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Hi Wes! I just wanna let you know that I very much look forward to seeing this article. I've had numerous PCs die in my game, and I gave each one of them an "afterlife" scene.
Those sound awesome! And this article shouldn't muck with that great idea at all!
This is one of those rare articles that is very "secret history," as in very not information every commoner and guard in Golarion knows—or cleric and sage for that matter. It all also happens on a scale that involves extraplanar erosion, so it's not a process that makes any sense to measure in scales as fine as centuries.
I expect a lot of folks are going to have questions and assumptions, but the big part to get across for me is simply, don't let knowing how the system works screw with any of the awesome stuff you're already doing with it!
Ha! I remember seeing that when someone thought it might be heralding something Arcadian, and figured it would be a monster for Mummy's Mask. Never imagined it would be a 0-HD race, though.
Yup! There's a lot of eager will-be Arcadians out there, so any hint gets the rumor mill started.
As I said, now you've got me torn on what to do with the Adam Warlock analogue I've been tinkering with for a Guardians of Golarion style team.
Decisions, decisions. Part of the inspiration for the look of these guys was the Guardians episode of Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, which Warlock is in. And he's SUPER cool in it. Enough that I was like, oh, we need some of that in Pathfinder.
Also, I echo the sentiment on the River of Souls article. I haven't had a chance to examine it in depth, but on first glance, it looked really cool and informative. It might also help in clarifying some things for a sort of "soul transmigrational" adventure idea I've had in mind for some time now that was inspired by stories of Egyptian pharaohs being buried with their servants to assist them in the afterlife.
Sounds cool! Be sure to let us know how it goes as soon as you've got it together!
archmagi1's review wrote:
The post adventure material, though, is where this volume really shines. The River of Souls article is the most comprehensive study of fantasy death and afterlife that I've ever seen. Golarioverse's cycle of positive energy to soulstuff to outsiderstuff to planestuff to maelstrom energy is thoroughly explained and even has a few handy charts to help intrepid adventurers with ranks in Knowledge: Religion and Knowledge: Planes explain it to the Fighter!.
This is one of BEST reviews of this I could have hoped for. Thanks a ton man!
I was just flipping through this article yesterday and was like "How is this only 6 pages long!?" I researched, wrote, and rewrote so much on this to get it just right and assure it's a perfect launching pad for...
For what I want it to be. ;)
I think I'll put together a blog post with the River of Souls map up in the next few days. That piece is awesome and needs a good show off now that it's finally out of my notebook.
Advanced Class Guide Preview Schedule Update!
Look forward to the Meet the Iconics story for the iconic skald tomorrow.
Next week, we might be previewing the brawler... or the shaman... or something else. Who knows? Certainly no one here has said.
There's nothing else to see here. Carry on.
pH unbalanced wrote:
Wayne's fantastically knowledgeable about ancient and medieval weaponry—likely having something to do with living within spitting distance of the Leeds Armory. More than once I've seen him explain and demonstrate the freedom one would need to wield a massive weapon with any sort of speed and flexibility. It's pretty fascinating, but more than that, it's something he thoroughly considers in his designs.
For my piece, I didn't feel any more or less restricted in my mapping for this project than any other. Paizo only publishes dungeon maps in adventures as either full-pagers or half-pagers—there are always those specs on projects, you simply don't see us printing round maps or page-and-a-half-sized maps. If adventures feel like the designers have complete control over their medium, I rather think that speaks to the strengths and professionalism of the designer, not to their having carte blanche to do as they will. As I recall, the only additional specs added on for the Emerald Spire maps were to use 5-foot squares and to create a single level (no split levels), which didn't feel that outlandish. Heck, I seem to recall we even got graph paper of the proper size.
