I'm running with the Azlanti Star Empire having a small army of android servitors that they trust on suicide missions, basing them somewhat on the behavior and backstory of the androids from Neir Automata. For a while I even contemplated revealing to my players that the entire ASE was actually run by androids that had been created by the surviving Azlanti to carry on their legacy. The androids survived and conquered, while the humans (bereft of resources) eventually went extinct...
I'm probably gonna never spring that though, since I think I might like whatever setting lore they put into AtAT better.
I also definitely use the AAF a lot, since I like the idea of a complex mix between a group of individuals fighting injustice mixed with what is essentially a "well-meaning" terrorist organization.
As stated above, it's entirely up to the group. That having been said...
Based on what little we know of PTSD, magic *could* theoretically help reduce its presence. Based on what I recall from research, PTSD either causes (or is caused by, or at least is linked with, in a chicken-egg fashion) a form of very localized neural degeneration in the areas of the brain responsible for memory retrieval and emotional processing. To simplify it almost to an absurd degree, one's brain has basically wired certain memories so destructively that it causes severe harm. In theory, operating under the assumption that this limited knowledge has been expanded upon by a setting that can manipulate the very building blocks of life for commercial gain with limited issue (save for resources and costs), one could imagine that someone has devised, say, a biotech implant that repairs those connections. Thus, when the brain processes that memory, the biotech implant offsets the sudden release of stress hormones, or maybe even repairs the previous damage. Magic might be able to patch it as well, though it would likely require very high level magic (it might require the return of psychic surgery).
In other words, in theory, SF should have the resources to, if not cure, than treat PTSD. The thing is...
Unlike a virus or bacteria, mental illness cannot be eradicated through treatment. And even in an advanced setting like SF< it beggars belief that preventative treatment can be administered to literally every sapient lifeform to someone prevent a mental illness, if that's even possible. Which means new instances of PTSD will always crop up when stressful or traumatic situations occur (and in a dangerous a setting as Starfinder, that'd be often). At which point, one runs into the same issue that the reprint Curse of the Crimson Throne dealt with: just because magic/tech can fix something, doesn't mean resources or availability is sufficient to fix it. Sure, some wealthy or fortunate citizens, perhaps on worlds that have a beefy public health infrastructure, could get excellent and perhaps permanent treatment at little cost. But on Akiton? Absalom Station? Apostae? Forget it. The common person wouldn't be able to afford the sort of high-level tech/magic necessary to treat a complex condition like PTSD. And then there's the fact that we don't know what sorts of cultural stigma each world has on mental illness. I can't see the Veskarium viewing PTSD in any fashion resembling a healthy mindset. I'm sure there are thousands of Vesk soldiers trying to "tough it out" in lieu of getting treatment, for fear of being ridiculed by their colleagues. It's a very real concern in our society, and SF is not universally more advanced as far as culture is concerned. Therefore...PTSD would not be gone, even if a cure were devised. Because said cure would likely be more complex than a single casting of a low-level spell. And thus, to about 80% of the galaxy, it would be out of their reach.
I do want to intrject here. Interesting discussion, but a few small notes.
