I would consider this to be an important book in any freelancer or GM library. Whether you're preparing a homebrew game or designing professionally, the fact is that players enjoy coming across new and dynamically interesting monsters.
The Advanced Bestiary gives you the tools to really spice up any monster without an entire design overhaul. New powers, abilities, and even weaknesses that the PCs may not see coming. Players enjoy challenges and surprises (assuming the GM is not unfair).
This literally increases the value of every single Paizo Bestiary, AP Monster Section, Midgard Bestiary, and single other 3PP Monster product you own right now.
It is an added value that expands on the money you already spent on other monsters books. There's an old saying that goes, "You can never have too many monsters for your RPG." Well, multiplying your existing library of monsters EXPONENTIALLY seems like a pretty smart idea to me.
Now as Owen said early, if you don't have the money then you don't have the money. Bless you and I wish you better financial times ahead, and don't worry the book will be for sale at a later date. If you're just uncertain—then don't be. This book has been a trusted in-house resource for years. Just read Chris's post above, this isn't rocket science, it is a trusted and relied upon resource. I suspect anybody who doesn't buy it now may well want it later—but if you invest in it now, you and everybody else might get an even better book. If you got the money for other Bestiaries, you should consider adding this to your library.
Okay.. Speech over. For the record, I have no business relationship with Green Ronin. I just believe in the product and I am a backer.
Rob McCreary wrote:
Sorry, Jim. :)
Rob McCreary, eight ball, corner pocket!
Edit: I don't mind being wrong. It just shows that our developers are really looking this material over to the best of their ability and trying to make sure things are accurate. We look at these GM threads and people ferret out all these little mistakes, it's really cool to see "No, that's not a mistake. That's correct."
And as a saving grace (for myself), many archetype/prestige class combinations are complex and this is no exception. This is why we have professional developers looking this stuff over.
My apologies in the delay in replying to your question. You wondered what I thought of Marhevok as a bloodrager instead of a barbarian with the fiend totem.
I think that is a wonderful idea for a playtest.
The only alternative I can think of is perhaps just a few levels of abyssal bloodline sorcerer mixed with a lot of brawler. While Marhevok is supposed to be a barbarian in theme, he doesn't have to be one literally—he could just be a ruthless and bad tempered brute with a heritage he doesn't understand and has been manipulated by a superior and seductive mind.
Or keep your bloodrager. I think its a good test, and I wouldn't worry about the drop in AC. He really didn't have a good one to begin with, plus you've given him the option to cast shield.
Also that encounter isn't set up to be a straight fight anyway.
Is it poor form for Paizo to use the names Advanced Player's Guide, Advanced Race Guide, and Advanced Class Guide? Green Ronin used "Advanced" first and will be again.
No. This is silly. These people are friends but also business people too. Paizo consistently uses the Advanced Bestiary and the Tome of Horrors, and has raised the profile of those two products enormously. They have praised the products publicly. A large number of the staff are backers on the Kickstarter.
The decisions on the names of those products were made to effectively communicate what the product is about in clear concise terms, and also in a way that was just slightly catchy so that the potential customer would remember them.
If anything the synergy in the titles only serves to help both companies.
You should understand, Paizo wants Green Ronin to succeed with their product. Its good for both companies. Paizo gets an updated resource they can get use from a developer they have confidence in. The game itself is strengthened. Paizo has another cool book to sell in their store. The Pathfinder brand is enriched.
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Alan Parsons Project Via Bulmahn wrote:
Matthew Shelton wrote:
It will have archetypes for all those 10 classes, feats, spells, and items. That material will not only support the 10 new classes but established ones as well.
Plus some other cool stuff.
I think it will round out a whole book quite nicely.
That being said, Neil and I pooled our talents to bring this new adventure plug-in that we're confident will bring a certain robustness to a certain Demon War AP right about Chapter two and going into Chapter Three.
If you've been concerned about daily encounters that your group goes "nova" all over, our encounters will make PC resource allocation a bit more thoughtful during the journey to their next goal.
This was done in the spirit of our 5 star "Road to Destiny" adventure (thank you Endzeitgeist!), although with some slight changes. It's a bit more modular, and quite easy to add and subtract just the encounters you like. No worries though! It also hangs together and provides an additional story goal.
We hope you like it!
I might be able to add some insight here. Let's talk about good and evil...
