Red Raven

David Schwartz's page

Contributor. RPG Superstar 6 Season Dedicated Voter, 7 Season Star Voter, 8 Season Dedicated Voter. 532 posts (817 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 2 aliases.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Green Faith has some really obvious overlap with Gozreh to the point where I've never really understood why the former exists.

[aside]Gozreh is worshiped by a theistic church, the Green Faith is a non-theistic fraternal order[/aside]

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Sagian wrote:
Was my impression, but then paizo has to go and include some parts in the description and exclude others. Was it purposeful, or just incomplete? I suspect we won’t get a solid answer, but I had to try.

Incomplete. All the rules elements for the pantheon (including favored weapon) replace those for a specific patron god.

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Claxon wrote:
Devil's Advocate here, but how weapons were decided to be finesse weapons in the first place seems rather arbitrary. [snip] So it makes sense that dexterity would be relevant, but it really shouldn't be an either or.

Yes, fighting requires both strength and dexterity. It's either-or in d20 for simplicity. Most melee weapons are much more reliant on strength than dexterity to deal damage. Those that favor dexterity ("finesse") are short, light, and/or flexible; ones where you have to strike at gaps in the armor and soft parts of the body. With large, heavy weapons you have less of an ability or need to do so.

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Finessing non-finesse weapons is a pet peeve of mine, in terms of both simulation and game balance.

(There is no finesse with a staff, it's all about hitting hard and fast. Even the fancy-looking twirling requires more strength than dexterity.)

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CorvusMask wrote:
But yeah, my nitpicks are of this type of nature: Remorhaz in bestiary 1 mentions that ancient ones of them turn into frost worm while frost worm in bestiary 2 mentions their origins are unknown. So umm.. Does that mean remorhaz info on them being in stage of life of frost worm is incorrect?

I can only say that I was unaware of the remorhaz sidebar when I wrote the frost worm sidebar.

Personally, I don't think they're related as they have very different morphologies. (And as far as I know, they weren't related before.)

That said, it has been previously established that the Varki use the same word for both remorhazes and frost worms, so that may be the source of the confusion. The remorhaz entry may be what the Varki believe, a view not necessarily shared by scholars elsewhere.

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Nicholas Ruchlewicz wrote:
Is there a Min and Max for the number of Deities in the Pantheon? Example Order of the God Claw has 5, and the Dwarven one has 10. I need to hurry up time is ticking!

No hard numbers. Enough to have interesting relationships between the deities both personally and philosophically, not so many that you lose focus on the core themes of the pantheon.

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I once had a bad reaction to a (prescribed) drug: it made me angry all the time. It's one of the experiences that made me realize that free will is not as free or willful as most people think. But it also shaped how I view orcs these days. Orcs were created by their gods to be warriors, they are innately ferocious. When you're angry all the time, it's easy to be chaotic evil. Even if an orc chooses to be lawful or good, they still have to either subsume or refocus that anger. (I suppose one might compare it to the many versions of the Incredible Hulk.)

In the same way humans are the baseline for ability scores, I think of humans as the baseline for alignment. We have both good and evil, lawful and chaotic instincts. Fantasy races with alignment tendencies diverge from "human nature" in meaningful ways. Dwarves don't have as strong a desire for individuality (thus a lawful alignment and a Charisma penalty). Elves live long enough that permanence is less important to them (thus a tendency to chaos). Whether good or evil, by humans standards, goblins never stop being precocious children (and thus devoid of other influences go Lord of the Flies).

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It's been pleasant surprises to see little things I wrote for PF1 being converted to PF2: some alternate race traits here, a weapon there. But if you had asked me to guess the first bigger thing I wrote to be converted, I would not have picked Juggler.

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BPorter wrote:
Small, similarly themed and aligned pantheons are easy to represent and understand. I'm specifically inquiring about the larger, more morally complex type.

While someone may turn to gods, even evil gods, when dealing with things in their purview ("Help me with my legal troubles, Asmodeus!"), no one worships all gods equally, and certainly no one is empowered this way because the whole of the gods are antithetical to the each other.

So, while ancient Osirians might recognize the existence of all their gods, there were no priests of all the gods. There might however, be as Luis demonstrates, a priest of all the magic gods.

