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I actually liked Fitz this last episode (it's like he's developed into a multifaceted person over the years, instead of the checklist of cutesy annoying tics and mannerisms that he and Simmons started out as), and didn't hate Lincoln as much as I normally do, although that might be Stockholm Syndrome or something...
Indeed, I kind of want Lincoln to tell Coulson and the rest to shut the heck up after this latest foul-up, since it seems to be all they do is jump to the exact wrong assumptions.
Mack continues attempting to be the only sane man in the room. :)
The one time I played in a LARP and we were allowed to play Tzimisce, we Tzimisce players agreed before hand that we would all pronounce our clan name differently, and correct anyone else who said it, even if they got our own personal pronunciation perfectly...
'It's pronounced zih-miss.' 'Zih-miss?' 'No, softer on the zhah sound.' 'Zhah-miss?' 'Terrible, please stop.'
While I'm a *huge* fan of dual-wielding shields, thanks to an old Green Ronin product that included a section on that, the *enhancement bonus* to the shields didn't stack in that version, IIRC, so you could get, at most, a +1 (light shield) or +2 (heavy shield) extra AC over sword-and-board. Granted, you could make one shield +3 and the other have properties like arrow catching or spell resistance, that you normally couldn't stack onto a single shield as cheaply, but dual-wielding two +5 heavy shields for a total +14 to AC wasn't the purpose of the style.
That seemed a decent balance compromise, and probably made more sense for 3.0, when there was a 'shield bonus' to AC, separate from the armor bonus from armor, unlike the 'stackable armor bonus from armor and shield, that doesn't stack with the armor bonus from a second shield or even more armor' of 3.5 and Pathfinder.
Tim Statler wrote:
As to Andoran, I have to fight not to say Andorian. Star Trek nerd I am.
For me it's Calistria and the Scarred Lands nation of Calastia. Just similar enough to trip my geekbrain.
Then again, there's a lot of similarities between the settings, just because they tapped into similar archetypes. Sarenrae and Madriel (NG redeemer angel-goddess of healing, mercy and the sun) are cut from the same cloth, as are Abadar and Hedrada (LN god of law, justice, civilization, etc.). But that's an archetype thing, and no different from how Artemis (ancient Greece), Ehlonna (Greyhawk), Mielikki (the Realms) and Tanil (Scarred Lands) seem like subtly different sister nature/hunt goddesses.
James Jacobs wrote:
1 (the main reason): There simply wasn't any room in the Inner Sea World Guide for an extensive pronunciation index. This book is bigger than the previous campaign setting, but it's also a lot more jam-packed with information, and the decision of what to include and not include was very difficult—had I a few more pages, I would have included more factions and prestige classes and monsters and more details on Inner Sea holidays and a more detailed trade/resources map of the region and much, much more... which would have STILL left no room for a pronunciation index.
Ooh, a resources/trade map! Did such a thing ever get done up, and I just missed it, or is it still not-quite-ready-for-prime-time?
'Trade of the Inner Sea' with common caravan routes and merchant ship routes and what products are going from A to B. I'd buy that for, um, several dollars!
As for the topic, I never noticed the 'Saranwrap' thing, but Norgoober is unfortunately how I first read that name, and it stuck...
Eh. We have real-world gods named 'Nut' and 'Snotra' (which is like Mothra, but with boogers?) and 'Þorgerðr Hǫlgabrúðr.' Sarenrae and Norgorber have it easy.
And there's a country in Golarion named after Osiris (and another after Geb!), which you can bet your bippy annoys my namesake to no end. :)
It's amusing that Urgraz would be a different sort of Antipaladin if Paladins in PF still used Wisdom (instead of Charisma) as their 'casting stat.'
More casting classes could use variations like the Sage sorcerer (who uses Intelligence). Wisdom-based 'wood witches,' all spiritual and sky-clad, communing with their fey/elemental/kami patrons? (Or a Charisma-based witch, entreating new lore from her patron with charm and a commanding presence.) Intelligence-based noble 'bards' whose tutors train them in an eclectic mix of swordplay, arcana, rhetoric and leadership? A Charisma-based conjuror (or enchanter) who uses their forceful personality to bind outsiders (or mortals) to their will? And yeah, a Wisdom-based paladin (or antipaladin).
Molten Dragon wrote:
On a side note, the Mrs. who is not a follower of comics in the least, really gravitated to the Gwyneth Paltrow character throughout and at the end of IM3. She kept asking what happens to her now, is she a superhero of some sort? Since I don't know the lore that well I had no answer.
In the comics, she has had an armored hero persona as 'Rescue' with a suit of armor that is less offensive and more utility-based than Iron Man's typical suits. She has also spent time as 'Hera,' the coordinator / overwatch / 'Oracle' for a team known as the Order, and for that role had some sort of implants that allowed her to interface with surveillance equipment and process a lot of information to better update and coordinate her team.
With the MCU version, Pepper's 'Thin Man' routine with Tony at the beginning of the first Avengers movie was one of my favorite bits, and I was disappointed at the end of Iron Man 3 when the Extremis powers were stripped from her, since she seemed to have control of them (and wasn't at risk of blowing up) and would have been the MCU's first super-powered female character (other than Sif).
