Ian G's page

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CorvusMask wrote:

I would like to note that he didn't say they are going to remove it, they just aren't going to mention it.

Like, Pathfinder setting has horrible real life crimes and discrimination in it, but after early edgy parts they don't really focus anymore on what ogres do in their spare time despite it still being canon. Its pretty much same principle, ogres never got changed in pathfinder, they just stopped being explicit about what they do.

Yeah, I keep waiting for an explicit retcon on that, because while I get that they had to make ogres worth hating and killing somehow, it's also super cringe to have an entire species of cartoon hillbillies.

It's the give and take, I guess, that comes when fundamentally as gamers grow they become less OK with killing thinking creatures because "they are from the bad species" and want a REASON to cheerfully commit fictional violence.

(this is why Hell's Rebels works so well, you're mostly fighting Satanic fascists, incarnations of evil, and literal serial killers, so no player will ask "wait, what about the baby orcs from that camp we just slaughtered?)

CorvusMask wrote:
Temperans wrote:
As to the sexual assault thing. I believe I have seen some talk about it when it comes to brothels, prostitutes, and any of the mind control abilities available. I have seen some threads getting locked for things getting too heated.

I mean, most offensive thing in AP related to that is from Jade Regent and almost nobody ever mentions it despite it also combining slavery and stockholm syndrome :p

At least I don't remember seeing many other people than me asking about "hold on isn't this extremely screwed up npc?"

I actually was kind of disappointed that revealing that

Anamurmon killed the Regent's mon
didn't cause
the Regent to lash out in rage against Anamurmon and potentially be left to reevaluate his entire worldview and goals in life after the final battle
. That he isn't the deepest villain otherwise and mostly just seems to be Bad King von Generically Oppressive doesn't hurt my desire to tell a deeper story there either.

Then again I'm that crazy person who got frustrated with D&D's Descent into Avernus less because the first third is disjointed from the rest and kind of bland and more because I felt that the redemption ending was too cheap and should've come with more consequences to the character being redeemed and more soul-searching honesty.

keftiu wrote:
I don’t know that I would call anything I’ve seen in 2e “dark pulp fantasy.”

1e was so edgy I didn't like it until they started toning it down and adding realistic stuff I like, like the queer characters in Wrath of the Righteous not suffering discrimination because nobody has the time or energy to care in the middle of the demon apocalypse.

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Berhagen wrote:

If removing slavery also means we can get rid of andoran and the eagle knights in one go that is a double win. Please get the andoran exceptionalism out of the fantasy setting…… talk about crappy inspiration.

...I'm going to have to hard disagree with you there, I have a vast headcanon built around Andoran and I would hate to see it go.

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MindFl*yer98 wrote:
Ian G wrote:
MindFl*yer98 wrote:
Tarksun is especially interesting. He is a LE Asura Rana, with the liberation domain in 1E and both the freedom and revolution subdomains. His areas of concern are Anger, Dreams and the shattering of bonds. He is the perfect demigod to worship for a REALLY angry slave. I find the idea of a LE abolitionist incredibly interesting, and could give rise to some excellent characters and stories.
...so basically Moash from the Stormlight Archive?
I'm sorry, i have not read the stormlight archives, so i have no idea who that is. When i read that my mind went to the slave antagonist of The Sunbird by Wilbur Smith.

Sorry, I'm obsessed with that series lol.

Long explanation follows, some fairly large spoilers to explain what the Hell I'm talking about so beware (non-spoiler advice at the bottom):

TL;DR: On a windswept rocky dump of a planet where dudes put on invincible magic power armor and fight with giant anime swords that cut through anything, people with mental health issues can get magic paladin powers from being good people and learning to overcome their mental health issues.

Moash is a dude who's angry at the whole social caste of people that includes the King who let off the scumbag who got his grandparents thrown in prison on trumped-up charges where they died (it's complicated, the King, who was a prince at the time wanted to show mercy to the corrupt noble, his uncle said "this is a clear abuse of power and we need to punish this much more harshly than some petty thief", they called the King's dad who was King at the time and seems to have been a horrible person who emotionally abused his wife and kids, he said "let the noble off, he's got important family connections", the uncle acquiesced because he was drunk and hated himself for war crimes he committed years before and felt that the future King should be encouraged to show mercy so that he'd end up a better man than the uncle saw himself as, this mistake caused knock-on effects that ruined one of the protagonists' life and killed his brother, causing him to hate the upper caste too and nearly letting the arch-villain of the series win).

The difference between Moash and the protagonist is that in this setting, you have to be SUPER careful about letting even justified hatred metastasize, because there's an evil god of hatred lurking around looking to prey on you and twist you for having those kinds of feelings. The protagonist (who's Moash's close friend and immediate superior, who was personally betrayed by a different corrupt nobleman after the first one indirectly got the protagonist's brother killed) figures it out with the help of his magic spirit friend (think a magical girl's cute companion that lets her transform, except a shapeshifting spirit who can become an anime sword) and saves the King after he realizes that the uncle (who he deeply respects for a huge good deed the uncle did) is trying to protect the King like the protagonist was his brother.

It's a really dark story but really good. All the protagonists are messed up; Kaladin has PTSD and depression and SAD out the eyeballs, Shallan has PTSD and DID, Dalinar has massive PTSD from the last, worst war crime he committed while unknowingly high on a literal evil spirit's Evil Ragejuice, Adolin's father Dalinar is simultaneously neglectful, judgemental, and overbearing, and left Adolin to parent his disabled brother Renarin in a society that runs on toxic masculinity while Dalinar got drunk to drown his sorrows, Navani was emotionally and almost certainly physically abused by her late husband, who also manipulated his brother Dalinar something fierce which Dalinar hasn't come to terms with, Jasnah spent time in this world's nightmarish excuses for mental wards and has SOME kind of extreme beef with the nobleman who betrayed Kaladin (it's implied to be sexual violence since they were engaged to be married at the behest of Jasnah's father, but not confirmed as anything because that nobleman gets himself killed by Kaladin and his friends soon after and then Jasnah's too busy with her new job to care to explain irrelevant ancient history), Szeth is a walking trashfire of trauma and bad decisions made for honor, Nale (a bad guy but he's got hero of another story feel to me) spent millennia getting horribly tortured after making a decision he didn't want to make, abandoned his friend in a moment of weakness, and now has gone so crazy that he's helping a species largely in thrall to a nightmarish hate god that's waging a genocidal war for anti-imperialist reasons, Renarin grew up disabled in the land of toxic masculinity with only his neglected, parentified brother to protect him, and they both lost their mother at a young age, and NOW Renarin keeps getting babied by his dad right up until he shows off his superpowers at which point Dalinar starts neglecting and being a terrible father to Adolin again because Dalinar is a man with a comical degree of insecurities and projects them onto his sons--his sons being a man who WITHOUT THINKING threatens to start a civil war and blows off an important strategy meeting for the sake of a prostitute whose client beat her and refused to pay (Adolin straight-up walks the woman home and tells the first rando he sees "hey, go tell High Lord So-And-So who commands Big Army that I'm blowing off our meeting after nearly starting a civil war because I'm walking this woman home to make sure she's safe, will you?", because Adolin is the kind of man who calls out injustice the moment he sees it and is a committed and instinctive friend of the little guy, AND instinctively puts himself at risk for said little guy because he's a freaking Edgedancer down to his bones), and a sweet empathetic gay dork who's beloved by everybody who meets him for being a kind humble sweetheart who the lower castes feel safe around.

Strongly advise you to pick up the series, book 1 changed my life, book 2 nearly killed me because I walked across a green light in Manhattan while reading it on my Kindle, book 3 I couldn't finish at first because the emotions hit me so hard (amazing payoff at the end though), and Adolin and his spirit-sword's plot in book 4 had me in literal tears.

