He was impressed by a tale of a master who beat back a hurricane with his mastery of martial arts, and so chose the title 'Kai, Breaker of Wind.'
He could carry that theme on, using boasts that mean something completely else (of which he is completely unaware), such as bragging about how he can hold his breath for hours by saying, 'You cannot drown one such as I, who have slept with the fishes!'
He might brag about how his training includes the secrets of 'silken steel' (whipping cloth around so that it can cut or pierce flesh) by claiming that he spent long hours learning how to 'push rope.'
Evil Midnight Lurker wrote:
I can't help but feel that what the Empyreals did to Tabris was so vastly hypocritical that some of them should have Fallen on the spot. Honestly, I find it almost unbelievable that events could have gone down as written, and I'm wondering if you've really given us the whole story...
History is being written, in this case, by what I suspect is a more unreliable narrator than most.
The man who strikes him down dies from a blast of hell-wrought fire to the face, but the smell of his burning flesh is cold comfort, as Black Jack is beyond any power she has yet wrested from the Prince of Darkness.
There is a lesson in all things, and the small-minded would say that if Black Jack died, it was because he was weak. But that is not the lesson the wiser head takes away, that he would yet stand between herself and the blades of our foes, if she had rationed her dark gifts more prudently...
Still, the Night of Screams was profitable. From a slender squire to the keep commander himself she wrested a fine shirt of truesilver chain, light as leather and strong as steel, glistening with enchantments that failed to keep a bugbear spear out of the young man's throat.
Another lesson, there. she reflects, as she pulls the armor off of the choking boy, who has not yet had the good grace to finish dying. She finally pulls off his shirt, rolling him over onto the fallen banner he had so stubbornly held high, allowing his life's blood to wash over and obscure the insipid symbol of this usurper kingdom.
Other trinkets complete her collection. A fine magical cloak, worn by some leader among the scouts, and a wondrous rod that drew out and redoubled the power of some magics, to make them last longer than they would otherwise, that had to be pried out of the fire-blackened hand of the dead priest who held it. Dear Mi'Dre even found her a pretty talisman, one that gave its wearer skin as durable as soft leather, without any loss of sensation or change in texture. Strangely, he said it was worn by some trackers *wolf* (which he, of course, probably killed in some brutal fashion, as is his fashion) as if a mindless beast deserved magical protection of this sort...
Albina is leveled up, and has picked up some ranks in Knowledge (the planes) to help Shendalyn with the binding process, since, I presume, that sort of thing might be kind of important... Should we bring silver or cold iron, if that's something that might be needed, if Daemons are vulnerable to that?
Irnk, Dead-Eye's Prodigal wrote:
Could just mean that Black Butterfly was *sneaky,* and got in, grabbed Zon-zon, and bugged out before getting caught.
It was getting too hard to gain levels when he was already Mythic, so Nex split himself (and his power and experience) into eight lesser (lower-level) wizards, and sent them out to build themselves up to his former pinnacle. Then the eight of them will re-combine, boost-strapping Nex into arcane divinity.
There may also be an explosion, but he'll burn that bridge when he comes to it.
Complication; He's lost track of a couple of himself...
Were jaguars! (Use were tiger stats with some class levels in Ranger or Oracle or whatever.)
Giant bugs, giant snakes, some undead (mummies, if the ruin is atop a mesa or something?), perhaps a 'feathered serpent' in a sacrificial pit that turns out to be a dinosaur...
Dig out a 3.5 Monster Manual and use the stats for a Mind Flayer, only describe it as a creepy tall and thin partially mummified figure whose 'stunning mental blasts' are terror-inducing roars (same game effect) and whose 'brain eating grapple' is a grappling hand that slowly burrows into your chest and tears out your heart (same game effect). The various spell-like abilities are refluffed to fit the theme, it teleports around like Jason in a horror movie, always ahead of you, or right behind you, no matter how fast you flee, and it's 'charm' is a madness inducing spell that makes allies flip out and attack each other (same game effect). If using a single 'heart ripper' buff it up to CR 10-12. Otherwise, use groups of them, and fluff them as the shriveled half-mummified remains of ancient heart-sacrificing priests, resurrected back to terrible life to defend the temple from these defilers.
I think, with firearms, the designer have made a good attempt at rationalizing why they aren't spreading all over the world.
Alkenstar is kind of boxed-in, trade-wise, by Nex and Geb, arguably the two most magically-potent nations in the Inner Sea, both at least somewhat invested in maintaining the dominance of their own magical exports, and the ones most likely to have unarmored troops with magical or supernatural defenses (negating at least some of the advantage of firearms over longbows). If guns leave Alkenstar in any meaningful numbers, it would be through Katapesh (whose economy is ruthlessly controlled by the Pactmasters, who may well be taking financial incentives from Nex to 'discourage' or 'lose' any large shipments of firearms from leaving Alkenstar via their ports).
Although the notion of a marauding gnoll tribe with plundered guns raiding caravans in the area has a certain sweetness...
From a thematic standpoint, I could see small quantities of guns being smuggled out of Alkenstar, which, naturally, would lead to them appearing more often in the hands of *pirates* than in the hands of the Taldan or Andoren militaries. It would be an interesting reversal of real world developments if a pirate ship coming out of the Shackles was going to be the first to shock a Chelish blockade ship by opening fire with cannons...
Numeria, on the other hand, doesn't really seem to have much in the way of firearms, or any sort of technology that isn't *strictly* controlled by the 'techno-sorcerers' of the Black Sovereign. The nation itself seems less like 'innovators' and more like scavengers using things they barely (if at all) understand (more like the 'gnolls with guns' mentioned above, than the natives of Alkenstar).
Petty Alchemy wrote:
+1 to killing alignment restrictions.
Ditto. The 'all Rangers must be Good' thing has gone away. The 'Bards can't be Lawful' thing has gone away. Neither change caused stars to fall from the sky.
I don't think axing the 'Barbarians can't be lawful' or 'Monks must be Lawful' alignment restrictions would break any seals or unleash any apocalypses. A berserker who enters a cold fury, or 'the zone,' or quiet state of focus and determination, mechanically functioning as a lawful raging Barbarian sounds perfectly on-theme. A martial artist who focuses on animal styles or dance or a philosophy of entering a state of no-mind or emulating the movements of the wind, and is non-Lawful, or even Chaotic, also seems reasonable.
As for Paladins, I didn't really like the nine Paladins from that ancient Dragon article, but very much did like the freeform Holy Warrior options from Green Ronin's Book of the Righteous (and the later Unholy Warrior options, from Unholy Warrior), and also liked the Unearthed Arcana 'Paladins' of Freedom, Corruption and Tyranny. That's cool.