As for the MCU movies, if I were to rank them;
I'm hoping that Civil War goes in the top group...
Norman Osborne wrote:
Bleh...is he dead again?
I think he's alive, at the moment, although he may be a soulless bag of demon maggots disguised as a person...
I wonder how life insurance works for members of the X-Men....are they just ineligible? Do they have to pay it all back if/when they come back to life?
One of my favorite meta moments was when Siryn (Theresa Cassidy) was informed of the death of her father (Banshee, of the X-Men). She cracked up and said 'Whatever. It won't last. Call me when he comes back.'
Possible. I'm not even utterly opposed to the Eye being a Gem, as long as Strange is actually a sorcerer not just using the Gem to perform "magic".
I'm somewhat pessimistically expecting a Dumbo/magic feather situation, where Strange starts out thinking that the Eye is the source of the power and later comes to grips with the deeper truth that the Eye opens the wielder up to the power (opening up his own 'third eye?'), and stops being important to them as anything but a focus for concentration or amplifier after that point (sort of like how the mind stone awakened powers in Pietro and Wanda, but wasn't particularly important to them afterwards).
As I understand it though, the Aether was the Reality Stone. The two missing ones are the Soul and Time gems.
I never could keep them straight, and their powers seem to be 'whatever we want them to do' anyway. (Hydra were using the 'mind stone' to power blue beam energy weapons, just like it was the Cube in the First Avenger, until it got plucked out of the blue gem it was in and turned yellow...)
Eh. I'm not a huge fan of this whole infinity stone/Thanos build up anyway. It feels like connective tissue to me, and I'm more into the meat of the tale (which I see as character development).
Norman Osborne wrote:
Ditto, only substitute Nightcrawler for Kitty for 'one of my favorite comic characters.' I love that he got to buckle his swash in Excalibur, and had more serious storylines (and was taken more seriously!) than he had in the previous X-books (where he, IMO, kind of got lost / overshadowed among all the larger than life personalities like Cyclops, Storm and Wolverine).
As for the reality gem / Eye of Agamotto notion, I suspect they'll go that route, which does mean that Thanos will have to get his hot little hands on it (and Vision's head-jewel / mind stone as well). Presumably he'll do so without irreparably destroying the Vision, and Strange will find a way to survive their brief encounter as well (perhaps by fleeing into another dimension or jettisoning his astral form until his body can be healed / repaired or something).
Me? I think this is a GOLDEN AGE. I love the fact that there are so many Super-hero movies to choose from and the fact that a super-hero movie isnt a genre but a vehicle to TELL different genres within the super-hero framework.
Pretty much yes to all of this.
I love some DC characters and teams (like the Teen Titans, Young Justice, Legion of Super-Heroes, etc.) and I love some Marvel characters and teams (Young Avengers, New X-Men, Thunderbolts, X-Factor, etc.), so I've got horses in both races, and whoever 'wins,' I get a piece of the pie.
That said, there are DC movies that don't appeal to me (Nolan's Bat-trilogy), and Marvel movies that don't appeal to me (Age of Ultron), and I don't think that I'm a 'hater' for not uncritically adoring every hot steaming mess piled on my plate.
I want every superhero movie to be awesome, because the more the big tentpole characters (that I generally don't give a rat's butt about) like Superman and Iron Man and Wolverine succeed, the more likely I will be to see the characters I *really* like, like Hank Pym, Monica Rambeau, Vixen or Booster Gold.
I certainly don't want any of these movies to suck. I like superhero stuff. That would be cutting off my nose to spite my face!
Just re-read Bridge of Birds, by Barry Hughart, and it was as fun the second time as it was the first. Fun stuff set in an over the top 'mythic China.'
Turns out he has two sequels, The Story of the Stone (which I had to buy twice, since 'bunko' apparently means 'written in Kanji,' which I did not know...) and Eight Skilled Gentlemen.
Neither was as good as his first outing, IMO.
I kind of feel like I did with Neal Stephenson, whose Snow Crash was life-changingly hilarious, and whose later books have been meh.
I blame Cosmo for ridiculous chains of events.
For example, I had the flu in January. I coughed so much I got a hernia. The hernia gave me sciatica (I don't even). I've been limping to work for two months now (since walking to work is perversely less painful than getting into or out of a car, which leaves me almost paralyzed for a half hour), and it's really not terribly amusing any longer.
On the upside, acupuncture seems to be working. Which I don't even believe in, but, fortunately for me, lots of things I don't understand (like computers, or gravity) seem to work just fine without my permission, so that's cool.
I've always wondered at the criteria for selection of the Starstone-wrought new divinities' portfolios.
What I find intriguing about the Starstone Scions is that their portfolios suggest that nobody had those specific areas of concern before them.
For Iomedae, she took on some of Aroden's 'law' concerns, but he wasn't a god of chivalry or honor, in particular (being more 'history and civilization and humanity', IIRC). Presumably nations had cavaliers and knightly orders and chivalry and codes of honor and even paladins long before Iomedae, who is the first explicit god to address those subjects.
