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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber. 1,455 posts. 10 reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Well, the Reign of Stars was over 8,000 years ago. All the technology in Technology Guide is vastly outdated. Just think of all the advancements real life human society made from -6,000 B.C. to the modern day.

The odds that Androffa still exists at all are pretty slim. And if they do exist, the odds of them being anything like they were 8,000 years ago is even more slim. Of course the developers could just hand-wave realism in this case and say "meh, they entire society has been static for the past eight millenia."

So were they lawful neutral/lawful evil/militaristic? It's hard to say. But would they care about a ship that went missing 8,000 years ago? I'd say not so much.


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What's more useless than a review for a product by someone who doesn't have said product?

...

Nope, can't think of anything. Other than, I suppose, a post complaining about that review.


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Aboleths.


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SAMAS wrote:

James suggested I ask this here(or hereabouts): What happens if you point a Harvesting Lens at the Sun?

The exact same thing as when you point it at any other star.


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Well if you can wait a few weeks, Walkena will be statted out in next month's Undead Unleashed. There may be more info on his pseudo-faith there.

Personally, I suspect he's at best coldly indifferent about non-human natives. He would tolerate their presence, but they lack the birthright of a true Mwangi.


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Yeah, the more I think about it the more terrible the strangler archetype is. The standard brawler's unarmed strike ability increases his unarmed strike damage as per a monk's. And it just so happens that, while grappling, a character deals damage to his grappled victim depending on either his unarmed strike or the use of a light or one-handed weapon.

So basically, the strangler needs to get Improved Unarmed Strike and Improved Grapple to function in his niche at all times. When he does grapple, he'll do damage with a melee weapon (whose damage is modified as per brawler's strike if he's at least 5th level) plus a small amount of sneak attack damage.

So a 5th level...

...brawler would do 2D6 damage while grappling.

...strangler would do 1D8 damage plus 1D6 sneak attack damage while grappling.

Furthermore the strangler loses the brawler's flurry ability, just for a maximum of 3D6 sneak attack damage. So yeah, he kinda sucks unfortunately.


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I really want to like the strangler archetype for the brawler, but I'm a little confused. He gains the strangle ability which allows him to deal sneak attack damage while grappling, but gives up the brawler's unarmed strike ability. That means, at first level, he can't grapple better than anyone else unless he takes Improved Unarmed Strike and Improved Grapple. He also gains the Stealth skill, so maybe he's supposed to sneak up on people?

Am I getting that right? If so, how would you play him? I guess the strangler is supposed to use melee weapons unless he gets the chance to sneak up on someone and choke them?

Thanks if anyone can help me wrap my head around this otherwise-awesome concept.


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*Sigh*

Thanks.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

I really want to like the strangler archetype for the brawler, but I'm a little confused. He gains the strangle ability which allows him to deal sneak attack damage while grappling, but gives up the brawler's unarmed strike ability. That means, at first level, he can't grapple better than anyone else unless he takes Improved Unarmed Strike and Improved Grapple. He also gains the Stealth skill, so maybe he's supposed to sneak up on people?

Am I getting that right? If so, how would you play him? I guess the strangler is supposed to use melee weapons unless he gets the chance to sneak up on someone and choke them?

Thanks if anyone can help me wrap my head around this otherwise-awesome concept.


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Are you familiar with the tragic villain trope?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

Evil cults in Golarion often have thematically linked monsters that they use as lackeys. For example...

The Whispering Way use undead
The Technic League uses robots (or is it the other way around??!!?!?!)
Blackfire Adepts use assorted evil outsiders
Old Cults use Mythos beasties
Evil churches use creatures associated with their god

So now my question: Is there a "type" of monster that the Night Heralds make use of?

Thanks for any insight!


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Hey James, I have some questions about Lirgen:

-Prior to the whole drowning-in-a-hurricane thing, what were the dominant languages spoken there? If adventurers were to plunder the depths of a Lirgen observatory, what would the journal of a Saoc Brethren be written in? I know Saoc himself came from Rahadoum, but I don't know how much of that culture he brought with him.

-What was the nation of Lirgen's alignment?

-Lastly, it is noted in a few sources that aberrations are dangerously common in the modern Sodden Lands. What kind of aberrations are we talking? I know skum inhabit some of the drowned cities, but that was all I could find.

Thanks!


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Unfortunately, I need to cancel my subscription to the Campaign Setting line.

Financial gods willing, I'll hopefully be able to re-subscribe soon.


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Asterial wrote:


So I figure I'll go right to the source. What about in rise of the run lords that makes it so good ?

The fact that Paizo needed to prove that they could stand as a publishing company without the backing of the Dungeons and Dragons franchise, and thus had to make Rise of the Runelords the best they possibly could. If enough people hadn't stuck with them through RotRL, that would have likely been the end of Pathfinder.

Which is why I'm still somewhat ashamed that I didn't sign on as a Pathfinder charter subscriber when my Dungeon and Dragon Magazine scripts ended.

So to answer your question... desperation?


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"My Account" says that AP #83 and #84 won't even be authorized until July 31st, along with the first volume of Iron Gods (AP #85). I'm hoping this is an error?


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Set wrote:

P. 47 of Into the Darklands has a sentence that could be read to either state that the orcs, or the megafauna used by the orcs in Belkzen (or both?) come from Deep Tolguth, in Orv.

