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Juju Oracles, White Necromancers, and non-evil undead(and variants) in Golarion


Pathfinder Campaign Setting General Discussion

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Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Hoping to kick up discussion on how best to fit these two classes and what they bring to the table into the Golarion setting(or in the case of the Juju Oracle, to expand their reach). Hopefully some of this'll be useful to folks that want these elements in their Golarion.

Basics

First, a quick rundown for those unfamiliar with the Juju Oracle or the White Necromancer, both Charisma-based full casters capable of bringing non-evil undead into being, which makes them special in the current PF paradigm as far as RAW goes.

The Juju mystery for oracles was introduced in Pathfinder #39 : The City of Seven Spears. These divine oracles work with (somewhat loosely defined IIRC) wendo spirits tied with Mwangi traditions for all manner of reasons, some good, some not so much. Their relationship with the wendo allows them to call these spirits into vessels to animate them, drawing upon a different animating force than most undead. Juju oracles can be of any alignment.

The white necromancer was introduced in Kobold Quarterly #19. These arcane casters are masters of manipulating both positive and negative energy, and many of their healing and protective abilities hinge on putting their own lives on the line. Necromancers also work with the spirits of the dead rather than enslaving them. Where evil necromancers force the state of undeath upon others, white necromancers actually have to use diplomacy to request the aid of the dead, and often this is a two-way bargain that must be respected. White necromancers can be any non-evil alignment.

The big thing about both of these classes is that due to the way they both create undead(specifically through means that remove the [Evil] descriptor from the relevant spells), their mindless undead are always neutral while their intelligent undead always share the alignment of their creator. In the explicit case of the white necromancer, their intelligent undead are also not in any way beholden to their creators by any magical means, and there is often the understanding that this undead state is a temporary affair that will end when whatever task that needs to be completed is done.

In Golarion

So, how to fit these into the Golarion setting(and other worlds, especially when one considers Eox)? Juju oracles are already present in the Mwangi, but their influence is largely confined there, at least in the form written into their article. Expanding on the basic idea of wendo spirits to a more generic form of spirits(background nature spirits, ancestral spirits, etc) makes this approachable for many other cultures in other regions.

The presence of these two classes(or at least the precedence they set) enable a lot of concepts that would otherwise be locked out: The Eternal Charge that has been going on in the Worldwound since the first Mendevian Crusade, eternally loyal and vigilant mummified paladins guarding over the necropolis of Rahotep, Pharaoh of Tomorrow until his returns from his rest in Nirvana(thanks so much for that plotseed Todd Stewart!), to self appointed safekeepers of Black Blood focused on keeping that stuff away from the living and from seeping into non-corrupted Darkland environments by any means necessary.

Now of course Pharasma would get frowny-faced about this. That's what she does and that's okay. We all have our pet peeves. But what about the setting beyond her? How do the other gods and cosmological forces view juju oracles and white necromancers, and how do they react or put them to use? How does Sarenrae consider the deeds of a good-spawned undead weighted against the sins commited during a natural lifetime, if at all?

What cultures tolerate them? What cultures might even embrace them? How do they in turn affect these cultures that they may or may not be a part of? What organizations react to them? What organizations might be born from or because of them?

Mwangi Expanse is easy enough to find possibilities in for Juju oracles and white necromancers. But right next to that we have Osirion with who-knows-how-many cities of the dead. Some of which need protecting from that ghoul civilization lurking underneath the surface...

Reverence of ancestral spirits among the Shoanti and Kellids could give a reflavored variant of the Juju a foot in the door with some tribes. Barbarian cultures don't necessarily lock out arcane white necromancers either, since it's portrayed as a more "don't think, feel" approach rather than an academic approach; that is, it doesn't require any colleges, it requires people skills and an understanding of respect, which is what the white necromancer lives and dies by.

And then there's the notion of Nexian undead agents infiltrating Geb...

JO/WN-made Undead

There's also another issue: The way juju oracles and white necromancers make undead of any alignment while using non-evil variants of animate dead, create undead, and greater create undead raises the question of just what these undead are. We know that they're either vessels for (wendo) spirits or undead made from willing souls, but how does this affect the finer details of what they are?

For example, would a NG ghoul look the same as a standard ghoul? Would they share the same hunger? And this is the trickiest part: What about their spawning ability?

Personally, while I would like to avoid making up new creatures to be alignment appropriate analogues for each undead on those creation lists, I do like the idea of reflavoring them a bit. Admittedly some are more problematic than the others in that regard, one in particular.

On the matter of spawning, perhaps one alignment dependant way of viewing it(besides the easy answer of "good undead just don't spawn") is that good-aligned undead made by Juju oracles or white necromancers can possibly infect those they slay with their own spiritual essense(and alignment). It could be seen as inflicting a massive dose of empathy and guilt in those sorely needing it. For some, it may be like the "Thirty hours of pain all at once, all for you" scene from The Crow. For others, it might be an explicit pact communicated on a spiritual level, offering a sort of Ragman-ish deal to the victim. Both cases and other possibilities could result in good-aligned undead born from evil(or evil leaning) mortals that are now truly repentant and seeking what absolution they can with whatever time has been offered to them. Perhaps it will ease the burden of their souls when they finally go before Pharasma, perhaps it won't, but most would push on as far as they can go anyway with or without the promise of a pardon. Of course, only evil beings with a spark of goodness would even be possible to spawn as good undead. There would have to be something salvagable present to begin with. And that's just for good undead. There's also the added bonus in offering an alternate explanation for why evil undead are the vast majority, if spawning does indead inflict some of the spawners essense upon the spawnee.

Variants

Back to alignment appropriate undead, this is by no means complete, so any other ideas on how to flesh this out are more than welcome(ie: please halp!):

Skeletons look the same out of the box regardless of the alignment of their creators. Any further aesthetics are going to have to be applied directly by their creators.

Zombies work largely the same regardless of the alignment of the spirit animating them. Except in the eyes. All zombies have dead stares, but there's a hint of something in some of them. While all zombies made by Juju oracles and white necromancers are truly neutral, some spark of personality or emotion that marks either where this spirit came from or where it's going. Some have the eyes of dreamers(CG), some absolutely serene(NG), some determined(LG), some absolutely wild-eyed(CN), some impossibly stoic(LN), some impossibly crazed and twitching in their sockets(CE), and some in absolute pain and abject hopelessness(LE).

Ghouls....I have to admit, I love the new aesthetic introduced in one of the early adventure paths. There's something unsettling about that clean, bone-white appearance. I'd largely want to keep that for all alignments, but feeding habits should probably reflect alignment. But they should also still be unsettling. Perhaps they have to devour flesh in order to recover from their wounds.

Mummies are easy to see going any number of ways by culture and alignment, particularly lawful ones big on respecting the dead(Osirion!).

Mohrgs, not so much. These guys might be worth heavily reflavoring for other alignments and aesthetics.

The big problematic one on standard creation lists, and this is one of those undead that I personally never even consider as an option when discussing non-evil undead along with the demilich, is the devourer. Maybe it's just my personal bias, but I can't help but see purposefully destroying souls as anything but the worst of the worst. If there's an unforgivable sin in fantasy land, that's pretty much it for me.

But. they're on the creation list. One could just say "just don't use them and ignore 'em". But let's go nuts.

