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I've always been pennywise, poundfoolish with my money (choosing Pepsi Max or Coke Zero each week, depending on which one is selling for 99 cents / 2 liters, and then plugging money into machines at work to spend 1.25 on a 20 oz soda...).
But Cosmo is entirely to blame that I went into the comic shop today and found only one comic, and felt 'weird' about buying a single thing (and not being able to use my debit card on a purchase under $5), so ended up picking up all six books of the Iron Gods AP for $130-something, too.
Brandon Hodge wrote:
Woo! Love the idea of incantations, and it really adds a fun element for their to be magical rites that a non-spellcaster can cast to bargain with a devil or otherwise get themselves into all sorts of trouble calling up what they (lack the arcane or divine spellcasting to) cannot put down...
Skill unlocks was one of my favorite things in Unchained (having wanted to see some improvements for various skills, or even a class based on improved use of a skill like Heal or Handle Animal or Diplomacy), so I'm excited to see some new options for that space.
Some classes already have a little bit of flavor built in, because of the name, such as Monks and Ninja being proficient with Asian weapons, despite being perfectly viable chassis on which to build other types of unarmed combatants (like a tribal warrior who studies the fighting style of animals, including fighting without weapon or armor, like the beasts he emulates, but from fantasy-Africa and not fantasy-China).
In those specific cases, I consider the classes a little too niche.
But for most of them, it's not quite so bad. A bard can function just fine as a priest or a nobleman, with a smattering of spellcasting (from the hoity toity education, or as 'divine favor' from whomevers holy hymnal they are chanting from) and swordplay and leadership / inspiration. Ignore attempts, such as 3rd editions heavily music focused / sonic focused Complete Bard's Handbook, or bardic alignment restrictions, to pigeonhole them as chaotic magical minstrels all about song and music, and you can take that class in all sorts of directions.
Gods & Magic mentions bards, illusionists (of Sivanah) and even monks (of Irori) serving as 'priests,' alongside divine spellcasting clerics, so Pathfinder has some precedent for coloring outside of the lines and not being stuck in the box, playing only a straight Cleric class as a priest.
Eh, play PFS and serve the Decemvirate, a bunch of people who nobody knows who they are, who hoard ancient magic and lore, and who disappear any knowledge (or items, or *people*) that they don't think the filthy peasants need to worry their pretty little heads about.
Seems like anyone who plays PFS already knows what it's like to work for a bunch of sketchy folk up to no good...
I'm definitely realizing that I much prefer the smaller scale of movies like Ant-Man, Iron Man and Captain America to movies with larger casts.
I'm the exact opposite with comic books, preferring team books, even books with ridiculously large teams, like the Legion of Super-Heroes, which must be a function of comics coming out every month, and having plenty of opportunities to slow down the action and develop the characters. With a movie coming out every two years, and having to allot a certain amount of time to big action pieces, the development and characterization gets increasingly marginalized in team movies (which is less of a problem for characters like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, who have solo movies to pick up some of that slack, but no help at all for Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch or, especially, Quicksilver).
And so, I find myself looking forward more to Dr. Strange, Black Panther, etc. than I do to Civil War or Infinity Gauntlet.
Just got back from Ant-Man, and this is a new favorite.
I loved the light-hearted tone, mixed with the serious elements (father/daughter relationships and coming to terms with loss and learning to make better decisions after mistakes among them).
Michael Pena did indeed steal various scenes he was in, particularly in his Ferris Bueller-like recounting of third-hand tales.
It had the usual Marvel movie elements, including a pair of end credit stingers (one building on the current film, one setting up for Civil War) and the obligatory Stan Lee cameo.
I think it was even funnier than Guardians of the Galaxy, and any apprehension I may have had going in (reading all the doomsaying about it possibly being the first 'flop' coming from Marvel) or reservations about the decision to phase out the Wasp and make Pym a retired ex-hero/adventurer were set to rest by how good the movie was.
Where the math gets fuzzy in games is that there might be powerful outsiders that call themselves gods and grant power to their followers, and various other types of power, including *divine spellcasters* (such as adepts, druids and rangers) who cast the same sorts of spells despite no interest in / belief in / connection to these 'gods.'
So someone might be 'atheist' in a d20-derived game setting by;
1) not believing the gods actually exist (since even their higher priests only know that they pray and *something* claiming to be Pelor/Cthulhu/Pharasma grants them spells, but rarely ever *know* that the being granting the spells actually exists, or is exactly truthfully like their holy books describe them, is not as ridiculous as it sounds, since divine spellcasting is available to plenty of non-god-worshipping druids and rangers, so a cleric praying to get spells proves exactly nothing).
2) believing that there are powerful outsiders, but that they aren't the creators of the universe (which most of them actually *aren't*) or omniscient or omnipotent or having any of the attributes a real world person would associate with 'god.'
3) believing in said powerful outsiders, and perhaps even that they are 'gods,' but that they don't particularly deserve to be worshipped, which, again, in some cases, like Groetus or Azathoth, said to be uninterested in, or even *unware of* their mortal worshippers, is absolutely true.
