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Todd Stewart's page

Contributor. Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Society Member. 2,218 posts (2,370 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 3 Pathfinder Society characters. 6 aliases.


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djones wrote:

Also, will Szuriel's statblock include stats for Lammy as well?

Ah Lamentation of the Faithless... wait and see. :)

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KaiserBruno wrote:


I know there are new proteans in there thanks to Mr. Jacobs. Beyond excited for that.

:D

Yeah, it's been amusing to see over the past few years if I'm writing more content for proteans or for daemons. They're probably my favorite things to write about for Pathfinder, and at this point I'm guilty for most of the content for both.

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Tacticslion wrote:

Crossposted in AMA threads: it's a Paizopaloozaganza!

Todd.

Tooooooooooooooodd.

Super-serious series of questions*:

* Nnnnnnope.
If you could have 1d4 ⇒ 2 different super-powers, what would they be and why?
(Assume corollary powers required to make a given power work are part of it; i.e. Since you'd need super tensile strength/durability to, you know, not-die when you made use of your super-strength power, you get them both when you say "super strength" as a singular option.)
Why?

Shapechanging and magic.

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If, instead, you could be a gestalt of 1d2 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2 super heroes, who would you gestalt to be yourself? Why? Which comic universe would you run around in? Would you prefer to be in that one, or this one?

Mystique and doctor strange. Shapeshifting and magic. Nothing more must be said. In this universe.

Quote:
On the other hand: BAM! You just gained 3d6 + 2 ⇒ (6, 2, 2) + 2 = 12 levels in a Pathfinder class (or classes)! Which class(es) do you pick, and why? Incidentally, if you could spontaneously switch races, would you? And if so, to which?

Blood-arcanist (protean). No reason to choose between wizard or sorcerer when you can pretty much be both. Also protean is the thematically coolest bloodline ever printed IMO.

Switch races? Sure thing. I'm a keketar now. Hey you didn't specify 0 hd. If you do then tiefling all the way (as long as I can be a DiTerlizzi style Planescape tiefling, because those are best tieflings).

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Similarly, you won the super-lottery, and gained mythic tiers! 3d3 + 1 ⇒ (1, 1, 1) + 1 = 4 of 'em! (And you gain class levels to match; please feel free to change your previous answer if this does so for some reason.) What path do you take? (Alternate option: substitute a single tier for a simple mythic template.)

Archmage all the way.

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Yet another query: you monster. Specifically, you CR: 1d30 ⇒ 10 (or less) monster! Which are you?! ... and would this have been your first choice? If not, which would be?

Energy-drained arcanaloth brought down to CR 10. The 3e version with shapechange at will and innate spellcasting. They were boss. Also I like them. A lot.

If not that, succubus. Notice the shapeshifting and magic combination thing.

First choice though would be a unique archfiend of the godlike variety I appreciate as campaign ending villains (baernaloths, the Oinodaemon, Tegresin the Laughing Fiend, etc)

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But the wheels of fate-time have spun again, and your everything has been transposed into that of someone else! You've just become a prepublished NPC from an official source! Which prepublished NPC is it?

Shemeshka the Marauder. Dungeon Magazine #205. If I'm going to be evil, I'm going to be fabulous.

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What campaign setting do you run around in? Why?

Very torn between Golarion and Planescape. Have to go with Planescape though.

Quote:

As a final thing: blend any and/or all of the above questions into a single ginormous question: an optional blend of a prepublished NPC, monster, and some superheroes all walk into a bar... and out comes you, as a gestalt of those guys, the race you choose, some extra superpowers, and have extra class levels and mythic tiers on top! What are you?! (Other than "awesome" - naturally.)

Equipment is a non-issue (like adjunct super-powers; what you need to do <X> is assumed). Also note that any significant others can be brought with you.

I'd probably end up as something like my last PC Il'setsya Wyrmtouched at the end of the campaign where she pretty much ended up as a keketar with caster levels and zero responsibility. Or something like the Marauder elevated to Oinoloth. Something equally decadent and self-indulgent.

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Oh, and one more thing: if you lived through a Legend of Zelda (as one of the Links); which would it be, and why?

I haven't played any of the LoZ games since the SNES, so I can't really answer this one.

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KaiserBruno wrote:

Heard from James Jacobs that you got tapped to write the Horseman for Bestiary 6.

Is this a dream come true fpr you to stat up these unholy paragons of a bleak and violent demise?

I'm having far too much working on them. I can do bleak and horrific rather well it seems, and I'm seriously happy to get to do their stats after having written everything -but- that in Book of the Damned 3.

The Four aren't what I'm having the most fun writing for B6 though. Stew on that thought.

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James Jacobs wrote:
FallenDabus wrote:
James, is there any chance we'll be seeing other types of demigods that we don't have stats for yet like the asuras, psychopomps, kytons, and aeons in Bestiary 6? And were guys able to tap Todd Stewart to write the Horsemen entries?

There will be other demigods in the book, yes, but no asuras, psychopomps, kytons, or aeons.

Todd is indeed designing the Horsemen.

Yay! Now that James has spoiled that, I can be open about it. :D

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2 people marked this as a favorite.

:D

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Davia D wrote:


Owners of sounds, binding, etc., I view that as lawful stuff. It's all too... hierarchal.

Behavior-wise I think you do Proteans as chaotic exemplars quite well (Naunet excepted, since they'd hardly act like Il'setsya in their destructiveness. As you say, "The trick is to never know precisely what a protean will do in a given instance because it certainly doesn't either," but you pretty much do with Naunets). It's more organization that I note.

I'd want to see, "To whom I freely give my soul," "Should my will match your goals grant me favor!" "Fill me with your divine inspiration!".

Like, the Lords of Chaos in my mind aren't commanding bosses, they don't own their followers ala Asmodeus or even Empyreal Lords and wouldn't want to, but favor those who embrace their ways completely freely. True loyalty comes from those who could leave but don't wish to due to deep desire for chaos and all that.

So oaths-wise and the relationship between 'higher up' and . Heck, I wouldn't even say classifying them as 'higher up' would be the best way to say it, so much as 'they are both powerful and such personifications that their ways and influence are willingly followed by Proteans for inspiration, rather than them commanding it due to "position" or obligation. Even a lowly voidworm does not own a Chaos Lord subservience, but only when seized by the most chaotic of ideas are they likely to decide to go on their own.'

At least, that's my view. They may have titles, but the relationships should be far looser, less strict, and to a Protean, even the least instructing the strongest would be a cause for curiosity rather than outrage.

Let me add a little bit of clarity regarding Il'setsya and the whole 'owners of my soul' bit. She made a bargain with a specific protean chorus, but it was both entirely of her free will, and without conditions on the proteans' fault. There was a -very- specific and high price that was initially paid on her part, but afterwards it's mostly been a case of her having been empowered by those patrons and set off on her own crazy devices.

Any actual fealty she owes to them is purely defined on her part. They certainly don't claim ownership of her. The very concept is alien to their thinking really. The relationship is more that of a medieval patron to an artist, with occasional requests of theme for the work produced, but more an appreciation and empowerment on the proteans' part and vaguely aligned goals on the part of the mortal linked to them.

At the same time (and this is how I handle it in my own game), that particular protean chorus does not want you to pledge yourself to them. It does not want you to make a request and pay their price. It does not want the desperate or the willing. It only wants a very, very specific group of those willing to give themselves in every way imaginable because in the end, there really are no hooks in place. There is no contract. There are no bindings. There is only desire and free will that often aligns.

Occasionally they might drop suggestions or hints, and often that might spark interest to go there and act as their devotee might see fit.

RotRL vague spoilers:

This was the hook for Il'setsya getting from the Maelstrom to Golarion for RotRL.

'The Tide Calls to You With Seven Pairs of Eyes and Seven Tongues Tasting the Air the Scent of Conflict/Blood/Ashes/Ancient Things Stirring From Their Slumber/ and Child of Ours This Door Will Lead You There'

"That of course was the string of glowing words written above an active portal in a bound space framed by a lattice of roses and cracks in a marble wall. It spoke as I read it, and that’s probably the moment that I first realized that I read and spoke Thassilonian. I don’t know if I always had or if that was something burned into my brain courtesy of the Wall, but apparently I’m fluent, because that’s what the words were written in.

My patrons can be subtle with most people, but with me on rare occasions they'll tug me by the overly-long tail and nudge me, occasionally kicking and screaming, but most of the time laughing with glee to wherever it seems that my presence would be most useful for… who knows. I don’t ever get told instructions. I think that comes with the whole being linked to an ancient, inscrutable artifact itself linked to an otherwise vanished Chorus. Not that it matters for the moment because at the time I shrugged, muttered an ‘Ok!’ and stepped through what ended up being a one way portal to the Cage.

That particular chorus also I left open the possibility that they aren't a standard chorus, and might in fact be corrupted in some capacity by their role early on the history of the planes by their interaction with the Abyss. So keep that in mind for the particular language used. Corrupted? Maybe. I never answered that question and that particular rabbit hole went very, very deep in that campaign.

