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Wake of the Watcher: The Gods are from Another Universe? Whoa...


Pathfinder Campaign Setting General Discussion

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Grimcleaver wrote:
Well the thing that you have to keep in mind with Pathfinder is that EVERYTHING is true. Earth is out there somewhere. So are grey aliens, Vulcans, Cloverfield, predators, xenomorphs, Gozer the Gozarian. Any product from any fictional universe is fair game. So Pathfinder is a big place. What this means is that while yes, Lovecraft is true, so are all the other mythoi as well.

Whoa, so like it's possible for your pathfinder characters to travel to Earth? Is the Christian God in the pathfinder universe too? I remember that an 1E book in the early 80's showed that in the D&D universe, God and Jesus lived on the plane of Celestia, or something like that(this was wisely removed in 2E). How about Azeroth from Warcraft? It'd be cool for your characters to travel there and put an end to the Alliance/Horde war.

Shadow Lodge

Barong wrote:
Is the Christian God in the pathfinder universe too? I remember that an 1E book in the early 80's showed that in the D&D universe, God and Jesus lived on the plane of Celestia, or something like that(this was wisely removed in 2E).

Not anymore. My mythic Priest of Nyarlathotep killed them both last night.


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Grimcleaver wrote:
Barong wrote:
Well, jeez, this makes things so depressing and miserable that it makes me not like the Golarion setting.

or go fight daleks.

Now that I think about it, daleks do have a lot in common with Rovagug. I wonder if Davros has cleric levels?

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Barong wrote:
Well, jeez, this makes things so depressing and miserable that it makes me not like the Golarion setting.

Here's the thing to keep in mind about Lovecraftian elements in the Golarionverse.

They're there to be beaten.

Heroic fantasy doesn't play by Call of Cthulhu rules. Pathfinder isn't a universe of despair.

All the talk about those eldritch horrors being above any and all of the gods? It's boastful posturing heralding the multiverse's response, a fist in what passes for cosmic horror's face.

Because heroic fantasy is a place where hope has a fighting chance. And the tougher the odds, the brighter that hope burns.

Cosmic horror wants to front? It'll score some wins. But ultimately Team Good, Team Neutral, and a healthy chunk of Team Evil are going to come together and channel Harrison Ford as they say in unison, "Get off my plane."

The denizens of the multiverse aren't delicate flowers whose minds will invariably shatter due to a paradigm shift. The heroes of heroic fantasy aren't all going to start clawing their eyes out when their perception of reality is challenged. The greatest minds and the strongest willed beings of the multiverse aren't all going to go into fits over the idea of interracial relationships.

And here's another thing: We're winning. And judging by the naked butterfly-winged lady on our side, we're actually winning some of them over.

ROW ROW FIGHT THE POWER

edit-Proclaiming that Lovecraftian creations have to beat or overshadow everyone and everything everywhere everytime is equivalent to pushing either side of a Superman vs. Goku debate, only more verbose.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Contemplating Rovagug's prison being inside the planet, but outside the outer planes = Mind Blown!

The qlippoth has always struck me as rather Lovecraftian. What if the qlippoth fled so deep that they came out into the material plane and that's what the Out Gods are?


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Mikaze wrote:
Barong wrote:
Well, jeez, this makes things so depressing and miserable that it makes me not like the Golarion setting.

Here's the thing to keep in mind about Lovecraftian elements in the Golarionverse.

They're there to be beaten.

Heroic fantasy doesn't play by Call of Cthulhu rules. Pathfinder isn't a universe of despair.

All the talk about those eldritch horrors being above any and all of the gods? It's boastful posturing heralding the multiverse's response, a fist in what passes for cosmic horror's face.

Because heroic fantasy is a place where hope has a fighting chance. And the tougher the odds, the brighter that hope burns.

Cosmic horror wants to front? It'll score some wins. But ultimately Team Good, Team Neutral, and a healthy chunk of Team Evil are going to come together and channel Harrison Ford as they say in unison, "Get off my plane."

The denizens of the multiverse aren't delicate flowers whose minds will invariably shatter due to a paradigm shift. The heroes of heroic fantasy aren't all going to start clawing their eyes out when their perception of reality is challenged. The greatest minds and the strongest willed beings of the multiverse aren't all going to go into fits over the idea of interracial relationships.

And here's another thing: We're winning. And judging by the naked butterfly-winged lady on our side, we're actually winning some of them over.

ROW ROW FIGHT THE POWER

edit-Proclaiming that Lovecraftian creations have to beat or overshadow everyone and everything everywhere everytime is equivalent to pushing either side of a Superman vs. Goku debate, only more verbose.

I agree with your sentiments Mikaze. Finally someone who says it.

Although Desna is not a former Outer God/Great Old One.

Shadow Lodge

Mikaze wrote:

Heroic fantasy doesn't play by Call of Cthulhu rules. Pathfinder isn't a universe of despair.

All the talk about those eldritch horrors being above any and all of the gods? It's boastful posturing heralding the multiverse's response, a fist in what passes for cosmic horror's face.

Because heroic fantasy is a place where hope has a fighting chance. And the tougher the odds, the brighter that hope burns.