For Cayden Cailean, bravery and courage might have been more associated with Gorum, before he took on those aspects, and a god of beer, ale and wine is specialized enough that it's not a shock that there wasn't a major god of booze already.
Most intriguingly, there's Norgorber. Ten thousand years of rogues and thieves and assassins and alchemists and intriguing politically-minded folks and murderers, and none of that had a god, before Norgorber stepped out of the Starstone Cathedral? That seems quite unusual. Various demon lords (such as Shax, for murderers, or Haagenti, for alchemists) cover *some* of those aspects, but thieves as one of the 'big four' classes / roles of D&D-based games and settings, so it's almost as off for there not to be a 'god of thieves' (like Norebo or Mask or Brandobaris) as it would be for there not to be a 'god of magic.' Certainly some other gods seem 'thief-friendly,' such as Calistria or Zon-Kuthon, but few seem to have the political ties of Norgorber, who is sort of a 'god of intrigue' as well, or any connection to alchemy, for that matter.
As for the other ascended gods, Urgathoa, Irori and Nethys, there's a pre-existing god of magic (who died) for Nethys to replace, an implication that Urgathoa is ridiculously old (predating both disease and the existence of undead), and Irori's areas of concern are pretty specific and not as likely to represent any sort of gaping hole in religious schema, since 'self-perfection' and 'god of monks' are not quite as common themes as 'god of war' or 'god of weather.'
As for time, Brigh is apparently a god of time, through her association with clockwork, but she's a pretty minor god, and time hardly seems to be her primary focus. As god of both history and innovation, and tied heavily to prophecy, Aroden flirts pretty heavily with a 'god of time' theme, even if he isn't explicitly a 'god of time.' But he's dead, so there's certainly 'design space' in the 'pantheon' of Golarion for a god of time!
Between focusing on history and possibility / pre-ordination, domains like Charm, Knowledge, Law and Luck might suit a god of time, and perhaps a favored weapon that involves precise timing and patience to learn and use (ranged weapons like bows, crossbows or slings, with the shortbow being my first choice, since Erastil and Abadar already cover longbows and crossbows, and I wouldn't inflict favored weapon - sling on anyone, even as a punishment).
Sooooo... The Cypher/Psylocke love story? Warlock and the Magus story? Asgard? I am not sure how to feel. Agree with product of its time.
Warlock seems way to 'big' for a starting New Mutants team (since the original five had some pretty strong limitations / a lower power level).
The same with Amara/Magma, for that matter (although introducing her opens up the introduction of Selene, perhaps the New Mutants most iconic and lasting villain).
Asgard seems right out, being that Fox doesn't have permission to touch the Thor side of the Marvel universe.
Cypher/Psylocke was kind of a footnote (one I liked, but still), and I'm not sure if Cypher goes the other direction and has powers / abilities that are too subtle for the big screen. Although, Psylocke as one of the team's adult mentors could be interesting, and different than the more expected fare of Storm, Xavier, etc.
There's a lot of stuff I don't really want to see, most of which showed up later, like Gossamyr & Spyder or Karma's bionic leg or Sam being an External (until he wasn't) or Bobby as Reignfire (until he wasn't...) or anything-ever-by-Liefield. For all the team's shining moments, there was a fair amount of weird stuff in there as well.
There's also a lot of characters to choose from!
The original five; Sam/Cannonball, Dani Moonstar, Rahne/Wolfesbane, Berto/Sunspot and Xian/Karma.
Later additions; Amara/Magma, Doug/Cypher, Ilyanna/Magik, Warlock, Warpath, Boom-Boom, Siryn, Rictor, Shatterstar, Feral...
Random teens that *could* have been New Mutants; Kitty Pryde, Jubilee, Madrox, Rachel Summers
Teen foes; Jetstream, Roulette, Tarot, Catseye!, uh, other Hellions... Or even more recent 'Emma's New Mutants' like Hellion, Mercury, Rockslide, Surge, Dust, etc.
One thing I liked about the New Mutants, and definitely fresh for it's time, was that we had a 'five-man team' that had three girls and two boys, which was pretty radical in a time period when every other team seemed to be 'four dudes and a chick,' or, as one Image comic cheekily said, 'the standard new-team formula, some established loner, a couple of dudes from another team, and two bimbos nobody has ever heard of before.' Indeed, Karma, introduced previously as a Spider-Man side-character, was the only pre-existing character, and Bobby and Sam ended up being two of the 'bimbos nobody has ever heard of before!'
(That said, of the original five, Karma's probably my least favorite, and got sidelined pretty fast, in favor of shinier new characters like Magma, Magik and Warlock. I'd love for her to have come back from working for Uncle Nguyen as a badass martial artist/criminal enforcer/psychic, but then Psylocke might have had to stay British to avoid stepping on Xian's Asian ninja psychic schtick!)
baron arem heshvaun wrote:
Yeah, it seemed like a sideways change that did absolutely nothing to increase the odds of a pseudo-dragon vs. imp fight, since the pseudo-dragon's attack only does 1d3-2 (which is 66% chance of 1 nonlethal and 33% chance of one lethal, either of which will be healed next round by the imps fast healing 2), while the imp does 1d4 +poison. (And the imps are immune to the pseudo-dragon's poison.)