Whatever the non-evil(I'd go so far as to say non-NE) answer to the devourer is, it has to do something similar: place the souls of their victims beyond the easy reach of their allies without destroying them. This softened approach also makes these souls easier to recover through means other than miracle and wish, though they can still be quests in and of themselves. There is a lot that can be done with this concept:

Names are highly likely to change the moment someone suggests something better (ie: anything)

LE variant - Hell Mason - This towering humanoid figure of flesh and stone has a burning fire within, exposed through stove-like openings dotting its body, the largest in its chest. When it draws the soul of a victim into itself, the fire and pressure within spike to horrible extremes. The screaming soul within is cooked and compressed until it is nothing more than a brick of the same flesh/stone hybrid material as its slayer, a single pained eye left to mark what it once was. Once the cooking process is complete, it disappears in a puff of brimstone, instantly teleported to Hell where it is place into the wall of one of Dis' many prisons. Recovering this brick allows for the vicitm to be raised without wish level magic.

Special Zon-Kuthon-specific variant - Augurmould - This horrible amalgam of flesh and iron is the manifestation of an absolute sadist who has seen what rewards await him in Zon-Kuthon's realm and has desperately tried to avoid it. This being has been allowed (temporary) respite in this undead state, which it can only maintain by sending others to eternal torment in its place. The augurmould is fully aware that whatever torments it inflicts in this form will be visited upon it a thousandfold, giving them a sadistic choice between calling it quits or going on another day and building up a greater debt of pain. This being's chest cavity opens up like an iron maiden, with multiple hooked chains ensnaring victims body and soul and drawing them within. Once the chamber is closed, the victim is physically and spiritually mutilated, their blood spraying from the joints of Augurmould until the chamber opens once more, releasing a new Augur Kyton upon the world(see Bestiary 3). Capturing or destroying this new augur allows the victim to be raised without needing wish level magic.

CE variant - Amalgam of Souls - This blank-faced figure has flesh and skin akin to melted wax having just hardened, with multiple muffled, screaming faces pressing outward just under the skin. Souls drawn within to its mass manifest as their full living figure writhing underneath the skin of the creature's flesh. This figure slowly melts away until it's just one more maddened face screaming along the creature's surface. Slaying an amalgam of souls and completely destroying the body allows victims to be raised without wish-level magic.

N variant - Walking Gateway - This grim, majestic "angel" of bone, looking like the walls of Sedlec Ossuary given roughly-humanoid form, has a hollow torso. Within is a spiral of planar energy, a whirlpool that leads to the Walking Gateway's rightful spot in line at the Boneyard. Essentially, any souls drawn within the whirlpool are fasttracked to judgment. Recoving the soul's newly born petitioner form from whatever plane they would be sent to allows them to be brought back without wish level magic.

CN variant - Priests of Potential - Unstable in form, these somewhat humanoid figures of flashing light and shadow and opposed elements are aimless unless guided by those with stronger wills. The souls they draw into themselves are assaulted by chaos, battering their sense of self and identity until finally they are something else entirely. These souls are eventually released, reincarnated as any number of things, be they humanoid, animal, plant, mineral, or even something as abstract as a song. Restoring these souls ranges wildly in difficulty, depending on what they've become.

NG variant - Chorus of Regrets - This wispy figure seemingly composed of tattered silks hanging about a constantly obscured emaciated humanoid figure is always shrouded in mists which seem to flow out from within its folds. These mists and silks seem to form mournful faces from time to time, lamenting ancient tragedies and regrets. Souls of the wicked that are drawn within are shouted down within, faced by the admonishment and guilt of the faces and voices within until they are made to see their own corrupted soul for what it is. These souls are eventually lost to a mysterious, misty isle of repentance somewhere in Nirvana(see The Great Beyond). Finding that soul and forcibly dragging them back from their self-inflicted purgatory(and possibly eventual redemption) will allow them to be raised without wish-level magic.

I'm sorely tempted to swipe Set's idea for Desnan celestials for a CG variant, it's that awesome. It would also present a notion that restoring victims of good-variants would require evil deeds(as in, each of those butterflies would need to be captured and then pinned alive to a humanoid effigy).

Any other ideas? Culturally/setting-wise/variants/etc?

edit-added Chorus of Regrets after thinking over that last sentence, also edited for readability because words words words

Contributor

Mikaze wrote:
eternally loyal and vigilant mummified paladins guarding over the necropolis of Rahotep, Pharaoh of Tomorrow until his returns from his rest in Nirvana(thanks so much for that plotseed Todd Stewart!)

You're welcome. :)

Of note however. I did not create Rahotep the Pharaoh of Tomorrow. I just created the legend of him sleeping in Nirvana among other great mortal heroes, waiting for the time when the need for his return is greatest, ala the King Under the Mountain. He may have come back multiple times if the Osirion lists of Pharaohs are correct actually.

Mikaze wrote:

Now of course Pharasma would get frowny-faced about this.

I think I'm also responsible for darn near every single non-evil lich in Pathfinder at this point. Some of the Paizo guys may get "frowny-faced" at me over that. ;)

But nnyyyyyaaaahhh to them :P

Cheliax

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

Uh just to point out fairly certain James Jacobs said somewhere else that the Juju Oracle's ability to create none evil undead was an oversight (much like that asmodiun paladin incident)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Kevin Mack wrote:
Uh just to point out fairly certain James Jacobs said somewhere else that the Juju Oracle's ability to create none evil undead was an oversight (much like that asmodiun paladin incident)

If that's the case, and I really hope it isn't, please consider this thread to be for those that want to run with the Juju oracle as originally written. Just want to head off yet another "no you can't do that" derail before it happens. :)

Todd Stewart wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
eternally loyal and vigilant mummified paladins guarding over the necropolis of Rahotep, Pharaoh of Tomorrow until his returns from his rest in Nirvana(thanks so much for that plotseed Todd Stewart!)

You're welcome. :)

Of note however. I did not create Rahotep the Pharaoh of Tomorrow. I just created the legend of him sleeping in Nirvana among other great mortal heroes, waiting for the time when the need for his return is greatest, ala the King Under the Mountain. He may have come back multiple times if the Osirion lists of Pharaohs are correct actually.

Awesome, I missed that in the Osirion book. Really need to give that another looksee.

Also grateful that technically that tidbit corrects my quoted typo!

That has me thinking that the same necropolis or whatever other structure his bodily remains may be buried has gotten used multiple times, possibly with the guardians passing on the torch to the next "generation" that comes in along with the next dead Rahotep...

Really need to check that timeline now, to see how long the last set would have been standing guard if such an arrangement exists.

By the way, one of my CotCT players really wanted to have an adventure relating to that lich from the Bag of Holding chapter in Classic Treasures Revisited, in case that was one of yours!

Andoran

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Actually I love the idea of White Necromancers in Golarion. I could see them as arbiters of justice for the deceased who lack the means to see their own justice fulfilled, as well as performing rites to lay the evil undead back to rest and purge their souls of the evil that spawned them. That being said does a white necromancer summon casper the friendly ghost?

As to the Devourer I can see their white versions as being prisons for evil undead. Summon one with the express purpose of hunting and imprisoning particularly bad undead spirits for delivery whole sale to pharasma.

Speaking of the lady of graves... how do you think she would feel about white necromancers? I dont think she would particularly like them, in fact I feel like she would chastise them even more than evil necromancers because these are good or neutral aligned spell casters who are willingly violating pharasmas strictures on undead even if they are good undead. I feel like it would call for a lesser deity or even renegade Herald of Pharasma who actively encourages white necromancers, a reverse Urgathoa if you will.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Building on what Terokai said about good devourers...

Why wouldn't good devourers... specifically lawful good devourers... target fiends and other undead (presumably the evil ones) as their "victims"? An eternal crusade against the villains of the night...

