The Windsong Testaments: On Family Bonds

Thursday, October 24, 2019

The bonds of family are strong and can blind even the gods to atrocity and awfulness. And no deity knows better the dangers of trusting one’s sibling than Shelyn, sister of Zon-Kuthon.

In the earliest days of mortal life on Golarion, there was no Zon-Kuthon. None suspected what dark fate awaited Shelyn’s brother Dou-Bral, and indeed the two deities were, in many societies, worshiped as a single faith, an inseparable pair devoted to the pursuit of song and joy. But even among the ranks of the divine, nothing is forever. The most dour and depressed take a lesson in this, alas, in that a mortal’s limited time on the world is a blessing. For the longer one lives, the more chances you’ll have of facing betrayal from those you once held most dear.

Arguments between siblings are part of the parcel, and both Shelyn and Dou-Bral had had their share of squabbles before, but the clash that would shatter their familial ties was something so overwhelming that it changed both deities forever. Whatever the cause of the great dissonance between the siblings, the results were undeniable. Dou-Bral abandoned his faithful and reality alike, leaving his sister to grieve and mourn as if he had perished. The prayers of Dou-Bral’s faithful went unheard, and those of the faith who survived this betrayal were welcomed into Shelyn’s church even as the goddess herself struggled with the results of that great sadness. It would be ages before anyone heard again of Shelyn’s brother, but when they did, they—Shelyn included—would have rather remained forever in mourning.

For when he returned, he was no longer Dou-Bral. He had become Zon-Kuthon. Unknown to the gods or the faithful, Dou-Bral had not only abandoned his family and followers, but reality itself. He had traveled to the very depths of the Outer Rifts, pushing beyond borders held in fear by the most ancient dwellers in those unknown Abyssal depths, to emerge into the Beyond Beyond. And what he found there destroyed him. And what he found there reincarnated him. A cycle of death and rebirth taken place outside of the auspices of Pharasma herself, Dou-Bral ended and Zon-Kuthon began.

Forever changed and transformed from the unimaginable ordeals and torments suffered during his absence, Zon-Kuthon did not immediately seek his family’s pardon upon his return, yet as different as he had become from what had been before, enough of Dou-Bral remained within the tormented frame of the new god of loss and pain for Shelyn to take notice.

Zon-Kuthon repaid Shelyn’s extended hand of forgiveness with trauma and agony, piercing the flesh of her hand with his razored nails. When she cried out in pain and again offered forgiveness, Zon-Kuthon responded by slaughtering their father, Thron. The mutilated god twisted and broke and reshaped Thron into his own enslaved herald, the Prince in Chains, an act that provoked Shelyn into something she had never before engaged in—battle.

Shelyn, the goddess of art, beauty, love, and music, confronts Zon-Kuthon, the god of envy, pain, darkness, and loss who was formerly her brother Dou-Bral.

Illustration by Yu Cheng Hong

The siblings’ combat shook the pillars of reality, and on worlds spread throughout the Material Plane, things of beauty withered and wept and bled and died. Zon-Kuthon had grown powerful indeed from his exposure to that which transformed him Beyond the Beyond, but Shelyn was empowered by her own righteousness. The battle ended in a draw as Shelyn wrested away Zon-Kuthon’s murderous glaive. She’d hoped that separating him from what she believed to be the source of his corruption would set him free, but in the time of horrors that followed, she realized that the glavie itself was not the source—that her brother was now forever a slave to loss. As news of Zon-Kuthon’s treatment of his father and sister spread among the gods, an unsettling schism began to form. Some took offense at the acts and called for Zon-Kuthon’s execution. Others expressed admiration for his cruelty and professed support in pursuit of a change to divine order.

Abadar, forever protector of society, be it among mortals or the divine, saw the rumblings of civil war among the gods and took action. He offered Zon-Kuthon a choice to accept banishment to the prison realm of Xovaikain on the Plane of Shadow for as long as the sun hung in the skies above Golarion, and in return offered the Midnight Lord a single item from the First Vault. Zon-Kuthon agreed and chose from the vault the First Shadow, and once again left the ranks of the divine.

