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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber. 1,671 posts. 12 reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Vundal wrote:
How dependent on having the players be from the Occult Adventures is this Bestiary?

I'm not sure I get your question. Several monsters have spells from the Occult Adventures hardback, so a GM will need access to that (or the free online version). But the player characters? They don't need to use anything from Occult Adventures to get the full experience from the monsters in this book.

jasonleeholm wrote:
I'm curious about the Prana Ghost's alignment... and if we'll ever get non-evil undead, especially a non-evil undead PC race (no, not dhampir).

The prana ghost is a template with no alignment restrictions. The example creature is neutral good, but the template description is careful to point out that evil creatures can become prana ghosts as well.

Oh, and prana ghost is a misnomer - they're actually outsiders with ghost-like traits.

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Top row: marry, [expletive], kill
Middle row: kill, [expletive], marry
Bottom row: marry, kill, [expletive]

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Cthulhudrew wrote:

Completely random thought, likely not related to any forthcoming AP, but...

How cool would it be to have an AP where the final boss... was the PCs themselves?

And the cover had a die cut "mirror" reflecting the viewer right back at themself as a result?

Time Magazine did something like that once for their "Person of the Year." If I recall, the responses were... mixed.

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James Jacobs wrote:
Nope; there's someone else on the cover of the last one.

Woops, I meant the final cover of THIS issue; not the sixth installment of Hell's Rebels.

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Psiphyre wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
Who is the character on the cover?

Shensen, one of James Jacob's characters that's been 'imported' to Golarion.

After reading the Kintargo article in Hell's Bright Shadow, I suspect that

Shensen will probably be on the final cover as well. She lives in Kintargo after all, and is currently "missing."

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RCM wrote:
May I ask, what game mechanics are used to determine a creatures maximum Psychic Energy pool?

There isn't one, in the same way that there isn't a mechanic to determine how many spell-like abilities a creature has, or how often those abilities can be used per day.

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James Jacobs wrote:

I have no insight or advice into that, since specificaly I wasn't involved much at all with that monster. I would point you toward the Dominion article that we did in Iron Gods #4 though, which does talk about Dominion religion.

Ah, okay. Thanks anyway.

Well as for the article in Valley of the Brain Collectors (one of my favorite things that Paizo has ever done, by the way), in addition to that answer you gave me a year ago, here's my take away:


The Dominion of the Black is mostly secular. That said, they have an obsession with black holes that borders on the fetishistic, and chyzaedu seem to be the most fanatic of them all. They almost remind me of Dark Tapestry druids.

As for the gods that chyzaedu actually worship in addition to propitiating black holes? Who knows. Guess I'll have to wait for that Dominion of the Black AP that I really hope gets greenlit one day to learn the official truth.

I'm not going to ask if my interpretation is the right one, so instead...

-Actual Question: Have you heard of Harbinger Down? It's a sci-fi horror flick done entirely with practical special effects, no cgi whatsoever. It was initially funded by Kickstarter and stars Lance Henriksen (Bishop from Aliens). It's out in theaters now but has a very limited release; they're working on getting Blu Rays out ASAP.

Anyway, from everything I've read it's a cross between Alien and The Thing. It's only at 50% on Rotten Tomatoes, but I think fans of those movies will really like it. Hopefully.

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James Jacobs wrote:
Generic Villain wrote:

Question 3: It's been repeatedly stated that the Dominion's masters are not gods like Cthulhu or Azatoth. That said, would you be willing to say what their approximate CR might be? Like in the 20-25 or 26+ range?

At this point, no. I'm not ready to nail down the power level of the Dominion gods... or in fact limit their "gods" to creatures at all. The idea that they worship things like black holes is really appealing to me.

Hey James. So the Occult Bestiary was packed with Dominion of the Black goodness, which lead me to revisit this old Q&A from last year.

It's stated that the Dominion is largely secular, except for the chyzaedu (and the as-of-yet not detailed haeshi-shaa). So without re-asking my previous question, could you give any insight into the gods that the chyzaedu propitiate? Specifically, I'm wondering if they still worship the pantheon from before their homeworld was sucked into a black hole, or if that event inspired them to seek out new gods.

Related question: any thoughts on some good domains for a chyzaedu who takes levels in cleric? I was thinking law, evil, void, destruction, and maybe madness?

