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James Jacobs

James Jacobs's page

Creative Director. Pathfinder Society Member. 45,095 posts (47,177 including aliases). No reviews. 2 lists. No wishlists. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 9 aliases.


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Rysky wrote:

What do Linnorms sound like when they talk? Deep and regal like Bebedict Cumberbatch or creaky and ssssnake like?

What does Fafnheir sound like?

They sound like thunderstorms that found a voice.

Fafnheir sounds like a hurricane during an earthquake that found a voice.

AKA: Loud, deep, and primeval. Not creaky, not snakelike, and CERTAINLY not regal.

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LazarX wrote:
Ross Byers wrote:
Short of finding a high level Abadarite to cast commune, how would you get a paternity test?
Isn't this one of Pharasma's portfolios as the goddess most concerned with births?

Perhaps... although childbirth is not the same as lineage. Childbirth is a part of the life/death cycle, while lineage is largely a social construct, and as such that's more of a thing that a deity of cities or society or civilization would be interested in promoting.

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Guang wrote:

Nice! And the top of the map with the Stormspear mountains just north of the Lands of the Linnorm Kings (in the LotLK book), in relation to the Rimethirst mountains just north of the Arctic Circle on the map of the Crown of the World in Pathfinder 51 - Are the Stormspears and Rimethirsts parts of the same mountain range? If not, how much distance is between them?

The Stormspears and the Rimethirsts are not the same range. As mentioned in Pathfinder #51's adventure (page 8), it's about 1,160 miles from Kalsgard to the Rimethirst Mountains. The space between the Rimethirsts and the Stormspears are pretty much desolate tundra; there's likely more than just frozen ground and snow there, but we haven't detailed much more of it yet. It's pretty uninhabited.

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NobodysHome wrote:

Yep. I suspect it's the whole, "A dress worth 100 g.p."

From other threads I've read, I believe that's supposed to be the selling price, so I added 100 g.p. to the spreadsheet. If you take it to be the buying price and cut it in half, I bet we'd make up almost all the difference. (And I sold the goblin dogslicers and so forth -- lots of "garbage loot" that no reasonable human would ever buy...)

Art objects and gems and the like always sell for full gp value. We try to vary things up in our adventures when it comes to art objects, so that not every one of them is a necklace or a ring. A "dress worth 100 gp" is very much an art object in this case—it should be treated identically to "a ring worth 100 gp" and, when you sell it, you get 100 gp.

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CWheezy wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:


1) We don't have characters to post for the bulk of our APs. For example, I started running a Serpent's Skull game several years ago to playtest the first adventure (which I wrote)

Here is a problem: that is not playtesting. That is Happy Fun Time, which explains why it takes so long and doesn't get anything done.

Playtesting would be making some standard level guys, and doing every encounter and knowledge check in the book, and seeing what results you get.

It's not a problem at all.

It WAS playtesting in my specific case. I played through Souls for Smuggler's Shiv and got some good feedback before I turned the adventure over for editing. The fact that I went on to play the next 3 adventures with my group as a regular campaign IS happy fun time, and was not playtesting. That doesn't mean what I did with the first adventure wasn't.

When I playtest an adventure, it's PRECISELY to see if it's fun to play. And the way to find out if it's fun to play is to play it. For me, forcing the players to "test every knowledge check and exhaust every encounter" is not fun... it's work. That's how you playtest isolated rules elements. That's NOT how you playtest adventures.

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It's mostly an art thing, so that you can see in art that any one character is tied to any one eidolon.

It's also an in-game thing, since eidolons can literally look like ANYTHING. That means that they can look identical to, say, a wolf or a minotaur or a vrock, or like something completely unique, such as the iconic's eidolon. Yet there still needs to be a way, in world, for characters to identify the fact that the creature is an eidelon and not a wolf or a minotaur or a vrock or some new monster. The rune is that way.

Take the rune away and there's no way to tell that something's an eidolon. Since that's pretty much the ONLY thing that an eidolon is guaranteed to have.

Whether or not the inability to recognize an eidolon for what it is is a good thing or a bad thing in your game should inform whether or not you want them to share runes with their summoners. The rune doesn't need to appear on the eidolon's head, though.

Obviously, for us, we feel that it's important that the rune DOES appear on the eidolon. How you rule in your games is up to you.

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Guang wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Guang wrote:


2. I've been reading threads (several years old) about Golarion latitude. Where did the Tropic of Cancer end up being? Did the top of the Inner Sea map end up being 60 degrees north or Arctic circle? (Trying to figure out how the Stormspear Mountains and Rimethirst mountains match up, and/or how far apart they are)

2) The Tropic of Cancer runs pretty much exactly through the Mana Wastes. The equator and the Arctic Circle are off the map to the south and north.

2. Have there been new things decided since then to make Magnimar=Seattle and Mana Wastes=tropic of Cancer match up now? A scale change or something? In the thread I was viewing - this thread, they showed that at that time they didn't match up, although that was 5 years ago. There were 2 links to maps I could still access in that thread - one placed Magnimar=Seattle, making the top of the map 60 degrees, and making the tropic of Cancer be in northern Nex. The other map placed Mana wastes=tropic of Cancer, making Seattle=Kintargo in northern Cheliax.

Thanks much for the answers to my other two questions. Surprised and delighted at your take on Triaxian seasonal tolerance.

The Mana Wastes are the Tropic Of Cancer, more or less. That puts Magnimar wherever it puts it, frankly. Magnimar is based as much on Seattle as it is San Francisco, frankly... in fact, the whole of the region's flora and fauna is much more accurate a representation of Northern California's coastline than it is Washington overall.

So I just did a few quick calculatons and it looks like Magnimar is about 1,816 miles north of the the Tropic of Cancer, which means that it's actually a little above where Seattle is, and the exact tropic of Cancer is a little below the Mana Wastes.

In fact... we haven't ACTUALLY nailed down these measurements in print, and won't be anytime soon, since that'd more or less mean we'd need an accurate globe map of the world to base things off of, which we also don't have yet.

