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James Jacobs

James Jacobs's page

Creative Director. Pathfinder Society Member. 46,457 posts (48,613 including aliases). No reviews. 2 lists. No wishlists. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 9 aliases.


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Paizo Employee Creative Director

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meir dumbrava wrote:

Hmmmm... I've been thinking about the answers to my previous questions about Divinity and so on. I'd like to refine some questions if I may:

1) While divine magic and arcane magic work the same in crunch terms, what makes them different in flavor terms? Why is healing only available to the divine? In most of it's forms? How does divine magic differs in it's ESSENCE from the arcane energies of the world? What is the source of power that the gods tap into and enable to grant their worshipers? There are certain themes in divine magic that feel different than arcane. What is the essence, the core, the source of this difference in Golarion?

I am asking since one of my characters seeks to take the "divine source" path ability, and thus gain access to divine magic, but she seeks to do so without having any connection to the gods themselves. A sort of "Thief/ trickster" of divinity. I am trying to understand divinity and arcane magic in order to try and find an interesting, flavorful and world consistent explanation and experience.

2) For the same reason, I'd like to understand the hierarchy of the divine beings better. Not their respective power levels. While that is helpful, it is a game terms approach, but I seek more of a flavor one. If A mortal, quasi or semi god wishes to ascend to the next "level", what core changes do they need to go through? What essential changes in their definition, being, makeup, spirit, soul or such do they need to go through?

In terms of flavor, and not just power, how do mortals, quasi, semi and full gods differ?

These re fantasy metaphysical questions, and I'm aware they may not be any answers. I'm asking out of interest, intrigue, and to provide my player with such an experience upon their "Ascension".

Thanks in advance,
Meir.

1) What makes them different is, basically, arcane magic is logic (aka "science") while divine magic is faith (aka "belief"). Arcane magic is Intelligence. Divine magic is Wisdom. Oversimplification, perhaps, but a good starting point.

2) And we simply don't really quantify what it takes for a god to shift power levels. That's an area of the game we want to solely keep to story and flavor. AKA: It can be anything you want it to be.

These answers are unlikely to satisfy, I fear... and while I certainly COULD go into great detail (I do have quite a lot of ideas on how this all works)... now is neither the time nor the place to go into it. I'd rather reveal that information, if we ever do, in a way that it's had the proper time to go through development and editing.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Upon learning that Disney is apparently doing a remake of Pete's Dragon I was struck with a realization: Pete and the titular dragon, Elliot, would be a pretty good representation of how a summoner and their Eidolon work, wouldn't they?
So would Jimmy Stewart and Harvey I guess.
Who are they?

Click!

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I'll go as far as to say that we'll never run out of adventure ideas, in fact. Based on the evidence that humanity has been telling stories from the start, and we're still telling stories today that feel new and exciting.


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Zova Lex wrote:
Now for something deep... was there ever a time you felt like Seelah was making a decision that might have resulted in her falling; if so, what was it and how did you handle it?

She once tried to walk along a narrow ledge after I went across, but Kyra convinced her to wait until I had some ropes set up to guide folks. Had she not waited, I'm pretty sure she'da fallen, but she's tough. She'd just get back up. But she's not all that great at climbing so she'd probably get stuck down there. It WAS pretty deep down there.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Upon learning that Disney is apparently doing a remake of Pete's Dragon I was struck with a realization: Pete and the titular dragon, Elliot, would be a pretty good representation of how a summoner and their Eidolon work, wouldn't they?

So would Jimmy Stewart and Harvey I guess.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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The Fox wrote:

Wait. I'm totally intrigued by this allosaurus bone die! So many questions...

1. How many sides does it have?
2. What does it look like? size? color?
3. Are the markings pips or characters?
4. I assume you meant that it is made from fossilized bone, how do you know that it is allosaurus?
5. Was it made in the modern age?
6. Where did you get it? Was it expensive?

Thanks! :)

1) 20

2) It's about a half-inch across, brown, with red numbers. Like this.

3) Characters.

4) Yes, it's from a fossil. I know it's allosaurus because that's what the packaging claimed and indicated. For all I know, it's made of dirt... but whatever it's made of certainly LOOKS like fossilized bone.

5) Yes.

6) Got it as a gift.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Tels wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
thegreenteagamer wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Jayson MF Kip wrote:

How often do you notice that someone on the boards is correct about some "mystery" on Golarion (IE: circumstances regarding Aroden) via random chance?

It happens now and then, but that's as much as because there's so many people out there guessing and/or reading well between the lines. No one's yet "guessed" the exact reason for Aroden's death though, I'm glad to say.
Do you realize how many possibilities you just ruled out?

Not NEARLY as many as remain.

And that assumes you believe me when I say no one's guessed correctly.

Did you lie when you said no one guessed it?

That's an excellent question! I might have. I might not have. I'm not here to make it easier for folks to figure it out, and in fact, I'm eager to take steps to make it HARDER to figure out.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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meir dumbrava wrote:

Hi James. My group has started to play in Golarion in the Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Path (No spoilers) some time ago. We learned the very basic of this world and mostly treated most stuff as a sort of "regular fantasy setting" for the time being, deciding we might expand on our study of the world if we do come to like it.

