing but a toy, brought to amuse his priestess and then probably sacrificed to whatever dark forces those drow worship.”

He knew exactly which demon the priestess worshipped. However, repeated tellings of this tale had taught Santiago that, though more academic circles appreciated the irony of a priestess dedicated to a demon of - at times disconcertingly creative - sex being out-fucked at her own game, the bar crowd was more concerned with the actual sex act itself than with the theological ramifications. Well, some of the academic crowd cared too. He’d had a grand evening with two sylph sorceresses, both of them very keen on primary sources. Being able to write the Sylvan form of the Elven alphabet with his tongue was a skill that Santiago suspected he would never regret developing.

“With her guard alerted by the sound of my escaping, I’ve need need to distract him, because there is one way out of this room, and it’s through him. Of course, when my crew brought me in, there were two guards, and let me tell you, one of them, well, his interest was certainly more than professional,”

And then it had also become professional. Once Santiago had outwitted the priestess, the sex demon had informed one of her paladins that he was to serve, to quote the most flattering infernal omen he’d had recounted to him, “The handsome one with the hairy chest and the morals as loose as the holes he’s fucked”. Santiago had made a very nice offering after that. His mother may have been a mercenary captain with a bloody swathe carved from shore to horizon, and his father a seafaring brigand who actually owned a cup crafted from the gilded skull of a mutinous second mate, but they had raised their children to be polite. Even if it was to demons.

He’d been fucking the unholy paladin for the past few years, but Santiago omitted that detail, because there was someone’s dignity to think of. It was almost impossible to get a good blowjob from the drow when he was in one of his sulks. Something which Santiago had been vexatiously aware of for the past fortnight. Accidentally mention that the hulking amenaza could get his ankles to his ears to one criminal syndicate...Santiago scoffed into his ale.

“What’d you do then?” One of the sailors asked. From the glint in his eye, he was far more interested in the idea of Santiago than of a nubile drow priestess. Perhaps Santiago could win his way out of the doghouse with a present. They hadn’t had a menage in ages.

“Well, as I’m already naked, there’s but one thing to do. The guard bursts in, demanding to know what the ruckus was, so flirteo, I flirt. And I always flirt hard.” Inflection was key here; a good dick joke was welcome in any circle. “He’s heard the noises, I’m thinking this is half in the bag. If nothing else, I’ll get him disarmed. So I make my move, use all of my charm and wit, and it’s only then that I realize,” Santiago paused, waiting until a few of his listeners leant in eagerly. “I’m making my move on the wrong drow.”

His audience howled in approval. Even now, Santiago never heard the end of that one, though, in his defence, he’d seen both guards once, it was dark, and he’d had more important things on his mind than which of the priestess guards he’d be seducing, things like not dying. Or the frankly disgraceful dearth of oral reciprocity he’d just been party to. He may have forgotten the priestess’ name, but it certainly wasn’t the result of her skill at giving head. Even now, he could feel her teeth.

“So now, mares tormentosos, there I am, barking up the wrong tree, this culo apretado between me and the door, fully armed, and while I’ve an impressive weapon of my own, between you and me, I doubt it would penetrate that armour.” Santiago accepted the groans of dismay, raising his arms in mock celebration. He’d once been slapped for that pun, but as the archivist had ridden him in the middle of her desk, he refused to leave it out of the store. She’d actually become even more aroused when he started talking dirty in Old Draconic, so it had been all good fun. Sadly, he’d still not yet figured out the trick to using Draconic  to spice up foreplay, but they’d made a good game of the effort. Such was to be expected from a language whose alphabet required claws to accurately inscribe, he supposed.

The other sailors were clamoring now, to hear how he’d escaped, and so Santiago braced for his grand finale.