Ah okay, I thought you meant the Land of Black Blood instead of Orv in general. Deep Tolguth I could see - LoBB not so much.


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Set wrote:

Add in some lingering ties to the land of the necromantically-potent Black Blood, from whence they came oh-so-long ago...

Is that canon? Or something you made up? I always figured orcs evolved/originated in Sekamina.


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Alex Smith 908 wrote:


Xenophobia is an unfair thing to say given the overall progressiveness in Tolkien's work. I think it was mainly in finding a villain that could be fought against in a guiltless fashion.

However if the evil orc gods presented in Inner Sea Gods have an active role in their society similar to Lolth in 3.5 with drow it would make perfect sense for their society to be inherently evil.

I suspect you know quite a bit more about the man than me. Xenophobia could well be the wrong word for it.

As for the orc gods, it's interesting to see how they originally appeared in Orcs of Golarion compared to Inner Sea Gods. In the former they seemed largely fictional - no proper names, suggestions that they are totems and ideas rather than individual beings, were in fact Demon Lords/Archdevils posing as orc deities, etc. That seems to have changed in Inner Sea Gods. Now there's little doubt they are unique individuals.


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Axial wrote:

Where the hell did orcs come from, any way? Tolkien probably has the most credit for codifying them in fantasy fiction, but I'm not sure where they first originated. The word Orc apparently meant as many things as corpse, young pig, or seal.

And Orcus. That too.

I think you pretty much nailed everything right there. Orcs: what happens when a seal, a young pig, and a corpse love each other very much and share a special hug in Hell.

I don't claim to be a Tolkein scholar, but I believe they were original creations of his. Perhaps a slightly xenophobic outlet for the trauma he experienced during WW1. Which is to say, a horde of monsters ruining the planet with their mindless rage.


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I'd be alright with an orc AP I guess, but something tells me this is a companion for Daughters of Fury.

*Edit: You know what, I just lied to myself. I don't want an orc AP and I'm dreading that that is what this portends. Coming off of Iron Gods though, I think I will have enough good will to carry me through pretty much anything.


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Larkos wrote:


The Hulk as an Alchemist/Barbarian

The ragechemist archetype in Ultimate Combat was custom-made for Hulk wannabes.


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-Hank Hill: LG Male Human Brawler
-Comic Book Guy: CN Male Human Bard (archivist archetype)
-Gex: N Male Lizardfolk Rogue
-Laharl: CE-ish Male Tiefling Magus
-Norman Bates: LN/NE Male Human Rogue/Assassin
-Frog: LG Male Grippli Cavalier
-X: NG Male Android Gunslinger
-Ripley: NG Female Human Ranger
-Pinhead: LE Male Tiefling Sorcerer (shadow or infernal bloodline)


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Lamontius wrote:

#firstworldproblems

I live in the first-world. Most of my problems are, as a result, first-world in nature. Just kind of comes with the territory.


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Well this has been more eye-opening than I expected. I still think Dick won't rinse dishes because he's a lazy schmuck, but apparently there are some reasonable arguments in his favor.

However, if he ever puts the toilet paper on the wrong way (there are no kids or cats in this house, so there most certainly is a wrong way), I will destroy everything he holds dear with fire.

As an aside, we don't really fight that much and I might be exaggerating my frustrations just a little. But really, isn't it the little things that get under everyone's skin?


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Charlie Bell wrote:

If by "rinse" you mean "run water over it to get off most of the gunk," then I rinse.

If by "rinse" you mean "scrub it with a scouring pad and soap," that's the dishwasher's job, not mine.

Yeah, I guess I should have elaborated. I mean the first one. Get the bulk off myself, leave the reminder for the dishwasher.


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Drock11 wrote:


I hate thinking this, but when I got to this part I admit he might logically have a point.

That might be more of an indication of the general crapiness of dishwashers than his being right about not wanting to rinse them.

Logically, he does indeed have a point. But here's the thing. I'm going to avoid getting too personal here, but let's just say that the odds of Dick hand-washing dishes is about the same as me convincing someone on a messageboard to change a deeply held personal belief by repeatedly calling them a Nazi.

I don't mind doing the dishes; I just ask that, when they go in the sink, first rinse them off so I don't have to later soak them/use Ajax. But Dick is a Nazi, and the Third Reich can't be bothered with rinsing.

(That... might have been too personal)


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Alleran wrote:
Generic Villain wrote:
Zaister wrote:
Seven Days to the Grave has Nidalese midnight wine (at 14 gp a bottle).

I... missed... one.

Twitch

I wonder if you missed any others as well.

Maybe you should check?

Way ahead of ya. I've got my afternoon, evening, morning, afternoon, and maybe another evening all planned out!

(Literally no one cares at all, but I'll say in my defense that I didn't start comprehensively noting stuff like that until sometime in Second Darkness/Legacy of Fire)


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Zaister wrote:
Seven Days to the Grave has Nidalese midnight wine (at 14 gp a bottle).

I... missed... one.

Twitch


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Hama wrote:

It's hilarious how people can heatedly argue about something as pointless as rinsing the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.

I love it.

Do you mean this thread, or in real life?

Because let me tell you, when I come home and find Dick has "done the dishes," it always means just throwing them in the dishwasher and hoping for the best. I then get to go back and hand-wash everything, before once again running them through.

And that, friends, is a huge waste of water. And I feel genuinely guilty about it.

