I'm a huge fan with what Paizo did with cyclopses, they're definitely one of the more intriguing parts of the setting in my opinion.
And they're our best option for a "not-goliaths" race and I love goliaths.
I have argued long and hard for the abandonment of the LG only alignment restriction, enough to the point that a thread or two I was arguing in got shut down.
But I'm not opposed to them being restricted to the corners of the alignment chart as a compromise position, and it was one I proposed multiple times, myself.
I understand the mentality & logic behind barbarians being non-lawful, monks being lawful only, and druids requiring a neutral element. I don't necessarily agree with that logic, but I understand it.
I understand the logic that a druid's spiritual connection to nature requires some element of detachment & objectivity that is represented by requiring a neutral element to their alignment.
I understand the mentality that a barbarian's rage comes from unbridled and uncontrolled emotions that are incompatible with a lawful alignment(compared to a bloodrager who's rage is the result of unstable magic within them & is independent from their personality & actual emotional state).
I understand the mentality that a monk's abilities come from a level of rigid self discipline that requires a lawful element to their alignment.
I don't necessarily agree with all of those mentalities, but I understand them and find them to be logically consistent & non-arbitrary.
I don't see that when I see the paladin. A paladin is a divinely empowered warrior, proficient in martial weapons & heavy armor, who can smite an opposing alignment, who projects an aura that buffs their allies(harms their enemies in the case of the anti paladin), can heal(or harm) with a touch, and can cast spells up to the 4th level, and looses their supernatural powers if they stray from their deity's code of conduct.
Nothing about that says LG exclusive to me. Sure, there's the code of conduct, but that applies to the (initially) CE exclusive anti-paladins as well, and many of the evil deities have anti-paladin codes as strict as any of the LG deity paladin codes. And a cleric or inquisitor or warpriest of any deity can lose their powers if they stray too far from their deity's teachings, even if they're offered a bit more leeway than a paladin is.
And it never made sense to me why a deity of another alignments aside from LG and CE wouldn't want to empower mortal servant to have those aforementioned abilities given that they're usefulness. And it does frankly make some of them look incompetent or impotent; Cayden Cailean could empower a cleric, an inquisitor, an oracle, and a warpriest to take the field on the fight against evil, but Iomedae can empower all of those, plus a paladin. It's often doesn't even make thematic sense, when you have gods like Cayden Cailean, the god of Courage, and Milani, the goddess of Hope & Devotion, who apparently can't or don't empower paladins while several LG deities who are a lot less thematically appropriate for a knight in shining armor can & do.
For me that's the two key sticking points on the paladin that separate it from the other alignment-restricted classes are that it's restriction is so much tighter than the others, and that it is a divinely empowered caster in a way that the others, even the druid, really aren't.
So all of that being said, I can see an internal logic of, a paladin's connection with their god requires a zeal & extremism that precludes those with a neutral element to their alignment, restricting it to LG, CG, LE, & CE. It's still an arbitrary restriction, but it's an internally consistent & logical one that doesn't fall into the trap of casting LG as the best, goodest good & CE as the worst, evilest evil.
And if people just have to have some restriction, that's an acceptable one to me.
Personally I would prefer the restriction be, you have to be the same alignment as your specific deity, every deity comes with a code of conduct & you have to follow it, and various limitations on spells & powers similar to what clerics & warpriests already have. But I'm not unwilling to compromise.
I've always disliked the term "least favorite" because to me it implies they're still a favorite just less so than the others. I tend to prefer to phrase it in terms of which ones I actively dislike.
Nocticula in and of herself is fine I guess as far as evil deities go, but the fact that Paizo keeps trying to push her as the redeemable Demon Lord in spite of being the patron of rapists annoys me. "Well, people want to stick their genitals in there so she can't be all bad" mentality annoys me on a very deep level. Killed her very dead in Wrath of the Righteous.
I think Lamashtu gets pushed a lot harder than she should; she's a very niche deity that turns up in every region's pantheon & has a month named after her when more socially acceptable evil deities don't. Fact that she's also the in game justification for keeping good & evil a race war with her being the progenitor of many of the monstrous races also makes me not a fan.