1. I wish to defend the OP’s use of surnames (which seems a strange Ad Hominum argument anyway). In academia, citing sources frequently demands using surnames. I’ve been in situations when presenting or writing a paper and have had to cite the sources of the person the paper was addressed to, and had to maintain the requisite formality throughout, as silly as that sounds (hell, it’s not half so awkward as when you have to cite yourself, which you actually do have to do, and it makes you feel like some big egotistical weirdo)
2. I think that the degree of hostility is measured, and I am uncertain anything written here necessitates tone policing per se. but that’s just imo
3. I think the OP makes a good point that this contradiction does seem more a bizarre pattern of behavior than just single incidences which can be handwaved. Taldor is, for example, a tradition-minded military state, but yet has a female general? If it were as severally sexist as it claims, this would be unusual to be sure. Now, I must respectfully disagree with the OP that this constitutes a game-breaking revelation. I still think that, qs many others supposed, this could be symptomatic of a social trend that Eutropia’s crusade intends to push to legitimacy (like how MLK pushed the civil rights movement) through her Senate vote. That would explain why there’s still a pervasive culture of sexism and yet some women thrive. And perhaps Eutropia is using this as her most oressing issue, a sort of rallying cry that symbolizes greater reform, such as the promised reforms of Bernie Sanders being encapsulated in “tax the rich.” Also, even Stavian appoijting women can be explained with a.) his vasillating mood, b.) political snubs or bargains, c.) unlike Eutropia, he never percieves them as threats
4. Yeah females is a bit dehumanizing. Though this does raise a super off topic question of mine: is a female Halfling also called a woman? Woman and Man are designations for human females and males, respectively (tolkien took special care to call
I mean, you can use it for a lot of creative things, like being able to convey emotional experience. For example, say you want to share the horrid feeling of experiencing a cultural taboo and have difficulty articulating this to an alien with a very distinct culture...touch them and boom, they feel your revulsion and know personally what you just experienced. I had an idea for a pair of NPC empath mystics that used their limitless mind link ability to convey the feelings of love and physical attraction to one another to improve their intimacy (Arshea worshippers probably do this A LOT)
The Kindler Chronicles
A trivid series supposedly based on a series of famous gothic-horror novels by a pre-Gap Golarion author. Known for its spooky feel and focus on cheesy purple-prose inner monologues, as well as the hammy acting of its "monsters," the KCs have becoming something of a cult following. Ironically, this has also greatly boosted the sale of reproduced, translated copies of the original text. To the displeasure of some, this has also created a lurid fanfiction community on many infospheres, which tend to glorify and sympathetically portray Kindler's monsters. Of particular note is the saucy erotic romance of a vampire and a human named Black Dawn , which has a massive following among (mainly female) adolescents across the Pact Worlds. This work is particularly controversial on Eox, where prominent vampiric undead in government veer between seeing the work as a type of racial flattery that portrays their kind as something other than monsters, to cultural appropriation that fetishizes their condition for the entertainment of strangers.
Because they want to? Because their family did (i.e. they are a patron deity)? Because they want to cause their patron to undergo apotheosis (seems like Arshea became a straight up deity in Starfinder, for e.g., because their portfolio became more salient to a wider number of people, tl;dr "more worshippers = more godlike power")? Take your pick.
I actually really liked Eberron's take on alignment back in the 3.5 days, because while it never removed alignment (which I always found to be a suboptimal model of motivation and behavior for, among other things, the reason this thread already has 8 pages despite its short age), it did make things more grey by removing alignment assumptions and restrictions. For instance, they clarified that divine magic is derived from faith itself, not the divine being to which the faith was being presented. In other words, it is perfectly feasible for a cleric of a LG god to be CE and still have magic. This adds a degree of real-world drama that I sort of enjoy. It has a more pulp-noir feel.
Besides, that's not even addressing the fact that even the perceived "objectivity" of RPG morality is subjective, since one good god might not agree with another good god on a common definition of good. Ergo, if two gods of the same alignment cannot agree on whether a certain act is good, it is by definition subjective.
Also, evil spells never made too much sense to me, especially since many "evil" spells don't even address malicious or harmful actions. For instance, summoning a fiendish being should not be inherently evil, because even though the being you are binding is composed of evil, the individual in control of the situation possesses free will and nuance and is thus not defined by their nature. A tool can't really be good or evil. It can be designed such that it has no non-negative applications (like a gun, for e.g., which is solely designed to kill), but even then, someone could use them in a context in which they might be used "for good" (take the gun example, if you use it to shoot a demon lord trying to destroy the world).