As with any project featuring this many participants you might be able to notice designers' particular strong points from level to level. Some designers are amazing storytellers, or encounter designers, or trap builders, or cartographers. As such, you might notice their particular strengths contrasted by their fellow authors' strengths. In effect, that means you're going to see the work of some awesome map makers next to the work of designers whose strengths lie elsewhere, or whose tastes are radically different. You're going to see some real old-school work in here—as there are a few real old-school authors—next to the work of those with more radical sensibilities. Readers are sure to find their favorites in the mix. But, at least for me, that's actually part of the appeal of an exquisite corpse project like this. It's the variety that makes experiments like this so interesting.
For folks who haven't seen the maps yet, I'll ask Owen to preview a couple in this weekend's Emerald Spire blog. I've also just posted the sketch I did for my dungeon, level 10, the Magma Vault, on my personal Tumblr here. It's not Jason Engle's awesome final map, but it suggests what you can expect in the awesome final piece.
(You can also check out more about this level, the Magma Vault, and some art from it in this past weekend's Emerald Spire preview on the Paizo blog.)
Overall, I think the breadth of talents featured in the Emerald Spire will make it rather difficult to generalize on any level. I think some folks are really going to love that and, beyond using it as a fascinating adventure, will find it chocked full of adventure design insights. For those who like the formality and unified tone of a single author adventure, though, might I recommend...
Cool. Will there be a strong backstory for the Emerald Spire, like who built it how long ago and why in the module or just stuff hinted at and referenced in generalizations, nothing spelled out exactly.
It's a complete adventure (series of adventures) with a complete background and plot.
Mr. Pilkington, Philosoraptor wrote:
This is the most uncomfortable I've been since the last time Mark was in my office.
And yet... it seems somehow so right.
Heine Stick wrote:
I'm fairly certain that Emerald Spire has been labeled a superdungeon, having a smaller scope than a true megadungeon. That particular discussion has been going in the Emerald Spire product discussion, with Owen Stephens and Erik Mona participating in the discussion.
Any single dungeon or series of closely linked dungeons that fill multiple adventures and carry characters through numerous levels of play can probably be argued as a megadungeon. If the idea is that a dungeon covers one adventure, a megadungeon covers multiple adventures—the more, the better suited the term. Calling a dungeon that covers two adventures a megadungeon seems like a pretty paltry use of the word, while I don't think many would disagree that a dungeon you can advance from 1st-level to 20th-level inside feels like a megadungeon. The gray area between dungeon and magedungeon is an imprecise, subjective span. Throwing in the word "superdungeon" suggests a whole additional spectrum of semantics for what are ultimately entirely invented, imprecise terms.
Rather, I'd avoid considering "superdungeon" and "megadungeon" as units of measurements on some implied scale of dungeon-ness and take them as meaning:
Superdungeon: Big @#$%n' Dungeon.
Megadungeon: Even Bigger @#$%n' Dungeon.
What is it that every campaign setting needs a mega-dungeon? Greyhawk had Castle Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms had Undermountain – is Bastardhall Golarion's answer to this quandary?
I don't know how much of a quandary it is, but Golarion—like many campaign settings—is thick with large structures that would make exciting places to have extended adventures.
I'd say Golarion's most iconic is the Starstone Cathedral in Absalom, but others like the Spire of Nex, El Raja Key, Viperwall, Kaer Maga, and the Well of Lies all come to mind as well. In fact, every one of the dungeons presented in Dungeons of Golarion (both featured in the dozen or so mentioned in the introduction; of which Bastardhall is included) is called a megadungeon.
So the concept's not one we've avoided.
As for what makes a megadungeon...
Thanks for all the interest folks! For now, though, the best way to get more Bastardhall is to be at Paizocon or.... you, know, abduction.
The Paizocon 2014 event schedule just went up, so if—like me—you're not a fan of kidnapping, you can soon put your name in the lottery for this year's foray: The Silent Servant of Bastardhall. (Event Lottery Details)
Hope to see a bunch of you at the show!