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Yo histones are wound up so tight your leading strand DNA don't know if it's 5' to 3' or 3' to 5'!

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Naunets I've only used on their own on one occasion, rather than having them be the muscle in tow with an imentesh or keketar. Ended up having a PC meet a group of five naunets at a bar (in the city of Galisemni in the Maelstrom). They ended up getting drunk with the proteans, cavorting for an undescribed evening, and eventually having the proteans show up to help them defeat a bunch of constructs. The amusing part was having each protean go by a completely different name each time their initiative came up, along with some descriptions of cosmetic changes in their appearance that varied round by round.

The trick is to never know precisely what a protean will do in a given instance because it certainly doesn't either.

Spoiler for James Sutter's 'Death's Heretic':

The protean in that novel is a really good example of it accepting a task simply for the hell of it all. It's a good example of uncaring, non-malicious, joyous mayhem that's one good facet of protean behavior that I've had fun with myself without any particular long-standing goal in mind

Vary it up between mayhem, actual destruction, whimsical and even beautiful acts of creation, and sure even some 2e slaadi-level nonsense. The more powerful the protean however, I would make its behavior and interactions with the PCs become more and more alien. They don't necessarily even perceive the universe in the same linear fashion as mortals, and it should be difficult to understand them, let alone meaningfully interact with them depending on the circumstances and the particular chorus (if any) that they follow.

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Next example is an actual protean, not just a protean-blooded PC.

In the last campaign I ran, I had the PCs wandering through the Maelstrom shallows and promptly getting lost in the perpetually changing landscape. They ended up running across and being accosted by a -very- loquacious imentesh bard who offered to aid them in their grand, fantastic quest (which it both knew nothing nor cared about in the slightest). The imentesh ended up being an amusing pain in the ass for the most part until they realized that it was intentionally keeping them lost for its own amusement and probably was the cause of two of the random encounters they happened upon. It just didn't care one way or the other, but upon being confronted it more or less shrugged, admitted nothing, and pointed over to the location that they intended to be at in the first place.

The same (maybe?) imentesh showed up again later, this time actually being helpful to the PCs and leading a group of demons away from them deeper into the Maelstrom. Not so much to help the PCs out from the kindness of its chaotic heart, but because they were demons in the Maelstrom that were better targets. The PCs got helped as a bit of a happenstance and also perhaps because they'd previously played along with and amused that particular protean (it said it was the same one, but who knew).

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Next example of behavior:

Vague RotRL spoilers:

Abandoning the other PCs in Xin-Shalast in order to singlehandedly attempt to release Runelord Alaznist from slumber below Hollow Mountain. The rationale being that she hates Karzoug and releasing such a potently chaotic presence back onto Golarion would outweigh the risk of such a lawful presence like Karsoug. Sure she'd probably slaughter thousands, but who cares in the moment.

Atop the pinnacle of Hollow Mountain, the highest point of Rivenrake Island in the sparkling Varisian Gulf, Il’setsya smiles and takes a seat. She pauses for a moment in the sunshine and inhales a gust of the warm, pleasant wind, a sharp contrast from the chill of the Kodar Mountains. Five minutes or so pass as she sets up a hookah, pulls out a spellbook, takes a puff of flayleaf, and prepares to cast. Before starting however, she taps the ring on her left hand, calling into existence a tiny voidworm protean known to her for the moment as Esmeralda.

“So Esmeralda,” Il’setsya flits her tail joyously as the wind tousles her hair. “I want you to be here in case anything goes stupidly, spectacularly wrong, and also to give me a reasonable excuse in that event because you’ll be functioning as both my moral compass and the person to tell me when I’ve gone too far.”

Neither expecting a cogent reply from the tiny, living figment of Chaos, or desiring one at all, the tiefling-ish-thingamajig takes another puff of her pipe and prepares herself to cast.

“Given that we almost had our clocks cleaned by an ice devil,” She makes a face at the mention of the lawful fiend, “And I was nearly snapped in half by what’s his face’s now deceased blue dragon, I’m not entirely sure that we’re ready to fight Captain Greedyboy.”

The voidworm spirals in flight around her head, chasing one of her many ioun stones.

“So I’d like to get outside help.” Il’setsya cackles. “I have so many wonderful -WONDERFUL- ideas of how to go about taking down Balding McTransmutypants himself, and I could explain all of the higher order mathematics behind the magical theory that’ll let me do it… but let’s just say that none of the others would entirely get, well, much of any of it. Alas.”

Il’setsya puffs again on her pipe and glances down at her spellbook, unbridled chaos and frankly madness dancing in her eyes. Tiny proteans spin and cavort in the luminous orange sclera of her eyes for one moment, then she blinks and they vanish.

“I have every intention of calling down some favors and begging a keketar to come help us in exchange for well, whatever the heck they actually want me to do for them.” She sticks out her tongue. “I don’t particularly have any hard limits when it comes to paying for services granted. Besides, I’m not doing the whole ‘Be the Saviors of Varisia!’ thing for my companions, or even for Sandpoint, or anyone else on Golarion itself.”

The voidworm glances at her, she makes eye contact, chuckles and inclines her head with a smile and a blush at her ears. “Exceptions are made of course for Rynshinn. She’s a cutie and I care about her, so yeah, I’ll admit that I’m partially doing this for her, even if it didn’t start off that way. This of course began with my reason for doing much of anything, ‘Why the heck not?’. Being stranded away from home on another plane of existence also helped drive the point home of doing something to ingratiate myself to the local mortals.”

That omnipresent spark of madness returns to her eyes, with the entwined sigils of her patron protean Chorus visible, coiling about the circumference of her pupils. This time when she blinks, the symbols remain.

“So Esmeralda my little faux-shoulder angel, I’m here atop Hollow Mountain, formerly set within the Thassilonian domain of Bakrakhan, to do something in accordance with those same two reasons I mentioned before: why the heck not, and to ingratiate myself to the local mortals. Well, one particular local mortal who had a rather tumultuous history with Sir Flashy McPolymorph: Runelord Alaznist.”

Il’setsya cackles and prepares to cast a sending spell.

“Yeah I have absolutely no idea if she’s even still alive after all these thousands of years, but on the off chance that she is, or some fragment of her remains in one form or another, she’s the one person who might have a genuine vested interest in helping us take down her former arch-enemy.” Another puff of smoke and another laugh, “Sure we might end up taking down one evil archwizard and accidentally stirring another one from her slumber… but you know what Esmeralda? Who cares? I certainly don’t!”

The arcanist laughs and throws her head back, pointing the tip of her tail at the voidworm, “Besides! She’s totally a hottie! I don’t have a clue if she’d even be into me, but holy chaos and all, I mean… keep the hope alive!”

Il’setsya begins the ten minute casting time for sending, handing the waterpipe off to her prehensile tail and using it to bring the glass tip to her mouth for a periodic puff. Whether the spell reaches its intended recipient or not is immaterial, she’ll try it anyway and see what does or doesn’t occur in the future.

“Runelord Alaznist, you red-headed cutie, I’m Il’setsya Wyrmtouched. I’m going to murder the Runelord of Greed. Any help or advice would be lovely.”

Having cast the spell, she glances over at Esmeralda and shrugs as she awaits any response, “Well that’s that. What’s the worst that could happen?”

Contributor

Next example of behavior (again by the same protean-blooded PC and the same keketar protean just after they first encounter each other much earlier in that RotRL campaign):

Vague spoilers for RotRL:

In our campaign the GM replaced the pit fiend bound at Skulls Crossing with a keketar protean, which of course my PC (against every other party member's desire) gleefully freed and then spent the next downtime gallivanting around Golarion and beyond with.

The following document is found in everyone’s possession following the return from Skulls Crossing:

'The Amazing Adventures of Il’setsya Wyrmtouched and Mr/Mrs Creature, otherwise known as Issuzessiksess / Disjunctive Preamble to the Collapse, keketar protean of the Chorus of Meandering Syncopation.'

Several previous versions of the story title are scratched out in one or another variety of ink. Some of them are simply different styles of calligraphy, some of them written in protean by accident before she realized her mistake, some of them use different names for both herself and the keketar, and more than one of the previous includes the word “Erotic” rather than ‘Amazing’. These instances seem especially thoroughly crossed out, sometimes by what appears to be more than one set of hands, based on the penmanship.

The pages shimmer as you pick them up, flickering with chaotic energies before a large fraction of them transmute into metal, than peppermint, then a rapidly dispersing cloud of blue and yellow butterflies.

Whatever those particular portions of the story contained, the mind can only wander, or be thankful given the content and coherency (or lack thereof) of the remainder.

"It was pretty awesome how time stopped after we released the totally awesome keketar (and we didn’t even need to sacrifice either Siorm or Cairn like he first suggested). Well, time stopped for everyone except for me and the keketar. So there I was, star struck –and probably drooling like a total fangirl– waiting to see what Mr. Creature had to say, or what he might do, or what glorious adventures she and I might go on.

