Kobold

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Hi there! So, I've recently decided to run a pickup game of Rise of the Runelords in PF2e, and I'm very excited about it!

That being said, I'm the kind of GM that loves to take a perfectly good AP, tear it apart, and reconstitute it as her own thing. I'm allergic to someone else doing my work for me. Rise of the Runelords is a complicated adventure path very rooted in its era, and there are a few elements in particular I want to tweak. I do really love this AP, and this thread is not meant to condemn, only to play around a little with six great books.

1. Its focus on pure-evil ancestries and a lot of sapient living beings becoming cannon fodder.
2. A tendency towards grossout horror at the expense of dysmorphism and obesity.
3. What feels to me like a slight vagueness of theme and storyline, i.e., "wait, we're fighting who now?"

I know a couple of these "problems" might be polarizing, so to be clear, I'm not here to judge! Lots of people aren't bothered by this stuff, for a whole host of perfectly good reasons. I just know it won't mesh with my group's playstyle.

Besides, I like messing around with stuff! I'll be tampering with other plot beats, too. For instance, I'm thinking a lot about Nualia. Nualia is a complicated character, a victim of abuse and manipulation from all corners of her life. She's also a terrible person, of course, who's made terrible choices. Still, I like injecting nuance into characters like this, so I may give her a path to redemption or a path to escaping and becoming a recurring villain depending on the choices the PCs make.

I figure sharing this might be helpful to some people, and y'all might have ideas I haven't thought of. I haven't been able to find many other threads talking about some of these problems, so I decided to start my own.

But anyways, let's start off with the big one.

The Goblin Thing
So, we have a few aspects to take care of--how to integrate goblin PCs, how to move on from the idea that goblins are pure evil, and how to avoid it being a bummer when you're punting enemies off of bridges.

Part One: Your Friendly Neighborhood Goblins
Here's the thing: Every goblin tribe is different. Most reasonable people in Sandpoint know this. The Licktoads might be a little annoying, but they don't usually pick serious fights, aside from the odd band of bored youths hassling travelers. The Mosswoods are mostly too busy with their little feuding families to focus on anything else--a problem the Sandpoint locals can relate to. The Birdcrunchers sometimes even trade with Sandpoint, though they mostly seem to just want to be left alone.

The Varisians have a complicated history with the goblin tribes. The Varisians were here first, but the goblins were here second, and things haven't always been cozy between the two. There's a big reason the Varisians didn't totally hate the idea of a town being built here: Sandpoint forms a handy buffer against goblin mischief.

There are two tribes of special importance. The first is the Seven Tooth tribe. The Seven Tooths? They get along with Sandpdoint just fine. They're not quite locals, but they're regulars, and it's not uncommon for Seven Tooth goblins to spend time in the town itself. Prejudices are mostly playful, with plenty of rueful jokes about the goblins exposing the town's waste--"The worst thing about the Seven Teeth is you'll throw something away one week, and the next week one of those damn goblins will be trying to sell it right back to you, only now it works better and costs double."

But for the most part, the Seven Tooths are as much a part of the town as the traveling Varisians. They especially enjoy a friendly rapport with many local Gozrehns, since they're keeping the beaches clean. This is the tribe most goblin PCs are likely to hail from.

And then there are the Thistletops.

Part Two: Everybody Hates the Thistletops.

The Thistletops have always been the heels of the Lost Coast goblinkin, but especially in the last five years (which is a long time, to a goblin!). The Thistletops are mean. The Thistletops are militant. Any goblin can join the Thistletops, provided they're willing to go through cruel hazings, but the only goblins who want to are the goblins who want to push other people around. Some say the Thistletops are more a cult than a tribe, that whoever sits in the chieftain's throne can hear the whispers of an ancient goblin patron speaking to them from below the island. Few goblins can agree on whether this patron is foul or fair.

Most of the time, the Thistletops are too busy pushing other goblin tribes around to bother with Sandpoint. The fact that they've managed to organize a raid--and that goblins from other tribes seem to be leaving their tribes to sign up en masse--should be extremely alarming to any goblin PCs, as well as any goblin experts like Shalelu.

In reality, the Thistletops have recently acquired something of a divine mandate with Nualia's arrival. This has caused a religious schism and a massive uptick in recruitment, with moderates like Gogmurt the Druid being purged from the ranks and new arrivals from other tribes being put through heavy indoctrination. The priestess of the Mother of Monsters, blessed by demons and bearing the approval of The Voice Below, has managed to redirect all of the Thistletops' hunger for domination onto a single target: Sandpoint.

