I disagree that they would focus on manipulating positive energy, because that's not something you can really do with arcane magic. Arcane magic can only be used to manipulate negative energy so that necromancers can exist at all!
Arcane magic is based on the Matter and Mind essences. Arcane magic users are very good at working with physical forces and the mind, but the spirit and vital essence are something they struggle with. Necromancy is generally either based on Life essence or Spirit essence, which includes spells that manipulate negative energy. The necromancy spells that arcane magic users do get are a compromise between "wizards shouldn't be able to work with Life and Spirit essence" and "necromancers have always existed and play a major role in Golarion's history". As I mentioned, the one wizards do get are almost invariably negative energy-based, either creating undead or ending life.
Nex is not a nation that is focused on magic in general. There are other places that take a broader view on magic and magical education, particularly Nantambu and Osirion. It is a nation of wizardry, specifically, although they're also experts on alchemy. So as I said, those who study necromancy are likely to be viewed with suspicion, but will be left alone so long as they prove they aren't creating undead. Nexian necromancers would focus on anti-undead magic instead, so I imagine that some take the Hallowed Necromancer archetype, but that requires a good alignment (for now), a religious education, and greatest investment. Some won't bother.
On the other hand, there is absolutely no reason why other wizards wouldn't take necromancy spells that don't create undead. Again, it is undead in particular that Nex has a problem with. If necromancy gets a bad rap, it's only by correlation.
I'll start by noting that necromancy is one of 8 schools of magic, and it includes under its umbrella literally anything to do with positive and negative energy. Even on the arcane (wizard) list, which was stripped of most of the anti-undead effects in the transition to 2E and never had healing, the overwhelming majority of necromancy spells on the arcane list are centered around makings things dead, rather than undead, as is assumed of necromancers on Golarion and out.
Undead are the thing that the country of Nex explicitly has a problem with. As part of the imperialist themes of the Impossible Lands, Nex (and specifically the capital of Quantium) is welcoming of everything and everyone except undead. Nex is well aware that they're in the midst of a cold war with Golarion's only functional necrocracy and is therefore (somewhat understandably, given they're creatures driven by an inherent need to consume and destroy) xenophobic against undead.
Of course, since you don't actually have to create undead to be a necromancer, proving that you won't is enough to make you set. Nex is a fairly educated place as a magocracy, after all. The easy way would probably be to take the Hallowed Necromancer archetype to achieve the older "necromancer that fights against undead" flavor that 2E necromancers generally struggle with, but even non-Hallowed Necromancers could probably find work in positions where the ability to instantly kill things is useful, like as a magical executioner.
There's an example of an evil undead-creating fleshwarper in Zhane Faltrizan, but honestly it's unsurprising that many Nexian ctiizens have no interest in becoming necromancers given the traditional associations between the school and undead. That doesn't mean that every wizard doesn't use necromancy spells in some capacity—in fact, two new incarnate spells that are meant to represent the pinnacle of Nexian engineering have necromantic abilities!
COOL thanks are the maps pretty good and the storyline more of a mystery type investigation as it blurbs at the top I am hoping, or more mixed play? (as sometime the blurbs can be a bit misleading at times I have found out over the years here)
There's some investigation involved, plenty of meaningful leads for investigators to pursue. The PCs don't immediately find out who the missing artists and the perpetrator of their disappearance are, but they're given several clues.
There's also a supposedly Sarenite temple that is actually home to an Usji cult, which an investigative party could likely figure out and use to defuse a potential conflict.
If you're coming from, say, Gatewalkers, and looking for something more investigation-focused, you'll be very happy with the Enmity Cycle, speaking as someone who is currently running Gatewalkers and considering running the latter. There's still fights and dungeons, but the mystery is relevant until the very end.
I was hoping that divs would be involved in this adventure, as they're my favorite or second favorite kind of fiend, and the plot seemed to fit their modus operandi. Additionally, the LOAG mentioned div insurrections in Thuvia.
I'm happy to see that that desire was fulfilled! According to page 54, divs are especially plentiful in Thuvia, frequently entering through the House of Oblivion.