I've played LG clerics and wizards, and never once thought that the alignment was somehow so magically harder than other alignments that I deserved special powers over non LG Clerics or Wizards, so I don't get where the martyr-y self-entitlement that 'Paladins have to be special-er because LG is so haaard' comes from.
LG, in my experience, is not hard to place (IMO, NG is easier than LG, and CG is harder, because, despite growing up in a more freedom-loving authority-suspicious society, I find Chaotic alignments to be less intuitive and 'easy' as a Lawful alignment that has clear cut rules and codes to follow).
CE, in my experience, is almost impossible to play without the session breaking down. Should they get special powers?
But, with all classes now being theoretically balanced and costing the same XP to advance (whether or not one agrees with the posit that a Monk and a Wizard are 'balanced'), there's literally no mechanical support for the 'Paladins have special powers because of X.' They don't. A Ranger or Barbarian also has special powers, and not at all 'because of X.'
Alignment restrictions haven't been about balance for decades (if, really, they ever were), but about 'theme' or, more recently, 'backwards-compatibility' and, IMO should be optional, as they only serve to restrict options, and not channel creativity (which is what restrictions of this sort should do).
Call the CG 'Paladin' of Cayden Cailean a Crusader or a Champion or a Holy Warrior, if the word Paladin is sacrosanct to you, but there's no reason to say that all CG holy champions are automatically going to be medium BAB Clerics or Inquisitors.
LG is not and never has been 'better good.'
Neutral Good is 'better good,' pure undiluted morality unfettered by kowtowing to undeserving hierarchy or inbred entitled aristocracy or possibly unjust or anachronistic or class-reinforcing rules of law. And NG doesn't deserve a special NG only Paladin that is 'better' than a LG or CG Paladin either.
A Paladin of CG Cayden (or a CG 'Paladin' of Cayden) isn't going to break anything, any more than Paladins of CG Sune (or Paladins and Monks being able to break multiclassing restrictions, in certain cases) broke the Forgotten Realms.
James Jacobs wrote:
There's no plans for alternate magic systems for Arcadia.
Aw, no Maztican pluma magic?
Wait, did I say 'aw?' I meant 'Woo, no Maztican pluma magic!'
On the topic of Arcadia and magic, how do you find the fine line (which is different for everyone, obviously) between too closely paralleling a real-world culture, and going so far away from (current perceptions of) a real-world culture as to make it seem more caricature than homage?
Paizo toed that line admirably, I think, with Dragon Empires. As much as I loved the Kara-Tur setting, it seemed, both in map and write up (in the Boxed Set particularly) to be almost *too* faithful of the idea of making a 'fantasy China' and a 'fantasy Japan', 'fantasy Korea,' 'fantasy Mongolia,' etc. instead of, as in Dragon Empires, designing nations that borrowed more from the fantasy than from real-world history (nation ruled by Kraken, naga-dominated jungles, etc.).
I'm curious as to whether or not you envisage Arcadia as having, for instance, Navajo or Iroquois or Aztec analogues, or something a bit further afield.
Oh hey, my quibble about Irrisen (where does the food come from?) was kinda / sorta answered in Land of Eternal Winter with Babs introducing magic regenerating trees that produce edible bark that apparently sustains the Irriseni ecosystem!
Still, where does the snow go? It *obviously* never melts, and, in the average winter, it snows a couple feet. It's *always* winter in Irrisen, so they probably get five feet of snow a year.
Which never goes away.
<scribble, scribble, math, math>
It's been 'always winter' for about 1400 years, which means that Irrisen is currently buried under 7000 ft. of snow that will never melt. From the border, it probably would look like a giant mountain of ice (having compacted under it's own weight) with the edges having 'calved' off into surrounding nations and thus surrounded with a giant 'moat,' the weight of the more-than-mile-high ice and snow mountain having depressed the entire nation of Irrisen several meters (and, in some areas, perhaps even collapses into the Darklands?). (Each foot of snow depth over Irrisen, assuming 500 miles on an edge, would weigh 138 quadrillion tons. Times 7000 ft. of accumulation that's what we call in technical terms ****ing heavy.)
I guess the obvious solution for it to not snow in Irrisen, ever, since even an *inch* a year would add up to all of Irrisen being buried in 116 foot snowdrifts!) in Irrisen, which somehow makes it feel less like 'eternal winter...'
Or some sort of creature type feeds on falling snow, and is capable of consuming (15 lbs. x the number of square feet of surface area in Irrisen) of snow a year.
Eh. As the robots sing, 'It's just a show, you should really just relax.' :)
And in Titanic? It sinks.
Thanks to formula writing, it's almost impossible to 'spoil' the plot of anything that happens on TV these days. It's all 'minute 42, X happens to Y' with different people playing the part of Y week to week.
I think the last time I was surprised by something on the TV was in Dynasty when a bunch of terrorists burst into a wedding and shot everyone. Many an episode of CSI: Lios na gCearrbhach could be livened up by a bunch of mutant bear-ninja rappelling down through the ceiling and busting up the place with explosive pineapples.
Sadly only David Lynch gets this. :)
The rollercoaster ride of waiting for this book is like a reversed version of the five stages of grief.
The shivering with anticipation stage is over, and I'm currently just a little bit zen, as if I've got some sort of Schrodinger's Mailbox thing going on, and as long as I don't run out and check it, it might actually be in there.
(And the hope that it is remains intact, so long as I don't open the mailbox and crush that hope...)
Asexual reproduction has been around since the beginning of D&D.
Ghouls, wraiths, vampires, etc. all reproduced asexually, although you may well have felt that your character was getting bleeped in the process.
Various oozes and pudding reproduced when you stuck your sword into them, which was probably not intended to sound as phallic as the way I just phrased it.
Green slime was yet another thing that asexually reproduced itself at your expense.
And, reproduction or no reproduction, sexuality and sexual imagery wasn't absent from the game, with those free-range succubus boobies flopping about. (In addition to lamia boobies and Marilith boobies and Bast boobies and Aphrodite boobies and gosh, that picture of Hermes in Deities & Demigods may require brain-bleach to recover from...)
The Monster Manual and Deities & Demigods may not have been as much of a 'poor man's playboy' as National Geographic, back in the day, but they were hardly free of sexualized imagery.
30 odd years ago, with the introduction of alu-fiends and cambions (including that bad boy Iuz, who was kind of a big deal in Greyhawk), not only were NPCs having the sex, they were *having sex with demons.*
And while Mordenkainen may not have gotten any, I'm pretty sure that Elminster got enough for him and the rest of the Circle of Eight combined, ifyouknowwhatImean, nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
The fact that a character (iconic or otherwise) even exists suggests the existence that somewhere, a male and a female of their respective race had the sex. (or of entirely different species, in the case of half-orc or half-elven characters, with all the bestiality / miscegenation-terror that implies) Every single NPC is, indirectly, a reference to sexuality, and weigh in around 100% in favor of some sort of heterosexual intercourse being the source of their existence.
