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Erik Mona

Erik Mona's page

Publisher, Chief Creative Officer. Pathfinder Society Member. 6,064 posts. 3 reviews. 1 list. 1 wishlist.


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Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Brandon Hodge and I just completed a wide-ranging interview about Occult Adventures on the Know Direction podcast.

You can listen to the interview here.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Thanks to the lads from Know Direction, who were kind enough to invite me and Brandon Hodge to be their guests this evening. The topic was Occult Adventures, the major 2015 Pathfinder RPG hardcover rules release.

We also briefly discussed Pathfinder comics, including major revelations about the next Pathfinder comic series from Dynamite, with stories from Pathfinder co-creators Erik Mona, F. Wesley Schneider, and James L. Sutter.

You can listen to the wide-ranging interview on the other side of the link.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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There will be a lot of new stuff very shortly.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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I think we've generally steered clear of dragon-men because that was so overdone (often by us) in the Dragon and Dungeon magazine days. 3.5 had dragon races all over it, especially in the latter period immediately preceding the introduction of Pathfinder.

I think a lot of us also thought that the fin-headed half-dragons from third edition D&D were really goofy looking, and didn't fit our grittier sense of what the game world should be like. Almost too fantastic, if you will. Keep in mind this is going on 12 years ago, now, so I think some of us have mellowed in our militancy about this issue. I mean, at one time we had a "no succubi adventures" rule after doing too many of them in Dungeon, but we've obviously gotten past that.

At the VERY end of third edition, WotC made dragon-men a major part of their brand, and something that most of us associated with fourth edition. Dragon-men seemed more like a "D&D thing" than a "Pathfinder" thing, if that makes sense, so I think the focus on dragon-men in D&D resulted in less of this sort of thing in Pathfinder.

But anyway, there's clearly interest in the idea and it would be fun to try to do a book like "Blood of Dragons" some day.

I wouldn't include the other races folks have been suggesting here, like nagaji, lizardfolk, etc. I'd give the latter its own book, and I'd throw a couple of serpentfolk-like creatures (and maybe the vishkanya) into a book called 'Blood of Serpents."

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Lemmy wrote:


We don't really need 6 new classes every year. We don't even need getting a new class every year... We already have 36 of them. And a few of those are quite unnecessary already.

I definitely agree with this, and so does everybody else. Occult Adventures would have had fewer classes if we didn't try to put all of the relevant concepts in the same book, rather than drib-drabbing them out over the years.

It's difficult for me to think of a book concept that could spawn enough "legitimate" classes to reach even six at this point.

Occult/Psychic is a very rich vein, that we've been deliberately leaving largely untapped until we could "do it right," all at the same time.

If you've got tons of ideas of other themes like that that inspire classes that absolutely demand to be made and that would meet with general acclaim, I'd be delighted to hear them.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Awesome item, btw.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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The black raven wrote:

Isn't the feeling of bloat related to the number of classes that are sprung on us these days ?

I do not know if someone followed the chronology, but I feel that, before ACG/OA, we had more time to swallow each class that was thrown at us while this does not feel like it's the case here.

August 2009 = Core : 10 classes (but heavily based on 3.5 and with alpha and beta playtests to get used to them)

August 2010 = APG : 6 classes

April 2011 = UM : 1 class

August 2011 = UC : 3 classes

August 2014 = ACG : 10 classes

OA : 6 classes

So, after 3 years with zero new classes and 4 years with only 4 new classes, we are dealing with 10 new classes and 6 new classes in play test.

The only comparable period was the playtest for the APG, and that was a considerably easier learning experience because the 10 classes before were very familiar, which is definitely not the case with those in the ACG.

So, the feeling of class bloat from Paizo does have some actual basis.

The real outlier on that list is the Advanced Class Guide. In retrospect that book should have followed the APG model and focus on six classes, with a bit more support (and perhaps development) on those. I think the fact that it was a CLASS guide and the starting point of trying to replicate a bunch of interesting "multiclass' concepts escalated more than it should have, in retrospect.

Occult Adventures follows the Advanced Player's Guide pattern of six classes. The fact that it is tied to a new type of magic (and several associated cultural archetypes) means that "if it's psychic and it's worth having in the game, it's going in this book."

While my crystal ball is a bit shabby and cracked, I feel pretty confident that future books will not include the sort of new class pace we've seen over 2014-2015.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Also, Unearthed Arcana didn't have alternative versions of classes. It's certainly my hope that these classes appear in PFS and in future books, if the authors of an adventure would prefer to use them over their Core equivalents.

Yes, it could turn out to be a book of options most people don't use. I hope that doesn't happen, and plan to do whatever I can to help the book avoid that fate.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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All I'm asking for is that you not act like a jerk.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Kthulhu wrote:


Ironically, almost all of these underpowered prerequisites are for martial characters...spellcasters have very few feat taxes or the equivalent. Which only exacerbates the whole spellcaster vs martial imbalance even further. And the worst part is that Paizo doesn't seem to give a damn...they continue to follow that design paradigm...despite the imbalance, spellcasters have free choice to grab any of their overpowered options, while martials have to wade through a bunch of sub-optimal prerequisites in order to take their best (ie, somewhat viable) options.

