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Erik Mona

Erik Mona's page

Publisher, Chief Creative Officer. Pathfinder Society Member. 5,874 posts. 3 reviews. 1 list. 1 wishlist.


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Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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It was deleted because it was part of a thread derail having to do with another word many find offensive, that you brought into the conversation in the first place.

Your points about the word "lame" were not part of the problem, and we have no problem with you reposting them.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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This is degenerating into an edition war, which isn't allowed here.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Cat-thulhu: I haven't yet revealed ALL of the different ways of getting a better Feiya. I ask you to hang tight for a bit longer, as I think once the whole story is out there you'll be pretty satisfied.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Cthulhudrew wrote:

Really interesting backstory for this iconic. Very well written and intriguing. One of my favorite stories so far. One of my other favorites was Balazar, also written by Erik Mona.

Conclusion: Erik needs to write more fiction!

Hey, thanks! I really appreciate the sentiment.

And with this "Meet the Iconic" out of the way, I now only have one article for Pathfinder #100 on my schedule, and then I can write whatever I want.

And that article is going to be a doozy.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Oh, and it's highly, highly unlikely that this will be the only time you get canonical info on the iconics. I'm sure they'll appear again and again in various places.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Drock11 wrote:
I'd like to go on record as disliking open ended things like this in an iconic's backstory if an incident is going to be mentioned at all. In something that supposed to reveal the nature and past of the character, and for some of the iconics these writeups might be the only canonical info we ever have of them, it makes little sense to purposely leave out what may be the most important aspect of it. It's not clever. It's irritating.

Well, sorry you're irritated, but I did it for a very specific purpose.

Aside from standing in for your PCs in art, the iconic characters' main purpose is to be used as pregenerated characters. Given that this guy is all about killing, and given that he is neutral, I wanted to leave it up to the _player_ to determine what happened to the paladin.

Perhaps the player would like their neutral slayer to be a bit more on the evil side, focusing on the killing and political intrigue, no matter the costs. Perhaps the player would prefer to take a more nuanced approach, wherein Zadim tempers his slaying with mercy.

By leaving the end open-ended, the player can run their character any way they like.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Is the paladin dead? You'll have to ask Zadim.

If you can find him!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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JK, he's neutral.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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It would be a spoiler to reveal his alignment. ;)

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Bag change wasn't really financial. We'll consider doing something cooler next year.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Does it help to imagine him singing Olivia Newton John's "Xanadu"?

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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I'd love to do a trollhound mini.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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The Munchkin Tavern and Scotty's Brewhouse figures are limited-edition goblin Minimates, and are for sale for $5 each.

Another Minimate will be available through the prize/token program in the Pathfinder Society area (Sagamore Ballroom).

Another Minimate is available free with a $100 purchase at the Paizo booth in the exhibit hall (Booth 203).

The booth will also have a limited edition Goblin Raider Pathfinder Battles repaint available free with a $50 purchase.

The "mystery item" is also a Pathfinder Battles figure. I don't want to reveal more about it at this time.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

5 people marked this as a favorite.
IxionZero wrote:


But my meaning was, me want set of ACG iconics as prepainted minis, and me no want to wait until mid-2015 or 2016 for just a single one. Which would be the earliest if they aren't doing the Tian iconics after Oracle and Summoner, based off of RoW which only had the witch and this year which is going to have two PFB sets.

I know something you don't know…

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Leo_Negri wrote:
Erik Mona wrote:
Depends. Are you an orc?
No, just a person with a real hate for those smug daisy-eaters. Question is, Where are the Dwarves, and Gnomes; the two least represented races in the Pathfinder battles line (in fact gnomes are the least represented in PPM over all).

Well, we've already previewed a gnome in this set. There was also one in Heroes & Monsters, and of course Lini is a gnome, and we did a mini of her. There's another gnome in the set after this, too.

I'm pretty sure there are no dwarves in this set. There are several in the next set, though!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Stay tuned for more news on future plans for iconics. There was a small chance of an announcement at PaizoCon, which didn't happen for a variety of reasons. Expect to hear something coming out of Gen Con next month.

