What Makes a Man Turn Neutral?

Monday, April 15, 2019

Psst. Hey you. Yes, I can see you. Don't be shy, now. You've been looking for us for a very long time, after all.

I've seen that expression on the faces of mortals over the centuries. Most of them are satisfied dealing with what's set in front of their faces, but you—you're one of the ones that looked beyond. Beyond the material, beyond even good and evil, beyond the petty squabbling of angels and devils that amounts to nothing more than the shuffling of poker chips around a table for all eternity. You're looking for the monitors. You're looking for the ones that make it all work.

Illustration by Nicolas Espinoza

Who was it who drew you here? Did you feel the pull of Ceyannan the Shepard, like a call to a lost soul? Did you find salvation from danger in one of the graveyards and gargoyles of Vavaalrav, the Steeple's Skull? Did you, perhaps, discover a sentence or stray page of Tabris' Concordance of Rivals? I, for one, think it's his best work.

It is, of course, natural that you would come to us above all others. The axiomites have no understanding of mortals, and their Primal Inevitables are slowly crumbling and coming to stand before our Lady of Graves. No matter how hard Jerishall strives to keep the planets turning in their perfect orbits, or how thorough Otolmens is in maintaining her laws of physics, in the end, they all must come to us. Please don't make me cry by expressing interest in those wretched protean lords. We're still cleaning the Jistkan graffiti off the walls from the last time the Mother of Tongues got in here.

As for the Monad… there aren't many who can catch that one's attention. Certainly, none have ever caught more than a scrap of its power.

Illustration by Sammy Khalid

But enough about us. You're one of a very select few, as I'm sure you know. You even dug up some of the mantras that can call us forth in place of our true names. Such dedication requires acknowledgement—we're not ones to let our mortal agents go without tools to help them. You'll have divine protection and boons to benefit your station, of course. I might even talk that old miser Iliyai into showing you some of his ritual books.

Illustration by Gabriela Marchioro

Now, if you're willing. We have a small issue with some pesky akizendri proteans scrambling up our records. Just last week alone we got a warlord's file mixed up with a milkmaid's, and let's not even get started on that disaster with that fighter and the evil wizard. And if you happen to spot the agnoia aeon that's helping them—they're about so tall, with three legs and three arms, hard to miss—please call one of the local yamarajes to deal with it. I think that one is a little beyond your just at the moment, and we don't want you meeting the Pale Lady too soon, after all...

Illustration by Nicolas Espinoza

Eleanor Ferron
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Tags: Pathfinder Campaign Setting

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

"...and let's not even get started on that disaster with that fighter and the evil wizard."

I see what you did there. ;)

Sovereign Court

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written and narrated by Captain Zap Brannigan


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Tales Subscriber

Quite looking forward to this! Is that a new Protean at the bottom? Cute!

Dark Archive

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That is one very smug looking protean


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Now I'm curious about the warlord and the milkmaid.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Always a fan of nosoi as companions ^_^

Also that protean is a pretty cool design; sort of reminds me of the phantasmadaemon, a bit!


So this is about those Psychopomps who leave the service of Pharasma, right? What they actually do, again? What's their view of neutrality, how do they sell it as better than good, evil, law and chaos? What, indeed, makes a man turn neutral?


Eh, True Neutral is just one kind of Neutral. There's Neutral Good, Chaotic Neutral, and Neutral Evil too. It's practically a rainbow of neutrality! :D

Dark Archive

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Anyhoo, I really do hope Primal Inevitables don't spontatiniously die when 2e happens :'D

I mean, I really want the cool new ones from War for the Crown and Planar Adventures to stick around... Novenarut is fricking six eyed robo samurai, that is cool

Scarab Sages

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Paizo Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Is it me, or does the Monad look like the invisible creature from Johnny Quest?


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Tell my wife... i said... Hello *dies*

Contributor

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DeciusNero wrote:


Also that protean is a pretty cool design; sort of reminds me of the phantasmadaemon, a bit!

That'd be the illureshi protean! I'm really happy that you like them.

And yeah it might remind you a bit if the phasmadaemon as I made them both. Blame the crazy on me ;)


Todd Stewart wrote:
DeciusNero wrote:


Also that protean is a pretty cool design; sort of reminds me of the phantasmadaemon, a bit!

That'd be the illureshi protean! I'm really happy that you like them.

And yeah it might remind you a bit if the phasmadaemon as I made them both. Blame the crazy on me ;)

Awesome art, Todd!


Berselius wrote:
Eh, True Neutral is just one kind of Neutral. There's Neutral Good, Chaotic Neutral, and Neutral Evil too. It's practically a rainbow of neutrality! :D

Don't forget lawful neutral.

Contributor

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Roswynn wrote:
Todd Stewart wrote:
DeciusNero wrote:


Also that protean is a pretty cool design; sort of reminds me of the phantasmadaemon, a bit!