I dunno, I just think alignment is oddly restrictive and kind of counterintuitive. I've never found it useful. I've found it disruptive at times. I'd prefer without it, but I just ignore it anyway, soooooo
I do agree that Golarion's timeline as a whole does appear to be a bit odd, given how magic should have sped up technological innovation rather than slow it down (mainly because it reduces certain limitations that humanity had to abide by for so long, thus resulting in the fits and starts of development mentioned by other posters). The only potential reason why nobody has used magic to kick-start advancement is because of social suppression. But that's actually quite unlikely, as many of the cultures listed on Golarion have cultures that focus on equitable distribution of resources, or are wealthy enough to try (like some parts of the main Keleshite empire). In a world where instantaneous communication, fine-tuned perceptions of reality, and access to the minds and observations of beings literally present when the universe began, science should have exploded loooooooong before Golarion hit the 4000's mark post-Aroden. Heck, the Azlanti had interstellar travel and their history (while the length is rather obscure) is implied to be somewhat shorter than the modern period. The fact that Numeria exists, Technic League not-withstanding, means that somebody might have been able to, if not reverse engineer, than at least finagle understanding of complex mathematics and engineering.
Nidal, comparatively, is incredibly easy to understand. Their cultural stasis is mandated and upheld by a divine being. In a world where magic exists, and the populace willingly signed their entire country away to a god, that makes sense.
Given the relative racial diversity of Golarion as a whole, most common-folk would likely assume the character was somehow supernatural (for e.g., they were an angel or angel-descended) and make assumptions based on local tradition, but beyond that no general reaction. As Simeon pointed out, this largely depends on where. In Cheliax, they might get a lot of hate because of similarity to a Strix, and depending on where they were, nobody might have actually seen a Strix and thus be able to make the distinction. In Ustalav you'd get weird looks...but so does everyone in a country where a healthy dallop of terror-induced paranoia is the norm. More free-form places like Andoran, Absalom, or the River Kingdoms wouldn't give a fig. They'd make some weird assumption, then immediately dismiss it in favor of "but will they pay for my drink if i ask?" In Katapesh, that character might be targeted by slavers for looking exotic.
In some places in Tian Xia, some people would be confused by the mere suggestion that this is even unusual to begin with, that land being so inundated with outsiders and other supernatural influences even on the rural level.
Reaction, like real estate, is all about location, location, location.
Granted, since dwarves are quite traditionally minded, just because Torag no longer answers prayers/isn't present doesn't mean they don't honor his dogma. The original Divine Mandate of the Quest for Sky was given millenia ago on Golarion. Torag did not actively facilitate it after the fact, and the desire to continue with it is all based on interpretation. The emphasis for the continuation of the Quest is on the word "believe." They think Torag would want them to keep reaching for distant new horizons, but this is more conjecture. Since he's not around to correct them (nor would he, since sectarian divisions have occurred among the divine before, see the Cult of the Dawnflower as an example), they just keep on trucking and hoping they'll eventually fulfill some unspecified destiny.
1.) Probably, though they're likely just regular healers that also practice dentistry. I don't know how common it would be, since dental health was never that high a priority prior to the 20th century in our world.
2.) We didn't invent ether until the mid-19th, early 20th century. That was the earliest form of anesthetic. Based on that, I'd suggest that no, they don't. Not mundane anesthetic, anyway. However, since there are spells to make one resistant to pain, and alchemy is a thing, they've probably figured out a work-around. I'd be willing to bet dollars to donuts they have it, it's just pricey and magically-dependent.
3.) Probably not very high. The ordinary person probably does the grim work of a sawbones. A cleric would probably just cast some sort of restoration spell-effect. An alchemist has probably invented toothpaste somewhere. So mundane levels of tech are probably low. Magic fixes a ton of problems and since culturally, equity is not a concern for most Inner Sea nations, no one would bother to create a freely usable alternative.
4.) Probably lesser restoration? Remove disease, perhaps. Regeneration is a definite, since that can just regrow the whole freakin' tooth if need be. You might be able to just cast prestidigitation on your teeth after every meal to clean them of debris.
5.) Depends on how good understanding of public health is in Golarion. In some places, I'm sure its better than in others. For the most part, dental hygiene is probably not a priority unless you're a noble, and then it's likely not "hygiene" but rather "this makes me look less like a poor person."
I'd also be willing to bet that in Tian Xia countries, people blacken their teeth on purpose, like they did in Japan and parts of China in the late medieval period.