Also, reference Morhgs: once (theory-crafting only, sadly, as we've not gotten that far in the game in question), I had a character research and develop a (GM-approved) mythal using the ELH rules (and the Mythal Seed) which was based on the sanctified spell create lantern archon from the FR supplement Champions of Valor... only it "targeted" evil people (draining their CON to create lantern archons until death, save once per round... also, when tied to hold monster and dimensional anchor which also affected evil only made a near-perfect trap), and then raised the corpses as lawful good axiomatic celestial flameskull/cursed-esque deathless (ala Eberron plus relevant templates and flameskull traits) who were driven to become paladins of the various gods that supported paladins. The mythal was about the size of the Moonsea region (just a little larger) - where he was making it -, and required absurd sacrifices (including the death of the caster with no resurrection possible... incidentally, he'd also sacrifice all his CON for lantern archons and become one of the deathless himself, though he'd lose all his levels, of course). The justification for how he could get away with all this? They're evil. They've chosen evil. They follow the path of evil. He is literally doing nothing but turning their own sins against them, and using the vast potential resources left behind that would otherwise not just go to waste, but also would cause untold disease and suffering to those left behind to instead work for the ends of law and good.
(Just imagine that for a moment: the entirety of the Zhentarim and greatest concentration of the church of Bane now lawful good eternal creatures that can't be put down plus a lantern archon per 1d2 points of constitution of all the evil creatures in the Moonsea region. I'm so sorry we're not playing that right now.)

Such a goal sounds perfectly reasonable for a LG Morgh, especially one stuck in a place like Nidal, Geb, or Cheliax. He afflicts only sinners, and, truth be told, it's their own evil that causes them the "undue" suffering/death (even though it's certainly "due", because of their wicked hearts). Is it chilling? Oh, yes. Quite frightening and more than a little "squicky" in some ways. Is it evil? Not particularly. Terrible, yes, but in the end, it's repaying what is owed - sin for death (depending on how harsh the "system" is that looks at the sin in question, which could cause conflict between various groups of even good organizations).

CG certainly would have no problem with this - what social or ethical constraints could hold a chaotic individualist back from a one-man crusade against diabolic Cheliax?

NG might have some qualms, but ultimately they're doing what's "best" and removing the stain of impure hearts from tainting a community that's dying of the unseen cancer within.

The various neutral would tell morals to go do unpleasant things to themselves: they're all pragmatists who don't want to waste perfectly good material on something so piddling as "conscience" (though they won't bring undue suffering, as they understand it/can help it.

Molthune's LN morghs: now they have the perfect way to invade and create an ever-greater army, to bring glory to their country and people, and loyally serve not even to the end, but beyond.

River Kingdom's CN morghs: woe betide any who dare even think of violating the River Freedoms... for a mysterious hunter and its ever-growing army will come for you... Razmir...

Sargava's N morghs: only the deathly sick and elderly need be "taken" and they gain such boons from it! Never sick again, and forever able to serve and assist the country/fight against the oppressive invaders (depending on which side you're on).

I can easily see any of these. No matter how "good" undead are, that need never mean that they are "pleasant" (although some might be). I think morghs need no appearance change to go with them (though they might disguise themselves better): good things aren't always pretty.

I'm curious about good (and neutral) vampires and liches, though. FR has the latter, but is there any possibility of the former? What might that look like?

EDIT: added a period

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Terokai wrote:
Actually I love the idea of White Necromancers in Golarion. I could see them as arbiters of justice for the deceased who lack the means to see their own justice fulfilled, as well as performing rites to lay the evil undead back to rest and purge their souls of the evil that spawned them.

This is exactly what I loved about the white necromancer's flavor. It seemed really geared towards helping the dead take care of unfinished business, something gods of justice and/or vengeance could be all over.

Terokai wrote:
That being said does a white necromancer summon casper the friendly ghost?

Have you seen the first piece of art in the White Necromancer article? ;)

Terokai wrote:
Speaking of the lady of graves... how do you think she would feel about white necromancers? I dont think she would particularly like them, in fact I feel like she would chastise them even more than evil necromancers because these are good or neutral aligned spell casters who are willingly violating pharasmas strictures on undead even if they are good undead. I feel like it would call for a lesser deity or even renegade Herald of Pharasma who actively encourages white necromancers, a reverse Urgathoa if you will.

Yeah, hard to see Pharasma being down with even white necromancers considering her outlook on natural cycles and whatnot. She probably sees them as misguided heretics at best.

I've really talked up this deity lately, but Tsukiyo is one possibility, given his domains and focus. An new demigod or Empyreal Lord about this kind of stuff could be neat as well. Or an aeon lord dedicated to squaring away unfinished business.

In a really twisted, not so good sort of way, I can see Naderi's followers dabbling in this territory as well... Tragic love and all that. I can kind of see Torag allowing some of this to a degree as well, in a "get in there, your part ain't done yet" sort of way. Dorf swears an oath to carry out some great task, he might be allowed some measure of overtime to get the job done.

Terokai wrote:
As to the Devourer I can see their white versions as being prisons for evil undead. Summon one with the express purpose of hunting and imprisoning particularly bad undead spirits for delivery whole sale to pharasma.
Tacticslion wrote:

Building on what Terokai said about good devourers...

Why wouldn't good devourers... specifically lawful good devourers... target fiends and other undead (presumably the evil ones) as their "victims"? An eternal crusade against the villains of the night...

I actually like this notion of a LG answer to devourers acting as jailors for evil undead, and probably with neutral equivalents doing the same to any undead it can catch. It just gathers them up and holds their spirits like an ambulatory Ghostbusters containment unit until it can't hold any more, then autodestructs, carrying itself and all of its prisoners before Pharasma for judgment. Kind of a "We belong dead!" sort of vibe.

And hey, it's a rib cage after all.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Tacticslion wrote:
Also, reference Morhgs: once (theory-crafting only, sadly, as we've not gotten that far in the game in question), I had a character research and develop a (GM-approved) mythal

Gah! It's like when evil geniuses turn towards good. ;D

Tacticslion wrote:
Such a goal sounds perfectly reasonable for a LG Morgh, especially one stuck in a place like Nidal, Geb, or Cheliax. He afflicts only sinners, and, truth be told, it's their own evil that causes them the "undue" suffering/death (even though it's certainly "due", because of their wicked hearts). Is it chilling? Oh, yes. Quite frightening and more than a little "squicky" in some ways. Is it evil? Not particularly. Terrible, yes, but in the end, it's repaying what is owed - sin for death (depending on how harsh the "system" is that looks at the sin in question, which could cause conflict between various groups of even good organizations).

Sounds very Ghost Rider-ish in ethos, which works quite nicely with the horrifying nature of morhgs actually. "You get what you give"/"Reap what you sow", more or less. Wonder what aesthetic tweaks can come out of the differing alignments as well...

Tacticslion wrote:

Molthune's LN morghs: now they have the perfect way to invade and create an ever-greater army, to bring glory to their country and people, and loyally serve not even to the end, but beyond.

River Kingdom's CN morghs: woe betide any who dare even think of violating the River Freedoms... for a mysterious hunter and its ever-growing army will come for you... Razmir...

Sargava's N morghs: only the deathly sick and elderly need be "taken" and they gain such boons from it! Never sick again, and forever able to serve and assist the country/fight against the oppressive invaders (depending on which side you're on).

These are uncannily fitting for their respective regions, especially Sargava. Walkena would just be giddy to have something like that pop up. In Molthrune, that might actually get some serious consideration in some circles, though I'd see them wanting to keep that in the shadows as much as possible.

Tacticslion wrote:
I can easily see any of these. No matter how "good" undead are, that need never mean that they are "pleasant" (although some might be). I think morghs need no appearance change to go with them (though they might disguise themselves better): good things aren't always pretty.

Definitely agree here, that whatever variations are made need to retain some offputting creepiness where appropriate. Just because they're not evil doesn't mean they aren't unsettling or downright horrifying to be around. Even the most purehearted NG undead should probably cause nightmares for weeks after being witnessed doing its thing.

