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Whoa, whoa, whoa...are you blaming Alan Moore for the LXG film? Because he wasn't involved with that beyond writing the comic the film was based on. He didn't write the script, he wasn't brought in for consulting, he didn't even see the film as far as I know. This is like saying Mary Shelley is responsible for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
I suppose that's one interpretation. Dr. Manhattan's speech certainly implied that he was going to create a new universe, and I thought the implication is that that universe was ours. I suppose you could read it as "Doctor Manhattan Created The DC Universe," but I feel that the original work loses a lot of its poignancy if Doc just wanted to make a universe based on Republic serials.
Yeah, I suppose that could work. However, in order for sneak attack to hit, the opponent would need to be unarmed. The vast majority of enemies are armed, and those that aren't have either natural attacks or Improved Unarmed Strike, meaning they don't count as unarmed. I fail to see how he could consistently get sneak attack off with this maneuver.
Tangent: I suppose you could do that, but I think the idea is that the Virtues and Sins are intertwined in a way more complex that simple "positive/negative." The Virtues of Rule were corrupted by the Runelords to become the Deadly Sins, but echoes of their original power still reverberate within Runeforge. (Also, I would have a problem telling a player 'sorry, you actually love people more than you lust after them, so you get penalized here, clearly you should have slept around more.' I like that the gnome rogue who wooed an NPC and asked her to marry him has the same benefits/penalties as the elven warrior who ended up hooking up with several NPCs for the night, even before I infected her with Carcosan Cooties. But hey, your game, your decisions.)
Shadowkras: I think it depends on the intent behind your murders, just as it depends upon the Gorumite's battle actions. Assuming your Skinsaw cultist isn't being particularly wrathful in the murders, isn't eating the bodies (gluttony), isn't robbing them blind (greed), isn't leaving behind a calling card (pride), isn't targeting them for past slights (envy), isn't involving sexual depravity in any way (lust), or just waiting for someone to come into a trap that you've laid for them (sloth), then no, your murders are not earning you sin points. Similarly, I can probably construct a non-Sinful Gorumite. Again, if the player is arguing that he's aligned with a different Sin than you've tracked, then I'd probably listen to him, and change things so that they're consistent as the player suggets.
I agree with Basillicum - don't make Ironbriar corrupt. I ran a courtroom scene with Justice Ironbriar, where the PCs had to convict Lyrie of involvement with Nualia. I described Sheriff Hemlock as relieved that Ironbriar was the presiding justice - many of the others are known to be corrupt, but he has a reputation as "harsh, but fair." The adventure I crafted, ostensibly, was "gather information about Lyrie's character in Magnimar," and the more info they gained, the more guilty she looked. Earn enough Guilt points, and he convicted her, sentencing her to the Hells. They did, so away she went.
Or so they thought. The Guilt points were really Awareness points, and the more they gathered, the more Ironbriar realized he could use her in the Great Work he and his cultists were performing. So, when they went to the Seven's Sawmill, and encountered her, they were incredibly surprised to find her there. It made a lot more sense when they fought the Skinsaw leader and unmasked him to find Ironbriar underneath.
So, yeah, definitely consider making him a trusted person in Magnimar's government. There's enough bastards there already, so I don't see any reason to add another.
I'd be careful about adding Dawn of the Scarlet Sun between Books 1 and 2. It's a rough adventure, especially at that level. I added it in when they visit Magnimar in Book 2, since the party is about the right level at that point. The final encounter has a LOT of TPK stories, so you might be ending the campaign sooner than you'd like!
Isn't this just an argument about semantics? I mean, the Thassilonian Sin of Lust is the corrupted Thassilonian Virtue of Love. Runeforge doesn't care if you're aligned with the Sin or the Virtue, only that you're aligned with one or the other, so your Arshean would have bonuses in the Lust wing and penalties in the Gluttony and Greed wings, plus any other bonus or penalties you deem fit due to alignment to that Sin/Virtue.
