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James Jacobs

James Jacobs's page

Creative Director. Pathfinder Society Member. 48,167 posts (50,461 including aliases). No reviews. 2 lists. No wishlists. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 9 aliases.


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Paizo Employee Creative Director

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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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Philo Pharynx wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
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.
You done loads of AP's that go from 1 to teens. Does your data say that doing one will sell so poorly that it's not worth trying once?

Kinda tells us this yes. As you've pointed out, we've done lots of them. They work. VERY well. Not super interested in trying to "fix something that's not broken."

If folks WANT us to do an AP that starts at higher level... please let us know! (Or if you want us to never do that and stick to starting at 1st level, let us know that too.)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

BobROE wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

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).

Do you find it easier to work with functional but un-artistic maps or pretty but perhaps not the most "re-drawable"?

I find that functional maps tend to be artistic, frankly. It's certainly possible to OVERdo the art and make maps that are too florid or complex, and too cluttered. Too much information, in other words. But to me? A "functional" map is artistic. A non-functional map is something I have to redraw, and is thus not artistic.

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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.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Blackvial wrote:
but would the mutagen class ability work for an alchemist lich?

Why not? Potions still work for a lich, after all. Of course... the constitution-enhancing mutagen is a poor choice for a lich...

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Gordrenn Higgler wrote:
Are good outsiders ever concubines? Are there any examples published so far?

Anything could in theory be a concubine. Can't think of any specific examples in print off the top of my head re: good outsider concubines though. But we've published at this point a LOT MORE than I've ever (or ever can) read.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

More to the point... the idea of an alchemist lich is cool, so they can indeed be.

But yeah... it's "caster" level, not "Spellcaster" or "Elixercaster" level.

Alchemist liches are legit. The line of text in the lich template that says that a character must be able to "cast spells" was written before the alchemist existed, but the idea of the alchemist's elixirs is not to deny it access to spellcasting options like lich templates. After all, the alchemist's Alchemy ability does come right out and say that the alchemist "casts" his spells by drinking the extract.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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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.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

j b 200 wrote:
Do you know what caused the Eye of Abendigo (besides the death or Aroden)? What is sustaining it? Was the geography of the region (besides becoming "sodden) significantly changed by the Eye?

Yes, I do know. Haven't revealed that yet. Not sure we ever will.

The coastline of the Sodden Lands changed pretty significantly due to flooding, and most of the terrain turned from plains to swamps. The other nearby regions were high enough above sea level that the changes were relatively minor on a geographic scale.

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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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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:

Spoiler:
1. After the end of the AP, would Serithtial be willing to let its wielder remain in Korvosa and serve as his/her blade, or would it urge its wielder to begin questing for the other pieces of Kazavon to try and destroy them, meaning if the wielder had other plans the best course would be to pass Serithtial on to a new wielder?

2. If a PC in possession of Mandraivus' celestial half-plate armor (described in Skeletons of Scarwall as bearing Lastwall iconography) were to take it to a smith and say "Hey, can you replace the Lastwall images here with Korvosan ones, please?" would this act (in your opinion) be disrespectful to Mandraivus' memory? I know there wouldn't really be any mechanical responses, but I'm wondering if a knightly PC should be made to feel guilty about it.

Spoiler:
1) Depends if I wanted to end the campaign or not. If the players were still keen to play the campaign, and I wanted to go that route, it would indeed compel its wielder to seek the other relics out.

2) It would be disrespectful, yes.

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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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Serpent wrote:

I just started reading the article on liches James Jacobs mentioned above. The funny thing is, the very first paragraphs in that article almost seem as though they had been written as a response to some of the questions presented here.

"...those who pass beyond death in this manner invariably turn to evil..."

The article even mentions misguided folks who "stumble upon lichdom with hope in their hearts". Heh, I guess it's true what they say about good intentions.

The article is a good read, recommended if Golarion canon is your thing.

By the way, I wonder if/how psychic liches are different--I haven't gotten my copy of the Occult Bestiary yet. Are they also invariably evil?

Not a funny thing at all, but an absolutely intentional thing. Turns out, we often take information we gather from these boards and use them to fuel articles. We'd seen lots of folks asking about non-evil liches for YEARS (this is hardly a new topic), and realized we hadn't been clear enough about how lichdom works in Golarion, so that was one of the first topics we wanted to speak to in the article.

Psychic liches are different in stats and the way magic works, but they're equally evil as normal liches. If we EVER do a non-evil lich (I highly doubt it, but who knows?) we'll make sure the world knows. There won't be any guesswork involved. It will not be subtle.

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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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LazarX wrote:
As a T-Rex do you have a healthy dread of lawn flamingos as this one should have?

I do not.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The Doomkitten wrote:
What is the best part of living in Washington?