People often encounter these fiends in disguise, making travelers wary of random roadside encounters or strange‑acting animals.
Keep a cold iron scimitar handy! Or don't, scimitars kinda suck.
Also, Ravingdork, don't pretend you aren't the kind of person who thinks of a good argument after you have already posted.
Yeah, you're right, the GM could easily have you catch the baddy doing something mundane. In order to get optimal use of scrying, you have to be very careful about the timing, or you're at the mercy of the GM. But that's not difficult to achieve: Gather Information to see if they have any plans or what their schedule is like, or focus on a specific event that you are aware is occurring in the future but might not want to get involved in right away. If your GM declares "in spite of being informed that the BBEG would be doing something you may want to witness ahead of time, you catch them on the toilet for ten minutes", either it's really important or they're a bit of a dick.
And it is useless. If the GM wants his NPCs to know something about your character, do you really think there is anything you could do to prevent that?
How so? Spells are the only option for players in this game that aren't designed for player use. There are lots of spells that are more dangerous in the hands of NPCs than PCs. Curses and Death Knell, for instance.
"I cast Scrying on the BBEG."
"You don't see anything."
"Do I get a check to counteract—"
Private Sanctum is, atypically for PF2E, an abjuration effect that cannot be foiled under normal circumstances. Which makes it an extremely powerful GM tool, for when you absolutely need to avoid giving away a major twist.
But this is why the rarity system exists, right? If you're not confident enough in your GMing ability to trust that you'll be able to work around a PC casting Scrying at the wrong time, you can just not let them take Scrying. It's weird to see Paizo break away from how spells are generally designed in this one case in particular.
Of course, Scrying is one of the most disruptive spells in the game, if not the most disruptive. Maybe having some foolproof way of dealing with it is not a bad thing. It just seems to be something of a relic of the spells arm race I've heard about in earlier editions, where BBEGs had to be spellcasters that had counters for whatever PCs might throw at them.
Scrying also only imparts visual information, but that could be derailing in some cases, such as finding out that a major antagonist that you've discovered speaks to an unknown party at a certain time on a regular basis is talking to another villain and may be working for them.
I don't know. I just can't be the only one who was a bit surprised at seeing that you can't counteract Private Sanctum with a scrying effect or anything. Even Spell Immunity requires that the caster make a counteract check each time the target is affected by the spell.
They’re common items! Any decent magic shop in the land will have a cupboard full of ‘em!
This simply isn't true in 2E—only truly extraordinary settlements like Absalom and Quantium will be above 10th level or so. Even Katapesh is only 13th level. You can't easily acquire a 17th-level magic item in even the largest settlements. No reason to believe that will change in the Remastered version.
I am curious about how ability boosts are going to be handled with the switch to modifiers only: previously, you needed to invest two ability boosts at two different levels in order to raise the modifier from +4 to +5 or +5 to +6. Unless the math is receiving a tweak to account for this, how exactly is that going to work if there's no ability scores? I was always like "well, they can't just do this, even if it would be the sensible thing to do, because it's simply not intuitive to put an ability boost into a modifier and not raise it by 1 until you put another one in 5 or 10 levels later."
My understanding is that Qadira practices slavery and the Satrap's consort is fairly outspoken on being against slavery, but I concede that I'm not totally up to date with what's what on Qadira right now, and I haven't read Firebrands. Yet!
That information is from Legends, which was written when abolitionism was still part of the metaplot. It's not anymore, at least not when it comes to chattel slavery.
I mean, Katapesh and even the devil-worshippers in Cheliax (okay, technically, but you know) have abolished slavery, but the oh so great Qadira hasn't...
This statement made me double take, so I decided to double check and see what was said on the subject. The Firebrands section on Qadira talks about genie binding, but not mortal slavery. It was already said that genie binding would be harder to abolish in Legends, so that's an important distinction.