Teeth brushing is unlikely to be common-place, but some people might chew various things to freshen their breath or pick their teeth for gristle. Conscientious mages would probably prestidigitate their teeth clean. Beyond that though...probably not common.
I actually don't hate them at all. But then again, I'm a rules lawyer from way back, so I love the challenge of wrapping my mind around new concepts. I love the flavor of the classes, since to me they feel a lot more distinct than 3.5 psionics ever did.
However, I can see why people might find the Kineticist and Occultist confusing on first read-through. Even I had to re-read the occultist entry like 3 times before I even had a baseline understanding of the class. This is mainly because they seem to have turned a single class into an update of 3.5 Incarnum rules. Buuuuuut, again, those are two classes. Kineticist wasn't even that hard to understand. Hard to balance if you're a powergamer, sure (because managing burn is harder to math than most class mechanics).
The Psychic is pretty straightforward, and the Spiritualist is a more balanced Summoner who has a ghost best friend, so I dig that. The Medium is PF's answer to one of my favorite 3.5 classes (the Binder) so I'm always going to be down with that. And the Mesmerist is just neat.
I legitimately don't understand the hate for Occult, except in theory. I guess people don't like the flavor also? Okay, fair, YMMV, but I don't see it myself.
That being said, I sincerely doubt that someone who decided that worshipping Lamashtu isn't their low bar is unlikely to go through the technical rigmarole to avoid killing sentient newborns. If anything, they would've done it anyway because they want to. The fact that their patron rewards them for the action is just perks. Ah, Lamashtans. Such wonderful company...
As far as the whole racial penalties thing, unless you're playing SF Society, you can just nab one of the pre-built "ability quick picks" which disregard racial bonuses and penalties and just hand you a stat layout. Which, you know...is a bit more boring, but it means you can make a roided-out ysoki without any issues...
There's a couple you may have missed
Akiton - Human (red)
Also, Shirren are not originally native to the Pact Worlds system, so they do not originally come from Verces. And while the Idari does not have a dominant religion, it does have a dominant philosophy: The Cycle.
I liked a lot of the interesting new options for this book. The spells are nice. The idea of magic plants is definitely flavorful (in more ways than one :p ) and cool, and the in-depth description of weather phenomena are pretty neat. I like the fact that phytokineticists finally got a hardcover printing (shame void didn't make it in, here's hoping for their inclusion in Planar Adventures). I like some of the archetypes, with the Green Knight being particular cool (props for almost perfectly matching the flavor with mechanics of the original Sir Gawain work). I'm a bit disappointed in the Shifter, simply because I was expecting that they would get more diverse shapeshifting abilities than druids rather than more limited (albeit more potent) abilities. That having been said, that doesn't really strike me as a point against the book as a whole, and overall I think it's nothing I didn't expect from a pure combat class (which aren't my cup of tea to begin with). I'm mostly disappointed with the oozemorph, which can only be a functional PC for like an hour a day at early levels, although I do think it's absolutely hilarious that one of your party members spends a majority of their time as a literally semi-useless pile of goo :)
Love the new wild shape feats.
One question though: does Improved Natural Weapon apply to shifter claws? If so, how does it modify their final iteration of 1d10 damage. Actually, is there an FAQ or errata that details how much damage a hypothetical large shifter might do with shifter claws (I wanted to try my hand at making an ogre shifter NPC).
So, I've been trying my (admittedly suboptimal) search fu to try and figure out the Animal Shaman archetypes for the Druid. FAQ's make it clear that the animal shaman archetypes are intended to grant the Wild Shape feature at level 6. So...what does this mean for the druid's capstone ability? If their wild shape is delayed by 2 levels, does this mean animal shaman druids (and other druids with delayed wild shape) never get the at will wild shape? Or is there something out there that clarifies this?
I mean, it's unlikely the Blood Laws of Castrovel would include half-drow, given the vehement objections Sovyrian had over Apostae's inclusion in the Pact. As to the other aspects, I'd just replace Keen Senses and Low-Light Vision with Darkvision. Otherwise, I don't even think any technical change are really necessary tbh, but that's just me.