There are those who say Zon-Kuthon knew of the promise of Earthfall, and even others who dared imply he had a hand in its engineering. Whatever the case, the Age of Darkness blotted out the sun above Golarion, and Zon-Kuthon was released from what should have been eternal imprisonment. In that time, though, tempers had cooled. Zon-Kuthon took his gift of the First Shadow and used it to transform his one-time prison into his planar realm and cemented his divine rule over the nation of Nidal, but he was careful to moderate his atrocities so as to avoid arousing the wrath of the other gods. And while his evil lingers in the literal shadow of greater dangers, much as the nation of Nidal’s cruelties are overshadowed by the more blatant mayhem and tyranny of neighboring Cheliax, Shelyn has not forgotten. Still she seeks a method of redeeming her lost brother. Still she seeks a way to save him from the horrors Beyond Beyond. And those who know and love the goddess of love can only pray themselves she finds a way, lest what transformed her brother so long ago find new despair to ripen within.

About the Author

James Jacobs is the Creative Director for Pathfinder. While he was there at the beginning of Golarion’s creation, many of the deities worshiped by that world’s heroes and villains had already existed for decades before. Goddesses and gods like Desna and Rovagug, Sarenrae and Abadar, Achaekek and Zon-Kuthon first established their faithful among PCs and NPCs alike in James’ home campaign in the late 80s and early 90s. Sharing them with the world as deities of the Pathfinder setting, seeing players and creators come to love and hate them (and in some cases cosplay as them), has been a career highlight.

About the Windsong Testaments

On the northern reaches of Varisia’s Lost Coast stands Windsong Abbey, a forum for interfaith discussion tended by priests of nearly twenty faiths and led by a legacy of Masked Abbesses. At the dawn of the Age of Lost Omens, Windsong Abbey suffered as its faithful fought and fled, but today it has begun to recover. A new Masked Abbess guides a new flock within, and the Windsong Testaments—parables about the gods themselves—are once again being recorded within the abbey’s walls. Some of these Testaments are presented here as Golarion’s myths and fables. Some parts may be true. Other parts are certainly false. Which ones are which is left to the faithful to decide.

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Tags: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Web Fiction The Windsong Testaments

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Hmm...this has given me a stroke of inspiration!

Also a Civil War between Gods...wasn’t one such as that what caused the Devils to be cast into hell prior to this?


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HUZZAH!


Any chance ZK could become connected to the kytons? Between the look and the Plain of Shadows, it seems like a good fit. Of course that doesn't quite fit with my desire that kytons become occult instead of divine (they haven't shown up yet, so no reason they couldn't be occult), but it isn't that big a difference, since the Outer Rifts could be connected to occult power.


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Mechagamera wrote:
Any chance ZK could become connected to the kytons? Between the look and the Plain of Shadows, it seems like a good fit. Of course that doesn't quite fit with my desire that kytons become occult instead of divine (they haven't shown up yet, so no reason they couldn't be occult), but it isn't that big a difference, since the Outer Rifts could be connected to occult power.

The kytons are now known as velstracs, and some of them are described in Tomorrow Must Burn.


C. Richard Davies wrote:
Mechagamera wrote:
Any chance ZK could become connected to the kytons? Between the look and the Plain of Shadows, it seems like a good fit. Of course that doesn't quite fit with my desire that kytons become occult instead of divine (they haven't shown up yet, so no reason they couldn't be occult), but it isn't that big a difference, since the Outer Rifts could be connected to occult power.
The kytons are now known as velstracs, and some of them are described in Tomorrow Must Burn.

Thanks. I didn't know that. I figured I would have to wait for Bestiary II.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Zon-Kuthon has always been deeply associated with the velstracs (once known as kytons), and that link will be continuing into 2nd edition. In fact, the main reason we "rebranded" kytons from hell into the Shadow Plane many years back was to make them the minions of Zon-Kuthon.


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"Beyond the Beyond"

*Flashbacks to The Stone of Cold Fire*

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Only two blog posts in and this has already become my favorite series. These are fantastic!

