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Green slime or similar hazards are cheaply available and very effective at turning corpses into yet more green slime.
It won't stop a True Resurrection, but there's no need to fork out for a Cacodaemon Improved Familiar / Lesser Planar Ally / Lesser Planar Binding (or any of the even more expensive options like sphere of annihilation or trap the soul) if the dude isn't likely to have a 17th level cleric on retainer.
I miss not feeling guilty whenever I refer to spells by preceding the name of the spell with the wizard who created it. Some of the spells just sound awkward without it as well -- could the name Transformation for a spell be any more generic and undescriptive?
The Kingdoms of Kalamar game had alternate names for those spells, based on famous arcanists from their own setting, which was a kind of cool and thematic way of handling that.
So the 'Otto' spells were named after Azsul, a dwarven wizard from the earliest days.
I miss the displacer beast and mind flayer, of the 'closed' beasties, but some of the others, I don't miss at all. :)
AI, doesn't that stand for Arcane Intelligence in Pathfinder?
Seriously though, there's a ton of transhuman potential already in the game.
Intelligent weapons and constructs.
Sentient machines just adds another course to a big buffet of options to tell post-human 'who counts as people?' and 'who gets rights?' types of stories.
In Geb, for instance, the Dead Laws allow a ghoul or vampire or ghost to 'inherit' his own stuff from life, while, technically, in any other country, if someone's meat gets cold enough, all of their belongings and properties can lawfully be pillaged by their heirs (who might even hire monster-hunters or exorcists to evict them from their own homes, and / or this plane of existence), even if they are still active and doing stuff.
And yet ownership and legal rights of dead parties is completely arbitrary, as the Knights of Ozem seem to think that Geb 'stole' the corpse of Arazni, while, any other day of the year, they'd insist that dead people don't have any right of ownership over anything... As with most such laws, they are inconsistent in favor of the people crafting them. People they don't like (dead folk), don't get rights. If people they don't like do something they don't like (corpse-robbing), on the other hand, they'll totally make that illegal, even if it contradicts their previous stance of five-minutes-ago.
Intelligence alone, or even self-awareness, clearly isn't enough to grant rights of personhood (as many 'monsters,' but also intelligent magic items, constructs, familiars, awakened animals & plants, etc. would attest).
Such things would be philosophical ivory-tower stuff in most lands, but in post-Iron Gods Numeria, when there are self-aware machine people walking around, it could become a serious question, one that only Geb has attempted to resolve (and only in the very specific case of undead) before. (Perhaps also Nex, regarding ooze hive-minds, or even sentient items and constructs, but until we get a 64 page treatment on that nation, it's up in the air what sort of, if any, rights or citizenship status intelligent magical creations have.)
K177Y C47 wrote:
So, I know many people like to say that martials should be beefed up, but I was thinking, maybe casters should be brought down a bit and specialized?
A little of both, I think.
A condition is a condition, for example.
A Fighter can impose some conditions by purchasing a critical X feat, at around 9th+ level, that goes off if he scores a critical hit (10% chance-ish, with a good weapon and reliable confirmations). It might happen to a 'trash' monster like the skeleton standing between him and the evil big bad boss guy, and then never happen to the evil 'boss' at all.
A Wizard can impose some buff conditions, like 'asleep and helpless' or 'stunned by color spray' to entire groups of people *at first level.*
*Both* of these things should be moved more towards the middle.
Lower level Fighters should be able to impose lower level conditions right out of the gate, and not just have a small and random chance of imposing them at 10th+ level. Shaken, sickened, dazzled, lamed, entangled, a small ability penalty or movement restriction or even a point of ability damage here or there. Nothing too shocking at the start. The great stuff like blinded and nauseated and stunned can wait a few levels, and require a little bit more investment.
Lower level spellcasters, using limited resource spells instead of every round martial attacks, can do things Fighters can't, like imposing conditions at range, or affecting entire groups at the same time (or removing conditions without Heal checks to stop a bleed or end lamed or actions spent to un-entangle or Str checks to break free or whatever), but should *still* be sticking to lower level conditions like shaken and sickened and lamed and dazzled and fascinated at lower levels, and getting the sexy stuff like panicked and stunned and asleep and unconscious at higher levels.
A better selection of conditions (such as a step between dazzled and blind that gives the 'super-dazzled' victim a 20% miss chance as if all foes have partial concealment, in addition to a -2 penalty to hit, or just completely replacing dazzled with that...) and some consistency between both martials and casters as to what levels the ability to apply those conditions might appear (with casters having *some* advantages, due to using limited resources), would, IMO, go a long way to making fights feel like more than a DPR check, or gating off casters or martials into 'damage-dealer' and 'debuffer/control' roles.
Instead of the occasional uber-fiddly and over-specialized 'martial controller' appear as a chain-gatling-tripper or whatever, the martial controller would be a viable thing, and not be utterly dead weight against something that can't be tripped, since he wouldn't *have* to overspecialize to operate in that mode. Martials would be *expected* to have multiple options, and not just 'I stab it with the pointy end, yes?'
Now I kind of want the story of one of her sisters.
"Yeah, we had this sister, she was a total freak! Always punching and biting and spitting and cussing. Would not sit still for history or languages or letters, or dress fittings or falconry or dressage, for that matter (she actually punched a horse once, true story!). Anywho, she ran away to join some underground fight club and left our family to extricate itself from that scandal. I lost my shot at the Kitharodian because of her damage. So I'm in year four of training to be a Pathfinder archaeologist, an acceptably daring sort of role for a young Taldan lady such as myself, or, at the very least, the best opportunity left at that point, and, there she is, working for my expeditionary force as a rented thug and face-puncher like a hired mule. Thank Shelyn I had some work done for my sweet sixteen, and she didn't recognize me, plus, thanks to not totally ignoring my lessons to go punch boys, I speak four languages, so I just said everything in this ridiculous Ulfen accent..."
Jim Groves wrote:
From an objective distance, gnollish areas of concern and Pharasman doctrine have a fair number of Venn diagram overlaps.
Back in Pathfinder Beta my notions were some combination of the following;
1) A flat damage bonus to weapon / unarmed damage. +1 at 1st level and +1 per two Fighter levels thereafter.
2) Some sort of defense bonus to Armor class.
3) The ability to swap damage bonuses, attack bonuses (from BAB) and defense bonuses around, like a 'free' point-for-point version of Power Attack (-atk, +dam), or Reckless Attack (-def, +atk), or Accurate Attack (+atk, -dam).
4) The ability to impose weak conditions at lower levels (with a Fort save to resist!), around the power level of sickened, or the 'lamed' condition applied by caltrops, or a beefier version of the dazzled condition, or staggered for 1 round, all while still imposing damage (perhaps half damage for these 'hindering blows?). At higher level, the Fighter could impose these lesser conditions while inflicting full damage, or attempt to impose stronger conditions (nauseated, blinded, stunned) with reduced damage. Options that ended up being gated off by Critical feats to only apply to 10th level Fighters on 5% of hits when tap-dancing during a June hailstorm and wearing a seaweed sarong would instead be possible for a low level fighter on any hit.
5) Built in 'Vital Strike.' No more reliance on full attacks to get all your increasingly plinky iteratives off. Just one big solid hit (or bow shot, whatever) per round, with more dice as levels accrue.
Would stuff like this solve the 'problem' of martials having trouble with spells like wall of force, or fighting flying beasties? No.
Those aren't 'problems' with the class, IMO.
One is a problem with wall of force (an all-or-nothing spell that should be redesigned to be slightly less impervious than the Death Star force field, perhaps being toned down to mere Star Trek levels, able to be beaten down, by force majeur) and the other is a problem with a player who is playing one of the best ranged damage dealers in the game and forgot to buy it a bow.
