|James Sutter Senior Editor/Fiction Editor|
We actually address this problem in Distant Worlds! Page 32:
"Even taking into consideration the long route the planet must travel... conventional physics would say that its orbit should be measured in decades, rather than centuries. Compared to the other planets, whose orbital speeds correspond neatly to their distance from the sun, Triaxus appears to be moving in slow motion... scholars have postulated everything from a temporal anomaly surrounding the planet like a bubble to some magical engine or portal at the planet's center."
That weird slow speed, obviously magical in nature, is what allows the planet to inhabit the region of space that it does, rather than being a frozen ball at post-Pluto distances. And it was in trying to reconcile the needs of the setting and the needs of physics that I came up with the Great Secret of Triaxus. Still deciding whether we should ever publish the answer, but much like Aroden's Death, I feel better knowing that *we* know the truth. :D
Yes and no! If Triaxus's seasons were caused by an axial tilt like Earth's (or Golarion's), that would be the case--more tilt would result in more extreme seasons. Triaxus, however, gets its "seasons" from an entirely different process--its eccentric orbit means that it actually moves significantly closer and farther from the sun as the result of its orbit being a pronounced ellipse instead of a circle. That's why seasons change for the whole planet at once rather than being distinct for each hemisphere. On Earth and Golarion, summer in the northern hemisphere means it's winter in the southern hemisphere, because of that axial tilt. But on Triaxus, the whole planet experiences summer or winter at the same time.
Woo, science! :D
I had actually entirely forgotten about those! I love dropping new creatures into write-ups with just a sentence or two, as it means that when we go back later to expand things, we already have some obvious places to start. :)
My inspiration for Triaxus was really the idea of a planet with an eccentric orbit--what would life there be like? How would things evolve? It wasn't until I was actually typing up the final manuscript that I wrote something like "...the wiser Triaxians know that winter is comin--OH G&+!NIT!" I seriously hadn't made the connection until that moment that A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones could clearly set on a world with an eccentric orbit, thus explaining its own long seasons. That said, after wrestling with the knowledge for a bit, I came to the conclusion that you can't copyright astronomical phenomena (or the resulting long seasons), so I went ahead and kept writing. Fortunately, I think Triaxus is pretty darn different the GRRM's world!
The Triaxians were equally inspired by their environment--a race that shifts and adapts on a very short cycle. Since Earth's humans have darker skin in warmer climates, I made the Summerborn dark and hairless. The winterborn would be white-furred to stay warm and blend with the snow. The design of their eyes is based on Inuit snow goggles: narrow slits that limit the amount and angle of light hitting your eyes and allow you to avoid snow blindness. The ears were just for fun. :)
The other major influence on the planet is obvious draconic. Golarion doesn't really do dragonriding much, so I wanted to make sure the setting had a place for that sort of McCaffrey-esque adventure. I also loved Richard Knaak's Dragonrealms books as a kid, so the "dragons ruling nations" angle seemed like a natural fit. I had already created the gender-bending battleflowers independently, and realized that they deserved to live in Golarion. And everything else just kind of sprang up as I wrote!
Lawful GM wrote:
We allude to there being differences, and suggest some easy ways for GMs to make things *feel* different, but there are no new alternative magic systems presented or anything like that. There simply isn't enough room in one AP installment to create a bunch of new local spells and things, and we wanted to make running a game there easy on both GM and players. Plus, remember that while the various traditions of magic might be different on Triaxus in terms of components used, precise effects, etc., the same general laws of magic are likely going to hold true for all worlds on the Material Plane. When you can hop between Heaven and Hell with a spell, the distance between Golarion and Triaxus is pretty insignificant, in the grand scheme of things!
(Although having said that, my brain immediately imagines how we could treat magic on the Material Plane like space/time... wouldn't it be cool if there were things--like deities--that could create magical "gravity wells"... hmm...)
Answering just a few...
2) Sure! Grays are probably one of the most terrifying creatures to me. I still get freaked out by the thought of them looking in my window at night. (A fear several of my prankster friends have capitalized on before...)
