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Vanda isn't a god in the normal sense; rather, she is a sort of gestalt mindforce that embodies the planet that shares her name. The planet's denizens have for centuries on centuries theorized where this entity arose from; some suggest that she is a composite mind made up of the souls of all deceased Vandans, while others theorize that it is the ascendant remnant of their species' progenitor who chose to return her soul to the planet itself rather than surrender to the demands of divine powers.
What is known is that the entity chooses to communicate with her dwellers, speaking in certain sacred caverns and crystal grottoes to her priests and seers. Her demands are simple: travel, conquer, and harvest. Under her decree, and those of her people's leaders, the Vandans journeyed to other worlds, overran them, enslaved their peoples and pillaged their resources, and moved on, leaving behind a core of ruling representatives. When they had completed their domination of their own universe, Vanda guided their seers and scholars to develop advanced teleportation arcanotechnology that allowed them to transport their entire planet through the interuniversal void. This new power allowed them to travel from universe to universe, conquering and stripping worlds in their wake and moving on to other realities when their work was done.
Upon arriving in this newborn reality, Vanda's planet body was trapped within the core of a newly-formed planet. Her decree only changed slightly - the Vandans were instructed to either remove the outer shell of stone that imprisoned her, or to conquer the entire new planet and resume their journey of tyranny.
Vanda only gives divine power to Vandans, ignoring even the slave races under their command, treating and encouraging her followers to treat them as little more than animate tools much like a golem or animated undead. Most of the time when communicating with her people she is little more than a disembodied voice echoing from the depths of her planet or bubbling up from the pools of quicksilver that Vandans refer to as her "blood"; however, on occasion she manifests in a visible form, taking the shape of a Vandan woman made of precious gemstones.
Fire and light burns through the earth, breaching the surface and turning the living and the dead to ash and gemdust. For the first time since this wretched world's creation, Vanda sees the stars once again. At the place where the energy struck, a crater is formed, which soon floods with the ruby-silver fluid that fills our world - Vanda's very blood.
This wound, this Lightscar, is our mark and memory of this battle for eons to come.
Yet fight on we must and we do, by no means are we to surrender to annihilation! We unleash the dragon, our newborn Crystal Wyrm, after seizing from it the shards of gemstones from which successors, crystal drakes, will one day be born. These secure, the Wyrm is released with firm direction - to ravage the Dogarr, leaving not even corpses in its wake, returning the survivors of the plague menace to dust and nothing more.
Our hunters take the dragon's disabled form back to one of our emerald cities, where it is firmly imprisoned in one of our many laboratories for study and operation. Firstly its bizarre aura of strange fortune is examined, experiments performed and attempts managed, until at last we decipher the nature of its energies and our mages discern how to duplicate its effects in more controlled measures.
Once this new power is added to our arsenal, work on the dragon itself commences. Crystals from Vanda herself are inserted into its body, grown within its flesh and armor, strengthening the weaknesses in its argent hide and bolstering its vulnerabilities against further assault. The last few are introduced directly into its brain, where Vanda's will is spoken directly into its subconscious, wiping away the chaos and disorder of its former will and introducing the strength, order, and structure of purpose that guides our people.
Once the conversion is complete, guided by our mages this Crystal Wyrm will be brought to the surface to join our armies under mine own command.
Dungeon Kobold wrote:
Meanwhile, one of the thirteen dragons enters the underworld. With its arrival, terrible fault lines form, and the Vandan world is ravaged by earthquakes.
Thankfully, even with forces devoted to warding the Destroyer's mount and those committed to the War Above, we have the troops to spare remaining in the Crystal Below to defend our beloved home. Led by the huntress Izell, we will dispatch a special group of trained hunters to find, study, train, and prepare for slaying - or better, capturing - this beast.
Perhaps it can be used to our advantage somehow....
Leafar the Light wrote:
... and now Vandans, but I am not sure what those crystal people eat? Rocks maybe? They will have manna to eat (it looks like bread) and fresh water will rain down on them daily. I assure you the manna will be edible, because I will make it so. This food is divinely summoned, Axerus, and I will not allow the good people of this world to starve.