Of course, what you are ignoring is that each individual groups Golarion is going to be different. And some groups might actually LIKE a more CoC-like game, where the Outer Gods are the ultimate forces in the multiverse. Just as it is not for them to dictate their vision of Golarion to you, neither is it your place to dictate your vision of it to them.

Cosmic horror wants to front? It'll score some wins. But ultimately Team Good, Team Neutral, and a healthy chunk of Team Evil are going to come together and channel Harrison Ford as they say in unison, "Get off my plane."

The denizens of the multiverse aren't delicate flowers whose minds will invariably shatter due to a paradigm shift. The heroes of heroic fantasy aren't all going to start clawing their eyes out when their perception of reality is challenged. The greatest minds and the strongest willed beings of the multiverse aren't all going to go into fits over the idea of interracial relationships.

And here's another thing: We're winning. And judging by the naked butterfly-winged lady on our side, we're actually winning some of them over.


Sure, Desna is good. So is Nodens...that doesn't prevent the fact that the stars will become right.

ROW ROW FIGHT THE POWER

edit-Proclaiming that Lovecraftian creations have to beat or overshadow everyone and everything everywhere everytime is equivalent to pushing either side of a Superman vs. Goku debate, only more verbose.

And yet you are doing the same thing, only reversed, with your little "We're winning!" speech.

I personally think that the Outer Gods have been left nebulous enough in the setting materials that either interpretation, or a million varieties in between, could be accepted. Which is how it should be.

There are certainly hints that, despite all the Outer planar propaganda, the Material plane is the oldest of the planes, not the least of which is its position in the absolute center of the great beyond (making Azathoth's court at the absolute center of the multiverse, by the way).

Shadow Lodge

There's also the fact that, since Paizo only publishes one campaign setting, even if you are NOT running Golarion, it is still the go-to place for support for a non-Golarion game. Especially for topis such as the Mythos that no 3PP has really provided much independent support for.


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Grimcleaver wrote:
Barong wrote:
Well, jeez, this makes things so depressing and miserable that it makes me not like the Golarion setting.

Well the thing that you have to keep in mind with Pathfinder is that EVERYTHING is true. Earth is out there somewhere. So are grey aliens, Vulcans, Cloverfield, predators, xenomorphs, Gozer the Gozarian. Any product from any fictional universe is fair game. So Pathfinder is a big place. What this means is that while yes, Lovecraft is true, so are all the other mythoi as well.

Get too depressed--throw in some superheroes, or go fight daleks.

** spoiler omitted **

By your reasoning Carrot-top exists in the Golarion universe. That's depressing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Also I don't think the mythos entities are ever really laid out as a force trying to conquer all the planes. They are not so much "YAY EVIL" like the devils or demons as they are beyond such concepts.

Taldor

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Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber
Kthulhu wrote:
Mikaze wrote:

Heroic fantasy doesn't play by Call of Cthulhu rules. Pathfinder isn't a universe of despair.

All the talk about those eldritch horrors being above any and all of the gods? It's boastful posturing heralding the multiverse's response, a fist in what passes for cosmic horror's face.

Because heroic fantasy is a place where hope has a fighting chance. And the tougher the odds, the brighter that hope burns.


Of course, what you are ignoring is that each individual groups Golarion is going to be different. And some groups might actually LIKE a more CoC-like game, where the Outer Gods are the ultimate forces in the multiverse. Just as it is not for them to dictate their vision of Golarion to you, neither is it your place to dictate your vision of it to them.

Cosmic horror wants to front? It'll score some wins. But ultimately Team Good, Team Neutral, and a healthy chunk of Team Evil are going to come together and channel Harrison Ford as they say in unison, "Get off my plane."

The denizens of the multiverse aren't delicate flowers whose minds will invariably shatter due to a paradigm shift. The heroes of heroic fantasy aren't all going to start clawing their eyes out when their perception of reality is challenged. The greatest minds and the strongest willed beings of the multiverse aren't all going to go into fits over the idea of interracial relationships.

And here's another thing: We're winning. And judging by the naked butterfly-winged lady on our side, we're actually winning some of them over.


Sure, Desna is good. So is Nodens...that doesn't prevent the fact that the stars will become right.

ROW ROW FIGHT THE POWER

edit-Proclaiming that Lovecraftian creations have to beat or overshadow everyone and everything everywhere everytime is equivalent to pushing either side of a Superman vs. Goku debate, only more verbose.

And yet you are doing the same thing, only reversed,...

Yeah, well, you would say that, wouldn't you...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

@Kthulhu, I'd gotten that impression as well, that the material may well be the oldest of the planes. And let us not forget, although the proteans claim the maelstrom came first, the book of the damned teaches that Asmodeus and his brother were the first, Ithys opened the door to chaos and horror.

@Mikaze, yes we are winning, but just like the demons knows they won the war and the abyss is theirs, they still worry about what lurks in the darkest reaches of their home. Much like the material plane is ours, but the Old Cults remind the heroes that just because you pushed the horrors outside, they could still come back if someone invites them in...

Shadow Lodge

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MMCJawa wrote:
Also I don't think the mythos entities are ever really laid out as a force trying to conquer all the planes. They are not so much "YAY EVIL" like the devils or demons as they are beyond such concepts.

Exactly.