MindFl*yer98 wrote:
Tarksun is especially interesting. He is a LE Asura Rana, with the liberation domain in 1E and both the freedom and revolution subdomains. His areas of concern are Anger, Dreams and the shattering of bonds. He is the perfect demigod to worship for a REALLY angry slave. I find the idea of a LE abolitionist incredibly interesting, and could give rise to some excellent characters and stories.

...so basically Moash from the Stormlight Archive?

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CorvusMask wrote:

I think pretty much everyone realizes that Paizo not covering the topic doesn't meant that you can't cover it in your own game.

I'd like to assume at least that people upset about it are more upset about the "we won't see abolition being completed in universe through several books" aspect?

My anger is coming from my lack of time and ability to write a good adventure, and my desire to have an adventure about torching Cheliax and freeing every slave while playing Legally Distinct From General Grant or Legally Distinct From Harriet Tubman.

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MindFl*yer98 wrote:

Paizo made me happy when they announced an AP in the Realm of Mammouth lords, as i find prehistoric fantasy to be both beautiful and way underused. I simply love the idea of vast, untamed expanses of land where humans are still subjected to the harsh law of nature and need to rely on each other against an hostile world.

Other than that, i would love a planar-hopping adventure, something that makes the PC planar travel from the very start. This is a fantasy game, i want to be dazzled by the most fantastical and impossible locations from the start, without having to wait until later levels.

Lastly, and i know this is not going to happen, a story about a group of Darklands natives climbing from the Vault of Orv to the surface could be an interist inversion of a clichè.

All I want for Christmas is gay cavemen.

Like that Darklands idea, too!

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Inqui wrote:
Ian G wrote:

There's really three ways to handle slavery in this kind of setting:

Either it's ubiquitous like in the antique world, and while Good characters disapprove the average Joe probably accepts it, or it's only found in Evil nations and is seen by the average Joe as a bad thing, or it's nonexistent.

I would prefer #2 but don't necessarily oppose #1 or #3. I just think that since Golarion has traditionally been set up as between 1 and 2, deciding to not mention or deal with the repugnant practice again seems nonsensical.

Not only in antiquity, but slavery was pretty much everywhere until around the 19th century with some, often temporary, exceptions.

That includes many nations Paizo copied quite openly for use in Pathfider which is probably the reason why for example Qadira has slavery (and is still neutral as far as I know).

Yeah, and the forms of unfree labor (It's hard IMO to call Tawantinsuyu labor obligations "slavery" when it was part-time state-mandated unfree labor rather than full-time human bondage, and if you call medieval serfdom slavery due to the lack of freedom of movement and labor obligations you kinda get onto a slippery slope, so for my purposes I'm going to restrict the term "slavery" to mean permanent unfree labor where the state, church, or individuals own other sapient beings as property and those people are not allowed freedom of movement and are specifically socially recognized as property themselves rather than being tied to land that is the property of someone else) thoughout history have been extremely varied, ranging from the cartoonishly evil abuse of Sparta and the antebellum South to "Our tribe fought the neighboring tribe, this guy gave me a hard fight and I was impressed with him, so I spared his life and now he is my personal tracker and custom says I have to free him during my lifetime or his service ends on my deathbed".

The fact of the matter is that pretty much every significant polity throughout history has been repressive and morally repugnant by the standards of modern liberal America. You can address that, and model it in your game that draws from those polities and cultures for its cultures and polities, or you can do a strawman version of history where the Greece place is just columns and demigods with nary a slave in sight (the Greeks had a LOT of slaves even by antiquity's standards, and their citizenship definitions were insanely restrictive to boot, Sparta just took it to an extreme), the America is the land of FREEDUMB and Yankee Doodle, the Legally Distinct From Tawantinsuyu are just golden sun reliefs and llamas and cool outfits without the child sacrifice, imperialism, and mitma system, and the generic Darkest Africa standin that the developers are trying to make more realistic because the OG version is actually absolutely nothing like any real pre-contact African country, is just fancy masks, spears, dances around a fire and no slaves, castration, religious conflicts, or anything of the sort.

Obviously I'm not in favor of bowdlerizing everything into sanitized pablum. That comes off as whitewashing to me--I don't want my fantasy vikings to be just Thor, axes, mead, and toxic masculinity without the slavery, imperialism, and deliberate attacks on civilian targets. I don't want my fantasy antebellum America to be just manor houses and balls. I don't want fantasy Rome to be just ranks of bronze and men in togas debating in a forum. Be HONEST about this stuff, people.

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The only way of going about removing slavery from the setting that I would approve of is having an in-story explanation, on the scale of an AP with the theme of "you get all the anti-slavery people together, burn every slave-holding nation to the ground, and throw a party on the bombed-out ruins of Egorian--er, Freedomia, sorry, and Cheliax is being renamed the Confederation of Libertopia."

I mean, doing that kind of large-scale societal change is difficult to do in an adventure, but it would be tons of fun. Get yourself a two-fisted lanky lawyer from Andoran in a stovepipe hat, a disaffected Molthuni alcoholic military genius who found owning a slave he was given so repugnant he bought the slave manumission papers the first chance he got, a former slave who freed himself and stole a Chelish warship to boot, and a veteran Bellflower organizer who knows the back-roads like the back of her hand, and go turn every regime that holds people in bondage into Georgia post-Sherman's march! That would be a blast.

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There's really three ways to handle slavery in this kind of setting:

Either it's ubiquitous like in the antique world, and while Good characters disapprove the average Joe probably accepts it, or it's only found in Evil nations and is seen by the average Joe as a bad thing, or it's nonexistent.

I would prefer #2 but don't necessarily oppose #1 or #3. I just think that since Golarion has traditionally been set up as between 1 and 2, deciding to not mention or deal with the repugnant practice again seems nonsensical.

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I am nostalgic for the old-school Paladin and think that it should've been expanded upon with CG equivalents and the like with different paladin oaths.

Not a great fan of the genericization of "Champion", and I think that class features should be even more centered around oath and alignment, but I'm not going to complain too loudly because it's not my biggest fault with the setting.

You can kind of crib from the Stormlight Archive for new paladin oaths--for example, a CG paladin order might have oaths like:

"I will remember those who have been forgotten."

"I will listen to those who have been ignored."

"I will aid the small and the weak in the moment no matter the risk."

That kinda thing.

Things a CG paladin order modeled on the Stormlight Archive's Edgedancers might do:
--Give a morally complicated Big Bad with lots of baggage a hug.
--Turn back while running for their lives because they think they heard a civilian hiding behind them and want to get them out before a gigantic evil monster destroys the entire vicinity.
--Flex their privilege and threaten to start a civil war while blowing off a key strategy meeting to get a prostitute home safe because a low-ranking soldier working for their dad's political rival beat up the prostitute and refused to pay.
--When told by said political rival that he has absolutely no intention of ever ceasing to be the biggest backstabbing jerk ever, kill the political rival to stop him from backstabbing the forces of good in the middle of the apocalypse.
--Drop everything while escaping a heist and an implacable serial killer to give medical attention to a dying child.

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keftiu wrote:
Darth Game Master wrote:

More to the point though, I'd actually rather Arcadia didn't pull from Latin American inspiration given that those cultures formed due to European colonialism which the central/south American, Mexican, and Caribbean inspired parts of Arcadia never would have faced. I suppose if one wanted that form of representation Anchor's End could maybe work, though it's a bit off geographically.

I want to contest this pretty strongly. While the cultures and nations of Central and South America are indelibly shaped by the impact of colonialism, it's nonetheless the culture of millions of people alive today, going back several centuries at this point. I think post-colonial identities are worthy of representation, whether divorced from the events of the real world (see: Vidrian) or simply existing because fantasy can be what we want (see: the Mariachi psychopomp from 1e).

