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James Jacobs

James Jacobs's page

Creative Director. Pathfinder Society Member. 48,195 posts (50,489 including aliases). No reviews. 2 lists. No wishlists. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 9 aliases.


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Icyshadow wrote:
I'm not exactly for nor against a Good Lovecraft deity, since I am quite sure that at least one is canon in the greater scope of the Cthulhu Mythos. You can deny their existence all you want, but they are still there.

Not everything everyone ever wrote for the mythos is equally good. A fair amount of it is pretty awful. Part of my job as Creative Director is to curate what does get into Pathifnder/Golarion, to ensure that things that aren't worth running with aren't made part of the game/world.

That includes elements of the mythos that aren't appropriate for the game.

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Kalindlara wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Inquisitor Thrace wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:

I'm scared now! Very scared ...

Aboleths go to hell. Which means that hell possess, technically, access to the Aboleth ancestral memory: this explains so much, i must say! All that dread knowledge available to imps! to imps ...
I wonder how many devils are tempted to colony drop Andoran ...
Nope; all souls, aboleths included, lose their memories upon being judged.
Does that mean that what happened with The Nightripper (a Nascent Demon Lord who retains his memories, and personality after dying) had something else at work, was a freak occurrence, or somehow skipped judgement and went straight to the Abyss?

There are lots of ways retaining your memories in this situation can happen... mostly when something else is at work.

What caused this to happen to Rictus Scroon/Nightripper is currently unrevealed, but something else was indeed at work.

There are other examples as well, coming soon.

I believe...

** spoiler omitted **

Correct. That is indeed a SIGNIFICANT plot point and theme that is explored therein.

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Imbicatus wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
As long as I'm around, I feel safe in saying we won't be publishing any lawful or good Great Old Ones or Outer Gods.
How about some of the more human-friendly Elder Gods of the Mythos, such as Nodens?

We've deliberately avoided incorporating the phrase "Elder Gods" into the game as part of the Lovecraft mythos, because technically.... ALL of the deities of our setting that aren't Outer Gods or Great Old Ones are the Elder Gods.

Nodens is from real-world Celtic myth, so if we did pull him into the game (as we've done with others like Lamashtu and Asmodeus and a few others), we'd go to real-world myth first to establish his role. I suspect we'd also incorporate some of his stuff from Lovecraft as well, making him an opponent of the Great Old Ones/Outer Gods, but I doubt very much we'd use the phrase "Elder Gods" even then.

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Tvarog wrote:

I'm sick to death of starting every new story as a pathetic dirt farmer with single digit hit points. I'm sick to death of seeing class capstones and 9th level spells listed in the rulebooks and then never getting to use them. I'm sick to death of being told "that will never happen, so stop asking for it", or "you don't really want those things you're explicitly asking for".

I don't understand the logic of making rules for something and then never giving your customers the chance to use them. I don't understand the logic of saying there aren't enough monsters to make high level APs, when there are as many bestiaries as PF has - it seems like it would be a relatively simple thing to have developers make 1 high level critter instead of 2 or 3 more variations on things we already have. I don't understand the logic of asking folks to let you know something we have already been saying for years.

I don't understand what still needs to happen for high level APs to be scheduled/produced.

I've explained numerous times (including my previous post) the many and complex reasons why the APs don't go to 20th level, and I"m not gonna repeat myself here (although I AM trying to get Hell's Rebels to give the PCs a chance to play at 18th level for the end... not sure I can make that happen but I'll try—with this AP having a slightly longer part 2 and part 4 than normal, it might just go a LITTLE further than normal...)...

But I do have a few suggestions for groups who are eager to play with the high level content. They both require your GM's help though...

Accelerated XP: Consider switching to the fast XP track, and granting your PCs more XP than the adventure suggests so that they do level up faster. They'll get more powerful, yes, so you'll need to do some extra work to make sure that the encounters stay challenging. You can fight this from the front end by requiring the PCs play characters with 10 point buy stats, or by running the game for only three players.

Move the Capstones: If you're running an AP, you know what level the PCs will reach. Tell the PCs that level is the "cap" for the campaign, and that when they hit it, their class's capstone ability kicks in. Essentially, move the capstone ability to whatever level they end at so they can use that ability in the final set of encounters. You'll need to come up with a capstone for clerics, of course, if you do this...

Boost that Final Level: Alternately, when the PCs reach enough XP to hit that final level... let them jump all the way up to 20th level. Explain it as them reaching an apotheosis of power or the favor of the gods or whatever—anything that could make you mythic, really, could also jump you to 20th level when you should only be hitting 17th, for example.

Continuing the Campaign: Take advantage of the notes we provide for every AP to continue the game on your own, allowing the PCs to keep leveling up through adventures of your own creation.