So for now... going with the Mana Wastes = the tropic of Cancer and Varisia = Washington should work.


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Kajehase wrote:
Tom Rex wrote:
Major_Blackhart wrote:
Rune giant! I am officially pumped for this AP. Now, the big question is how many rune giants will be involved overall. A handful, a small family, a clan? Will these be the grand overlords or ate they themselves serving a higher power?

From the DoEM (Department of Expectation Management)...

I'm pretty sure there are no rune giants in this AP. They're pretty deeply tied into Varisia and Thassilon, and Giantslayer is not set in Varisia and doesn't really have any Thassilon ties whatsoever. We WILL be illustrating at least one rune giant in the AP (as evidenced) but not as an illustration for one of the adventures.

Giantslayer is about something else other than rune giants and Thassilon, and that's on purpose, because we want to tell a different story than what we told in "Rise of the Runelords."

So what's the scoop on Giantslayer, then?

The scoop is YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE IT!!!

Buy five copies!

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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Okay, what's cuter: pseudodragons or faerie dragons?
Pseudodragons.
And why's that?
Because I think pseudodragons are cuter than faerie dragons. Personal opinons don't need facts to back them up.

Ah. Nevermind then. I agree with you, though. Pseudodragons rock!

Which class from the ACG is cooler to you, the skald or the warpriest?

I've not seen a skald in play yet, but I've a warpriest in my Temple of Elemental Evil game... and it seems a bit powerful for me.

Now... power does not equal coolness in my book. And I like the iconic skald a lot more than the iconic warpriest. So... I guess I'll flip a coin... AH! Swashbuckler it is!

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Mackenzie Kavanaugh wrote:
Weird question, but it occurs to me to ask... who exactly does Ameiko leave in charge of running the Rusty Dragon when the events of Jade Regent take place? Her family is (probably) all dead and the only named NPC associated with the place is the halfling Bethana Corwin, who is just a maid, rather than a likely protege being groomed to one day take over.

Yeah... that was something I meant to mention in Jade Regent, but I was taken off the development of that and moved onto other projects, so it slipped through the cracks.

I'd intended on the 2nd adventure to talk a little bit about how she left Bethana Corwin in charge (her halfling maid and second-in-charge of the Dragon), but it's no big deal that it didn't get mentioned in there during development.

Long term, though... if I ever DO something more with the Rusty Dragon in a post-Ameiko world... it'd probably be to the extent that Bethana was in over her head and that the Scarnettis take it over and start to ruin the place and the PCs come in and rescue the Rusty Dragon, claim it as their own, and that becomes their headquarters for a Sandpoint-based campaign.

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Mackenzie Kavanaugh wrote:

Since it's your home turf and you've run campaigns in the area... I'm curious about your thoughts on combining large portions of the content from the various Varisian APs into a single massive campaign that comprised Curse of the Crimson Throne, Rise of the Runelords, Second Darkness, Shattered Star, and possibly even content from Jade Regent?

1. Would it be worth the effort as opposed to simply creating a homebrew campaign?
2. Which villain do you think would make the best final boss?
3. How would the various Runelords respond to seeing someone having the reformed Sihedron?

I wouldn't combine the plots of those adventures at all, frankly. Each one of them has a pretty strong story arc that I'm really proud of, and they'd compete with each other and confuse things if one tried to do all of them at once.

Instead, what I'd do would be to run a truly sandbox campaign in Varisia. I'd take the APs you mention plus the Korvosa and Magnimar books plus the various adventures we've written set there (Murder's Mark, Feast of Ravenmoor, Academy of Secrets, etc.) and all the rest and then just tell the PCs "This campaign is set in Varisia. You as a group get to decide what location you start in, and I'll present a bunch of options to you for adventures, but whether you take one of those or find one of your own is up to you."

Then, I'd use content from all those APs and adventure paths as locations, often adjusting things as needed to fit the player character's goals. They might end up going to Ravenmoor, for example, for some entirely different reason than presented in the adventure, or might simply head to Hook Mountain to gain some other plot thing. If along the way the players seemed to get particularly into one storyline, that might just evolve INTO one of the APs... but it might not. If it did... I'd focus more on that specific adventure path plot and abandon the rest.


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Major_Blackhart wrote:
Rune giant! I am officially pumped for this AP. Now, the big question is how many rune giants will be involved overall. A handful, a small family, a clan? Will these be the grand overlords or ate they themselves serving a higher power?

From the DoEM (Department of Expectation Management)...

I'm pretty sure there are no rune giants in this AP. They're pretty deeply tied into Varisia and Thassilon, and Giantslayer is not set in Varisia and doesn't really have any Thassilon ties whatsoever. We WILL be illustrating at least one rune giant in the AP (as evidenced) but not as an illustration for one of the adventures.

Giantslayer is about something else other than rune giants and Thassilon, and that's on purpose, because we want to tell a different story than what we told in "Rise of the Runelords."

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Dragon78 wrote:

1)So since we have stats for Morlocks, any chance we will see stats for the Eloi?

2)How many gods were responsible for Androffa's (almost)destruction?

3)Any chance of seeing some giant beanstalks in the Giant Slayer AP?

4)Have you seen ParaNorman yet?

5)Who is in charge of the Races of the Inner Sea book?

6)Any chance we will ever see a creature like the one from the movie Forbidden Planet?

7)Have you seen the Agent Carter TV show?

1) Because eloi are kinda boring, and there's not much about them that halflings don't already do better, and because they require a surface world that's MUCH different than Golarion's. Golarion is far too harsh for them.

2) It's more complicated, honestly. In my setting, the "Shoal" is in fact the source of the gods. I over simplified in previous posts to avoid confusing folks. There were five creatures involved in destroying Androffa—they were essentially demigods known collectively as the Deacons (I avoided using this term so far since it means something else in Pathfinder—it means a daemon servant of a Horseman). There were five of them.

