The material below is Open Game Content
This section presents several tricks that gnomes have developed over time. They are not exactly secrets, and gnomes would be delighted to teach them to members of other races… if they only had the patience or even the tiniest spark of interest to learn them. Gnome children can learn these through formal education, while other races only learn them by hiring a gnome tutor or closely collaborating with a gnomish artisan or spellcaster.
The Complete Guide to…
One of the secrets of gnomish advanced crafts is actually very simple: sharing. Whatever the field, gnomes write down their discoveries and take the time to compile them. Not only do they keep their ideas fresh when doing so, but they can show their notes to fellow artisans and receive criticism, praise and insight. Only the most dangerous research is kept under wraps, and younger gnomes are encouraged to browse the notes their forebears left behind. Just to check that nobody else achieved what they want to do, or if somebody did, find a way to do it better.
Given the love gnomes have for names, these volumes of compiled notes tend to have overly long names, such as ‘Pimbrog Maplestaff Domblerkin’s Most Complete Guide to All Things of Arthropodic and Arachnid Origin with Appendix of Rare Toxic and Venomous Substances Extracted Therefrom, Illustrated.’ Saner folk would simply call such a book ‘Guide to Insects and Their Poisons’.
Benefits of Notes
Whether reading an alchemist’s journal or making use of an engineer’s blueprints, whoever is in possession of gnomish notes can definitely use them as reference to complement his own work. Notes give a bonus to a skill check, with some of the most comprehensive notes capable of granting the use of a feat while referencing the books, or allowing readers to learn those feats.
To properly use a collection of notes, the character must have them at hand and be able to consult them at the same time as he makes his skill check or at least one round per Intelligence modifier earlier, which makes referencing notes a tricky proposal during a battle. Feats cannot be consulted in this way except metamagic feats; any other kind must be referenced in a calm and uninterrupted working environment (as is the case for item creation feats) or may just be used to study the feat in question (as with most general feats).
Referencing notes during combat is a standard action that provokes an attack of opportunity. The Games Master has the final say whether any given skill or feat may be referenced or learned through a note collection.
Note collections share many characteristics and follow the format below to describe their exact benefits:
Title: The notes’ title reflects not only the nature of the work inside, but also the author’s personality. For gnomes, the collection’s title is as important as the content.
Type: Gnomes jot down their research notes in three different formats, each being useful in its own way but posing their own obstacles to understanding them. Although not as convoluted as the magical writing that appears in spellbooks, gnomes slip into technical jargon more often than not, even going so far as to put down their personal thoughts on any given subject.
Blueprints: These diagrams illustrate in exacting detail the construction of a particular item or type of item. Blueprints may only have Craft skills and item construction feats as their subject (see below).
Notebooks: Notebooks are the most common forms of note collection. The only thing that separates notebooks from formal books is the haphazard way in which they are jotted down. They can contain diagrams, sketches, formulae or anything about a skill. Although most commonly used to describe Knowledge or Profession skills, a notebook can describe the use of any skill or feat (i.e. ‘Clavis Cattlepot’s Climbing for Dummies’, ‘The Wollypog Guide to Picking Locks’, and ‘Secrets of the Iron Fist of Righteous Fury’, which teaches the Power Attack and Cleave feats).
Journals: These books are hard to identify as a source of knowledge, as they are written as the author’s diary, collecting his impressions and personal opinions as well as useful instructions. Several pages may be devoted entirely to personal matters rather than the subject in question. Journals are rarely released, and circulate on the open market only if the author is dead or he lost it. Due to their nature, these notes grant an additional +1 insight bonus to the skill checks they relate to, due to the author’s personal comments. However, a journal cannot be used in combat or any difficult or improvised condition, negating any bonus received when referencing the text while doing anything else but sitting down to read quietly.
Subject(s): The notes describe the uses and practices of one or more skills, making this the most important field in a collection’s description. Next to each skill is its Depth Rating as the total skill ranks that are described in the notes. To use the notes to complement a skill check, a character subtracts his skill ranks from the notes’ Depth Rating. The result is the bonus that the notes give the character to his skill check. The minimum bonus that a notes collection grants a perusing character is +2, even if the character’s skill ranks exceed the notes’ Depth Rating, as the notes serve as a useful reminder for things the character may accidentally forget. Authors benefit from their own notes in a different way; instead of subtracting their current ranks from the Depth Rating, they gain an insight bonus to their skill check equal half the Depth Rating when consulting their own notes. For feats that can be referenced, the character gains a single use of the feat after reading the notes, and he must use it within a number of rounds equal to his Intelligence modifier or forget how to do it.
By studying from the notes, a character can increase his skill ranks or learn a feat without waiting to increase his level, but he must sacrifice a number of experience points to do it, delaying his level advancement in lieu of increasing some of his class features. Increasing a skill rank costs 85 experience points multiplied by the character’s current skill ranks. He cannot increase a skill from zero by this method unless the notes are written as a learning aid (see Creating Note Collections below), as the notes use jargon that only someone with at least a passing familiarity with the subject would understand. Normal note collections are useful for improving a skill, not learning a new one. A character may not buy more skill ranks than his Intelligence modifier or 2, whichever is higher; to learn more from the notes, he must wait until he gains a level in any class. Also, a character cannot study the notes to increase his ranks beyond the notes’ Depth Rating; once he reaches the notes’ level of knowledge, there is nothing new that he can learn from them and they are useful only as reference.
Learning a feat carries a higher cost equal to the character’s current level multiplied by 300 experience points. The character must meet all the prerequisites for acquiring the feat before spending the experience to learn it from the notes. If the notes do contain the knowledge to learn any prerequisite feat, it must be learned and paid for separately. A character may not learn more than two feats per level in this way.
The time needed to complete the study of a feat or skill is one week per 500 xp invested. A character may not spend an amount of experience that causes him to drop in level, but he can opt not to gain a level when accumulating enough experience, spending it instead on learning feats and skills in this way.
Speciality Fields: Notes may speak about a skill in general or delve into obscure details about some subdiscipline. Speciality fields add bonuses to the work’s Depth Rating in a skill, but only when applied to the specific task that they describe. A speciality can be anything from one of the tasks in the skill’s description in Core Rulebook I to a specialisation invented by players or Games Masters. Examples of speciality fields are:
Craft (weaponsmithing): Swords, halberds, double weapons, small weapons, exotic weapons.
Intimidate: Smaller creatures, scaring a humanoid type, interrogation techniques.
Knowledge (nature): Jungles, animals, hallucinogenic plants, terrain.
Profession (sailor): Knots, fixing leaks, securing sails, handling.
Scry: Long distances, using connections, surreptitious scrying, casting through scrying devices.
The bonus ranks from a speciality apply when referencing the work to complement a skill check related to the field but not to learning the skill through experience expenditure.
In the case of feats, only metamagic and item creation feats can have specialisations’ in the form of schools of magic, specific spells or items, spell levels or something invented by players or Games Masters. Some special feats may have specialities under the Games Master’s judgment. When a work includes a specialisation for a feat it states the specific effect of that specialisation. As the reference saves him time and money item creation feats specialisations’ list the amount of gold that the crafter may deduct from the market price of making such an item for the purpose of calculating cost to make and experience point cost. Metamagic specialisations’ can reduce the final casting level of the metamagic spell at the cost of one point of temporary ability damage of the caster’s spellcasting ability (Intelligence for wizards, Wisdom for divine spellcasters and Charisma for sorcerers and bards). Examples of speciality fields are:
Craft Wondrous Item: Golems, boots, jewellery.
Forge Ring: Abjuration magic, cure spells.
Brew Potions: Potions of haste, potions reproducing 2nd level spells).