Not every un-fun or frustrating aspect of playing a martial character needs to be 'fixed' by adding a swack of new powers to the class. Some can be 'fixed' by pruning out things that shouldn't work the way they work anyway (indestructible walls of force) and others by encouraging less 'I have one thing, and that's all I do' builds that end up useless in any situation that doesn't play to their very specific single attack option (rage-lance-pounce, or whatever).
If all a martial can contribute is raw DPS, then it's the system pushing people to make over-specialized damage-dealers, which leads to the inevitable complaint that they are as useful as teats on a bull in any combat where they can't do their one specific thing (or where the encounters success doesn't hinge on large damage numbers). Adding more combat options (applying conditions, for instance), and allowing a Fighter to move numbers around to better adapt to changing circumstances, would free them up to not overspecialize on pure DPS numbers (not that this will stop those prone to do that anyway, but they are their own worst enemies anyway...).
Detect Magic wrote:
Did you ever include any of that Geryon/heresies content in a game? If so, how'd it go?
Oh hey, my thread exists!
I have not, but I'm still a fan of the idea of heresies being a part of the setting.
A random other heresy I had lying around;
The Order of She
This Geryon-created heretical order claims that Aroden had three demigod-wives (and that polygamy was a common Azlanti custom, which records do not seem to bear out), Iomedae, Arazni and a forgotten third, a former servant of darkness that saw the light and betrayed her kind to join the crusade for the Age of Enlightenment and the (inevitable, in her view) end of the Age of Darkness. Like Aroden himself, his third wife was a creature of law, but not good, making her the clear favorite, as she was most sympatico with her husband's own moderate moral position, and this led to her downfall.
Her old name, as an agent of darkness (possibly a kyton demagogue?), was foresworn, and she similarly was stripped of her new name after being betrayed by Arazni and Iomedae, jealous of this new favored wife. And so now the third wife of Aroden is now known only as ‘She who is Nameless’ or ‘She’ for short. Her order was designed to complement the orders of Iomedae (paladins, clerics and cavaliers), Arazni (magi, wizards and cavaliers of a more intelligent / tactical nature), being composed at the time primarily of rangers and inquisitors specialized in hunting orcs, undead and other creatures of darkness that threatened humanity during the Age of Darkness, although, in recent times, they are more focused on demons (and still the undead, to a lesser degree) than orcs.
The Order of She's three primary headquarters are in northern Ustalav, northern Numeria and the eastern Realms of the Mammoth Lords, and each is led by a mute priest who is called ‘the Keeper of the Name,’ reputed to be one of the few on the planet who remember the name of ‘She,’ keeping it safe until such a time as those forces seeking not merely her destruction, but to erase all knowledge of her from the world, have been defeated. (Those forces said to be those of Zon-Kuthon, the dark lord she betrayed initially, the Knights of Ozem, last servants of the fallen Arazni, and the church of Iomedae.)
While the secretive initiates of the Order fight the forces of the Worldwound, and also undead in the region of Gallowspire, they do so using unique methods, turning the forces of darkness against itself, with many learning techniques to bind the dead into service, or separate their own shadows to attack enemies, in a manner similar to that of the Shadow Dancers. They also mix and match Ranger and Inquisitor abilities, sharing special training that allows an Order of She Inquisitor to select a few spells from the Ranger list, and vice-versa.
The exact end-goals of this heretical order, in the eyes of Geryon, remains unclear. The Orders’ claims throw shadowy insinuations on the churches of Aroden and Iomedae, and the Knights of Ozem, as well as encouraging the practice of necromancy and shadow-binding, all non-good acts, but, as heresies go, the order doesn’t seem to be as actively undermining the faiths of other gods, or causing schisms in rival churches. It’s possible that the order remains a lingering remnant of an original faith meant to undermine the faiths of Aroden and Arazni, making much of their original goal moot, and leaving them only to cast a shadow on the faith of Iomedae, and, secondarily, fight demons, rivals with the devils for the souls of mortals.
It's entirely possible that Geryon has all-but abandoned this failed experiment, the death of Aroden (and Arazni's ignoble fate) having robbed it of much of it's intended purpose, and that the Order of She is simply maintaining itself out of inertia, at this point, although the Order's Inquisitors (and Rangers) do not seem to be lacking in divine power.
But that exposed dagger blade hanging over her thigh is going to be the death of her :( I'm probably just fixating because i played with a critical fumble GM once who would have killed us all if we described a character like that.
Eh, she could be Damiel, who is going to go up in a pyroclaustic mushroom cloud of toxins and incendiaries if he ever so much as trips, let alone actually ever gets hit by something...
Ross Byers wrote:
Why does turning into a rat give you water breathing?
Core p. 212. "If the form grants a burrow or swim speed, you maintain the ability to breathe if you are swimming or burrowing."
Bestiary p. 132, Rat entry, "Speed 15 ft., climb 15 ft., swim 15 ft."
It's just one of the things that the attempt to make shapeshifting into a buff that makes you look like a creature, but not have many of it's actual features (since actual creature stats were 'too good' for PCs to have, eliminating actual fantasy shapeshifting from the game because it was 'unbalanced' for a PC to be able to use monster stats), did that looks a little funky.
Attempting to 'fix' the problem of some creatures having stats that might be 'too good' for a druid to bring to the PC side of things, you've now got a fantasy shapeshifting mechanic that doesn't actually turn you into a rat, but a rat-shaped thing that doesn't necessarily have rat stats (and might have abilities that an actual rat doesn't possess, like water breathing).
And Pathfinder fixed the thing about the Str 6 gnome druid turning into a bear, because the polymorph spells give strength adjustments, not flat values like the 3.5 spells. (Synthesist summoners ignored this, and it is part of what makes them broken.)
Which was my point. A relatively minor 'problem' (stat dumping druid getting a Str out of whack with her point buy) was 'fixed' (at the cost of making a low-strength druid or wizard turn into a feeble bear-shaped creature that is really in no way actually a bear, making it less 'shapeshifting' and more 'minor buff with a cool cosmetic effect'), like it was some sort of crazy game-breaker, while the dozen or so actual problem spells, which could break the world, like simulacrum and gate and wish, not so much.
I disagree. Monster should have unique and awesome powers, both to reflect their places in folklore (genies grant wishes. It's what they do.)
They don't, in folklore, grant wish *spells.* Indeed, many of the things that their 'wishes' do grant, such as entire castles appearing, or peasants becoming royalty, or vast treasuries full of gold and gems, or create flying carpets, is explicitly beyond the power of the wish spell, making it a complete failure at replicating folklore 'genie wishes' anyway.
But genie wishes shouldn't be wish spells in any event. Aladdin never wished for a +1 inherent bonus to strength, or to duplicate an 8th level or lower sorcerer/wizard spell that wasn't one of his opposition spells (which, not being a sorcerer/wizard, he didn't have anyway).
Genie 'wishes' should be actual services that the genie can perform with the abilities that they already have (which, like with the djinni, should include a fair number of conjuration (creation) effects, like enduring versions of major creation, heroes feasts, create food and water, etc.). Just like the word 'evil' being a game term that could represent alignment, descriptor or type, or 'level' being a game term that could represent character level, class level, spell level, etc. there's no reason why a genies 'wish' *has* to be a wish spell, which, as I already mentioned, does a crappy job of replicating the wishes of genie folklore (some of which, for balance reasons, wouldn't be available in any case).