Quote:
I'm curious about good (and neutral) vampires and liches, though. FR has the latter, but is there any possibility of the former? What might that look like?

Since they're outside the reach of white necromancers and juju oracles(IIRC), I figure non-evil examples of those guys should look about the same. They're just indiviudals strong enough in will and spirit to retain their morality. A bit harder for lichs, probably, since they put their souls in the sock drawer so to speak. Alternatives to standard lichdom however, like some equivalent of baelnorns and whatnot, should probably be a different story altogether. Vampirism though, always saw that as an inherently evil, infectious curse. It's just that some have what it takes to endure it without being corrupted in soul as well as body, at least fully.

Some alternate form of vampirism though, that involved feeding off of something else....like the jiang-shi for example... Maybe some form of sin-eater, though that could still go any number of ways in terms of alignment.

Osirion

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Kevin Mack wrote:
Uh just to point out fairly certain James Jacobs said somewhere else that the Juju Oracle's ability to create none evil undead was an oversight (much like that asmodiun paladin incident)

Eh. Add it to the list of stuff that won't be an option in Organized Play, that we can still use in our home games.

list spoilered

Spoiler:

Domains for Aroden (PF Campaign Setting, Humans of Golarion)
Domains for the Godclaw (PF Campaign Setting)
Pantheist elven clerics (Gods & Magic)
Pantheist dwarven clerics (Gods & Magic)
Clerics of Shimye-Magalla (Sargava: the Lost Colony)
Mwangi diety-less Shaman-Clerics (Heart of the Jungle)
Juju Mystery Oracles (???)
Clerics of Walkena (NPC guide, Heart of the Jungle)
Clerics of the ‘child-goddess’ (Kaer Maga: City of Strangers)
Non-evil negative planes critters (Great Beyond)
Shoanti totem Domains (Humans of Golarion)
Paladins of Asmodeus (???)
Orc Shamen worshipping concepts instead of gods (Orcs of Golarion)
Clerics of Pharasma using undead-creating Death domain spells (core, Gods & Magic)

Andoran

Mikaze wrote:
Terokai wrote:
Actually I love the idea of White Necromancers in Golarion. I could see them as arbiters of justice for the deceased who lack the means to see their own justice fulfilled, as well as performing rites to lay the evil undead back to rest and purge their souls of the evil that spawned them.

This is exactly what I loved about the white necromancer's flavor. It seemed really geared towards helping the dead take care of unfinished business, something gods of justice and/or vengeance could be all over.

That's absolutely one of the primary concepts of the class! :)


Quote:

The Juju mystery for oracles was introduced in Pathfinder #39 : The City of Seven Spears. These divine oracles work with (somewhat loosely defined IIRC) wendo spirits tied with Mwangi traditions for all manner of reasons, some good, some not so much. Their relationship with the wendo allows them to call these spirits into vessels to animate them, drawing upon a different animating force than most undead. Juju oracles can be of any alignment.

The white necromancer was introduced in Kobold Quarterly #19. These arcane casters are masters of manipulating both positive and negative energy, and many of their healing and protective abilities hinge on putting their own lives on the line. Necromancers also work with the spirits of the dead rather than enslaving them. Where evil necromancers force the state of undeath upon others, white necromancers actually have to use diplomacy to request the aid of the dead, and often this is a two-way bargain that must be respected. White necromancers can be any non-evil alignment.

The big thing about both of these classes is that due to the way they both create undead(specifically through means that remove the [Evil] descriptor from the relevant spells), their mindless undead are always neutral while their intelligent undead always share the alignment of their creator. In the explicit case of the white necromancer, their intelligent undead are also not in any way beholden to their creators by any magical means, and there is often the understanding that this undead state is a temporary affair that will end when whatever task that needs to be completed is done.

It's nice seeing some options for necromancers that aren't drowned in stupid. It's worth noting that for all necromancers their Intelligent undead aren't under their control. If you have a core cleric or wizard cast create undead to bring someone back to life as a ghoul for example, they do not have control over that ghoul. They could try to convince the raised ghoul to help them, but it is entirely free to its own will without some sort of extra magical compulsion.

I like the Juju Oracle is a wonderful option. I just wish you didn't have to be a Juju Oracle to have the option of having non-evil undead. I mean, you're stuffing neutral energy into a neutral shell and then using magic to either A) have a free willed individual, B) giving it an artificial intelligence in the case of skeletons and zombies.

In all cases, you aren't touching souls, because at no point does animate dead say you're grabbing souls to enslave in your bone-bots, and there are ways to create corpses that never had souls to animate, or animate bodies of people who have already been brought back to life without a body.

I've been playing "white necromancers" for ages before anything in kobold quarterly. Necromancers are all around exceptionally useful members of a party, and they are the best class for fighting evil undead in the game; even more so than Paladins.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

I usually play LN straight necros that stick to animating animals, beasts and the occasional evil dragon.

In any case, I approve of this thread!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Thinking about Ghasts...

While ghouls have a cool new optional aesthetic they can live up to, ghasts are still just plain nasty. Horribly so. "Stuck behind a garbage truck on a summer day" bad. "Breaking open a durian" bad.

White necros and Juju oracles probably wouldn't be too enthusiastic about their more powerful ghoul allies smelling like a sewer with halitosis. The souls and spirits they're calling to inhabit these things are probably even less so. But the "sickened" condition can represent more than just gagging on the smell of rot and ruin.

But what?

Going with smell for a moment longer, possibly tie it into the ghast's death, possibly giving them an overpowering smell of burnt flesh or blood-slicked iron? Or it could tie into however they were prepared for raising as undead, like an eye-watering combination of salt and embalming materials for Ghasts cooked up the Osiriani way?

Beyond smell, maybe the spiritual energies binding it to undeath are strong enough that enough leakage kicks up so much electrical/spiritual energy disturbance that it throws some folks off balance. Maybe it just gives them a strong spiritual presense that they can't keep from overwhelming those around them?

That way you can have your more powerful ghouls fit into a ghoul group or society running with the clean/chalky look and have them actually seem like the elites of that type, rather than the rotten, decaying throwbacks. (Don't the ghouls of Nemret Noktoria actually have a mad hate-on for vanilla ghasts? I recall that divide somewhere in Golarion)

Marc Radle wrote:


That's absolutely one of the primary concepts of the class! :)

And thanks again for that one. :) still really want to play that scythe-weilding paladin/white necromancer

Cheliax

You guys really aren't helkping me deal with one of my players, great thread, but he's beating me over the head with the idea of me allowing good undead in my game...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Um... tell him "no" if you don't want it? You're the GM. It's your call.

THAT SAID: why, precisely don't you like the idea? Would a Deathless* be an acceptable compromise?

* Deathless are basically positive energy-based undead-like creatures with most of the undead's traits, except they don't have immunity to the energy drain stuff.

Mikaze: I love the concept of "energy leakage" for why the ghasts make people sickened or similar. Point in fact, that's vaguely similar to one of the elements of (one of) my Homebrew Campaign Settings (tm)*. I might have to steal that outright.

* The idea: vampires (and many other undead/now-immortal-once-humans/dwarves) are actually potential nascent deities (who need to become both lawful and good before ascension is possible, or non-evil and non-chaotic at the least) and thus - because of their "pre-divine" state and disassociation with the necessary components of divinity (the alignment) are susceptible to various holy symbols, such things "interfering" with their own, lesser energies. Also, it's totally not trade marked or anything like that. That's just a bad joke.

Osirion

I agree with Tact, just say no. You are the Gm if you do not wish to allow it, you have the right to simply so no.

