I’ve recently been re-reading the Berkley Publishing Corporation’s authorized editions of Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories published under the titles The Hour of the Dragon, People of the Black Circle, and Red Nails. Howard’s tales have stood the test of time for about four score years, and they remain fertile fields for fantasy RPG inspiration.
While Howard’s vibrant prose holds my attention rapt, I wasn’t so awed that I couldn’t pause every now and then to jot down a noteworthy adjective or colorful phrase. Out of this list grows new the traits for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Here’s a sample of one each combat, faith, magic, and social traits.
Battle-Born: You were born under and/or into violent circumstances. Perhaps you were born on the field of battle when raiders attacked your village. Perhaps from an early age circumstances forced you kill or be killed. You have learned to face down unfavorable odds and still emerge victorious. You gain a +1 trait bonus to attack rolls in melee combat when you are threatened by more than one foe.
Barbaric Mythology: You grew up among so-called barbarians. Against the night, your people would light bonfires and gather to hear tales of gods and demons, heroes and villains, and intrigues and wars. You gain a +1 trait bonus on any two of Knowledge (history), Knowledge (local), and Knowledge (religion). One of the two chosen skills is always a class skill for you.
Superstitious: You know the world is a dangerous place influenced by unseen forces and malevolent spirits. The unwary and incautious are more likely to fall victim to these malign supernatural powers. Fortunately, you are well-versed in the little rituals and taboos necessary to defend yourself against harm. You gain a +1 trait bonus on saving throws against the spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities of evil creatures.
Iron Nerves: You don’t scare easily. You don’t rattle easily. Nothing seems to phase you, at least not for long. You gain a +2 trait bonus to Will saves against fear effects. If someone uses Intimidate to demoralize you, you are demoralized for 1 fewer rounds (to a minimum of 1 round).
In other news, Spes Magna Games PDFs are now available at DriveThruRPG. Check the link in the sidebar to the left. Quid Novi? subscribers please note that the ultra double-dog top secret discount code does not currently work at DriveThruRPG. I’ll fix that once I figure out how.