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It would certainly be a logical set of Alchemist Discoveries that applied Bomb-like features (such as a version of 'fast bombs' for rapid throwing of alchemical concoctions or something like 'precise bombs' for sparing allies the splash effects of alchemical fire, acid or holy water) to normal alchemical weapons such as alchemist's fire, thunderstones, tanglefoot bags, etc.
When I first read of an Alchemist base class in the upcoming APG, I kind of thought that's what it would be all about, and even if it didn't go there, the nature of Alchemist Discoveries (some of which apply to poison use, others to magical potion use, in addition to bomb throwing, extracts and mutagens) certainly lends itself to development into applications that involve actual crafted alchemical remedies, tools and weapons.
An alchemist archetype based around specializing in alchemical fireworks, for instance, could be very fun. Gandalf doesn't need to be the only magical fireworks specialist! Illuminator's Guild, eat your heart out!
Franko a wrote:
The willingness to try new things.
Riffing off of this, one thing I like is how some of the APs introduce something new, like kingdom building or NPC relationship/romance guidelines or pirate fleet combat or mythic rules, while others are a little more 'standard fantasy fare.' On the one hand, they are experimenting on new sub-systems and mechanics to expand gameplay. On the other hand, not every AP has a 'gimmick' or new rules subsystem or mechanic, and a good number are just straight up fantasy fare goodness.
If I had a strong preference for one over the other, I'd still not feel 'stuck' with a company heading in the direction I don't prefer, as Paizo seems to try to cater to both tastes, both wild and experimental 'Challenge my assumptions! Give me something shiny and new!', and more traditional 'I already figured out what I like, now just give me more of it!'
My tastes have always been weird.
I have watched Green Lantern again, and still found it pretty enjoyable.
The Nolan Batman movies bored me with their deadly serious and deadly dull monotony, and I don't see any need to lose more hours of my life sitting through them yet again.
I know, Batman made all the moneys, and Green Lantern was a terrible flop or something, but Green Lantern was *vastly* more entertaining, to me.
Witches are weird. Weird enough that Pure Legion would probably say something if not arrest you. Patrons are pretty ambiguous, though, and their magic is technically arcane though, so I dunno.
Particularly given that the Iconic Witch appears to get her powers directly from Desna. It may be arcane magic, but if Patrons can be gods, then the Rahadoumi should be *much* more concerned about 'arcane' casters who get their powers from deities, than 'divine' casters who may have nothing at all to do with the gods (rangers, adepts, oracles, etc.).
It's just a sign of how utterly crazy they are. They work hand in hand with people who may get their powers from gods (there are even a few gods of alchemy, and a god of arcane magic, for instance!), and yet flip out over atheist oracles or irreligious rangers, despite having no way other than the arcane sight spell to even tell if magic is arcane or divine, and yet, inexplicably, even commoners in Rahadoum being able to tell the difference using means unavailable to anyone else on Golarion...
Plus there's the whole 'plagued by drought' thing, the suggestion that they are somehow being punished by the gods for abandoning them, when you can look at the map and Rahadoum is the greenest and most fertile land on it's entire latitude, far less 'drought ridden' than Thuvia, Osirion or Qadira (all faithful lands that are less fertile and more desert). I'm sure the churches of the various gods kicked out of Rahadoum spread these exaggerations in hopes of discouraging this atheism thing from catching on, but it's just a load of baloney.
Then again, one of the churches kicked out was that of Nethys, and, perversely, arcane magic is *thriving* in Rahadoum. His *church* might be on the outs, but his actual area of concern (arcane magic) has grown to dominate in ways that it can't compete in lands that have easy access to divine magic!
On the other hand he did give her the gorget which did protect her. Perhaps it was a partial betrayal but he wanted her to survive and some portent showed she would need some neck protection to do so. ;)
1) Those sorts of things take a while to order and have crafted-to-commission, so perhaps he ordered it long before deciding to put the kibosh on their relationship. He gave it to her as a sort of 'good bye present' to salve his conscience (and because, after she got killed, it's not like he wanted to keep a gift he'd commissioned for her lying around as a painful reminder / awkward conversation piece).
2) He's a Kalistocrat, he doesn't give cheap gifts. Even if he's planning on poisoning someone, the gold cup holding the wine, and the vintage itself will be *exquisite.* Only the finest murder and well-appointed betrayal, for you!