Stuff folks in this thread do not want to hear:

The juju mystery was a mistake in that you do not have to make evil undead. JJ has said as much. In Golarion undead crafted by the Juju Oracle are evil. Just like everyone else.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Dude, we totally get that. Doesn't mean it's not in our setting, though. :)

Osirion

I did spoiler it, as it was for the other guy. I did not wish to derail. I am in the camp of just say No to the player.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

No prob Seek. I was just saying!

To simultaneously toot my own horn and slightly derail this train a bit more (sorry Mikaze)...

Mikaze wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
Also, reference Morhgs: once (theory-crafting only, sadly, as we've not gotten that far in the game in question), I had a character research and develop a (GM-approved) mythal
Gah! It's like when evil geniuses turn towards good. ;D

That is actually, literally what this is. I mean seriously: the character was literally an "evil genius turned to good". Also, though he'd lose all his levels, he'd still come back as a deathless/undead him, so he put his thought bottle down next to him just before casting. You know. Just in case it works. (If so: "Hey, Aglarond/everyone-but-Thesk-'cause-it's-a-podunk* next to Thay! I hear you got a problem with this 'Thay' place...")

* I mean, despite being the place where the Kara-Tur "Golden Way" trade route finally dumps into Faerun, Thesk is kind of a podunk/hole. Even Thay can't muster the enthusiasm to invade the place. EVEN. THAY. What is wrong with that place?!

ANYWAY, NOW MORE ON TOPIC:
Vampirism could be, I think, "purified" - i.e. alter the nature of what a Vampire needs to live.

Alternatively: don't alter the nature of what a vampire needs to live, simply have them living off things other than humans. Cows, goats, and other livestock could be great for this (and generally have to be drained of their blood anyway for meat processing). Or, if it has to be human blood, there is so very much that a good vampire could give to his community just by being (centuries of knowledge, super-heroic defensive power, etc), I could easily see a charismatic good vampire setting up what amounts to a modern-esque hospital, but siphoning off some of the donated blood for his own needs. Alternatively, alternatively, make the spell Summon Blood Elemental*, and go to town! OR, just Conjure Mil-** , er, I mean Conjure Blood.

* Hey, I found those WotC articles disturbingly hilarious anyway.
** If you haven't seen Journey Quest: SEE JOURNEY QUEST. Also throw some money at them.

Osirion

Kinda on subject but not Golarion. You may want to look into Eberrons Blood of Vol faith as examples of ways to have not so evil vampires. Sure most are evil as hell but some within the faith do not need to be. The blood is freely given and to much is hardly ever taken.

Andoran

Reading about the white necromancer in Kobold, I like the flavor of the class however I will probably end up making it a wizard archetype and/or a sorcerer blood line.

For my setting I think the white necromancer will focus on the impermanence of all things. That life and death are fluid and that which lives will die and that which was once dead can come back to life (this is a magical world after all).

I like the idea of white raised vampires and other such undead as being spirits on their way to reincarnation as devas or other such good aligned lesser outsiders. perhaps these white raised vampires will be instruments of vengeance or spies and agents.... :) just had a fun reversal idea that these white raised vampires actually contain too much energy (being raised with positive energy and all that) and need to bleed it off instead of drain it from victims in the form of healing others.

Mikaze I too really like the idea of white raised ghouls giving off energy bleed causing the sickened condition. heck that energy could even shorten their "life spans" in that its difficult for them to contain it and thus it would leek out unless they find a way to replenish it either by staying near the white necromancer or finding a naturally occurring source of positive energy.


Mikaze wrote:

Thinking about Ghasts...

While ghouls have a cool new optional aesthetic they can live up to, ghasts are still just plain nasty. Horribly so. "Stuck behind a garbage truck on a summer day" bad. "Breaking open a durian" bad.

White necros and Juju oracles probably wouldn't be too enthusiastic about their more powerful ghoul allies smelling like a sewer with halitosis. The souls and spirits they're calling to inhabit these things are probably even less so. But the "sickened" condition can represent more than just gagging on the smell of rot and ruin.

But what?

Going with smell for a moment longer, possibly tie it into the ghast's death, possibly giving them an overpowering smell of burnt flesh or blood-slicked iron? Or it could tie into however they were prepared for raising as undead, like an eye-watering combination of salt and embalming materials for Ghasts cooked up the Osiriani way?

Beyond smell, maybe the spiritual energies binding it to undeath are strong enough that enough leakage kicks up so much electrical/spiritual energy disturbance that it throws some folks off balance. Maybe it just gives them a strong spiritual presense that they can't keep from overwhelming those around them?

That way you can have your more powerful ghouls fit into a ghoul group or society running with the clean/chalky look and have them actually seem like the elites of that type, rather than the rotten, decaying throwbacks. (Don't the ghouls of Nemret Noktoria actually have a mad hate-on for vanilla ghasts? I recall that divide somewhere in Golarion)

Marc Radle wrote:


That's absolutely one of the primary concepts of the class! :)
And thanks again for that one. :) still really want to play that scythe-weilding paladin/white necromancer

Actually, I have a PC that's a ghast. She has this feat.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

...
...
Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh.
I now know something I didn't before about how my APG homebrew world works. I'mma go ruminate on that for a while.

*mumbles to self about "revealing the glory of the divine" or somesuch...*


The discussion of ghasts reminds me of the notion of a pleasant, even fragrant aroma, arising from the bodies of saints in Catholic and Orthodox Xianity. See here.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Mikaze wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
Uh just to point out fairly certain James Jacobs said somewhere else that the Juju Oracle's ability to create none evil undead was an oversight (much like that asmodiun paladin incident)
If that's the case, and I really hope it isn't, please consider this thread to be for those that want to run with the Juju oracle as originally written. Just want to head off yet another "no you can't do that" derail before it happens. :)

It was an oversight. In the same way the mention of "Paladins of Asmodeus" in the Asmodeus article was an oversight.

Doesn't mean you can't change things in your world, but with the exception of some ghosts, you probably won't be seeing Paizo ever publish non-evil undead, or non-evil spells or methods to control and create undead. Except when something slips through the cracks, as in the case of the Juju Oracle, unfortunately.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Nice, Jeff!

It actually makes me think of why I enjoy sometimes having Detect <Alignment> function differently than "hey, use your EYES+ (tm) to see that invisible aura over there that you can see now." and instead to use it as a sound, as a smell, or as some other sense other than just sight. 'Cause sight is cool and all, but not AS cool as doing those other things (or some combination of them).

EDIT: To you, Ninja Jacobs, to you. Well played.

James Jacobs wrote:

It was an oversight. In the same way the mention of "Paladins of Asmodeus" in the Asmodeus article was an oversight.

Doesn't mean you can't change things in your world, but with the exception of some ghosts, you probably won't be seeing Paizo ever publish non-evil undead, or non-evil spells or methods to control and create undead. Except when something slips through the cracks, as in the case of the Juju Oracle, unfortunately.

This makes me sad (like several things you do). Nonetheless, I'm glad to see it in print by you.

Qadira

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In case people weren't aware, the Juju Oracle Mystery is available on d20pfsrd.com.


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James Jacobs wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
Uh just to point out fairly certain James Jacobs said somewhere else that the Juju Oracle's ability to create none evil undead was an oversight (much like that asmodiun paladin incident)
If that's the case, and I really hope it isn't, please consider this thread to be for those that want to run with the Juju oracle as originally written. Just want to head off yet another "no you can't do that" derail before it happens. :)

It was an oversight. In the same way the mention of "Paladins of Asmodeus" in the Asmodeus article was an oversight.

Doesn't mean you can't change things in your world, but with the exception of some ghosts, you probably won't be seeing Paizo ever publish non-evil undead, or non-evil spells or methods to control and create undead. Except when something slips through the cracks, as in the case of the Juju Oracle, unfortunately.