“At this point, I’ve one move left to me,” With a snap of his fingers, Santiago lit the candles on the table - a demonstration of magical power lent that extra touch of credibility, after all. “Before me, esta follacabra, and behind me? La chupacabra stirs. Drow priestesses aren’t known for their lenience, and I’d been told to wait for la dama’s pleasure, I’ve one shot to make my escape. So, I conjure forth a cloud of obscuring mist, as thick as the hair on this one’s arse.” With theatrical gesture, he indicated the sailor who had interrupted him. The dwarf had the good grace to laugh harder than his fellows, “In the confusion, I sprint past the guard, relying on memory not to dash into the burly bastard’s arms.”

Every good story contained truth, lies, blood, and sex, and now Santiago had covered three of the four. He’d no need to memorize the room, not when he’d used the cover of the mist to shift into his hybrid form and locate the guard by scent and sound.

“He’s swinging blindly, just barely grazes me with his blade,” Santiago pointed to the scar on his cheek, “But to no avail! I flee the room, and book it down the hallway, towards an open window facing the courtyard.” He knocked back the tankard, the ale here was watered down something fierce, perfect for a man who wanted to tell a tale or two without vomiting on his audience. “From outside, there comes a terrible racket, like an army invading. The priestess is screaming behind me, conjuring her demonios, so I dive out the window, and do I not find myself right in the middle of a fucking warzone! Turns out, the one of my crew who disguised himself as a drow soldier has accidentally started a peasant uprising, and now there’s fighting and flames, and me without trousers.”

There were cries of disbelief now, and Santiago had to agree that this was a most unexpected turn. Their plan had been for stealth, more or less, speed, in some matters, and most of all, not a violent political upheaval, which had backfired. The result had been the drow priestess losing so much face that she’d been trying to take vengeance on him since. Foiling her first attempt to assassinate him by invoking extraplanar entities who had eviscerated a mercenary company - Or was it two? No, no it was two, he’d just disliked the first victims enough that their deaths hadn’t stuck - before being dispatched hadn’t sweetened her disposition. Nor had the scathing assessment of the priestess’ skills in the bedroom - particularly the part about her being a selfish, unskilled tragona - which one of the demons had quite happily delivered back to its mistress. And read out loud. In front of the assembled matriarchs of the city. And the army. She certainly was proving his initial assessment of spitters to be incorrect though, Santiago had to give her credit. Not much though. He hated being wrong.

One of these days, Santiago would meet a priestess and not piss her off. Druidesses, wizardesses, sorceresses, the odd bruja, none of them went to these lengths to kill him; they saw, they came, they parted company. But mares hirviendo, one more priestess, and he’d have to sit down, engage in some serious introspection, and if there was one thing Santiago hated, it was serious introspection. Worse than treacherous shipmates, venereal disease, being wrong, people who didn’t like him, and treacherous, lying, backstabbing, greedy shipmates. One in particular who Santiago was going to find, and when he did, unravel every ounce of happiness that traitorous, goat-fucking bastard had built for himself, before leaving him a broken, bitter shell of a man, stranded on some godless spit of an island where only -

“Eh?” Santiago snatched the folded note in front of his face; one of his crew, a recent addition who hadn’t yet distinguished herself enough yet to get out of tracking down the captain, and as such wore an expression hinting that she was superbly relieved that the captain was still wearing his pants, was sheepishly waving it at him.

Santiago snatched the paper away, indicating with a tilt of his head that the junior sailor ought return to the ship, and as she left, broke the seal holding the paper shut. He bared his teeth in glee as he scanned the missive. His first mate had returned, and not a moment too soon either, he’d started to miss the catfolk thief.
It never failed to astound him, how much time Akela would save if she just wrote out her notes to him, instead of spending four times longer on these intricate cartoons. This one was a masterpiece though: an exceptionally sneaky cat, who Santiago knew to be exceptionally sneaky because of her exaggeratedly delicate posture, was snatching a comically oversized bag, labelled "gold coins". Behind her, a wolf covered with lipstick marks and with smell lines coming off of him - Santiago hastily dipped his head down and sniffed. He smelled fine, he’d bathed that morning - was leading away a guard, who was conveniently labelled "Dumb guard".