Was brainstorming the idea of Edasseril third partying the Linnorm Kingdoms and remembered that King Opir Eightfingers was currently unaccounted for. Was considering the idea that he might be brainwashed or swapped, so I decided to read through the Saga Lands section of the Lost Omen World Guide again. Lost my shit when I read that it's rumored that he's locked away in a cell in the "island reaches of western New Thassilon" specifically. Given that adventures for Pathfinder can often include unexpected twists, I might pick up this adventure just to see if this is where that plot bunny is picked up.
I think, logically, it should be possible to become a sorcerer through gene alteration, if sorcery is truly hereditary. Kind of like the "blood reconstruction" surgery in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I have a concept for a half-elf sorcerer from Korvosa with the magical experiment background who became a sorcerer as a result of being tested on to create the blood veil plague. That said, I don't know if there's any canon examples of this happening.
2E's cosmology is different from 1E's in subtle ways. I don't know if there's an answer to this question in 1E, but there is a very neat and tidy one in 2E.
To elaborate, 2E introduces the concept of the four essences, which are the building blocks of both magic and the universe. This was mentioned by NECR0G1ANT, but to expand on this, there are four essences; matter, mind, spirit, and life. Matter and mind are exactly what it says on the tin, spirit is the soul stuff that makes up the planes, and life is positive and negative energy. Note that this means that, metaphysically, positive and negative energy and spiritual essence are two entirely separate things. There wouldn't be a negative counterpart to spiritual essence because spiritual essence is not tied directly to positive energy. Furthermore, in the essences system, matter and spirit are opposed to each other, and so are life and mind. For this reason, while there is a magical tradition for the other four combinations of essences, there is none for those two. For this reason, quintessence, spirit made physical, is no longer a case of an orphaned etymology. It's called that for very good reason. So, as N3CR0GIANT suggested, the opposite to quintessence is unaligned matter, or potentiality.
According to the wiki, it's mentioned in the backmatter of book 5 of Hell's Vengeance that Cheliax lost Khari, the province they annexed from Rahadoum. The Firebrands book backs this up by stating that complications have arisen in Rahadoum since while the Firebrands oppose the First Law, they have supported the state of Rahadoum by informing them of Cheliax's plans to retake Khari. It's safe to say that this is correct, but the Character Guide states that Khari is still under Cheliax's control when it mentions the Order of the Wall. So, how is that order doing?
The Continuing the Adventure section in the third and final book of Gatewalkers had a hook for adventures in the Golden Road I find intriguing.
You know how I had mentioned that Desert's Howl makes Thuvia an excellent setting for adventures around psychic magic and the paranormal? There's details on an organization in Thuvia named the Cult of the Evermind that recruits psychics under the guise of tutoring them only to ritually absorb their psychic energy. Their plot is to use that power to link the minds of the eleven members of the cult and consume the dreams of Osoyo, an psychic aberration of godlike power. That way, they can have that power for themselves.
I'm happy that James Jacobs and I were on the same page there!
Why bring "dethronement of the White Witches" into things, then, if what you actually meant was a social alignment shift?
Transitions of power simply don't happen overnight. The Jadwiga still have a lot of privilege because they're the people who have been educated on how to lead Irrisen. That doesn't mean that the White Witches still hold the power they did before. When the Lost Omens Character Guide mentions the Jadwiga, it says they "once ruled that land."
I think the wrench in this theory is that Baba Yaga is still in control. But, honestly, in order for an alignment shift to happen in the first place, it's safe to say that many of the wicked witches that once had sole rulership over the nation would lose power. Fiefdoms would change hands in the half a decade between the end of Reign of Winter and the beginning of 2E. And the rulers that were displaced would end up plotting a coup, which judging by how some call Anastasia the "Fraud Queen" is precisely what's happening.
The idea that the White Witches, an organization of Narnia villains, are somehow still the rulers of Irrisen after someone who was not part of the faction was put on the throne, and the nation ended up undergoing a great enough shift in values to no longer be evil, is something I don't think adds up. Whatever change would happen would have to be slow going, and it would also have to be overlooked by Baba Yaga, but it's happening, and I don't think it's possible for the White Witches to still be on the throne and for Irrisen to not be evil simultaneously.
