|Paizo Pathfinder® Paizo Games|
|About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ|
Crystal Frasier wrote:
Two months late to the party, but it's not every day that I discover something I wrote is in Crystal's Fantasies Drawer. 0_o
It's true! We *do* read the boards pretty thoroughly, but we also try to spend our time well by answering the questions that we feel would most help people, while at the same time not undermine our business.
So, for instance, since I'm more of a world guy than a rules guy, I get asked a lot about the campaign setting, and I do my best to answer. What I *don't* do, however, is create new canon on the messageboards, because a) selling new information about the setting is what pays the bills, and b) a random thread on the messageboards isn't a good way to disseminate new information--it helps a few people, but not the thousands of others who would see it if it was in a book.
So yeah, we're here for ya, within limits. :D
Sean is a great guy to work with, and a fabulous friend. While I'm excited for him to be taking this step, we'll miss him greatly.
Irish Wet Dog wrote:
HA! This is hilarious, and I would totally read that fanfic. :D
As the guy who made up the word, I've always pronounced it "EYE-you-DAR-uh."
If you'd like to ruin your sense of wonder and verisimilitude:
It's pronounced similarly to "ayudar," which is Spanish for "to help." I can no longer remember whether the similarity was intentional, but the elf gates help you get from place to place...
SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF: RUINED
Fabius Maximus wrote:
Honestly? It just felt right. I wanted them to have a strong, warrior-sounding name, but not something too harsh and over-the-top. Similarly, since they're a desert people, I think I gravitated toward things that had sort of a fluid Middle Eastern sort of sound. After that, I did what I always do, which is sit on my bed and smush random syllables together until one feels right in my mouth.
Hope that didn't just kill the mystery and magic for you. :)
Oh man, I should have checked my thread first--I totally just threadjacked Jacobs to answer you there. In terms of my music, though: thank you for checking it out! I'm actually halfway through recording a debut demo/EP for my new band, Brides of the Lizard God. We're kind of a goofy self-aware hair metal band, but with a ton of different influences--metal and punk and screamo and big arena rock all rolled together with songs about dragons and space battles. :) Hoping to be able to show that to the world in the next few months!
As for Pathfinder Tales and Audible, I'm positive that we'll be getting Pathfinder Tales into audiobook form in the next few years, but exactly how is up in the air right now as we juggle different business options.
Big Finish is producing the Runelords audio drama, but I was indeed involved in the script reviews for that! A lot of times for licensed stuff like that and the comic books, I'm less of a hands-on editor/developer (though there's some of that) and more of an approvals guy, but I'm usually still a part of it, unless I'm totally buried in work (in which case I trust the other folks involved, like Erik, to catch the things I'd catch).
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
I still have a soft spot for bastard swords, after all these years. Fairly traditional, but so cool!
As for familiars... there are so many good ones, but I'm going to go with the sin seeker from Pathfinder #73. I may, in fact, already have plans for one of those with regard to fiction. The potential for comedy just seems endless. :D
Don't forget Pirate's Honor, which is a Pathfinder Tales novel all about the romance between a human pirate and his lunar naga navigator!
Parthogenesis in reptilian and piscine creatures? (Lizardfolk, Khobolds and Dragons are my main thought)
Actually, I wrote a whole sidebar about lizardfolk parthenogenesis in Classic Monsters Revisited, and y'all can find it on page 38. :)
As the adventure writer, I've been avoiding commenting in this thread, as your tone strikes me as insulting and thus doesn't make me want to interact with you. But here's the answer:
As people in this thread have pointed out, every party is different. In this case, your players were particularly adept and well equipped to take on this encounter. Even then, it involved some good rolls (your 50% miss chance). In playtesting this combat, my own party (which runs the gauntlet from total novices to professional game designers) had a longer battle which, while not particularly deadly, lasted longer than yours. (Luonim hit the switch first as the thing that launched them into initiative--before that they were just talking, as he wasn't threatening them, and part of their mission was to rescue the previous expedition. While the party dealt with the centrifuge, Luonim got his invisibility on and moved off the pedestal, and it took them a few shots with glitterdust to find him. So not terribly difficult, but fun for us.)
In my personal opinion, not every encounter is about the tactics. I'm a big fan of storytelling and general weirdness, and for me, a crazy gnome bloatmage in a spinning room is suitably entertaining, even if it ends up being more of a roleplaying encounter than a particularly challenging tactical one. You're welcome to disagree. That's one of the reasons we have a wide variety of authors and adventures. In retrospect, I could have beefed things up a little so that it wasn't single-caster-on-many. I hope that the other 95% of the adventure was more to your liking.
Just popping in to drop the standard reminder that we never tell you "no" about what you can do in your own games. We may have an official opinion/position for our publications, but you bought the book. It's *yours*. You can redact, modify, or do whatever you want to your copy. If you want all foxes to have Int 6 and speak Common in your home game (though I'm not sure it's worth hearing what they have to say), that's fine with us.
Alexander Augunas wrote:
GRAMMAR WILL BE REINSTATED WHEN ALL COPIES HAVE BEEN PURCHASED.
Which of the new classes are you most excited to make stories for?
Hmm... you know, I haven't actually thought about it much yet! I could see the skald being pretty fun--bards in fiction always seem to be the lute-and-floppy-hat sort, and it'd be nice to turn that on its head...
"And the next contestant in 'Kalsgard's Got Talent' is..."
"UNGAR THE MIGHTY IS BEST SINGER!" *smashes judges' table*
"And there we have it! The judges are giving Ungar three not-yet-broken thumbs up! Now for some words from our sponsors..."
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!