3) It might look suspicious if he orders a cursed item in the style worn by the mercenaries that work for the Kalistocrats, just before a bunch of mercenaries working for him get killed. The less people who know he's gotten people working for him killed, the better. No reason to order some mage to craft an item that screams 'I'm about to give a cursed item to one of my employees.'
4) It is cursed. Protective, yes, but also has a locate object sort of curse that allows the hobgoblins he sent to unerringly find the wearer of the +1 gorget of hobgoblin attraction. (It also has the advantage of not looking like a cursed item, but a perfectly reasonable thing to seek, a magical enhancement that allows someone to locate their own head of security!)
Spider-Man and Daredevil (and Spider-Girl/Anya and Nightcrawler and Timber Wolf and Nightwing and Jolt) are favorites of mine for the same reason, all are (in some cases, superhumanly) acrobatic fighters who are all over the place, very dynamic and kinetic. I love that sort of character.
Of the original Guardians of the Galaxy, Nikki, in addition to keen senses and resistance/immunity to some energy effects, was a super-acrobatic fighter and sharpshooter. She'd be cool to see, on screen, doing Spider-Man / Nightcrawler-like fighting moves (and perhaps shrugging off blaster fire, while remaining vulnerable to knives and fists and bullets, and still having good reason to keep moving and dodging and flipping through fights).
Add my vote for more outer planes dragons, although in the spirit of the hellfire wyrm, I think it might be cooler to have outer planes templates for dragons--then if the fiends get lucky, they might corrupt a gold dragon to get a hellfire gold dragon, and vice versa, Heaven might have a redeemed radiant red dragon guarding the gates.
Templates for heavenly or elysian or infernal or abyssal or first world or shadow plane or astral or elemental earth or maelstrom or Axis/clockwork/inevitable dragons might be much more generally useful than just a dragon type for each plane.
For that matter, the 'simple' templates were a serviceable generalized approximation to save wordcount, back in the day, but perhaps it's time for more specific (and not so 'simple') 'fiendish' and 'celestial' and 'half fiend' and 'half celestial' templates, differentiating between demonic and diabolic and daemonic and kyton-ic and qlippothic and angelic and archonic and azatan creatures.
A 'fiendish' (or half-fiend!) dire bear from the plane of shadow, that's been modified by Kyton surgeries and torments, should be a somewhat different beastie (certainly not mechanically identical, as they currently are!) than a 'fiendish' (or half-fiend) dire bear from the qlippoth-haunted depths of the Abyss, where even demons fear to tread.
psychic magic that specifically targets incorporeal creatures.
Since an incorporeal creature is often pure spirit, without the crunchy outer shell of material flesh and blood and bone, it might be completely appropriate for some forms of attack, such as psychic / telepathic / empathic attacks, or necromantic soul-affecting magic, to cause them extreme harm, compared to souls and spirits that are protected by their solid matter 'armor.' A corporeal creature's soul might 'not have line of effect' to some attacks, but when an incorporeal creature is baring its soul to the cold cruel world, it becomes immune to a lot of stuff that would have damaged its corporeal shell, but also perhaps vulnerable to things that a better-protected soul would be more resistant (or even immune) to, such as raw emotional energy, and perhaps not merely psychically potent emotional energy, but even raw anguish or joy or hate, which somebody who's wearing their soul on the inside might find affecting, but not actually incapacitating or harmful.
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
So I bent down and picked her up, only to discover she is the newest incarnation of Graviton; she increased her gravitational attraction by at least an order of magnitude, wrenching my back.
Or, at least, we've discovered one of Cosmo's 66 secret names...
Robert Forward is about as "Hard Sci-Fi" as you can get, as all his books are based on tech that you can extrapolate from known science. And he's a real scientist who knows his stuff. However unless your the type that likes geeking out on hardware, his books have some of the least flavorful and shallowest characters you'll find in the genre, and will bore you to tears.
So, so terribly dull. Old 'classic' sci-fi like Larry Niven or Greg Bear would sometimes delve a little bit into science-talk, but Forward will spend five pages on a mathy science lesson, complete with fomula. Ugh. Give me Trek-no-babble any day!
The science (magic, historical accuracy, cultural details, fetishistic technical descriptions of guns, violence or medicine, whatever) should serve the story, not the other way around.
Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
I recently noodled around with the idea of using the ninja as a chassis to build a Kellid witch-hunter sort of character, and it might be neat to see other sorts of non-faux-Asian uses of the ninja (or samurai). Using the ninja to represent a faux-Persian Hashashin (disappear in a cloud of hashish smoke!), or some other form of supernaturally stealthy assassin, could be funky, and the samurai reflavored to be a Mameluke could be a different way to open up that class to a different culture.
The ninja's ki being reflavored to be a pool of magical energy (for a witch or sorcerer-themed 'magic assassin') or psychic energy, could be a neat way to radically change the 'ninja,' eliminating the Asian weapon choices with something more appropriate to whatever culture it represents (Persian/Qadiran, Osirioni/Egyptian (throwing scarabs instead of shuriken, with 'switchblade' sharpened 'wings' popping out of the harmless jewelry-looking item?), Mwangi/African, Ulfen/Viking/Celtic, etc.)
Gunslinger variants that work based off of the bow, sling, crossbow, or even thrown weapons (such as shuriken, darts, daggers, etc.) seem like an obvious way to go. One based off of melee weapons, similar to how the swashbuckler uses panache instead of grit, like a PF version of the old Kensai kit / PrC from AD&D, could be an interesting tweak.
A Magus variant that can fight and use spell combat while holding a pair of daggers, or a staff (traditional wizard weapons). Instead of being a 'fighter / magic-user,' it's more of a magic-user who uses their magic to enhance their wizardly fighting options, and not an armored dude with a sword that has a few spells. Perhaps even a ranged 'dagger magus' variant-on-the-variant, or a wider range of potential 'ranged magi' using darts, thrown weapons, crossbows, etc.
Edit: Ah, *racial* archetypes. My bad!
Certainly, the idea of how to integrate the culturally specific samurai and ninja into races like the elf and dwarf, as well as more exotic races, without falling back on the 'Japanese elves' notion, could be one way to go. A non-Asian samurai archetype based on dwarven clan loyalties, or a non-Asian gnomish 'ninja' that taps into their innate fey magic to enhance their stealth / etc. (magical 'ki') could be avenues to explore.
Using magus to explore races that have both magical and martial traditions, dedicated to specific racial weapons, such as an 'elven curve blade magus' or 'elven bow magus,' or using the gunslinger / swashbuckler mechanic to showcase racial-weapon-focused dwarven waraxe fighters or half-orc falchion masters or halfling sling-specialists could be another way to go.
One difference between vampires and predatory animals is that animals have to kill to survive. There's no way for a lion to bite a meal off of a gazelle without killing it. A vampire, even in systems where they have some sort of mechanical penalty for not feeding, can choose to feed from animals, or feed so lightly from charmed / dominated / friendly humans that they can recover blood lost overnight. They don't *have* to kill. (Same with ghouls, who explicitly prefer long-dead flesh, and aren't motivated by their 'biology' or 'necrology' or whatever to kill.)
What makes so many vampires, ghouls, etc., unlike tigers, evil, is that, despite not having to kill to feed (and quite possibly not having to feed at all, just wanting to), is that they *choose* to kill.
GM Xabulba wrote:
It may be a stoning offense but I liked Ang Lee's Hulk.
It had upsides and downsides. Eric Bana and Jennifer Connelly are worth ten Ed Nortons and four Liv Tylers, respectively, but ye gawds, Nick Nolte was terrible as a villain, while Tim Roth was an excellent Blonsky. Then again, I thought Christian Bale was a ponderous and deadly dull Bruce Wayne, and that Michael Keaton did a much better job (and that nobody has even come within low-earth orbit of Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman yet), so I'm probably the last person whose opinion on superhero casting will be relevant. :)
308. Big in Pictures Your reflection in mirrored surfaces or water is always larger, as if you are pressed right up to the surface, even if you are several yards distant. In some cases, such as a large reflective surface or full-length mirror, your face might end up staring back at you, a yard or more in height, startling those nearby. Other things or persons nearby, if they reflect in the surface at all, tend to appear smaller or pushed to the side, to make room for this exaggerated view of your own features.
A Shoanti dual Klar style would be so much cooler (and so much *less* of an 'exploit' than) that Thunder & Fang feat that lets you dual wield an Earthbreaker and Klar.
That said, I'd totally approve of a Shield & Spear style. Allowing someone to one-hand a spear or even longspear, and equip a shield in the other hand, would simulate several real world fighting armies (like the Romans), and be less mechanically 'optimal' than being able to one-hand an Earthbreaker, which, both visually and mechanically, seems a bit over the top.