3) I'm not working on Giantslayer, but I'm pretty sure there's beanstalk stuff in the Giantslayer's Handbook. I doubt there's beanstalk stuff in the AP though. That's more of a Rob question... if indeed he's comfortable giving out that much info about the AP this early, which he might not be.

4) Nope. Not really in a rush to see it.

5) At this point, it's Wes and Jessica for the most part, I believe. I'm not really involved in it at all apart from the Creative Direction of the book, which was done many months ago.

6) Brain Oozes come pretty close, and the idea of thoughts being transformed into physical life is something that we'll be doing more with in the future.

7) Yes. It's great!

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Guang wrote:

1. Triaxian cold and heat tolerance: RoW AP says Winterborn 40° to -20°F, Summerborn 90° to 140°F (2 steps). PoS says Winterborn 40° to 0°F, Summerborn 90° to 110°F (1 step). With PoS being more recent, I'm assuming PoS info is the correct one? Why was the change made?

2. I've been reading threads (several years old) about Golarion latitude. Where did the Tropic of Cancer end up being? Did the top of the Inner Sea map end up being 60 degrees north or Arctic circle? (Trying to figure out how the Stormspear Mountains and Rimethirst mountains match up, and/or how far apart they are)

3. If the Boreal expanse is within 5 degrees of the pole, the light latitude lines on the Crown of the World map are 1 and 2/3 degree apart?

1) I suspect the change was made because PoS didn't realize that RoW already covered that ground. Part of the problem with putting out so many products is that we can step on each other's toes and duplicate efforts or have parallel design. It's something we're (slowly but surely) taking steps to address so it happens less often in the future. In this case, you should go with the Adventure Path's values, since I know those were developed with an eye toward what numbers make the most sense for Triaxus and work well with the adventure; I suspect that the numbers in People of the Stars did not. That said, the numbers are pretty close, and you should use the one that makes the most sense to you in your game—which means you should look to your version of Triaxus's temperature extremes for the answer.

2) The Tropic of Cancer runs pretty much exactly through the Mana Wastes. The equator and the Arctic Circle are off the map to the south and north.

3) Assuming you're talking about the map of the Crown of the World in Pathfinder 51, the Arctic Circle is the one furthest to the top/bottom of the page, which is Latitude 66 (more or less). Which means they each denote a shift of 2 degrees.

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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
What's a good way to write 110+ years of backstory for a character of one of the longer-lived races, like elves or dhampir? The basic implication is that each of these characters is old enough to remember a time when Aroden was still alive. How do you write a compelling backstory with so much ground to cover, especially if the majority of that time is spent among humans and dwarves?

Practice. That's the best way to get better at writing a compelling story of ANY genre, be it a novel or a backstory or whatever.

The single best book on writing and how to improve your writing that I've read is Stephen King's "On Writing." Because it's not only fun and entertaining to read, but also teaches a LOT of good stuff about how to write.

As for this particular question? My suggestion is to look at, say, the 450 words I wrote for Merisiel's entry in the NPC Codex. You don't want to overdo it. You don't want to cover EVERY event. It's better to drop hints again and again, and then let the details of those hints inspire you in the future when playing the character.

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Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
So do hipster halflings dye their foot hair in alternating stripes or shave it into creative patterns?

Nah; just the gnome-wannabees.

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I am amused!

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The previous post is correct.

The version of Drezen presented in the Worldwound book is the starting point for the city; the way it is when you start the Adventure Path. Once you get to the 2nd adventure, the situation of the worldwound has changed DRAMATICALLY and things are adjusting as a result. In fact, the whole point of the 2nd adventure is...

Spoiler:
... due to the fact that Deezen's super-powerful leader has left the city, and took with her most of its forces to join in the attack on Mendev far to the south, NOW is the perfect moment for the PCs to do something that Mendev's wanted to do for decades—re-take Drezen. It's the first time something like this has happened to Drezen since it's original loss; the demons have been pretty good at defending it until this point, when they move out to pursue the start of the endgame elsewhere. It's one of the early mistakes the demons make tacically in the AP, and the PCs are there to capitalize on that error.

If your PCs decide to go to Drezen before the first adventure in the AP begins, or at some point halfway through the 1st adventure, then you should absolutely use the information in the Worldwound book to TPK them. ;P

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NobodysHome wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
CWheezy wrote:
Although, according to nobody's home, maybe in rise of the runelords my character had to pay for 34 raise deads since you are supposed to be behind on wbl

There's your problem, frankly. That's a LOT more raise deads than normal.

If I were your GM and saw that the party was burning through characters that often, I would have probably dialed back the danger and strength of the encounters AND added more treasure into the adventure to compensate.

Er, James? I love you to pieces and all, but I believe his [sarcasm] flag was on for that post...

Take that as a learning moment, then, that the internet does not always deal well with sarcasm.

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Seannoss wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Seannoss wrote:
I thought that I had all the Shackles books. What's Scuttlecove?

Scuttlecove is a location from my home-brew game that I more or less sold to Wizards of the Coast. It's the setting of the Book of Vile Darkness tie-in adventure I wrote for Dungeon, "The Porphyry House Horror," and I brought it back again for an adventure in the last third of Savage Tide in Dungeon.

It's a pretty adults-only kind of town. It would fit PERFECTLY into the Shackles.

Aha. Thanks! I'll have to dig out my old copy and take a look at it as I'm running S&S now.

What do you do with wealth, or magic items more specifically for incoming new PCs? And what to do with deceased PC items?

I let the players decide what to do with a deceased PC's items... then I audit the party, find out what their average wealth is, and let the new player come in at that average (or maybe a little less, since being able to customize your gear all at once is more efficient than over a campaign). At that time, if there's a player who's VERY low compared to the others, I'll engineer in game for some custom treasure perfect for that character to pop up. And if the PCs start to get too much treasure, I ramp back the treasure.

