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Played through this one at GenCon.
Happily used the line [Indiana Jones] "These artifacts belong in a museum!" [/Indiana Jones]
So wanted to burn the place down (a swarm and no AoE spells among the entire party is unpleasant, and so is having no one being able to natively cast remove disease). Seriously enjoyed the scenario nonetheless. :)
Generally speaking the default pathway for embryological development is female, but it's a large abstraction, albeit a convenient one. It's more subtle and complex than that. Things start out as neither male nor female with some common embryological structures that differentiate early on to female or male structures. I like to posit the situation as males being suppressed females and females being suppressed males.
There are male specific genes present on the X chromosome which are suppressed in most women for instance. The SRY gene on the Y chromosome is responsible for suppressing numerous female specific genes and activating male specific ones, stopping female development pathways and pushing male ones forward. For instance in the absence of SRY you can have a genetically XY fetus develop as a female.
Players end up in possession of a soul gem containing the essence of an ancient and mad imentesh protean of the long-dead Chorus of Malignant Symmetry. The players also knew a friendly (if completely unreliable) NPC that has some manner of connection with the (possibly protean built) city of Galisemni in the Maelstrom, and seemingly on good terms with the protean lord Ssila'meshnik.
So they approach the NPC while she's in the middle of boozing herself into oblivion, just because it seemed like a good game plan for that day. They give her the gem. She listens to it, whispers back to it a bit. She shrugs, pauses a moment, and then proceeds to swallow it.
Ramifications to come later. :D
Fwiw, many daemons tend to have scattered, disjointed recollections of their mortality. The knowledge that yes, they were once mortals, causes no small amount of self-loathing, rage, and delusional justification on their part.
Trelmarixian the Horseman of Famine is a special case in that he retains a perfect memory of his entire mortal existence, with the singular exception of the moments just prior to his death by self-inflicted starvation.
I'm certainly looking forward to reading, critiquing, and where requested providing feedback on stories submitted to the contest. :)
This looks really awesome and I'll be devouring this when I have the chance to do so today (when I'm not grilling* or blowing things up to celebrate 'Murica). :D
*catagory 2 hurricane permitting
Also, a huge congratulatory thanks to the editors, proofreaders, contributing authors and artists, and everyone else that worked on this. And a personal thank you and shout out to Tanyaporn Sangsnit for some amazing artwork for my story '14 Neth - Xaos Night'!
Unprotected exposure to both the Positive and Negative energy planes is lethal. Neither plane has an alignment trait. Neither type of energy is linked to Good or Evil.
Citation: write ups of both planes in 'The Inner Sea World Guide' and 'The Great Beyond'.
What's evil is certain applications of negative energy, its effect on the position-energy empowered soul, and arguably the disruption of the natural flow of souls, etc. Fire isn't evil, but burning down an orphanage full of innocents is. Water isn't evil, but drowning your best friend is. Neither fire or water are aligned elements, but their applications can be twisted towards good or evil ends. Same thing with positive and negative energy, but negative energy is vastly more easily able to turn to evil uses because the vast majority of creatures are empowered by positive energy-based souls.
Many undead are evil not because of what energy empowers them, but by the intent of their creators, the particular way in which negative energy is applied, or if they aren't evil initially, the long-term prognosis as a result of the interaction between a soul and negative energy isn't normally promising to not eventually slide towards evil. James has written a lot on this topic in various threads.
One problem that I often see is a difference in -how- the genders are presented as sexualized.
Females are often sexualized as objects of desire much more often than as sexually aggressive and wanting -you- rather than the other way around. Males on the other hand often get the opposite as aggressive, dangerous sexual creatures that generally are more often male power fantasies than something appealing to heterosexual women (or gay males).
What I'd like to see is an incubus depicted as an object of desire, alluring and there to tempt you, pushing you to make the move, to want them rather than the other way around. Males are rarely depicted in this capacity.
