A merciful weapon deals an extra 1d6 points of damage, but all damage it deals is nonlethal damage. On command, the weapon suppresses this ability until told to resume it (allowing it to deal lethal damage, but without any bonus damage from this ability).
Okay so mechanically that makes sense but from a narrative perspective, how would one describe that?
Would the blade of a sword with the merciful property bounce off someone's flesh as if it were dull & blunted, doing bludgeoning damage, bruising but not fatally? Or would it still cut and just not leave a wound behind?
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Well in the case of Asmodeus you've always got the work around of him corrupting the neutral to evil eventually as part of the long game, you know, character development, or otherwise one of the great schemers & manipulators in the multiverse recognizing that occasionally one wants to have a follower who doesn't set off a detect evil spell. Value of PR & everything.
Gorum also doesn't have a problem with conflict among his own followers; one of his aphorisms is, after all, "Will you fight?" not, "Why do you fight?"; so if he's got a sect of CG followers going to war with a sect of CE followers, that's fine by him because they're fighting.
Granted it's been a long time since I've read through the Wrath of the Righteous' continuing the campaign section(main thing I remember was the going after Demon Lords thing which is why the Nocticula question is a non issue for me, she was first on the kill list for my CG Gorumite fighter), but as I recall the area was still a demon infested mess that would require years of clean up. Though I suppose I could well be mistaken there.
Even failing that, and ignoring, say, Belkzen, I do feel that attitude takes away a lot of nuance. There are a lot of fundamentally good people who've grown up in areas that have been mired in conflict their whole lives who're just resigned to the idea that it can't be resolved through diplomacy and will only end when one side defeats the other.
Being a gorumite also doesn't preclude diplomacy, it just isn't a first option. You can discuss terms with your enemy after you've beaten them because being a gorumite also doesn't require that you kill everyone on the other side.
And failing all of that, the pit of Gormuz is still there, so, new crusade. (Tangent, I'm not a fan of the retcon that Gorum was around while Rovagug was being sealed & was working on his prison because my reading of Gorum was that if he had been there, the other gods wouldn't be able to keep him back from fighting Rovagug, and him just not having been around yet was a good work around for that while keeping Sarenrae special for being the only one brave enough to actually fight the Rough Beast.)
I'll admit that Gorum's faith certainly isn't one that encourages good alignments. I don't want it to be. But I like the idea of his being a faith that allows you to be good, where as Cayden's expects it(though apparently does not require it).
Honestly I'm not against the concept of limiting worshipers to a select few alignents instead of the one step thing because I do agree that a lot of them don't make sense; Lamashtu being limited to just CE makes perfect sense to me. Iomedae being limited to just LG & NG makes perfect sense to me. Torag being limited to LG & LN makes sense to me.
But I think there's a sense to LN Asmodeus followers & CG Gorum followers. Not as a majority & if we want to call them heretics, fine.
Personally I've always read Gorumites as caring more about fighting than the reason for fighting as carte blanche for a wide range of personalities among his followers. "They don't care about saving innocents" cuts both ways; a lot of them aren't going to go out of their way to do that, but so long as you're saving and protecting people by fighting the things trying to kill them, most Gorumites probably wouldn't care too much if you did, and if a particularly evil one did, then well, that's just another thing to fight about.
It's one of the reasons why I've always felt that the Worldwound would be particularly attractive to Gorumites because where else on Golarion are you going to find a better fight than that? A few places but not many and not many that people in the Inner Sea region would have heard about.
In my experience with 1e, whenever character started with 20 in stat at level 1, they were really overpowered early on(and if they were caster, the dcs became so high at late game everyone fails them most of the time) <_< So no, I don't think caps on stats on level 1 is bad thing, heck I have as result used that as houserule in 1e ever since my first campaign
What you see as the bug, sir, I see as the feature.
To hell with that.
Now, while I'm generally in favor of making all races at least capable of being competent at any given role, I do think there are issues where the hard cap at level 1 is going to conflict with story.