Mexico is cool! Mexican-inspired content deserves just as much time to shine as those of indigenous peoples, and chasing some hazy threshold of cultural purity-from-external-context is foolhardy, IMO.

Mexico is cool, and crazy diverse, but it's something that came about from a very specific set of historical events and its history is irrevocably linked to its origins as a brutally-conquered Spanish colony, one that came to be well after the period that inspired the vast majority of cultures and societies on Golarion.

It'd be hard to juxtapose it, IMO, with the untouched vastness of indigenous Arcadia.

It's kind of like...there is no USA analogue in Golarion. There are two separate countries that include major elements of America (Andoran is the ideal of a free and equal democracy, Varisia is the real colonial and early-USA era's colonialism, invasion, and marginalization of the natives), but neither of them have America's history. Molthune and Nimrathas can be interpreted as satires of two trends on the American right wing, but they are even less linked to America.

I can see countries that include elements of Mexican history, internal diversity, weird crap (like that period when a bunch of prominent Mexicans were going on about breeding a superior hybrid race to solve lingering tensions from the old imperial caste system, which was bonkers complex), and culture, maybe, but not a straight up fantasy counterpart.

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Darth Game Master wrote:

I don't think "Latinx" is offensive, per se; I believe it was originally devised by a Latin American person. But I do think "Latine" is preferred as a gender neutral term because, as you pointed out, it sounds much less awkward in Spanish and Portuguese.

More to the point though, I'd actually rather Arcadia didn't pull from Latin American inspiration given that those cultures formed due to European colonialism which the central/south American, Mexican, and Caribbean inspired parts of Arcadia never would have faced. I suppose if one wanted that form of representation Anchor's End could maybe work, though it's a bit off geographically.

All that aside, I am definitely going to have to second Sarkorian reclamation efforts. Some stuff with Razmir would be fun or something that explores the ancient Shory Empire (maybe an adventure path set in the Mwangi Expanse and Impossible Lands, with a detour to Shaguang in one adventure?). I hope the mystery around Jaha gets an adventure sooner or later. And something with Droon would be awesome.

I'm going by what is statistically considered offensive. I have heard positive things about "Latine" as a gender-neutral term but I also don't know what people outside of my far-left social circle think about it. And Hispanic people are SUCH a diverse group, the legacy of colonialism, mestizaje, and the ongoing waves of societies trying to deal with the Spanish Imperial caste system are rarely if ever talked about in Anglophone media despite being critical to understanding Latin American societies--it's borderline criminally oversimplifying to put the entire spectrum of Latin American people into one category.

(also, '30s racist Mexican "hybrid vigor" propaganda is a TRIP. Some of
the political cartoons from that era are fascinatingly weird, look them up!)

The thing I actually want the MOST most out of Arcadia is a Tawantinsuyu analogue, warts and all. The Tawantinsuyu was a fascinatingly weird empire, to the point that their recording system was developed to keep track of the empire rather than for religious purposes like most early writing systems were. They independently figured out state-sponsored forced resettlement for population control and refined it way beyond anything the Romans did, they set up a road network comparable in logistical effectiveness to that of the Romans, and they did it all without practically implementing the wheel, having an abjad, abiguda, logographic, or alphabetic recording system, or domesticating grain (their closest equivalent is an amaranth).

Sarkorian reclamation efforts sound cool! They basically have to rebuild their society and probably large elements of their religion (I bet that a lot of Sarkorian Kellids have converted to Iomedae or Sarenrae over the years due to social pressure if nothing else, to say nothing of the witch hunts likely killing lots of their religious leaders) from scratch.

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Evan Tarlton wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Ian G wrote:
Rysky wrote:

No one in particular: "We need slavers so we have someone to fight!"

Aaaaaaaand how many games have you been in that actually involve fighting slavers, none? One? Less than all of them?

That's what I thought.

Hell's Rebels has busting-up of slavers. Brief but it's there.

That Paizo hasn't had an "end the slave trade in the Inner Sea" AP yet is frankly quite frustrating to me.

I am bummed that we can't bust Okeno "on-screen." It would be a really satisfying win, I think, and mark a decisive turn against slavery in the setting to build on the 'Katapesh is realizing slavery is increasingly unpopular' bit in LOWG.
Agreed. There is Pathfinder Infinite, but that won't be quite the same.

If I could design adventures worth a good g@$$#*n, I would skip grad school work to go write a world-spanning campaign about ending chattel slavery in the Inner Sea region, starting as Bellflower agents fighting slave-catchers in Cheliax, blowing up the slave markets of Katapesh, and culminating in building an anti-Cheliax coalition, convincing the Molthunes to abandon slavery in exchange for a chunk of Cheliax, and destroying the Thrune regime for good, liberating every halfling in the land with the help of people like "Eulysis Grunt", a brilliant but alcoholic general, "Abram Longshanks", an Andoren lawyer and politician with long legs, long arms, a distinctive stovepipe hat and a magnificent beard, ethnic Zenji Andoren spy and slave-liberator "Haryet Tomane", and of course ex-slave turned privateer turned Andoran navy volunteer "Bobbin Small".

And I'd put it up for free for anyone to grab and play.

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Rysky wrote:

No one in particular: "We need slavers so we have someone to fight!"

Aaaaaaaand how many games have you been in that actually involve fighting slavers, none? One? Less than all of them?

That's what I thought.

Hell's Rebels has busting-up of slavers. Brief but it's there.

That Paizo hasn't had an "end the slave trade in the Inner Sea" AP yet is frankly quite frustrating to me.

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keftiu wrote:
Whatever is going on in Fallen Razatlan: Xopatl, Nalmeras, Innazpa, and modern Razatlan. As a gal who’s never lived outside the Southwest, the idea of seeing fantasy that whole-heartedly embraces Latinx and Southwestern/Central American indigenous inspirations makes my heart sing. Show me these nations, vibrant and awesome - and then show me what menaces them, and let my players make heroes from the region who thwart them.

I would be into some Flower Wars stuff or a deep dive into Puebloan or Dine mythologies, or maybe "white people show up and try to conquistador, get used as proxies in a war, humiliate themselves and look like morons" just to point and laugh at the dumb white people.

Mexica mythology is pretty well-attested and there's some good stuff to work with there. Their chief god, the "left-handed hummingbird" Huitzilopochtli, is inherently cool. I'd prefer anything taking place in Arcadia to be pre-contact focused, and yes I'm not a big fan of what I've heard about Wild West stuff taking place in the region.

Mayan peoples' mythology has an advantage in terms of drawing from it--there are a lot of Mayan language-speakers still around. Probably easiest to ask Yucatec people, there are more of them than of other Mayan peoples. Pay a consultant, put in a prologue talking about real-life marginalization of Mayan peoples and maybe a call to action?

The Dine are very well-studied by linguists, and they've been pretty politically active and relevant recently, asking them for advice and consultation in exchange for consulting fees and advertising for their struggle to secure water rights would be a neat way to go.

With Arcadia in general I want some reasonably accurate representation--I'm not culturally Native American in any way (though my mother's grandmother was Neshnabe, I'm as culturally white-bread American in just about every way except that I'm an atheist) but I'm sick and tired of stereotypes and mashups of Native societies and cultures, because the REAL societies are often really fascinating.

