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Erik Mona

Erik Mona's page

Publisher, Chief Creative Officer. Pathfinder Society Member. 6,279 posts. 3 reviews. 1 list. 1 wishlist. 1 Pathfinder Society character.


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Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Kor - Orc Scrollkeeper wrote:

Do you still anticipate that the new and improved Feiya and King Irovetti minis will be available with the release of the Rusty Dragon Inn set?

Yes. WizKids has confirmed that the replacement minis will be in this set, one each per case.

Kor - Orc Scrollkeeper wrote:

1) I believe the original plan was to include each of these miniatures within a case of Rusty Dragon Inn. I just wanted to confirm if this was still the plan? (Those boosters/bricks are all packed into their cases pretty tight, so I am unsure how this will be done unless these are extra minis that are placed into a booster -- or perhaps they will be included with the case promo?)

This is still the plan. I am not certain if these are purely "bonus" minis, or if they will swap out an uncommon similar to what is done with the dungeon dressing. I will try to confirm that soon.

Kor - Orc Scrollkeeper wrote:

2) For those that don't order any cases, is there anyway they can purchases these minis? (Will Paizo be getting a specific stock of them or will you only be getting them the same way everyone else is?)

Paizo will have a VERY small number of singles of these guys for sale, equivalent to what we do for rares by breaking cases and selling singles that way. I'll get into this more in future blogs, but we intend to carry FAR, FAR FEWER singles of this set than we have of previous sets, so if you're a singles buyer, I strongly suggest shopping very early, or you're going to have to get your singles somewhere else.

Kor - Orc Scrollkeeper wrote:

3) Do you know if WizKids will be making these available in their replacement program? (I realize you probably won't have the answer for this one. Since these minis are from old sets, their typical method of replacement would be to replace the mailed in miniature with a miniature with a similar rarity from the most recent set. I am hoping that they would convey to the staff who handle replacements, to replace Feiya and King Irovetti with the new ones.)

I do not know this, but I will ask.

Kor - Orc Scrollkeeper wrote:

4) Does Paizo plan to offer their own replacement option for these 2 minis?


Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Edenwaith wrote:
When Lisa stopped by did she also say, "Don't be biased on my account, don't save all the cool sculpts for female mini's. Make more awesome male ones proportional to our player base..."? Just curious if she said anything like that at all.

You know, she actually _has_ said something very much like that before!

I put the Forest Shadow in The Lost Coast specifically to add a sweet male elf archer based on that comment.

Justice Ironbriar is also technically a male elf. We'll do more male elves as time goes by.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Fomsie wrote:

I am definitely pleased with the direction this sets seems to be going, having quality NPC and set dressing minis really can make a game more immersive, in my opinion.

I do have one serious question for Erik Mona or whomever makes these decisions; Does Paizo plan to maintain the same rate of "Rare" minis per brick as previous cases?

There are no changes to the rarity scheme of Pathfinder Battles.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer


Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Starglyte wrote:
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:

Also, this is the first time we've ever experimented with a 96-page campaign setting.

We're very interested in hearing what people think about the format, price, and size.

Since this book will be 96 pages, will we still be seeing a Player's Companion book for March? I only ask since no new player companion book was announced along with the other products.

Nope. We're skipping March in the Player Companion as a trade-off for this book, essentially.

It's an experiment!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

2 people marked this as a favorite.

We'll look into the PDF issue. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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After a lengthy search in which I had a chance to discuss Pathfinder Society in depth with more than 25 dedicated volunteers, I'm happy to announce that we have a new Organized Play Coordinator, Tonya Woldridge!

Tonya's first day at Paizo is today, and I expect she will come along with her own hellos very shortly.

Tonya has distinguished herself with a record of exemplary service to the Pathfinder Society program, from her time as Venture-Captain of Ontario to her service as VL of the UK, to her time in the trenches as a 5-Star Game Master. Tonya was also the Gen Con HQ Co-Lead this year, giving her excellent insight into the largest RPG organized play event in history.

In a field of extremely impressive candidates, Tonya distinguished herself with tons of excellent ideas about how to move the campaign forward. I was also impressed by her grasp of the campaign's scope and history, and her enthusiasm to make Pathfinder Society bigger and better than it has ever been.

I'm thrilled to appoint Tonya as Paizo's Organized Play Coordinator. The campaign has a great future ahead of it, and I know you all will appreciate Tonya's demeanor and attention to detail as we all work together to move things forward in the coming days, weeks, months, and years.

Please join me in welcoming and congratulating Tonya Woldridge on her new position.