Taking a page from my partner, I created a male (though capable of shifting gender at will) sorcerer who also works as a high priced escort *cough*rent boy*cough* in my current campaign that by various means ended up sweeping their character off of his feet and leading him around like a love-sick puppy. Nothing good will come of this given that the manipulative dandy is an erodaemon descended tiefling that worships Trelmarixian, but the character does turn the standard dynamic of how RPGs portray males as sexual (when they do at all) on its head.
More variety in how males, females, and every other option is depicted and presented as sexual (when it makes sense in context to present them that way) would be awesome. Things are improving -a lot- compared to even just ten years ago, and Paizo has been really working on this, which is awesome. :)
I like to think that with the exception of those few ascended mortals who became gods, the majority of gods don't have a specific true form. As such, their depiction in art, statues, and altars (as well as manifestations to their worshipers) reflects the local ethnicity (or even species). As such you have Abadar depicted as Taldane, or Tien, etc and likewise I could easily see Pharasma depicted to suit the local population mix.
That said, it would be very cool to have some more artwork of gods depict a wider range of ethnic groups where it would make sense to see that. :)
Lord Snow wrote:
So I had the exciting chance to do exactly as the thread title describes, and the results are here. It was quite an interesting interview, and even though it was meant to interest new readers, I found myself learning some awesome facts about his books that I didn't use to know. So it could be a good read both for those who are not familiar at all with Wilson's work, and for those who are but don't know much of the behind the scenes stuff.
You are so damn lucky. Wilson's fiction is amazing and I need to go read that interview now :)
"The Right" is as fragmented and fractured as it comes, with at least in the US, the Republican party being this Frankenstein's monster'esque amalgam of social/religious conservatives and on the other side economic conservatives and libertarians that could care less what you do in bed so long as it's consensual.
A considerable chunk of the right wing in my experience is wholly on board with marriage equality, doubly so among younger voters who care about jobs and the economy and not about who you sleep with.
The country is changing with regards to marriage equality, and this is a good thing.
Paris Crenshaw wrote:
So how does an Astradaemon attack on a soul in the river play out? Do they ever go after particular souls or are they just random assaults? If daemons are actively hunting down the PC's as antagonists what's the chance of this occurring on death and how could it be detected/prevented?
This hasn't been handled in depth yet in print, so until such time as it is, here's how I would handle it:
They're hungry, and any attack they'll be balancing out an urge to simply snatch up the closest and easiest soul to ensnare and devour, versus diving in and going for the metaphysically fattest, choicest soul.
Most of the astradaemon packs owe loyalty to one of the Four, with a smaller number created by one of the Harbingers and delivering souls to them after a period of hunting. Most of them are pretty mechanical in their thinking, so using them as soul-assassins is going to be rarer than using them as random wolf packs or swarming sharks. But if you somehow fall afoul of a Harbinger or gods forbid one of the Four, they might do just that and hunt down your soul in-transit to Pharasma's domain should you die.
doc the grey wrote:
Musing here on my part, but this is culled from printed material in BotD 3 and elsewhere:
Rising out of their own hatred for mortals, some of them are utterly obsessed over mortal souls. Among the current Four, Trelmarixian has an almost religious obsession with soul experimentation. Part death camp scientist, part religious fanatic, equal parts nightmarish gourmand.
The specifics of the daemonic creation of demons wasn't spelled out (it's one of those things that should have wiggle room I think), but it could be implied that Lyutheria the Parasite Queen had a hand in the process, potentially along with her then student/lover/snack Trelmarixian. There's a bit in an early Kobold Quarterly that touches on their callous, rampant, and frankly reckless experimentation, with the suggestion that failed experiments (whatever they would see as a failure isn't explained) are simply dumped into the Abyss or the Maelstrom 'like the ones before'.
Again, while it isn't solidly stated one way or the other, I would suggest that you could reasonably point a finger at the current Horseman of Famine and his very-much-eaten-by-him predecessor (who is suggested to have been potentially the oldest Horseman except for Charon who is original).