I think people will be really happy.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

4 people marked this as a favorite.

By the way, anyone curious about Ostog the Unslain's side of the story regarding Girt Bearwearer and Hrolf Harfargr can check out the Paizo PCs section of the old NPC Guide. :)

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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We love you too, Brom the Obnoxiously Awesome.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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I would have done the little "o" on top of the A, but since we use these characters for a lot of licensing I didn't want to cause font issues for future licensees.

Gotta mix in that business with the pleasure. :)

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Alexander Augunas wrote:

What's this? An iconic background story from Erik Mona that DIDN'T take two years to write? Before you know it we'll have that Nex Player Companion everyone's been clamouring for too!

And it certainly seems like being Publisher has its perks, eh Erik? ;-)

Nice job with the short story; it was a fun read to be sure.

One of the perks is that a few people like to be hyper critical and assume the worst, that's for sure!

I was not assigned two years to write the Balazar "Meet the Iconics" write-up.

No one else wanted to do it (obviously), so I volunteered to make it happen. It did take a while from that point to the point when it was finished, but not two years (or even one year).

Glad you enjoyed the skald write-up. I've got one more coming up in a few weeks (not years).

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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You'll definitely hear more about minis at Gen Con. We have to announce _something_ there, after all! :)

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Stay tuned for a full checklist on the MiniMates and how to get them. Good photos of all of them are imminent, and without that a big post on it sort of loses its oomph.

We'll have a unique Pathfinder Battles figure as a sales promotion, given free with any purchase of $50 or more. (An exclusive Minimate kicks in with purchases of $100 or more).

We also have plans to distribute at least one more figure via more mysterious means somewhere at the con. You're going to have to be at the right place at the right time for this one, I'm afraid. It's a surprise.

We always keep back significant quantities of all promotional miniatures for later sale on Paizo.com. We realize not everyone will be at the show, so missing out won't mean missing the miniature entirely, as long as you pay attention to the website.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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I hope I get to game with you guys again some time soon! Very well deserved.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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I must say that I'm excited that the change of venue should help to address a lot of the concerns posted here. It's safe to expect a less crowded PFS room (and thus a quieter room as well) AND room for more non-PFS games with the change in venue.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Captain K. wrote:


I don't think the changes will be about nerfing the good old Barbarian. Barbarians are great and we want them to stay useful.

I don't think so either. And I only say that as the player with the longest-running Pathfinder barbarian character in history and the ultimate boss of everyone involved in writing, editing, and developing this product. :)

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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It's a 20-minute demo that pits 4 players running Pathfinder iconcs vs. one of 20 different pre-designed encounters. We set a timer for 20 minutes, and if the party can stay alive they get a little certificate that makes it easier to win prizes after regular Pathfinder Society game play.

It's not a ticketed event, but rather something attendees can just walk up to and play. The main purpose is to give attendees lots of opportunities to play a short bit of Pathfinder with different staff members without having to deal with the randomness of the standard event lottery or the commitment of the 5-hour game "slot" system.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Thanks for the Megadeth reference, Jenny! ;)

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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I'm sure it won't be a problem to have a team that is weak in melee.

The adventure is kind of a pushover, anyway.

Ahem.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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James Jacobs wrote:


2) Maybe. I'd love to see it get published, personally, but whether or not he can find the time to actually write it before the heat death of the universe is unclear, unfortunately.

That's it, really. Me and the heat death of the universe, locked in a no-holds-barred cage match.

I hope to publish Kings of Absalom some day. I just ran the entire campaign so far (about 20 hours of play) a few weeks ago at Kubla Con, and I'll be debuting the next "chunk" at PaizoCon on Friday. After Gen Con I plan to start up my campaigns again (it's been about 2 years since the last session).

There are currently three active groups in Kings of Absalom, in addition to about eight convention tables who have gotten a 4-8-hour sample of it.

The recent Kubla Con table was unique, in that the same six players (one more than the normal 5) got to play in 6-hour chunks over three consecutive days. I'd happily play with the same table again (they were _fantastic_), but they're stuck somewhere between the active groups and the convention groups in terms of whether I count them as participating or not. In many ways, they got a more purified form of the campaign than anyone, as it was easy for everyone to remember little details since the previous session was always just yesterday.

