Some of the biggest and most common complaints about RPG settings come from major world developments and big moves in the timeline. Just look at all the angst surrounding Forgotten Realms (the major plot developments between 1st edition and 2nd; 2nd edition and 3.0; 3rd and 4th).
While I’m sure some people liked these changes, many many players who were invested in the setting hated them. The big shake up going into 4th edition gets the most recent publicity (“They killed the Realms!”), but I know of people who still play in pre- Time of Troubles FR and basically ignore anything released for the setting afterwards.
Big changes and advances in the Dragonlance, Greyhawk, Dark Sun and Ravenloft settings have caused similar (if perhaps less published) angst. I remember reading somewhere recently that a big change in the Dark Sun setting fairly early in its publication history (killing of the setting’s major big bads) pretty much killed the setting.
It really doesn’t make much sense for Paizo to be publishing major, world shattering current events for their setting, or killing off major iconic BBEGs this early in Golarion’s publication history – it invalidates too much of their (still sellable) back catalogue and risks alienating a significant portion of their fan base.
Having said that, if you want to have your PCs face off against and defeat the campaign’s big bads at 15th / 16th level at the climax of the Adventure Paths, in many cases it’s about as simple as changing a name, slightly altering a few plot points and maybe creating an additional stat block. I’m a bit hazy on the fine details of the plots for some of the APs I read a while back, but the way I see it …
Spoilers for CotC, LoF, CoT, Kingmaker, CC, JR:
Curse of the Crimson Throne: Ileosa is the queen of the kingdom that the bulk of the AP is set within; as far as big bads go she’s pretty much the top of the heap in the context of the campaign. But if you want more, have the crown metamorph her into that blue dragon dude for the final battle, or have her complete the ritual to turn into Sorshen (sp?).
Legacy of Fire: Sub out the efreet in the AP for the Sultan of the City of Brass instead. Or have his plan accidently free Xotani and the PCs have to fight it at the end … maybe the efreet’s whole plan came out of being subliminally influenced by Xotani.
Council of Thieves: I agree that this one was potentially something of a wasted opportunity, I would have liked to see something bigger and better from (what might be the only) Cheliax AP. Having said that, not every AP needs to be epic, and as the AP that ends at the lowest level (I think) having the campaign end with finishing off the city’s big crime bosses is maybe not so bad.
Carrion Crown: All along AA’s plan in creating the Carrion Crown potion has been to turn himself into a lich vessel for the Whispering Tyrant. He didn’t need the count except for part of him as one ingredient. At the campaign climax atop the tower he drinks the potion, transforms into a true lich and allows the Whispering Tyrant’s soul to inhabit him – effectively the PCs fight the Whispering Tyrant himself.
Kingmaker: The nymph is a fairly suitable villain, she just needs to be foreshadowed a lot more. Alternatively, change her name and make her one of the Eldest (banished and somewhat diminished in power). OR, change a few things here and there in the AP to make the Kign of Pitax behind ALL the troubles and finish the campaign early with his defeat.
Jade Regent: Call the leader of the Five Storms the King of All Oni. Solved. Or make him the oni Voidlord who already rules the neighbouring kingdom.
Surely there are plenty of such pictures available without going through facebook?
Freehold DM wrote:
You're not close enough to Brooklyn/NYC/Queens for it to be genuine.
I see your ‘genuine’ Chinese food from Brooklyn/NYC/Queens and raise you the Chinese food you can get in Sydney (Cantonese cuisine at least, I have no point of reference for other varieties of Chinese cuisine available in NYC).
I don’t have a really good idea of exactly what you are saying for half of that Steelfiredragon, or what point you’re trying to make, but part of it seems to be that the ethnicities of Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder are not real world ethnicities so why does it matter what skin colour they are - especially when it comes to rule books as opposed to campaign setting books.
Ok ... but why should the default assumption be that everyone is of Caucasian skin tone, which is what appears to be depicted in the majority of rule book art from D&D editions past. Ok, maybe other ethnicities and skin tones existed in the game worlds, why shouldn’t they get more representation in the rule books?
While the ethnicities and cultures depicted in Pathfinder, and the assumed setting of Golarion are of course not real world, many of them are quite clearly and heavily based on real world examples. Anyone who says that the Linnorm Kingdoms are not heavily based on Scandanavia, that Minkai is not heavily based on Japan, that Qadira is not heavily based on Persia, that Vudra is not heavily based on India is truly kidding themselves. I’m very glad that we see people from all these disparate cultures depicted in the rule book art and that they have obviously different ethnicities and skin tones to match.
