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Generic Villain's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. 1,806 posts. 13 reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Adam Daigle wrote:
Nyarlathotep doesn't really factor into the Adventure Path. Strange Aeons is flavored in Hastur and focuses more on Xhamen-Dor. (And those two have full articles in the AP.)

Does that mean Hastur and Xhamen-Dor are linked somehow?

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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Wraithguard wrote:

Hello ladies and gents,

I find this whole conversation to be very interesting. As someone without any mental health issues, I am not really too surprised that many people playing RPGs have them.

That's very amusing. I assume you have a physically perfect body and have never been sick at all in your life? Not even a common cold? So you've never had physical health issues then.

Everyone has mental health issues. Every Single Person reading this board.

While I agree with your final statement, I would add that it's a matter of degrees. For example, I've had physical health issues aplenty, but nothing major. Nothing that required hospitalization (except for the kidney stone... *shudder*), always relatively minor stuff.

Perhaps Wraithguard's point was, s/he's never had serious mental issues. As in, those that were worthy of being addressed by therapy or medication. Everyone has their tics, eccentricities, occasional blue moods, etc., but not everyone has to wash their hands every time they touch a doorknob (though you should, those things are filthy). Or is so depressed they can't get out of bed in the morning. Or believes "the government" is monitoring their every move. And so forth.

While I agree that stigma may be the single most detrimental aspect of modern mental health, and that allowing people to discuss their own issues openly and without fear of repercussion would be incredibly therapeutic, there really are some people who are pretty much a-okay. And honestly, good for them.

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Thomas Seitz wrote:
Or maybe it's a Shantak with levels...

Most likely, yes. After all there's a challenge rating 17 shantak in the module "The Moonscar." But the creature on the covers' burning eyes made me think of hunting horrors.

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RuyanVe wrote:

Wouldn't a shantak be too low a CR for this module, though?

Perhaps it isn't a shantak at all. Perhaps it's... hell-wind — titan blur — black wings — Yog-Sothoth save me! THE THREE-LOBED BURNING EYE!

A hunting horror, is what I'm saying. It's eye certainly looks burning.

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rkotitan wrote:

After reading that the amnesia is just five years or so the idea I have forming is for big strapping brawler who before the amnesia was a happy tavern owner with a wife and two kids.

Dealing with the anguish of waking up somewhere and not knowing what happened to his family would make for interesting character moments I think.

I think a "fish out of water" PC would be perfect for this campaign. A Joe-everyman with an ordinary former life thrust into extraordinary circumstances. Or pretty much, every HP Lovecraft protagonist ever.

Former mercenary, gladiator, petty thief, wizard apprentice, young acolyte, etc. I definitely get wanting to make a "weird fiction" character - which happens to be my favorite type of character - but this might ironically be the one time I wouldn't do so.

If anyone played the amazing Gamecube game Eternal Darkness, I really liked the chapters that focused on plain ole' schmucks. You're a fireman? Awesome, good luck battling unfathomable cosmic horror and escaping with your mind and/or body intact.

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So I just found this. From the site:

"The aim of this project is twofold. For the main part it is an attempt to collate all relevant information – for the uninitiated and curious, as well as for those who know and appreciate the mythology – on everything associated with The King in Yellow."

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Nice, thanks.

I dug out my old Dungeon Magazine #134 and its Hastur-rific adventure "And Madness Followed." There is also a really good Green Ronin book called "Cults of Freeport," which details the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign.

Those are about the only time I've seen the Yellow Sign in an RPG product - but then again I don't play Call of Cthulhu. Shame on me, I know.

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I'm a diehard Lovecraft fan. That said, I haven't ventured too far outside the man's own stories and into the wild west of the mythos. So... are there any good sources of information on Hastur/The King in Yellow? I've read pretty much everything Paizo has published on him thus far, but know there's a ton more information out there to be gleaned.

If you happen to be knowledgeable on Him Who is Not to be Named, and have resources about this mysterious entity, I would be much obliged if you would share.

Again I know the basics: Hastur may or may not be a location or Elder God on the planet of Carcosa, he manifests via his avatar, the King in Yellow, and his infamous Yellow Sign is key to summoning that avatar. I'm mostly looking for fiction/fluff that could help me wrap me head around Hastur.

Thanks for any leads or advice.

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Kobold Defense League wrote:

You seem awfully literate for a kobold hating goblin, friend.

Uhhh... forgot to mention, dictated but not read. Yeah that's the ticket.

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Kobold Defense League wrote:
What's so bad about having a kobold in your family tree?

Nothing, as long as you're cool being related to a yappy, dirt-digging coward who used to be worth 7 experience points back in 2nd Edition. And who even probably knew how to read.

This message brought to you by the Golarion Association of Goblin Growth and Burning Stuff, Also Hating Horses, Books, and Smelly Kobolds.

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I am too a dragon! You don't know me.

(Goes off to pout)

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I think Tacticslion favorited every post on this page. You're welcome Tacticslion?

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I think the Pathfinder cosmology's weakness is also its strength. Which is to say, the developers/authors just throw a bunch of stuff out there - much of it mutually exclusive - and tell the readers to draw their own conclusions.

A Lovecraftian mythology works in a Lovecraftian universe, but when you add ancient Egyptian mythology via Osirion, a pseudo-Christian concept of Heaven and Hell, and the real actual planet Earth, things get... muddy. Then throw in dozens of unique pantheons comprised of all sorts of gods, each with their own unique creation myths etc., and things get... literally impossible to make sense of. I'll call it the "Lost" effect. A corollary could be that, when authors/writers/creators are forced to try and explain everything and solve all the mysteries, the results are often vastly unsatisfying.

