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James Jacobs

James Jacobs's page

Creative Director. Pathfinder Society Member. 52,185 posts (54,570 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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Snowsarn wrote:

Hello James

I hope you are well

All the recent talk of high CR statblocks and Mythic play have sparked a couple of questions in my mind. I apologize if some of this should be common knowledge:

1) Why did Paizo decide to not make high level play with levels above 20th?

2) Without access to Mythic powers can a party of 4 level 20 characters win against CRs 28+? I haven't tried it but an encounter of "epic" difficulty seems to be 6 CR higher than average party level.

3) What do you enjoy about designing statblocks in the late 20'ies range?

4) If I were to run a Wrath of the Righteous campaign, would you then recommend to reduce the amount of Mythic Tiers, or play as is?

Cheers

1) Because the math for things like saving throws, attack rolls, and the like breaks down increasingly fast after 20th level. And because a game is stronger when you have a level cap and thus understand the framework in which you can design content for the game.

Spoiler:
When Epic Level Handbook came out for D&D, they essentially removed level caps entirely, which had a terrible side effect. WotC couldn't reliably design "boss monsters" anymore. It's VERY cool to be able to put things like, say, Demogorgon into a game to serve as a super tough foe—it's been a tradition since the very earliest incarnation of the game, after all. But unless you know the maximum power level a PC can hit, you can't design a Demogorgon to serve as that type of creature. Set its CR at 30, and players will scoff at it being a wimp because Epic Level Handbook lets them level up to level 40. Set its CR at 60, and players will scoff because they can hit level 61, but more to the point RELATIVELY FEW players will ever get close to 20th level so now you've got a CR 60 Demogorgon that only works for a tiny slice of the world's player base.

With a level cap, in this case 20, we can build things that can serve that role, like the tarrasque, as a CR 25 creature. With mythic, we anticipated CR 30 would cover it, but as it played out, CR 35 or CR 40 might have been a better goal...

2) You don't need to fight a monster as-is in an adventure. Those stats can serve merely as entertainment to be read, first and foremost. But they can also serve other ways that aren't just fights against PCs. We cover this a little bit in the "Demon Lords in a Campaign" section in Bestiary 4, page 45.

For an example of how this could all play out in play, check out the last few adventures in the Dungeon Adventures Adventure Path, Savage Tide...

Spoiler:
In that AP, Demogorgon is the main bad guy and the foe you're supposed to fight at the very end, but you can only hit 20th or MAYBE 21st level in that adventure path, and Demogorgon, as statted up in that game, is a CR 33 foe. How that works in Savage Tide is that for the last few adventures in that campaign, the whole metaplot is to prepare yourselves with potent allies and magic, and to whittle away at Demogorgon's power. By recruiting Demogorgon's enemies to aid you, you weaken him. By slaying some of his most powerful minions and a few aspects and avatars, you weaken him. And so forth and so on; these are all goals spread out through the last few adventures. If you ignore those sub-quests, when you confront Demogorgon at the end, you face his full CR 33 version. But the more of those side-quests you accomplish in the build up, the weaker he gets, so that in the final confrontation his stat block is reduced sequentualy by applying negative levels, lowering his AC, and removing an increasing number of his powers and abilities. You still need his full-powered CR 33 stats in order to calculate those effects, though, and you still need those stats in the unfortunate case of the PCs missing quests or foolishly confronting him with a "jump to the end scry-and-fry" type tactic.

That all said, high level PCs are capable of a HUGE number of stunts, both offensive and defensive. Never underestimate what a 20th level party of characters played by a group of skilled players who have honed those skills with those specific characters over the course of many many sessions of play can do to a monster!

3) I enjoy the fact that I get to stretch my creativity when it comes to powers, and I enjoy statting up memorable and recognizable creatures, and I enjoy the challenge of working with the complexities of the rules. And as a GM, these "end boss" creatures are kind of the closest things you have to your OWN characters in a game, so the same sort of thing that appeals to a player designing his/her player character is what appeals to me in designing a powerful, recognizable, significant creature or character in a game setting.

4) I would recommend reducing the Mythic Tiers you give out to 1 per adventure. The PCs should earn a new tier each time you finish an AP installment. If things start feeling scary or tough, you can adjust on the fly either by giving them another tier or by softening the stats.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Therrux wrote:
Which do you think the Upsidedown from Stranger Things is closer to, the Ethereal Plane or the Shadow Plane?

No contest. Shadow Plane.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Cole Deschain wrote:

I still maintain that Wrath of the Righteous, rather than any sort of theoretical Starstone module, is the go-to for "so you want to become a god?" adventuring in Pathfinder.

On that note-

The core pathfinder pantheon lacks a lunar deity*- was this a conscious decision, or just something that no deity as planned needed to stick a flag in?

Any "gaps" in the core pantheon that were consciously chosen, deity types/concepts that were explicitly either left vacant or avoided for conceptual purposes?

*Obviously, the Azlanti and Tien pantheons had/have that spot covered, but, you know.

It was a conscious decision, and one that sort of bothers me, frankly. Desna is the obvious choice to be a moon deity, in any event.

As for WHY there's no Moon deity?

Spoiler:
That's simple; because 3.5 D&D didn't have a Moon Domain in the SRD.