Now it really wouldn’t matter to me that much if people from the Linnorm Kingdoms had red skin, people from Minkai had brown skin and people from Vudra had white skin, but it would be disappointing if everyone had only Caucasian skin tone, or if that was only what we ever saw in the art, as it wouldn’t feel like it was depicting a diverse and ‘real’ setting, or presenting an inclusive game.
Wolfgang Baur wrote:
I thought Liz was awesome when she was still Lilith and used the Eberron drow avatar. ;-)
I’ve read some horror stories about weird / disruptive / just plain bad players on forums. I’ve been fortunate enough to never really have encountered any in real life, but I’ve gamed with some people that had their quirks.
There was one guy I gamed with for a while who did the ‘play the same character no matter what he was playing’ thing. He always played either a fighter, a ranger or a paladin, and would always put all his focus / ability scores / feats / money etc into being as skilled as possible with the longsword. Every character would charge into every battle without thought or hesitation, and spend all their down time trying to chat up every female NPC we came across (yes, even when he played a paladin). In one game where he was playing a paladin, the GM told him that paladins in the campaign were forbidden by their code in having pre-marital sex ... so as soon as possible, this guy took Leadership, took a ‘hot elven babe’ as his cohort, had his character marry her, and then, every time the group camped, described the sounds of sex coming from his tent.
I don’t think Obama checks these messageboards much.
Oh that is not a good idea. I didn't know / had forgotten that Patrick didn't like 'Pat' but I know he REALLY doesn't like 'Curtain'.
Spanky the Leprechaun wrote:
Random s%+~ people argue about on the internet #3,458: Fender vs. Gibson.
It’s kinda nice to know that role players aren’t the only people with this “what I like is so much better than what you like” thing going on.
Beldan creeps-five foot steps back from the mudnoid to R77, and lets fly with his crossbow, rapid re-loading like a pimped up Inevitable.
Haste, inspire, deadly aim and point blank shot all factored in to the attacks with the shocking burst crossbow:
So 132 damage if they all hit and it doesn’t have any resistances or immunities.
Jon Nix 644 wrote:
if you had a greater understanding of business and economics you'd know where i was going with this (and please don't take that in any sort of derogatory way
Please don't take my completely baseless assumption of your ignorance and my own superiority in any sort of derogatory way? Hmmmm
Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
Congrats Daigle. Not that I know who you are...
Daigle’s a long time message board regular (I think he’s been posting here as long or longer than folk like Sharoth and Heath), a contributer to Paizo products and an all round pretty cool guy.
Daigle! Way to go! ... ah, it doesn’t seem that long ago that you were a fresh faced youngster hoping that some peeps at Paizo might notice some work you’d done here and there ... now ... You’ve sold out man!!! ;-)
How about an immature chimpanzee? Or a human baby for that matter?
Your opinions here appear to me to be at odds with the political views and beliefs that are mentioned in your profile Samnell (I don’t think you can claim an animal to be a consenting party when it comes to humans inflicting violence on them, and violence in real life is violence in real life whether its perpetrated against a human or animal), so I’m going to assume you’re commenting so to get a reaction rather than due to actual conviction.
Having said that, people (as a whole) seem to have a whole lot of shades of grey when it comes to animal rights and morality in relation to animals. Things that are generally viewed as okay to do to a crab are not okay to do to a mouse, things that are generally okay to do to a mouse are not okay to do to a cow, things that are generally okay to do to a cow are not okay to do to a dog and so on. It is a tricky area filled with ethical pitfalls.
I really, really like the concept and imagery on this one. There are probably a few missteps mechanically, but I don’t think they are deal breakers. I tend to agree that perhaps phasing / blinking would have been a good way to go here rather than incorporeal, but then there are already several monsters that fill this design space (phase spiders for example), so a creature that is incorporeal with a connection to the ethereal plane but is NOT undead is a good niche.
I think Sean and Ryan are a little off the mark with some of the crunch based criticism with this one. To be honest, when I first read ‘partial corporeality’ I at first had a similar interpretation to Sean’s one, but a quick re-read of the PF rules on incorporeal creatures revealed that they take NO damage from non-magical attacks: “It is immune to all nonmagical attack forms” ; and take only half damage from a magical, corporeal source (no 50% miss chance). Sorry to say it Sean, but you are getting your 3.5 mixed in with your PF! So what the partial corporeality ability does it let them have a 50% chance of taking half damage from a non-magical corporeal source, making them not (quite) as tough as a proper incorporeal being.