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As long as I'm around, I feel safe in saying we won't be publishing any lawful or good Great Old Ones or Outer Gods.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Kalindlara wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Neongelion wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:

A better question could be do Dark Tapestry creatures souls actually reach Pharasma?

I mean, many of those things are probably like "undying horrors", and i suspect that souls of others are more often used by others, like absorbed, transmitted, reused or simply consumed by elder abominations ...

Unless aboleth's hell is actually a thing. But if it is so, in which devils aboleth souls are shaped?

Of course they do. Yes, some of the Dark Tapestry creatures are immortal, but they can still be killed for the most part in which case their soul goes on to be judged.

The one exception I can think of is MAYBE the Great Old Ones, who don't die when you kill them. The reason why is currently unrevealed, but it may be that Great Old Ones are the only living creatures that don't actually have souls. And thus, when you kill them, they just go away or hibernate or become imprisoned for a while before they get back up.

Wait, so what does that make the Iron Gods then? If Casandalee or Unity ascends at the end of the AP, does that mean they become the first non-Old One entity to not have a soul and still have a spark of divinity?
Good question! And you're assuming that Casandalee and Helion and Unity don't have souls... maybe they do.

To be fair, the Path does indicate that Casandalee's soul (the one that accompanied her android body) has long since passed on and been judged.

Does that mean that AI Casandalee has a new soul?

Unrevealed.

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Neongelion wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:

A better question could be do Dark Tapestry creatures souls actually reach Pharasma?

I mean, many of those things are probably like "undying horrors", and i suspect that souls of others are more often used by others, like absorbed, transmitted, reused or simply consumed by elder abominations ...

Unless aboleth's hell is actually a thing. But if it is so, in which devils aboleth souls are shaped?

Of course they do. Yes, some of the Dark Tapestry creatures are immortal, but they can still be killed for the most part in which case their soul goes on to be judged.

The one exception I can think of is MAYBE the Great Old Ones, who don't die when you kill them. The reason why is currently unrevealed, but it may be that Great Old Ones are the only living creatures that don't actually have souls. And thus, when you kill them, they just go away or hibernate or become imprisoned for a while before they get back up.

Wait, so what does that make the Iron Gods then? If Casandalee or Unity ascends at the end of the AP, does that mean they become the first non-Old One entity to not have a soul and still have a spark of divinity?

Good question! And you're assuming that Casandalee and Helion and Unity don't have souls... maybe they do.

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Hiding DM wrote:

Are there any adventures or source material for The Precipice District in Absalom -- other than "Hangman's Noose" & "Black Waters"?

(Or The Inner Sea Guide?)

I don't think so but I'm hoping there are maybe one or two more PFS Scenarios in old Beldrin's Bluff; that's the one source (PFS) that I have lots of material but haven't read much of it. The Scenarios just sit idly in My Downloads.

Not that I'm aware of. We've published about 300,502,420 PFS scenarios though so there could be another one in there, I guess. I am not that familiar with them; might be worth posting that question to the PFS boards.

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Anonymous Visitor 163 576 wrote:


James, I understand that there are publishing limitations. So, what about an AP that ends at 20?

That will be huge

Yes, but only if you start at 1. Don't. Start wherever you have to, so that you hit 20 by the end. Instead of 1-15, how about 6-20?

Higher level adventurers have more options, and that means more page count.

Ok, 7-20, then. Start wherever you need to. Believe it or not, some of us are tired of first level adventurers.

One of the things that makes Adventure Paths work and so successful is that you START your characters in the AP, rather than transport them in from other adventures. Being able to build characters specifically to map to the AP's themes is important, and making assumptions about what might happen at levels 1 through 6 is dangerous.

I do believe that some folks are tired of 1st level adventures, but given customer feedback and looking at sales and play data from our products and the PFS program... well, that data tells a very different story.


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captain yesterday wrote:
Anyone else can't wait to see the cover of AP #100 based on how f~*~ing cool Shensen's new avatar looks:-)

It looks even better than that! My scimitar's all fiery and scorchy!

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Orthos wrote:
Or it was just an omission/oversight/error in Chronicles.

Not gendering the angels in Chronicles was a deliberate choice. Most angels are androgynous.

Sarenrae is a notable exception to that generalization; there are others.

The idea that when an angel falls and becomes a devil it takes on a gender role is interesting, but I'm not sure that's an intentional thing as much as a coincidence. Wes Schneider would be the one to talk to about that.

I'm not really all that comfortable with the implication that choosing a gender is an intrinsically evil choice, so my take on it is that an angel falling from heaven does NOT become gendered because it loses its goodness.