Generic Villain wrote:
I love that people are digging Conference Z, but while the Bureau of Inquirers is definitely meant to be a PC-friendly, X-Files like wing, the group as a whole as another inspiration no one's touched on yet (a whole slew, in fact, but one in particular).
(The "Z" is relevant, though not to any particular name.)
First off, for all your Pathfinder Wiki needs, I'd suggest using Pathfinder Wiki, not the one previously linked. There is a lot of overlap between the two, but Pathfinder Wiki is more thoroughly updated. It's also run by a Paizo staff member, so... make of that what you will.
Second, in this regard, the wiki is correct. Seltyiel is lawful evil and is currently our only evil-aligned iconic.
In fact, when we ordered him way back for Pathfinder AP #12, his schtick was in part to serve as the "iconic evil character." We're a long ways from that now and I can't say he's going to remain the sole evil character, but for the moment he retains the title.
Expect more iconic love in the very near future.
Hypothetically, if someone were to write a Devils Revisited book in the same vein as Demons Revisited what named, unstated devil characters would you want to see and from where?
Named. Unstated. Mentioned in an existing product. Go.
An update of what's come before and what's yet to come for Bastardhall.
Year 1 - 2009 (4609 A.R.), The Blood of Bastardhall: The black coach rolled into the town of Cesca in the Ustalavic county of Varno and demanded that several particular residents climb aboard. The PCs were not able to prevent all the townsfolk from being captured, but with the aid of the young fortuneteller, Miamara Vitters, and the ghost of her father, they were able to discover the townsfolk's connection and prevent more abductions.
Year 2 - 2010 (4609 A.R.), Beyond the Gates of Bastardhall: The heroes journeyed to the ruined town of Maiserene on the banks of Lake Laruba, once the town that supported and owed fealty to the Arudora noble family and served as the coastal passage to Castle Arudora. Encountering several haunts suggesting details of the town's history, ruin, a mysterious traveler, and something terrible lurking within the lake's black depths, the heroes manged to rekindle the light atop the chapel of Aroden and restore a ghostly version of the ruined bridge crossing the lake to Castle Arudora, now known as Bastardhall.
Year 3 - 2011 (4609 A.R.), Within the Walls of Bastardhall: The heroes made their way across the bridge to Bastardhall, exploring the castle's gatehouse, a series of monuments mid-span, and other fortifications still manned by remnants of their ancient keepers and a gigantic centipede. (Note: The PCs did NOT actually get within the walls of Bastardhall.)
Year 4 - 2012 (4609 A.R.), The Black Gardens of Bastardhall: The heroes finally make it within the walls of Bastardhall, entering the island's vast tiered gardens. A plague of mosquitos and a horrible piping harried them to the greenhouse, then through the lower gardens. In a shrine of Shelyn they encountered a despondent, faithless huecuva who suggested much regarding the Arudora's family's fall and the coming of a dark rider bearing a squirming bundle. Trying to avoid the garden's other dangers by traveling upon the walls, they faced a grotesque satyr piper playing upon the proboscis of a gigantic mosquito, then faced his gigantic, bloodsucking pets. The heroes finally managed to make it to the outer walls of the castle proper... and knocked.
Year 5 - 2013 (4609 A.R.), The Bleak Bastion of Bastardhall: The heroes slip past the outer curtain wall of the castle Bastardhall. Within, they find an immortal creature snared and tormented within the citadel's repeating cycle of resurrection and destruction. Is death truly a mercy to an immortal? Beyond, the quarters of the castle's staff and several once idyllic overlooks of the grounds below suffer the same corruption as the gardens, with many of the Arudora servants lingering on in various states of terrible half-life. The servants' chapel of Shelyn still stands, the resident priests having given their lives to imprison terrible twins. Twins, with an undying hunger for souls.
Year 6 - 2014 (4609 A.R.), The Silent Servant of Bastardhall: To be continued at Paizocon 2014.
All true or truth adjacent.