3) I feel like weapon familiarity is best used sparingly, as in my mind it makes cultures seem really homogenous. Look at all the variation in weaponry across human cultures--why would a planet-wide race like elves or dwarves or Lashunta be any different? While I can see why it's useful for GMs to have a go-to configuration, I hate pigeonholing intelligent races any more than I have to. Listing common weapons doesn't bother me, but hard-coding it into the rules seems weird. Just my opinion.
4) It isn't that looks aren't a factor to Lashunta women, just that their societal preferences are generally toward short, broad men that our current American society might consider "brutish." Standards of beauty are totally ephemeral in intelligent cultures, but in the same way that most humans can agree on a (very) general concept of what's "handsome," so can Lashunta, and they prioritize somewhat different features. But beyond that basic sociological statement, there's a whole range of Lashunta preferences, same as humanity. There are GLBT Lashunta, straight Lashunta women who like willowy elven dudes, Lashunta men who might really dig some dwarven women if they ever met one, etc. The big thing with Lashunta isn't their sexuality, but rather their sexual dimorphism (males looking very different from females).
I'd love to give you one! I'm told there's some sort of technical problem with subscriptions for electronic-only products, but I'll keep pulling for one!
Adam Daigle wrote:
The gazetteer is a zoomed in focus on the particular region where the adventure takes place, but it does mention the rest of the planet, just not in detail.
Yeah, we didn't want to give people a bunch of specific locations on continents they'll never reach during the AP, so instead there's a lot of general Triaxus information followed by a lot of information on specific places along the Skyfire Mandate/Drakelands border--we really wanted that area fleshed out. If you're curious about the density of locations, the gazetteer is comparable to the ones I originally did on Belkzen, Kyonin, and Varisia back in the early Pathfinder days (meaning tons of tags).
Also note that the "specific area" focused on is the size of most of the Yucatan Peninsula, if I'm remembering correctly. So it's a significant region.
I really enjoyed writing the gazetteer--it reminded me of the days when we were still filling in the Inner Sea region, not knowing what was across the next border, and I hope that enthusiasm comes across in the text!
Would female Lashunta find male dwarves to be extremely attractive? Similar to the way that human males tend to find female elves extremely attractive?
Ha! I hadn't thought about that angle, but it sounds like a reasonable assumption.
Good day to be Harsk...
Glad you've taken a shine to Hermea!
1) I think pretty much any class could be a good fit for Hermea, as the experiment really relies on bringing in specialists and people with singular standout qualities as well as the all-around talented folks. That said, I imagine both magi and bards are fine choices, and I bet that monks' focus on self-perfection might easily mesh with/expand into Mengkare's dream of greater perfection for the race.
2) I think a lot of folks might try to discourage folks from going to Hermea. In addition to ideological problems--folks taking issue with eugenics, or the voluntary loss of freedom (Andoran and Galt, anyone?), or the suppression of outside loyalties to gods/families/nationalities/whatever--there's also a logistical concern: the talent drain. Nobody wants their best and brightest to uproot and leave their organization and society--they want them to stay and continue to aid and inspire their own people. And of course, most families aren't going to want to lose contact with their most prestigious relatives, especially if those relatives are wealthy or otherwise useful to the family...
Whiskey Jack wrote:
As the guy who made up Kaer Maga, seeing people ask for more--even if we can't always provide it in the medium requested, or in a prompt manner--makes me really, really happy. Seeing people get excited about the places we've created is why we all got into this job. :)
So by all means--request whatever you'd like to see! We do indeed take public demand into consideration when deciding what to do next. The flip side, of course, is that we can't always give folks what they want immediately, but I trust everyone on these boards to understand that.
Anyway, thanks for waving the Kaer Maga banner! I'm currently writing something set there right now... :)
What would you like to see more of from 3rd party publishers?
Seriously though, I'm not really sure. It's hard to keep up with all the cool stuff people are putting out these days. And of course there are plenty of products that I as a fan would love to see published ASAP, but that I as a Paizo employee would very much like to write and publish myself. So I can't really give away our secret plans!
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Hey! Do you remember what first lead you to claim that Patrick Renie was your spirit animal?
It was probably one of his amazing quotes. I'm not sure which one anymore, but some notable early contenders that I wrote down:
"I'm just saying that being inbred doesn't make you NECESSARILY backward... What? I'm not controversed!"
