1 and 2) I suspect they treat them like they'd treat other Lashunta, with the full range of possibilities that implies--there are Lashunta saints and Lashunta jerks, and everything in between, just like other races. That said, I suspect that average Lashunta talking to average humans find the humans a little underwhelming...
3) I think they'd probably get along well with dwarves and half-orcs (so burly!), be fascinated by gnomes and halflings (so small! so different!), be a little bored by humans...
4) Gonna skip this one, as I could write all day about this stuff, but then nothing would get edited. :)
5) Racially? Not really. But then, as I've said before, it's hard for me to talk about race-wide traits, in that it presents races as monocultures, which is something I've never bought into. Individual lashunta are as different from each other as individual humans! As a result, most lashunta enemies are probably other lashunta, or monsters that have harmed them or their homes, etc.
Just now got a chance to start reading. Went for Trunau first, because of course I would go for Trunau first.
Really glad you enjoyed Trunau! Mr. Logue and I ended up working together on that one (since I introduced it originally and had some *strong opinions* on where it should go), and I'm really happy with how it turned out.
And folks who like Solku should give mad props to our own Judy Bauer, as that was her first foray into freelance writing, and she totally knocked it out of the park!
Also, just a reminder that while we may speak out about what *we* think regarding a given organization, everyone's welcome to do whatever they want in their home games! We just want to sell you books and ideas--what you do with them is entirely up to you. Honestly, I've always thought of our books more as ingredients than prepared dishes, anyway.
If you want the Hellknights to be thoroughly evil-bad-nasty, then they *are* for you! You obviously don't need our blessing, but if you want it, you've got it. :)
Memento Mortis wrote:
*takes off Memento Mortis's mask to reveal true identity*
ME: James Jacobs!
JACOBS: And I would have gotten away with it, too, if not for you meddling kids!
*high-fives Scooby and gets back in the Mystery Machine*
Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
Any chance we can get you to start using "maltheism" instead of "atheism" to describe Rahadoum?
That boat has sailed, but I concede that such a term would be more accurate, and we address that issue outright in Faiths & Philosophies.
The Rahadoumis reject your attempt to impose dogmatic linguistic principles upon their freedom! :-P
Hellknights can be anywhere from LG to LE, for all the reason folks have noted. The reason it may seem like there are way more examples/descriptions of Hellknights which seem more LE is due primarily to bias inherent in the authors and adventures. One huge factor is that Hellknights *look* so cool and creepy that it's really tempting to use them as bad guys in adventures (and let's face it: most folks you meet in adventures are bad guys, because we tend not to spend a lot of time describing/illustrating people unless you're going to fight them, due to space concerns).
At the same time, I think there's a definite *in-world* bias against Hellknights by folks who don't really understand the nuance of their lawful nature and how they employ devils rather than worshiping them, etc. Especially when freelancers come to a thing through their own game experiences or preexisting biases about things like devil-binding, it's really easy to end up describing them in a negative light *because that's how people in the world would describe them,* as opposed to in a truly objective fashion. Similar problems happen with groups like the Rahadoumi, Hermeans, and any other morally complicated groups in our world--in trying to convey the in-world prejudices, it's easy to accidentally make them sound like the whole story.
So yeah--even if we've accidentally made the group sound primarily evil, I know that Wes (their creator) would say that the whole thing that makes the Hellknights cool is that they're *not* necessarily evil--just super hard-liner lawful cop-types... with maybe a bit more leaning toward the "Judge Dredd" mindset than we modern folks would be okay with. (After all, I didn't say there *weren't* lots of LE folks in there. :D)
Amaranthine Witch wrote:
I definitely try to make all the Pathfinder Tales books accessible to folks who know nothing about the setting. So in that sense, we'll certainly be covering some ground that people familiar with Golarion and Kaer Maga already know. There won't be a lot of totally *new* elements invented, but there'll be a lot of deep-diving, elaboration, and questions answered on existing elements, in the sense that things that get a paragraph in City of Strangers will get whole chapters and be major characters, etc.
Oh, and there'll also be some pretty major planar revelations and sightseeing. Hold on to your hats. :D
Aucturn: Ain't tellin'! :D
Monsters: Hmm... I don't have time to think of all ten right now, but I think the top of the list would definitely be the xenomorph from the Alien movies! Followed by a bunch of China Mieville monsters like the khepri... that dude's got a hell of an imagination...
