Hearth & Blade
A downloadable rpg
Hearth & Blade: Core Rulebook and Campaign Setting
Fifteen hundred years ago, mortals walked side-by-side with the gods. They were want for nothing, and the spoils of sorcery permitted them to bend the world to their pleasure. However, in a great act of hubris, humanity incurred the wrath of the gods. Their cities and monuments were sundered to the ground; their world, once verdant and beautiful, paralyzed by relentless snow; and their inborn magic and celestial blood, robbed from them. The sorcerer kings of this golden age were now reduced to savages, forced to relearn the art of the hearth and the blade and start anew. Although centuries have passed since this cataclysm, humanity still fights for its life against starvation, war, and an endless winter that chokes the remaining life from the earth. This is Yavmir — a world of ruin, a world without heroes.
Hearth & Blade is a homebrew campaign setting for the first edition of the Pathfinder roleplaying game. Explore Yavmir, a frozen realm steeped in rich Slavic folklore. Delve into ancient ruins, acquaint yourself with strange cultures, and fight to survive in a world the gods have forsaken.
Beta version 1.0 of the Hearth & Blade core rulebook was released on January 4 2021. These PDFs include a modified version of the Pathfinder rule set as well as everything you need to play in the Hearth & Blade campaign setting.
- Face the challenge of gritty low-level play based on the P6 Codex
- Experiment with new and revised classes, such as the ingenious Delver and scrappy Crusader
- Build your character using a streamlined feat tree based on our popular Elephant in the Room feat tax document
- Play as two new races: the hulking Olbishims and the owl-like Syekas.
- Become fully immersed in the campaign setting through a comprehensive almanac of Yavmir's cultures, faiths, history, and regions
- Fight monsters inspired by Slavic mythology, from ominous Likhos, to towering Leshies, to skittering Nailheads.
Development of Hearth & Blade is ongoing, and we encourage your feedback and questions as we move through the beta test!
Release Notes for Beta 1.0
Hearth & Blade has been designed as a variant handbook for the first edition of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. It is modeled after Monte Cook’s Arcana Unearthed and inspired by various low-magic fantasy settings such as Hyboria and Middle Earth. Over years of on-and-off design and play testing, we have assembled a rule-set that seeks to achieve two goals:
- To represent a fantasy world through rules, entangling lore with the various classes, spells, and monsters that make up the game.
- To create a campaign setting inspired by Slavic folklore — one in which magic and the supernatural are rare, dangerous, and not easily mastered.
The end result is Yavmir, a frozen realm steeped in myths and legends originating from Russia and Eastern Europe.
Although not finished, we feel that enough of the game has been completed to allow for an open playtest. In the downloads package you will find the following PDFs, labeled by prospective book chapter title and number:
- 04) Inhabitants of Yavmir: An overview of playable races (human, olbishim, and syeka) as well as numerous ancestries that provide characters with additional skill bonuses and backgrounds.
- 05) Classes: A collection of new and revised character classes and instructions on how to level up using P6 progression. New classes include the Crusader, Delver, Mystic, and Warden and revised classes include the Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Fighter, Ranger, and Rogue.
- 06) Skills: An outline of skill that is mostly the same as what is presented in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. One key difference - the languages available through the linguistics skill.
- 07) Feats: A completely reworked feat tree, heavily inspired by The Elephant in the Room feat tax document and supplemented with epic feats from the P6 rule-set. In absence of a dedicated combat chapter, a few important combat errata have also been included.
- 08) Equipment: An expansive listing of the weapons, armor, and equipment available in the campaign setting, including prices and special materials.
- 11) Magic Rules: An outline of magic rules in Hearth & Blade.
- 12) Spells: A grimoire of new spells for the campaign setting, alongside classic spells that have been modified from their entries in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook.
- 14) History and Religion: A chronicling of the history of Yavmir, and a full outline of the world’s religions and faiths.
- 15) The World of Yavmir: A gazetteer of important locations in Yavmir.
- 16) Bestiary: A collection of new monsters available for use in Hearth & Blade, as well as retooled monster types and subtypes.
- Yavmir Map: A labeled map of Yavmir. If opened with Adobe Reader, Acrobat, or a similar program, map layers can be turned off and on.
Although our intent is to eventually create a standalone rulebook, we welcome players to pick-and-choose elements of Hearth & Blade to adopt for their home games. For example, chapters 14 and 15 feature lore that could be applied to any tabletop roleplaying game.
Rule Changes, at a Glance
- Hearth & Blade uses a variation of the P6 rule-set. Regular PCs and NPCs may only advance to 6th level, after which only feats are gained. In addition to normal feats, “epic” feats can be earned that replicate some abilities gained by 7th and 8th level characters. As the whole feat tree has been adjusted, specific errata for these changes are not currently available.
- Magic is exceedingly rare. In addition to the removal of high-level spellcasting, there are no teleportation, resurrection, or wish spells in the game. Additionally, fire magic is generally unavailable and may only be wielded by a select number of (usually dubious) groups and factions.
- Alignment does not exist. Other rules (such as spell descriptors) have been tweaked to accommodate this change.
- Hamstring, a new combat maneuver, has been added, which allows players to prevent an opponent from moving in lieu of an attack.
- Power Attack, Deadly Aim, Fight Defensively, and Combat Expertise have been removed. They have been replaced by the Defensive Stance and Risky Strike combat options (listed in the Feats chapter), which are freely available to any character with +1 BAB.
- Nonlethal damage can be inflicted without penalty, but no longer grants a chance to land a critical hit.
- Players can choose to use their Dexterity modifier to attack (but not to inflict damage with) light weapons or those with the agile quality. Rogues can eventually add their Dexterity bonus to damage with such weapons.
- Firearms exist in Yavmir, and all possess the black powder weapon quality. These weapons are generally used by the Delver class, who have abilities that enhance their effectiveness and mitigate their drawbacks.
- Monster types and subtypes have been adjusted to reflect the creatures that inhabit Yavmir. A full listing of these changes can be found at the end of the Bestiary chapter.
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