Amazing things are in store!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I just personally backed for $300!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I just backed at $300.

Thanks for posting the link!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Please do, Steve.

I backed both of Dungeoncrawler's previous Kickstarters (including the one that was not successful), and I was thrilled with their Kraken especially.

From a very close look at the "big time" prepainted minis business, I can say with confidence that this type of project is the most viable way to get items like the Tarrasque or Baba Yaga's hut produced.

It is not practical for a major company to take a risk on an item like this. I have proven this, after working hard with WizKids on trying to make Baba Yaga's Hut the case incentive for the Reign of Winter set of Pathfinder Battles.

WizKids also wanted this, and put considerable effort and consideration into the production of the figure, but they ultimately deemed it was not practical for them to make it.

With something like Kickstarter, the customers get to make the decision on whether or not they support the idea before production begins, so Dungeoncrawler takes a lot of the risk out of the idea.

I'll be backing this. I was buying their figures since before they were ever on Kickstarter (their black tentacles are a particular and oft-used favorite), and will keep buying them pretty much forever.

I think I have every mini they have made to date, honestly.

Go Dungeoncrawler!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I don't mind requests for minis here (especially from you!), but they're less likely to get swept up when I re-read a thread explicitly about minis requests in an effort to see if I can grant them, if that makes sense.

By all means feel free to discuss minis here!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Kalindlara wrote:
Since I'm going to beg you to make certain minis anyway, would this be a good place? Or should I grovel before you in the Preview Blog threads instead? :D

It's more likely to get lost here, so it probably is better to leave minis requests in the minis area.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Alexander Augunas wrote:
1) If you were going to run an adventure somewhere in the Inner Sea Region, where would the first place that you, personally, would consider and why?

I do somewhat regularly run my "Kings of Absalom" campaign, which is (currently) set under the city of Absalom. It's been too long since I last ran the campaign as an ongoing for local friends and Paizo staff (I have three active groups I run through "chapters"), but I did get in a great session at PaizoCon.

So Absalom. I like how it brings everything together, letting you explore whatever aspect of the campaign setting you want to. My take on it is heavily influenced by Rome in the HBO series of the same name. It's an _ancient_ city, not a Medieval one. I really like that. Just how messed up and decadent would a place in continuous operation for 5000 years be? I dunno, but I really like exploring the idea in my writing about the setting and in play.

Alexander Augunas wrote:
2) If you were going to run an adventure somewhere on Golarion that ISN'T in the Inner Sea Region, where would the first place that you, personally, would consider and why?

The ruins of Azlant. I came up with it and have done a lot of the development of it in the setting, so it's kind of one of my pet areas. I think there are lots of possibilities with ruined palaces, ancient horrors, environmental disasters, sea monsters, weird visitors from other places, and lots of other similar elements of a lost empire that lend themselves so well to adventuring.

Alexander Augunas wrote:
3) How old where you when you played in your first d20 game?

I learned basic D&D (Erol Otus "purple" box) at an after-school class in third grade, about 1983. That would have made me 8. My first adventure was "Palace of the Silver Princess."

Alexander Augunas wrote:
4) What's your favorite thing about working at Paizo that doesn't involve paper?

The people I work with. They're the most intelligent, creative group I have ever had the honor to collaborate with.

I also like taking a personal hand in running the Pathfinder Battles line, which is plastic. So that's my favorite non-human, non-paper thing about working at Paizo.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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donato wrote:
What are the odds of ever seeing you as an Adventure Path author again?

Extremely high. Honestly not in the short term, meaning at least a year or so, but I'd love to do it again some time.

I do have a few other ideas that I would _rather_ do, though. Like a setting book on Nex, outlining and orchestrating and co-writing a huge book on Absalom, adapting my "Kings of Absalom" campaign to a series of adventures, and writing my first novel.

I'd rather do all of those things than write another Adventure Path volume right now, but I'd like to do all of these things eventually.

donato wrote:

Howl of the Carrion King and The Whispering Cairn especially are among my favorite adventures and I'd love to see what else you have in store.

Thanks! Both of those are among my favorite things that I have written! I really enjoy writing adventures more than anything else, but I also find them to be the most inter-disciplinary of the various RPG projects.

donato wrote:
Also, what is the likelihood that we'll see a mega Absalom adventure or product?

See above.


Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Freehold DM wrote:

I loved meeting you at comic con, and that I had panties on my head while doing so.

Yeah. Wow.

An honor, sir.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Rhothaerill wrote:
I've personally always wondered what is the etymology of "Iquander"?