You might consider the forces of order and sanity to be "winning" the battle, but they aren't doing well enough for any of the Outer Gods other than Nyarlathotep to take any real notice of them. And he seems content just to knock over the anthill every once in a while and laugh at the ants as they scurry around franticly.

Osirion

Bill Lumberg wrote:
By your reasoning Carrot-top exists in the Golarion universe. That's depressing.

NOT my reasoning. This guy's:

James Jacobs wrote:

To further freak folks out... we also assume the Material Plane is big enough not only for Golarion and Earth... but for pretty much ALL campaign settings. For all RPGs. And for all books and movies as well. The planet Vulcan's out there somewhere, as is Narnia and Middle Earth. In some cases, time AND space separates these lands from Golarion, but in some cases only space separates them.

And all of those worlds are contained in the Material Plane, which is a speck at the center of the elemental planes, which are combined to a speck in the center of the astral plane, which is a speck at the center of the Outer Planes.

So yep. Carrot-top abounds!

Osirion

Barong wrote:
Whoa, so like it's possible for your pathfinder characters to travel to Earth? Is the Christian God in the pathfinder universe too? I remember that an 1E book in the early 80's showed that in the D&D universe, God and Jesus lived on the plane of Celestia, or something like that(this was wisely removed in 2E). How about Azeroth from Warcraft? It'd be cool for your characters to travel there and put an end to the Alliance/Horde war.

Inasmuch as people can travel from prime world to prime world, and assuming they had some idea Earth existed then (a qualified) yep. That said it's less likely that the Earth in the Pathfinder universe is *our* Earth. There's a lot of fictional universes that are mutually exclusive (ie. in Star Trek, Twilight 2000, Gamma World and Terminator the world as we know it has already ended in nuclear halocaust so they can't be simultaneously true with other settings where the world hasn't ended). By that logic, the Earth of Pathfinder is probably a world patterned off of the World of Tomorrow ideas drawn from the same pulp/weird fiction/sword and planet 1930's authors thought 2012 would be like. Likewise in our reality, were we to find the actual world of Golarion in our universe, it would probably be a lifeless world with an atmosphere of some mix of CO2, methane, and ammonia in a system of other dead worlds--because in our universe a system as abundant in life as Golarions just don't happen.

As for the issue of divinity, read the section on the highest level of Heaven in the Campaign Setting book. It's interesting. There's apparently a walled fortress with a golden gate that stands open. Inside it different people see different things. Some see the tree of Eden, some a golden throne. Any that are interested may enter, but those who are ready and deserving, enter in and disappear beyond the ken of all gods. So yeah, it seems there's something to Earth religions in Pathfinder too.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My guess is that the Earth of the Golarion universe is probably Pulp Earth. Future stuff hasn't really happened yet, but could.


Lloyd Jackson wrote:
@Kthulhu, I'd gotten that impression as well, that the material may well be the oldest of the planes. And let us not forget, although the proteans claim the maelstrom came first, the book of the damned teaches that Asmodeus and his brother were the first, Ithys opened the door to chaos and horror.

There are conflicting claims, all from entities with a distinctly skewed perspective on the cosmos. This isn't a bad thing, because utterly ancient history becomes much more open to speculation and mystery, and there's a nice mystique to it all. Unreliable narrators to that history such as the proteans, Asmodeus, qlippoths, etc are a good tool for this.

As far as the great old ones, there's an implication that they were there on the Prime Material before the arrival of the gods from elsewhere (be it the various outer sphere planes or an even more nebulous 'elsewhere' elsewhere), and the particulars are themselves decently up in the air to allow for multiple interpretations. Again, this is a good thing IMO.

*mutters something about them all being young kids and getting off of my lawn*


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

And Mikaze gets ever more awesome. :)


I always liked the idea presented in the old book of madness that aboleths and a few others remember a different history where the universe has been "reformatted" many times. The old ones like the aboleths are left over from a different universe than the one almost everyone else remembers. Maybe even driven mad by the reformatting going beyond good and.evil afterwards. There were even hints that they may have been the aboleths progenitors

Osirion

MMCJawa wrote:
My guess is that the Earth of the Golarion universe is probably Pulp Earth. Future stuff hasn't really happened yet, but could.

Depends what authors you pull in as source material. Most authors who wrote the pulp stories that fueled the development of Pathfinder portray the 2000s as being almost Jetsons like with other planets in the solar system being battled over by evil fascist/communist empires on Earth and opposed by heroic humans who have gone native on the various worlds.

Like I said though, there's a lot of fictional settings that are mutually exclusive to each other--and Golarion, in one form or another exists in a lot of them. So having a more pulp version of our world could work too. I guess my feeling though has been that if Golarion's solar system is made up almost entirely with settled worlds--that it's probably working under some pretty different base assumptions than our universe (where even under the most favorable conditions almost every world is a lethal barren waste). I tend to imagine that at least, it's a place where Mars, Venus and most of the other planets are living worlds filled with interesting alien cultures.


James Martin wrote:
Some want cookies. Delicious human-flavored cookies.
Then it's good we have a champion. Come to think of it, Liz/Lilith is renowned for her cookies... is her secret book of cookie recipes titled To Serve Man?
The NPC wrote:
I prefer the idea that the mythos gods are by products of the creation of the universe.

Cosmic afterbirth?