For example, for half orcs it's mentioned that half orcs are generally weaker than full blooded orcs, but by the rules, the strongest natural orc & the strongest natural half-orc are equals at 18. The difference between 20 & 22 in 1e may have been marginal, but at least it was real.
More over, the strongest orc or half-orc is only as strong as the strongest elf or gnome - though at least the gnome had to spend their free boost to cancel out their penalty which implies they at least had to put some extra work into it.
I like giving races options that mean they won't be strictly pigeon holed and one be deficient in certain roles where others may excel, but I also can see Beast's point about things getting a bit samey.
In various groups I've played with, safeguards against this have included each person rolling three columns of ability scores & picking the best one, and giving anyone who didn't roll an 18 naturally a free 18 - whether that meant turning your lowest roll into an 18 or your highest was a judgment call based on over all rolls. Further, one protection was that rolls of 1's & 2's counted as 3's, meaning the lowest anyone started with would be a 9. And all of this was before racial ability modifiers were put into effect.
For me the sweet spot of classes is higher than 7. I can concede that Pathfinder had too many but I think you can have well more than seven without the classes being constrained in how you build them.
In regards to the notion of an updated alchemist/scientist class type, I'd argue that the issue with the existing classes that focus on science & technology is they're all physical/hard sciences. Computers, tech, that kind of thing. There isn't really an option for a bio-engineer life scientist or even really a chemist. The only thing that really deals with organics/nature is the xenodruid.
And personally I'd rather see a class dedicated to that kinda stuff - that can still be built a hundred different ways - than to have an archetype that has to be slapped onto existing chassis.
Well it's not like dragonkin are the only or most common large sized alien. Vesk, verthani, and nuar are all all on the larger size of medium and Verthani especially are probably the most populous humanoid race in the pact worlds. Haan, sarcesians, shobhad, urogs, and adult barathu are all large sized and barathu are probably the most populous race in the system, period.
A lot of realworld concerns regarding construction go out the window in space, at least for a structure that you never intend to take into a planet's atmosphere & have experience a planet's gravity outside of freefall. So long as you can defend it against impacts you can build it as big as you want, up until the point you have to worry about it collapsing under it's own gravity. Material cost is still a concern but less so when you have an entire solar system to harvest from. One of the major limitations to our capacity to build in space irl is the cost of getting material out of the atmosphere but in the starfinder setting that's become largely negligible.
Dead Suns 4 mentions that each system usually has an organization of people that refuse to use drift travel for this very reason. I forget what the pact world's system's group is, but they do mention they use peaceful protest type tactics including occupation of space ports.
It goes onto mention that, being that the size of a given part of a plane being drawn into the drift could be as small as a single stone, and that so many of the planes are functionally infinite in size, the odds of any given drift travel drawing a sentient individual into the drift is negligible.
Well even the Sun wouldn't be a constant distance as most planets will have at least a somewhat elliptical orbit so at certain times of the year they'll be further or closer. And stars do rotate, themselves, so the Archipelago is going to be moving, so even a trip from Aballon to the Archipelago could involve going all the way around the Sun, which you'd have to do at a distance before making your approach.
But yeah, main thing is that these objects are in constant motion and their position relative to each other is in constant flux.
Geddes' method is a good one, though, in that these distances aren't going to change that rapidly so if you're only take a few days to get from one planet to another, and you're only on that planet for a few days, then it should take about the same amount of time to get back.
Steven "Troll" O'Neal wrote:
Implications for kish... troubling.
Truth be told part of why I made this thread is that I while I like Pact Worlds, I found it lacking in a few areas.
For example, Arkanen. A heavily populated moon and one of the few moons in the system to have full member status in the Pact, and we got very little information on it, and half of what we got was just repeated & reworded from other sources. There is as of yet, so far as I'm aware, no artwork for dirindi or sazarons, even though one would think they'd be among the more common races in the Pact Worlds.