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Kalindlara wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
j b 200 wrote:
You have said that although you outlined Strange Aeons, you are not Developing it. What exactly goes into the Post-outline development of an AP?

Most of the work, including the art order and map order (which often requires the developer to redraw map turnovers—a lot of adventure writers aren't all that great at maps, alas).

The bulk of that work, though, is going through the author's turnover word by word and enhancing everything. Making sure the rules are right. Making sure the lore is right. Making sure the language is right. Making sure ties to other adventures are right. Making sure the "voice" of the adventure matches the other five adventures. And in a lot of cases, actually rewording and rewriting portions. Actually ADDING content in many cases. In the average adventure, I"d say that about 50% of the words are actually the developer's words. There are cases where that number is lower, but there are times when the developer ends up rewriting huge swaths of the adventure.

If you receive the first draft quickly enough, do you ever send it back to the author for some of those things?

Some times, yes.

Other times, we don't have the luxury of looking into the first draft in great detail, and/or the problems don't manifest until we get in there and the time it would take to fix it ourselves is MUCH less than the time it'd take to explain to the author how to fix it and then wait and then hope the author fixes it right. In these cases, it's almost always more efficient to fix it ourselves, send it on to editing/layout, and then get that feedback to the author for his/her next assignment.

And some times it's apparent that the author simply doesn't have the right skill set to do an adventure at all, in which case we'll generally fix and/or rewrite the adventure ourselves and then either find non-adventure work for the author in the future or simply not use the author in the future.

In all cases, we do pay the author for the work they do for us, regardless of how much work we do to make it fit for print. The only exception there is in the unfortunate case that the author simply fails to provide ANY usable words or ideas at all, forcing us to write from scratch at the last minute. That's happened a few times before, but thankfully not that often... and that's the main reason why, these days, we only assign Adventure Paths to authors we've worked with plenty on other products.

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Kalindlara wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:

I was going by the stat blocks, not how the deities present themselves. In Chroncicles of the Righteous, angel empyreal lords stood out from all of the other outsider types in having no gender listed at the top of their stat blocks. Agathions, archons, and azatas are invariably listed as male or female, but angels have no such information given (even if the fluff refers to the angel in question as "he" or "she" or otherwise hints at a gender).

Since I do not have immediate access to any of the books in the "Book of the Damned" series, does anyone know how demons, devils, and other evil outsiders are treated in this regard? Of course, since each such book is confined to a single outsider sub-type, the lack of such information could just as well be a style thing as a real indication that the sub-type is supposed to be sexless. On the other hand, if demons and devils are definitively listed as male or female, then sexlessness would be a unique feature of angels.

Devils are unquestionably gendered as male (except for the Whore Queens, obviously).

Demon lords are gendered, if I recall correctly.

I don't think daemon harbingers are, though.

Of course, for Hell and the Abyss, gender is a specific thematic choice. Maybe the daemons were left out because of ambivalence, or maybe their general lack of gender is intentional.

Not quite. While most devils are indeed male, some devils are usually female, such as erinyes and handmaiden devils. There are plenty of androgynous devils as well. And now and then, a female devil such as the imp in Hell's Rebels. Oh... wait. You were talking about archdevils. Nevermind.

Almost all demon lords are gendered. The Abyss and demons skew feminine, as an antithesis to Hell, with the most powerful of demons being Lamashtu and the 2nd most powerful being Nocticula, and with the Abyss itself being associated with fecundity and the creation of life.

Abaddon isn't really influenced thematically by gender at all.


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I'd call all these desperate Thrunies cute if they weren't so creepy about how they went about doing things.

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captain yesterday wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

Huh. Turns out Tammy the Lich IS evil. Mostly because a dwarf killed her pet dog.

** spoiler omitted **...

I am going to cherish that forever, you really made my day/month/year :-)

That is awesomeness:-D thank you!

Ha!

Don't thank me. Thank TAMMY. Unless you're a dwarf. In which case, watch out for TAMMY.

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Ed Reppert wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
LazarX wrote:
As a T-Rex do you have a healthy dread of lawn flamingos as this one should have?
I do not.
Hm. How do we fix that? (wanders, mumbling, through his spell book looking for a "plague of lawn flamingos" spell)

You don't. It's not something a T-Rex wants.

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Huh. Turns out Tammy the Lich IS evil. Mostly because a dwarf killed her pet dog.

