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Blodeuwedd

AlgaeNymph's page

Goblin Squad Member. 513 posts (645 including aliases). No reviews. 3 lists. No wishlists. 4 aliases.


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Has the game died off? PM me if it hasn't.


Something I've been wondering is how Brevoy would have any chance against their southern neighbor in a war taking place after Kingmaker. This is especially the case if Brevoy's up against any 17th level wizards or witches; there are spells like horrid wilting and weird with no upper limit on the number of targets.

That's assuming the Brevic warlords aren't simply killed by teleporting assassins.


James Jacobs wrote:
AlgaeNymph wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
I've been trying to steer our employees and authors away from making Kyonin a Tolkien clone and super isolationist, but it's hard to fight that fight and I'm more or less about to give up and just throw my hands in the air, frankly.
Wow, that's sad. Is there anything we can do to help you? I'm not too keen on Tolkien clones either.
Nothing comes to mind.

Not even giving support on the forums? You did say that our feedback guides Paizo's decisions.

By the way, why do employees and authors want to make Kyonin a super-isolationist Tolkien rip-off?

Do you think they dislike elves? If so, why?


Lack of paladins aside, you do have to admit that Ashava would be a good fit.

Personally, Zohls would be my go-to empyreal for Carrion Crown given how investigation-heavy the adventure path is.


James Jacobs wrote:
I've been trying to steer our employees and authors away from making Kyonin a Tolkien clone and super isolationist, but it's hard to fight that fight and I'm more or less about to give up and just throw my hands in the air, frankly.

Wow, that's sad. Is there anything we can do to help you? I'm not too keen on Tolkien clones either.


Did'ja miss my last questions or are you still working on them?

I don't mean to be rude, I just saw you answer later questions first and wondered.


James Sutter wrote:
It's really important to us (particularly to Wes and I) that our good outsiders be just as weird and alien and interesting as our evil outsiders. Too many people think "good outsider" means "boring winged paladin," and I think we've challenged that well.

The empyreal lords are certainly not boring.

I’ve seen Vildeis get a lot of likes. My favorite’s Arshea; a non-shallow deity of physical beauty and sexuality, and genderfluid as a bonus! His picture on p.7 of Chronicles of the Righteous is easily one of Paizo’s best illustrations. Wish I know who the artist was…

Anyway, more questions.

1. How did you feel about the write-ups the empyreal lords got in Bestiary 4?

2. How do you feel of my critique of said write-ups?

3. What would Pharasma think about the Redemption Engine saving souls in Hell who were forced there, such as via human sacrifice?

4. Why would she condemn some to eternal damnation just because they violated a lawful religion’s taboo against suicide? She doesn’t have to send someone to Hell just to deny them Heaven…does she?


Set wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
And there's a new type of servitor for each of the 20 major deities: a CR 4ish outsider suitable for calling with lesser planar ally by lower-level clerics.

Woo! Guess I don't have to ever finish my thread full of lesser planar allies. :)

Oo! Where's this thread?


Hello again, Other James. :)

1. What's your opinion of the empyreal lords?

2. How knowledgeable do you feel about them? I'm hoping you don't cop out with "That's a Wes question."

3. Which ones're your favorites?


Under Generating Gems, the Random Gems table appears twice.

On the front page, the link to the Iconics in the NPC Codex is missing.

The sleeves of many garments isn't highlighted. Doing a search for the item turns up the shackles of durance vile.


How long does it take to travel by river from Cassomir to Kenebres?

I'm sure it's referenced somewhere but for once I don't know.


What is it about Game of Thrones you like so much? I mean, isn't the series basically about villains getting away with screwing over the few decent characters?


James Jacobs wrote:
AlgaeNymph wrote:

How would feel about a Paizo version of Touched by an Angel? One featuring the angelic empyreal lords?

(I've been meaning to start a thread about that. Best get to finishing it up.)

I'd like to think that the first Paizo TV show would be more like Game of Thrones and less like Touched by an Angel.

Have you no faith in Paizo's IP?

This isn't Tess&Monica nagging some hapless yuppie into forgetting all about critical thinking and instead making nice-nice with her toxic relatives. I'm talking about things like Ragathiel teaching a girl how to use a sniper rifle, or Arshea teaching a boy how to accessorize and apply makeup, or Immonhiel helping mothers legalize medicinal marijuana. Good-aligned activities that'll scandalize Tess&Monica (and the typical audience of network TV).


It has come to my attention that I forgot to correctly set the viewing options for my spreadsheet, such that people had to get my permission before viewing it. And here I thought they wanted to edit it (that's why I wanted names first before giving permission). I have fixed this now.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Glad folks are still digging these guys. I just assigned some new love for an Empyreal Lord or two today. So... stay tuned. :)

Kewl. :)

Just don't give them gimpy mental stats.

Having plugged my thread I feel a little obligated to add something to this one. Hm...

Oh! Let's think up which empyreal lords would be most thematically appropriate for each AP. I’ll start with Kingmaker since I’ve been thinking about that a lot. (An * means a particularly good fit)

Arshea: Wes thinks Arshea would fit in this and any other AP where the PCs settle down. I’m…not so sure Arshea would fit into the “culture” of the area…

“Ain’t bathing’ once a week good enough for yer? Y’trying to make me pretty ‘r sumthin’?”

Eldas: You’re literally building cities, and you’ll no doubt want to place the buildings just right.

Immonhiel*: Three words: convert the boggards.

Jalaijatali*: A rivers divinity who doesn’t reek of country bumpkin (or practice human sacrifice).

Olheon*: You play as a ruler in this AP, I can’t think of a better empyreal lord for this AP or a better AP for her to fit in.

Uskyeria: Country bumpkins are asking you to kill animals all the time in this AP.

You can no doubt think up more that I’ve neglected.


James Jacobs wrote:
xavier c wrote:
why do you think people dislike(or think she's evil) Iomedae(especially after the Wrath of the Righteous event)? I saw noting wrong with what Iomedae did in the Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth book but she did come off as mean (she's probably not good with children)
You'd have to ask them.

I'd pm you, xavier, but you've turned private messaging off so I'll have to reply here (apologies, James). This thread gives both explanations and fixes. I've also compiled said fixes into a Google doc.

Now for an actual question:

How would feel about a Paizo version of Touched by an Angel? One featuring the angelic empyreal lords?

(I've been meaning to start a thread about that. Best get to finishing it up.)


Since I'm not allowed to correct my mistakes in these forums (I could be trying to hide rudeness in the Memory Hole! ~Ooo~oo~), I decided to post a Google doc version...which I should have done from the start since its formatting is so much easier to work with than this messageboard's.

That was not sarcasm by the way.


James Jacobs wrote:
AlgaeNymph wrote:
Technology's more than weapons. What about assembly lines? How can low-level wizards surpass those?

It's not the game world we want to build. That's how.

Sorry if that seems arbitrary.

But my philosophy on game design is to spend the bulk of the time defining the fun and interesting and cool parts of the setting, and to not spend too much of that time justifying it by getting too overwhelmed with trying to make it all work as if it were really real.

Understandable. But let's suppose, just for fun, you were to think up a justification for no peaceful industrialization. What would it be?


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Human: Y'know, being a pet isn't so bad.

Cat: I've been telling you that for years.


James Jacobs wrote:
The reason that tech hasn't advanced in Golarion (and in most fantasy settings of a similar nature) is the fact that magic exists in this world. There's no real need to build a flamethrower when a first level wizard can cast burning hands, in other words.

Technology's more than weapons. What about assembly lines? How can low-level wizards surpass those?


I just listened to your voice clip. Are you really that deep? I always took your pitch to similar to Imoen's or Neeshka's.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Well, Merisial and the goblin have deeper voices than I expected.


1. Under what conditions would the leaders of Brevic noble houses be willing to meet each other?

2. Under what conditions would they be willing to meet with the (presumably level 17+) ruler of the Stolen Lands?

3. Who would actually side with House Surtova (i.e., the one that’s assumed the throne)? I’ve read a lot about the impending civil war in Brevoy but it seems like Surtova doesn’t have any allies.