However, I have obsessive-compulsive disorder - and not the cute, fun, "OMG guys I'm like so totally OCD" variety - with a focus on dirt/grime/etc. I'd chew my own kneecaps off before using silverware caked with... leavings.


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This thread is brought to you by anger in its purest, most spiteful form.

Those of you who wash your own dishes and have a dishwasher: do you rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher? Or do you put them in, caked and encrusted with whatever food happens to be on them, and hope for the best?

Someone in my life, whom I'll call Dick, feels that rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher is a "waste," and that if he were to do this, he may as well just go whole-hog and hand-clean them. I feel differently. This is a matter of contention.

Any thoughts?


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I have an obsessively-updated list of various treasures from years of Pathfinder, and Dungeon Magazine before it. Relevant:

-Bottle of 4663-vintage wine from the Terverius Wineries of Southern Cheliax (300 gp)
-Bottle of fine elven wine (65 gp)
-Mendevian icewine (250 gp)
-Century-old elven spirit wine (175 gp)
-Bottle of fey wine (50 gp)
-119 bottles representing 48 separate vintages, including Taldan fire-brandy, hard liquor from Andoran, and even delicate berry wines out of the elven land of Kyonin (6,000 gp)
-Bottle of Korvosan wine (20 gp)
-Bottle of an excellent vintage of Corentyn red or white wine (50 gp)
-Bottle of fine wine from Ustalav (500 gp)


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It turns out that I've enjoyed Mummy's Mask way more than I expected. I thought I'd find it incredibly blah, so the bar was pretty low, but I have been really impressed so far. Quality stuff.

With that said.

I cannot wait for this mummy crap to end so we can start Iron Gods. This Numeria sourcebook was such an enormous tease for how awesome this nation is. I want to know every bleeding thing about every bleeding thing about Numeria. Now!


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Alrighty, thanks to Jester David's info, I forsee a rewrite of part of my theories page. Obviously I'll need to get, read, and digest Emerald Spire first. Stay tuned I guess...


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zagnabbit wrote:

So this is basically awesome GV.

I frankly love your take on the Vault of Ilvarandin and how it became the template for Aboleth Society design for Azlant. Solves a slightly lingering void in my mind.

It also provides some of the ammo for why the Aboleths act oddly during Earthfall, one group realizes that they have really just copied someone else and their God Complex Egos decide that is unacceptable and need to be rectified in the most complete way, a global extinction event.

They had some offworld gate ability to avoid partaking in the extinction event personally. But by also destroying a significant portion of their own empire or even eradicating most of their own race, they remove competition to their faction's dominance after the cataclysm.

Thanks. Unfortunately, recent news (sheds another tear) could very well require rethinking the whole Ilvarandin theory. Since I won't have Emerald Spire for a few weeks, all I can say is that Ilvarandin has always stuck out in my mind. Why would such an ancient Vault contain a vast, nation-sized city built in so many unique architectural styles? I could only arrive at two possibilities.

1): It was built all those countless millennia ago, as-is. Someone or something took the time to create a vast and varied ant farm, in all those different styles, from scratch. Utilizing preservative magic like that later mastered by Ancient Thassilon, the buildings have stood more-or-less intact ever since.

2): The Vault was originally empty, and over time, someone or something transported various races into its depths. The races, having nothing better to do, decided to go ahead and... build a giant underground city over a long period of time. And despite including powerful mages like the Thassilonians... never bothered trying to escape, or record their endeavor. Or maybe a bunch of cultures willingly traveled there to, for some reason... expand on the megalopolis? Yeah, I really can't even make a coherent theory here. While that doesn't mean my first theory is correct, it does mean we just don't have enough info on Ilvarandin's history.

Now as to the aboleths, I asked James Jacobs a question about them here. Based on his answers and non-answers, here are a few more theories/points.

James wouldn't answer whether or not the aboleths were a homogenous, world-spanning empire. He's keeping that information vague. However, in a past post he did confirm that there are no rogue veiled masters. All veiled masters answer to the aboleth rulers, whatever those happen to be.

However, there has been at least one semi-rogue standard aboleth, and that tells me there are more of them. James stayed vague on this subject as well, but said that this particular plot point was building towards something. I have a feeling that no aboleth could ever be considered benevolent, but based on all this, I think it's possible there were aboleth factions opposed to Earthfall. They would be in the minority, and in direct violation of the veiled masters, but they may well have existed. And may exist still.

Maybe these rogues helped ensure Earthfall was cataclysmic enough to weaken the veiled masters' tyrannical grip on the aboleth race. Maybe they warned the Thassilonian Runelords of the coming apocalypse (though I think it's established that the Runelords came about this info through magical divinations). Maybe they secretly egged on the Azlanti people, urging them to throw off the aboleth yolk.

Again, I just highly doubt anything an aboleth would ever do could be deemed benevolent. But that doesn't mean they all have the same goals.


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Jester David wrote:

In a surprise twist, the Vault Builders (and Vault Keepers) are NOT the elohim.

As per Emerald Spire.

...

Sheds a tear

...

Freaking really?! Of all my stupid theories, that stupid theory was the one I was most sure of. Any chance you could private message me the truth? Or post it here? I'd be much obliged.


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Okay, I have a ton of new stuff from just two sources. Two sources that I didn't look at for my original timeline: the Beyond the Inner Sea section from 'The Inner Sea World Guide' and the veiled master entry in 'Inner Sea Bestiary.' I'm a real dolt for not referencing the veiled master entry, but the Nameless Spire bit of info was easy to miss. Anyway, I'll look at both below. Shockingly, these sources actually sort of back up my theories. And without cherry picking!