Anastasia isn't good, but she'd want competent leaders who won't stab her in the back under her command, and evil fairy tale witches aren't conducive to that.
I imagine that with the dethronement of the White Witches some goodly deities of the northern reaches are picking up steam. Alglenweis is a deity who had a witch cult in the Sarkoris Scar and is the goodly daughter of Kostchtchie—seems like she'd be popular among winter witches that are not affiliated with the White Witches. Pulura, empyreal lord of the northern lights, is another one who could very well be popular.
Yeah, I wasn't entirely serious. I'm well aware of the logical consequences of such a thing. It's just funny to justify it as OK because "calling is a thing that mortals are allowed to do", as that's a can of worms of its own.
It's not a matter of Hell marching its legions into Cheliax, but a matter of Cheliax summoning Hellish legions to serve. A fine distinction, but the gods all permit the calling of outsiders, and if the devil-binders of Egorian have managed to get a leg up on doing it efficiently, well, deal with it.
Asmodeus: "If you're so upset, why not just—"
Sarenrae: "Provide mortals their own gate to the Upper Planes so they can call on that many celestials?"
Iomedae: "Thanks for the idea."
Zon-Kuthon: "Azzy, you are an idiot. You know that?"
One of the things that I'm most interested in when it comes to the book is finding out what the Tian-Yae's deal is! They were mentioned offhand in the original Character Guide, but the only detail they provided was that they were Tian descended from Yjae. No word as to whether or not they were what the people of Yjae became or a local ethnic group in Shaguang. Paizo would be remiss to not answer that!
I mean, after Hell's Vengeance, House Thrune canonically controls the Inferno Gate, as established in Legends. A permanent portal to Hell, from which Abrogail II can draw on a theoretically infinite supply of infernal soldiers. I'm not sure they need Hellish golems on top of that.
I feel Paizo will only do this if they do a Hellknight AP.
Better to let the GM decide what the core tenets of the Measure and the Chain are that best suit their campaign.
Maybe this means we will never see a Hellknight AP.
...We're probably NOT getting a Hellknight AP, but not for that reason. After Agents of Edgewatch it probably makes more sense to Paizo to have the Hellknights play a role in an AP rather than make them the focus, given the reception to their first AP where the PCs were law enforcement.
As impractical as it would be to print the Measure and the Chain proper, when we get a Hellknights book for 2E we should absolutely receive a Cliff Notes version. As OP has observed it's difficult to determine how a Hellknight would adjudicate a given situation if the code the Hellknights treat as inviolable is completely unstated. This isn't a problem if the Hellknight is an NPC. In that case it can simply be left vague except as it pertains to the plot. and the PCs won't know any better. However, if the PCs are Hellknights, they need a general idea of what the most important parts of the code are in order to handle important conflicts that may arise. Something akin to a list of anathema for Hellknights is definitely warranted.
Even if you can't disentangle Gorum from the Ulfen, you can do some different things with him. Shimye-Magala is an example of syncretism that may turn into hypostasis, a fusion of two gods into a regionally unique entity. Likewise, Desna, Erastil, Pharasma and Torag and the Eldest have worshippers in the region, but there are ways to work them into the area that makes them feel more tied to it. Pharasma isn't all that different to Hel, Erastil is like a cross between Freyr and Odin, and Gorum has some Thor theming if you focus on his less morally-ambivalent side. My concern is that they should be made to feel more localised, like they're organic parts of the local belief systems. Osirion does a good job assimilating Sarenrae, Nethys and Pharasma to feel like ancient and stories parts of the country, and Lost Omens: The Mwangi Expanse shows that you can supplement established pantheons with new gods to improve the setting flavour.
Oh yeah, this is precisely the kind of thing should happen. That said, I feel the need to point out that Urgathoa closely resembles Hel in that at least some accounts suggested that Hel was also a corpse from the waist down. Pharasma is a bit more like the pre-Christianization version of Hel that "just is", but I think Urgathoa is already meant as an analogue of sorts as a goddess of disease that Gorum dislikes for taking warriors before their time.