The three groups are:

PAIZO GROUP 1 (work friends, played in Paizo conference room)
--------------
James Jacobs: Shensen (CG female half-elf bard)
James L. Sutter: Artemis Kraugh (NG male tengu wizard "folk hero")
Rob McCreary: Bexilarius "Avarice" Varandin (LE male tiefling alchemist)
Jeff Alvarez: Clef Bellyberry (CG male halfling rogue)
F. Wesley Schneider: Dhalghad Caldammas (LN male human fighter)

BALLARD GROUP (neighborhood friends, played at Card Kingdom's Cafe Mox)
--------------
Jason Bulmahn: Traskar Grimtusk (LN male half-orc monk)
Tom Burkhart: Grynth (CG male dwarf barbarian)
Kyle Hunter: Erskine Rebis (N male human bard)
Dave Rambo: Felix Esau Boone (CG male human cleric of Kurgess)
Danica King: Zarzeni (CN female half-elf rogue)

THE SULTAN GROUP (neighborhood friends, played on my buddy Ross's Sultan game table)
-----------------
Ross Williams: Kja Thrushtuner (CG female gnome summoner)
Meg Maples: Elsbeth (LG female half-elf paladin)
Eli Harrison: Dashiell Keys (CG male halfling rogue)
Ben Desbien: Garen Loc (NG male human urban ranger)
Ciaran Barnes: Brother Hermide Lahzan (N male human cleric of Pharasma)

Assuming I can find the time, I'd like to put together about two or three more groups of fellow Paizo folks and run them through from the beginning, but for now I'm concentrating on finishing the second campaign arc (levels 4-6, probably). They players are newly arrived at a subterranean shanty town called Fall's End far, far below the Siphons District of Absalom, which I've designed as a sandbox. It's currently got about a dozen detailed locations areas with lots of adventure hooks running between them, but the only over-arching "plot" that binds everything together is "get out of town," something that turns out to be considerably more difficult than one might assume.

I've spent more time working on the campaign in the last two months than I had in the previous year, so it's very exciting!

Oh, did I mention that I've audio recorded every single session with all of the three main groups? Some day I hope to edit that into something listenable, but that too takes time…

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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DarkKnightCuron wrote:
Curious if there's a way to combine the Thornkeep book with the Emerald Spire book. I'm sure with some modifications to either (or both) you could have a really long-lasting Campaign (up to around level 21 perhaps?) Any thoughts on this?

There is a direct, literal link between the Thornkeep level I designed and the Emerald Spire level I designed. That's one potential place to start, or at least to feature prominently.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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It's probably slightly different than the Kickstarter one.

Here's the origin story:

The version we're giving out at PaizoCon was created as a promo item to support the Pathfinder Online project, perhaps as an add-on for a potential Kickstarter, perhaps as a con promo item, perhaps as something else.

In the course of the Pathfinder Online Kickstarter, we decided to formally add Pathfinder Battles figures as incentives to reward supporters. The Bloodbriar Goblin Raider got formally pulled into that effort.

When people responded positively, we also drafted the _next_ two promotional miniatures I had created, the Lava Lurker and the Shadowfire Elemental. Neither was originally conceived as a Pathfinder Online model, but once we incorporated them into the Emerald Spire effort, we decided to add them into the adventure--but that wasn't originally the plan.

When the Kickstarter effort began, we already had finished versions of the Bloodbriar Goblin Raider, the Shadowfire Elemental, and the Lava Lurker in our warehouse. That effort ended up adding SEVEN additional repaints to the Emerald Spire "line," so when it came time to decide how to do the pack-out, we decided to re-create those three figures at the factory so that all 10 figures could be included in a single package.

Both figures are based on the same paint master, but the production runs were about 6 months apart, so there are definitely some minor differences in the paint application. Picking a random sample, the PaizoCon figure's dog's skin is a slightly different shade of pink, and it has more drybrushing effects to pull out the detail. There are probably other subtle differences, but they're pretty minor.