I think the right answer is to cut the rope. The problematic effects are always the open-ended ones: planar binding, simulacrum, 3.X polymorph, command undead (and Command Undead), even wish itself, if you go off script.
And, except for wish, all of those spells you listed are problems because creature stats are 'too good for PCs.' It isn't that the spells are necessarily too open-ended, it's that some monsters, designed in a vacuum, isolated from any thoughts of them existing beyond the three rounds they will appear on-screen, have powers that, if used with a pair of brain cells to rub together, would totally mess up the setting.
Spells like summon monster and the assorted polymorph spells give curated access to powers deemed safe. As do class abilities like animal companions. Heck, even the create undead spells only give access to a fixed list (even if it is one that is assumed for NPCs instead of PCs).
And yet more symptoms squashed, because the creature stats were 'too good.' My animal companion bear can never be the size of a bear-in-the-woods I just ran into (even if it would be statistically weaker than a tiger, even at size large, and my companion wolf can be larger than a monster wolf!).
Command undead has to allow a daily save, because too many undead can create endless hordes of undead and are (particularly if incorporeal) effectively unstoppable by many creatures up to twice their CR.
A simple guideline that 'sometimes people killed by X return as X,' instead of a hard and fast rule that '*always* people killed by X return as X exactly Y rounds later,' and all the power goes back to the GM, who can rule that a shadow got loose and killed fifty villagers, and not a single one of them generated a new shadow. I guess Pharasma snatched them up too quickly or something. Who knew she's actually good at her job?
(Vampires taking so much longer to create spawn, might have a somewhat more reliable method, but perhaps still not a *guaranteed* one, leading to much angst among the emo brethren of the night as their favored would-be 'children' sometimes 'stay dead'...)
To wit, it isn't broken that trolls have regneration, because they're monsters, they still die quickly. It gives them an identity as a monster and makes a troll something different than a bigger ogre. On the other hand, PCs shouldn't be able to get regeneration cheaply. Giant form i is a 7th level spell. That's probably a safe point for PCs to get access.
I don't consider troll regeneration to be a problematic ability. Like the druid with bear stats, it's just a very cool ability that will affect a single element of the game, combat (and can rarely if ever keep up with CR appropriate incoming damage, making it more of a DPS check than anything).
Back in earlier editions, when a troll could rip off it's hand, throw it to the ground, and some time later there's a whole 'nuther troll there (and his hand has regrown as well), *that* would be crazy, and neither balanced for a monster to have, nor balanced for a PC to have.
(Even then, if a GM wants a monster with a similar mechanic, the newly generated trolls or wraiths or oozes could have finite lifespans, so that the hacked off troll-spawn is a threat for X rounds, but then withers and dies.)
I'm not sure why Shadows are always the example here. They don't present a bigger self-replicating threat than vampires, for instance.
You lost me here. Incorporeal attackers who can function by day, enter homes uninvited, can move through walls, water, etc., are not repulsed by holy symbols or garlic, can move faster and fly, and, most relevantly, create spawn 1440 times faster (1d4 rounds, instead of 1d4 *days*).
Existentially, shadows are *many, many* times a bigger threat than vampires. (Wraiths and Spectres also have the sunlight powerless limitation, making them only a single many times more dangerous than vampires.) :)
And I think if demons and devils and the like were being redesigned today, they'd get dimension door instead of greater teleport.
Sensible. That's what their ability was primarily used for anyway, to bip around (or into, or out of) a fight, not to zap across the planet on courier / assassination missions.
(As for Korvosan imps, or other things like villagers being able to drive off a golem in Savage Tide, I try to remind myself that stat blocks are for on-screen action, with the PCs there. They aren't simulationist in an absolute sense. I have to put it aside the same way I have to put aside that two Huge giants, when fighting each other, are limited to 5-foot steps, even though they should be able to treat each other the same way two humans would.)
Eh. Larger creatures should have a 'step' equal to their space, or something. That, and how emanations, etc. operate from creatures larger than a standard Medium spellcaster, is mostly just stuff that slipped by, IMO.
Rules for situations like that would be neat, not just for dragons casting anti-magic field, but for PCs who end up larger than normal for whatever reason, but I imagine that giving Large creatures a 10 ft. '5 ft. step' is pretty low on the priority list.
IMO, the problem with planar binding spells is the same problem that rears up when a creature becomes a cohort, or a 'monster' becomes a PC, or certain types of monsters get dominated, undead-created, rebuked/commanded, diplomancered / intimidated into cooperation, or run as if they had the brains the gods gave a turnip.
Monster design allows for abilities that nobody with a shred of sanity would give a player, such as granting wishes or creating spawn or infinite self-replication, and since there are a dozen different ways that a player can get their hands on those creatures and bend them to their will (or a creature with a 'broken' or unrestricted ability can just flat out choose to laugh at game balance and destroy the world), the 'oh, that will never be a problem because it's not a class ability, just a monster power' logic flies right out the window.
Pathfinder re-arranged a single deck chair on this Titanic by making animal companions and wild shapers and polymorphers use a meager helping of vaguely related abilities, instead of 'monster stats,' so that if you turn into any sort of creature, you have pretty much the same stats of any other creature of that size, and wonkiness like polymorphing into a *rat* allows you to breath underwater, because, reasons, but those issues (ooh, the Str 6 Druid turned into a dire bear and ignored her dump stat! Apocalypse!) were a drop in the bucket compared to what you can do with a commanded shadow or a called efreeti.
It's not a problem with commanding undead or dominating monsters or calling efreet, it's a problem with those monsters having powers that are wildly inappropriate, and trying to 'fix' planar binding or planar ally (or gate, or command undead, or simulacrum, or shapechange, or monster cohorts, or monsters-as-PCs, or coercion/compulsion spells, or Diplomacy) are putting bandaids on a person who is being dragged behind a truck. The truck needs to be stopped.
The answer to questions like 'why haven't shadows overwhelmed the world' or 'why haven't the Worldwound demons teleported all over the world' or 'why haven't the Korvosan imps, explicitly immune to anything the local pseudo-dragons could do to them, wiped them out yet' shouldn't be 'they haven't tried yet,' or, worse, 'they have a Plan, and it involves Katie Sackoff and if you stick around to the very end, you still won't know what it was...'
TL;DR The problem, as I see it, isn't with planar ally/planar binding, it's with 'monsters' having stupidly unbalanced powers and options all out of proportion to what PCs should be allowed to have.
I like to go with the assumption that the world exists as it does not in spite of the presence of magic, but because of the presence of magic, and that some of the desert climes, for instance, would be completely uninhabitable without the existence of people able to magically create water.
Instead of asking the question, 'why is the world the way it is despite X,' the built in solution is to take it a step further back and assume that the world is the way it is *because* of X. Create water doesn't invalidate the existence of water-scarce desert cultures, it allows them to exist in areas so water-scarce that they wouldn't even exist without those magical resources, which also provides built in plot hooks, as village Y depends on their few adepts to keep the well topped off, and when a few of them are kidnapped in a gnoll raid, suddenly the entire village's survival hangs in the balance, as the town cistern keeps getting lower every day, and there is nobody to top it off (or not enough remaining adepts/clerics/whatever to keep up with demand)...
[I picked create water out of a hat, since it's been brought up before, but any of the other questions, like how plagues could exist in a world with remove disease, or how kings can die in a world where every kingdom has X people capable of raising the dead, can be dealt with similarly. Raise dead, in fact, is a *great* way to showcase how the world would develop / advance / progress much more slowly, since it's a sad scientific truism that for there to be any progress, the old generation, and their death-grip on their own theories, have to die off and make room for new thinking. In a world where the 'old generation' keeps coming back to hold onto the reins of power, and at the forefront of thought and philosophy, where the church doctrines are handed down from outsiders who *never change their minds,* no matter what their followers think of birth control or lady bishops, the world would be wildly more stagnant and traditionalist and resistant to change than our own.]