And also so far as I'm aware, no Starfinder source has actually named the native race of Nchak as the trox; I had actually forgotten that that was were the trox originated from. The few paragraphs on Nchak refer more to the shirren & haan immigration while glossing over it's natives.
Now, if Paizo was doing monthly releases of setting books I don't think it's unlikely we would have gotten a Campaign Setting book released along side Pact Worlds that could have covered stuff like this. As it stands, maybe we'll see dirindi & sazarons & trox in an Alien Archive, maybe as early as Alien Archive 2 later this year(one of the hints at a playable race from AA2 might refer to the trox, maybe) or otherwise in an Adventure Path release, but that's all a bit of a crap shoot.
One thing I'm pretty sure of is that we won't be getting a Pact Worlds 2 book before the Veskarium book, or the Azlanti book, and maybe not before a Shadari book.
I'll say this on the cover; I think that's a high quality art piece, one of the best I've seen for Pathfinder.
My issue with it is more that, even though that is a planar monster on the cover, the image speaks less to me of planar adventures than it does some kind of horror. Like, wandering through any given swamp on Golarion and then bam, monster.
Which I get there are certainly planes like that and Abaddon would be one of them. But if it were me I'd have gone for something more colorful & psychedelic, with a landscape that very obviously wasn't of the material plane. So proteans & the maelstrom would have been a good shout, I think.
I don't know, that's just a personal preference thing I suppose.
Someone using the point buy system could spend the points for a score of 15 and still come out with an 18 from combining racial & theme bonuses.
Hells, someone could spend the points for a score of 13 and come out with an 18 with the proper race selection.
Alternatively if you just end up with an odd number at generation either from point buy or rolling, you can round that up to an even number with the theme bonus.
I mean, ryphorians, then called triaxians, first started showing up in Pathfinder in Distant Worlds, and then later in Reign of Winter & People of the Stars. Distant Worlds & Reign of Winter both predate the Netflix Voltron series by a number of years, though I don't know whether any early concept designs may have leaked to influence the design, or if it goes back to the original 80s run - was never a huge Voltron fan, myself.
There've been some minor changes in design elements since then but I think that boils down more to differences in the style of the artists than anything, though the SF artists may well have been influenced by Voltron's design elements.
For what it's worth the two (in universe) explanations proposed in Distant Worlds are as follows; temporal anomaly surrounding the planet like a bubble to some magical engine or portal at the planet's scenter" and everything in between, whatever that may be.
Goes onto say that the Ryphorians/Triaxians themselves don't, or at least didn't during PF times, put much thought into it as they're too busy trying to survive the effects to "worry overmuch about what hand - divine or mortal - may have shaped both them and their world."
That last bit strikes me as interesting because it suggests that the evolution of Triaxus' life was specifically altered to let them deal with the unnatural seasons, which makes sense, and also allows for all of this to be the work of a god or multiple gods, or some collection of mortals. Kishalee, maybe?
The Thirteenth Gate details a planet that orbits further from it's star than Aucturn does from the Pact Worlds Sun, and they feel the need to point out that this would normally be beyond the habitable zone before explaining the various phenomena that keeps it just barely habitable. Still a frozen hellhole, but some liquid water remains.
Now, given that saying that a planet orbiting further than Aucturn is "outside the habitable zone" is akin to saying New York City is outside the borders of New Zealand, and that's understating it, my assumption is that the habitable zone in the Starfinder universe is just bigger than it is in the real world for whatever reason.
Now, they do specify back in Pathfinder that Triaxus' orbit is unnatural and likely the result of magic - specifically they say that it shouldn't take it as long as it does to orbit the sun; that it's orbit should be measured in decades, not centuries. And we know that this world is one of the ones Baba Yaga uses as a source for the endless winter in Irrisen, though slowing a planet's orbit seems beyond the power of even a level 20 witch mythic tier 10 archmage, so that could be coincidental.
Point being, same mechanism could be responsible for the fact that Triaxus manages to avoid becoming a full snowball world even in the depths of it's winter, though it is mentioned in Pathfinder that along the equator the triaxians/ryphorians do use artificial means to maximize what little solar energy they get.