“Mates, it’s been a delight, always,” Santiago flashed a grin at no one in particular. Although, that mercenary over by the bar had a great set of tits on her. Nor would Santiago be in the least opposed to taking that handsome sailor, who was still paying rapt attention, and unfurling his sails. Eventually, at least. Santiago had to concede that he should probably be properly penitent and let el novio have his way with the lad’s arse first. It was just polite, to bring back unfucked souvenirs from shore leave, he reasoned as he curled the letter back up on itself. “Unfortunately, pressing matters call me away from your scintillating company.”

The mercenary didn’t seem to be paying him any heed, and he was in a hurry, so no sense wasting time trying to persuade an uninterested party. Indeed, he saw as he stood, she was mesmerised by the sway of the bard’s hips (and they were lovely hips, he couldn’t fault her taste in the least), and silently, he wished the woman well. Besides, judging by the stains on her armour, the mercenary got seasick easily, and he’d no place in his bed for una desperdicia de espacio like that.

“Where you off to, then?” the sailor’s voice held a pleading note, and he licked his lips when Santiago held his gaze for that tiniest bit longer. Lad had best have his sea legs by now, he’d certainly need them when Santiago was through with his arse. He was a dashing fellow though. so if the half-elf knew how to handle a rudder, Santiago would keep him around.

“To far off lands, where I shall dive into danger, plunder strongholds, seize some tesoro, no doubt have the sort of adventures that a man recants to strangers bar when he’s of a mind to make some friends,” was Santiago’s grandiose response. He flipped the mercenary a few coins on the way out, with a twitch of his head towards the bard and a wink, one lech to another. “And please note that at least two of those were double ent-”

“Look lads, it’s the pretty boy!”

Mar sin fondo.

“You? Again?” Santiago ground his teeth. He’d really thought he’d left these fuckwits behind him. “I thought you would be too stupid to find me. Clearly, I was wrong. I dislike being wrong. Also, you nearly ruined my coat. I quite like this coat.” He let out a theatrical sigh. “That makes two things I should kill you for. Also, compañero, a man with your bone structure really shouldn’t be slinging around “pretty boy” like an insult,. At least I can grow a beard.” Here, Santiago made a show of stretching on his toes and leaning forwards, as if peering down the brigand’s shirt. “Well. Body hair too, it would seem, sin pelo.

When the leader of the highwaymen’s mouth fell open, Santiago swept in to fill the space. He’d been accused of being in love with his own voice more than once, and though a good number of the accusers had changed their tune when they discovered what else he could do with his mouth, he’d cop to it that yes, he did love to talk. Kept people distracted from their plans to kill him, for starters.

“Sorry, was that too fast for you to follow?” There was a handful people that he could think of in this world who would recognize this particular flavour of cheer, and only because they were actually still friends with him for some inexplicable reason, and therefore were still alive after they heard it. “Let’s start over.”

Santiago raised his hand, clenched in fist, palm facing away from the highwaymen. He unfurled his thumb first “Our previous encounter suggests that I’m being very generous when I say that you are in possession of half a brain between the four of you, which makes it astounding that you tracked me this far. I’m going to chalk that one up either to sheer dumb luck on your part, or else I’ve been neglecting to toss a few coins to el mar.”

He extended his pointer finger now. “Next, to fill time while I decide if I want to rip you a new asshole or just outright disintegrate you, I once again must raise the matter of my coat, and, as you can clearly see, the three inch tear it now sports in one sleeve. I’ve quite a long, rich history with this coat, you see, found it on a ship infested with undead, had to fight my way off of it with an old friend, and we lost a few good sailors there. Never knew their names, but one of them had a pretty mouth I’d been planning all manner of sins with, so I was sad for a moment.”