Questions like these aren't necessarily adversarial to the setting, even if some regard them as attacks. They can indeed by useful for coming up with plot hooks, and make for a stronger narrative, as you answer the questions for yourself by working backwards from the fixed point of 'So this (setting advancement is thus, despite magic) is true. Let's figure out why, and the answer doesn't have to be 'because people suck at sharing' or 'crabs in a bucket' or 'the gods hate technology'...'
Not a fan of the 'Am I the only one?' construction. The coolest thing about it is that it often appears in the thread title, and so is like a ranting dude on a streetcorner, easy to identify and ignore.
Also not a fan of someone listing off three things they like, and someone else replying with one of the fifty-eight things they didn't list with, 'Why do you hate X?' or 'No love for X?' Just because X wasn't listed as their favorite, doesn't mean that there's a conspiracy to exclude or marginalize or abandon X!
If a fan, or even designer, admits to liking one thing, that's not actually an insult to every other thing in the world they didn't mention.
But my least favorite quirk is saying, 'I'm sorry, but,' or 'I hate to say this,' or 'I have to say,' before saying something jerk-ish that one is absolutely been burning to say, and is not at all sorry about and most certainly does not 'have' to say.
Alignment, whether CE or LG, *should* (IMO) be a flavor that informs your character's role-playing, motivations and actions, not a straightjacket that makes them unplayable zombie robots.
If it's considered 'impossible' to play a CE (or LG) character in a particular scenario, or as part of a group, that's not a shining endorsement of the concept of alignment, so much as a solid example of why it should either be dropped entirely from the game, or at least stressed differently, so that it's a vessel for good roleplaying and creativity, and not something that explicitly forbids good roleplaying in favor of cookie-cutter deterministic behaviors.
As long as the 'one step rule' exists, and clerics (and churches) of any given god can be any of three to five different alignments, and worshippers of any given god can be *any* alignment (since they aren't clerics anyway), and we're playing in a setting where there's a demigod of *heresy* who is literally all about causing schisms in faiths, there being Sarenraens who don't agree 100% with each other is totally rules and setting-appropriate.
It also means that more gods means more choices, with not every follower of god X being exactly the same, and, in some cases, perhaps even having pretty wildly different views (a CN elven cleric of Nethys and a LN Osirioni cleric of Nethys and a NE Gebbite cleric of Nethys and a NG Absolomi cleric of Nethys, for instance, might have very different ideas about their respective faiths).
There seems to be entirely too much focus on telling players that they are playing their fictitious worshippers of fictitious gods wrong because they had an idea that wasn't in the couple page-brochure sized amount of official material on gods that have had, in some cases, hundreds of thousands of worshippers over many millenia.
It's much more interesting, I think, if the gods, and their churches and worshippers, are *not* zombie robots running some alignment-based programming off of punch cards, and can have differences of opinions, and perhaps even (gasp!) change their minds, from time to time.
As long as the *player* gets to choose, and the notion of 'my oracle received spells chosen for her by a god' doesn't get twisted into 'the GM chooses my characters spells for me,' it's all good.
I would imagine the best answer would be, 'whatever fits your character.'
One oracle might consciously pick their own spells in-game as they explore different aspects of the Mystery they have embraced, celebrating and enjoying the new insights they are being shown.
Another might regard the Mystery as a curse that has been inflicted upon them, and while their player is choosing oracle class levels, they resent and despise the 'class' and the visions and the life-changing miracles that follow them around and would never as a character choose to have taken that first oracle level, or any oracle level again. (Plus the Mystery doesn't necessarily have anything to do with a god, in specific.)
The same sort of thing might be suitable for a Sorcerer, to not *want* to have the taint of aberrant ancestry bursting out of them and warping their body and mind, but the *player* wants to play a Sorcerer, and so the hapless character must continue advancing as a Sorcerer, new powers and spells and mad insights forcing themselves unto the character, who only ever wanted to be a butcher, baker, candlestick-maker and settle down with his trade-craft sweetheart and die in bed surrounded by fat grandchildren, instead of all this adventuring in pursuit of arcane secrets or whatever, prevented from ever having a normal life and home and family by his own mutating flesh and alien inspirations.
This seems like something a truly nasty anti-theist group would come up with. (Much, much nastier than the sorts of folk who inhabit Rahadoum. We're talking Aboleth-level 'we hates the gods, precious, and all who follow them.') But yeah, I could see demons spreading a remove disease resistant strain of Demon Fever around the Worldwound.
Since remove disease is conjuration (healing), like cure wounds spells, it could be *assumed* that it involves positive energy, somehow. Positive energy, in theory, is beneficial to life, and would, in theory, accelerate disease and tumors and infections out of control, normally (while negative energy, inimical to life, would be the go-to 'cure' for diseases, tumors, infections, etc.). That's not the case, so clearly there's something built into the spell that allows the positive energy to only 'enliven' the target creature, and not the parasites / contagion / whatever killing them.
A disease that has evolved, or been modified, to be able to hide from whatever this 'targeting system' is for the positive energy of a remove disease spell would gain a massive rush of energy from an attempt to 'cure' it with positive energy, since the positive energy would just end up *healing the infection* and making it stronger.
A tamer mechanical game effect would simply be to have the disease have a form of spell resistance. If it makes the SR roll, it has 'tricked' the remove disease spells 'targeting' and the disease is strengthened, forcing another immediate roll at the diseases normal DC for ongoing damage. (So if the disease was a variation on Demon Fever, if the disease makes it's SR to 'trick' the remove disease spell, the patient would have to make a DC 18 Fort save or take another immediate 1d6 Con damage, and a second save to avoid a point of that being Con drain.)
If the remove disease succeeds in overcoming the diseases SR, the spell has it's normal effect (caster level check to end the disease completely).
A stronger effect would skip the SR completely, and just have the disease automatically metabolize positive energy used to attempt to remove it. I'd avoid that, because it's probably a bit too much.
I'd also avoid having the disease interact with other positive energy sources, such as cure wounds spells, lesser restoration spells, channeled positive energy, etc. as that would be extremely brutal (particularly if just attempting to get a lesser restoration to survive the disease instead made it worse!). If that route is taken, OTOH, and every cure or restoration spell or positive energy channeling is going to force another Fort save, the disease probably should have a much reduced effect (1 pt. of Con damage per failed disease save) or something. The Fort DC might even vary, based on the effect triggering it. Say, base DC 10 or 15, with a +1 or +2 / level of the spell triggering it (with channeled energy counting as a spell level equal to it's dice of effect).
One of my favorites are Rich Parents, which gives you an addtional 900gp as starting wealth.
Rich Parents increases starting wealth to 900 gp., it doesn't add 900 gp. to your starting wealth. It's still an awesome trait for a 1st level one-shot game, where it literally doesn't matter at all that you've got a trait that will stop being relevant soon after your first treasure-bearing encounter of the game.
Traits that increase the DC of a spell, or reduce the metamagic cost of a spell, might be better long-term investments, if you are playing a caster who expects to get heavy use out of one specific spell (which synergizes well with casters who have an option to alter the energy type of an offensive spell, allowing them to get around energy-resistant or energy-immune foes, or with a caster who is planning on heavily using a non-attack spell, like extended haste).
Many of the 'X of the Society' Pathfinder Society traits are just flat out awesome, and it seems like there's one for every class.