4) believing something even more radical, such as that the planes of existence (and gods thereon) are all philosophical constructs, no more real than a plane of 'ideal forms' or the 'music of the spheres' rubbing against each other. Since 99.99% of people residing on said fantasy world will never actually travel to another plane (before their death, anyway...), it's not even a ridiculous position to hold, compared to believing that the Earth is flat.
IMO, a cleric of 'the divinity of man' or something, that as gods are in some way supported by mortal devotion, the *source* of divine power in fact comes from mortals, not the gods, and that the true agents of creating mortal nations, mortal laws, mortal successes, mortal developments in the arts and sciences (and magic) are in fact mortals themselves, and not some meddling immortal outsiders from other dimensions who feed off of mortal faith, would be a neat notion for an 'atheist' cleric.
Their 'divine' spellcasting comes from the same source that powers some gods themselves (at least in some d20 worlds, if not necessarily Golarion), mortal belief.
They don't necessarily disbelieve that the 'gods' exist, only that they are just uppity extradimensional entities, a step above demon lords, no more worthy of worship than an epic rakshasa maharaja or mythic dragon or balor lord with levels in badass.
Their tenets would preach that for a mortal to truly behave in a moral or ethical manner, they would have to choose moral and ethical behavior without the stick of damnation or the carrot of salvation (which makes it a purely mercenary calculation, to behave morally to avoid falling into lakes of hellfire or ascending to a pretty garden with 72 virgins). Instead of 'being good' for the benefits (or out of fear of the dire punishments), they would be good because they feel it is morally right, sans any sort of bribery-based system of morality through self-interest. They might even argue that the current system, which encourages people to 'be good' by offering them candy to climb into the van, or threatens them to avoid evil by warning of how much it's going to suck when they die and go to the torture-pits that wait them, are in fact diminishing humanity, by teaching the lesson that mankind is inherently selfish and could never be trusted to choose good (or eschew evil) without some sort of Pavlovian conditioning involving doggy treats for rolling over on command and electrical shocks for peeing on the carpet.
Existing in a pre-existing d20 setting (such as Greyhawk, the Realms or Golarion) where intent is utterly irrelevant to one's alignment, and one can go to the heaven-analogues despite having only chosen to 'be good' out of pure selfishness for the free bennies and avoiding a life of evil out of fear of the eternal punishment, and one can 'be evil' just because one used [evil] subtype spells to save puppies from a burning orphanage, these clerics of the 'divinity of man' would, of course, be no more right or wrong than clerics of apocalyptic human or life-hating forces like Nerull, Tharizdun, Rovagug or the Great Old Ones (who are, in some cases, actually described as being uncaring of, or even *unaware of* their mortal worshippers, despite somehow granting them clerical powers!), but that has less to do with the concept being absurd and counter-intuitive than the concept of alignment being absurd and counter-intuitive.
Random other notions for Golarion;
Blood alchemists of Geb, using vampire blood to develop new discoveries, such as mutagens that give the drinker vampiric traits (increased strength, slam attack, bite attack, undead-derived resistances (such as save bonuses to things undead are immune to, like poison)), bombs that explode in bone shrapnel that causes bleed damage or summon rat/bat swarms, or a self-bomb that explodes the alchemists body (damaging those adjacent to him) into a gaseous form for a number of rounds.
Red Mantis Assassin archetypes or feats developed for those who follow that group but aren't the usual monks or rogues, such as clerics of Achaekek, bards, ninja, slayers, warpriests, etc. Blood mantis vermin companions for druids, hunters and rangers of the Red Mantis.
Warriors of the Whispering Way, students of war using necromantic insights to avoid the weaknesses of the flesh / ravages of age, similar to the Unfailing of Hallowfaust in the Scarred Lands / Warriors of the School Beyond the Veil from Arcana: Societies of Magic / Death Knights of the Secret School of Necromancy. Archetype for Fighters who strengthen their body through exposure to negative energy and slowly develop increased toughness, immunity to the penalties of aging and undead-like resistances, while remaining alive. Perhaps self-crafting bone armor and weapons from the bodies of those they slay, partially animate / necromantically strengthened (harder to disarm, tough as iron, reducing armor check / movement penalties, etc.)?
Lord Snow wrote:
So true. :)
I dunno. Ironman and Thor both went toe-to-toe with the Hulk. Antman is literally not capable of even making the Hulk notice he's there, right?
Depends on the powers. If he's got Giant-Man powers, then, at 1000x strength and toughness, he's actually stronger than the Hulk, just using the comic-book numbers from ye olde days (when they had strength ratings, instead of just 'can break worlds' or 'power of 1000 exploding hyperboles' or whatever).