Yet, just because the kind of pantheon that can empower a cleric must have an unambiguous thesis, that doesn't mean they are without nuance. The Godclaw deities are all lawful, but run the gamut from good to evil. The lawful good dwarven pantheon includes an evil deity, but he's the black sheep of the family that no one talks about.

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ErichAD wrote:
However, if you are treating the launched weapon as a projectile weapon, what the heck does that mean?

Three things: 1) increased range; thrown weapons have a max of 5 range increments, projectile weapons have max of 10 range increments. 2) It can be used underwater; thrown weapons can't be used underwater, projectile weapons can (but suffers a -2 penalty per 5 feet of water). 3) Strength added to the weapon damage is limited by the strength rating of the spear-sling.

Spears, etc, shot with a spear-sling do not count as ammunition. That said, if you use a magic spear with a magic spear sling, combine the effects as you would a magic bow and magic arrow.

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Zwordsman wrote:
Aristophanes wrote:
The Bohemian Earspoon. Just for the name.
I gotta ask what this is. Google isn't helping much. Its like.. a dagger?

Polearm with a hook (among other things). An infantryman would attempt to unseat a rider by swinging it to side of the head or the back of the neck and pulling. An real earspoon was a tiny spoon for removing earwax, the gag being the Bohemian infantry were going for the ear with much larger implements.

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Arachnofiend wrote:
Not having any good orc gods means that a good orc's religious practices are just going to be adopted from human cultures.

There are plenty of cultures on Golarion that are not human. But even if you mean an evil ancestry has to discover goodness from from another humanoid culture, that's not true either. Sarenrae is not and never was a human (even if that's how she is depicted). There's no reason an orc culture can't adopt a religion through epiphany just like many other cultures on Golarion (both good and evil) did.

(I also get the impression that people who play orcs/half-orcs want to play the monster--either to play to type or to disprove genetic determinism--and I'm OK with having an ancestry specifically to oblige that.)

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, the PF1 Orc deities are pretty much "great orcs who died and rose their way up through the ranks of the plane they became petitioners on" right?

Mythic history says the orc gods created/uplifted the orcs in much the same way the dwarf god created/uplifted the dwarves (except with the opposite alignment).

(I admit I'm biased on the orc gods, but I don't think you need non-evil orc gods for there to be non-evil orcs. There are no evil specifically elf gods, but there are plenty of evil elves, for example.)

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Aw, I was hoping it would have a Living Doldrums that's just a blank tile. :-)

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born_of_fire wrote:
With apologies to anyone with a deep cultural or other investment in this weapon: it is such an unfeasible looking thing.

Hey, don't be a downer. Weird can be fun.

born_of_fire wrote:
I’m also not sure why it was decided it should be a finessable weapon.

Lots of points. If you miss with one, you can twist the shaft and get them with another. (Also, elves.)

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DungeonmasterCal wrote:
Would it make the weapon unbalanced if the Disarm feature was added to it? It seems like it would be a great weapon for tangling a foe's weapon and twisting it away from them.

From what I've seen, the branches seem too flexible to be much use binding a weapon.

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o00obiffo00o wrote:
However, strangely, no one has found a Pathfinder-sourced picture...

As far as I know the branched spear has only appeared in Melee Tactics Toolbox. And by "appeared", I mean "not appeared" because not all the new weapons got illustrated, probably to squeeze in more words.

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Gisher wrote:
It might look like the langxian.

As the designer of that weapon, I can confirm that it is based on the nangseon.

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My preferred method these days: Take a deck of cards and remove 4 through 9 in two suits. Shuffle the removed cards. Draw two cards and add their values. Repeat 5 more times. Assign the values to stats as you like.

It's got the randomness of dice with the balance of point buy.

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You had me at Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys.

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Since we're sharing memories: Back in the days of Dragon magazine, Wes wrote what is still the best rejection letter I've ever received. :-)

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Secret Wizard wrote:
I thought that from Ultimate Intrigue onwards the RPG line would include UnMonk stacking rules like with Black Asp/Sage Counsellor. Guess it's a product-by-product decision (no doubt related to available space).

The monk archetype in AG is compatible with both monk and unchained monk (though I can't speak to future archetypes).

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I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.

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ShroudedInLight wrote:
...are you seriously telling me that Shepherds can't use a crook to defend their flock without exotic weapon training?

I don't expect shepherds to have EWP, I expect sheep to have low CMDs.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
needs theme music

It starts that way, then it's all

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AlgaeNymph wrote:
Next question: why is there crossed communication?