The Inner Sea World Guide (pg. 207):

The Nameless Spires are said to "...predate Thassilon, Azlant, and even the coming of aboleths to Golarion." This is super important for a few reasons. First, it tells me that whatever built the Nameless Spires was most likely the first intelligent lifeform on Golarion. If they were the Vault Builders, and the Vault Builders were in fact the elohim, that would mean that elohim could very well have created most life on Golarion. However, while I'm like 99% sure the Vault Builders were elohim, I'm only about 51% sure they built the Nameless Spires.

If the Vault Builders/elohim didn't do it, than who did? The only other candidate I have are elder things. The strongest bit of support for this comes not from a Pathfinder book, but from HP Lovecraft's 'At The Mountains of Madness.' There, the protagonists visit a ruined elder thing city in Antarctica, wherein they learn that life on Earth was the result of elder thing experiments. Given Paizo's affinity for Lovecraft, you can see why I would name elder things as possible candidates for the Nameless Spire's builders.

But then it hit me.

Why does it have to be elohim or elder things? What if these two races built the Nameless Spires together? These two species share tons of similarities. They are both neutral (elder things lawful neutral, elohim true neutral), utterly alien in appearance, supremely intelligent, and highly advanced in the fields of science and life creation. What if elohim are actually highly advanced, ascended elder things?

Inner Sea Bestiary (pg. 57):

Before even getting to the veiled master entry, I want to touch on the fact that the Nameless Spires are said to have been built before the coming of the aboleths. "Coming" can mean several things, but taken literally, it would imply that aboleths came to Golarion from someplace else. They didn't evolve there, were not created there by an outside force, etc. It's an important distinction, and would mean they must have a home world or home plane of existence.

Now, as for the Inner Sea Bestiary, we learn a ton of stuff in just a single page. I'll look at each bit individually.

The first paragraph tells us aboleths dwelt in Golarion's oceans before humanity and even before most gods took an interest in the planet. The humanity thing we already know, but it's interesting to read that most - but not all - modern gods were not yet active on Golarion in those ancient days. I don't really want to theorize about gods, as that's a whole 'nother subject, but still, noteworthy.

The next part is far cooler. We learn that "In ancient times, elder forces and eldritch entities knew of the world." If these weren't gods in the proper (modern?) sense, what were they? The use of words like elder and eldritch suggests to me that they were Great Old Ones. As further proof, it's already been established that Great Old Ones existed on Golarion at some point in the ancient past. And while I'm pretty sure that is what's being discussed here, another possibility could be elohim - or perhaps some combination of elohim, Great Old Ones, and who knows what else.

The next relevant bit regards Azlant. Specifically, that the aboleths' "...hidden gifts and subtle coaxings" were a driving factor behind humanity's rise. This establishes them as a subtle, behind-the-scenes force. They aren't about grabbing the world by the throat and utterly dominating it, even back when that was well within their reach. No, they like to take their time, pull the strings, lay the groundwork, and watch the magic happen.

Later, we find out that aboleths began by punishing the humans of Azlant in minor ways for their perceived hubris. It was only after these failed attempts that they resolved to just scrap the whole experiment with Earthfall. This tells me that aboleths, though masterminds and geniuses, are just as capable of making miscalculations and errors as anyone else. They thought they had humanity under their tentacle-thumbs, thought that they could just gently cajole their pets back on the right track, and were mistaken. Then, they made another, far larger mistake with Earthfall.

Or was Earthfall actually a mistake? Was the devastation actually just as terrible as the aboleths had intended? Because the paragraph closes by nothing that, after Azlant was wiped from the map, "... the veiled masters retreated to the depths as well, content for now that the devastation above would serve as a lesson that would never be forgotten." That sure doesn't sound like a mistake to me.

And of course, the end of the veiled master entry informs us that the veiled masters are preparing to teach a new lesson to the humanoid races. Because life on Golarion tends to suck for the little guys.

And lastly, on an unrelated note:

Dominion of the Black:

In my Dominion of the Black post, I mentioned I thought mi-go may belong to the group. Looking back, that may not have been my idea. I'm going to credit that idea to aetherwisp from this thread. If you read the thread, you'll find that a certain Mike Shel makes a very ambiguous statement at the end, suggesting aetherwisp may be on to something. And guess who's writing Valley of the Brain Collectors (promised to at last pull back the curtain on the Dominion)? Yeah, freakin' Mike Shel.

To further drive home a possible mi-go connection: in an interview with James Jacobs by Robert Brookes, James concludes by noting that "That said... there are more brain-collecting monsters than neh-thalggu out there..."

Yup, I'd say mi-go are in.


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Hey James. I don't have my finger on the pulse of the Paizo community like you, but it seems to me that the Dominion of the Black has been one of the hottest topics since its mention back in Entombed with the Pharaohs. Are you bummed that much of that mystique is going to be lost in a few months? All that rabid fan speculation kind of just dissipating? I'm hoping the upcoming DotB article will have plenty of new mysteries to chomp on of course, but I'm assuming it's going to finally pull the curtain back.

Also, did you have any idea the DotB was going to be such hot property when it was first developed? Or was it just a case of throwing stuff at the wall, seeing what sticks?