What Did the Late Unpleasantness Mean to Goblins?:
Although nobody knows it, the modern-day brutality of the Thistletop tribe is at least partially rooted in the events of five years ago, when the runewell of wrath flared to life and left its mark throughout Sandpoint. The goblinkin were not untouched by this. Until then, Malfeshnekor's voice had been but a whisper, and the Thistletops were an ordinary tribe--a little aggressive, certainly, but mostly just a nuisance.

But for one month, his voice became a scream.

The chieftain at the time was a relatively mild-mannered goblin named Hakul, respected for his clever tricks and scary wolf-like eidolon. But the barghest's voice shattered his mind. Then it reshaped it, and the tribe followed suit. Through the violence of the past five years, three chieftains have come and gone since Hakul, each more angry and bloodthirsty than the last. It's to the point that the new chief, Ripnugget, is too stripped of empathy to even hear the barghest's voice anymore. It doesn't matter. This is how the Thistletops choose their leaders now. The druids and oracles wield less influence every year.

So, sure, they're a bunch of jerks and bullies. But why are they so stupid?

Part Three: They're Nihilists, Donny
It's tough being a goblin. You get drafted into bloody war after bloody to lose again and again, your life expectancy in a best-case scenario is 50 years, you're small enough to be picked up by large birds, and you probably lack the strength to actually open that pickle jar.

On the other hand, you're pretty close to unkillable, almost never alone, and you can always just smash the jar and pluck the pickles out with a knife.

Goblin culture is bent towards hedonistic nihilism, a "life-is-short-so-let's-have-some-fun" mentality. Worrying too much about the future is seen as fussy and embarrassing, even rude. Expressing a desire to die of old age is almost taboo. What's the difference between dying in an explosion at 30 and dying of old age at 38? Many goblin philosophers don't see one--or at least, not one of consequence. If there is a difference, it's that one makes a much better story than the other.

And stories? Stories don't live fifty years. Stories live forever.

An Interlude on Goblin Raids:
The goblin raid is a time-honored tradition among many "old-fashioned" goblin communities. In short, it's about getting wasted, hefting a sackful of torches, and finding the nearest party to crash. Doesn't have to be a human party, but longshank parties are often the most exciting. It's not always about killing. It's only rarely about gathering resources. A traditional goblin raid is just about making pandemonium and having a good time. Sometimes, when the goblins and humans are on good terms, it's even a mutual tradition. The human revelers treat it like a second half to their festival, and sometimes even set up big wicker sculptures to burn.

The phrase to remember in any goblin raid, especially a violent one, is "If I die, I die." Killing a raiding goblin isn't seen as murder to other raiders, even though they might grieve. It's seen as fair play, and the risk is part of what makes a truly destructive raid exciting. Laughing in the face of death is what got goblin conscripts through the Goblinblood Wars with even a little sanity intact.

Sandpoint's neighbors don't really have much of a raiding tradition, aside from the odd gaggle of festival crashers. Violent raids in particular have been going out of fashion for years. Most goblins see violent raids as old-fashioned, cruel, and only joyous for the raiders. The Goblinblood Wars were a long time ago. The old resentment of longshanks no longer burns bright enough to make dead children funny.

But the Thistletops want to reclaim their "old ways". So this is a very old-fashioned raid.

Something to note is that raiding goblins are rarely totally lucid. It's not always just alcohol. There are drugs and poisons that can make a goblin downright berserk, dispensing of inhibitions and turning the goblin into a being of pure irrational emotion. It's part of the fun, sometimes, as long as you don't indulge too often. The effects become more permanent over time, take more of a toll on your good sense.

The Thistletop goblins the players encounter are, in the vast majority of encounters, high as extremely violent kites.

Goblins taken prisoner sober up after an hour or two. They don't regret what they did, but they are more lucid, and a little less likely to drown themselves in rain barrels.

But the important thing to remember is this: Goblins on a violent raid don't see death as a tragedy. It's almost more rude if you don't fight back. It's okay to laugh, at least a little bit. It's what the deceased would have wanted.