As for the idea that Gorum is more closely tied to half-orcs and Kellids, in addition the part about einherjar and valkyries I mentioned, he was the only god listed as worshiped by the Ulfen of Broken Bay, who believed themselves to be the only true Ulfen. I will, however, acknowledge that the einherjar and valkyrie connection may simply be because 1e's conception of Kellids was deeply influenced by Conan, and the 80s Conan movie had a valkyrie play a major role.
I think any theistic culture should have deities with followers of good alignments as an option even if it's something where they have to hide their faith. The Ulfen feel like the type of people who should revere a wide variety of gods too with all the trading they do, also their connections with Arcadia could mean they worship some of the Arcadian deities.
This is true. I'm not sure Ulfen necessarily need to have a specific deity as a cultural touchstone they can point to that "allows good followers".
I think the Ulfen deserve a deity capable of having Good followers.
Sort of? It's the Vikings that worship Gorum. You know, the raiders. Who would be non-good, because raiding isn't a good action.
Logically, not all Ulfen are Vikings. In fact, historically the traders and their port towns came first, rather than the other way around as was stated in the 1e books. We've found reindeer antlers in archaeological sites in Denmark on the grounds of port towns that have been carbon dated back to before the Viking Age, which is significant because reindeer are not native to Denmark.
Raiders popped up after the Norse developed sailing skills through trading and raiding ports became a lucrative enterprise. So I think the problem is less "Ulfen need a deity that allows good followers" and more "the Ulfen traditions of trade and exploration need more emphasis." If the Saga Lands has its own section on deities, in addition to gods like Lissala, Nocticula, and the Kellid gods detailed in QftFF, it would make sense to include a few new deities such as one of trade and exploration that Ulfen follow.
That said, there's really nothing stopping those Ulfen from worshiping another deity like Erastil, who includes trade as part of his areas of concern. I think the big thing is that the less violent parts of Norse culture warrant some attention, not that the Ulfen necessarily need a deity that allows good followers.
Knowing how big Vikings on Golarion have always been about Gorum, I'm not sure that would work out.
"Here are a dozen different Ulfen gods, who form a pantheon that they have always worshiped."
"But I've met like a dozen different Vikings in-game and they all utter prayers to Gorum before every battle. Since when did they have their own gods?"
It makes sense to pull this trick for places like the Mwangi Expanse, the Impossible Lands, and the Realm of the Mammoth Lords, whose traditional faiths were not well-established, but the Vikings are so closely linked to Gorum that einherjar and valkyries are most well-known for serving him. Introducing an equivalent to the Norse pantheon would crib on his turf. Effectively, he already is their equivalent. While I've encountered others who were looking for Thor and were dissatisfied with there not really being a Thor, if there was it presumably would have been mentioned at this point. Instead the Ulfen that would pray to not!Odin to take them to Valenhall after death have always prayed to Gorum instead.
On the other hand, you know what would be a good idea? Putting a Nordic spin on the preexisting gods. For instance, perhaps among the Ulfen, Pharasma is associated with marriage in addition to birth, death, and prophecy, and invoked by witches. Erastil is tied with sacral lordship.
One thing I'm getting from this is that you're presumably unaware of is that while it's a bit of a spoiler, some planets outside Golarion have been explored in APs for 2e and have official setting gazeteers. They're brief and not of the scale you'd see in an official 2e book on the planet or even Golarion's solar system as a whole, but they exist and you don't mention them once here.
Strength of Thousands book 5 takes the PCs through the titular Doorway of the Red Star to Akiton and has an article on the planet, while book 1 of Gatewalkers has an aiduara bug out and transport the players to Castrovel, where chapter 3 of the adventure is set. It also has an article on the planet.