If he can just shrink, it depends on how small he can get, and how much toughness he retains when shrunk. If he can go sub-cellular and get into the Hulk's brain or spinal cord, and expand to the size of a peanut, the Hulk's going to go 'urk!' and fall over paralyzed. (I'd avoid trying to plug a Hulk carotid and stroke him out, since I'm thinking that Hulk-heart is a Hulk-muscle, and probably beats with sufficient force to unplug a clogged artery with extreme amounts of Ant-Man squishing force. Also, not wanting to know what gamma-enhanced Hulk-white-blood-cells can do to a wee tiny little man. I'm thinking it would be much like the movie Pirahna...)
Still, small things suck, when they are lodged somewhere you don't have muscles (or white blood cells), but need to move around and yell 'Hulk smash' and stuff, like brains and spinal cords.
Norgorber's cool in that his four 'faces' lend themselves to Barbarian content (rage powers for mad reavers of the Skinsaw Man), Bard content (reapers of reputation, all political and intrigue-y), Rogue content (Gray Master tactics and rogue talents) and Alchemist content (Blackfingers-inspired poison using alchemist archetype, replacing mutagen or something with a daily pool of poisons that can either be assembled at the beginning of the day (and last only 24 hours) at no cost, or, at higher level, a smaller pool of poison that can be crafted instantly).
New classes, like the Investigator and Slayer, have Norgorber written all over them, as well. Maybe even a divine Ninja, reflavoring the ki powers / pool with a pool of divine energy recharged by prayers to Norgorber, but mechanically pretty much identical (less Asian flavor in the weapon choices, perhaps) could be a thematic tweak.
-I'd love to see more Aspis Consortium or Whispering Way content.
Oh yes. Blackfire Adepts, as well.
Some specific Necromancer type Archetype for Clerics, Bone Oracles, Necromancer specialists, etc. for the Whispering Way could be creepy and cool.
Similarly, some specific summoning options for Blackfire Adepts could also be funky (perhaps the ability to corrupt anothers summons and cause celestial summons to become fiendish ones inclined to attack their summoner, or to counter-summon opposed fiends to fight enemy celestials?).
For that matter, being able to counterspell [good] spells with [evil] spells would totally make sense. PC is casting protection from evil to hold your summoned demons at bay? Your evil NPC cleric can't cast protection from evil, but he *can* cast protection from good, and what logically and thematically would make more sense to 'counter' protection from evil, than protection from good? Same with holy smite or holy word or similar spells that have alignment subtype opposites.
Maybe even a counter-channel feat, that allows a cleric within the radius of another clerics channeled energy to expend a use of their own channel energy as an immediate action to negate it (plus or minus any leftover dice, if one is stronger than the other).
Evil Druids of Zon-Kuthon already have a niche with the Umbra-Token, Shade of the Uskwood business, but Zon-Kuthon is literally the *last* evil god who thematically fits with 'Druid.' Just a sentence or two describing how Druids and Rangers of Lamashtu (mothers of monsters!), Asmodeus (helltamers/students of planar ecologies!), Norgorber (toxicologists!), Rovagug (masters of disaster!) and Urgathoa (students of the negative energy 'ecosystem!') function in Golarion could be handy.
(That could apply to neutral and good gods as well, for later books. Anyone can grok how a Druid of Gozreh would roll, s/he's practically got 'god(dess) of Druids tattooed on hir backside, and a Druid of Cayden or Calistria or Abadar or Shelyn could focus on intoxicating plants or mean old wasps or domesticating animals/agriculture or pretty birds and flowers, but a Druid of Gorum or Irori or Iomedae is less intuitive.)
A larger selection of evil *arcane* spells, sufficient to allow someone to specialize in Evil, instead of Conjuration or Fire. Not everything to do with evil has to involve the evil gods, or divine casters, after all! Some people are wicked and selfish without extraplanar incentives!
(And yeah, logically, it would make sense to also increase the number of Good, Chaos and Law spells, and make similar specialists for those alignment directions, eventually, just not in this book.)
A pet peeve of mine with super-heroes in general is that attempts to 'make them cool' so often seem to involve giving them spanking new powers, instead of intelligently using the powers / abilities they already have. It ends up making them seem *less* heroic and inspiring, as they aren't really winning through cleverness or perseverance, they just get a free power-up from the power-up fairy. The resulting 'win' feels unearned.
Fish control, shrinking, making things change color, whatever. It's still one more super-power than Batman has. And nobody tells him that he needs a power-up. :)
Lord Snow wrote:
He does have control over ants, but they are more a shtick than anything, never really accomplishing anything truly impressive. A flying ant mount allows him some air mobility I suppose, but once he joins the Avengers, Stark can just give him some of that flying technology and solve that problem.
In addition to being able to eventually grow sixty feet tall (which, thanks to the cube-square law, would require his bones, muscles, skin, etc. be 1000x stronger and tougher than human flesh and bone), if Marvel ever wanted to give an Ant-Man/Giant-Man a real 'holy crap!' moment, they could just have him summon up 10,000 ants and use his Pym particles to enlarge them to the size of school buses (preferably without the sound effects from Them!) and order them to devour an entire alien invasion force, while the rest of the Avengers stand around looking vaguely nauseous.