However, recently two of my players (One who is interested in fantasy religions, and one who seeks to defy the gods, maybe take some of their power, via the "Source of Divinity" universal path ability,) have taken an interest in divinity. I understood, that I have no idea how it is dealt with in Golarion! I started reading from various wikis (I don't have the books themselves), but I was wondering about the nature of divinity, faith, gods and portfolios in the world.

1) What is the nature of divinity? What differs it from Arcane magic? What's is it's source?

2) What makes a god... a god? What differs a divine being from a mortal, other than power? I know that there re 4 mortals who ascended to godhood through the Starstone trial. Are there any others? what about the non-previously-mortal gods, where do they come from?

3) What of the other divine beings? (In "divine being" I mean any being who can bestow divine power upon followers) Such as demon lords? How do they differ from the gods? Is there real distinction? Any other non-gods divine beings?

4) What of the planes? What relation do they have to divine entities? I know some demon lords for examples have their own planes, (As are the demon lords in the adventure Path, and also the mention of Iomedae herself in the 5th installment) is this the norm? What relations do the planes have between themselves?

5) What relation do divine beings have on Golarion itself? I understood there is a sort of "non intervention" clause, (Which I can't seem to find, but is important to the game) but I also understand that the god Aroden acted fairly freely on Golarion?

6) Any special laws/ guidelines/ pacts the gods follow? Any "game rules/ do-and-don't?"

Thanks in advance in shedding light on the matter. If you can't do it directly, but can point me to a (Hopefully free) source that can explain that would be great.

1) Divine magic works pretty much the same as arcane magic. ALL magic comes from the same "source" (including the upcoming psychic magic)—what makes it different is how a character accesses the magic. As a general rule, arcane magic is accessed by study and investigation, divine magic is accessed via faith and belief, and psychic magic is generally accessed from within the self. In the end, though, the differences between the three magic types is largely one of flavor; the rules mechanics treat the way those spells resolve all the same.

2) The ability to grant spells, in a nutshel, is what makes a god a god. Furthermore, the power they wield is what differentiates them from mortals. We actually don't have rules to support full-on deities, by design. So you could say, what makes a full-on deity is the fact that they DON'T have rules or stat blocks, and can thus do anything they want. Demigods are the next tier down; they are generally CR 26 to CR 30 foes who can grant spells and can be killed by powerful (or lucky) mortals and who do have stats. Below demigods are the quasi deities—these can be any CR but generally aren't above CR 25; they're things who can grant spells (often via the Mythic Adventures power of Divine Source) but are a shadow of the power of even a demigod. As for where they come from... it varies per god. Inner Sea Gods gives a lot more information on this topic; there's hundreds of deities active in Golarion, and I can't even really start to detail them here.

3) See #2 above. To reiterate... there are three categories of god/goddesses: Deity (the most powerful; this includes the core deities like Desna and Norgorber, but also many others), Demigod (the middle tier; this includes demon lords and the like); and Quasi Deities (this includes creatures of CR 25 or lower who can grant spells, such as Treerazer).

4) Most deities and demigods have realms on the outer planes. As for the nature of the planes themselves... that's also a huge topic. The Great Beyond covers the planes in a lot of detail, but barely scratches the surface.

5) The "non-intervention" clause isn't written down, but nor does it really need to be. The basic gist is that if one god comes down to Golarion to interfere, then the others will too, and suddenly ALL of the gods are directly intervening, and there's no way a mortal realm can survive being an arena where gods bicker and fight. The Gods understand this, and they thus avoid direct intervention on a mortal realm since it's an everyone loses prospect. Demigods, like demon lords, aren't bound by this rule, but then again, they CAN be killed by mortals, so going to Golarion and messing with things in person is a risk.

6) Not really; they're left to you to decide for your game. But again, Inner Sea Gods will help. For the vast majority of cases, they'll let their worshipers proxy for them in in-world conflicts.

In closing, I suspect the best book to start with would be Inner Sea World Guide. It has a lot of information about the world of Golarion, including a sizable chapter about the gods and the outer planes.

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BigP4nda wrote:
I have a character idea for submitting to PbP recruitments, I was wondering if you could tell me what APs take place heavily in the forest or jungle-type terrains.

Serpent's Skull and Kingmaker both have a fair amount of jungle and forest respectively. Jade Regent has a lot of forest in some of the adventures, particularly the 4th one. There's forest and jungle here and there in Runelords, Skull & Shackles, and Carrion Crown.

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thegreenteagamer wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Jayson MF Kip wrote:

How often do you notice that someone on the boards is correct about some "mystery" on Golarion (IE: circumstances regarding Aroden) via random chance?

It happens now and then, but that's as much as because there's so many people out there guessing and/or reading well between the lines. No one's yet "guessed" the exact reason for Aroden's death though, I'm glad to say.
Do you realize how many possibilities you just ruled out?

Not NEARLY as many as remain.