A game world with zero references, however oblique or indirect, to sexuality, would be a dusty ghost world, with no living creatures in it.
Instead, the game world is crawling with adults (whose parents must have had sex at some point), children (whose parents must have had sex relatively recently) and married couples (who may or may not be having sex, depending on the state of their marriage...). If one in several dozen of those NPCs is in a same-sex relationship, then big whoop.
In a fantasy world, where druid companions may well be able to spend their ability increases in Intelligence and become sentient people and not just dumb animals, I'd save my pearl-clutching for the day we read that Lini and Droogami's relationship is a bit more 'companionable' than 'Companion' would strictly suggest.
My late thoughts;
1) Alchemist - I wanted a skill-based alchemist, that progressed off of the pre-existing Craft (alchemy) skill to advance (and add to) the various alchemical fire's and tanglefoot bags, etc. to keep them relevant as levels increased. I got a Jekyll-and-Hyde bomb throwing poison-using semi-spellcaster, that feels like at least three good ideas mushed into one strange, strange thing. And surprisingly little *alchemy* for a class named 'Alchemist.'
2) Cavalier - I have no opinion on melee classes. I don't play them. I give them kudos for not having or using spells. I get that spells and spell descriptions take up ridiculous amounts of pagecount, at the end of the day, but does *every* class have to use that mechanic?
3) Inquisitor - Another very 'busy' class with a lot going on. I kind of dislike classes that have dribs and drabs of spellcasting, as it leads to high CR encounters being met with 1st and 2nd level spells (because it's all the Paladin/Ranger/Inquisitor has) and higher level Cleric / Druid / etc. spells being 'downleveled' to be made available to hybrid casters who only are getting 3rd level spells at 10th level (which later results in cheap access to wands and potions, etc. of that spell, or even access to potions and wands of spells that otherwise would never have been available, since they are 4th and 5th level Cleric and Wizard spells). I think I would have liked the Inquisitor (and Paladin and Ranger, for that matter) better if it had some thematic powers, but no spellcasting.
4) Oracle - Like the Sorcerer, it gets its spells a level late for no real reason. Unlike the Sorcerer, whose tiny list of spells known is at least theoretically balanced against a Wizard having to pay for each of his potentially infinite spells and lug around a (potentially Achilles heel) spellbook, the Oracle has the same tiny list of spells known, and is 'balanced' against the Cleric or Druid, who knows every single one of their potentially infinite spell lists automagically, and never has to worry about buying their spells or losing their spellbooks. I'd never play a Sorcerer over a Wizard, because of the handicapped 'nerfed by committee' nature of the Sorcerer, and the Oracle is, compared to the Cleric, many times worse.
On the upside, it's an order of magnitude better than the Favored Soul.
5) Summoner - The class itself has it's bugbears, and the occasional 'meta' moment when one wonders what the thematic tie is between 'specialized conjurer' and 'I just happen to know, oh-so-conveniently, in addition to conjuration spells, a select smattering of the very best transmutation buffs, like bull's strength and haste.' But, of them all, it's my favorite, not just for what it *is,* but for what it can become. Tweak the spell list, replacing conjurings with necromancies, and remake the outsider eidolon into an undead creature, and you have a completely different school-themed 'pet-wizard' with the same basic chassis. Tweak it in the direction of transmutation, and make the eidolon a construct or animated object or 'greater homonculus,' and you've done it again, taking the Summoner chassis and building an 'Artificer' for Pathfinder. As a class, it's pretty cool.
As a toolkit, it's fantastic.
6) Witch - There's a part of me that thinks this would be a fine Wizard variant, instead of being a class unto itself, but that's the same part of me that thinks that a Barbarian or a Ranger would be fine Fighter variants, instead of classes unto themselves. That ship hit an iceberg and sank with all hands lost long ago.
Games have, for decades, gone in the direction of more specialized classes (archetypes/roles/professions/whatever), rather than more versatile classes.
I like the hexes mechanic, more so than the 'wizard lite' spell list, and if there was a hex that did damage, I'd probably abandon spellcasting entirely with this class and just go all-hex all-the-time.
The assumption that being filled with hate or fear is somehow normal, and that attempts to encourage more empathy and compassion for our fellow humans is part of some sinister wussy liberal fascist 'PC' agenda is indeed pernicious.
265. Six Foxes Tall After a vivid dream, your mother names you Rokitsukai, which (roughly) means 'Six Foxes Tall' in her native Minkai. You were born with soft fur atop your head, which has never grown longer than an inch, like the fur of a fox, and red in hue, with black stripes and a white fringe just over your ears. Six small nubs of flesh also adorned your scalp, and by the time you had reached childhood, they had grown into foxes tails, two at the back of your skull and dangling down your back, two atop your crown and also sweeping back, and the last two at your temples, which can be draped behind your ears, but tend to hang down framing your face like scalplocks, if left to their own devices. At puberty, you developed more fleshy nubs, at the edges of your wrists, opposite your thumbs, at your elbows, shoulders, in the middle of your back at the ends of your shoulderblades, and at the edges of your ribcage. Your own dreams have made it clear to you that additional tails will grow from these nubs of flesh, a pair for each magical evolution you undergo, whether it be learning a new 'level' of spell, or learning a new type of magic (arcane, divine, alchemical infusion), so that you may end up with dozens of tails, sprouting from many places. You have grown no fleshy nubs at the base of your spine, however, and what would be the most appropriate place to grow a tail, is the one place you will never grow one.
As Ghostmother Fox told you in your dream, "No, never there darling. How would you sit?"
It wouldn't shock me to find that non-traditional sexuality is a higher than normal percentage among the smallish subset of humanity that likes to pretend they are elves.
As a comic book fan, I'm also not terribly surprised to find out that fans of comic book costumed superheroes who live colorful secret lives full of excitement and danger by night, and have 'secret identities' as 'just another dude' during the day seem to have a disproportionate number of gay fans.
262. Clockwork Angel Your body appears to be a machine, with an ultra-fine mesh as skin, and pulleys and gears in place of muscles and joints. It functions like any organic body, and the gearworks are all of bone and sinew, not metal or ceramic, but the appearance is of a finely crafted organic machine, with the exception of your eyes, which are made of many brilliantly colored flecks of gemstone like material that whirl and rearrange themselves into a new configuration when you use your darkvision. Through these eyes, you see the 'hidden gearworks' of the world itself, which no one else can see. Vast engines push the clouds across the sky and the tides onto the land, while tiny little machines pull each blade of grass from the sky, and strand of hair from a man's head, machines that only you can see.