Depends on your tastes, but I find it bizarre and hilarious! And the music's really good. Worth checking out.
Caveat: I'm a sucker for musicals, especially offbeat ones.
Really glad everyone's enjoying "Inheritance"! I was curious to see how folks would respond to a story that, while full of adventure, is really about a romance between two characters, but it appears that everyone was as charmed as I was. :)
I suspect you'll be seeing more of Gabrielle around these parts in the future!
Regarding the "does one flaw make you non-good" comment: As Jessica said, everyone interprets alignment differently--even within the Paizo offices. Hence the reason we often try to leave things up to GMs as much as possible.
Interpreting deity alignments in Golarion is really complicated. If they were all 100% "correct" in every way, they would all be functionally the same god, with the same views. As it is, even aside from the issue of whether a single backward (to some viewpoints) belief can kick a deity out of being "good," there are *already* different interpretations of goodness between the gods. If you're Iomedae, you might think Cayden Cailean is basically a good guy, but clearly not *as* good because he's lazy and drunk and shirks responsibilities. At the same time, if you're Cayden Cailean, Iomedae's got a lot of great principles, but she's all work and no play, and WAY too interested in telling other people what to do. So who's the "most good"? It's all in the eye of the mortal beholder--and that's where it should be.
Alignment battles are a time-honored part of our hobby, and I'd hate to see them go away. While we in the office may take specific stances and say that a given action or viewpoint is "good" or not in the context of Golarion's alignment system, recognize that that's simply our interpretation. If you disagree--play it differently. If you find it offensive--please let us know, as while we're willing to ruffle some feathers if we all feel strongly enough as a team (because hey, we built this soapbox, and we might as well stand on it!), accidentally offending people is something we try really hard to avoid, as we want the hobby to be fun and inclusive to everyone.
I'll leave you with this final, comforting thought:
WHAT ALIGNMENT IS BATMAN?
*runs away laughing maniacally*
Ha! Well, I'll keep it short and just tell one...
It was back during the magazine days, and I had been playing in Jason's Eberron game--along with Stephen, Mike McCartor, James Jacobs, Mike Mearls, and others--for about two years. My freelancing and band gigging had picked up, and I just didn't have time for all my games anymore, so I informed Jason privately that it would be my last session with the group. We decided to kill my character off dramatically--without letting anyone else in on it.
About halfway through that night's game, we confronted some super-powerful BBEG in a castle. (I think some sort of lich? It's been 7 years...) The rest of the group was running, but my character, "The Kid," decided to hold the line while the others escaped. The others tried to get me to run, but I refused and stood my ground, attacking valiantly. The thing I remember best about that night was the stunned silence as Jason *obliterated* my character with massive damage, and then the howl of genuine despair from Mike. It was such an honest reaction--he couldn't believe my character of two years had been killed just like that--and everybody was flabbergasted and genuinely distraught as I cleaned up my dice and left.
Jason and I kept the secret that it was pre-planned until the next day at work, and apparently there was much angst among the other members of the group that night over my tragic death, as well as a heightened sense of terror as they realized that even long-running characters could be slain without warning. When they finally found out the truth, several of them felt like they'd been thoroughly pranked. :)
James, how do you go about creating maps for Golarion/your games? Do you go into minute detail or go with more basic maps? Do you hand draw your maps? Basically, would you main detailing your process for creating a map such as the one for Sandpoint or Varisia?
I don't do a lot of mapping for my home games, but I've done quite a bit for the various books I've written. Most everything I know about mapping I learned from Wes and Jacobs, and you can find some of their knowledge collected in the GameMastery Guide, but here goes:
When I map, I work in Photoshop with a WACOM tablet, because I *love* playing with layers, and because I can't draw a straight line to save my life. (Ctrl-Z fixes that problem!) For all my maps, I do rough, broad outlines, then fade it by adjusting the opacity, then create a new layer on top where I draw in all the details, still not worrying too much about perfection. Then I fade *that* by reducing the opacity, and "ink" the final. (I learned the whole pencils/inking thing from reading about how various comics artists draw their stuff, and I find it really relaxing.)