Don't get me wrong, my concern isn't that there shouldn't be intolerant atheists in Rahadoum. Realistically, those people would have to exist. I'm more concerned about the Laws of Mortality being portrayed as wrongthink. When state policy is to arrest those that are simply born the wrong way, as many sorcerers are, you start getting into "there is something fundamentally wrong with how these people think that needs to be corrected." There's a sweet spot in between "I don't think about gods at all" and "theists must be punished" where the focus is on convincing others to abandon the gods and otherwise leaving worshipers alone so long as they stay outside Rahadoum's borders. I think this suits the overall objective of rejecting the gods in order to create a more peaceful society better.
I'm not saying that this should necessarily be the majority belief. In fact it absolutely shouldn't. Just as there are militantly traditionalist factions of dwarves in places like Dongun Hold, there should be militant followers of the Laws of Mortality. But I'm worried that the basic premise of the Laws of Mortality will be called into question when thinking that theism should be abandoned as an outdated mode of thought is a perfectly respectable philosophy. It's not one I necessarily agree with or feel should be the majority, but I really respect how in a genre that was pioneered by devout Christians you can say in the Lost Omens setting that maybe religion isn't the way. I'd prefer we stick to that instead of having a focus in Rahadoum be violent persecution of anyone who glows.
My impression is that Rhahadoum has generated such a dislike and maybe even fear of anything that smacks of religion (never mind that the ruler has made himself basically a God-King) that they have outlawed anything divine. Anything Occult, Nature or Arcana is not divine so they allow it. I may be wrong, but that's what I observe.
The thing about this is that it's super disrespectful to real world atheists. Some atheists are certainly jerks, but "atheism is just a religion" is getting into the kind of territory that makes many turn their nose up. Painting such a wide brush over those who don't even have unified beliefs and simply treat the claims of people who have been dead for hundreds if not thousands of years to know the mysteries of the universe with a degree of skepticism is bound to catch some perfectly reasonable people in the mix. I'm agnostic and don't really know who's supposed to be "right", but I certainly don't think skeptics should be treated with scorn.
It's also the opposite of how 2E lore has generally characterized "atheism", as in those who don't worship the gods. Gods & Magic explains that atheists range from simply "can't bring myself to pretend I care" to "why should I sell my soul to some all-powerful but fallible being", and those in the latter category have actually been portrayed positively. One of the things that 2E emphasizes is that Rahadoum revolutionized medicine, which is the ludonarrative explanation why the Medicine skill and prosthetics are so useful, and the Godcloaks from AoE are treated as similarly respectable.
It's not atheism is portrayed as correct, more that it's treated as a perfectly acceptable philosophy. After that effort to treat those with deviant beliefs with respect, I really don't want the most noteworthy faction to reject the gods in the setting to go back to being militant heretics who froth at the mouth at anything resembling the gods while also practicing their own blasphemous religion.
The Laws of Mortality were the end result of a holy war between the cults of three gods that nearly destroyed Rahadoum, so Rahadoum quite specifically rejects the gods. Oracles and sorcerers that didn't have any choice over their power have logically not done anything wrong, so why are they caught in the cross fire? Rahadoum is one of the most educated places in the Inner Sea region, which is also somewhat contrary to the idea that they are toxic atheists. Don't they have the tools and ability to recognize divine magic users that don't worship the gods?
If only Lost Omens books outside the World Guide had detailed maps of each microregion... I'm guessing Bhopan is in fact east of Nex and the part about it and Mechitar being near the equator is the inconsistency, or else you'd think Bhopan would be outside the Inner Sea like southern Garund. Maybe this is a case of "writers do not understand geography" and the Impossible Lands are quite a ways from the equator.
I got Monsters of Myth since one of the monsters in that book plays a role in an AP, and one thing I really liked about it was the section on the Desert's Howl. I think it definitively answered the question of why you'd set a game in Thuvia if you weren't into the tribalism aspect. It explains that the desert of Thuvia is maddening because you can never be sure whether a mirage is real or not. The desert is under an occult curse that makes nightmares reality, and even if you are hallucinating it could be that a monster is using illusion magic to hunt you down. It's a good way of expanding on one of the few things we already knew about Thuvia, which was that the desert is particularly dangerous. That's why the Water Lords exist. Suddenly Thuvia is the perfect place to set a game if you want to lean on the surreal aspects of the paranormal and psychic magic. The sci-fi part generally gets the most focus, but if you don't like that you can set a game in Thuvia and it will work out nicely.