And that assumes you believe me when I say no one's guessed correctly.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Trigger Loaded wrote:

Dice time-

1: How many dice do you have?

2: What's the oldest die you have?
2a: Do you still use it? If not, what's the oldest used die?

3: What's your favourite/luckiest die? Any stories behind it?

4: What's the weirdest die you own?

5: What kind of dicebag(s) do you have? Or do you keep your dice in something else?

1) I have no idea; a rough estimate would be a hundred, I guess.

2) I still have some from the red box I got back in about 1982... but they're hardly in shape to be used.

2a) Nope; it's in bad shape. The oldest one? The one made out of allosaurus bone is my OLDEST die, but I don't actually roll it. I suppose the oldest one I still use regularly is about 20 years old.

3) I like my clear red crystal d20. I've decapitated many player characters with vorpal swords with it... including one particularly proud and arrogant PC who was convinced I wouldn't dare kill him... turns out, I would and did! Well.... not me, but the molydeus demon I sent after him.

4) The allosaurus bone die is probably the most unusual. The weirdest is probably the one that has little pictures of dinsoarus on it.

5) My main dice bag is a purple velvet one with the yellow sign on it. I have a plain black leather pouch for another set but I never use them and I'm not even sure where it's at...

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Jayson MF Kip wrote:

How often do you notice that someone on the boards is correct about some "mystery" on Golarion (IE: circumstances regarding Aroden) via random chance?

It happens now and then, but that's as much as because there's so many people out there guessing and/or reading well between the lines. No one's yet "guessed" the exact reason for Aroden's death though, I'm glad to say.

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Alexander Augunas wrote:
Who's the most beautiful male character in Golarion?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so whoever I would nominate in that role might not be the one someone else would say. BUT if someone else nominated anyone other than Karzoug, they'd be wrong.

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thegreenteagamer wrote:
Are there competing RPGs that you admire? Are there any that you could name? (I understand if you can't, given your official capacity as a Paizo rep it may be counterproductive to praise competitors.)

Call of Cthulhu. Whether or not it's my favorite RPG or Pathfinder is kinda depends on the day.

I quite like what WotC's done with 5th edition D&D.

I really admire Dread's elegance in simplicity.

I've got a lot of nostalgia for 1st edition D&D, Star Frontiers, and Gamma World.

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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
What's the climate/weather of Sarkoris and the Worldwound? Would it be similar to Numeria's except maybe hotter due to the demonic rifts?

There is no weather in Sarkoris, 'cause Sarkoris is gone. Weather in the Worldwound is super mutable and can be whatever you need, due to the influence of the Abyss.

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Veratul wrote:
What the weather like in Numeria in the winter months? How cold does it get? Does it get much snow? Is there a place on Earth that I could use as a comparison for thematically appropriate weather?

I'd look at Montana, I suppose, for winter inspiration.

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Zhangar wrote:

What's the most interesting game-related rules argument you've had with Jason Bulmahn?

Probably after a game, since I can't picture either of you stopping a game for a rules dispute.

I actually haven't had rules arguments with Jason in the context of gaming—he's actually INCREDIBLY respectful of how I choose to run the game and how I interpret the rules when he's a player, and I try to be the same when I'm his player in a game he runs.

There are plenty of game-related rules arguments we've had outside of a game that come up during the regular work day, but that's a very different situation and it's not something I'm interested in making public for various reasons.

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thegreenteagamer wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
thegreenteagamer wrote:
Did you miss my question about rules lawyers, or just skip it because it was a little silly?
I did indeed miss the rules lawyer question, I suppose.

No problem. This is a busy thread, it happens. Here ya go:

Do you ever use your corporate rank at Paizo to frustrate rules lawyers? Basically, you're at a table, you do something against the rules that you forgot about, lawyer jumps down your throat with, "you can't do that, it's a rule!" And you casually reply, "Creative Director. It isn't a rule if I say it's not."

I haven't been in a situation where I've even had to do that. Partially because I generally don't play with antagonistic rules lawyers if I can help it, but also because the folks I game with all respect the position of GM. It's not that I'm Creative Director, it's that I'm the GM. Likewise, when I'm in a game run by, say, Erik, it's that he's the GM and not that he's my boss that I"ll defer to his rulings.

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The Golux wrote:
James, have you ever used awakened animals in important NPC or Enemy roles? Do you know if they have been in any adventure paths or Modules? I had an idea of one I want to use in a game I'm running, and I was hoping to compare notes to some existing examples, and I'm curious if your thoughts on the benefits and drawbacks of them as NPCs and rival/enemy characters.

Yes, many times. I played an awakened deinonychus in my first Paizo after-work game, and in Dungeon Magazine #92 I wrote an adventure called "The Razing of Redshore" that featured a VERY high level awakened sperm whale druid as an important NPC. They're fun, especially if used in moderation so that the players don't get used to them.

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VoidHerald wrote:

Thank you for your answers.

1) Why haven't you tried to publish some of your unpublished work? Do you even intend to publish some of them one day?

2) If you were to give an antipaladin code for Nocticula what would be the main tenets?