When we first started working on Golarion, we used the 3.5 rules, and didn't have a way or a method to introduce new class elements easily. So when it came to picking domains for our core 20 deities, we were limited to the domains that were available to us in the SRD—and there's no Moon domain in there. There IS a Moon Domain in D&D, but it was introduced in the Forgotten Realms rulebook and was never put into the SRD, so we didn't have access to it. So as a result, Desna didn't get the Moon domain and we didn't get a moon deity in the setting.

When we updated to Pathfinder from 3.5, we didn't want to change any deity domains because they were already established. Desna, in particular, was one of the deities we'd already done quite a lot with, and we wanted to preserve that so that, in world, the switch from 3.5 to Pathfinder would be 100% invisible. Furthermore, we simply didn't have any ROOM to add even 1 more domain to that book.

By the time we got around to Azlant and Tian-Xia deities, Pathfinder was firmly standing on its own two feet AND we'd come up with the idea of subdomains, so a Moon domain and thus a moon deity was plausable for that reason.

And that also helped us explain why there's no moon deity in modern Golarion's core 20—the previous moon deity got killed during Earthfall, and no one's stepped into the vacancy.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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AramilNuren wrote:

So something interesting happened in one of our play sessions recently.

The area the party is investigating has a creature using control weather to make a snowstorm. The druid in the party (it's always the druid isn't it?) used control weather to try and get rid of the snowstorm.

Uh, so what happens when 2 spells that do the same thing come up against each other? And I don't mean just this example. What do you do when 2 different spell casters are both trying to control something with the same spell? Caster level check? Or does control weather, by it's wording, remove the last casting of control weather and replace it?

Also, is it possible to dispel a control weather spell? And if so, how would one do so? Do you simply need to cast dispel within the area of control weather?

Thoughts?

In a few cases, the rules are explicit about how spells interact like this. Light and darkness spells, for example, or consecrate vs. desecrate.

In other cases, it's generally the best bet to say that the most recently cast spell is the one whose effect takes place. In your case, the druid casts control weather and it should function normally... but the creature that uses control weather to manipulate things should more or less notice swiftly and use control weather again to change things back. Which is a great way for the party to learn that there is indeed something actively manipulating the weather as a reward for them being able to do the same.

Control weather has a duration and is a spell, and as such it's absolutely possible to affect it with dispel magic. Provided you can cast the dispel magic into the area affected by control weather.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Chris Hallquist wrote:
What are typical tactics when two devout, Chelish Asmodeans get into a political knife fight? What are the "gotchas" they can throw at an opponent who's staunchly Lawful and not guilty of any obvious heresies? (E.g. nothing blatant enough to cause a divine spell caster to lose her spell-casting ability.)

They'd vary, but it would likely fall into pedantry, strawman traps, baiting, and citing of old written works by both sides.

Kind of like a fiery internet argument. :-P

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Misroi wrote:

I want to check into something here.

A Song of Silver wrote:


Heartless (Su) Barzillai’s heart is ensconced deep under Kintargo in the soul anchor. In its place he has stashed a magical puzzle box known as a Chelish Crux. See Concluding the Adventure for more information on this puzzle box and its contents. Barzillai’s heartless condition renders him immune to bleed damage and grants him a +4 bonus on all saving throws versus death effects. It also grants him the benefits of the advanced creature simple template. If reduced to negative hit points, Barzillai becomes staggered but doesn’t fall unconscious. If his hit-point total drops to a negative amount of hit points that equals or exceeds his Constitution score (–24 hp at his current Constitution score), he doesn’t die—he merely becomes stunned. This stunned condition can’t be removed by any effect as long as he remains at –24 hp or fewer, but is removed immediately if he is healed above this total. A destruction or disintegrate spell (or another effect that completely destroys the body) or a death effect can kill him if the damage caused by the attack reduces him to –24 hp or fewer. Effects like flesh to
stone, imprisonment, or trap the soul that normally bypass damage
reduction instead invoke a clause in his with Mephistopheles—rather than suffering the normal effect from the spell or item, he is struck dead on the spot. (In the case of the talisman of pure good from area E31, a spike of iron impales Barzillai before retracting into the pit created while leaving his gear, and more importantly, his Chelish Crux, behind in a smoking heap—this foreshadows his torment in the infernal realm of Caina in the final adventure.) Finally, reducing him to –191 hp via any damage source results in the utter destruction of his body and kills him. If Barzillai has fast healing active as a result of his judgment of healing, the fast healing effect continues to heal damage until he is actually killed. This healing can potentially restore him to full
...

Correct.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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A quick note on the Horsemen...

Spoiler:
We've long gone with War, Pestilence, Famine, and Death as the four Horsemen in Golarion, and thus in Pathfinder. For all creatures inspired by mythology, we need to make decisions on what to retain and what not to run with, what to ignore and what to make up brand-new. This is nothing new to RPGs—the gorgon is a great example of something that, back in the early days, the designers decided to NOT go with certain myths for it and to go with others.

I get that some of the choices we make for monsters along these lines won't appeal to some gamers, but that's the great thing about Tabletop RPGs; you can keep what you want and change the rest! So if you like how we statted up, say, the Horsemen of War and Death and Famine, but want to swap out Pestilence for Conquest (or whatever) you can use our design as an inspirational starting point and go from there.