For RP stuff, Dueling Cloak Adept or Excitable (Reactionary, for Gnomes) are pretty flavorful.
I was a little puzzled at the implication from the Warpriest blog post that the WP is meant to be the "any alignment"-paladin. They occupy similar ground thematically, but mechanically they are very different.
If that argument had any weight, then the Warpriest would be forbidden to be LG, because 'a LG Warpriest is just a Paladin.'
Since that's not true, neither is the base premise.
And, as far as I can tell, that's exactly the sort of thing that Unchained should be representing. Class design 'unchained' from artifacts of 3.X design like the LG only Paladin. (Or the Lawful-only Monk or non-Lawful-only Bard and Barbarian, one of which has already been jettisoned, along with other old school relics like 'dwarves can't be wizards' and 'humans can't multiclass' and 'Rangers must be good aligned.')
Well of course. Doesn't mean it won't work.
I've seen plenty of great interpretations of this concept;
The Paladins of Freedom, Slaughter and Tyranny, from Unearthed Arcana.
The Holy Warrior and Unholy Warrior classes from Green Ronin's Book of the Righteous and Complete Unholy Warrior.
The 'Ghaffir' class from Green Ronin's Hamunaptra: Egyptian Adventures (LG, LN and LE Paladin-based holy warriors, substituting smite good for the LE ones and smite chaos for the LN ones).
Even Monte Cook's Arcana Unearthed/Evolved had a less alignment based holy warrior called the Champion which, much more logically for a D&D based set of deities, had 'Paladins' based around Domain-like concepts, rather than alignments. (So 'Paladins' of Light, Darkness, Justice, Life, Knowledge, Magic, Death, etc.) A variation on this, totally abandoning alignment, might have 'Paladins' of Iomedae with powers related to / based on Justice or Chivalry or Honor, instead of 'law' or 'good.' (Neither of which are concepts that Iomedae explicitly gives a rat's butt about, since she's neither the god of Law (that's Abadar) or Good.) The Holy Warrior did it better, IMO, but it's much better suited to a setting with many gods, with many Domains, for their holy champions to have powers related to stuff important to their specific gods like Fire or Community or Weather or Artifice, than squiffy concepts like 'law' or 'good' that apply to dozens (if not hundreds) of unrelated gods and are more mechanical meta-game concepts (to adjudicate various detect X, protection from X and smite X effects) like 'armor class' and 'hit points.'
It's just backwards compatibility that has left us with a divine class with powers based around moral good, in a setting that has no actual god *of* good (a bunch of gods happen to be good, but that doesn't make them gods *of* good, unlike Abadar, who is not only lawful, but is the actual god *of* law. Various gods are also outsiders, without being the gods of outsiders, and Erastil has an animal head, but that doesn't automagically make him the god of Rakshasa).
It's kind of funny that the nature of the Paladin as a LG-only class literally fails to fit the themes and tone of the Golarion setting. I imagine it's backwards compatibility, and not any sort of intentional mismatch between the tone of the setting (in which evil divine options have long outnumbered good ones, even in the cases of elemental lords and fey eldest, by design), and the mechanical options presented.
When the universe was created, the creator(s) first had to create the tools, to create the universe. These words of creation, spoken thusly, created mountains. A garbled echoed fragment of them, pronounced badly by mortal creatures with barely-adequate mouthparts and tiny little voices, can call up a wall of stone. A feeble attempt at pronouncing the syllables that could be translated as 'let there be light' and brought suns into being across a universal scale, can instead produce light, or even daylight.
Divine spellcasters learn these words and fragments of the old tools of creation (and destruction...) from their divine patrons, as is all right and natural and as god(s) intended. Arcane spellcasters have stolen these secrets, using research into things that mortals have no place researching to catch the inaudible reverberations of the words of creation in every place, person and thing, echoing around within them, ever since those words were first uttered. Or perhaps they are just, in their own telling of it, picking up and mastering the discarded tools of creation, learning to speak stumbling child-like utterances of that first and most pure of languages, becoming like unto gods, without having to bend knee to the current crop of gods, few of whom even pretend to be in any way connected to the actual creator(s).
But that's just a theory. Whether divine or arcane, the vast majority of spellcasters don't necessarily know (or care) where magical power comes from, any more than warriors understand how to forge steel or rogues bother to learn how to mine, cut and polish their own gemstones.
The tribes used to be a single tribe that split over an ancient dispute (long since forgotten) and, over the generations have more or less been 'good neighbors,' frequently swapping extra sons and daughters amongst each other (in 'raids' that are purely ceremonial, with the young couples-to-be arranging for the intended to be 'kidnapped' away to their new tribe by their lover), so that any given family of one tribe probably has relatives in the other, but they have gotten dragged conflict by their dragon allies, who are using them to settle their own scores. The silver dragons honestly believe that they are going to better the lives of the tribe they've allied with, even if their progressive ideas will as surely destroy the tribes nomadic way of life as the red dragon's encouragement of cruelty and savagery.
The red dragon is using his allies, pure and simple, and encouraging the worst sorts of behavior among them, so that they are effectively evil and brutish, although not so far gone that they can't be redeemed in another generation or so, if the dragon's influence is removed and his hand-chosen leaders (chosen for their brutishness) are sent packing or eliminated.
2) How has the good tribe not been completely wiped out now that the red dragon is unchallenged? I figure it will take about 2 weeks travel to get to and from the city. Maybe he only comes out at night?
The good tribe has a few adepts and a cleric/shaman/druid, or herbal alchemist, able to produce spells, potions and scrolls of resist fire and / or protection from fire, as well as a limited supply of arrows of dragon slaying, and / or someone able to place the bane (dragons) property on a weapon or weapons temporarily. When the red dragon shows it's face, the good tribesmen scatter, so that no more than one or two can be caught in a single breath weapon, while the most accurate archers are protected by spell or potion, or attack from concealment, and let fly a single arrow of bane (dragons).
The damage is never enough to seriously threaten the red, but it infuriates him, and he has no idea how many of these arrows they have (and since they are divided among a half dozen archers, spread out over the field of engagement, and often with some sort of cover or magical protection from his breath, he only gets to kill one or two per engagement, and they have already fired the one arrow each carries!).
The red yearns to incinerate these fools with their stinging arrows, but they are, for the moment, too clever, and too lucky.
There could also be a pique factor. Perhaps one of the Tribe Evil leaders said something ill-considered about how they would have won by now if the dragon would just nut up and go roast them all, and after the dragon explained to that fool what GDIAF means, he's having an epic pout because one of the help called him out like that.
3) Where are the silver dragons, and how will the players find this out?
A local mesa or butte, high above the plains with a good view of the surrounding lands, but out of reach of all but the best and bravest climbers of the various tribesmen. Preferably with some sort of cave or overhang, to provide them with a bottleneck / protection against the red's approach (maybe even an opening too small for him to fit into, if he's larger and lacks their ability to alter form to a smaller size!).
Silver dragons are much more likely to have healing / curative magic than the red dragon (who is most likely receiving healing magic from adepts or other divine spellcasters in the evil tribe, such as a cleric of Dahak, flame mystery oracle, kobold alchemist or dragon shaman that either came with him, was attracted by his presence, or has been inspired from among the locals by his presence). So, whatever affliction is keeping them down, it probably should be something more than simple hit point damage, such as a nasty bestow curse effect placed on one of them by the red (can't turn off SR, making curing / buffs problematic?), a blindness spell, or a negative energy level (perhaps an evil cleric of the evil tribe seized control of a wight and sent it on a suicide mission to attack the dragon?), or a nasty poison being introduced into a meal being offered up by Tribe Good (although dragons generally have awesome Fort saves, and one of the silvers, or one of their tribe good allies spellcasters, most likely has access to lesser restoration, at least, even if neutralize poison is out of their range).
