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James Jacobs

James Jacobs's page

Creative Director. Pathfinder Society Member. 48,141 posts (50,433 including aliases). No reviews. 2 lists. No wishlists. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 9 aliases.


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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.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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

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

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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.

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

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

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Caedwyr wrote:

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Myrryr wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are in fact two that I'm running.

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

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

Paizo Employee Creative Director

In Pathfinder, the ritual to become a lich is unique for every single different person. As a result, you can't just "list" the evil deeds a person needs to do in order to become a lich. They're different for every person. We chose to go with this because it opened up a HUGE range of story possibilities, helps make every lich unique, helps to explain why it's so hard to become a lich (If every person has their own unique formula that must be researched, then you can't just use the formula some previous lich used), and finally, because it was different than the D&D version of drinking an evil potion (which we didn't want to use because a lot of that flavor text was not open content and we didn't want to rob from D&D's hard work and we wanted to make our liches different and our own).

There's plenty of examples for how liches in our world got to be what they are, along with the vile acts they had to do in order to become liches. For example, one of the very first lich transformations we detailed was back in "The Skinsaw Murders" in the 2nd Pathfinder AP volume...

Spoiler:
...there, Vorel Foxglove's attempt to become a lich is ultimately disrupted by his wife, but it required the creation of a virulent and deadly fungal disease that he not only needed to use on himself, but needed to spread like a sickness through civilization in order to build up the pain and suffering and necromantic energy needed to fuel his transformation. Even though Vorel's plans backfired, the disease he created lived on and ended up being a significant menace in Curse of the Crimson Throne, where it resulted in the death of many, many people. That's an example of the fallout of a FAILED lich transformation... a successful one needs to be even nastier.

There are other examples spread throughout our adventures, but Carrion Crown has the most, in that it also includes a big article about liches.

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Misroi wrote:
What's Shensen's vocal range? Is she a soprano? Alto? Contralto?

I've always imagined her vocal range to be quite wide, but more or less sounding like my favorite singer, Lisa Gerrard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paizo Employee Creative Director

bdk86 wrote:

My actual question I came into this thread to ask:

The Ghost Rider Archetype in Occult Adventures doesn't provide the mount with Tricks (as it uses Phantom progression), but the Cavalier/Mount do get the Link ability as a Spiritualist would. Does having that Link allow the Cavalier to not need Tricks or Handle Animal checks to get their Phantom Mount to perform a task, since they have telepathic communication going?

Dunno. Haven't looked at word one of that archetype. This is a question for the rules team, in any event, and should be asked in the Occult Adventures thread so it can be tagged for an FAQ and all that.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

bdk86 wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:


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

Oh my god I had forgotten about that little gem from Dungeon Magazine until now. I think I still have a copy in a box at home. That thing made me a bit ill to read, even as a teenager.

...I mean, I was totally over 18 when I got that. Yep.

HA!

Yeah... that was a fun one to write; Chris asked me if I'd be interested in writing the Book of Vile Darknes adventure tie-in and I said "YES ABSOLUTELY!!!!" I asked him how over the top I could go, and he basically said "Do anything you want. We'll make the call on what's too far." Not everything I came up with for the adventure made it in, of course, but what DID get in there was a pleasant surprise to me. Good times.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Geezer wrote:

Three questions about androids and android forges:

1): Do androids love?

2): For androids, empathy is a feat, not an alternate racial trait. Why?

3): "Androids are created (in) strange, alien forges (...) hidden in strange ruins in Numeria", truly a Holy Grail for androids for sure, and in the Iron Gods AP the characters are destined to find a forge or two...
Unfortunately I can't find the stats for these technological artifacts (rate of production, energy consumption, etc.), do you have suggestions?

1) They can, if they gain the ability to have emotions and gain morale effects. Otherwise, no, they can't actually love. They can fake it pretty well though.

2) Because feats are more versatile; you can pick up a feat multiple times as you gain levels. Alternate racial traits are things you have to choose at the start of the game and you have to give something up. By making this a feat, you don't have to make the hard choice of what you're giving up, and you can decide to gain the ability at some point later than 1st level.

3) They're specifically NOT statted up. How fast they produce androids is left vague, so each GM can adjust that total to his/her preference for the game they run.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Tarvius Omalatti wrote:

Mr. Jacobs,

I'm running a group of mostly new players through Rise of the Runelords, and one of my new players is very intesrested in Erylium's prayer book dedicated to Lamashtu, partially because I mispoke and told him it was a bestiary.  What types of monsters would likely be in it?

Thank you

Heh... you're kinda on your own there, honestly. But really, keep in mind that Lamashtu is the mother of monsters, and so ANY monster could be in a Lamashtu-themed bestiary. Alternately, if it contained all chaotic evil outsiders, that'd work too.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

, wrote:

Hello!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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

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

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

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

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

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Kamil Blecharczyk wrote:
I am experimenting with flavoring events and tone of my occult campaign by months(ex. Lamashan would have nightmarish vibe) to give them some meaning, and found small problem - namely I don't know name of thirteenth lunar moon in the year. We know twelve of those (Long, Fated, Rebirth, Flood, Blossom, Sweet, Lover's, Swarm, Harvest, Hunter's, Black and Cold Moon), but last one is missing. I would love to know it. :D

It's not yet been named, apparently, and I"m not just gonna make one up out of the blue... sorry.