Some audiences are going to be put off by this style. There is no one truth in Pathfinder, or if there is, the developers aren't telling (because again: unsatisfying to most people). We the readers have only this ambiguous soup of maybes. Personally I prefer it that way. Because yes, Asmodeus is Nyarlathotep. Also no, they are obviously not the same. Often simultaneously.

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Freehold DM wrote:

I was wondering when someone was going to mention the pretty pony thing.

Whether you want to call it instruction or advice or scripture or whatever, listening and responding to what was said earnestly and humbly does some good. It may not be enough good, by far. But it does some good.

I don't like complaining (that's a lie, I love complaining), but my ex was the opposite of this so freakin' hard. In the first years of our relationship I would open up to him about difficulties big and small, and his immediate reaction was to try and solve my problems for me. Oftentimes before I even finished my thoughts. I needed to stop being down all the time, needed to think happy thoughts instead of brooding, needed to stop obsessing (he knew I had OCD), needed to stop sacrificing animals in the living room to honor mighty Shub-Niggurath*, etc.

Was he technically wrong in his "advice"? Nope. But telling me to stop being depressed or having OCD is a bit like telling a blind person to try really hard and maybe they'll be able to see. If he had just let me vent my frustrations, it would have been cathartic. Instead all he did was piss me off and stop confiding in him.

*Like Hell I'm not going to feed the Black Goat with a Thousand Young...

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Set wrote:

Part of it is the frustration of being helpless to do anything, leading one to try all sorts of 'magical thinking' solutions to the difficulties a friend is facing. Wanting to help, and not feel powerless, is a strong motivator to try all sorts of ill-advised things (including offering some unintentionally terrible advice...).

Another part, unfortunately, is the notion that one size fits all, and that a coping strategy that works for someone *who doesn't even have a problem* will somehow 'fix' what's 'wrong' with someone who very much does have a problem. 'You know what I do when I feel down?' 'No. And I don't care, because you don't have crippling depression. So stop humble-bragging about how you have brilliantly coped with not being depressed all the time.' One size does not fit all, and what worked for one person, once, might not even work for that same person in another situation, let alone for someone else whose circumstances are just amazingly different and in no way comparable.

Even something as reductionistic and 'science-y' as drugs aren't guaranteed to affect two different people the same way, and 'try smiling more' or 'lose weight' or 'go outside and get more sunlight' or 'try to focus on the positives' or 'meditate and do yoga' or 'eat less red meat' are even less reliable.

Yeah absolutely to like, all that. Here's the exact Stephen King quote, said in-character:

"I stopped giving advice a long time ago," he said. "Thirty years or more, I guess. I stopped when I noticed only fools gave it and only fools took it. Instruction, now... instruction's a different thing. A smart man will give a little from time to time, and a smart man — or boy — will take a little from time to time."

It seems like everyone is so ready to advise one another on so many matters, but in my opinion, advice is only valuable to the giver because he or she had the experience that made it meaningful. It's one thing for your buddy to suggest you 'meditate and do yoga,' but another entirely when a doctor or psychologist says it. That doesn't necessarily mean the latter are correct, but their training at least gives them the authority to instruct rather than merely advise.

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Wraithguard wrote:

I have talked with most of them about it and I have found that the best thing I can do is listen. I cannot truly understand what is going on inside their head, but I told them the same thing I told my friend serving in the Army; I'm here for you, you need someone to listen, someone to hit, someone to play a game with, I'll be here.

Does anyone have any advice they feel like sharing that they have given their friends and loved ones?

I think your first paragraph was absolutely perfect. And not just in regards to mental illness either - I'd say that's honestly a solid way to live life in general. I tend to be the friend in my social circle to whom others open up, and I think it's precisely because I listen to what they have to say, don't make it about me, do my best not to judge, and never try to fix their problems. To extrapolate on your point: you can never know what another person has experienced, what haunts them, what keeps them awake at night. And you certainly can't swoop in and take their troubles away - much as you may want to do precisely that.

Like you, I've had friends tell me about some of their wartime trauma. About being raped. About being shuffled through the foster care system. Men and women whose struggles are like those of a modern Sisyphus. And like you, I listened. That's all. That's all I could do.

There's a beautiful Stephen King short story called My Pretty Pony about a grandfather and his grandson. The grandfather thinks to himself "Only fools give advice, and only fools take advice." It's human nature to want to "fix" one another, especially those we care most for. But I firmly believe that people can't be fixed, because people also can't be broken. We can be hurt, emotionally savaged, dragged through hells of mind and body, tormented beyond measure. But broken? No. I just don't believe it. Pessimist, cynic, nihilist, and pragmatist that I am, I think that people are far more resilient than most will ever know.

That's my long-winded way of saying: I have no advice for you. Just keep doing what you're doing.

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Belle Sorciere wrote:
That reminds me of a study I read not too long ago. The conclusion was that despite cutting off anyone 1 standard deviation below the norm, average IQ scores for people with AS are slightly lower than for the general population.

I've read the same. Not an insult on anyone who falls on the spectrum obviously, but yeah.

Here's any interesting one: it's possible that girls are woefully under-diagnosed with autism than boys, perhaps because its effects are more subtle in the former than the latter. There are some theories, but this is the thrust of it.

Also some really interesting first-hand accounts by girls with autism.