If the latter sort of event, a surprise attack by Tribe Evil struck the dragons while they were encamped with Tribe Good, the silvers might no longer feel safe with their 'allies,' and have retreated to a mountain cave, feeling that their allies are untrustworthy, or incapable of protecting them (or just make great 'cover' for enemy infiltrators to strike at them).
Mummy Rot (core p. 557 or Bestiary p. 210) might be a suitable thing to keep a silver dragon out of action. The dragon is very likely to make any given daily save, but without *both* remove disease *and* remove curse, it's incurable and will continue daily. The PCs may have just the spellcasting ability to help the dragons break the effect, but have to find the dragons (who are feeling a bit vulnerable and untrusting, as the attack occurred in the middle of 'Tribe Good') and convince them that they are allies and not yet more attackers from Tribe Evil. For this to be viable, Tribe Good can't have a cleric type capable of casting 3rd level spells, since that would put the cure in their hands (and the silvers themselves might have one, say, remove disease, but not the other, or be juvenile and not yet have access to any 3rd level spells). Depending on the party's level (or class composition) they themselves might have to go find a scroll of remove curse or remove disease (perhaps from the burial mound of a local chieftain)!
At the end of the day, the silvers can be re-recruited, but the final battle prove costly enough that even a 'victory' leads to the silvers having to step aside, as the shattered tribes need to re-unite (each having lost too many of their own numbers to thrive in these harsh lands) and the silvers, unhelpful reminders of this dragon-war with humans as footsoldiers, would only make that more difficult.
+1. Love me the customization. Have to agree that "i have an angel/fiend/etc. buddy" would make a great secondary archetype, but the blank slate, anything-is-possible customization and flavoring of the core Summoner is what makes it so cool.
More classes should be open in this way.
The Fighter class should straight up be open and modular and able to model light-armored highly mobile desert warriors, and not have class abilities geared around being a heavily armored European style fighter, for instance.
Clerics of ethos should be possible. Using the Rogue chassis to make for other skill specialists, replacing advanced uses of Perception/Disable Device through Trapfinding with advanced uses of Heal through Chirurgy or whatever, could be kind of awesome.
If all those options aren't allowed in a specific setting, because Designer X was bitten by a non-LG Paladin as a child, then fine, that's Golarion setting-specific and explicitly has no business being reflected in the setting-neutral Pathfinder game mechanics anyway.
More options. Less 'hardcoded flavor' (like mechanically equivalent versions of hand axes from the far east being Exotic Weapons for no darn reason at all). The GM can decide which of them to add or remove, so that the stew is flavored to his preferences.
Sara Marie wrote:
The Customer Service: Guide to Subscriptions has not been formally announced yet :)
Stay tuned for Monsters of Paizo Revisited, with 'Ecology of' style articles for Cave Raptors (with the Cave Raptor Whisperer feat), Paizo Golems (and construction requirements thereof), Blinky the Triops (and rules for Triops familiars) and the Great Old One, Cosmo (complete with Domains and Favored Weapon).
Something that sticks out to me is how Enora and Ezren have followed almost opposite spiritual paths. Neat parallel going on there.
I like that Rahadoum is one of those countries that gives you a built in reason to GTFO and turn to a life of travel and adventure, without the typical tragic backstory of 'kobolds ate my parents' or 'slavers burned down my village' or 'the Iron Bank of Abadar foreclosed on our farm after that bad investment in owl / bear hybridization went so terribly wrong and now it's go adventuring to pay off our debts or hide in the backwoods and brew bathtub pesh with cousin Jethro' or whatever.
From the blurry picture, I was hoping she was a dwarf, 'cause dwarf arcanist would be a cool thing, all scoffing at stereotypes that haven't mattered since 2nd edition. But Halfling arcanist is equally rare and cool and applecart-upsetting, I suppose!
Some combination of reading that bit about possibly multi-gendered Corellon Larethian after watching 'Mama T@&*' heckle the homophobes (perhaps combined with not yet having eaten and being light-headed) makes me think that I will forever now see Mama T~@@ in my head when I picture Corellon Larethian...
OMG. D&D is actively encouraging the playing of bearded female dwarves? What about the chiddren! <flails about>
Depending on the nature of the adventure, and the willingness of the GM to go along, a Nethyn cleric could easily find a reason for action.
For instance, the Winter Witches of Irrisen have a 'spellcasters rule, every one else drools' system that would seem, on the surface, to be a Nethyn paradise. And yet, it's a foreign system that overran and replaced whatever magical / arcane traditions existed before they arrived, and is pretty sharply defined around ice/cold/winter magic. And so, a cleric of Nethys could argue that he's not helping to overthrow a magic-dominated society and turning it over to the magic-less hoi-polloi, but allowing the myriad traditions that *used* to flourish in Irrisen a chance to return, and not be stifled by this 'dead end tradition' of winter magic that's only dominant in the area because of a huge magical endless winter, and clearly couldn't compete or be relevant without this advantage (in his opinion...). The cleric would get all 'free market of magic,' and say that this 'state sponsored magical monopoly' is stifling an entire nation, and has limited the free expression and development of whatever magical traditions existed before, making it not a 'paradise,' but a blasphemy, smothering magical innovation.
Similarly, if ye olde evil necromancer is murdering folk and turning them into undead, his 'use of magic' is eliminating an entire generation of potential spellcasters in the region, and even if some of those undead might be intelligent and retain whatever spellcasting ability they had, they might find themselves (depending on magical 'rules' on such matters, which may vary with undead type) frozen and unable to continue to advance in level. (That was the assumed case in previous editions, with references to liches choosing to put off lichdom until they had reached their desired level, because they would not be able to advance after that. Whether or not that's the current case, it's still true that a peasant turned into a zombie is never going to grow up to become an adept or awaken any latent sorcerous potential!)
There are NG worshippers of Sarenrae, goddess of *honesty* developing an entire prestige class about lying to one another and fighting one another. By comparison, finding a reason why a Nethyn cleric would oppose a magical foe (such as a Thassilonian resurgence) should be easy. (Sin-magic? Had it's day. Failed spectacularly. The death of Aroden should have been the final nail in the coffin of modern people idealizing and romanticizing those dead-enders. Every arcane researcher wasting time re-discovering old Azlanti/Thassilonian arcana is failing to break new ground and discover *new* magics.)
Similarly, if the GM is willing to roll with it, there's no reason why a cleric of Blackfingers, the Gray Master or the Reaper of Reputation couldn't run through Rise of the Runelords, regarding those nutjob Father Skinsaw-worshipping murder-cultists as 'an embarrassment to all right-thinking Norgorber-worshippers, really, acting like ogres.' A cleric of Rovagug could cheerily butcher other Rovagugites in Legacy of Fire, not even thinking that the others are 'getting it wrong,' but simply that if they were worthy of the Rough Beast's favor, they'd be killing him, instead of the other way around.
A cleric of Asmodeus helping the 'plucky rebels' in Council of Thieves? It would *hardly* be the first time a follower of the Prince of Lies betrayed rivals.
A cleric of Urgathoa opposing the plague-cultists in Curse of the Crimson Throne? Serve your hungers, be the first and most holy of commandments. 'Spread plagues?' That's not even on the list.
It's up to the creativity of the player, and the willingness of the GM to not arbitrarily say 'no.'