It's super-cool, but the 'fix' did nothing to actually address the problem (penetrating DR alone does nothing if the imp heals the damage faster than you can inflict it and is doing 4x as much damage *and* poisoning the pseudo-dragon!).
Grey Lensman wrote:
[tangent] I was at a talk by the creator at Origins and he mentioned that people thought he was crazy making an MMO that had no equipment / loot (because, as he said, Batman doesn't beat up the Penguin and then steal his umbrella to incorporate into his own schtick), and no 'stats' or ability scores built in to character generation (Str, Dex, Con, etc.), and until he said that, I hadn't even noticed those things, and retroactively agreed that he was swimming against conventional game design wisdom, not having 'stats' or 'loots.'
Man, what a revolutionary game!
And as for the topic of Agents of SHIELD and Marvel, they did everything in their power to strangle City of Heroes in it's crib, first with a lawsuit, then with the whole 'Build a game for us! Oh, you've spent millions? We changed out mind, ha ha!' bait and switch (that later turned into Champions Online, which still had Marvel DNA all over it, with starting zones that screamed 'Hulkbuster base' and 'Alpha Flight's Canada'). I was pretty mad at Marvel for that stuff, back in the day. [/tangent]
I'm split on this.
Bobbi is probably my favorite character, at the moment (she's like May, with a personality!), so her leaving to her own show is a sort of mixed blessing for me. (Yay! More Bobbi! Boo, less Bobbi on *this* show.)
Hunter is darn close to my current least favorite, although Lightning Lad is also jockeying for the bottom rung, since both of them seem to have the recurring theme of screwing up a lot, and yet getting away with it. (My least favorite remains Coulson. Didn't really like him much in Iron Man 2. Actively disliked him in Thor. He was okay in Avengers (although everyone else seemed to go from 'his first name isn't 'Agent?' to 'OMG, my soulmate Phil Coulson has died! Let's call ourselves Avengers in his honor!'), and he's only gotten smarmier post-death, IMO.)
The show seems to be ever-so-glacially turning into a super-team show, with super-people like DaisyQuake and LightningLincoln and, uh, the other guy, MetalMelterDude, making yet more spies like Hunter and Bobbi kind of surplus-to-the-requirements. I don't know if I want Agents of SHIELD to become a super-hero show, and think that keeping Bobbi and Hunter here (with May, Mack, Fitz, Simmons and other Agent-y non-supers) and spinning off a Secret Warriors show with the super-peeps might have been a better choice.
Or maybe both shows will have a mix of agents and super-agents, who knows?
Besides, as I said, the Wayans can put out entertaining movies. I'm Gonna Git You Sucka may not be Major League, but it's at least Triple-A.
I don't know if they count as 'Wayans' movies, but movies with Wayans in them can be good. I liked The Last Boy Scout, for instance.
A Wayans also voiced Wasabi, from Big Hero Six (and, oddly, is the only voice actor from that movie that doesn't look like his character. They could seriously film a live-action Big Hero Seven with the voice actors!).
Random thoughts on articles about class options with a Numerian slant;
(As usual, these are ideas I'm *not* planning on developing into articles myself, because of that pesky three-article-limit that's totally my fault anyway...) :)
Cleric (subDomains of the Domains granted by Brigh or Gorum that synch well with Numeria and it's themes, such as a Plasma subdomain of Fire, or a subdomain of Earth that replaces 'acid bolt' with tiny pellets of metal or stone fired at high velocity 'bullet bolt!' or for Artifice that conjures temporary magical ammunition for a crossbow, sling, bow or firearm)
Druid / Ranger (alien ecologist/xenonaturalist, with an 'alien' companion and some 'alien' wild shape options?)
Fighter (master of advanced or complicated weaponry, not so much 'tech' or lasers, but exotic stuff available across the setting like repeating crossbows, mancatchers, bolas, etc. as well as other 'advanced' sort of combat options like throwing alchemical fire or acid, drawing inspiration from the 'tech' used by others, but usually hoarded by the Technic League and their favored minions, forcing you to adapt to the sorts of 'advanced' technology available to everyone else)
Monk (ironforged archetype, seeks to 'become the machine' or to master 'the riddle of steel' and become as hard and unyielding as a construct, golem or robot, with skin like metal armor and fists like bludgeons or blades and a will of iron, enduring and resilient in both mind and body, able to move with mechanical speed and precision, to a limited extent, but usually more resolute and plodding and unstoppable than a traditional monk)
Wizard (stores spells in crystals or data-gizmos, and power in batteries, the opposite of a technomancer who can drain spell slots to recharge tech, you drain tech to fuel your magic. Tiny construct / robot familiar option, perhaps even with an option to store spells in the familiar's 'databanks,' sort of like a Witch)
Mesmerist (neurolinguistic hacker, uses language to 'reprogram' others to cloud their minds / distract them (stare abilities changed to more of a 'babel' effect) or directly manipulate them (compulsion / charm spells and effects))
Oracle ('Starmind' Mystery, taps into the signals from the various computer intelligences, through nanotech infiltrating one's own brain and body, perceives data from these vast and incomprehensible intelligences and taps them for divine power and unusual insights. New curses could include Aphasic - staggered physically, but eventually capable of swifter, or even multiple, mental actions, Radioactive - damages others making long-term contact with own body, eventually includes shorter term contacts at your discretion, and can expand at higher levels to affect those in adjacent squares)
Psychic (Psi-Borg, able to draw psychic strength from metal and crystal and perhaps even tech grafted to flesh, from the resonances and traumas left behind by the many, many who died in contact with those alien materials, and the occult and esoteric forces to which they've been exposed over the millennia, does not have to involve technology at all, just old and 'weird' stuff grafted to the body and used as a source of psychic power, which could allow it to be transplanted to anywhere that has old haunted ruins full of 'psychic resonance,' such as the Ghol-Gan ruins around the Shackles or ancient Thassilonion ruins in Varisia or Virlych, in Ustalav)
Cavalier (uses either a robot mount, or an alien beast (such as a Velopede) as a mount, bonus points for a holographic 'banner' option)
Wonder Woman sounds promising, at least. I am looking forward to her movie, even if I'm not the biggest fan of the character. (I'm a sucker for period pieces, like Captain America: First Avenger or Agent Carter, so Wonder Woman being set during WW1 just goes right for my happy place.)