Liberty's Edge

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More really good stuff. Having these stories in parable/myth form as a denizen of Golarion might hear them is super neat.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

What can I say, I'm loving these Windsong Testaments bits.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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Zon-Kuthon is my favorite evil deity in the campaign because of this tragic story. He's a complex character that stands out because he's an evil deity more interested in having personal fun than taking over the world or instigating conflict. It also makes him one of the few evil deities that a non-evil PC could worship without too much issue in a party.

My mermaid in PFS worships Zon-Kuthon and travels on land as a form of masochism. As a former slave, she's a hydrokineticist with kinetic healer that suffers the pain of healing others. And if party members don't want their best healer to pass out, they oughta suffer that pain instead...

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Neat.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Troodos wrote:

"Beyond the Beyond"

*Flashbacks to The Stone of Cold Fire*

I see you!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mechagamera wrote:
Any chance ZK could become connected to the kytons? Between the look and the Plain of Shadows, it seems like a good fit. Of course that doesn't quite fit with my desire that kytons become occult instead of divine (they haven't shown up yet, so no reason they couldn't be occult), but it isn't that big a difference, since the Outer Rifts could be connected to occult power.

Become connected? Eh, Zon-Kuthon is pretty much the kytons' strongest deity (though not their oldest). The kytons have several exemplars on par with demon princes and archdevils known as demagogues, but Z-K is their only god-level god. Also what do you mean by kytons being occult vs. divine? Occult and divine are sources of magic. Kytons do have members capable of using occult magic (cantor kytons, in Occult Bestiary), but there's no such thing as an "occult" or "divine" creature type.

The Outer Rifts/Abyss are a font of all sorts of power (occult, divine, arcane, primal, other). Where Z-K traveled to is someplace outside of even those supposedly limitless reaches. This place-outside-of-places is hinted at in articles concerning the creatures known as devourers.

More info on kytons can be found in the Book of the Damned. It's a solid resource. Other references to the Beyond Beyond can be found in Undead Revisited (devourer chapter) and Planar Adventures (page 5 under the Beyond Beyond heading, and page 114 under the Eternity's Doorstep heading).


Great story. Hope to read more about the siblings.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah when my party wants an evil god to follow they'll usually go with Z-K.


Troodos wrote:

"Beyond the Beyond"

*Flashbacks to The Stone of Cold Fire*

I immediately started hearing it: "Beyond the Mysterious Beyond".

And that's actually the name I gave to the darkest plane in my home setting - the Mysterious Beyond.


Zon-Kuthon is my favorite evil god among the core deities, and the mystery behind his twisted reincarnation have always fascinated me.

Knowing that he was Zon-Kuthon even before he was Dou-Bral since the BotD Hardcover came out, I was even more magnified by his tragedy. While Dou-Bral is a new god, Zon-Kuthon might be just as old as Pharasma, an entity that survived the end of the previous reality through reincarnation...

For how many years had him waited for that moment in the now known Beyond Beyond? Was Pharasma aware of his existence? How many of the other gods came from the previous reality?

Grand Lodge

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It's all so simple.
Dou-Bral was taken over by a powerful Intellect Devourer named ZK. Intellect Devourers crave sensory sensations and find pain intoxicating.

BOOM.

Bring me the next mystery


Generic Villain wrote:
Mechagamera wrote:
Any chance ZK could become connected to the kytons? Between the look and the Plain of Shadows, it seems like a good fit. Of course that doesn't quite fit with my desire that kytons become occult instead of divine (they haven't shown up yet, so no reason they couldn't be occult), but it isn't that big a difference, since the Outer Rifts could be connected to occult power.

Become connected? Eh, Zon-Kuthon is pretty much the kytons' strongest deity (though not their oldest). The kytons have several exemplars on par with demon princes and archdevils known as demagogues, but Z-K is their only god-level god. Also what do you mean by kytons being occult vs. divine? Occult and divine are sources of magic. Kytons do have members capable of using occult magic (cantor kytons, in Occult Bestiary), but there's no such thing as an "occult" or "divine" creature type.

The Outer Rifts/Abyss are a font of all sorts of power (occult, divine, arcane, primal, other). Where Z-K traveled to is someplace outside of even those supposedly limitless reaches. This place-outside-of-places is hinted at in articles concerning the creatures known as devourers.