Maximised Spell: Spells with fire descriptor, spells with personal range.
Extended Spell: Evocation magic, lawful spells.
It is entirely possible that a note collection contains a speciality field without the basic skill or feat included in the subjects. This means that the notes are only good when applying them to the specific tasks for which they were written, and not for learning the use of the more general applications of either skill or feat.
Abusing someone else’s notes does carry some peril: developing a dependency on the text and using it like a crutch instead of a tool. Each time a character uses another’s notes to give a bonus to his own skill checks or gain the temporary use of a feat and the check or use are successful, he must roll a Will save (DC 5 + Depth Rating for skills, DC 15 for feats); if he fails, he is ‘addicted’ to the notes. Using that skill without the notes incurs a 2 morale penalty to the check, as the character is not as confident in his own capacity without consulting the notes. The character can get rid of this penalty by going an entire week without consulting the notes. If the character has the same or more ranks in the skill than the notes’ Depth Rating, he is not in danger of depending on the notes for his performance, as he knows that his level of expertise is the same as the notes’ author.
Item Creation Manuals
When the notes contain the instructions for an item creation feat and a reader does not have that feat, there is a danger that he will misunderstand something and botch the whole creation process. He rolls a caster check with a DC equal to 10 plus the feat’s caster level prerequisite; if the crafter does not meet the caster level prerequisite, he adds +1 to the DC for every level that he needs to meet the prerequisite. If he fails the check, all materials are ruined and the spells invested dissipate. If the notes are written with a speciality field, the author benefits from the cost reduction as if he was a normal reader.
Creating Notes Collections
Any character may write a journal or chart a blueprint in such a way that it bestows the bonuses described. He invests a bit of his own experience so that his work may benefit others and himself in the form of experience points. Writing a note collection without this investment creates an interesting read that merely grants a +1 bonus as if it was a masterwork item, but nothing more than that. Creating a true legacy for others requires commitment.
Creating a notes collection is very similar to creating a magic item, except that the author does not need any special feat and the collection does not cost more gold than the raw materials used in its creation. A prospective author may create a notes collection in any of the skills for which he has ranks, with a Depth Rating equal to or less than his ranks in that skill. Writing about class skills is evidently easier than writing about cross-class skills, costing less to add to the notes. If the character has more than one class, the class skills from both classes count as class skills when writing them down in a notes collection, regardless of which class has more levels.
If he wants to include a feat as a subject, he must possess that feat; one cannot write with authority what one does not know. If the feat has a skill prerequisite, that skill must be included in the subjects treated and meet the ranks listed in said prerequisites.
There are three variants to the way that the notes are scribbled, and the author must decide whether to apply them or not when he first starts writing, and may not subsequently change it.
Learning Aid: The notes are written in such a way that even a layman can benefit from them. A character with no ranks in the subject skills can increase his ranks by perusing the notes and even allow him to make untrained skill checks using the book as reference to grant him a bonus. A learning aid cannot take the form of personal notes and vice versa.
Personal Notes: The author does not care about sharing his personal experiences, and his notes are written with personal jargon and references only intelligible to himself. The notes provide no benefit to anyone else but the author, unless the reader makes an Intelligence check (DC 10 + subject’s Depth Rating). Personal notes cannot be a learning aid and vice versa.
Encrypted: Whether as a test of worthiness or out of selfishness, the notes are written in code, requiring a Decipher Script check (or a comprehend languages spell) to be understood at all. An author can encrypt both learning aids and personal notes.
Notes Creation Base Costs
|Subject||Cost in XP|
|Class skill rank||total ranks squared x .8|
|Cross-class skill rank||total ranks squared x 1.2|
|Skill speciality field rank||total ranks squared x .4|
|Feat speciality||20 XP|
|Feat speciality (Item Creation)||1 XP for every 5 gp saved.|
|Feat speciality (Metamagic)||300 XP per spell level saved (max. 3)|
Notes Creation Costs Modifiers
|As Learning Aid||+30 XP|
|Personal notes||-20 XP|
|Encrypted||+ (Decipher Script DC x 20) XP|
As an alternative that saves the author a lot of the costs, he can write his notes progressively, adding his acquired knowledge through the passing of the years instead of all his insights in one sitting. He can add as many ranks to the Depth Rating as he wants and stop, waiting until he gains a level to add more ranks to his notes (in an equally arbitrary amount), but pays the experience of adding just those ranks, not the entire sum. For example, Brollibock is an ageing astronomer who wants to write down his memories. He lays down his knowledge in a notebook, creating a work with Scry +12 and Profession (astronomer) +8. It costs him 116 experience points to add the Scry ranks and 52 experience points to add the Profession ranks. When he next gains a level in any class, he wants to add +2 ranks to Scry and +4 to Profession; it costs him 4 experience points and 13 experience points respectively, rather than the 157 experience points it would cost to write 14 ranks of Scry and 116 experience points for 12 ranks of Profession.
To copy a notes collection in a way that it will grant the bonus, the copier must spend the amount of experience required to create from scratch as he unravels the author’s logic and puts a like effort to create his copy of the work.
Some of the expenses in creating a stash of notes into a presentable and useful form seem like a waste of experience on the part of the author, but many of them still write them, with the intention of selling them. If he intends to sell his notes, the character must incur costs in gold. The final market price for a note collection is its total experience points cost as if it had been written in one sitting, multiplied by 25. The cost to create a presentable form for the notes with bookbinding or protective cases is equal to one-third the market price.
Sample Note Collections
Subject(s): Alchemy +10 and Profession (herbalist) +6; Brew Potion.
Speciality Fields: Alchemy (identifying substances) +5, Profession (herbalist) (identifying herbs) +5. Few copies remain of the journal of a once-famous alchemist, who had an obsession to catalogue everything that crossed his path. His master gave him a blank book so that he would classify everything as far away as possible, but he kept it as a hobby and finally wrote a very comprehensive guide to alchemical ingredients and reagents, including herbs. Unfortunately, the precious information is hidden between references to the alchemist’s mother, pages of very bad poetry when he drank a love potion by accident and doodles of his former master’s cat. Market Price: 5,725 gp. Cost to Create: 229 XP.
Subject(s): Craft (bowmaking) +5; Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Far Shot.
Speciality Fields: None.
This notebook of elven origin has changed hands many times, coveted by many fighters and adventurers for the secrets contained about archery. The secret techniques were meant only to be read by elven rangers, but it got stolen at some point and now is somewhere in the outside world. Elves would pay gladly for its return. Market Price: 15,500 gp. Cost to Create: 620 XP.
A Book of Songs
Subject(s): Perform +12, Knowledge (history) +12.
Speciality Fields: None.
This journal belonged to a bard who wished to set down everything she learned in her travels, so that it could survive beyond her own life and not be distorted by the embellishments of other fellow bards. The songs contained herein are her own compositions and narrate several pieces of history she managed to gather from both asking locals and scholarly research. Market Price: 5,800 gp. Cost to Create: 232 XP.
Compendium of Arms and Armour
Subject(s): Craft (weaponsmith) +6 and Craft (armoursmith) +6.
Speciality Fields: Craft Magic Arms and Armour (800 gp, 32 XP)
This set of instructions describe in quick and concise form the process of making magic weapons and armour, from how to craft them to how to enchant them. It is attributed to a war wizard who wanted to speed up the production of magic equipment for his employer’s elite troops, so he wrote this to help his apprentices deal with the ‘lesser’ magic weapons while he concentrated on the more expensive items his employer had commissioned. Market Price: 5,450 gp. Cost to Create: 218 XP.
The Complete Golem
Subject(s): Craft (sculpting, armoursmith, metalworking, woodworking, leatherworking) +5 each.
