Shadar Aman wrote:
I've got a pretty long link over on my website covering the music I've suggested using in Carrion Crown. A lot of that would work nicely for Seven Days.
Finding music from films that covers similar ground can also lead to some really useful results. I might suggest Alien, Symphonic Super Metroid, Mimic, Outbreak, Parasite Eve, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Interview with the Vampire. A few of my favs and a few untested ones are on there, but take a look!
I'd also totally suggest scouring the site Grooveshark so you can try before you buy.
Cori Marie wrote:
So Wes, I was just going through the playlists you provided in Carrion Crown to download what I can for my Carrion Crown game. And while much of it is awesome, I notice a glaring omission. There was no Nox Arcana! Was there a reason for this?
Nox Arcana does do creepy music! And I have many of their CDs. And many people like them and might use them in their RPGs.
Wes, James Sutter was saying you wanted more Monsters. My supplement, the Manual of Aurania, written way back in 1977, has a number of weird monsters. Paizo is welcome to mine it, without charge of any kind. (Altho a mention of the source would be nice).
Cool man, kick me an e-mail at email@example.com sometime. I'd love to take a look!
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
So...here's a question that's been bugging me for a while. Why is Iomedae not venerated in Korvosa, a city that strives to be as Chelish as possible, while she IS venerated in Magnimar, a city that wanted to divorce itself from that nation? I find it odd that the people in Varisia who are most proud of their Chelaxian heritage favor a Kelish goddess (Sarenrae having more adherents in Korvosa than Iomedae, but trailing behind Abadar and Asmodeus, of course) rather than one of their peoples' own cultural heroes.
It is odd! Which gives it some awesome potential for stories explaining why it is.
I used to live across from a church that had been turned into a nondenominational creperie. Great lox and chives crepes and entirely religion free. Can't say that about most churches. And the owner had a great story about how he came from South Africa and now owns a church that makes delicious anytime breakfasts.
Weird stuff like that happens all the time.
So why is there not a temple of Iomedae in Korvosa? In a city a bureaucratic as Korvosa with as many scheming factions as there are there could be thousands of reasons. Maybe there was one and it was shut down after a squabble with one of the city's early decadent rulers. Maybe there was one outside of the city and the Shoanti targeted it for raids after an overly zealous high priest launched a limited crusade against them. Maybe members of the Academae used their political influence to block the creation of a proposed church. Maybe a sizable congregation just never got organized. All of these could be possibilities, and in our books we tend to focus more on what there is over why there aren't things. There's great potential for adventures when you're filling in gaps like this. So feel free to pick any of these options or create your own even more realistically strange explanation.
As an aside, just because there's not a temple of Iomedae in the city isn't meant to imply that no one worships her in the city. Between families that hold her as their patron, individuals who keep personal shrines, or others who just gravitate more toward her worship, I'm certain you can find plenty of Iomedae worshipers in the city even if they're not all representatives of her larger church.
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Is the 55th card a how-to card again, or is there actually a 55th divinatory card that doesn't match up with an alignment/ability score combo?
There are no plans to add any new actual Harrow cards beyond the established 54. More specifics will have to wait until we've cemented other details.
1. Seem cool to me. :)2. Oh I'd totally...
3. Karkadann has made it onto Bestiary lists in the past. The batibat is new though! Good find!
4. Oh, I'd totally go feral unicorn.
Thanks for posting the Paizocon Horror in RPGs seminar on youtube for those of us who couldn't attend! :)
Absolutely my pleasure! For those of you who didn't know you missed it, check it out (and my other YouTube stuff) here!
The little kid-Hellboy animation I did is my favorite part. :D
Hey! Since it's topical for today, I wanted to make sure everyone who might be interested got to see this while it's rolling.
Just like last year, every hour for all of Halloween I'm posting one link to something horrifying on my Twitter account: @FWesSchneider.
Some might be RPG related, some might be games, others are movies, some are websites, books, and stranger things. It's a total terror grab bag.
In fact, as of posting this, the twelfth link just went up.
So if you're looking for something new and creepy to obsess over today, click away!