That being said, I felt so bad for what Karzoug had done to her that I offered to try to make her feel better and at the very least treat her to her first bottle of whatever her pleasure might be, maybe polish her scales, get a claw manicure, or just play sidekick, accomplice, or slavish toady for whatever wanton folly he wanted.

So, leaving everyone else frozen in time, Mrs. Creature opened up a portal and off we went. I’m rather vague on the details, but I recall having tea in a grove of giant, iridescent mushrooms. I’m pretty sure that we spent some time throwing chocolate bars at a trio of meladaemons, adding errant numbers into the equations of some axiomites somewhere on the painful ugly fringes of Axis, throwing our voices in a pre-riot crowd in Galt that quickly became a pitchforks and burning torches crowd with the pitchforks and torches that we provided, and I very distinctly remember streaking down the bridge leading to the Starstone Cathedral in Absalom screaming “I’m drunker than Cayden Cailean and you’re all in a whole flipping load of trouble if I gain divinity. Muahahahahahaha!!!!!”

Spoilers: I did not in fact gain divinity. I did not in fact even make it across the bridge. I don’t know what happened, but I woke up in the Velvet Imentesh Inn in Galisemni with a splitting headache, wearing a really badly stitched replica of a habit worn by the Sisters of the Golden Erinyes, and dappled with dried chocolate pudding.

I also have a tongue stud now. Thankfully though, no overly regrettable tattoos.

Don’t have regrets.

That’s my motto in life.

Mrs. Creature made breakfast. I paid for the room and the damages, and with a twinkle in his eye she popped open another portal and I found myself back here, staring off into space, seemingly none the worse for wear.

Except for the piercing.

Maybe.

All or some or none of that may have happened. Honestly I’m not really sure, though I’m perfectly fine with any of those options. I may have simply spaced out for a moment and daydreamed the entire thing up. I may have had a particularly lucid and hallucinogenic flashback and dreamed up what I –wanted– to have happened, which really says something about the way that I think. I’m normally not one for anything so terribly strong that it’s damaging in the long-term, and as far as I remember it’s been a while since I dropped daemonbleed or anything similar, and that particular drug was frankly a dangerous onetime thing. If I’d known what it was and how it was made, I probably wouldn’t have used it at all, or at least not the double dose that I did. Maybe. Perhaps.

(Note to self: Go back in time and reroll the dice on that one. Trippy!) Perhaps the stale pesh from Foxglove Manor was stronger than I thought?

Back to the story: Focus Crazy Hooves! Focus!

Wait. You already finished the story. Did you wreck this applecart of a story before you reached the cider mill and just sold the horse for glue to go buy booze? What’s wrong with you? That horse might have had a family. It might have had a destiny. Wait, what? Now you’re just writing in the third person. Are you drunk again? Oh that’s a staggering leap of logic right there.

Eyeroll.

Onomatopoeia of a raspberry.

Onomatopoeia of a cough.

So there you have it! The amazing and totally based on a true story 100% legit and all tale of Il’setsya Wyrmtouched and her new BFF who may or may not have left her true name for summoning purposes later."

Contributor

Davia D wrote:


It's really not far from working for me and I still really like a lot of aspects of them, it's just not quite there! IMO they shouldn't be harder to interact with non-hostiley than inevitables, devils, or fey (Fey, who're also often CN!). An encounter with a protean should inevitably be a wary one where one doesn't know what it's gonna do, generally speaking.

Let me give some examples of how I used proteans in the just completed RotRL campaign I played in. On some level you can use some of the behavior of my protean-blooded PC Il'setsya as a model for proteans in general (at least my interpretation of them).

First example is how my PC interacted with a keketar that she brought through a gate prior to the last game session. It was banter written in-between game sessions between myself and the GM who added a few bits for the keketar. Lots of off the beaten path non-canonical content, but look at the interactions, behavior, language, etc. Hopefully I purged it of any NSFW content or language.

RotRL spoilers incidentally:

After witnessing the planetar Ayruzi either banish Valesh the succubus, Il’setsya proceeds to rant incoherently in protean for a solid twenty minutes, stomping her hooves and whipping her tail about and threatening to knock anyone over within its multicolored arc. Anyone trying to calm her down gets a murderous look and a series of symbols over her head that briefly take on the appearance of cartoon versions of herself giving a middle finger.

The ranting and raving then descends into drinking and a furious search for any drugs on her person (of which she has none since Cairn and Esper wisely took them away from her). A bottle of rumboozle in her system later and she finally loses it.

“If anyone wants to rest and recover anywhere other than here in Xin-Shalast, tell me now.” Actually bothering to ask anyone else’s opinion at the moment seems to be taking a serious amount of effort on her part. “Because otherwise I’m going to be bailing and getting myself royally messed up, or messing someone else up, or yeah, stuff. Son of an axiomite goodytwoshoes planetar emerald skinned well meaning busybody… GAH!”

The charisma drain has left her a bitter, angry, spiteful mess of a thing, and after acquiescing to party demands for transportation, she proceeds to bamf out with a planeshift to the Maelstrom, and from there to Galisemni for the evening.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Nine hours later Il’setsya returns without any fanfare, looking remarkably relaxed, with a look of eerily calm intent on her face. This is probably the first sign that something is up. The second being that she promptly clears herself a space to draw a circle in chalk, sand, and drops of her own blood when she pricks her palm with her dagger from Runeforge. Completing her triumvirate of crazy is when she proceeds to strip naked and sit in the middle of the circle, with a voidworm protean curled about her shoulders and a lit candle of invocation held in her hands, slowly dribbling molten wax on her exposed flesh without so much as a chirp from her before she starts chanting in protean in singsong fashion.

Moments later a spherical space confined within the periphery of the drawn circle goes oddly translucent, the air seemingly turning to a glistening blue liquid as if she were calling the underlying substance of the Maelstrom into tangible being by her very presence. The air and earth alike shimmers, glistens, ripples, and seethes as if it were a living thing as she begins to call out in supplication and request.

“Ssila’mesh’nik the Colorless Lord!”

The candle flame turns wane and clear, burning ever brighter with a fierce light.

“Il’surrish the Wanderer!”

Cerulean light begins to leak from every orifice of her body and those of the tiny protean curled about her shoulders.

“Mother of Tongues!”

A whispering chorus of voices rises on the wind, indistinct and incoherent, but somehow address each and every creature within a quarter mile.

“Narriseminek the Crownless, Maker of Kings!”

Burn marks and scars flicker in and out of existence across Il’setsya’s flesh.

“Lord of the Insane!”

Il’setsya cackles wildly but otherwise she seems to have that one handled all on her own.

“Lord of Entropy!”

The candle of invocation burns at a fiercely accelerated rate, boiling wax coating her hands and thighs, shimmering like a sheen of newer scales on her skin where it falls.

“Watcher in the Wheel!”

Purple, opalescent eyes emerge from the circle, glancing about and focusing them attention inwards on Il’setsya.

“Zolo of Hungry Teeth!”

Il’setsya smiles, baring a row of jagged, shark-like teeth, flickering in and out of existence moment by moment, replaced by and then replacing her own tiefling-like teeth and tiny fangs.

“All of you I beseech! All of you I invoke! All of you I beg for your favor and aid in the coming battle! All of you I would give of myself, but I am bound to others, and this you know.”

Il’setsya begins to smile as glistening letters erupt within the air, a cloud of names drifting through the substance of the void, each linked to others by tenuous, sinuous threads, and all of them linked to Il’setsya by the same gossamer chains of chaotic protoplasm.

The next words from Il’setsya’s mouth are grating upon the ears, and standing within a dozen feet of her circle causes blood to leak from your eyes and ears. It is protean, but not. Older. The first tongue of Chaos that echoed through the Deep when there was only the Deep and nothing else.

“Watchers of Galisemni, Seven in all I call to you!”

“Frozen Lords of Chaos wrapped in bonds of Regret and Sorrow I call upon you!”

“Lords of Paradox and owners of my soul I call upon you!”

“Wyrms of Jandalay!”

“You who molded me like clay!”

“You who made me as I should be!”

“You who cracked the gates of the Abyss and in your glorious, brilliant hubris made this reality what it has become, and You Seven who have suffered ever since, I call upon you!”

“Chorus of Malignant Symmetry I call upon you!”

The ground below Il’setsya erupts in a column of blue light, obscuring her form, and only after the light has faded, is what emerges visible.

Peering out from the column of blue light is a reptilian maw with colors dancing over this serpentine creature's scales. A crown of energy glows above it's head.

"pre@mBle –meAnde®ing – Starfall – il'sets¥a – s¥nc°pAtion – co££lapse – hOOves – i§uze§ikse§ – ©raZy – disjUncTive, ¿aSk wHat d° y°u °f mE?"

Realizing that the moment is less about her complete and utter lack of shame and more about gaining a powerful ally against Karzoug, the blushing arcanist manages to focus on the task at hand. Standing up, she reaches out a hand to help the keketar as it emerges fully from the gate.