(I also refer to some Runelord's plot elements by way of comparison, so there's some spoilers for that too..)
Demons, as I see them, are creatures of pure corruption. They represent evil for its own sake. However, demons are built from pieces of mortal souls who were not abstract in their perspective or utterly divorced from humanity or society (or what have you).
I come at it from the perspective that very very few people, if any, just are born evil. Maybe some are, as I've seen psychological case studies on sociopaths and feral children, but for the most the path of evil is just that—a journey. It's not a singular decision. It's not a function of an instant. It is a descent. You see this mirrored over and over in pop culture, literature, and even fantasy gaming. I could list examples, but they are numerous. Often times, it is part of the tragedy. You, the audience, can see it coming.
I think one of the misconceptions about outsiders is that they're incapable of a range of emotion. Even in Golarion's myths we see gods experiencing a complex range of emotion that doesn't always fit neatly into rigid alignments (Pharasma's cursing of the lamia, Asmodeus's complex relationship with the brother he once loved and then murdered, and Desna's sense of wrath towards Lamashtu over the murder of her friend and mentor). Taking it down a notch, based upon James's comments I believe that demons can experience a similar range of emotion but do their utmost to avoid it. Why? Because it is a liability. A demon that allows itself to love opens itself up to being destroyed, especially by its fellows. I imagine most demons do tell themselves they are incapable of feeling positive emotion, and repeat that to themselves over and over again because they really want it to be true! I imagine most powerful demons and demon lords reinforce this notion, over and over again, because they don't want any of the rank and file to experiment in order to find out. Otherwise you end up with a traitor like Arueshalae.
But common sense says that if an angel can fall, they reverse is also possible. Perhaps it's just more unlikely.
There is also the matter of memory loss. I think that is incidental to the years of torture, suffering, and humiliation that a soul endures as it forms into a demon, but having your mortal memories is also a liability. It is baggage that lends itself to liabilities like regret.
Also, demons are formed from many different larvae. Bits and pieces of multiple souls. I imagine Arueshalae's dominant personality is the soul of the largest and strongest larvae that her succubus form was composed of... that was the one that Desna located and restored to awareness. Wiping away the centuries of torture and shame, so that she could see clearly and objectively again. Good lord, and to think that a kindness? To force someone to take a good hard look in the proverbial mirror and see your own wasted life and the countless number of ruined lives you've left in your wake? It is a testament to Arueshalae's strength and pushes herself to try and undo some of the damage. It speaks to Desna's compassion that she allows Arueshalae to try.
In the case of the Nightripper, he might be more of a composite entity created from the fusion of a thousand serial killers... none of which have been singled out and awakened as with the case of Arueshalae.
But you see, very few people just wake up one day and decide "I'm going to be a monster." Let's look at Runelords for a second... Nualia certainly didn't just decide to be evil one day. She was responsible for her choices, but she never asked to be isolated from her community. She never asked to be objectified by her beauty or by her race. All she wanted was someone to love her. Instead she got used for sex and abandoned. She never asked for her baby to be born a deformed half-fiend monster, it happened because she gave herself in love to an undeserving young man (motivated by lust) too close to an evil shrine to a Demon Goddess of fertility and monsters. After the midwifes buried her monster child in secret, she never asked for her only parent to lock her in a church, plan to send her to a convent, and tell her to pray for forgiveness for all the wrong she had done. Her sins? Like she asked for any of that crap? Wanting to be treated like a person and not a freak, and for someone to love her? To be blamed for wanting what everybody wants? To be loved as a person? Good heavens, its not surprising she snapped. Mind you, I don't give Nualia a free pass. She's responsible for her misdeeds and she was a villain—but that girl didn't wake up one day and decide, "I shall be a monster!"
I don't know.. I am rambling now. Maybe you'll get the gist. I'm going to let James get his two cents in here now. :) And hope he doesn't mind me speaking up.
Hey folks, I "do " know some of the trait resolutions as a matter of inside knowledge.
Before any one posts them here... I would definitely hide them behind spoiler tags. They're meant to surprise and thrill players, let's not spoil that for the players, especially in the general product thread. Please at least use spoiler tags!
>Checks order history. Still pending. Curls into a ball crying< :'(
I would look for all of today's shipments to be unlocked as part of one batch in a few hours. I do believe that some orders were supposed to start today.