More info on kytons can be found in the Book of the Damned. It's a solid resource. Other references to the Beyond Beyond can be found in Undead Revisited (devourer chapter) and Planar Adventures (page 5 under the Beyond Beyond heading, and page 114 under the Eternity's Doorstep heading).

As far as I can tell, everything officially written in PF2 about Velstracs can be found here: https://2e.aonprd.com/Monsters.aspx?ID=461 and https://2e.aonprd.com/MonsterFamilies.aspx?ID=111. Please copy and paste the relevant parts of those pages that discuss Z-K's association with Velstracs. I don't see it. They have different abilities and a different name in PF1, so I am not sure how much the fluff carries through, although I appreciate your sense of certainty.

The occult vs. divine thing comes from two ways of looking at it. First is the spells the being casts. For example, the augur spells are

Divine Innate Spells DC 17; 4th read omens (once per week); 2nd augury (x2); 1st harm (x3); Cantrips (1st) mage hand

You might focus on the first word.

Secondly the spells that let you summon them. Summon fiend is a divine tradition. Occult casters can take summon entity, which summons aberrations. Velstracs are fiends, therefore they are divine.


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I would buy a hardback book called the Windsong Testaments if Paizo put this out.


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no good scallywag wrote:
I would buy a hardback book called the Windsong Testaments if Paizo put this out.

With writing like this, they could easily talk me into buying a paperback or hardback of the Fiction line with these stories collected into it.

:)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mechagamera wrote:
Generic Villain wrote:
Mechagamera wrote:
Any chance ZK could become connected to the kytons? Between the look and the Plain of Shadows, it seems like a good fit. Of course that doesn't quite fit with my desire that kytons become occult instead of divine (they haven't shown up yet, so no reason they couldn't be occult), but it isn't that big a difference, since the Outer Rifts could be connected to occult power.

Become connected? Eh, Zon-Kuthon is pretty much the kytons' strongest deity (though not their oldest). The kytons have several exemplars on par with demon princes and archdevils known as demagogues, but Z-K is their only god-level god. Also what do you mean by kytons being occult vs. divine? Occult and divine are sources of magic. Kytons do have members capable of using occult magic (cantor kytons, in Occult Bestiary), but there's no such thing as an "occult" or "divine" creature type.

The Outer Rifts/Abyss are a font of all sorts of power (occult, divine, arcane, primal, other). Where Z-K traveled to is someplace outside of even those supposedly limitless reaches. This place-outside-of-places is hinted at in articles concerning the creatures known as devourers.

More info on kytons can be found in the Book of the Damned. It's a solid resource. Other references to the Beyond Beyond can be found in Undead Revisited (devourer chapter) and Planar Adventures (page 5 under the Beyond Beyond heading, and page 114 under the Eternity's Doorstep heading).

As far as I can tell, everything officially written in PF2 about Velstracs can be found here: https://2e.aonprd.com/Monsters.aspx?ID=461 and https://2e.aonprd.com/MonsterFamilies.aspx?ID=111. Please copy and paste the relevant parts of those pages that discuss Z-K's association with Velstracs. I don't see it. They have different abilities and a different name in PF1, so I am not sure how much the fluff carries through, although I appreciate your sense of certainty.

The occult vs. divine thing comes from two ways...

They are certain because the name change originates in 1e's Book of the Damned, is discussed in the City Outside of Time, and has been made explicit that they are the same thing with a different name by Pathfinder's creative director in this very thread.


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
no good scallywag wrote:
I would buy a hardback book called the Windsong Testaments if Paizo put this out.

Not sure it needs to be a hardback, but a print version of some sort would be awesome.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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no good scallywag wrote:
I would buy a hardback book called the Windsong Testaments if Paizo put this out.

Oooh...

Writing a big book that's all mythology and is illustrated with all-new art (rather than pick-up art from 1st edition which is what we're doing here for the most part) would be super fun!

Alas, non-rules books are a hard sale to folks like distributors, customers, and management. :(

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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As for Zon-Kuthon and velstracs—the edition change didn't change the world lore. Zon-Kuthon's fight with his sister, Dou-Bral's ancient transformation, and the way he emerged after Earthfall to become Nidal's patron are all story elements from 1st edition and they haven't changed with 2nd edition.