I was at Emerson college at a first-year student when I got my first personal email address (this would have been the fall of 1993), which eventually led to involvement with the Greytalk email list and a few other Greyhawk fan projects. At the time TSR had a vibrant but still relatively early presence on AOL, and through posts to Greytalk I learned that there was a Greyhawk discussion board on AOL, and some of the crossposted threads were really interesting. At the same time, I learned through my Dragon Magazine subscription that an unpublished Carl Sargent Greyhawk manuscript--Ivid the Undying--was to be made available exclusively on TSR's AOL site.

From there I found my way to a ubiquitous AOL trial disk, and I signed up for an account to participate more closely in the official online discussion forums for D&D and especially for Greyhawk. When it came time to select my AOL screen name, I tried to think of something fun and Greyhawk-related, but also obscure, which fit the sorts of minutiae and "canon" conversations I was most interested in having.

At the time I was reading and heavily annotating Gary Gygax's "Gord the Rogue" novels for additional insight into the Greyhawk campaign setting. It would be several years before Gygax himself emerged online, and well before he began to actively participate in fan Q&As and the like, so any ounce of "official" information you could squeeze out was extremely valuable.

About the same time I had to choose a screen name, I'd read and enjoyed a section of Gygax's second novel, "Artifact of Evil," that featured a sage called Savant Iquander, of the Society of Sages and Scholars of Nellix. I loved everything about that, so I decided to adopt "Savant Iquander" as my online name, and as the "voice" of a lot of the stuff I was writing at the time.

Incidentally, here's a series I wrote around that time called Beyond the Flanaess: Bounds of Oerth, which attempted to weave in the off-map regions described or implied in Gary Gygax's non-TSR Gord the Rogue books as well as his Hero's Challenge gamebooks, featuring Sagard the Barbarian.

I can't even comprehend the amount of free time I had back then!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

CurseTheseMetalHands wrote:

That issue aside, I'm really liking these creature groupings, and if this is a sign of things to come, I can't wait for the next set that's, hopefully, sans townsfolk.

There are zero townsfolk in the next set.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

CurseTheseMetalHands wrote:

I mean, I get that there will be height and build differences among all member of a species, but come on! The Bugbear Warrior was very nearly a large, whereas that Bugbear Flesh Glutton looks to be about the size of a dwarf (or smaller, going by the gallery images) - something I could almost accept for the Bugbear Mystic, a runt who had to turn to magic because he'd never cut it as a brute force fighter, but I expect warrior classes to be more...beefy.

Sizes are pretty close.

The Flesh Glutton is legitimately Large. Like really on the edge of how big you would expect it to be, so it's not going to be a problem from a "too small" perspective for sure.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Steve Geddes wrote:
Do drow run into the OGL problem of needing an alternate, in-game name?

I don't think so, no.

Might call them dark elves just to be safe, though.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Sanctus Spinatus wrote:

Send more serpent folk!

And Lizardmen!

Maybe a mwangi themed set. We could use apes and dinos and tribesmen and many many evil reptillians.

I wouldn't expect a lot of dinosaur miniatures out of Pathfinder Battles. There are _so many_ toys of this sort of thing available that I feel guilty taking up a genuine fantasy/Pathfinder slot with something you can get at a drugstore.

I know that's not a fair comparison, and is bad news for dino fans, but someone will have to do a lot of convincing before I put more than a few more dinosaurs in the line.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Mosaic wrote:
I like the new bugbears minis. But I struggle a little with the lack of an overall goblinoid look in Pathfinder - goblins > hobgoblins > bugbears. I know that hobgoblins aren't just "bigger goblins," but I feel like there should be some family resemblance. There's something there with the new bugbears, which is why I like them. But it's taken a while and there has been an evolution in what bugbears look like. Even more when you look at the furry-faced bugbears from D&D. Anyway, I like the new look, I'd like to see it settle here for a while and not continue evolving, and when we get to hobgobs, I hope there's a family resemblance.

Thanks. We're trying.

Bugbear look is completely settled. What you see in the Monster Codex is what you get, and isn't likely to change in the future.

Hobgoblins are pretty well baked in, though their take in the Monster Codex is a little dark for my tastes. It's slightly evolving, I guess, and if you look closely you can see the "family resemblance" with goblins.

One day I will show you this in miniature form. :)

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

I've been staying away from drow so far because there are so GD many of them in the DDM sets that I have a difficult time believing any gamer anywhere needs any.

