F. Wesley Schneider

F. Wesley Schneider's page

Contributor. 3,310 posts (3,340 including aliases). 1 review. No lists. No wishlists. 3 aliases.


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Linda Zayas-Palmer wrote:
Sorry, Wes. You're not a vampire. You're a life oracle with the life link revelation.

Dang it, Linda, you're blowing my cover! ;D

Thanks for the super kind words! Can't wait to hear about all the elaborate schemes you and John concoct for PFS and beyond.

Contributor

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We all know how amazing Crystal is—you need look neither far nor hard. She's tackled incredible challenges, many I never even dared myself (like running the AP line), and naturally excels where others wouldn't even risk struggling. Crystal's one of the only folks at Paizo that I'm truly jealous of. But, I'm a firm believer in surrounding oneself with more talented friends.

Some day—any day now—Crystal's going to do "THE THING." I don't have any idea what shape it'll take, whether it'll be a story, a game, a world, a martial art, a book, a program, or what, but it'll be amazing. A M A Z I N G. And when you do it, you first sale is right here.

Keep being amazing—as if you had any choice.

Contributor

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Daigle's one of the reasons I know Paizo will be just fine without me. I've relied on him for years and with every conceivable challenge he's always done incredible work. I know you can do anything, man, but if you ever need anything, don't hesitate to yell!

Contributor

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Amanda's one of the people I refuse to say goodbye to.

She's too much of a treasure, and far, far too dangerous.

Contributor

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Whatever fiefdom I had, I began ceding to Judy years ago. If you've noticed improvements in Paizo's editorial quality in the past years, it's in largely due to her able tyranny. (If you've noticed anything less than wonders, it's probably because of me pushing something too hard, too fast.) Look forward to great things under the rule of her knit-work gauntlet.

Now I just need to figure out the easiest way to keep my direct line to her open, because she more than most knows how badly I need an editor. Without proximity, maybe pity will work. We'll see.

Contributor

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John's always been an efficient, brilliant creative machine. He's one of those folks who can do anything he bends his mind toward—not in a blindly encouraging platitude way, but for real. Thanks for always taking on the largest, most demanding tasks, John, but don't forget to take care of yourself, too.

And if anyone ever needs more fear in their lives, I'm always happy to help.

Contributor

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Mark has an incredible ability to arrange dots into a perfectly obvious picture no one else in the house had the perspective to see. It makes him a fantastic designer, world-builder, and critic. He also gives some of the most thorough movie reviews in the business. Now if he would only frickin' write his good ideas down more! We're all looking forward to reading more from you, Mark. Get on it! :)

Contributor

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Jason. You found my going away presents...

RIGHT?

O_O

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Jess has dragged me kicking and screaming into some of the coolest experiences of my life. Thanks you so much for doing everything and never settling for good enough. I suspect you, me, and James' lunch routine will change very little in the weeks to come.

Contributor

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Chris has always been a cool head and a voice of sanity in the middle of the endless, self-created storm of doubt and anxiety that is the world of periodicals publishing. Once Chris thinks something good, than we can all trust that something's ready for public consumption. He's that discerning, he's that reliable, he's that good. Thank you, Chris, for being the sort of navigator who knows the seas never stay stormy for long. I know I haven't relied on your wisdom and guidance for the last time.

Contributor

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I ALMOST told Sutter on Friday that this was all a very elaborate hoax. Like seriously, I came SO close.

So, aside from that last regret, working with Sutter has been at least 75% fantastic upwards of 90% of the time. Sutter's a font of awesome ideas and practicality with a fantastic ability to cut through quagmires of creative noodling and suggest "How about we actually get this done instead, huh?" I wouldn't have written my first novel without him flat out asking when I was going to write him a novel, and he encouraged and (even better) criticized me every step of the way. I'm a better creative, a more able hustler, and certainly a stronger writer because of him.

Thanks for everything, Sutter—all the stories, all the conspiracies, all the collaborations.

So what are we up to next?

Contributor

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I remember the big shift assignment Erik first game me: "The Hordelands." It was one of the tent post articles for Dragon #349 and his directions boiled down to "this is important, don't screw it up."

I was a big Realms goob at the time, but I was less than lukewarm on the Hordelands. Getting to establish a bunch of new lore for the lot behind the well-lived in Realms, seems pretty cool, though. And I was an ambitious brat, so I jumped right in.