My play style, though, does not have a lot of player character deaths happen. They DO happen, but there's usually options (be they quest rewards or divine intervention or hero points or plot twist cards or Harrow deck fates) to fix the death relatively quickly, often at a cost (to resources or story elements or gold or hero points or whatever), so that the PC gets to continue the story. Having a character die in a game is penalty enough; it's humiliating and you have to stop playing the game, often for hours, while the rest of the table keeps going. Further punishing that player by forcing them to build a new character and abandon their previous build is really lame, and as such, I use the above methods to try to keep PCs in the group. Of course, if the PLAYER wants to take advantage of the death for story reasons or to start a new character, that's fine.

But as a result, I don't often have to deal with how PC wealth gets recycled into the party.

USUALLY when it happens, my players opt to keep any "plot-important" items the dead character had, and then do the "bury the dead with his/her stuff" solution to not only keep themselves from being bloated with gear (and as a favor to me), but as a side joke, to help enable future adventurers who might want to loot the dead; it helps explain why so many tombs are filled with treasure. Other times, the players opt to have the character's loot given as an inheritance to his family... and sometimes, that means that the new PC gets the old PC's gear to use or sell as they see fit.

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Joynt Jezebel wrote:

A serious question, which I posted on another thread and never got a full answer to.

I don't know if this is the right place for this question. But I suspect its a place where there are knowledgeable creatures who will know the answer, which makes it the absolute right place in one sense.
The question is, is there an equivalent ruling to that allowing SLA to count for fulfilling the pre-reqs for Mystic Theurge for innate psionic powers and Cerebremancer.
And if the answer is no, do people agree with me that the same logic should apply?
If this works, or your GM says it can, there are two races in the Psionics unleashed book capable of manifesting a 2nd lvl power at lvl 1. Half Giants and [psionic] Duergar.
Now there is a trait allowing you to take a racial trait you are not. Can't recall its name at present. Most GMs I know won't allow it, but if your GM is more benign or you can convince your GM, bribery, sexual favours, threats, whatever it takes, to allow it you can fulfill the pre-reqs for both PCs by level 3.
You can come up with a mystic theurge idea on steroids like this.
You start as a [psionic] Duergar with the [say]Tiefling SLA. you pump your wis to the max, obviously.
You take your first lvls as-

1 Cleric, Trickery Domain
2 Vitalist
3 Empyreal Sorcerer
4-13 Cerebremancer
14-20 Mystic Theurge

At lvl 20 you have 18 caster lvls as sorcerer, 8 as cleric and 11 manifesting levels as a vitalist.
That is real good power as a sorcerer with tremendous depth, flexibility and efficiency for your main stat. You can reverse around the order of Cerebremancer and Mystic Theurge as desired, getting more and earlier divine spells. Also, you can use both divine and arcane items w/o a skill or roll.
You are, however, stuck with having sorcerer as the primary class.
Thoughts?

I think that allowing spell-like abilities to count for fulfilling ANY pre-reques for prestige classes is a mistake, and I'd thought we'd rolled that back. If not, I need to crusade some more. The game was never designed with that assumption. When something says it requires a spell as a prerequisite, it means a spell... NOT something LIKE a spell. Using spell-like abilities to qualify for spell prerequisites for prestige classes is, basically, cheating against the intent and spirit of the rules.

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Zhangar wrote:

@ Zousha: Int 6, like all the other animal/vermin familiars. Check the familiar rules.

1) Was Rovagug sealed before, during, or after the rise of the dinosaurs on Earth?

For some reason I'm thinking before - I guess an assumption that dragons rose on Golarion around the time Earth got dinosaurs...

2) Does Golarion's atmosphere have a much higher oxygen content than Earth's?

1) Unrevealed.

2) Nope. For all things scientific, Golarion is the same as Earth, becasue no one at Paizo is as smart as the collective internet when it comes to determining ALL of the ramifications of what would have to change in the world if there was more oxygen. Or if there were two moons. Or if the planet were twice as big. Or if plate tectonics didn't exist. ETC.

It's much better to assume "same as Earth" and then explain the differences via magic or supernatural than change things and get it wrong and then have to explain that "error" as being caused by magic, in my opinion.

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Dragon78 wrote:
I see that Arcadia is an a fantasy analog of the Americas, Garund is a fantasy analog of Africa, Tian xia is a fantasy analog of Asia, so is Sarusan a fantasy analog of Australia or something completely different?

Correct. Sarusan is somewhat inspired by Australia, but more the dreamtime mythology of Aboriginal Australia than anything else.

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AbsolutGrndZer0 wrote:
OMG Why hasn't a Garund book happened yet?!?!?

Because the plans I have for it aren't QUITE yet ready for prime time.

Of all the continents we've yet to do much with... Garund is probably the one that I'm the most interested in, personally.

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xavier c wrote:

4)I know you where not going to detail it.But would you say that Absalom, Nex, Jalmeray, Qadira are the most likely Nations one would find such brothels?

You know i think i'm going to make a thread asking people what they think about sexuality in the setting to get an idea of the different views of the forum community

Absalom and Katapesh would probalby be the most likely to host such brothels... or perhaps the Shackles, since that's where Scuttlecove would be.

Go ahead and fire the thread up, but don't be shocked if the community can't handle it and it gets locked once immature folks get in there and can't resist being jerks. Yes, Internet, that's a challenge. PROVE ME WRONG!


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Alex G St-Amand wrote:


There are rumors that Seoni's ideas and plans tend to fail/backfire a lot, is it true?

Nope, not at all. When they DO backfire, it's always a shock and kinda unsettling. She actually kicks ass at tactics and planning.

When they do backfire it's usually 'cause someone in the group wasn't paying attention or did something stupid. Some of us are clearly better at that than others.

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Guang wrote:
James, now that the final book in the AP is out, would it be possible to share how the humans of Androffa, Golarion, and Earth are related? Did they start on one and somehow get seeded on the others?