4. In fact, the social dynamics of the houses aren’t mentioned. Was this due to space reasons or intentional vagueness?

5. In what ways does Brevoy differ from Westeros, besides the obvious (magic, actual seasons, no White Walkers, etc)?

6. In terms of terrain improvements, how well-developed is Brevoy?

7. A story idea I have: House Orlovsky, allied with Houses Lodovka and Medvyed as well as Restov, declares war on House Surtova, which is allied with Houses Garess and Lebeda. The Stolen Lands ruler, for religious reasons, openly provides humanitarian aid to both sides. Does it look interesting? Plausible?

8. Why would a noble spend thousands of gp on clothes when a hat of disguise (1,800 gp) or sleeves of many garments (200 gp!) provide infinite clothes at a better price?


It's pleasantly bland, filling, and healthy. Mainly it's something I thought of off the top of my head that I liked.


Caleb D'natin wrote:
Hi all, I was diagnosed with a UTI[...]

>.<

Ouch. At least we know who to rely on for honesty.

Anyway... Pulpy orange juice, brown* rice with butter, and a snuggly bed in a warm room are my recommendations for getting well. :)

*Why is it called brown? It's more of a yellow color.


F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
I get a very Charles Xavier vibe off this. The idea that an Arshea worshiper would want to create a place to teach people about themselves and hone their abilities in an environment free of prejudice sounds pretty noble to me.

That would explain why superheroes have perfect bodies and flattering outfits, and I believe James said that sorcerers are basically mutants. Questions in that vein will have to wait, I've already thought up 10 other questions:

1. How would an Arshean kingdom work, particularly militarily?

2. How would Arshea feel about (consensual!) S&M and the like? Besides non-con, where would Arshea draw the line?

3. On what do Arshea and Lymneris disagree about?

4. What would you guess Arshea’s CR is?

5. What would his spell-like abilities be like?

6. How did you feel about the write-ups the empyreal lords got in Bestiary 4?

7. How do you feel of my critique of said write-ups?

8. Would you bribe James to give empyreal lords more love?

9. Would you also teach James more about empyreal lords? I wanna get a reply out of him besides “That’s a Wes question.”

10. Besides you, who else is knowledgeable about empyreal lords?


0. Could a CG wizard found a NG kingdom that has LG holy orders? I ask because I want to make a ruler that 1) heavily promotes the empyreal lords (which would include the lawful ones) and 2) is in-your-face (which I believe is chaotic) about how ridiculous inherited nobility is in a world with 17+ level wizards (them specifically since they can easily magic up special effects and WMDs). This also raises two questions:

1. Why would squishy mortal nobles think they’re hot stuff compared to de-facto demigods? (In the informal sense of the term, not the formal “grants spells but has stats” that Pathfinder uses.)

2. Why don’t powerful wizards take over (for lack of a better term) Westerosi places more often?


DM Le Roy Batty wrote:
Sioned still holding the lighted rock, casts a protective spell and asks for healing, which Suryani provides to the group.

Good thing our attacker just spoke up or I would've thrown the rock in the wrong direction.

Sioned throws the rock in the general direction of the attacker and moves in to attack.


James Jacobs wrote:
It only takes ONE soul being rewarded for being super evil and being immediately ascended to the role of a powerful outsider to set a precedent, and that's all that's needed for all the other minions of hopefuls to follow in the footsteps of that one soul.

Like people willing to make less money at crime than they would at McJobs because of the one successful crime boss with the blinged-out Hummer?

While we're talking about mortal knowledge of the afterlife, how much does the average empyreal mystery cultist know? Those ranks in Knowledge (planes) needed for the celestial obedience ought to help.


F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
As soon as the product page goes live I plan to being my public flagellation. :(

Ouch, you have my sympathies. I'd also like to apologize for misspelling "Shikaisen" and being lazy in getting the youkai links to you.

Shikaisen: Easier to find when not misspelled, but no by much. A Shikaisen is an immortal who transfers his soul into an object, which then turns into his new body and vice-versa for the previous body. This may cause a sex change. Also, the process can be sabotaged (creating a ghost). In Touhou, one is a swashbuckler/noble scion and the other is a sorcerer (arcane) with Wis as a dump stat.

Minreiki: A swarm of theatrical masks possessed by a spirit. According to legend, a prodigy prince crafted one for each theatrical piece intended to settle the populace. The example from Touhou has levels in bard (dervish dancer).

Yatagaratsu/Jinwu/Samjok-o: The three-legged crow with as many names. Essentially a phoenix-like demigod of the sun. Touhou associates it with nuclear power, meaning plasma oozes and solar dragons have something to keep it company.


James Jacobs wrote:
There are absolutely religious wizards, just as there are religious scientists.

More of a comment than a question but you may be interested in Byakuren Hijiri.

Her backstory:
Most stories about wizards using others as a means to immortality end in damnation; it’s the opposite case for Byakuren. When her brother and Mikkyo mentor Myouren died she sought to learn the means of immortality from youkai (catch-all term for monsters). She initially protected them for her own ends but began to see them as people.

In short, she changed from true neutral to neutral good when she became immortal. Her long-term goal is peace between humans and youkai, though she’d like the latter to be less rowdy. She’s both a high priestess of a Mahayana temple and a transmuter powerful enough to be a runelord.

Now a question: She an interesting character to you?


James Jacobs wrote:
The Golux wrote:

James,

just to check, will Inner Sea Gods include stats for the heralds of all 20 main deities, or at least the heralds that were only statted for 3.5?

Stats for all 20 heralds and 20 new less powerful minions will be included.

If that pleases you, thank me, since I actually had to kind of fight hard to get the heralds in there at all.

Thank you. :)

Why would have to fight for something so fundamental, however? Who were you fighting with?


I'm on Pacific (PST) time as well, but I could be here any time of day.


Sickness? Have you been overworking yourselves? I hope you get better soon, and I hope you interpret this as concern rather than insistence.

Yee... Since when did "I hope you" become something said in hostility?


I sent a request to the webmaster to correct a huge copy/paste error in a thread I made but I haven't gotten a reply, not even a "no." Would somebody explain the reason for the delay? I trust there's a good reason but I'd feel better if I knew what goes on behind the scenes.


James Jacobs wrote:
Holybushman wrote:

How would the aging rules apply to a creature that is immortal and no longer ages? Would the mental abilities continue to increase? If so, would there be a limit?

If they became immortal before they aged to middle/old/venerable age, then they'd NEVER gain those bonuses.

1. Why not?

2. What about if they have the longevity ability or something similar?


Ah, okay. I'm here-but-waiting as well.


I thought I got all the copy/paste errors. This is why I hate the edit window.

I'm going to rewrite this and ask the webpeople to replace the first post with the revision. Seriously, Paizo, most people who edit posts aren't trying to cover up rudeness.


I don't mean to look antagonistic asking this but what was going through your mind when you wrote Fury of the First World (Pathfinder #36, p.57-59)?

The plot is basically Magdh ordering the PCs to apologize for defending themselves or else be attacked by destructive First World blooms yet again, followed by being ordered to "meddle in the affairs of the fey no more!" As if the PCs were the meddlers here!

I'm sure you had a reason for this particular plot but I can't comprehend why you'd think letting someone get away with bullying the PCs would be a good idea. And no, "She's a fey so she can act as nonsensical as she wants!" isn't a good reason.


I learned how to swim when I was ~9 and I've never forgotten. I took a swimming class a while ago for exercise and to see how I did. My technique was off but staying afloat was never a problem.

I find myself boggling at people too scared to float on their backs in the shallow end, it's much easier to stay afloat than to even intentionally touch the floor of the deep end. Also, treading water isn't a matter of exhaustion but boredom.

Boasting said, I doubt I'd do quite as well in oceanic water since that's actually moving.