EDIT: and it makes you feel better, I wrote the thing and I haven't seen the PDF either.
We'll get there friend! We're gonna make it through this!
Is the Shachath based on the one from American Horror Story?
I have been lying low and letting Developer's field questions but I am going to pop up and answer this one.
No. I have never seen a single episode of American Horror Story, of any season. As part of my due diligence as a writer, I googled the name to see if there was any pop culture references—and I was both horrified and kinda pissed off (in a totally UNFAIR way) to see it was used by TV. I made a rather impassioned argument in my notes to let me still use the name.
And let me stress it is unfair, because their writers have as much right to mine source material as I do. I really only got frustrated because we writers are actively supposed to avoid easter eggs and pop culture cleverness. I assumed I would be told no, because of the TV show, and thanks to the supreme coolness of Adam and James—they used it anyway.
Shachath is Ancient Hebrew for corruption, perversion, ruination. Technically it's a verb, when it's not used as a verb it means "a pit or dungeon".
But that's where the tv show got it, and that's where I got it. It's a good name for a demon of corruption. Actually, all Pathfinder demons are about corruption, but I am leaving the specific "sin" that the shachath specializes in remain a surprise—or for something for James or Adam to disclose to fans.
The notion of a rival group of adventurers is somewhat archetypal. We do see it more often in a "tomb raiding" storyline.
As for an interesting story, with complete and total conviction I tell you this is such a story, and written by the best of AP authors—with a Developer with a degree in history and a passion for the subject. You only know about me and Crystal, and I cannot divulge the others. It is not my place to do so. However they're all awesome, every one of them.
The meta-plot is incredibly interesting. It does need time to develop however. Bear in mind Chapter One are the low-levels, and need to set the stage. Trust me when I say this flower will bloom.
I don't want to step on the Developer's toes here, but the actual published source material provides some answers in plain sight. I will be using generalities however.
Osirion is divided into three distinct ages, not including when it was under Keleshite control.
The First Age was Ancient Osirion, and the time of the God-Kings. Nethys inspired the kingdom through his prophet, Azghaad. Note, Nethys was not a God-King who ascended. The First Age lasted a very long time. This information in plain sight in Lost Kingdoms
The Second Age was actually quite short. Just sixty-seven years to be precise. It was all about the Four Pharaohs of Ascension. That one short-lived dynasty. Their story is the story of the Second Age, and when their story ends, so does the Second Age.
The Third Age is all about the Forthbringer Dynasty and the Khemet I—III.
Entombed with the Pharaoh's and The Pact Stone Pyramid modules involve events and ruins from the 2nd Age.
As a community, if you start asking "what Age of Osirion does this relate to?" You might be able to answer some of your own questions.
Again, no insider knowledge was required to make this post. Its all there if you do research and your homework, and read the source material instead of just the wiki pages (helpful and wonderful as they are!)
I say no more.
That would only make her more hot in my opinion. :D
Robert Brookes wrote:
One way in which I would differentiate Pharasma from Time, without cutting her off completely, is to explain that Pharasma is concerned with how time related to the living.
But Time is bigger than that.
Let us ponder a bit of text from Wes's work, Princes of Darkness:
Wes Schneider wrote:
Now this does involve Asmodeus and not Brigh, but you can see why he's frustrated can't you? Everything has it's season and it's role to play. Things should not be before they are and they should not end before their time. Pharasma traffics in souls. And in that respect she does govern the time of a soul. But who governs the time of nations? Stars? Concepts? Popular songs?
Brigh might govern the Time of all things except souls, which she does not presume upon. Souls are too great a responsibility. Too important. They require one dedicated Goddess devoted to them alone, and that is Pharasma.
Psychic mage sorcerer alternate class would be more acceptable for me than a spell-preparing psychic mage. Warlock/binder like class that uses spell-like abilities instead even more so.
Sure, I can appreciate that. But I write this without intent of being condescending—spell-like abilities are essentially just spells. Right? With limited uses per day?
That's a lot like a spontaneous caster.
Of course, spell-like abilities don't require verbal, somatic, or material components. Since we're talking about psychic abilities...
I could see psychics as spontaneous casters with a sort of Eschew All Components bonus feat. I mean, as a designer that seems the least I could do to simulate the "powers of the Mind!" Especially if it made it more palatable and overcame some of these issues.