The biggest difference is on the base. The Emerald Spire set version has an "ES" in the set name area. The PaizoCon version has a Goblinworks "goblin head" logo where the set code usually goes.

This also means that I've got thousands of Shadowfire Elementals and Lava Lurkers with "2013" written on them, but that's a problem for a different day, because we haven't decided how to distribute those figures yet!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Yeah, there isn't great news on the food front this year, unfortunately.

However, the hotel we are moving to NEXT year has lots more food options, including a Subway, Denny's, Taco Bell, a Thai restaurant, and a really good "American" food restaurant right across the street.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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I'm really pleased people are digging the idea behind this book.

I suspect we'll do another Bestiary soon.

And a Pawn Box based on this book is, of course, a good bet.

Pathfinder Battles miniatures based on some of the art also seems likely.

But all of that is just speculation, you understand.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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That's a good idea. One of them could be a nordic looking place so you could relive the Grendel battle from Beowulf! :)

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Looks like the Reign of Winter Monsters set is doing well enough that there might be room to do similar packs in the future. I think I've mentioned before how that set was the result of a couple of compromises. The Frost Worm was originally a part of Heroes & Monsters, and the Svaathuurim is one of the only interesting Huge creatures in the Reign of Winter Adventure Path.

It's not the Huge 2-pack I would choose starting from scratch. I think that's a good thing, as other monster mixes will probably sell even better.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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That's a reaonable approach, Chrnobyl. Unfortunately, the very high cost of this product made it difficult for us to offer it through the distribution system without losing our shirts on it. The retail price would have had to have been about $150, and we didn't think that was appropriate and expected distributors and retailers to balk at it.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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All of the ACG iconics at all of the regular PFS pregen levels will be done and released by Gen Con.

So speaketh the Word of God.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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To be perfectly honest there are not enough of them in the setting right now, and the ones that ought to have Garundi features ended up a goth woman with white hair, a fey-looking white dude with half a face, and a nature spirit with a pretty inhuman form.

Honestly, this has a lot to do with the pantheon and the campaign setting being designed concurrently, so the gods had largely taken form before the ethnicities of the campaign setting began to gel.

When we get around to detailing the rest of Garund we will have more of an opportunity to address this issue, but for now we don't have a lot of great options for what you are looking for.

That being said, I can easily see the folk of Thuvia imagining Abadar as a dark-skinned Garundi, and so on, so there is always that somewhat unsatisfying tactic to fall back on before we address the issue in print.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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That's a good idea.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Zark wrote:


Let me just ask you. Are you seriously saying that SKR’s opinions are no longer of any interest just because he no longer work for Paizo? “someone who no longer works for Paizo “ Is that what SKR has become?

I love Sean like a brother, but when it comes to old posts of him being super-defensive and basically asking people to stop their whining, yeah, I'd say that I'm less than interested in those types of opinions, and don't think they're relevant to Paizo's current policy.

The rest of your post, honestly, sounds like it is trying to bait me into a fight, which is also something I have less than zero interest in.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Annabel wrote:


If that excuse no longer holds water, and things have change for Paizo or the market, then what is the excuse for covers such as this little bibliothèque à trois for Inner Sea Magic? Is it that the male gaze still persists as a governing force in the selecting of images?

I don't feel the need to "excuse" that cover, because I don't really think that cover is particularly egregious. Seoni is wearing her traditional clothes, but her pose is not particularly seductive and her curves are less pronounced than in several other illustrations of her.

Alhazra is depicted on model, if in a bit of an awkward pose. The other creature is a fiery elemental spirit. I imagine she's quite warm in more clothes than that. ;)

Look, it's a "sexy" picture, or at least it's trying to be. Us attempting to do a better job on stuff like this is not the same thing as us being 100% prudish or never putting an "attractive" female on a book cover.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Lou Diamond wrote:

Jessica, does Pazio have contract female artists? If you found some good female artists I think the problem of semi clad female character drawings would go away. After all male fantasy artists pen female art drawings as their as their idealized minds see females in a Fantasy setting.