Speciality Fields: Craft Wondrous Item (constructs, 12,500 XP, 500 XP).
A powerful wizard had a flash of insight: it was taking him a very long time to create a construct because he kept cross-referencing from several magical tomes. He decided to compile all he knew about crafting constructs into a single collection of annotated diagrams, so he had all the information he needed in the same place. These are personal notes. Market Price: 64,500. Cost to Create: 2,580 XP.
The Guide to Dungeon Mastery
Subject(s): Intuit Direction +5, Search +8, Spot +5 and Profession (bookkeeper) +3; Blind-fight.
Speciality Fields: None.
A ruin explorer by the name of Gryx Arson got fed up with stumbling in the dark and falling victim to traps, weak sections of a building or lurking monsters. Surviving by the seat of his pants, he decided to compile everything he had learned in his adventuring life in order to glean some patterns of conduct, invent a couple of tricks and remind himself what not to do again. He added tips on how to keep his large collection of texts in order, a skill he acquired in his search for information. These are personal notes that use a language that only its author understands fully. Market Price: 4,500 gp. Cost to Create: 180 XP.
First Aid Tips
Subject(s): Heal +10, Knowledge (nature) +6 and Profession (apothecary) +8.
Speciality Fields: Heal (humanoids) +2.
This small notebook was penned by a cleric of a merciful goddess of healing, although his intentions were not as altruistic. He was basically tired of adventurers dropping by his temple, located near some mysterious ruins. Loud adventurers were a disruption to his prayers, and they demanded clerical attention as if they had paid for it. So he wrote this guide and passed along copies of it, and is now a ‘must have’ for any adventuring party who expect to get into more than a few scrapes. This is a learning aid. Market Price: 4,825 gp. Cost to Create: 193 XP.
The Game of Adventure
Subject(s): Escape Artist +6, Jump +4 and Tumble +8.
Speciality Fields: Perform (narrative) (‘creative’ editing… namely bragging). +8.
Batis ‘The Bruise’ Vaughn was a known braggart among his fellow bards, always claiming to be the greatest adventurer to set foot on the world. His journal was written with the clear intention that other people read it and learn of his feats of daring but, despite the ego trip, the book does contain very useful tips for escaping danger, and is most instructive on flowery language to adorn one’s exploits and make them seem exciting. Market Price: 3,000 gp. Cost to Create: 120 XP.
Subject(s): Knowledge (undead) +8; Track and Run.
Speciality Fields: Craft (any construct) +6, Knowledge (the planes) (creatures) +8, Knowledge (nature) (creatures) +8, Knowledge (religion) (deities and demigods) +6, Knowledge (arcana) (dragons) +6 and Knowledge (arcana) (creatures other than dragons) +8.
A very comprehensive collection of loose diagrams that detail a very large variety of creatures, with tips on how to run from them. Originally a companion volume by the adventurer Gryx Arson, it was taken over by the same wizards in their seaside tower that rewrote ‘The Gamer’s Almanac’ (see below) as it was a valuable resource. The loose diagrams make for easy classification as its current owner expects to find certain kinds of monsters on any given expedition, but re-classifying the diagrams in their proper order is an exercise in patience, as there are literally hundreds of little pages featuring a single creature on each. Market Price: 9,375gp. Cost to Create: 375 XP.
Social Skills in High Society
Subject(s): Diplomacy +8, Gather Information +5.
Speciality Fields: Knowledge (royalty and nobility) (etiquette) +5.
This book is a primer for up-and-coming courtiers about the different rules of etiquette and protocol, as well as correct forms of address and behaviour. Its pages include, well hidden between the lines, a lot of advice on how to spy and manipulate the court with a well-placed smile or an opportune rumour. Market Price: 2,050gp. Cost to Create: 82 XP.
The Gamer’s Almanac
Subject(s): Bluff +5, Forgery +8 and Profession (gambler) +5.
Speciality Fields: Bluff (to people in charge) +3.
It is said that this book has undergone several incarnations, each time streamlining its advice to people who like to play games of chance and win at them regardless of the means. The last edition was penned by a wizards’ guild as a pet project, done one late evening in a tower by the shore. The authors cooked up a series of arcane formulae that would allow anyone to beat a variety of games, skipping over rules and fellow players alike. This is a learning aid but ironically, it is encrypted (Decipher Script DC 14). Market Price: 10,150 gp. Cost to Create: 406 XP.
The Quintessential Commoner
Subject(s): Profession (farmer, herdsman, lumberjack, miller, rancher) +5 each.
Speciality Fields: None.
An idle nobleman from the Old Kingdom decided that he could occupy his time by describing the doings of his subjects, so he travelled and questioned them about their labours. What he came up with was a text that, while informative, it was useless for his intended readership of fellow nobles and key players in the realm. The text lives on, however, and it is of such an unlikely subject that it is rumoured to contain secrets on how a commoner may rise to epic level and perform mighty deeds. Market Price: 2,500gp. Cost to Create: 100 XP.
A Study of Fighting Styles
Subject(s): Combat Reflexes, Improved Critical, Power Attack.
Speciality Fields: Weapon Finesse (unarmed), Weapon Focus (unarmed).
This diary belongs to a monk who dedicated part of his life to observing and analysing the fighting style of his fellow monks, setting down their techniques in an objective style, stripped of the philosophical teachings of his order. He came up with a varying number of moves that he used to improve his own combat abilities, and parted from his journal as he had already learned all he could from his own observations on the subject. Market Price: 8,500 gp. Cost to Create: 340 XP.
The Thieving Guide
Subject(s): Climb +5, Disable Device +5, Hide +5, Open Locks +5 and Move Silently +5.
Speciality Fields: None.
The thieves’ guild in the city of Ankorp prides itself for its professionalism and hands this slim notebook to new recruits, to get them acquainted with the fine art of sneaking inside someone’s house. Market Price: 2,500 gp. Cost to Create: 100 XP.
Random Title Generator
The titles presented above are tame compared to usual gnomish naming practices, who would put the table of contents in a book cover if they had the space, some adept illusionists actually do. ‘Gambeldink’s Diary’ is a good name for Gambeldink’s journal about his adventures in the wilderness, but ‘The Accurate and True Accounts of the Wilderness Adventures of Gambeldink Passifax the Third, Gnome of No Small Renown’ is much better, even if it does not say much about the book’s actual content.
To quickly generate a title for a gnomish notes collection, use the following tables. Start with the structure to find the basics of the title, and refer to the subtables to generate titles other elements.
|1-2||<author> the <adjective>’s <format> to <subject>.|
|3-4||The <career>’s <format> to <subject>, with <elements>.|
|5-6||<subject>, a <superlative> <adjective> <format> by <author>.|
|7-8||<author>’s <format> on <subject>, with <elements> about <subject>.|
|9-10||A <superlative> <career, convert to adjective> <format> to <subject>.|
|11-12||A <format> <superlative> <adjective> on <subject>, with <elements>.|
|13-14||<author>, <quality> <career>, writes a <adjective> <format> to <subject>.|
|15-17||A Formal <format> to <subject>, as written by <author>, <career> <quality>.|
|18-20||The <superlative> <adjective> <format> to/of <subject>, by <author>, <career> <quality>.|
|1-5||First Name only|
|6-12||First and Last name|
|13-20||All names and titles|
|1-5||Class Name (both if multiclass)|
|1-4||Of No Small Renown|
|12-13||Of Great Importance|
|14-15||Of No Little Experience|
|17-18||Pick Two Qualities|
|19-20||Pick Three Qualities|
|1-2||(sum up all subjects in a single, easy to remember concept)|
|3-4||(List one subject)|
|5-6||(List two subjects)|
|7-9||(List all subjects)|
|10-11||(skill name or subset)ing|
|12-14||All Things (skill names, ending with ‘-ic’)|
|15-17||In The Business Of (roll again)|
|18-20||Matters Related To (roll again)|
|18||Pick Two Adjectives|
|19||Pick Three Adjectives|
|20||Flash of Humility: no adjectives|
Making a masterwork item is fairly simple in essence: add 150 gp for armour and 300 gp for weapons and other items to their final costs, and calculate the time taken to make them. This process takes into account the greater care the craftsman must take to make the item, along with the quality of the raw materials. Not so the gnomes. Gnomes have a better sense of sight, smell and hearing than other races; they can see minute flaws developing in an item so can rectify them before they have a chance to become inherent. They hear the impurity in the ring of metal, they know when the blast of the forge sounds wrong and they can smell how ingredients are.