Just tossing it out there that one of my favorite things about the Lich in The Red Hand of Doom (which I understand has your name on the front of it :P) was that you could convince him to be a protagonist (or at least cease being an antagonist).

Maybe it's just 'cause I started the game with 2E and 3E that I tend to think that alignment should be up to you if you have an intelligence score of 3 or higher, and always Neutral if you don't. Maybe those versions of the game were a little deeper, or a little more philosophical, but they made more sense to me. It seemed rational, believable, if you will. It also made the ones that were evil (like a lot of the undead monsters) more worthwhile to fight, because they weren't evil because they were undead, they were evil because they were evil.

Just thinking out loud.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
d20pfsrd.com wrote:
In case people weren't aware, the Juju Oracle Mystery is available on d20pfsrd.com.

Awesome. And may it ever remain in its original form. :)

James Jacobs wrote:
Doesn't mean you can't change things in your world, but with the exception of some ghosts, you probably won't be seeing Paizo ever publish non-evil undead, or non-evil spells or methods to control and create undead. Except when something slips through the cracks, as in the case of the Juju Oracle, unfortunately.

A good number of folks found it quite fortunate, even a godsend for some. It presented a tool to help many of us get stories and concepts out of Golarion that were otherwise locked out by canon, and presented some nicely developed flavor to back it up.

It's easier to ignore the elements one doesn't want in their Golarion than it is to have to build them from scratch and have in a presentable form that can be shared with others.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Jeff de luna wrote:
The discussion of ghasts reminds me of the notion of a pleasant, even fragrant aroma, arising from the bodies of saints in Catholic and Orthodox Xianity. See here.

YASE. I love that notion coming into play with sanctified undead.

Makes me think of some ancient monastery in Vudra or Tien Xia, filled with rows of monk's corpses seated in the lotus position, mummified by the cold. Pure air flowing through, real serene, like a properly kept graveyard.

Monk PC makes his pilgrimage to that lofty temple to pay his respect to the masters of old, stays there for ritual meditation, when he snaps out of it those unmoving bodies are all in motion, tidying up the place now that another possible Chosen One has arrived for them to train and pass their wisdom down.

Ashiel wrote:
Actually, I have a PC that's a ghast. She has this feat.

Now I remember that feat. Have to wonder if that actually ties into chalky-ghoul look. Something to keep in mind for JO/WN's too...

seekerofshadowlight wrote:
Kinda on subject but not Golarion. You may want to look into Eberrons Blood of Vol faith as examples of ways to have not so evil vampires. Sure most are evil as hell but some within the faith do not need to be. The blood is freely given and to much is hardly ever taken.

Actually, this reminds me that Kaer Maga exists! IIRC, City of Strangers has some interesting stuff on the vampires living there, and the arrangements they have with the larger society of that city. Really need to give that a reread.

I think there was also something about a sealed off library vault where a number of vampires had to find some other way to get by without blood. Could be remembering that specific part wrong. There were definitely vampires taking (or buying) blood from the willing though.

Tacticslion wrote:

ANYWAY, NOW MORE ON TOPIC:

Vampirism could be, I think, "purified" - i.e. alter the nature of what a Vampire needs to live.

Alternatively: don't alter the nature of what a vampire needs to live, simply have them living off things other than humans. Cows, goats, and other livestock could be great for this (and generally have to be drained of their blood anyway for meat processing). Or, if it has to be human blood, there is so very much that a good vampire could give to his community just by being (centuries of knowledge, super-heroic defensive power, etc), I could easily see a charismatic good vampire setting up what amounts to a modern-esque hospital, but siphoning off some of the donated blood for his own needs. Alternatively, alternatively, make the spell Summon Blood Elemental*, and go to town! OR, just...

This reminds me too, vampires and ghouls would sure hate themselves some of that there Whispering Way. Oh man, you could have even the evil living-dependant undead actually espousing an absolute belief in a twisted vision of Terokai's "fluid life and death" philosophy.

Dwelling on some alternate vampire feeding habits. They were certainly varied enough in real world folklore. Mining other takes on physical and spiritual makeup could be useful: four humours*, chi, chakras...

*That could get gross pretty quick.

Silver Crusade

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Terokai wrote:

Reading about the white necromancer in Kobold, I like the flavor of the class however I will probably end up making it a wizard archetype and/or a sorcerer blood line.

For my setting I think the white necromancer will focus on the impermanence of all things. That life and death are fluid and that which lives will die and that which was once dead can come back to life (this is a magical world after all).

Really, really like this take on their general philosophy by the way.

Now I'm seeing Samsarans and Tsukiyo having a really easy time rolling with the notion of white necromancers.

Terokai wrote:
I like the idea of white raised vampires and other such undead as being spirits on their way to reincarnation as devas or other such good aligned lesser outsiders. perhaps these white raised vampires will be instruments of vengeance or spies and agents.... :) just had a fun reversal idea that these white raised vampires actually contain too much energy (being raised with positive energy and all that) and need to bleed it off instead of drain it from victims in the form of healing others.

Basically their spirits are moving too far in an upwards direction for all of their bodies' parts to work properly? (or their bodies are like houses that they're in the long process of moving out of)

You could even keep the draining abilities with your vampires by playing up their positive energy focus as working a bit like the white necro: they could be adept at manipulating the flow of positive(and maybe negative) energy, so they can leech away from others as well, possibly?


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Good undead aren't a new concept. Heck, there are good undead in Baldur's Gate I & II last I checked, at different points in the game. Baelnorn and Archliches are basically just liches that are good guys, and usually use their magically long lifespans to try and keep good guys from falling behind the bad guys by orchestrating anti-evil activities in a way similar to Gandalf or Eliminster, or just be liches to protect their families or peoples for long periods of time.

Ghouls crave flesh, but they're perfectly happy with dead flesh. Since last I checked, most campaigns don't assume vegan or vegetarian diets and people do hunt for meat, ghouls are just undead on an Atkins diet. Heck, most ghoul adventurers can feed on their enemies, which can save you the trouble of trail rations (my ghoul usually carries food on adventures to keep up appearances, and to give to her allies if their food is messed up or runs out). For example, my ghoul PC typically preforms the combo of bite/claw/claw in an attempt to paralyze opponents, and then follows up with a CHOMP on the following round as a coup de grace. Does anyone really care if you shoved a sword through the orc's face or ate it? At least the second option isn't as wasteful. :P

Vampires are a funny lot. The concept of nice vampires isn't a new one either. Forever Knight was a tv series that ran from 1989 to 1996 that followed the life of a vampire turned goodguy who was a knight in medieval France. Vampire Hunter D is an old novel series which was later turned into two movies (one movie in the 80s, one in 2000s), which depicts a Dhampier vampire hunter and a mostly corrupt noble caste of vampires, some of which live human lives (dhampier in Vampire Hunter D aren't very different from their pure vampire kin in terms of ability).

There have been enough instances of vampire media where vampires cope with their thirst for blood. The evil ones always seem to revel in it, putting themselves and their own desires before the sanctity of others. However, the good vampires tend to find alternate ways of feeding. Be it drinking animal blood, willing donors, and so forth.

Meanwhile, most undead don't even have to eat. Skeletons, Zombies, Morgues, Mummies, Liches, and so forth simply don't even care to eat (D&D ghouls and vampires crave nourishment but don't need it). Most of them are very capable of making moral decisions, and if you can moral decisions, you can be a good guy. That's how alignment works after all.