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I too could only download the version where all the chapters are separated. Would definitely like access to the PDF where it's all in one file. Please?

*Edit: Okay, the single PDF was in there with all the others. It was simply titled PZO90107E.pdf and was 22,000 kb in size. So if you have this problem, just look for this particular file and that's the entire adventure in one PDF.

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Belle Sorciere wrote:

I think The number is much lower than 50% although I forget the precise percentage. But most certainly half the population doesn't experience the kind of ideation that got me diagnosed with severe mdd. I believe half or more think about it at some point like Generic Villain said, though. I have been surprised every time a therapist brushed it off or tried to shame me for it.

Also, Generic Villain, I've had the experience of a therapist dismissing my stated thinking in favor of her theory. It's pretty frustrating.

Also years of chronic pain dismissed as anxiety. Fun times.

I think you're spot on to your first point. The idea of "maybe I should kill myself" is probably close to universal. Far fewer of us have that thought on a weekly or even daily basis, however.

And I have to say as a gay man whose friends are almost all straight dudes... I still have so much sympathy for women. Like, I have very little interaction with you double-X types in a social context and none in a romantic one, but it's still so glaringly obvious to me that ladies get the short end of the stick. If they're lucky. But that's another matter I guess...

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Cthulhusquatch wrote:


I will take the time to say another option is that he planned it for 3 years.. learned how to maximize the casualties.

Not sure that is any better.

I seem to remember one of the Paris attackers used to hang out at gay clubs too.

It's such a recent event and I think it will be a long time before we have a clue what happened. Mental illness, self-radicalization, hatred of gays, a combination of all three, something else entirely. Who knows. The truth will out in time.

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Cthulhusquatch wrote:

Latest news on Orlando out of the LA Times even is that the shooter may have been a Pulse regular.. and a user of Grindr and other apps.

So.. there may be a bit of self-hate going on.

So you're saying we live in a society where an appreciable minority (majority?) thinks homosexuality is wrong, and the people who are gay might just experience such profound self-loathing that they either put a gun to their head and pull the trigger, or even worse, do what this guy did?

Perish the thought...

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So on March 14th, 2016, "pastor" Kevin Swanson gave a real impassioned speech about why and how we should kill America's gays. Right after he left the podium, then-candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and Bobby Jindal took the stage.

So to any far-right socially conservatives who feign shock at this: sorry, but your little act is fooling no one. They have been advocating for and cheering the deaths of gays for quite some time now, and this is exactly what they wanted. Mission accomplished for Cruz and his ilk.

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Belle Sorciere wrote:

I've said several times I was considering suicide to therapists, and the responses have varied from brushing it off (this therapist said 50% of people in the US have suicidal ideation, which I know is a lie) to trying to shame me out of suicidal ideation but only succeeding in silencing my attempts to explain my problems and eventually firing the therapist. Once during intake someone took me seriously enough to ask if I thought I was a danger to myself and basically said she had a crisis team ready to handle me if I was likely to attempt suicide within the next few days.

I've had fairly constant suicidal ideation over the past 20 years, and suicide attempts going back to when I was 12 years old, so I'm always kind of surprised and saddened when a professional doesn't take that seriously.

Sigh. Yeah, I guess I aught to have said health providers SHOULD always treat someone talking about suicide as a big deal.

I can relate with you a bit on your frustrations with therapists. I remember one time telling a psychologist or therapist exactly why I did something (specifics don't matter), and she outright said "I think you did it for this other, totally unrelated reason." I was like really? So you're completely ignoring what I JUST said, when I've shown no predilection for lying, and replacing it with your own theory? Fuc... freaking fascinating! I was 15, had just attempted suicide, and was in a psych ward.

No, I'm not still bitter about it at all! :D

As for your former therapist's statement that 50% of those in the U.S. have suicidal ideation, I totally believe it... but only if by that they meant that half of Americans have thought about suicide at least once in their life. It's one thing to consider it at some point - everyone whose been a teenager can likely relate - and an entirely different matter when those thoughts become your constant companion. Two hugely different situations there.

And if you happen to be a woman, congratulations! You're a solid candidate for having your issues waved off as "hysteria lol." Guys on the other hand, get the "men are tough and need to suck it up" thing. Obviously not all, or hopefully even most, healthcare providers believe this outdated and potentially dangerous crap, but research has shown that a statistically significant number just might.

*EDIT: Felt like I needed to show my work a bit for that last statement.

"Experts say more women than we know walk out of doctors' offices feeling that their symptoms haven't been taken seriously. They are told that their complaints are all in their heads or that everything will be fine if they would just stop worrying."

"Empirical evidence shows that low treatment rates [for depression] for men cannot be explained by better health, but must be attributed to a discrepancy between perception of need and help-seeking behavior. It is argued that social norms of traditional masculinity make help-seeking more difficult because of the inhibition of emotional expressiveness influencing symptom perception of depression."

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SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:

It is fodder for those types. Who completely ignore the fact that by that logic virtually everyone important in Egypt looked exactly the same.

It's simultaneously both annoying and hilarious that some people never get it into their heads that ancient art does not have to be any more literal than art made today.

It's classic confirmation bias. People pay attention to the stuff that supports their beliefs, and ignore any evidence to the contrary. And when I say "people" I mean everyone else, because I don't do that. Pretty sure I'm the only one though.