Gnomish artisans can produce masterworks in four different ways: with the normal method available to any other craftsman; from scratch, with gnomish techniques; from an existing item or making an existing masterwork even better.
Original Masterworks: To create a gnomish masterwork from scratch, the artisan can roll his Craft check as normal, multiplying his check result by the item’s DC for a single week of work, adding the numbers together until they reach the item’s market price in coin. If he uses all his racial capabilities, he can attempt to reduce the time and the money required. The process is very simple: he can raise the DC for his Craft check by +1 for every 10 gp he subtracts from the masterwork component’s price. Thus, a gnomish craftsman can make a masterwork weapon component (300 gp, DC 20) as normal or he could opt to raise the DC to 25, and it would cost him 250 gp.
Masterworking an Item: Normally, when an item comes out of a craftsman’s workshop, there is nothing else that can be done to it, but gnomes know how to add a masterwork component to items that are already finished. The gnome can add +5 to the item’s original DC and add a masterwork component worth 400 gp (it takes more work to add it to an item that is already completed. He can use the gnomish techniques described above to reduce the master component’s price by increasing its DC. Failing a check by 5 or more ruins half the masterwork materials, but leaves the original item intact.
Superior Masterworks: Last but not least is the ability to create greater masterworks from items that are already masterworks themselves. The artisan adds a second masterwork component layer on top of the original item while he makes additional adjustments to it to better accommodate the extra work. This second component is worth double the original (300 gp for armour and 600 gp for weapons and other items) and it has a DC 25 to construct. As with all masterworks, gnomes can reduce the masterwork component’s cost by increasing the DC. A superior masterwork item provides a further +1 bonus to a normal masterwork. Failing a check by 5 or more ruins half the masterwork materials, and there is a 50% chance that it will also ruin the original item.
Gnomes did not invent the crafts, or if they did they are not telling; all races have their own artisans who specialise in their own brand of craftsmanship, from the solid and dependable dwarven engineering to the graceful and awfully expensive elven handiwork, through the humans’ pragmatic and simple designs. Gnomes look at all of these products of other races’ work and smile and nod condescendingly, for while some have elegance of form and others of purpose, they rarely have both. While gnomes have their own style and their own crafts, they cannot resist ‘enhancing’ others’ items. The most obsessive amongst them go so far as stealing allies’ items and returning them ‘improved’.
Jury-rigging is the art of fixing things on the fly, often with improvised tools, but gnomes developed greater jury-rigging, the art of fixing things that are not broken. By means of greater jury-rigging, gnomes are able to add capabilities to almost any object, make it better at what it does or make it do things that could not be done before.
Gnomish masterworks are a source of amazement and wonder, but what really amazes are the ways in which they can make objects do things they normally would not. Unlike masterworks and superior masterworks, which look basically the same as their original items, if fancier, jury-rigged items look… odd. There are strange protrusions all along their surface; some have extensions that attach to its intended user’s limbs, others become completely unrecognisable for all the additions and new components they sport. Those brave enough to try using these items relay mixed feelings on such ‘improvements’. The item performs better or in new, exciting ways, but there is a chance that the jury-rig has not been exactly successful, and the strain of normal use weakens its structure with unexpected consequences.
In practice, jury-rigging an item is the application of additional features to an object by granting it skills and feats as if it were a character. The skills and feats do not work exactly as they would for characters, but they certainly make the object behave strangely.
Enhancing an object with greater jury-rigging requires that the gnome have the adequate Craft skill to make it in the first place, for he is going to alter it as if he was repairing it. A gnome cannot put traps on an item in this way; he needs the Craft (trapmaking) skill and builds a normal trap on the item.
The first thing to decide is what skill or feat the craftsman is going to place on the item. Enhancing an item is similar to making a masterwork item: the character creates an enhanced component and adds it to the item. This component requires a Craft check appropriate to the item with a DC set by the scope of the jury-rig enhancement and is worth an amount of gold also determined by the enhancement’s complexity. As normal, the character only spends a third of this amount on raw materials and adds the results of his Craft check multiplied by the final DC for each week of work, until the number equals the market price of the enhancement component in coinage.
Craft DC: For every 2 ranks in any and all skills the item has, the DC increases by +1. For each feat that the item has, the DC increases by +3 so the final formula looks like this:
Craft check DC = Item’s original DC +1 per 2 skill ranks +3 per feat.
Component Price: Figuring out the component price requires that the craftsman defines exactly how he is going to enhance the item. Not all skills can be applied equally to an item and the way they will work also affects the amount of time and money a craftsman must invest. The skill’s complexity and its focus calculate the enhanced component’s price.
Complexity: Enhancing an object with a particular skill can be much easier than with another, given what each skill does and how an inanimate object may perform them. This is measured by the skill’s complexity, a number ranging from 1 (very easy to implement) to 5 (hideously hard to have an item perform). For feats, the complexity equals the feat’s number of prerequisites +1, whether the prerequisites are other feats, an ability, a skill, a race or a special condition. For example, Cleave has a complexity of 3 since it has two prerequisites (ability requirement and Power Attack), while Whirlwind Attack has a complexity of 8 (2 ability requirements, 1 base attack requirement, Expertise, Dodge, Mobility and Spring Attack). The complexity not only sets the price to enhance an object with a skill or feat, but also the likelihood of it malfunctioning.
Focus: An object’s focus is how its skill enhancement applies: on the object itself or as a bonus to its user. If focused on the object, the skill can work independently of its user; it is the item that makes a skill check without any help from its owner. When acting on the user the item does not work by itself, but complements the owner’s own skills, providing a better tool for them by giving a bonus to skill checks or granting the use of a feat. An enhanced item can have both kinds of focus for the same skill or feat, but the skill ranks must be bought separately. For example, a gnome wants to make a shield that can climb walls by itself, but also helps him climb, so he purchases 5 ranks of Climb (object focus) and 7 as bonus focus. His shield could make Climb checks at +5 when unattended and give its owner a +7 bonus on his Climb checks.
The enhancement component’s final price is the sum required to purchase all the skill ranks and feats to be installed. Each skill rank and each feat has its own cost equal to its complexity multiplied by the focus modifier. For skills, the object focus multiplies the complexity by five, while user focus multiplies it by two. For feats, object focus multiplies by twenty, while user focus multiplies by ten. The formulae to determine the enhancement component’s price are:
Component Price = Total skill ranks cost + total feats cost
Skill rank cost (object focus) = Complexity x 5 gp.
Skill rank cost (user focus) = Complexity x 2 gp.
Feat cost (object focus) = Complexity x 100 gp.
Feat cost (user focus) = Complexity x 50 gp.
Using a Jury-Rigged Item
The true challenge of using a gnome-rigged tool, vehicle or weapon is not in its use itself, but in mustering the courage to even pick it up. There is no way to hide the fact that a jury-rigged item has been ‘customised’ by a gnome, because it has several attachments that allow it to perform the feats and skills that the gnomish craftsman installed on it.