Were there rumored cameos by Aquaman (and Mera), Cyborg, Flash and / or Green Lantern? Spoil me! (In spoilers, for those who want a fresher experience, obviously!) Of those listed, I'm most intrigued by Aquaman.
Regardless of whether or not this movie is my cup of tea, I'm still waiting impatiently for Suicide Squad!
Random ideas, based on this awesome picture;
The visual and idea of a nightly war between pseudo-dragons and imps over Korvosa is *awesome* and super-cool, but, mechanically, it's a bleak picture of 'the day the imps killed all the pseudo-dragons in town' since pseudo-dragons are incapable of damaging (or poisoning) imps.
There are various 'fixes' for that.
1) It's as it is. This is indeed a grim picture of the day that the imps drove the pseudo-dragons out of Korvosa, with the only survivors being those that fled the city. The picture becomes tragic, and perhaps even heroic, in a 'last stand' sort of way, as the pseudo-dragons flying to engage the imps are the ones 'holding them back' while their mates and young flee to safety. The few imps that died were those grappled and dragged to the ground (to be killed by falling damage) by desperate suicide-bomber pseudo-dragons.
2) In Korvosa, at the Temple of Sarenrae, atop Citadel Hill, a great marble bowl sits beneath the statue of goddess. The entire site is warded to prevent creatures with the evil subtype (or others with a strong aura of evil, such as evil clerics or antipaladins) from trespassing these hallowed grounds, and the pool of clear water within the bowl is enspelled to be always be clean and fresh to drink even if the city life (doves and pseudo-dragons, primarily) that flocks to the area aren’t always the cleanest visitors. The water glows dimly at night, and acts as holy water for 24 hours after being removed from the basin. Good-aligned pseudo-dragons who drink from this pool are changed, so that their natural attacks are treated as good-aligned for the purposes of bypassing the damage reduction of evil subtype creatures (such as the local imps) and acts as holy water on undead and evil outsiders (while still functioning as poison for their own mundane hunting purposes). This ability remains for 24 hours after they drink from the pool, and so long as the pseudo-dragon bathes daily at the temple, and retain a good alignment, they gain a powerful advantage against the local imp population.
A side-effect is that the temple of Sarenrae and it's immediate environs are *swarming* with pseudo-dragons, along with a few other random areas in town that share similar warding enchantments (such as a certain tavern, whose upper floor remains warded with a permanent magic circle of protection against evil, because of some conjuror who used to live up there, ironically, a devil-summoner by trade, who really *needed* that protection against evil...).
3) Many Imps in Korvosa have been here for decades, and most of them have 'thinned' a bit and are now native outsiders, lacking damage reduction entirely, and with less access to some imp-ly powers (like commune. Even that change might not be enough, as the imps would remain immune to the pseudo-dragon's poison, and their invisibility and superior strength, damage and fast healing make it a terribly unfair fight, even without the DR... As with option 2 above, this does have the advantage of more or less adhering to canon, in that the imps and pseudo-dragons remain imps and pseudo-dragons.
4) They aren't imps at all, but some sort of tiny flying gremlins, more fey than outsider, and much more evenly matched to be fighting pseudo-dragons. This might be preferable, in that imps are ridiculously potent compared to not just pseudo-dragons, but to the commoners walking the streets of Korvosa. (A single imp could kill hundreds of people in a night, without them really being able to effectively retaliate, by using it's invisibility, flight and venomous sting.)
5) They aren't pseudo-dragons at all, but some tougher beastie, able to penetrate DR, or with some sort of attack that affects imps (so not acid, cold, fire or poison!) like a sonic chirp or a shocking electrical touch attack or something. This tends to just exacerbate and make an arms race out of the situation in #4 above, in that now the skies and rooftops of Korvosa are haunted by *two* species of critter that can depopulate the humans from the city if the whim ever takes them to do so... (Not to mention the otyughs in the sewers. Why does anyone want to live here again?)