“I’m nOt ¥our $tAnda®D mO®t@l dOLt ©a$tiNg Gate, and y⁰u aReN’t b¥ An¥ sTrƩt©h °f THE ImAgInAtIoN what °ne Of tHeM MigHt $umMon f°rth.” Il’setsya giggles and strums her fingertips against one another as her hooves and then the rest of her body slowly drift off of the ground, buoyed by the pocket of the Maelstrom sandwiched atop conventional reality. “It’$ a pLe@SuRe to m€€t y°u, and H°nEsTly thi$ Is lEs$ @BoUt Wh@t I w@Nt t° a$k °f yOu, @nd more @bout what yOu fƩƩL £ikE d°iNg @fter I/cr@zYhOoVes/ilsEts¥a/DzEniRu$ipHi@/I tell y°u m¥ SitUaTi°n.”

She grins and flicks her tail through the air, briefly intertwining with the keketar’s in a very not so subtle flirtation, especially as a number of the symbols drifting around her head like the keketar’s own crown but in microcosm, shift to resemble glowing cartoon heart shapes.

“You kn°w my namƐ, at lƐ@sT tHe onƐ thE 7/Watching S7v7n/7 g@vƐ Me, aNd tHe¥ t@skEd mE tO ComE hre t° this b°ring, st@tiC planƐ aND sToP @n aNcIeNt @rchMaGƩ n@m€d Runelord Karzoug fROm @wakƐning. He’$ teRriBly 1aWfuL, aNd hIs KinD glƩƩfuLLy dƩaLT wItH tHe sp@wn oF THe PiT @nd I pRe$umE b¥ vIRtuE of tHeiR u$e of cOn$trUct$, the cRysTaLLinƐ liVinG m@th f&*&Ers oF Axis. His risE wiLl onl¥ sh@cKlE thƐ co$mO$ furthƐr, and m¥ sTopPing him wiLl bƐ my wa¥ of @iDinG tHe wiLL of thE 2/Sp2ak2rs of the D2pths/2, and pa¥iNg m¥ sElf-OfFeRed dEbT tO tHe 7/Se7en/7.”

Still drifting in the “air”, Il’setsya curls her tail back and around, tugging on it and rotating herself like a turning ouroboros, looking at the rest of her companions from an upside down vantage point. “Sorry for all the protean banter, it’s really much more comfortable for the two of us. I promise we won’t ‘cavort’,” The symbols about her head provide a glyph of Il’setsya making air quotes, “At least not now, in front of you, maybe perhaps yeah I can’t promise.”

The protean-blooded whoseiwhatsit then rotates back around to face the keketar once more.

“I wOuLd dƩep£y aPPrƩcIaTe YoUr hƩlP in Wh@tevƩr w@y y°u dƐ$ire. I pLaCe nO sPEcIfIc$. I pl@cE nO rEstRicTi°n$/rule$/bEh@vi°r. I’ll EvEn gIVe y°u @ ki$s.”

Il’setsya’s eyes sparkle with both madness and the same glowing cerulean liquid that can be seen through the still-open gate.

“¿PlE@Se hELp u$?”

"The rest of you don't speak protean? Wait, no, that dwarf understood. You all are here to defeat this lawfulness?"

"Very well, I will aid the defeat of this wizard, but we will do so through Il'setsya's mortal body as she does through mine. The Starfall may direct the actions of our form while I embody his. Excuse us while we get acquainted with each other's body."

“Oh yeah, they’re all here to help defeat him as well.” Il’setsya smiles, bobbing her tail happily. The symbols above her head continue to largely telegraph her elation, showing their usual mixture of protean runes and doodles of a cartoon Il’setsya stabbing a cartoon Karzoug and then making out with a keketar.

As the keketar provides its irrational ground rules for its help, Il’setsya’s eyes go wide and a goofy grin plays across her face, at least until the keketar unknowingly and presumably uncaringly misgenders her. Protean biology being what it is, the wyrms of the Maelstrom don’t actually have distinct, immutable concepts of personal gender (or anything else really). Their bodies perpetually shift in color, shape, and even their internal organs resemble a polymorphic pudding than anything distinct. At one moment they might be male, another female, another neither, and another both or something in-between.

Il’setsya’s tail droops and hits the ground the instant that the keketar’s words define her as something other than the woman drifting in mid-air, naked as the day she was born and crazy as a loon that the other PCs have come to know. The fact that she’s been engaging in naked summoning of course leaves the keketar’s words rather odd, given as how the arcanist is very obviously female. She catches herself in a split second and her tail is back to its normal twitching, prehensile self, coiling around a fifteen foot length of the keketar’s multicolored serpentine body.

“Th@t sOuNd$ aMaZiNg!” Il’setsya’s hands begin to wander across the keketar’s shoulders before she pointedly glances to Cairn who actually speaks protean. Her expression is conflicted and complex, but for a fraction of a second she puts a finger to her lips to shush him the hell up if he even noticed. That moment of deep catharsis and unexpected revelation loses all poignancy of course almost immediately when the symbols above her head read out in dwarven, ‘I’ll explain later. Long story. Keketar and Il’setsya body-swapping time begins now. Take 2d6 Wisdom drain unless you roll a successful save versus Death, AD&D style. Yes I’m mixing editions and breaking the 4th wall, but f*** it, I’ve called a pocket of the Maelstrom into effect here, I’m in the arms of a keketar protean, and so all rules are off. Hail Xa0s!”

Il’setsya then proceeds to smooch the keketar, “G0 rIgHT @hEaD, hoW dO We d0 tHi$?”

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Umbral Reaver wrote:
Todd Stewart wrote:
I am intrigued. And by intrigued, I mean obsessively wanting to know how this all goes down. :D
Sounds like you're rather hyped for space. :3

I just finished freelancing for the Aethera kickstarter, so it's on my brain to say the least. :)

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I am intrigued. And by intrigued, I mean obsessively wanting to know how this all goes down. :D

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So we're one session away from finishing RotRL, and I figure to myself, go big or go home.

At the end of the penultimate campaign session, my character the protean-blooded arcanist Il'setsya lost her profane gift and the succubus paramour that went along with it. The following is what I wrote to the GM to describe her actions between that session and the finale one:

After witnessing the planetar Ayruzi either banish or kill Valesh, Il’setsya proceeds to rant incoherently in protean for a solid twenty minutes, stomping her hooves and whipping her tail about and threatening to knock anyone over within its multicolored arc. Anyone trying to calm her down gets a murderous look and a series of symbols over her head that briefly take on the appearance of cartoon versions of herself giving a middle finger.

The ranting and raving then descends into drinking and a furious search for any intoxicants on her person (of which she has none since two of the other PCs had previously and wisely taken away from her). A bottle of rumboozle in her system later and she finally loses it.

“If anyone wants to rest and recover anywhere other than here in Xin-Shalast, tell me now.” Actually bothering to ask anyone else’s opinion at the moment seems to be taking a serious amount of effort on her part. “Because otherwise I’m going to be bailing and getting myself royally messed up, or messing someone else up, or yeah, stuff. Son of a &*(&#* goodytwoshoes planetar emerald skinned well meaning busybody ^&*&@$$… GAH!”

The charisma drain has left her a bitter, angry, spiteful mess of a thing, and after acquiescing to party demands for transportation, she proceeds to bamf out with a planeshift to the Maelstrom, and from there to Galisemni for the evening.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Nine hours later Il’setsya returns without any fanfare, looking remarkably relaxed, with a look of eerily calm intent on her face. This is probably the first sign that something is up. The second being that she promptly clears herself a space to draw a circle in chalk, sand, and drops of her own blood when she pricks her palm with her dagger from Runeforge. Completing her triumvirate of crazy is when she proceeds to strip naked and sit in the middle of the circle, with a voidworm protean curled about her shoulders and a lit candle of invocation held in her hands, slowly dribbling molten wax on her exposed flesh without so much as a chirp before she starts chanting in protean in singsong fashion.

Moments later a spherical space confined within the periphery of the drawn circle goes oddly translucent, the air seemingly turning to a glistening blue liquid as if she were calling the underlying substance of the Maelstrom into tangible being by her very presence. The air and earth alike shimmer, glisten, ripple, and seethe as if living things as she begins to call out in supplication and request.

“Ssila’mesh’nik the Colorless Lord!”

The candle flame turns wane and transparent, burning ever brighter with a fierce light.

“Il’surrish the Wanderer!”

Cerulean light begins to leak from every orifice of her body and those of the tiny protean curled about her shoulders.

“Mother of Tongues!”

A whispering chorus of voices rises on the wind, indistinct and incoherent, but somehow address each and every creature within a quarter mile.

“Narriseminek the Crownless, Maker of Kings!”

Burn marks and scars flicker in and out of existence across Il’setsya’s flesh.

“Lord of the Insane!”

Il’setsya cackles wildly but otherwise she seems to have that one handled all on her own.

“Lord of Entropy!”

The candle of invocation burns at a fiercely accelerated rate, boiling wax coating her hands and thighs, shimmering like a sheen of newer scales on her skin where it falls.

“Watcher in the Wheel!”

Purple, opalescent eyes emerge from the circle, glancing about and focusing them attention inwards on Il’setsya.