James Jacobs wrote:
Trust me... there's plenty of bad ideas we've let get into print... if you don't know about them, that's fine with me! :-)

Saidly, there's some stuff I think we should know about. There's a line in Pathfinder #69 (p.37) that reeks of race fail: "Kyrisjana's skin has darkened to reflect the wickedness in her soul." How do you handle authors who say things like that?


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I’ll be honest, I wasn’t that bothered by Iomedae’s section when I read it. Maybe I was thinking “Why would the PCs be snide in the first place?” Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention. Regardless, I found the arguments in favor of a rewrite logical and rational. So did James, who said, in so many thoughtful words, “Oops” and “Feel free to reject my reality and substitute my own!” He also reminded us that Iomedae wants to make sure she’s making a good investment and that elves in Pathfinder don’t act like they do in 2E’s The Complete Book of Elves, but that’s another thread altogether.

A whole rewrite is a lot of work, but folks here have already done that work for us! I’ve linked to and summarized all the suggested revisions from the Discussion on Iomedae so you won’t have to wade through “It is so” and “It is not so.” Here’s hoping this thread’s as big a hit as my last one. (pssst Bump it, I like attention!)

* * *

Lochar suggests a variant where the damage is actually creeping dissonance due to Baphomet’s interferance:
Very quickly after the party returns from the Midnight Isles, the Sword of Valor shimmers and a number of planetars appear, though no one had prayed for their arrival.

The planetars quickly approached the party (a number equal to the number of party members split up, so they never see more than one.)

"Iomedae requires your presence, mortal Hero(es)."

The party is given only a moment to prepare themselves before the planetars shift them to Iomedae's home plane.

The party appears in the cathedral as noted, but without the planetars. Iomedae stands before the party, armored as if she is ready to ride out on a Crusade herself, though shield and sword are not quite at the ready. Followers of Iomedae immediately recognize her as their deity.

The choir invisible's voices and music hums throughout the cathedral. A DC 40 Perception check (DC 30 for anyone with 10 or more ranks in Perform: singing or other musical type perform) notes the presence of what sounds like a single dissonant note among the music that irregularly repeats.

"Welcome, heroes of the Fifth Crusade. I am Iomedae. You who have proven the most capable among all the crusaders, I would charge with striking back against the Abyss' latest injustice: the kidnapping of my own Herald. I have brought you here to test the mettle of your very soul, for where I would send you, your every step will be shrouded by the worst of evils."

Iomedae pauses for a moment to let the PCs come to grips with where they are and who speaks to them. Allow a DC 40 Knowledge: Religion check for the PC to know that a god's Herald is directly imbued with a shard of the god's power.

Iomedae then continues on. "Answer my questions to prove the strength of your soul and convictions, or remain silent and allow my domain to wash away the weaknesses you bear."

The first question is asked as stated. Iomedae expects followers of her religion to know the act, but is greatly pleased if others do as well. However, what she is truly looking for is the PCs willingness to brave the deepest pits and carry their own light with them. Success as per the book.

For groups who do not answer, or who answer well outside the acceptable, Iomedae speaks instead, shaking her head. "Heroes of the Fifth Crusade, remember your own bravery!" The choir crescendos as all the stained glass shifts, all the Acts of Iomedae save the Fifth changing to scenes of valor of the PCs. Featuring among them the players dive into the Abyssal Rift, the final mine in the Isles, and even one of them braving the dark while lost but guiding under Kenabres.

But among the rising choir comes the dissonant note. Allow each player another perception check with a +5 circumstance bonus to hear it. Each player takes one point of ability drain to Constitution as the note seems to draw something from them. Iomedae does not appear to notice.

The second question is asked as the book.

Success Condition: Iomedae is looking for the PCs to not always put Good in front of Law, nor Law in front of Good. So long as the party can present to her a united front that does not descend into Chaos or Evil, the party correctly answers her question. For the speech, add. "The gift I grant you is guidance from my hand directly. Offer your hand in my name and I will offer atonement instantly." The one use Atonement SLA (CL 20) may be invoked as a standard action.

Failure: Iomedae motions again to the stained glass as the choir rises. This time, the Eighth Act of Iomedae stays while the other windows reflect the PCs and known NPCs actions of offering atonement. Arueshalae praying before a statue of Desna, Jesker in Delamere's tomb (if he was saved), and setting Alrys Harnaste to rest feature among them. Again though, the dissonant note rises along with the rest of the Choir. Allow another perception check with a +10 circumstance bonus as the note seems to ravage the PCs bodies for 2 points of Con drain.

The third question is asked as the book.

Success: Iomedae seems pleased so long as any of the party is willing to see her quest through unto death, or rallies any fearful party members to Iomedae's cause. Continue with her speech per the book.

Failure: "What fear takes you, heroes?" All the murals shift as the choir swells to almost insane heights, shifting to a blood pounding chant. "Did you not face death in Kenabres, before the power of the wardstone gifted you might to face greater demons? Do you hold the fear of freed but fledgling Drezen, a babe protected by mighty heroes? But you are those heroes! Where is the valor that lead you into the Abyss once already?"

The dissonant note of the choir deals 4 points of Con drain and provides a +20 circumstance bonus to the Perception check to hear it.

Call to Glory:

Iomedae does not heal anyone (see below for Con drain results). Unless the PCs failed at all three questions, Iomedae continues with her speech. Otherwise, she may set them a task in the worldwound to allow the PCs to prove a new answer to her questions.

Con Drain

Unless a PC hears the dissonant note, PCs do not recognize the Con drain though their players still track it.

Should a PC hear the dissonant note, even before any Con drain, and bring it up to Iomedae, she answers as follows:

"Even now Baphomet seeks the power I imbued in my Herald and I must stave off his attempts." Iomedae closes her eyes for a moment and the dissonant note squelches. The note does not return in further failed questions, but Iomedae seems a touch distracted for the rest of the scene.

After the third question, should anyone have Con drain Iomedae notices and heals it without a word.

Mary Yamato suggests that Iomedae instead questions the PCs to see if they have the same character flaws that the herald had.:
As far as I can tell, it's impossible to make someone humble by force. You can humiliate them, but it's just not the same. So I wouldn't try.

What would Iomedae pressingly want to know? Well, was there some weakness in her Herald that led to this disastrous capture? If the GM could develop an idea about such a weakness, then it would make sense for Iomedae to be testing for it.

I don't know this part of the story so I can't guess the Herald's actual weaknesses, if any. But some ideas:

--He clung to justice when mercy was needed, or to mercy when justice was needed (the paradox of the LG alignment in many cases).

--He had some pride or ambition that the demons could work on; he wasn't content to be Iomedae's servant. (After all, Iomedae was once a Herald and now a god--why not him?)

--He didn't have the wisdom to see through a deception; he mistook a subtle demonic evil for good. (There's a nice example of this in the backstory of Shackled City which might be inspirational.)

--He became too invested in a personal friend, beloved, place, group, or project, and that became a weakness the demons could exploit.

--His trust in Iomedae faltered, either because of an actual flaw in her, a weakness in his own personality, a demonic deception, or something involving the fall of Aroden. Without faith he couldn't withstand the demons.

Once you know what went wrong with the Herald, it would make sense that Iomedae would be trying to find out if the PCs share that flaw--if they do, sending them to the Abyss would just be throwing good money after bad. So she'd ask questions germane to this, such as "When were you in situation X? How did you resolve it? Looking back, were you right?" for some appropriate situation.

She might also test for fracture points in the group, but you can't do that unless you know the PCs in question. We just had a nice scene in Jade Regent along the lines of "What about the PC necromancer? Do you take responsibility for him--not only for what he may do now, but what he may someday become?" That was a suitably hard question for my priest of Tsukiyo, and may have been a turning point in his taking moral responsibility in a broader sense. So, a GM might think about ways the party might split, and challenge those. Have the more Good characters been in denial about their comrades' real natures? Is there someone here not willing to sacrifice themselves for their comrades, and if so, how do the comrades feel about that?