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John Mangrum wrote:
To what category do the cosmic caravan traits belong? Or do they slot into a mix of categories on an individual basis? (If the former, I'm guessing Magic; if the latter, it looks to me like Magic and Social could encompass them all.) Or, indeed, do they fall into their own category?

They run the gamut. There are boosts to saving throws against certain effects, skill checks, initiative, and movement speed, as well as the use of minor spell-like abilities.


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Cthulhudrew wrote:

I think the Dominion of the Black will have taken over in 2018.

All your Golarion are belong to us!

They already killed Aroden and transplanted his brain into a Giger-esque biomechanical cyberdemon to lead their armies*, so that's the next logical step.

*Not confirmed. Yet.


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Drock11 wrote:
Overall I thought it was well done. I still would have liked some solid answers about the subjects in the book instead of a list of maybes.

My knee jerk reaction after reading the six big mysteries in the first chapter was mild annoyance for just that reason. But I have since changed my mind.

I decided to put together my own version of Golarion's timeline, answering many what-ifs in the process, and I have to say that while it was a fun little project, I ultimately felt kind of crummy about the whole thing. Solving these enigmas - even if only for my own campaign, in my own head - stole much of what made them compelling. They went from being these mysterious idols of coolness and creative potential, to just a few data points. If that makes any sense.

So yeah, I think this is a case of "never meet your heroes, because they'll always disappoint you." Nothing that Paizo could ever publish could compare to the things you conjure up in your own imagination.*

*But please keep trying to out-cool my imagination, because you've come close before.


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Age of Legends:
Some idiot Azlanti decides that diamond dust should go into all the expensive cleric and wizard spells. From that day forward, spellcasters have had to find a way to grind the ultra-hard gems into powder. And so, the dragon-powered diamond mill industry was born.

Diamonds are hard, yo.


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I think the Dominion of the Black AP will be out in 2018. I really super hope the Paizo line will still be going strong by then, if not much stronger.


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Glad people liked it. That was really the bulk of what I wanted to say, though I'm thinking of doing a Gulf of Abendego/Lirgen one and maybe a Ghol-Gan/Cyclops/Serpentfolk one.


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Ashkar wrote:
Cannot remember details, but there was an Old One dragged on Golarion surface, in his comet, by aboleth's meteor.

That'd by Xhamen-Dor, Great Old One of infestations and fungus. I've been trying to figure out where that meteor landed, but after asking on the Ask James Jacobs thread, all I learned was that it was not in Tian Xia. I figured Xhamen-Dor might've been the source of the mind-controlling mythic fungus on the island of Goroyasa (off the coast of the Valashmai Jungle), but nope. I guess the meteor could have landed in the Inner Sea region, but I think we would have heard something about it by now. Thus I'm guessing Xhamen-Dor landed somewhere in southern Garund, Casmaron, Arcadia, or even Sarusan.

Ashkar wrote:

And speaking about ideas/conspiracies:

The whole aboleth plan, to punish Azlant with a meteor bugs me - it is sad, that it ultimately backfired on them, causing a good piece of collateral damage, that affected their Second Empire. But this damage was caused by greatly weakened meteor (two Azlant gods gave their lives - one to put a moon on meteor's way, second to take away radiation and other nasty stuff from shards, after meteor went through). Imagine what it could have done, if not the sacrifice of Azlant Gods. And I have a feeling, this variant certainly does not include "no damage" option for aboleths. Considering the fact, that even a weakened meteor caused it. So, did they just miscalculate the outcome? Or were they so proud of themselves, that they didn't even thought about such "accidental suicide" variant? Or maybe there was somebody else, who tried to orchestrate the ultimate downfall of aboleths?

I don't think this is addressed anywhere officially, but I do remember reading on the messageboards somewhere that the aboleths really seriously underestimated the payload they called down during Earthfall. Still, even if that's the case, it seems pretty weird that they miscalculated as much as they did. Like you said, if it wasn't for the sacrifice of Acavna (the Azlanti moon goddess), Earthfall would have been even worse. It could well have wiped out the aboleths entirely. For a race of immortal geniuses, you'd think they wouldn't have screwed up quite so massively. I never thought about it that way, but yeah, I could definitely see there being some anti-aboleth conspiracy at work, using their own hubris and super-magic against them.


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Andrew R wrote:
It has been interesting but too many knee jerk reactions from all sides makes threads like this often short lived.

I think this thread has special dispensation. It's a controversial subject, and as a result, passions will run high and emotions rubbed raw. It's also an important subject, and one worth discussing despite (or perhaps even because of) the knee jerk reactions.

To put it another way, we aren't braying at each other about how broken wizards are or how to fix monks - we're hashing out very real issues that affect many of us in our every day lives. Yes, it is being done in the context of a fantasy roleplaying game, but I don't believe that diminishes the importance at all. So I'm glad the moderators haven't yet thrown up their hands in frustration and locked this sucka down.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber
Jeff Erwin wrote:
No mention of the Cyclops empire and ancient Vudra?

Probably not from me. Giants/cyclopes, dragons, gods, Vudra, Tian Xia - these are all great topics with their own mysterious timelines worthy of exploration. For me though, my passion lies with Lovecraftian weirdness. If someone else has ideas/conspiracy theories/wild conjecture, please by all means chime in.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

Old Cults

Age of Enthronement:

Savage Kellid tribes begin worshiping Great Old Ones and Outer Gods in the region that will one day become Ustalav. These unholy beliefs found purchase among the Kellids for two reasons. First, Ustalav - and particularly Versex County - has always been susceptible to strange, alien powers. Second, the Kellid people's religion was already a complex and baffling form of polytheism, wherein all manner of god, angel, demon, and even imaginary being found worship.