“Zolo of Hungry Teeth!”

Il’setsya smiles, baring a row of jagged, shark-like teeth, flickering in and out of existence moment by moment, replaced by and then replacing her own tiefling-like teeth and tiny fangs.

“All of you I beseech! All of you I invoke! All of you I beg for your favor and aid in the coming battle! All of you I would give of myself, but I am bound to others, and this you know.”

Il’setsya begins to smile as glistening letters erupt within the air. A cloud of names drifts through the substance of the void, each linked to others by tenuous, sinuous threads, and all of them linked to Il’setsya by the same gossamer chains of chaotic protoplasm.

The next words from Il’setsya’s mouth grate upon the ears, and standing within a dozen feet of her circle causes blood to leak from your eyes and ears. It is protean yes, but yet not. Older. The first tongue of Chaos that echoed through the Deep when there was only the Deep and nothing else.

“Watchers of Galisemni, Seven in all I call to you!”

“Frozen Lords of Chaos wrapped in bonds of Regret and Sorrow I call upon you!”

“Lords of Paradox and owners of my soul I call upon you!”

“Wyrms of Jandalay!”

“You who molded me like clay!”

“You who made me as I should be!”

“You who took my offered life upon the Wall!”

“You who erased the me that was from the pages of history and named me Il’setsya!”

“You who cracked the gates of the Abyss and in your glorious, brilliant hubris made this reality what it has become, and You Seven who have suffered ever since, I call upon you!”

“Chorus of Malignant Symmetry I call upon you!”

The ground below Il’setsya erupts in a column of blue light, obscuring her form, and only after the light has faded, is what emerges visible.

...

What emerges shall be interesting. :D

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James Jacobs wrote:

3) They're not. We just haven't spent the time and resources and energy to invent more yet. Mostly because most of us here at Paizo who are involved with monster stats tend to get more passionate about other types of outsiders. We've done several more proteans in Hell's Rebels though. Not sure we'll do much more with inevitables though, sine we can only use them due to the SRD and spending time adding flavor to something WotC owns appeals to me MUCH less than spending the same time adding flavor to something we own (like proteans) or that is based on actual mythology (like demons).

More protean flavor is always the best option (says the protean obsessed freelancer making fluttery eyelash motions). :)

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ulgulanoth wrote:
So Starfinder... you excited for it?

VERY!

I just finished up working on the 3pp Aethera project (which has some similar science-fantasy themes) and so yeah, I'm eager as a kid watching candy being made in a high end shop through a plate glass window!

I want to devour it and even make some of my own if that's in the cards. It really looks awesome.

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James Sutter wrote:


One thing that isn't mentioned in the solicitation is that I wrote this whole book—been working on it on and off for probably two years now. Can't wait for you all to see it. :)

I cannot state how badly I want to see what you wrote for this book. :)

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I'd love to see a Maelstrom based planar AP. :)

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Jessica Price wrote:

Set aside time each day, at the same time. Start with 30 minutes.

First, go take a 15 minute walk outside. Walking stimulates your brain and makes you more creative.

Come back inside. Get rid of any distractions, including browser tabs (I like using WriteRoom). And sit down and write.

Don't beat yourself up if you don't get much done. Like anything, it will get easier with practice, and like anything, practice will be easier if it's a regular routine. Don't beat yourself up, but also don't allow yourself to give up before the 30 minutes are over.

Write what you want to write--remember you don't actually HAVE to write scenes in order. (None of the professional writers I know start at the beginning and write straight through until the end on every project, and most of us don't do that on ANY project.) If there's something crying out for you to pay attention to it, write *that.*

If you get in a groove, and you don't have anywhere to be, keep writing until you get tired.

Make yourself an outline for what you want to write, too. Then you can cross off sections as you get through them.

Jessica has some really great ideas here.

I'll chime in and double down on the idea that you don't have to write something in order. I never do. If a particular idea in a project comes to mind I work on that. If I'm writing a story, any particular scene or even a stray line of dialogue that happens to pop up first, that gets written, and then I'll frequently just jump to something else not even in the same scene. I splice together dozens of disconnected portions later on.

I typically write something every day, but there are times when it just isn't happening, and unless I'm under a deadline I don't try and force it. But if I'm in a creative mood, I'll boot the cats out, close the door, and just keep writing until I can't.

:)

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I had my PC in RotRL bail on the other PCs as soon as she learned planeshift (stranding them inside Runeforge), and she proceeded to go on a week's long bender in the planar city of Galisemni, including spending much of the time in and out of various brothels or arm in arm with hired escorts.

I never bothered to look up or set a price since it was all stuff happening in-between game sessions, largely as a bit of email RP and my writing a story to convince the GM to let my PC back into the game after she abandoned with the other PCs. Because she had a Wisdom of 5, little to no self-control, and being flush with gold, I just had her drop a ludicrous amount on it all. Something like 2k gold in the space of a week on flesh and largess, more or less.

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Jessica Price wrote:
The connect with Daesh, let alone Islam itself, is pretty tenuous at this point, Todd. It was a homophobic hate crime. Why are you so invested in pushing the Islam angle?

I'm not invested in pushing any angle. When I posted earlier, CNN had just reported that the shooter had called 911 and pledged to ISIS, and that was later confirmed by the ranking Democratic member of the house intelligence committee.

I just said what was on the news about a horrible tragedy and a homophobic hate crime.

Edit: updated. Saw your updated post.

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Celestial Healer wrote:

Tragedy in Orlando. This has topped the list as the deadliest mass shooting in US history. Per the initial reports, the shooter was specifically targeting the LGBT community.

I just have no words...

I think at least a few regulars on this thread are from Florida. I am hoping they were not there.

It appears to have been ISIS inspired now according to the news, but regardless of why it happened, it's a horrific tragedy.

My thoughts and prayers to those in the nightclub and the families of all those impacted by this. :(

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*drool*

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So Il'setsya ended up getting hooked into allying with a surviving and now much higher level Nualia Tobyn and her demonic allies seeking to awaken Runelord Alaznist. They wanted her back presumably for some reasons relevant to Lamashtu, whereas Il'setsya wanted to accomplish the same purely for either the hell of it, or the (probably idiotic) notion that Alaznist would make for a lovely ally against Runelord Karzoug, and that if Runelords are waking up, a chaotic one waking up would be preferable to a lawful one in the grand scheme of universal chaos versus law.

Of course Il'setsya ended up being stuck in the Abyss, geased by Nualia, stuck with a dimensional anchor in place, and under constant watch by a glabrezu, a nalfeshnee, and later a succubus tasked by Nualia to do whatever the protean-blooded arcanist asked (which was probably an unwise move on Nualia's part in the 'if you give a mouse a cookie' sort of way, except with proteans, profane gifts, and content that won't appear on this forum anytime soon).

It started out as follows, written as a side plot while other players were on vacation:

“Dear Diary,” Il’setsya’s pen scratches across the surface of a page of paper. She wrinkles her nose and stares uncomfortably at the nalfeshnee and glabrezu that seem to hover about her like a pair of hulking abyssal watchdogs. The two remain wardens rather than colleagues, keepers rather than compatriots.

“Day 1: The glabrezu keeps staring at me. Either it doesn’t trust me or it’s just getting an eyeful. They’ve got true-seeing at will, and I’m only wearing illusory clothes today. Demons, pfft. At least they don’t care about my morals or lack thereof in some respects.”

Il’setsya looks up and beckons to the glabrezu with her tail. “You’re a demon, we’re in the Abyss, surely you have access to a decent supply of booze and drugs? Because I seriously need some of the former, I could use some of the latter, and if you know any single succubi that won’t leave me an energy-drained wreck at the end of a fling, I could certainly go there. Also, if you haven’t granted any wishes to a mortal in the past month, I call dibs.”

She flashes a puckish grin and goes back to her writing. Penned in protean, the words on the page physically writhe and mutate moment by moment, betraying any of the concepts of what constitutes a language or an alphabet and the very basic assumptions of linguistics, but remaining intelligible to the chaos-touched arcanist nonetheless.

The only constant in the girl’s writing are how she dots her I’s with the symbol of the Chorus of Malignant Symmetry, the mad keketars supposedly responsible for cracking open the Abyss, or according to some legends, creating it out of hubris, and even other legends doing so only to regret their decision. The latter seems most likely for Il’setsya herself, having acted to better the chances of her friends’ survival against Karzoug, and for the hell of it, but now regretting that course of action due to her current state: locked in the Abyss, away from her friends, away from her loved ones, and with a glabrezu with a wandering eye staring at her.