If you like us so much, maybe turn down the hyperbole a little?

I mean, seriously. We're making a whole book called Pathfinder Unchained to re-address core elements of the system that people don't like. Included in that effort are redesigned rogue, monk, and barbarian classes, all of which will significantly amp up those martial classes.

I'm not certain it'll be to your liking, and I'm not certain we'll do a perfect job.

I am certain that spending a quarter of a million dollars to print and a third of our hardcover release schedule to address some of these issues registers somewhere north of "Paizo doesn't seem to give a damn."

Criticism is fine. Criticism is good. Criticism is welcome.

But I do recommend occasionally tempering that criticism with good faith.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Squeakmaan wrote:
My hope is the when Occult Adventures is fully released that it will contain some info on the Dreamlands.

It will.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Well, I guess that's what they mean by "Innovate".

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Yes, but I'm not planning to cover them anyway. It just feels like a different vibe to me.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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xavier c wrote:
What are the esoteric planes?

Astral, Ethereal (and associated demiplanes)

Material (ok, not esoteric, but an important part of the overall scheme
Positive, Negative

All of these planes play into the spells and systems in the book, so each gets a short section with some new rules, context, and other fun stuff.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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The book WILL, by the way, contain stats for a tinfoil hat.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Speaking totally personally, as in "not in any way officially as a Paizo employee," I sympathize with some of the perspective of the OP, even though as a player I often benefit from and greatly appreciate haste being cast upon me.

I don't really have a problem with the "visuals" of it. The game has always been pretty crazy and high-octane in terms of weird magical effects, so I'm not sure people moving fast is more reality-breaking than huge exploding balls of fire.

But it is _VERY POWERFUL_. As a force-multiplier it's difficult for me to think of a better spell.

The part of me that has been playing for a very long time, and who values weird little Gygaxian subsystems more than he probably should, I do sort of long for the days when having haste cast upon you would age you a year of your life. By a careful read of the old AD&D rules, any magical aging also triggered a system shock check, which involved a very small chance that your character would die outright.

That kind of atmospheric drawback made haste not quite the "one size fits all" solution that it became as the game system developed over the years. While I'm fine with the spell as it is now, a do long for the days when people thought twice about casting this spell, or casting it on the entire party in every fight, anyway.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Thelemic_Noun wrote:


"Hey guys, I know we got into this game to project ourselves into a fantastic universe, but the very mechanics we use to determine success or failure tell me that launching a ball of fire to obliterate our foes is objectively, provably, mathematically worse than turning all of you into a shakey-cam effects shot from Crank 2. So put on your Statham face, because rules interactions and probability calculations that weren't fully thought through at the time by some guys in Seattle during the Clinton administration are about to break your immersion like the neck of a Hispanic guy being pulled out of a helicopter."

This made me laugh out loud.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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We are really lucky to have Mark. There's no question that the ACG suffered a bit due to some staffing changes that happened in the middle of it, and I'm pleased to report that the rules team is operating more efficiently and enthusiastically than ever at the moment. I think Occult Adventures is going to kick some serious ass.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Gorbacz wrote:
Howzabout making an exception to the rule and releasing ACG errata despite not having to reprint the book yet? While I adore much of the content, it could certainly do with an update, not the least to make sure one can read a thread about ACG without having to wade through "I felt sexually assaulted by this book" comments from our resident, erm, "passionate gamers"?

We'll have an ACG errata sooner rather than later. The book has almost sold through its first print run, so we won't even need to do it "early."

However, in the meantime I am having the entire book re-proofed to catch as many errors as we can. I know there is an unacceptably high number of errors that involve rules elements, but the book has more typos and other sloppiness in simple running text than I'm comfortable with, and I want to make sure we fix before we reprint. Some of that stuff will reveal more errata material, I suspect.

So, soon.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Everybody has chakras.

Characters capable of manipulating ki will be able to goof around with their chakras to unlock cool powers and abilities.

We _might_ do a feat or something that allows non-ki users to manipulate their chakras, but I haven't quite gotten to that part yet, as I'm focused on getting the core system correct.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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I don't see the point of getting into this fight in this thread, so please let's not.

It's clear that the ACG's editing fell short of a lot of people's expectations (including my own). We're addressing the root causes of these problems in-house, and I have a lot of confidence that those problems are being taken care of as best we can.

We're doing everything possible to make sure that future books like Occult Adventures not only meet players' expectations, but exceed them.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Morzadian wrote:


Wayne Reynold's (and the designers original concept) original iconics, were iconic.

The Indian monk, The female African paladin, the female Middle Eastern Cleric, his dynamic artistic style and variety of different types of characters was refreshing.

The new iconics are mass produced, non-progressive and uninteresting unlike their forebears. Far from being iconic.

I have to say I really don't agree here at all. I do think some of the class concepts in the ACG, for example, are by definition "less iconic" than, say, a wizard, but we've continued to match interesting concepts with a variety of ethnicities and Pathfinder races, and I don't think that commitment has lessened as the line has gone on. Not at all.