Humans on Androffa, Golarion, and Earth are all humans, and that suggests that there are humans on other planets in the universe (perhaps planets with names like Krynn or Toril or Oerth, for example), but as for where humans originally started? We haven't said and are unlikely to say. That's essentially a creation myth, and our philosophy is to present numerous possible myths but not nail one down as fact... since that changes them from myth to fact.

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Set wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Zhangar wrote:
1) Are Dagon and Cthulhu actually allied? Their cults are called out as allies in Dagon's Bestiary 4 entry. I'm presuming that despite Cthulhu's current status, the two of them could communicate if they really want to.
1) They are not particularly allied, but their cults are. They are not particularly enemies either, but they COULD talk if they wanted. A deity and its religion don't always share every quality.

On a more general note, are there cults (or even cultures!) that worship a pantheon that includes some combination of 'normal gods,' demon lords / empyreals / eldest / etc., and / or Old Ones / Elder Gods?

(Much as the Azlanti 'pantheon' included Zura, a demon lord.)

Yes, there are.

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Mackenzie Kavanaugh wrote:
rknop wrote:

The hardcover book I'd love to see is a big massive tome with all sorts of meaty details all about Absalom. Big city book. Yay. I seem to remember James saying somewhere that he'd like this too, but it may have been somebody else, and I may be remembering wrong. (James: make it so!)

Second choice would be a big Great Beyond hardcover.

Would there actually be enough content to justify an entire hardcover of just Absalom? I mean, there's certainly more than enough for a hardcover Inner Sea Cities book that covers Absalom, Oppara, Westcrown, etc... but even with each district and suburb covered, even with tons of factions and NPCs and adventure hooks, even with special items, traits, feats, etc iconic to the city, I just don't think you could fill up that many pages about just Absalom. Could you?

There would ABSOLUTELY be enough content to justify a hardcover of just Absalom. There's enough content in Absalom to justify multiple hardcovers, in fact. The city itself is an entire campaign setting, and everything you've seen us do for the Inner Sea Region could, in theory, have been done just for the city of Absalom in one way or another.

Look at Monte Cook's "Ptolus" book. That's a HUGE book. About one city. Absalom's much bigger than Ptolus.

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MeanDM wrote:

Hi James!

Hope things are well with you!

My question: What is the favorite campaign/adventure you have ever designed heavily influenced by another medium (be it movies, TV, novels etc.)?

Including published or home games, either one.

Cheers, and happy belated New Year.

Hmmm... if you expand "Designed" to "outlined and developed and rewrote sections," then Carrion Hill.

But specifically for adventures I've written... I suppose the closest would be "Razing of Redshore," since that originally came from an idea of "what if Moby Dick were the hero of a story?"

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No; Timeworn is a condition that should be VERY difficult to remove. The spell Memory of Function can't do it, so anything lower level than that shouldn't as well. A miracle or wish could do it, but otherwise, there's nothing in the game at this point that specifically removes timeworn from an item.

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Dragon78 wrote:

1)How many non-core races will get some love in the Inner Sea Races book?

2)Why didn't the Cleric get a capstone power? What about a capstone power for clerics were there channeling damage/healing is maximized?

3)Are there any good aligned living planet/moon deity or godlike beings out there?

4)Any chance we will get another hardcover campaign setting book next year?

5)So what movies have you seen lately? What did you think of them?

6)Not that I am complaining but is there any reason why Gen Con was moved to July this year?

7)What are the top 5 things you would change about the system but didn't because of backwards compatibility?

1) I'm not sure. I helped pick the races and decide which ones got more coverage than the others, but I did that almost a year ago and haven't been all that involved in the book since then, so I've lost track. Lots of them... but not as much as the core races, which will get the bulk of the attention, since that's the purpose of this book; to catalog and gather information in a format that can be reprinted and take up a space on a bookshelf that a 32 page booklet like Elves of Golarion cannot.

2) Because Domains took up too much room, and as a result there wasn't room for even one or two more lines of text to give clerics a capstone power. Kinda a lame answer, but it's the truth. I hate it too.

3) I'm sure there are, since the planes encompass more than any of us here on Earth can collectively imagine.

4) There's a chance, yes. How much Inner Sea Races derails and disrupts things being a bonus hardcover this year will influence that, of course, but personally... I'm MUCH more interested in Campaign Setting hardcover books than rules books. So I really hope so.

5) The Imitation Game: Incredible and Excellent.
All Cheerleaders Die: Silly but fun.
In the Dark Half: Moody and atmospheric but kinda boring.
Dream House: Predictable and mundane, and irreparably spoiled by its own trailers, but Rachel Weisz remains one of my favorite actresses.
Oldboy: The Spike Jones remake; MUCH better than I thought it would be, and a great movie on its own. Not as good as the original though.
Cabin Fever Patient Zero: Terrible.
Germ Z: Amateur zombie movie that doesn't quite get above its limitations, but good job trying!
Escape: EXCELLENT movie about a young woman trying to escape from a group of bandits in Norway during the fallout of the Black Death.
Hatchet III: Least favorite of all three Hatchet movies, but sorta fun, I guess.
Darknet: A fun short series of horror stories, some of which are good, some of which are lame.
Black Mirror: Absolutely fantastic short series about how our obsession with technology and gadgets is gonna bite us in the ass.
Ragnarok: Fun movie that wasn't quite as edgy and scary and intense as I'd hoped it would be. More Jurassic Park than Jaws, alas.
Black Rock: Not that great.
Torment: Bad.
Don't Blink: Super creepy and spooky and nerve-rattling.
Tusk: Funny at parts, but lacked conviction. Either Kevin Smith should have taken it more seriously, or should have played it more as a comedy; he rode the line between comedy and horror to the movie's detriment.
As Above So Below: Good... but didn't quite live up to the payoff. Was hoping for a bigger ending. Anticlimactic.
Into the Storm: Was hoping for fun tornado footage, got a little of it, but most of it was pretty bad, and the movie's writing was WRETCHED.
Drive Angry: Pure Nick Cage goofiness, turned up to 11.