This kind of scene is best tailored to the PCs, though of course the module-writer can't do that, so module attempts will always be somewhat generic.

friluftshund casts Iomedae as more of a teacher.:
Theme:
- Humility
- Inspiration
- Awe
- Resolve
- Emotions (love)

I'll start off with a visitation. They were visited before after the Grey Garrison in their dreams, so Iomedae will do so again. Is this a dream, or is it reality? It will soon become apparent that it is indeed reality.

Once transported to Iomedae's cathedral, they will find themselves on the steps to the altar, gazing at the most magnificient structure they have ever seen, with stained-glass windows depicting the Acts (foreshadowing to question #1, angelic attendants among the pews, a soft sound of a choir rehearsing, although there is more than a tinge of sorrow in their harmonies.

Iomedae will move up behind them, below them and move a few steps up while they admire the building.
"I am glad you approve of my cathedral, for it is sustained but through the prayers of my loyal followers." Giving a small measure of thanks to any Iomedaen followers in the group.

"It is, however, also my prison." Pause for effect. "There is a matter of greatest urgency and the utmost difficulty I would impart upon you, and it is my sincere hope that the many trials you have endured up to this point have been enough to bolster your resolve and to strengthen your arms. I would grant you three tasks to test your mettle before setting out on your next voyage, that of running the labyrinth of the Demon Lord Baphomet in search of my abducted Herald."

After a pause, and to allow any Iomedaen followers in the group to regain their composure and to take in these news she gestures toward the closest stained-glass windows which shift from one of the acts to a scene of a more recent battle.

"A little history if you wish." (PC may resist the effect with a DC40 will save (harmless))

The group is pulled into the window depicting a bloody battlefield and crusaders in disarray. They appear behind a cleric in battle vestments kneeling on the ground, head touching earth while the battle rages on all sides. It is apparent this is a battle on the tipping point between victory or defeat, a battle against a host of demons. The battle of Raliscrad.

As the group can do nothing but stand in witness, they realise the cleric is calling out for help, and it is indeed a powerful cry, for before him, shimmering in the air a being of purity appears, swords circling his head, a fire in his eyes. "Your call has been heard faithful one, what would you ask of me?"

The cleric slumps forward, utterly spent after the calling. "Help us please, in The Inheritor's name!"

The Herald would tip the battle in the crusaders favor, it would be a decisive win, were it not for the shadow being cast across the Herald's face. Unable to turn around, the heroes are powerless to face this new opponent, but it is apparent the Herald does, and it is with a mix of rage and despair. "You!" is all he manages before coils of shadow and dark, demonic energy shoots across his form, and a strange dual laughter issues from behind the PC's as the writhing form of the Herald is pulled from the plane they are on.

And the group is pulled from the stained-glass window, back to the cathedral, feeling like they've ran several hundred yards in heavy armor.

"This is what face you, brave heroes." Iomedae has moved to a chair off to the side of the altar, mostly reserved for the attendants to priests holding sermons. Looking quite unlike all the depictions of her, The Inheritor has obviously suffered a heavy blow from the events at Raliscrad.

"Can you do it? Can you really travel to the heart of a Demon Lord's realm and free my captured servant?" Iomedae asks as much herslef as the heroes, but any affirmative answer draws a smile from the goddess.
As I said, I would test you my heroes of the fifth crusade, to steel you against the coming storm. "Join me in history.”

She extends her arm towards the heroes and the cathedral grows bright until all vision is blocked out.

Next they find themselves on a hill, surveying a land under heavy clouds and thunder. The heroes stand amongst horses and knights unaware of their presence. The Inheritor moves between the horses, showing a sense of kinship with the beasts of war, moving up tp the head of the formation who are at a stand still.

At the front is a young lady, flanked by two knights, all with their helmets off. The older advisers to the young Iomedae seem hesitant about their quest. broken conversatins are heard through the rain and thunder. "...What if we fail my Lady, what then of the rest of the campaign?" The other adviser is of like mind to the first. "I don't think we have the strength to break this enemy now."

The mortal Iomedae turns in her saddle and smiles, favouring her troops a smile, and her eyes seem to find the ghostly presence of the heroes yet to come.

raising her voice she bellows. "My knights, my knights! Are we not the Knights of Ozem?! If not we, then who shall stand against this foe, and the other foes to come?! History will judge us no matter what we do, but you know as well as I do, history favors the Bold! Join me in battle, join me in death and we shall taste the fruit of glory, and all will remember us!"

All thought of hesitation swept aside by the charismatic commander, the host of knights starts a charge toward the enemy lines, crying as much to Iomedae as to Aroden.

Left behind, The Inheritor seems lost in thought for a moment before turning towards the heroes. "History does indeed favor the bold, remember this my heroes. Now to the test. You must anchor your mind when facing a Demon Lord, for they are vaunt to make you forget who you are. Know you history and use it as a beacon to stay true to yourselves. Which enemy do I face here, which enemy did my Knights vanquish at this place?" (per the first question - Erum-Hel, Lord of Mohrgs at the Battle of Three Sorrows, the Fifth Act of Iomedae.)

If no one knows this, she enlightens them and prays they will research the history of the crusades and use it as an anchor. Shen then transports them back to the cathedral and presensts them with the Chalice of Ozem.

"Now to the second test. You have a hero’s bravery. You have proven that you can survive the horrors of the Abyss, and this marks your courageousness as surely as any feat. But also you have learned that not all those in the Abyss are your enemies. Some are creatures whose nature can be used as a tool to defeat greater evils. So tell me, when evil assumes a fair form, and when weak villains beg for their lives, are they due mercy? Or are the wages of their villainy always death and oblivion?”

Should the group fail to reach a consensus, she will show them their acts of compassion throughout their adventure on the stained-glass windows and quiz each hero about their motivations for that kindness, and remind any hero that hesitates that every redeemed demon is one less piece on the enemy's board. She grants the Atonement ability with the hopes that they will be able to save souls for the light, and deny the darkness its due.

"The final task then. How will you outwit the Lord of Minotaurs in his own labyrinth, how would you strike against such a foe? How will you defeat a Demon Lord in his own realm?"

If none of the heroes seem confident or willing to risk their lives she will gently shake her head while smiling. "You have already learned this lesson, you have already placed yourselves in danger uncounted times, you are heroes, my heroes of the fifth and final crusade. If you don't have faith in that, know at least that I have faith in you!" She draws a string off her cloak, and offers the heroes the Stole of the Inheritor
The goddess moves to stand in front of her throne.

“Strike evil in the name of the good and right, and redeem those you can from folly. With the blessing of Iomedae, you shall vanquish evil, and your names shall ring with glory, for even if you fail in this righteous task, your just rewards will await you in the Great Beyond! Take then this, my final gift to you! With it, you shall always be but a step away from home, yet know that the path it opens to safety will save you but once before it returns to me — save such flight for a last resort.”

The tone of The Inheritor's choir changes dramatically flavor, and the song is now one of hope and valor, and some heroes might just catch snippets of lyrics incorporating their names into this mythic event.

“You are worthy to champion me against Baphomet, for mandate prohibits the interaction of the divine in even such matters as personal as the loss of a herald. I charge you as worthy souls to go into the darkness of the Abyss, into the Ivory Labyrinth of my enemy, and seek out my herald. If he be dead or worse, I trust you shall finish things as befits those of your boldness. Heed the advice I have given you. Go forth on a road of honor, swiftly and with great justice, to defeat Baphomet and return or avenge my herald. In so doing may you find the strength to face the true peril that lies ahead. Deskari always watches, and the time shall soon come when the Worldwound must be closed forever lest it consume your world.”

With that, the cathedral flashes white once again, and an instant later the PCs have returned to where they left the Material Plane. Yet in each of their hands is a simple token: a bronze holy symbol of Iomedae. Each PC knows that he need but hold the symbol in a fist and concentrate to be transported into the Ivory Labyrinth, one final “gift” from Iomedae to speed them on their way. Beyond this, she cannot aid them in the trials to come.