But seriously, I think another major factor is that modern humans vastly underestimate ancient humans. It's like, our brains haven't changed much in 10,000 years - we were as smart, creative, and curious then as we are now. According to the OP's article, apparently iron work was occurring earlier than commonly accepted. That alone is a pretty big deal. Imagine all the stuff our ancestors knew/did that we still haven't unearthed.

(Obviously I'm referring to the well-established and legit pyrmid power)

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GM_Beernorg wrote:
Tis indeed, owww Akhenaton, haven't heard that name in a while.

Everyone loves Tut, but I think his father was way more interesting. Akhenaten attempted to transform Egypt into what was probably the first ever monotheistic religion (though Zoroastrianism might have it beat), and a lot of his portrayal in art is strikingly different than the typical Egyptian style. He looks downright weird.

I'm not an aliens did Egypt guy, but Akhenaten's artistic representations could certainly be fodder for those types. And if Akhenaten was an extraterrestrial, it'd explain where Tut got his nifty dagger.

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Krensky wrote:
Well all they did was make note of my Prozac prescription and make an appointment for therapy. It's been close to two decades, so I might have said no, that would etc. My words are fuzzy, their reaction is what stuck in my mind.

Yeah I don't know what your situation was obviously. Just confirming that the moment you say "I'm thinking of suicide," that's going to be a big deal for doctors. And rightfully so, I'd add. One of the primary warning signs of a suicide attempt is someone saying they are considering killing themselves. Intuitive enough I guess.

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Krensky wrote:

Well, I will say that back when I was severely, clinically depressed the bit the seemed to shock the intake nurse out of, not indifference... I'm not sure the right term, but sit bolt upright and really focus was when they asked if I had thoughts of killing myself I said something along the lines of: "Yes, but that would make the pain stop."

Norman idea if it was just weird or was some sort of red flag.

If you say that you're thinking of committing suicide to any health professional or police officer, they are required to take action. That's why the confidentiality that exists between a psychologist/iatrist and their patient has one very important exception: if the doctor believes you may be a harm to yourself or others. They are required by law to treat that as a very serious matter and must report it to the proper authorities and otherwise act as if it were legitimate threat.

So to answer your question, yes. That was a huge red flag.

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Goth Guru wrote:

In an episode of The Blacklist, Red says that all suicides are like a suicide bomber. You don't solve your problems, you make a bigger mess that others have to deal with.

I think about suicide pretty frequently - another common schizoid personality trait. It's evolved from depressing, overly dramatic thoughts to simple pragmatism. In fact, I'd say it's become a coping mechanism. A healthy one? Perhaps not, but when things become very stressful, the thought of a way out is actually like an emergency pressure release valve. I've heard that people who cut themselves without suicidal intentions do so for similar reasons.

Anyway, to your point, the thing that keeps me from pulling the proverbial trigger is first, I don't own a gun and I likely never will precisely so that trigger remains proverbial. More importantly, I know that I would only be devastating the lives of the people that cared about me.

I don't believe in past lives, or afterlives. I think our time as conscious beings capable of experiencing the world is preceded by, and proceeded by, insensate oblivion. That consideration is actually another comfort for me. Which is to say, I'm here and aware very temporarily, so may as well see how long I can go.

And hey I might be wrong. I hope I'm wrong. Just pretty sure I'm not.

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Insane KillMaster wrote:

I know, but I was thinking: "what if I could trade problem/disability X, for a problem/disability that cause me less trouble?" instead of "being normal".

Ah okay, sorry then - mistook your meaning.

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Thomas Seitz wrote:


I meant that even as a low level loser, he's always messing with stuff beyond his understanding. So to see him involved in this, not that surprising.

On that I agree entirely. He's custom-made for, as Adam Daigle said, doing something just incredibly stupid on a Lovecraftian scale. I'm just surprised he'd be a villain this late in the AP. I figured he'd have met a gruesome end much sooner. Guess he's "lucky."

Regardless, very much looking forward to this AP.

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Belle Sorciere wrote:

* And I kind of wonder about the phrasing of "drugging people" given how much stigma psych meds have despite what they do for people. I am more functional thanks to psych meds than I would be without them, and I certainly don't feel "drugged."

Yes, this! This so much. My meds allow me to cope with my issues, as do mental exercises learned from therapy. I'm not wandering around in a drugged stupor (unless the "meds" I took were of a different variety... hehe). The important thing is to match the right meds with the right person, because not every medication is right for everybody.

Psych meds are not a matter of "take this and you will become a new and different person." I have heard anecdotally that they can cause dramatic personality changes, but it is in those cases wherein the meds need to be changed. There was a huge scare in the 90s/00s about antidepressants causing - directly or indirectly - adolescent suicide attempts. Like so many scares, this one was overblown and did far more harm than good. Looking back on the evidence, there does seem to sometimes be a slight correlation (though NOT causation) between starting a regiment of antidepressant meds and suicidal ideation. However, these were not the norm. They were outliers. In the same way that driving a car sometimes results in car accidents, antidepressant meds sometimes might contribute to thoughts of committing suicide. But statistically speaking, the benefits far outweigh the risks.

Alas that slight correlation was enough to set back antidepressant research and funding a great deal, while simultaneously frightening many parents enough to refuse to medicate their clinically depressed children. Very likely to those children's detriment.

Anyway, like you Belle Sorciere, I am thankful for my psych meds.

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Insane KillMaster wrote:
Generic Villain wrote:

I can absolutely relate. Except I wonder - if I were suddenly normal, how much would I still be me? Would I be happier, more at peace with the world, more able to function in a manner that society deems appropriate? Almost definitely. But at the same time, what would I lose?