Professor Farnsworth, Scientist wrote:
James Martin wrote:
Some want cookies. Delicious human-flavored cookies.
Then it's good we have a champion. Come to think of it, Liz/Lilith is renowned for her cookies... is her secret book of cookie recipes titled To Serve Man?
The NPC wrote:
I prefer the idea that the mythos gods are by products of the creation of the universe.
Cosmic afterbirth?

Well that's a mental image for you. Luckily I blocked it.


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Mikaze wrote:
Barong wrote:
Well, jeez, this makes things so depressing and miserable that it makes me not like the Golarion setting.

ROW ROW FIGHT THE POWER

Giga Drill Breaker!

So....now I know who my android PC will worship.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Kthulhu wrote:

And yet you are doing the same thing, only reversed,[/i]...

There's actually a difference at play here.

That post was about reassuring a poster becoming disenfranchised with the setting that it was not a place that instantly turned into hopeless misery porn* as a rule whenever a Lovecraft reference pops up. It was about protecting the themese of heroic fantasy within its own playground.

The Superman VS Goku reference was aimed at the tendencies of Lovecraftian elments to get tauted as being above everything else(like the genital measuring contests over "power levels" in those silly SvG debates). A lot of people resent that approach because it really comes across that, no matter what setting or genre(whatever the original tone may have been), whenever any Lovecraftian references come into play it seems many are quick to push them as Literary Royalty that trumps everything else. If the setting is one about people having a fighting chance, hardcore Lovecraft fans insist that cosmic horror has to knock over the furniture and the fans of the settings heroic elements just have to take it.

This isn't saying heroic fantasy >>>>> cosmic horror. It's saying that in heroic fantasy, heroism > cosmic horror, within its own genre. If it were Call of Cthulhu, sure, it would be flipped around. It's not about saying "heroic fantasy rules, cosmic horror drools". It's about allowing heroic fantasy to be heroic fantasy, without letting certain Special Guest Villains ruin the tone as a rule.

If people are looking for existential despair and general hopelessness, they'll generally look to Call of Cthulhu.

People playing Pathfinder are generally expecting something more hopeful than that.

Lovecraft rules can certainly apply in the context of the cosmic horror genre, but other genres aren't beholden to them when Lovecraftian elements pop up, nor should they be expected to.

*The real world supplies more than enough of that on its own.

Osirion

Hook Mountain Massacre.

Or I guess to say, Pathfinder can be pretty dark compared with a lot of fantasy out there. Pathfinder has really always struck me as more of a pulp-inspired dark fantasy setting than a bright heroic fantasy setting like say the Forgotten Realms. Usually Pathfinder tends to be several shades more mature, with textured villains you might find yourself siding with, abounding filth and corruption, and some downright disturbing content. This is not to say Pathfinder is just Call of Cthuhlu in a fantasy milieu--rather it's to say I don't think it's about rallying against the darkness and booting Cthuhlu down the curb either. I think Pathfinder is a setting of layered apocolypses. Some are right in front of you--and you can take them out in a module. Some are more drastic, like the antagonist of an adventure path, and the PCs might well have to devote their entire career to just setting back the agendas of one such enemy. But above even those hang fates so grim there seems to be little hope of ever eliminating them--one of these is the Dark Tapestry, yes, but no more so than Groetus or the Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse, or the Worldwound. There's a lot of bad out there and I don't see it existing just to give the heroes stuff to swing swords at. I get the feeling the Pathfinder universe is gonna' meet a bad end, and I think that that's intentional--sort of like the Dying Earth tales in bleakness.

Now that said, I think if you want to run your Pathfinder brighter and happier than this, there's certainly the ability to do that--but I don't see that as the default tone. That said if you did want to play a rousing game of Punch Cthuhlu in the Face, might I suggest you look into the Mythic rules?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mikaze wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:

And yet you are doing the same thing, only reversed,[/i]...

There's actually a difference at play here.

That post was about reassuring a poster becoming disenfranchised with the setting that it was not a place that instantly turned into hopeless misery porn* as a rule whenever a Lovecraft reference pops up. It was about protecting the themese of heroic fantasy within its own playground.

The Superman VS Goku reference was aimed at the tendencies of Lovecraftian elments to get tauted as being above everything else(like the genital measuring contests over "power levels" in those silly SvG debates). A lot of people resent that approach because it really comes across that, no matter what setting or genre(whatever the original tone may have been), whenever any Lovecraftian references come into play it seems many are quick to push them as Literary Royalty that trumps everything else. If the setting is one about people having a fighting chance, hardcore Lovecraft fans insist that cosmic horror has to knock over the furniture and the fans of the settings heroic elements just have to take it.

This isn't saying heroic fantasy >>>>> cosmic horror. It's saying that in heroic fantasy, heroism > cosmic horror, within its own genre. If it were Call of Cthulhu, sure, it would be flipped around. It's not about saying "heroic fantasy rules, cosmic horror drools". It's about allowing heroic fantasy to be heroic fantasy, without letting certain Special Guest Villains ruin the tone as a rule.

If people are looking for existential despair and general hopelessness, they'll generally look to Call of Cthulhu.

People playing Pathfinder are generally expecting something more hopeful than that.

Lovecraft rules can certainly apply in the context of the cosmic horror genre, but other genres aren't beholden to them when Lovecraftian elements pop up, nor should they be expected to.