I'm sure we'll find some use for it. Feeding the gets, if nothing else.
We derive our nourishment from water and magic. Vanda provides.
Dogon the Destroyer wrote:
My people have no need for gods. Our strength is in our arms, our minds, and our loyalty to Vanda herself. Faith is the crutch of the weak, the simpering shield of those who lack the power to stand under their own might.
There is no alliance, especially not with the one who would unleash such devastation on the world we wish to conquer. The frail flesh-things of this planet's surface may oppose our dominion, but at least they do not wish to eradicate the very stone from beneath us! For this time, carrion creature, Vanda stands alongside those who dwell on the Stone Above, against the forces of annihilation. We will not yield to oblivion.
David M Mallon wrote:
We don't run in Golarion, but we do run APs. Timeline-wise, we ran Kingmaker first, then we plan to jump some few thousand years forward and run Crimson Throne set in the capital city of the kingdom the players created. We'll be playing through Savage Tide between them though, to give the players a break away from their kingdom and exploring other parts of our homebrew world.
The surfacers are gathering for war. So be it! The Destroyer is bound and blockaded, thus we may turn our attentions properly to the rest of this miserable prison. We will send forth the gets first, their chains clenched in the claws of our kyton minions. Once they have bled the opposition, we will send our champions and centuries to join the fray.
To war, my gemstone guardians and crystal cavalry. To War!
There's a lot of cool things in Golarion, but it's always been a thing to cobble stuff out of more than a setting to play in, for me.
Excellent, a slave race born and bred. These gets will serve admirably, both as laborers and as stock war fodder. It will be their flesh and bone sent into the maw of the awakened Destroyer first, granting my people the time we need to recover from this assault, and plan our vengeance against the twisted feeble gods who hide behind misdirection and deceit, while stopping this abomination from eradicating the world we plan and labor so much to dominate.
The fragile flesh-things of the surface world have been spared for a short time due to the necessity of providing a blockade against this monstrosity; for this alone might there be peace found between the dwellers of the Crystal Below and those on the Stone Above. However, in time I will lead the conquest, and this planet shall be Vanda in whole, from stone-shrouded sky to gem-guarded core.
We wandered the countless universes, seeking new worlds to explore and resources to claim, harvesting from the realities we discovered and warring with all who opposed us. When we had exhausted our interests or our resources in one universe, we would through magic and science transfer ourselves - our entire world - into another.
Through these eldritch methods we had crafted a victorious society, one built on war and the wealth of eons. Alas but did we never expect that our last traverse would be our final one! For when we entered this newborn universe, our world manifested not in empty space where our divinations had predicted our arrival, but trapped within a world newly formed, imprisoning us and ending our travels forever.
Our very planet was entrapped within the core of this new world, our crystal kingdoms and gem fortresses locked inside a shell of base metal and stone. It took a short time for our seers and scholars to determine what had happened - we had arrived just as a new world had been created by divine forces, and were thus trapped by its formation. Encumbered by the newfound shell that gripped us, we could not escape to resume our travels with the devices and calculations we had; our options were clear - either destroy the sphere that anchors us, or gather the resources and information necessary to resume our multiversal travels with our added girth.
In either case, conquest of this newborn world is now our first and only priority. Once its other denizens rest under the hand of Vanda's crystal kings and queens, only then can we resume the travels and conquests our people were made for.
To lead this charge, a warlord was named, suitable to command the forces that would bring victory to Vanda's people and curb the opposition of the creatures dwelling on the Stone Above. A Dark Knight, champion of the crystals, conqueror of lesser creatures and bringer of victory to Vanda. To him was given this single quest: to either destroy the Stone Above and all that dwell upon it, or to bring them - AND their soft, fragile gods - utterly to heel, kneeling before the amethyst spires of the crystal crowns.
Vandans are a race of crystal-bodied creatures with some elemental traits, originating from a universe far from this one. Conquerors and dominators, they once dwelled on the crystalline world of Vanda, which through ancient magic and esoteric science could be transported from universe to universe. It now is trapped within the core of this newborn world, forcing the Vandans to dwell deep beneath the surface in elaborate crystalline caverns.