Spoiler:
Tammy CR 16
XP 76,800
Halfling lich ranger 15 (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 188)
CE Small undead (humanoid, halfling)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +31
Aura fear aura (DC 24)
--------------------
Defense
--------------------
AC 28, touch 14, flat-footed 25 (+9 armor, +3 Dex, +5 natural, +1 size)
hp 222 (15d10+135)
Fort +18, Ref +14, Will +10; +2 vs. fear, +4 bonus vs. channeled energy
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +4, evasion, rejuvenation; DR 15/bludgeoning, 15/magic; Immune cold, electricity, polymorph, undead traits
--------------------
Offense
--------------------
Speed 20 ft.
Melee touch +15 (1d8+7 negative energy plus paralyzing touch)
Ranged +5 dwarf-bane conductive longbow +25/+20/+15 (1d6+4/19-20/×3 plus 2d6 vs. dwarf)
Special Attacks combat style (archery), favored enemies (dwarves +8, earth outsiders +2, humans +2, orcs +2), paralyzing touch (DC 24), quarry
Ranger Spells Prepared (CL 12th; concentration +15)
4th—freedom of movement
3rd—instant enemy[APG], greater magic fang, venomous bolt[APG] (DC 16)
2nd—barkskin, cat's grace, snare
1st—entangle (DC 14), gravity bow[APG], longstrider, resist energy
--------------------
Statistics
--------------------
Str 8, Dex 17, Con —, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 24
Base Atk +15; CMB +13; CMD 26
Feats Combat Casting, Craft Construct, Craft Magic Arms & Armor, Craft Wondrous Item, Endurance, Improved Critical (longbow), Improved Initiative, Point-blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Shot On The Run, Toughness, Weapon Focus (longbow)
Skills Acrobatics +3 (-1 to jump), Climb -1, Craft (sculpture) +17, Knowledge (arcana) +14, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +14, Knowledge (local) +11, Perception +31, Sense Motive +11, Spellcraft +19, Stealth +31, Survival +21; Racial Modifiers +2 Acrobatics, +2 Climb, +10 Perception, +8 Sense Motive, +8 Stealth
Languages Abyssal, Common, Halfling
SQ camouflage, favored terrains (abyss +2, plane of earth +2, underground +6), hunter's bond (animal companion), swift tracker, track +7, wild empathy +22, woodland stride
Other Gear +3 mithral chainmail, +5 dwarf-bane conductive longbow, greater slaying arrow, belt of incredible dexterity +2, cloak of resistance +1, headband of alluring charisma +2, 321 gp, 5 sp

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Tangent101 wrote:
Thank you for both heads ups. :) (Shame about not using the Unchained rules for the other three classes. But I can always adjust things with Hero Labs...)

That's kind of the point. If you prefer those Unchained classes, you can indeed adjust things... and that gives you the advantage of being able to adjust things in books all the way back to the start. If we were to adopt this, the Unchained changes would only start now and go into the future, and previous NPCs would be left out, which is kinda lame.

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Aberzombie wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
shadram wrote:
Question: Knowing you're a big Stephen King fan, have you read his "Full Dark, no Stars" short story book? (Well, short for a Stephen King story, anyway.) If so, what did you think? I've just finished it, and a couple of the stories have really affected me, particularly Big Driver and A Good Marriage. Both sensitive and horrifying situations handled incredibly well, I thought. I'd recommend it if you've not read it!
I have indeed read that. VERY grim and intense stuff. I've always felt that he's an EXCELLENT novelist, but he's even better in the shorter fiction format. Very much looking forward to the next collation this November!
On that note, do you have a favorite Stephen King short story? My own is a tie between Jerusalem's Lot and Strawberry Spring.

The Mist is hands down my favorite Stephen King story of ANY length. It's a bit long, and I suppose technically it counts as a novella. If you were to use that pedantry to make me pick a "LEGITIMATE" short story as a favorite, it'd be a tie between Jerusalem's Lot, Gramma, and Survivor Type.

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Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:

A better question could be do Dark Tapestry creatures souls actually reach Pharasma?

I mean, many of those things are probably like "undying horrors", and i suspect that souls of others are more often used by others, like absorbed, transmitted, reused or simply consumed by elder abominations ...

Unless aboleth's hell is actually a thing. But if it is so, in which devils aboleth souls are shaped?

Of course they do. Yes, some of the Dark Tapestry creatures are immortal, but they can still be killed for the most part in which case their soul goes on to be judged.

The one exception I can think of is MAYBE the Great Old Ones, who don't die when you kill them. The reason why is currently unrevealed, but it may be that Great Old Ones are the only living creatures that don't actually have souls. And thus, when you kill them, they just go away or hibernate or become imprisoned for a while before they get back up.

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They're not unchained monks; we made the decision to not use optional rules like that for the most part in our products (with the summoner being the major exception as regards Unchained content).

The 15 hp thing appears to be a typo that crept in after development; not sure how it happened, frankly. They should have 12 hp (maximum for first level). Sorry about that!

Chelilsh Citizen Group deaths do indeed detract from Kintargo's population, as do deaths of Asmodeans or Dottari. If you DO keep track of diminising population, those deaths count.