The focus of the story I told above was on that stuff, not on his association with velstracs (once called kytons), but that isn't intended to imply that the kyton/velstrac link with Zon-Kuthon isn't there. It very much and absolutely still is.

Why we changed "kyton" to "velstrac"...

Spoiler:
The monster first got invented for 2nd edition D&D, back in the planescape days, at which point it was presented as a chain devil but wasn't really integrated well into the rules or flavor or theme for all the other devils. And at that time, of course, it was pretty obviously inspired by Clive Barker's cenobites from Hellraiser

Zon-Kuthon is ALSO inspired by the same source—I invented him before chain devils were out, but of course Zon-Kuthon never saw public publication until many years later when I exported him from my homebrew game into Pathfinder.

The thematic matches between kytons and Zon-Kuthon are what they are because of separate inspiration from the same source, in other words.

As far as I know, D&D never did much more with kytons beyond the one creature. We, on the other hand have developed them into a much more robust classification of creature, transposed them out of Hell and into the Shadow Plane, and expanded significantly on their lore on our own. It's been somewhat frustrating to have the word "kyton" lingering in there as a result, because that word is a nonsense word invented by and for D&D and so we can only use it in print with products that include the OGL. So when we do fiction or miniatures or other products, we have to re-name them.

By replacing the word "kyton" with "velstrac", we make them more of our own creatures and can use them without worry about OGL issues, and furthermore, in theory don't confuse customers who might see out-of-context D&D kyton lore and confuse it with Pathfinder lore.


James Jacobs wrote:

As for Zon-Kuthon and velstracs—the edition change didn't change the world lore. Zon-Kuthon's fight with his sister, Dou-Bral's ancient transformation, and the way he emerged after Earthfall to become Nidal's patron are all story elements from 1st edition and they haven't changed with 2nd edition.

The focus of the story I told above was on that stuff, not on his association with velstracs (once called kytons), but that isn't intended to imply that the kyton/velstrac link with Zon-Kuthon isn't there. It very much and absolutely still is.

Why we changed "kyton" to "velstrac"...

** spoiler omitted **...

Thank you.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Generic Villain wrote:
Mechagamera wrote:
Any chance ZK could become connected to the kytons? Between the look and the Plain of Shadows, it seems like a good fit. Of course that doesn't quite fit with my desire that kytons become occult instead of divine (they haven't shown up yet, so no reason they couldn't be occult), but it isn't that big a difference, since the Outer Rifts could be connected to occult power.

Become connected? Eh, Zon-Kuthon is pretty much the kytons' strongest deity (though not their oldest). The kytons have several exemplars on par with demon princes and archdevils known as demagogues, but Z-K is their only god-level god. Also what do you mean by kytons being occult vs. divine? Occult and divine are sources of magic. Kytons do have members capable of using occult magic (cantor kytons, in Occult Bestiary), but there's no such thing as an "occult" or "divine" creature type.

The Outer Rifts/Abyss are a font of all sorts of power (occult, divine, arcane, primal, other). Where Z-K traveled to is someplace outside of even those supposedly limitless reaches. This place-outside-of-places is hinted at in articles concerning the creatures known as devourers.

More info on kytons can be found in the Book of the Damned. It's a solid resource. Other references to the Beyond Beyond can be found in Undead Revisited (devourer chapter) and Planar Adventures (page 5 under the Beyond Beyond heading, and page 114 under the Eternity's Doorstep heading).

There are hints of something that sounds very much like the Beyond Beyond in Concordance of Rivals. It makes me fear Z-K far more than the other more blatantly Evil deities.

And why is he even Lawful?


Any chance ever of Dou-Bral and Zon-Kuthon becoming separate entities?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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scary harpy wrote:
Any chance ever of Dou-Bral and Zon-Kuthon becoming separate entities?

Probably not, no.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:


There are hints of something that sounds very much like the Beyond Beyond in Concordance of Rivals. It makes me fear Z-K far more than the other more blatantly Evil deities.

And why is he even Lawful?