“Day 1 continued: Ssila’mesh’nik preserve, I am so flipping bored out of my skull. I imagined this all with more happy to be released and swinging my way Runelords of Wrath, and less with demons making me do stuff and a crazy Lamashtu worshiping Nualia Tobyn calling the shots. Now mind you, Nualia is totally hot if you’re into crazy women. Speaking as a finely aged example of ‘bonkers batpoo crazy woman’ myself, I can deal with her rough edges, but I’m pretty sure that her inner Lamashtu would balk at anything that doesn’t involve the possibility of getting knocked up in the name of the Mother of Monsters. That excludes me. Not going there. Not going there at all. That said, I have every intention of leering at her just as uncomfortably as that glabrezu is looking at me is, and making sure to hit on her as obnoxiously as possible. Once she gets tired of me she’ll be less of an intrusive busybody. If she doesn’t get tired of me I can deal with it too. Maybe she’ll let me brush her hair, she can brush mine, we can gossip, have a pillow fight, eat ice cream, give each other makeovers, etc etc. Sleepover in the Abyss! Weee!

Note to self: avoid telling her about my habit of peeing on every altar to Lamashtu I’ve ever come across since Thistletop. That would probably rub her the wrong way. Still, I regret nothing.

I’m totally down with releasing Runelord Alaznist, but unless these rubes start giving me enough leeway to do my own thing or start buttering me up with enough extracurricular substances and activities to fit my proclivities, this is going to eventually go south and I might maze myself just to planeshift out.

I wonder if they can get me some daemonbleed? Even though I said that I’d never try that particular substance again, I might reach a limit here and get bored and desperate if we don’t find the Sword of Wrath soon enough. I swear by Razored Discord I would do a line of the stuff off of Nocticula’s tail if those demons don’t leave me alone or let me work unfettered. You don’t try to shackle a protean or even a protean-blooded… whatever I am… and expect to have things go smoothly.

I wonder if I get Nualia boozed up enough if I can find out the particulars of how she managed to transition from an aasimar to a half-fiend? I’d absolutely be down with perverting the workings of it to make myself even more of a protean.”

Il’setsya looks up at the glabrezu and snaps her fingers, “Garçonne! More wine! Because drunken searching for artifacts to awaken a Runelord is best searching for artifacts to awaken a Runelord! Besides, I have a bit of a tolerance and I’m getting the shakes, so booze me up, drug me up, and get me some eye candy while you’re at at. Now that we’re partners of convenience, make this worth my while. Get me some servitors of the protean variety: a flock of voidworms to shower me with praises and make faces at everyone else would be lovely, and an imentesh bard as an understudy would absolutely rock. I suppose if none of that ends up being workable due to whatever freaky Homeowners Association bylaws you’ve got in this particular layer of the Abyss, a quasit and a boozed up succubus will suffice as well.”

Despite having every intention of actually waking up Runelord Alaznist, inwardly the tiefling’ish-thingamajig misses her former companions something fierce.

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Kalindlara wrote:


It bears mentioning that ganzi are not protean-specific by any means, although they can be. While aasimar and tieflings can be created through exposure to powerful planar energy, ancestry is the far more common cause. Ganzi are the opposite - planar exposure is the main cause, with occasional quirks of ancestry being responsible.

Yeah, they were written up to not be absolutely protean specific if you didn't want to play them that way, and more of a case of mortals exposed to planar energies than strictly physical descent from chaos wyrms. The scales and feathers that pop up with ganzi are pretty transparently protean of course. I really do like them as a race, and hope that they're explored further in the future. :)

Kalindlara wrote:
Alternatively, you could just reflavor a tiefling. Ask Todd Stewart about that (and make sure you have some spare time to listen). :D

Yeah, my current PFS character Il'setsya Wyrmtouched is a tiefling (made her before the ganzi were around as a boon option). The version of her that I'm playing through RotRL right now is often described as a tiefling, but mechanically speaking she's a xaoling (http://www.rpgnow.com/product/127679/Planar-Races-Chaos-The-Xaolings) which are a 3PP race that I created with overtly protean ancestry (including subtypes for specifically naunet/imentesh/keketar).

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Davia D wrote:


That is good to know, and part of why I want to see more of them- I feel I don't quite grok them as well as I do the others even though I love their look and concept. We've yet to go into the maelstrom, y'know?

Did you read the protean ecology 'Keepers of Chaos' back in the 'Legacy of Fire' AP? I think it goes a long way to exploring them, though you're right in that we haven't seen an adventure take place in the Maelstrom itself.

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I spent two years running a campaign set in the planar city of Galisemni in the Maelstrom, with visits to Axis, the city of Brass, etc. Love that sort of settings for campaigns.

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Sissyl wrote:


Coagulated blood is dark brown. I never understood that redcap nonsense.

They manage to magically prevent agglutination of the serum fraction (try taking fresh blood and salting it/acidulating it). ;)

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Davia D wrote:


I mean, unless the Proteans move around between castes, or lower castes actually being in charge of higher casts at times, so the who situation is a lot different than it looks at the glance of lawful types. I wouldn't put that past them, and there's so much on Proteans that just isn't covered right now.

They've been described in printed sources as having movement between castes, and it isn't a top down system except possibly with the keketars (and not always, since the protean lord Ssila'meshnik is directly served not by keketars but by hegessik proteans). Even then the keketars themselves are myriad and splintered amongst the various choruses.

I think the line that describes them best is "However, to imply that the protean castes operate according to rational and self-consistent rules would not only be incorrect, it would doubtless be offensive to the proteans themselves."

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Because obnoxiously begging for more proteans paid dividends? Only slightly joking. ;)

But seriously I so very, very enjoyed getting to expand the protean stable in Hell's Rebels. While the core trio of proteans were an intentional nod to the historical Ogdoad of Hermopolis and thus the slaadi from D&D, chaos isn't restricted to just those three (and the voidworm and the pseudo protean in the Giantslayer AP which are both awesome).

I've had proteans brewing in my brain for years now, and the three in Hell's Rebels had the benefit of that longer process of mulling over them concept-wise compared to the shorter time on the core three when I created them in TGB. So a bit more thinking on my part as to protean ecology when I wrote the new ones up, and some little bits and pieces of plot hooks and name drops in their flavor text.

I would absolutely love to do more work on the proteans. They're probably my favorite thing to have worked on in RPG work (including daemons and yugoloths actually), and I've got tons in my head should I ever have the opportunity to put it to something other than personal headcanon if Paizo elects to revisit them and lets me on board.

If people want to see more and want me on board, letting Paizo know that couldn't hurt. I'm just very happy to have gotten to work on what I have. Extra thanks to Adam Daigle for getting me on board for the three in Hell's Rebels. :D

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captain yesterday wrote:
Because Todd Stewart f+@+ing rules!!!

*blush* :)

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As far as I know, they only appear in 'Heart of the Jungle'.

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Really awesome BBC story! Congrats! :D

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Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:


KC: Trump walked back his criticism, however.

Huh, I haven't seen that.

I've only seen his statements that transgender folks should be able to use whatever bathroom they feel most comfortable with, and then his offer to Caitlyn Jenner to use whatever bathroom in Trump tower that she wanted (which she accepted and was in the press about). Say what you will about any of his other positions, but he seemed to be pretty solid on this issue on more than one occasion (which isn't going to win him any religious conservative votes, but he was never in that camp anyway).

Do you have a link to where he walked back on what seemed to be a pretty solid rebuke of the sentiment behind HB2?

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Hmm, is that little m maelstrom or big M Maelstrom?

*curious*

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KSF wrote:

A bit of breaking news from Montreal:

Police Are Treating an Arson at Canada’s Main Sex-Reassignment Clinic as a Hate Crime

Ugh. :(

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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

I've been tinkering around with a home campaign idea. Sort of a planescape of my own, with a Golarion flavour:

Purgatoria

The afterlife ain't what you thought it was. The goddess of death pronounces judgement on the dead, but her backlog is centuries long so while souls wait for their final destination they gotta live in the city of Purgatoria. Where devils tempt souls one last time, where angels guard their flocks and where djinn rub shoulders with ghosts. When someone's number is up before Pharasma calls, its up to the Watch to get it solved.

Inspirations: Planescape, Ghostwalk, Grim Fandango, Eberron, Noir Films, Sandman.

I was considering how to handle PCs new to the afterlife, whether to put a template on their previous race or have a universal "ectoplasmic petitioner" race where the race while they were alive is merely a cosmetic difference.
What do you think?

Sorry for taking so long to respond to this.

These sorts of games are always fun. :)

I'd be tempted to use a generic petitioner race with minor cosmetic differences. It all comes down to if the physical nature of a race in life matters most, or does the essence of the soul matter more, now physically realized in the afterlife? I tend towards the latter for most cases, with some odd exceptions perhaps.

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“Now all of that being said, I’m not intrinsically opposed to accepting another quest/geas/whatever else because I’m a picky, greedy little thing with a one track mind, very little self-control, very little propensity to plan things ahead beyond the moment...” She pauses and glances down at Nualia, “... and that top looks exceptionally fetching on you. Wait. What was I saying? Oh yeah.” She shakes her head and stops staring at Nualia’s chest. “I might agree to it, if you do your casting being fully aware of what I said already, and you tell me the obligations of the quest spell ahead of time.”