Kintargo's final population only really matters in adventure 4, at which point there's guidelines for how to estimate the city's population decline during the previous 3 adventures if you don't keep meticulous track of deaths... which is the best bet, because otherwise you as the GM would need to decide when incidental deaths not related to the PCs or not on-screen occurred.

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JohnHawkins wrote:

The Legend of Theseus and the Minotaur, presumably the string the hero used (or tried to use to navigate the maze) is presumably the inspiration.

Correct; it's a Theseus/Minotaur easter egg.

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Like all living creatures, they do have souls, and are indeed judged by Pharasma.

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shadram wrote:
Question: Knowing you're a big Stephen King fan, have you read his "Full Dark, no Stars" short story book? (Well, short for a Stephen King story, anyway.) If so, what did you think? I've just finished it, and a couple of the stories have really affected me, particularly Big Driver and A Good Marriage. Both sensitive and horrifying situations handled incredibly well, I thought. I'd recommend it if you've not read it!

I have indeed read that. VERY grim and intense stuff. I've always felt that he's an EXCELLENT novelist, but he's even better in the shorter fiction format. Very much looking forward to the next collation this November!

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Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
Is that a girl imp?

Sure is!

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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
In the event of porting Shackled City to Golarion, who would Cauldron be a colony of? Cheliax?

I'd retain its association with Sasserine and NOT have it be tied to Cheliax. It'd be more interesting if it had ties to one of the lost nations of the Sodden Lands and now that those lands are sodden, they're free cities or whatever.

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Caedwyr wrote:

For new players coming into the game, it might be a good idea to include some text in there indicating why they are evil or what type of evil acts are required or even typically required for the transformation into a lich. Right now other than being spooky there isn't really anything called out in the Bestiary entry that sounds intrinsically evil. Not even the insert the soul into an item, since there are other examples of not-intrinsically evil ways of putting a soul into an item.

I've looked up the 2nd edition entry on liches and it had some extra lines explaining the evil things required to become a lich. Not all players have that background and as such it shouldn't be surprising to see people asking "why exactly is this evil based on the information provided." Without rationale for something being good or evil, the labels become substitutable with Team Green and Team Purple.

New players already have a mountain of information hitting them, and the nitty-gritty details like this are not going to be a significant part of what they'll need to worry about. Something like this is more or less by definition an "advanced topic" in and of itself, really. And after all, the template DOES say "Any evil" in it, so that's pretty blatant right there.

Maybe if I had a time machine and could go back to fix the text before the Bestiary was printed, I'd double down on the evil stuff for the lich (I'd more or less assumed that the fact that it's alignment of "Any evil" was enough, but maybe not), but it's in print now and I"m really NOT a fan of constant tinkering with text each time we reprint. Fixing errata is one thing. Tinkering and fiddling with text to fix problems that aren't really problems is another.

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zergtitan wrote:
Are Merisiel and Kyra fighting a Cleric of Shelyn in a secret underground garden? I thought they would be on the same side?

Oh my no. That is most assuredly NOT a cleric of Shelyn.

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Bye, Andrew! I'll make sure to keep putting imps and six-legged monsters into things for ya... maybe even a SIX-LEGGED IMP!

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Alric Rahl wrote:

Or you could just do it now, so that we as your community can understand your world and the miniscule interactions everything has better. In fact you could probably create whole AP's around the info provided. little by little adding more and more up to a point where you feel you have taken this game as far as it can go in which you reveal how the universe ends.

I dont see how giving us this info would hurt the game at all. in fact it would probably draw more people as well due to the full richness of the Lore of this universe. You can still create ripple effects it will just be more clear to your players why these things are happening.

Do people still excitedly talk about "Lost" now that they know the answers? Nope.

I'd rather keep people engaged and excited than given them a few moments of ah HA and then watch as they wander off to look for new mysteries to vex and entice.

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Kevin Mack wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
xeose4 wrote:
Can I ask what happened to the origin story from ages ago where Asmodeus and his brother were the creator gods of the universe? I've never been sure if that was retconned out completely, or if parts of it (such as Sarenrae confronting him, Asmodeus having ancient origins, etc) are still valid.
As mentioned above, this origin story remains valid. As valid as ALL origin stories for the creation of reality and all that. They all tell different stories. Which one is "right" is left to the individual to choose. That's why it's a matter of faith and religion, and not one of history and science.
Out of curiosity though does the Paizo staff know or have an idea on which story is the most true one? Much like how they know how Aroden died (not to reveal but just to make sure anything written connected to the subject is right.)