A "Chose your disability/disabilities" kinda like a game?

At no point did I mention a choice or a game. It is what it is. I just wonder how much "it" has influenced who I am today.

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Thomas Seitz wrote:
Some how I'm not surprised that moron Count Lowls is involved in this...

I am. He's low-level and portrayed as a bit of a loser in Rule of Fear. Granted, levels change and I could be getting the wrong interpretation of him - that he's a sputtering idiot man child - but would be surprised if he ends up as the BBEG.

Though I have to say, in many ways he's like the Golarion version of Lovecraft himself. So I can't hate on him too much.

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One last thing I'll say about schizophrenia: I think it is the single most stigmatized mental illness in the western world. I know I've harped a fair bit about stigma, but people like me with depression and OCD have nothing to complain about compared to those of us with schizophrenia.

Here's one reason why. Let's say someone gets a formal schizophrenia diagnosis and their family and/or close friends learn about it. It is very likely those loved will be looking - intentionally or not - for signs that the schizophrenic person is having problems. And because the schizophrenic person isn't oblivious, he is going to pick up real fast that he's now under the microscope.

And that additional little stress? That one factor? It has been shown to statistically up a schizophrenic person's chances of having a major episode. Same with bipolar disorder.

So simply being around people that know about your mental illness can indirectly make you worse. That sucks just so much.

That's also why family counseling can be so valuable. Families can learn what the major warning signs are, while also learning how to not treat their loved one like he's a delicate flower or a ticking time-bomb.

Meh. Rant over.

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JonGarrett wrote:

The thought has crossed my mind that it's one of those, yes. But if it's accurate them I'm extremely high functioning. Most of the time, for example, I know that hallucinations I have aren't real, although the tactile ones are more...awkward in that regard. Although it has led to a few awkward moments when I assumed something wasn't real when it was...

Honestly, I really think the doctors simply didn't believe me and didn't want to say so. I'm 6ft 3 and not exactly skinny. I think they thought my irritation and frustration were anger or something, and that I'd get violent.

You could certainly be right about all that. I would agree with Goth Guru that a second diagnosis could be worth pursuing.

The thing about schizophrenia is that you don't necessarily need to believe the hallucinations are real. Like I said a few posts up, there's this perception that crazy people never know they are crazy. In reality, it is perfectly possible to hallucinate and know it's a hallucination. In fact, I've read that the hallucinations of some schizophrenic people are so mundane that the reason they don't recognize them as such is because they are utterly ordinary.

For example, maybe you're watching television and a family member walks in the room and you two start talking. Nothing weird there. But suddenly you remember the family member had left an hour ago, and couldn't possibly be in the room with you.

Another very common symptom is "hearing voices." And here's a cool thing (again, keeping in mind my definition of cool is... unique): I've read theories that far more people hear voices in their heads than we know.

And why is that?

Because hearing voices is the classic, telltale, stereotypical signal for being nuts*. I read a book a few years back, forget the title. The author's father was "normal" in every regard: normal childhood, normal family, normal career. Maybe a pilot? But late in his life, the father revealed that his entire life he heard these voices in his head. He never believed they were ghosts or aliens or whatever; he knew damn well they were purely in his head. But of course he couldn't tell anyone.

Anyway I'm veering off topic a bit. I guess my point is not to look to Hollywood or pop culture for an idea of what schizophrenia is or isn't.

*EDIT: Improperly so, just to be clear.

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JonGarrett wrote:

For the curious, I suffer from depressive bouts, insomnia, bouts where I lack emotion, audio, visual and tactile hallucinations (my biggest freak out was on a bus where I saw someone jump under the wheels and couldn't understand why we weren't stopping and helping) and occasionally paranoia. Thankfully, now I'm in a better place in my life they're...less. I still get all of them, but they're rarer than when I was young.

A lot of those symptoms are indicative of schizophrenia. Specifically the lack of emotion, hallucinations, and occasional paranoia. Any chance you also feel like you never know where to look? Like in a room, you aren't sure where your eyes should be? That's another one. You may want to read up on it - see if perhaps you can get some insight. Sometimes people who don't meet the criteria for a full schizophrenia diagnosis can still be considered to have "subthreshold schizophrenia," which is like schizophrenia lite.

There's also a sort of "lesser" version of schizophrenia called schizotypal personality disorder that involves what's termed magical thinking. A bit tough to explain in a few brief sentences, but again, it's something you could at least glance at.

The fact that your doctors outright wouldn't tell you a potential diagnosis sort of blows my mind. I mean I know that doctors are just as capable of being inept asses as anyone else, but still... seems like a really odd move on their part. And sounds like it borders on malpractice to me. I'm sure no doctor wants to tell his or her patient that they have cancer either, but it's better to know than not to know.

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Sissyl wrote:

Rationally, wasps are solitary. Bees are swarm animals and will go after someone who hurts one of their pals. Bees have more potent poison.

For these reasons, wasps are definitely better to deal with than bees. But phobias are not about that.

Yeah, as Cthulhusquatch said above, one frustrating aspect of phobias are simultaneously knowing how absurd they are, and yet still being so deathly terrified by them. In most cases at least.

The same goes for obsessive-compulsive disorder, and I can speak from experience about that. I know damn well that my obsessive fears, my compulsive actions, all the vacuuming, hand washing, showering - I know it's all useless. I understand logically every step of the way that I'm wasting little increments of my life that I will never get back. The same goes for people who count random objects or check to make sure the door is locked again. And again. And again.