Santiago’s middle finger rose, making for three fingers showing. “I should also point out that you’ve proven me in error about your tracking abilities, and I will admit, I am a prideful man, so I might just keep your skulls around to see if I can’t contrive something nasty for them.”

“Then,” Now only his little finger was still curled down. “I again criticize you for your blatant hypocrisy in calling me a pretty boy. I am not, nor have I ever, been anything less than a handsome hunk of a male specimen, a fact which more men and women than your tiny brain could ever dream of can confirm. That seems like pettiness on your part, no doubt some projected insecurity because su culo es tan lampiño como su cara.. Under other circumstances, I’d be verifying that claim.” Santiago quipped, with his most predatory sneer. “But to go by that vacant expression, I’d wager you require some further simplification of the stream of insults I’ve hurled in your general direction, which is just reinforcing my desire to leave you strewn about this fine establishment in a form easy enough for the lovely owners to clean up, so here it is, friend: given as you’ve pissed me right the fuck off, it’s time for me to tell your fifth mistake.”

He paused now, extending his last finger, slow and grandiose, and all four of the highwaymen were so busy staring at his left hand, and what was revealed to be lying in his palm. Which meant that not one noticed that Santiago was also reaching down to grasp the handle of his rapier with his right hand. “You should never let a magus keep talking for this long.

As he barked out the final words of the incantation, Santiago crushed his hand around the lodestone and pinch of sand that he’d palmed from his spell component pouch, feeling the components vanish as he pointed at the largest, nastiest looking of the four, who was also standing farthest back. The highwayman just had time to stare at the thin green beam lancing out from Santiago’s fingertip, before he’d crumbled to dust.

His companions’ heads had whipped about at their now departed comrade’s cry of anguish, a fatal mistake on their part, as Santiago was now leaping across the table, thrusting his rapier through the one besides the leader, channeling one of his favourite necromancies through the blade as he did; his victim’s crumpled, and Santiago felt the rush of life energy through his veins. He laughed, dodging a clumsy blow from one of the man’s comrades as Santiago pulled his sword out, then reached out to grasp the man’s face, conjuring a burst of fire. The third idiot fell to the ground, clutching his face and screaming, so Santiago did him a favour and stabbed him, somewhat fatally.

That left the leader, the one who’d called him pretty boy.

“So, what’ll it be then, compañero, spell or steel?” With a savage flourish of his blade, Santiago offered out both options, conjuring a tiny spark of light to his fingertip. “Despite what your face would suggest, your balls must have dropped by now. Man up and stop wasting my time, I’ve a sailor to fuck and a heist to plot.”

The leader started running. From the scent, he’d pissed himself.

Santiago sighed. “I’ll be right back,” he said to the sailor he still planned on taking back on board. He shrugged off his coat, making sure to give a quick flex as he tossed the garment on the tablet. “Keep an eye on that, would you, hermosa?” Santiago asked, and with a wink, added, “Fighting always gives me a raging cockstand,” before he took off after the last target.

He did wait until he was out of sight before shifting, just because that half-elf was nearly in the sack, and he didn’t want to risk having to handle matters himself that night. Some folk had issues with being fucked by a werewolf, they were convinced that they could catch it. Santiago had lost count of the times he’d had to explain that no, he had to bite them in forma híbrido to transfer the curse, no he wouldn’t transfer it, because that would be rude, no, you can’t contract lycanthropy from swallowing, and no, he wasn’t transforming, that was his chest hair, he never had sex in anything other than human form, that would just be fucking weird, and you know what, you should probably just leave.

With his heightened senses, Santiago caught the man’s scent fast enough; the leader of the highwaymen had not only pissed himself, he’d shat his pants too. At this point, putting the man out of his misery - mar sin fondo, to say nothing of Santiago’s - would be a kindness.

Sure enough, there stood the snivelling coward, fumbling with his longsword, a dark stain spreading from his groin down his trousers. He started crying as he saw the werewolf barreling down the track towards him, pleading for his life.