Most Vandans are Lawful Evil, due to the conquest and domination focused society they dwell in. Vandans have no deities, but their divine spellcasters draw power from Vanda itself; Vanda's domains are Earth, Evil, Glory, Law, and Magic (subdomains are Arcane, Caves, Honor, Kyton, Tyranny).
Ability Score Adjustments: Vandans are powerfully built and difficult to harm, and are possessed of great mental capacity; however, their crystalline construction makes them inflexible. A Common Vandan gains +2 CON, +2 INT, -2 DEX. There are also various higher rankings of Noble Vandans which gain greater adjustments.
Pillbug Toenibbler wrote:
Usual Suspect wrote:
About the same here.
My Kingmaker party is an aranea, two homebrew fey races, a homebrew Naga, a homebrew dragon, and a fetchling. (Granted a lot of that is due to reincarnate roulette.) Everyone except the dragon is a thorough, enjoyable character who is a blast to GM for.
Our Age of Worms group is two fey (the two same races as the KM group, actually), a fetchling, and an orc. The orc is easily the most boring and flat of the four, and he's still quite a character and fun to have in the group. Also playing fey in a setting where people know of fey weaknesses (revulsion to mismatched clothing, hurt by loud bells, blocked by salt and cold iron, etc. etc. etc.) is a blast and surprisingly challenging.
Our Council of Thieves and Runelords games have equally varied parties, as have our past games, and really I can't say in any way that these two most recent are a change from the norm for us.
Things like this are the reason why I can't ever agree with those who look down on unusual races as an RP crutch, because while I have no doubts that there are those out there who use them as such, I have far less experience with them doing so.
Anything from Dreamscarred
I'm sure there's more but those are the ones that come to mind first.
Yeah I can't sympathize with people who dislike rare/exotic races, considering I've designed my own homebrew world to encourage things besides the Standard Seven. It probably helps, thankfully, that I've never had to deal with someone using their race as a crutch; the person who was notorious for playing bland, featureless characters in my groups was also the one who refused to play anything but humans.
Honestly I run into "I need to be human because I need that bonus feat" more than "I am playing X class, what race gives +Y to stat Z?". Far, far more often.
I'll be blunt. I really don't care for the FF.
The Richardses are almost as engaging as a bag of wet socks, and their powers were given to far more interesting characters in The Incredibles. Hulk and Thing are about equally entertaining, unless Thing is rattling off rock puns (which they made him pretty reluctant to do in the FF movie), but at least in the two Avengers movies Hulk had his team to play Banner off of, and that made him far more interesting to watch. And there are a plethora of fire-based heroes (and villains!) that are far more engrossing than Johnny's tired old rebellious, hormone-fueled teen/post-teen schtick.
99% of the time, for nearly every person I know, an FF story lives or dies on Doom. He's who the majority of people - at least in my experience - are there to see. They want to see him be awesome, they want to see him enact grand sweeping plots, and they want to see him take on all four of the FF pretty much singlehandedly, or only supported by his minions and creations if that. And they want to see him pull victory, even if a lesser one, out of the jaws of his inevitable defeat by having backup plans and alternate strategies. Frankly all that is what makes Doom awesome, and it's immensely core to the character.
Losing that loses you Doom, which loses you the majority of the allure of an FF story IMO. Honestly that's what killed the original FF movie for me, and when the second was announced to be about the Silver Surfer, I presumed Doom wouldn't be in it and still haven't seen it. (I later learned he was in it, but that nothing of value was missed by not seeing it.)
Usual Suspect wrote:
Oh goddess, I could see the three of us in a game having no clue why everybody is unhappy. After all everybody says they love the game.
Make that four.
Though I'm also the kind of guy who will go to the players - often repeatedly - and ask to make sure, and regularly encourage them to be honest with me so I can make improvements if necessary. Thankfully I think we've all finally come to a point where we pretty much thoroughly agree on the kind of world, play style, and stories we want.