Goth Guru wrote:
Sooooo invocations. Is it like, the character mentions their god, possibly in their catch phrase, and it affects the next appropriate die roll, that day? Like "Thor's hammer!" might give a second chance to confirm a crit.
Pretty much. The actual invocations themselves weren't written down, but you could probably come up with them pretty easily, since there were about three per god.
-Textile Telekinesis-use highest mental stat for str score.
I suspect you meant tactile telekinesis, although being able to supernaturally manipulate cloth and clothing could also be funky. :)
"Ooh, my boots just tripped me. And now I'm all tangled up in my undergarments, which apparently now have not only Improved Grab, but also Constriction. I thought my war dog was safe, being naked and all, but the dude's turban / sash thingie just unwrapped and is attacking like a giant cloth snake!"
Bill Lumberg wrote:
932. Reverse Reflection: Any reflective surface shows the the opposite side of you instead of the one facing it.
This one reminds me a lot of those Rakshasa, who, even when disguised as a human, could be caught out by their reversed hands. This reverse reflection might be a fun hint that there's something 'wrong' or 'backwards' about the otherwise normal-looking person in front of you...
Kaiju mantis shrimp 'swim' through space and use their stellar-heat-igniting 'death punch' to turn planetoids into brief-lived stars, whose flare of light attract other kaiju mantis shrimps to mate.
If one lands on an inhabited planet of larger size, the resultant firestorm is rarely large enough to destroy more than a small kingdom, but that's still pretty catastrophic for the inhabitants of said kingdom...
For me there has never been an issue with genre or mode switching, but once you add eschatology into the mix, the idea of pure evil, damnation, etc, there's a notable shift in the mood. Sudden unwanted gravity enters the equation and it's still a handful for me to swallow.
Notions of soul (and the selling of or devouring of such) being bandied about as mechanics in the game have always put me off a bit. Just based on what we know, 70% of humans conceived don't live long enough to be born, and depending on assumptions of when a soul is generated or assigned to a living being, the upper and lower planes would be *vastly* populated with souls of people who never were even born (and so had no choice to be good or evil).
It's just whacky.
captain yesterday wrote:
Yeah, many APs are perfect for evil parties. 'Ooh, we stopped the evil whatever, and now we get to take over his castle / city / nation!'
That feat could be written a hair clearer, I imagine, and doesn't sound like it makes the attack count as magical for the purposes of overcoming DR, or if the shield's material type (like mithral or adamantine) has any effect on the damage being done, and even could possibly be misinterpreted to suggest that the shield's enhancement bonuses stack with actual weapon enhancement bonuses on a shield spike or something...
Fred Saberhagen's Empire of the East is a good read, and nicely combines elements of magical fantasy and post-tech-apocalypse sci-fi (including the most mind-blowing 'demons' ever).
Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light, Isle of the Dead and Creatures of Light & Darkness and probably the Amber books (which I don't remember all that well) also combine the spiritual / mystical and technology (more mental development and psi than magic, but far from a Babylon 5 or 'psionics' sort of feel).
Andre Norton's Witch World and C.S. Friedman's When True Night Falls are post-tech-apocalyptic magic settings (as are the works of Linda Bushyager and Anne McCaffery's Dragonriders of Pern books), but none of them really have much tech at all.
DM Under The Bridge wrote:
A golarion bodyguard, for sure.
Also fits thematically with the notion of 'shieldmaidens' who provide a defensive barricade for Vikings, or front line fighters in phalanx style formations, where the person in front shield-blocks, while the second rank goes on the offensive with a reach weapon.
Two shields, on the other hand, leaves you nothing to kill with. And no matter how many cool feats an RPG assigns to it, shields aren't particularly deadly in the real world. And no matter how ooc you are at defense, if you have no offense in a battle, you are going to die.
A spiked heavy shield in D&D and PF does as much damage (1d6) as short swords and shortspears and composite shortbows, the weapons with which Greek and Roman and Mongol armies conquered as much of the known world as they could physically reach.
I see adventures as about as relevant to the financial structure of the setting as celebrities and professional athletes and pop stars and pundits with their own talk / radio shows are to our own financial structure. They exist (in relatively small numbers, compared to the general population). They consume conspicuously and spend vast amounts of money on stuff that the rest of us kind of boggle at (Diamond encrusted tooth grills? Pretty much as relevant as a metamagic rod, to those of us who have no use for either, and more important things to spend our much smaller amounts of money upon.).