Actually, I thought they did a better job of making Tony's decisions much truer to the character in the film. Tony's character is "I'm the smartest guy in the room, so all of my beliefs are right." That's still on display here, but he gets a much worse portrayal in the comics than in the film.
What is the unforgivable sin for you that Tony commits? Trying to bring Bucky to justice? For the first 2/3 of the film, Tony (like most people) believes that Bucky intentionally killed several people at the UN, including the King of Wakanda. Given the current political climate, Tony has to salvage the situation, and bringing Bucky in is the only way to preserve the peace. Yes, Steve is right in defending Bucky, but all he has to go on is "Bucky would never do that." There's no mind control at the moment. Bucky is completely innocent of this crime. It's all a ploy by Zemo to get in contact with Bucky.
So now we come to the final big revelation of the movie: James Buchanan Barnes is the person responsible for the death of Howard Stark and...um, Mrs. Stark. (Can't recall her name right now. Maybe it's Martha?) Worse, Steve knew. (Somehow. This is my biggest complaint about this final scene - we have no idea how Steve knew that Bucky killed Tony's parents.) Yes, Bucky was not in control of his faculties during those actions. But Tony clearly has unresolved trauma from his parents' deaths, hence that scene at MIT early on in Act 1 of the film. So when Zemo plays the video on that fateful December night, it's not the guy who built Ultron, or flew a nuke into the Chitauri warfleet, or built a metal suit in the Middle East, or even chaired Stark Industries. It's the Tony Stark from December 17, 1991. Young, teenaged, emotionally unbalanced Tony Stark. This man murdered his parents. He doesn't care whether he was in control or not. The revenge is all he wants.
So, yeah, that's not good, but at least the motivation makes sense. Let's look at how the comic portrays Tony. Like everything in the comic, he starts off with a very solid argument - "powered people are incredibly dangerous, so we need to know who is out there for national security." The problem is that Tony immediately goes off the deep end in arranging for this security. Thor is dead? No problem, just clone a Thor and have him as your personal Asgardian zombie. Not sure where to hold the superheroes who refuse to register? No problem, just have your good buddy Reed help design a Supermax prison in the Negative Zone. Due process got you down? No problem, just ignore it. You have to ignore a great deal of character development to have Tony resolve things the way that he does in the comics.
TL;DR: If you think MCU!Tony was worse than comics!Tony, then I think you may need to refresh your memory on how they handled comics!Tony.
My guess is that Mack is going to die. One of the repeated visions in the vision is that there is a floating crucifix, which Elena normally wears. It's either going to be Elena or whoever Elena gives the crucifix to. It would be a rather boring and obvious setup if Elena ends up dying, so it's probably someone else. The only people that have a good enough relationship with her for her to give them her crucifix is either Mack or Joey Guttierez, the metal corroding guy. There's a case to be made for Joey, but I think that Mack makes more sense - it's a stronger reaction than Joey would be. Plus, Elena and Mack seem to have some chemistry together, while Joey and Elena are just coworkers. More pathos with his death than Joey's.
Lord Fyre wrote:
Really, all we know is that those two points create a line segment. We have no idea if anything exists beyond those two points.
I think anyone expecting an extraordinarily "back-to-basics old school" AP will be sorely disappointed. The most recent of those was Giantslayer, which followed on the heels of Iron Gods. Iron Gods was also an old school AP, harkening back to the classic Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, but obviously was trying much harder to integrate advanced technology into the setting without completely breaking the game's skeleton. Most people would agree that they succeeded in this - the tech rules sold out, and barring some middle stuff that people argue is too long and not completely necessary, the buzz is rather positive.
Giantslayer, on the other hand, is completely old school. It's clearly a riff on Against the Giants, right down to the fact that hill, frost, and fire giants play significant roles in the Path in that order. We don't have any sales numbers to back this up, but buzz about Giantslayer is much more muted than Iron Gods. I think there are two large reasons for that. First, giants aren't nearly as interesting opponents as robots and aliens. The former is very generic, while the latter is definitely more polarizing. Second, and this one is a much larger problem, Paizo has already done Against the Giants in Rise of the Runelords. We've already had a giant army attacking a region's settlements. We've already had PCs figure out a way into a giant's stronghold and kill off the leader. We've done this all before.