Chuckg suggests Iomedae does punish but uses the minimal force instead. He also gets +1 brony point!:
Yeah. I mean, if we're talking about temperate responses more in keeping for the goddess of paladins, justice, and all that:

"You get to be quiet now." -- The jerkish character has a silence, 1' radius field put around his mouth. If he actually has something important to say it turns off and he can contribute to the meeting, but every time he starts to say something insulting she hits the mute button again. If you want to know how a silence spell can know whether or not what a guy says is polite ahead of time, the answer is 'It's a miracle.'

"Somebody needs a time-out." -- *poof* If the misbehavior is chornic then the jerkish character is now back on the Prime, and no longer participates in the scene. He misses out on all the possible bennies that the rest of the party could have gotten. But since mortals have free will and Iomedae respects that, if the rest of the party still wants to take their friend along on the rest of the Crusade they totally can. She just won't invite him to her house anymore.

"... you're kidding. You're kidding, right?" -- This one is for anyone who actually attacks Iomedae. She just stands there and no-sells whatever they throw at her, and actually laughs out loud that somebody thought it would work. Then she says that OK, if the player character wanted to challenge her to a duel, all they had to do is ask. The next step involves a straight-up honorable duel, maybe a few die rolls, a s~~% ton of non-lethal damage, and the PC back on the Prime contemplating the error of his ways while he invests in some soothing cream for all his new bruises.

Notice the common theme to all of this -- the response is the minimal level of force necessary to resolve the situation, and none of it has Iomedae acting in anger or offended pride. A guy who actually is trying to take the meeting seriously but just keeps saying stupid stuff is punished with a temporary inability to say anything stupid. A guy who just doesn't want to participate at all... is no longer participating. And anybody too stupid to know not to try and fight a god... gets the opportunity to learn why fighting a god is really stupid, but the beating they take is entirely non-lethal damage and is no more brutal than a martial arts master teaching the newest student just how far he has to go. Its the difference between Yoda showing Luke that he's not as good as he thinks by running Luke until he drops, and Darth Vader teaching Luke that he's not as good as he thinks by cutting Luke's hand off.

Liam Warner suggests Iomedae starts with the 3rd question first to make sure she’s got the right people for the job.:
I'm planning to open the encounter in my game (when i get round to running it, stupid work interfering with my fun) with…

“Greetings, heroes, I have a task of dire important that must be undertaken soon if not immediately. Yet while you are the most worthy and powerful champions of the fifth crusade in these dark times even Angels may fall and I must be more certain that your character contains no hidden flaws which may allow evil to enter unbidden particularly after your recent dealings in the Midnight Isles. Therefore I would ask of thee some questions in person to better judge whether sending you thither would be a great mistake. I ask that you answer me as honestly as you can with no concern for what others may think of you for tis better to reveal such weakness now when you may remain to fight on the mortal realm than stay silent and risk your souls and the souls of your companions at a later date."

At which point she asks the third question first, if they show fear or hesitation she sends those party members back and continues questioning the remaining ones. The ones sent back can still go along later but its up to the party to decide that.

The Shifty Mongoose mostly muses, but does suggest leniency in the case of honest effort.:
Lo, the paladin goddess gets the mother of all paladin threads.

What I got from this, mostly from James Jacobs' comments, was that he regretted aiming his focus at the worst-case scenario (as much for its incongruence as all the d6s of sonic damage this thread alone has generated); he suggests that people cange it to suit their groups and their circumstances, as they can do to the entire AP. That's what tunes a store-bought adventure to the various players, and their characters. Does it not say in the Book of Core Rules (Getting Started, Page 9), "These rules are yours. You can change them to fit your needs"?

The circumstances of the meeting clearly show what is at stake and the seriousness of the situation. With player creativity and GM assistance, PCs can use the answers to her questions to re-affirm the readiness and co-operative spirit they will need to accomplish their task, as well as to remain careful and thoughtful around others, themselves, and their motives. The relevance of "being able to identify a mohrg she once killed" can be the limits of compassion, that those who refuse redemption are beyond it, or whatever might need imparting in that specific situation. Quoting Core Rules as before, the GM can get her to invoke another act, or ask something different as needs dictate.

That retribution at the end wasn't intended for just anyone. If everything goes smoothly, it won't even be brought up. If my understanding is correct, it was set up that way out of a lasting fear the seriousness getting lost, of people being rude to the second messiah, of people who do the tabletop equivalent of mashing buttons to skip the cut scenes. Of people who would ignore all serious communication, save one: two sets of numbers, between the letter d.

Even if players screw up by accident when I GM this, I won't roll damage right away. The most likely thing will be the group taking too long to discuss moral quandaries; if this happens, the choir will just interrupt them with a surprisingly loud staccato and Iomedae will tell them that, in war, snap decisions will have to be made, and consequences accepted. Sort of the divine fist being slammed down on the table, not one's ears.

To the moderates who worry about being hurt by the Inheritor: it most likely will never happen, and if it does, it won't be deadly all at once. It most likely won't be your fault, either, and the GM might not even play it that way.

To the others, the ones who point fingers and ignore the demon lords, the dire situation, the fate of the world and themes like redemption: please don't attack the goddess. It's most likely that unexamined actions got you in that situation.

To summarize: the scene can be re-shot, James Jacobs encourages it, and it's like those movie scenes where the Elite Special Forces get secretly gathered together for an important mission briefing, and the lazy goofball who shoots his mouth off gets slapped and told to pay attention.

Liam Warner shows up again to offer different questions that Iomedae could ask.:
“Oops” and “Feel free to reject my reality and substitute my own!” He also reminded us that Iomedae wants to make sure she’s making a good investment and that elves in Pathfinder don’t act like they do in 2E’s The Complete Book of Elves, but that’s another thread altogether.

A whole rewrite is a lot of work, but folks here have already done that work for us! I’ve linked to and summarized all the suggested revisions from the Discussion on Iomedae so you won’t have to wade through “It is so” and “It is not so.” Here’s hoping this thread’s as big a hit as my last one. (pssst Bump it, I like attention!)

* * *

[spoiler=Lochar suggests a variant where the damage is actually creeping dissonance due to Baphomet’s interferance]Very quickly after the party returns from the Midnight Isles, the Sword of Valor shimmers and a number of planetars appear, though no one had prayed for their arrival.

The planetars quickly approached the party (a number equal to the number of party members split up, so they never see more than one.)

"Iomedae requires your presence, mortal Hero(es)."

The party is given only a moment to prepare themselves before the planetars shift them to Iomedae's home plane.

The party appears in the cathedral as noted, but without the planetars. Iomedae stands before the party, armored as if she is ready to ride out on a Crusade herself, though shield and sword are not quite at the ready. Followers of Iomedae immediately recognize her as their deity.

The choir invisible's voices and music hums throughout the cathedral. A DC 40 Perception check (DC 30 for anyone with 10 or more ranks in Perform: singing or other musical type perform) notes the presence of what sounds like a single dissonant note among the music that irregularly repeats.

"Welcome, heroes of the Fifth Crusade. I am Iomedae. You who have proven the most capable among all the crusaders, I would charge with striking back against the Abyss' latest injustice: the kidnapping of my own Herald. I have brought you here to test the mettle of your very soul, for where I would send you, your every step will be shrouded by the worst of evils."

Iomedae pauses for a moment to let the PCs come to grips with where they are and who speaks to them. Allow a DC 40 Knowledge: Religion check for the PC to know that a god's Herald is directly imbued with a shard of the god's power.

Iomedae then continues on. "Answer my questions to prove the strength of your soul and convictions, or remain silent and allow my domain to wash away the weaknesses you bear."

The first question is asked as stated. Iomedae expects followers of her religion to know the act, but is greatly pleased if others do as well. However, what she is truly looking for is the PCs willingness to brave the deepest pits and carry their own light with them. Success as per the book.