Right where they are concentrated, there would be cottage industries to support them (craftsmen specializing in pumping out magic items that nobody who isn't an adventurer, or ruler of an entire nation, could possibly afford, for instance), and these would exist at (and for) the convenience of the adventuring community, just as plastic surgeons and agents / managers and high priced companions and personal chefs / trainers all exist to sell overpriced services to the celebrities and athletes and other greatly overpaid people of our world, sucking away (some of) their money and returning it to the economy.
Thomas Long 175 wrote:
The post mentioned pointing and laughing. That's probably the best response to being mocked by someone who didn't bother to read what they were mocking. Point and laugh right back.
I kind of like the idea of something like the black orcs from Tome of Horrors, a sort of badass more disciplined subrace of orc, analogous to the Uruk Hai of Tolkien. I kind of wish Paizo would create something like that... after all there are something like 6 types of goblinoid statted up, but orcs only get one.
Most of the Tome of Horrors Orcs, IIRC, were just kind of generally awesome. (Net +8 to attributes, DR 1/-, etc. for the Black Orcs, best of the best. Yikes!)
If the average PC race has a net +2 to attributes, an Orc 'elite' group with a net +0 (+4 Str, -2 Int, -2 Cha, Orcish Sorcery *or* +2 Str, +2 Con, -2 Int, -2 Cha, Orcish Sorcery) would still be an upgrade from the current net -2, and help make them not kind of suck as much at *all* spellcasting classes, and still not be 'as good' as the net +2 an elf, dwarf, human, half-elf, half-orc or Halfling has.
Random (conversational) necromantic thoughts;
Some sort of 'elite' orcs who have no penalty to Wisdom might make them a bit more usable for something other than melee fodder (and be good for orc clerics, druids, rangers, etc.). They'd just be a version of orc like the 'dread corby' or wikiwak bugbears or color-scaled kobolds, not anything that the orc NPC would have to buy with a feat or racial ability trade-off.
Perhaps a racial 'old blooded' trait that gives them a +2 Cha for the purposes of a particular Sorcerer Bloodline (similar to the Tiefling Fiendish Sorcery racial thingie?) could also open up Sorcerer (and Bloodrager) a bit more (Orc, Undead (cause of ties to Gastash, Black Blood and / or Tar-Baphon), etc. Bloodlines seem most appropriate, although Aberrant, Abyssal, Deep Earth and Shadow are also good choices, as well as a theoretical Jotun Bloodline based on giantish relations). That 'Orcish Sorcery' trait could replace weapon familiarity or ferocity.
These are just patches for the issue, of the orc being designed mostly as a menace and not something more versatile and useful for any other type of encounter, but should serve to allow them to function without throwing a bunch of non-orcs into the spellcasting / leader roles.
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
He said that in true science fiction, the story was at least in some way about how the technology changed things. Not as a MacGuffin or substitute for a threat that could just as easily be a dragon or soldier, but how society, characters, or conflict is fundamentally changed by new technologies. The fiction is at least in big part *about* the science.
Some of my favorite sci-fi deals with how society and people (and sometimes the very definition of what is 'people') have changed. Cyberpunk, for example, often delved into how technology changed society, and futurist/transhumanist authors like Greg Egan and Peter Hamilton tend to dive right into that well.
Well-thought-out fantasy worlds go the same way. Eberron, for instance, dealt pretty strongly with how the presence of magic and other races changed the world / setting. Instead of it being 'fantasy Europe + all sorts of other stuff that changes nothing,' the presence of magic and other races shaped the entire setting in many ways. Other fantasy settings (and comic book settings, often) are more likely to shove other races off into their own little ghetto nations where humans don't want to live anyway and have humanity develop more or less unchanged in any significant way despite the presence of elves, magic and dragons.
Humanoid sounds funky as well. 'Oid' isn't a particularly respectful-sounding ending for a group of people, since it is used in words like 'android' (defined as a thing pretending to be a person).
Even 'PC races' sounds kind of like 'politically correct races.' Hah. Orcs aren't politically correct. I think we already knew that...
Semi-human? Quasi-human? Anything but sub-human. :)
Now I want there to be an angel of half-blooded people (half-elves, half-orcs, aasimar, etc.) called the 'Bastard Prince.'