For overland maps, like the one I drew of the Skyfire Mandate and the Drakelands in Pathfinder #70 or the planetary maps in Distant Worlds, I tend to start by looking at Google Maps of the real world to get my sense of scale--how *big* things are, how far apart they are, interesting shapes, etc. I sketch out my boundaries and then start drawing in broad features--mountains, coastlines (use a shaky hand to get natural-looking edges!), rivers (always flowing together and toward the sea!), and lakes. Then I add in things like forests and deserts. Finally, I drop dots wherever it seems like settlements might arise (at the confluence of rivers, mountain passes, forest edges, protected coves, etc.), as well as dots in the hard-to-reach areas (because you want too have cool things to encounter when you explore!). (Fun fact: While I didn't draw the base map, that random dot dropping is how most of the locations in Varisia, Kyonin, Belkzen came to be, back when I wrote their gazetteers!)
Once I've got all my dots, I figure out what each one is, often using the geography as inspiration. I find it *way* easier to come up with ideas once a map is drawn rather than trying to draw a map to accommodate ideas. Sometimes I'll even brainstorm a big list of cool-sounding names without knowing what they are, then assign them to the random dots, and write until it all makes sense. Constraints breed creativity for me. :)
For city maps, my process is much the same, but I do a lot of looking at Google Maps of old cities around the world to get a sense of density and shapes. First I draw in the general outlines of the city, thinking about how the terrain would have affected them, and then I add major streets and smaller avenues. Once I've got those and any major structures placed, I start drawing little irregular polygons in what seem like plausible building shapes, clustering them into sections divided by alleys and things.
Really, looking at actual cities is the best possible way to learn about this stuff. But the *second*-best way is to ask this same question in the "Ask Wes Schneider" thread, because he's probably the best "non-professional" cartographer in the industry when it comes to city maps! You should see the poster-sized map turnovers he creates... it's like a scene from A Beautiful Mind...
Also, while I love the way we present these things in broad strokes, I should note that if you're looking for straight-up, cut-and-dried answers on the absolute nature of Golarion's cosmology, I sincerely hope that we leave you unsatisfied. An afterlife with no mysteries or koan-like contradictions is no afterlife at all, I say. :D
This actually comes up in The Redemption Engine as well. (Aliens and the planes in one of my novels? Shocking, I know.)
Another way to think about this is that Heaven and the other planes are sort of "instanced," to borrow an MMO term. Heaven isn't just a place--it's also a concept, and thus its physics are malleable and naturally accommodate the observer. In order for humanoid (or alien) brains to comprehend it, it has to sort of squish itself down into a shape we can perceive and understand. So is the mountain so huge you could never reach the top, or is it something you could walk up in a day? The answer is to both questions is yes. Similarly, the lawful good realm we call Heaven accommodates all creatures and societies that need it, but must therefore take shapes as varied as all the cultures of the universe. So Heaven is at once the Heaven of Golarion and ALSO all other Heavens put together.
As Jacobs said, so far, all of our setting material has detailed the "Golarion" interpretation of Heaven, but that's only because alternate versions aren't really as useful for our game. (And also because detailing and mapping alternate versions of a near-infinite realm is a sucker's game.) If you want to include a different version, such as from the real world or another game system--go for it! Our assumption is that all of those exist as user-specific aspects of the same intangible, unclassifiable concept-realm.
Confused yet? If so, don't worry. As has often been said, whether or not you believe in this interpretation of Heaven... it believes in you. :D
That was Chancellor Sutler. And I like to think that I'm a kind, benevolent dictator, who only has the best interests of the public at heart. I'm sure my employees would tell you the same.
James, what havoc you think the Iconics would wreak if they were magically transported to Westeros (and at an appropriate level for their journey, say 7th-10th level?) ;)
I think they'd pretty much take over instantly... and then probably be slain just as quickly. There may not be a lot of magic in Westeros, but it seems like damn near everybody has rogue levels, so there'd be stabbings and poisonings aplenty. :)
Now I'm imagining Kyra going up against the Red Woman, or Valeros vs. Jamie Lannister... that'd be a hell of a fun crossover, wouldn't it?