3) How do Demodands and Qlippoth see one another? Do the latter hate them just as much as demons or do they simply ignore them?

4) If a mythic character dies and is turned into an outsider, does he becomes a mythic version of that same outsider? Or does he becomes a completely unique being like an empyreal lord or something?

5) Finally, speaking of Way of the Wicked, may I ask where are with the story? I've purchased it and it looks quite fun.

1) Self-publishing is a full time job, as far as I'm concerned, because if I do this, I want to do it right. That includes hiring folks to handle the parts of the job I'm not as good at, such as the logistics and printing and layout and some of the art. I don't have the time or financials to do that at this point. Kickstarter could probably help with the money side of things, but that's a relatively recent development in the big bag of options. And furthermore... it doesn't help the time resource—managing a Kickstarter actually hurts time resources. BUT. We shall see what the future brings, I guess!

2) I'm not gonna build the whole code, but it would focus on being stealthy, not letting others know who you really are, assassinating, and reveling in your lusts.

3) They don't have a lot of reason to interact; both are relatively uncommon and their realms don't often put them in contact, but when they do encounter each other, they pretty much always end up fighting.

4) Up to the GM.

5) In the game I'm playing, we're about 75% of the way through the 2nd adventure, is my best guess.

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messy wrote:

that's not james jacobs. that's, like, half of james jacobs.

erik wrote:
He also is about 100 pounds lighter than he was when the campaign started...

wow.

that might be my favorite part of this post.

Heh, thanks! And in fact, I'm about 150 pounds lighter than when the campaign started. Woo!!!

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Kudaku wrote:
A race variant system for changelings based on hag lineage like the aasimar/tiefling/dhampir variants would be awesome! There's a bit of support for this already (hulking changeling etc), but the more the merrier. It'd be nice if changelings from different hags were a little more distinguished from one another.

I'm not sure we'll have room to expand that much on them. We'll see... but the focus of this book is more on the flavor and world context of the races rather than the rules mechanics. It's kinda the reverse of "Advanced Race Guide" in that way. Inner Sea Gods is a good sample of what I mean by a book weighted toward flavor rather than mechanics... and I suspect this book will be a bit more weighted in that way even than Inner Sea Gods.

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
As a general rule, we aren't interested in giving drastically different stat modifiers within a race's different ethnicities.
Does this mean aasimar and tieflings won't get their 6 different ability modifier spreads? Or will they fall out of the "generally" category and be the exception?

Aasimars and tieflings are, in my opinion, not one race but several. It never made sense to me why a tiefling with demonic blood would be functionally the same as one with devil blood. Furthermore, by spreading out into different specific races, we put a unique Pathfinder spin on these concepts and that helps us step away from the versions created by TSR, which is also good.

Put another way, the various tieflings and aasimars are NOT ethnicities, but are in fact separate races. There's not going to be enough room in the book to devote all the info we did to them in their 32 page books, so the main tiefling and aasimar sections will indeed mostly talk generally about them without getting into the specifics, but as of the time I'm writing this, the plan is to have all their mechanical variants in the book.


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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Did you ever build blanket forts when you were a kid?

You had blankets as a kid?

Lucky.

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Thomas LeBlanc wrote:
James, what is your favored bit of awesome from Unchained? I like the consolidated skill list + background skills the most. The redone classes are a close second.

I like the redone rogue... and that's actually the only part of Unchained I've really read yet. Haven't had the opportunity to look into it much more. Been pretty busy with Adventure Path stuff, to the extent lately that when I do get time to do something else... it's not Pathfinder stuff I wanna do, unless it's actually PLAYING the game or RUNNING the game, neither of which is a great time to sit down and read a book...

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xavier c wrote:
If you could add 25 gods from the Forgotten Realms setting to the pathfinder setting who would those be?

I wouldn't. That'd make Golarion into a weird Golarion/Forgotten Realms hybrid that would do neither setting any favors.

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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:

I'll assume you've played some 1st Edition in your time - did you ever manage to successfully roll psionic powers? If so, who was/were the character(s) and what did they get?

Do you have any noteworthy opinions on psionics (which edition's vision of them you liked best, your appraisal of the Dreamscarred psionics that seem to be so popular, what significant differences you might take in your approach were you to design your own psionics system, etc.)?

I started playing the game in 1981 or thereabouts, and so yes, played 1st edition for nearly a decade. I was the DM for those games about 95% of the time, and never really had a character who played through more than a few sessions though. One or two of them likely had psionics, but again... I never played them enough for any of the characters to remain lodged in my head.

With the exception, I guess, of Claude Shazziprux, a gnome with a Wisdom of 3 who carried around an arquebus and made a LOT of spur-of-the moment and unwise decisions that seemed to always end up working out weirdly well in the end. He wasn't psionic though.