I mean, likely they wouldn't fare well in drow society, since they didn't before, and drow society appears to have changed very little.
Yo dude, what's with this centuries-old barbarism? We enlightened ysoki welcome our catfolk siblings with open arms, willing to put the ecological struggles of past generations behind us to share in the bounty of unified, and more cultured galaxy.
Because let's be real...both of us need to unite to rise up and take out the hypothetical dog-people of the Vast that might strike from the darkness between the stars at any moment!
I mean, I agree it is odd that they add the macro fields alongside their various specializations without differentiating them. Honestly, I'm not sure why you would ever not specialize. Sure, I tell people I'm a psychologist for ease of reference. In reality, my training is in cognitive psychology. Specifically, memory. Specifically, memory and decision making. Specifically, law-based applications of...
You get the idea.
I don't really think it makes too much a difference, mechanically speaking.
Oh, also, the relationship between bioengineering and genetics is kind of a square-rectangle type thing. I.e. all genetics is bioengineering but not all bioengineering is genetics. For example, biomedical engineering refers to the creation of technologies to manipulate cellular structures (like laser for the eradication of cancer cells, or more commonly for the identification of same), and other applications of bioengineering might be the creation of organic ships, like Shirren-based models. Cell-cultures and the like might also be considered bioengineering.
Genetics on the other hand specifically covers the direct manipulation of genetic structures and codes. That's kind of a subset of bioengineering, certainly, but on a much more focused scale.
This was basically impossible to replicate, but once while playing a game of Traveller, an old roommate of mine played an insectoid species very much like the Shirren, and they made the arbitrary decision of having that species speak only on the in-breath...
In my head-cannon, this is what all insectoid characters sound like now
I'd like to point out that Space Goblins are listed as being more...intelligent than their terrestrial counterparts, and I find it pretty unlikely they've retained the same frankly *insane* belief structure. I mean, granted, I've seen no evidence of this yet, other than the fact that the goblins they introduce in Dead Suns are actually intelligible, but I somehow doubt they brought their whole "reading steals your soul" shtick into the future. It's kind of...insane in a world where an internet exists.
So, we know that Vesk Prime is the homeland of the Vesk. Vesk-3 is the homeworld of Skittermander. And Vesk-8 is some sort of frozen wasteland. But what was most intriguing was Vesk-6, which is supposedly inhabited by cat-people. I'm wondering if there's any more information on this species? Do they not have spaceflight? Have they been so thoroughly conquered by the Vesk that they're near extinct? What/who are they?
Silent Justice wrote:
Drakeslayers! A movie from the 280s about a group of unlikely allies coming together to take out a Red Dragon CEO! Very gritty and dark but also kinda cheesy.
I can only imagine the discrimination lawsuits coming out of Triaxus from this. "Why are dragons always typecast as the BBEGs. It's downright racism if you ask me. Harumph."
Well, I know for a fact that Dragonkin aren't cold-blooded, because dragons aren't and since they are creatures of the dragon type...well. As for the other reptilian races...I'd say no. For one reason because evolutionary speaking, inability to thermoregulate would not an advanced cognition support. In addition, even if that were the case pre-Gap...post-Gap a simple neural implant could probably fix that right up.
There's also the fact that "colossal" basically represents a "miscellaneous" category as far as sizing is concerned. It's larger than gargantuan...that's it. I'm pretty sure it was mentioned in the rules once that there is a range of what colossal actually means, but that in rules terms it doesn't matter all that much, as at that point "big" is "big."
Also, the devils can transform with magic, as Rysky said, which means it can probably manipulate its size to some degree.
Once, an old college roommate of mine portrayed a bug-species as always speaking on the in-breath. So now, I imagine that whenever shirren actually speak out loud...it's that way.
As for everybody else, I'd assume the voices aren't that off from a human's. I imagine Contemplatives sound kind of...scratchy, like the voxophones from Bioshock Infinite, and I'd imagine the Haan or other more insectile races to have an odd clicking sound in the back of their throat when they spoke. But the main core...probably the same.
Also, Skittermanders sounding like Stitch is pretty much my go-to. Same with goblins.