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James Jacobs wrote:

Now, back to its ability scores. One of the BEST ways to manipulate a monster's CR values (hp, AC, saves, attacks, and damage) is to adjust its ability scores. Another good way to do it is to adjust its HD, of course, but as you get higher and higher CR, adjusting HD gets increasingly swingy, so it's better to bolster the ability scores as needed.

Thanks for the detailed reply!

I know I'm being a stickler; it's one of the fun side-effects of having OCD. Still thrilled that the Dominion of the Black got so much lovin'.

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Albus wrote:

How is the art for the Yithian Elder, Liavaran Dreamer, Neothelid Overlord and Tychilarius?

And any new information regarding Tychilarius and the Dominion?

The art is top notch. The yithian elder is crimson and holding a "lightning gun" which looks a bit like an old-school camera. The Liavaran dreamer resembles the Brethedan in Bestiary 4, but with a yellow cast to its body and green tentacles instead of blue. The neothelid is my favorite piece in the book (and also probably my favorite monster): it's a two-headed neothelid with dozens of writhing tentacles sprouting from its body. The heads resemble the monster from Deep Rising; one is open, the other closed. I described Tylicharius's mugshot above.


Okay, so about the Drowned God*. It's a CR 23 aberration specifically tied with Osirion's Second Age and the Four Pharaohs of Ascension, along with that period's Aucturn Enigma and Countdown clocks. This is pure speculation, but maybe Tylicharius was the Four Pharaoh's point of contact with the Dominion of the Black? Anyway, the it is described as a "powerful leader of the Dominion."

Some think that Tylicharius came from Aucturn; others that it merely arrived on Aucturn from deeper in the Dark Tapestry. It is currently bound in some kind of prison, and Night Herald cultists are working to bust it out. Of course if you read the Elaine Cunningham story in Legacy of Fire, you already knew that. It's hypothesized that if the Night Heralds ever succeed, that will be the beacon that draws the Dominion of the Black to Golarion en masse.

Tylicharius itself is composed of thousands of different creatures that it incorporated into itself. It's not a swarm or even a hivemind - it just absorbs other creatures. One of its abilities allows it to spawn Dominion of the Black monsters after devouring other creatures.

*Drowned God is one of its titles. It is not actually a god and can't grant spells.

More Dominion Goodies:

Another monster detailed is chyzaedu, which you may recognize from the Dominion of the Black article in Valley of the Brain Collectors. They are CR 10 aberrations that resemble big 'ole earthworms. They are the priests of the Dominion, and are in fact capable of casting spells as clerics. They are also lawful evil, which surprised me.

They were once intergalactic tyrants until their homeworld got sucked up by a black hole. The chyzaedu race collectively went a bit nuts as a result, and came to revere all that devours. Alas, there's no details on the gods to whom they pray.

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I've been waiting a long time to see Tychilarius statted out. Ever since Elaine Cunningham's story in Legacy of Fire, in fact. Two thoughts:

-What is it supposed to look like? The illustration shows an enormous maw emerging from the water, with a few tentacles. Is it a huge worm/eel? Or mostly just that head, like the whirlmaw from Inner Sea Bestiary?

-It's attributes are way too high for a CR 23 creature: Str 48, Dex 35, Con 46, Int 31, Wis 35, Cha 32. That adds up to 227. Compare that to similar creatures such as...


Mythic Wyrm Red Dragon (CR 25): Str 45, Dex 6, Con 29, Int 20, Wis 21, Cha 24
145 total

Elohim (CR 23): Str 24, Dex 22, Con 32, Int 25, Wis 29, Cha 25
157 total

Dagon (CR 29): Str 44, Dex 25, Con 40, Int 29, Wis 32, Cha 31
201 total

Cthulhu (CR 30): Str 56, Dex 21, Con 45, Int 31, Wis 36, Cha 34
223 total

Is this a big deal? Or even a deal of moderate size? No, but it bugs me when attributes are so disproportionate. It fees sloppy. I ended up making my own version with far more reasonable (in my opinion) stats: Str: 42, Dex: 15, Con: 38, Int: 29, Wis: 31, Cha: 28 (183 total).

Anyway, just obsessively picking nits here. It's still a great book.

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Hey James.

-Preface to Question: I've been working on an Aucturn/Dominion of the Black/Night Herald campaign for, oh, a year or two now. It was originally Old Cults, but the Night Herald info in Occult Mysteries was too good to pass up. Anyway, I've been detailing the Night Heralds in my campaign like the old school Forgotten Realms Black Network, Red Wizards, etc., where I come up with a brief description of all their activities in particular regions. I don't know if I'll actually ever run this campaign, but it's been a fun project.