“Steampunk and Victorian sex? I’ll tell you how: Leave everything on. Feel shame.”
Me: “So you’re like a wasp.”
“Choke me, dawg! Don’t use your hands, use my hands! No—don’t touch my hands!”
“We’ve got drink tickets. They’re called ‘money.’”
“This book is like a cake you burned, and somehow the burned cake formed a picture of Jesus. But it’s still a ruined cake. The cake is my brain.”
Thanks, Dr. D! And a fine point... though I think you'll be quite pleased by the upcoming King of Chaos, in that regard. :)
Cori Marie wrote:
James, my party in Curse of the Crimson Throne is dead set on going to Kaer Maga, and as I myself am not a big fan of History of Ashes, I'm heavily considering replacing most of that adventure with Seven Swords of Sin. Any tips on how to level it up for approximately a tenth level party, and work it into the CotCT storyline? I have some ideas, but thought I'd ask you since you wrote the thing :)
Ummm... not off the top of my head, but The Asylum Stone is one level higher, if that helps. :D
I actually don't know a whole lot about LDS, aside from having some Mormon and ex-Mormon friends, and another friend who's in the original Broadway cast of The Book of Mormon. :)
I think you have a good point about Hermea's breeding regulations. I know the text in the ISWG makes Mengkare's government sound more controlling, but my thought (nowadays, at least) is that the government doesn't spend all its time matching everyone up, it simply retains the prerogative to veto or endorse pairings for its own reasons. I think you're right that most of the matches in Hermea probably come about through the normal romance and relationship process, but that the official rubber-stamp to get married or procreate requires some thorough testing and paperwork. While everyone on Hermea is exceptional, that doesn't mean they're all exceptional in all capacities, and I could see the government not wanting to accidentally pair two people with negative recessive traits (such as two brilliant scholars with asthma, etc.)
Regardless, I'm sure there's plenty of unregulated love (and breeding) in Hermea that gets sanctioned after the fact. After all, I hear that the Olympics are full of athletes hooking up, and I imagine there's a similar "everyone here is so *attractive*!" vibe to Hermea!
Which is your favourite Ancient Middle East culture?
I have no idea, actually! My knowledge of the cradle of civilization is shamefully weak, though I'm always interested in learning more.
So I guess I'll turn that around and ask: Which ancient Middle Eastern culture is the coolest? What should I be wiki-fugueing on right now?
So now that we have the planet gazetter, will we see the same for the planes?
I'd love to, and I know I'm not the only one, but I'd only want to do that book if it were huge--a hardcover on the order of the Inner Sea World Guide. So it'll take some time to find the right spot in the schedule, not least of which because I think many of us in-house would want to work on it, and we don't have a lot of spare time these days. :)
AinvarG and Lord Snow--
That was a choice Robin made, and while I agree that it wouldn't be right for every character in the line, in this instance I felt like it worked just fine. On my end, there's really no more to the decision than that--I try to give my authors as much creative freedom as possible, so unless I feel like something is holding a book back, I get out of the way.
I'm sure Robin could speak more to why he chose to portray her as so cold--likely the result of a lifetime of being ostracized by her cold and manipulative family--but I don't want to put words in his mouth!
Hey Luna! Thanks for the question--it's actually really cool to be asked about my non-Pathfinder work as well. :)
I was thrilled to be a part of Geek Love! Believe it or not, I've actually always enjoyed writing erotica, and my first-ever editing gig was a zine some friends and I created while still in college called "Penitalia: Literary Erotica at the University of Washington," which featured all work by students and faculty. Though I hadn't sold any straight-up erotica in years, when Shanna started talking about the project, I thought it sounded like a blast, and was extremely excited to be invited. (I actually wrote two stories--the other one is about a bunch of female astronauts on a mission to mars. Still hoping to sell that one somewhere at some point. :)
I think that writing in multiple genres is really fun, and helps broaden you as an author. Heck, I enjoy writing in other mediums as well--in addition to gaming and fiction, I write a ton of music, and just wrote part of a Pathfinder comic. Variety keeps things exciting! That said, there's no question that I think I'll always have science fiction and fantasy as my main fare. Everything's better with a solid dose of weirdness. :)
For folks interested, that Geek Love anthology is over at Drive-Thru these days, and will hopefully be available here as well at some point!