(Note, arbitrarily is key. If the GM has very good reasons to say 'no, I don't want you to play a CN cleric of Milani, goddess of anarchy, bloody revolutions and tearing governments down in my kingdom-building Kingmaker game all about building a peaceful and lawful and prosperous new community' that's a completely different kettle of fish.)
As for gods and 'balance,' there are lots of factors. The combinations of Domains and favored weapons and bonus spells and summoning options are even more relevant than the obediences, IMO.
Nethys has some fun domains, but his favored weapon is the lowly quarterstaff, and his 'bonus' in Gods & Magic was *a restriction!*
Pharasma has some crappy domains, and the dagger as her favored weapon (and can't even use some of her domain spells!).
I imagine most of the stuff in Gods & Magic that wasn't reprinted in Inner Sea Gods has been quietly sent to the 'Paladins of Asmodeus' box, to never be mentioned again, like Monks who worship Irori having a non-lethal quivering palm option or being able to use wholeness of body on others, or illusionists who worship Sivanah being able to replicate conjuration (healing) spells with their shadow conjuration spells, or bards of Shelyn being able to use eagles splendor or charm animal (which seems odd, since bards in service to Cayden or Nethys retain some additional spells...), or druids who worship Erastil being able to use longbows.
I'll miss the Erastilian druids-with-longbows bit, particularly, but it certainly did make the choice of 'who my druid worships' a bit of a no-brainer. :(
(Erastil for LN or NG, Lamashtu, for the 'summon fiendish creatures with summon nature's ally' for CN or NE!)
Garrett Guillotte wrote:
I'm pretty sure any/all of my submissions for this issue are going to be inspired by this one picture.
A Hetkoshu Monk Style could indeed rock. Three feats, some flavor text about the small group of monks that teach it (learning it by grappling crocodiles!) and done!
It's interesting that the last Pharaoh to dip his hand into the looting of the tombs of his predecessors was Jetrieti V, who got himself staked out for the sun for his efforts (and so offended his predecessors that they began rising up as undead).
And now Khemet III, five years after instituting a new 'come loot our tombs!' foreign policy, is cursed with a wasting sickness...
Clearly this all ties back to free trade or vaccinations or something.
Class option inspirations;
Sphinx Sorcerer Bloodline and / or Riddlemaster Oracle Mystery, divination, glyphs and sigils, communication / translation, effects related to symbol-like spells (perhaps poached from the Clerical Rune Domain?)
Geomantic Wizard School (related to storing or aligning natural magical ley lines or forces through architecture) and / or Cleric/Druid Domain (sacred architecture)
Advanced Rogue Talent or Archetype that doesn't just disable a magical trap, but can *change it* (to ignore self and allies, or only target members of a rival expedition, for instance), a similar option involving curses, perhaps even allowing the Rogue a chance to not just break a curse or disease or negative energy level picked up in some tomb, but to 're-assign' it to a third party, shedding it from himself by afflicting it upon another (slippery mind? No, slippery soul!)
Blade Binding based Fighter AT (reintroducing / updating the 3.5 Blade Binder feat and building off of it, granting sneak attack on foes whose blade you've bound, for instance), or just the feat and perhaps an upgrade (Improved Blade Binding)
Some life/spirit/ancestor based necromantic spells and options that don't involve undead, appropriate to a culture obsessed with such matters (and with a pair of non-evil death/necromancy associated gods, in Osiris and Isis)
Dwarven Ouat monk AT, synergizing dwarven traits (such as slow and steady, hardy and stability) with monk abilities
Secrets of the Risen Guard (feats or achievement feats specific to characters who have been raised from the dead at least once, expanding on their tenuous lingering connection to the afterlife to call upon otherworldly insights, perceive and affect incorporeal undead and spirits, or even draw upon the 'waters of duat' to heal themselves or damage others with negative energy, etc.)
Monk fighting styles (Style feats) and / or Rogue Talents based off of the combat techniques of the Asp (numbing strike representing a venomous bite) or the Crocodile (grapple and suffocate or grapple and rend) or the Hyena (bone-crushing strike, damaging objects or temporarily damaging flesh with the force of a hyena's jaws, allowing the user to apply the mechanical penalties of the 'Broken' condition to another's natural armor or a natural attack, depending on the nature of the attack, until the target receives healing or a Heal check is made)
Eh. Opinions vary on what's 'too far.' For some, the earthbreaker is too far. For others, my dream of dual-wielding klars is too far.
We all draw the lines in different places. I'm totally fine with dual-wielding shields or orcish shotputs or scorpion whips, but mercurial greatswords and gnomish battle-ladders and starknives and spiked chains give me agita. :)
Someone please tell me that there will be at least Orcish weapons, melee, ranged, or siege (melee preferred) that utilize the Orc weapon quality, and maybe some distinctly Orc magic weapon qualities, like some sort of once per day death blow type of deal or a super charged Vicious, and some distinct Orc rage powers.
Ooh, Orcish / Gorumite rage powers...
Cold Iron Rage (Ex): When you damage a creature with a cold iron weapon while raging, slivers of cold iron embed themselves in the wound, forcing an arcane spellcaster to make a concentration check (DC 10 + damage dealt from all relevant blows + spell level) to cast any arcane spells for 1 round.
Whereas in Giants Revisited it goes on how Hill Giants are filthy, vile, unhygienic things, this dude looks more like a powerful, proud warlord would rather than some slathering idiot giant.
You made me buy this!
(Well, I would have anyway, eventually, but you're the reason I bought it today.) :)
Love the write up on p. 9 on Witchlight Vale. Somewhere in the back of my head, Leslie Neilson was shouting "Monsters from the Id!"
Also on p. 9, a surprisingly hot high priest of Gorum. For that matter, on p. 21, the Black Sovereign is giving his best 'hot felon mugshot.'
Nice way to build a character from a very traditional tight-knit society and give him a strong motivation to no longer be a part of that society (without the usual 'an X killed mah whole family, which is why I hate X!' shortcut).
Also cool to see a character whose class-based abilities aren't necessarily something he personally chose or trained for, but something that he might regard as more of a curse (something that an oracle or sorcerer might identify with).
A variation on 'Hive of Scum & Villainy.'
906. Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a... Ah! The horror! You have bones, and you have skin. Skin that moves oddly, as between your bones and skin, there are no muscles or organs, not even a heart or brain, just a mass of (non-venomous) spiders of different sizes, replicating all the functions of a human(oid) body with their own bodies and the webbing structures beneath your skin, anchored to your bones. You are not *terribly* obviously 'made of spiders,' except that you have no eyeballs, only a pair of eye-sockets, in which two plump spiders are nestled, each looking out with their own eight black eyes. Food or drink entering your mouth is shared with the many wriggling many-legged 'cells' of your body, and waste is transported by these spiders to the usual places, to be pushed out, just like any other humanoid body. It's quite uncanny how exactly like any other tiefling you are, in all particulars. A bleeding wound tears open a rent in your skin-suit, and spiders tumble out, to fall twitching and dying upon the ground, affecting you exactly as if you had a normal body, and were spilling precious liquid blood. A spell or affect that would control or exterminate massive quantities of vermin has no affect on the vermin contained within you, and a spell that affects a non-verminoid mind like that of any other humanoid, will affect yours as well, no matter that your 'mind' is made up of a hive of spiders working in unison inside your skull, thrumming an incomprehensibly complex network of web-strands to communicate their intent to the spiders controlling your limbs, or arrayed inside your 'throat,' strumming their own webs and clacking their own mandibles to produce your speech.
Other variations could include an internal biology made up of tiny oozes, centipedes, eels, tiny snakes, little clockworks, diminutive humanoids of a devilish appearance, etc. Mechanically, they'd be identical to each other, and to a tiefling who has mucles and sinews and arteries beneath their skin.