Part Four: It's Complicated
Throughout Burnt Offerings, the PCs will have the chance to meet goblins who aren't violent and deranged. A Seven Tooth representative will likely be present when they meet with Hemlock, Shalelu and Deverin. Gogmurt will be a morally gray figure, a druid who counseled Ripnugget against his reckless course but is definitely a bit of a jerk. The ten new recruits the PCs encounter camping outside the Thistletop base form a social encounter, a chance to learn a little about what's going on between the tribes and convince the arrivals to ditch Ripnugget while they still can.

Notably, there will be a few goblin babies in the cages, and this can be an example of the cruel survival-of-the-fittest "parenting" practiced by the Thistletops, a chance to take these children to another goblin tribe when it's all over. Goblins aren't always the most attentive parents--it's why most goblins get raised by the whole tribe--but cages are not normal. Not anymore.

For the most part, the Thistletop goblins are pretty awful, maybe irredeemable. The gleeful bouts of animal cruelty, the abuse of children, the cult-like devotion to Nualia and Malfeshnekor... figuring out what to do with the Thistletop survivors will be a challenge for the PCs.

One helpful element, though, will be removing Malfeshnekor from the equation. The barghest's voice has guided chieftains of the Thistletops towards wickedness for years, to the extent that Ripnugget, who never heard the creature's silken voice in his ear, was nonetheless sculpted by its values. With Malfeshnekor gone and the tribe disbanded, the legacy of Thistletop can hopefully become nothing but an unpleasant memory to the goblins of the Lost Coast.

Other tribes will now act to absorb the less awful Thistletop survivors into their ranks, de-indoctrinating them through simple exposure to a less brutal ideology. The worst of the worst will face exile or imprisonment, although they might just destroy each other first.

Part Five: So, What Does This Mean For Goblin PCs?
So, how is a goblin likely to interact with Burnt Offerings?

First, they have to decide their tribe of origin. It's probably best to avoid having any PCs hail from Thistletop, unless the PC is joining later in the adventure or wants to have left a few years ago. Otherwise, they might know too much about what's to come. The Seven Tooths are a perfect pick, assuming they don't want to just be a goblin who grew up in town.

Of course, if the Seven Teeth are going to be emphasized, we may need to flesh out a couple goblin background characters.

Seven Tooth NPCs:
Neeka: The Seven Tooth tribe doesn't have leaders, but it does have a loudest member, and this member is Neeka the bard. Neeka is something of a chief intermediary between the tribe and Sandpoint's leadership. While charming, she's a terrible braggart, and she has a bad habit of poking the bear.

Neeka has recently used a go-between to purchase and lodge a horse at the Goblin Squash Stables, and she has taken great pleasure in insisting on going into the staple to 'check up on my horse' every few weeks, claiming that Hosk obviously knows much less about horses than her. She doesn't ride it, naturally. It's just for bragging rights, and to torment the owner. This might put her in harm's way when tensions start to rise after the raid.

Mavvi: A Seven Tooth goblin trader and tinkerer known for the hard bargains she drives. She's very competitive over the loot found in the junkyard, and Mavvi is always ready to fight if another goblin wants something that she already called dibs on. Mavvi is known to be Neeka's lover, and when she is one of the Skinsaw Man's first victims, Neeka will be quick to accuse Hosk of the murder.

Koruvus: Koruvus is an anomaly among the Seven Tooths, a warrior in a tribe of scavengers. Many goblins admire him and excuse his arrogant temper. They see him as their best counter to the Thistletop goblins' mockery of their tribe as a bunch of weaklings. Koruvus might serve as a rival, someone you can introduce in the first couple scenes to push the goblin PC around, especially if they're an alchemist or other non-martial class. Investigating his disappearance might make for a great motivation, too.

Whether Koruvus signed on with the Thistletops, or brashly tried to conquer the Catacombs of Wrath alone out of envy for the goblin's PC's new celebrity, defeating his corrupted form can serve as a form of catharsis for the PC--or a moment of pity for a former enemy. Alternatively, Koruvus could be a "big brother"-type figure to the PC, or even a parent, if you'd rather twist the knife in a different direction. There are tons of options for this guy.

And that's all for now! I went on a bit longer than I intended. I'll try to do more later. I'm admittedly a little daunted by Book Four, which makes some choices with coding that are going to be hard to dial back without a complete rewrite. As for focusing the themes more, I have plenty of ideas, but I need time to sort through them in my brain.


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Hello, everyone!

So, some recent conversations elsewhere about the challenges in playing Kuthite cleric PCs got me thinking about what a fun prompt it can be. Putting aside whether Zon-Kuthon is an easy god for a PC to worship, you can definitely create a cleric who follows him who can still function in a typical party!