I learned a lesson about art direction years ago when I wrote for Dragon. In the article "Mesopotamian Mythos" I described various holy symbols.

Sometimes the fault is with the artist: I said, "A capricorn - half goat/half fish" what ended up on the page was not the heraldric creature, but a Billy Bass with horns.

Sometimes the fault is with the writer: I said, "A blue diamond", when I saw the printed art was a round-cut gemstone, I realized, what I should have said was "A blue rhombus" (which abstractly represents a diamond).

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Speaking as the writer of the archetype, the intent of things is thus:

A far strike monk is proficient with thrown melee weapons in melee, but he can only flurry when throwing weapons (not when using in melee a weapons that can be thrown).

A thrown weapon for the purposes of proficiency is any weapon that is designed to be thrown or to throw, which is to say anything with a range increment and a maximum range of 5 times the range increment. The fighter's thrown category pretty much covers it. Admittedly not all of these are necessarily thematic or efficient for the far strike monk.

Note the word designed. The far strike monk isn't automatically proficient with thrown improvised weapons, nor with weapons that can be thrown because of magic.

Of course, that's just me. As always, ask you GM.

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Mysterious Stranger is spot on.

As the writer of Exceptional Pull, I can confirm that it only increases the maximum strength that can be applied to a composite bow, it doesn't increase the damage unless you have that strength yourself.

This seems like a good opportunity to tell the story behind Exceptional Pull. Back in 2E days, one of my players played fighter/psionicist who had a power that bumped his Strength up (equivalent to Bull's Strength). He carried two composite bows: one for his normal strength and one for his psionically enhanced strength. It felt weird, but it made sense in the rules of the game. When I got the opportunity to write feats for Ranged Tactics, it seemed like a good opportunity to find a way to simplify things for characters like that.

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Not exactly what you're looking for, but they might like the Blood Brothers archetype I wrote for Kobold Quarterly #22, a single archetype shared by two (rogue) characters, based on the trope of Those Two Guys.

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One could argue that the aristocrat didn't acquire the the tromp l'oeil, the tromp l'oeil inherited the aristocrat. But I wouldn't, because what's the point when there's no mechanical difference between acquired and inherited templates? Name it whichever way makes sense to you. :-)

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Al Rigg wrote:

I'm wondering about the trompe l'oeil being an inherited template. It would seem to me that it is intended to be a reflection of someone as they are when they are portrayed, rather than something that simply takes their physical form and then acquires class abilities on its own afterward.

If this is correct, then the template should be able to be applied to a creature with existing class levels and therefore be an acquired, rather than an inherited, template.

It's inherited rather than acquired because the trompe l'oeil was never anything other than a trompe l'oeil. It is created with any class levels the subject has (that is, the example tromp l'oeil is modeled after a 7th-level aristocrat, it didn't gain seven levels).

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Aenigma wrote:
3. Aeon subdomain is under the knowledge domain. Why? I know they are neutral, and because there is no neutral domain, they have to go elsewhere. But why knowledge? Is it because ther are more intelligent than other outsiders?

As the designer, I can answer that. Two reasons: 1) Aeons are taken from the real-world religion Gnosticism which is all about Knowledge. 2) Knowledge is a domain several neutral deities have (in particular Nethys and Sivanah).

And to keep things on track, a question for James: On the topic of female horror writers, have you read any Daphne du Maurier?

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LittleMissNaga wrote:
Hopefully we'll see better this time than another reiteration of 'just compare your end result to other monsters and adjust it if the power seems off'.

That is literally how the professionals do it.

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Nohwear wrote:
I do have a slight criticism. I do not like the descriptor of the Masked Performer. I feel that it does not do a good job of telling you what the core of the archetype is. Unless I am mistaken, the idea is a super actor that can become his chosen part. If this is the case, I do not feel that this idea is stated clearly enough. It took me a good look that it to figure this out. Over all I really do like this book though.

My inspirations for the Masked Performer included: Egungun, classical Greek theater, Commedia dell'arte, Will Kemp, The Three Amigos, and Robin (The Boy Wonder).