-Actual Question: Very approximately, how many actual Night Heralds would you estimate are active in the Inner Sea? I know you don't like putting exact numbers to things like this, so if it'd be easier to answer... how large are the Night Heralds relative to, say, the Hellknights, Aspis Consortium, or some other established group?

(For what it's worth, I currently have about 600 cultists; mostly active in Numeria, Ustalav, Osirion, and the Sodden Lands, as per Occult Mysteries.)


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Neongelion wrote:

Dominion of the Black Dominion of the Black DOMINION OF THE BLACK

Yeah I know they're H.R. Giger and not Lovecraftian :(

This sentiment always confuses me. While I like and respect Giger, he was an artist and special effects guy. He did some awesome and warped art, yes, but he didn't create the world of Alien. That was someone else. Lovecraft, on the other hand, created his Mythos whole-cloth.

Comparing Lovecraft and Giger is really apples and oranges.

The Dominion of the Black as an intergalactic empire of malevolent, nihilistic aliens hellbent on wiping out/merging with lesser lifeforms seems much closer to Lovecraft's work - elder things and mi-go in particular. It certainly can't just be described as "funky, mindbending art."

That said, a Dominion of the Black AP would have a much different flavor than one involving Lovecraft's Dreamlands. The former is cosmic horror, while the latter has a more fantasy feel. I'm disappointed that Strange Aeons won't deal with the Dominion as well (I don't think?), but not surprised. It wouldn't fit the theme.

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Notice I said every subject, not every location. Hell's Rebels and Hell's Vengeance are both set in Cheliax, but have very different themes.

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Because there are only two APs every year, and Paizo cannot cover every possible subject. I'm sure there are plenty of people who would like a Viking AP, but they'll have to wait their turn. Just ask the Galt people (who I hope will have to wait a very long time).

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F. Wesley Schneider wrote:

Despite appearance, I don't think of Barbatos as being Lovecraftian. He's ancient and mysterious, sure, but the roll and place of the Great Old Ones is distinctly different in the campaign.

Oh I didn't think he was a Great Old One. Just Lovecraftian in the "ancient eldritch abomination" sense. Plus he's got the squid face.

After reading the KQ article, I have a much better handle on him. He's sort of like Hell's druid - which is awesome. Devils rarely interest me compared to most other evil outsiders, but Barbatos has got it going on.

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F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Barbatos is... something else.

That's why I'm most interested in him. Appearance-wise he is sort of Lovecraftian, and his mysteriousness backs that up. His lawful nature and some of his interests... not so much. Definitely the most interesting of the bunch, if only because it's so obvious he doesn't belong. Oh, and his apparent humility is an awesome touch. No grand palace and robes of dripping gold and gems for this guy.

In fact, I just convinced myself to get the volume of Kobold Quarterly (#22) where Wes did a Barbatos writeup.

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To me, the Archdevil/Infernal Duke divide was useful from a metagame perspective, just as the Demon Lord/Nascent Demon Lord and Horseman/Harbinger divide. It told the GM who could serve as opponents. The lower tier were excellent capstone bad guys for non-mythic campaigns, while the upper tier did the same for mythic ones.

Now it's all muddled.

Still liked the book quite a bit.

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MMCJawa wrote:
Lotharct may have never been a really good baseline. He is after all on the run from Hell and thus presumably should have lost a bit of power compared to a duke who is still in favor.

Be that as it may, it still screws up the Archdevil/Infernal Duke, Demon Lord/Nascent Demon Lord, Horseman/Harbinger dichotomy.

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So I liked the book, but as has been pointed out, Furcas being CR 27 kind of messes things up.

Prior to this book, the only Infernal Duke statted was Lorthact from Inner Sea Bestiary. He was CR 25. Thus, I assumed the following equivalent power structure:

Top Tier (CR 26-30): Demon Lords, Archdevils, Horsemen
Bottom Tier (CR 21-25): Nascent Demon Lords, Infernal Dukes, Daemonic Harbingers.

Now, however, I guess it looks like this?

Top Tier (CR 26-30): Demon Lords, Archdevils and Infernal Dukes, Horsemen
Bottom Tier (CR 21-25): Nascent Demon Lords, Infernal Dukes, Daemonic Harbingers.