Overall, the article went off great, in most part thanks to authors Ed Bonny, Brian Cortijo, and Lazlo Koller. I don't know if the article changed anyone else's opinion of me, but it definitely made me realize I could do this—big articles were just articles, canon wasn't holy writ, and no campaign setting was sacred. A lot of imaginary shackles fell away with that issue (and I immediately put that freedom to use, establishing some deep Ravenloft lore).

Erik's ambitious—he's endlessly got some new, bigger plot in the works—and he's brought us all along for the ride. The years have seen ever bigger and crazier things, higher hurtles, and seemingly more impossible tasks. And it's all been important, and screwing it up has never been an option.

Erik's taught me that laurel-resting makes you fat, boring, and probably someone else's target. So I can't thank him enough for years of challenges, for his advice and counsel, for hundreds of cool opportunities (or dumb but well-paying ones), and for being the beautifully audacious bastard that he is. I wouldn't have done half of what I'm proudest of without him. That makes me certain the world hasn't seen the end of our schemes.

Thanks, boss!

Editor-in-Chief

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Gorbacz wrote:
Please don't go. The drones need you. They look up to you.

I see what you did there. ;)

Editor-in-Chief

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Mark Moreland wrote:
Quemius wrote:
Sooooo.....are you ever gonna tell us? What does the F stand for? :D
The real reason Wes referred to some of us as "dangerous" is that we know the answer to your question. And though he seems so good-natured, Wes would murder anyone who betrayed his secret. Like really.

Like really.

Editor-in-Chief

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Kate Baker wrote:

Wes, I saw you on a panel at GaymerX 3 in late 2015. There was a moment where you addressed the audience and asked, “Why aren't you working for us? There are so many women in this room who are homebrewing and GMing, and you should be writing.”

I was sitting in the second row, and a light bulb went off over my head. I was GMing and homebrewing and it had literally never occurred to me before that moment that writing games was even an option. I spoke to you after the panel, and you were incredibly encouraging and invited me to email you.

A year and a half later, I am slowly but surely building my freelancing career, with about half a dozen credits so far, and hopefully many more to come.

Further, the desire to write pushed me to become a far more public gamer. Wanting to write games led to wanting to play more, which brought me to Pathfinder Society about a year ago exactly. If this comment were in the PFS section of the board, you would see that I now have a VA title and two GM stars. Things have escalated quickly. I no longer GM only for five friends around my kitchen table, but countless people at stores and at cons, and it is because of you.

Five minutes of your time and encouragement has had a tremendous impact on my life. I can't even begin to imagine the impact that you have had on diversity in gaming as a whole.

Thank you so, so, so much. Good luck with whatever comes next for you.

Kate. Oh my gosh, thank you for sharing this AMAZING story! I totally remember chatting outside that weird, back hall seminar room at GX3, too!

I don't really have anything to add, as your experience really slams home the "You Can Do the Thing! I'm Living Proof!" moral. I'm so, so glad it's been going so well! If there's ever anything the Paizo team can do, don't hesitate to reach out to any of our developers.

Thanks again for the amazing story and keep up all the amazing work! :D

Editor-in-Chief

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Mark Moreland wrote:
Sadnerd wrote:
As a relatively new gamer I really want to extend my thanks to you. I know it was a team effort but your advocacy for queer inclusion has really made pathfinder a home for me and my friends. Thank you for making a difference in this guy's life and making my world just a little bit gayer. I look forward to seeing what you have in store for us!

I responded to a similar sentiment on Facebook when news started spreading there, and it bears repeating here.

Wes's efforts toward diversity and his dedication to inclusivity have inspired the entire Paizo creative team, and we're all equally committed to continuing the trends he started, even in his absence. We're also fortunate enough to be friends with the guy (and many Paizonians even live within shouting distance of him), so if we ever need guidance or his gut check on how to carry on his legacy, he's easily reachable.

Thank you so much for saying this, Sadnerd. I'm so glad you and your friends are playing and having a great time. And rest assured, that'd I'm well over my awkward baby writer, "is this too gay?" jitters. So, expect plenty more in the future!

Also, I wanted to thank and back up, Mark. I do believe that inclusivity is baked into the Paizo creative team's DNA. It's not even a question. And any work I've done has always been part of a team effort. So, I'm not at all concerned about the team continuing to make room for gamers (and potential gamers) of every stripe tomorrow and every day after that. It's a constant effort, but well worth it—always.