There's this myth that "crazy" people cannot, by definition, know that they are crazy. This is absolutely not the case. There are certainly people who suffer from psychotic delusions who may fall into this category, but for a great many of us mentally unsound, we know what a mess we are. We understand exactly how not like the rest of our friends and family we are, how much our weird behavior makes us stick out like sore thumbs.

And again, that brings us back to the topic of stigma. Which in short... sucks. It sucks just a whole lot.

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I go through everything briefly, focusing on the parts that really interest me, then, when I have more time, go back to the subjects that I really liked and read them word-for-word.

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Molten Dragon wrote:

I'm deathly afraid of wasps. For whatever reason I will freeze cold in fear if I see one flying around near me. Bees I'm fine with and I've been stung several times by both bees and wasps so go figure. Weird I know.

Oh and in my house, all spiders carry a death sentence to be executed on sight and without mercy. Can't stand them.

To be a bit more on topic... as I alluded before, I see phobias as reverse fetishes. For people that have them, they are often very specific - sometimes to a ridiculous degree. So for me, it doesn't seem odd at all that you'd be a-okay with bees, yet terrified by wasps.

For what it's worth, as someone who has a mild insect phobia I find wasps way more frightening than bees. Like you I can't explain the reason. If I wanted to make some completely unfounded guesses...

-Wasps can sting multiple times vs. a bee's one-time deal.
-Wasps are more primitive looking. I believe I've read they're more evolutionary primitive as well. So maybe we're inherently creeped out by the atavistic factor?
-Bees are usually colorful, which we might subconsciously find more pleasing.
-Bees provide vital functions. They make honey and honey is awesome. But more importantly they are essential pollinators. Again, maybe we're unconsciously internalizing those factors.

Of course I'm sure there are also people who are deathly afraid of bees yet perfectly cool with wasps, so who knows? It's just one of them things that we'll likely never know. Fun to speculate about though... just as long as wasps stay the hell away while we're doing it.

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Goth Guru wrote:
Sweep the spider into a box and throw it out the window if you don't want it. You had better have a good flyswatter though.

Then it knows who you are. If it happens to be a fringed jumping spider, they are renowned for their intelligence - I think I remember reading somewhere that they were comparable to dogs? Could be wrong there. Oh and they're crazy good at jumping, as one might imply from their name. You make that thing mad and you have a powerful new enemy.

Do I even need to mention that they're from Australia?

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Aranna wrote:

Spiders are great, cute, little friends who eat up all the bugs that get inside. Well most of them anyway.

It might help that I am immune to bee and spider toxin.

I have a simple agreement with my house spiders. They stick to walls and corners and eat other bugs, and we're cool. Start crawling on my furniture or - Spidergod help them - my bed, and it's squish time.

I'm... curious how one goes about learning of a bee/spider immunity. I'm sure it's a simple enough matter, yet I just imagine you being swarmed by like brown recluses and such, then laughing maniacally as their venom does nothing and they all flee in terror. I mean that's how I'd do it, is all I'm saying.

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Scythia wrote:

I meanwhile didn't inherit his fear of bees or my mother's fear of spiders, because I took it on myself to become the fixer. I was the bee trapper and spider killer for most of my childhood.

Best way to get over your phobia is to just kill it dead. I mean I guess it's technically to expose yourself to the source of your fear, but I'm pretty sure the exposure can include like a blowtorch or hammer...

I hate bugs.

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Cthulhusquatch wrote:

Thank you.. and let me say.. you aren't going to offend me. :)

I don't have that specific water phobia you have... but enclosed areas (water or not) do have an agoraphobia potential with me.

My mayonnaise thing is something that I seriously don't get. I have been doing better. I can actually walk down an aisle with closed mayo jars.. and we currently have mayo in the house.

It's one of those things that I was always fully aware how irrational it was... but my anxiety didn't want to be rational.

This mid-life crisis I am going through has even my phobias in a weird place, I think that is still my worst.. and right now it isn't even that bad. My agoraphobia was always triggered by large groups of people... and it doesn't trigger anymore with people.

I've even been able to do some public speaking, something I have never been able to do.

That's one reason i am going to counseling. I want to see what is going on with me, and possibly even find out why I have had what seems like a major personality shift.

I've even gone from introverted to extroverted. All within the past 2 years.

I tend to be sarcastic and a little obtuse, which I know doesn't always translate in writing when there are no social cues to judge by, so I make an effort to point out when I'm not not trying to be offensive so people don't misunderstand my intent. Unless I actually am trying to be offensive, obviously. Anyway that's interesting about your mid-life shift. I mean, the brain - and thus personality - continues to change and adapt throughout a person's lifespan, but I wonder why it's worked out so well for you at this precise time? Definitely an interesting mystery. I can see why you want to pursue it.

On the topic of phobias, I have an anecdote. My Mom has always suffered from severe acrophobia (fest of heights). It's not crippling, but it's definitely limited her. Anyway, as a kid I was likewise terrified of heights. Roller coasters, overlooks, roofs, whatever - they scared me to death.

Anyway, in my late teens I went to an amusement part with a buddy and... just rode a roller coaster. And not a kiddy one. It was too long ago to recall my thought process, but I just did it. And I loved it. There was no fear, no anxiety, just exhilaration and excitement. I road more coasters that day than I had my entire life prior.