For groups who do not answer, or who answer well outside the acceptable, Iomedae speaks instead, shaking her head. "Heroes of the Fifth Crusade, remember your own bravery!" The choir crescendos as all the stained glass shifts, all the Acts of Iomedae save the Fifth changing to scenes of valor of the PCs. Featuring among them the players dive into the Abyssal Rift, the final mine in the Isles, and even one of them braving the dark while lost but guiding under Kenabres.

But among the rising choir comes the dissonant note. Allow each player another perception check with a +5 circumstance bonus to hear it. Each player takes one point of ability drain to Constitution as the note seems to draw something from them. Iomedae does not appear to notice.

The second question is asked as the book.

Success Condition: Iomedae is looking for the PCs to not always put Good in front of Law, nor Law in front of Good. So long as the party can present to her a united front that does not descend into Chaos or Evil, the party correctly answers her question. For the speech, add. "The gift I grant you is guidance from my hand directly. Offer your hand in my name and I will offer atonement instantly." The one use Atonement SLA (CL 20) may be invoked as a standard action.

Failure: Iomedae motions again to the stained glass as the choir rises. This time, the Eighth Act of Iomedae stays while the other windows reflect the PCs and known NPCs actions of offering atonement. Arueshalae praying before a statue of Desna, Jesker in Delamere's tomb (if he was saved), and setting Alrys Harnaste to rest feature among them. Again though, the dissonant note rises along with the rest of the Choir. Allow another perception check with a +10 circumstance bonus as the note seems to ravage the PCs bodies for 2 points of Con drain.

The third question is asked as the book.

Success: Iomedae seems pleased so long as any of the party is willing to see her quest through unto death, or rallies any fearful party members to Iomedae's cause. Continue with her speech per the book.

Failure: "What fear takes you, heroes?" All the murals shift as the choir swells to almost insane heights, shifting to a blood pounding chant. "Did you not face death in Kenabres, before the power of the wardstone gifted you might to face greater demons? Do you hold the fear of freed but fledgling Drezen, a babe protected by mighty heroes? But you are those heroes! Where is the valor that lead you into the Abyss once already?"

The dissonant note of the choir deals 4 points of Con drain and provides a +20 circumstance bonus to the Perception check to hear it.

Call to Glory:

Iomedae does not heal anyone (see below for Con drain results). Unless the PCs failed at all three questions, Iomedae continues with her speech. Otherwise, she may set them a task in the worldwound to allow the PCs to prove a new answer to her questions.

Con Drain

Unless a PC hears the dissonant note, PCs do not recognize the Con drain though their players still track it.

Should a PC hear the dissonant note, even before any Con drain, and bring it up to Iomedae, she answers as follows:

"Even now Baphomet seeks the power I imbued in my Herald and I must stave off his attempts." Iomedae closes her eyes for a moment and the dissonant note squelches. The note does not return in further failed questions, but Iomedae seems a touch distracted for the rest of the scene.

After the third question, should anyone have Con drain Iomedae notices and heals it without a word.

Mary Yamato suggests that Iomedae instead questions the PCs to see if they have the same character flaws that the herald had.:
As far as I can tell, it's impossible to make someone humble by force. You can humiliate them, but it's just not the same. So I wouldn't try.

What would Iomedae pressingly want to know? Well, was there some weakness in her Herald that led to this disastrous capture? If the GM could develop an idea about such a weakness, then it would make sense for Iomedae to be testing for it.

I don't know this part of the story so I can't guess the Herald's actual weaknesses, if any. But some ideas:

--He clung to justice when mercy was needed, or to mercy when justice was needed (the paradox of the LG alignment in many cases).

--He had some pride or ambition that the demons could work on; he wasn't content to be Iomedae's servant. (After all, Iomedae was once a Herald and now a god--why not him?)

--He didn't have the wisdom to see through a deception; he mistook a subtle demonic evil for good. (There's a nice example of this in the backstory of Shackled City which might be inspirational.)

--He became too invested in a personal friend, beloved, place, group, or project, and that became a weakness the demons could exploit.

--His trust in Iomedae faltered, either because of an actual flaw in her, a weakness in his own personality, a demonic deception, or something involving the fall of Aroden. Without faith he couldn't withstand the demons.

Once you know what went wrong with the Herald, it would make sense that Iomedae would be trying to find out if the PCs share that flaw--if they do, sending them to the Abyss would just be throwing good money after bad. So she'd ask questions germane to this, such as "When were you in situation X? How did you resolve it? Looking back, were you right?" for some appropriate situation.

She might also test for fracture points in the group, but you can't do that unless you know the PCs in question. We just had a nice scene in Jade Regent along the lines of "What about the PC necromancer? Do you take responsibility for him--not only for what he may do now, but what he may someday become?" That was a suitably hard question for my priest of Tsukiyo, and may have been a turning point in his taking moral responsibility in a broader sense. So, a GM might think about ways the party might split, and challenge those. Have the more Good characters been in denial about their comrades' real natures? Is there someone here not willing to sacrifice themselves for their comrades, and if so, how do the comrades feel about that?

This kind of scene is best tailored to the PCs, though of course the module-writer can't do that, so module attempts will always be somewhat generic.

friluftshund casts Iomedae as more of a teacher.:
Theme:
- Humility
- Inspiration
- Awe
- Resolve
- Emotions (love)

I'll start off with a visitation. They were visited before after the Grey Garrison in their dreams, so Iomedae will do so again. Is this a dream, or is it reality? It will soon become apparent that it is indeed reality.

Once transported to Iomedae's cathedral, they will find themselves on the steps to the altar, gazing at the most magnificient structure they have ever seen, with stained-glass windows depicting the Acts (foreshadowing to question #1, angelic attendants among the pews, a soft sound of a choir rehearsing, although there is more than a tinge of sorrow in their harmonies.

Iomedae will move up behind them, below them and move a few steps up while they admire the building.
"I am glad you approve of my cathedral, for it is sustained but through the prayers of my loyal followers." Giving a small measure of thanks to any Iomedaen followers in the group.

"It is, however, also my prison." Pause for effect. "There is a matter of greatest urgency and the utmost difficulty I would impart upon you, and it is my sincere hope that the many trials you have endured up to this point have been enough to bolster your resolve and to strengthen your arms. I would grant you three tasks to test your mettle before setting out on your next voyage, that of running the labyrinth of the Demon Lord Baphomet in search of my abducted Herald."

After a pause, and to allow any Iomedaen followers in the group to regain their composure and to take in these news she gestures toward the closest stained-glass windows which shift from one of the acts to a scene of a more recent battle.

"A little history if you wish." (PC may resist the effect with a DC40 will save (harmless))

The group is pulled into the window depicting a bloody battlefield and crusaders in disarray. They appear behind a cleric in battle vestments kneeling on the ground, head touching earth while the battle rages on all sides. It is apparent this is a battle on the tipping point between victory or defeat, a battle against a host of demons. The battle of Raliscrad.

As the group can do nothing but stand in witness, they realise the cleric is calling out for help, and it is indeed a powerful cry, for before him, shimmering in the air a being of purity appears, swords circling his head, a fire in his eyes. "Your call has been heard faithful one, what would you ask of me?"

The cleric slumps forward, utterly spent after the calling. "Help us please, in The Inheritor's name!"

The Herald would tip the battle in the crusaders favor, it would be a decisive win, were it not for the shadow being cast across the Herald's face. Unable to turn around, the heroes are powerless to face this new opponent, but it is apparent the Herald does, and it is with a mix of rage and despair. "You!" is all he manages before coils of shadow and dark, demonic energy shoots across his form, and a strange dual laughter issues from behind the PC's as the writhing form of the Herald is pulled from the plane they are on.

And the group is pulled from the stained-glass window, back to the cathedral, feeling like they've ran several hundred yards in heavy armor.

"This is what face you, brave heroes." Iomedae has moved to a chair off to the side of the altar, mostly reserved for the attendants to priests holding sermons. Looking quite unlike all the depictions of her, The Inheritor has obviously suffered a heavy blow from the events at Raliscrad.