I've been meaning to get Concordance of Rivals for a while. As for why Z-K is lawful, I recall the issue being discussed at length in a thread years ago. I think one of the conclusions was that Z-K has an ideal, perfect world in mind, and is striving towards its creation. He's not a "burn it all down just for fun" type. He's also not a purely sadistic psychopath like the demon lord Shax, but a sadomasochistic psychopath. That matters for... reasons.

Going back to the Cenobites from Hellraiser/Hellbound Hearts, they were always very particular about whom they targeted (ignoring the slew of awful sequels). As long as you didn't mess with the Lament Configuration, you were safe from them. They (and the kytons/velstracs) are scientists, artists, and scholars of a very perverse nature. That sounds reasonably lawful evil to me. Kind of a stretch? Perhaps, but meh.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mechagamera wrote:

Please copy and paste the relevant parts of those pages that discuss Z-K's association with Velstracs. I don't see it. They have different abilities and a different name in PF1, so I am not sure how much the fluff carries through, although I appreciate your sense of certainty.

I've been calling them kytons for many, many years. It's going to be a while to adopt the new name. Force of habit and all that. Nomenclature aside, divine/occult aren't creature types or subtypes. It took a while for the occult-magic-using kytons to show up in 1E, so the same will probably hold for velstracs in 2E. Then again, occult magic itself wasn't introduce until much later in 1E, as opposed to 2E which premiered with it. So maybe not.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Generic Villain wrote:
Going back to the Cenobites from Hellraiser/Hellbound Hearts, they were always very particular about whom they targeted (ignoring the slew of awful sequels). As long as you didn't mess with the Lament Configuration, you were safe from them. They (and the kytons/velstracs) are scientists, artists, and scholars of a very perverse nature. That sounds reasonably lawful evil to me. Kind of a stretch? Perhaps, but meh.

This is VERY much what was in my mind when I created Zon-Kuthon back in the late 80s/early 90s. The fact that the cenobites played by the rules and didn't cheat seemed to be lawful to me. Furthermore, and beyond the Clive Barker inspirations, I've always felt like monks were a natural fit to Zon-Kuthon's worship, in a self-mutilation, self-flagellent, self-destructive sort of way, and since monks had to be lawful back in that era, it made sense that Zon-Kuthon would be lawful as well. And from a very specific Golarion viewpoint, the fact that his faith is the longest-running theocracy in the Inner Sea region (Nidal) and has been a successful society for several thousand years seemed to me to only further cement his faith (and thus the deity himself) as very very lawful.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Generic Villain wrote:
Mechagamera wrote:

Please copy and paste the relevant parts of those pages that discuss Z-K's association with Velstracs. I don't see it. They have different abilities and a different name in PF1, so I am not sure how much the fluff carries through, although I appreciate your sense of certainty.

I've been calling them kytons for many, many years. It's going to be a while to adopt the new name. Force of habit and all that. Nomenclature aside, divine/occult aren't creature types or subtypes. It took a while for the occult-magic-using kytons to show up in 1E, so the same will probably hold for velstracs in 2E. Then again, occult magic itself wasn't introduce until much later in 1E, as opposed to 2E which premiered with it. So maybe not.

If you prefer kyton, feel free to keep calling them that in your game. Just keep in mind that we won't be using that word anymore in print, and instead will be using velstrac. If Pathifnder's still around in 10 years and you're still gaming, maybe we'll have infected the word into your mind, though! Mwa ha ha!

In any event, kytons use divine magic and are, for the most part, divine-themed beings. Occult themes are generally reserved more for aberrations or weird humanoids or aliens. But there's no rule that says that aberrations must always be occult, or that creatures from other planes must always be divine.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Generic Villain wrote:
Going back to the Cenobites from Hellraiser/Hellbound Hearts, they were always very particular about whom they targeted (ignoring the slew of awful sequels). As long as you didn't mess with the Lament Configuration, you were safe from them. They (and the kytons/velstracs) are scientists, artists, and scholars of a very perverse nature. That sounds reasonably lawful evil to me. Kind of a stretch? Perhaps, but meh.
This is VERY much what was in my mind when I created Zon-Kuthon back in the late 80s/early 90s. The fact that the cenobites played by the rules and didn't cheat seemed to be lawful to me. Furthermore, and beyond the Clive Barker inspirations, I've always felt like monks were a natural fit to Zon-Kuthon's worship, in a self-mutilation, self-flagellent, self-destructive sort of way, and since monks had to be lawful back in that era, it made sense that Zon-Kuthon would be lawful as well. And from a very specific Golarion viewpoint, the fact that his faith is the longest-running theocracy in the Inner Sea region (Nidal) and has been a successful society for several thousand years seemed to me to only further cement his faith (and thus the deity himself) as very very lawful.