I wouldn't mind a renaming of the Mahwek to accompany a Haudenosanee-style worldbuilding chapter or something for them--the name sounds a lot like and is probably meant to deliberately evoke "Mohawk", an Anglicization of the Mahican (Algic-speaking) exonym for the Iroquoian-speaking Kanien'keha:ka people (lit. "people of the land of flint", the easternmost people of the Haudenosanee confederation, and traditionally the militarized guardians of the confederation against rival Algic-speaking peoples that dominated New England and coastal NY and NJ), and I'm always leery of using exonyms for people since exonyms can be super offensive. (e.g. the Ancestral Puebloans are commonly known by the Dine pejorative exonym "Anasazi", meaning "ancient enemies", possibly referring to some kind of conflict between Na-Dene speaking proto-Dine coming south from the northern Rockies and ancestral Puebloans during the later days of Ancestral Puebloan society; the Lakota and Dakota peoples are known as "Sioux" (likely derived from an Algic word roughly meaning "foreigner"); and the Numunuu are known as "Comanche" (from the Ute "kimantsi", lit. "enemy", "stranger", which is darkly hilarious because the cultures speak languages from the same damn family, it's like if the Norwegians and Swedes hated each other and called each other "enemy" in Norwegian and Swedish))

It might be neat to portray Haudenosanee-Erie, Haudenosanee-Wendat, and Haudenosanee-coastal Algonquian turf wars, but the problem is that a lot of the political and conflict history we have of early contact-era/pre-19th century Native American cultures is from when they were already being severely impacted by the economic insanity caused by European trade throwing the local economies way out of whack (not so much because of
direct occupation and ethnic cleansing early on, but because of insane price of pelts and the tech the locals didn't have the base to make themselves being offered as payment for fur). Perhaps delving into Algic and Iroquoian mythologies would be a better way to go? There's some cool stuff in there, you could have a sort of re-enact the legends kind of adventure?

Also Kanien'keha names are freaking cool, they have a beautiful rhythm (IMO all iroquoian languages have a beautiful rhythm in general, tbf) and cool meanings. So I would love an excuse to have characters with names like "Kanahstatsi" or "Onerahantsokon". A challenge there though would be that you're not supposed to have two people with the same name in Kanien'keha, and I don't know if using a repeated Kanien'keha name for a fictional character name would be offensive, so I'd have to do a bunch of research. Though a Kanien'keha:ka actress who was in one of the Assassins Creed games did apparently consent to having her character in the game (also Kanien'keha:ka) share her name, so it may be permissible.

Ooh, and the Cherokee/Tsalagi (they have multiple endonyms, it's weird, and I can only remember the transliteration of the one) have an oral tradition recounting their origins as a probable rebel movement that apparently overthrew a Mississippian priesthood they lived under and abandoned Mississippian city life for a more egalitarian tribal existence (TBF this is based almost entirely on their oral tradition but I'm inclined to believe it because Native Americans tend to be very, very good at remembering where they came from for extended periods, to the point that I've seen a convincing case made for the Anishinaabe culturally remembering ancestral journeys through the gap between the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets in the uppermost Pleistocene). Mississippian societies, though likely linguistically heterogenous, seem to have shared religious human sacrifice of locals (based on analysis of Cahokian mass graves and records of the Natchez remnant), so you could play it as the population getting tired of a corrupt priesthood that sacrifices them arbitrarily with nothing to show for it. It could be like Hell's Rebels but with civilizational collapse/economic stress themes to go with it! Democratic revolution against a corrupt elite!

Unrelated to the above, can you please not use the term "Latinx"? It's considered an offensive term by about 40% of Hispanic Americans, and Hispanic Americans overwhelmingly (>90%) prefer other terms, probably because "Latinx" sounds ridiculous in Spanish.

(source: https://www.politico.com/f/?id=0000017d-81be-dee4-a5ff-efbe74ec0000)

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is Arazni learning to heal. Loving herself again and patching her soul back together. Maybe with friends, maybe with subordinates who support her. I'd want to play that.

I mean granted that's nearly every story I write (angry superpowered woman with mental health issues and trauma patches herself back together with support from friends and family), but it's something I want to see more of and roleplay.

What about you guys? What's the story you most want to see out of Pathfinder?

In addition to the above, Ragathiel is not strictly about liberating the enslaved but I don't doubt for a moment that he supports freeing slaves and offering them the chance to join the fold and become heroes who can kick more slavers in the teeth.

EDIT: fixed miswritten turn of phrase

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Perpdepog wrote:

Another suggestion is to change the scope. If you are concerned about institutionalized forms of oppression, like fascism, then have the governmental or noble antagonists be terrible people in their own right. As the GM you are in control of what the party encounters, at least to a degree, so you have the ability to determine the scope.

And if your party has no qualms about taking on a bad government you can string more such individually terrible people together to make the campaign arc. I think whether such people are evil because of the system they operate in is a fun question to explore, personally, but I also haven't got any reservations about beating up fantasy fascists, myself.

Nobility with political power is kinda an institutionalized oppression in its own right, though.

At the end of the day my position is and will be that it's the DM and party's decision to decide what to keep and what to cut from a setting for their personal game.

Then again, my Sunday group had great fun humiliating and killing a fantasy Nazi who wanted to become a living continent, and my Saturday group is currently engaged in open war against a slave-owning empire. We pirated--I mean, PRIVATEERED--an enemy ship last week, it was a blast.

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I am resolutely against censorship of difficult topics, but I'm also in favor of content warnings and (for RPGs) Session 0s to discuss what people are OK with.

For example, I write Star Trek fanfic. One fic I wrote (best story I've ever written IMO, the emotions are super raw and re-reading it is a gut-punch in a good way) is a three-parter that was basically me venting my frustration at the rebooted Battlestar Galactica's poor handling of sexual violence. In the first part, the protagonist (a genetically enhanced supersoldier passing as human to avoid draconican anti-genetic-augmentation laws) is graphically sexually and physically abused and tortured by a woman working for the bad guys who created the protagonist. In the second part, Rachel (the protagonist) suffers intense post-traumatic stress and self-loathing as she attempts to recover with the help of friends, family, therapy, and a supportive partner, and at one-point she self-harms by punching a wall with superhuman strength until her fingers break. In part three, she finally makes a breakthrough in therapy, has a fight with the rapist, Shaw (who tbh is a walking content warning of a sociopath), and burns her face off in the process of beating the living daylights out of her before verbally demolishing Shaw while Shaw is in a cell and walking out, ignoring Shaw's screamed threats.

I tagged the HELL out of that when I put it on AO3. I put so many tags and content warnings on it that you have to scroll damn near a PAGE of tags and an author's note saying in bolded all-caps READ THE TAGS!!!.

Because that is my obligation as a creative putting that kind of story out for public consumption. It is my responsibility and obligation as a creator to put appropriate content warnings on my work, and I stand resolutely behind this position as well as expecting it of others.

That said, I also wholeheartedly believe that I have the right as a creative to put this out for public consumption, just as I have the right to try to sell a book about a woman who has potentially triggering levels of anxiety from undiagnosed OCD as well as the inherent content warning of mind-control superpowers.

With regard to RPGs, my stance is similar:

--Game companies should publish settings that include challenging and/or potentially disturbing topics.

--These settings should handle these topics in a manner that is not offensive and takes the topics seriously. No Noble Confederates Fighting For States' Rights, please. Be cautious with sexual violence (I think that because of most players' desire to prevent such things that you can be a LITTLE more free with it than in prose fiction, but I'd still be careful and thoughtful).

--Cultures and states within a setting made to deliberately ape real-world cultures and states should do so respectfully and honestly. If you have a Legally Distinct From Showa Japan, don't whitewash the war crimes associated with that. If you have America, don't whitewash its crimes (Golarion IMO avoids this by splitting the ideal of America from the reality of America and making them different countries, which is kinda questionable I guess but I'm not instinctively opposed). If you have legally distinct from Africa, don't just say "this is black-people land and Egypt". Have the decency to go and research what important historical African states looked like!

--Cultures should not be homogenous across the setting on any issue more nuanced than "murder is bad". That's just boring.