263. My Name is a Holy Name Your appearance is classical 'aasimar,' but your celestial name seems to have a special significance, having its own echoing resonance, whenever you speak it aloud, such that even if you merely whisper your name, the whisper seems to hiss around the room in a sibilant fashion, like an unseen breeze or hidden serpent. The angels, archons, azata and agathions all have their own minor dialects of the celestial tongue, and there are nuances so subtle as to be all-but unknown to even the most learned scholars of the tongue. Your name has some special meaning in the angelic dialect some call 'Enochian,' and when an outsider with the good or evil subtype hears your name, they react oddly, as if the name has some deeper meaning to them than any a mortal translation would provide. An azata you encountered while young frowned upon learning your name, and shook her head sadly, saying, "Such a heavy burden to place upon one so young." Later in life, upon the death of an evil wizard, his imp familiar, snatching up his soul to carry to its final destination, stopped when your name was spoken aloud by a companion and squinted at you, before breaking into laughter and wishing you, "Good luck with that." before tossing you a jaunty wave and vanishing back to Hell.
Indeed, the tattoos, which are different depending on which generation of Seoni you are encountering, are the only way to tell them apart!
Beware imitation Seonis, which can be recognized by unauthenticated tattoos or yellow-blonde hair, as these are mere simulacra of the genuine Seonis created here at Seoni-Fresh Farms, Ltd.
Welcome to the internet. Occasionally, someone will say something about one of the many and horrible things that a member of your species, gender, political philosophy, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality and / or faith has done.
Unless you yourself have owned slaves or molested altar boys or kept women down or overthrown a democratically-elected government to install a dictator whose 'easier to work with' for your own economic agenda, then those sorts of statements don't really apply to you, and it's just a little bit prideful and self-important to take offense over them.
Try not to take it personally.
I live in the US (things may be different for others, obviously), a nation that is drastically *over* represented by Christians in seats of power and influence (while other faiths and philosophies are equally underrepresented, and, in some cases, actually *are* being treated oppressively). Living in the 'secular liberal' Northeast, I've seen literally *zero* 'oppression' of Christians up here, and yet, it's almost impossible for an atheist (or, heaven forfend) a Moslem, to get elected to a position in local government.
I like Jesus, and his teachings, and the idea that a depressingly small percentage of people who call themselves Christians are inspired by his words and want to live as Christ-like a life of peace, acceptance and non-judgment as they possibly can (and are easily recognized by how they don't start threads like this, being accepting even of slings and arrows, having been taught to love their enemies and turn the other cheek and something-something about wrestling with pigs), but I don't think I'd have any business crawling up on a cross and calling myself a martyr because some nameless yob on the internet might have said something immoderate about people who aren't me.
I choose instead to be thankful that I live in a nation that is, for the most part, respectful of people's rights, both their rights to practice a faith, or not to practice a faith, and their right to speak openly about their faith, or, equally, to say things that a person of faith might find hurtful.
Freedom cuts both ways. People free to say things that warm my heart are also free to say things that chill my blood. But their right to say such things doesn't 'oppress' me. Were I to try to take away that freedom, I'd be oppressing them.
My theory of the day, subject to change now-ish;
But by the time anything would be apparent, the moment for the save has passed.
Flavor wise, there's no reason why a spell that is affecting someone can't be considered to take a second or two to 'fully take effect,' giving your bard a chance to stop the target from disintegrating or whatever.
If you've seen the movie Willow, someone attempts to petrify a spellcaster, and her hand turns to stone first, with the effect creeping up her arm, giving her a few seconds to resist / counterspell the effect.
Operating on this sort of cinematic premise, where magical effects don't necessarily happen in the blink of an eye, perhaps the spell effect (be it a charm or an evocation or a transmutation) similarly takes a few seconds to 'take hold,' giving the bard enough time (as an immediate action) to recognize that something bad (TM) is happening, and attempt to foil it before their ally fully succumbs to the effect.
The fantasy universe often operates under 'cinematic' rules anyway. Fireballs and bolts of lightning, like explosions in action movies, can be at least partially 'dodged,' no matter how ridiculous that is. PCs seem to have built in 'bullet time,' allowing them to react to circumstances (like lightning!) that they 'realistically' shouldn't be aware of until after they've already been blown out of their boots by them.
Fortunately, adventures react really fast, and magical lightning is a bit easier to anticipate than the real-world stuff, with some sort of crackling ozone discharge at the impact site just a split-second before the actual bolt arrives...
TL;DR - if the flavor and the mechanics seem at odds, it's easier to tinker with the flavor, to suit the mechanics, than vice-versa.
If it doesn't 'feel right' or 'make sense' or it seems 'unrealistic,' beat on it until it fits. :)
I could see even Cayden Cailean being at least accepting of a virtue of moderation, since he's not the god of drunken date-rape or deadly bar brawls or anything. Being good aligned, even the god of ale might agree that there's a time to cut someone off and take their keys. He's not Dionysus, after all, a god of wine, total loss of control and madness.
It's all about degrees, I'd imagine. Cayden's probably comfortable with a lot less moderation, than, say, Irori, for whom sniffing the cap might constitute immoderate behavior. (Then again, Irori's all about improving oneself. Perhaps requiring an initiate to become intoxicated, and then attempting to complete some physical challenges despite impairment, is every bit as accepted a practice in some monastaries as putting a blindfold on someone and subjecting them to various challenges while so impaired, or making someone practice punches and kicks underwater, to strengthen their muscles, despite Irori also having nothing specifically to do with darkness or the sea.)
Azrael Lukja wrote:
This gives us two facts: Chelish traditions, in fact, do ostracize homosexuals. And those traditions are nowadays frowned upon by the majority of the common people living far from Chelish holds, but political reasons might make secrecy a necessity for some people.
Ooh, interesting, thanks for the correction! I'm such a racist for assuming that the local shady Varisian family was indeed Sczarni! :)
I wonder how old these Chelish traditions are? Asmodean tradition, misogynistic or not, is relatively new. (And, the way I see Asmodeus, he's less concerned with who you're having the sex with than whether or not it's a proper domineering / submissive sort of relationship with clear boundaries, all the paperwork filled out and people in their proper places.)
I wonder if Aroden was not a fan of same-sex relationships, being god of humanity, and somewhat invested in humanity *breeding?* On the one hand, lawful god of history, which suggests stuffy stodgy close-minded hidebound traditionalism. On the other hand, god of prophecy and *innovation,* which suggests a more open mind and some encouragement of new and, potentially, applecart-upsetting, things.