The problem is that Infernal Duke now fills both the top and bottom tier for devilkind.

If Infernal Dukes can range from CR 21-CR 30, and thus fill both the top and bottom tier - which now appears to be the case - there's the problem differentiating between them. For example, CR 25 Lotharct has "Infernal Duke traits," and Furcas does as well, but Furcas's are superior to Lotharct's. As befitting a creature that is essentially a demigod. Or to use a metagame example, a mythic-level opponent.

Now I guess there are two tiers of Infernal Dukes? Those between CR 21-25, and those between CR 26-30? It works I suppose, but there really should be some different title to differentiate the two Infernal Duke tiers. In my opinion.

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There's no herald for Zursvaater. I think that's the first time that's ever happened when a god is detailed in an article. (I'm only counting full-fledged gods; not Demon Lords/Horsemen, on account of them not having heralds).

Also, anyone recognize the stuff that the two ladies are throwing into the volcano? Piece for piece, that would be the weapons and armor of a certain graveknight detailed in from Ice Tomb of the Giant Queen. The Sihedron runes are a dead giveaway...

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Tychilarius?!?!?! I've been waiting for this moment since Elaine Cunningham's awesome Pathfinder tale!

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Samy wrote:

Thanks. So it's like, if a Sorc had Summon Monster IX, they could cast all Summon Monster spells while only spending one "spells known" slot on the highest level one?

(If undercasting applied to sorcs, that is.)

I reckon that's it.

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Samy wrote:
Okay, I've had it. What the frag is this "undercasting" that everybody constantly keeps throwing around.

From the playtest: "Undercast: Some psychic spells can be undercast. This means that the spellcaster can cast the spell at the level that he knows, or as any lower level version of that spell, using the appropriate spell slot. When undercasting a spell, it is treated exactly like the lower level version, including when determining its effect, saving throw, and other variables. For example, a psychic spellcaster who adds ego whip III to his list of spells known can cast it as ego whip I, II, or III."

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baron arem heshvaun wrote:

In PFS we call them Team Rocket.

Hah, I was this close to mentioning Team Rocket too.

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Set wrote:

On a more serious note, I'm intrigued to know if this book will give a little bit more information on evil organizations, like the Aspis Consortium.

I've been waiting for more Aspis info for years. They seem forever doomed to be butt monkeys to the Pathfinders' heroics (?), which is unfortunate, because they have so much potential. I'd love to learn more about the Board of Patrons and the two Executives, and the look at Conference Z in Occult Mysteries got me all a tingling.

At the very least, they could be as cool as the Zhents.

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Dragon78 wrote:
I noticed they didn't say what next weeks preview will be.

It'll be the kineticist. Or the mesmerist. Possibly the medium.

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I have to say, that artwork has me jonesing for more Vudra info. Fortunately we'll get a bit in the upcoming Distant Shores product, but I'd love the kind of treatment the Dragon Kingdoms got.

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I would peg Cthulhu as a tough bugger for sure...

Nah, he's a wimp as long as you know his weakness.

(It's sailing vessels).

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Who's the toughest BBEG? Well there's technically an objective answer to that: Deskari from Wrath of the Righteous. Deskari could turn the tarrasque into his personal lapdog were he so inclined, and could probably kill every other BBEG at once in a few rounds. The thing is though, that by the time the PCs fight Deskari, they are 20th level with 10 mythic tiers. Essentially demigods.

So who's the toughest BBEG, taking into account the PC's level? I think Nyrissa from Kingmaker is about as tough as you'll find in terms of spellcasters.

Who's the toughest monster? Well, the Oliphaunt from Jandelay is challenge rating 30. He's sort of the tarrasque for mythic characters. By that I mean, the tarrasque was designed to be the most dangerous monster that normal, non-mythic 20th-level characters could take on. The Oliphaunt of Jandelay - a similarly gigantic, world-shattering monster - is probably about as tough as a party of 20th-level, tier 10 PCs can take.

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Orfamay Quest wrote:

...especially when they are lying to themselves as well.

That's always a possibility. But based on the sheer volume of threads I've browsed, on a pretty wide range of websites - some political, some religious - I think I have large enough sample size to rule out mass-self-deception.

Nothing I've done approaches proper research. (Yet). It's purely casual. Still, these are the patterns I've seen over and over. There's more than coincidence at work.