Tend to hate on Baphomet a lot for James Jacobs thinking he was being clever by giving Baphomet a cheap and uninteresting win over Asmodeus, something that didn't add to the story, didn't make it more interesting, didn't make Baphomet look impressive & only served to make Asmodeus look momentarily incompetent. Killing Baphomet in a single round of combat was very satisfying.
I'm not a particular fan of Pharasma. She doesn't really have a personality, she's just aloof and above it all and that's boring. I feel the very concept of death being the oldest & most powerful force in the cosmos is in and of itself getting kinda tired & played out even if I can appreciate death being presented as a natural & neutral force rather than something evil to be feared, but Terry Prachett's Death, Niel Gaiman's Death, Supernatural's Death, even the freakin' Raven Queen had compelling or at least interesting personalities. Pharasma's just powerful & boring.
Torag's pretty insanely dull.
I tend to forget that Erastil exists.
I don't know why but I'm not a fan of Abadar. Maybe because he just look like a guy and is so thoroughly nondescript. Maybe it's because they tend to focus more on his positive traits almost to the point that he could be LG when you could do interesting things with him essentially being the god of colonialism & gentrification, though I get why they'd want to avoid those subjects.
Aside from Moloch, Barbatos, and from a strictly visual perspective, Baalzebul, I'm not a fan of any of the archdevils. Maybe because I'm also not a fan of Pathfinder's slant on them being male only given that Glaysia & Fiernia are two of the more interesting ones in D&D but they're not open content.
Calistria kind of bores me and strikes me as a bit juvenile. On a bit of a petty note for myself, I just haven't found any of the artistic depictions of her attractive, personally, so that takes away from her aura a bit. Something interesting could be done with her if elves in general were more in line with her whole, petty revenge & hedonism thing but James Jacobs' elven favoritism pushing them more in a Desna CG direction undermines that.
On that note, while I don't have any disdain for Desna, I do fully see an earlier poster's point about her feeling kind of shoehorned in & being one designer's pet project that doesn't really fit with the others. I don't dislike her for it but I totally see where they're coming from. Also, I'm not a fan of the star knife.
Edit: Forgot Zon Kuthon. Ignoring that with Starfinder we know he's not getting redeemed/cured, and ignoring that he's just a Hellraiser rip off we didn't need, my main thing is that I just do not buy him having a cult. I buy Asmodeus. I buy Rovagug. I buy Norgorber - even if I don't buy Norgorber's contrived & artificially structured cult but hey, active gods can organize their religion however they want. Hell, I even buy Lamashtu despite what I said about her earlier.
But I don't buy Zon Kuthon's faith attracting any kind of real following.
Edit again: Also I don't like Nethys on general principle. I actually like Nethys individually because he's got personality(two of them, even) and a cool design, but I don't like the concept of a "god of magic" on a conceptual level. Sure, magic is a force unto it's self like nature, but from a humanoid-centric perspective I think of it more as a tool. A means to an end rather than an end to itself.
Abadar - Hip to be Square by Huey Lewis
Asmodeus - God's Away on Business by Tom Waits
Calistria - Ex's & Oh's by Elle King
Cayden Cailean - Gracefully Facedown by The Devil Makes Three
Desna - Stargaze by Xavier Rudd
Eratril - Grandpa(Tell Me 'Bout the Good Ol' Dyas) by the Judds
Gorum - Manowar. Just, just any of their songs, really. But especially Warriors of the World.
Gozreh - Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf
Iomedae - The Last Stand by Sabaton
Irori - Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas
Lamashtu - The Thing that Should Not Be by Metallica
Nethys - the Wizard by Black Sabbath
Norgorber - The Ripper by Judas Priest
Phrasma - Don't Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult
Rovagug - Raining Blood by Slayer
Sarenrae - Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone by Bill Withers
Shelyn - The Most Beautiful Girl in the World by Prince
Torag - Heigh Ho by Tom Waits
Urgathoa - Living Dead Girl by Rob Zombie
Zon-Kuthon - Symphony of Destruction by Megadeath
Outer dragons I feel need to be fast tracked.
For similar reasons, sun, moon, and eclipse giants should probably be in the first round of giants we see.
Neothelids are a favorite of mine.
Cyclopses are something I'd like to see personally. Especially if we could get a playable version and I can't imagine why we wouldn't.