Using the item is very simple, once the user finds the grip or handle amidst the tangle of components. To activate an object focus skill or feat, the craftsman installs a switch or activation mechanism (included in the cost modifier). Activating the jury-rigged enhancement on an object is a standard action for skills with a complexity of 1 through 3, and a full-round action for all feats and for skills with a complexity of 4 or higher.
For object focus abilities, there is a limit to the enhancement’s duration. A jury-rigged object can work in two modes, depending on the skill or feat being used. An item with a timed duration works for 1 round per the artisan’s ranks in the Craft skill used to jury-rig the object, minus the skill’s complexity. Instantaneous durations are the same as for spells: it acts only for one round. One of the inconveniences of self-acting items is that there is no kill switch, and they continue to work until their duration runs out, even if they completed the task early. The Games Master is free to come up with the consequences of this little oversight. For user focus abilities, the enhancement continues working for as long as the character uses the skill it is complementing, even for instantaneous actions like jumping and tumbling, but once the character engages in a different activity for one round, the item stops working. After a jury-rigged object stops, it must be reset before using its ability again. Resetting a jury-rigged enhancement is a full-round action.
Another disadvantage of a jury-rigged enhancement is that it has the very real possibility of making the item unwieldy. As a rule of thumb, every 5 ranks of the highest installed skill or every 2 installed feats impose a -1 circumstance penalty to die rolls or scores that have something to do with the object in question. For example, a lute with an automatic chord-presser (user focus, Perform +8) imposes a -2 penalty to Perform checks when the enhancement is not in use, as the bulky sticks and leather attachments impair the instrument’s natural functions.
The same rule can be applied to the object’s weight and size. Every skill rank increases the item’s weight by 5%, and feats increase the weight by 5% multiplied by their complexity. Also, if the item’s weight is increased by 100% or more, it increases one size category, with all the extra mass being the various and sundry attachments.
Special Activating Action
All jury-rigged items must be activated somehow, even the user-focused ones. Given that the variety of enhancements available via greater jury-rigging is limited only by the artisan’s imagination, it would take an entire sourcebook trying to list all the possible modes of activation, and it would still fall short. Games Masters and players alike should come up with the way a jury-rigged item works considering the nature of the item and the skills or feats it is capable of, the more outrageous, the better. The Games Master may even decide to reduce an enhancement component’s price by 10%-30% if the activating action is particularly uncomfortable or unlikely. At the end of this section there are half a dozen examples of jury-rigged items, their activating methods and cost to make.
Despite their claims to the contrary, gnomes’ creations are far from perfect, especially since the item in question is still jury-rigged, greater or not. The more complex the function, the greater the danger that the item will blow up in its user’s face, sometimes literally.
An item’s chance of malfunction is a percentage equal to the ranks of a skill multiplied by its complexity. A feat’s chance of malfunction is three times its complexity. The percentages for each skill and feat are calculated separately and then added together for the item’s final chance of malfunction.
Each time a user activates the item or it receives damage of any kind, the player rolls for malfunction. If a malfunction occurs from a result in a d% roll equal or less to the chance of malfunction, the Games Master rolls on the Malfunction table to determine what happens.
|01||Rattle and Hum|
Rattle and Hum: The item works, but there is an ominous sound of grinding and rattling coming from its parts, as its components fail to agree with each other.
Minor Fault: The item works, but the enhancement is not working right, negating the item’s bonuses and imposing a -2 penalty on the task it is attempting or complementing.
Moderate Fault: The item works, but the enhancement is not working right, negating the item’s bonuses and imposing a -4 penalty on the task it is attempting or complementing.
Major Fault: The item works, but the enhancement is not working right, negating the item’s bonuses and imposing a -8 penalty on the task it is attempting or complementing.
Minor Glitch: The item does not work, but it will function correctly the next activation, after a good whacking, of course.
Moderate Glitch: The enhancement is jammed. The item does not work and requires a Craft check (DC equal to the DC for making the enhancement) to work properly again.
Major Glitch: The enhancement is ruined. It must be repaired in order to work again, requiring a Craft check (DC equal to the DC for making the enhancement) and the expenditure of one-fifth of the component’s price in gold for spare parts. The repairs take as long as determined by the normal Craft rules.
Minor Breakdown: The enhancement malfunctions so badly that some parts come loose, needing repairs as per a major glitch, but it takes 50% more time to make the repairs. The original item is unharmed.
Moderate Breakdown: The enhancement component comes apart in the user’s hand, requiring repairs as per a major glitch, but it costs a quarter of the component’s price as some parts become lost and need replacement. The original item is unharmed.
Major Breakdown: All the enhancement’s parts fly in various directions, breaking and needing a complete replacement. Conduct repairs as per a major glitch, but it costs a third of the component’s price for the full raw materials. In addition, the original item suffers damage (ignoring hardness) equal to the highest complexity in the enhancement.
Minor Damage: The enhancement works in all the wrong ways, not doing what it was intended to do and damaging the original item in the process. The item suffers 1d8 points of damage ignoring hardness. The item and the enhancement need repairs as per a major breakdown.
Moderate Damage: The enhancement works badly, not doing what it was intended to do and damaging the original item in the process. The item suffers 2d8 points of damage ignoring hardness. The item and the enhancement need repairs as per a major breakdown.
Major Damage: The enhancement works in all the wrong ways, not doing what it was intended to do and damaging the original item in the process. The item suffers 3d8 points of damage ignoring hardness. The item and the enhancement need repairs as per a major breakdown.
Blows Up: The item blows up, literally, sending shards and splinters in all directions, dealing one point of damage to its wielder for every skill rank present, plus 1d8 for every feat. The item is destroyed and beyond repair.
As mentioned before, not all skills can be installed in a jury-rigged item in the same way. The table lists the available skills with their complexity as well as whether they can be installed with an object focus, a user focus or both, as long as the enhancement’s duration for an object focus. Skills not listed are not available as jury-rig enhancements, and some skills have certain additional provisions described below.
Alchemy (Int): Gnomes can make alchemical tools out of almost anything, but the tasks are so complex that they require supervision, and thus are only available with a user focus. An item with Alchemy ranks that malfunctions risks spoiling whatever the alchemist was preparing. For any major malfunction and for all breakdowns and damage, the character must roll a second Alchemy check with a -2 circumstance penalty (and no bonus from the malfunctioning item) in order to save his substance.
Animal Empathy (Cha): You are kidding, right? Not only are item enhancements useless for relating to animals, but they freak the animals out. Any juryrigged item at work imposes a -3 morale penalty on any Animal Empathy check within 60 feet.
Balance (Dex): Items with an object focus enhancement may remain steady by themselves, which is useful for vehicles and surfaces. If a moving vehicle succeeds in a Balance check (DC 15, or Games Master’s discretion), it remains stable enough so that ranged attacks fired from it suffer no penalties and spellcasters do not need to roll a Concentration check to cast.
Climb (Str): Items that can climb by themselves run the risk of falling off if the enhancement’s duration ends and they have not cleared whatever it is they are climbing. They cannot carry other characters while climbing; that is the function of a user focus skill enhancement, to grant a bonus to a character’s own Climb check. A climbing tool is not safe either; due to the strain of hoisting a character, it makes a malfunction check for every two Climb checks it complements. Feather fall is highly recommended.
Concentration (Con): Any item that aids in Concentration checks most forcibly cover the user’s head… somehow. It imposes a penalty to Listen and Spot checks equal to the bonus it grants to Concentration and a -1 dodge penalty to AC.