Alternately, in addition to Aroden, Iomedae was (and is) hot stuff in Cheliax. Although, being herself somewhat 'non-traditional' by medieval standards (a female knight), I'm not sure whether it makes more or less sense for her to have an opinion one way or the other on same-sex relationships. On the one hand, she could be quietly supportive of non-traditional relationships, for no other reason than Asmodeans are going all misogynistic, the two faiths pushing each other to extremes on a subject, that, before their faiths came into conflict, literally mattered not a whit to either of them, but now they find themselves increasingly being pushed further away from 'don't ask, don't care' to 'women should know their place!' and 'sisters are doing it in your face!' On the other hand, if fantasy life is anything like real life, some of the nastier oppressors are those who are hiding their own membership in the club. Iomedae's 'non-traditional' woman in platemail thing could be causing her to swing in the other direction, and discourage *other* sorts of non-traditional roles, to draw attention away from her own convention-flouting, in a 'good for me, not for thee' sort of way.
It's kind of cool that the various deities involved are so fleshed out that one could find arguments to support either viewpoint, for any of them. Few of them are so totally made of cardboard that they can't be justified for a PC, NPC or encounter that leans in either direction.
Likewise the social contexts vary with some interesting nuances e.g. eunochs being trusted as advisors because they could not start a dynasty.
Mameluke slaves were regarded the same way, having been raised with no family other than their fellow slave-soldiers, and therefore being considered above the sort of corruption that leads to nepotism and securing advantage for family and heirs.
There's a strange logic in putting power into the hands of people who are socially or culturally unable to use it to benefit themselves or serve their own interests, and yet, also the downside of putting the welfare of your own people into the hands of people who have zero empathy with your situation, since they are outside your 'group'...
But really, every culture has done that, one way or another, often dividing their military / soldiers into a different group, with different laws and rights and regulations (living communally, sharing resources, being told that even their bodies are property of the government, having their own very different legal system, etc.), creating the surreal situation where a society or nations way of life is being defended by people who aren't living it and end up regarding the 'soft' civilians as far removed from 'the real world' and sometimes with a measure of contempt.
In that light, military coups seem almost an inevitable development.
This is probably because I haven't been able to really sit down with it yet, but I haven't been able to find the "how to get paid for being a good guy" elements yet. It may have been an expectations overshoot, but I was hoping to see some advice or alternate routes for characters that go the "we can't accept this money from poor people that need it more than we do"/"we don't want your blood money"/typical-looting route towards keeping up with the parts of the game that require you to keep up with WBL, though honestly that's probably more of a GM-advice thing.
My GM solution would be to have people rescued offer free use of their community resources, up to the 'WBL value' of whatever gold is being foresworn for such things. The dude who owns the inn might allow the PCs to stay there free (in rooms that he couldn't rent, for whatever reason, because they are said to be haunted, or in a sub-building that isn't convenient, etc.) while Bob the Farmer might have nothing to offer other than some free meals, but his cousin Wanda, two towns over, dabbles in alchemy, and can chip in some half-price (at cost) potions.
That way, the WBL coming in becomes a logical side-effect of having saved people, as they become part of a network that supplies the PCs with the gear / items they seek. Nobody in Podunk Village X has any idea how to make a keen falchion for the tank, but between the two hundred and fifty of them, one of them is related to someone who knows someone who owes someone a favor, and can help the party get one at cost (or even get some miller three towns over whose daughter is married to the dude you just saved to give his son-in-law's rescuer his great-grandpa's old sword, which has been hanging on the mantle for seventy years, and just happens to be a magical falchion...).
It also rewards PCs who 'put down roots' and avoid the 'murder hobo' lifestyle of just wandering around and killing stuff, while simultaneously avoiding the 'Ye Olde Magic Shoppe' trope, by having magic item purchases be the result of a large network of people, looking to reward their heroic benefactors with access to gear they heard them mention in passing that they were looking for.
Like gaining new spells or feats or skills or entire languages while 'leveling up,' with the training and research assumed to have happened off-screen, and the new abilities and knowledge not just popping into the characters heads, magic items gained in this manner wouldn't necessarily have any delay time. Just as a wizard can decide right at the very second he turns 5th level that he wants to learn haste and fly as his two third level spells, and is assumed to have been studying those for months, retroactively, the same assumption can be made for that keen falchion. The PC might have just now built up the WBL to afford it, and decided right this moment to 'go for it,' and bam, there's the village apothecary, who heard *months ago* that the PC wanted such a thing, and remembered that her brother-in-law found a magic falchion once in a crypt that they discovered while digging a basement, and that it's probably still in their barn...
Christina Stiles wrote:
<I keep seeing the title of the thread and reading it as Purty, for some reason--and I worked on the book itself. What's wrong with me? Lol!>
I've seen it as Champions of Purty since it was announced, so yeah, you're not alone!
That's a pretty good run down. I'd look at the stuff that vampires in media tend to have, such as above average strength and toughness, and the ability to 'vamp out' and grow fangs (and perhaps other stuff, like claws and glowing eyes and bumpy foreheads / pointed ears / animalistic features), but gloss over the stuff like turning into mist and bats and stuff, since that's much rarer, and could be considered something only the most powerful and unique vampires have (like Dracula, who could also control the weather, among other things).
A 'living vampire,' the victim of a virus (or curse, or whatever) that makes him light sensitive, dependent on blood, and a touch stronger than other folk, could do away with all of the many immunities that come 'for free' with the undead type, and the annoying interactions with positive / negative energy.
A lot of 'supernaturally charming' or 'preternatural senses' stuff could be chalked up to exaggeration and folk tales, and reduced to simple mechanics like '+2 to Bluff, Diplomacy and Intimidate' or '+2 to Perception it is always a class skill.' Yeah, that vampire lady *was* able to wrap men around her finger 'like magic,' because she had 8 ranks in Diplomacy, and Skill Focus Diplomacy and a total modifier banging around +15 to her roll, not because she could use a 5th level Dominate spell at will.
Instead of a 'not available for 50% of the adventure' weakness like being utterly unable to go out during the day, the light sensitivity or weakness of an orc, kobold or drow should be sufficient to represent the sorts of vampires who don't much care for sunlight, but aren't immolated by it (like Dracula, or the vampires from Being Human).