Orc, tiefling, and aasimar were a lock for my top three.
I went with centaur & changeling for my other two but caligni, duskwalkers, ghorans, gillmen, hobgoblins, strix, and vishkanya were all in contention.
Out of all the 1e races that weren't on the list, all the planetouched but especially gazni & also shabti would have been high on my list, as would wyrwoods, androids, lashunta, kasatha, and triaxians/ryphorians.
I'm assuming samsarans(would have also been a top contender of mine) are being left off for the same reason nagaji & kitsune(which are two I don't care about), though tengu did make the list so who knows.
Out of creatures that weren't, strictly speaking, player races in 1e(like how centaurs, minotaurs, and sprites/pixies made the list), I would have picked cylopses before any of them, personally.
I like ancestry feats as a separate category of feats that doesn't interfere with other feat progression on a conceptual level, because as we all remember, in 1e, many races would get race-specific feats but these were rarely, if ever, worth taking in lieu of more generally useful feats.
So having a separate category of feats specifically for that is something I like.
Where I think it's going wrong is two many of the presented ancestry feats are just things that the 1e races got as part of the race right out of the box when that is unncessary. I mean, I can see it for some of the more absurdly powerful races from 1e such as munavri but I don't know that it's necessary with dwarves & half-orcs.
Ancestry feats should be reserved for things that were race specific feats or race traits(as opposed to racial traits, that language always was confusing), and maybe some of the more powerful, trade out two things for one, alternate racial traits from 1e instead of the standard, out the box stuff.
I'm sure this is by no means a unique hot take, just felt like throwing it out there.
Khorne's never been my touch stone for Gorum - I've never been a big Warhammer fan - so I've never looked at Gorum as the "blood for the blood god" god. I see the parallels but I do tend to look at him more as indifferent in a way that he's not going to give you a lot of help, but he will challenge you to do for yourself and be your best, strongest self, and whether that strongest self is good or bad is up to you.
We've got three prominent... okay, two prominent demigods devoted to the evils of war in Szuriel and Moloch, plus the somewhat less prominent Nurgal, plus the entirety of the orc pantheon, a few members of the giant pantheon, Rovagug & Susumu, and several other archfiends representing the evil side of war.
You don't need to push Gorum in that direction. It's covered.
Another example; if one were to draw the edge of a blade with an active merciful property across someone's throat in a manner that, were it not for that property, would slice that person's throat and leave him bleeding out, would that be effective in knocking them out with non lethal damage, or would that be akin to drawing a butter knife across someone's throat; annoying and uncomfortable but with no real effect.
A merciful weapon deals an extra 1d6 points of damage, but all damage it deals is nonlethal damage. On command, the weapon suppresses this ability until told to resume it (allowing it to deal lethal damage, but without any bonus damage from this ability).
Okay so mechanically that makes sense but from a narrative perspective, how would one describe that?
Would the blade of a sword with the merciful property bounce off someone's flesh as if it were dull & blunted, doing bludgeoning damage, bruising but not fatally? Or would it still cut and just not leave a wound behind?
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Well in the case of Asmodeus you've always got the work around of him corrupting the neutral to evil eventually as part of the long game, you know, character development, or otherwise one of the great schemers & manipulators in the multiverse recognizing that occasionally one wants to have a follower who doesn't set off a detect evil spell. Value of PR & everything.
Gorum also doesn't have a problem with conflict among his own followers; one of his aphorisms is, after all, "Will you fight?" not, "Why do you fight?"; so if he's got a sect of CG followers going to war with a sect of CE followers, that's fine by him because they're fighting.
Granted it's been a long time since I've read through the Wrath of the Righteous' continuing the campaign section(main thing I remember was the going after Demon Lords thing which is why the Nocticula question is a non issue for me, she was first on the kill list for my CG Gorumite fighter), but as I recall the area was still a demon infested mess that would require years of clean up. Though I suppose I could well be mistaken there.
Even failing that, and ignoring, say, Belkzen, I do feel that attitude takes away a lot of nuance. There are a lot of fundamentally good people who've grown up in areas that have been mired in conflict their whole lives who're just resigned to the idea that it can't be resolved through diplomacy and will only end when one side defeats the other.