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thejeff wrote:

It's interesting, but you shouldn't rely too heavily on their stated reasoning and logic. Actual motivations are often different and even more interesting.

That's all I'm saying.

There's been a fair bit of research about how and when people deceive. People tend to be most deceptive when speaking, and most honest in writing. One theory is that once something has been written down (especially online) it cannot be refuted. Words, on the other hand, are fleeting. Subconsciously people may realize this, and so self-monitor for deceptions that could bite them later.

When you add the relative anonymity of the Internet, honesty - even (especially!) ugly honesty - becomes nearly risk-free.

Yes those two factors may cancel themselves out a bit, but I believe people are actually quite candid on forums like this. Consider: as anonymous as I am, I made sure to point out above that I'm not yet a licensed psychologist. I could've lied to add cachet to my argument, and no one would have been the wiser, but I didn't.

I am far more likely to believe an anonymous poster on The Blaze or Breitbart when he or she declares their motives for opposing same-sex marriage, than if I were discussing the matter face-to-face.

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Orfamay Quest wrote:

Granting that line of reasoning,.... why are discrimination or threats against LGBT people because God told you so more harmful than doing it for "state's rights"? Or the other way around, for that matter? The threat, the behavior, and the harm are identical.

A fair point. My only retort: I am fascinated by the way other people think. Their stated reasoning and logic are, for me, something to be analyzed and maybe even understood.

I don't expect everyone (or anyone, for that matter) to share my interest. Take it or leave it I suppose.

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thejeff wrote:
Focus on the threats and not the justification.

I agree. My example was an oversimplification to illustrate that understanding motive is important in its own right.

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The 8th Dwarf wrote:

3 years from now the equity laws will have settled in and become part of everyday life. There will be your wacko fringe loons who will bleat about it but the bealting will be drowned out by time - the great killer of everything.

In that three years the media will run stories that are mostly novelty, scandal, what ever sells advertising and as marriage equality becomes an everyday thing, it will get the same Coverage as marriage does now.... Boring celeb stories, and so on.

So my advice to homophobes is in time nobody will care about the crap you dribble from your mouth, so don't waste your time moaning and go and do constructive.

I absolutely agree on all points, but for the next 3 years, things could be ugly for the LGBT community. This is presently an open bleeding wound on the far right, and they are seeking something, anything to fight back with.

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thejeff wrote:

There's value in it, but it's also worth remembering that their stated reasons may not be their real reasons.

Which is where I think Haladir gets it right with "gay sex is icky". The vast majority of the rest of what you listed is what they say because they know that "gay sex is icky" isn't a good enough argument to persuade anyone.

I agree that a not-insignificant part of the anti-gay movement is attempting to couch their arguments in as palatable a way as they can.

That said, consider this: you have two people, both of whom despise all things LGBT. One claims his reasons are entirely biblical; he advocates prayer, excommunication, and proselyting to counter the queer "movement." Another takes the far-right conservative approach, claiming states' rights are at risk, revolution and/or secession is needed, and violence may be necessary.

Who are you more worried about? There's a good chance that both are just blowing off steam, airing their frustrations among like-minded people. But I can tell you who immediately strikes me as more likely to be dangerous.

As good as things are for the queer community, it is also time to prepare for what may become an ugly and even painful backlash. Not something that could undo the great step forward that we all took on June 26th, but very unpleasant all the same.

So know thine enemy.

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Haladir wrote:
Based on anecdotal evidence from every anti-LGBT rights person I've ever spoken with, the anti-LGBT argument seems to boil down to: "I think gay sex is icky. Here are convenient justifications for why my opinion should be imposed on everyone else."

Perhaps that's the overarching theme, but there's a lot of variety and nuance. It's easy to dismiss people who oppose same-sex marriage in one giant clump, but there really are a lot of different camps. Do any of those camps have legitimate, valid reasons to deny LGBT people their rights? Of course not. But there's value in understanding why someone believes what they do, if for no other reason than to prepare accordingly.

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Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
And discrimination in banking, housing, education, homeless resources, medical services, etc. It's not over yet, not by a long shot, especially with the recent court and legislative decisions recognizing a businesses' and individuals' paramount right to "avoid violating their deeply held religious beliefs."

It's not over, no. But still a day for celebrating.

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You burned down your house, faked your death, moved to a different hemisphere, and are now living under a false identity, but still yearn for some sweet sweet tabletop action.

