Shadow and Steel
The people of the River Kingdoms are as diverse as they are hardy, and those from many walks of life have answered the call to find the cause of the plagues of Pitax. The traits presented in this guide and in the Pathfinder Character Traits Web Enhancement— recently updated to Pathfinder RPG Rules and available at paizo.com—are designed to help you customize your character, allowing you to further distinguish them from your standard class, as well as to provide a means to help flesh out their history. Presented here are a number of Campaign Traits that are particularly suitable for characters playing in the Shadow and Steel Adventure Path.
Campaign traits are tailored to a specific Adventure Path and give your character a built-in reason to begin the first adventure in a new campaign.
Campaign Traits assume a lot more about your character’s backstory, but they are meant to help serve as inspiration for a player working to create a detailed and interesting history for her character. You have a certain amount of leeway in adjusting a campaign trait’s expected backstory once you’ve selected which trait is right for you; just be sure to get your GM’s approval before you run with a modified history. All of the following traits revolve around characters making their homes in and around the northern area of teh River Kingdoms, a region involved in the events that touch off the Shadow and Steel Adventure Path.
You can take a look at these traits to get a general, spoiler-free idea of the types of foes and challenges your character might encounter over the course of the Adventure Path. Knowing that there are going to be elements of exploration, banditry, deception, technology, survival, and the like should help you build a character that fits more organically into the campaign you’re about to join. These traits all lead your character to become interested in an exploratory effort meant to help the land of Pitax recover from the plagues that have recently befallen them.
Chymist: You have extensive expertise in the creation of potent potables. You have apprenticed beneath one of the master alchemists in the city of Crimsondale, but now you are an apprentice no more.
Benefit: You begin play with a portable alchemist’s lab. You also gain a +1 trait bonus to Knowledge (nature) and Heal. One of these skills (your choice) is a class skill for you.
Craftsman: You have devoted much of your life to making quality items or bric a brac. Perhaps you are a luthier, a jeweler, or even a tailor. Whatever the case, you’ve found that a caravan heading to Pitax would be an excellent opportunity to expand your market outside of Crimsondale.
Benefit: You gain a +2 trait bonus to any one Craft skill. You begin play with a set of masterwork artisan’s tools, which are perfect for the job and add a +2 competence bonus to that Craft skill check.
Falconry: You lay claim to a line of nobility, from the landed gentry in the River Kingdoms, and perhaps beyond. You have attended some of the finest schools and perhaps even have a title or lands. Your free time is spent entertaining or engaging in the sport of falconry. Perhaps it is little surprise that the unofficial motto of Falconcrest is “Nobles love falconry.” You’ve been asked to journey to Pitax and provide what assistance you can as a “personal” favor from a member of the Crimson Council. This may be a great opportunity for you or your family to expand their influence.
Benefit: You begin play with a falcon and a falconer’s glove. You also gain a +1 trait bonus to Handle Animal and Diplomacy and start with an extra 1000 gp to spend.
River Folk: You were raised in the River Kingdoms, a land of dense forests and rolling plains, of crystalline rivers and endless sapphire skies. You come from hearty stock and were raised with simple sensibilities of hard work, well-deserved gains, the importance of charity and compassion, and the value of personal and familial honor. Yours is the country of free-spirited heroes who refused to bend or break. You care little for matters of politics and nobles or of deception and schemes. The call for adventurers willing to assist Pitax with their recent troubles has inflamed your sense of patriotism and honor, and so you have signed on to the caravan heading westward.
Benefit: Your hardy nature grants you a +1 trait bonus on all Fortitude saves.
Stormborn: Your birth was heralded by peals of thunder and flashes of lightning. When others made for their homes before a thunderstorm, you sat back and enjoyed the feel of rain on your skin and the ozone crackling in the air. The power of lightning flows through your veins, and you have embraced that power wholeheartedly.
Benefit:You gain electricity resistance 3. This resistance stacks with all other sources. In addition, if you are an arcane caster, electricity spells you cast deal an extra point of damage.
Sword Scion: You have lived all your life in and around the city of Restov in Brevoy, growing up on tales of Baron Sirian Aldori and the exploits of your home city’s heroic and legendary swordlords. Perhaps one of your family members was an Aldori swordlord, you have a contact among their members, or you have dreamed since childhood of joining. Regardless, you idolize the heroes, styles, and philosophies of the Aldori and have sought to mimic their vaunted art. Before you can petition to join their ranks, however, you feel that you must test your mettle. Joining a caravan to investigate Pitax’s troubles seems like a perfect way to improve your skills and begin a legend comparable to that of Baron Aldori.
Benefit: You begin play with a longsword or Aldori dueling sword and gain a +1 trait bonus on all attacks and combat maneuvers made with such weapons.
Technic League Outcast: You once worked on behalf of the Technic League, a cabal of sorcerers dedicated to exploiting secrets found within their homeland of Numeria. For reasons known only to you, you have left their organization. The terms of your departure are your own; you could have left nearly unknown to the Leage, or there may be agents even now waiting to quickly and quietly silence you. Permanently.