*The real world supplies more than enough of that on its own.

It probably comes down to that large doses of Lovecraftian-style horror don't blend in well with epic high fantasy. I recall a metaphor someone used I think on this forum comparing Lovecraft to a strong spice. A little bit can enhance the flavor of the campaign, but different people have different taste preferences. Some people really enjoy ladeling it on, but other people think it's ruins the rest of the flavors.

Also bear in mind that Lovecraftian horror is marked by a sort of cosmic hopelessness. A sense of insignificance in the face of greater cosmic powers that barely even recognize you exist, and what we refer to as reality is merely a thin veneer over a nightmarescape of horror. That sort of theme doesn't really work well in the context of a straight good vs evil approach (no matter what August Derleth says!), nor does it make for uplifting tales of hope. I think some posters get aggravated when people try to keep Lovecraftian elements while gutting everything about them that makes them lovecraftian

If you are doing a bright optimistic "Good Guy heros save the day" campaign, than you are probably better off keeping Lovecraft elements to the bare minimum. There are certainly no shortage of other vile powerful forces that can be thrown at your characters.


MMCJawa wrote:

It probably comes down to that large doses of Lovecraftian-style horror don't blend in well with epic high fantasy. I recall a metaphor someone used I think on this forum comparing Lovecraft to a strong spice. A little bit can enhance the flavor of the campaign, but different people have different taste preferences. Some people really enjoy ladeling it on, but other people think it's ruins the rest of the flavors.

Also bear in mind that Lovecraftian horror is marked by a sort of cosmic hopelessness. A sense of insignificance in the face of greater cosmic powers that barely even recognize you exist, and what we refer to as reality is merely a thin veneer over a nightmarescape of horror. That sort of theme doesn't really work well in the context of a straight good vs evil approach (no matter what August Derleth says!), nor does it make for uplifting tales of hope. I think some posters get aggravated when people try to keep Lovecraftian elements while gutting everything about them that makes them lovecraftian

If you are doing a bright optimistic "Good Guy heros save the day" campaign, than you are probably better off keeping Lovecraft elements to the bare minimum. There are certainly no shortage of other vile powerful forces that can be thrown at your characters.

The counter to that argument though is that a lot of fantasy does involve Lovecraftian style horrors, with a very different tone. Conan is the most obvious example, but there are plenty of others. The theme is usually the indomitable heroic protagonist triumphing over inhuman evil, not Lovecraft's cosmic hopelessness, but the things they deal with can be the same.


Mikaze wrote:
*The real world supplies more than enough of that on its own.

Yeah, that's how I feel. I suffer from depression and I play these games to feel better. I want to feel that good has at least a chance of winning, against the odds. But when you have eldritch abominations of such stunning power, evil, and insanity who it's been quoted:

Quote:
"Were the Great Old Ones ever to devote even a fraction of their attention to this corner of space, it could very well end existence as gods and mortals know it."

That kind of makes it hard to have fun.

(By the way Mikaze, I'm a fan of yours :). You say many of the things I think about and want out of Pathfinder.)

Cheliax

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

Well, I do not buy into Heroic Fantasy so the concept of Cosmic Beasties batting their lashless multitude of eyes and wiping out everything in their path is great stuff.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Barong wrote:
(By the way Mikaze, I'm a fan of yours :). You say many of the things I think about and want out of Pathfinder.)

We should start a Mikaze fanclub.


Personally, I'm not even sure Cthulhu needs to be a Mythic threat. A bunch of low-level dudes in a steamliner (assuming the characters were correct in their assumption that the creature they faced was in fact dread Cthulhu and not one of his star-spawn), without any magic or things of that sort, managed to drive him back, albeit without actually doing him any lasting harm and with massive casualties. Given that, I think it's not that much of a stretch to think that a "mere" high-level party, without benefit of mythic tiers, could defeat him.

To elaborate what thejeff said, Robert E. Howard, the author of Conan, and Lovecraft were friends. Howard actually included entities similar to the cosmic horrors found in Lovecraft's work in his works. However, Conan actually proved able to defeat such entities. I wouldn't even consider Conan the Barbarian to be an example of "heroic fantasy", but rather of Swords and Sorcery.


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Tacticslion wrote:
Barong wrote:
(By the way Mikaze, I'm a fan of yours :). You say many of the things I think about and want out of Pathfinder.)
We should start a Mikaze fanclub.

We should start Mikaze cult.

Shadow Lodge

Nyarlathotep really is insidious, isn't he?

Cheliax

lordzack wrote:

Personally, I'm not even sure Cthulhu needs to be a Mythic threat. A bunch of low-level dudes in a steamliner (assuming the characters were correct in their assumption that the creature they faced was in fact dread Cthulhu and not one of his star-spawn), without any magic or things of that sort, managed to drive him back, albeit without actually doing him any lasting harm and with massive casualties. Given that, I think it's not that much of a stretch to think that a "mere" high-level party, without benefit of mythic tiers, could defeat him.

To elaborate what thejeff said, Robert E. Howard, the author of Conan, and Lovecraft were friends. Howard actually included entities similar to the cosmic horrors found in Lovecraft's work in his works. However, Conan actually proved able to defeat such entities. I wouldn't even consider Conan the Barbarian to be an example of "heroic fantasy", but rather of Swords and Sorcery.