"Heavy is the crown of the god-king/queen. The flail and scepter are pretty hefty too..."
[tangent] Perhaps because of the Crown/Orb/Scepter of Might from 1st edition, I always wanted to see non-Western versions of the 'regalia,' such as a Sword/Jewel/Mirror for a Japanese set. An Egyptian set is harder, 'though, because there's the Crown/Uraeus/Mask, the Was/Scepter, the Ankh, the Flail, the Scarab and the Spear. Nailing it down to just three (Scepter/Flail/Crown?) becomes an issue, because some of them, like the ankh and scarab, are also pretty iconic. Coming up with thematic powers also becomes a thing. The ankh is life, the uraeus / crown is rulership and wisdom, the flail represents agriculture, the was/scepter measurement (determining value) and architecture, etc. [/tangent]
More explicitly Osirioni/Vudrani/Qadiri/Mwangi/Tien/Kellid/Ulfen/Varisian/Arcadian Empyreals could be pretty neat, dragging myself kicking and screaming back to topicality.
'Demihuman' (elf, dwarf, gnome, halfling) Empyreals, or even odder fare (such as a Tengu Empyreal or an Android Empyreal) also.
In the vein of the 'make your own archfiend' thread, perhaps we could come up with some new Empyreal options.
Ross Byers wrote:
We don't even really know that blackberry wine is on the approved list - That might be a secret the same way the relationship with Brea is. It wouldn't be the first case of a set of societal rules that absolutely everyone breaks but pretends to obey in public.
Good point. This could be a modern day 'Monk's Tale,' with the various things being described (a gold lover's knot, for instance) turning out to be examples of exactly what a monk shouldn't be wearing / having / doing...
Still loving the visual, and it's something that was done (even if, like flaming battle poi or urumi, is more likely to be done in exhibitions than actual combat).
Still both cooler and more practical than dire flails, spiked chains and starknives, IMO. And many, many times less 'silly' than battle ladders and ripsaw glaives...
Then again, I'm still bummed that the hunga-munga, a spiky bit of iron-monger that can take a man's leg off at thirty feet, is less damaging than the sharpened Frisbee that is the chakram (although the version used by the Glamazons in Oglaf is at least amusing...).
Corrosive Rabbit wrote:
Ooh, I was just gonna mention this! Another article.
Ooh, yes! I do miss the Freeport setting with it's much more 'PC friendly' Serpentfolk.
I mostly just used the evolved racial classes as guidelines as to what stats to modify when Pathfindering-up the racial attribute modifiers of the base races. PF doesn't really use the idea of racial levels, so gating off any further 'racial evolution' into racial feats would probably better fit the PF way of doing things.
Android, Changeling (related to other Hag types?)
Samsarans are a gold mine of potential for people wanting to play a gender-swapped or race-bent character (someone who reincarnated into a very different body when they were born Samsaran, ranging from Jadzia Dax shenanigans to full-on Sinclair-becomes-Minbari).
Vishkanya, Suli and Tengu could definitely use some fleshing out.
Guidelines to make playable versions of less-'PC friendly' races like Derro, Dark Folk, Centaurs, Ogrekin and Mites could be neat, as part of an exploration of one of those races.
Good, because all this Pro House Thrune sentiment is really, really creepy.
Considering that we have people fighting tooth and nail to turn neutral nations like Druma, Hermea and Rahadoum into evil nations, I actually *prefer* that we have an actual evil nation or two to point at and say, 'We don't *have* to distort every other nation into evil, we've already got some that *are* evil already!'
It's like singing this with complete sincerity and saying "look at those really cool uniforms".
'If you like something I don't, you're just like Hitler!'
I've always loved that argument, particularly back in the 80's when it was 'D&D has magic and monsters in it, so playing it is exactly like devil-worship!'
Oh, the Realms aren't that bad. (Plus WotC already blew them up for you! Crisis on Infinite Spellplagues, wasn't it?)
Just have Elminster be an 8th level Divination specialist Wizard, with a truly terrifying collection of commissioned erotica depicting him and various goddesses and notable female rulers (none of whom he's ever met, or have ever heard of him), and run with it.
Like pretty much every setting, you pick and choose what you like, and ignore the rest, and, it being such a big setting, there's a lot of stuff there to like.
It's not like they've got spacefaring xenophobic penguin furries, or an entire nation of tortles, or... kender.
Ugh. I just remembered gully dwarves. My soul needs a shower.