Two races have a bonus feat which may be the single most powerful racial ability so far. Most other bonuses can be bought as items or armor upgrades and stat wise pretty much all races end up with a 13 point total buy so it's hard to call one out as better. Nothing shocking though.
We're actually up to three races with a bonus feat; humans, ryphorians, and kish.
Well the issue is more that for the entire time Golarion was there, it was holding a leash on the other planets(that were in turn all holding leashes on it).
Now, for some - Liavara & Betheda, obviously - this would have been entirely negligible. But for Akiton, Castrovel, and potentially Aballon & Verces, having that leash suddenly cut might end up having some consequences later on down the line.
Not that it's likely we'll see the outcome of that any time soon, the time scales are just too big.
Well we know that the Androffans and the Dominion of the Black had technology more advanced than what the Pact Worlds & Veskarium are fielding currently, nine thousand years prior to the Pathfinder era.
We know that during the Pathfinder era(which equates to the early 1900s), the anacites, elebrians, and verthani were already all super advanced races, technologically, and that they had been for some time; the elebrians supposedly destroyed the Twins while Azlant was still thriving on Golarion, and Eox & the Twins all three had space flight then.
And I haven't read through Dead Suns thoroughly enough to be sure but the impression I've gotten from the kishalee is that their civilization was thriving tens of thousands of years ago and they were more advanced than even the Androffans.
Point being, advanced sci-fi tech has existed and even been wide spread for tens of thousands of years at least in universe. The idea that the denizens of the outer planes, many of which are them selves older than the evolution of the humanoid form, took until Golarion did to develop space ships & laser guns, strikes me as a little unlikely.
My assumption is that they've actually always had it to some extent, but the same MAD doctrine that keeps the gods from actively involving themselves in things like the Worldwound keeps outsiders maintaining a level of appropriate force for what they're tackling.
Like, Hell's had Endbringer devils practically forever, but they wouldn't use them to invade a Pathfinder-era Golarion because that would invite escalation from the celestials.
But then demons getting their hands on Numerian technology after they've invaded would present something of a loop hole; it isn't them invading with superior technology, it's them finding & appropriating some once they got there.
Takes more than a few thousand years for one planet's gravitational effects(or the lack there of) to play out.
That's actually why I'm not at all concerned with Triaxus's gravity affecting any other planets because that's something that's been going on for long enough that the current state of affairs is pretty much standard with it factored in.
So I'm reading the Codex of Worlds entry from Dead Suns 5, about the planet Urrakar, and it has this to say;
"Urrakar is even farther from its star than Aucturn is from the Pact Worlds' sun, which places the planet well outside what would normally be the system's habitable zone (where water can exist in a liquid state on a planet's surface)."
Goes onto say that the planet's extreme density, tidal heating, and decay of radioactive elements in the core allow Urrakar to maintain a temperature just above water's freezing point, anyway.
Way they feel the need to point out that orbiting further than Aucturn is outside a habitable zone, which is kind of the equivalent of saying "Living in London, England, he existed well outside the borders of Hong Kong", makes me think that the habitable zone in SF is just bigger than it is irl. Want to call that Sarenrae's influence, want to call that "that's just the way it is" style plot convenience, either way works, but that's my takeaway.
I suppose internal consistency is probably the strongest argument in favor of keeping the restriction. They were LG only in PF and SF is in the same universe so why would they work differently?
Thing is, that kind of mentality gets you locked into perpetuating bad ideas for the sake of consistency.
Oh well, like you said, it is 3pp. Even if it wasn't, I adamantly refuse to join organized society play because I can't stand the restrictive nature of it, so as long as I'm with a like-minded group we can find a way to adapt it.
And I can appreciate that and am as opposed to the notion of actively using the knowledge gained from reading the DMG/MM to gain a metagame advantage as anyone(though personally I try not to view the game as competitive, it's still bad form).