Yes. I do. I"ve shared that information with a few other folks—both how the Great Beyond came to be AND how Aroden died. Neither is something I suspect we'll ever put into print, but both are things that have ripple effects. Knowing the answers to both of those questions allows us to include things about those ripple effects, so that if there IS some unforseen day in the future that we DO publish those answers... they'll make sense in retrospect/hindsight.

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Kevin Mack wrote:
Ah I had assumed that being a none Ap they wouldent need the Ap editors (Much as I assumed the module line dosent use them but I could be wrong on that?)

We don't have "AP editors." We just have editors who edit ALL of the lines.

We DO have "AP developers" who are in charge of outlining an AP, hiring the writers, developing each adventure, generating the art orders, generating the map orders, and all-around championing the campaign from start to finish, and it's THAT limited resource that throttles such a project the most. At this time, we more or less have two people whose job it is to be an AP developer—myself (in addition to being Creative Director) and Rob McCreary (in addition to being Senior Developer). Wes Schneider could do one too, although his job as Editor in Chief keeps him even busier than my job as Creative Director or Rob's job as Senior Developer, both of which have a lot of crossover with AP Developer and so they synergize; Editor in Chief does not so much.

Anyway, with our recent three new hires into the developer group (Crystal, Amanda, and Linda), we've finally, for the first time, got theoretical bandwidth to get more developers trained up on how to develop an entire Adventure Path. Adam will be developing the upcoming Strange Aeons AP for example. In a few years, hopefully we'll have even more folks AP Development Capable, at which point having one of them take a year off of AP Development to develop a stand-alone giant book won't mean that the AP line stalls out.

In any event, all the skills needed to pull off a 1st to 20th level campaign are exactly the same skills as those to pull off a 1st to 17th level campaign (an AP, in other words).

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...trying not to get too worked up whenever someone spells it "liche" with that extra e...

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Ian Bell wrote:
If you were going to port Shackled City to Golarion, where would you set it? My initial inclination is to put it around Sargava or the coastal Mwangi Expanse somewhere - maybe in the Kaava Lands, with Bloodcove serving as the Sasserine equivalent.

It'd be on the mainland of the Shackles; there's not a lot going on there right now, so it's a ripe area for importing.

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Myrryr wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

Even all-powerful neutral deities need to follow certain rules. Even if those rules are never to be revealed to mortals, be they in world or in real life.

In other words... it's not Pharasma's fault if a worshiper gets sent to Groetus or whatever... it's the worshiper's fault for failing. Desna, in this case, wouldn't blame Pharasma. She'd blame the failed worshiper and would understand that she didn't want that tainted soul around anyway.

Tainted?? That means then that it's something the soul does that determines it's going to be annihilated by Groetus instead of going to an afterlife?

What in the world is that?? I mean, obviously it's not just being evil, so I don't think it has something to do with alignment, but now I'm intensely curious what marks a soul for erasure.

The word "tainted" doesn't have any mechanical connotations at all. It's just a word I used to indicate that some souls of worshipers are not desirable to a deity—they want devout worshipers, not failed worshipers. It's not something the soul does. It's something the living person does while alive that is out of step with their belief.

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Kevin Mack wrote:
Just a suggestion but maybe if not an Ap then at some point in the future use that floating hardback slot (One that covers things like inner-sea gods/ Inner sea races etc) for a lvl 1-20 superdungeon/adventure?

The Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition is what a book like that would likely look like... and you'll note that book is both one of the LONGEST hardcovers we've published and still isn't long enough to let PCs reach 20th level... and it uses the fast XP track even. A brand new from-scratch hardcover adventure path type product that goes from 1st to 20th would need to be, I would guess, about 50 to 75 pages longer than Runelords, which would make it the 2nd longest hardcover we've ever published and could even result in a book larger than the Core Rulebook. That, combined with the fact that starting from scratch would require every word to be written new (rather than developed from existing text), would make it an incredibly difficult book to pull off while still doing our regular adventure path product line, considering that such a book would "poach" resources from at minimum two adventure paths in production.

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The Doomkitten wrote:
Isn't there going to be a CoC office game going on soon?

There are in fact two that I'm running.

I've been running "Masks of Nyarlathotep" VERY intermittently on Sundays here for several folks in the office + a few significant others... but haven't had a chance to run that one often at all. It happens, on average, once or twice a year... and we haven't had a chance to play it this year at all yet. :-(

The other is in better shape. Every other Thursday evening I run Horror on the Orient Express for Erik, Jessica, Jason, Wes, Tim, and Rob. We're only 2 sessions in, and I foolishly started it near the start of the convention season so I've not been able to run it for a while now... it was SUPPOSED to happen again tonight, but PAX kicked it to the side. Thankfully, I think PAX is the last disruptive convention of the year, and we should be able to get back on the train in 2 weeks.