It's about matching power level to what your story needs. Cthulhu should be something ultimate. In pulp settings ultimate power is a bit nebulous, in pathfinder it's level 20 plus mythic.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Grimcleaver wrote:

I caught the hints, but had always figured it meant the gods had been interlopers from other cultures and prime worlds in the universe. I'd never imagined that this universe had never had gods until they arrived...or at least not-Outer God gods.

That's wild. Sort of makes you wonder about the Starstones. I've never fully bought into the idea that the Aboleths' great revenge would be to pull down an object that would simultaneously destroy their empire and allow humans to become gods. Seems like they should have forseen such serious consequenses, and there were plenty of other roads to revenge for them to have taken.

I had always assumed the Starstone was created by a race of aliens who wanted to uplift mortal races to godhood to stave off the instability of the Maelstrom and the Abyss. Now I'm not so sure. With the gods being travellers here, maybe the Starstones are like their ships? The divine essences within seek out suitable human hosts and bind onto them? Maybe that's what the Test is...

It's all really interesting.

It's the nature of magic that all mega events involving it's use, WILL have unforeseen consequences. You really can't get around that.


thebwt wrote:
It's about matching power level to what your story needs. Cthulhu should be something ultimate. In pulp settings ultimate power is a bit nebulous, in pathfinder it's level 20 plus mythic.

Why does Cthulhu need to be "ultimate" in the first place? He's not even remotely the strongest being in the actual Cthulhu Mythos (for that matter, Kthulhu mentioned in another thread that he isn't presented as necessarily being any stronger than the rest of his race). Even if he were, why would would it follow that he remain so relative to a different setting wherein the protagonists are far, far stronger than in the original source?

Osirion

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LazarX wrote:
It's the nature of magic that all mega events involving it's use, WILL have unforeseen consequences. You really can't get around that.

The corrolary to that being, "unless they somehow manage for it not to". The nature of magic in gaming is incredibly subjective, and everybody has their own take on it and how much of a Monkey's Paw they want to turn it into.

I personally prefer to go light on that sort of thing.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Drejk wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
Barong wrote:
(By the way Mikaze, I'm a fan of yours :). You say many of the things I think about and want out of Pathfinder.)
We should start a Mikaze fanclub.
We should start Mikaze cult.

Phn'glui mglw'nafh Mikaze R'lyeh wagn'nagl fhtagn?


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Tacticslion wrote:
Drejk wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
Barong wrote:
(By the way Mikaze, I'm a fan of yours :). You say many of the things I think about and want out of Pathfinder.)
We should start a Mikaze fanclub.
We should start Mikaze cult.
Phn'glui mglw'nafh Mikaze R'lyeh wagn'nagl fhtagn?

Ia! Ia! Mikazethotep!

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

You guys so crazy. <3

Spoiler:
That's "The Strutting Chaos" and "The Sensual Pharaoh", btw.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Grimcleaver wrote:
Well the thing that you have to keep in mind with Pathfinder is that EVERYTHING is true. Earth is out there somewhere. So are grey aliens, Vulcans, Cloverfield, predators, xenomorphs, Gozer the Gozarian. Any product from any fictional universe is fair game. So Pathfinder is a big place. What this means is that while yes, Lovecraft is true, so are all the other mythoi as well.

Not QUITE true.

The Universe is big enough that Everything COULD be true. We did this to allow folks to customize their particular universes to include whatever elements they want, be those elements from popular culture, other companies' games, or homebrew inventions. That doesn't mean all those elements are automatically assumed to be part of Golarion.

That said, Golarion is intentionally designed to be a somewhat gritty and gloomy place—some regions more so than others. This is so that there's plenty of things for the PCs to fight against and be the big damn heroes they should be!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Generic Villain wrote:
There's a scene at the end of Men In Black where it turns out our entire universe is contained in what amounts to a toy snowglobe carried around by some alien kid. Rovagug is that alien kid, but instead of playing with the snowglobe, he's trying to shatter it. And that's why we can't have nice things.

So you're saying that Rovagug is really Tommy Westphall?!?!?!?! 8O


One thing I never got though was if the Old Ones created life. (I think I read that somewhere) Why would they destroy life? *statement from someone with just a wikipedia and a few pop culture bits of knowledge on the subject*


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Think about it like this: humans 'create' carbon dioxide and poop. We wish to get rid of both. Why? Because... well, we need oxygen (though not pure) to exist and also ew.

It's different with the old ones, but that's one way of looking at a vaguely similar way in which we wish to destroy what we create.

Also, they're generally insane, stupid, or both. No, that's not actually bashing on them: literally, the vast majority are (to our sensibilities) either insane, stupid, or both.

Osirion

James Jacobs wrote:

Not QUITE true.

The Universe is big enough that Everything COULD be true. We did this to allow folks to customize their particular universes to include whatever elements they want, be those elements from popular culture, other companies' games, or homebrew inventions. That doesn't mean all those elements are automatically assumed to be part of Golarion.