“Shouldn’t have ripped my coat,” Santiago growled, baring his fangs, and then he leapt in for the kill, feeling the feeble blows glance off of his skin. One did manage to cut his arm as he shredded the highwayman’s throat; it would leave a dashing scar, he suspected. When there was really no chance that the leader of the pack of morons had survived, Santiago stood, surveying his handiwork.

He spat out blood as he shifted back, wiping his mouth on the back of one now slightly less hairy forearm, before picking through the pockets of what had once been an elf, and now….well, they’d be able to say he’d been humanoid. Maybe. If he’d not had more pressing sailors to attend to, Santiago would have burned the body, and kicked a few of the more distinguishing bones into a ditch, out of spite. “These look sentimental,” Santiago remarked, fishing out a pair of earrings and a locket. “Rude of you to take them, eh, dumbass?”. Though, and only because Santiago prided himself on being the two biggest dicks in the room, he planted his boots firmly on either side of the remains, undid his placket, and paid his final respects to what remained of the unfortunate highwayman.

When he strode back into the inn, bloodspattered, shirtless, and grinning widely, the room fell dead silent. His sailor friend still sat at the table, one protective hand on the coat. From the looks of things, the rest of the man’s crew had abandoned him, which was awfully rude, but Santiago needed to recruit some new blood, and besides, the man was handsome; with that jaw, he’d be sharing a bunk with at least one or two crew members who’d come aboard under similar circumstances in no time.

Follacabra ran into an owlbear, got himself mauled, it looks like,” Santiago said casually, in a tone that just dared anyone to challenge him. “Must have been fiendish. Pissed on his corpse too. Terrible, petty things, those fiendish owlbears. Had these on him though,” he continued to the innkeep, plunking the jewelry he’d recovered onto the bar. “To my eye, they look old and expensive and probably belonged to someone who, if they aren’t dead, would very much like them back, so you should no doubt hunt the poor dear down. And if they aren’t gracious enough to reward you,” Santiago fished around in his pocket, before dropping a good handful of coin on the counter. It was probably too much, he’d never hear the end of it from his first mate, about his spendthrift ways. “We’ll say a round of drinks on me, and the rest to you as my apologies for the mess, por favor?” The patrons remaining let out a ragged cheer, and the innkeeper shrugged in acceptance. Santiago added a few more coins to the pile, because people who didn’t raise a fuss over an oddly well-spoken pirate spilling some blood over their floors deserved a good tip.

“Well,” Santiago sauntered over to the table to collect his coat. “You even folded it,” he said, surprised.

“Me mother raised me well,” the sailor muttered, looking down. His eyes kept slipped back towards Santiago’s groin though. Santiago reached out, seizing the man’s stubbly chin firmly, and pulled him to his feet for a good, hard kiss. He’d always had a thing for half-elves, that lanky elven grace roughened up by human blood.

He heard the mercenary at the bar let out a wolf whistle, and Santiago threw her a cheerful salute without breaking the kiss, his free hand sliding down the sailor’s back to cup one hard ass cheek and give it a squeeze. That would definitely get him out of trouble with el novio.

“What say you, let’s back to my ship then, and I’ll show you the other way I make men scream, eh?” the magus growled, once he’d broken the kiss.

He’d been wasting time for long enough, his long-absent first mate’s letter was just the excuse he needed to go sailing into trouble. She’d been planning this particular heist for ages now, and Santiago had been telling Akela that he’d die of boredom before she set the damn thing in motion. And now that she’d proven him wrong. If nothing else, it would be good fun.

“What’s your name, by the way?” Santiago asked the sailor, slinging an arm around the man’s shoulder and leading him out to the dock. “You don’t have to tell me, I’ll just make one up.”

“S-Sebastian,”

“Sebastian! Good, strong name! Bienvenido a bordo!”

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Let the E Presses Roll!



The next installment in our ongoing Flying Pincushion book series Into the Breach: the Magus, 2nd Wave has hit the E presses as of earlier toady, see our products page for links to friendly online book sellers that would be happy to provide you a PDF copy for a reasonable price.