I'm most partial to 1 (aw, tragic!) or 2 (woo, Sarenrae!), myself. Weaker 'native outsider' imps lacking some of the nastiest attributes of full imps would be my third choice, with four and five being increasingly less interesting, because, IMO, the *last* thing the setting needs are yet more monsters running around, created for the sole purpose of justifying a cool piece of art...
Since the Godclaw also venerates Irori and Torag, in addition to Asmodeus, Iomedae and Abadar, there's theoretically potential for Hellknight orders more focused around Irori and Torag, but I'm not finding them as intuitive for this purpose as Abadar.
The Iroran creed to self-perfection seems, IMO, a bit to self-centered to build an Order around (although one focused on systems that prevent people from reaching their full potential, such as forbidding writing or preventing lower ranking people from studying or even using weapons, could be on-theme).
As for Torag, an Order of dwarven Hellknights seems fun, visually, as squad of dwarves who are willing to embrace and emulate the tactics of Hell in service to their goals of protection of their people, but, again, the flavor doesn't work as well for me, so I'd prefer it to be a small Order, like the Order of the Torrent.
Ooh, an eidolon that has some sort of support aura / function could be very cool, based perhaps on the angel/archon 'aura of menace' or 'aura of protection' or an azata-flavored eidolon with bardic inspiration capabilities or a 'fast healing song' or something.
It could also include some sort of support / teamwork options that don't depend quite so much on teamwork feats, like the 3.5 notion of parties having a group totem (DMG2, IIRC?), or developing some specific team tactics that don't necessarily eat up their personal feats.
Freehold DM wrote:
I have only recently introduced a new Hellknight Order into my game, The Order of Ink, which oversees Chelaxian borders physical borders and political alliances. Has anyone else made any new Orders?
An order based on the less evil aspects of Asmodeus might focus on the actual legal system itself, serving as guards to justices, and jailors and investigators and lawyers/advocates and, when it goes that way, executioners. A heavy focus on enforcing contracts and finding 'bail-jumpers' or others attempting to evade justice, as well as other more picky legal matters, would fit well. They'd be as impartial as can be, and side against what they view as perversions or misuse of the legal system, such as punishments that precede trials, or attempts to 'game the system.' Others might not live up to that ideal, and be little more than jack-booted thugs, hiding behind the color of authority.
A more Abadarite order could be focused on protecting trade, ruthlessly stamping out brigands and bandits, and yet also protecting banks and countinghouses, and seeking out counterfeiters and smugglers and pirates. In a situation like in Andoran, where the Lumber Consortium works around the law to oppress their workers, it's possible that different factions of this Order could be on different sides, some supporting the company against their workers, while the other side takes offense at the manipulation of the spirit of the law to behave unethically.
The Beardinator wrote:
Third, I'd rather have even substantial change than no change at all. I'm much more annoyed by a great setting I actually would love to play in already feeling stale, boring and meaningless to me. I'd rather have the designers liberating Cheliax (and then inventing new threats) than already knowing that in the meantime we have the third Cheliax-AP whose outcome will have zero influence on the setting as a whole.
Valid points, but it's a question of what toys to 'take away' from players who haven't really gotten around to using Cheliax, or whatever, and also runs the risk of getting all comic-book-y and having the meta-plot events, which happen in APs at least twice a year, not counting anything 'major' that might happen in novels or standalone larger adventures, causing rather a lot of change. (An example from comics, in the Marvel universe, there's the Savage Land, that's been around for thousands of years. It's blowed up. There's Attilan, which was in one place, stable and safe, for thousands of years. It's been moved to the moon, blown up, brought back to earth, and blown up again, in 'only' a few short decades. Atlantis? Survived sinking into the ocean millennia ago, and is now blowed up, again. DC is, if anything, even worse, with various 'NPC nations' like Qurac or hidden lands full of bird-people getting destroyed willy-nilly. In comics, hidden lands or 'NPC countries' or 'Coastal/Central/GenericName City' might exist for centuries, if not millennia, but once introduced, comic books being comic books, they are going to get blowed up at least once a decade!) I don't like the idea that at least twice a year, some element of the setting is going to be changed so radically that anyone using that element of the setting (such as infernal Cheliax) is going to never again see support for that element.
On the other hand, it would be 'diluting the brand,' in a way, and this is generally regarded as a Bad Thing (even if I'm not 100% sure if it *is* a Bad Thing, or has just been tainted by association with some Very Bad Decisions by those who have attempted it in the past), but it might be possible to come up with a setting version of 'Golarion Unchained,' which is specifically addressing meta-plot style changes to the setting, in specific incremental detail. How did Golarion change because Cheliax is free? How did Golarion change because Xin-Shalast has been tamed and is a new city in Varisia? How did Golarion change because Irrisen is no longer 'The land of Eternal Winter?' Keeping the chapters discrete allows a GM to focus on just the amount of 'meta-plot' he or she wants, while ignoring the rest, and keeping it all confined to one 'Unchained' book (with new ones every three years or so, covering meta-plotty changes that could occur with the latest batch of APs, etc.), could make it purely optional and modular, and not at all interfere with the regular product line. Infernal Cheliax remains infernal Cheliax, in the core setting, but if you are going with the Unchained option for it having been liberated, you now have an entire section of the Unchained volume dealing with how things could change, like an eighty page 'Continuing the Campaign' section, dealing with who steps in to replace Asmodeus (is it Abadar? perhaps 'the Inheritor?' or will it be Milani, in the conservatory, with the candlestick?).