Enjoy and Happy Halloween!!! :D
Yay! I was going to quit and totally go full-on Victorian romance, but since you asked for it, I'll stick with horror. :D
How about this for starters: Every hour for all of Halloween I'll post one link to something horrifying on my Twitter account: @FWesSchneider.
In fact, as of posting this, the twelfth one might have just gone up.
Enjoy and Happy Halloween!!! :D
I have a near complete Ravenloft collection, but not this! So it will receive a place of honor.
Thanks a ton man!
On it! La llorona was actually on the short list for B4, but got nudged out by the sayona. But that just means she moves higher on the "next time" list!
Alebrijes, though... SOLD! On the list! :D
doc the grey wrote:
Other question are their any gods or demigod level entities associated with cicadas and their mythology? I'm looking into them for my home game and I'm wondering if their is anything built around them. If not what kind of entity would it be i.e. empyreal lord, infernal duke, etc.
There's not anything in Pathfinder that I can think of that's tightly tied to cicadas, and it sounds like Jeff has you covered on the real-world front...
Jeff Erwin wrote:
I like the idea of the cicada being essentially the resurrection or transformation bug, but you already kind of get that with butterflies and moths. But cicadas are a bit creepier, and definitely more destructive/disruptive. So while I can see the good guy angle, I'll always remember being in Maryland after a like a 13- or 17-year cicada swarm, seeing their crispy skins on everything, hearing my footsteps crunch. It was pretty alien.
I don't know that I would spin them full on evil, but I like the idea of a deity of things you can't fathom, nature throwing you for a loop, revelation of ignorance, and maybe transcendence that had cicada symbolism. Kind of the "You know nothing, John Snow" deity.
There could be something fun there. :)
What about the Pathfinder Journal for Carrion Crown? (AP's 43-48) I'm playing so haven't read them myself to be sure.
It's called Guilty Blood. I remember quite liking it at the time, but can't recall for the life of me who wrote it.
And Sutter, tell whoever's writing that next Ustalav story to get her/his ass in gear!
Tom Benton wrote:
hi Wes - I'm looking forward to listening to your Lovecraft discussion on Know Direction. In the meantime: Necropants!
Awesome man! For folks who haven't seen, you can check out my discussion with the 3.5 Private Sanctuary podcast on Lovecraftian horror in two distinct flavors:
Private Sanctuary: Lovecraftian Horror (Audio)
Private Sanctuary: 2013 Lovecraftian Horror (Video)
If you want more talk about horror in Pathfinder and RPGs in general, check out these too:
Paizocon 2013: Horror in RPGs (Know Direction, Audio)
Paizocon 2013: Horror in RPGs (YouTube, Video with Notes)
Private Sanctuary: 2012 Horror Podcast
(You can also check out my notes and links that go along with the discussion on my personal site here)
As for the pants: That's horriblawesome! I am now subscribed to this blog.
I see your Necropants and raise you a Cthulhu Tiki Mug (as seen the Lovecraft discussion above).
Congratulations: Your holiday shopping is now done. :D
doc the grey wrote:
Huh... I haven't really put a ton of thought into her realm. But were I going to start detailing it, I think I'd revisit a the scenes involving Lilith from Wayne Barlow's God's Demon. It's a story of a fallen archdevil (in our parlance) with his eyes on something like redemption. Lilith is a major player in it, a being more branded evil than one who's actually evil, a figure who's had to suffer eons of indignities. It's not a good life for her, but at the same time, she's kind of a Madonna of Hell, influential and nearly worshiped, but still hamstrung by her position and politics.
If you're looking for awesome ideas from what was a major inspiration for my vision of Hell, take a look there.
Umbral Reaver wrote:
That spread with the pickled punk and pipefox: easily my favorite in the whole book. :D
Elohim? James, did you just decide to stat a god? Or does the name have more menings than one?
There are several other creatures in B4 that fall into the category of god, much more than the elohim.
We play a bit fast and loose with these guys from a world religion perspective, very much treating them as gods with a lower-case "g." That said, that doesn't make them any less god-like in their influence over creation and their role in the multiverse.