Regardless of that choice, WE had to choose something, and went with our preferences. In the case of the Horsemen, we made that decision nearly 10 years ago during the early production of Curse of the Crimson Throne, and have supported that decision across all lines ever since, so changing it for Bestiary 6 never even crossed my mind.

In ANY event... let's get this thread back to generalized Bestiary 6 talk! The horsemen are a fascinating subject of their own and deserve their own thread. :-D

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Dragon78 wrote:
I hope there will be new Kaiju but I doubt it since James Jacobs said he didn't want the rest stated up in a bestiary.

Let's just say James can change his mind, particularly when he's the one who's finally actually IN CHARGE of a bestiary. :-P

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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JiCi wrote:

"troops of goblins"

Please tell me that there's a troop template :D

A troop template isn't really appropriate, any more than a swarm template is.

"Troop" is a monster subtype, like swarm. Troops work best when, like swarms, they're hand-built as monsters.

I'm hoping to include some advice and tips in the book on how to build your own troops though!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Belltrap wrote:

Does your negative perception of how mythic and high level Pathfinder interact extend to your own personal experience adding mythic to Necropolis? Or is the problem a combination of high mythic and high level?

I ask as someone entertaining the possibility of running Necropolis if the module/adventure I'm currently GMing goes well.

It absolutely did not. First off, I threw in Mythic into that campaign well before we had any feedback from customers regarding Wrath of the Righteous, but more to the point perhaps, I gave the party their first mythic tier at level 15 or thereabouts and their 2nd mythic tier at level 17 just before the campaign's final session. It worked quite well in that setup, actually, but also because I was willing and comfortable with adjusting encounters on the fly to keep things fun and interesting and challenging and fast-paced.

The problem is a combination of high-level AND high-tier, combined with a GM style that doesn't allow for fast on-the-fly adjustment to account for unexpected player character power levels.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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The Minis Maniac wrote:

Didn't mean to bother you and I'm not the type to say I need all of what I want right now. I'm adult enough to realize you need to cater to all your fans. And I know Wrath of the Righteous had it's detractors ubt hey I really disliked Iron Gods. I just loved the Dungeon magazine method wear you managed to get to 20th level and challenge a well known great foe known in old game lore like Demogorgon. I guess I just like the idea that you might make an adventure path some time where mephistopheles or even a kyton demagogue gets his comeuppance. Sorry didn't mean to be a downer hell I'll keep my subscription even through said plotlines that bore me. I have Iron Gods after all. And have subscribed since the beginning. So don't take my statements as anything negative. Just one fans input.

No worries! I'm just a bit reflexively thin-skinned when it comes to Mythic Adventures. I'm actually VERY proud of Wrath of the Righteous—it's a storyline I'd been aching to tell more or less from day one of Pathfinder once we decided there was a Worldwound, and it's just really soul-cripplingly frustrating and depressing that some folks have latched onto it as a failure due to the way the Mythic Rules and high-level play interacted when I put so much work into the AP to make it memorable. It just ended up being memorable for a lot of the wrong reasons, and that overshadows what I feel is one of the better storylines we've done in the line.

Ah well. Sorry if it felt like I was snapping at you, cause I wasn't. :-)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Alayern wrote:
Were you involved in encouraging the approval/development of the Holy Trinity of 2016? (Inner Sea Temples, Divine Anthology, Healer's Handbook)? I'd say it's a good year to be a divine caster.

Other than my constant push to do more divine-themed stuff, I did develop Divine Anthology, and I'm pretty sure "Inner Sea Temples" was originally my idea although I came up with it YEARS ago. Just took us time to get to it.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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EltonJ wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:


Given the fact that the company's creative director counts Harryhausen as one of the most incredible talents film has ever produced and that the company's publisher has a life sized replica bubo in his office... not sure why this should be a surprise! :-P
I do. I don't run my campaigns in Golarion, but in my own world system. I never have opened up the Inner Sea Guide in a while. Though I do use Inner Sea Magic. My apologies if this certain Creative Director feels slighted by my comment. Besides, a certain self publisher likes Ray Harryhausen as well.

I don't feel slighted in the least, but I do think there's thousands of pages of Golarion gaming material out there that you'd probably really enjoy! ;-D

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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EltonJ wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
EltonJ wrote:
Thomas Seitz wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Szuriel is the Horseman of War. She's awesome!
She is pretty sweet. But I have strong spot for Charon.
Depends on how they illustrate him. If they take cues from Clash of the Titans, we would have a frightening Charon indeed. However, if they take cues from the actual greek myths, you have a Septuagenarian stearing the boat. If they take cues from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, you get someone in their 50s and a source of comedy.

We already have art of Charon (or his avatar) - see page 242 of the Inner Sea World Guide. ^_^

Basically, a skeletal boatman with a wide-brimmed hat, shrouded in darkness.

Wow! They did take cues from Clash of the Titans (1981).

Given the fact that the company's creative director counts Harryhausen as one of the most incredible talents film has ever produced and that the company's publisher has a life sized replica bubo in his office... not sure why this should be a surprise! :-P

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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The Minis Maniac wrote:
James I am so happy about Bestiary 6 having so many demi gods and mythic foes. I am just so sad that we may never see another mythic adventure path. Can you say if we will ever see one again? Were sales of Wrath of the Righteous really that bad?