I've ALWAYS loved the flavor of psionics, and as a kid I loved the random element of psionics and how they felt like superpowers. AKA: I loved how unbalanced and over-the-top they were in 1st edition. As I grew older, I grew increasingly to not enjoy the way they worked, particularly in how they did the same basic things that spells did but used an entirely different system. I played a cleric/psionicist halfling worshiper of Eilistraee in a Forgotten Realms campaign in college, which used the 2nd edition psionics rules... and it was VERY frustrating juggling two different game systems, essentially, with the cleric spells and psionic powers clashing in resource management and all that. She was a really cool character, but the game mechanics got increasingly cumbersome.

With 3rd edition's take on psionics, I'd finally more or less grown tired of the power point mechanic, particularly in how it changed the way the game was played and encouraged the dreaded 15-minute adventuring day trope, since psionic characters were encouraged to nova and use ALL of their resources up in one encounter to achieve things that other characters simply could not. Every 3rd edition game I was in where there was a psionic character, INVARIABLY the psionic character was played by a very skilled optimizer player who proceeded to dominate the game and essentially ruined the play experience for me, whether I was a player or a GM.

All of which is why I'm so delighted with what we've come up with for psychic magic in the upcoming Occult Adventures!

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Luthorne wrote:

1) What's the most evil thing a character of yours has done in a game? And what (if anything) were the repercussions?

2) What's the biggest thing a character of yours did that should have had big repercussions for them, but they managed to successfully either cover up or pin the blame on someone else so they got away with it almost completely?

3) What's the biggest sacrifice a character of yours has made in a game? And why did they make it?

1) My Way of the Wicked character, Bezlarue, is in the process of corrupting a nun of Mitra, and plans on sending her back to her convent to ruin it from within, but that's a long-term goal that hasn't yet seen fruition. Most of my characters are NOT evil, and so there's not a lot of good choices here for me.

2) My character Shensen managed to subvert an entire Thayvian enclave in the middle of Thay, and more or less became the "power behind the throne" for the enclave and was moving on to set her sights on Thay's government next before I had to finally bow out of the campaign.

3) I had a bard character whose name I now forget who basically left the party and the campaign rather than continue to associate with a group of PCs who were shady and mostly evil. He pretty much had to sacrifice his safety to do so, since him leaving the party filled them with anger and suspicion such that they tried to track him down to kill him. He did manage to get away though in the end. My replacement character was a sour-faced ranger whose favored enemy was human... which happened to be what most of the other PCs' races were... although I don't think the other players ever picked up on that...

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Zhangar wrote:

Azlanti have a shockingly high rate of mutation.

Considering the Azlanti were designed by the aboleths - is that high rate of mutation a glitch or a feature?

I'm not sure we've ever actually said "Azlanti were designed by aboleths." I think that's something a lot of people just assume.

In any event, the aboleths themselves are certainly all about mutating and transforming things to serve them better. The fact that the Azlanti have been around for thousands of years more than most other ethnicities only means they've had that much longer to evolve and mutate. It's not a factor so much of their ethnicity as it is just a sheer factor of time.

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Ashkar wrote:
I'm a bit confused about skulks. In RotR AP it's said, that the surviving citizens of Xin-Shalast evolved in them. So, are other skulks in Golarion descendants of people, caught in similar situations after fall of the Starstone?

Xin-Shalast has been around 10,000 or so years. That's PLENTY of time for skulks to spread out across the Inner Sea region and to forget their shared history and now be isolated pockets scattered throughout the land.


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Kendrosthenes wrote:
Merisiel Sillvari wrote:
Kendrosthenes wrote:
Merisiel Sillvari wrote:

Thanks for proving my point that half-orcs are good at giving me reasons to hate them!

STAB

Did you hear the joke about the blind half-orc that walked into a bar?

Ummmm... nooooo?

...narrows eyes...

That was the joke.

You tell jokes like Seelah.


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Kendrosthenes wrote:
Merisiel Sillvari wrote:

Thanks for proving my point that half-orcs are good at giving me reasons to hate them!

STAB

Did you hear the joke about the blind half-orc that walked into a bar?

Ummmm... nooooo?

...narrows eyes...

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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The Doomkitten wrote:

1) Did you know about these?

2) Can you imagine the devastation a Large sized one would wreak?
3) Can you build a Large sized mantis shrimp using Pathfinder rules?

1) Of course I know about them! How could I not? ;-P

2) Yes.

3) I can. Will I? No plans yet, but it's been bandied about dozens of times...

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Alexander Augunas wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
If you'd been able to use material from the 3.5 Tome of Magic (which I for one dearly love) in Pathfinder, how might you have altered/upped it for the Pathfinder system, and how might Pact Magic/Binders, Shadow Magic/Shadowcasters, and Truename Magic/Truenamers have shown up in the Golarion setting?
By rebuilding the classes entirely with more options that clove more closely to tradition rather than making stuff up out of the blue I guess. Not gonna go into exact design mechanics though. That's way too much work.

Fun factoid: Almost all of the "weird vestiges" in the pact magic section of Tome of Magic are actually based on the 72 demons of theLesser Keys of Solmen the Wise.

What sort of entities on Golarion do you think would make good vestiges?

I understand that. In fact... one of them, Chupleclops, was from one of my own nightmares.