I asssume the paucity of followers of Ashava in Ustalav has more to do with how superstitious Ustalav's culture is. In Ustalav, the average person's response to an area becoming haunted is to get out or brandish Pharasma's holy symbol. Not a whole lot of Ustalavs would find the idea of helping lonely spirits move on appealing. When you combine that with the fact that Magnimar is home to the Inner Sea region's most famous non-evil ghost, Ordellia Whilwren, it's unsurprising that Ashava is more popular there. That's not to say that Ustalavs don't have more reason to devote their attention to the goddess, but they're presumably inclined to run away or attempt to destroy spirits.
Golden Road would be my guess if I had to make one. It makes sense that after covering the two parts of the Inner Sea region where the inhabitants are POC that they'd cover the other one, and as you mentioned most of the upcoming books could tie into the setting.
I don't know why, but it feels like the latter half of 2023 is too soon after Fists of the Ruby Phoenix to return to Tian Xia.
There is both a Watsonian (from the perspective of the characters, such as John Watson from Sherlock Holmes) and a Doylist (from the perspective of the author, such as Arthur Conan Doyle) explanation.
The Watsonian explanation is that good deities value free will. If good deities intervene too much, free will is threatened. This has been explored by many different authors in speculative fiction. For an example other nerds (like the kind that play Pathfinder) would be familiar with, look at the Futurama episode where Bender becomes omnipotent and speaks to God. (Or maybe a satellite that collided with God. You should know the one I'm talking about now.) In that episode, Bender starts out as the same jerk he always is, then tries to make things better for a planet and finds out the planet becomes totally reliant on him. So he quits, and then the figure that may or may not be God pushes him to do the right thing. In its words, it does so without making it clear that it had done anything at all.
This is essentially how good deities act on Golarion, and for that matter most D&D settings. When they think that something needs to be done in the Material Plane, they send a message to their clergy saying "hey, I would really appreciate if you did something about this" and their followers rarely decline. Evil deities don't care about these things because in their minds they are the only thing that matters. You can see this contrast between the good and evil tenets of champions. The good tenets are ironically much less restricting, and this is entirely intentional as it reflects an essential characteristic of the deities in question. So evil deities are much more willing to intervene on the Material Plane themselves, as they don't care about mortals except as they contribute to their own ego. There are other reasons, namely that several attempts by deities to intervene in the past have ended in disaster, but this is the reason why you only see evil deities acting on a large scale.
The Doylist explanation? Having good deities be more passive and evil deities more active is more conducive to heroic fantasy stories. As a consequence this is necessary and the explanation only matters so far as "how would my character feel?" If "free will is a delicate thing" doesn't make sense to you, then you just have to grit your teeth and accept it. Some things have to be true to make a narrative work.
To go back to Sherlock Holmes, the stories would be a lot more boring if some cases turned cold. Even the world's most brilliant detective needs evidence. Watson explains this by noting that he only covers the cases that do get solved. Doyle explains this by saying "Well, it wouldn't be a very good story otherwise, now, would it?"
Another question I have is regarding the Houses of Taldor. Are the four or five common ones the only one? Or are there other houses as well? For instance, years back I had found a 3PP source that provided in depth information for House Branas. Liked what I read so I made my Taldan Fighter / Beastmaster from House Branas so he could have a companion animal who is now a large lion from the Taldek Plains that he can actually ride into battle.
Not sure this is a complete list, but the wiki lists fourteen extant houses. Seven of those were introduced in a specific PFS scenario or module, and out of those seven only one was mentioned once again in a Campaign Setting book. So it seems you can introduce minor noble houses into the setting whereever it suits the needs of your campaign. One thing to keep in mind is that like minor noble houses in real world history, they would only control only a portion of one of the major noble house's lands.