Think of it as an opportunity to put your own mark on the world, I guess?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Kain Darkwind wrote:

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

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

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

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

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Crimeo wrote:

Where is everyone getting this idea that making a lich requires "unspeakable horrible acts"? I do not see any such mention of this in the lich description, or the "becoming a lich" text. It just says it's difficult and expensive, not necessarily evil. I'm looking here in particular:

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/monsters/lich.html

yes I know the alignment says evil, but I'm referring to the creation of the lich:

Quote:
a prospective lich must also learn the secrets of transferring his soul into the receptacle and of preparing his body for the transformation into undeath, neither of which are simple tasks.
Quote:
The exact methods ... should involve expenditures of hundreds of thousands of gold pieces, numerous deadly adventures, and a large number of difficult skill checks over the course of months, years, or decades.
Quote:

Each lich must create its own phylactery by using the Craft Wondrous Item feat. The character must be able to cast spells and have a caster level of 11th or higher. The phylactery costs 120,000 gp to create and has a caster level equal to that of its creator at the time of creation.

The most common form of phylactery is a sealed metal box containing strips of parchment on which magical phrases have been transcribed. The box is Tiny and has 40 hit points, hardness 20, and a break DC of 40.

In the bestiaries, there's often not enough room to get into the flavor details that a monster deserves, particularly if the monster is complicated or a template. The lich is both.

In these cases, we generally focus the flavor information in other books, or in adventures. That's where folks are getting it from—the canonical lore for Golarion.

Obviously that doesn't set the lore for any other realm, but it IS what you're gonna get from us here at Paizo regarding additional information about the lich.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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

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

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

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

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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

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

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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

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

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

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

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Jareth Elirae wrote:
There seems to be lots of commentary on Shensen from Hell's Rebels recently and many of your answers/hints/responses (bard, originally Drow) lead me to wonder, could this be the same Shensen Tesseril from the original Shackled City adventure path? There seems to be a lot in common and there was a lot of planar stuff going on back then in Cauldron... it is not inconceivable that she could have found herself in Golarion, especially Cheliax with its expertise in summoning.

The Shackled City Shensen was inspired by the same character that inspired the Golarion Shensen. I designed the Shackled City one when I had only just started playing the character, and at that point she was still a drow and pretty low level and had some wildly different classes. Not long after that adventure, my personal Shensen evolved a bit with new and more accurate options for worshipers of Eilistraee getting into print, and my GM Jason Nelson let me rebuild her. Her transformation into a half-aquatic elf happened a few years after the Shackled City version.

Now, that all said, the Shensen in Golarion is a LOT closer to the actual character I played in Jason's game, and she's got a pretty established history in Golarion now. Making her the same Shensen from Shackled City would alter that history, so I'd say no, it's not the same one.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Ashkar wrote:
Does 20-25 point buy, in contrast with standart 15, increase the CR of NPC?

It usually will, yes, but it depends on where and how you spend those points. Compare the final results to Table 1–1 in the Bestiary to see if it does.

For example, in Rise of the Runelords, I built Karzoug's stats using 25 points. In that case it did indeed help to increase his CR by 1.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The Fiend Fantastic wrote:

Mr Jacobs,

In the module Hangman's Noose, written by Nicolas Logue, there's the undead monster named "Gutdragging Lurcher".
** spoiler omitted **

Has Mr Logue told you where he got the inspiration for this disgustingly good horror?
Do you know if mr Logue has a fascination for japan?

He hasn't told me, but I suspect it was simply "Oooh, this is creepy and gross so let's make it a monster!" Nick is a pretty worldly guy, and he's got a lot of knowledge about Asia, but more toward China, I believe, than Japan.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Tangent101 wrote:

Heh. I'm just full of questions, I see! ^^;;

Under Decoding the Documents, it states that players can help Rexus in translating and decoding the documents. Are they able to do that if they lack one of the languages in question (most likely Strix)? If they are missing a language, how much would the difficulty of the Linguistics check increase by to compensate for this?

Would the characters be able to use Linguistics to Aid Other for Rexus even without knowing the languages, and if so, does this reduce the amount of time needed to decipher the documents?

And seeing most of the documents are in code, do the pages captured from Merindius Sarini stand out from the others? Is there anything in the ledger that is the shell for the contract that would be considered valuable, or might those captured documents end up as extraneous that can be used as kindling (or worse) or otherwise thrown out?

Without knowing the language, you can't really help. The adventure expects Rexus to be the one to eventually translate the info, leaving the PCs to do other things, but a PC who can speak all three of those languages and who has the 1 rank can either help or do it on her own with Rexus helping. That said, a PC being the primary translator means that she's not gonna be able to adventure much. You can help and still adventure.

It should be obvious that the documents are of interest in any event, simply due to their unusual nature. If a PC is about to throw them out or something, give the party Perception and Linguistics checks to see if anyone notices they might be valuable... and just have whoever rolls highest make that discovery, regardless of the roll. It's pretty important for the PCs to learn the information from these documents.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The Wiki isn't official, and they sometimes get things wrong.

Aroden is dead, never fear.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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

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

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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

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

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

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

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

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