Craft (Int): Items that complement a Craft are even better than masterwork tools. Like the skill itself, an item made to complement a specific Craft is useless for another, although the Games Master may give a reduced bonus for closely-related Crafts, especially if they give synergy bonuses to one another. Depending on the Craft, they can have a complexity of 1 though 3, defined by the Games Master. An item with Craft ranks that malfunctions risks ruining whatever the artisan was making. For any major malfunction and for all breakdowns and damage, the character must roll a second Craft check with a -2 circumstance penalty (and no bonus from the malfunctioning item) in order to save his work.
Decipher Script (Int): A decrypting object looks like some prop out of a spy movie. It can work by itself only when dealing with codes in a specific language (defined at construction), but its calculating capacity as a user focus item is a boon to anyone with ranks in this skill. The mechanism is very fragile, however, adding its ranks in Decipher Script to rolls on the Malfunction table.
Diplomacy (Cha): Although no craftsman can install this skill as an enhancement, any jury-rigged item can be a bargaining chip when dealing with gnomes. If the owner displays it openly or shows its functions, he can add the highest complexity in the item to Diplomacy checks around gnomes or other technologically-inclined creatures.
Disable Device (Int): Using this enhancement to deactivate traps is very risky. Failure instantly springs the trap as usual, and the user must make a Reflex save (DC equal to the trap’s) or his valuable tool remains stuck in the mechanism.
Disguise (Cha): An item with Disguise ranks is more than meets the eye. It can disguise itself as another item of the same size, and the craftsman chooses which at the moment of creating the enhancement. The disguise does not work as if it was a normal object, it just hides the true nature of the original. The object rolls its Disguise check at the moment of ‘transmogriphication’, and casual observers must beat the result with a Spot check to realise that it is an object in disguise.
Escape Artist (Dex): The only special provision for such an item is that it must be close to the source of entrapment, such as a suit of armour that features retractable blades in the bracers to cut ropes. The method of escape must be determined at creation, and it may not apply for all situations that call for an Escape Artist check.
Handle Animal (Cha): An item intended to handle animals is built for a particular species, suffering a -2 penalty when dealing with similar creatures, -4 when applied to wildly different creatures and -6 for members of another creature type as per Core Rulebook III.
Heal (Wis): Healing tools are scary. Even if such an item has beneficial effects, the mere thought of having it touching sensitive parts of one’s body grants its user a +2 morale bonus to Intimidate checks.
Hide (Dex): Like the Disguise skill, items equipped with a Hide enhancement are quite unusual, able to camouflage themselves and/or their owner, depending on their focus. While the ability is working, the object cannot move or be moved without ruining the hide attempt.
Intimidate (Cha): The only function these items have is to look impressive and ominous.
Intuit Direction (Wis): Nothing more than glorified compasses.
Jump (Str): Jumping items are not restricted by their height for maximum jumping distance. Items that complement a character’s Jump checks add 1 foot to his height for purposes of determining maximum jumping distance, but have a +5% chance to malfunction.
Listen (Wis): A character must be actively using the item in conjunction with Listen checks in order to work; it does not activate automatically and the character may very well be surprised by silent enemies.
Move Silently (Dex): Taking the form of padding, strange-looking counterweights or extra grease on joints, this enhancement is always active. It only has a chance of malfunctioning when taking damage. A vehicle with this enhancement or a character benefiting from it loses five feet of its speed.
Open Lock (Dex): Opening devices are tricky. Whether opening a lock on their own or as a user’s tool, they jam the lock in the case of minor and moderate malfunctions or if they fail their check by 5 or more. If they suffer a major malfunction or any breakdown, or fail the check by 10 or more, they are stuck in the lock.
Perform (Cha): Items enhanced with Perform ranks resemble musical instruments and it is hard to maintain them. In the Malfunctions table, any fault result becomes a glitch of the same magnitude, and it rolls a malfunction check once per day in addition to any other checks due to activation or damage.
Pick Pocket (Dex): Pick-pocketing items must be quick, precise and sturdy. Ranks for this skill cost double to install in an item.
Profession (Wis): Items that complement a Profession are even better than masterwork tools. Like the skill itself, an item made to complement a specific Profession is useless for another, although the Games Master may give a reduced bonus for closely related Professions, especially if they give synergy bonuses to one another. Depending on the Profession, they can have a complexity of 1 though 3, defined by the Games Master.
Ride (Dex): Riding aids tend to spook a mount, inflicting a morale penalty on the rider’s Handle Animal checks equal to the bonus it gives to Ride checks. If the item malfunctions, the mount is definitely spooked, forcing a Handle Animal check at -5 penalty. Mounts with 6 or higher Intelligence do not scare so easily, but take offence at having such an item used on them.
Search (Wis): When making an item that helps in Search checks, the craftsman must specify what the item is good at searching. Even if the object can help in the detection of difficult or magical traps, only a rogue may benefit from the bonus.
Sense Motive (Wis): In order to work properly, an item with Sense Motive ranks must be no further than one inch per skill rank from the subject of the check.
Spot (Wis): Spotting items work like Listen items; they must be activated and in use in order to work.
Swim (Str): Items that can swim by themselves run the risk of sinking when the enhancement’s duration ends and they have not cleared the body of water they are crossing. Boats with Swim ranks can move by themselves at 10 feet per round, but the duration of their enhancement and the constant risk of malfunction prevents them from being a reliable means of water transportation. A swimming tool is not very resilient; due to the strain of pulling a character and keeping him afloat, it makes a malfunction check for every two Swim checks it complements.
Tumble (Dex): Whether their Tumble ranks are focused on the object or its user, the Tumble check only allows the character or item to move up to 20 feet while tumbling and cannot prevent damage from falling.
Use Rope (Dex): Objects cannot make special knots by themselves and are not particularly useful for tying creatures, suffering a -2 on their checks. When used as tools to complement a character’s Use Rope checks, they work normally, but they can only make one kind of special knot, defined at the time of construction.
Item Skill Enhancements
|Skill||Key Ability||Object Focus||User Focus||Complexity||Object Focus Duration|
Like skills, not all feats are suitable for installation on jury-rigged objects. However, due to the sheer quantity of feats available in the core rulebooks as well as from other d20 products, making hard and fast rules and provisions for all of them would be ridiculous; rather general guidelines apply instead:
Only general feats can be installed. Metamagic, item creation and special feats depend on a character’s special abilities and cannot be reproduced by juryrigging.
If the prerequisites include a rare racial, supernatural or spell-like ability or a spellcasting requirement, the feat cannot be installed, since that would fall into the province of magic items.
Combat feats like Weapon Focus, Cleave, etc. should only be installed on weapons or objects that could be wielded as weapons. There are exceptions of course, such as a vehicle having Trample or Spirited Charge.
Jury-rigged feats cannot reproduce magical effects.
Feats that boost character attributes like Skill Focus or Lightning Reflexes can only be installed with a user focus.
Example Jury-Rigged Items
Silent Wagon: This wagon has padded wheels, specially-greased axles and support counterweights that allows it to move without raising much racket (Move Silently +10, object focus). What the crafter overlooked was that the horses would make noise too, but at least the vehicle could be confused with two riders instead of two horses pulling a cart. Chance of Malfunction: 20%; Craft: Woodworking DC 17; Enhancement component cost: 100 gp.
Leaping Spear: This shortspear has an unusual bulk at the end opposite its point, with a spring set against a crank similar to a crossbow’s and a crosspiece where the wielder can set his feet. It lets the user clear distances and, if set correctly, even bypass enemies (Jump +6 user focus, Tumble +6 user focus; Mobility user focus). The weapon suffers a -1 circumstance penalty to ranged attacks due to the added weight. Chance of Malfunction: 27%; Craft: Weaponsmith DC 21; Enhancement component cost:186 gp.
