If there’s a single running theme across all signature items, it’s that they’re objectively powerful. Consider today’s item, where the capstone ability is a more powerful, more useful version of time stop, a top-tier 9th-level spell. This is one of the few occasions where a player worried their item was too powerful, specifically because he could use it, damage his allies with something like inflict mass wounds, and give everybody three or four rounds to buff themselves while the enemy had to sit and watch. But the theme for this campaign is super-powered action anime. If I’m not giving the players bosses for whom they desperately need several rounds of preparation to have even a fighting chance, I’m not doing my job. The power level of these items isn’t a gift, it’s a warning.
Jace had one big ask: he wanted murderous command to be his signature spell, like Goku’s Kamehameha or Naruto’s Rasengan or Gon’s going on hiatus. The problem was making it flavorful and usable at higher levels. It’s a spell with a one-round duration that affects one enemy only if they fail a saving throw where the DC starts low and doesn’t scale. That’s fine in 5E, but in Pathfinder Number Party we had to ramp up what it did to keep it competitive. A lot of Jace’s neatest abilities come with an additional cost, and that’s intentional. I’m giving the players a lot of power but I’m also not stupid.
Gauntlet of Subjugation
This gauntlet was made for you…or is it the other way around? It’s not important. What matters is how you’re going to use it to bring your opponents to their knees.
Go, My Minion! (Su): Though your followers may be yours only temporarily, they will still go above and beyond for you. When a creature fails its save against your murderous command, select one of the following additional effects. Each effect lasts for the duration of murderous command:
Closer!: You instruct your minions to aim for weak points. The target gains a +1 morale bonus to any attack rolls it makes. At 5th level, and every five levels thereafter, this bonus increases by +1.
Faster!: You won’t be denied just because somebody is slightly too far away. Beginning at 3rd level, you will your minions to close the gap with their former allies. The target gains a +10-foot enhancement bonus to speed. This bonus increases to +20 feet at 9th level and +30 feet at 15th level.
Harder!: Beginning at 6th level, you command your minions to sacrifice accuracy for damage. The target temporarily gains the feat Power Attack and must use it on all attack rolls.
Farther!: Beginning at 9th level, direct combat is no longer the only way to sate the ire you stoke. Instead of a melee attack or natural weapon, the target can use a ranged attack or a spell that requires an attack roll. Though it must still attack its nearest ally, it may take a 5-foot step before making the attack. You cannot force the target to use a spell of a level higher than one-third your caster level.
Smarter!: Beginning at 12th level, you can force your minions to think tactically. Instead of its nearest ally, the target can attack any ally it can see.
Longer!: Beginning at 15th level, temporary loyalty to you can stave off death. As long as the target is under the effects of murderous command, it cannot die. The target is staggered when its hit points fall below 0 but it does not fall unconscious. You cannot use this option on summoned creatures or creatures who are destroyed at 0 hit points.
You Dare to Address Me? (Ex): You will not be commanded like a common peon. Beginning at 4th level you gain a +1 bonus on Will saves against enchantments. At 8th level, and every four levels thereafter, this bonus increases by +1 to a maximum of +5.
Your Limits are Not Mine! (Su): Your narrow expertise grants you vast options. Beginning at 5th level, you may sacrifice an additional spell slot whenever you cast murderous command to apply a metamagic effect to it. This ability does not increase the casting time or the level of murderous command itself. You may sacrifice a 1st-level spell slot to redirect the spell to another target if the original target succeeds on its save.
Beginning at 8th level, you may sacrifice a 2nd-level spell slot to force the target to roll its saving throw twice and take the worse result.
Beginning at 11th level, you may sacrifice a 3rd-level spell slot to cast the spell a second time as an immediate action when the duration of the original spell ends. This does not require an action on your turn and does not use another spell slot. This second casting of the spell targets the same creature as the original casting if that creature is within 30 feet of its original position; otherwise, the second casting fails.
Beginning at 14th level, you may sacrifice a 4th-level spell slot to target two creatures instead of one. The targets must be within 30 feet of each other.
Beginning at 17th level, you may sacrifice a 5th-level spell slot to apply any two of the above abilities.
Kneel, I Said! (Su): Though it takes effort, you can exert more will than your spell warrants. Beginning at 7th level, when you cast murderous command you can increase the DC by one-third your caster level. If you do, you are unable to cast spells until the end of your next turn.
I am Not Satisfied! (Su): You don’t inspire loyalty in your minions, you inspire fervor. Beginning at 10th level, you may select two options whenever you use your go, my minion! ability. If you target more than one creature with one casting of the spell, you must use the same options for all targets. Beginning at 19th level, you can select three options.
Die for Me! (Su): You’re only interested in minions willing to protect you. Beginning at 13th level, if you are targeted by a melee attack while you are adjacent to a creature under the effect of your murderous command, you can use an immediate action to move into that creature’s space. The creature moves into your space and becomes the target of the attack. This movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity and it immediately ends the effect of murderous command.
Beginning at 18th level, you can use this ability when you are targeted by a ranged or spell attack.
Halt! (Su): With a single word you can bring almost anyone to heel. Beginning at 20th level, once per day as a standard action you can command all creatures within 100 feet to stop moving. This functions as the spell time stop, except you do not speed up. Time continues to flow around you; spell durations and similar effects continue, and creatures are aware of your actions but cannot affect them. If you or your allies attack another creature or affect it with anything other than a harmless spell, or if the creature takes damage from any source, the effect ends on that creature and it may act again. This ability lasts for a number of rounds equal to one-half your Charisma modifier.