It's not that sales of Wrath were bad at all. They, as with all our Adventure Paths, were quite healthy as far as I know.

The problem was that I personally do not like how the interaction of Mythic and high-level play worked out, and as such am not interested in duplicating that effort.

If I had a time machine and knew now what I knew then I would rebuild Wrath of the Righteous so that the PCs still hit 20th level, but would spread out the mythic advancement about by half, so that you gain 1 tier per volume and max out at tier 5 or tier 6.

ANYthing is possible in the future, I suppose, but doing another tier 10/level 20 AP would require building foes that vastly exceed CR 30 in scope, and the game world doesn't really have room for that area, so it's kind of not something that we can do with the game.

But yeah. Ask me again in 5 years. I might have changed my mind.

That said... there are high CR foes for mythic characters to fight in Bestiary 6, yes, but there are NOT going to be "Mythic monsters" as they were presented in Mythic Adventures or periodically in Bestiary 4 and 5. Demigod-tier foes will retain mythic surge ability in the same way demon lords and Great Old Ones and Empyreal Lords have that ability, but there won't be monsters with "MR" in their CR line in Bestiary 6.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Ixos wrote:

I'm curious about what perversion means for Socothbenoth. Incest is clearly spelled out, but what are the others?

Thankfully, the prevailing view of Pathfinder is that there exist a wide spread of healthy sexualities, which leads me to think that sodomy would not fall under perversion.

I'm think either he is interested in sexual activity without consent or he supports a destructive version of hedonism that revels in (self-)destruction. Perhaps both/and?

What "perversion" means is deliberately left to the mind of the reader, but it does NOT include sexual orientations, which are not perversions.

The human condition is perfectly capable of coming up with perversions, and Socothbenoth enjoys them all. In this case, rape is high on Socothbenoth's list of perversions, and rape is a subject that we tread lightly around, since while it is an (unfortunate) part of reality, and as such is implied that it's part of a game world that models reality, I have zero interest in really exploring the subject in Pathfinder products. And so when the subject comes up, it's left vague and indistinct—suggested, as in the case of Socothbenoth's "preversions," but not something that's worth spending any time in print dwelling over.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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AlgaeNymph wrote:
Will...the previous four statted empyreal lords (Cernunnos, Korada, and Vildeis in B4, Andoletta in Heaven Unleashed) get errata eventually?

No, because they're not incorrect. They're merely designed with a different mindset, and as such they are what they are.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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FallenDabus wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
FallenDabus wrote:
James, is there any chance we'll be seeing other types of demigods that we don't have stats for yet like the asuras, psychopomps, kytons, and aeons in Bestiary 6? And were guys able to tap Todd Stewart to write the Horsemen entries?

There will be other demigods in the book, yes, but no asuras, psychopomps, kytons, or aeons.

Todd is indeed designing the Horsemen.

Yay!!! That's awesome! This is probably the closest we are ever getting to real Baernoloth stats!

*goes looking for weights to drag himself off the ceiling*

Not at all. The baernoloths are an entirely different thing, and not open content at that. The Horsemen will be quite different from them, but hopefully even more awesome/frightening (which, given thousands of years of mythology to draw from for some of them, should be doable!).

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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AlgaeNymph wrote:
Jams, I posted when you were answering a lot of questions, so I think you missed mine.

I didn't miss it. I chose not to answer.

The time for further revelations of who and what exactly will be in the book is not now—we just announced it. Let us spread things out a bit rather than revealing every secret on day one.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Wannabe Demon Lord wrote:

On the subject of the Yaddithian, I'd never heard of it before, but it looks awesome. I love PC races that are just totally bizarre and random and out there. It looks really "Mos Eisley Cantina-ish," which I can appreciate.

Folks eager for a preview of the Yaddithian should read Lovecraft's short story, "Through the Gates of the Silver Key."

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Bruno2 wrote:
We need a cool MEGA Campaign Dungeon Crawl Adventure Not another Creature Book & really the Art on the cover not that great??? I hope this is not the actual cover your goanna use. Get Wayne to do it, add in maybe some Lairs or site designs maybe??? Underdark Pathfinder style please??? Not hard people.

Not the appropriate place to bring up this request—and as mentioned above and in the comments, this is not the actual cover art.

Let's keep this thread focused on Bestiary 6. Thanks.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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FallenDabus wrote:
James, is there any chance we'll be seeing other types of demigods that we don't have stats for yet like the asuras, psychopomps, kytons, and aeons in Bestiary 6? And were guys able to tap Todd Stewart to write the Horsemen entries?

There will be other demigods in the book, yes, but no asuras, psychopomps, kytons, or aeons.

Todd is indeed designing the Horsemen.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Darrell Impey UK wrote:
James, if you've ever seen the Michael Caine film Zulu, that's Rorke's Drift.

Ah! Then I have heard of it, just not in a way that I remembered the phrase "Rorke's Drift."

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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KaiserBruno wrote:

Is there any chance of Nocticula slipping in? She and Abraxas are my two favorite demon lords and it'd be nice to have her in an official Bestiary instead of just being in Wrath of the Righteous.