6) I have no idea. That's a question for the Gen Con staff.

7) I can't answer that question, since my mind is in such a different place today than it was many years ago when we were building the game... but beyond that... I wasn't the one who designed the Pathfinder game and made those decisions. I helped and advised and suggested to Jason, but this question's much more for him than me.

Had I designed Pathfinder, it certainly WOULD have been a different game. Probably one that was simpler that gave much more power to the GM while simultaneously giving the players lots of options to build their characters, and whether or not that would have resulted in fewer or more customers, I guess we'll never know.

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leo1925 wrote:
Acolyte of Mushu wrote:
leo1925 wrote:

Just started reading bits of the divinity drive (the art has me drooling) and have some questions:

1) Why the change in the level range? In Fires of Creation we were told that the level range for Divinity Drive would be 15-16 but now it's 15-17.

2) Why does Unity grants 9th level spells and the 9th level SLAs from his domains?
I ask this because the ability Divinity that Unity possess works exactly like the mythic path ability Divine Source and since Unity is mythic rank 8 he shouldn't be able to grant 9th level spells or have the 9th level domain spells as SLAs.

I could be wrong, but I believe it was stated somewhere else in the forums (I can't recall where) that Unity's divinity is unique and has unique properties and does not function exactly like the mythic ability Divine Source. I'm sure someone else could shed some better light on this however.

Except that in every other way it works exactly like divine source, even the number of domains and subdomains is the same as taking divine source 3 times.

Why change that part? why not give Unity a 9th mythic rank and have consistency?

Because the rules for creating mythic monsters are too exact and constricting in how we assign Mythic Ranks, but they're 100% wide open in how we design monster powers.

(Had we given unity a 9th mythic rank, we would have had to give it another mythic power [which we didn't have room for] and would have had to adjust its stats upward and out of the comfort zone for its intended CR.)

Personally, I think that "MR" is an overcomplication for a mythic monster. It's a construct for PCs, in the same way class level is a construct for PCs. Just as a monster doesn't have class levels unless it actually has a class, I really wish we'd not given monsters MR unless they actually have mythic paths like archmage or champion. Using "MR" for both a mythic path and a mythic monster's power is unnecessarily confusing and stat block clutter, especially since the monster's CR already incorperates the boost it gets from being mythic. You don't need to know a monster's MR in order to interpret what its CR is.

In the case of Unity, as you can see, including its MR complicates and confuses things. If we didn't give it an MR at all, it's "Divinity" power wouldn't have been confused with the very similar but entirely separate and different "Divine Source"PC ability.

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Guang wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Guang wrote:

Hi James!

If I remember correctly, in Jade Regent, players are allowed/encouraged to play the main NPCs of the adventure. (Correct me if I'm wrong). My question is, does that work just as well with the main NPCs in the other APs? Can I just hand one to a player that wants to start play immediately?

Thanks and have a great week!

Playing the NPCs of the adventure is an option, but the AP itself still assumes the players make their own characters.

There aren't really "main NPCs" in all Adventure Paths, and certainly not a group that's really appropriate to be an adventuring party.

If you're talking about the iconics, though... we haven't put stats for them in an Adventure Path in years. They were taking up space that's better used for actual content.

So letting someone play as Ameiko or as one of the people that fell down the hole in Wrath of the Righteous, or as one of the castaways in Serpent's Skull would be a bad idea for mechanical reasons? I checked some of them, and they seem to qualify as heroic NPCs - Would there be too much of a power difference?

No... Letting someone play as Ameiko and team would be cool. That's an AP where that'll work.

The castaways on Serpent's Skull might work as well... but only if all but one of them abandon their allegiances to their own factions to go with one. It's not a "power" thing as much as it is that most NPC allies have specific story roles to play that, as PCs, get tricky.

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Jorshamo wrote:

Since technological firearms follow all of the rules for regular firearms, I have a few questions.

1. Are the autograpnel and dart gun touch attacks within the first range increment? It seems like they would, but I wanted to double check.

2. Would someone with deflect arrows be able to deflect the attacks of tech weapons? How would snatch arrows interact with them?

Thanks.

1) Nope; they're not touch attacks. They have to penetrate armor to do their thing.

1) Nope. That myth was busted. Deflect arrows and snatch arrows shouldn't do much at all against lasers. I suppose I could see it working against lower velocity things like dart guns or autograpnels... but that's a GM call.

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Mystic_Snowfang wrote:

Are baby dragons as cute as baby crocodiles snakes, turtles and lizards?

Edit, also are baby owlbears as fluffy as I suspect them to be (super fluffy) considering how fluffy baby owls and baby bears are

Yes to both.

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leo1925 wrote:

@James Jacobs

How many editions did your setting go through?

1st Ed AD&D.

2nd Ed AD&D
3rd Ed D&D
3.5 Ed D&D
Pathfinder

So... 5.

There was also a lot of influence here and there from the BECMI game as well.

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Atrocious wrote:

James, the issue mentions a "series of chain reactions" that lead to the wrath of the gods being brought down upon Androffa. I understand that (divine?) magic was entirely absent on Androffa and was shoe horned in by the Shoal deities, but could you elaborate on the series of chain reactions that resulted from it?

This may be a sidetrack from Pathfinder, but I'm a huge fan of world lore and the like. Is there any possibility on you lifting the veil on Androffa and revealing a bit more about the world? Like maps, nations, major characters and deities (beyond what has already made it into Golarion).

Ok; thought a little bit more about it. Thing is, I've been building Droffa for about 20 years, so there's a LOT of information about it, and it's not all 100% internally consistent since I tended to revise as needed for a campaign each time an edition change happened; there was never time to revise EVERYTHING I wrote for one edition since I always wanted to build new stuff, so if I pull the curtain back all the way, that's a LOT of work to go through and make sure I like where everything is at. Furthermore, a lot of that content is now Golarion canon, and I'd have to make the decision on whether or not I want to keep it or change it.