Lord Snow wrote:
Glad to see so much love for the kytons. The ostairus is a very recent pick up from Shattered Star #64: Beyond the Doomsday Door (if you didn't see the page of kyton philosophy and propaganda in there, you are missing out!). The sacristan is something entirely new... kind of a bruiser... with a portal to the Plane of Shadow locked in his fused shut mouth. So pretty humdrum as kytons go. ;P
Distant Scholar wrote:
Who knows, maybe we'll do Misfit Monsters Redeemed II someday but for now...
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
As promised, my talk with the Private Sanctuary podcast on H.P. Lovecraft, Lovecraftian horror, and horror in Pathfinder is up now.
while the video is up here (including glimpses of Bestiary 4, my office, my awesome Cthulhu tiki mug, Ryan's insane G.I. Joe collection, and lots of talking with my hands!). :D
Neil Spicer wrote:
Me, Rob, maybe Daigle, and Macklin. The three southerners and the guy who's been to southern California.
I recall six Demon Lords and I only count three there were is Orcus?
As with empyreal lords and great old ones, the selection of demon lords is not meant to be all inclusive.
And, if you can only remember six, you need to brush up with Book of the Damned volume 2. ;)
what tropes do you think fantasy settings (in general and specifically Golarion) are missing out on?
Non-sci-fi vehicles. Like, there's not a game where I really have to care about my car or my airship or my riverboat.
Speaking of riverboats, I'm going to play Carolina Death Crawl next week. I really like that it's a game that takes you from point A to B then back again. The game that's all about traveling places, or even just games that do travel really well—I'd like to see more of those. From what I've read of the One Ring RPG, they have some very neat ideas on running journeys, but I'd like to see more.
Courtly Intrigue. A lot of folks say they like it and do it well—but I don't really believe them. It's easy to say your NPCs were planning X, Y, and Z all along when you're the GM, but it's easy to cheat and just say that. So some system that plays in the arena of courts and assassins.
Playing Gods. Not seeing a lot of that these days. Even a game where you get to design a world as players.
I've also never really seen the perfect melding of minis tactical battle and roleplaying. This could tie in with the courtly game. (I really want my Crusader Kings RPG, but want the group to be allies, not enemies).
That's a few things that come to mind, but overall, I feel like I'm pretty well served by whats out there in both the mainstream and the indy community. It's the crazy ideas I love the most though!
Look up Abnormal, for example. You can play a virus. :D
Have you been bitten by the Steam Sale bug yet?
Oh, I mostly avoided it... except for those Civ 5 expansions.
My husband and I have been playing through an ongoing Earth map with max civilizations and city states. We're in the end game, but it's really testing our computer's strength.
I chose Rome (as always, 'cause duh) and Russ took Germany... and then unwittingly chose the autocracy ideology... and then started making panzers... and then attacked Poland. They were all the right choices at the time, but things got to be a bit on the nose. >_>
Alexander Augunas wrote:
Whoa! Where did they say that? (And why aren't they keeping their mouths shut?!)
I quite like that. :D
Mathias Gehl wrote:
Go with what the store page says.
We'll see this blog edited tomorrow.
In my opinion, despite similar aesthetics, Vildeis and the kytons are kind of opposites. While kytons are endlessly trying to perfect their forms (and those of others), Vildeis knows that no form will ever be perfect and willingly sacrifices from her imperfect form to further the cause of good.
I hadn't planned Vildeis to be in this book, but when our original LG empyreal choice didn't survive the process, I wrote a new entry for her. There's actually more about her here in Bestiary 4 then what Amber and I got into Chronicle of the Righteous, so if you liked her before, well... now you know where to look.
First off, I'm going to drop a few links (or re-links), since this is something I've talked about extensively over the past couple of years:
Now that the billboard is out of the way, forewarning that I've put a few footnotes at the bottom of this lengthy post, so if you see numbers in the text they're referring to whats at the end.
Beyond aesthetic, beyond tips for making a game creepy, beyond rules that enhance scary storytelling, a lot of what we're talking about here comes down to character agency and consequences: on what level can characters influence a story and what sorts of ramifications are there to characters’ decisions.