I've only glanced at the Giantslayer boards, but the fact that there's a thread entitled Why no love for Giantslayer? speaks volumes. It raises the problems with that AP far better than I can do here. Still, by these accounts, it doesn't seem to have gone over well, and Paizo is filled with smart business people - if something doesn't make them money, then they aren't going to do it again.
Finally, I'll say this - there are some very interesting bits in Giantslayer. The siege of Trunau, the mysteries aboard the ship in Book 2, the exploration of a fey pocket dimension - there are some really cool ideas in here. It's not like the books were without merit, it's just that the hook didn't really grab me, even if I liked a few of the verses.
There's definitely some dissonance between info given in Runelords and Shattered Star. I definitely remember reading some stuff in Runelords, where divination was considered a "lesser school," which is why there wasn't an eighth virtue of rule that was later corrupted into a deadly sin. Somewhere along the line, Paizo decided that outright derision for divination wasn't appropriate, so it became a "universal" school in Shattered Star. I can massage the story to make this work, of course - in universe, historians didn't know all that much about Thassilon, so they assumed that "no eighth sin = lesser school," but after the discovery of the library beneath Jorgenfist, Runeforge, and Xin-Shalast, enough accurate information to portray life in Thassilon was recovered to reevaluate the old assumptions.
An interesting thought occurs to me - if divination was considered a universal school back then, what if there wasn't a divinatory school at that time? What if there were only seven schools of magic, and all divination spells were considered "universal" at that time? Ten thousand years later, magical experimentation and practice has caused a divergence, and diviners are now a thing.
That's why institutionalized -isms are far more subtle devils than overt -isms. Everyone can agree that people that someone shouldn't be judged solely on the color of their skin, as that's clearly wrong.
But person of color A still has a lot of obstacles in their way to success that person not of color B does not. Person B feels justified in saying "Hey, I wasn't handed anything, I became successful all by myself, why should we treat person A any differently?"
It's a decent argument, and one that likely does not come from racist beliefs, but one that ignores the invisible advantages granted person B solely by the virtue of his skin color. The best analogy is that, yes, person B, you did make it all the way from the beach to the top of the mountain, but person A is starting five miles out to sea. Shouldn't we do something about that?
Now take race out of the comparison, and replace it with gender, sexual preference, or what ever other social group is disadvantaged. The principle applies across the board - the playing field is not equal, and people who say it is are defending a rigged game, even if they don't realize it.
Name of PC: Akades
Class/Level: Cleric 12/Paladin 1 (Ragathiel)
Adventure: Sins of the Saviors
Catalyst: The party's fighter, by way of Mistress-Mother Delvahine
Story: So the party starts a fight with the succubus in her tent, and her demon daughters have already died to protect the Mistress-Mother. She's dodged some nasty spells from the party's abjurer (disintigrate missed, while she made the save on flesh to stone), and she's surrounded, making dominate person unlikely. So, she settles for the next best thing - confusion, targeting Selene (elven curve blade fighter), Setashiel (elven archer warpriest), Tinker (gnome rogue), and Harbinger (Akades' blink dog cohort). All of them fail the significant DC, meaning they all have to roll randomly to determine their actions. To a one, each of them rolls "attack nearest target," and Setashiel is next up in initiative order. The closest target? Octavius, the human abjurer. Four arrows hit their mark, and even though he does basically minimum damage, Octavius takes nearly a hundred hit points of damage.
Surprising everyone, he's still alive. Standing even.
Octavius realizes how boned everyone is, and tosses out a greater dispel magic, targeting the confusion on everyone in the burst. He removes the confusion from Setashiel and Harbinger, but Selene and Tinker are still affected when their turns come up. Selene randomly targets Akades, and he's probably the best target for these four strikes, as he has a high AC and HP.
He probably could have survived, too, if Selene wasn't a critfishing machine. 115 points of damage later, he's on the ground, dead. Fortunately, since Setashiel was back in control of her senses, she runs up next to his fallen form and casts breath of life to bring him back.