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Dice used in casinos are specifically carved and weighted to give each possibility an equal chance of coming up. The dice most of us gamers use is not. It's just injected plastic. As such, there's a definite possibility that a given die favors certain faces.

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Kalindlara wrote:

That said, Bestiary 5 should scratch your itch nicely! ^_^

Oh I'm quite satisfied with the selection of Mythos-type monsters present in Pathfinder. What I want, is a way for a character to summon those horrors from beyond and have them do his/her bidding.

I can only hope that one day, Paizo puts out an adventure - or, Cthulhu willing, an Adventure Path - where cultists of Things That Should Not Be are the main antagonists. Cultists who, with a spell, can call forth gugs, mi-go, lunarmas, and whatnot.

For what it's worth, there is already an option like this. It requires a spellcaster to have a section of the book Secrets of the Dreaming Dark, from Occult Mysteries. But I'd like that same ability in feat or archetype form.

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Kalindlara wrote:

Unfortunately, not that I recall. I'd love to see more of that myself. ^_^

Thanks. And crud. When I read "...benign or malevolent, divine or alien" in the description, I was hoping that alien meant actual pop culture aliens.

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Major_Blackhart wrote:

Hmm, part of me wonders, as Ungarato was insanely powerful due to being mythic, whether or not Zutha himself had some mythic power as well. Supposedly not, because he's beneath Karzoug in power according to word of god, but part of me seems to believe that Runelords abhor the idea of having servants that are more powerful to them in some fashion.

If that's not the case here, then Zutha himself must be incredibly pragmatic in that regard.

To add to Deadmanwalking's post above, I believe James Jacobs mentioned that Zutha and Belimarius (the two Runelords weaker than Karzoug) could, in theory, have some mythic power. For example: Zutha could be an Azlanti lich necromancer 17/tier 2 archmage, and still technically be weaker than Karzoug. (His CR would be 20 - 16 for class levels, 1 for mythic tiers, 2 for lich, and 1 for Azlanti stats and PC-grade equipment).

I don't have the specific post on hand so I may be misquoting, but even if I am, the math holds up. That said! The consensus seems to be that only Xanderghul and Sorshen had mythic tiers.

More likely, Zutha is a CR 20 lich. That would make him an 18th-level necromancer with a +1 to CR for having Azlanti stats and PC-quality gear. Interestingly, that would make him weaker than both Thullos and Ungarato.

So how could Ungarato be stronger than Zutha? Consider the possibility, which is absolutely hinted at in the recent graveknight article, that Ungarato is still "alive." If that's the case, he's been kicking around for ten thousand years - more than enough time to gain considerable power.

archmagi1 wrote:
Here's a thought. The Whispering Way. Could it have been evolved from some of the ruins of Zutha's kingdom?

Consider this: there is a temple of the Whispering Way on the undead-infested planet of Eox, called the Church of Silence. Although there's no indication when it was built, it is noted that "...the path of perfection through undeath was followed long before that mortal [Tar-Baphon] took his first breath."

This suggests to me that the Whispering Way doesn't have a singular founder, like Diabolism. It has existed since mortals first learned they could achieve immortality of a sort via undead, and is followed in some form or another on many different worlds.

*EDIT: Just thought of something. There is an Eoxian lich in the adventure Asylum Stone; or rather, the simulacrum of an Eoxian lich. The original (Maligast) was an ally of Karzoug. That tells us that Eox's mass lichification occurred at least prior to Thassilon's downfall, which would again suggest that the Whispering Way preceded Zutha. Or heck, maybe even that the Whispering Way began on Eox and was spread to Golarion via these ancient interactions.

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Is there anything for Old Cultists or Night Heralds? Anything to summon weird aliens or aberrations?

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Major_Blackhart wrote:
I wonder if the horse graveknight summons a rider to mount it.

He does indeed. No rules are given for it though.

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Jim Groves wrote:

I have no idea, speaking honestly. I have a cop out answer and my real answer. I'll offer both because they both have an element of truth:

Not the answer I was looking for, but it's a fair one. I know the style of this adventure (as well as Forge of the Giant God before it) hinges on there being too many giants to face head-on. I would also guess that the "PCs take on a huge horde of giants" part will come in the third act.

It was more a matter of curiosity - attempting, as you said, to come up with a ballpark number of giants needed to conquer large swaths of Avistan. Which in retrospect isn't a very fair question. But still!