In the Pathfinder RPG and games like it, characters are typically either driving factors in the narrative and are empowered to control or overcome the challenges they face. Characters are often referred to as heroes in these games, not just because they're typically good guys but because it's largely assumed they're going to win. At a core level, the Pathfinder RPG wants the characters to win and ultimately characters are more powerful (or will have the opportunity to become more powerful) than the challenges they'll face.
In many games designed to be horror games—Dread, Call of Cthulhu, Shadows of Esteren—the characters have less control, they're more often pawns or victims of the plot and the challenges are greater. Characters usually aren't thought of as heroes in these games—aside from it being a bit out of step with the game's aesthetics, does anyone really think of their Call of Cthulhu investigators as heroes? There's typically the up-front acknowledgement that a character is likely going to die—or go insane or worse—and their victory is not assumed. In many of these games—like in many horror films—a character is at her strongest and most capable at the beginning of the narrative and things go downhill from there.
The other angle here pertains to consequences.
In Pathfinder and games like it, there are really relatively few hard, statistical threats to characters. Lose a hit point? You'll get it back. Lose a level? You'll get it back. Lose a weapon? You'll get/buy another. Die? You'll be resurrected. More characters survive Pathfinder games than those who don’t—in fact, most come out on the other side of an adventure stronger than when they started. While characters decisions may affect the details of the narrative, the game is hardwired to statistically improve characters.
In games designed to be horror games, the consequences are a bit more obvious: you go insane, you die, you fail, you are not promised marked improvement. These consequences are often either set in stone or prove difficult to mitigate. So if you die, that's it. If you go insane, you have to deal with it—you're probably not getting better. If you drop your holy sword in the lava, you shouldn’t expect to get it back. Consequences have permanency and weight that your character might eventually collapse under.
I do not believe there is any combination of written rules or dice roles that make a game system intrinsically scarier than any other (1), rules don’t prescribe narrative. You could just as easily use the Call of Cthulhu rules to play a procedural crime drama as you could a horror story. You can just easily file the serial numbers off the Pathfinder RPG and run games of other types and genres (2). Certain options might be more robust in certain systems, but a game’s mechanics and thematics are distinctive pieces.
So if you wanted to run Pathfinder as a horror game, you have to ask what you really want, Pathfinder with a horror aesthetic or Pathfinder tweaked to adopt the conventions of a horror game.
If you just want to make you're Pathfinder game creepy, there's tons that you can do—use scary monsters, limit humor and distractions, lose the miniatures and grid maps, use music, etc, etc, etc (3). The game remains Pathfinder, but you're essentially tricking the players into thinking the game has fundamentally changed with an increased focus on showmanship and ambiance. It's cool and really fun, but the fundamental rules of the game and your social contract with the players has not actually been altered.
If you want to make Pathfinder a true horror game, the social contract with your players has to change (4). The characters' agency has likely shifted from that assumed in a normal Pathfinder game to something more akin to that of a horror RPG, where challenges might outstrip the character's abilities, some penalties might be particularly dire or arbitrary, and survival/victory is not assured (5). Once everyone's on board with playing a horror game, it’s easy to tweak the rules to support this type of game. For example: take resurrection and all related spells out of the game (death becomes more final); make it more difficult to effectively rest and replenish abilities (resources become scarcer); increase the CRs of encounters to be more equal to (or higher than) the PCs' level (closer/more taxing combats); increase scarcity of certain abilities/items/magic or impose ramifications to their use (limitations and danger reduces fire-and-forget effects), etc. Most of the rules remain Pathfinder, but suddenly actions have more lasting effects, the danger level has increased, resources have to more closely rationed, and the question of whether or not something is the right choice at the right time becomes much more meaningful. Layer some common horror storytelling techniques on top of this and you've cribbed yourself a horror game.
Currently, all official Pathfinder RPG products considered horror themed play with creepy elements entirely on the grounds of narrative and aesthetics. The stories might be creepier, the descriptions more lurid, the subsystems engaging more unsettling material (insanity, haunts, curses, etc), but the challenges are not designed to be any more dangerous, the characters face no change in potency, and the game remains 100% Pathfinder.