As for if the first nascent demons were intentionally or carelessly dumped into the Abyss and subsequently blew up there is unknown. If it was intentional, the experiment exceeded far beyond their wildest dreams and indeed every expectation of control on their part. But in the long run, might they even care if it ticks the countdown clock to Oblivion a notch closer to midnight?
Ross Byers wrote:
Slight change of subject: Why was Asmodeus's sacred animal a viper? He doesn't normally evoke a lot of snake imagery. Frankly, I was expecting it to be a goat.
My guess is the whole 'serpent in the Garden' motif.
It's older and at least in my opinion less cliche than the Eliphas Levi derived goat motif (which is already poached by Baphomet the demon lord who pretty much gets his entire appearance from Levi's illustration of the Baphomet).
I rather like that they went with the viper. :)
And you just doomed my players to an encounter with them now. And they've already gone to creepytown with some of the asuras, meladaemons, and things they don't yet have names for. Time to jolt it up a notch because Trelmarixian and Tegresin werent disturbing enough. :D
Also I didn't create Fulca. But I am in inspired awe of whoever added him into BotD3
Ross Byers wrote:
All just me musing here:
I think this one depends on how old she is. Does she predate mortals? And if so, does that also imply that psychopomps do as well? It's subtle perhaps, but if she predates the mortal cycle or life and death, does that make her different from the psychopomps in some manner if they came about afterwards?
And to add to the list: the Oinodaemon is absolutely a daemon - the first one even. But it may or may not be a deity, less than one, the plane of Abaddon itself, or something else entirely. That's a big, intentionally open question mark. :)
I've yet to make PaizoCon :(
Won't make it this year. Potentially next year? *fingers crossed* In lieu of something awesome like winning the lottery, it'll have to be a choice between GenCon and PaizoCon. Taking a page from others for GenCon, I've considered Kickstarting a get me to PaizoCon thing. :)
Ross Byers wrote:
I hypothetically feel the exact same way. Just saying :)
Despite the fact that there are still spots left, and despite the fact that I've got several characters begging for more artwork, I already have a metric ton of artwork of some of my favorite characters, and I shouldn't be greedy when others' might not have any artwork of theirs.
Thus I just want to say that you're awesome, and I'll at least share my current favorite active character. Besides I'm going to wall of text this place!
Name: Il'setsya the Wyrmtouched aka Crazy-hooves, aka Random McSparkletail
Il'setsya in many ways looks like a classic tiefling: slightly curling horns like those of a ram or antelope, a long scaly tail, and goat legs from the knees down. Take that archetypal tiefling and add the primal essence of the Maelstrom and perhaps some LSD and you'll have Il'setsya.
Her fingers are tipped in claws painted a wild assortment of colors, and her skin is covered by a mottled sheen of scales on her neck, forearms, and outer thighs in a mixture of green, purple, and orange. Making tieflings everywhere jealous, her tail is prehensile and insanely long (nearly twice as long as she is tall) and the crazy thing is covered in scales and feathers along the spine that shift color randomly – with the tail’s tip having a burst of fur and feathered plumage.
The girl's eyes glow a luminous shade of neon orange most of the time, and her wild, perpetually moving hair is usually some flavor of brilliant grape purple, lime green, or candy-apple red, though like everything else about her, the particular color is prone to change on its own accord at random - and she wouldn't have it any other way.
Beyond that she's prone to decorating herself with a wild assortment of earrings in her pointed ears somewhere between elven and tiefling, a hodgepodge of jewelry she stole that never really matches, and lips painted an obnoxious shade of purple.
And if it were obvious that somewhere in her past one of her ancestors dallied with a protean, she has a floating ring of translucent, glowing blue symbols in Protean loosely orbiting around her head. If asked about it, she'll casually reply that it's a keketar's crown that she gleefully borrowed, entirely without permission of course.
Random, silly, obnoxiously whimsical. She doesn't have a care in the world, and she's of the mind to share that very same outlook with anyone else she meets. Depending on their own outlook, she might do so whether they mind it or not. Watch your purse, don't trust your senses, and take her with a mountain sized grain of multicolored salt. You'll have fun with her around, trust her.