James Jacobs wrote:
I can say this. Brigh is not the spaceship. Brigh is NOT a goddess of technology; she's a goddess of invention and clockwork and something else to be determined since deities should have three areas of concern.
Not as a function of prophecy, like Pharasma, but of structure to the universe. Physical time.
There are all kinds of myths and references in modern fantasy about a Golden Age of the Gods where there was no time. The Greeks had this concept. Stephen Donaldson and other fantasy authors used it. One can look at the biblical Eden story and see it alluded to.. Time separates events into the Past, Present, and the Future. It divides the universe, but it also lends an all important structure. Planets spin, things are created, other things die and decay away, more things are created. The universe does not remain static and fixed but is ever in motion.
Time is measured by clocks. Clockworks run on stored potential energy (in their springs) and wind down, until they are wound back up again.
Earth abides, but Fire burns down as energy is released from matter in a finite duration.
Brigh may also be the Guardian of Time. She forbids true time travel because it would harm the structure of the universe. Only a foul thing like a hound of Tindalos would presume to rebel against her edict.
Time could be her third area of influence, but if you did not want to create a Domain of Time, you could use Neil's suggestion of Knowledge. She wouldn't be the first god whose spheres of influence did not perfectly correspond to their domain.
Mead Gregorisson wrote:
But that doesn't mean that I think everything meshed.
But how do heterosexual characters or those who are never defined by sexual orientation mesh?
Mead Gregorisson wrote:
I don't agree with you, but I think not addressing it in the review was a decent thing to do.
I'm going to try again.
Why does there need to be a compelling and engaging story for there to be an LGBT character? Can't such characters just exist, because they do? Because in real life LGBT people exist, just because they do.
Mead Gregorisson wrote:
Let's be specific. You've expressed concern that this inclusion threatens the story. Please explain how? For a moment let us set aside everything else and square this one single point away— did you find the inclusion of LGBT characters in this Chapter to hurt the story? If so, please explain how.
That's not a trick question. I am banking on it being a very difficult question, because I can't see how that can be true, but if that is the case—I would like to hear it.
Now, I am going to speak to the larger issue. You seem to think Mr. Jacobs is pushing an agenda. I don't feel that you're being terribly empathetic or even realistic about your concerns and what you expect from this.. protest?
Sometimes I wonder if we Forum Posters fail to cut through to heart of these matters. Or perhaps we're so emotionally invested that we can't speak candidly without aggression.
I am going to try to be candid without being hostile.
Lots of LGBT people work at Paizo. Many were involved with the creation of this product. Their art and craft went into this book.
Many LGBT people are loyal customers of Paizo, and the revenue they provide pays salaries and benefits for everyone in the company.
I believe many of Mr. Jacobs's friends and loved ones belong to the LGBT community.
Mead, aren't you expecting a lot of this man? More than is reasonable? What you consider to be advancing an agenda, many feel to be honoring and respecting another community as equals—as friends. Deserving of love and respect like any person does.
I'm afraid you come across like you're thinking of LGBT folks like questionable ingredients on a pizza. "Oh, okay.. if you have to have anchovies this time, I "guess" it is alright. This one time. But let's just do it this one time, because there's a plot element attached to it. Let's not get in the habit of making this a regular thing."
I would never want to be a special exception that someone needed a special excuse to have around. Good god, Mead, that would break my heart.
So how can you ask James to do that? And how can you be surprised and disappointed when he says no?
Mead Gregorisson wrote:
That is my only qualm about the characters in this. They fell flat. Uninspired, except in the use of actual gender changing, and that was so minor it was glossed over.
I cannot reconcile this. Many adventures have heterosexual characters or characters where the sexual orientation is never brought up. Does their sexual orientation seem inspiring in comparison? Or just as commonplace and boring as these LGBT characters?
Yes, you call me. For anything. I'm not like the other writers but that is a strength as much as anything. I am only getting sharper and smarter with every iteration.
In fact, I got some craziness in Chapter Three of Wrath that will make heads explode. Specifically Mikaze will go into cardiac arrest AND have his head explode. BOTH! I dare not explain. Its much too soon.
In more humourous terms, given my preference for adventures penned by the indomitable owl a number of my friends now thoroughly expect me to be a Jim Groves fanboy - a source of amusement to them - which sometimes leaks over to the forums.