"Can you do it? Can you really travel to the heart of a Demon Lord's realm and free my captured servant?" Iomedae asks as much herslef as the heroes, but any affirmative answer draws a smile from the goddess.
As I said, I would test you my heroes of the fifth crusade, to steel you against the coming storm. "Join me in history.”

She extends her arm towards the heroes and the cathedral grows bright until all vision is blocked out.

Next they find themselves on a hill, surveying a land under heavy clouds and thunder. The heroes stand amongst horses and knights unaware of their presence. The Inheritor moves between the horses, showing a sense of kinship with the beasts of war, moving up tp the head of the formation who are at a stand still.

At the front is a young lady, flanked by two knights, all with their helmets off. The older advisers to the young Iomedae seem hesitant about their quest. broken conversatins are heard through the rain and thunder. "...What if we fail my Lady, what then of the rest of the campaign?" The other adviser is of like mind to the first. "I don't think we have the strength to break this enemy now."

The mortal Iomedae turns in her saddle and smiles, favouring her troops a smile, and her eyes seem to find the ghostly presence of the heroes yet to come.

raising her voice she bellows. "My knights, my knights! Are we not the Knights of Ozem?! If not we, then who shall stand against this foe, and the other foes to come?! History will judge us no matter what we do, but you know as well as I do, history favors the Bold! Join me in battle, join me in death and we shall taste the fruit of glory, and all will remember us!"

All thought of hesitation swept aside by the charismatic commander, the host of knights starts a charge toward the enemy lines, crying as much to Iomedae as to Aroden.

Left behind, The Inheritor seems lost in thought for a moment before turning towards the heroes. "History does indeed favor the bold, remember this my heroes. Now to the test. You must anchor your mind when facing a Demon Lord, for they are vaunt to make you forget who you are. Know you history and use it as a beacon to stay true to yourselves. Which enemy do I face here, which enemy did my Knights vanquish at this place?" (per the first question - Erum-Hel, Lord of Mohrgs at the Battle of Three Sorrows, the Fifth Act of Iomedae.)

If no one knows this, she enlightens them and prays they will research the history of the crusades and use it as an anchor. Shen then transports them back to the cathedral and presensts them with the Chalice of Ozem.

"Now to the second test. You have a hero’s bravery. You have proven that you can survive the horrors of the Abyss, and this marks your courageousness as surely as any feat. But also you have learned that not all those in the Abyss are your enemies. Some are creatures whose nature can be used as a tool to defeat greater evils. So tell me, when evil assumes a fair form, and when weak villains beg for their lives, are they due mercy? Or are the wages of their villainy always death and oblivion?”

Should the group fail to reach a consensus, she will show them their acts of compassion throughout their adventure on the stained-glass windows and quiz each hero about their motivations for that kindness, and remind any hero that hesitates that every redeemed demon is one less piece on the enemy's board. She grants the Atonement ability with the hopes that they will be able to save souls for the light, and deny the darkness its due.

"The final task then. How will you outwit the Lord of Minotaurs in his own labyrinth, how would you strike against such a foe? How will you defeat a Demon Lord in his own realm?"

If none of the heroes seem confident or willing to risk their lives she will gently shake her head while smiling. "You have already learned this lesson, you have already placed yourselves in danger uncounted times, you are heroes, my heroes of the fifth and final crusade. If you don't have faith in that, know at least that I have faith in you!" She draws a string off her cloak, and offers the heroes the Stole of the Inheritor
The goddess moves to stand in front of her throne.

“Strike evil in the name of the good and right, and redeem those you can from folly. With the blessing of Iomedae, you shall vanquish evil, and your names shall ring with glory, for even if you fail in this righteous task, your just rewards will await you in the Great Beyond! Take then this, my final gift to you! With it, you shall always be but a step away from home, yet know that the path it opens to safety will save you but once before it returns to me — save such flight for a last resort.”

The tone of The Inheritor's choir changes dramatically flavor, and the song is now one of hope and valor, and some heroes might just catch snippets of lyrics incorporating their names into this mythic event.

“You are worthy to champion me against Baphomet, for mandate prohibits the interaction of the divine in even such matters as personal as the loss of a herald. I charge you as worthy souls to go into the darkness of the Abyss, into the Ivory Labyrinth of my enemy, and seek out my herald. If he be dead or worse, I trust you shall finish things as befits those of your boldness. Heed the advice I have given you. Go forth on a road of honor, swiftly and with great justice, to defeat Baphomet and return or avenge my herald. In so doing may you find the strength to face the true peril that lies ahead. Deskari always watches, and the time shall soon come when the Worldwound must be closed forever lest it consume your world.”

With that, the cathedral flashes white once again, and an instant later the PCs have returned to where they left the Material Plane. Yet in each of their hands is a simple token: a bronze holy symbol of Iomedae. Each PC knows that he need but hold the symbol in a fist and concentrate to be transported into the Ivory Labyrinth, one final “gift” from Iomedae to speed them on their way. Beyond this, she cannot aid them in the trials to come.

Chuckg suggests Iomedae does punish but uses the minimal force instead. He also gets +1 brony point!:
Yeah. I mean, if we're talking about temperate responses more in keeping for the goddess of paladins, justice, and all that:

"You get to be quiet now." -- The jerkish character has a silence, 1' radius field put around his mouth. If he actually has something important to say it turns off and he can contribute to the meeting, but every time he starts to say something insulting she hits the mute button again. If you want to know how a silence spell can know whether or not what a guy says is polite ahead of time, the answer is 'It's a miracle.'

"Somebody needs a time-out." -- *poof* If the misbehavior is chornic then the jerkish character is now back on the Prime, and no longer participates in the scene. He misses out on all the possible bennies that the rest of the party could have gotten. But since mortals have free will and Iomedae respects that, if the rest of the party still wants to take their friend along on the rest of the Crusade they totally can. She just won't invite him to her house anymore.

"... you're kidding. You're kidding, right?" -- This one is for anyone who actually attacks Iomedae. She just stands there and no-sells whatever they throw at her, and actually laughs out loud that somebody thought it would work. Then she says that OK, if the player character wanted to challenge her to a duel, all they had to do is ask. The next step involves a straight-up honorable duel, maybe a few die rolls, a s~~% ton of non-lethal damage, and the PC back on the Prime contemplating the error of his ways while he invests in some soothing cream for all his new bruises.

Notice the common theme to all of this -- the response is the minimal level of force necessary to resolve the situation, and none of it has Iomedae acting in anger or offended pride. A guy who actually is trying to take the meeting seriously but just keeps saying stupid stuff is punished with a temporary inability to say anything stupid. A guy who just doesn't want to participate at all... is no longer participating. And anybody too stupid to know not to try and fight a god... gets the opportunity to learn why fighting a god is really stupid, but the beating they take is entirely non-lethal damage and is no more brutal than a martial arts master teaching the newest student just how far he has to go. Its the difference between Yoda showing Luke that he's not as good as he thinks by running Luke until he drops, and Darth Vader teaching Luke that he's not as good as he thinks by cutting Luke's hand off.

Liam Warner suggests Iomedae starts with the 3rd question first to make sure she’s got the right people for the job.:
I'm planning to open the encounter in my game (when i get round to running it, stupid work interfering with my fun) with…

“Greetings, heroes, I have a task of dire important that must be undertaken soon if not immediately. Yet while you are the most worthy and powerful champions of the fifth crusade in these dark times even Angels may fall and I must be more certain that your character contains no hidden flaws which may allow evil to enter unbidden particularly after your recent dealings in the Midnight Isles. Therefore I would ask of thee some questions in person to better judge whether sending you thither would be a great mistake. I ask that you answer me as honestly as you can with no concern for what others may think of you for tis better to reveal such weakness now when you may remain to fight on the mortal realm than stay silent and risk your souls and the souls of your companions at a later date."

At which point she asks the third question first, if they show fear or hesitation she sends those party members back and continues questioning the remaining ones. The ones sent back can still go along later but its up to the party to decide that.