That'd be the illureshi protean! I'm really happy that you like them.

And yeah it might remind you a bit if the phasmadaemon as I made them both. Blame the crazy on me ;)

Awesome art, Todd!

Oh no, I didn't do the artwork! I wrote up the critters in question. :)

Liberty's Edge

I have no strong feelings one way or the other in regards to this.

Meh!


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That's one snazzy illureshi there!

No need to focus on dour, boring psychopomps, off-brand transformer inevitables, and those clouds of angry math axiomites. !snaetorp eroM

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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Finally, more proteans. Always found it weird they're supposed to be the most varied outsider and yet there's only a handful of them out of the 10 years of publication. Most of them are just weaker or stronger versions of existing ones.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Cyrad wrote:
Finally, more proteans. Always found it weird they're supposed to be the most varied outsider and yet there's only a handful of them out of the 10 years of publication.

I see this and I raise you an "I've always found it odd that these representations of pure chaos all seem to be very singular in form."

Contributor

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Cthulhudrew wrote:
Cyrad wrote:
Finally, more proteans. Always found it weird they're supposed to be the most varied outsider and yet there's only a handful of them out of the 10 years of publication.
I see this and I raise you an "I've always found it odd that these representations of pure chaos all seem to be very singular in form."

Things to keep in mind here are that proteans as serpentine in form are both a callback to prior frog-like exemplars of chaos in another, previous game that aren't open IP, a nod to a wide number of real-world mythological motifs of serpents and primordial chaos, and that it's really hard to have artwork depict creatures with subtle and constantly evolving morphological changes on the outside, or insides that are basically perpetually-shifting goo, and still retain some coherence of appearance in type such that they're immediately recognized as proteans. :)


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For instance in Egyptian mythology one of the cosmogenesis myth involves a number of frog and snake deities in the primeval chaotic void... the frogs belong to That Other Game, so PF gots the snakeses.

Sorry for getting the wrong name, I'm still new around here - great job on the protean, Nicolas!

Contributor

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Roswynn wrote:
For instance in Egyptian mythology one of the cosmogenesis myth involves a number of frog and snake deities in the primeval chaotic void... the frogs belong to That Other Game, so PF gots the snakeses.

The Ogdoad of Hermopolis. That was a major inspiration for PF's proteans.


It looks interesting.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

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Some speculate that it is a lust for gold or power which makes a man turn neutral, but I believe they were just born with a heart full of neutrality.


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Tell my wife I said, "Hello."


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Lovely book, for the record...


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I have always wanted to run a planar game where both the proteans and the slaad keep appearing. But never at the same time. And never acknowledging the existence of each other. So when, for example, the players ask the proteans about the slaad, the answer can be condensed to just "I don't know what you are talking about. You are delusional/funny. We are the embodiment/caretakers of chaos/Maelstorm." Then the protean leaves, they open the next door, and it's frog surprise time again.


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I had a dream once that proteans and slaadi are the Mystics and Skeksis of Pathfinder.

My own fault, really. Shouldn't have eaten that gelfling reuben sandwich just before bedtime.


Naal wrote:
I have always wanted to run a planar game where both the proteans and the slaad keep appearing. But never at the same time. And never acknowledging the existence of each other. So when, for example, the players ask the proteans about the slaad, the answer can be condensed to just "I don't know what you are talking about. You are delusional/funny. We are the embodiment/caretakers of chaos/Maelstorm." Then the protean leaves, they open the next door, and it's frog surprise time again.

Bonus points if every time the slaad show up they sing "The Michigan Rag".


Okay, so I'm finally reading some of the interstital stuff, the Fallen Inevitables, etc.

Gualti, The Joyful March was the Primal inevitable of Sportsmanship, Training and... Twamni? Copy and pasting from the PDF its definitely twamni. Googling around, I don't think that's a word. Should I recognize it?


Umm...Did you finish reading the whole entry?

It said that, with the destruction of Gualti, EVERYONE no longer knows what twamni is. Hence the unease at what may happen if another Primal Inevitable were to cease to exist...

(It's most likely just a made-up word that probably represented some sort of ancient sport - like the Mesoamerican ballgame. As such, it doesn't mean anything, thereby simulating how no one remembers what it means in-game.

But were a developer to weigh in on "What is twamni?", then of course go with their answer!


Aww, man, I find the font used in those sections to be hard to read, and I got so fixated on trying to find an answer, that it had to be me reading the word wrong. I didn't think of reading on.


Hey. Don't feel bad about not reading on. It WAS an interesting bit of lore, so I completely understand getting fixed on it. ^^
It is one of my favourite sections of the book!

Also, the font used in those sections is particularly difficult to read this time round (especially when compared to those used in the Chronicles of the Righteous & the 3 Book of the Damned).

So, no worries. :)

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