This not humourous, this is correct thinking. :D Nevertheless I humbly appreciate it. You will be vindicated soon. Their amusement will be transformed to shrieks of terror and delight.
Speaking of which: ** spoiler omitted **
Would love to, but first I have to successfully manage to go to both PaizoCon and GenCon in the same year. Sincerely, I would otherwise love to.
EDIT: Though seriously, James needs to train new authors and the pool needs to be rotated. As Neil said, anybody in their right mind would want to, but that is James's decision. If it's not to be me, I'll be a good sport and hitting the other product lines.
Neil Spicer wrote:
Every Paizo freelancer wants a piece of this one...and Jacobs already knows of my interest. It wasn't hard to track him down since we were both standing at the Paizo booth for the Best Four Days in Gaming.
Fifteen minutes after it hit the internet I had my email in his box.
Yeah, I imagine most of us are looking for a piece of this action.
Meh, as far as my games are concerned, Longevity will stop the aging process when you take it, at whatever age that happens to be.
As far as I am concerned Starsunder won the Internet for at least a second.
The rules are a toolkit for the GM. This isn't true for PFS, I grant you, but that is a special situation.
These sort of things should be interpreted by the GM so that it works best for their group and maximizes fun.
I'm always in it for a good story. I'm flexible on genre so long as the story is cool. That's why a political war based AP in Taldor sounds fun and so does this.
I guess its all in the "execution" and having been a customer and then a working partner with James, I'm confident of his ability to pull this off and provide us with a great story.
The black raven wrote:
It would need a moon broken in half though (forgot that cartoon's name).
You're thinking of Thundaar The Barbarian. Which is not a bad inspiration really, for post apocalyptic sorcery and lost science themes.
Oh, and I am embarrassed to say how my 12-13 year old self was smitten by Princess Ariel.
And here's my OTOH, I AM seriously excited by the prospect of taking the fight to the Abyss and having entire chapters on another plane of existence.. and potentially being the cause of significant events there as well as Golarion. We've had demi-planes in the past, but this is a little different altogether. It smacks of the Queen of the Demonweb Pits, and that thrills me.
Especially possible major upheaval in planar and divine politics.
We haven't done much other plane stuff before and this is a welcome and brave step forward. While I appreciate many of Ashton's points, I would not wanted to lose this opportunity.
Mike Franke wrote:
I think you do his point a disservice and you're putting words in his mouth. Ashton doesn't advocate not having conflict, that would be silly. Good golly man, they teach that in 6th grade English.
Nor is the "scourging of the Shire" theme a bad one at all, done in moderation and without a lot of repetition.
Rather I think he's drawing attention to the fact that if every time you look away from some place you care about THEN the bad guys choose to trash it, can be repetitive.
I participated in the off-forum discussion that led to Ashton posting his feedback.
(Good job BTW...)
And I was the one that observed the element of the "Scourging of the Shire" theme. I think a lot of that comes from Tolkien's own feelings about returning to Britain at the end of the World War. Its not a bad theme, but it was his experience. It may not apply to every similiar situation.
If I had to hazard a guess, I think the Developers are trying to illustrate "Things don't remain static. Things change. Events have an impact." Those are really laudable elements to include in a larger story.
If I can interpret Ashton's concern a little, I think he's finding it frustrating that the Developers implement these large changes while the PCs have been led away during a side mission. You'll note that in his critiques he is more forgiving with those instances where the PCs remain involved at all times. Otherwise, it seems to him like a shell game—"Oops, you looked away and now I have destroyed your home."
Ashton, please clarify if I am misrepresenting you.
My hope for Wrath of the Righteous- (because my knowledge of the later chapters is sketchy) is that Mendev has seen the worst pounding in Chapter One, right in the beginning, and the rest of the AP strives to make things better. To put the bad guys on the run.
After all, even in Yellow Submarine the Blue Meanies have to trash Pepperland in order for us to have a story, but then "Sgt. Pepper and Co." drive them out. But the Meanies didn't also trash Liverpool too, while the boys were busy off in the Sea of Holes.
But I do love me some Mage (original flavor, not the Atlantis version).
TECHNOCRACY FOR THE WIN!
This will be my last derail, but I am so excited about the Mage 20th Anniversary edition that is being written right now. For those who don't know, an update clean-up of owod Mage with the original author as primary developer.