Editor-in-Chief

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King of Vrock wrote:

Congratulations on your new adventures Wes. You've been a fixture at Paizo for so long it's hard to know what you've done that I loved the most, though I fondly remember a hag themed Bazaar of the Bizarre and a fantastic article about power components. Can't wait to see what projects you're going to work on in the future.

--For those about to Vrock, we salute you!

Well remembered! That "By the Hands of Hags" article was my first Dragon acceptance, and that power components article was the first article I developed (and learned that a finite number of words could fit on a page—who knew?!).

And thank you, and everyone, for all the kind words! I appreciate it more than I can say.

Editor-in-Chief

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Robert Brookes wrote:

I wouldn't be here without Wes. Just saying that unambiguously.

He will be missed more than I can possibly express.

Pfffh, don't blame me! You did this your @#$% self. ;)

(Thanks, man! Really, thanks everybody.) :D

Editor-in-Chief

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Also, just in case it wasn't clear, I'm moving on to exciting new opportunities and—while it does leave me misty eyed—this is an amicable parting. :D

Editor-in-Chief

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Tarik Blackhands wrote:
You have links to the reviews? I'm kinda curious how they're broken down.

Yup.

Editor-in-Chief

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Super appreciate it, guys! This was a fantastic surprise to wander into this morning.

Now just to find an appropriate place of honor. :D

Editor-in-Chief

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Nezzmith wrote:

After reading through the adventure, I have to say, with all the little details and hidden information, this is one of the most terrifying adventures I've read in a long time!

Definitely needs to be played with the lights dimmed, and at night!

Nice. Thanks, Nezzmith!

Editor-in-Chief

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Derek Vande Brake wrote:
I heard there were spell clarifications in Ultimate Intrigue, and now Ad Lib guides here... I can't help but feel there should have been a GMG2 or some such that had these instead, rather than using space for broader stuff in books with a narrower focus.

Pathfinder hardcovers regularly feature GM-focused content relevant to the book's topic. Discussing spells from an "intrigue friendly" point of view in Ultimate Intrigue is relevant to Pathfinder players running "intrigue" games. Exploring the importance of game pacing and improving your ad-libbing game to maintain a creepy atmosphere is relevant to Game Mastering a horror adventure (more so, I'd argue, than to other sorts of adventures).

We could squirrel such material away in a separate product, but to date we've preferred to keep like information together.

That said, if folks would like to see a GameMastery Guide 2, hit up the general discussion board and let us know!

Editor-in-Chief

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Frickin' cool, Zelgadas! Can't wait to see the rest!

Editor-in-Chief

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David Neilson wrote:
Interesting that the Godclaw imagine Irori as heavily armored, given that he is generally supposed to have been a monk before his apotheosis to divinity.

Dramaturgy: A vital part of any faith.

Editor-in-Chief

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KaiserBruno wrote:
The Eyrines Company are a bunch of former Gray Maidens that pledged loyalty to Abrogail after Ileosa's death. They were mentioned in the Gray Maidens article in the second book of Shattered Star.

Weird.

Editor-in-Chief

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Lord Twitchiopolis wrote:

Is the Vicarius of the Gate supposed to be a Hellknight rather than a Signifier?

If so, why?

He is.

Hellknights, even the most magically inclined orders, are still a martial organization. Commanders seen as weak or as unwilling to stand in the front ranks are less respected and, thus, have a more tenuous grip on their authority. As a result, even spellcasters who rise to significant rank among the Hellknights often go through the same trials as rank-and-file members, preventing any from claiming they're not "true" Hellknights.

Also, as you'll soon see, Lictor Torchia and Lictor Wrens are far too pretty to hide behind signifer masks.

Editor-in-Chief

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CWheezy wrote:
Did you think of adding a useful bonus for the gate hellnight reckoning or is it really bad on purpose?

I think a lot of folks will be excited to have that bonus after they read the section on the Order of the Gate.

Thought police sure aren't immune to being accused of thought crime. ;)

Editor-in-Chief

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Oooh! Though, on a serious note about the "batlike" description, that's deliberately chosen as Havenguard Asylum is a small Kirkbride Institution. Maps of Caliphas show the asylum's architectural similarity to famous institutions like Danvers, Weston State, Buffalo State, and, my personal favorite (and childhood backyard) Spring Grove. So that's where that came from!