It is unknown when the Kellids of Ustalav turned towards the Old Cults; it may have been in the Age of Enthronement or even earlier in the Age of Destiny. The reasons for engaging in such blasphemous practices are also unknown. The worship did indeed take place, however, as indicated by the many Kellid Old Cult shrines and ruins throughout Versex and Vieland Counties ('Rule of Fear,' pg. 28, 32). This is further confirmed in 'Carrion Hill' (pg. 3, 31). I am assuming that, prior to adopting Old Cult practices, the Kellids followed a religion similar to that of Sarkoris as described in 'Lost Kingdoms' (pg. 46-48).

Shub-Niggurath and Yog-Sothoth are particularly popular deities among the Kellids. The capital of this nation of madness was the city that will eventually become Carrion Hill. Here, the tribal leaders interbred with their alien gods, resulting in the birth of monsters known as Spawn of Yog-Sothoth.

Shub-Niggurath is listed as being popular in the region around Lake Encarthan ('Wake of the Watcher,' pg. 66). Whether or not she was also favored by the ancient Kellids is unknown. That Carrion Hill was the Kellid Old Cultists' capital is noted in 'Carrion Hill' (pg. 3), along with information concerning the Spawn of Yog-Sothoth.

As the madness, decadence, and evil of the Old Cults spread, some Kellids turned on their wicked brethren, attempting to save themselves and their kin. Alas, their efforts would be too little and too late.

I found hints of this mini-rebellion in 'Rule of Fear.' It is said that Kellid outcasts were drawn to Versex County where they performed rites that other Kellids considered taboo (pg. 28). This suggests to me that even the laissez-faire attitude of the Sarkorian religion found the Old Cults repugnant. Further, some scholars describe the "rise, worship, and fearful abandonment of a whole pantheon of strange gods" (pg. 32), suggesting that perhaps the Kellid people did not initially realize the danger of their new beliefs, and may have tried disavowing themselves of the Old Gods at some point. I say that this rebellion failed, because the Old Cults are still going strong when...

2397 AR: Varisians push east into Ustalav, led by priests and champions of Desna. The goddess has sent visions to these people, urging them to slay the Kellid Old Cultists and tear down their monuments. The Varisians are ultimately victorious. The surviving Kellids are driven north, back into Sarkoris, and the Varisians found the city of Carrion Hill on the site of their foe's former capital to guard against future Old Cult activity.

This all comes from 'Carrion Hill' (pg. 3, 31).

Age of Lost Omens:

That is not dead which can eternal lie. Although the Kellids of old were defeated, their descendents still occupy parts of Ustalav, and knowingly or not, carry the taint of the Old Cults in their veins.

'Rule of Fear' (pg. 55) identifies the Ghalmont bloodline, a family descended from the Twisted Tongue Kellid tribe. The Ghalmonts are haunted by ancestral nightmares.

Ancient menhirs and bloodstained alters still stand, awaiting the day when they are empowered once more to channel the power of the Old Gods.

The Kellid ruins are found with greatest regularity in Vieland and Versex Counties ('Rule of Fear,' pg. 30, 32). In one possible scenario noted in 'Shadows of Gallowspire' (pg. 61), Kellid monoliths in the city of Thrushmoor hum to life. Their piping music drives listeners to madness and monstrous transformation as the very fabric of reality seems to unravel.

Hidden away in dark corners, bound yet eternally patient, the alien horrors of the past await the day of their freedom.

The adventure 'Carrion Hill' focuses on the release of a Spawn of Yog-Sothoth in the titular city.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

For this one, I'm not going to speculate at all. These is just some interesting details.

Age of Enthronement:

1606 AR: The Eyes of the Ancients form on the gas giant planet Bretheda. These three cyclones are tens of thousands of miles wide, form a perfect equilateral triangle, and have raged continually since their birth. Exactly 3,000 years later, the god Aroden perishes.

'Distant Worlds,' page 42.

Years Leading up to 4606 AR: The mysterious mothmen, harbingers of fate and ill omen, become increasingly active. Mothmen sightings and incidents occur with great frequency in Taldor, Andoran, and Ustalav.

'Mystery Monsters Revisited,' page 32.

Age of Lost Omens:

4606 AR:Aroden, the Last Azlanti, perishes. Prophecy fails, though not just on Golarion - prophets throughout the solar system are driven mad, even on planets where Aroden was unknown. The failure of prophecy coincides with Aroden's death, though whether one caused the other is unknown.

The date of Aroden's death is established cannon. From 'Frozen Stars,' page 73, it is noted that the planet Triaxus also had to contend with the failure of prophecy. From this I assume that prohpecy has failed throughout the solar system, and perhaps even beyond.

Mothmen sightings drop off dramatically after Aroden's death.

'Mystery Monsters Revisited,' page 32.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

This one's a doozy...

Age of Darkness:

Apostae and Aucturn arrive from the depths of space, becoming the tenth and eleventh planets in Golarion's solar system, respectively. Apostae is an artificial construct, a massive world-ship from parts unknown.