Half-elf and half-orc are presented as human heritages outside that one sidebar for a reason. I doubt the intended canon has changed. The existence of half-elves and half-orcs is a strange fluke (mostly because they've ALWAYS existed) and otherwise hybrids don't really exist outside those of supernatural origin. I seriously doubt that it's the case that most ancestries are truly "biologically incompatible" (as mentioned, there's one part-nagaji NPC in 2e) but it probably varies from ancestry to ancestry and rarely will the result be a hybrid rather than a character of their mother or father's ancestry alone.
The more remote parts of the Inner Sea region are a good place to set sleeping kaiju. The Realm of the Mammoth Lords and the Mwangi Expanse, for instance. I can see there being some kaiju underneath the Inner Sea region in the Darklands, just waiting to escape. Overall it would be different from Tian Xia, because unlike Tian Xia where settlements are built around the kaiju (i.e. as far away as possible) the Inner Sea region is unaware of any kaiju that would be present. So it's possible that the location of the kaiju is in fact NOT remote and they cause much more destruction than usual. It'd be as nasty as Cloverfield.
The "you can play as a half-elf or half-orc that's half dwarf or gnome or something" thing isn't canon to Golarion, it's something that Paizo decided to add a sidebar on because it's not all that difficult to achieve and things may be different in the GM's home setting or version of Golarion. So yeah it's probably a human thing.
That said versatile heritages are different. Fiends, celestials, hags, vampires, elementals, and chaotic outsiders can have kids with anyone , although depending on the biology of the ancestry in question you may have to come up with an excuse. Even if it's possible for a vampire to have kids with a human or halfling, a leshy is something else entirely. Notably, out of the versatile heritages to have been printed, changelings are the only one to be descended from other humanoids. Magic is definitely involved.
The concept of muses is basically a narrative hook to get players thinking about what their character is passionate about. There's no actual flavor restriction requiring your muse to be something concrete. When you get right down to it, each of the muses are just a way to categorize different kinds of bards—performers, scholars, skalds, etc. But you're encouraged to think about what your muse may be, as many artists have something that moves and inspires them, and bards are no different.
Bizzare Beasts Boozer wrote:
If you want to make your muse relevant to the campaign, then discuss with your GM, but I can imagine a kingmaker campaign where your settlement becomes renowned for its bardic college. Or if you want a more personal connection, speak with them about a possible Brevoy or First World individual who might have inspired you.
In addition to this, depending on whether or not your character is simply ethnically Nidalese (like Ulthun II) or also Nidalese in nationality, it would make sense for your muse to be Desna. Desna encourages her followers to express themselves through art and song, so many of her priests are bards. A goddess of travel would suit you well, as you're a long way from home. Lastly, the Nidalese specifically worship her as a goddess of dreams, and starting a new kingdom is certainly an ambitious dream. In this case, your faith would be very strong and a major part of your character. My bard's muse is Shelyn, and that is basically how I play it.
On the other hand, if your character is native to Brevoy and simply Nidalese in ethnicity, it makes a good deal of sense for your muse to be someone in Brevoy you feel you're doing a great service to as vassal. First World could be tricky as your character is not from the Stolen Lands, but maybe you lived along the border of the Stolen Lands and Brevoy or another River Kingdom. In that case, a naiad queen, who actually provide unique benefits to bards as a muse, would be perfect. but talk to your GM. Your GM will need to make them a part of the campaign, and you'll need their permission given the advantages such a muse would provide.
It'd be an awkward addition given that gnolls are already there. Not because gnolls would necessarily be too similar to jackalfolk, but because many gnolls in Katapesh see themselves as the chosen people of Lamashtu, which would be out of place if others that even more closely resemble that patron are next door neighbors. After all, there's bound to be at least some questions directed towards jackalfolk on the subject, especially given that they would closely resemble jackalweres, who (as CE shapechangers with the true form of man-eating jackals) believe that Lamashtu is the progenitor of their race.
On the other hand, scarab people who act as wardens of Osirion would be a fine addition. Currently there are not any ancestries that resemble insects, so it would be a first for 2e.