Create Spawn would be something that would have to be chopped away as well, if only because it can be a problem, long-term. Fortunately, many of the inspirations for vampire PCs (shows like Forever Knight or the novels of Anne Rice, for instance) have attempts to make friends / lovers / etc. into vampires go horribly, horribly wrong. By making attempts to turn someone into a vampire have a dramatic chance of utterly failing (resulting in you murdering the love of your life in an attempt to make her immortal, as Nick Knight did) or creating a monster (as Lestat is warned, sometimes you get a god, and sometimes you get a zombie...). By putting the Create Spawn power back in the bottle and handing to the GM, there won't be any balance issues, as only the GM will determine when someone you tried to give your template actually gets your template, and doesn't A) become an NPC out to eat your face or B) just die horribly.
Ideally, this should apply to any sort of 'contagious template' a PC could get, such as lycanthropy. Work it out as a disease or a curse, that not everyone infected survives, and the ability to give all their friends free super-powers, which is really not the point of being a vampire or werewolf, goes away. If nine out of ten people bitten by a werewolf die of the 'wolf fever' or rip themselves in half during their first transformation, leaving a pile of intermingled human and wolf bits in a puddle of gore, and only the GM can say who gets to be number ten (instead of leaving it in the hands of the dice with some sort of Fortitude save or other mechanical thing that can be 'gamed' by PCs with the appropriate preparations, spells, magic items, etc.), that's not gonna be an issue.
I actually want to see more options for Good because I see so many cool toys on team Evil.
I agree with that, and yet the three PrCs in the Books of the Damned are pretty modular. Swamp some alignments around and replace the fiendish stuff with celestial stuff, and they could work for spellcasters who have dedicated their powers (and their souls) to an angelic / archonic / azatan patron.
Or even a neutral patron, such as an axiomite, protean or psychopomp.
A 'mirror universe Souldrinker' could serve Pharasma, for example, through a greater psychopomp patron, and have a lesser one as a familiar. Their goal would be to send incorporeal undead (or spiritual remnants) 'on,' through doing a quest to resolve a ghost's issues, dismantling haunts or shredding specters/wraiths/shadows. Instead of capturing or devouring souls, they'd get some sort of rush of spiritual energy as a reward from their patron, which they would capture in flasks like liquid, and drink to unleash the benefits (similar to the souldrinker's soul pool). In most cases, the actual 'meat' of the Prestige Class could remain the same, with names and themes swapped around, so that 'Damned' could become 'Saved' or 'Sworn' or 'Pledged' and represent one's soul still being earmarked to one's outsider patron. Flip the base of the PrC (destroy souls for power) around (to *save* souls for power), change out spells and bonus abilities to be more in tune with the new head-boss-in-charge, and it's pretty much good to go.
Regardless of the intent of a PrC or Feat or whatever, it's easy enough to go with the 'Author is Dead' philosophy and look at *everything* as a tool, which can be used to fashion a radically different manner.
Some specific parts of Golarion, for instance, might not be of any great interest to me, but that doesn't mean that books about those areas won't contain some lovely bones for me to work with, once I strip all the meat off of them and redecorate them with my own meats.
And, ew. That went to a weird place.
My first thought is the lion-centaur-woman.
There's enough snake peeps, so I never really got into the Lamia Noble.
Plus the lion-centaur thing suggests a possible relationship to the Sphinxes, which could be funky, the Lamia being a degenerate sub-breed or half-human hybrid of Sphinxes, or perhaps even the freakish result of un-picky Sphinxes mating with mundane lions?
On the other hand, if both lion and snake-Lamia exist, perhaps they are instead like Rakshasa (perhaps even related to them?), and have other possible configurations, such as the lower bodies of vultures or sharks or giant centipedes or whatever.
For game purposes, a ship should be vast (and yet cramped) and labyrinthine and mostly automated, so that you can have a small-ish crew and scenes like those on board the Nostromo in Alien, or Maximilian chasing people around the Palomino in The Black Hole, or even the (mostly unexplored) Destiny from Stargate: Universe.
Metamorphosis Alpha seemed to go that route, which was one of several things that were cool about that game.
But if it was a space vessel I had to be on, in the real world? Something crazy futuristic, less like a ship and more like a Legion Time-Sphere or a Whovian Tardis. Or maybe one of those ships the Puppeteers would sell in Niven's Known Space, with hulls that are indestructible to anything short of antimatter.
Star Trek ships sound nice-ish, with the food replicators and transporters and warp drive and ridonkulously effective communications, translation and sensor technology.
Too bad the damn holodeck is going to malfunction and kill you when you try to set it to 'erotic shiatsu ménage a cinq.'
It might be neat to see a Chaotic Good 'crossroads angel' type of Azata that shows up to desperate people who are trying to find a way to make a deal with a fiend to get out of some terrible circumstances, such as the sickness of a child, by appearing before they find their goal and leading them to a better solution (such as guiding them to a good cleric who can heal their loved one), or, in the case of someone who has ignorantly attempted such a summons, but lacked the knowledge or power to conjure a true fiend, appears in the guise of what they thought they were going to summon and 'makes a deal' with them that gives them what they sought, in exchange for a series of good deeds.
It would be neat to see not only what classes have what representation in PFS, but also break it out by level, to see which classes where most often 'stuck with' and which classes tended to get dumped at early levels.
For instance, my only PFS character is a druid, but I played her once and *hated* not being a cleric, and she's never been played since, so, really, she'd be a false positive at best, if counted.
But it's all pretty much anecdotal and subjective anyway. The group I've regularly gamed with are pretty old, and nobody has even flirted with the idea of playing a sorcerer, since they seem so 'crippled-by-committee' compared to the vanilla wizard, which just gets better every time a new book comes out with new spells in it. Nobody ever plays a rogue or a fighter, unless you count 1st and 2nd edition, where there were various elven and half-elven fighter/magic-users and magic-user/thieves. Our 'tanking' needs have always been covered by multi-class characters, rangers and the rare bizarre-ness like someone's charmed ogre or minotaur or something.
We're pretty set in our ways. No monks, outside of 2nd edition Oriental Adventures (the martial arts rules really jazzed them up!). No bards. No rogues. No fighters (excepting monster races. That's about the only way we can get people to play them, is let them play a fighter of a race that otherwise wouldn't be allowed). No paladins (ugh, why does the lawful good-est class always attract the chaotic evil-est players? 'I attack the innkeeper! He talked disrespectful to me!' 'I poison the rest of the party because they didn't give me the magic ring of wizardry!' 'You helped me! That was supposed to be honorable single combat, I attack you!'). No sorcerers.
We've always got clerics though, 'cause most of us prefer them (and druids and rangers and wizards) over any other class!
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
Phew, I was afraid that was a link to Bowies wife talking about how she caught him in bed with Mick Jagger, with a setup line like 'Bowie *does* the Stones...'
I want to say the Star Towers happened after he became ZK, as it was credited to him by the ZK name and described as "stitching shut the wound in the world".
