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>>Ask *James Jacobs* ALL your Questions Here!<<


Off-Topic Discussions

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Paizo Employee Creative Director

TheAlicornSage wrote:
Quote:
If the character is an NPC, absolutely. NPCs don't gain experience points. Whether or not an NPC levels up depends ENTIRELY on the GM's whim.

This answer completely discounts any connection between the game world and what the metagame constructions are supposed to represent.

As most people I know think that either the game world evolves from the rules, or the rules represent the game world occasionally imperfectly, and a very few think a mix (most who say a mix upon further investigation actually believe one or the other, usually the latter).

So this leads to my questions, A, how do you view the connection between the rules, the game world, and what the rules mean in the game world? and B, what exactly do you think levels represent in the game world?

Also, what is the yellow sign mentioned earlier?

Lastly, I will make and present to you a goblin named Senior Vorpal Kickasso, or similar, who has 1 level in lots of classes.

It absolutely does. PCs are supposed to be special and unique. They are not NPCs, and they play by different rules. The game world is represented by rules, but the rules should NEVER hamper/hinder stories you want to tell in the game... and in the end, the creator of the story, be it a GM or an author or a developer or whoever... THAT'S the person who makes the decisions about the plot.

Rules exist for two reasons:

1) to support the game world, and if the game world wants to do something different, then the creator of that story gets to bend or break or invent new rules.

2) Because it's a game. Rules exist so that there's an element of challenge to the game, and as a tool for players and the GM to simulate the events that play out in the game. Without the rules, there is no game, but there's still a world that can grow and expand as long as anyone wants to keep telling stories in that world.

In world, character levels represent skill and talent and power and memory and destiny.

The Yellow Sign was invented a century ago in a series of stories by Robert Chambers that has gone on to be adopted by other writers of genre fiction like H. P. Lovecraft or (most recently) the show creators of HBO's "True Detective." It's also going to play a VERY important role in the upcoming Strange Aeons adventure path. Click for more info.

Just because something can be made, doesn't mean it should be made. I could make a milkshake out of grass clippings, tonails, horse-flesh ice cream, rancid rat milk, sardines, spiders, and peanut butter I scraped up from the floor of a movie theater. Doesn't mean I should! :-P

Paizo Employee Creative Director

3 people marked this as a favorite.
MythicFox wrote:
If someone was making their own fantasy setting purely from scratch and you could only give them three pieces of basic world-building advice, what would they be? (If you'd absolutely have to give more than three, go ahead, three just seems like a good number for keeping it simple)

1) Start small. Begin by building a village in a rural area.

2) Read voraciously/game voraciously/watch voraciously for inspiration.

3) Every time you answer a mystery about your world, pose two more new mysteries to replace the one you answered.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

TheAlicornSage wrote:
Señor Vorpal Kickass'o wrote:
TheAlicornSage wrote:

Lastly, I will make and present to you a goblin named Senior Vorpal Kickasso, or similar, who has 1 level in lots of classes.

You'll do who to the what, now?

Yea, I'll do it, and I can do it without a chicka over the n and without an apostrophe in preposterous places.

:)

On a more serious side, what would you think James of some multiclass rules that allowed you to take multiple classes each lvl? (probably slowing down ability choices or something)

PS do you catch the reference?

You can already multiclass for each level. No need for new rules at all. In fact, I put just such a character into my Magnimar book; Billiver Biliven is a CN male gnome alchemist 2/bard 1/cleric of Sivanah 1/sorcerer 1/wizard 2. He takes a 2nd level in a class now and then because he doesn't want to be predictable.

Grand Lodge

Hey James, has something like the Columbian exchange happened yet on Golarion? I am mostly curious if people in the inner sea could buy the fruits and vegetables not native to Europe. (Corn, potato, yam, tomato, tobacco)


Still can't multiclass at 1st level which makes hard to have a character that studies a dual path. Thankfully Pathfinder removed the restriction disallowing a monk to start taking monk levels after taking another class. (gave me lots of trouble in 3.x)

Big question, have you read the comic Goblins? Do you like it?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Therrux wrote:
Hey James, has something like the Columbian exchange happened yet on Golarion? I am mostly curious if people in the inner sea could buy the fruits and vegetables not native to Europe. (Corn, potato, yam, tomato, tobacco)

No analog to the "Columbian exchange" really happened, but things like that are quite available to folks in the Inner Sea region. Many of these crops are in fact native to the region (particularly potatoes, tomatoes, and tobacco).