Being a gorumite also doesn't preclude diplomacy, it just isn't a first option. You can discuss terms with your enemy after you've beaten them because being a gorumite also doesn't require that you kill everyone on the other side.
And failing all of that, the pit of Gormuz is still there, so, new crusade. (Tangent, I'm not a fan of the retcon that Gorum was around while Rovagug was being sealed & was working on his prison because my reading of Gorum was that if he had been there, the other gods wouldn't be able to keep him back from fighting Rovagug, and him just not having been around yet was a good work around for that while keeping Sarenrae special for being the only one brave enough to actually fight the Rough Beast.)
I'll admit that Gorum's faith certainly isn't one that encourages good alignments. I don't want it to be. But I like the idea of his being a faith that allows you to be good, where as Cayden's expects it(though apparently does not require it).
Honestly I'm not against the concept of limiting worshipers to a select few alignents instead of the one step thing because I do agree that a lot of them don't make sense; Lamashtu being limited to just CE makes perfect sense to me. Iomedae being limited to just LG & NG makes perfect sense to me. Torag being limited to LG & LN makes sense to me.
But I think there's a sense to LN Asmodeus followers & CG Gorum followers. Not as a majority & if we want to call them heretics, fine.
Personally I've always read Gorumites as caring more about fighting than the reason for fighting as carte blanche for a wide range of personalities among his followers. "They don't care about saving innocents" cuts both ways; a lot of them aren't going to go out of their way to do that, but so long as you're saving and protecting people by fighting the things trying to kill them, most Gorumites probably wouldn't care too much if you did, and if a particularly evil one did, then well, that's just another thing to fight about.
It's one of the reasons why I've always felt that the Worldwound would be particularly attractive to Gorumites because where else on Golarion are you going to find a better fight than that? A few places but not many and not many that people in the Inner Sea region would have heard about.
In my experience with 1e, whenever character started with 20 in stat at level 1, they were really overpowered early on(and if they were caster, the dcs became so high at late game everyone fails them most of the time) <_< So no, I don't think caps on stats on level 1 is bad thing, heck I have as result used that as houserule in 1e ever since my first campaign
What you see as the bug, sir, I see as the feature.
To hell with that.
Now, while I'm generally in favor of making all races at least capable of being competent at any given role, I do think there are issues where the hard cap at level 1 is going to conflict with story.
For example, for half orcs it's mentioned that half orcs are generally weaker than full blooded orcs, but by the rules, the strongest natural orc & the strongest natural half-orc are equals at 18. The difference between 20 & 22 in 1e may have been marginal, but at least it was real.
More over, the strongest orc or half-orc is only as strong as the strongest elf or gnome - though at least the gnome had to spend their free boost to cancel out their penalty which implies they at least had to put some extra work into it.
I like giving races options that mean they won't be strictly pigeon holed and one be deficient in certain roles where others may excel, but I also can see Beast's point about things getting a bit samey.
In various groups I've played with, safeguards against this have included each person rolling three columns of ability scores & picking the best one, and giving anyone who didn't roll an 18 naturally a free 18 - whether that meant turning your lowest roll into an 18 or your highest was a judgment call based on over all rolls. Further, one protection was that rolls of 1's & 2's counted as 3's, meaning the lowest anyone started with would be a 9. And all of this was before racial ability modifiers were put into effect.
For me the sweet spot of classes is higher than 7. I can concede that Pathfinder had too many but I think you can have well more than seven without the classes being constrained in how you build them.
In regards to the notion of an updated alchemist/scientist class type, I'd argue that the issue with the existing classes that focus on science & technology is they're all physical/hard sciences. Computers, tech, that kind of thing. There isn't really an option for a bio-engineer life scientist or even really a chemist. The only thing that really deals with organics/nature is the xenodruid.
And personally I'd rather see a class dedicated to that kinda stuff - that can still be built a hundred different ways - than to have an archetype that has to be slapped onto existing chassis.
Well it's not like dragonkin are the only or most common large sized alien. Vesk, verthani, and nuar are all all on the larger size of medium and Verthani especially are probably the most populous humanoid race in the pact worlds. Haan, sarcesians, shobhad, urogs, and adult barathu are all large sized and barathu are probably the most populous race in the system, period.