The Shifty Mongoose mostly muses, but does suggest leniency in the case of honest effort.:
Lo, the paladin goddess gets the mother of all paladin threads.

What I got from this, mostly from James Jacobs' comments, was that he regretted aiming his focus at the worst-case scenario (as much for its incongruence as all the d6s of sonic damage this thread alone has generated); he suggests that people cange it to suit their groups and their circumstances, as they can do to the entire AP. That's what tunes a store-bought adventure to the various players, and their characters. Does it not say in the Book of Core Rules (Getting Started, Page 9), "These rules are yours. You can change them to fit your needs"?

The circumstances of the meeting clearly show what is at stake and the seriousness of the situation. With player creativity and GM assistance, PCs can use the answers to her questions to re-affirm the readiness and co-operative spirit they will need to accomplish their task, as well as to remain careful and thoughtful around others, themselves, and their motives. The relevance of "being able to identify a mohrg she once killed" can be the limits of compassion, that those who refuse redemption are beyond it, or whatever might need imparting in that specific situation. Quoting Core Rules as before, the GM can get her to invoke another act, or ask something different as needs dictate.

That retribution at the end wasn't intended for just anyone. If everything goes smoothly, it won't even be brought up. If my understanding is correct, it was set up that way out of a lasting fear the seriousness getting lost, of people being rude to the second messiah, of people who do the tabletop equivalent of mashing buttons to skip the cut scenes. Of people who would ignore all serious communication, save one: two sets of numbers, between the letter d.

Even if players screw up by accident when I GM this, I won't roll damage right away. The most likely thing will be the group taking too long to discuss moral quandaries; if this happens, the choir will just interrupt them with a surprisingly loud staccato and Iomedae will tell them that, in war, snap decisions will have to be made, and consequences accepted. Sort of the divine fist being slammed down on the table, not one's ears.

To the moderates who worry about being hurt by the Inheritor: it most likely will never happen, and if it does, it won't be deadly all at once. It most likely won't be your fault, either, and the GM might not even play it that way.

To the others, the ones who point fingers and ignore the demon lords, the dire situation, the fate of the world and themes like redemption: please don't attack the goddess. It's most likely that unexamined actions got you in that situation.

To summarize: the scene can be re-shot, James Jacobs encourages it, and it's like those movie scenes where the Elite Special Forces get secretly gathered together for an important mission briefing, and the lazy goofball who shoots his mouth off gets slapped and told to pay attention.

Liam Warner shows up again to offer different questions that Iomedae could ask.:
[http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2qngl&page=7?Book-5-Discussion-on-Iomedae-SPOILERS-AHOY#322]Hmmm…[/url] honestly tone down the "punishment" and I think the questions are acceptable tests to look for things…

1) Knowledge of the path + confidence, maybe move it to a less self centered and just a generic history question of the crusades to check they know enough about the past to avoid making the same mistakes.

2) Testing for signs of consideration about the consequences so maybe if the party does say yes/no straight off the bat she follows up with the question why?

3) This one works fairly well as a test of courage and dedication.

So hmmmm… well lets look at the Chivalric code as she's meant to be a knight…

To fear God and maintain His Church 
To serve the liege lord in valour and faith 
To protect the weak and defenceless 
To give succour to widows and orphans 
To refrain from the wanton giving of offence 
To live by honour and for glory 
To despise pecuniary reward 
To fight for the welfare of all 
To obey those placed in authority 
To guard the honour of fellow knights 
To eschew unfairness, meanness and deceit 
To keep faith 
At all times to speak the truth 
To persevere to the end in any enterprise begun 
To respect the honour of women 
Never to refuse a challenge from an equal 
Never to turn the back upon a foe

So lets see what kind of extra questions we can ask to test these virtues.

Well, “fear God” is the cause of this entire thread *grin*, maintaining these church's is also the point of the Crusades so I’d say that comes under question 3. Serving the liege lord, protecting the weak and persevering to the end is also covered by 3.

“Giving succour to widows and orphans”: hmmm… perhaps asking about the characters tithes/charitable donations?

“Refrain from giving offense”: tricky, but the entire series of questions could be part of that test.

Honor and glory could be covered by questions 1 and 3, perhaps something more about a knights beliefs. Would also cover keeping the honor of fellow knights.

“Despising pecuniary reward” could be an unspoken test; the first time she offers them something (in this case a magical item or something worth 15-30k gp, also a nice bit of foreshadowing) and if they refuse then she gives them the ability to grant atonements from the second question instead. Would also serve as a nice little warning about later events if they take it and she tells them off.

“Respecting the honour of women” could probably be removed in this world.

Need to think about the others.

Nathan Nasif provides a revision outline, and suggests a sparring match with Ragathiel.:
Here is my modified version of how I'll run this, should I ever get the chance.

Please note that this is a rough outline, and thanks to all of you who suggested the many great points on this thread that I incorporated into this.

* * *

• Summoned to meeting by helm angel
• Iomedae has brought them to her Cathedral
• Angelic and Petitioner choir singing
• Stained glass windows that shift to show glorious deeds committed by Iomedae in life, as well as those done by followers in her name. Some of these depict deeds that the PC's have done throughout the course of the AP. Describe how some of the scenes seem to shift in wherever they look, accounting scenes that get Iomedea's original points across (knowledge and respect for what came before, understanding when and how to redeem, and bravery in the face of overwhelming odds). The choir sings of these deeds in Celestial.
• After a while, the windows all change to depict a scene of a battle, and the summoning if her herald, and his subsequent defeat and capture.
• A growing presence begins to manifest in the room
• Light becomes brighter, to the point where each candle seems like a sun unto itself, and the very fabric of reality seems to vibrate around them. (DC 40 Will save or be blinded and deafened).
• Presence coalesces into Iomedae's mortal form.
• She frowns slightly at the afflicted PC's, and with a wave of her hand, they are restored.
• She tells them that she has brought them here, so that she can prepare them for the task of rescuing her herald, or putting him to rest if he is to far corrupted. She can feel the pressure of Baphomet's corruption on her power imbued in the herald.
• At this point, the choir's song changes suddenly into a powerful war-song, and Ragathiel flies into the Cathedral.
• He questions as the PC's as to whether or not they are truly ready to face down a demon lord in his own demesne. Whether they are strong enough to not break if captured, or if sending them would be sending the Crusade's strongest members to fight for the enemy.
• He gives the party a chance to present their case, and then challenges them to a duel, wanting to see their strength as a group in such a situation.
• He does not kill anyone, and if anyone falls they are immediately stabilized. Once he gets to 200 hit points, Iomedae raises her hand, and they all find themselves (Ragathiel included) fully healed and repaired, weapons sheathed, standing before her again.

(Assuming they completed Ragathiel's trial) she nods to Ragathiel, and turns to the party; "They will do their best, Ragathiel, and that has been enough up to now. All the same, a little help could not hurt their odds." And she then gifts them with the holy symbols, Stole of the Inheritor, and etc. Ragathiel also gives a 1-use Smite ability to each PC.

(Working on stats for Ragathiel, but they may be a while)

* * *

I think that should give a comprehensive variety of good ideas. Let me know if you have any others or if there’s any I missed.


Everything okay, Batty?


I decided to go with the PFS method for hp increase (average +1), so my hp goes up by 5/level.

Oh, and I'll take a masterwork shortspear.


I was worried about falling behind, but not anymore.

So, how's the hp gain work again? Is it averaged (4 on even levels, 5 on odd ones) or do I roll?


Wait, if immortals turn to dust within an antimagic field then does that mean that a runelord or other immortal wizard (Jatembe, Nex, etc) could be insta-killed with just that one unblockable spell?


I know the feeling about power cables. Thanks for letting us know.


Chuckg wrote:
"... you're kidding. You're kidding, right?"

Funniest post in the whole thread; you get 1 Brony Point! :)


Say, P33J, did you get my PM?


Oh, everyone's back! Is this where I introduce myself?

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