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Not so Evil "Dark" stuff... Possible?


Pathfinder Campaign Setting General Discussion


I've always managed to find myself idolizing the night and other dark things. But so Far, there's been... only two things I can remember that fall on the side of good or neutral while being attuned with darkness. One is Desna (and she's still fighting to actually GET the domain of Darkness... I think), and the other is the Shadow-dancers prestige class.

So, I want to discuss the possibilities of Good or Neutral beings of darkness, however one wants to explain it. I Would appreciate both suggestions of your own ideas, and thoughts on my... somewhat strange ideas. So here goes:

-Appeasing the Sceaduinar-
The Bestiary entry for the Sceaduinar (outsiders of the Negative energy plane, which is kind of like darkness) mentions that they believe the Jyoti (Their Positive energy counterparts) stole their ability to create. Making positive and Negative into Creation and Destruction as opposed to simply light and dark.

So, pressuming they are... reasonable, all one has to do is bargain with them to not be malicious to life, get their ability to create back in exchange (either steal it back from the Jyoti or get a god to set them up with it) and then wait for... some time as their will to do evil gets erroded away by their gratefulness and drunkenness on their ability to create.

I may be pushing that a bit, but... yeah, it sounds plausible. Especially if you are of the opinion that getting enough Wizards and Clerics to Cast Wish and Miracle can solve the problem.\

This sounds more like a quest line than a rule based solution though.

-Desna Specific Outsiders-
I'm surprised that the various Gods don't have their own Specific outsiders, just some for the general alignment. And I find it strange that Desna's alignment would have the Azata-Ghaele; a light based Alignment outsider; and no dark ones.

Though I'm not sure if this is a task for Home-brewers to fix up a stat block for, or whether it should be something for a future rule book.

Anyways, sounds logical that one would exist somewhere in someone's Cannon. Even if it is just my Head Cannon.

(P.S. I don't think rare things like the Night Monarch and it's offspring count, they don't show up often enough, and I'm pretty sure souls don't turn into them... Oh yeah, and the chance of running into them are Almost nil.)

-Desna Steals Zon-Kuthon's Domain of Darkness-
... for the most Part Self explanatory... Maybe. Desna Kills Zon-Kuthon and Takes his Domain of Darkness. And from there, any creatures associated with it become part of Desna's Crew... or something. I don't know. Problem is, The only things expressed to be associated with it is shadows. So... Yeah, that's a bummer.

Unless of course one can re-skin the shadow six ways to sunday to the point it feels like you're playing A Square-Enix Game (Recent Kingdom Hearts in particular), and then amalgamate the unliving fluff out of them.

...Speaking of Which...

-Wizards Amalgamate stuff!-
I found an "Amalgam template" somewhere, that works Okay... save for one problem... a lot of the results tend to feel a bit... overpowered if you Amalgamate too many things in the hope of getting exactly what you want from it.

Which would be fine if there were epic Levels readily available, but considering two or three major factors, that is not the case.

The Factors? Mostly that few people reach epic levels, few ways exist to go into epic levels, and of the few ways that do exist, many people consider them unbalanced... Multi-Classing sounds good though, But I don't know why.

One Thing I tried to create through the Amalgam Template Took about four Outsiders (A Protean, an Inevitable, An Agathion and An Azata) and a brief comparison to ~20 CR creatures made it look like it was a super soldier as compared to a regular soldier... And I made it out of ~16 CR Creatures. And my Working on a "Version 2" that adds the Sceaduinar to the mix seems to be set to push it into "I need new pants" territory.

... My only reasonable solution would be to fill the setting with creatures and races of similar power to compensate. And that could take me months.

-Reskin a few existing creatures-
Self Explanatory. But it feels Cheap to me. It's like some joke from Darths & Droids.

Quote:

Qui-Gon: Let's see. Electro-axe. Energy mace. "Plasma bow"?? You just took a D&D equipment list and stuck techy words in front, right?

GM: Don't be stupid.
Qui-Gon: Ten foot laser pole...

And that's my cue that I've been up too long tonight to think seriously. I'll be back in the morning to see what Transpires.

Osirion

Since Agathions (and, to a lesser extent, Azata) have some animalistic / natural traits and features, it's entirely possible that Desna has 'butterfly angels' with a cold alien insectoid look (and beautiful wings), being kind of like the anthropomorphic bugs of the movie 'Mimic,' able to stand erect and drape their wings over themselves and appear humanoid, or unfurl their wings to appear like creepy anthropomorphic luna moths or something. Bug-like abilities, like the ability to spin a coccoon around someone and transform them via a polymorph effect (or even modify their memories or mess with their alignments!) could make for a creepy visual. A swarm of oversized celestial caterpillars might 'spin threads of darkness' instead of silk, with effects similar to a combined deeper darkness and web spell on those they engulf, and respond to a Desnan conjuring.

Some thoughts on servants of Desna.