A similar approach was used waaay back in Fortress of the Stone Giants. There, Mokmurian's army was comprised of: 2 frost giants, 40 hill giants, 1 jotunblood hill giant, 50 ogres, 122 stone giants, 1 taiga giant, and 2 trolls. This number includes unique NPCs, as well as the 2 stone giants encountered at the end of Hook Mountain Massacre. I did not include the Kreeg ogres in the count. Also, there is no mention of how many stone giants belong to the Kavarvatti tribe camped around Jorgenfist, so I just averaged the other 4 stone giant tribes and used that result (18). I also only included giants in these numbers; no dragons, lamias, etc.

Mokmurian's force is large enough "...for a massive attack on the human-dominated lands to the south." Exactly how formidable would such an attack be? We can't say for sure, but Mokmurian has been gathering this force for years, and he is a very intelligent and capable leader. Another important note: it is said that, were Karzoug to gather his own forces after being freed, the Runelord's army would make Mokmurian's look " a ratty band of mercenaries." At its height, Xin-Shalast had a population of 34,680 giants.

So! Volstus hopes to attack and eventually conquer nations abutting the Mindspin Mountains, which would include Varisia, Belkzen, Nirmathas, and Nidal. A force like Mokmurian's could certainly get him started, but to truly enact his plans, he would need an army several orders of magnitude larger.

With all that in mind, I would very tentatively suggest the following populations:

Minderhall's Valley
100 stone giants
60 hill giants
60 cave giants
20 ogres
20 trolls
20 ettins

100 frost giants
50 hill giants
50 cave giants
50 ice trolls
20 ettins
20 cyclopes

Would this be enough to invade, conquer, and subjugate the entirety of the Mindspin region? Or even a single nation? Not a chance. It would, however, be an incredibly effective vanguard.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

(Time the second, in a more appropriate forum)

A question: roughly speaking, how many frost giants (or just giants in general) would you say are currently active on the plateau?

I know the adventure is structured specifically to avoid a "PCs vs. every last giant" scenario, so the number is kept intentionally vague. But for purely story-based reasons, I'm curious what kind of force the big guy is assembling, even just unofficially.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber
Jim Groves wrote:

Thanks for the comments G.V.! I appreciate the feedback!

Glad to be of assistance.

And now, a question: roughly speaking, how many frost giants (or just giants in general) would you say are currently active on the plateau?

I know the adventure is structured specifically to avoid a "PCs vs. every last giant" scenario, so the number is kept intentionally vague. But for purely story-based reasons, I'm curious what kind of force the big guy is assembling, even just unofficially.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber
Jim Groves wrote:

Anyway, there's lots of murder, mayhem, and magic between the covers! Any thoughts about what is inside?

EDIT:Innuendo is like gum on a theater floor. You step in it despite your best efforts.

I liked the graveknight article; a nice companion piece to the lich article back in Carrion Crown. In fact I accidentally posted the following in Shadow of the Storm Tyrant:

I'm dumb:

If you know your Thassilon lore, each Runelord had a champion who wielded one of the Seven Swords of Sin. Runelord Zutha's champion, first mentioned in Artifacts and Legends, was called Ungarato. He now officially has stats (though is not statted):

CE male human graveknight barbarian 12/fighter 7/marshal 4.

That means he is at least challenge rating 22 (and likely 23, if his equipment is PC-quality) - making him quite a bit stronger than Zutha!

As for the adventure itself? I liked it overall.


*An interesting variety of opponents. Frost giants and winter wolves were expected; necromorphs and a daughter of Urgathoa were not. The svathurim/dullahan hybrid in particular was a nice touch.
*I liked the tension between the Thremyr-worshipping old guard and the Urgathoans. The suggestion that even thoroughly evil frost giants are creeped out by undead.
*Liked the mechanic where, if the PCs mess up too much, Skirkatla sends powerful creatures to hunt them down. The fact that one of those creatures is more powerful than Skirkatla herself is also a cool touch.
*Good effort towards realism. A not-insignificant part of the adventure deals with how such a large group of giants stay fed.

*It felt a bit too similar to the last adventure. As in: go to a remote giant-infested wilderness, do some sandbox-y adventuring, then end up in a large dungeon with the Big Bad.
*No explanation for why Skirkatla has a dead bird stuck to her helmet.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

Aaaand you know I just realized I meant to post the Ungarato thing in the Product Discussion of Ice Tomb of the Giant Queen. The one with the graveknight article and all. Woops.

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