He's never been 'weak,' even if he's never been quite as much of a show-off as Thor, Iron Man or the Hulk.
IMO, Sarenrae's anti-slavery focus I could see being one nail in the coffin, but Osirion's history demonstrates how Nethys can be fickle and destructive, and not at all the sort of god a 'common man' (who isn't a wizard) would want to be associated with, since he's prone to blowing stuff up indiscriminately (including nation-states he just helped found...).
And then there's Norgorber, who runs a church that often already exists in hiding, whose clergy might think it's a swell idea to 'reap' the reputations of the other churches, thinking that even if the backwash taints *all* churches, they are already in hiding anyway, and will be affected the least (and their rivals inconvenienced the most) by such a swing in the tides of popularity.
By the time the church of Norgorber realized exactly how dangerous and uncontrollable this tiger had become, they were already on it's back, and it was far too late to get off or change it's course...
If you start with 3rd edition, you'll probably like it just fine, and not see a reason to 'go backwards' to 2nd edition. (Although it seems like 2nd edition has the most dead tree books, both from Green Ronin and from 3rd parties, including some classic stuff like the Blackwyrm Games Algernon Files setting/character books.)
3rd edition seems to have a lot more PDF support, on the other hand.
Stuff that, to me, might be a plus, could just as easily be a minus to someone who lives in what, to me, in an incomprehensible future dystopia, and keeps their RPG stuff on a Kindle. :)
Various other effects of an evil alignment could apply over time, such as being subject to effects that damage evil targets (holy weapons, a paladin's smite, etc.) and not 'counting' as good for purposes of good effects (such as being unable to summon celestial creatures (or having already summoned celestial / good creatures suddenly become uncontrolled, or just vanishing, as if the spell had retroactively failed), or taking damage from even *holding* a holy weapon, or being barred from an allies protection from evil spell, unable to cast spells like align weapon [good], etc.). More advanced problems could be becoming unable to prepare [good] spells entirely, or becoming uncomfortable (to the point of suffering penalties) if bearing items of silver (which penetrates the DR of devils and would logically be uncomfortable to them), etc. The spell could also have different effects not only based on the casters alignment (50% chance of spell failure if the caster is good, 20% chance of spell failure if the caster is neutral, encouraging casters to become evil to get reliable use of the spell), or the recipients alignment (normal on evil targets, is unpleasant for neutral targets (-1 to checks as half-strength sickened condition) and downright painful and distracting for good targets (full sickened condition while it lasts). Since the spell is generally used out of combat, this would *generally* not be too much of a drawback, and might end up still not being as much of a disincentive as it sounds.
Ultimately, it's up to you whether or not you want to do this sort of thing, since the game mechanics don't currently do so, and it's also up to you to decide whether or not infernal healing is overpowered or unbalancing (or steps on the healer niche of the party cleric, etc.). If it doesn't, there's no real need to add disadvantages to using the spell, simply because of the flavor (since it's entirely possible to just make a celestial version of the spell, using holy water or the tear of a celestial creature as component, that causes the target to detect as good for a minute, and thereby completely sidestep any sort of flavor mismatch).
If it is unbalancing, additional side effects to using [evil] spells might be swatting a fly with a bulldozer (and have all sorts of unintended consequences, while not necessarily actually stopping the player from using the spell at all!), since you, as GM, can just as easily remove the spell from the game and address the specific problem directly and surgically, rather than tinker with a larger set of mechanics including all [chaos], [evil], [good] and [law] descriptor spells and effects.
I prefer M&M 2nd edition.
3rd edition made it slightly harder / more expensive to create skill-based characters, such as Batman, which seems, IMO, counter-intuitive (since those characters rarely operate at the same power level as powers based characters). It also increased the number of attributes, which I'm not sure was needed. (Indeed, if I was going to design away from the six attributes of d20, I'd be more inclined to have *less* attributes, like GURPS' four attributes, than add more, such as with Storyteller's nine attributes.)
I knee-jerk reacted against 2nd edition, when the game moved on from 1st edition, not really seeing it as necessary, at the time, but within a few months I had come around and found it a great improvement.
It's been a lot longer, and I still haven't 'come around' to preferring 3rd edition. I think it was, and this is a credit to its designer, pretty much already as good as it gets, for what it was built to do, by 2nd edition. (And given the various games like Hero or GURPS who are on 4th or 5th editions, that's pretty amazing!)
Other things that interfered with my sleep yesterday.