In Dragon Empires, there's also Tsukiyo, a Lawful Good moon god with the Darkness (and Madness, and Repose) domains. His celestial servants might have some less traditional appearances!


Set wrote:

Since Agathions (and, to a lesser extent, Azata) have some animalistic / natural traits and features, it's entirely possible that Desna has 'butterfly angels' with a cold alien insectoid look (and beautiful wings), being kind of like the anthropomorphic bugs of the movie 'Mimic,' able to stand erect and drape their wings over themselves and appear humanoid, or unfurl their wings to appear like creepy anthropomorphic luna moths or something. Bug-like abilities, like the ability to spin a coccoon around someone and transform them via a polymorph effect (or even modify their memories or mess with their alignments!) could make for a creepy visual. A swarm of oversized celestial caterpillars might 'spin threads of darkness' instead of silk, with effects similar to a combined deeper darkness and web spell on those they engulf, and respond to a Desnan conjuring.

Some thoughts on servants of Desna.

In Dragon Empires, there's also Tsukiyo, a Lawful Good moon god with the Darkness (and Madness, and Repose) domains. His celestial servants might have some less traditional appearances!

Well... I certainly wasn't expecting that answer...

I Tend to avoid using things described as "Unspeakable alien horrors from beyond the stars". For two simple reasons... One, "horror" tends to be something that I can't stay in the room for, and two, it tends to put others in the point of view that the darkness is to be feared; when for me it's a comforting place of refuge from... Everything.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
BlueStorm wrote:
Set wrote:

Since Agathions (and, to a lesser extent, Azata) have some animalistic / natural traits and features, it's entirely possible that Desna has 'butterfly angels' with a cold alien insectoid look (and beautiful wings), being kind of like the anthropomorphic bugs of the movie 'Mimic,' able to stand erect and drape their wings over themselves and appear humanoid, or unfurl their wings to appear like creepy anthropomorphic luna moths or something. Bug-like abilities, like the ability to spin a coccoon around someone and transform them via a polymorph effect (or even modify their memories or mess with their alignments!) could make for a creepy visual. A swarm of oversized celestial caterpillars might 'spin threads of darkness' instead of silk, with effects similar to a combined deeper darkness and web spell on those they engulf, and respond to a Desnan conjuring.

Some thoughts on servants of Desna.

In Dragon Empires, there's also Tsukiyo, a Lawful Good moon god with the Darkness (and Madness, and Repose) domains. His celestial servants might have some less traditional appearances!

Well... I certainly wasn't expecting that answer...

I Tend to avoid using things described as "Unspeakable alien horrors from beyond the stars". For two simple reasons... One, "horror" tends to be something that I can't stay in the room for, and two, it tends to put others in the point of view that the darkness is to be feared; when for me it's a comforting place of refuge from... Everything.

One thing that helps is to not view it through a Lovecraftian lens. With Desna, the alien and unknown are things of strange wonder rather than things to recoil from. They might be unsettling to some degree, but they're also entirely benign, like (and someone correct me if I'm wrong, because I still haven't seen it) the more kindly beings from Pan's Labyrinth. I really like Set's alien bug celestials idea for that sort of thing.

With Tsukiyo, it might be a combination of the darkly whimsical and macabre. He's like a crazy Japanese Osiris, kinda. Or maybe he's not crazy at all, but he knows how to flow with the inherent looniness of the universe around him, giving him a perspective that certainly seems off to most of the other gods. Or maybe he's got a bit of the Mad Artist thing going. Or maybe he's a Wonka-like figure. Or maybe he's all of the above?

Sticking to canon only, along with Desna and Tsukiyo there's now Ashava the True Spark, the CG Empyreal Lord with the Darkness and Repose domains. She's detailed a bit in Magnimar: City of Monuments. She's a very good example of a "softer" solace kind of darkness, with her specifically calling to lost spirits and lonely ghosts to take refuge in her realm. She's also very popular in Magnimar and the local Varisian population.

I need to go back to the relevant AP volume, but Desna also has a favored avoral servant with a raven theme. Can't recall his name offhand, but his interactions with the PCs seemed to leave an impression with the players.

If you're open to material for other worlds in the Golarion system, the tidally locked planet of Verces seems like it would be a great breeding ground for general beliefs along the lines of "Dark Is Not Evil", since the people there are all about balance in all(or at least most) things, and the nature of their planet's eternal night and day could certainly affect their outlook on matters of light and darkness and how they tie into morality, or don't. (after all, the Fullbright side of the planet is just as dangerous as the Darkside to them)

And then there's all the myriad beings that could dwell in the Dimension of Dreams. The benevolent ones alone have to have an inane depth of range, and considering how varied dreamers are in the Golarionverse... ;)

Always feel strangely guilty about self-advertising, but if you're open to homebrew there's an Azata Lord made to cater to some of those tastes. :)

Kobold Quarterly's White Necromancer from KQ #19(I think) may be right up your alley too.