--Players and DMs should always, ALWAYS have a session 0. This is IMO CRITICAL to a healthy play environment. Discussed should be phobias, what themes people are OK with, and goals for the game, AT A MININMUM.

It is the responsibility of the play group to decide what themes they want to play. It is the responsibility of a profit-oriented publisher to provide a variety of themes to play with, and to ensure that they are handling those themes responsibly.

(this is why I'm never playing Hell's Vengeance except as a deliberate sabotage run. I think that "you play the Gestapo" is an inherently repugnant concept and have ZERO desire to play it, even if the themes involved are handled responsibly)

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And I keep forgetting Geb because its main theme is undead.

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I've seen a convincing redemption arc for a mass-murdering war criminal and the greatest Civil War general (Ulysses S. Grant, one of the greatest Americans in history) was given a slave who he owned for about 6 months before he couldn't stand owning a person anymore and went out and bought emancipation papers he probably couldn't afford. So I am not COMPLETELY against the concept of Sorshen or any slave-owner getting a redemption arc.

But you REALLY gotta work at that, it's full of pitfalls, and it's not plausible IMO to pull that off within the scope of an RPG adventure or sourcebook. You NEED a novel at a minimum.

I do think that having Absalom be a neutral-aligned city while tolerating slaves was something that only works if the rest of Golarion is going to amp up the darkness of its dark fantasy and slavery is going to be practiced by many more cultures. As it is, that definitely was a WTF bit of older lore, and while I didn't see whatever they did to change that bit of lore, I welcome that change.

I'm not against portraying slavery in the setting at all. There's a lot of good fun in putting slavers and slave-owners to the sword, especially if you're playing a slave rebellion. (I've said it before but an anti-slavery AP where you start as Bellflower agents and work your way up to nuking entire slave-owning countries would be super cool) "de-emphasizing" it the way Mona words it sounds an awful lot like sweeping stuff under the rug rather than confronting it to my ears.

keftiu wrote:
There’s also something to be said of how much slavery in the setting centers on Golarion’s equivalents to Africa and the Middle East. Why does a fantasy setting need to establish that most slaves and slavers are folks with black and brown skin? Why retread both lurid racial stereotypes of swarthy slave-taking monsters /and/ replicate the suffering of those who still endure slavery’s legacy today?

...huh? When I think slavery and Golarion, I think majority-white Cheliax selling halflings by the crateload. That gets the most focus and a big part of the adventure path where you play the Gestapo is explicitly about killing the halfling Underground Railroad.

James Jacobs wrote:

For a different take, I strongly feel that after a game session, it's really important for a player to add something to their character sheet. Experience points are a tactile way to "make real" the fact that you just played the game for 4 hours, even if you didn't level up or gain any new items or take any notes. They also help to drive the excitement of anticipation—if I am able to track XP on my sheet, I get a basic idea of when I might be leveling up and the anticipation of when that might happen is enjoyable.

The milestone system robs that from me, and it's frustrating to feel like after every session I have to ask the GM "Do I level up?" Which is a question that kind of ended up being a habit after playing one too many games during which the GM did actually forget that we were supposed to level up at one point and had the party doing encounters that were overtuned for us.

Handing out XP helps keep the players engaged and, yes, it does take a little more work for the GM to do, but it's worth it to me.

Pathfinder's set up so that your table can play the game both ways. Neither one is "RIGHT" but make sure that the choice you choose for your table as a GM is one the table prefers, not just one you prefer as GM.

Small quibble, I would change the wording of sentence one to "change something on their character sheet", and I'd agree 100%.

One of my best D&D memories is when we ended a session and I scratched off 20 flasks of alchemist's fire because my 700 year old elf witch, Granny (AKA Grand Lady and Arch-Marchioness Erethamalisallatir ver-Kholindaris in'Shallashtalamon, a respected elven lady in hiding from the family who want to put her in a rest home and take away her cat Pipsqueak), dropped those 20 flasks on a pirate fleet were fighting like the fantasy equivalent of an IL-2 Sturmovik after using a ship at full speed suddenly dropping anchor plus a levitate hex to be thrown over the pirate fleet at about fifteen knots.

The ensuing firestorm and chaos threw the pirates into disarray and we easily won the ensuing fight as Granny used invisibility scrolls, spells, and sleep hexes to wreak havoc among the enemy after she levitated down.

Bestgame ever.

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The positive:

--THANK GOD there are much more limited opportunity attacks! The absolute insanity of not being able to move in combat without a whirlwind of steel that cranks the pace down to molasses levels is thankfully abandoned.

--separating culture and species is a great idea I've wanted to see for a long time but see below.

--I like the commitment to diversity and the part where Arcadia is full of powerful countries because there's no reason for it to be in full post-Mississippian warlord chaos but also with pandemics as North America was during the 15th through 18th centuries IRL.

--There doesn't seem to be AS much number-crunching complexity as in PF1e, which became a huge turnoff to some of my friends (see my Hell's Rebels thread).

The less positive:

--I'm having a hard time grokking the system, though since it's very similar to Starfinder I expect as I play both I'll grok them better.

--the heritage and ancestry system quickly becomes byzantine, and I don't think it handles planetouched and the like well.

--Worldbuilding nerd rant time:

I think that a small but critical problem with how Arcadia functions is that it's trying to be "North America resisting colonization" but it isn't really worldbuilding in a way that makes sense. Like, this isn't anything like the real-life early colonial era North America at all. That place was a MESS. The Cahokian collapse (or revolution, if you listen to the Cherokee, and I'm inclined to personally) led to an extended period of brutal warlordism comparable to the Heptarchy period in medieval England, but worse, which (like the Heptarchy) led to no state having the practical ability to militarily oppose the raiding and colonization of a power with an untouchable logistics base, which led to a death spiral of economic exploitation and economic upheaval fueling more warlordism that led to eventual full-on invasion, which the English made it through with only a few loanwords and bad memories due to Norse internal troubles and English proportionally higher population, but the Native American peoples didn't because they were numerically proportionally screwed and pandemics exacerbated the population collapse, so were never able to build the tech or manufacturing base necessary to compete with the untouchable metropole. It is difficult to describe just how bad the situation was for North American Native polities in the 15th through 18th centuries--they really were dealt a quadruple whammy at their weakest possible point, versus the Triple Alliance and Tawantinsuyu, who were toppled by rebellious vassals with mercs and a spectacularly lucky full-on military invasion, respectively, at the heights of their respective power.

Arcadia OTOH is more comparable to 19th century China or SE Asia on a structural level. You have strong, stable polities with the potential for advanced naval tech (thanks, magic, the great equalizer!) that are fully capable of populating and militarily defending the coasts and maintaining naval forces with no good reason not to do so, so Avistani involvement should be limited to piracy and trade with possible trading enclaves in the native coastal cities. There just isn't any point in having full-on settler colonies in a region that's stable and well-populated without massive military invasion, and nobody's DONE that.

--I don't like the redemption arcs for Sorshen and Nocticula. I can maybe buy one of them, but Sorshen seems too easily accepted for someone who every rational actor in the entire setting should never, EVER trust (I mean, 20th level enchanter with a buttload of mythic ranks? You do not trust a word they say and you buff yourself to the gills with mind blank whenever you're within 1,000 miles of them), and I'm not sure of my feelings on demonic redemption (though I'm coming around to "the more unique an outsider, the easier it is to redeem/fall", with your average dretch or erinyes or succubus needing a goddess's brain-jacking to be redeemed while a demon lord is at least in part choosing to be a jerk)

Also, it kind of feels like Paizo changing/retconning pulpy stuff to seem more progressive, which I find vaguely virtue-signally.