Yeah, I hear you. I'm just trying, at this point, to figure out what to do with that. I definitely like the "big idea" that Golarion's assumed universe is home to every other film, book, or game out there--for one thing it's a feature that I feel makes the Pathfinder product feel really unique in comparison with all the other fantasy settings out there. My idea right now is to try and figure out what's been firmly established as canon in the various articles and books and then fit in as much fun other stuff as I can in while keeping loyal to the setting. It's been fun seeing my theories rise and fall as I research more into the world you guys are making.

For a while my theory was that highly evolved Ancient Aliens had created the first gods by uplifting other mortal races and granting them domains in the Outer Sphere as a way to keep the horrors of the Maelstrom and Abyss at bay--and that the Starstones were seeded among star systems so that when civilizations became advanced enough they could call them down and administer The Test to their people. This stuff about the gods being visitors from a whole different cosmology really turns that on its ear though.

But yeah I guess I've mostly been reading the cosmology articles and trying to make connections and establish geneologies of things that seem like they should be in--and where they should fit. It's an ongoing project.


Grimcleaver wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

Not QUITE true.

The Universe is big enough that Everything COULD be true. We did this to allow folks to customize their particular universes to include whatever elements they want, be those elements from popular culture, other companies' games, or homebrew inventions. That doesn't mean all those elements are automatically assumed to be part of Golarion.

Yeah, I hear you. I'm just trying, at this point, to figure out what to do with that. I definitely like the "big idea" that Golarion's assumed universe is home to every other film, book, or game out there--for one thing it's a feature that I feel makes the Pathfinder product feel really unique in comparison with all the other fantasy settings out there. My idea right now is to try and figure out what's been firmly established as canon in the various articles and books and then fit in as much fun other stuff as I can in while keeping loyal to the setting. It's been fun seeing my theories rise and fall as I research more into the world you guys are making.

For a while my theory was that highly evolved Ancient Aliens had created the first gods by uplifting other mortal races and granting them domains in the Outer Sphere as a way to keep the horrors of the Maelstrom and Abyss at bay--and that the Starstones were seeded among star systems so that when civilizations became advanced enough they could call them down and administer The Test to their people. This stuff about the gods being visitors from a whole different cosmology really turns that on its ear though.

But yeah I guess I've mostly been reading the cosmology articles and trying to make connections and establish geneologies of things that seem like they should be in--and where they should fit. It's an ongoing project.

It still all boils down to the fact that the Gods being interlopers is just what the INSANE cultists like to claim. Also, remember that most of the cults don't don't get any kind of holy words or texts from their gods and make up A LOT of what they go on about.


Grimcleaver wrote:

Hook Mountain Massacre.

Or I guess to say, Pathfinder can be pretty dark compared with a lot of fantasy out there. Pathfinder has really always struck me as more of a pulp-inspired dark fantasy setting than a bright heroic fantasy setting like say the Forgotten Realms. Usually Pathfinder tends to be several shades more mature, with textured villains you might find yourself siding with, abounding filth and corruption, and some downright disturbing content. This is not to say Pathfinder is just Call of Cthuhlu in a fantasy milieu--rather it's to say I don't think it's about rallying against the darkness and booting Cthuhlu down the curb either. I think Pathfinder is a setting of layered apocolypses. Some are right in front of you--and you can take them out in a module. Some are more drastic, like the antagonist of an adventure path, and the PCs might well have to devote their entire career to just setting back the agendas of one such enemy. But above even those hang fates so grim there seems to be little hope of ever eliminating them--one of these is the Dark Tapestry, yes, but no more so than Groetus or the Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse, or the Worldwound. There's a lot of bad out there and I don't see it existing just to give the heroes stuff to swing swords at. I get the feeling the Pathfinder universe is gonna' meet a bad end, and I think that that's intentional--sort of like the Dying Earth tales in bleakness.

Now that said, I think if you want to run your Pathfinder brighter and happier than this, there's certainly the ability to do that--but I don't see that as the default tone. That said if you did want to play a rousing game of Punch Cthuhlu in the Face, might I suggest you look into the Mythic rules?

Mythic rules are part of Pathfinder, and most likely part of Golarion canon. As for that claim about Pathfinder not being heroic fantasy. You still go and beat up Karzoug after dealing with those horribly hillbilly ogres. Actually, pretty much ever AP so far seems to have you being the hero and saving the day to a smaller or larger degree. Besides, even other settings had really powerful and nasty villains at times, not just Golarion. I read up on one Red Wizard who did some nasty stuff to a rival who happened to be a woman.

Kthulhu wrote:
Nyarlathotep really is insidious, isn't he?

I'd rather go with the term "overrated" myself as I would with some other things.

Kthulhu wrote:
Barong wrote:
Is the Christian God in the pathfinder universe too? I remember that an 1E book in the early 80's showed that in the D&D universe, God and Jesus lived on the plane of Celestia, or something like that(this was wisely removed in 2E).
Not anymore. My mythic Priest of Nyarlathotep killed them both last night.

Impossible. Azathoth = The Christian God. Actually, the correct term is the Semitic God since the Jewish and Muslims also believe in the same deity.

Osirion

Icyshadow wrote:


Mythic rules are part of Pathfinder, and most likely part of Golarion canon. As for that claim about Pathfinder not being heroic fantasy. You still go and beat up Karzoug after dealing with those horribly hillbilly ogres. Actually, pretty much ever AP so far seems...