Maybe I'm wrong, and some of our dark elf images are certainly cool!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Ross Byers wrote:
How was this not already a thread?

I think people probably figured I was too busy.

They were probably right. :)

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Randarak wrote:
Instead of asking you questions here, can I ask them on your Facebook page?

You can ask them on my Facebook Fan Page, sure!

Other places to interact with me online:

My Twitter.

My Tumblr.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

captain yesterday wrote:
What is your real name?

Erik Mona

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Thomas LeBlanc wrote:
Erik, what are the chances for a Janira Gavix mini? She is racking up some serious PFS time!

That's pretty unlikely, as the character isn't really on my radar, I confess.

What makes you want a miniature of her?

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Shensen wrote:
And while we're at it... what about your Absalom game? I've got secret societies to build there!

This one I could pretty much restart any time. Let's do it soon!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Tyralandi wrote:
Ooh! I have one! When are you going to restart your Age of Worms game? Last I remember I was being carried out of the arena by a charmed ogre minion...

This, alas, seems extremely unlikely at this point.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Luthorne wrote:
I understand you're responsible for the ghoran, so...

This is indeed the case. That being said, I have not written everything we've published about them. Jessica Price notes that there is a section on ghorans in Inner Sea Races. I didn't write that one, so it's possible that some of the answers I'll give to your Ghoran questions will not necessarily jibe with that resource, which I didn't write. I always had more I wanted to say on this race than the space in the Inner Sea Bestiary allowed, so it's sometimes difficult for me to remember what made it into print and what was just ideas that I had that never quite made it to paper. What I'm trying to say is: Take my responses for what they're worth.

Before I get to answers, a bit more history. The ghorans come from three influences, basically.

The first is that I've always thought it was kind of lame that there were no playable "plant people" in Pathfinder or any of its precedents. Sure there have always been plant monsters like vegepygmies, but they've never really been presented as something you could actually _play_. I really enjoyed the cacatae plant men from China Mieville's Bas-Lag novels, and wanted to include something similar in Pathfinder. When the Inner Sea Bestiary came along, I jumped in for a couple of pages specifically to redress this long-held grievance.

The second inspiration is a coincidence that ended up giving me the ghoran's most interesting element: The Ghorus Seed. At the time I got the Inner Sea Bestiary assignment, I was assigned to jury duty in downtown Seattle for a couple of days. While I never managed to find myself empaneled, I did manage to carve out about 16 hours of uninterrupted reading time. I decided to make the most of the time, and plowed through a massive esoteric tome called "The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception" that outlined the cosmology of an early 20th century mystic Christianity sect called the Rosicrucian Fellowship. This book introduced a number of core occult concepts to me, but the one that most strongly caught my interest was the idea of the "permanent atom,", a single atom that persists throughout various reincarnations, and which "preserve within themselves, as vibratory powers, the results of all the experiences through which they have passed."

From the permanent atom was the Ghorus Seed born.

The third influence upon the ghorans is the name "Ghorus" itself. "Ghorus" comes from my character Ghorus Thoth, whom I played in more than 100 sessions of the old Living City organized play campaign for Dungeons & Dragons. When I was writing the Pathfinder Chronicles Gazetteer and a lot of the broad strokes that formed the basis of Golarion, I pulled the name Ghorus as a renegade druid, and it was only a short step from there to incorporating a bit more about him into my Nexian plant monster for the Inner Sea Bestiary. The two Ghoruses don't really have anything to do with one another. Ghorus Thoth was a Thayan cleric of Jergal the death god--about as far as you can get from the druidic life. But their names--and the name of the ghoran itself--are all tied together.

On to the questions.

Luthorne wrote:

1) Based on what's said about the ghorus seed, it seems impossible that this form of reproduction could actually allow ghorans to multiply. Would I be correct in assuming that they can engage in both asexual reproduction (via the ghorus seed) and some other form of likely sexual reproduction that creates new ghorans, rather than just rebirthing an existing one, or is there some other explanation, like using cuttings or somesuch?

This is the part I most expect to be changed in Inner Sea Races (I know I read that chapter, but I can't remember it's take on this aspect), but in my original conception there is no such thing as Ghoran reproduction. The druid Ghorus created a finite number of seeds, and there will never be more of them. Thus the race of ghorans is always in decline, which gives them a tragic air that I appreciate. I also like the idea of the high magics of Nex's time being severely degraded and in many cases lost, so the idea of a finite resource fits the general theme of the region pretty well.