--As a corollary to that, I am not 100% sold on the move towards a more hugboxy Golarion and away from a grimy messed-up Golarion. But maybe that's because as I get more cynical about this messed-up world I live in I'm becoming more attracted to stories about good people fighting to improve a nasty world (god knows I'm a Stormlight Archive addict, and that's a setting where one main protagonist is a literal slave who has an almost pathological need to protect people, another is a former war criminal trying to make up for his past by being a diplomat and standing up for human rights, and they live in a horribly classist society where lower-caste people can be EXECUTED for saying that a lord did bad things).

--I have not yet seen a campaign book about a warts-and-all (or, child sacrifice and all) depiction of pre-contact South America, and I am disappointed because I am fascinated by the Tawantinsuyu and find their technology, agriculture, and means of imperial rule incredibly interesting. I'd love to play Legally Distinct From Incas and I'm sad that Golarion doesn't provide that opportunity yet.

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UnArcaneElection wrote:

In light of the latest theme that has come up in the "Paizo Leadership Team Update" thread, I will say that a properly done AP in which you finally smash the slavers in Okeno would be a fine addition to the repertoire.

So basically "some people complained that we portray bad things in our setting so we're going to pretend that was never the case and just not touch on the subject"?

that's hilariously tone-deaf and leaves a lot of untapped potential on the table. Especially since the coolest characters in the setting are Andoran's anti-slavery privateers and that kickass gnoll abolitionist from Lost Omens Legends.

I agree, a "free the slaves and do all kinds of violence to slavers" AP would be a total blast. Imagine starting off as Bellflower agents, hooking up with the Firebrands, and burning Okeno to the ground before helping Andoran hammer together a coalition ("Hey Molthune, we'll give you a chunk if you help us...Ravounel, we have mutual interests here...River Kingdoms folks, we are offering good pay and lucrative looting terms for mercenaries...Iomedan crusaders, are you still smarting about the Glorious Reclamation?") and liberating Cheliax. I would do it with a party consisting of someone who freed themselves by hijacking a boat, a depressed drunk who worked alongside a slave he was given for six months before freeing them because he couldn't stand owning another person, a woman who runs the underground railroad, and a tall axe-wielding lawyer/boxer with a beard and a stovepipe hat.

You know, for the historical references.

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I think it's kind of unfair to compare the 1e and 2e APs because we haven't HAD many 2e APs and we've had a lot of 1e APs.

That said, I think something that could be a challenge for 2e is that a lot of the high-concept themes have already been done. For example, Curse of the Crimson Throne is "You're Batman". Jade Regent is "Marco Polo trip to Samurai Land". Ruins of Azlant is "explore Atlantis". Hell's Rebels is "You are the plucky resistance". Hell's Vengeance is "You are the Gestapo" for God knows what reason (I despise Hell's Vengeance). War for the Crown is, at least in basic concept, "The Game of Thrones one". Kingmaker is right there in the title. Wrath of the Righteous is "Queer dorks get together and beat the stuffing out of unspeakable evil". Strange Aeons is "the Cthulhu one". Carrion Crown is "the gothic horror one". Giantslayer is "you hunt giants". tyrant's Grasp is...well, insert Jem'Hadar joke here.

2e's had some with a high-concept theme, like Edgewatch ("You are victorian cops") and Strength of Thousands ("You go to wizard school"), but that seem more aimless like Age of Ashes and Extinction Curse.

I would like more Hell's Rebels, obviously. that one rocks.

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James Case wrote:

Hey everyone,

Please keep in mind the original post was simply looking to crowdsource-compile a list of canonically queer characters. A deep dive into the pros and cons of having fiction that intentionally tackles thorny real-life prejudices as a way to explore through them VS fiction that intentionally writes them out so as to provide a utopian place to escape to is a good conversation to have but is beyond the original scope of the thread and clearly splintering off.

Fair point.

Anyway, other queer characters I can think of--

Baron Orkerra in War for the Crown is IIRC canonically bi.

Sosiel Vaenic and Aron Kir from Wrath of the Righteous are gay men.

The Iconic Shaman is trans but I think that she was already mentioned.

There was a halfling in Mummy's Mask who I think was trans. Or maybe that was in the worldbuilding bit at the end of the book? It's been a LONG time since I took a look at Mummy's Mask.

as a general rule, if someone is mentioned as having a romantic partner, odds are pretty good they're gay or bi. I can only think of about ten trans characters off the top of my head, though.

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Here's one for Orcs, based off of a Klingon song from Star Trek: DS9:

Hear, sons of Gorum!
Hear, daughters too!
The blood of battle washes clean
The Warrior brave and true!

We fight, we love, and then we kill,
Then we die with honor, and stand tall with our forefathers
Battling forever, in our people's eternal fight!

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Heather F wrote:
I chose to not participate in this blog because I do not see my chronic, incurable disease as something to be celebrated. At best it has been an inconvenience, and at its worst it has been crippling. However, as has been stated in the comments, I do agree that there should be more awareness around the fact that there are many people suffering, not just from what we can see, but from things we cannot.

Thank you for saying this. I get really upset when people talk about my Tourette's, ADHD, and OCD and call them "neurodivergence" or "neurodiversity". I'm not "diverse", I have a crippling, incurable anxiety disorder that measurably hampers my ability to function and has left me here, today, with an 8 page paper due tomorrow that I haven't started on and can't bring myself to start because I am overcome with anxiety and perfectionism whenever I try. Every medication I've ever been on has either been ineffective, has treated one issue while worsening others, or in the cases of risperidone, Concerta, and Abilify has actively hurt me (Concerta gave me a black-box reaction that made me a violent monster, risperidone left me unable to think and sick with a cold for two months, and Abilify probably gave me tardive dyskinesia).

I really avoid modern disability rights activism as a result, both because I feel out of place as someone with a normal-appearing body and because I'm uncomfortable with the quasi-nationalistic identity focus that permeates the discourse, which I find hurtful and not representative of my daily misery. So it means a lot when somebody comes out and admits something like this, especially the first sentence I quoted.

I had Barzillai make a Proclamation banning gender transition potions for "undermining the Thrune-ordained social fabric which supports the Dependent City of Chelish Kintargo". The PCs used a rebel team modeled off of Avatar The Last Airbender characters to "acquire" some extralegally, and then went off to ruin Barzillai's birthday.

this was before Barzillai Proclaimed Kintargo to be the "City and Seat of the Imperial Empire of NEW BARZILLAI!!!", of course.

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My personal theory, which I'm probably gonna use if I ever have reason to do an adventure that focuses on such matters: Aroden spent his entire career ****ing Around with the laws of reality, and Finding Out, with increasingly severe consequences (Tar-Baphon being a warning that Aroden ignored). By the time of his death, he was tired, he was feeling guilty over Arazni, probably knew he wasn't a great dude all around, and knew that he was fighting a losing battle. The prophecies are clear: Aroden returns, his final ****ing Around, and a thousand years of glory later, he Finds Out and the entirety of Golarion is destroyed.

And Aroden can't stop thinking about that, because even though he's a god, half the reason he keeps ****ing Around is that he's still a person at heart and feels every single life he watches die. And he's exhausted, and guilty, and wants to do one last unambigously good thing in his life. Something that, even if it doesn't make it all worth it, can at least make a difference for the better, for everyone.

Then Iomedae dies in the Starstone cathedral. A trap left by Norgorber? Failed at the last step? Who knows or cares. But he sees it, and he thinks of how he failed Arazni, and how he will inevitably fail all of his people and every other thinking creature on Golarion if he goes on the path he's on.

The day is coming. Aroden's failed Arazni. He failed Iomedae. The ancient abominations that destroyed his people are going to destroy his adopted people and every other people on Golarion.