A lot of realworld concerns regarding construction go out the window in space, at least for a structure that you never intend to take into a planet's atmosphere & have experience a planet's gravity outside of freefall. So long as you can defend it against impacts you can build it as big as you want, up until the point you have to worry about it collapsing under it's own gravity. Material cost is still a concern but less so when you have an entire solar system to harvest from. One of the major limitations to our capacity to build in space irl is the cost of getting material out of the atmosphere but in the starfinder setting that's become largely negligible.
Dead Suns 4 mentions that each system usually has an organization of people that refuse to use drift travel for this very reason. I forget what the pact world's system's group is, but they do mention they use peaceful protest type tactics including occupation of space ports.
It goes onto mention that, being that the size of a given part of a plane being drawn into the drift could be as small as a single stone, and that so many of the planes are functionally infinite in size, the odds of any given drift travel drawing a sentient individual into the drift is negligible.
Well even the Sun wouldn't be a constant distance as most planets will have at least a somewhat elliptical orbit so at certain times of the year they'll be further or closer. And stars do rotate, themselves, so the Archipelago is going to be moving, so even a trip from Aballon to the Archipelago could involve going all the way around the Sun, which you'd have to do at a distance before making your approach.
But yeah, main thing is that these objects are in constant motion and their position relative to each other is in constant flux.
Geddes' method is a good one, though, in that these distances aren't going to change that rapidly so if you're only take a few days to get from one planet to another, and you're only on that planet for a few days, then it should take about the same amount of time to get back.
Steven "Troll" O'Neal wrote:
Implications for kish... troubling.
Truth be told part of why I made this thread is that I while I like Pact Worlds, I found it lacking in a few areas.
For example, Arkanen. A heavily populated moon and one of the few moons in the system to have full member status in the Pact, and we got very little information on it, and half of what we got was just repeated & reworded from other sources. There is as of yet, so far as I'm aware, no artwork for dirindi or sazarons, even though one would think they'd be among the more common races in the Pact Worlds.
And also so far as I'm aware, no Starfinder source has actually named the native race of Nchak as the trox; I had actually forgotten that that was were the trox originated from. The few paragraphs on Nchak refer more to the shirren & haan immigration while glossing over it's natives.
Now, if Paizo was doing monthly releases of setting books I don't think it's unlikely we would have gotten a Campaign Setting book released along side Pact Worlds that could have covered stuff like this. As it stands, maybe we'll see dirindi & sazarons & trox in an Alien Archive, maybe as early as Alien Archive 2 later this year(one of the hints at a playable race from AA2 might refer to the trox, maybe) or otherwise in an Adventure Path release, but that's all a bit of a crap shoot.
One thing I'm pretty sure of is that we won't be getting a Pact Worlds 2 book before the Veskarium book, or the Azlanti book, and maybe not before a Shadari book.
I'll say this on the cover; I think that's a high quality art piece, one of the best I've seen for Pathfinder.
My issue with it is more that, even though that is a planar monster on the cover, the image speaks less to me of planar adventures than it does some kind of horror. Like, wandering through any given swamp on Golarion and then bam, monster.
Which I get there are certainly planes like that and Abaddon would be one of them. But if it were me I'd have gone for something more colorful & psychedelic, with a landscape that very obviously wasn't of the material plane. So proteans & the maelstrom would have been a good shout, I think.
I don't know, that's just a personal preference thing I suppose.
Someone using the point buy system could spend the points for a score of 15 and still come out with an 18 from combining racial & theme bonuses.
Hells, someone could spend the points for a score of 13 and come out with an 18 with the proper race selection.
Alternatively if you just end up with an odd number at generation either from point buy or rolling, you can round that up to an even number with the theme bonus.
I mean, ryphorians, then called triaxians, first started showing up in Pathfinder in Distant Worlds, and then later in Reign of Winter & People of the Stars. Distant Worlds & Reign of Winter both predate the Netflix Voltron series by a number of years, though I don't know whether any early concept designs may have leaked to influence the design, or if it goes back to the original 80s run - was never a huge Voltron fan, myself.
There've been some minor changes in design elements since then but I think that boils down more to differences in the style of the artists than anything, though the SF artists may well have been influenced by Voltron's design elements.