Spoilered to hide a wall of text...

Spoiler:
Anyway... the short version of the chain reactions is that the gods didn't give divine power to everyone; they visited the ability to heal on a few people spread throughout the world, and when folks saw this starting to happen, they couldn't accept it based on faith—they assumed there was a scientific reason. They oppressed their healers; some nations captured them and studied them; some quarantined them or exiled them, some executed them out of fear. It wasn't long before one nation assassinated a rival nation's healer and that set off a series of wars, in which the healers were increasingly relied upon for support, but the healers grew increasingly resistant. At the same time, people were trying to scientifically observe or even confront or capture the Shoal. Very few were giving the Shoal the faith they wanted. As they watched the arrogant humans be unable to accept faith and waste/squander/abuse the gift of healing, the Shoal grew bitter and cranky. They started doing some divine warnings, but folks interpreted those not as warnings but as acts of aggression. And when the last and most powerful of their healers was betrayed by his own nation, the Shoal lashed out and decided to wipe the world clean and restart with more subservient worshipers. They turned the sky black, smashed coastal cities with tsunami, sent storms and earthquakes out to devastate inland regions, twisted and shattered continents, and let loose legions of monsters to then go out and savage/eat the survivors. They took their time torturing the world to death, and in that time, the rest of divinity realized what they were doing and sealed them away... but not before Androffa was destroyed. Humanity survived, but barely, and to repopulate the world, the gods who banished the Shoal, who like Golarion understood non-intervention was better, seeded the new planet, now called Droffa, with all sorts of other races to help, hinder, inspire, and just keep humanity company.

More or less. I've got a 48,000 word document (that equates to about 54 pages of solid text in print) on Baria/Droffa's history on my computer, of which the first several pages detail all of this before going on to detail the introduction of the new races, the Impyrium (the rise of arcane magic back into the world, and the inspiration for Thassilon), the return of divine magic in a more holistic and less destructive way, a period of time where the world was ruled by evil cults and demons/devils/etc. all under the command of Obox-ob, the escape of the world from Obox-ob's control into the modern age, and the results of 3 full-length campaigns and dozens of shorter mini-campaigns over the course of the last 20 years that added more history to the world.

EDIT: A significant source of inspiration for this whole thing came from F. Paul Wilson's excellent novel "The Touch," and "Nightworld" novels.

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RCM wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
My post-apocalyptic game is set on Earth

Mr. Jacobs is there any chance of is this setting seeing publication in some form?

There's absolutely a chance... but my current desire to maintain complete control and ownership over the game combined with my busy schedule working at Paizo means that the chance of it happening soon are slim. I would love, someday, to release the game though!

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xavier c wrote:

1)Are Saints common in Shelyn's Religion?

2)what happens to Saints in the afterlife?

3)How does Shelyn feel about Storm giants believing she is the daughter of Gozreh?

1) Saints aren't common in any religion. That's one of the things that makes them special.

2) They become petitioners in their deity's realm, and on average spend much less time AS petitioners before becoming outsiders, and are more likely than non-saints to retain some or all of their living memories or personalities.

3) Amused.

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MMCJawa wrote:
I figured that Androffa would end up being one of James Jacobs pet campaign settings. Although I was guessing it would be the setting of his post apocalyptic game.

Nope. Androffa/Droffa is my homebrew setting for D&D, and now for Pathfinder.

My post-apocalyptic game is set on Earth.

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Kalindlara wrote:
Also, as long as I'm here... is Unity's signal literally infectious? The book describes it as a "virus" and indicates that Technic League survivors will be used as a vector for its spread. It implies a certain lack of... traditional persuasive evangelism. So if Unity begins the broadcast, it literally and inevitably changes recipients into slave-worshippers? Chilling if true.

Yup. That's what makes it a bad thing. It infects you and basically converts you via a disease like mechanic. It's absolutely NOT traditional persuasive evangelisim; it isn't even faith, since folks who are affected become worshipers of Unity not of their free will. Just another example of how Unity, despite its power, actually doesn't understand how faith works.

And yes, the point is to be chilling. ;-) (AND to show that there's a significant reason for the PCs to succeed in stopping Unity in the first place, of course!)

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Graeme Lewis wrote:
Lord Gadigan wrote:
There's a Craft Robot Feat. It requires Craft Technological Arms and Armor, Craft Technological Item, Technologist, 9 Ranks in Craft (Mechanical), and 9 Ranks in Knowledge (Engineering). You use Craft (Mechanical) when building them; it is the only skill check required to make them.
So there's no information on programming/reprogramming deactivated robots? That makes me a sad panda.

That starts to delve into computer programming and mushrooms from there into how portable computers affect play, viruses, virtual realities, and more. Originally, all of this was a part of the Tech Guide but I had to cut the content for space reasons, and that meant that reprogramming robots and the like went away as well. Maybe someday if we do more with tech stuff we'll add this element.

For now, the robojack from the Tech Guide is your key to seizing control of robots.

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Bellona wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

Androffa is, in fact, my home campaign setting; after the 10,000 years or so that have passed since Divinity's launch, though, the setting has itself undergone many changes (not the least of which is that the planet is no longer called Androffa, but has been shoretened to just Droffa).

The "other deities" are my home campaign's pantheon, pretty much; which includes the following from Golarion: Erastil, Sarenrae, Desna, Abadar, Gorum, Asmodeus, Zon-Kuthon, Urgathoa, Norgorber, and Rovagug, and these deities under different names: Shelyn, Gozreh, and Pharasma.

The imprisoned deities are their own small pantheon of arrogant and not-nice deities collectively known as the Shoal. They don't have much going on in Golarion at all, and are pretty much all locked away.

In a way, the role of Androffa in Iron Gods is there to explain why so much of my separate campaign world is also part of Golarion, I suppose. ;-)

Thanks for the info!

The Shoal ... interesting connotations ... water-based ... aboleth-related?