Concealed Crossbow: Ideal for sneaking a weapon past city guards, this crossbow’s arms collapse near the body, and panels disengage from the body to form a box around the weapon, looking like a scroll case (Disguise +8, object focus). Chance of Malfunction: 24%; Craft: Weaponsmith DC 19; Enhancement component cost: 120 gp.
Boots of Running: This elaborate footwear has a layer of spongy material its creator allegedly took from sea sponges, but gnomish cobblers are still highly suspicious about that claim. The boots allow the wearer to run faster (Run, user focus) after hopping in place for a bit to get ‘the material running’. Chance of Malfunction: 3%; Craft: Cobbling DC 13; Enhancement component cost: 50 gp.
Deadly Spoon: At first sight, this is merely an ornate teaspoon. In truth, this fearsome weapon has caused the demise of many powerful nobles by the hands of the ‘Tea Time Killer’, a resourceful gnomish assassin. This spoon actually deals damage as a small knife (1d4) and it has very sharp edges (Improved Critical, object focus) while the design of its nooks and grip allows a wielder to put more strength into an attack (Power Attack, user focus). Chance of Malfunction: 15%; Craft: Metalworking DC 16; Enhancement component cost: 400 gp.
Disarming Staff: The woodsman who first found this staff in the hands of its deceased creator at first questioned if it was a quarterstaff or a demonic rod of power. This length of strong wood has three visible grips placed evenly along its structure, with the space in-between crossed by thin chainmail strips, silk cords and leather ribbons. A friendly gnome revealed its function as a staff of disarming, which can catch opponents’ weapons in its strips of material and twist them around (Improved Disarm, user focus). Chance of Malfunction: 9%; Craft: Weaponsmith DC 15; Enhancement component cost: 150 gp.
New Uses for Old Skills
Gnomes are always pushing the boundaries of whatever they put their minds into, and their unique talents and inclinations give new dimensions to traditional methods.
Sabotage Substance: After identifying an alchemical substance, the character can try to impair its performance or change it altogether. If he can beat the original DC to craft the substance, he can reduce its effective duration for 1 time unit per point by which he exceeds the DC with his own Alchemy check. The time unit is the one relevant to the substance, such as rounds, minutes, hours and so on. If the substance causes damage or grants a bonus, a successful sabotage can render it inert without changing its other properties.
Boost Substance: By careful application of known ingredients and reagents, the character can boost a substance’s efficiency. For every +5 that he raises the substance’s DC to make, he can roll 1d6 and add the result to the substance’s duration, damage or bonus.
Make Antidote: A more powerful version of an antitoxin, this substance only works after a poison has run its course on a creature’s body. To create an antidote, the character must first identify the poison. The detect poison spell is not necessary after the substance runs its course; it is pretty obvious that there was poison there. The antidote’s DC to make is 10 + poison’s DC to save. Average antidotes can cure 1d2 points of ability damage caused by poison.
Make Cure: After a character identifies a disease through a Heal check, he can try to create a single dose of cure for it by beating a DC equal to the disease’s DC +5. A dose of the cure grants a +5 alchemical bonus to the victim’s next Fortitude saving throw to resist the disease’s effect, or to another character’s Heal check to treat the disease.
Board Vehicle: Gnomes find this application of Balance particularly useful when one of their contraptions goes out of control. A character can keep its footing when standing in a vehicle or surface that is moving violently by beating a DC of 15, such as a runaway wagon, a ship’s deck during a storm or the floor of a crumbling evil wizard’s fortress. The Games Master may raise this difficulty for particular conditions up to a DC of 25 (on top of a dragon actively trying to shake the character off, for example).
Gauge Alchemical Value: Given gnomes’ familiarity with alchemical substances, they can make good estimates as to their market value, even if they do not know what the substance actually does. The base DC to appraise the value of an alchemical substance is 15, and gnomes do get their +2 racial bonus to Alchemy checks when using Appraise for this purpose.
Identify Disease: If the character takes some time to identify a disease by means of its symptoms and effects, he is better prepared to deal with it and possibly even devise a cure. To identify a disease, the character spends at least one full day observing a diseased creature and makes a Heal check against a DC equal to 30 minus the disease’s save DC (the more serious the disease, the easier it is to identify by its rare symptoms).
Identify Wound: By examining the wound caused by a weapon, natural or otherwise, the character is able to discern a number of details about the attack itself. If the victim is still alive and the wound has not been cured by magic, the character rolls a Heal check (DC 15) to discern 1d6 details about the attacker from the following list:
Weapon used (a natural weapon registers as such with no further detail, magic damage registers as its energy type like fire, cold, sonic, etc.).
- Attacker’s damage bonus (not its origin).
- Attacker’s Strength score.
- Attacker’s size.
- Attacker’s position relative to victim.
- Extraordinary special attack such as poison, disease, etc.
If the victim is dead, the character may analyse the wounds with more depth and using more invasive techniques and, in addition to the previous information, he may learn the following:
- Supernatural attack.
- Attacker’s base attack bonus.
- Magical bonus to damage.
- Allow a Spellcraft check to identify the spell that caused the damage (DC 15 + spell level).
- Allow a Knowledge or Craft check (DC 15) to identify the attacker’s species if a natural weapon was used, or make a positive identification of the weapon used. Roll Knowledge (nature) for extraordinary attacks and natural species, Knowledge (arcana) for supernatural attacks and stranger monsters and Craft (weaponsmith) for melee and ranged weapons.
Jargon: Two characters with ranks in the same Craft, Knowledge or Profession skill may use technical jargon to communicate hidden messages, gaining a +4 synergy bonus to Innuendo checks.
If one of the parties does not have ranks in Innuendo but has 5 or more ranks in the relevant skill, he may still roll an untrained check to understand a hidden message with a +2 bonus to the Wisdom check.
Bestride Opponent: Small creatures may jump an opponent and impair its actions. The character makes a touch attack to make the initial ‘climb’ and, if successful, makes a Ride check. The target may oppose the climbing and clinging through several means:
- Rolling an opposed Strength or Escape Artist check as a move-equivalent action.
- Making a normal attack at -2 penalty as a standard action, with a 50% chance to hit itself if missing the riding character.
The character makes subsequent Ride checks as a move-equivalent action to keep astride the target and can use his remaining standard action as he wishes.
Fish From Pack: Going by sense of touch alone, the character may retrieve items he owns stored in a container as a move-equivalent action. The DC depends on the item’s size as well as the container’s capacity and contents.
|Item size||DC modifier|
|Small (short sword)||+1|
|Large (orc double-axe)||-2|
|Tiny (belt pouch)||10|
|Small (sack, bag, small box)||12|
|Medium (large box, chest)||14|
Find Clue: By carefully analysing an area, the character may detect something amiss or out of place, using his Search check as a replacement for Spot. The character must spend at least 3 rounds doing nothing but searching for the unusual.
Control Illusion: Illusionists may exert a finer control of their creations. For illusion spells that require the caster’s concentration, he may roll Spellcraft to make the illusions interact more realistically with creatures. The character rolls a Spellcraft check (DC 10 + spell level) and, if he succeeds, he increases the illusion’s DC to save by +2 as he takes steps to avoid situations that would provoke disbelief attempts.
Control Spell: If a spellcaster is about to cast a spell with effects and parameters that may turn against him (such as allies standing near the line of effect of a lightning bolt or casting cloudkill in a small room), he can make a pre-emptive Spellcraft check (DC 15 + spell level) as a free action to determine the possible results of casting such a spell. The Spellcraft check is also useful to cast spells in unusual situations or with non-standard effects that fall short of metamagic feats. Such situations may be dispelling an effect just in time to trick a creature into doing something, positioning the point of origin of an area effect for optimal performance, etc.