No demon lords in this book. Therefore no Nocticula.

That said, the version of her in Wrath of the Righteous IS the official version of her, and frankly, those version that appear in such venues where we can include world content make them MORE official than if they appear in a Bestiary where some of their lore has to be ignored due to the "world neutral" stance of the rulebook line.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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KaiserBruno wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Zhangar wrote:

Which demigods are you statting (or already statted) out for Bestiary 6? (Charon and Mephistopheles are among the ones announced so far; I don't know if you speak about any beyond that?)

Also, yay for more demigods.

Bestiary 6 will have more demigods inside its covers than any other single book we've ever published. Beyond the two I've mentioned, it should come as no surprise we're not stopping at just those two—we're presenting stats for all 8 Archdevils (the 9th being Asmodeus and, at deity level, no stats work for him) and all 4 Horsemen.

There's more, though. Some will be demigods people have heard a lot about. Some will be brand new ones. Now's not the time to reveal that much more information though. Stay tuned, though!

Holy s+&*. I was expecting two archdevils. Maybe three. But all 8? My wanting for this book just increased a thousandfold.

As for my question, exactly why all the focus on high level monsters? Is this a hint to come for more Mythic level products or maybe high level modules?

It's great to see that there IS a desire to see high CR creatures like Archdevils in print, since there's something of a perception around these parts that high CR monsters like that are useless. I, obviously, disagree, and hope that this book will start to prove that point more.

This book isn't intended to support Mythic at all. In fact, there are no "mythic" monsters in the book (as in no monsters with an "MR" in their CR line—there are absolutely monsters of the CR range of 21–30).

The point of this book is to skew high CR to give more support for play at higher level, though—but at the same time there's still going to be plenty of low and mid CR monsters in the book as well. One of the benefits of this being the 6th in the series is that we no longer are bound by some of the implied restrictions of the earlier ones, which really DID need to focus on gathering the classics and representing lower CRs over higher ones.

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Gorbacz wrote:
If it's not too late, I'd plug for a upper-med CR (9-11) humanoid aquatic undead. WotC had the Drowned, Tome of Horrors had the Brykolakalakakakas, I'd love to see something new here. Lacedons just don't cut at later levels :)

All of the monsters are selected for Bestiary 6. In fact, I'm almost 1/4 the way through developing the book at this point already! WOO!!!!

The choices of what monsters to go into the book this time around were almost entirely my call, although I did have lots of help from folks here at Paizo AND have been keeping an eye on the various Bestiary request threads, so folks will absolutely see some relatively often-requested critters in here for sure.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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kevin_video wrote:
Juda de Kerioth wrote:

I love Pathfinder, and i wish that paizo expand the rules, i dont want more feats, i rather an escalating leveling to 30th lvl, balance on the rules, Prestige Classes more like mythic tiers instead of xp dependants, and paragon racial options.

its too easy to do such a thing, i did with my house rules and was only I working on it. why paizians can´t offer something alike?

It's not something specific to their game world. They could do it, but their own characters can't make use of the rules. Much like you can make any race you want to, or half-race, but you'll never ever see them exist in Golarion because those were the rules they set for themselves. It's why there's sometimes disclaimers/sidebars on their books that give you "suggested options" for outside their main books.

This isn't the thread to get into the topic; let's stay focused on Bestiary 6, please.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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berserker444 wrote:

I've received a call from my old buddy Yeenoghu recently, His buddies tried to hook him up on a blind date multiple times with Lamashtu but said someone called licensing keeps intervening to ruin it. Whats up with that? The poor guy sounds pretty upset over it.

Lamashtu is from mythology, and she is thus immune to licensing. She does, in fact, appear in D&D"s cosmology, because I included a version of her in the setting. See the article about Pazuzu in Dragon Magazine I wrote for proof.

AKA: Sounds like Yeenoghu's buddies are trolling him with that licensing malarky.

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AlgaeNymph wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
It was pretty fun stating up Ithaqua. I'm the one who's statting up all of the Great Old Ones for Pathfinder, in part because I'm not intimidated by high CR stat blocks
James Jacobs wrote:
Zhangar wrote:

Which demigods are you statting (or already statted) out for Bestiary 6? (Charon and Mephistopheles are among the ones announced so far; I don't know if you speak about any beyond that?)

Also, yay for more demigods.

Bestiary 6 will have more demigods inside its covers than any other single book we've ever published. Beyond the two I've mentioned, it should come as no surprise we're not stopping at just those two—we're presenting stats for all 8 Archdevils (the 9th being Asmodeus and, at deity level, no stats work for him) and all 4 Horsemen.

There's more, though. Some will be demigods people have heard a lot about. Some will be brand new ones. Now's not the time to reveal that much more information though. Stay tuned, though!

Will you be statting up the empyreal lords too? Or at least oversee said statting?

Nope. But again, as mentioned above, I'm overseeing all of the stats and developing them all (which does mean rebuilding/rewriting as needed).

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Rysky wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Zhangar wrote:

Which demigods are you statting (or already statted) out for Bestiary 6? (Charon and Mephistopheles are among the ones announced so far; I don't know if you speak about any beyond that?)

Also, yay for more demigods.