Forgotten God-Kings of an Alternate Osirion (one that doesn't have animal headed Egyptian gods, but just the standard gods of Golarion)
Sekhmet, this conqueror had the body of a muscular woman, but the head of a male lion, with mane pulled into many locks, banded in bronze and dipped in henna to keep them separated. She was a monster on the battlefield, ignoring enemy weapons and spells alike, thanks to her divine protection, and carried a magical bow that functioned like a necklace of missiles (and recharged 1d worth of expended fireball 'bead' per day), causing arrows fired to detonate in fiery explosions upon impact. Her aggressive expansionist reign, supported by her own formidable power on the battlefield, nearly doubled the size of the current Osirion empire, expanding west into what is now Rahadoum, and south into what is now Katapesh. Many terrible innovations of war flourished under her campaigns, such as the deliberate sowing of plague among her enemies, flinging bodies and offal into walled cities, or polluting headwaters, as well as making liberal use of fire, smoke and poison. Sekhmet died as she lived, in glorious battle in the far south, and a catfolk enchantress in her court, named Ubasti (one of a small tribe of catfolk who worshipped her as their god-made-flesh, and served her loyally) attempted to keep news of her death a secret and rule in her name, turning the court, for a scant year, into a den of hedonism and excess, before her machinations came to light and her false reign ended in her death.
Generations later, the second Osirioni god-king who displayed similar attributes (great resistance to both magic and physical weaponry, as well as the head of an animal), Tehuwat, distinctive for having the head and feet of a carrion-eating marabou stork, ruled for 120 years, longer than his warlike predecessor. His court was called the Court of Silence, because all save himself were forbidden to speak aloud, and required to present all petitions on slate tablets or parchment scrolls. A gifted linguist, and powerful wizard, specializing in magic involving glyphs, runes and sigils, Tehuwat spoke often in tongues, mixing and matching a half-dozen languages in a single proclamation, forcing his courtiers to translate his rulings to the people. Osirion, at the time, had powerful neighbors, who hungered for a land they saw as weak, with an eccentric and ineffectual ruler, but found their attempts to capitalize on this perceived weakness stymied by his mastery of divinatory magic, as he anticipated and foiled their every agenda, resulting in Osirion's two greatest regional rivals being trapped in war with each other for sixty years, due to his spies having intercepted their communications of an intended alliance, and twist the wording into subtle offense. How his rule ended remains unwritten, and all records skip to the next pharaoh without any explanation for what happened to Tehuwat or his Court of Silence.
The third god-king of this sort had the body of a slender woman, and the head of a cobra, bearing the sign of an inverted V on it's hood. While her name has been marked out on every record of her rule, all records indicate that she was beloved by the common people, if not necessarily by all of the current wealthy or ruling class of her age. Said to be kind beyond measure, the very spirit of generosity and wisdom, she managed to pit the classes of Osirion against each other, expending vast resources (magical and otherwise) on maintaining her pristine reputation among those she privately referred to as 'rabble,' and used the adoration of the masses to push any agenda that suited her whims of the moment, a feat enhanced by her seemingly preternatural wisdom and insight into the nature of people, and her capability to twist even her harshest critic into a breathless wide-eyed sycophant after a private meeting. She survived a pair of assassination attempts, thanks in small part to her 'fangs,' a pair of envenomed magical daggers that were permanently invisible, and hovered always above her shoulders, ready to strike any who approached her with ill intent. (She allowed others to believe that 'spirits of the air' in the form of flying invisible lions attended her always, and waited to claw and tear her foes.) Her death came in a third, and successful, assassination attempt, by the fourth god-king, who took the throne as pharaoh after her death.
Sutekh the Destroyer was the most reviled of the god-kings, sharing his predecessors resistance to attacks both martial and mystical, and having the head of a local armadillo-like anteater, notable for it's long square-tipped ears. Despite his considerable physical strength, Sutekh fought less like a lion and more like a jackal, always striking at the unprotected flank of his prey, and, in a more cosmopolitan age, his fighting style might resemble that of the ninja of Tian Xa. His rumored ability to open wounds in a foe with a gesture stemmed from wild tales of his invisible spear (said to be crafted from his predecessors 'fangs'), which he used to open deadly wounds on those who simply could not properly defend themselves against his unseen weapon. Attempting to ape the success of Sekhmet through force of arms, he instituted an unpopular draft, shored up losses through the recruitment of gnoll mercenaries, and spent at least as much time quelling rebellious uprisings over his ruinous tax policies and the 'liberties' he allowed his beloved soldiers to take with the property (and persons) of farmers and workers of the empire, as they did fighting (and, too often, failing) to expand the borders of Osirion. Attempts to murder him failed consistently, but he was finally overwhelmed, bound in chains, imprisoned in a sarcophagus, which *itself* was bound in yet more chains, and then thrown overboard during a storm into the Obari ocean, swearing that he would rise again and tear out the throats of his betrayers children's children's children. So reviled was Sutekh that the harmless ant-eating armadillo whose features he bore was hunted into extinction (after a rumor persisted that he would be reborn from such a creature), slaughtered whenever seen until none remained, and no longer exists save in crude pictographs.
The betrayers children's children's children lived and died as folk do, some in 'suspicious' ways, others in bed, of old age, for Sutekh, for all his 'divine' protection from (low level) spells and high damage resistance, was no more immune to drowning than any other of the Rakshasa who pretended to be a god-king.
Things that interfered with my sleep yesterday, part 1.
In the corpse-choked swamps of the Sodden Lands, lurks a plant-creature-template daemon-infused awakened flesh golem barbarian named Solomon Garundi.