So, knowing that it'll really shake things up, knowing that it'll kill him, Aroden ****s Around and Finds Out one last time, by altering reality to make it so that Iomedae succeeded. He retroactively resurrects Iomedae and transfers his divine spark to her.

The backlash unmakes Aroden in an instant like balefire from Wheel of Time. Iomedae knows only that she got a momentary sense of deja vu and then she was a god, not quite knowing how exactly it happened, and Pharasma won't say anything for some reason.

In his last moment, as his body and mind and soul evaporate, Aroden smiles. Because yeah, he Found Out, but at least this way, Golarion has a fighting chance.

Vorsk, Follower or Erastil wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Vorsk, Follower or Erastil wrote:
Put my hope down for the next big bad after the Tyrant is a returned Choral leading a massive army of red dragons to bring about a new draconic kingdom. He's just asking to come back soon, and i can see a whole lot of other nations busy recovering from dealing with the Tyrant as an ample time for him to show up and expand his kingdom (after recovering his old one first).
This is pretty clearly a hook LO: Legends gestured at, but I don’t know how much the PF2 crowd - devs and fanbase both - would go for something that looked so traditional Western high fantasy. “The big warlord with the dragon stuff” would be hard to make feel fresh.

If done well (which I have no doubt Paizo would do based on their track record) I believe it would be a hit. Western Fantasy has a huge fanbase and i dont doubt it will always find fans. Look at how well abomination vaults is viewed here on the boards and Age of Ashes did in the rankings done by the rankings presented recently.

And after so many big bads being casters (the rune lords, the tyrant, geb, not to mention all the ap bbegs who are or were casters like the sky Pharoah, Ileosah, the ghost arcanist/sorcerer aboleth of Ruins, Belcora in Abomination vaults, Olansa and Sarvel Ever-Hunger being a clerics for an evil god/demon lord in more recent books) I feel an actual straight forward WARLORD would be something new. The ones we have had recently being the Stormtyrant and Azaersi.

Does Barzillai Thrune, the best Paizo villain, count? He has spells but he's more a "self buff and then enter combat" kinda baddie.

Though, I think a core issue with non-caster BBEGs is that 3.xx as a chassis just isn't built to support versatile fighter types as boss villains. I mean, even with PF, there just aren't many ways to build a BBEG fighter that isn't just a meatshield with a couple of combat maneuvers.

The Raven Black wrote:
Isn't that kind of what happens in Tyrant's grasp ?

Not really to the extent I'm thinking of, based on what I've seen.

Kasoh wrote:
Ian G wrote:

Gonna be honest, I love Aranzi. Her "I spit on your grave" attitude and the way she comes off as mad at the whole world for everybody constantly failing, using, and/or abusing her is compelling as Hell.

I just want her to get some therapy. Maybe with the help of morally grey PCs she brought under her wing by helping them with personal payback in exchange for their help getting her personal payback?

I'd like to see Iomedae make an effort at reconciliation. Not to steal Shelyn's niche or anything, but I imagine Iomedae and Arazni being cool with each other is more likely than Zon-Kuthon giving up the spikes.

Iomedae needs some PR anyway IMO, after the damage her rep took from Wrath of the Righteous. (in the CRPG she's significantly less of a jerk and a paladin who worships her will straight up tell her she's being a jerk if you're an Angel)

But I was thinking, "you all play people who have been deeply personally abused by one of the main villains of each adventure. Arazni is helping you out [with some kind of geas or infernal pact] to get your own back at them, and at the end you help her get her own back." You could have three endings--PCs decide revenge is hollow and convince Arazni to focus on moving forwards, PCs decide revenge is hollow and have to fight Arazni when she gets angry at them for being ungrateful bastards, or PCs decide "screw it, I just want to hurt these bastards" and help her get her bloody payback.

It would probably be difficult given the format but it would be a neat story IMO.

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I would not necessarily mind a longer AP. But it heavily depends on the genre. Hell's Rebels was about the right length, but Wrath of the Righteous could easily be significantly lengthened IMO.

Gonna be honest, I love Aranzi. Her "I spit on your grave" attitude and the way she comes off as mad at the whole world for everybody constantly failing, using, and/or abusing her is compelling as Hell.

I just want her to get some therapy. Maybe with the help of morally grey PCs she brought under her wing by helping them with personal payback in exchange for their help getting her personal payback?

SOLDIER-1st wrote:
I believe this is the server referenced.

Thank you!!!!!

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I have to disagree with you on "no bad adventure paths", I read Hell's Vengeance and hated every line of it. I'm so repulsed by the very concept of playing the fantasy Gestapo that I've sworn I'll never play or DM it except a pre-agreed deliberate sabotage game, played with the intent to "survive, but dramatically fail every adventure".

If there is a bad AP, IMO that's the one.


I've DMed Hell's Rebels and despite everyone's complaints about Shensen, that was an easy fix. In my game she was an Andoran CIA-equivalent agent undercover as a opera singer, so she pulled some Batman antics with the arcanist's dimension door scrolls to evacuate the arcanist's adoptive family, who were being forced at knifepoint to put on an opera about how Barzillai Thrune is the most amazing person ever, went to Heaven despite his sister begging him to have sex with her and showed the gods how to rule, then came down to bless the primitive peasant bumpkins of Kintargo with his infinite wisdom. She was well-received.

Overall, Hell's Rebels is damn near the perfect game considering its format. At worst, the middle of book 5 can be slow, and adventure 1 can be a killer. Books 3 and 4 definitely require a savvy, well-prepared party. The Thrune gifts at the end of book 2 I reworked to be gifts from the resistance after the heroes ruined Barzillai's birthday party and put an illusion on a 50 foot gold plated marble statue Barzillai made of himself. (as in, a Comrade Lenin Strides Towards The Progressive Future type statue)

Outside of that, it's a fun ride that can be run out of the box with no issues.

WRT. the rebellion having a known open base--that's only an issue in book 4, where it's become an open street war. Up until that point, you're implicitly or explicitly working in secret, and the party are just some local civic-minded do-gooders who caught a serial killer as far as the authorities are willing/able to admit.

Oh, and I turned the tiefling girl who guides you on the tooth fairy mission into the party mascot. She was always getting into the thick of events--she was murdered by the first serial killer after leaving an "I'm gay and I love you" note under her crush's door, so the party told Hetamon to use their Raise Dead scroll on her. She was at the masquerade of doom on a date with her girlfriend but escaped death due to the party's competence, then joined the Hellknights under Octavio to be a badass like the heroes. She helped the party fight off a squad of mooks that tried to retake the records hall, then her fiancee got killed by the second serial killer in a pretty horrible way, so the heroes had her fiancee resurrected. The whole campaign actually ended with their wedding. The barbarian walked her down the aisle iirc and the arcanist bawled her feline eyes out.

Perpdepog wrote:
There is also a Discord devoted to converting all the 1E adventure paths into 2E, though I don't know where to link it, sorry.

If you figure it out, PLEASE link me, I would love an excuse to do 2e with my burned-out-on-1e college friends. Maybe Runelords or Crimson Throne.

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Quark Blast wrote:
Ian G wrote:
mikeawmids wrote:
The adventure writing for D&D5e generally seems, at least to me, to be a lot more concise. I don't need pages on backstory and/or sexual preferences of an antagonist the PCs are likely going to steamroll without so much as a "How's your father?"

I generally agree that the reduction in complexity gives 5e a LOT of mass market appeal and makes it easy to learn, but I will add to this point a counterargument that I really haven't liked the writing of the 5e official adventures....

That said, with the upcoming massive rules patch expected for 5e, I fully anticipate that there'll be another bump in 5e popularity from the marketing and the game now being possible to play as a Ranger without feeling completely useless.

The movie, if done well and marketed right, will give things a boost too. Given the "rulings not rules" mantra with regard to 5e, I'm thinking the 50th whatever-they-do won't really change the game much.