Bestiary 6 will have more demigods inside its covers than any other single book we've ever published. Beyond the two I've mentioned, it should come as no surprise we're not stopping at just those two—we're presenting stats for all 8 Archdevils (the 9th being Asmodeus and, at deity level, no stats work for him) and all 4 Horsemen.

There's more, though. Some will be demigods people have heard a lot about. Some will be brand new ones. Now's not the time to reveal that much more information though. Stay tuned, though!

Are you or Wes statting up the Archdevils?

Nope.

I'm developing every monster in the book though, which as far as I know is the FIRST time we've had a single developer develop every monster in a Bestiary, which should go a LONG way toward making things all feel of a kind, unlike the disconnect between Empyreal Lords and Demon Lords that snuck into the book in Bestiary 4.

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David knott 242 wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Nightterror wrote:
I don't understand the Naiad Playable Race, doesn't that make the Undine kinda useless?
What do you mean "make"? I kid, I kid... But not all 0-HD creatures are actually good to hand out to PCs, so it might be stronger than most PC races. But there's plenty of design space for both, I imagine.

We don't even know that Naiads will actually be at a power level that most DMs would allow to players. After all, Munavri (a clearly overpowered race comparable to Drow Nobles or Azlanti) were listed with them.

Then again, they might be at an acceptable power level. Monkey Goblins (also listed) are not too overpowered as a race.

The zero HD races in this book will cover a range of power level—taking two that are already out there, you can expect that the monkey goblin will probably represent the lower end of that scale and the munavri the uppper end.

What does and doesn't work for any one game can and does and SHOULD vary. In some games, aasimars are too powerful. In some games, drow are not powerful. We will continue to provide a range of options so that GMs can pick and choose and adjust as needed for their games.

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Nightterror wrote:
I don't understand the Naiad Playable Race, doesn't that make the Undine kinda useless?

Not at all. The undine is very focused on elemental stuff and is an outsider. The naiad is not an outsider, and focuses more on the fey side of nature rathrer than the elemental side of it.

Needless to say, the naiaid will have different stats than the undine.

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Nightterror wrote:

??? This early? Not that I mind!

Only 200 monsters? I hope there aren't many re-entries from AP's and inner sea bestiary then, more new monsters. The only monster from ISB I don't really mind having twice is the whirlmaw.

I'm happy to see Krampus!

Rougarou is nice too, but the other things I read there i'm not a fan of, but that also happend with Bestiary 5, and it turned out they saved the best monsters for last anyway. Can't wait for the cover of this.

There's more than 200 monsters, but not nearly 300 in this one. The reason's pretty simple—this Bestiary has more two-page monsters than previous ones, either because I wanted the book to have more room exploring unusual monsters or, in part, because we're giving the higher CR monsters more room to fit on their pages.

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Zhangar wrote:

Which demigods are you statting (or already statted) out for Bestiary 6? (Charon and Mephistopheles are among the ones announced so far; I don't know if you speak about any beyond that?)

Also, yay for more demigods.

Bestiary 6 will have more demigods inside its covers than any other single book we've ever published. Beyond the two I've mentioned, it should come as no surprise we're not stopping at just those two—we're presenting stats for all 8 Archdevils (the 9th being Asmodeus and, at deity level, no stats work for him) and all 4 Horsemen.

There's more, though. Some will be demigods people have heard a lot about. Some will be brand new ones. Now's not the time to reveal that much more information though. Stay tuned, though!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Spontaneous human combustion: Is it passion? Is it heartburn? Is it the wrath of God?

None of the above. It's an intriguing supernatural element to tentpole a story around.

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Heine Stick wrote:

Greetings,

I do apologize if my question has already been asked and answered elsewhere in this thread.

I'm set to start a Curse of the Crimson Throne campaign in the early days of October (this was decided before the upcoming hardcover was moved back a month).

My question is, would it, in your opinion, be wisest of me to postpone the campaign until I have the hardcover? Or are any potential tweaks to the first part or two of Curse of the Crimson Throne #1: Edge of Anarchy minor enough that I can work with the D&D 3.5 version?

Yes. There's new content in the campaign pretty much from Chapter 1, including new encounters and new artwork to show players and maps that make more sense for the old fishery and two new campaign traits. I would absolutely advise waiting.

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FallenDabus wrote:

Hi James. This question is going to take you back to something you probably haven't thought about in forever, so apologies in advance.

When you wrote the Demonomicon entry on Malcanthet, you listed an alternate domain for her as Healing in place of Temptation if the Fiendish Codex was not being used. Why Healing? Is it another example of trying to have at least one of the domains be unexpected to create an interesting dynamic?

Thanks for your continuing hard work!

Healing's not a domain you see associated with demons that often, and giving her Healing makes her more interesting. It also helps her priests to play the role of "fake friend" a lot better. If a supposedly helpful cleric offers to heal you and then DOES heal you, you're more likely to not suspect that cleric is a demon worshiper who's only healing your wounds so you'll stay healthy enough to be a proper sacrifice a few days down the road.

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Rysky wrote:
So we're going TWO DLCs for Dark Souls 3, how do you feel about that?

Grateful and excited and impatient and thankful.

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Tacticslion wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
revisiting
James Jacobs wrote:
still part of the setting; they're designed for use with Pathfinder, not 3.5, so there's not much of a reason to "revisit" them.