I actually created an NPC pair who were a ysoki and half-elf. Since one was a physician-mage and the other a biochemical engineer, they combined transmutation magic and gene therapy that allowed them to successfully have a kid. Said kid is a half-elf like his mother...but manfiests natural lycanthropy and becomes a wererat as a teenager.
It's tough for him, but hey, at least his mom got to publish a paper about the possible origins of lycanthropy.
Lesse, I'm super inquisitive, love learning random information, and am easily excitable. I've got a decent understanding of psychology, and am pretty good at learning new information. So...I'd probably end up being a ysoki scholar technomancer or mystic. If not those, then probably an envoy with the phrenic adept archetype.
Yup. Like, even the "masterworks" of the past are actually inferior to the basics of the present. A Stradivirias violin is objectively inferior in construction to a $10 factory construct, and while you can learn to make said violin yourself, the time constraints and the output just don't match up. High-order magic is still done...on the macro level (like the various hybrid technologies and, more than likely, in the construction of superstructures), but most people won't bother to specialize that tightly.
Also, interestingly, a few "high level" spells can still be cast at lower levels (like regeneration, reincarnate, interplanetary teleport, control gravity) all exist...at lower spell levels. It's possible many of the most powerful magic has been streamlined to be usable even without specialization, but some spells just get left by the wayside.
130) Human icon Solarion who goes by the name of Starlight Rose, always followed by his trusty cam-drone. He is a "hero for justice and freedom, whose love and protection reaches wherever starlight shines." Either completely crazy or just an incredibly committed character actor, SR never drops the act, and behaves as an incredibly flamboyant and outrageous superhero trope, oftentimes calling on the "love and hope" of his fans to help him "defeat evil wherever it hides." Though his antics and cam-recordings are over-the-top and ridiculous, he does legitimately seem to be sincere, and goes from world to world helping anyone in need, spreading a message of love and hope wherever he goes.
The static crackle of an old-fashioned radio app turns on as a bored ysoki waiting at a docking bay tunes into Absalom Station News Radio. They listen to a number of news items, some interesting, some dull, but at the end the omni-present statement interrupts...
And now a word from our sponsors...
1.) "Our universe is expanding, and with it, so are our boundaries. We travel to the edge of space to meet new friends. Co-workers. Family. For every star, there's a person who wants to meet you, and a new experience that can be gained, from something as simple as a quick conversation to something more. And now, for just a small 30 credits a month, Shelynet can help you make those connections.
Shelynet. The universe is vast, but who said it had to be lonely?"
2.) "Tired of your old cybernetics shortin' out on ya? Tired of havin' to go down to your physician to have this and that part replaced and fixed, over and over again? Tired of shellin' out money to keep those rusty old bits operational? Well, no more! Come on down to Trusty Sal's Discount Parts Warehouse! We offer the finest in budget cybernetics, with the best and brightest surgeons the galaxy's got to offer. Got old gunky parts? We'll trade them in for new ones at an affordable price! Got an unusual or unique part you need ordered? We'll have it shipped to you in 5 days or your money back!
Trusty Sal's: Don't fall apart! Come see Sal."
The whole "demarcations of magic disappearing" actually seems kind of...organic to me.
As someone refines the knowledge of a science, things that were once considered to be unrelated become far more interdisciplinary. Take psychology for example. Used to be considered entirely abstract and philosophical, but now incorporates biology, chemistry, endocrinology, medicine, etc.
Honestly, as people began to study the actual undercurrents of magic, they might have begun to notice certain patterns and trends they thought were unrelated. "Esoteric" and "divine" were already closely related (plenty of archetypes for psychic classes switched their spellcasting to divine), and there were already classes that cast one type of spell as a different form of magic (bards and alchemists with the "cure" line of spells, for e.g.). It stands to reason that as breakthroughs in understanding how magic works would allow people to unify disparate disciplines into one, and the specific specializations become stylistic rather than rigid.
So, I'm guessing calling Shirren kids "Maggots" is pretty hurtful then?
Also, it's not technically cannibalism if they're not the same species :)