Most of my friends are here.

Beyond that... it's hard to pick just one best part.

Love the weather.

Love the diversity and acceptance of different lifestyles.

Love the proximity of nature.

Love the West Coast.

Love the seafood.

ETC.

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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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coffeedog14 wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
coffeedog14 wrote:


To go somewhat back to topic: assuming that most gods have an "Average" (an average that pharasma will be excluded from, since apparently she'll throw it way off), what might that average be? Seeing as how one of the more impressive and well known efforts of a god was throwing a moon in the way of an incoming planetkiller during earthfall, should we consider that a "standard" god? Because if so, that would certainly explain why one can't stat gods. Moving moons is preeetty far out of the realm of pathfinder stats to reasonably express.
And not being interested in assigning power levels to the deities includes not being interested in setting out what powers an "average" deity might have.

Such is fair. I suppose I'll ask that to the fine forum folks, then: what do YOU guys use as the "Baseline", if you have one? I think I'll keep "moving moons" as my line of average.

Oh, also, in case anybody had read the details that I've missed: do worshipers matter a great deal to the gods? Like, are they in any way powered by belief, or do they like it primarily as a means to get people to do stuff for them? Pathfinder seems to lean towards the latter, but I could be wrong.

We don't use a baseline at all. That's the point of not assigning stats or rules to the gods. This way we can have them do whatever we need them to do in order to tell the story we want to tell.

The amount of worshipers or power of a religion's combined faith doesn't "power" the gods, like it did in D&D. A god with no worshipers can be just as powerful as a god who everyone worships. The primary thing a person's faith does is help sort his/her soul in the Boneyard; the stronger your faith, the more likely it is you'll get a better position in the afterlife in your deity's realm. The more damaged and broken your faith is, the more likely it is you'll be sent on to punishment in the afterlife. Furthermore, the size of a deity's church in a mortal realm is the amount of influence that deity has on that particular mortal realm, since deities do not personally interfere in mortal affairs as a general rule (there are RARE exceptions).

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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.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
That's really cool! I thought all the devils were male-presenting except those specifically denoted otherwise, like erinrys. Are some imps just normally female-presenting, or did this one do something unusual to be so formed?

It depends on the devil. A fair amount are more androgynous. Most are male. Some can be female.

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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!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Rune wrote:
How much would Desna like to visit this place?

She's been there. OR... that's her!

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

Sure is!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Crimeo wrote:
Quote:
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.

For what it's worth, I actually was significantly annoyed by the restriction on evil for all undead things since my very first session or two playing when I first heard about it.

It's frankly very blunt and clunky storytelling, which I realize is not your or Paizo's fault, as it is an integral carryover from older editions that many customers would raise hell over (hah!). But yeah, it does actually stick out to new players.

Granted, liches in particular, no of course that was too subtle/advanced of a point as a new player.

It's actually not a holdover from earlier editions, where the restriction was much less (particularly with things like the deathless, or creatures like baelnorns in Forgotten Realms).

The focus on evil undead in Pathfinder is very much a specific and conscious decision we made, particularly with my input, based almost entirely on my lifetime of immersing in the horror genre and seeing PLENTY of stories about undead. Time and time again, the ones that are the more interesting to me are the ones about evil undead... or at the very least evil-adjacent undead. There are, of course, stories about non-evil undead that remain compelling to me... most of them are about ghosts, which is why you see ghosts having that restriction being the most lax in our products.

Obviously, I don't feel it's blunt or clunky storytelling at all. But, as with ALL stories (and art in general, which includes RPGs), opinions will vary. And as such, it may stick out for you, but I suspect that it might not stick out so much to the average new player... although the popularity of "Twilight" in recent years might be a big shift there, I suppose.

It just so happens that my opinions are part of what Paizo pays me to have and use to fulfill my duties as the company's Creative Director. These decisions obviously don't agree with everyone and I absolutely do NOT want them to, because variety is what makes life interesting.

As an aside, I would certainly love it if folks recommended books or movies or whatever that give great examples of non-evil undead. A few that come to mind as personal favorites would be "Near Dark," "The Devil's Backbone," "Nazareth Hill," and "The Others."

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coffeedog14 wrote:

So one day, when the earth is blackened husk from the suns slow expansion and pathfinder comes to an official end due to the printing presses melting, we may see an answer XD?

anyways, on the tainting topic: yeah, pretty brutal. You play religion for keeps in golarion! I guess gods get less forgiving about such things when you can't deny that the god exists, and what they want you to do.