That's how I've seen it too.

Zon-zon's Law isn't shown in following laws, but in being disciplined.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
scary harpy wrote:
Any chance ever of Dou-Bral and Zon-Kuthon becoming separate entities?
Probably not, no.

Not a Hellraiser 3 fan, huh? I knew I liked you.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
no good scallywag wrote:
I would buy a hardback book called the Windsong Testaments if Paizo put this out.

Oooh...

Writing a big book that's all mythology and is illustrated with all-new art (rather than pick-up art from 1st edition which is what we're doing here for the most part) would be super fun!

Alas, non-rules books are a hard sale to folks like distributors, customers, and management. :(

I would definitely buy it too! If it is a hard sell... that seems like something that would work well for crowd funding...

But yes, please make it! I would absolutely love that book!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Generic Villain wrote:
Mechagamera wrote:

Please copy and paste the relevant parts of those pages that discuss Z-K's association with Velstracs. I don't see it. They have different abilities and a different name in PF1, so I am not sure how much the fluff carries through, although I appreciate your sense of certainty.

I've been calling them kytons for many, many years. It's going to be a while to adopt the new name. Force of habit and all that. Nomenclature aside, divine/occult aren't creature types or subtypes. It took a while for the occult-magic-using kytons to show up in 1E, so the same will probably hold for velstracs in 2E. Then again, occult magic itself wasn't introduce until much later in 1E, as opposed to 2E which premiered with it. So maybe not.
If you prefer kyton, feel free to keep calling them that in your game. Just keep in mind that we won't be using that word anymore in print, and instead will be using velstrac. If Pathifnder's still around in 10 years and you're still gaming, maybe we'll have infected the word into your mind, though! Mwa ha ha!

I guess the Zon-Kuthon - kyton kind of alliteration makes it a natural fit. So any chance of Zon-Velstrac ?


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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
FallenDabus wrote:
would work well for crowd funding...

Oh, YES~

Hard cover. Wonderful art. Stories I can read to my grandchildren.
Financial guarantees for Paizo.


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If "Kyton" is a nonsense word, is "Velstrac" based on anything?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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The Golux wrote:
If "Kyton" is a nonsense word, is "Velstrac" based on anything?

Nope. Just sounds creepy. As far as I know. Wes invented the word after me needling him for months or perhaps years to come up with a name. He did not disappoint, but I'm not sure if he pulled from mythology for inspiration or made it up.


^I don't know about the name sounding creepy, but I've got this creepy feeling about reading or hearing a similar-sounding name somewhere else.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So if the Pathfinder system has improved velstrac to the point of a new name, why haven't goblins gotten the same treatment?

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
So if the Pathfinder system has improved velstrac to the point of a new name, why haven't goblins gotten the same treatment?

”Goblin” isn’t a WotC created name.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Correct. Goblins are from mythology, and they're called goblins there.

Kytons are made up, and not from mthology, and the only reason someone other than Wizards of the Coast can use that word in print to refer to "torture fiends" is if they abide by the OGL, which doesn't work for all the products we produce.


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In universe, I think "goblin pride" (and "take ownership of the name") would be totally fitting for them to keep the name goblin.


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The Gold Sovereign wrote:


Knowing that he was Zon-Kuthon even before he was Dou-Bral since the BotD Hardcover came out, I was even more magnified by his tragedy. While Dou-Bral is a new god, Zon-Kuthon might be just as old as Pharasma, an entity that survived the end of the previous reality through reincarnation...

I have seen this mentioned a few times and tried to read up on it but can't for the life of me find the relevant text or lore tip bits. Anyone willing to provide hints?

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