It's no coincidence that the binder was one of my favorite classes as a result due to the fact that it pulled from both real-world mythology and from in-game mythology. My problem there was that it did so with such a scattershot way. I think it would have been a stronger class if they'd tied it to specific game worlds, in the same way clerics are tied to specific game world pantheons.

Aroden would, of course, be the obvious vestige, as would any of the various dead gods in the setting. So would ancient heroes like Savith, ancient villains like some of the runelords, or even dead monsters like Kazavon or Ulunat.

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Kajehase wrote:
Do you know if it's a conscious effect of the art orders that Jirelle looks like she's having the time of her life in every depiction of her published so far?

Part of her personality. Her original illustration carries that expression and joy in it, and so our other artists pick up on it.

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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
What is your opinon on Qadira Genie Kabobs?

Eating things that can dress themselves weirds me out.

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Alayern wrote:
What is your opinon on Qdoba Mexican Grill?

Better than Taco Bell. Not as good as Chipotle.

If on the scale of things 1 is McDonalds and 10 is Herb Farm... I'd put Qdoba at about a 3.

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Dragon78 wrote:
I see that but it doesn't say what racial traits swim and aquatic/amphibious replace plus you would think they would get different racial mods and some different racial/cultural abilities that fit there environment and culture. Maybe this book will cover that and actually give some information on them.

What's in there about aquatic elves is indeed all there is, mechanically, for the baseline aquatic elf. They have the same stat mods and all that as regular elves, just with the differences listed on that page.

That said, I do agree that we've fallen down again and again and again in providing info for the aquatic elves. There'll be a LITTLE bit about them in this book... not a lot, a little.

As a general rule, we aren't interested in giving drastically different stat modifiers within a race's different ethnicities.

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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:

Given that, as I understand, you dislike Dwarves as we've largely come to be familiar with them, what alternative vision of Dwarves from a source outside your own work (literature, film, tabletop games, or computer/video games) of which you are familiar would you say you like best, or think shows the most promise as a strong alternative to "typical" fantasy Dwarves?

Might we expect more subraces for non-Humans, the way the FORGOTTEN REALMS has its array of substantially different Dwarven/Elven/Halfling subraces?

I'm quite fond of the Dragon Age dwarves, frankly. The fact that they're sort of a matriarchy and there's a lot of profanity helps disrupt the version of dwarves that I'm bored with.

That said... fans of dwarves seem to be REALLY passionate about them for all the reasons I dislike them, so I'm really not interested in trying to rob their joy just to make something I'm not a big fan of more appealing. After all... if I made dwarves into something more appealing to me... they'd be a LOT like gnomes or halflings. And it turns out? We have those already. No need, then.

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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
What would plop out of a nightmare that farted too aggressively?

Mud elementals.

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LazarX wrote:
Have any characters or classes or scenarios been inspired by a single piece of character art?

Merisiel.

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Mystic_Snowfang wrote:
Is it wrong to give Catfolk catnip?

No more so than to give a human pot.

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Kalindlara wrote:

Speaking of Mummy's Mask, I've been working with one of my players on his character concept. He's interested in an "honorable" necromancer who uses speak with dead to acquire permission from the dead for the use of their bodies (when doing so at all - not his primary focus). Obviously, this is tricky in Golarion.

1) Is there any way for this to be non-evil? Not necessarily good, but at least not evil.

2) Does specifying "temporary use" help with the moral issue?

3) Is controlling undead, rather than creating them, more acceptable in this regard?

4) Can the moral issue be offset by other actions? For example, creating/controlling/allying with undead to find their killers/tomb robbers, then putting them to rest? Plus being generally moral and righteous the rest of the time.

Thank you! :)

1) Not in my opinion. Undead are evil, and the idea of a character who uses speak with dead to "acquire permission" is at best LAWFUL evil. It's flawed as well, since that spell lets you talk to the body and it's memories, not the actual soul. So you're not getting permission at all from the part of the living creature that actually gets agonized and wrecked and ruined by the process of being turned undead.

2) No.

3) Yes, but still a slippery slope.

4) I suppose so. It'd depend on the GM. In my opinion, controlling or animating undead is a LAST RESORT option for non-evil characters, and for good characters it should be the type of option that even then agonizes and causes distress. Seek out atonement afterwards.

All of these issues go away if you're comfortable getting rid of them in your game, of course. Just as you can decide that fighters in your game gain 4 skill ranks per level, or that bards can retrain their skills each time they gain a versatile performance, or that orcs look like pig men, or that Thor is a core deity... how undead work in your game is up to you. But when you ask me, it's my responsibility to reply with the "On Golarion, it OFFICIALLY works like this..." because the internet does not work well with exceptions, and I'd really rather not confuse future possible writers for our products on the topic.

Because the game NEEDS to have some things in it that are, for lack of a better term, irredeemably evil. There's plenty that CAN be redeemed and all that, but the game needs some things that generally can't be twisted into agonizing morality plays. Don't get me wrong... moral choices and ethics conundrums are fun... but they get old and frustrating VERY fast. Especially if they're relentless.