Technically, even shadows and wraiths are intelligent, and thus could be good guys. I once was in a game where one of my necromancers turned the party's rogue into an incorporeal undead when he died, and we ended up arming him with ghost touch equipment. He was at least five times as sneaky this way. :P


On an unrelated note, I'm a bit inspired to use vampires again in my upcoming campaign. I haven't used them in a very, very long time.

Osirion

Evil does not mean "Cartoon evil" Most evil things are "NE" Think Shane from the walking dead Tv show. They will not always try to kill you (Ok many will) They may even be convinced to help from time to time. They simply put their needs and well being first and do not care to harm or kill to ensure that.

Andoran

Mikaze- Yea essentially because the soul is becoming something greater in this case a deva or angel or something it can no longer be properly contained in a mortal form.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Ashiel wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
Uh just to point out fairly certain James Jacobs said somewhere else that the Juju Oracle's ability to create none evil undead was an oversight (much like that asmodiun paladin incident)
If that's the case, and I really hope it isn't, please consider this thread to be for those that want to run with the Juju oracle as originally written. Just want to head off yet another "no you can't do that" derail before it happens. :)

It was an oversight. In the same way the mention of "Paladins of Asmodeus" in the Asmodeus article was an oversight.

Doesn't mean you can't change things in your world, but with the exception of some ghosts, you probably won't be seeing Paizo ever publish non-evil undead, or non-evil spells or methods to control and create undead. Except when something slips through the cracks, as in the case of the Juju Oracle, unfortunately.

Just tossing it out there that one of my favorite things about the Lich in The Red Hand of Doom (which I understand has your name on the front of it :P) was that you could convince him to be a protagonist (or at least cease being an antagonist).

Maybe it's just 'cause I started the game with 2E and 3E that I tend to think that alignment should be up to you if you have an intelligence score of 3 or higher, and always Neutral if you don't. Maybe those versions of the game were a little deeper, or a little more philosophical, but they made more sense to me. It seemed rational, believable, if you will. It also made the ones that were evil (like a lot of the undead monsters) more worthwhile to fight, because they weren't evil because they were undead, they were evil because they were evil.

Just thinking out loud.

Something like the ghost lord from Red Hand of Doom would work totally fine in Golarion... In fact, MANY of our adventures have encounters where you can ally with or otherwise deal with bad guys without fighting them, and many of those are undead. Said undead are still evil though, as is the Ghost Lord.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Mikaze wrote:

A good number of folks found it quite fortunate, even a godsend for some. It presented a tool to help many of us get stories and concepts out of Golarion that were otherwise locked out by canon, and presented some nicely developed flavor to back it up.

It's easier to ignore the elements one doesn't want in their Golarion than it is to have to build them from scratch and have in a presentable form that can be shared with others.

I do understand that... but also—a world where EVERYTHING is a part of the world is not a world at all. One defines a setting as much as by what's not in the setting as one does by what IS in the setting. Having certain stories "locked out by canon" is a strength of a setting, in my opinion.


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James Jacobs wrote:
Something like the ghost lord from Red Hand of Doom would work totally fine in Golarion... In fact, MANY of our adventures have encounters where you can ally with or otherwise deal with bad guys without fighting them, and many of those are undead. Said undead are still evil though, as is the Ghost Lord.

But it offers a place for redemption. Going from memory here, but wasn't one of the primary contributors to the Lich being reasoned with because he felt regret for being a big evil guy, and that played into the possibility of the PCs getting him to turn around and help them, all Darth Vader vs Emperor style?

Quote:
I do understand that... but also—a world where EVERYTHING is a part of the world is not a world at all. One defines a setting as much as by what's not in the setting as one does by what IS in the setting. Having certain stories "locked out by canon" is a strength of a setting, in my opinion.

I'm actually shocked and saddened by this statement. Are you seriously suggesting that Golarion, which is literally an unadulterated mish-mash of everything ever, with space aliens, firearms, pirates, post-apocalyptic wastelands, planar travel, and literally a knockoff of about a dozen real world cultures, doesn't support morality in a believable way, and that's a good thing? All of that, literally demonstrating how it's literally every campaign setting ever, and a good ghoul or lich is going too far? O.o

My mind is boggled.

EDIT: Also high fantasy, low-fantasy, the underdark (by a different name), unspeakable cthulu-type horrors, and more. Heck, Golarion is seriously like somebody duct-taped everything from the Forgotten Realms to Call of Cthulu together in some sort of sphere, rolled it around the office a few times, and said "Hey guys, we've got it". The thing is, by your definition, that would make Golarion not a world. By my definition, it makes Golarion nearly the best world ever. :P

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Mikaze wrote:

A good number of folks found it quite fortunate, even a godsend for some. It presented a tool to help many of us get stories and concepts out of Golarion that were otherwise locked out by canon, and presented some nicely developed flavor to back it up.

It's easier to ignore the elements one doesn't want in their Golarion than it is to have to build them from scratch and have in a presentable form that can be shared with others.

I do understand that... but also—a world where EVERYTHING is a part of the world is not a world at all. One defines a setting as much as by what's not in the setting as one does by what IS in the setting. Having certain stories "locked out by canon" is a strength of a setting, in my opinion.

I'd be lying if I said this wasn't frustrating to read, especially when one of the early selling points of Golarion was that it was meant to be a setting where we could have any kind of campaign we wanted and the earliest tagline was "the best of all possible worlds".

It wouldn't be so disheartening if so much material wasn't so agressive in beating us over the head with how we shouldn't be trying to get certain things out of the setting. The player companion for Orcs practically yelling at players that Always Chaotic Evil is the only supported speed for Orcs is one really embittering example. The blog taking potshots doesn't help either.

And it's not just confined to the setting. It leaks over into the rules now, where we lost one of the few non-evil undead we had left when the Crypt Thing came over in Bestiary 2. I want to be hopeful about the flavor that's going to be present in the Advanced Race Guide providing for more possibilities and richly detailed cultures than what's been in Golarion products, but given what's gone before...

But really, the thing that's become frustrating about the boards is that while the Always Chaotic Evil crowd have the official product catering to them alone, a number of them still see fit to shout down any attempts to build any support for the games we want ourselves. Kind of misses the point of the other tagline: "It's your game now".

We get it, we can't have these nice things through official channels. So why do some seem so hellbent on not letting us make them on our own without having it pointed out to us that we're so wrong for wanting them?

Sorry if that all seems a bit gripy. Just frustrated. It would be nice to have one of these threads not get derailed one day.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Pushing ahead.

Sun weakness for WN/JO-made undead. While it's probably easiest to just roll with the idea that sunlight is inherently positively-charged considering stars contain gateways to that plane(though that raises the question of why it apparently loses that charge when it's bounced off the moon...), what about involving the gods?

While Sarenrae would probably be far more sympathetic to non-evil undead than Pharasma, she may still see the undead state as a sort of spiritual wound. Her innate nature as a healer makes her innately anti-undead, not towards them personally, but towards the unnatural binds that have them locked in place. She might support a repentant undead even as her very presense burns them away if they're too close.

Then you have Tsukiyo, god of the moon, darkness, spirits, etc. Here's a guy that would be even more likely to be sympathetic to good undead(at least those that don't intend to cling to their state forever), because he's been there or close to it before with his Osiris routine. Maybe that's an explanation for why reflected moonlight is harmless to undead: Tsukiyo's screening it so that even the undead can see some light in the darkness, a bit of hope that doesn't burn to the touch.

Maybe some beliefs there to mine for Sarenrae/Tsukiyo worshipping WN/JO's and undead. The two may be worshipped together, or Tsukiyo may seen as a way to approach Sarenrae's light, with them having to weather the darkness they're currently in with the moon god's guidance.


Mikaze wrote:

Pushing ahead.