[moar tangent]The whole thing opens up a lot of questions. If the Towers were built by Dou Bral, did their construction have something to do with his later transformation? Are they antennae that somehow tap into powers from the Dark Tapestry to keep Rovagug bound? (Because the Things out there don't want Rovagug to ever leave Golarion?) Was he then required to go to the Dark Tapestry as a part of a bargain for help with the Towers? Did he instead go willingly, intrigued by what he learned, and unaware of how terrible the forces he'd contacted truly were? Or was the rift between his sister and himself a result of the changes he had suffered upon being forced to act against Rovagug, and having his child-like innocence shattered by exposure to an agency of such mindless destructive hatred.
Building off of the notion that the Shoanti, as an ethnicity, are racially half-orc, having been bred so by the Runelords to make elite shock troops combining some of the advantages of orcs and men into a single servant race, and then continuing on as their own race after the fall of the Runelords, perhaps these new half-orcs, now one of three dominant races in Varisia (with the Varisian humans being more prevalent along the southern coasts, and their orcish 'parents' being scattered warring tribes occupying the upper Storval plateau and points north and east), have now become something of a role model for some neighboring orcish tribes, who have, over generations, adopted Shoanti ways after centuries of hurling themselves against the more disciplined and better armed and armored Shoanti, and coming to respect the strength and stoicism of their half-kin over the repeated failures of their fellow orcish tribes (which they have come to see as that most grievous of orcish sins, weakness).
Since these full-blooded orcish 'Shoanti' would dwell past the traditional Shoanti lands, far to the north of any Varisian settlement, most Varisians would not have the slightest idea that they even exist, barring the inhabitants of Kaer Maga, the farthest south a 'Shoanti' orc tribesman would be seen, and a town in which far, far stranger sights are seen daily.
224. Doubly Blessed. It is said by some that after the great battle to cage Rovagug the Destroyer, Sarenrae was wounded not merely in body, but in spirit, having faced down a creature so far beyond redemption that it planted a seed of doubt within her heart, causing her to question the ideals from which her entire being was woven. Shelyn is said to have come to her, and offered her comfort and succor, in a manner which would be cheapened to refer to as sexual, but, in the end resulted in the creation of an entire host of kindly angels, gifted with the power to see the best in all things. Regardless of the nature of this tale, or it's more prurient tellings, you have been gifted with something of the nature of these rumored angels, being almost incapable of seeing true ugliness, seeing even in the most horrific tableau or otherworldly aberration, some signs of symmetry or hope or alien beauty. In another, this might be seen as dangerously naïve or hopelessly idealistic, and yet, others also see *you* in the best light, despite your appearance, which, like all the doubly blessed, includes plain, even homely, features, and a visible and prominent defect of some sort, such as wall-eyes, pocked skin, a withered or twisted limb, a hunch, or a similar mishappen feature. Even the cruelest of viewers will inexplicably overlook this feature, or regard is as a sign that you have overcome great adversity, and regardless of how folk with this deformity are treated in the cultures you have encountered, you have never been mocked or belittled for this feature, as others looking upon you are likewise prone to 'seeing only the best' and overlooking what they might otherwise regard as imperfect or 'ugly.'
225. Nature's Mirror. Your skin, hair and eyes are the color of metallic gold, bronze or silver, respectively, or perhaps have the sheen of polished amber or obsidian. In any case, they reflect the natural world around you, so that when you stand shirtless beneath a stormy sky, clouds can be seen racing and lightning flashing across your eyes and skin, and through your hair. On a calmer day, you might reflect the greens and browns and gold of the plains or trees of grasslands around you, but, unlike a mirror, your skin, hair and eyes will never reflect anything unnatural, or any creature other than a mundane animal or plant (familiars, plant-based monsters, etc. will not appear in such reflections), nor any building, worked object or natural thing that has been unnaturally changed, such as a tree stump, or a carved stone.
226. Echo of Lost Divinity. (Curchanos) You have the antlers of a stag, that curl around your head almost like a halo of horn, the eyes of a cat, five small hooves at the end of otherwise normal feet and toes, a decidedly wolf-like cast to your facial features, including prominent canine teeth, and a mantle of feathers trailing down your head and across your shoulders and back.
227. Echo of Lost Divinity. (Lissala) Peacock feathers replace your hair, trailing down your back, and the mark of the sihedron rune glimmers faintly upon both brow and breast, with one of the seven points of the rune glowing a bit brighter whenever you cast, or are subjected to, a spell of the appropriate school of magic.
228. Echo of Lost Divinity. (Aroden) Your features are those of an idealized Azlanti, with violet eyes and prominent brow, and yet something about them looks a little *too* perfect, as if you were a statue or artistic representation of the ideal Azlanti, and not a real person. Whenever you tell a tale from history in an area of dim lighting, faint translucent images begin to manifest in adjacent squares, visibly manifesting the events of that tale to those who are close enough to view them clearly. Fictional tales never evoke such imagery, and any disruption in your tale or your concentration, causes these dim images to dissolve into mist and fade away.
Azaelas Fayth wrote:
After all not all Oracles chose their Path.
[tangent] From an RP standpoint, it would indeed make sense that many, if not *most* Oracles would like to escape their curse, and some might even be willing to go as far as to give up all the power that came with it, to be 'un-Chosen' and go back to being a normal person who is not 'cursed to live in interesting times.'
The Curse is a class feature, sure, but so is a druids animal companion or a clerics domains, and both of those can be traded away via archetype or class option, without the game toppling over.
From a Mythic perspective, it makes sense that 'breaking the rules' would be a feature, not a bug. Mythic Ezren might decide to transcend the need for a spellbook, and have all of his spells stored within his mind (with only a normal daily selection prepared for ease of use, the others sort of zip-filed away in his subconscious), while Mythic Seoni chooses to be able to wear a (suitably sexy) breastplate, with zero chance of arcane spell failure, because she has 'become one with her magic,' and has evolved beyond 'arcane spell failure,' and Mythic Kyra no longer needs a divine focus / holy symbol, because, after bathing in Sarenrae's light, she *is* a living divine focus, and other priests of Sarenrae in contact with her can treat *her* as *their* holy symbol! [/tangent]
I already liked Desna, as a generic good goddess worshipped by the setting's Romani analogues, particularly with her non-outer-planar nature (something she shares with few other d20 deities, including that rascal Iuz), but the notion that she's a prehuman deity (like the Forgotten Realm's Jergal, and perhaps Aerdrie Faenya), just cranks it up to 11. Her being one of the top elven gods, as well (along with Calistria, Nethys and the elf-specific 'lesser gods') is great, because she feels a little more traditionally 'elfy' than Calistria, for those coming in from the Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk or whatever.