Okay, so this is something I've been mulling over. Obviously the term I've been using in my head (and now on the forums with you) is different from the one used at Paizo. Would you clarify how it's used in Paizo's terminology?

(I'm pretty certain from the context of this post I get it, but I can be silly enough that I like to see it spelled out sometimes, as a point of learning, just to be sure I'm not being super-dumb.)

Sorry for being unclear, there.

Thanks!

When I say "revisit" in this case, I mean "reprint the monster's stats in a new book." The word doesn't JUST mean that though. As you've seen with our Revisited books, we also use the word to describe taking a monster that everyone's familiar with and going back to visit them again, to expand on their lore and make them fresh and contextualize them in Golarion.

For the monster you're asking about, it's hardly something I would call a "monster that everyone's familiar with."

If we do a book where it's appropriate to expand upon them more, we'll explore them more, but at this point such a book would ALSO suggest exploring all sorts of other shadow monsters we've introduced in the game, which would limit the amount of exploration something as relatively obscure as this monster is compared to, say, kytons or nightshades or shadows.

In any case... I use "revisit" here in plain english language, not in the context of an RPG rulebook where every term needs to have one and only one definition.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Captain Battletoad wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

With the exception of the hardcover versions of Runelords and Crimson Throne (both of which use Fast XP since that's the closest track to the old 3.5 XP progression), ALL of our adventures assume Medium XP track for advancement.

(For the curious, this information is repeated at the start of each adventure, usually on the first page of the actual adventure under the "Advancement Track" section.)

So given that the website lists the end of CotCT being made for level 14-16 characters, does that mean the the 16 part of that is fast track, or should we expect to be even higher at the start of the last adventure of the hardcover (which I 100% preordered already, since I've heard nothing but good things about the AP)?

When we say an adventure is for a specific level, we mean that's the starting level. In the case of Crimson Throne, you can expect to reach 17th level by the end of the campaign.

The hardcover assumes you're using the Fast track for XP from the very start though, because the original adventures used D&D's 3.5 XP track, which was even faster than Pathfinder's Fast Track.

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UnArcaneElection wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:

Actually? For the setting of Golarion there is a lot suggesting that Drow are in fact Always Evil.

Case in point? This is from the first two paragraphs describing the NPC Shensen... who was born drow, but was reincarnated as an aquatic half-elf.

Quote:

When a group of adventurers encountered a small band of drow in the Scar Thicket of Cheliax’s Whisperwood, a furious battle ensued. The only survivor of the battle was a Keleshite druid of Sarenrae named Izorah, and as she sorted through the bloody aftermath, she was mortified to discover the dark elves had among them a young drow child who had perished in the fiery magic Izorah’s group had used. Overwhelmed with grief for her part in the child’s death, Izorah used reincarnate to give the child a second chance at life, restoring her in the form of an aquatic half-elf and naming her Shensen. Izorah then retired from the adventuring life to raise Shensen as her own daughter.

Freed of her drow lineage both physically and spiritually, Shensen grew up a devout worshiper of Sarenrae.

(The rest of this has been snipped as superfluous but can be found "A Song of Silver.")

{. . .}

Again, not an example that can prove the point you are trying to make. Just by the statistics of the Reincarnate spell, the subject of the spell is most likely to come back as something different from what they were, no matter what they were originally. And Drow isn't even on the table of Reincarnation results at all, unless you get 100 Other (GM's choice) . . . Although for that matter, the same is true of Aquatic Elf; in any case, you need a Wish or Miracle to restore a Reincarnated creature to its old form, unless it gets really lucky. (That table is weird anyway -- it has Bugbear and Goblin, but not Hobgoblin . . . .)

Technically, the roll of 100—Other (GM's Choice) —helps out there, but the fact that the Core Rulebook's reincarnation table is imported directly from D&D and wasn't altered/adjusted to make sense for Golarion is something I was finally able to fix: see page 193 of Inner Sea Races.

THAT SAID: Drow are not always evil in Golarion, but they are indeed ALMOST always evil. I'm pretty sure we've not published a good drow yet, and I think we've only published one chaotic neutral one in the past decade or so. Mostly because we're trying to set our drow up as separate from the Forgotten Realms drow—we're skewing very much to the Greyhawk drow model, I suppose.

There's room for non-evil and even good drow in the game though. Up to you. As Crystal said above, what happens in your game is up to you, not us, and in fact the ability of a GM to adjust a game to fit her/his table and interests is one of the immense strengths of tabletop RPGs. Embrace it! Don't fear it!

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Will Huston wrote:
I find high-level play at the table to be a lot harder and lot more time consuming. On your side, are high level modules harder to develop?

Yes, because you have to account for so much more potential PC antics. For example, if you put a dead body in a dungeon for 1st level, you basically need to worry about whether or not there's useful loot on it. At higher level, things like speak with dead, animate dead, raise dead, resurrection, and the like make the simple placement of a corpse as dungeon dressing an increasingly tricky thing to do.

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Alayern wrote:

I have two, very different questions:

1. Would a vampire's thirst be slaked if it consumed the blood-substitute of an android?

2. If you could choose one orison/cantrip/knack to cast in real-life 3 times per day as a spell-like ability, which spell would you pick?