Okay, let me amend: Mythic Pathfinder is heroic dark fantasy. Standard Pathfinder is pulp dark fantasy. Do you go beat up Karzoug? Or do you get eaten by yetis in a gruesome TPK? Or does the lovely Nuallia fillet you for meddling with her revenge? Or do you get spit roasted by stone giants with a sage rub and served with beef ribs? I certainly didn't get that there's any guarantee of success in Pathfinder. As I read it groups TPK a lot--heck if my experience with Pathfinder Society is any indication you TPK about 3 out of 5...and when you don't you come home beaten and broken with a horrible beast curse slowly devolving you into a monster...

And if you do succeed, remember you've dedicated the best years of your adventuring life to defeating a minor evil. You haven't wiped out the drow or slain Asmodeus or even stopped the all the Runelords. Your victories never save Golarion--everything you can do is fight your whole career to save it for now. Pretty bleak.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Grimcleaver wrote:
Icyshadow wrote:


Mythic rules are part of Pathfinder, and most likely part of Golarion canon. As for that claim about Pathfinder not being heroic fantasy. You still go and beat up Karzoug after dealing with those horribly hillbilly ogres. Actually, pretty much ever AP so far seems...

Okay, let me amend: Mythic Pathfinder is heroic dark fantasy. Standard Pathfinder is pulp dark fantasy. Do you go beat up Karzoug? Or do you get eaten by yetis in a gruesome TPK? Or does the lovely Nuallia fillet you for meddling with her revenge? Or do you get spit roasted by stone giants with a sage rub and served with beef ribs? I certainly didn't get that there's any guarantee of success in Pathfinder. As I read it groups TPK a lot--heck if my experience with Pathfinder Society is any indication you TPK about 3 out of 5...and when you don't you come home beaten and broken with a horrible beast curse slowly devolving you into a monster...

And if you do succeed, remember you've dedicated the best years of your adventuring life to defeating a minor evil. You haven't wiped out the drow or slain Asmodeus or even stopped the all the Runelords. Your victories never save Golarion--everything you can do is fight your whole career to save it for now. Pretty bleak.

Eh, if my experience in 4E is any indication, at least one Player Character will die per boss fight, intentionally or not. Somehow, I don't think that's the intent of the game.

And no: a runelord, even a single one, isn't anything resembling a 'minor' evil.

I'll concede that it can be a dark fantasy, but in no way is it inherently a dark fantasy. As written, Golarion is in a dark time and place in its history, but even as it's written about, there's always the line about "new heroes" written expectantly that no matter how dark something gets, there will be new heroes that rise to stop it.

The "ultimate end" is kind of depressing and all, if you look at it that way, but really: she knows, for a fact, that everything will ultimately have an end one day, and yet, Pharasma never gives up. Really, why wouldn't she? She knows her fate! So why should she care? But she does. No one has seen more of the darkness between the stars than Desna, as, you know, she made most of the stars, but she delights in whimsy and grace nonetheless and enjoys simple things like butterflies. Why? What's the point if she knows how depressing everything is? (And she, of all people, should.)

Nethys too: he's all seeing (and crazy as a result), but he's entirely dedicated to keeping Rovagug's prison sealed. But if it's really not all that important: who cares? Nethys does.

I could go on, but time is too short. The fact is, reality, people, lives, and doing good matter, even to someone like Nethys.

These are wise, ancient, and vast beings of nearly unimaginable grace and power, yet, to them, despite their knowledge, they keep existing, keep working, and keep making important decisions constantly and never give into fear or despair as a result. Melancholy? Sure, sometimes. But really, if things were as hopeless as they seem, the gods wouldn't care anymore, especially the neutral ones like Pharasma and Nethys.

There is nothing wrong reading the PF setting as bleak and unwinnable. Certainly there are bestiary monsters are meant to be 'undefeatable' as-written, but that's really... well, it's an artifact of game design that looks at the game as GM v. Player. And most of 'em are really hecka-beatable.

The iathavos might look horrible in every way (and it is!), but once I level drain the tar out of it, polymorph it into a lawful good immortal newt vulnerable to mind-affecting effects, wipe everything it's ever experienced out of its mind, and then turned it into my familiar (while technically allowing it to remain an iathavos, 'cause magic), I'm suddenly less intimidated.

The Tarrasque? Well, Big T is a pickle of a thing, alright, especially if you accept the argument that no matter what it can't be killed (or rendered unconscious) through a complete lack of constitution score. But, you know, after having its strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom, and charisma to 0 forever, it's not such a big deal anymore. And then you could always kill it (temporarily) and then use Animate Dead to turn it into a mindless zombie (that loses its regeneration) entirely under your power and get it to destroy itself forever.

The Star-Spawn of Cthulu seems pretty awful and unbeatable, but it can definitely be killed, as spelled out in it's "immortal" ability. And, I mean, hey, if their dad can be taken out (however temporarily) with just a measly steam powered ship run by a bunch of low-level rubes, I'm not too concerned.

And yes, I'm trivializing by my wording what would generally be a very difficult set of circumstances to bring about. But that's the point: every creature that exists in PF is able to be defeated. It might be difficult, even impossible for most, but there is always hope... that is, of course, if you want there to be.

On the other hand, the Pathfinder setting could be as bleak and dark as you want it to be, too. Just choose your personal shade and go with it! :)

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