Of course, you can eject the seed, replant it, and eat the husk that remains. It's still delicious, after all, and no seeds are wasted. Sure, the personality of the meal is gone and will be replaced by a shadow of itself that only barely remembers its former life, but that's a small price to pay for keeping a nation fed, eh?

Luthorne wrote:

2) When reproducing/rebirthing using the ghorus seed, is the soul of the original ghoran the same as the soul that the new ghoran has, or is it a different soul with the memories of its progenitor?

It's the same soul, I reckon.

Luthorne wrote:

3) If it is the same soul, can a ghoran live indefinitely in this manner as long as it doesn't get killed in some other manner, or is there a limit to how many times they can rebirth themselves with this method?

Yes. They can survive indefinitely, so long as they keep replanting themselves. Of course, people keep wanting to eat them, which isn't helpful. Some old Nexian recipes waste a shameful number of seeds, calling for them to be crushed and mulched to add extra flavor. The more destructive the dish, the more decadent and expensive.

Luthorne wrote:

4) What is the natural life span of a ghoran if it doesn't expel and plant its ghorus seed? Short? Long?

I'd say relatively long, sort of like a tree (meaning possibly hundreds of years), but over time they would start to look sickly and gross, like a dying plant. They are probably most vibrant (and tastiest) in their first century of life, probably peaking at about 30-50 years.

Luthorne wrote:

5) About how long do most ghorans go before planting their ghorus seed without a pressing need (like, say, wanting to ensure their survival if they have reason to believe their seed will be safer than their body)? Is it something they do fairly regularly, or is it something they don't do lightly?

It's definitely something they don't do lightly, because it is essentially a death of the self. The creature that comes back shares some memories of their past incarnations, but they are fundamentally a different person in most of the ways that count. Given that most of the things ghorans do and say that humans can relate to in any way they do as part of an elaborate evolutionary form of survival mimicry, ghorans are weird enough without swapping around their personalities willy nilly. They eject their seeds only in grave moments of absolute necessity.

Luthorne wrote:

6) Do ghorans mind if their bodies are eaten? They were bred to be food, so I'm not sure if they're fine with that so long as they get a chance to plant their ghorus seed first, or do they actually resent being created as a food?

They totally and utterly resent being created as food, and push the Nexian Council of Three and Nine to formally ban the practice and make their slaughter illegal. Of course, they're just so darn tasty that it's difficult for the Council to act on their behalf. It took centuries for them to even be noticed by the law as sentient creatures, so the attitude of many of Nex's aristocracy is "don't be so pushy. You're lucky with what you have."

It's worth noting that, in most circumstances, if a ghoran's body is being eaten the seed has already been expelled (and thus the individual ghoran is more or less already dead) or he is in the process of being eaten alive. In the latter case, the ghoran would do whatever it could to prevent being eaten (just like any other creature). In the former, he would be beyond caring. If murdered, however, a flash of insight in some later incarnation might cause that version of the ghoran to fixate upon the murderer of its "ancestor," and swear itself into some kind of deranged revenge scheme.

Luthorne wrote:

7) Do ghorans have some sort of society? They are intelligent beings, even if on average less intelligent than humans, but at the same time, they're plants, so I'm not sure if they would have a desire to exist in some sort social group or not...and if they did, how alien that social group might be.

Yes, they band together in and outside Nexian cities, especially the capital at Quantium. They tend to live in cylindrical towers with lots of windows and open roofs, the better to let in the sun. These places smell of flowers and fiber, and almost always remain cool and damp regardless of the weather outside. Ghorans are, as a culture, quiet and patient, eager to spend long hours with the breeze gently cooling their bodies and participating in a form of communal meditation. Observers believe that they are able to tap into some kind of common hive mind, but the ghorans themselves do not speak of this to outsiders.

Luthorne wrote:

8) Since ghorans are delicious enough for it to be a racial trait, I've got to ask...just how delicious are they, and what do they taste like? And what are the tasty bits? Is it all or mostly...

Their skin tastes like watermelon husk marinated through in bliss. Their pulp tastes of ecstasy and succulence, the perfect palliative for human hunger. They are bio-engineered to nourish and delight.

They're great. You should have one.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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I wanted to drop by to the General Forum and give a quick update on where we stand filling the Campaign Coordinator position recently vacated when Mike Brock decided to move on to other things.

At and since Gen Con, I've had the opportunity to discuss the campaign in interviews with more than 20 of the most qualified, dedicated, and impressive pool of candidates I've had the pleasure of interviewing for any position I've tried to fill in my entire campaign.