The only thing I *don't* like about Desna is the starknife, which I'd probably like a lot more if it wasn't illustrated the way it is, as a somewhat impractical looking thing. :)
Gnoll Bard wrote:
Departing from real-world cultures for the time being, a bit of historical fantasy that I find amusing as a Califonian is the origin of my state's name. The word "California" was first used in around 1510 in a popular chivalric romance called Las Sergas de Esplandian by Spanish author Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo. It was the name of a wild and craggy island somewhere east of Asia inhabited solely by beautiful black-skinned warrior-women "robust of body with strong passionate hearts and great virtue" and ruled by the ambitious and powerful queen Califia.
I love that story, and would skip the ending about her being defeated and converting and being married off, and leave her as the leader of a land of Mwangi-descended 'amazons' who ride griffons into battle. Awesome visual, that.
Gnoll Bard wrote:
*The Syrinx live there. In case you don't know, the Syrinx are a mostly-Lawful Evil race of owl people who want to bring peace to the world by enslaving basically all other sentient beings. They appear to have kept, and possibly created, the Stryx (a group of whom live in the mountains of western Cheliax) as a servitor race, and they may have armies of the guys in their homeland.
Running with the idea of flying evil people, cliff cities build under overhangs, to make them invisible from the air (and immune to attack from directly overhead) such as the Anasazi supposedly built might be common in areas close to Syrinx-dominated lands. Pueblo-style underground rooms might also be in vogue, not merely to stay cool out of the desert sun, but because the night sky holds flying predators / slavers / raiders.
And yeah, less 'noble savages,' or 'they'd be dirty savages if not uplifted by those superior white Azlanti folk.' It'd be a nice twist if their encounters with Avistani Ulfen didn't advance *their* levels of culture or technology, but if the Ulfen instead *learned some tricks from them.*
And wow, if there was ever a place for a nation of humans who openly worship (or, at least, propitiate, with massive bloody heart-ripping ceremonies) the Great Old Ones, it would be a fantasy analogue of the Aztecs...
And those Nazca lines? Not to summon things.
Regarding Mengkare, I suppose alignment is off-limits, since it's a point of contention, but is he otherwise at least a 'standard' great wyrm Gold Dragon, with an Int 26, Wis 27, Cha 26, Diplomacy score around +42, a crapload of spells all the way up to 9th level and a 24d10 fiery breath weapon?
(And, IMO, he's probably not the *average* great wyrm gold dragon, at that, and might have a few class levels or use an 'elite array' for stats, or something....)
If so, doesn't it logically seem almost impossible (and certainly implausible) that;
A) there would be bodies left behind after a 24d10 breath weapon, and B) he would ever have to resort to such a ridiculously unreliable tactic in the first place and
It seems to me that the entire pro-Mengkare-evil argument comes down to 'but, but... eugenics!' and falls apart under any sort of logical scrutiny, even going so far as to contradict text in Paizo products like Dragons Revisited.
Actually all you need is a way to upload people memories to a storage medium that isn't effected by cosmic radiation and a way to grow human bodies and then download the memories into them.
That's how the plasma aliens that live on the outer surfaces of the stars travel, on the beams of radiation emitted by the suns they've turned into quasars, beaming their consciousness from star to star, and forming new bodies of burning hydrogen plasma at their destination stars. Every decade or so, a fresh wave of 'colonists' arrive from the galactic core, and all that 'sunspot activity' that interferes with our telecommunications is a wave of vast alien intelligences reduced to pure energy passing through us on the way to the sun.
Sometimes, while washing across the earth, on the way to our sun, bits and pieces of them will get 'tangled up' for a brief time with the electromagnetic fields of people they are passing through, leading to all sorts of unusual events, ranging from simple hallucinations to out of body or extrasensory events to spontaneous human combustion.
But the vast majority of life in this solar system resides so deep in the sun's core that they aren't convinced that the sun actually has an edge, or that there's anything out there beyond it, and certainly wouldn't believe that there is life outside of the sun, made out of cold dark matter.
Black holes are their 'gated communities,' that have shut their doors and become totally self-sufficient.
I have no idea what to think of this 'transsexual iconic' thing, but my vote's for Sajan. Perhaps his missing 'twin' sister was in fact his identical twin sister.
It would make an odd sort of sense for the most scantily-clad male iconic to have been born a girl. Beefcake, with a dash of cheese.
[tangent]Neh-Thalggu are awesome as potential Dominion creatures.
Imagine if they start life as non-sentient carrion-crawler like creatures, driven with a hunger to tear the skulls of their prey open and swallow their brains, which get delivered to special sacks on their upper bodies. Each brain consumed (and they generally start with animals) gives them a spark of self-awareness, as they begin to 'parallel process' with these stolen brains, and form their own unique personalities, cobbled together from the stolen brains, and their own latent instincts, which uncoil from their own primitive brain, and take root in the new brains they acquire, like some sort of cloud computing thing.
Eventually they end up replacing the animal brains of their youth with the brains of intelligent humanoids, and they become exponentially smarter, although sometimes still retaining some mannerisms from the long-discarded 'first brains' that began their long journey, which can make two neh-thalggu very different, if one started life influenced by the minds of timid herbivores (making a cautious sort of behind-the-scenes manipulator, uncomfortable with direct conflict) or a bold predator (making a more aggressive and confrontational sort of neh-thalggu 'adult').
Once they discover spellcasters, their evolution is complete, and they settle for nothing less, using the spells prepared within the brains they steal, and then discarding them when they have expended all of the useful magics for the 'fully charged' brains of new spellcasters they have captured.[/tangent]
I'd go with Neutral Evil. He's got his 'code,' but he very pointedly refuses to call it *his* code, it's always 'Harry's code' or the 'code of Harry.'
He's a sociopathic serial killer who is just smart enough to realize that without that leash, he'll flame out spectacularly.
NE all the way.
A proper LE 'serial killer' living in Florida and with his resources would be more likely to arrange for his victims to die in the state of Florida's execution chambers (working behind the scenes to reveal, or create, evidence to get them in there in the first place), or end up being gunned down by police officers after a hilarious 'misunderstanding' set up to make it look like they were about to open fire on said cops.
His 'code' doesn't even strictly preclude him from being Chaotic, but he seems too obsessively orderly in his daily life to be Chaotic, just as his breathtaking disregard for the rule of law, other people's property, rights or value and human life in general makes it hard to peg him as Lawful or any flavor of Good.
That said, D&D style alignment doesn't even work for D&D. Applying it to media characters, or, even worse, us dreadfully inconsistent real people, is an exercise in honing one's debating skills, and little more.