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Atop the pinnacle of Hollow Mountain, the highest point of Rivenrake Island in the sparkling Varisian Gulf, Il’setsya smiles and takes a seat. She pauses for a moment in the sunshine and inhales a gust of the warm, pleasant wind, a sharp contrast from the chill of the Kodar Mountains. Five minutes or so pass as she sets up a hookah, pulls out a spellbook, takes a puff of mild narcotic flayleaf, and prepares to cast. Before starting however, she taps the ring on her left hand, calling into existence a tiny voidworm protean known to her for the moment as Esmeralda.

“So Esmeralda,” Il’setsya flits her tail joyously as the wind tousles her hair. “I want you to be here in case anything goes stupidly, spectacularly wrong, and also to give me a reasonable excuse in that event because you’ll be functioning as both my moral compass and the person to tell me when I’ve gone too far.”

Neither expecting a cogent reply from the tiny, living figment of Chaos, or desiring one at all, the tiefling-ish-thingamajig takes another puff of her pipe and prepares herself to cast.

“Given that we almost had our clocks cleaned by an ice devil,” She makes a face at the mention of the lawful fiend, “And I was nearly snapped in half by what’s his face’s now deceased blue dragon, I’m not entirely sure that we’re ready to fight Captain Greedyboy.”

The voidworm spirals in flight around her head, chasing one of her many ioun stones.

“So I’d like to get outside help.” Il’setsya cackles. “I have so many wonderful -WONDERFUL- ideas of how to go about taking down Balding McTransmutypants himself, and I could explain all of the higher order mathematics behind the magical theory that’ll let me do it… but let’s just say that none of the others would entirely get, well, much of any of it. Alas.”

Il’setsya puffs again on her pipe and glances down at her spellbook, unbridled chaos and frankly madness dancing in her eyes. Tiny proteans spin and cavort in the luminous orange sclera of her eyes for one moment, then she blinks and they vanish.

“I have every intention of calling down some favors and begging a keketar to come help us in exchange for well, whatever the heck they actually want me to do for them.” She sticks out her tongue. “I don’t particularly have any hard limits when it comes to paying for services granted. Besides, I’m not doing the whole ‘Be the Saviors of Varisia!’ thing for my companions, or even for Sandpoint, or anyone else on Golarion itself.”

The voidworm glances at her, she makes eye contact, chuckles and inclines her head with a smile and a blush at her ears. “Exceptions are made of course for Rynshinn. She’s a cutie and I care about her, so yeah, I’ll admit that I’m partially doing this for her, even if it didn’t start off that way. This of course began with my reason for doing much of anything, ‘Why the hell not?’. Being stranded away from home on another plane of existence also helped drive the point home of doing something to ingratiate myself to the local mortals.”

That omnipresent spark of madness returns to her eyes, with the entwined sigils of Galisemni’s keketar lords visible, coiling about the circumference of her pupils. This time when she blinks, the symbols remain.

“So Esmeralda my little faux-shoulder angel, I’m here atop Hollow Mountain, formerly set within the Thassilonian domain of Bakrakhan, to do something in accordance with those same two reasons I mentioned before: why the hell not, and to ingratiate myself to the local mortals. Well, one particular local mortal who had a rather tumultuous history with Sir Flashy McPolymorph: Runelord Alaznist.”

Il’setsya cackles and prepares to cast a sending spell.

“Yeah I have absolutely no idea if she’s even still alive after all these thousands of years, but on the off chance that she is, or some fragment of her remains in one form or another, she’s the one person who might have a genuine vested interest in helping us take down her former arch-enemy.” Another puff of drugged smoke and another laugh, “Sure we might end up taking down one evil archwizard and accidentally stirring another one from her slumber… but you know what Esmeralda? Who gives a ^&#%? I certainly don’t!”

The arcanist laughs and throws her head back, pointing the tip of her tail at the voidworm, “Besides! She’s totally a hottie! I don’t have a clue if she’d even be into me, but hell and fudgemuffins, I mean… keep the hope alive!”

Il’setsya begins the ten minute casting time for sending, handing the waterpipe off to her prehensile tail and using it to bring the glass tip to her mouth for a periodic puff. Whether the spell reaches its intended recipient or not is immaterial, she’ll try it anyway and see what does or doesn’t occur in the future.

“Runelord Alaznist, you sexy red-headed cutie, I’m Il’setsya Wyrmtouched. I’m going to murder the Runelord of Greed. Any help or advice would be lovely.”

Having cast the spell, she glances over at Esmeralda and shrugs as she awaits any response, “Well that’s that. What’s the worst that could happen?”

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Hrothdane wrote:

So, I recently made my first trans character (she's almost level 2) and I'm curious about something:

Who here has made trans characters and what has your experience been playing them? I would love to hear their stories, too!

My RotRL character, Il'setsya Wyrmtouched [CN Female (MtF) tiefling blood arcanist (protean) 15] is trans, but it's largely an element of her backstory coupled with magical transformation (in which her sex was frankly a minor part). The circumstances of her transition and the costs and obligations it imposed on her afterwords heavily inform her actions and her approach to life (which is to live in the moment, make up for lost time, and go as over the top in virtually everything at all).

Since her natal sex hasn't ever come up, I can't speak to that, and her past history has been purposefully nebulous when the other PCs have asked. She's slowly revealed elements of it over time as she's grown to know and trust them, and at some point she may or may not actually let them know her full story (what she's aware of anyway). An artifact was involved, also proteans.

Excerpt from her backstory:

"It’s nothing much to see from afar really: a long, low and weathered block of black stone at the center of a paved courtyard surrounded on all sides by adjacent buildings and always with one street in and one street out. It moves you see, meandering like a living thing among the tenements and hovels, shops and factories, slums and mansions of the Outer Ring. Curiously enough no building will ever place a door or window in view of the Wall, not even a crack in the stone giving the tiniest of insects purchase and perch to observe. Storytellers say that the Wall is cursed, haunted, and a place to be avoided lest the frozen, ever watchful eyes of the Seven fall upon you and chance turn against you in a downward spiral of fatal probability.

Storytellers say many things. Some of them might even be true.

None can really identify what composes the Wall, though it appears carved by hand with the simplest of tools or even with tooth and claw. Again, none can say which. But what composes the Wall isn’t the most striking feature, no, that would be the names carved across it – the names of those who do not exist. Written in every language from across the planes and hundreds more that no scholar can even identify, much less pronounce without magical aid, the names are Galisemni’s greatest mystery. Carved by hand, by tool, by blade and by spell they sprawl across it like prayers to a god of graffiti, desperately seeking purchase and place, crowding one another for just enough room to find completion, and yet if you felt so inclined, you can always find room to write another. According to those same storytellers the Wall grows just as Galisemni grows to accommodate its citizens, though other bards speculate that the Wall grows not to accommodate, but that it grows as it feeds, growing with each name penned, accepted, and devoured.

There are two hundred and twenty three thousand, five hundred and ninety seven names upon the Wall, and one of them is mine.

Bards and scholars alike repeat the same story after enough drink or enough money: every name upon the Wall was written there by a person that no longer exists, in a manner of speaking. Those who approach the Wall, the desperate, the haunted, the suicidal, the martyrs, the willing – those who write their name and give themselves to the Wall are granted their greatest and most profound wish.

But this is not a gift.

The Wall gives and the Wall devours.

It takes your name, it takes your memories, it takes the memories of every person that ever knew you, and every material record that you ever lived and breathed ceases to exist. History is rewritten or remembered anew so that for any action of consequence that you ever performed the continuity of history no longer requires or contains a trace of your hand. For all intents and purposes, except for the fact that you are there with your hands upon the Wall, you have never existed prior to that moment. An alien name stares back at you, and while you remember your skills and anything you might have learned as a trade or profession, your brain is devoid of any memories that provide any purchase to the you that was. That person no longer exists, but you are free, you are born anew, and your greatest wish is granted, not that you remember it or anyone associated with it, nor is it necessarily what you had in mind when you fed yourself to the artifact that broods, hungers, and weeps for you. A new name finds its place among its kindred, and you are left to find your way in the Drifting City for whatever good or ill the future brings.

My name is there upon the Wall, not that I should be aware of this. The Wall consumed my past and every memory of myself prior to that point in time, but for the fact that it allowed me to know –why– and what I did to satiate it. I know how I draw the gaze of the Seven and why since then I have felt the immaterial tide of history and circumstance tug upon me, nudging me towards places and times, people and events where something will happen, something of consequence, somewhere that I will serve the Seven, somehow willingly or not I suspect.

My name was not Il’setsya. My last name or title was not The Wyrm-Touched. My nickname -whispered affectionately in bed by a beautiful, brilliant woman- was never ‘crazy-hooves’. I was not a whimsical, carefree tiefling woman of dubious and apparently ever-so-protean-touched descent.

But this is what I am now.

Whatever I was before, now I am happy.

There is more of course, but that’s for another time I think. I’ve given you lot a bit to digest, and you probably suspect that half of it is some mental delirium from the protean-blood running hot and fast in my veins. I have many, many stories more, and in time I’ll share them."

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The Worst Ever wrote:

Edit: Also, more Proteans and Protean-related material.