"Damnit!" Valeros yelled. "Isn't ANYONE here good-aligned?!?"
Half the work of being a writer is getting the reader to do the other half of your job for you. :D
While we could spin a beautiful web of metaphysical arguments trying to rationalize... the fact is that this we messed up. Somehow, all of us involved in the product thought that pantheism meant belief in a pantheon (damn you, Greek roots!). After all, if you look up "pantheism" on the internet, you find things like Hinduism, which clearly have many gods...
So yeah--turns out, we're game designers interested in religion, but not experts. Polytheism (or something else entirely) would have been the correct term. Apologies to all the theologists out there!
I think it's important that we all properly shame Greg for SELFISHLY putting the needs of sick people above the needs of the gaming community. FOR SHAME, GREG!
Also, going to med school at his age? Hasn't anyone told him that you're not allowed to follow a *new* dream after age 25?
In truth, while we're sad to see less of him, we're all super proud of Greg! Though I have to say, dude already looks like George Clooney from the ER days... the fact that he's now going to med school just so he can get a white coat and stethoscope to complete the ensemble seems a *touch* vain....
As it turns out, we've never said what Lethaquel is in public! It was described in my original writeup of Kyonin way back in Pathfinder 17, but the description got cut for space, we just forgot to remove it from the map. Which we didn't realize until just now. :)
I'm sure we'll detail it at some point--perhaps with my original concept, perhaps with something else entirely--but for the time being, it's left up to GMs. Which actually makes me really happy--I like knowing there's some mystery left in even the most detailed sections of our world!
Ed is a special case. I'm pretty sure he doesn't sleep, which lets him write approximately ten billionty words a year...
I kinda agree with Ragnarok, I wanna see a handsome, manly, tough paladin or soldier being a gay for once, not all sissy boys that like flowers and butterflies.
Check out The Redemption Engine in April for all your manly homosexual needs. :) Or, if you want more of a sketchy scoundrel rogue type, read Tim Pratt's City of the Fallen Sky. Skivver is anything but a sissy!
And I know you said you're tired of rad lesbians, but I also need to point out that we've got a pair of rad lesbian crusaders coming up in the web fiction in October. (And, of course, in the Wrath of the Righteous AP!)
It's certainly possible! Mythic stories seem harder to fit into my preference for high adventure/low canon impact, but if the right pitch came along, I'd consider it.
Patrick Renie wrote:
That was one of the most fun things I've written recently! Wes, Patrick, and I all got excited about doing what's essentially a Golarion version of a Chick Tract, and I'm really glad they let me write it. :D
Buy King of Chaos. The paladin there should be right up your alley. Also, Drelm and Elyana in the upcoming "Stalking the Beast" should fit your description of heroes as well. So there's two brand new novels for you, coming out in the next few months!
And for the record, I think it's unfair to label the characters in this story as "not heroic" this early--you haven't even seen what they do yet! Heroism is about action, not just looking good in shining full plate. The thing that captured me most about this story is that probably a *lot* of adventurers (heroic or otherwise) end up terribly injured, and the idea of a bunch of disabled vets as protagonists really struck a chord with me. It's not something we see a lot of!
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
The missions where everything goes right are rarely the subject of adventure paths. :)
I'm now imagining the Indiana Jones movie where he says, "This belongs in a museum!" and the owner is like, "Sure--50 bucks." Close up on Indy's face beneath his hat brim as he digs the wad of cash out of his pocket. ROLL CREDITS.
You'll definitely want Rule of Fear, the sourcebook for Ustalav, our gothic horror nation. For an AP, the Carrion Crown adventure path (set in that nation) strives to hit as many classic horror tropes as possible, from Frankenstein to Lovecraft to vampires (though of course with new twists).
I just wrote down everything you named.
what tropes do you think fantasy settings (in general and specifically Golarion) are missing out on?
Honestly, our biggest goal when we were first creating Golarion was to *not* leave out tropes! Rather than making a setting that's a one- or two-trick pony, we wanted to be able to do gothic horror, revolutionary fantasy, steampunk, low magic, sword and planet, vikings, Middle Eastern, post-apocalyptic wasteland survival... even full-on science fiction on the other planets! Everything we loved went into that stewpot!