Abrogail Thrune is wildly popular among a culture of faddists and enthusiastic young people, who took to the ill-advised trend of tattooing themselves with her house sigil and the words 'property of House Thrune' or 'property of her Majestrix,' in the fashion of how some slaves are branded with the house sigil or name of their master / owner. The joke fell flat when it turned out that Chelish law mandates that only slaves bear such marks, and that anyone bearing such a mark is therefore a slave...
Because of the terrible inconvenience to lawful authorities in charge of handling runaway slaves or confirming ownership status, etc. these infatuated 'Abrogail groupies' found themselves little sympathy, and it was only the kind intercession of the Queen herself that saved these overzealous fans from a harsh sentence for confusing and confounding the law of the empire. Accepting those who had self-identified as her property as thralls in her service (and therefore subjecting herself to the requisite taxes on this new property), the Queen managed to save them from being assigned to darker fates, perhaps even being found guilty of trying to deliberately sabotage the Chelish economy and make a treasonous mockery of its system of laws!
Silent Saturn wrote:
Also, if magic exists, then "magical energy" is probably a natural phenomenon, like magnetism or the strong nuclear force, and there are probably organisms that can feed off of it. Arcanosynthesis instead of photosynthesis?
Mentioned above, and definitely a possibility. The Underdark of Greyhawk / the Realms had 'mysterious underdark radiation' that helped empower those decaying Drow magic armor/weapons/cloaks/boots, and presumably could be tapped into by some sort of smaller life-form, such as a form of fungus, or specialized insects / crustaceans in the underdark seas, which would serve as the bottom of the local food-chain, turning that 'underdark radiation' into tasty protein.
In Golarion, actual radiation (such as from a fallen spaceship...), in addition to unnatural / supernatural radiations (such as from feverstone or lazurite or just Rovagug's prison) could be metabolized by *something,* and form the basis of such a food chain. (Golarion even has a sort of precedent, with Purple Worms being attracted to energy sources within the earth and eating them up, and possibly being changed in the process.)
And there's always the possibility of chemosynthesis, such as deep sea tube worms and whatnot, or even some sort of thermosynthesis, such as brown mold, mysteriously able to turn heat into great quantities of organic life. A less hazardous version of brown mold could thrive near underground lava flows, and serve as the bottom of a local food chain of cave crickets and bats and whatever, which are in turn harvested / farmed by local duergar or derro or svirfnibbleflibbertigibbets.
'Mysterious Underdark Radiation' in Golarion, being the taint/energy leaking from Rovagug's prison is particularly funky, since it's pretty darn dark stuff. "Yes, we've all grown up eating food from a food chain that metabolizes pure hate into fungus, bugs, etc. Perhaps now you understand why so few of the races living in the dark lands are particularly *nice.*" (And why Torag sent the dwarven people a vision telling them to get the hell out of there!)
I'm already a bit 'eh' on the idea of the Egyptian gods being a part of a fantasy world, I'm not sure I'd want to continue in that vein by writing up voodoo / Yoruba loa as Medium spirits to channel, and I really don't know anything about the *individual* wendo in Golarion.
Not that Chango and Baron Samedi and Erzuli wouldn't be fantastic and flavorful 'spirits' to channel, but it wouldn't feel as 'Golarion' to me as (for example) a Medium who 'channels' the Runelords (even if they aren't all technically dead...), and has a gluttonous necromancer mode and a super-angry hair-trigger evoker mode and a flirty seductive enchanter mode.
A channeling Medium tapping into some other 'pantheon' could be interesting too, such as the Orc pantheon or the Elf pantheon or the Godclaw.
This is my favorite new origin story, so far.
While the dead family is a neat unifying theme, I'm eager to see other variations, like someone who taps into heroes of stories they read as a child (and perhaps, speaking to their shades, learns that the stories weren't always entirely truthy, or finding out that one 'famous hero' was entirely fictional and the 'spirit' they are calling up is something else entirely, something fey, perhaps), or an unsavory sort who deliberately dug up grave artifacts to steal the power of dead people with talents he wants, or someone with a mystical link to spirits of people who died in non-overlapping time periods (and different cultures or even races), and only belatedly discovers that she's calling up the memories of past lives, incarnated as 'spirits!'
I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
163. Consistently makes a weird noise when curious or excited; is not aware they do it.
Ooh, I know this one. She makes a sound like air escaping from a balloon when she's excited. 'Eeeeeeeeee!'
And then there's the guy who smacks his lips when he's thinking. It sounds like fish are flopping around in his mouth.
166. Two more words: Disturbingly nice.
And I work with this one, too. He's the nicest old man you'll ever meet. Unfailingly polite. Never an unkind word to say about anyone or anything. And his creepy smile makes you want to call the police.
171. At least once in any conversation he has a spasm that causes him to shrug and shake his shoulders or tilt/turn his head to the side and twitch. He seems either unaware of this, or just too embarrassed to acknowledge any mention of it (and anyone who knows him goes along with it and never brings it up, leaving any new person who does mention it looking like the jerk, and being awkwardly ignored as everyone just pretends he didn't mention the twitch).
