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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.
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.
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.
I know something you don't know…
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!
Alexander Augunas wrote:
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).
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.
Captain K. wrote:
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. :)
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.
James Jacobs wrote:
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)
BALLARD GROUP (neighborhood friends, played at Card Kingdom's Cafe Mox)
THE SULTAN GROUP (neighborhood friends, played on my buddy Ross's Sultan game table)
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…
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lou Diamond wrote:
We use a ton of female artists. It helps, but it doesn't necessarily solve the issue, which is cultural.
In other words, do you think this discussion is going to change Paizo's stance on this issue?
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.
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. :)
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.
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.