Stuff like robots and the like have been in fantasy rpgs for about as long as they have existed. For instance, Gary Gygax's Greyhawk campaign had multiple characters obtaining blasters, and Dave Arneson ran Gary Gygax's Mordenkainen, and Rob Kuntz's Robilar through the "City of the Gods" a crashed alien spaceship. Androids, robots and cyborgs are mentioned in the first published version of D&D as potential monsters. This has basis in a lot of the fiction that Gygax and Arneson read, such as Conan having met an alien in "The Tower of the Elephant". Fantasy is a lot broader than Tolkien and his imitators, and I'm glad that Paizo has chosen to explore some of the possibilities of fantasy that many do not.
The last two aren't in the original stories as far as I can tell. For the rest... not so special on a world like Oerth or Golarion, except the thing about driving the world insane which isn't exactly Cthulhu's doing alone as I recall. My point is not that Cthulhu isn't powerful, but that there is no reason to say that he is particulary powerful in a fantasy world that is much higher in general power level than Cthulhu's original world.
James Jacobs wrote:
Meh. Sorry, but the source material just does not support Cthulhu being that strong. Being able to terrorize a boatload of low-level NPC classed characters does not necessarily equate to being able to do the same to a party of near-demigods like a high level Pathfinder party.
Most likely Desna would've resembled a butterfly I think, given her association with them.
I don't think Great Old Ones and Outer Gods need to be more powerful in relation to the other powerful beings of Pathfinder. Sure they're far beyond the mere mortals that are the protagonists in Lovecraft's works. So are the demigods and gods of Pathfinder though. Or for that matter high-level characters.
Personally I think that the DC for identifying certain monsters should be low, but the DC for knowing the abilities and weaknesses might be much higher. So you might tell the PCs "This is a Storm Giant, they're relatively well-known creatures, but you haven't talked to anybody who knows their weaknesses, because those who are mighty enough to defeat them are rare."
Also, I think it's important to be consistent in this. Don't just put one monster you intend for the PCs to run from in the entire campaign (assuming player characters' actions is another problem). If you have such a monster once there should be more of them every so often.
Make a monster matrix in generally nondescript rooms in a dungeon. Make the dungeon absolutely mindbogglingly oversized and also symmetrical more than one way. Avoid any sort of plotline like the plague. Get the PCs there by a reward of gold. Take every monster straight from the MM. Make sure that spells and magic items and monsters don't follow any particular theme or discernable pattern.
Most of that's not objectively bad, that's just a difference in playstyle. The last couple of things and the part about symmetry I'd agree with. However, the megadungeon is a perfectly valid style of play, and can be made interesting even without a "plot". In fact, unless you're a skilled GM plot can easily lead to railroading, which is absolute anathema to me.
Sure, but it seems like a petty limitation. Why Should you make such a limitation? Sure you can expect that people will stay on topic, generally except that topic generally do not define what people can or cannot say about said topic. Really, I don't think posters even have that right. In fact, most topics I've seen are about the fact that Deity Stat Blocks are a bad idea, not the other way around, so why not have a topic that is friendly to the idea of Deity Stat Blocks for a change?
Well, I've been thinking of going back to college anyway.
But seriously, you are a terrible, horrible person for suggesting that a person's worth is tied to their level of education. Furthermore you seem to be under the impression that there are a lot of engineering jobs available to anybody who wants them. That doesn't seem to be true, in fact in America we have a lot of people who have advanced degrees but no opportunity to make use of them, including some of my friends. So not only is you're suggestion born of arrogance and callousness it's also ignorant as well.
^ That was in response to this post, I think.
I think I'm missing something here. Why is closing this box something that the character would be willing to sell his soul (assuming you're going with the standard Infernal Contract as in the ability) to achieve? Just seems pretty drastic to me.
Also I'm pretty sure you mean a contract devil. Fairly important distinction given that a demon is CE, rather than a devil's LE, and thus unlikely to live up to his part of any bargain made...
And behold! It was a winged creature: if bird, then greater than all other birds, and it was naked, and neither quill nor feather did it bear, and its vast pinions were as webs of hide between horned fingers; and it stank. A creature of an older world maybe it was, whose kind, lingering in forgotten mountains cold beneath the Moon, outstayed their day, and in hideous eyrie bred this last untimely brood, apt to evil. And the Dark Lord took it, and nursed it with fell meats, until it grew beyond the measure of all other things that fly; and he gave it to his servant to be his steed.
I would argue that a megadungeon doesn't necessarily have to have a purpose, or if it does it doesn't necessarily need to be well thought out. Castle Greyhawk's premise was basically a wizard (named Zagyg) did it. Also many dungeons are mysterious, eldritch places where the rules of the natural world don't apply, whose to say such a place couldn't just appear out of nowhere? Generally having some idea of why the place exists is useful though. Of course many megadungeons don't have one unified story of how the place came to be, instead they have a long, complicated history with many twists and turns and different influences (and then dwarves built a fortress nearby, but they accidentally breached the dungeon and then got overrun by goblins, the goblins built a temple to there dark gods under the fortress, then orcs came in profaned the fortress and caused the dark gods to create a portal to the Abyss, spewing out demons that mined up into the temple and slaughtered the orcs...).