172. This person is covered with offensive/racist/sacrilegious tattoos, which they seem embarrassed and ashamed of, and, if pressed on the subject, admit they they are having them removed as they can afford the magical/alchemical procedures, and that they are legacy of a misspent youth. (Examples: A tattoo of the Sarenite holy symbol, only Sarenrae is naked and her wings are plucked chicken wings. A tattoo of a severed elf head with X's over the eyes, over the words, 'The only good elf is a dead elf.') Despite the tattoos (and past) does not otherwise display any offensive/racist/sacrilegious attitudes or behaviors.
Ha! "The winner of the Gemini Croquettes all expenses trip to Phloston Paradise!"
157. Always talks as if hosting a game show, very enthusiastic and projecting to reach the cheap seats.
As for 151, I've also done the 'theme' thing without consulting the others. I noticed in one game that nobody had a magic cloak, so I bought everyone a matching +1 cloak of resistance (and later upgraded them all to +2). It being a handy item, nobody complained (or even commented on) the color-coordination or decorations.
While I've yet to play any of these classes, obviously, I'm finding it cool that they *feel* (to me, anyway), much more 'magical' than the standard fire-and-forget Vancian Wizard or Cleric.
Combining this sort of occult magic with something like the old Unearthed Arcana 'Incantations' system (or the Scarred Lands 'True Rituals' predecessor to that), to cover stuff that would feel more like spells and rites, and you could make a very different sort of game setting, with more esoteric and 'mysterious' magic, perhaps better suiting a more Ravenloft-y sort of game, or even a Dark Suns sort of game where magic is not known to be as reliable or mechanical or convenient.
Ooh! He has a name? Cool!
I may not love there being an aasimar/tiefling/skinwalker/dhampir for every stat optimization, instead of the old D&D/Forgotten Realms standby of an elf/dwarf/halfling for every stat optimization, but Blood of Angels and Blood of Fiends had some *glorious* character art, and really made me want to know more about some of them (like stag-horned dude with blackened oracle curse or tiefling cleric of Sarenrae).
As is typical for me, I like the less-Iconic folk anyway, like Naull, from 3.X, so I'll probably be a big fan of the new six 'quasi-Iconics' for the Thrunie AP.
Adam Daigle wrote:
I'm sure excited to see six new non-good (if not necessarily evil, since you don't have to be evil to prefer the current Chelish situation to the lawless bloodshed going on in Galt!) not-really-Iconics!
Lem the Halfling wrote:
Watch it Thrunies; I'm coming to get you!
Woo, go Lem! Great to see the Iconic with the most built-in ties to the Chelish situation (IIRC...) make an appearance!
I liked the flavor of incarnum - all the specific details, like the sapphire heirarchs, the lost, and necrocarnum - better than the mechanics.
I respected that they tried to actually do something with alignment mechanically, tying it to a class type and treating it like a 'real thing' in the setting, and not just a descriptor for how certain spells affect or detect you.
The Totemist was my favorite, conceptually, but the choice of Magical Beasts for the melds boggled me. A 'Totemist' based off of Animals, Dinosaurs, Vermin, Dragons, Elementals & Genies or Undead, for example, would be thematic as all heck.
Magical Beasts, on the other hand, were just a huge mish-mash of unrelated critters with nothing in common, some spellcasters, some with a few SLAs, some with a supernatural power, one or two extraplanar critters, and a few, like gray renders, griffons and sea cats, with no magical anything at all...
It's like the dumping ground creature type, for anything that didn't fit anywhere else, with the unifying theme of 'blue, mongoose, sock, thirteen!'
And so I kind of liked the Totemist as a guideline for how to make that sort of class, if not for what it specifically was.
(Same with the Summoner in PF, which makes a neat 'chassis' on which to make a Resurrectionist with a smaller list of specific necromantic spells, a permanent undead 'pet,' and some undead summoning spell-like abilities, or an Animator, with a smaller list of specific transmutation spells, a permanent construct 'pet,' and some animate object spell-like abilities, or a Thrallherd, with a smaller list of enchantment/charm spells, a permanent dominated thrall, and a smaller list of mind-affecting compulsion SLAs, or a Shadowsworn, doing the above with illusions and shadow conjurings, etc., etc.)
Freehold DM wrote:
I shan't participate if this thread degenerates into small jokes / puns / wordplay. I'm a bigger man than that.
Yeah but in DnD, the drow were basically Lolth's belongings. Society followed the theocratic aims of Lolth. There was one cook stirring that pot.
In the Forgotten Realms, anyway, which is what kids today think of as 'Drow.' In the original Greyhawk setting, they worshipped 'various demon lords,' of which Lolth was just the dominant one in the city of Erelhei-Cinlu (totally making up that spelling...).