BTW the new Swashbuckler female Iconic is awesome.

We use a ton of female artists. It helps, but it doesn't necessarily solve the issue, which is cultural.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Zark wrote:
In other words, do you think this discussion is going to change Paizo's stance on this issue?

I do.

Look, since I already had to come back with a new angle on some of my own comments from 7 years ago, I'm not really sure why another old post loaded with defensiveness originally written about a different OP by someone who no longer works for Paizo and does not represent its opinions has any relevance whatsoever to the current discussion.

Obviously xeose4 thinks the points raised here are going to change Paizo's policy.

I hope that they do, because most of the points raised are completely valid.

Please don't try to shut down criticism like this, especially if you think you're doing it to save our feelings or something. Getting feedback regarding when we've fallen short of our players' expectations is just as important as hearing about what a great job we are doing with something else.

We can handle it.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Annabel wrote:


Erik Mona wrote:

Here are two facts that shed some light on the issue.

1) According to our not-too-scientific reader surveys, women account for 4-6% of our readership.

2) Issues featuring scantily clad women on the cover, in general, sell better than issues that do not feature scantily clad women.

It should not be a great surprise to anyone that magazine publishing is a business, and one in which we are forced to compete with companies that have budgets orders of magnitude higher than the average non-Wizards of the Coast game company. In fact, magazine publishers like Conde Nast have budgets orders of magnitude higher than even Wizards of the Coast.

In that environment, we've got to do what we've got to do to sell magazines, and sometimes that involves showing some flesh. Since roughly 95% of our audience are men, that scantily clad flesh often belongs to a female.

Since that response is now 7 years old and we are in a completely different business, let me add a few points of clarification:

1) Pathfinder is not really a "newsstand" magazine, and thus the depressing metrics of magazine covers are not necessarily the same. If there was commercial pressure to include scantily clad women on covers in 2007, that same pressure does not necessarily exist in 2014. In other words, given the way our business has changed in the last 7 years, I no longer think this excuse holds water, and you shouldn't either.

2) We're gearing up to do a new demographic survey, and do not have any reliable data since several years before 2007, well before the creation of the Pathfinder brand. While I do not expect the numbers to have changed astronomically, I am relatively certain based on anecdotal evidence that the percentage of female players in our audience has increased significantly since then.

That is all. :)

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Drejk wrote:


While it might be economically reasonable, in case of dimorphic races maybe you should try to order pictures showing both (or all in case of monsters that have more than two) forms - like a picture showing both a male and a female for Lashuntas.

Yes, I agree. This was a mistake that we did not do this. I wasn't so much trying to explain why the mistake isn't a mistake as I was trying to explain the practical context in which the mistake was made in the first place.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Lots of excellent points raised here. As has been mentioned, the Lashunta's gender dimorphism is a call-back to 30s planetary romance races in books like Robert E. Howard's Almuric (which we republished in our Planet Stories imprint) and similar works by Ray Cummings and Ralph Milne Farley. I think it's fair to criticize those ideas as playing into a heterosexual male power fantasy, but then again a lot of the underpinnings of the game can probably be criticized on those grounds. In any event, it's just one race out of a thousand, and I think there's room for all kinds of ideas along the edges. As an example it definitely plays into the narrative you've inferred, but in isolation I am personally able to be ok with this one as an homage, even if your criticisms are valid.

The reason there is no art for "ugly" male Lashunta can be attributed to the way we budget for books before all of the text is in. There's generally budget for one illustration per monster or race, so unless someone is on top of their game and makes an adjustment, it's easy for "alternate views" and things to never get generated. I don't think that's a particularly good excuse, but it is an example of how banal some of the reasons behind the trends you've outlined can be.

It's clear to me that some of the points you make about the representation of incubi in relation to the presentation of "sexy" female demons are right on the nose, and are food for further consideration.

Honestly I think lust demons and stuff are getting pretty played out at this point, so I'd rather we move away from that sort of content entirely, at least for a good long while. It's not as if it's uncovered ground, at this point.

Thanks for the thoughtful criticism.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Sorry!

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