Other notions that could pop up in a 'Golarion Unchained' sort of book could involve 'what ifs' like 'What if Boiltongue is a Veiled Master' or 'What if the Whispering Tyrant breaks free' or 'What if the Tarrasque wakes up?' or 'What if the countdown clock hits zero and the Dominion of the Black set up a beachhead in Katapesh from which to invade the rest of Golarion?' or 'What if the Eye of Abendago *starts moving?*'
A good or neutral god of fire, passion and creation, all about arts and crafts, as well as smithing and forgework, and celebrating how fire can heal and warm and cook food, burn down the old rotting wood in the forest and 'forge' the rest to be stronger, and bring renewal to the world.
A good goddess of the sea, as lawful as others are chaotic, all about the predictable and eternal cycle of the tides, bringing food to the people of the land through fish migrations, etc. She'd probably be more likely in a place not prone to hurricanes, or other ocean-adjacent disasters (where people might be more likely to see the sea as capricious or fickle or uncaring), a calmer 'inland sea' sort of situation like the Mediterranean, or Avistan's inner sea. If the local land is prone to earthquakes or volcanism (like, again, the Mediterranean), the sea might even be seen as little more 'unstable' or 'unreliable' than the land itself!
A god of language and writing and runes/symbols/glyphs. The god would focus heavily on various forms of communication, from written and spoken words to 'sign language' and means of conveying information ship to ship or across great distances (signal fires, semaphore flags, the ringing of bells in certain patterns, etc.). The church would have have 'sacred messengers' whose reliability (and discretion, and neutrality!) are sacrosanct even among various hostile nations (these messengers would refuse to carry military messages, for example, and so nations that respect this god would allow messengers to pass unharmed). They would also keep track of heraldic devices and arcane symbols, and serve that purpose in some nations as well, with noble families old and new consulting the church's records before choosing or modifying a seal or crest. The god would be lawful neutral, and associated also with the air, and flying creatures, having a sort of 'pony express' of slight humans (perhaps even children or adolescents), elves, gnomes and halflings who ride a non-sapient version of giant eagles to carry messages (and desperately needed very light supplies, such as healing potions) across great distances. Some flying creatures themselves (such as intelligent giant eagles, or some setting specific winged humanoid) also revere this god, as well as many bards who serve as court heralds, memorizing long lists of names and forms of address for precise and faultless courtly introductions.
A warlike protector god(dess), whose favored weapon is the shield (and shield bash, perhaps also with shield spikes). 'The Shieldmaiden,' if one goes that route, would be all about martyrdom and sacrifice and endurance, about defense and guardianship and refusing to budge one inch in the face of aggression. Possibly a dwarven goddess, and beloved of the dwarven defenders, in which case associations with the unmoving earth and steadfastness of adamantine, which may eventually break, but will not bend, are appropriate. Other than a large shield, and some spare shields stowed across her back, etc., she'd go unarmed, and her clerics might follow in her stead and stick to (spiked) shield-bashes for offense, or use unarmed combat with their free hand, or carry some sort of one-handed 'light spear' with their other hand, or even use a buckler, or, if the rules allow it and it's not kicking any hornet's nests of controversy, even dual-wield shields. In addition to shields and defense, she'd also be a goddess of stonework and fortifications, and her followers would have the most ridiculously secure temples. Picking up heavy armor proficiency tout suite would be a common choice among her clerics.
A good god of the dead, a protector and spirit guide sort of person who protects souls, like a nicer version of Anubis. Such a god doesn't necessarily have to have anything to do with non-evil undead, or 'white' necromancy, or any of that stuff, but isn't themself evil or even cold or 'pragmatic' or uncaring, coming across as a warm sheltering presence against the more ruthless or nasty death-gods.
An evil god of nobility and / or glory, who is all about pride and self-importance and dominating 'lesser' people. Luxury and excess are the rewards he feels that he has earned for being a 'superior' person to other races / nationalities / etc. This god is a big fan of caste systems or hierarchies that keep the little people down, and themself on top, living the high life. The iconic Cavalier, Alain, sounds like the sort of person who could go further down this route.
A good trickster god, all about educating the overly serious through pranks, etc. Perhaps a gnome, or a halfling, or an elf, but there's no reason it can't be a human, or even a dwarf, fighting the good fight against people who take themselves *way* too seriously and end up missing all the joy and hope and fun that should be a part and parcel of being good, instead of evil.
A god of alchemy and transmutation who isn't evil, like Haagenti or Norgorber, who is all about 'internal alchemy' or purification / rarification / apotheosis from crude flesh to divine essense, the metaphorical 'lead to gold' transmutation of mortal to immortal. Qi Zhong, from the Dragon Empires, kind of wanders into this territory, but there isn't much for the non-evil alchemist in western Golarion. Good is an option, but neutral works fine as well, since the god's premise is somewhat selfish and 'self-perfecting,' like Irori, and less about sharing and caring.