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Robert Jordan wrote:
I couldn't find it on the searches I tried, but a player recently asked me if the Primal Hunter still got the bonuses to Strength and Constitution when in a Focused Rage. The way it reads to me and the way I ruled it was that yes they do, the bonus on ranged attack rolls only replaced the bonus to Will saves that a normal rage gave. I was wondering if that was the intent.

Yes.

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Lilith wrote:
Quinn x Aric. Callin' it now.

I don't think Geppa would like that.

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Druids (and rangers) without patrons gods are typically portrayed as animists, so it make sense that their spells come from anima or genius loci - the non-incarnate spirits of nature. Many real world religions don't differentiate between spirits and gods, except in the scope of their interest.

I would think that an orthodox Rahadoumi would oppose animism because revering spirits is the first step to worshiping gods (a gateway drug, as it were).

That said, a ranger (or possibly druid) might be able to pass his spells off as bushcraft, if no one looks too closely (or with detect magic).

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Karui Kage wrote:
Verex is listed as having the following Subdomains: Deception, *Chaos*, Lust, Thievery. The Chaos one is one of his domains and an error, but I'm unsure which subdomain was meant to be there. Is anyone aware of an official answer?

He got updated in Belkzen, Hold of the Orc Horde; he should have Demon (instead of Chaos) like the other orc gods.

Also, Lanishra should have Nobility as a domain instead of Leadership (which isn't a domain).

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Imbicatus wrote:
Is it just me or is the Animate Hair directly lifted from Snake's Hair in the Simpsons Treehouse of Terror?

Not just the Simpson's "Hell Toupee", also the original Amazing Stories' "Hell Toupee" and M.R. James's "The Diary of Mr. Poynter".

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Valantrix1 wrote:
Ok, in the spel Contact High, it states that it is a bard 2, skald 3. Is this intentional, or did someone forget that they use the same spell list.

Ignore the skald listing.

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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
How does an elven branched spear look?

I know James doesn't like other people answering questions here, but as the designer of the branched spear, I'm particularly suited to answer this question.

The branched spear is loosely based on the Korean nangseon. Video.

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I'm in NAAMA, a similar organization here in NZ (though we also have HEMA, SCA, and HMB here). Learning (and teaching) western martial arts has definitely affected my game design (hopefully for the better).

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roll4initiative wrote:
Can the spell magic stone be used on a stone for a stonebow?

I'd say yes. (Because the damage is set by the spell, the only advantage over a sling is the increased number of range increments you can shoot it.)

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Speaking as the writer: It's intended as reminder text (yes, the precedent is inconsistent). I don't know why it's missing from the orc skull ram.

Contributor , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8

I set up two-key macros for en-dash, em-dash, and superscript. Such a time saver.

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Perhaps the accidental deaths are not meant to take the souls of the victims, but of those around them, by leading the survivors to the conclusion that life is arbitrary and cruel. The rumor that those who die by accident go to Zyphus only adds to the sense of injustice.

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The (cavalier) order of vengeance in People of the River is tied to/inspired by the (secret society) Order of Vengeance in Gralton.

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London Duke wrote:
So is the stonebow considered a crossbow for bolt ace abilities?

Yes. The stonebow is in the crossbows weapons group.

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Harliquinn Whiteshadow wrote:
1) The returning special ability seems to indicate that the thrown weapon remains 'somewhere' from the time the character throws it until the start of the character's next turn. Where is the weapon during this time? Is it flying back towards the thrower or embedded in the target?

I picture it flying through the air boomerang-style.

Harliquinn Whiteshadow wrote:
2) The returning property seems very dangerous to use for a Cartomancer, since losing even a single card 'ruins' the Spell Deck as a familiar (i.e. the witch can't memorize any spells).

RAW, you really only have to worry about Snatch Arrows. You face a similar risk with a living familiar.

Harliquinn Whiteshadow wrote:
3) It also says "This ability can be used with any card". Does that refer to the Returning Special Ability or just the delivery touch spells? They are both listed under the overall ability "Deliver Touch Spells".

Only the latter (that's why it's embedded in the that second paragraph).

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The way I interpret it (unofficially, of course), is that the deck is the "weapon" and the individual cards are the "ammunition". So, it's an action to pull out the deck, but not to draw a card (so to speak). You enhance the whole deck as a ranged weapon; you don't need to enhance each card individually (just like you don't need to enhance arrows for a magic bow). And, sorry, no it can't be used/enhanced as a melee weapon (it's just a playing card until you flick it).

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