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Icyshadow wrote:

1) Do Desna and Pharasma get along well? I do not recall mentions of the relations of those two being present in any of the books thus far.

2) Would you say that those two deities are the main ones for prophetic visions? I recall Desna's followers having dream visions that can tell of things to come, while Pharasma actually has "Prophecy" in her portfolio.

1) They're pretty ambivalent toward each other. No rivalries, no alliances.

2) Any deity can be a "main one" for prophetic visions... but not so much in modern Golarion at all.

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LazarX wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:

Very nice, and somewhat surprising - given the characters you're most associated with, I expected a Dervish Dance-based fighter. :)

As someone planning to run it within the year... what has been your favorite or most interesting moment of Mummy's Mask thus far?

Thank you! :)

The "dervish dance" type character is one that I play a lot. One of the big goals for me with Asenath, as put before me by Rob, in fact, was to play a character who WASN'T too similar to my other types of characters. And that meant not building a Dexterity build fighter. Instead, I went for a sword and shield type character who's all about strength and defense, really. High hit points, high AC.

My favorite moment in Mummy's Mask so far was when Asenath managed to convince Idori, via diplomacy, in the heat of the last battle to switch sides and thus saved the party from a possible TPK by overwhelming forces. She was intrigued by Idori, since she'd not yet met any other elves, and wanted to get to know her better and talk about elf stuff, but she left town soon after I paid her off the money I'd promised her for switching sides. In part because the other players in the group were all prickly and bristled at the idea of making friends with and/or redeeming an enemy. Heavy sigh.

Could it be because they were looking forward to looting her stuff?

They're all spellcasters. She was the NON spellcaster in the group, so I doubt it. I think it was more along the lines of intolerance and short-sightedness, and from Asenath's semi-paranoid low-self-esteem angle, because they don't like her.

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VoidHerald wrote:

1) After reading Iron Gods, I have been wondering... is Unity's name a Fallout easter egg?

2) Where do dead gods go? For example if Aroden has been judged, then does it mean his godly petitioner can be found on Axis?

3) How do you rate the Runelords on the evilness scale from "power hungry wizard" to "absolute monster"?

4) The relics are Kazavon are all needed to revive the Wyrm, but each has a specific method of destruction. Does it mean if one is destroyed, then Kazavon can never be revived?

5) Finally, if you were to do a time traveling AP, which I have read won't happen, what periods/events do you believe would give the best roleplaying opportunities?

1) No. "Unity" is actually the name of a creature from a short novel I wrote back in high school and college but never published. It was a disembodied malevolent intelligence that survived the previous big crunch of the universe but got itself trapped inside of an asteroid when the next big bang happened, and then a group of space miners accidentally started letting it out and it got into their robots and computers and began to rework the human miners into cybernetic slaves so that it could expand itself back into an overmind that wasn't just stuck in a rock. And it had done this cycle countless times through countless universe incarnations. This was back in 1990–1992, before even Fallout 1 came along. The name itself is hardly a stretch to see duplicated, though, since it's a real word. But yeah, when I was casting about for a name for the AI in Iron Gods, I went with Unity because it was, in a lot of ways, the exact same thing from my unpublished novel.

2) It's different for every dead god. Dead demon lords, for example, become petrified into the walls of the Abyssal layer of the Rift of Repose... UNLESS they're killed by Nocticula, in which case they become new islands in her realm. Those are just 2 examples. Others exist, but we don't reveal them generally until and unless a story needs said revelation. We have no plans to EVER reveal what happened to Aroden though. The Gods DO get judged by Pharasma, though... they just don't follow the same results as mortal souls. What does happen? Unrevealed, and likely to stay that way.

3) I have no context for how that scale works, so I can't say.

4) It means that that method of reviving won't work for Kazavon, but that other methods that aren't yet revealed might.

5) Depends 100% on the nature and interests of the individual GM and his/her players. I'm not gonna pick one, because I don't want to set ANY false expectations that it's something I've got planned. Even if I DO have something planned.

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Kalindlara wrote:

Very nice, and somewhat surprising - given the characters you're most associated with, I expected a Dervish Dance-based fighter. :)

As someone planning to run it within the year... what has been your favorite or most interesting moment of Mummy's Mask thus far?

Thank you! :)

The "dervish dance" type character is one that I play a lot. One of the big goals for me with Asenath, as put before me by Rob, in fact, was to play a character who WASN'T too similar to my other types of characters. And that meant not building a Dexterity build fighter. Instead, I went for a sword and shield type character who's all about strength and defense, really. High hit points, high AC.

My favorite moment in Mummy's Mask so far was when Asenath managed to convince Idori, via diplomacy, in the heat of the last battle to switch sides and thus saved the party from a possible TPK by overwhelming forces. She was intrigued by Idori, since she'd not yet met any other elves, and wanted to get to know her better and talk about elf stuff, but she left town soon after I paid her off the money I'd promised her for switching sides. In part because the other players in the group were all prickly and bristled at the idea of making friends with and/or redeeming an enemy. Heavy sigh.