Mikaze wrote:
BlueStorm wrote:
Set wrote:

Since Agathions (and, to a lesser extent, Azata) have some animalistic / natural traits and features, it's entirely possible that Desna has 'butterfly angels' with a cold alien insectoid look (and beautiful wings), being kind of like the anthropomorphic bugs of the movie 'Mimic,' able to stand erect and drape their wings over themselves and appear humanoid, or unfurl their wings to appear like creepy anthropomorphic luna moths or something. Bug-like abilities, like the ability to spin a coccoon around someone and transform them via a polymorph effect (or even modify their memories or mess with their alignments!) could make for a creepy visual. A swarm of oversized celestial caterpillars might 'spin threads of darkness' instead of silk, with effects similar to a combined deeper darkness and web spell on those they engulf, and respond to a Desnan conjuring.

Some thoughts on servants of Desna.

In Dragon Empires, there's also Tsukiyo, a Lawful Good moon god with the Darkness (and Madness, and Repose) domains. His celestial servants might have some less traditional appearances!

Well... I certainly wasn't expecting that answer...

I Tend to avoid using things described as "Unspeakable alien horrors from beyond the stars". For two simple reasons... One, "horror" tends to be something that I can't stay in the room for, and two, it tends to put others in the point of view that the darkness is to be feared; when for me it's a comforting place of refuge from... Everything.

One thing that helps is to not view it through a Lovecraftian lens. With Desna, the alien and unknown are things of strange wonder rather than things to recoil from. They might be unsettling to some degree, but they're also entirely benign, like (and someone correct me...

Sorry if I assumed Lovecraft was the idea of the bug guys. There's quite a few Lovecraft nuts where I "work" (if one can call it that) and it tends to rub me the wrong way. I guess its become a bit of a knee jerk reaction.


Also, the fact that the entire Lovecraft pantheon is official source material for Golarion cosmology lends a pretty powerful weight to the idea that in this setting, the dark is a pretty scary place.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Don't worry, it can be a bit hard to divorce sometimes considering how much play those themes get in RPG Land. :)

Sometimes it feels like you have to skate uphill to "take back" certain themes that seem to have been claimed entirely by Lovecraftian horror, but there is support for them free of those themes for those that prefer their fantasy without Lovecraft or with Lovecraft in moderation. (Desna, Tsukiyo, Ashava, etc. for "dark is not evil"; Desna and Distant Worlds(which knocked it out of the park) for support for alien worlds, beings, and feel; cecaelia and skindancers(from Wayfinder #7) for cephalopod-based beings free of Cthulhu-baggage, etc)

Not to take away from Lovecraftian horror having its turf between the stars, it's just that they don't own everything out there. :)

Osirion

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The movie 'The Abyss' is a fun tweak on Mythos concepts. There are tentacled amorphous protoplasmic creatures of unfathomable intellect living in strange possibly organic cities full of alien architecture in the crushing unsympathetic depths of the dark, hostile ocean floor. They have abilities far beyond ours, that seem unnatural and 'impossible' to us, and can physically alter the bodies (and possibly minds...) of humans without the humans even knowing that they've been affected.

The first we hear of them is when they take out a nuclear submarine, with no survivors.

It's later revealed that they could destroy half of the cities on the planet, at the same time, if they wanted.

And yet they turn out to not only be benevolent, but also beautiful.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Those guys are still one of my top 10 go-to's for "alien, beautiful, and benign" inspiration. :)


It's important to remember that Lovecraft was writing at the dawn of the era of Science. We were starting to learn about the vastness of space and the realms of the microscopic and the depths of the sea all at the same time, and while much of the world was oohing and aahing, Lovecraft saw that the majority of existence was beyond the scope of our perception, and that we were utterly insignificant to things like microbes and quasars.

Lovecraftian horror isn't about "the things that lurk in the dark", it's about the things that exist in the places we don't understand.

In Golarion, the dark isn't really something people struggle to understand. There are priests and magic users that can manipulate darkness to do all kinds of things. There are entire civilizations (good and bad) that have evolved to thrive in the dark. In a world where gods directly answer prayers, darkness is not really representative of anything unfathomable.

In Golarion, the dark might not have much to do with anything lovecraftian at all. Instead, other concepts and places become the places that defy comprehension (the deeps of the ocean and the underdark, the emptyness between stars, the Worldwound, the storms of the Mana Wastes, etc)

The main issue isn't that the darkness has been claimed by Lovecraftian themes, it's that people misunderstand what Lovecraftian themes are.


One big proponent of fantasy games and stories is the use of blood magic. as such, pathfinder doesnt have anything akin to this. the closest you could get would be sin magic.

blood magic has a propensity to be considered evil, but its like magic in general. its not magic thats evil but how it is used. therefore one could use blood magic and not be evil but be looking towards darker arts to accomplish greater good. i am in the middle of creating a new pdf and there are three feats for blood magic in it. when im finished it will be posted.

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