Perhaps there won't be as many dungeons, but that doesn't mean no dungeons at all. In a way such a campaign would be the counterpoint to the "Points of Light" philosophy that 4e points out (it wasn't named that before, but it did exist). You'd have Points of Darkness in a sea of Light instead of the other way around. Also I'm not saying that a adventurers PCs would require a peaceful world like the OP describes. Rather I'm saying that such a peaceful world would have no need of heroes, and thus if you're designing a world for heroes that world should require heroes. Though, adventurers can prosper in a peaceful world by making their own adventure, but that might not be a nice thing to do...
Well this ties into something I posted earlier in another thread. The game wasn't originally about heroes. It was about adventurers out for fortune and glory. While the game had creatures from Lord of the Rings it more closely modeled Conan and other Sword and Sorcery stories. In the Blackmoor and Greyhawk campaigns you weren't heroes trying to save the world, you were exploring the treasure-filled dungeons under an abandoned castle trying to win you're fortune, at least the early part, since after you won you're fortune the game would transition into a different phase, but that's a completely different can of worms. Of course as people started playing it they started to take it in different directions, where some campaigns were more inspired by Lord of the Rings, eventually leading to such developments as Dragonlance and Second Edition, where this was the default. Yet the roots of the game still stuck to a degree.
Well, are you're PCs adventurers or heroes? There's a difference. In the original D&D campaigns, Blackmoor and Greyhawk, the PCs were adventurers. They weren't out to save the world, they were out for fortune and glory. They drove the action, especially in Blackmoor, were some of the PCs took up the roles of the bad guys in the setting. However as D&D was published some people took their inspiration from heroic fantasy like Lord of the Rings. D&D had creatures from Lord of the Rings, yes, but originally it was more inspired by sword and sorcery like Conan and Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. So some of the new guys started to take their games in different directions, which came to dominate the D&D game with Dragonlance and 2nd Edition. Both playstyles are valid, but they are different, though they can certainly overlap.
So, what's the point of this history lesson? Well adventurers need opportunities to seek fortune and glory, like treasure-filled ruins. Heroes need opportunities to be heroic, which means there must be something to strive against, like diabolical villains. Whether the world should require the PCs depends on who the PCs are.
One of the things every megadungeon needs is a nearby town for the PCs to use as a base of operations. This should be big enough to provide the resources the adventurers need, such as a cleric that is high enough level to cast spells like restoration and raise dead. However, if you use a large enough settlement it can be difficult to fully detail it enough, which may or may not be a problem depending on how you treat the settlement. If all it is is a way to provide resources to the PCs it doesn't need to be fully detailed. Theoretically the town could be inside the dungeon it's self, or it could be less a town and more of a camp in remote areas far from civilization.
A megadungeon is a "living" place, it will change over time due to the actions of it's inhabitants and in response to the PCs actions. A PC group will never clear out a megadungeon, not only because it's too large, but because as the PCs clear out certain sections of it these sections will be repopulated by other monsters. There is no "end" to a megadungeon, even if it is bounded geographically. Even then a DM can still add new areas, as the inhabitants mine them out, or otherwise create them.
The megadungeon doesn't need one overarching theme, but it can be useful. However, this theme should not dominate the dungeon entirely. That can get pretty boring. Instead have levels that are different somehow, like a cave of troglodytes connected to a megadungeon inhabited by undead, or have the dungeons intersect with a different underground structure that existed before.
A good dungeon, in my experience does not have every single room inhabited. Despite what the Pathfinder Gamemastery Guide says, "empty" rooms are good. These can serve as a buffer between different monsters, addressing the complaint of "why haven't all these monsters killed each other already if they live in such close proximity?", can serve as channels for PC exploration, allowing them choices like "do we attack these orcs, or do we try to go around them and see what is there first?" or can serve as a refuge were the PCs can hole up and prepare to take on additional challenges. A classic megadungeon is not the "break down the door, kill the monsters, loot there stuff, rinse repeat" hack and slash dungeon that so many complain about. It's primarily about exploring this wondrous, exotic and dangerous location... and then looting it.
Levels tend to have multiple interconnections, and internally to have lot of different paths, branches, side paths, etc. A classic megadungeon level isn't a linear path from the entrance to a "boss monster" whose guarding the only path to the next level. In addition there tend to be multiple entrances, often providing convenient access to the lower levels.
Also, don't think you need to detail the whole thing at once. It's good to have an idea of how the whole thing fits together, but generally you should work on 2-3 levels at once. Also one dungeon level does not necessarily equate to one character level. It can, but even then it tends to have "extra xp", so that the characters don't need to clear out the whole level (which as I said before, is unlikely anyways) to go up a level.