Benefit:You gain a +1 trait bonus to Knowledge (Arcana) and Knowledge (Engineering), and one of these skills (your choice) is a class skill for you. You also start with a set of VEEMOD goggles.
Additional campaign traits from Iron Gods Adventure Path:
These campaign traits are also suitable for this campaign.
Against the Technic League: Although the Black Sovereign rules Numeria in name, it’s the spellcasters of the Technic League who hold the real power. While their influence is certainly strongest in the capital of Starfall, their touch can be felt even here in Torch—the League takes a significant cut of the town’s income as tithes every month. For some reason, you have a grudge against the Technic League. Perhaps your parents lost their jobs as the result of an act they took that displeased the League—you might even suspect the League was responsible for their deaths. Alternatively, you could just rankle at the League’s open acceptance of slavery, their reputation for sadism and cruelty, or their penchant for hoarding and controlling technological wonders. Talk to your GM to refine the reasons why you hate the Technic League, but you’re convinced that they are somehow responsible for putting out the town’s torch and that evidence of their tampering can be found in the caverns below—if you can find evidence of the Technic League working against Torch’s better interests, that could well be a step toward the town’s independence from the League. Choose either weapons or spells. If you choose weapons, you gain a +2 trait bonus on all damage rolls made against targets you know are associated with the Technic League. If you choose spells, increase the save DC of your spells by 1 when you target such a foe.
Local Ties: You have ties to a prominent local in the townof Torch—the missing wizard Khonnir Baine. If you’re a wizard, alchemist, or other scholarly type, he may have been your tutor or teacher. If you’re of a more martial bent, Khonnir could instead have been a friend or business associate of your mother, father, or patron. He may even have been your adoptive father, in which case you likely have a bond of friendship or rivalry with his adopted daughter Val (your GM has more information on her in this case if you wish to know more for your character’s background). Your association with Khonnir has given you insight into how technology works. Choose Disable Device or Knowledge (engineering). You gain a +1 trait bonus on checks with this skill, and it is a class skill for you. In addition, you are treated as if you possessed the Technologist feat forthe purposes of resolving checks associated with that skill.
If you gain the Technologist feat, your trait bonus for the selected skill increases to +3.
Numerian Archaeologist: Numeria is a land ripe for archaeological exploration, since so many of the strange technological dungeons have been either avoided by the superstitious barbarian tribes or have been locked down by the Technic League, leaving many of them untouched and ripe for exploration. You’ve studied the strange language associated with these eerie technological ruins, and are eager to start exploring them—you suspect that Torch’s namesake is in fact part of a larger buried ruin, and you hope to enter these ruins and learn their original purpose by exploring the caves below town. You gain Androffan as an additional language. In addition, you possess a knack for technological items; when you use a timeworn technological item, roll twice when determining any glitches the item might cause and choose which result to use as your actual result. Talk to your GM for more information about resolving glitches.
Robot Slayer: The strange automatons that plague the wilds of Numeria are a blight upon the world, and the idea that there could be countless more of these creatures lying in wait in the unknown ruins scattered throughout the region chills your blood. Khonnir’s recovery of a deactivated robot from the caves below Torch worries you—not only could that thing wake up and run amok in town, but there may well be more lurking below! You want to explore the caves under Torch to determine if there is indeed a lurking robot threat below town. You gain a +1 trait bonus on attack rolls against robots and a +1 dodge bonus to AC against attacks made by robots.
Skymetal Smith: The fires atop Torch Hill have long been a boon to smiths and metalworkers, and your family is no exception. Whether you grew up in Torch or simply made several trips here with your parents to use the fire, this was to be your first time to use the torch for your own project. You managed to use the fires to craft a small weapon or piece of armor from skymetal, but not long thereafter the fires went out. The violet f lames are as much a part of your upbringing as anything else, and their loss distresses you; you hope to find a way to rekindle the torch below the hill. You’ve long hoped to work with skymetal, and begin the game with a small metal bauble made of the skymetal of your choice—you made this item yourself. The item is nothing more than a valuable art object worth 100 gp. You can sell it to gain an additional 100 gp when creating your character, but if you keep it, your pride in its crafting grants you a +2 trait bonus on Will saving throws made against emotion and fear effects. You lose this bonus if you willingly sell or give up the item, but if it is destroyed or lost through no fault of your own, you retain a +1 trait bonus on such Will saves.
Stargazer: They say the strange technological ruins scattered throughout Numeria came from the skies several thousand years ago. The concept of life on other planets far beyond Golarion has always fascinated you, and you’ve long hoped to learn more about what life on those other planets may have been like. You’ve heard stories about the strange alien creatures found in Numerian dungeons and hope to learn all you can about them—perhaps some of these aliens can be found in the caverns below Torch! You gain a +2 trait bonus on Knowledge checks to identify alien monsters’ abilities and weaknesses. In addition, you gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (geography) checks, and this skill is a class skill for you. You are treated as if you possessed the Technologist feat for the purposes of resolving checks to identify an alien creature using a Knowledge skill and for all Knowledge (geography) checks. If you already possess the Technologist feat, then your trait bonus on Knowledge (geography) checks increases to +3.