John Kretzer wrote:
As to the reprint of the articles...I will say there is something new for every deity in background...also there are those obedience and boons. There is plenty of new material...and the reprinted stuff is either updated or it is nice to have in one place.
I also think that were one to actually take on of the old articles and compare it to the new articles they'll see that these are much, much more than just "reprints." (Especially in the cases of some of the ones more than a half decade old.)
A little disappointed that so much of the art is recycle...but other than that it's looking good.
We definitely did pick up many of the more awesome pieces from relevant APs—if we were happy with the look of this priest or that monster I didn't think it made sense to change it.
As a data point, though, we ordered more than 250 new pieces of art for this book.
A FLUID TON.
Aside from the usual development and work to bring our 2009 standards to our 2014 standards, it was a chance to open up the patient and make quite a few tinkers. I ended up going into both Erastil and Asmodeus with both red and black pens. So, if you haven't seen yet, check those out for some revisions, redactions, and wholly new content.
Mark Moreland, Jessica Price, James Sutter, and I did the lion's share of the development on this and it was QUITE a task. That's why you see Jessica's name hop up from Project Management into the developer's list—it was very much a all-hands on deck sort of thing. I think this was the book where we finally, firmly realized there's no such thing as an easy hardcover.
That said, I think it came out pretty brilliantly.
As for personal favs, I love the new altars—having a temple-specific magic item for each deity is pretty cool. I also really like the prestige classes and their wide variety. All the monsters are pretty cool too. But—because I'm going to be THAT nerd—I think the massive table at the end is my favorite. We took a pretty obvious cue from the giant charts in the back of AD&D's Deities and Demigods for our charts. It's a massive amount of data with tons of inspiration and potential on every line. It's total data-porn and I love it!
If you want to know more about what I think about Inner Sea Gods, I just did an interview with Know Direction. You can watch the whole thing right here!
When has an offhand comment or theory of a players inspired you or been directly stolen for your plots or stories in a game? Also, has this happened for Golarion?
I tend to do that on the fly a lot during adventures. Like I knew a player in a horror game I ran hated mushrooms so I made the zombies all fungal. I love customizing my adventures to the players. I've played the adventure in question 6 times now (it's a sci-fi Dread adventure from that game's main book) and it's been radically different each time.
As for Golarion, it's hard to point at any one thing that was 100% born on the boards. A lot of the discussion about Vudra and Arcadia have happened here. Much of the reaction and reforging also happens here. So, like, when we were getting the chance to tinker with Erastil again in Inner Sea Gods this was the first place I went to make sure we were readdressing the concerns about some of his past flavors.
Mark Sweetman wrote:
A lot of characters in this book and many others are seeds for future development. That's one of the points with these projects, to leave not just our readers but ourselves room to expand and explore over the years.
So, for the time being, no, there's not.
The NPC wrote:
What's suggested here is not some subtle design philosophy. It's purely coincidence.
While archons are highly organized and many lean toward military-like hierarchies, that is not meant to suggest that all archons are martial-minded. It's also not meant to suggest that the empyreal lords of other races are less prone to or skilled at combat, strategy, or violence.
The empyreal lords presented in Chronicle of the Righteous are but a handful of the empyreal lords in existence. We'll certainly learn about more in the future, many likely designed to take advantage of creative opportunities like those singled out here.
If anyone wants to jump in and create their own empyreal lords to fill in some of these spaces sooner rather than later, though, by all means!
doc the grey wrote:
Can you give us any idea on what hell was like before Dahak scorched it through, how different was it from what it is now, were the asura and kytons roaming about it during that time or did they not appear till after, if the were around how did Dahak's inferno affect their lives on that plane?
Someday we'll get into the history and prehistory of the planes, but for now the specifics range from being pretty academic to purposefully vague. All I'm really comfortable with saying about this right now is that in a time before most deities, in epochs beyond any sane reckoning, before mortal life was a thing that was considered significant, things in the multiverse were different. How folks want that to impact their games is up to them.