So, deities not currently present on Droffa:

Iomedae (b/c she ascended on Golarion?)
Cayden Cailean (b/c he ascended on Golarion?)
Irori (b/c he ascended on Golarion?)
Nethys (b/c he ascended on Golarion?)
Torag (no dwarves on Droffa?)
Calistria (no elves on Droffa?)
Lamashtu (why not?)

Interesting that Norgorber is present on Droffa. I wonder if he knocked off a Droffan deity after he ascended on Golarion, and therefore had to take an interest in Droffan affairs/worshippers.

Nothing whatsoever to do with the aboleths. The gods of the Shoal are in fact a sort of super-emotional reactive arrogant petty deities who couldn't stand the fact that humanity was getting along without them, and when they tried the nice route of giving humanity divine magic and humanity didn't respect the gift, they freaked out. The individual deities of the Shoal were pretty varied, but thousands of years of being locked away has not been kind to them.

In my homebrew, the Shoal and the outsider minions they've been building in their prison plane are a whole category, in the same way demons and demon lords or devils and archdevils are a category.

Lamashtu is currently worshiped on Droffa, but not in a significant way.

Iomedae, Cayden Cailean, Irori, and Nethys are not worshiped on Droffa.

There ARE dwarves and elves on Droffa. Droffa is pretty much the same exact kind of world as Golarion, in fact, and there are in fact a lot of region names or groups or monsters that are the same as well in a sort of metaphysical parallel development/evolution/design, likely resulting from unintentional influence by the deities who DO have faiths on both worlds. The dwarves and elves worship their own pantheons on Droffa; neither Torag nor Calistria are part of those pantheons, but Desna is very much worshiped by the elves.

Norgorber's presence on Droffa is part of the enigma that is Norgorber. He's the god of secrets after all, so if ANYONE was gonna know about Droffa from the core 20... it'd be Norgorber.

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Icyshadow wrote:
Fey logic. Also, I suspect that James Jacobs would want to edit that part of the Dryad description in the future. Someone could ask him about it at the proper thread...

Or just ask here.

For some creatures, we should probably have made some changes to make them fit their role in the world better. Dire apes could have stood to be quite a bit higher CR so that their Strength scores could be more appropriate, but we couldn't change their CR because they were already tied into summon monster spell lists, for example. And also, changing their CR too much would have complicated previous adventures and backwards compatibility.

Dryads are chaotic good because that's what they were in 3.5 D&D. When we built the Bestiary back in the day, we were VERY nervous about backwards compatibility, to the extent that making the changes we did to derros, ropers, and krakens actually made me pretty nervous. To the extent that we really tried to minimize the number of changes we were making, because we weren't sure what the threshold of "You changed too much from D&D and that makes me not want to play Pathfinder" was.

So yeah... Dryads are chaotic good because they've always been chaotic good.

If I were to redo the Bestiary today, I MIGHT make them chaotic neutral. I'd also change a LOT more than just dryads, though, since today, Pathfinder can stand on its own without needing backwards compatibility with D&D to exist. That wasn't the case many years ago.

THAT SAID.

A strict reading of the Bestairy's entry on dryads reveals that they "...have been known to magically coerce passerby into aiding them in tasks they cannot complete. They are more like to be friendly to non-evil druids and rangers, as they recognize a mutual respect for or empathy with nature." Nothing there says that they abduct people, magically control their minds, and keep them as pets. To a dryad, asking someone to help, say, kill the ogre who's been chopping down trees is no different than charming them into doing that—that's part of their strange fey personality and mindset—but she would still treat the magically compelled helper in a chaotic good way.

Later in the entry, it says, "some keep one or more charmed humanoids in their territory to fend off or lead away attackers..." and the key there is the word "some" combined with the fact that "charmed humanoid" could just as easily refer to things like evil giants or orcs or the like that, left to their own, would sow cruelty and despair and pain. Further, not all dryads ARE chaotic good. Remember, as mentioned on page 5 of the Bestiary... "The alignments listed for each monster in this book represent the norm for those monsters—they can vary as you require them to in order to serve the needs of your campaign." That means that "some" dryads are chaotic neutral, or evil, or whatever.

Taking JUST the flavor text about dryads on page 116 of the Bestiary, I don't see anything there that specifically goes against Chaotic Good. It's certainly and absolutely easy to bring baggage from other editions of the game, or even from other sources in Pathfinder, to the dryad... but as presented at ground zero in the Bestiary, I think she's fine as a chaotic good creature.

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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:

Baruch atah, James Jacobs:

Can you create a rock so heavy even YOU cannot lift it?

Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains? How are you at painting with all the colors of the wind?

Does Golarion have a Flying Spaghetti Monster?

If prismatic spray extended into infrared and ultraviolet, what would those colors do?

What are Jack Skellington's Pathfinder stats?

Yup.

Nope. Pretty good, I hope!

Nope.

Things that we as humans couldn't interact with.

Human skeletal warrior bard 3 with the over-hyped template.


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Misroi wrote:
Which begs the question: how does Kyra react when you press your cold feet against her?

My feet are NEVER cold.

Probably because I keep them pressed against Kyra, I guess. Which probably doesn't answer your question, does it.

She's very patient.

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Generic Villain wrote:

The Overlord Robot should have the cruelty facet, not the intuition facet. Cruelty is what gives it sneak attack.

Also, this adventure should have had more Dominion of the Black stuff. But I guess that's just an opinion.

This is not the "Dominion of the Black" adventure path, remember.

That's something for another day. There IS a Dominion of the Black AP plot I've had in my head for a long time, but this AP and Dragon's Demand needed to happen first to set the stage.

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shintsurugi wrote:

Oh great T-Rex Master,

Have you heard of this Google Chrome Easter Egg?

I have not.

Switching default browsers to Chrome FOREVER.


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shintsurugi wrote:
What escapades have kept you amused and/or busy as of late?

There's some fun stuff going on in Kintargo. Wait till you see Kyra in a dress!

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