To go somewhat back to topic: assuming that most gods have an "Average" (an average that pharasma will be excluded from, since apparently she'll throw it way off), what might that average be? Seeing as how one of the more impressive and well known efforts of a god was throwing a moon in the way of an incoming planetkiller during earthfall, should we consider that a "standard" god? Because if so, that would certainly explain why one can't stat gods. Moving moons is preeetty far out of the realm of pathfinder stats to reasonably express.

Not from me! I plan to be dead and haunting a redwood forest FAR before that point in time.

And indeed, religion is for keeps in Golarion. That's kinda the point of religion in the game, in fact. Don't sign up to worship at a church you know you'll not be good at worshiping, in other words!

And not being interested in assigning power levels to the deities includes not being interested in setting out what powers an "average" deity might have.

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Myrryr wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
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.

Ah, ok, so it's basically souls that are 'bad' worshippers? Oof, that has some nasty insinuations for that LN cleric of Asmodeus that channels positive energy and that CG girl of Nocticula that just believe their deities are misunderstood. Ouch...

And that's one of the reasons why I think that worshipers of a deity who aren't the deity's alignment are a bad idea. You CAN still be a devout worshiper and be one step removed from your deity's alignment, mind you, but it's just a LOT harder to do so than if your alignment matches the deity's alignment.

Note also that the punishment for being a poor worshiper isn't always the same either.

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One of the things that's actually really nice about ending the APs as they do at 17th level is that it doesn't edge us out of the game's comfort zone of material. In an adventure, many encounters are expected to be of a CR equal to 1 or more than the party's average level, and as long as the party is 17th level or less, there's still a fair amount of monsters and other options easily available for use in encounters.

Once you get up higher, and specifically at level 20, though... the resources start to get real thin real fast, and the more adventures you do, the more repetitive those end encounters get thematically, forcing you to increasingly make up entirely new content to simply avoid repeating yourself. And that further eats up wordcounts.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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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.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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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.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Maximilian Gaston wrote:
I understand that. So calling them Good Lich, Arch-Lich or whatever is just to say the oiginal normal Lich is always evil. Then shouldn't they be called Evil Lich?

Nope. Because "evil lich" is the baseline. No need to call that out anymore than that, since it's intended to be the assumption. It's only if something deviates that you'd need a qualifier to call out the deviation.

But frankly, my preference would be that a non-evil "lich" would be a unique creature hand-crafted for the adventure, and NOT a generic monster or template. In this case, it wouldn't need a name at all, other than it's actual given name.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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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.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Crimeo wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:


It's personal and unique, but as long as the goal is "lich" then yes... it has to be an evil act.

Something that doesn't is not a lich; it might be identical in all ways to the lich template otherwise, but it'd be thematically different enough that it should have a different name. Even if that name is "good lich" or "exalted lich" or whatever. That way, the core concept and theme of the lich itself remains intact.

Thanks, this seems MUCH more reasonable than just forcing them to be evil. This would make it merely a cultural convention of labeling, but not a weirdly biologically forced/fixed alignment thing without any associated details.

I can definitely live with that.

It still does "force them to be evil" by your definition. Of course, if you want to be a lich, you aren't being forced to be evil at all. You already ARE evil.

A non-evil version of a lich would be a different creature, is what I"m saying.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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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!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Maximilian Gaston wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:
If ANY undead would be able to become G or N it would be the lich. And the paladin specifically calls out that TJERE ARE G and N undead. Otherwise it would never mention it like the Oath vs Corruption or oath va fiends.

Sure, just blithely ignore the fact that in order to choose the path, you were a mass murdering SOB who killed tons of innocent people in horrific ways to get there to start with. You're talking about someone who was essentially a sociopath on the order of Jeffrey Dahmer or Hannibal Lector combined with a megalomanical power fixation to boot.

Those kind of people don't simply wake up one morning and decide to become angels. In fact, they never do.

You keep blindly stating they are all evil and all must perform evil deeds but Jacobs has said its personal and unique. So they do not HAVE to commit evil act.

It's personal and unique, but as long as the goal is "lich" then yes... it has to be an evil act.

Something that doesn't is not a lich; it might be identical in all ways to the lich template otherwise, but it'd be thematically different enough that it should have a different name. Even if that name is "good lich" or "exalted lich" or whatever. That way, the core concept and theme of the lich itself remains intact.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Okay folks... let's ramp it back and calm down. No need to get personal or angry or any of that. It's a game, not a fight.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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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.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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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.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Maximilian Gaston wrote:
Are we ever gonna get another take on the Sin Eater? I like the Inquisitor's Archetype fine but I would love a more Shamanistic view of it. One where you devour the negative energies from an undead foe to purify it. Or when you render a foe helpless you can eat their sins and negative emotions to force an alignment shift on them toward neutral or good.

Maybe. It's a concept that is very much "of interest" to lots of folks here. We'll see.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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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).

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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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.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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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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