Find Flaw: A character can find flaws in an item he could create with a Craft skill. In mechanical terms, he rolls a Spot check (DC 10) as an aid action to grant himself a +2 bonus on a Craft check to repair a damaged object if he has ranks in the relevant Craft skill.
New Skill Application DCs
|DC||Skill / Use|
|Original’s DC||Sabotage Substance|
|10 + original’s DC||Make Antidote|
|Disease’s DC +5||Make Cure|
|15||Gauge Alchemical Value|
|30 - original’s DC||Identify Disease|
|+2 or +4||Jargon|
|varies||Fish from Pack|
|10 + spell level||Control Illusion|
|15 + spell level||Control Spell|
Every gnome has a hobby. Even the strongest fighter or the most powerful wizard takes some time off to relax by carving little wooden animals, crafting serviceable but horrendous pottery or inventing engines of mass destruction. The array of crafts practised in a gnomish community is staggering compared to a settlement of the same size inhabited by another race and the gnomes appear not to tire of discovering new crafts or even making new ones.
The following Craft, Knowledge and Profession skills are available to any gnome character who wishes to pursue them. Check with your Games Master for their authorisation, since they deal with technologies that may not have developed in a campaign, not even by gnomes. Many of these skills are relevant to the Gnomish Technology chapter.
New Crafts (Int)
Arcanics: The rarest of crafts, it barely receives attention by magical schools and guilds despite its potential applications in magic item creation. Basically put, arcanics produce items capable of attracting, storing and channelling magical energy. Gnome wizard-artisans created arcanics as a way to ease the creation of constructs, but quickly discovered the possibilities it made available. Craft (arcanics) is a cross-class skill for all classes, and requires a character to have at least 5 ranks in Alchemy or Knowledge (arcana) before gaining the first rank. Arcanic items are further discussed in the chapters Tools of the Gnomes and Gnomish Technology.
Clockworks: The craftsman can create precise mechanisms using gears and springs, and can simulate almost any kind of movement with these. Gnomes find that clockworks are not only useful for making time pieces; the intricate relationship between moving parts makes this craft ideal for building machinery with parts that move through purely mechanical means, regardless of scale, material and actual usability. Depending on the material the clockmaker is working with, having 5 ranks in any of the following Craft skills grant a +2 synergy bonus: leatherworking, metalworking or woodworking.
Steamworks: Even less explored than waterworks is the power of steam. This skill bears attention, for steamworks mark the dawn of a new technological era for any campaign. Discussed more thoroughly in the Gnomish Technology chapter, steamworks is the practice of directing the force of steam, via turbines, to power several different mechanisms. A steamwork craftsman is almost always capable in another skill that will receive steamwork’s complement, most likely metalworking or engineering.
Waterworks: Water is an unconsidered power source with a lot of potential. Waterworks’ most obvious use is in fountains and mills, but gnomish craftsmen have been studying how water and other fluids behave in order to create complex mechanisms or artistic works where water takes centre stage. Unlike other crafts that specialise in a single material to work with, a waterworks craftsman knows how to build plumbing, canals, and tubes out of metal, leather and stone, although his expertise is limited on those materials’ interaction with water. Depending on the material the clockmaker is working with, having 5 ranks in any of the following Craft skills grant a +2 synergy bonus: leatherworking, metalworking or stonemasonry.
New Knowledge (Int)
Headology: Some curious gnomes decide that personality and moods are as worthy of study as the more observable phenomena. They carefully observe how others behave and question them mercilessly in order to understand them. Headology checks are made when the character is trying to figure out how someone would act, and it only applies to creatures with an Intelligence score of 3 or higher, although there are some self-proclaimed ‘animal headologists’ who study the behaviour of animals and other creatures with animal intelligence. If a character has 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (headology), he gains a +2 synergy bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy and Sense Motive checks against sentient creatures.
The following skills are disciplines that may be covered by Knowledge (arcana) or made into their own Knowledge skill at the Games Master’s discretion, as they may give synergy bonuses to other skills. If kept as part of arcana’s body of knowledge, a player may declare he is using some of these methods to complement other skill checks, as described under each field. He makes a Knowledge (arcana) check (DC 15) and, if successful, he grants a +2 synergy bonus to the affected skill. If made into its own separate Knowledge skill, these disciplines grant the bonus as normal, by having 5 or more ranks in it.
Astrology: The study of the stars and how they relate to the fate of individuals and nations is a science of varying reputation. Astrology gives synergy to Scry and Sense Motive checks.
Gematria: Some call this the art of complicating things unnecessarily. By converting words into a complicated system of numbers and symbols, arcanists can divine occult meanings from names and messages. Many maintain that this is a monumental waste of time, but this skill does grant synergy to Decipher Script and Scry, as well as to other applications of the Knowledge (arcane) skill.
Arcane Geometry: Closely related to gematria, this arcane discipline is concerned with shapes, rather than words. Buildings constructed following arcane geometric patterns seem capable of focusing and channelling magical energies better than mundanely engineered ones, and the use of geometric symbols in summoning circles and related wards is prevalent. The new craft of arcanics makes heavy use of arcane geometry to build its conduits and cells. A character may have synergy to skill checks that relate to arcane writings, non-standard script, engineering, tracing magic circles and other arcane pursuits that involve messing with shapes.
New Professions (Wis)
Pilot: Gnomes build impressive vehicles that defy magic and mundane craftsmanship alike, and the pilot profession revolves around their operation. From the legendary submersibles to flying ships and passengercarrying golems, piloting is still a rare profession with very few chances for usefulness, but it greatly improves the performance of many gnomish inventions.
Mechanic: Mechanics are a special brand of craftsmen who are adept at fixing things, but not creating them. A mechanic can use his Profession check to repair almost any kind of crafted item as per the normal rules for the Craft skill without needing ranks in that particular craft. If the character does have ranks in an appropriate Craft skill, the player may choose to roll either the Craft or the Profession’s ranks and, if the other has 5 or more ranks, the character receives a +2 synergy bonus to the roll.
Sapper: Sappers may be grouped with siege engineers except for the fact that they do not know how to build siege weaponry, and the engineers have only a passing understanding of the fine art of making things go ‘boom’. Sappers know how to spot the weak points in a structure, undermine and sabotage it so that it breaks just the way they want it. For some gnomes, this includes the use of magic and explosives.
Gnomes, being the craftsmen that they are, gather in groups and guilds for co-operation and mutual support. They are used to working together and as masters can command journeymen, who in turn can order apprentices around while focusing their efforts on a complex item. As per the normal aid another action rules, when two or more characters co-operate on a single task requiring a skill check, every assistant rolls his check against DC 10, and gains the main character’s roll a +2 circumstance bonus for each assistant who succeeded.
Gnomish teams can grow quite large when gathered for a big project, and rolling for each apprentice can become a chore by itself. To simplify the process of rolling for a team of craftsmen, group apprentices, journeymen and masters in teams of five, according to their rank. Choose who of the highest-ranking guildsmen will be the project leader and use his Craft modifier for the skill check. Apply the following modifiers for each team of five craftsmen:
|Successful Skill Co-operation check||Bonus to Craft check|
|For every 5 apprentices||+4|
|For every 5 journeymen||+6|
|For every 5 masters||+8|
The project leader adds all the modifiers to his own check and determines progress as per the normal rules for Craft checks. Consider apprentices as Non-Player Characters with 1-4 ranks in the relevant Craft or Profession skill; journeymen have 5-9 ranks and the Skill Focus feat for the relevant skill, and masters have 10+ ranks and probably a couple of beneficial feats.