Ghosts do because they aren't twisted beings, but a zombie or skeleton can't act as a netural or good character because their very nature isn't like it used to, they can't choose. They are undead because they're infused with evil powers.
Actually skeletons and zombies are infused with *neutral* powers. Negative energy isn't evil, and never has been.
Being mindless, they are incapable of malice. They radiate evil just because they radiate evil (all tautologies are tautologies, as they say), not because they want to be evil (since they can't *want* anything, any more than a rock or a tree branch can 'want' to be evil, or good or a Nobel-prize winning astrophysicist) or are made out of evil. They are made out of neutral energy, no more evil or good (or lawful or chaotic) than fire or water or electricity or positive energy.
In 3.5, they were made evil for exactly one reason, according to the guys who made that change, *so that Paladins could smite them.*
That's it. No 'hate for life' (since a mindless creature is incapable of hate, and even has immunity to morale effects and mind-affecting effects as part of it's standard package of immunities!). No 'made out of evil.'
Skeletons and zombies detect as evil because they detect as evil.
There is no why. I could make up a reason, like 'it's a bug in the detect evil spell' or 'because non-good Pharasma hates undead, and knows that making them detect as evil will trick the stupid good people into destroying them for her, which, being non-good, she finds hilarious,' but I'd be making that up, just like the notion that mindless things like fire and dirt are capable of malice, or that filling a non-evil thing with non-evil energy somehow makes it evil 'just because,' despite non-good positive energy not turning demons good by filling them with healing. It doesn't make sense in either direction. It's equal levels of absurd.
In that vein, 'Warlock' (defined as Oathbreaker, regardless of whether or not it was historically) would be a great name for a Witch archetype based around someone who has broken with whatever entity they initially made their Pact with.
Just as Witch is a unisex title, Warlock would also be the unisex title for Witches who have broken their Pact.
Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
Since the PF/D&D term for a lady Wizard is in fact 'Wizard,' and not 'Wizardette' or 'She-Wizard,' I think Kain was being sarcastic.
Some ideas from this thread might be suitable.
In a Vampire game, we encountered a Tzimisce (macabre flesh-sculptors able to summon and control animals) who had called a whale to beach itself and then flesh-crafted it into his castle, organ by organ, tissue by tissue, so that the walls were coated in flesh and arteries and veins, the doors connected to muscles that opened and closed according to his commands, the entire complex subject to a cooling breeze powered by the creature's lungs, and his vivisection chamber on a grate over the creatures stomach, which digested the 'drippings.' One creepier than average detail was that the door to the main chamber had a rolling whale's eye in the middle of the door, and it was connected to the still living (but totally insane) brain of the animal, which was trained / conditioned to recognize the master and open when he approached, then close behind him. The floors of the area were also 'carpeted' with whale-skin, and through the intact nervous system, the whale (and therefore it's master) knew where people were at all times, as it could feel them walking around.
On the one hand, I agree that I'd rather the Player's Companions be a combination of crunch and player-usable flavor text (stuff that details what sort of roles the race plays in a setting, what sort of relations they might have with other races / cultures / etc.).
On the other hand, I see the plethora of races in Blood of Fiends and Angels and think 'wow, there's literally going to be a sub-race for everything, isn't there?' Tieflings and Aasimar are the new Elves. There's one for just about every attribute combination you could want, and I'm a little bit conflicted about whether or not I'd want to see Elemental-kin of every possible role and niche, or shadow-kin, or dragon-kin, or animal-shifters, etc. For a game that so strongly discourages people from playing orcs or gnolls 'because we want them to be two-dimensional monsters, into which one, absent pesky thoughts of moral or ethical alignment (which we insist is vital to the game, despite working extra hard to avoid being applied in any way other than mechanically), inserts blade for XPs and GPs' having a half-dozen different playable fiend-spawn seems like rowing against the stated current.
On the other, other hand, perhaps Paizo is attempting to mix things up a bit with the formatting, so that each new 'Blood of X' book isn't a somewhat 'easy' page for page rewriting of Blood of Fiends, just copying that success over and over until whatever magic made it work is stale and boring (and the game is flooded with a dozen new sub-races a couple times a year).
Elemental planes options seems a bit far-reaching, granted. An elemental-touched race isn't any more likely to interact with an elemental plane than a gnome is to visit the First World, or an aasimar to end up on Mount Celestia. It's also possibly quite setting specific. The Great Beyond is a Golarion thing, and quite different from the extraplanar makeup of the Wheel, or the configurations in Midgard or Eberron or the Scarred Lands. As long as they are delving into setting specific stuff, I feel that a section going into more detail about where the elemental-touched are prominent on Golarion (such as in Qadira, where they are purportedly even hidden communities of them) would be useful for character development and backstory and even GM use (need to know where I'm likely to find a city with a big oread or sylph population?).
901. Looks like His Master You have 'classical' tiefling features; reddish skin, jet-black hair, golden eyes, a spade-tipped tail, tiny fangs, black pointy fingernails, goat's feet, a pair of goat's horns atop the crown of your head.
More unusually, you also tend to pick up traces of the physical appearance of any bonded animal companion, familiar or special mount earned as a class feature, so long as it is a relatively 'normal' animal or vermin, or a templated version thereof (and not something more outré, like an imp, pseudodragon, mephit or elemental). Additionally, the animal itself, after 24 hours of being bonded to you, also begins to take on some of your fiendish appearance traits, so that a viper becomes red scaled and golden eyed, with tiny 'horns' of it's own, and a spade-tipped tail, while you gain scales and a forked tongue. If your mount is a massive percheron, it's fur becomes black, it's skin ruddy, it's hooves cloven, and it's teeth end in points, while your face grows longer, and your hair forms like a mane and your goat like feet fuse to become more equine in appearance.
If you do not have an animal companion or familiar as a result of some class feature, you instead pick up traits of pets or a mundane mount, or perhaps even the traits of an animal companion of one of your travelling companions...
The most unusual changes occur when a tiefling with this trait bonds to a celestial template animal familiar, as the animal begins to take on fiendish appearance characteristics, while the tiefling themself begins to take on some of the celestial animal's traits, such as the noble visage, piercing blue eyes or golden-white plumage of a celestial hawk, which tend to look out of place with the fangs and horns and goat hooves...
Renumbering one because of the no reflection thing.
892. Cousin It, the Qlippoth version. You have no face or facial features, but do have long tubular strands for hair that slowly move around. Some are short, some are long, some are as thin as human hairs, and a few are as thick as a human esophagus, and tend to hide among the thinner strands, when not in use, before pushing their way forward.
You breathe, hear, smell, see, eat and speak through these hollow strands, although not every one of these tube-like growths is capable of every specific function, so that you have to 'focus' the light-sensitive strands together (which burp forth small eyes from within their hollow 'mouths') and you do not benefit from all-around vision.
When you must eat or drink, the thicker strands slither forth from your mane (which may extend onto your face, in the regions where another might have a beard, mustache or side-burns) and draw in fluids, or saw off chunks of larger meals with their hagfish like mouths.
When you wish to speak, dozens of the thinner strands normally used primarily for respiration begin exhaling, and their individual tones combine to form your spoken words.
You may or may not also have some dangly writhing patches of 'hair-tentacles' in other patches on your body, such as under your armpits, or decorating your lower legs or forearms, but these growths are not hollow, and have no sensory, respiratory or digestive function, being primarily cosmetic and / or vestigial. (Perhaps reaching out to something nearby to touch or 'taste' it, but having no effective ability to manipulate anything, nor operating under any conscious control.)