But upholding it to the point that you would kick someone out of your group because they had read one of those books at some point is absurd, because that basically means that once you decide you're ready to DM, that's all you're allowed to do from that point forward in that person's eyes. If someone decided they wanted to try out DMing only to discover that they don't enjoy it or aren't very good at it, are they just supposed to give up the hobby as far as the DM Azalah describes is concerned?
I get that you're not saying that and in essence I'm arguing with someone who isn't here, but I just find that standard to be nonsensical to the point that I couldn't help but comment on it.
I would argue that disappearing Golarion wasn't so much a "thematic assumption" so much as it was Paizo realizing that including Golarion would be a nightmare from a publishing stand point; the majority of nations on Golarion had at least as much, mostly more written up about them as the other planets in the system.
Officially including Golarion means that Golarion would dominate Starfinder Publication which is something they very clearly didn't want. They wanted the focus to be interplanetary.
Getting rid of Golarion allows them to focus on & develop the other planets in the system & the galaxy, and having it disappear & be Starfinder's "What killed Aroden", a mystery that they have no intention of ever answering, allows them to do that without blowing it up.
Which, either blowing up Golarion or keeping it & establishing a hard canon of how the nations develop past the industrial & digital revolutions & into the information & space ages, would alienate Pathfinder fans by establishing a hard canon & make them feel how their adventures in Pathfinder are ultimately pointless.
I don't think having Golarion there would ruin what makes Starfinder special which is this side by side approach to science fantasy where it isn't (strictly) fantasy magic being approached scientifically to create sci fi ends, nor is it (strictly) sci fi technology being used to emulate fantasy magic, but the two of them existing side by side, complimenting each other but not excluding it. Which you then combine with the high adventure of a Flash Gordan or Star Wars, the comedy of a Guardians of the Galaxy(and the cosmic side of Marvel & DC in general), the socio-political exploration of a Shadowrun, and the mind-shredding horror of an Event Horizon. Mix thoroughly, let simmer.
Narratively I could actually see keeping Golarion around being an improvement in one aspect; it would give the Pact Worlds a more personal connection to the Azlanti Star Empire with it's progenitor planet actually still being there. As it stands it's more of a, "Yeah your granddad used to be one of our neighbors, I think" situation.
Personally, I would just flat out refuse to play in the gaming group of someone with that stringent of standards because it comes with this built in notion that people participating in this hobby for fun should only ever do one job; either play or DM. That if you decide to DM a game once just to try it out & see if you're any good at it, you're never allowed to go back to just playing & experience the story that someone else wants to tell.
To have a divinely empowered warrior, proficient in martial weapons & heavy armor, capable of casting a limited selection of spells (say, up to fourth level), with an alignment-based smite attack and an aura that bolsters their allies or weakens their enemies, and the ability to lay on hands to either heal or harm, bound by a code of conduct in accordance with their deity's will.
While it's not my place to speak for the god of blood, I can offer a general definition.
Gatekeeping is a form of elitism in regards to a given interest. Wanting to keep the "dirty casuals" out. Takes different forms depending on the fandom. For instance, "hardcore" PC gamers who prefer games with a lot of mechanical complexity, what they would term "having a lot of depth" and what others might term as being "overly complex, clunky, and intuitive", and would view any attempt to change those mechanics to make it more accessible as "dumbing down" rather than, say, "streamlining".
Basically someone who says "the way I like this thing is the only proper way to like it, and anyone who doesn't meet my standards isn't a real fan and doesn't belong."
GM Rednal wrote:
For what it's worth, someone already published a Starfinder Paladin. Also the Bard, Cleric, Magus, Ranger, and Wizard.
Quick skim over it & it looks pretty good. Though I'd throw the LG alignment restriction on the trash heap of history where it belongs were I to incorporate the class into a game I was running.
But then I have very strong opinions on alignment restrictions that have lead to a couple threads being closed down, so that's a can of wyrms perhaps best left unopened.
Edit: Though it is missing diplomacy as a class skill. Don't know if that was a deliberate decision due to Starfinder's smaller skill list or an oversight.