There are 3 new proteans in Hell's Rebels :)

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#‎drunksendingspellstoRunelordKarzoug‬:

The following is a record of what happens when you have a protean-blooded Chaotic Neutral character with time on her hands and many uses of sending. Consider the following as effectively drunk 4am texts to Runelord Karzoug who was very not happy with them, and it remains to be seen if my PC is going to survive the aftermath. In her defense she has a 5 Wisdom normally, was at a 3 Wisdom at the time, and then used Wyrm Pesh before the first sending. In my defense, I was on prescription painkillers at the game table. I've cleaned up the language from the original --considerably--:

Someone should probably tell Il’setsya to lay off the hard (and magical) liquor for a bit. At the very least make her slow down until she managed to heal the Wisdom damage she’s currently suffering.

“Everything is so amazingly, wildly clear to me at the moment!”

Her pupils are randomly changing size, she’s randomly giggling, talking to herself in the third person, and the runes encircling her head now include what looks like tiny neon signs of her in one two progression for drinking, smoking, and performing acts that would make Sorshen proud.

“I know Sorshen is probably dead, maybe, and in any event she’s probably not the kind of girl that you should be pining after.” The arcanist giggles in a moment of self-deprecation, with a very obvious smudge of something white and powdery on her nose. “But since when have I either cared about the ramifications of my actions or taken a course of action that might be described as prescient or wise? Yeah, ok, so we’re on the same page. Good.”

Il'setsya reaches into a bag to her left and pulls out a large fried confection dusted with powdered sugar. She’s drunk and the sugar is getting everywhere, but at least it puts to rest the idea that she’s been frying her brain by snorting crystalline pesh, though the jury is still perhaps out on that as well.

“So I’ve been blowing through my daily allotment of sending spells and just rambling out into the aether to whoever I happened to be talking to. I got kind of mixed up though, so I’m pretty sure that I was sweet-talked Sorshen in my own crazy way while I was actually sending that all to Runelord Karzoug.”

Another erratic burst of laughter, followed by Il’setsya’s tail winding down to her face. The prehensile appendage errantly pokes the end of a pipe stem to her lips where she purses her lips, takes a puff, and exhales thin streams of purple smoke from her nose and between her teeth.

“Ssilma’meshnik preserve, but Karzoug has to be having a bad day because I’ve been rambling about what I’d like to do to Sorshen or let Sorshen do to me. It has to be bizarre to wake up after thousands of years and have some crazy drunk chick whispering telepathically into your mind about how ‘I totally want to motorboat you...’.”

Wriggling out of the cloud of smoke surrounding Il’setsya, her summoned voidworm Harold aka Susanne aka Vladimir aka Jeanette etc flits about in the air, pointing its tail to the scattered pages of parchment surrounding. “D’zenirusiphia has been pretty naughty.”

Il’setsya aka D’zenirusiphia the Meandering Whisper of Wanton Whimsy rolls her eyes and reaches down for one of the sheets of paper. It and all of the others are covered in 25 word passages of text, some of them heavily revised and marked for edits, and all of them presumably being fodder for her use of sending spells.

“Some of these are pretty bad, and I admit, I don’t really remember which of them I sent to which person. Actually though I probably sent them all to Runelord Karzoug...” Another puff from the pipe and another giggle. “Feel free to look through them if you like, because it’ll probably come back to bite us in the tail.”

Of course, that phrase probably has a double meaning, given that the very first passage has a crudely scribbled cartoon Il’setsya bending over, with an equally crudely scribbled cartoon Runelord Sorshen biting her tail, with a cartoon heart shape floating between the two of them.

“Runelord Sorshen the Most Eminently Nom-nom’able, if you promise not to kill or torture me, I’ll show you a good time worth waiting millennia for.”

Continuing through the first page of many, the pages are stained with errant drops of wine and the ground surrounding Il’setsya is scattered with drug paraphernalia and candy wrappers. She’s been busy and probably worse the wear as a result of it all. Reading the sending spell messages that she’s already sent, gods above she’s probably going to have pissed off Runelord Karzoug something fierce since most of the messages aren’t intended for him, but all of them were sent to him anyways.

The following are around half of the ones that she sent, having blown higher level spell slots to just keep casting sending. She also looks to have doodled herself in various 'romantic' scenes with Runelord Sorshen and Runelord Alaznist, sometimes both of them at the same time.

“Yeah I sort of got carried away. Intelligent, magically skilled women are my thing. I’m mildly concerned about the whole horrifically evil thing on their part, but it’s not necessarily a deadlbreaker.” Il’setsya blushes fiercely and promptly passes out, her voidworm catching her head and ensuring that she doesn’t wake up with a concussion on top of a crippling hangover.

Il’setsya’s sending spell hall of shame:

“Runelord Sorshen. You, me, Alaznist and a five pound brick of Mwangi Flayleaf. My place, Galisemni, this Saturday. Clothing optional. My girlfriend won’t mind. Much.”

“Runelord Sorshen. Come to think of it, let’s make it your place. My girlfriend probably will mind. Sandpoint this Friday. Come meet my other girlfriend.”

“Runelord Sorshen, I’m so stupidly drunk right now. I want to motorboat you. Karzoug is a poo poo head. A greedy poo poo head.”

“Runelord Sorshen, my body is ready. Where have you been all of my life? Actually I don’t know how old I am. Past murkier than Sloth’s Runeforge domain.”

“Lady of magical mystery with mysterious past and ominous allegiance to slithering primordial forces of Chaos with desire to dissolve reality seeks illicit romance. A/S/L?”

“Runelord Alaznist, sorry for making out with your statue below Sandpoint. I don’t know what came over me. Actually I was drunk. I regret nothing.”

“Girly tiefling-thingamajig age unknown seeks genius female wizard for long intimate walks down the beach at sunset, breaking multiversal laws and causing mischief. Woohoo Xaos!”

“Runelord Alaznist, I’m totally blitzed on pesh. Please have your way with me. Save me from Karzoug’s revenge, because I kinda screwed with his stuff.”

“Runelord Karzoug, I hope this message reaches you. I am a barrister of the 1st Protean Bank of Galisemni and I need to transfer money.” Continued to next sending “If you could provide me with your treasure vault location and passwords past spells and guardians, I will give you a share of this fund.”

“Runelord Karzoug, I’m normally hot for transmuters like yourself. But you’re a dude. I’m not into dudes. Change that and get back to me. Kisses.”

“OMG I have a tail! Holy heck this is awesome! Ssila’meshnk preserve, I also know magic! Who am I talking to? Huh? Say what? *sounds of projectile vomiting*”

“Runelord Karzoug, sorry for that last one. I overindulged in wine, women, and your mom. Wait, no, that doesn’t make sense as a joke. Damn.”

“Runelord Karzoug, Shalast was cool and Imma let you finish, but Gastash and Eurythnia were the coolest of the runelord realms of Thassilon ever. HashtagChaoslife.”

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I'm currently playing a protean-blooded arcanist who is more or less a "Fool for Ssila'meshnik' in the 'Fool for Christ' way of thinking. She isn't a cleric, but the assumption is that her current state of existence is the result of a bargain made to a particular protean chorus (the Chorus of Malignant Symmetry). Either the chorus or Ssila'meshnik itself has given her a vaguely defined task in the sense of 'Greed (Karzoug) cannot wake unopposed' but with no real clarity, no specific orders, and a sense of 'make of that what you will, have fun, sow discord, whatever maybe perhaps'.

For a cleric I'd tailor domains to fit a particular chorus or particular protean lord (and feel free to make some up if none of the named ones fit the intended PC). Assign domains according to flavor and run with it, flying by the seat of your pants. Off the top of my head, you could probably find decent rationalization for any of the following: Chaos (protean entropy, revelry, whimsy, riot), liberation (freedom, revolution), trickery (all but greed), destruction, luck (curse, fate, imagination), magic, madness (insanity), knowledge (espionage), travel.

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There isn't a ton of information regarding the Speakers of the Depths, though it's insinuated that they might be the proteans' conceptualization of the Maelstrom itself as a living entity. The keketar choruses divine the Speakers' will and the myriad choruses guide the rest of the proteans. As such, I would actually hesitate in having a PC be a direct cleric of the Speakers of the Depths, and instead have them worship a protean lord as a sort of intermediary power and/or follow the guidance of a specific keketar chorus.

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Kalindlara wrote:
jhallum wrote:

I think the blue and white guy is a

** spoiler omitted **

That's pretty nifty!

It definitely is - that's the art they've used for it both times. ^_^

I've been waiting for that one for a long time - I hope they can do it justice!

*GLEE*

Yeah, I need one of those, like right now.

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Kvantum wrote:
Lev wrote:
I want the same book for good and neutral upper planes, written by Todd Stewart.
Shouldn't it just be a full trilogy - Planes of Purity, Planes of Balance, Planes of Corruption?

:D

I promise Paizo that I'm not setting up forum proxies to beg on my account. I can do all my begging for such on my own. ;)

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Very cool! :)

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Hetero or cis, if we're talking about sexuality or gender identity.

While cishet exists as a single slang term, around 90% of the time I see it being used, it's being used as a really ugly pejorative.

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