Best to all in this newly sprung Spring,

Jeff Harris
The Flying Pincushion

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Questions about Class: the Magus


Once again, a warm welcome to you, readers! We are creeping up on Valentine’s Day, and magic is in the air. Things are getting hot enough to melt the snow away. To clarify, the heat is pouring from our presses and the magic you feel is emanating from an exciting double-bill of products. Of course, I’m referring to the upcoming releases of Into the Breach - the Magus: 2nd Wave and Tides of War – Magus/x: Multi-classing Feats for Magi.

So, to get us warmed up for these fun and powerful books, we have fellow Pincushioneer Dylan Brooks to give us a little more insight on the Magus class.

DM: First off, thanks a lot for taking the time to let us pick your brain.

DB: You’re welcome! The magus is one of my favorite classes, and I’ve got a lot of content in the upcoming Into the Breach – The Magus: 2nd Wave book. I’m happy to chat about it.

DM: Please, tell us a little about yourself and your contributions to Flying Pincushion.

DB: I’ve been a gamer for longer than I care to think about, ever since the old Gold Box computer games back in the 90s. I’ve been playing and running games since then, in a wide variety of systems over the years. My mainstays these days are Pathfinder and Savage Worlds.

I started with Flying Pincushion when Frank invited me to join based on some stuff I posted on the Paizo forums, where I go by SteelDraco. I’ve also been in Wayfinder several times. Personally, I live in the Great White North of Anchorage, Alaska with my girlfriend and several pets, and work in IT.

DM: So, what exactly is the big draw of the Magus class; what makes a player say “I want to play a Magus”?

DB: Because they want to be awesome, of course! All of my favorite characters have had some mixture of fighting ability and magic – I find I don’t really like playing characters who can do only one thing, and I like having lots of tactical options and choices I can make, especially if I can be clever with how I use powers. Magi are great at that. Is this the right round to buff yourself, blast fire all over your opponents, or hit one target for a pile of damage? How about using a spell in a clever way, or take control of the battlefield? The right magus can do all of that.

DM: From a roleplaying standpoint, how easy (or difficult) is it to integrate Magi into a campaign as a PCs, or even NPCs?

DB: I don’t find it’s difficult at all from the RP side. Magi can fit well into any setting where arcane magic has been around for a while, and that includes most Pathfinder settings. The magus is someone who’s perfected a blend of magic and combat ability; the magus fits anywhere that a wizard does.

You run into trouble if magic is still new or mysterious. A magus doesn’t fit as well in something like Conan, where magic isn’t well understood and is mistrusted. That kind of a lower-magic setting tends to stick closer to the “squishy wizard” tropes, and so the magus doesn’t fit as well there.

In setting, I expect elves are the most magus-oriented of the common races. Elves almost always have a strong magical tradition in Pathfinder, and are usually good with a blade as well. The magus fits that archetype perfectly – just look at the Elf from the old D&D arcade game and you can see how far back the magus goes.

One thing that I’ve found difficult is that there aren’t established traditions for how you expect a magus to look and act in settings, unlike both warrior-types and wizards. You know what a fighter’s training yard or wizard academy should look like, and there are examples of that sort of organization all across the hobby. There’s no similar idea of a magus school, so the GM has to add that sort of thing to his setting. That can take some effort, but I think it’s really cool when the GM takes the time to add that level of detail. For example, in one game I was playing, the GM and I worked out two opposing schools of orcish magi. Since orcs thought of the traditional wizard as a weakling, the magus became the most important arcane caster to them, and there were several different lodges of them – the Lodge of the Burning Blade focused on fire magic, while the Dead Brothers preferred necromancy. Those two traditions made their way into ItB: Magus 2nd Wave as the elemental champion and ebon blade archetypes, respectively.

DM: From a technical standpoint, do you feel there is any “wrong” way to optimize a Magus?