So, yeah, nobody actually died this time, but once again, my players prove to literally be their own worst enemies.
Personally, I like the angle of #2. Jubrayl likely doesn't know if she killed them or not, but the fact they ended up dead when he specifically asked her not to kill them means he can ask her to do all sorts of stuff for them to make up for her "failure." I'd personally use her to be Jubrayl's asset on the inside, getting access to places he's normally unable to influence - maybe the Pixie's Kitten, mostly just to piss of Belor? I'm sure he'd like to take over that place. Maybe he wants dirt on more of the nobles than just Scarnetti. Maybe he wants her to rob the jeweler's. All sorts of things he can do to her to do to pay them back...and there's always "just one more job..."
I feel like I'm missing part of the story here. PC bard asks the Sczarni to help her get some contraband, and the Sczarni agree, so long as she chases the con men out of Sandpoint. She does, and they end up dead later. Now the Sczarni are after her? What did she do wrong? Do they think she killed them? Why?
In general, I found that the vehicle rules amounted to barely anything. The PCs targeted one of the two ogres, and when that one died, the chariot ended up flipping. That was basically round one, so the vehicle rules barely did anything. I'd recommend doing something else, since the chariot is not likely to survive for long.
High level PCs have been bedding low level commoner NPCs since 1e, so turnabout is fair play.
Part of the Matt/Foggy dynamic is that Matt doesn't deserve a friend as good as Foggy Nelson. He keeps secrets, he keeps people in the dark, he breaks promises, and he lets people down. Constantly. He desperately wants to be a good man, and use his abilities to clean up the Kitchen, but he constantly either makes bad decisions, or has to select from the least terrible of several terrible options. Matt does not deserve Foggy's friendship.
And yet, Foggy is Matt's closest friend, because of their long history together. Matt and Foggy are both good lawyers, but they never really achieve greatness unless it's as Nelson & Murdock. They make up for the parts that the other lacks.
Matt does not deserve Foggy's friendship. But he has earned it, over and over again.
My guess is that Asmodeus doesn't want Barzillai to become a genius loci, but has given Barzillai enough rope to hang himself. There are hints at the end of the AP that Kintargo's rebellion and departure from the Chelaxian crown was all foreseen by the Lord of the Ninth. All of this was set into motion a century or more ago, and is just now coming to fruition. Sound convoluted? Probably. But Asmodeus plays the long game, and a century to him isn't even close to his long game.
James Jacobs wrote:
I came to the same conclusion with my PFS summoner with an eldritch abomination eidolon, James. Groetus is the closest legal option I could find. :)
Interest Check -- Pathfinder CORE Campaign --Series of Classic Module Conversions (U1-U3, A1-A4, ??)
I also made my party work for selling the items they looted off the ogres and giants in Books 3 and 4. Most places don't have a population of Large-sized creatures willing to purchase these things. Fortunately, Kaer Maga does with the troll augurs, which gave me an excuse to have the party visit Kaer Maga a few times during the campaign. If they sold the Large weapons elsewhere, I probably would have reduced the GP value significantly.
I get what you're saying, Drakir - a racially diverse world where magic is as prevalent as it is on Golarion would have problems and issues that we can't even fathom at this moment. When changing genders is as simple as drinking a potion or putting on a belt, what does that mean for a society? When powerful magic can turn you from human into an elf or a dwarf or something else, what does that mean for a society? Would different human ethnic groups be more, less, or about equally divided given the fact that there are other sentient races out there that are clearly "not human"? It's an interesting thought experiment.
That was something I asked Crystal on her thread. Her response is below.
Crystal Frasier wrote:
I seem to recall reading somewhere that the Pear of Anguish was never actually used in practice. From my recollections, it was created in the Victorian era as a macabre curiosity from the Spanish Inquisition or whatnot, and the unknown scam artists that created them sold them to collectors.
Of course, why let history get in the way of a horrific idea? Zon-Kuthon figured out a way to make them work!