As a result, I can't really think of what's still missing off the top of my head, as each time I come up with something, I try to find a way to squeeze it in (like how Triaxus in Distant Worlds allowed us to finally have a setting full of dragon-riding). So the real question for me is: what do YOU think we're still missing, and would like to see?
1. Writer's block is a luxury none of us can afford. Don't wait for the muse. Just write something. Anything. Sometimes it'll be crap, but I generally find that once I push through my inertia, it gets easier and I start finding things I like. Some of my favorite setting details have come out of deadline desperation. Writing is like exercise. It doesn't really matter WHAT you do--as long as you do something, you'll get some good out of it.
2. It's important to talk to your editors, especially if you feel strongly about something. Being an editor myself, I've certainly pushed back (politely) as a writer when an editor wanted to make a change that was grammatically incorrect. In general, if you talk with your editor and are friendly, they'll be friendly back. The two things to remember, though, is that most editors have a lot of experience to bring to bear, and are generally trying their hardest to make you look good--if they suggest something, have your kneejerk reaction privately, and then think long and hard about what they've suggested, and if you can live with it. In my mind, it's always better to have a published novel that's 97% the way you wanted it instead of an unpublished one that's exactly how you want it. Your tolerance may vary. In general, don't be a jerk. The editor's just trying to help.
3. PROOFREAD YOUR WORK. Spellcheck. Grammar check. Set it aside and read it again. Change the font size and spacing and read it again. Read it out loud. Let a friend read it. In short, do everything you can to polish your piece before you give it to the editor. The cleaner your book is coming in, the more the editor can focus on turning your A-grade work into an A+. It also shows respect for the editor's time. Seriously, if an author doesn't bother to spellcheck and proofread a manuscript before turning it over, that's basically like giving an editor the finger. Conversely, squeaky-clean prose will earn editors' eternal love (and more contracts).
Oh wow! I somehow didn't notice this thread until just now. Thank you everyone for all the kind words, and I'm really excited to finally be releasing the next Salim book!
As for sending him to Kaer Maga--you've got Erik Mona to thank for that. When I was wracking my brain for what to do next, he was the one who said, "You know, there are a lot of fans of your Kaer Maga stuff..." And suddenly everything fell together.
Really hope you like this one!
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Here's the thing: We built Golarion to provide ideas for adventures, but ultimately it can be whatever you want it to be. Personally, I see absolutely no reason why a Greek-tragedy style adventure couldn't happen there (and as for gods and their agents messing directly in the lives of mortals... well, you might want to check out my novel, Death's Heretic).
So on the one hand, there probably are adventures--say, blowing up the moon or turning Avistan into a smoking apocalyptic crater--that we aren't going to publish. But if you want to run those sorts of things in your home Pathfinder game, we don't just allow it--we encourage it! These are your toys! Smash them together however you want! Set them on fire! Make them fall in love! Leave them under Dad's car tire so that they get flattened! The only thing that matters to us is that people are having fun. As long as that's happening, we're happy.
Actually, the reasoning was a bit different there. It's VERY important to us that the characters within the Pathfinder Tales books work within the rules of magic/class/etc. that we've created. After all, if you're not going to play by the rules, why bother writing fiction set in a shared world?
The reason I'm reluctant to post character stats isn't that they don't obey the rules, but rather that the characters aren't static. In the same way that your characters are constantly growing and changing throughout the course of a campaign, characters in novels are always growing, sometimes even over the course of a single book. Yet if we publish a stat block for a character, I fear that people will consider those stats "the" stats for the character, rather than simply a snapshot in time, and thus will be angry if those stats don't remain current. For instance, Radovan gains significant monk levels in Master of Devils... but we can't presume that everybody's reading the books in order, or as they release. So do we stat Radovan as he appears at the end of Master of Devils? Prince of Wolves? Queen of Thorns? Plus I think it keeps everything a little more interesting to keep the nitty-gritty behind the author's GM screen.
Anyway, that's my reasoning, but it doesn't mean we'll never release stats--I statted up Radovan in Kobold Quarterly a few years ago, and the short stat blocks for Pathfinder Tales characters have shown up in Inner Sea Magic (and will show up again in Inner Sea Combat).
Hope that helps answer the question!