In 'The Asylum Stone' (pg. 48), there exists a magical window designed by the Runelord Karzoug that allowed him to view all the planets in Golarion's solar system - except for Apostae and Aucturn. Therefore I'm speculating that both planets are relatively new additions, and must have appeared after Thassilon's fall. Apostae is identified as an immense starship in 'Distant Worlds' (pg. 44-47).

Aucturn is a planet-sized life form from the depths of the Dark Tapestry, home to a vast array of alien horrors. The Dominion of the Black has a city there called the Citadel of the Black. The Dominion will, in time, establish contact with cultists throughout Golarion's solar system. Occasionally they will transport these cultists to their Citadel to serve them, both as actual servants and experimental stock.

This all comes from 'Distant Worlds' (pg. 48-49). It is strongly implied that Aucturn is alive. Aucturn has been linked to both the Dark Tapestry and the Dominion of the Black by scholars. The Citadel of the Black is populated by Old Cultists that were offered refuge there by the city's mysterious master, Carsai the King. It is hinted that Carsai may not worship the Great Old Ones/Outer Gods himself, and may in fact be a puppet of the Dominion. Why the Dominion would populate a city with Old Cultists is speculation.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

Alrighty, v2: this time with notations in italics. No new information - that will take more time.

Creation:

A primeval Golarion takes shape. Mortal life will not emerge for hundreds of thousands of years.

Extrapolated from Inner Sea Timeline in 'The Inner Sea World Guide,' (pg. 33). The "hundreds of thousands of years" is speculation.

The aboleth empire rules the seas, comprised primarily of standard aboleths overseen by the “noble caste” of veiled masters. The veiled masters, in turn, obey the whims of even more exotic and powerful aboleth species, the mightiest of which could rival the gods themselves.

Several sources, namely the Veiled Masters section in 'Occult Mysteries' (pg. 12-13). The part about aboleths of god-like power comes from here.

A handful of Great Old Ones, free from the constraints that will one day limit many of them, arrive on Golarion. Some spawn the neothelid race to act on their behalf. Other entities from the Dark Tapestry also make contact with the budding planet. These include mi-go and elder things.

According to the in-game book Azlanti Neris, as noted in 'Occult Mysteries,' three pre-Azlanti cities contain bound Great Old Ones. From 'Into the Darklands' (pg. 48), neothelids are noted as spawn of ancient gods who themselves worship Outer Gods like Yog-Sothoth. The elder things and mi-go are speculation, though it is known that both races have had contact with Golarion. The extent and time frame are, however, unknown.

The elohim arrive on Golarion, driven by their racial quest to create life and sculpt worlds. They establish a city that will one day be known as the Nameless Spires. They go on to carve out enormous, nation-sized caverns—the Vaults of Orv—deep underground, utilizing their mythic magic to stabilize these miles-deep structures. The elohim are assisted by enslaved pechs and created species such as the rock-eating delvers. The Vaults, now safe from seismic activity, are transformed into massive laboratories for the Vault Builders' varied experiments.

Elohim are a natural fit for the Vault-Builders of Orv, as per their description in 'Bestiary IV' (pg. 86). There's no proof beyond that, however. In 'The Hungry Storm' (pg. 75), it is suggested that the Nameless Spires may have been built by the Vault Builders of Orv or visitors from another world. Part of me thinks it was an elder thing city, though every time it has been mentioned in the past, the Vault Builders are referenced. Pechs were noted as being enslaved by the Vault Builders in 'Into the Darklands' (pg. 19). The delver info is from the delver chapter in 'Misfit Monsters Redeemed' (pg. 10-15).

The aboleths, Great Old Ones, Dark Tapestry-dwellers, and elohim invariably come into conflict.

From 'Into the Darklands' (pg. 48), neothelids are called enemies of both aboleths and the Vault Builders. From that, I assumed that the there was a three-way war between the races.

Ancient Past:

War intensifies between the various species. The aboleths and elohim manage to bind a few Great Old Ones, and in time the rest of these god-things depart for other worlds.

This is entirely speculation. There is no evidence how the Great Old Ones came to be bound in Pre-Azlanti cities. Likewise, it is not known how many Great Old Ones fled Golarion.

Elder things develop shoggoth slaves. The shoggoths eventually rebel against their creators, forcing the elder things to scatter to Golarion’s most isolated regions and enter hibernation, or flee the planet altogether. Some shoggoths are captured by the elohim, who mine the protoplasmic monsters for raw genetic material. They create a vast array of life in the process.

The part about elder things developing shoggoth slaves, and those slaves then rebelling, comes from the HP Lovecraft short story 'At the Mountains of Madness' (among others). Elohim mining shoggoths for genes is pure speculation. In the story 'At the Mountains of Madness,' however, it is revealed that humanity was the result of genetic experiments conducted by elder things.

The Orvian Vault of Ilvarandin becomes a hotbed of activity. The elohim fill it with dozens of different species including troglodytes, serpentfolk, humans, and elves. Some of these mortals were created from shoggoth potential, while others had evolved through more natural means and were transplanted to their new subterranean home. The elves were later additions, having been abducted from Golarion’s sister planet of Castrovel.

Ilvarandin serving as a template for mortal civilizations is pure speculation. In 'Lost Cities of Golarion' (pg. 14-13), Ilvarandin is noted as hosting structures built in the style of various species, including elves, Azlanti, troglodytes, and serpentfolk. When, how, and even if elves actually lived there are unknown. Elves being abducted from Castrovel is speculation. Elves are heavily implied to have originated on Castrovel in 'Distant Worlds' (pg. 10-13).