It turns out that parents can unintentionally pass their phobias on to their offspring, which makes sense when you think about it. Kids look to parental figures for cues on how to react to all sorts of situations, so when I saw my Mom just aghast at the thought of even being a twenty feet up, I internalized it. Yet, when I actually experienced it myself that all vanished in an instant. Because it wasn't ever my phobia to begin with; it was hers, and I merely followed suit because that's what kids do.

Now I'm not saying you had a parent who subconsciously imprinted a fear of mayonnaise onto your young and malleable psyche, because phobias can also be... organic I guess? Home-grown? And I didn't have any adults in my life with bug phobias, so that one is all mine. It's just something to ponder.

*EDIT: Forgot to mention I'm also afraid of bugs. Not to the degree of wet, dark, enclosed spaces, but still probably verging on phobia territory.

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Cthulhusquatch wrote:

I've always suffered from various forms of anxiety... social anxiety... many, many phobias. All undiagnosed, because I was too socially awkward to even seek out help.

I was diagnosed ADHD and ODD as a kid though.

I currently have an appointment with a counselor because I have decided to talk about my issues. Though most of my anxiety is gone... a part of what I can only call a positive mid-life crisis that has helped change my personality. The only anxiety I still have, are several of my phobias... though they are not nearly as severe.

My mayonnaise phobia is something I always joke about. But it is a serious phobia, and is my worst.

But yeah, my appointment is all a part of my general trying to improve my health.. physically and mentally. Plus since I am an non-traditional student, back in school at an older age... and I have a history of flaming out of college... the last because of agoraphobia.... taking care of my issues is best.

Well first off, sorry you were saddled with so much crap. But it sounds like you're taking the right steps.

Phobias have always interested me. I have one very specific phobia: water in dark, enclosed places. Like those rectangular filter things at pools with the flaps over them? They terrified me as a kid, and I still won't swim near them. Don't you wonder, as just a hypothetical, what your brain was thinking when it decided "mayonnaise = terror"? That's the stuff that fascinates me. Like, the brain is so impossibly complex and can malfunction in so many ways, but as someone with no shortage of quirks himself... I just marvel at how brains can end up so bloody weird.

I mean no offense at all when I say that by the way. It's just that I understand phobias involving heights, sharp objects, dogs, other things that could potentially be harmful. But there is this vast list of phobias that are by themselves inherently harmless baring a crazy series of Rube-Goldberg-esque events.

To bring up the sex topic again, I see fetishes/paraphernalias as reverse phobias. Completely inexplicable, making little to no sense whatsoever, and yet so overwhelming and powerful that they can define a huge part of peoples' lives. Much more fun though, heh.

Meh, it's late and I'm rambling. It's awesome that you're trying to work out your issues. I know I should try working on my own, but I always find an excuse not to... you've got me beat there, no doubt.

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Sissyl wrote:

Positive psychology is a great idea... So long as it doesn't take one penny from the budget of helping the mentally ill. There are so many ways of "getting a little boost". And psychotherapy is hardly free: a few hundred dollars for an hour, multiplied by whatever number of times per week,...

Oh yeah, agreed 100%. The people that need the most help are... well, the people that need the most help.

And for readers who aren't psych nerds, I should also note: positive psychology isn't New Age or substance-less nonsense. It's legitimate psychology based on tests and experiments, whose goal happens to just be making people happier. Without belaboring the point, the conclusion of some innovative tests were thus: about 50% of a person's happiness is based entirely genetics (thank you twin studies), but only about 10% is based on actual life events. The remaining 40% is a matter of how a person actively chooses to live, interpret, and experience his or her life. So if you aren't suffering from major depression but do feel down sometimes, positive psychology might be something worth looking into.

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Freehold DM wrote:
I can only think of one person I have professionally encountered for either personality disorder. The person who was schizoid had an extremely rich fantasy life with several layers of functionality, albeit poor.

I can honestly say I've never met anyone else with schizoid personality disorder. At least that I know of. I would be incredibly interested in sitting down with someone with SPD and hashing things out.

With that in mind, what do you mean by several layers of functionality? Obviously if that's confidential info I understand, I wouldn't want you to violate anyone's trust.

As for me, I *think* I have a comparatively mild case. While it's true that I have very little desire to socialize - well beyond simply being introverted - I also don't find socializing too difficult. I can do it when I need to, read social cues closely, give the proper responses etc. And I even occasionally enjoy the company of friends! I've read that other people with SPD border on being hermits. And as for my internal fantasy world, it is certainly a very important place to me and something that I cherish, but not to the exclusion of everything else. It's not all-consuming.

People with SPD tend to regard their fantasy worlds as very private, personal realms, but in the spirit of sharing and in case anyone wanted an idea of what it's like to have SPD...

I set myself up as the head of an organization, which I then go about detailing to a ridiculous degree. I write up the organization's history, it's structure, it's activities, leaders, how many agents are active and where, allies, enemies, schemes, etc. I design strongholds and cities with mapping software, then describe them in painstaking detail. I do individual NPC blocks for everyone, from the top lieutenants down to the faceless mooks.

Does this sounds like the standard process for designing certain RPG products? Because it probably is. For me though, I am also able to retreat into my artificial realm when I'm stressed, or bored, or just because I enjoy it.