Thanks for the chance to point it out and for reading! :D

Editor-in-Chief

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GeraintElberion wrote:
Very poor.

Wait till they get to the end when they fight the tarrasque! They totally kill it with a magic missile.

That's some buuuuuullcrap.

This guy does NOT know what's up. :P

Editor-in-Chief

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LordOfThreshold wrote:
Strong, well considered commentary. :D

Wow! Thanks a ton LoT! Glad you enjoyed it and I seriously appreciate the kind words.

I really tried to explore "small evils" in this—real hurts that have the potential to lead people to resentment and hard heartedness; like Cimri's background.

I also wanted to give the PCs insight into the NPCs' vulnerabilities—because that's how you become a bully. Once the PCs know how to hurt people, its up to them how to do it. If they were playing good guys, they might help or they might walk away. As evil characters, how they exploit their knowledge is entirely up to their depraved imagination.

So again, thanks for the feedback! And, as always, thoughtful reviews are always greatly appreciated—and help us know down the line what we should do more of!

Editor-in-Chief

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They're not gray, they're distinguished...

You @#$%.

Editor-in-Chief

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DeciusNero wrote:
Awesome cover! Didn't expect crunch in this product, though I do like cavalier orders and more disciplines . Can't wait.

Wooboy, are you in for something then. There's quite a bit in here.

As a bit of a teaser, here's something I realized halfway through: You know what class works great for Hellknights? Vigilante.

So, if you haven't snagged Ultimate Intrigue yet...

Editor-in-Chief

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Kalindlara wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:

Cover reminds me of a piece of artwork from one of the final fantasy games (12 I think) which had these 5 characters called judges walking foreward.

Ah here it is Prepare to be judged.

I believe Mr. Schneider linked a .gif of that when announcing this on Tumblr. So... you're not alone. ^_^

(And given who does the art orders... it may be more than coincidence.)

Total. Coincidence.

Neither Sarah nor I know anything about them TV vidja games.

Editor-in-Chief

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Captain collateral damage wrote:
Noooooo. I wanna play as the Glorious Reclamation instead.

That one there. Take it away.

We don't brook distention in Imperial Cheliax.

Editor-in-Chief

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Largely what Philo and Samy said.

"Be evil" is not the plot of the Hell's Vengeance Adventure Path any more than "be heroic" is the plot of any past AP.

Those who want to create an evil empire (of any form) might be better suited playing Kingmaker with an evil tinge.

If I had the compare this AP to any previous one in play-style expectations, I'd liken it to Skull & Shackles. In that one you play pirates. In this one you play rising stars in an evil empire.

If you'd like a different evil campaign—evil Kingmaker, perhaps—my biggest suggestion would be to check this one out and help us prove that the occasional evil campaign is just as viable an AP as any other.

Editor-in-Chief

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Kalindlara wrote:

I got my shipping notice yesterday; I just finished my first read. It looks excellent!

I did notice the presence of a familiar name... the Feign Prince Lairsaph. Despite our evil AP being disappointingly Seltyiel-deficient, I'm glad for this little Easter egg. ^_^

I hope you like omelets.

Editor-in-Chief

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Ceirwyn wrote:
From the tiny female minority, god bless you for the male dryads. ;)

Ha, nice. If you're interested in a bit of my thinking on this, I talked about it a bit on my personal blog last year. And Mark Moreland coined a word.

Kadasbrass Loreweaver wrote:
Ah yes, of course there must be male dryads. Where else would nuts come from?

::crickets::

-_-

Editor-in-Chief

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Queen of Leshys wrote:
Because gourd leshys may not understand that carving a new face into someone isn't a nice thing to do?

Wow... that's kinda DARK Linda. O_O

Remember, everybody: Linda only LOOKS like the innocent one.

(sendhelp.)

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Linda Zayas-Palmer wrote:
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Captain collateral damage wrote:
Nooooo!!!!! Not Leshies! Not the little plant people! How could you, you monsters!
It was all Linda Zayas-Palmer's idea.
You sure are full of something, Wes. I'm not quite sure what that something is yet.

Knives! Is it knives?

Why do I get the distinct, perhaps precognitive, impression it's knives?