Ryan noted that only special case creatures don’t have a strength score, when in fact under the ‘Incorporeal’ heading in the Universal Monster Rules it says that ‘It does not have a Strength score’, so in making the creature incorporeal, Mike has gone the by-the-book way here. While I think that these creatures could also have worked as an undead creature, I think they fill that design space between undead, aberration and outsider, and any of these could have worked. Incorporeal undead are a dime a dozen, so I think aberration was a good design choice.
Anyway, good luck Mike!
I had a FAWTL dream last night ... I was visiting the US and had been invited to stay for a few days at the loft apartment shared by (for some reason) FreeholdDM, Treppa and Studpuffin (who in my dream looked exactly like my friend Gary, while Treppa looked like Halle Berry. I’ve seen photos of Freehold, so he just looked like himself).
Welcome to Round 2 Mike!
Whoa! Monster Reformation Alliance, that’s trippy. The name certainly caught my eye and attention and immediately made me want to read more, to find out what it was all about. To my mind that is definitely a promising start, but a Superstar entry needs more than a promising name.
Reading further it became obvious that this would be the type of entry to divide opinions. I can certainly see this type of organisation not gelling with everyone’s style of game, or everyone’s vision of Golarion (and unfortunately for you it seems the judges have that style of game), but I can completely see many GMs and players being able to milk this organisation for all it’s worth.
You don’t have to go far on these boards (or in the wider Pathfinder playing community) to find people who champion the idea of the noble, misunderstood orc, or the mischievous and crazy but not really evil goblin (I mean, everyone likes to burn things sometimes right?). There are many, many players who want to play tieflings or tengu or catfolk or half-ogres ... the list goes on. Paizo has obviously picked up on this – despite a very ‘human-centric’ (on the surface of things) setting in Golarion, they have brought us books such as Orcs of Golarion, Goblins of Golarion and the upcoming Races book – generally player-centric books that cater to people who want to play these monstrous races. So how does playing these monstrous races work if the GM is running a ‘human-centric’ Golarion game?
Well, dig a little deeper into Golarion and you’ll see a lot of ‘monsters’ lurking about amongst human society. I don’t think it is a stretch to say that about every second or third individual Pathfinder AP book has one or more NPCs of a non-Core – ‘monstrous’ race living amongst a ‘civilised’ population – true, often in disguise, or keeping a low profile, but they are there. Only the stat block of the most isolated or xenophobic towns or cities in Golarion products tend not to have a half dozen ‘Others’ at the end of the population section, after humans, elves, dwarves etc.
To my mind, an organisation like this serves three useful purposes. One, it gives those players who want to play a ‘monstrous’ race in a Golarion game a believable way to do so, as members of the Alliance. Player really, really wants to play an orc in a game set in Molthune? They are a member of the local Alliance branch, and though they may still face prejudice, it gives the GM a reason to say, ‘people are used enough to seeing ‘monstrous’ humanoids that your character won’t be lynched on sight.’
Two, it gives GMs a way to believably integrate these ‘monstrous’ NPCs that keep popping up in Golarion products into the society that they supposedly belong to.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, it gives players and GMs alike a chance to turn things on their heads, or at least throw open some moral quandaries – if the adventurer’s attack the gnoll that’s walking through the city are they the good guys or the bad guys? Want to play a ‘monstrous campaign’ or an ‘evil game’? This gives a good way to do that. In a game where the Alliance plays a role, perhaps things are not so black and white ... or are they? With an organisation like the Alliance, players may never know if they are up to good or ill (and it might be either on any particular occasion). Is it all wheels within wheels ... is the whole ‘integrating monsters into society’ thing a front for something much more dangerous and insidious?
Now I can’t say whether what I have read into this entry is what Mike had in mind, but having seen some of his work in other places I suspect there are some pretty solid and thoughtful ideas going on behind this one.
The one thing that doesn’t really gel with me here is the global scope of this organisation – I think I would prefer to see it as something so far unique to Kaer Maga that is just beginning to spread. To me that would integrate better with Golarion as written, although it would not serve the first two purposes I have identified above as well.
Anyway, I’ve rambled on long enough. Good luck Mike!
As a GM, if a player took Leadership, I would in theory reserve the right to select the available cohorts and followers, build the characters and play them ... but in practice I would leave that all up to the player. No need to give myself as the GM more work than necessary, and no need to nerf a player’s choice of cohort if s/he has spent a feat on them.
This bears repeating: Alignment restrictions and the paladin’s Code of Conduct are not ‘fluff’. They are rules, and are enforceable (or ignorable if you choose) just like any other rule. They perhaps rely more on roleplaying and GM moderation than many other rules, but there is still a mechanic to them.
Fluff would be text such as, ‘paladins are polite and usually wear blue tunics’.
Crimson Jester wrote:
I made a time machine ... out of a DeLorean.