DB: Well, the magus class as it stands makes a lot of decisions for you. You can’t typically fight with a two-handed weapon or a shield unless you’re using an archetype because of how spell combat works. You need to use a melee weapon to use spellstrike, so you can’t normally use a bow or a thrown weapon as your primary fighting style. So that means mostly you’ll be using a one-handed melee weapon.

Spellstrike strongly encourages high-crit weapons, like your rapiers and scimitars. The Dervish Dance feat means that a vast number of Pathfinder magi are followers of a certain deity – while this is a powerful option, I don’t think it’s that interesting. I like a rapier or bastard sword more for my magi, though the one I’m currently playing is actually an arcanist/magus who uses a battle axe and switches all his magic to cold spells. Certainly not optimized, but I had a miniature I wanted to use for him and he’s a lot of fun.

One of the things I love about Pathfinder is that there’s a way to build just about any idea you want and make them contribute, so it’s more than possible to play the shield-magus, or the archer-magus with the right archetype. That means it’s hard to say any particular way is “wrong”

– just different preferences.

DM: Magus arcana help provide the players with a wide variety of ways to make their Magus unique. What is your favorite Magus arcana?

DB: That’s a tough call, and it varies considerably between the magi I’ve played. Accurate Strike is really good, especially with my high-Strength, Power Attacking half-orc magus who could tear through just about anything. Arcane Dealer makes the magus into a very cool and flavorful version of Gambit from Marvel Comics. The one I’m most excited to try out right now is Flamboyant Arcana, which lets you combine the mechanics of the magus and the swashbuckler.

DM: Did you ever feel intimidated by the idea of playing a Magus before actually trying it?

DB: Not at all. I read Ultimate Magic and within a few weeks I asked my regular GM if I could switch characters (from an elven ranger/wizard/arcane archer to a half-orc magus). I really liked playing that magus until the campaign ended, at 15th level. We had to hash out how a few things worked (like switching the grip on your weapon from one-handed to two-handed, and how many attacks you get when you spellstrike) but I very much enjoyed it.

Most of the early issues I experienced have been clarified now, by the way. Switching your grip on a weapon is a free action, and spellstrike means you can get two attacks (the free touch attack you get from casting a touch spell can be made with your weapon via spellstrike, and then you get the normal weapon attack).

DM: You’re trying to sell someone on the idea of trying a Magus, but they seem reluctant. What do you tell them?

DB: I would say that the magus can be made to do just about any “magical warrior” concept you might want to play. Do you want to be the big, hulking warrior with a few tricks up his sleeve? You can do that. How about the swift, clever elf with a quick blade and magic to hop all around the battlefield? You can do that. The dwarven runemaster, infusing his weapons and armor with powerful magic to beat his foes into submission? Yup, got you covered there too. If your character concept includes both kicking ass and casting spells, the magus is the class for you.

DM: What do you feel is, bar-none, the most useful class feature of the Magus?

DB: That’s tough. It’s either spell recall or spell combat. Spell recall gets you more spells, which is huge. Spell combat is probably the most efficient action economy boost in the game, as it lets you make a full attack and also cast just about any spell you want. Most other action economy boosts in the game like that are limited use (like Fervor from the warpriest) or are severely limited in what they apply to how how easy they are to get (like Pounce, which is usually really tough to get). A magus can spell combat with every spell they cast in the day, and honestly they have a pretty good reason to do so.

DM: If there was one thing you could change about the Magus class, what would it be?

DB: I would probably expand the weapon properties you could add to your weapon with the arcane pool ability. There are a lot of very useful non-core weapon abilities that could be added to the list. I’d also consider some kind of protection from dispel magic built into the class, as right now they’re very vulnerable to anyone who can dispel their buffs.

DM: Well, thank you, Dylan, for taking the time to chat!

DB: You’re very welcome, David! I encourage everybody to check out the magus and play one if they haven’t yet!