It's really touching to see how the Pathfinder Society campaign has impacted so many lives, and it's gratifying to see so many excellent candidates stand up and offer themselves for consideration for the campaign's top spot.

The preliminary round of interviews is now over. Next week, I will go through all of my notes from all of my interviews and select a small number of candidates for another interview, this time with Paizo's CEO Lisa Stevens and Pathfinder Society Developer John Compton in addition to myself.

I hope to have concluded this second round of interviews by the end of the week, and expect to make an appointment relatively shortly thereafter.

I know many of you are also very dedicated to the campaign, and eagerly await a word on new campaign leadership.

I assure you that things are moving forward briskly, and that we are headed into a fantastic future almost no matter which candidate is chosen.

Thanks for your patience, and thank you for your continued support of the Pathfinder Society!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Dustin Ashe wrote:
Can you tell us the tale of Ostog the Unslain?

Wow. That's a long story, indeed.

For the full story, you'd have to check out "The Saga of Ostog the Unslain," an epic poem composed by the legendary bard Styrian Kindler (pen name "F. Wesley Schneider"), who recorded Ostog's exploits as a fellow companion over many years.

An early version of the story can be found in the old "NPC Guide" product, which contains write-ups of all the characters in James Jacobs's "The Shadow Under Sandpoint" campaign.

Ostog was an oarsman to the Linnorm King lord Hrolf Harfargr, rowing south along the Varisian coast for a raid on the southlands. During a storm, a treacherous lout named Girt Bearwearer led a mutiny against Harfargr, and Ostog stepped up to defend his liege lord. In return, he received several grievous sword wounds to the chest and stomach, and was thrown overboard amid choppy seas. He managed to swim to shore when he should have died (this is the birth of his "Unslain" title), and he staggered ashore in the little town of Sandpoint just before the first session of James Jacobs's office campaign.

There he met up with a group that included most of the other player characters in the NPC Guide (played by the likes of Jason Bulmahn, Sean K. Reynolds, James L. Sutter, Christopher Carey, and Wayfinder editor, PaizoCon founder, and honorary Paizonian Tim Nightengale), forming the nucleus of the party that would survive the entire "The Shadow Under Sandpoint" campaign, culminating in a battle to the death with the Sandpoint Devil.

Ostog will tell you that he struck the killing blow, which is definitely, 100% true.

Others helped, sure, but he slew it himself and deserves pride of place in the annals of history (and in Styrian's epic poem).

At that point, James's campaign shifted to the sands of Osirion, where we played a modified version of Gary Gygax's "Necropolis" superdungeon campaign for about two years. That campaign ended just a couple of months ago, and Ostog the Unslain managed to retain his title the entire time, going the whole campaign without dying and, importantly, without wearing a scrap of armor.*

A couple of facts about Ostog:

• He wields the greatsword of his slain lord, Hrolf Harfargr. The blade is known as Gnarlfang, and he retained it for the entire campaign, choosing to improve its magical qualities over time rather than replace it with a less meaningful piece of treasure.

• The idea of Ostog wearing no armor was to see if the bare-chested barbarian so common on 70s and 80s fantasy paperbacks could actually work as a concept in Pathfinder. This led to me pressuring Jason Bulmahn to add the Savage Barbarian archetype to the Advanced Player's Guide.

• When I wrote the "Meet the Iconics" backstory for the iconic hero Hakon I decided to incorporate Ostog, making Hakon his long lost brother.

• Ostog has a metal miniature from Reaper and a toy figurine from Diamond Select Toys. I've thus far demurred from putting him in a Pathfinder Battles set because I know that while power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and my tyranny can only go so far.

• My buddy Stephen Radney-MacFarland snuck Ostog into an art description for the Advanced Class Guide, and he ended up on the back cover of that product. I'm pleased that Ostog's fame is so great that I no longer need to push him into products myself. Others are now doing the dirty work for me. Delightful.

• Ostog will next appear in the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Barbarian Class Deck as a playable ACG character. I'm thrilled beyond words by this (which I didn't plan), mostly because Ostog gets an awesome new illustration!

• Ostog had a Facebook fan page, but it has shamefully switched allegiances to something else. You can find evidence of it if you scroll down.

• Ostog remains Unslain.

* Pedants will mention that he did get an armor bonus from his pelt of primal power (taken from the ghost of his arch-enemy Girt Bearwearer, but that aspect is not reflected in the approved version of Styrian's epic poem.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Kalindlara wrote:

I wanted this on the first page, so you can answer it once and for all - hopefully some people will see it before they ask again. ^_^

How did Aroden die?