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Varisian Wanderer wrote:

Hi James!

Baba Yaga has an ability called Forceful Presence (Ex) which allows her to add her Charisma modifier to her AC and saving throws, and she uses her Charisma score in addition to her Constitution in determining hit points. It increases her CR by +1.

1) If her main casting stat had been Charisma instead of Intelligence, do you think this would have increased her CR by +2 instead?

2) Based on the above, what CR adjustment would you assign to the ability below for a NPC sorceress villain I'm designing (actually inspired by Iggwilv a bit!)?

Profane Beauty (Ex) The sorceress adds her Charisma modifier as a profane bonus to her Armor Class and on all saving throws, and uses her Charisma score in addition to her Constitution score when calculating hit points. Those looking directly at her take a -2 penalty on saving throws against any enchantment spells and effects she casts, and on attack rolls against her.

Thanks for any thoughts you have!

1) No. Because honestly... we gave her that ability to make her stats hit the CR she was supposed to be at. The CR increase is actually something that happens AFTER that, if that makes sense. CR is almost entirley JUST a measure of where a creature's hit points, AC, attacks, damage, saves, and save DCs line up on table 1–1 of the Bestiary, and for NPCs, it's often VERY DIFFICULT to hit those numbers. It gets tougher the higher level you get. That's why you so often see NPCs wearing rings of protection, amulets of natural armor, and the stat boosting items—they have to have them in order to hit their expected CR numbers. Since NPCs don't really ever go above CR 25 on their own... if we do a character with class levels much above CR 25, as in the case of Baba Yaga, we have to invent new thing for them so that they'll hit their higher numbers. So... Baba Yaga's Forceful Presence ability is entirely ad-hoc design specifically to get her numbers close. Had we decided to key it off of her Intelligence, we would have adjusted her Intelligence so that it would result in those same numbers for her CR, and thus it wouldn't change her CR at all. That said, we would have also changed the name of the ability, since Intelligence has nothing to do with your presence.

2) Build the NPC sorcerer as you normally would. Give her the treasure she needs. Her CR should be equal to her class levels –1, assuming she's a human. Now, decide what CR you ACTUALLY want her to have. Adjust her Profane Beauty ability so that it makes her AC and saves and hit points hit the expected numbers for that CR. If you don't want her CR to be any higher than her base CR of sorcerer level –1, then this ability doesn't adjust her CR at all assuming it only raises her AC, saves, and the like up to where that CR should be (since chances are VERY GOOD that a sorcerer of any level will have hp and AC and saves far below what Table 1–1 expects a creature of that CR to have).

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LazarX wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

Are you using the Unchained stamina pool options for your fighter, JJ? I'd like to see the base build. Do you have the character sheet online?

==Aelryinth

Nope. Not interested in the stamina pool stuff.

And nope; her stats aren't online. I kinda want to post them just to rile folks up, since she's a fighter who just spent her 4th level ability score to raise her Charisma by +1.

DO IT, please. There's no better entertainment than watching dedicated CharOps choke in apoleptic fits. :)

Fair enough. Here goes:

Spoiler:

Asenath Mercadicus
Female elf fighter 4
NG Medium humanoid (elf)
Init +2; Senses low-light vision; Perception +1

AC 20, touch 11, flat-footed 20 (+6 armor, +1 deflection, +3 shield)
hp 50 (4d10+11)
Fort +6, Ref +1, Will +2 (+3 vs. fear); +2 vs. enchantments
Immune sleep

Speed 30 ft.
Melee adamantine heavy flail +8 (1d10+4/19-20) or
Masterwork cold iron scimitar +9 (1d6+5/18-20)
Ranged Masterwork longbow +5 (1d8/×3)

Str 16, Dex 11, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 13
Base Atk +4; CMB +7; CMD 18
Feats Power Attack, Run, Shield Focus, Weapon Focus (scimitar), Weapon Specialization (scimitar), Weapon Versatility
Traits Illuminator, Undead Crusader
Skills Acrobatics -4 (+0 to jump with a running start), Diplomacy +10, Knowledge (religion) +4
Languages Common, Elven
SQ armor training 1, counter swarm, desert runner
Combat Gear potion of bull's strength, potion of cure light wounds, potion of cure moderate wounds, silversheen, alchemist's fire (5), caltrops, holy water (2); Other Gear chainmail, scarab shield, adamantine heavy flail, Masterwork cold iron scimitar, Masterwork longbow, apprentice's cheating gloves, ring of protection +1, tablet of languages lost, backpack, bedroll, custom container, everburning torch, golden holy symbol of Sarenrae, hammer, piton, silk rope (50 ft.), sunrod (2), wooden holy symbol of Nethys, wooden holy symbol of Sarenrae, 1,327 gp, 45 sp, 6 cp

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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:

First off, thank you Kalindlara. :)

And now for a question: Do pseudodragons hoard things like their true dragon cousins? If so, what do they hoard? For some reason I imagine something like this little guy when I consider it.

I suspect it'd be up to the pseudodragon, but I bet the urge to collect treasure remains strong in them...

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