The organization changes because I eventually get bored and scrap what I'm working on, then start over. Currently my thing is a hybrid of the Kraken Society from Forgotten Realms, the (amazing) Razor Coast campaign setting by Nicholas Logue, and the (also amazing) Skull and Shackles Pathfinder Adventure Path. Pirates, smugglers, drug dealers, black market wizards - all being controlled by a mysterious sorcerer who claims to be a kraken in the shape of a man, and who, despite being very much a villain, is also engaged in a cold war with the nascent aboleth empire. My group is called the Eleventh Coil. That is, kraken's have 10 tentacles/coils, so this merry band is the master's eleventh. That's super clever, but I can't take credit for it; I stole the idea from the Serpents of Scuttlecove adventure from Dungeon Magazine #147. In that case it was the Seventh Coil - slavers serving a six-headed yuan-ti.

So yeah, that's my weird little head space.

If for some reason someone wants an idea of what I mean, here's one of the entries from my past endeavor when my organization was the Night Heralds. Yes, I'm lazy and occasionally just steal other people's inventions wholesale then expand on them. Plus I flipping love the Night Heralds ;)

Stuff p2:

Manaket Cell

Location: City of Manaket in Rahadoum

Headquarters: House of Mended Thoughts

Leader: Roulon Ulmer (NE Male Human Alchemist 7; Lobotomist)

Key Members: Semfar (NE Male Human Rogue 6; Herald Spy), Roulon’s lieutenant

Other Members: 2 Herald Cultists (NE Male or Female Human Wizard 5), 2 Herald Scientists (CE Male or Female Human Alchemist 4), 2 Orderlies (CE Male or Female Human Warrior 3), 5 Herald Stalkers (NE Male or Female Human Rogue 2)

Activities: As a young man, Roulon Ulmer was a patient of the House of Mended Thoughts. Although he was never cured of his unhealthy fascinations or peculiar fits, he certainly learned how to hide them, fooling even the asylum’s dedicated healers. His “recovery,” coupled with a newfound fascination in the workings of the mind, were considered great successes. And years later, when Roulon rose to become director and owner of the very sanitarium he once called home? Even more so.
Alas it was not to be. Over the course of a year, Roulon quietly forced out, fired, or murdered all of the House’s staff, replacing them with Night Heralds. Now the asylum is a place of horrors. It only accepts the most profoundly disturbed men and women—typically supplied by Manaket’s government—and as a result the House of Mended Thoughts has gained a reputation for helping even the most hopeless of individuals. In truth its wards are prisoners, forced to endure months of dreadful experiments until they are utterly broken, then lobotomized and declared cured. These wretches may never utter another word or display emotion again for the remainder of their lives, but they also no longer pose a threat to themselves or others. And so new patients continue to arrive.
Roulon’s top lieutenant was one of his first patients, a sociopath by the name of Semfar who was brainwashed into a true fanatic. A spy and human chameleon, he has several informants in both the local government and criminal underworld, and keeps his boss apprised of important events. Semfar also leads a small ring of five pushers who specialize in drugs and poison, all supplied by the two alchemists serving Roulon.

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thegreenteagamer wrote:

I'm reminded particularly today that it sucks that the only time you can call up and get some free counseling in America is when you're suicidal.

Sometimes you're just having in general and wanting to talk to someone, but not enough to kill yourself, to where one of those hotlines would be wasting valuable time for volunteers who could be talking someone off the edge. Otherwise it's just "shell out cash or GTFO" as far as counselors in this country are concerned.

There's a bit of a schism in psychology today. Not a big one, but it's there. Basically, one camp believes that psychology/iatry exists to treat people with mental illness, while another believes that it should enrich the lives of everyone. As the director of the APA put it (and I'm paraphrasing, possibly badly), psychology is usually a thing that brings people who are functioning badly up to a normal level. He believed it could also be used to improve the lives of even "normal" people with no underlying mental issues.

The term for it is positive psychology, and the idea is simply that everyone can use a little boost now and then. Just as people attend to their physical wellness in certain ways, so too could they take care of their mental health.

I'm really oversimplifying but that's the thrust of it.

If I'm not mistaken (I so often am...) it sounds like you're in that gray area between mentally broken and normal. If that's the case, I can sympathize with you. I very often feel like I'm just going through the motions due to depression, OCD, all the rest. I certainly hope that you're able to find some relief. And everyone else too, for that matter.

For whatever that's worth.

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Belle Sorciere wrote:

I've encountered (online) autistic people and people with social anxiety who say they're extraverted, and have no reason to doubt them. I don't really know anything about schizoid PD or avoidant PD,though.

Yeah, I should have clarified a bit: introversion and extroversion are not by themselves an indicator of mental illness. Someone can be very introverted and that's fine; likewise for extroversion. What I think it interesting, is how those personality traits manifest in people who do have a mental illness. To your point, I would imagine that suffering from social anxiety disorder and also being extroverted would be particularly crummy, because the person has that extra drive to do the thing that is so difficult for them.

Freehold DM wrote:
Generic Villain wrote:
Sissyl wrote:

But... what happens when your house and the dishwasher start looking at porn...?

I googled dishwasher porn as a joke, thinking there would be funny pictures. It is not a joke. It is a thing.

And now, I am sadder for the knowing it.


Because of thatoddguy and rule 34 and no I'm not linking to it. I was actually joking though, about being sad.

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Krensky wrote:

You have just experienced the Law of Quantum Fetish Mechanics.

Although completely off-topic, this is also somehow so very, very on topic.

But hey, "Nothing human disgusts me ... unless, it's unkind, violent."

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Sissyl wrote:

But... what happens when your house and the dishwasher start looking at porn...?

I googled dishwasher porn as a joke, thinking there would be funny pictures. It is not a joke. It is a thing.

And now, I am sadder for the knowing it.

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