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The Doomkitten wrote:
What has been your favorite moment in CoC so far?

I assume you're asking about "Call of Cthulhu"?

I've been playing the game for over 30 years, so I have a LOT of favorite moments. One of my latest, though, was running a game of my own design for Paizocon called "Prodigy of Death" and the group was SPOT ON awesome. They managed to "win" after a set of almost impossible dodge rolls, and survived a 1d100 san loss (I rolled a 2 on that d100) and managed to stop a particularly vile Great Old One from doing something bad... and then the way I managed to end it even creeped ME out. Good times.

Oh. And killing Erik's character with a serpentfolk death ray was awesome too, but mostly for how he reacted (and still reacts) to it.

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donato wrote:
Were there ever any plans for an AP after Savage Tide?

Absolutely. We generally had the next AP ready to go at about the halfway point through a current AP, more or less, and started brainstorming the follow-up to Savage Tide, as it turns out, a few months before we learned that we were losing the D&D license.

We called that AP by a code name: "Genie War." It went back into the hopper for a while after we switched to Pathfinder, since it was a pretty non-standard adventure idea. We wanted to lead Pathfinder AP with a familiar and classic story, so we went with Rise of the Runelords. We followed that up with another pretty familiar story with Curse of the Crimson Throne, and in Second Darkness decided to mine the nostalgia factor of drow to continue to convince folks that while we weren't doing D&D anymore, we WERE still doing that type of game.

So, by the time we got to the fourth AP, we felt safe and comfortable enough to start getting experimental again, and Genie War came back out of the hopper and went into production, eventually coming out as the much better-titled "Legacy of Fire."

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, wrote:

Hello!

Stumbled through a reading of the first book and, as the designated driver DM, I do like how things are done/presented etc.

Just a question. Might there be hints or tips or other links of 'Filling out' the Noble houses? Other than the name of the leader of each house and a brief synopsis (Right word?) I was trying to think of more details to add.

I have players who are pretty much all working Noble stuff into their back ground (The local Hell Night group has wonderful back story fluff ^^ )

So... being able to 'fluff' out the Noble houses of both allies and protagonists will add to the game.

I also realized, in talking with a freind/player, that the Gérard Depardieu movie 'Cyrano de Bergerac' has some wonderful flavor which seems inspirational towards the 'atmosphere' of Hell's Rebels. ^^

There's going to be more informaiton here and there on the noble houses as the adventures progress. Illustrations of leaders, partial maps of some locations, more info overall... but it's spread out through all the APs. One more reason why it's a good idea to, if you CAN wait, wait for the full AP to be in hand before you start. I do understand how hard it is to wait that long though before getting started...

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There's a lot of reasons why we don't do full 1 to 20 APs that much anymore, but one of them that folks might not realize is a significant factor is that it pretty much takes a developer a fixed amount of time to develop a number of pages. That number is about where the adventures are currently at. If we want to keep things on a monthly schedule (and we do!) then the actual physical size of each adventure can't grow significantly larger, and certainly not large enough to get another 3 levels in. The fact that the back half of an AP volume is developed by someone else entirely from the adventure itself is why we can do a 96 page book each month.

There were 2 reasons why we were able to hit 20th level in the Dungeon Magazine APs:
1) We had a year to do each AP, rather than six months.
2) The XP progression in 3.5 D&D was faster even than our fastest track in Pathfinder.

All of that said, we do keep tinkering with ways to get higher level APs. Shattered Star's focus on dungeons, which are the most efficient page to XP adventures, allowed that AP to reach 18th level without changing adventure size. Wrath of the Righteous hit 20 by throwing Mythic in (to mixed success).

We MAY try other stunts and tricks in the future, but it's also important to keep in mind that the formula we have now for APs is REALLY well-oiled and efficient and is still doing very well for us, so we'e pretty hesitant to make too many big changes to things along the way.

Stay tuned, though; we'll see what we can do.

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Kain Darkwind wrote:

James, if you were going to pick just one favored community for the delightful Tyralandi (the half-fiend nymph one, I think this might be a name of a few of your characters), it would naturally be Scuttlecove.

But what if you were going to pick two? (Don't mind if you give a Greyhawk or Golarion answer here.) Where would she consider her home away from home?

Tyralandi was indeed a name I borrowed from myself, only unlike the case of Shensen, it was a character I first made up for an adventure (Porphyry House Horror) that I then later used for a character (in Erik Mona's Age of Worms game).

As for where Tyralandi of Scuttlecove would consider as a home away from home? She's a powerful half-fiend thrall of Graz'zt, so her secondary home would likely be Graz'zt's tripartate city of Azzagrat in the Abyss.

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Huh. I wrote a post for this thread but it vanished... let's try again!