Paizo Employee Creative Director

TheAlicornSage wrote:

Still can't multiclass at 1st level which makes hard to have a character that studies a dual path. Thankfully Pathfinder removed the restriction disallowing a monk to start taking monk levels after taking another class. (gave me lots of trouble in 3.x)

Big question, have you read the comic Goblins? Do you like it?

Ah; I see what you're saying... but the concept of "multiclassing" at first level is nonsensical. Check out the magus or the hybrid classes in Advanced Class Guide for our version of what you're looking for.

I read the scripts for all the comics and have approval over them before they're sent to the artists, but rarely go back and read them in their final form.


Wrong comics.

Try this,
http://www.goblinscomic.org/

This page is Senor Vorpal Kickass'o, a level 1 character that has 1/11 of a level in 11 classes.
http://www.goblinscomic.org/09022005


Hybrid classes are neat, but hardly cover every combo, certainly not some of the combos I want, such as monk/sorcerer (or what I'd really like, monk/spontaneous casting wizard, since I have a strong distaste for prepared casting). Other combos I often like are cleric/wizard (flavorwise, I could never bring myself to actually play such a prepared caster. Got close with oracle/sorcerer then mystic theurge though), or rogue/sorcerer.

I also like the triclass, monk/rogue/sorcerer, unarmed strike with sneak attack and an attached shocking grasp is awesome, especially when I critted the one time I actually managed to pull it off.

I also want a fighter/sorcerer, but not really the magus style. The majority of the magus abilities are things I'd never use or want as a fighter/sorcerer.

It boils down to needing to make up new stuff either way, so why not make something that makes it easier to mix what exists rather than making a new class? (well business-wise, new classes are more splats to sell, but as a player, easier to use existing stuff is better output for the invested time)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

TheAlicornSage wrote:

Wrong comics.

Try this,
http://www.goblinscomic.org/

This page is Senor Vorpal Kickass'o, a level 1 character that has 1/11 of a level in 11 classes.
http://www.goblinscomic.org/09022005

Never heard of it. Doesn't really look all that interesting to me though... not really a fan of the art style, nor am I a big fan of the "metagame" style of comic like this or what you see in something like Order of the Stick.


Can't really compare with order of the stick since I haven't read that, but I do like this since it is all from an in world view and the story not only exists consistently and constantly, (as opposed to pages of independent jokes with only background threads of story), but it never does the newspaper comic strip thing, nor breaks into the meta, out of world, more like the rules such as classes are inherent in the world itself.

Sorry you don't like it, the story would have been awesome I think.

The creator is bringing out a Goblins game though, so you might look into that when it is ready, maybe you guys can even be a distributor.

Silver Crusade

James, I've got a question on a Paladin traveling/adventuring with a inquisitor of Asmodeous that is Lawful evil [Inquisitor is now a unique Devil started out a a pit fiend bound but has been promoted and remade as
for various acts that he committed in the course of the game we are 16th level 2nd tier mythic] would the Paladin be in danger of losing his Paladin powers just because of his choice of traveling companions.

When The Inquisitor chooses to commit morally questionable [ as the Paladin might see them] acts he will send the Paladin to do something else to further the parties goals while he does what needs to be done.
Quite often the Inquisitor will remind the Paladin that acts he is considering are not things a Paladin should think of send the Paladin away and then do them himself as he does not have the same moral strictures as his friend the Paladin. The Paladins God knows that the two are traveling together as they have encountered an avatar of the Deity in the course of the game.

James on a side note, do Gods know what their clerics, paladins, Inquisitors and oracles do just by the fact that they grant them spells and other powers?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

TheAlicornSage wrote:


The creator is bringing out a Goblins game though, so you might look into that when it is ready, maybe you guys can even be a distributor.

As a general rule in that kind of situation, it's the game creator who should come to Paizo to talk about selling on the store or that type of thing. We generally don't look into new games like that. We've got enough going on with our own games. ;-P


1. What color is Alexeara Cansellarion's hair and eyes?

2. What do you think about the idea of homebrew Glorious Reclamation campaign?

3. What would be a good 1st-level quest for a bunch of Glorious Reclamation PCs; an anti-Thrune mission that some low-level initiates could handle?


MythicFox wrote:
If someone was making their own fantasy setting purely from scratch and you could only give them three pieces of basic world-building advice, what would they be? (If you'd absolutely have to give more than three, go ahead, three just seems like a good number for keeping it simple)

1. Go Wild

2. Be Inventive.

3. If this world flames out, you can always build another.

Grand Lodge

James Jacobs wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:

Art question!

Why are Urdefhan always wearing leather strips over their eyes, is it just because it makes them look cool, or is there a reason behind it. :-)

Have a splendid weekend!