Il'setsya grew up in the planar city of Galisemni in the Maelstrom, though she no longer remembers any details of her past. Her parents, her childhood, any brothers or sisters or friends, all of this is forever lost to her, because she signed her name upon an artifact in that city scratched with thousands of others before her.
It was covered in names not recorded in any book nor remembered by any scholar or any god - these names have never existed. But as legend says, those that voluntarily give their name are granted their greatest wish in return, though it may not be the one that they had in mind. It gives, but in return it devours everything, and thus it did for Il'setsya. All she knows is that she signed her name, and that prior to that she flipped a coin: heads she would sign her name, and tails she would kill herself.
She does know the precise reason why she signed the wall, and has never told a soul - not friends, not lovers, nor the proteans that seem to flock to her side like family members to a wayward sister. But she's happy, finally.
Probability doesn't work properly around Il'setsya. Magic doesn't function by its normal rules around her. Things happen and not necessarily as she plans, but that's the fun of life isn't it? The randomness, the spontaneity, the risk! So what if you turn the entire inn's beer to urine, or a vrock to a construct of graham cracker, chocolate, and marshmellow right before you set it on fire and put it through the roof of a church of Asmodeus?
The Maelstrom and at least one particular protean lord has designs for her. Not that she knows. Not that she particularly cares.
Freehold DM wrote:
I just had shrimp and grits with smoked stewed tomatoes and mushrooms for brunch. :)
Just because I noticed it and did a little dance as a result: the inclusion of Alazhra the Dream Eater the night hag patron was pretty awesome just because of the obscurity of her references in prior lore (like 2 places in passing).
That's kind of awesome and whoever was responsible for her/its inclusion, you're awesome too and should feel awesome. :D
Now she needs some love and expanded lore whenever it becomes appropriate ;)
So do the protean lords. Just saying you awesome people you.
They were hosted on Planewalker.com, which is currently recovering from a database crash. Here's one of them that google managed to locate somewhere: Daru ib Shamiq
To avoid cluttering this thread, once they're back up I can PM links, or PM me your email address and I'll email you all of them.
Wolfang Amadeus wrote:
I'm sorry that the way my brain structure developed in-utero is both an ideology and a social issue. I apologize that neurobiology doesn't conveniantly fit into your worldview. I'm sorry that my very existence is an affront to you. Pardon me. :(
... and I still want some more info/stats on those Baernoloths. Were they only ever mentioned in passing during the various versions of Planescape/the Great Wheel, or is there some resource out there with more information?
2e 'Faces of Evil: The Fiends', 'Hellbound: The Blood War', and 'Planes of Conflict'
3.x has some scattered references to them in Fiendish Codex I, and some Demonomicon and other pieces in Dragon/Dungeon.
And a metric ton of fan-fic by myself. ;)
But back to Pathfinder.
I want that sort of crossover to either happen or be strongly hinted at in my home game. But two of my current players are veterans of two previous 'loth heavy Planescape campaigns, and if I did that I fear that they'd go all 'railing-kill' on me, which was threatened last time I went all Baern happy.
If it makes you feel any better, my current home campaign is
My Players Stay Out:
focused around the reasons for the Peacock Angel's fall, and the possibility of his/her redemption.
The little bits of lore I wrote regarding the Peacock Angel (Szuriel and a number of her predecessors wielding Melek Taus's sword for instance, and a LN race in the Abyss claiming to be the results of a fallen Peacock Angel's shed essence of Law as she plummeted from Heaven, etc) were intentionally fuzzy in that they could also be alluding to the Peacock Spirit as well, but nothing was absolute, by design so that future sources on either didn't have to worry about contradicting anything for the most part. Also since I didn't create the Peacock Spirit, I didn't want to solve someone else's mystery out of serious respect for them.
In my home campaign however I'm free to go crazy and be totally unrestrained by canon.
And I've got an Ask Todd Stewart thread, ask away any time you want, though with the caveat that any of my answers there aren't canonical in any way since I'm just a freelancer. :)