Sun weakness for WN/JO-made undead. While it's probably easiest to just roll with the idea that sunlight is inherently positively-charged considering stars contain gateways to that plane(though that raises the question of why it apparently loses that charge when it's bounced off the moon...), what about involving the gods?

I would have expected stars to be connected to the elemental plane of fire, personally.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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I suppose I should probably learn to stay out of threads that talk about things that I don't envision as being part of Golarion. There's really NOT a lot of these things that I don't see as having a part of the world... but it does seem that our RPG styles are pretty polar opposites, Mikaze.

(Shrug)

Not all gamers like the same things.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

I suppose I should probably learn to stay out of threads that talk about things that I don't envision as being part of Golarion. There's really NOT a lot of these things that I don't see as having a part of the world... but it does seem that our RPG styles are pretty polar opposites, Mikaze.

(Shrug)

Not all gamers like the same things.

It's not you specifically. I'm sorry if it seemed like I was calling you out.

But personally, I have been hounded by some posters, frequently reducing what I'd like out of the game into a ridiculous caricature, and it has gotten frustrating.

I get that we're not going to get official support for a lot of things. I just don't see why some insist on rubbing our noses in it and derailing any attempt to make it on our own.

Not all gamers like the same things, but some gamers let other gamers be. I mean, if someone starts a thread about how they want to build a campaign that's all about genociding always-chaotic-evil goblins and orcs, I'm not going to go in there and boo their game. :(

Andoran

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

Mikaze,
Something I'm still homebrewing that might work for you:

Animate Juju
Prerequisites: Spell Focus (Necromancy), Knowledge (Religion): 3, one of Command Undead, Turn Undead, Undead Bloodline, Sanguine bloodline
Benefit: Undead you animate are not inherently evil. Mindless undead are neutral and intelligent undead are your alignment. Spells creating undead lose the [Evil] descriptor for you.

After all, why should just juju Oracles get all the fun?


Or you could do a take on Vampires similar to that postulated in China Mieville's novel The Scar. One of the main players in the city of Flotsam is a Vampire, and he and his followers have imposed a "Gore-tax," in which individuals in his district are regularly siphoned of a pint on a fairly even schedule so that none become anemic (this works really well for evil vampires with herds of human cattle). It is also mentioned in the same novel that in Bas-Lag there is a nation ruled by the undead where the dead and the living co-exist, and that vampires only live at the sufferance of the living, being basically blood junkies, addicts of the lowest kind.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I find it odd that people are directly advocating going against the intention.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Just throwing my 2 cp out there, the way that pathfinder in general and golarion specifically have handled undead and their life cycles is that they live a life that is something akin to an unending incurable addiction to one thing or another. Ghouls must feast on the flesh of humanoids and vamps need a living beings blood to survive and will become like heroin addicts if the must in order to sate their needs and must either accept this fact, go mad, or end their lives before they lose themselves to it. For me I thought the idea of the juju oracle was really cool but had my own way of handling the alignment issue. With the non intelligent undead they can keep the neutral alignment the spirit animating the undead being something more like an animal that will kill but will not actively seek to kill anymore then what it was made to (a room full of skeletons set to guard a room will only guard that room will fight till the intruder is down or left and will not tear apart the corpses or those bleeding on the ground unless they actively return to fighting or breaking in). Meanwhile I as a GM would let the undead come back as either the alignment the undead had in life or the alignment of the caster if I didn't really have one thought up but would then have the undeads alignment degrade back to what is expected of the undead as their cravings, addictions, and compulsions begun to take hold and corrupt them back. Now as a GM I love the options this presents to players morally as the necromancer trying to help this spirit accomplish this goal be it revenge or returning a message and then seeing the look on a players face when that victim reappears down the line as either a ravenous monster or a refined beast totally lost to the addiction of their undeath and maybe even blaming the player for their condition. Now there are some undead that might get exceptions like ghosts, mummies, or revenants since ghost are one of the few that can be any alignment and I've always held mummies to be able to play a bit loose as well since they also don't have the compulsions, and revenants since they will extinguish once they are through with their revenge. A great example of this is in ashes at dawn with

Carrion Crown Spoiler:
the paladin that you meet and how you can handle his atonement

Osirion

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Cheapy wrote:
I find it odd that people are directly advocating going against the intention.

If you knew how violently I went 'against the intention' with the Time of Troubles, and, later, the Spellplague, in the Realms setting, your head might explode. :)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Off Topic: the Time of Troubles and the Spellplague are fantastic... in theory. In practice, they are rather underwhelming. As in: ugh.

EDIT: I mean, COME ON, you have the gods walking the planet like mortals and dying! People ascending willy-nilly! All is pandemonium and chaos! ... because some jerks pulled a bad prank. Hm. Also, we get Cyric out of it. ... Well poo. Alternatively: MAGIC ITSELF JUST DIED. Oh. What? No, we're pretty sure, after all that's how it's always worke-... Oh. I... see. NEVER MIND PEOPLE, CARRY ON. MAGIC DIDN'T DIE. THE DEITY WE EMPIRICALLY, FACTUALLY KNEW WAS THE ONLY REASON MAGIC FUNCTIONED WAS, IN FACT, NOT THE ONLY REASON MAGIC FUNCTIONED. ALSO, HAVE NEW CONTINENTS, BECAUSE, HEY, WHY NOT. kthnxbai!

Really, they work far, far better as historical events than they do in-game events.

SORT-of on topic: James, while I often disagree with your "no, that's totally not how it is in this setting" (sometimes strongly), I want you to know that it's good that you clearly spell out how it is officially, even if it's not what I want to hear. I know for myself, many times the question is "why?" when something really bugs me, and you're usually pretty great about coming out and clearly explaining things. One thing that might help is some sort of stickied thread like "James Jacobs tells it like it is", in which you a) explain specific exceptions from CORE RAW to Golarion and clarify those events which slipped through the cracks. The fact that you are good with people changing their home versions - that's great! Clerics needing a single god, Juju oracles not working that way, the lack of paladins of Asmodeus, Desna not being a Great Old One: all those contentious things spelled out clearly (with the caveat that in your game, it can and should change) and some explanations to go along with them. I know you've got the whole "Ask James Jacobs" thread, but this would be something different - basically you clarifying tidbits of lore known in Golarion, exclusively, with a "why" attached.

MORE on topic: Paul, I really like the feat, too. You might want to drop one more prerequisite on it (or even note in "Special" block below additional variant prerequisites) specifically to help keep the number of "good" undead down (thus keep the status quo while enabling it to be changed up)

Osirion

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Tacticslion wrote:

Off Topic: the Time of Troubles and the Spellplague are fantastic... in theory. In practice, they are rather underwhelming. As in: ugh.

EDIT: I mean, COME ON, you have the gods walking the planet like mortals and dying! People ascending willy-nilly! All is pandemonium and chaos! ... because some jerks pulled a bad prank. Hm. Also, we get Cyric out of it. ... Well poo. Alternatively: MAGIC ITSELF JUST DIED. Oh. What? No, we're pretty sure, after all that's how it's always worke-... Oh. I... see. NEVER MIND PEOPLE, CARRY ON. MAGIC DIDN'T DIE. THE DEITY WE EMPIRICALLY, FACTUALLY KNEW WAS THE ONLY REASON MAGIC FUNCTIONED WAS, IN FACT, NOT THE ONLY REASON MAGIC FUNCTIONED. ALSO, HAVE NEW CONTINENTS, BECAUSE, HEY, WHY NOT. kthnxbai!

Off topic.

You more or less hit my feeling on the head as well. If you are gonna make changes, at lest use the rules the setting has firmly established to do so. The ToT is not hugely loved, but it is excepted( mostly) as it at lest did not go counter to the setting.

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