Because that's something that kinda got latched onto, I guess. There's not really any in-world reason for it. And indeed it makes no sense for their stats since they have to be able to see. In my homebrew, where they come from, they have red eyes that look creepy because you can see through the eyelids.

They've proven to be one of the most difficult things to get illustrated "right" for whatever reason, though.

I think it says in Darklands Revisited that they have an eye at the back of their mouths that the Urdefhan believe sees better than their other two,so they tend to cover their eyes and keep their mouths agape. I am curious as to whether this was made to justify the design or if it was predetermined.

Grand Lodge

James Jacobs wrote:
IDTheftVictim wrote:
So level 20 Wizards are the shapers of nations, level 20 Fighters are the slayers of tyrants, level 20 bards and experts are artisans that create masterpieces, and a level 20 Alchemist reversed aging. If we assume it is possible to gather the levels what would a level 20 Commoner be?

I don't believe we ever said any of the above. A level 20 bard can be a slayer of tyrants. A Level 20 wizard can reverse aging. Grouping bards and experts in the same category is kinda silly too.

I'm pretty sure that although the rules allow for a 20th level commoner that no such thing has ever or will ever exist in print for Pathfinder. Commoners above 8th level are pretty, well.. UNcommon. Those above 12th? I doubt they exist.

Likewise, while you can build a character who takes a new class each time she levels up... I doubt that any character like this exists. Just because you CAN build something with the rules doesn't by any means guarantee that thing should exist in world.

Sorry I phrased the question pretty poorly, and I suppose if I care that much about a lvl 20 Commoner I should make it myself.

How are crimes handled with the existence of magic? Is Diviniation used to get clues, is Speak with Dead used a lot? Is the Suggestion/Dominate person defense viable? Any qualms with using Charm spells to gather information?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Does bustin' make you feel good?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Axial wrote:

1. What color is Alexeara Cansellarion's hair and eyes?

2. What do you think about the idea of homebrew Glorious Reclamation campaign?

3. What would be a good 1st-level quest for a bunch of Glorious Reclamation PCs; an anti-Thrune mission that some low-level initiates could handle?

1) Have no idea. I've not reached the point where I've encountered her in that campaign (we're still about 1/2 way through the first book). Good question for Rob though, I guess. Or if you have the volume with her npc writeup, her art will help you.

2) Not interesting to me.

3) Anything that starts them down the road toward reclaiming Chelaix, I guess. Dunno. I'm playing in that AP. I didn't write/outline/develop it. AKA: Glorious Reclamation characters are for KILLING!!!


What font do you prefer to write in?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
MythicFox wrote:
If someone was making their own fantasy setting purely from scratch and you could only give them three pieces of basic world-building advice, what would they be? (If you'd absolutely have to give more than three, go ahead, three just seems like a good number for keeping it simple)

1. Go Wild

2. Be Inventive.

3. If this world flames out, you can always build another.

Please don't help. This thread is for me to answer questions, not everyone to answer questions.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

IDTheftVictim wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:

Art question!

Why are Urdefhan always wearing leather strips over their eyes, is it just because it makes them look cool, or is there a reason behind it. :-)

Have a splendid weekend!

Because that's something that kinda got latched onto, I guess. There's not really any in-world reason for it. And indeed it makes no sense for their stats since they have to be able to see. In my homebrew, where they come from, they have red eyes that look creepy because you can see through the eyelids.

They've proven to be one of the most difficult things to get illustrated "right" for whatever reason, though.

I think it says in Darklands Revisited that they have an eye at the back of their mouths that the Urdefhan believe sees better than their other two,so they tend to cover their eyes and keep their mouths agape. I am curious as to whether this was made to justify the design or if it was predetermined.

It was a decision by the artist that keeps getting picked up and carried through. The "eye at the back of their mouths" is silly, I think... not a direction I would have taken them if I had written that book or developed it. Urdefhans are increasingly becoming an EXCELLENT example of a race that had a huge role to play in my homebrew but the longer they're in Golarion, the more alien to me they become.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

IDTheftVictim wrote:
How are crimes handled with the existence of magic? Is Diviniation used to get clues, is Speak with Dead used a lot? Is the Suggestion/Dominate person defense viable? Any qualms with using Charm spells to gather information?

It varies by region and by nation. Just as magic is used in ALL sorts of different ways to say, fight monsters, explore ruins, wage wars, get revenge, create treasure, and everything else, how magic is used to handle crimes varies as well. We've LOTS of examples of how this happens in our adventures.