I've been reading through the last couple Bestiaries (I'm not a monster guy, generally, so apart from the art, I've rarely had much use for Bestiaries), and noticed the Deep Ones and Deep One Hybrids, which, IMO, are so much sexier than Skum or Gillfolk, and with some flavor and mechanical tweaks, I think I'd prefer the Deep Ones and Hybrids in those roles.
Have the assassin leave a trail of NPC bodies behind the PCs.
They go to a bar and the fighter flirts with a pretty barmaid? She dies. The cleric is having his armor refitted / repaired at a local armorsmith? He goes back and the smith, and his apprentices, are all dead. They wake up at the tavern and go downstairs to the common room for breakfast? The staff are dead.
To make them *really* dislike the guy, have him kill someone right in front of them, and ensure that they are powerless to do anything to prevent it, perhaps having hired some runner to deliver them a message and then shooting the kid with a poisoned crossbow bolt / death attack before he can get out more than a few words, or having him murder someone across a pit or wall of force or crowded marketplace from them, so that they can see it happening, but not prevent it, or get to him before he vanishes with a jaunty wave.
Direct attacks on the PCs can come after he's made it clear that he's the predator and that he's just toying with them. He can also go after NPCs such as animal companions, bonded mounts, familiars, cohorts, etc., but that is more likely to get the players pissed at you, than the characters pissed at the assassin. (Although him *kidnapping* such an NPC could be a funky way for him to show off...)
Yeah, I was also not a big fan of metaplot. Having crap like the god your 4 year running campaign Cleric worships (Lleira) having been ganked off-screen by some new mortal-turned-god from the novels you didn't read pissed me off, since it means she never got a specialty priest or anything. Similarly, it pretty much wrecked White Wolf, which was at one time the second biggest RPG company, as they rebooted their entire line post-apocalypse, with an, IMO, inferior version of what they'd just destroyed.
Given how annoyed people are that Aroden, a setting element that none of us have ever even gotten to play with, is off-limits, I can't imagine how much more annoying it would be if they had a metaplot and entire countries or races or classes changed overnight (because of storyline X, Cheliax has been liberated! because of storyline Y, Kaer Maga has been destroyed! because of storyline Z, all Magus' are now spontaneous psychic casters!).
Fabius Maximus wrote:
I repeatedly found that the general public's sense of enjoyment and mine differ wildly.
This right here.
I found Nolan's Dark Knight/Batman movies to be deadly dull, and Green Lantern to not only be watchable, but fun and re-watchable. (As in, I actually *have* rewatched and enjoyed Green Lantern, and haven't had the slightest urge to rewatch the Dark Knight movies.)
What 'fans' love and hate, and what I love and hate seem to be on entirely different worlds, sometimes.
Still, it's a superhero movie. I'll see it once on general principle, even if it's just on Netflix.
Pathfinders aren't just 'wandering adventurers,' but are actively seeking out relics and lore of the past. That sort of information likely includes lots of secrets about both present and past nations and governments and restrictive faiths that could be used to make them look bad, or to further Milani's creed about oppressive regimes. Suppressed information about sketchy stuff that happened in the early days of nations like Osirion or Taldor could help to reinforce the idea that governments need to be warily watched by their citizens, and information about current day excesses occurring even in Andoren (such as Lumber Consortium shenanigans) could help to highlight how vigilance can never be relaxed.
While Milanite focus might be on overthrowing oppressive states, it should logically also make room for educating the people as to the need to do so, and on monitoring even the less restrictive states to keep them from crossing the line and becoming totalitarian over time, and the sorts of missions that the Pathfinder Society sends it's agents on seems to turn up all sorts of 'dirt' that might be useful to these ends.
Fractured Jester wrote:
Liberation seems like another good choice, as it's pretty chaos-friendly.
Knowledge or Magic might make acceptable choices as well, depending on how you perceive the Speakers.
Radically opposing more lawful societies (such as those of Cheliax or Nidal), and institutions like slavery or caste systems (which Proteans would see as restricting individual potential) or laws that forbid literacy or weapon bearing or whatever to specific groups, would make sense for a devotee of the Speakers. Laws in general, particularly those that restrict behavior or limit advancement, would be deliberately (if perhaps subtly, there's no reason the chaos-servant needs to be an idiot!) undermined or subverted.
Laws that enforce notions of equality, or prevent slavery, etc. might be encouraged, and yet, proteans aren't specifically good, so it's equally possible that laws that allows those with greater strength to oppress those with less strength could be seen as liberating and 'natural' and right.
The nature of the story could determine whether or not such a character is going to be disruptive. A campaign based on undermining a restrictive society (such as Hell's Rebels or Council of Thieves), or one dealing with a freer sort of flow (such as Skull and Shackles) would be better than one about building a society (Kingmaker) or enforcing a status quo (Hell's Vengeance).
The Shaman wrote:
Speaking of which, is there a way to make the card deck "regrow" cards or have them not be destroyed upon a hit? Harrow decks are meant to be fairly valuable in lore.