1. I'd say no, based 100% on thematics, and the spurious comparison of fake tasting chemically created juice and fresh fruit juice.

2. Create water.

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Arassuil wrote:

Hi James,

I was working on a Kellid character from the Realm of the Mammoth Lords who would have been adopted by a Giant. In your opinion, which race of Giant (if any) would be the most likely to raise a human to adulthood?

Stone giants.

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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Hey, was it intentional that Paralictor Gonville Chard of the Order of the Rack (who stars in both Council of Thieves and Hell's Vengeance) appears to be named after Lieutenants John CHARD and GONVILLE Bromhead, the British commanders at at the infamous Battle of Rorke's Drift?

As far as I know that's a coincidence. I've never heard of the Battle of Rorke's Drift. That said, Wes named the Hellknights in that case, so it's a better question to ask him.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

With the exception of the hardcover versions of Runelords and Crimson Throne (both of which use Fast XP since that's the closest track to the old 3.5 XP progression), ALL of our adventures assume Medium XP track for advancement.

(For the curious, this information is repeated at the start of each adventure, usually on the first page of the actual adventure under the "Advancement Track" section.)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Captain Battletoad wrote:
Are there any plans to make more APs or modules geared towards high-level or mythic play, like Wrath of the Righteous? My group mostly sticks with the APs, adding custom content here and there but rarely veering off track, so we don't normally mess with fast XP tracking or anything like that. It's unlikely that I'll be able to play WotR with this group, and the highest level I've experienced in Pathfinder so far is 12 (will be higher though once we finish Legacy of Fire).

I hope to get more high-level modules in print. Adventure Paths will continue to provide play for 1st to 17th level. No plans to do any mythic adventures in either line.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Tacticslion wrote:

EDITED into a new post: for easier digestion/replies! Yay!

1) Related to the above post, do you mind briefly describing the ecology (as you understand it) of the shadow as it applies to Golarion? I've really read as much as I can of it, and I'm more confuddled than ever, as most of it's contradictory - probably on purpose, but still.

It often seems in some places that it's an abandoned wasteland, while in others it's quite settled - that, in itself, wouldn't be a problem, it just kind of seems to imply that these are the same places (i.e. where cities in the material are reflected in the shadow).

2a) Am I just misreading the intent, or is it intentionally vague, or is there something else going on there?

2b) Example: How do creatures like the shae get on with their business in life and growing human harems and such, with creatures like the kyton's implied to have so much power over such great reaches of the place? What about the d'ziriak?

3) How do the d'ziriak, shae, dark folk, niholoi, and fetchlings view each other and relate to each other (on Golarion)? (Generally, I suspect they all hate the kytons; except, maybe, for those few crazy folk who worship ZK and/or his kytons, or those, who, like some of the citizens of Nidal, were forced to be raised under the yolk of them and know nothing better.)

Thanks again!

1) There's not much ecology to tell; they're kinda parasites. Undead who drink up living strength to spawn more of their kind. That's more or less it. Not sure what's contradictory about that.

2a) I'm kinda confused... are you asking about shadows (the undead creature) or the Shadow Plane itself?

2b) Now it's starting to make a bit more sense, assuming you're asking about the Shadow Plane. Kytons have power because they have arguably the most powerful patron on the plane (Zon-Kuthon) and the widest diversity of members and are the most powerful at a baseline. D'ziriaks simply can't compete with the power and spread of a kyton.

3) Mostly with suspicion; they don't all really work together at all, and all of them fear the kytons.

We haven't said a LOT about the Shadow Plane yet. We might explore it more some day, but for now it is intended to be sort of mysterious.

THAT SAID: Check out Netflix's "Stranger Things" for an EXCELLENT depiction of the Shadow Plane!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Tacticslion wrote:

EDIT: for great justice readability/ease of use

Nihiloi were a creature kind that made a quasi-prominent (-ish) appearance in Council of Thieves (in that they showed up in one of the AP entries as a major encounter and statted up in the back of the book, were implied to be kind of important, and just kind of were never mentioned again)... and were never mentioned again, from what I can tell.

Is Paizo ever planning on revisiting them?
- 1) If so, what (if anything) do you think (or know about) the basic concept of such a thing, if you can or don't mind sharing?
- 2) If not, I'd be curious: why not? (I actually found them really cool, over-all, as a thing. I can understand there are plenty of possible reasons - I'd just be curious for Paizo's.)

Thanks!

Nihiloi are still part of the setting; they're designed for use with Pathfinder, not 3.5, so there's not much of a reason to "revisit" them. Their stats still work fine. We might use them again in a future project or product if it seems like the right move. BUT we can't update/represent every single thing we publish, since we publish far more than we can reprint, if that makes sense. So a fair amount of what we create stays where it is until it's needed again. In the case of the nihiloi, that simply hasn't happened yet.

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Vidmaster7 wrote:

I think after one day I saw 168 new comments on this thread how in the world do you keep up with all that?

Also do you feel a bit famous from all the attention?

There's usually only 5 to 10 new questions a day on this thread, if that. By checking in and answering as quickly as possible, I can keep up by spending 15 to 30 minutes of work when I get in in the morning to get all caught up.

I don't feel that famous though, which is good, because feeling famous kinda creeps me out. :-)

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