That said... keep in mind that just because you see PCs reach high level often and just because we publish lots of adventures for them doesn't mean every city and town has spellcasters who are available to cast spells or WILLING to cast spells to help with solving crimes. But yes... speak with dead, mind control, and thought reading all happen with relative frequency... but are also NOT used because that requires a LOT of trust in the spellcaster that they're not going to use their magic to further their own agenda, so in just as many regions, magic is used only as an extra tool or even not at all.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Does bustin' make you feel good?

Not particularly.

Spoiler:
Nor does it make me feel bad. I was never what you'd call a "fan" of Ghostbusters, and while I've seen it a few times, it's far from my favorite movie. It's a fun movie, but it's got parts that annoy me, particularly some of the humor and goofy elements. It's not a movie I've ever felt compelled to own, nor is it one I've ever felt compelled to watch on my own. It doesn't really have any inertia at all for me in one way or another.

I haven't seen the new Ghostbusters movie yet. I an DELIGHTED that the ghostbusters this time around are all women; I think that more movies should do stuff like this, and I hope the movie's success in the face of the haters and misogynists is proof to Hollywood and the world at large that we WANT more women in movies, in roles that aren't defined by the woman needing to be a mother or a nurse or a girlfriend or whatever. But beyond this "ABOUT DAMN TIME" element of the movie... there's not much about the movie from it's trailers or from what I've heard that makes me eager to see it.

This is, of course, complicated by the fact that all of my friends who have seen it have LOVED LOVED LOVED it. And that sort of triggers a warning bell in my head. More often than not, when there's a big popcorn/summer movie like this and everyone else seems to love it, I end up watching the movie and either don't like it or simply like it. AKA: If everyone around me gives it an A+, I'd give the movie in question a B or even a B–. Which still means I liked the movie and am glad I saw it, but when other people who LOVE something are confronted with someone who only likes it, they get weirdly defensive and crusade to try to explain to me why I should like it... perhaps not exactly like that, but they start talking about the parts that they felt made it a GREAT movie and I get the vibe that they think that I simply didn't pick up on that and if I learned about it I would suddenly change my mind.

But here's the thing.

I've been watching movies for close to 40 years. I've been reading and writing for about the same amount of time. I do have a pretty good grasp of what makes a story good or bad, particularly what makes one good or bad to me. I also understand that sometimes, what makes a story good for me makes it bad for others–I love Blair Witch Project, for example, but a lot of folks whose movie opinions I trust hate that movie. I get it, and I don't try to convince them to love it, because I respect their opinions.

I don't enjoy when friends don't pay me the same respect.

I've been through this a fair amount... most often, recently, with superhero movies. There's been a few that I've legitimately LOVED, like "Guardians of the Galaxy" and the Nolan Batman movies, but many of them I only enjoy and never feel the need to watch again. I've only seen the Avengers once, and don't feel the urge to see it again. Same goes for the Thor movies, the Iron Man movies, Deadpool, etc. Fun movies, but none of them are "A" movies to me (like Guardians was, and which I've seen more than once as a result). Note that this can also go in reverse. I quite loved "Jurassic World" and the new Godzilla movie was GREAT (as in I saw it twice on opening day great), but when folks I talk to are lukewarm on the movie, I generally just pull back and stop the conversation. No need for me to blather about it and annoy them, and I'm not interested in them trying to tell me why they feel it was a mediocre movie.

So... I've not yet seen the new Ghostbusters, and there's a very good chance I won't see it in theaters. If I do... It'll probably be on my own. More likely, I'll wait to see it on DVD/Netflix/whatever. Instead, I went to see "Lights Out" this weekend, which was a pretty average horror movie with a few nifty elements to it.

Whew... long answer to a short question. I'll spoiler the above to cut down on the wall of text syndrome.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

DaemonAngel wrote:
What font do you prefer to write in?

Nexus Serif is what we use at work, and I've grown pretty accustomed to it.

Times New Roman is gross, as are pretty much all the default settings for Word.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

I'm less than enthused by the Urdefahns we've gotten- apart from eyeballs in mouths and self-blindfolding fashion choices, what are the other major differences between PF Urdefahns and the original James Jacobs version?


Oh Mighty T-Rex,

The group that my friend and I run can only be charitably be called a group. Since we run our game in a public place, and the whole thing is actually a way to get more people interested in RPGs, we have people dropping in and out constantly, and a veritable flood of new players.

Don't get me wrong, I love this! It's fun introducing a bunch of new people to the game, they often come up with fun and interesting ideas that our vets, set in their ways as they are, didn't even think of. But, it's created a bit of a problem for us.