He was too busy and got extremely stressed out on the eve of a big deadline, and, well, the rest is history.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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I would like to lay down a few rules for this thread:

1) I will not answer rules questions of any kind here. We have more appropriate forums for that here, and I am not your guy for those types of questions.

2) I will not answer questions about other companies in the games industry unless those questions have to do with my own work with and for those companies. For example, I'm happy to answer questions about Green Ronin's "Armies of the Abyss," which I wrote, but I will not answer questions about their staff or their current product offerings, because I have nothing to do with them.

3) I'd rather avoid politics and religion. Not sure this is a 100% ban, but it's not really in my or my company's best interest to get involved in these sorts of issues on, so I will choose not to 99.999999999999% of the time.

So I guess it's not really an ask me _anything_ thread, after all. :)

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Ok, you got me.

Honestly one reason I have never encouraged a thread like this is that I am very, very, very busy helping to run Paizo, and I don't want to give people the impression that I am ignoring their questions (even when, frankly, I am forced to ignore their questions!).

I see some good, fun questions here, and will try to answer them as soon as I can carve out some free time.

Thanks for the interest, folks.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

It's under consideration!

In the meantime, I have one here in my office you can have for a cool thou.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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James Jacobs wrote:

NO! Get yer own thread, Mona!!

I shudder to think of how boring and pedantic most of the questions I'd be likely to get on my own thread would be. I have to assume it'd just be minutia about Paizo policy, customer service questions, and traps designed to provide fodder for internet flame wars, with an occasional query about Greyhawk or something.

No thanks! :)

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Cool! Thanks.

Yeah, I'd consider the rules for the Starstone to be a "quick-and-dirty" way of doing it (if you want to) while you wait for Paizo to publish an actual Test of the Starstone adventure. The process is _narrative_ and interactive in nature, and is different for everyone.

I am suspicious of the element involving sponsorship of another god. Aroden did not have a sponsor. As far as we know Norgorber didn't have a sponsor. Cayden Cailean _definitely_ didn't have a sponsor.

I guess you could argue that Aroden himself was Iomedae's "sponsor," but that's true only in a general sense, and doesn't have anything to do with the Test of the Starstone.

Other than these two pages, I have vetted every piece of continuity we have ever introduced about Aroden.

The two pages in Mythic Realms are an exception, so I'm basically executing them.

Behold my terrible majesty. :)

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Kalindlara wrote:

I'm really looking forward to the Aroden article!

Cool! I hope you like it. I certainly enjoyed writing it.

Kalindlara wrote:

1) How much of the Starstone section of Mythic Realms is still correct? It seemed like a departure from what had been written before... and kind of a disappointment. I'm thinking mostly of the whole "the other gods make you a god" and "you just become a little more mythic" parts.

I'd have to look at it again to answer this question, but at the very least both of the things you mention are completely contradicted. The article is much less specific than that section on this point, of course, but I supply enough superlatives and general information to make it clear that:

a) The other gods had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with it. Aroden's whole _point_ is that he made himself the manifestation of the Starfall Doctrine prophecy. It is fundamental to his purpose and his history. I was extremely disappointed by this specifically because it contradicted everything that Aroden is all about. So I changed it back to the way it has been in every product since I made Aroden up in 2007.

Kalindlara wrote:

2) Piggybacking off of that... when we say "The Starstone turns you into a legit god"... does that mean a full god? Not a demigod or quasi-deity, but a five-domain deity who has transcended the concept of a statblock?

I'm not sure I say so explicitly, but my conception has always been that it makes you a demigod. Where you go from there is up to you. In Pathfinder lore, when we (and especially when "I") use the term "living god," we're generally referring to a demigod.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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The Test of the Starstone turns you into a legit god.

For reals.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

The goal is always to include them in shipments. Doesn't always happen for various boring reasons, but it's always the plan.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

We're changing the way we do catalogs this year, and will be producing them twice annually instead of just once. We created a new print catalog for Gen Con, and have been distributing it at trade shows and conventions ever since.

I was actually unaware that the new catalog was not online in PDF format until I read this thread just now. I'll get it on the agenda when I get back to the office on Tuesday.

The catalog goes through the end of 2015. I start working on the one that will cover the first half of 2016 in a few weeks.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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No. It's something I plan to get on starting next week after PAX, when the craziness of the summer convention season is over.

Thanks for your patience!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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All o can say is that people have been begging for horses since we started this lone, so while you might not love them I suspect a fair number of others will.