Editor-in-Chief

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Brother Fen wrote:
This is great. I mentioned wanting a book with more info on the Hellknights in a few wish list threads not long ago.

Just. For. You! :D

Tell your friends.

Editor-in-Chief

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CanisDirus wrote:
PS... is it Signifer or Signifier? The blurb above says the latter but other books have it as the former?

Signifer.

Editor-in-Chief

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Thomas Seitz wrote:
Dammit! I was hoping it told me Prince Aduard Ordranti III had finally died. Or something.

Treason, huh.

Noted.

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Adam Daigle wrote:
Misroi wrote:

And now I have to reread The Hellfire Compact, going through it with a fine-toothed comb, to find this nugget of the Strange Aeons to come.

Thanks, Wesley. Thanks a lot.

I'll save you some time and let you know that there is no way you can identify the line in question until you read Strange Aeons (unless you hacked my desktop, of course).

Shhh!, Adam!

I mean... Dance, puppets! Dance!

I mean...

SHHH!

Editor-in-Chief

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Captain collateral damage wrote:
Nooooo!!!!! Not Leshies! Not the little plant people! How could you, you monsters!

It was all Linda Zayas-Palmer's idea.

Editor-in-Chief

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Rob McCreary wrote:
Some clarifications about swearing the Hellfire Compact here. I think the GM Reference thread is a better place for such discussions.

Summarizing what Rob says over there:

"Kill them all."

Thanks, Rob. You're hardcore.

Editor-in-Chief

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Lord Fyre wrote:

Makes some sense. It isn't a "man's world" anymore.

Still not sure how I feel about it though.

It was a confusing time for me too when I started having feelings about dryad guys.

I'm here to talk if you want to. :D

Editor-in-Chief

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Samy wrote:

While I have you here, Wes, any chance of some input regarding swearing the Hellfire Compact:

** spoiler omitted **

Answer one: Strongly encourage them to.

Answer two: Kill them.

Bad guys don't @#$% around. ;)

Editor-in-Chief

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Samy wrote:

In case anyone is curious about artwork, here's the full-body single figure artworks:

** spoiler omitted **

On dryads:

For interested parties, Losoni is Pathfinder's second canonically male dryad. The first was encountered by Harsk and Lini over in Pathfinder Origins #5.

You can read my thinking on, as Mark Moreland termed them, guyads, right here.

Editor-in-Chief

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Samy wrote:
Should I emphasize the pain and anguish they are creating. Is that part of the point of an evil AP?

That entirely comes down to the game you and your group want to play.

With any game—but especially with ones that don't conform to common fantasy RPG expectations—before you start playing you and your players should discuss what you all want to get out of the game. That discussion should form the foundation of the experience you, as GM, seek to provide.

In the case of an evil Adventure Path, you should pose exactly the question you just asked to your group.

Maybe your players want the experience of being juggernauts of evil, fighting and crushing monsters they don't usually get to and indulging '50s comic book villain expressions of evil. If so, great! Go for it. Cackle along as the PCs burn every orphanage of wicker lesheys they encounter.

Maybe your players want an exploration into what it means to be evil, with all the ramifications and hurt laid bare, pitting their characters' angst and dark pasts against a world that scarred them. If so, great! Let them lash out, let them feel bad, let them push the boundaries of what they can bring themselves to do and see if their characters weep when finally their humanity breaks.

Maybe your players want something in between, 'cause there's quite a gulf there.

In any case, it's for you and your group to figure out what's right for all of you.

Along with that, you should CERTAINLY set some ground rules for what is and isn't too far. Evil games do NOT mean that everyone's filter gets switched off and every imaginable expression of id is suddenly okay. Talk with your group about what they do want to see in the game and what they certainly don't. Having these guidelines will help you run a game everyone enjoys and will serve you in defining what is too far.

There's a lengthy discussion about exactly this in our upcoming Pathfinder RPG Horror Adventures book, and it makes sense that this comes up here—an evil game and a horror game have many similarities.

But ultimately, if you're going to try and make the players feel something negative—fear, discomfort, sorrow, etc—you should have that conversation upfront, let them know what they're in for, and let them make the fully informed call on whether or not they want to play.

Evil can be fun, but evil can also be unsettling, and that's entirely in your and your groups' hands. Make sure you're all on the same page about the story you're going to tell/play so everyone can have the best possible time.

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