It's rather difficult crafting adventures with how that other than our few vets, different peoples' interests vary wildly as they come to our table, and we often don't know who's coming in advance. In addition, it takes an hour out of our game time to make new characters for the newcomers, and its difficult to explain what already happened in the campaign to new people.

The other DM and I have bounced around a few ideas (creating modular, mostly self-contained adventures with a myth arc, using pregens, perhaps converting a system that's a bit more simple than PF), but what's your take?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

1. Speaking of movies, did you hear that the Adam Wingard ("Your Next, etc.) movie "The Woods" was announced at comic con with a new name, "The Blair Witch"?

2. Does this make you more excited or less? I love that director and was excited, but admittedly the idea of an original movie from him is somewhat more appealing than a sequel to a franchise that hasn't had a new entry in quite awhile.

3. Do you have a current favorite "active" director of movies (horror or otherwise), a director that automatically makes you pay attention to their next project?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Cole Deschain wrote:
I'm less than enthused by the Urdefahns we've gotten- apart from eyeballs in mouths and self-blindfolding fashion choices, what are the other major differences between PF Urdefahns and the original James Jacobs version?

The urdefhans in my setting are surface dwellers, where they rule a mountain realm called Orv. They are masterminds of weapon invention, and particularly enjoy inventing weapons that torture and torment foes during battles.

That said... check out their initial write-up and info in "Into the Darklands." That's the incarnation of the urdefhan that was closest to my homebrew.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
The Doomkitten wrote:

Oh Mighty T-Rex,

The group that my friend and I run can only be charitably be called a group. Since we run our game in a public place, and the whole thing is actually a way to get more people interested in RPGs, we have people dropping in and out constantly, and a veritable flood of new players.

Don't get me wrong, I love this! It's fun introducing a bunch of new people to the game, they often come up with fun and interesting ideas that our vets, set in their ways as they are, didn't even think of. But, it's created a bit of a problem for us.

It's rather difficult crafting adventures with how that other than our few vets, different peoples' interests vary wildly as they come to our table, and we often don't know who's coming in advance. In addition, it takes an hour out of our game time to make new characters for the newcomers, and its difficult to explain what already happened in the campaign to new people.

The other DM and I have bounced around a few ideas (creating modular, mostly self-contained adventures with a myth arc, using pregens, perhaps converting a system that's a bit more simple than PF), but what's your take?

The type of game you describe is not really one that works best as a custom campaign with a detailed overarching plot, like you see us do in our Adventure Paths. What it REALLY sounds like you're running is something that is pretty much identical to Pathfinder Society; if you AREN'T actually running the Pathfinder Society organized play game, you should absolutely consider making that change, since it was built specifically for your exact situation—games run in public venues with a constantly rotating cast of players and a relatively thin overall metaplot that focuses on self-contained one-shot adventures.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.
MMCJawa wrote:

1. Speaking of movies, did you hear that the Adam Wingard ("Your Next, etc.) movie "The Woods" was announced at comic con with a new name, "The Blair Witch"?

2. Does this make you more excited or less? I love that director and was excited, but admittedly the idea of an original movie from him is somewhat more appealing than a sequel to a franchise that hasn't had a new entry in quite awhile.

3. Do you have a current favorite "active" director of movies (horror or otherwise), a director that automatically makes you pay attention to their next project?

1) Oh my yes. I was already a fan of Adam Wingard, since the home-invasion sub-genre of horror is one of my LEAST favorite sub-genres of horror, but what he did in "You're Next" blew me away. And Blair Witch Project is one of my favorite movies. And I was already eager to see "The Woods" before I knew the truth. SO... yeah. VERY excited.

2) It makes me more excited. I went from interested to "I might have to see this movie on the VERY first showing, be it the midnight before release or perhaps take the day off to watch it" level of excitement. The advance word I've seen on the movie is VERY encouraging as well.

3) Yup, I've got a few who fall into that category. My "top three" directors of all time are John Carpenter, Akira Kurosawa, Werner Herzog, and Martin Scorsese. Others bounce in and out of the top five, filling that fifth slot—Guillarmo del Toro and Quentin Tarrintino and Ridley Scott and Stephen Spielberg usually fight for that role.

That said. If there's one director who makes me sit up and instantly pay attention to their next project, that'd be Ti West.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game Subscriber

O Great and Wise T-Rex,

Wrath of the Righteous plot spoiler:
At the end of book 5, there exists an option for a PC to become the Herald of Iomedae. Is that something that the current herald can pass on? Or does this only come from Iomedae?

This ties into me having the herald grant the PCs a vision for a quest to help close the Worldwound.

Does it make you smile getting a decent amount of questions lately regarding Wrath?

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