This is it for now, I might have more thoughts later.
It seems like, with some work, the GM could write an alternate beginning set on Earth, with the players having Anachronistic Adventurers classes. Or at least have Anachronistic Adventurers characters show up with the rest of the party when they arrive from the portal (though that might be somewhat complicated, due to the fact that the Anachronistic Adventurers character would not be around for the beginning part of the adventure, though I'm not sure how long that would be, not having read the adventure, of course).
I don't think that's quite what it says. The module says that the Nomen are a tribe that exists as part of a larger ethnic group, but I don't see any indication that they have any political affiliation with that larger group that would mean that a war with the Nomen of the Stolen Lands would involve their kin in Ioberia.
I would say that the threat the Nomen poses to the PCs kingdom is perhaps overstated a bit by some posters. Certainly, a force of calvary archers, perhaps using guerrilla tactics is nothing to scoff at, so however much larger the PCs army is they certainly could be a threat of some sort. However, they will certainly be unable to take and hold territory, since that will open them up to retaliatory strikes that will certainly overwhelm them. So while the Nomen can certainly be a nuisance to the kingdom, they have no chance of conquering any of it.
It's about matching power level to what your story needs. Cthulhu should be something ultimate. In pulp settings ultimate power is a bit nebulous, in pathfinder it's level 20 plus mythic.
Why does Cthulhu need to be "ultimate" in the first place? He's not even remotely the strongest being in the actual Cthulhu Mythos (for that matter, Kthulhu mentioned in another thread that he isn't presented as necessarily being any stronger than the rest of his race). Even if he were, why would would it follow that he remain so relative to a different setting wherein the protagonists are far, far stronger than in the original source?
Personally, I'm not even sure Cthulhu needs to be a Mythic threat. A bunch of low-level dudes in a steamliner (assuming the characters were correct in their assumption that the creature they faced was in fact dread Cthulhu and not one of his star-spawn), without any magic or things of that sort, managed to drive him back, albeit without actually doing him any lasting harm and with massive casualties. Given that, I think it's not that much of a stretch to think that a "mere" high-level party, without benefit of mythic tiers, could defeat him.
To elaborate what thejeff said, Robert E. Howard, the author of Conan, and Lovecraft were friends. Howard actually included entities similar to the cosmic horrors found in Lovecraft's work in his works. However, Conan actually proved able to defeat such entities. I wouldn't even consider Conan the Barbarian to be an example of "heroic fantasy", but rather of Swords and Sorcery.
I think he'd either be very, very high level, as in higher than 20, in order to gain whatever ability he requires to visit every house in the world in a single night. Either that, or he'd possess some kind of artifact with that ability. Regardless of what you'd consider a night to be in this case, I'm pretty sure it would be far too short an amount of time to visit all of the estimated 1.4 billion households in the world.
If you consider Santa Claus to, for the purposes of this exercise, literally be the historical St. Nicholas, some how granted immortality and various powers, he may in fact be a cleric or oracle. This is somewhat problematic, given that the saint's remains are supposed to be located in the Basilica di San Nicola. Of course this is not an insurmountable obstacle given the mystical nature of the figure in question.
On the other hand, Santa Claus is also considered to be influenced by the myths of the pagan deity Odin. Perhaps Santa Claus is just a guise of Odin, later conflated with the Christian saint. Again, this is just for the purposes of this exercise of determining how one might stat out Santa Claus. In this case, you may or may not be able to stat him at all, but that's a debate for another thread. If so there are already many different sets of stats available that you may choose to use.
It is possible that Santa Claus is truly neither figure, but a different man who due to similarities to the previous two got confused with them. Multiple stories, including L. Frank Baum's The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus and the 1970 Christmas special Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town present him as a mortal who was raised by and lived among fey. He has himself been described as an elf, however since D&D and Pathfinder have very specific depictions of creatures that have a wide variety of depictions in the original folklore, this probably does not mean that he is an elf as presented in the Core Rulebook. In either case his class is probably sorcerer, with a fey or perhaps boreal bloodline. He could be a regular human, a fey creature human, a half-elf, gnome, a type of fey creature or even dwarf.
Quite frankly, I believe that if one would use these stats so that they could play a Pathfinder session wherein the player characters endeavor to harm Santa Claus, I would say that the person in question at best possesses a very poor and foul sense of humor or is at worst deranged or just plain evil. However, I suppose it possible that I am taking this to seriously and that people that I have seen suggesting this are in fact doing so in a spirit of good fun.
This adventure has recently gone from not particularly interesting to must buy.
Personally, while I know Paizo can't make any references to WotC IP, I'm wondering if there might be some room for me to write in some references to a certain daughter of Baba Yaga from Dungeons and Dragons. Maybe even a visit to Oerth...