For what it's worth the two (in universe) explanations proposed in Distant Worlds are as follows; temporal anomaly surrounding the planet like a bubble to some magical engine or portal at the planet's scenter" and everything in between, whatever that may be.
Goes onto say that the Ryphorians/Triaxians themselves don't, or at least didn't during PF times, put much thought into it as they're too busy trying to survive the effects to "worry overmuch about what hand - divine or mortal - may have shaped both them and their world."
That last bit strikes me as interesting because it suggests that the evolution of Triaxus' life was specifically altered to let them deal with the unnatural seasons, which makes sense, and also allows for all of this to be the work of a god or multiple gods, or some collection of mortals. Kishalee, maybe?
The Thirteenth Gate details a planet that orbits further from it's star than Aucturn does from the Pact Worlds Sun, and they feel the need to point out that this would normally be beyond the habitable zone before explaining the various phenomena that keeps it just barely habitable. Still a frozen hellhole, but some liquid water remains.
Now, given that saying that a planet orbiting further than Aucturn is "outside the habitable zone" is akin to saying New York City is outside the borders of New Zealand, and that's understating it, my assumption is that the habitable zone in the Starfinder universe is just bigger than it is in the real world for whatever reason.
Now, they do specify back in Pathfinder that Triaxus' orbit is unnatural and likely the result of magic - specifically they say that it shouldn't take it as long as it does to orbit the sun; that it's orbit should be measured in decades, not centuries. And we know that this world is one of the ones Baba Yaga uses as a source for the endless winter in Irrisen, though slowing a planet's orbit seems beyond the power of even a level 20 witch mythic tier 10 archmage, so that could be coincidental.
Point being, same mechanism could be responsible for the fact that Triaxus manages to avoid becoming a full snowball world even in the depths of it's winter, though it is mentioned in Pathfinder that along the equator the triaxians/ryphorians do use artificial means to maximize what little solar energy they get.
Two races have a bonus feat which may be the single most powerful racial ability so far. Most other bonuses can be bought as items or armor upgrades and stat wise pretty much all races end up with a 13 point total buy so it's hard to call one out as better. Nothing shocking though.
We're actually up to three races with a bonus feat; humans, ryphorians, and kish.
Well the issue is more that for the entire time Golarion was there, it was holding a leash on the other planets(that were in turn all holding leashes on it).
Now, for some - Liavara & Betheda, obviously - this would have been entirely negligible. But for Akiton, Castrovel, and potentially Aballon & Verces, having that leash suddenly cut might end up having some consequences later on down the line.
Not that it's likely we'll see the outcome of that any time soon, the time scales are just too big.
Well we know that the Androffans and the Dominion of the Black had technology more advanced than what the Pact Worlds & Veskarium are fielding currently, nine thousand years prior to the Pathfinder era.
We know that during the Pathfinder era(which equates to the early 1900s), the anacites, elebrians, and verthani were already all super advanced races, technologically, and that they had been for some time; the elebrians supposedly destroyed the Twins while Azlant was still thriving on Golarion, and Eox & the Twins all three had space flight then.
And I haven't read through Dead Suns thoroughly enough to be sure but the impression I've gotten from the kishalee is that their civilization was thriving tens of thousands of years ago and they were more advanced than even the Androffans.
Point being, advanced sci-fi tech has existed and even been wide spread for tens of thousands of years at least in universe. The idea that the denizens of the outer planes, many of which are them selves older than the evolution of the humanoid form, took until Golarion did to develop space ships & laser guns, strikes me as a little unlikely.
My assumption is that they've actually always had it to some extent, but the same MAD doctrine that keeps the gods from actively involving themselves in things like the Worldwound keeps outsiders maintaining a level of appropriate force for what they're tackling.
Like, Hell's had Endbringer devils practically forever, but they wouldn't use them to invade a Pathfinder-era Golarion because that would invite escalation from the celestials.
But then demons getting their hands on Numerian technology after they've invaded would present something of a loop hole; it isn't them invading with superior technology, it's them finding & appropriating some once they got there.
Takes more than a few thousand years for one planet's gravitational effects(or the lack there of) to play out.
That's actually why I'm not at all concerned with Triaxus's gravity affecting any other planets because that's something that's been going on for long enough that the current state of affairs is pretty much standard with it factored in.