A lich CAN become non-evil, but that's a super super rare event because the process of becoming a lich requires you to undertake numerous evil actions of your own free will. In the equally rare event of someone being transformed into a lich against their will, I suppose they've a much greater chance of throwing off the evil and becoming another alignment.

We avoid doing to much in print with non-evil undead because each one we do dilutes the "cool" factor and uniqueness of an additional non-evil undead, and as such we really do try to cleave to an "undead are almost always evil" result in print. When we do lift this rule, it tends to be for ghosts, but we've done the same for at least one mummy that I know of. In time, we might dive in and do a non-evil lich, but such a lich would need to be a significant character in the storyline and not just a random throwaway NPC on the periphery of a campaign. It'd also have to be one written by one of our best authors—it's easy enough to build a non-evil lich (it's no harder to do so than a normal bad guy lich), but making the flavor and personality and actual writing live up to the idea is not something I'd entrust to just any author.

Of course, for a homebrew game, all of this is academic. For a homebrew setting/game, older resources like the Book of Exalted Deeds or the baelnorn from Forgotten Realms are excellent places to go to get inspiration for how a non-evil lich might operate.

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Justin Franklin wrote:
How did I miss that you have another secret project that isn't announced that I assume is a hard cover in the Campaign Setting line? Hmmm, now I have to think. :D

Turns out, Paizo has a lot of things going on and one person is gonna have a hard time keeping track of them all, be they customer or employee.

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The Doomkitten wrote:
What are your top three techniques for inducing stark raving terror in your players?

1) Rolling dice for no reason, or asking them to roll saving throws or Perception checks for no reason.

2) Having them encounter a foe that's essentially unkillable—like a CR of 10 or more above the average party level, and then having that foe be something that's on a timer before it can attack so that the PCs have a round or two to flee.

3) Killing the character of my boss in front of my co-workers with an effect that had absolutely no way for his character to resist. NOTE: This works better in Call of Cthulhu than it does in Pathfinder.


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lucky7 wrote:

Are there different ethnicities/cultural groups of elves, aside from the obvious Elf/Drow split?

For that matter, what is your opinion on the drow?

Yes. There's the Mordant Spire elves, the snowcasters, the ekujae, the ones over in Tian-Xia, and aquatic elves.

Drow are creepy. But kinda sexy.

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Filby Pott wrote:
If I have a villain NPC with Leadership, should I increase the CR of the encounter if their cohort is present? Or is the cohort like an animal companion and doesn't increase the encounter level?

I'd suggest increasing the encounter of the CR, since Leadership isn't a class feature and doesn't assume all characters have it.

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DrDeth wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Justin Franklin wrote:
Do you know of a good King in Yellow miniature?
Cthulhu Wars.
How about the "Denizen of Leng" figure?

Meh. When you throw in the King of Yellow, it's best to not use a stand-in for an identifiable lower CR foe. If your group doesn't know about denizens of Leng and you don't intend to use them in your game, I suppose it's a good stand in.

Personally, if the Cthulhu Wars one isn't to your liking, I'd suggest you find a cool, scary grim reaper or wraith or other hooded cloaked figure and paint it yellow.

Well, since you cant buy the Cthulhu Wars figures.....

Well, since the question wasn't "Were can I buy this thing?"...

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LizardMage wrote:
Will this book talk about the races from Blood of the Elements and update/address their elemental bloodlines in regards to Advanced Class Guide and the Kinetist?

The various genikin races are well-represented in Inner Sea Races, but as stated before, this book is far more concerned with presenting their in-world lore and not so much additional player options. There IS a chapter at the end of the book that collects new items and feats and spells and traits and magic items, but that's about it as far as rules elements go.

We may, at some point in the future, explore more kinetist options in a Player's Companion, but that's not one of the goals of Inner Sea Races at all.

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Myrryr wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Zaister wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Folks interested in finding out a little bit more about Ayavah and Nocticula's possible redemption might wanna check out Pathfinder #100 in a few months...
Will that be in the adventure itelf, or in one of the supporting articles?
It's part of the NPC I wrote for the big NPC retrospective. So... one of the supporting articles.
Alas... looks like that information got cut for space or some other reason. Ayavah is still in the retrospective, but the information about a redeemed Nocticula is not. Sorry for the misinformation, folks!

Nuuuuuuuu! :(

Any chance of that info maybe being posted in a blog or something? Or even right here >_>

I dunno how much it is, but I'm dying to know it.

I'm pretty precious and proud about that plotline, and I don't want to jettison it yet. Just means I need to find a new place to feature it. I'd rather not jump the gun an put it in a blog post or here, as a result, and I kinda wish I'd not mentioned it at all in the first place. I had really assumed it would make it into print, though.

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