I'm also not sure how having a trangendered iconic can be seen as "not progressive," but perhaps that's a discussion for a different day, and a different thread.

ALL THAT BEING SAID, we've already got male and female iconics of every core race in the game. We've already got male and female iconics of most major real world ethnicities. So when we sat down to decide what the iconics in this book would look like, we really pushed things around, and I think you'll find that at least a couple of them are very far from what you might expect.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Morzadian wrote:


Erik Mona, Lisa Stevens are great editors with significant experience. They edited the superbly designed and produced Advanced Player's Guide. They need to be hands on again with their products.

I think you'll probably be happy to learn, then, that I am helping to write this book, and have been poking my nose into it at the slightest provocation. I'm also going to be helping to proofread the book as well, so if you think my involvement is magical fairy dust, you should be pretty pleased with this book.

We've also implemented some tighter controls editorially to prevent some of the problems that crept into the Advanced Class Guide. I apologize that that product fell short of your expectations, and I will do everything within my power to make sure that Occult Adventures is one of the best books Paizo has ever published.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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That level of specific playtest feedback is probably best placed in the medium playtest feedback thread.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Cthulhudrew wrote:


Awesome. I'm already drawing potential connections between psychic magic and the First World, Dimension of Dreams, and Astral Planes. The former two, especially, seem like they're just begging to be connected.

You won't have to wait on the Dimension of Dreams and Astral Planes. I'm thrilled to say that I am writing little bits on BOTH of those places in this book. I'm honestly so excited (and humbled) to be writing these bits that they are the last part I will finish in my turnover, as I need to make sure everything else is perfect before I finalize them!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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goldomark wrote:


I would have expected more of an Indian feel to it, since psychic magic is supposed to be big in Golarion's "India". Maybe that will be for the Golarion supplements and the Adventure Path.

There's a lot of eastern mysticism in the sections of the book that I'm writing. Namely: auras, ki (prana/odic force/orgone, etc.), chakras, kundalini/serpent-fire, etc.).

The design team thought that we didn't need another eastern mysticism martial type like a yogi, because monks are kind of based off a lot of those traditions already. I'm not sure I 100% agree, but when this book is done I will agree a lot more than I did three months ago. :)

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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the xiao, I am currently writing a section on ki, kundalini/serpent-fire, and chakras, which I imagine could be used to create a fakir. It's on my mind, too.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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There will be many more disciplines in the final version of the book. This playtest is an attempt to make sure the core foundations of the class are solid before we start bolting all kinds of options on top of it.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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blahpers wrote:

I'm digging the spiritualist. Want.

Will the final publication include GM resources for flavoring a psychic magic-laden campaign? A lot of this stuff seems more appropriate to a campaign designed around it rather than an anything-goes world.

For that matter, will there be anything regarding how this fits into Golarion? Will we find out about some lost psychic island? (I can't remember if Distant Worlds had some references to alien races with psychic abilities, but it sounds familiar....)

1) Yes. There's a whole section on incorporating occult themes into your campaigns and using the material in this book in your games.

2) There will not be a lot of discussion of Golarion in this book, as it's in the core rulebook line where we tend to keep campaign setting in the background. That said, there will be books in the Player Companion and Campaign Setting lines that address these rules head on, so folks interested in how to incorporate them into Golarion will not have to wait too long!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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There will be pawns.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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We'll get to ALL of them eventually. From here on out the mixes are pretty random.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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You guys are going to love the rules for midichlorians we're putting into this book!

SO EXCITED!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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I'm willing to bet that Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch will be recast as Inhumans in Avengers 2.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Ironically, the game writer who lifted Githyanki and Githzerai from Martin is Charles Stross, who turned out to be a famous SF writer in his own right.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Monster Codex is shipping now. If you've not yet received your shipping notice, it should arrive in the next day or two (it takes a few days to churn through the entire list).

The Monster Codex will, in fact, be added to the PRD. I'm not exactly sure when, and the person to ask has gone home for the weekend, but the answer is "relatively soon."

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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I just spoke to the product's developer, and here's the deal.

SOME of the cleric illustrations from Inner Sea Gods are in the Inner Sea Pawn Box. The team included a male and female cleric from all 20 of the "core" gods, and several of those illustrations were taken from Inner Sea Gods. Others came from other products, while about half of them are brand new illustrations commissioned specifically for the pawn set.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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I just looked through the whole book.

There are two druids with alignments listed as CE, a troglodyte on page 215 and a troll on page 229.

Both should be listed as NE.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Yes. We're monkeying around with the back end of our technology on the website to make something like this happen.

Stores are always supposed to have received their scenarios for free, but up to now there hasn't been a good system for it, and we've not always been good at communicating how to make it happen. We're now trying to automate it, but we're not quite there.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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They are sometimes called Azlanti stones, because their manufacture seems to have originated (and is most commonly associated with) the prehistoric human kingdom of Azlant.

We have not revealed why they are called "ioun" stones in an official source, and probably won't for a good long while.

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