I'm worried about the movie, it's really hard to do D&D movies right. Closest I've seen to good was Book of Vile Darkness, which was a hot mess of a film that was chock-full of "I cut myself on my own edge" levels of edgelord.

The rules patch is RUMORED, from what I've seen and heard, to be a 3.5-esque "patch the obvious holes" move, possibly including a Ranger update so that you can play ranger without Tasha's and/or have actual fun as a Beastmaster.

roguerouge wrote:
This would be gold for the CCG/Queensmen encounters early on!

XD Thank you! I honestly think the stuff glorifying Barzillai would be perfect for the opera house and the square-off at the end of book 2.

(also, I had a bit of fun with that square-off, I had it be a thing where the PCs had been planning to ruin Barzillai's birthday, and did so (causing him to threaten to Boil Them In Oil, so one of the PCs shot him in the throat and they ran), then the resistance gave them presents. Great fun!)

Freehold DM wrote:

THANK YOU, I knew I was missing something.

Level up your pilots. If this is vanilla battletech we are talking focus on Gunnery.

I did that at every opportunity. Didn't seem to help that much.

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I am a huge nerd and am still obsessed with Hell's Rebels many months after finishing DMing it. So here, have some anthems that I made up after the fact for when Barzillai renamed Kintargo to "New Barzillai"!

#1: Based on this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEO2VH8ekQo

All Hail Barzillai!
His cause is true and glorious!
All Hail Barzillai!
His armies are victorious!

What sustains us never dies...
Barzillai, ever at our side!
He guides us always, firm and wise,
His glorious might, seen far and wide.

All Hail Barzillai!
His cause is true and glorious!
All Hail Barzillai!
His armies are victorious!

Strong and brave, wise and bright,
We serve ever his glor'ious might!
Oh eternal envy of the gods!
Ave Barzillai, evermore!




#2: Based off of My Country, 'tis for Thee:

"Oh Barzillai, 'tis for Thee,

Great Lord of Eternity,
For Thee I sing!
I love Thy strength and might,
Thy honored visage, bright!
From every door in sight
Let our love ring!

My honored Leader, Thee,
Lord of the World, Thee,
Thy name I love!
I love Thy voice and mind,
Thy love for us in kind,
Loyal to Thee I find,
Myself evermore!

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Barzillai's song;
Let lowly tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let gods weep and break,
Long live His song!

Our Eternal Leader, Thee,
Author of loyalty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With Thy glor'ious, holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God and King!

Ave Barzillai! Ave Barzillai! Ave Barzillai!"


#3: Based off of Rule, Brittania:

When Barzillai first, at His own command
Arose from out the azure main;
This was the charter of the land,
And His loyal servants sang this strain:
"Ave, Barzillai! Princeps Orbis!
"Rebels ever will be slaves!"

The nations, env'ious of His might,
Must, in their turns, to weakness fall;
While He shalt flourish strong and bright,
The dread and envy of them all.
"Ave, Barzillai! Princeps Orbis!
"Rebels ever will be slaves!"

Still more majestic shalt He rise,
More dreadful, from each foreign stroke;
Mighty Barzillai holding up our skies,
Alone and strong as our native oak.
"Ave, Barzillai! Princeps Orbis!
"Rebels ever will be slaves!"

Barzillai they ne'er shall tame:
All their attempts to bend Him down,
Will but arouse His generous flame;
But work their woe, and His renown.
"Ave, Barzillai! Princeps Orbis!
"Rebels ever will be slaves!"

Barzillai's is the rural reign;
Thy cities shall with commerce shine:
All Thine shall be the subject main,
And Thy sister's love none but Thine.
"Ave, Barzillai! Princeps Orbis!
"Rebels ever will be slaves!"

The Gods, jealous of Thy voice's sound,
Shall to Thy happy coast repair;
New Barzillai! With matchless beauty crown'd,
And loyal hearts to guard the fair.
"Ave, Barzillai! Princeps Orbis!
"Rebels ever will be slaves!"

So it sounds like I basically need to completely restart from scratch?

Freehold DM wrote:



Are you playing the base game or a mod?

What are your(god I hate this term) builds?
Are you chasing evasion and maxing your armor?

Are you using your special abilities?

Are you fixing everything after your mission(not trying to be snarky, I TOTALLY forgot to fix some mechs sometimes, especially when I had more than one of the same mech)?

How many skulls are you on, exactly? There IS a massive difficulty spike when you go from 2ish to 3ish, I have to say.

Base game.

I BELIEVE it was mostly medium mechs to start but I don't remember the details except that I was following Steam build guides.

Yes, I fixed after every mission, that was part of why I was bottoming out on credits and would've gone bankrupt if I left to try to find another mission.

Any mission above half a skull is nigh unbeatable, one skull story missions are possible to defeat with luck but 1.5 is flat impossible. I have never even tried a 2 skull or higher, I'm certain of it.

My buddy got this one for me as a christmas present and I don't know how to tell him that I hate it now after being obliterated repeatedly by swarms of mechs when I dared to go above one-half skull on missions.

Seriously, I'm invariably outnumbered 2 to 1, the enemy inevitably attacks first with more firepower AND their mechs are tougher than mine and never overheat. I use cover, angles, concentrating fire, sitting in cool-off spots whenever I can, NOTHING works. I'm invariably slaughtered with every single pilot killed and mech destroyed with less than half the enemy down.

I'm playing on the lowest difficulty setting. I'm following the build advice from Steam guides and "here's how to win" videos, and it never, EVER works--if anything it makes things worse.

(although present tense is probably wrong to use here because I haven't touched the game in 2 years out of sheer unbridled rage at suiciding against the difficulty wall so many times I nearly broke my computer in frustration)

I actually want to convert mind-flayers and beholders to PF1e XD.

I suck at min-maxing and spend a lot of time with gimped characters. Like my current Witch PC, who's a literally 700 year old elf who keeps getting taken down with 1 hit.

OTOH she has a slumber hex DC of 24 at level 6. So...unless we're fighting undead, she can dominate a battlefield. As long as she's properly buffed.

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All I know of BattleTech is the computer game, the story campaign is engaging enough and I like the pilot customization options, but I keep getting stuck and unable to win any missions above one-half of one skull (and even worse, the Internet tutorials make things even WORSE and following them makes me lose FASTER and harder) so I low-key hate it now.

Also Feudal Future is an overplayed trope that I'm not a huge fan of.

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mikeawmids wrote:
The adventure writing for D&D5e generally seems, at least to me, to be a lot more concise. I don't need pages on backstory and/or sexual preferences of an antagonist the PCs are likely going to steamroll without so much as a "How's your father?"

I generally agree that the reduction in complexity gives 5e a LOT of mass market appeal and makes it easy to learn, but I will add to this point a counterargument that I really haven't liked the writing of the 5e official adventures.

I mean, even the one I like the most needs a heck of a lot of work to make the redemption ending work. As-is it's just "give macguffin and pep talk, baddie good and shiny now".

And the Dragon Queen adventures basically need to be rewritten from scratch. Storm King's Thunder has some big plot holes and that and Princes of the Apocalypse have confusing layouts. Princes is also kinda bland, but it is a ToEE reimagine so it's chasing a particular kind of game that only a segment of players want.

Curse of Strahd is never going to be a part of my gaming table even after they fixed the racism. Just not my speed. I hear it's well-written though.

Dragon Heist has so many issues that my current Sunday group (I play PF 1e Saturdays) is playing a modified version because nobody wanted to do the original version.

That said, with the upcoming massive rules patch expected for 5e, I fully anticipate that there'll be another bump in 5e popularity from the marketing and the game now being possible to play as a Ranger without feeling completely useless.

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