Evil Midnight Lurker wrote:
Ain't tellin'. ;)
Pretty much! :D
Hey Johnico! Glad you liked the novel! While I'm not really allowed to say when a thing might come out until it's been officially announced, I hope to be able to say something official in the next six months or so. :) Stay tuned!
And Kajehase is right--Liane Merciel's fiction and the sourcebook Cities of Golarion are the best places to go for information on Nidal. For my money, Liane's the best bet--she really captures the feel of that place better than we could have dreamed!
1) If only! I'd love to see some rad grippli miniatures. (Editor Judy Bauer is currently playing a grippli named Chitl the Amazing! in my Shattered Star game.) I guess I could try to get one into an adventure path as a prominent character... hmm...
2) An English degree helps, especially if the focus is on writing and editing rather than lit-crit, but ultimately, a lot of becoming an editor is on-the-job training. Write and edit wherever you can--newspapers, small presses, etc. Get paid if you can, intern if you can't, volunteer for things that seem cool. Learn from the people doing the job you want, but also write things and learn from the criticism given by the people you're trying to sell to. Everybody's path to editorship is a little different!
3) An editor needs to be detail-oriented, first and foremost. An editor needs to be self-confident enough to express his or her opinion, even to those that awe them, yet at the same time be humble enough to know when to shut up and listen rather than getting drunk on editorial power. An editor should to strive to make or suggest the changes that improve a work, but never make changes just for the sake of making changes, or out of a need to prove themselves/assert dominance/justify their existence (the dreaded Red Pen Syndrome). An editor should take pride in being an unsung hero--your job is to make authors shine, with little or no credit outside of the industry. If you need the spotlight, be an author instead!
Memento Mortis wrote:
Here's a shot:
I make books and games and manage a team that makes books and games. I write about things that are not real. I help decide what books we should do. I pick who should write some of the books. I help make the books go once the writing is done.
(Also, XKCD is awesome.)
What did you thought of the community trying to explore the golarion solar system before any real info on it was out? for example
I thought--and still think--that it's awesome! It's immensely flattering that people would be so taken by something I (or we, as in most cases at Paizo) created as to invest a bunch of their own time in expanding upon it.
Personally, I'm of the opinion that imagination is the point of roleplaying. I know some people feel like they can't use a thing unless they know all the canon associated with it, but I'm not one of them--to me, sourcebooks are meant to be inspirational, not prescriptive. So while I of course love the people who say "we want to hear more about Sutter's ideas!", it's just as vindicating as a game designer to meet the folks who say "we loved your ideas--and they inspired us to make stuff of our own!"
In short: We're just the guys who built the house. How you choose to decorate once you move in is entirely up to you. :D
Azaelas Fayth wrote:
Was the Oma design meant to look vaguely like a Catfish eating Plasma?
It wasn't in the art order, but I agree--it's hard to look at that image and think the artist wasn't looking at a fish from a bayou somewhere. That was some of the first art we got in for that book, and I still remember thinking "Oh man, this is going to be AWESOME!"
DISTANT WORLDS- Aballon Rising wrote:
The fact that there are folks currently gaming on Aballon makes me intensely happy. :)
Jeff Erwin wrote:
I don't read Latin or Greek. Sadly, while I used to know a fair bit of Spanish and ASL, I've let any hope of fluency there lapse. I tell myself that that it's because I'm spending all my time mastering English, but it may just be because I'm lazy. :)
I have intense admiration for those folks who speak a bunch of different languages!
Doug Maynard wrote:
Glad you liked it, Doug!
Nope! I've actually never seen Farscape. But I've always liked the idea of interplanetary ships that are biological rather than mechanical. At one point I think somebody made a joke about space whales--perhaps in reference to the cover of an Eclipse Phase book (so rad!)--and the idea stuck in my head. Traveling inside a whale is hardly a new concept--I'm pretty sure Jonah beat me to it by a few millennia--but it still cracks me up, and I'm actually inordinately proud of the idea of electromagnetic baleen... that one I think I can claim full credit for. :)