So, if you're looking to run a particularly creepy game of Pathfinder, there's tons of awesome suggestions in this thread and elsewhere to hook you up with the right adventure or help give your game a spookier vibe. But if you're looking to fundamentally change your Pathfinder game to make it play more like a horror game, think about some of these suggestions and other minor tweaks you might make to adjust the characters' control over your game's narrative and the dire reality of their consequences.
1 Let me call out and use Dread as an example real quick. There is nothing about using a Jenga tower as that game's method of resolving challenges that makes it fundamentally a horror game—you could just as easily tell a sci-fi or fantasy story with no horror elements with the Jenga tower replacing dice. The tension that the Jenga "mini-game" brings with it, however, and the "BOO!" of a collapsing tower hitting the table makes the system FANTASTICALLY effective in helping to tell a horror story. But Jenga itself is not marketed as a horror game. When overlaid with the veneer of a scary story, though, there's a potent connection.
2 For example, I ran a sci-fi game set in the Mass Effect universe earlier this year using 100% Pathfinder rules. There's a ton of details under the Mass Effect tag on my Erratic Episodes site here if you’re interested in seeing how it worked and even downloading that horror-themed adventure.
3 I and others talk about methods of this at length in several of the links above.
4 By the by, this is NOT something that a GM just gets to do. If your players come to the table expecting to play Pathfinder and you've house-ruled it into a horror game, expect them to be jarred. It's important for the players and GM to be on the same page about what type of game is being played. Lack of clarity in this regard can easily result in misconceptions, arguments, hurt feelings, and failed games. Always be talking to your players!
5 Why play a game the PCs can't win? Why watch a horror movie where the protagonists might not survive? The focus is on the danger, the challenge, the struggle, and the story. GMs in horror RPGs face a greater challenge than in games like Pathfinder in avoiding coming across as antagonists. When elements of the story end up being brutally unfair or crippling to an individual player, this can’t be a surprise. The GM has to have been upfront that such things could happen during the game and that such is to be expected, not personal, and is part of the fun. The GM remains in the position of being responsible for making sure that even a hamstrung player continues to have a good time—which can sometimes be challenging. Players who enjoy roleplaying the facets of insanity, the curse that turns them into a zombie, the challenges of a paraplegic, might really enjoy being afflicted with such developments, but some players might consider it unfair and have their enjoyment of the game severely impacted. As always, it's important to know your players and what they want out of a game, and to be clear about the type of game you're running.
To start, Bestiary 4. But there's something else coming down the road that I expect will have some more Golarion-centric details. For now: patience. ;)
doc the grey wrote:
This may be more a question for James Jacobs but here it goes. Considering that Aeons are like the white blood cells of the multiverse; keeping it all running and in balance, how do you think they feel about qlipppoth? Considering that many believe them to be older than or even from beyond the multiverse wouldn't they have a relationship akin to an invading virus or infection vs. the aeon immune system? Also what about the elder gods or other Cthulhuian entities considering that many are at least older then this material plane and survive it's apocalypses and recreations?
About the qlippoth? Aeons would not get on well with them, but so long as they keep to their crevices—so long as their benign viruses—they're not worth the expenditure of time and energy to wipe out. That said, qlippoth are not about keeping quiet. While one or two creeping out to do evil isn't worth their notice, mass uprisings are a problem. Fortunately, when it comes to qlippoth, demons do most of the aeons jobs for them, as the demons are even more interested in keeping the qlippoth down—and certainly from overrunning the Abyss—than the aeons are.
As for Great Old Ones, they're also not a huge problem. The drift around in the Material Plane and are relatively small in number. So long as none get too disruptive of the greater planar structure, they don't have a reason to strike en masse.
Overall, the aeons are interested in the foundations of the multiverse and the structure of that vast body. A termite in your home, you don't notice; 10, you've got bigger problems; even 100, there are probably bigger issues. A thousand? Termites dropping into your soup? Things that you can't ignore they can't ignore either.
This makes it great for big plots though, because that way you and your PCs know that when an aeon shows up the whole multiverse is paying attention—and that's a big deal.