Pathfinder has gone back to the multiple demon lords concept, and, IMO, that's a good thing, because Lolth was the lawfullest Chaotic Evil god-tyrant-thing that ever lawfulled.
There also seems to be some interdependence built in, with the Cyth-V'suggies controlling the water supply, House Flambeau making all the weapons in their forges, etc. Much like the situation in the Worldwound, where multiple Demon Lords are working together more or less harmoniously (perhaps even more so than the Mendevian crusaders and remmants of the native Sarkorians they are oppressing!), the Demon Lords worshipped by the Drow seem to be pretty good at working together.
Loving the side-discussion about Duergar, btw. A very under-developed race with a ton of potential. Sadly they aren't as hawt as dark elves.
Since that would require someone in Hollywood to be reading my mind directly, I'd be quite comforted that that *not* be the case. :)
Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
Am I the only one who thinks this looks more entertaining than Age of Ultron? Because I actually am moderately excited about this one whereas I went to see AoU mostly because the girl wanted to (I would have been perfectly happy waiting for the blu-ray).
After Age of Ultron, which was super-busy and, IMO, not very 'filling,' (Kind of like a Transformers movie. All big splashy spectacle with no soul.), I'm definitely looking forward to some 'smaller' Marvel movies, like Ant-Man or Dr. Strange or Black Panther.
I was never a big fan of Thanos or the Infinity Stones or Civil War in the comics, so I'm really not all that excited for the next Avengers outings. As for Thor: Ragnarok, eh. The last two Thor movies have been, IMO, lackluster. I'm not sure if Chris Hemsworth can actually act, but now would be a great time to start, if he wants to be something more than 'the guy who keeps taking his shirt off.'
Still, they'll make all the money, since I'm probably the only person in the world that would rather have seen Captain America 3: Serpent Society over Captain America 3: Civil War. :)
Converting from troy to averdupodlywonkus... uh, normal pounds, slowed me down, but yeah, 8.5 mill. I'm always amused by NPC write ups in books where they've got 250 gp. or something in loose change, and that being *five pounds* (~$85,000!) of gold in today's money.
I like the idea of characters who are out adventuring because they failed at something during apprenticeship, and need to jumpstart their training with some practical experience at (magic / intrigue / swordplay / whatever), and yet Ravina takes it in the opposite direction.
She tested so well that all the old school trainers found her to be an imminent threat to their comfy tenures, and so they 'encouraged her to see the world' or 'spend more time with her family' or whatever.
I'm vaguely reminded of Dune.
"Our job is to spend lifetimes juggling bloodlines to lead to the birth of the kwisatz haderach."
Usually when one is a 'chosen one,' it's the enemies you are prophecies to overthrow who find your existence terribly inconvenient. With Rivani, it's her entrenched peers who find her to be upsetting their carefully allocated and catalogued applecarts.
Could be an interesting Bard option. "I sing, sing, sing a song of flexible morale! You get a +2 morale bonus to attack rolls, damage and AC, Mr. Monk. You get a +2 morale bonus to your concentration checks and caster level, Ms. Sorcerer/ess. And, because I hate you, I give you a -2 morale *penalty* to everything, Mr. Cavalier/Iconic D-bag!"
On a more serious note, I'm intrigued to know if this book will give a little bit more information on evil organizations, like the Aspis Consortium.
I mean, the Pathfinders basically sneak around in countries where they are not welcome, desecrate the burial sites of their ancestors, steal their cultural treasures, and then spirit them away to hide in a vault somewhere even the dudes who risked their lives to steal them never get to see them.
And the Aspis Consortium is the 'evil' version of that?
Sort of like being the hot version of the sun, right?
Garrett Guillotte wrote:
Broader themes: tech, fey, the planes (particularly the Shadow Plane or any/all demiplanes—Harrowed Realm, Hao Jin Tapestry, Book of the Damned, etc.), alignment
Ooh, alignment. A chance to show off some stuff specific to good (touched upon most recently in Chronicles of the Righteous, Champions of Purity, etc.), law (touched upon, uh, practically never?) and chaos (ditto, need more chaos!).
The original dragonborn were way cooler - basically other humanoids (humans, elves, etc.) who were "born again" in a ritual to Bahamut.
I read that as 'born again in a ritual to Baphomet' and thought, 'what is this delicious madness!'
Bahamut. Bah. So deadly dull. Tiamat was much more interesting, and we've got neither in Pathfinder.
Even during their backstories?
The story skipped that down-and-out period in Katapesh where she was stuck in a pesh den run by vampires and lost twelve levels and is now kind of foggy about that whole thing (other than having a rabid dislike of pesh, and being bitten) and having to start over at level 1 with the clothes on her back and random crap she grabbed when she escaped that place.
"Hey, are you the same Rivani who caused the gnoll berserkers of the Blighted Paw to fly up into the sky until they became streaks of fire, and who used an entrancing dance to bring peace to the Efreeti Pasha of Fire Within Stone?"
"I don't remember anything like that... I can levitate this teacup, 'though! Hold on, you're thinking of a number between six and fourteen..."