Age of Serpents:

The elohim depart Golarion, though a few remain behind in their base beneath a crater in Ilvarandin known as Builders’ Mark.

It is unknown when or even if the Vault Builders left Golarion. Them maintaining a base in Ilvarandin is hinted at in 'Lost Cities of Golarion' (pg. 8).

The neothelids largely relocate underground. They settle in the Orvian vault of Denebrum.

It is unknown when this migration occurs. In fact, based on the description of Denebrum in [i]Into the Darklands (pg. 48), it could be interpreted that neothelids always inhabited Denebrum.[/i]

Humans, elves, serpentfolk, and other mortal species spread rapidly on the surface. The elves largely sequester themselves to forested regions, while humans—still primitive at this point—exist as hunter-gatherers. The serpentfolk take a more expansionist approach. Far more evolved then humans, serpentfolk establish the first mortal civilization, both upon Golarion’s surface and in the depths of Sekamina.

This is largely connecting the dots. There's no indication on when humans and elves started developing modern civilizations, or how developed humans were at any given point. Serpentfolk are noted as founding "among the first of Golarion's empires" in the Inner Sea Timeline in 'The Inner Sea World Guide' (pg. 33).

With the mighty elohim and Great Old Ones no longer a concern, the aboleths are given unprecedented control over Golarion’s future. Like the neothelids, the aboleths also invade the Vaults of their erstwhile enemies. They establish a strong presence in the largest of the Vaults, the Sightless Sea, and in so doing gain access to the coast of Ilvarandin. Witnessing the elohim’s experiments into mortal life, the aboleths decide that they can do a better job, and so by utilizing the template of civilization forged in Ilvarandin’s depths, begin to lay the foundation for what will one day become Azlant.

Speculation as to when, why, and how aboleths came to control territory in the ocean, and how thorough that control was. Aboleths do eventually colonize the Sightless Sea of Orv, as noted in 'Into the Darklands' (pg. 53), among various other sources. It is unknown what spurred the aboleths to develop the human civilization of Azlant, if the elohim/Vault Builders were at all involved, and if the Ovrian Vault of Ilvarandin played a role. The Sightless Sea is connected to Ilvarandin via its western coast.

Age of Legend:

The aboleths’ magic, technology, and breeding programs give rise to modern humans. At their masters’ behest, the humans develop the nascent empire of Azlant.

This is fairly well-established cannon.

Serpentfolk have conquered vast swathes of territory. Their empire is frequently at war with the Azlanti.

As noted throughout the Serpent's Skull Adventure Path, as well as the Inner Sea Timeline in 'The Inner Sea World Guide,' (pg. 33)

“Wild” humans—that is, those not hand-bred and controlled by aboleths—develop civilizations of their own. These will one day develop into the nations of Ninshabur and Ancient Osirion, among others. For now, though, they remain isolated and comparatively underdeveloped affairs.

Although humanity's first great empire is known to be Azlant, other human ethnicities also existed. Very little is known about Ninshabur. Osirion was formally founded in -3470 AR. Prior to its founding by Azghaad, Osirion was host to warring tribes (Lost Kingdoms of Golarion' (pg. 15).

Age of Darkness:

In –5293, the aboleths call down a cataclysm from the sky. Earthfall brings an end to Azlant while also breaking the aboleth empire’s back. The former are wiped from history, while the latter will struggle for millennia to regain their former dominance.

More fairly-well established canon. However, I speculated about the aboleths continuing to reestablish their previous level of power. That may be noted as canon somewhere, but I can't think of it off the top of my head. Maybe the aboleths are content to exist behind the scenes now, and have no intention of actively and brazenly dominating the world.

Age of Destiny:

The aboleths continue manipulating mortal races, but are far more subtle than they once were. Their machinations are far-reaching, requiring decades, centuries, or even longer to reach fruition.

According to the Veiled Masters section of 'Occult Mysteries' (pg. 12-13), the aboleths are still most certainly pulling humanity's strings. The extent of their manipulations are unknown.

The Dominion the Black takes an interest in Golarion. This intergalactic empire is made up mostly of neh-thalggu, with a minority of vespergaunts, mi-go, and similarly alien species. As with the aboleths and elohim before them, the Dominion are masters of genetic manipulation and biomancy.

The true nature of the Dominion is currently unknown, though they are identified as being primarily neh-thalggu in 'Occult Mysteries' (pg. 30). Veserpgaunts are known to be represented among the Dominion (Doom Comes to Dustpawn, pg. 12). I'm speculating about mi-go. In 'The Dragon's Demand,' the Dominion is noted as having bred the monstrous yangethe (pg. 63). It is unknown how capable they are of genetic manipulation and biomancy, though in their entry in 'Bestiary III' (pg. 197), neh-thalggu are said to travel outer space in "immense living ships."

In –1498 AR, the Dominion brokers a deal with the Four Pharaohs of Ascension, ushering in Osirion’s Second Age. In exchange for 11 potent gifts, the Pharaohs put into motion events that will—knowingly or not—one day allow the Dominion to return to Golarion.

'Entombed With the Pharaohs' (pg. 14) is one of many sources confirming that the Four Pharaohs of Ascension were given 11 gifts by the Dominion of the Black, and that this was the catalyst for Osirion's Second Age. It is unknown what the Pharaohs promised in return, or what plans the Dominion has for Golarion's future.

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