There are no more dancers in the set. We're covered.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

DropBearHunter wrote:
Marco Massoudi wrote:

and i absolutely expect a barkeeper, bouncer, sczarni and prostitute.

Since the brothels have been renamed to "dancing halls" all you can expect are "exotic dancers"

I think you're thinking of the Forgoten Realms. It's preposterous to assume that Golarion doesn't have brothels.

I'm not, however, particularly interested in making a "Prostitute" miniature, however, and I suspect WizKids isn't, either.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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archmagi1 wrote:
I'll wait til 100 to draw final conclusions, but the eminent retcon that aroden wasn't a true God when he fought tb lowers the cool of the necro 20 archmage 10 bbeg by so so much. His unique path to lichdom which included being killed by a god is so much weaker when it's "be killed by a divine source 3 magus". It just lowers the gravitas of the meanest bad guy in the setting by boatloads.

You'll have to read the article (which doesn't go into Tar-Baphon's mythology at all, really) but Aroden WAS a god when he fought TB, and had been for something like 800 years.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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LazarX wrote:
Ylem wrote:
I've heard it said that he ascended (to Heaven or wherever) after the creation of Absalom. Is that correct? But he was around to kill Tar-Baphon in 896 AR. and when did the Starfall Doctrine come into place?
Aroden did not become a deity from raising the starstone. It was given to him as a deal for keeping the starstone away from every tom dick and harriet who would access it's power.


That's an interpretation from Mythic Realms that doesn't jibe with any of the previous material on Aroden, so the Pathfinder 100 article is more explicit about how this actually happened. The other gods had surprisingly little to do with it.

I discovered this inconsistency while collecting all of the material on Aroden so far, and was quite disappointed. I'd had a chance to review everything else we'd ever published on the god (whom I invented and have been guiding development on since 2007), but somehow this short section managed to avoid my attention.

You can consider that version of the tale a scurrilous lie traded back and forth by Aroden's enemies if you're desperate to keep it in the setting, but I completely ignored it and deliberately invalidated it with the Pathfinder #100 article.

Hope that doesn't come as too big of a disappointment.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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There is a huge article on Aroden written by me in Pathfinder #100 that covers pretty much all of this.

In Summary:

Before the fall of Azlant, Aroden was a mortal man of great importance.

After Earthfall, he dedicated himself to helping Azlanti survivors reach safety in Avistan and to preserving what was left of Azlanti culture.

During this period, he became immortal (but did not become divine).

In the long, long period of time between the Age of Darkness and the raising of the Starstone, Aroden was essentially a high-level adventurer who spent time fighting demon lords, founding nations, and shifting his attention from Azlant in particular to humanity in general.

When he raised the Starstone he used it to go on a phantasmagoric spiritual journey (the first "Test of the Starstone") and emerged as a "living god" (basically a demigod). It's at this time that Aroden's cult of personality turned into an actual cult, and his clerics began to cast spells.

Aroden founds the city of Absalom at this point (or very shortly thereafter).

By 400 AR, Aroden is growing more and more interested in the Great Beyond, and while he is still present on Golarion, his interactions with humans grow further and further between.

He defeats Tar-Baphon in the 800s, but tellingly his attention is not lured to Tar-Baphon when the villain arises centuries later as the lich known as the Whispering Tyrant.

Some years later (in 4433), Aroden returns to Golarion to put down the demon lord Deskari in the north, which is his final bombastic appearance before the current era (basically some 300 years ago, give or take).

The Starfall Doctrine predates the fall of Azlant, and specifies the rise of a "Last Azlanti" who will lead humanity to a new Age of Glory. After Cheliax seceded from Taldor, hard-liners within the church of Aroden focused heavily on the Doctrine, proclaiming Cheliax (and Westrcrown specifically) as the spot where Aroden would manifest to usher in this Age of Glory.

It didn't go according to plan.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

There are more monsters coming.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

There are (many) more townsfolk coming.

Hilariously, I've been focusing on at least one monster per update, because the early posts were filled with fear about the set being _only_ townsfolk. :)

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Thomas LeBlanc wrote:
Are we going to see more diversity in this set?

Not really, no.

I wouldn't expect a lot of purple-skinned gnomes. i think a lot of people would consider that a mistake, or a next-to-useless mini, so if what you want is really outlandish stuff like that, I suggest painting it up yourself.

I nearly put an Akuje Elf in the set after this one, but decided not to. We'll get around to elve and half-elves with different skin tones, I suspect.

There are no halflings in The Rusty Dragon Inn set, nor in the set after that. I'll try to put them in somewhere soon.

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