I think that's a neat idea to explore for all the evil or "iffy" gods! I thought we could take a stab at it.

For everyone's reference, here are the edicts/anathemas for some of the sketchier gods of Golarion. Remember: The goal is a PC who can play nice with others.

Edicts and Anathemas:
Lamashtu wrote:

Edicts: bring power to outcasts and the downtrodden, indoctrinate children in Lamashtu’s teachings, make the beautiful monstrous, reveal the corruption and flaws in all things

Anathema: attempt to treat a mental illness or deformity, provide succor to Lamashtu’s enemies
Norgorber wrote:

Edicts: keep your true identity secret, sacrifice anyone necessary, take every advantage in a fight, work from the shadows

Anathema: allow your true identity to be connected to your dark dealings, share a secret freely, show mercy
Urgathoa wrote:

Edicts: become undead upon death, create or protect the undead, sate your appetites

Anathema: deny your appetites, destroy undead, sacrifice your life
Asmodeus wrote:

Edicts: negotiate contracts to your best advantage, rule tyrannically and torture weaker beings, show subservience to your betters

Anathema break a contract, free a slave, insult Asmodeus by showing mercy to your enemies
Zon-Kuthon wrote:

Edicts: bring pain to the world, mutilate your body

Anathema: create permanent or long-lasting sources of light, provide comfort to those who suffer
Naderi wrote:

Edicts: Comfort and encourage lovers, help the suffering escape their circumstances in life or in death

Anathema: Dismiss or mock a creature’s grief, separate lovers, torture a creature
Groetus wrote:

Edicts: preach of the upcoming end times, destroy that which has outlived its usefulness, put the suffering out of their misery

Anathema: artificially extend something’s existence or lifespan, spread hope
Rovagug (more like rova-good luck) wrote:

Edicts: destroy all things, free Rovagug from his prison

Anathema: create something new, let material ties restrain you, torture a victim or otherwise delay its destruction
Baalzebul wrote:

Edicts: Convey yourself with regal dignity, claim what you desire and deserve, seek vengeance from those who wrong you

Anathema: Provoke Baalzebul’s envy, show humility
Barbatos wrote:

Edicts: Veil your motives, make dangerous deals, offer incomplete and ruinous knowledge

Anathema: Hide any plot against your masters, close or interfere with portals to Hell
Belial wrote:

Edicts: Indulge your basest desires, create deadly weapons

Anathema: Impede an act of high hedonism, become too attached to a lover or project
Geryon wrote:

Edicts: Hoard knowledge, test the boundaries of taboo, spread falsehoods to dupe the foolhardy

Anathema: Declare knowledge heresy or forbidden, break your word
Dagon wrote:

Edicts: Swim underwater, improve your own strength, encourage the spread of dangerous sea monsters

Anathema: Break a sworn oath, settle in a land-locked area, share Dagon’s secrets with outsiders
Orcus wrote:

Edicts: Become undead through choice and skill, master necromantic magic, create undead

Anathema: Become a vampire or accidental undead, give succor to faiths that seek to destroy undead
Pazuzu wrote:

Edicts: Tempt others to immoral acts, revel in flight, possess or magically influence others to cause calamities

Anathema: Deny a flying creature the ability to fly, abuse Pazuzu’s name or call on Pazuzu for help, aid worshippers of Lamashtu
Zura wrote:

Edicts: Drink blood, seek vampirism, cause bleed damage

Anathema: Expose vampires, heal a bloody wound without drinking blood from it first
Charon wrote:

Edicts: End all mortal life, exploit those who fear death

Anathema: Offer anything for free, extend mortal lifespans, grant true salvation to the doomed or dying
Nhimbaloth wrote:

Edicts: create undead (particularly incorporeal undead), feast upon carnivores that have recently feasted upon others

Anathema: None
Ardad Lili wrote:

Edicts: Manipulate others with false promises, aid women who have been unfairly maligned

Anathema: Give someone more than you receive from them, allow yourself to be swayed by lust
Doloras wrote:

Edicts: Push the boundaries of science and suffering, torture other creatures

Anathema: Show or act on emotion, allow a plea for mercy to sway you
Eiseth wrote:

Edicts: Avenge all insults, claim what you desire and deserve, humiliate your foes in ironic fashion

Anathema: Allow a slight to go unanswered, show humility or fear
Mahathallah wrote:

Edicts Become an arbiter of reality, reject conventional wisdom as falsehood, capitalize on the ignorance of others

Anathema become too invested in mortal affairs, refuse to hear a truth out of preference for ignorance
The Green Mother wrote:

Edicts: Frolic in vegetation, manipulate people, use what you kill, prey on the weak

Anathema: Hold a secret for too long, discriminate against sex workers or use their trade to harm them
The Lantern King wrote:

Edicts: Play pranks, seek new jokes, leave lit lanterns in unusual places

Anathema: Be completely honest, ruin or explain a good joke
Droskar wrote:

Edicts: achieve goals at any cost, continually improve your abilities, establish dominance, work ceaselessly

Anathema: fail to work toward goals or grow in skill, relax excessively or give into sloth
Kelizandri wrote:

Edicts: Instill hydrophobia in others, kill your foes by drowning them, sacrifice treasures to the depths of the ocean

Anathema: Destroy a body of water, use magic to calm the waves
Ymeri wrote:

Edicts: be passionate and quick of wit, destroy your foes with fire, inspire your inferiors with zeal and strategy

Anathema: allow yourself to stagnate or lose motivation, extinguish destructive blazes
Imot wrote:

Edicts: Search for omens in the natural world, push the boundaries of mathematics, study past disasters

Anathema: Withhold your understanding of a portent, prevent the destruction of things that cannot be saved
Mother Vulture wrote:

Edicts: Recycle rot and waste into useful creations, eat the flesh of your own people, kill without mercy if it benefits your community, help to raise children

Anathema: Poison insects or scavengers, waste food or good materials, allow rot to poison an area, create undead
Dahak wrote:

Edicts: Kill metallic dragons, destroy things at your whim

Anathema: Spare a foe after you have chosen to kill them, forgive a slight
Gyronna wrote:

Edicts: Expose hypocrisy (real or imagined) in others, make other creatures miserable, demand bribes to spare creatures from your torments

Anathema: Allow others to slight you without retaliation, seek the approval of society, forgive those who have wronged you
Kitumu wrote:

Edicts: offer sacrifices to Kitumu, feed the hungers of nature with humanoid creatures

Anathema: step on a firefly, kill those marked by Kitumu
Ydersius wrote:

Edicts: seek to return Ydersius to life, fulfill your passions, conquer your foes with no mercy, achieve glory for serpentkind

Anathema: put the needs of others above those of serpentfolk, aid the spawn of Azlant
Hastur wrote:

Edicts: Spread Hastur’s Yellow Sign, hide the true nature of your worship, promulgate the play The King in Yellow

Anathema: None
Azathoth wrote:

Edicts: Gather a court of devotees, create discordant piping or babbling

Anathema: None
Lahkgya wrote:

Edicts Steal luxuries for yourself, destroy property for fun, demand bribes to spare creatures from your torments

Anathema Work honestly for something you could steal instead, kill a monkey

Just for fun, you can roll 1d100 by the following list:

d% for:
01: Azathoth
02: Hastur
03-04: Mahathallah
05-06: Ardad Lili
07-08: Nhimbaloth
09-10: Doloras
11-12: Eiseth
13: Shivaska
14-15: Zura
16-17: Pazuzu
18-19: Orcus
20-21: Dagon
22-28: Lamashtu
29-35: Norgorber
36-42: Urgathoa
43-49: Asmodeus
50-56: Zon-Kuthon
57-58: Baalzebul
59-60: Barbatos
61-62: Belial
63-64: Geryon
65-68: Gyronna
69: The Green Mother
70: The Lantern King
71-76: Naderi
77-82: Droskar
83-84: Charon
85-87: Kelizandri
88-90: Ymeri
90-93: Imot
94: Mother Vulture
95: Dahak
96: Kitumu
97-98: Ydersius
99: Lahkgya
100: Groetus

Guidelines:
For the purposes of the exercise, don't worry too much about what goes into getting your official Unholy certification. Consider it more of a cosmic choice than an act of "practical" evil.

Assume characters are entering a party that is at least somewhat open-minded to clerics of ominous gods as long as the cleric themselves is well-behaved.

As in the rules, Anathemas are unavoidable, but Edicts are flexible. You can have a character who maybe just hasn't had the chance to struggle against an Anathema yet, though. You know, "Well, of course I'd free a slave if it came up, but I'm more focused on the contract stuff and I don't live in Cheliax. Frankly, I don't think Asmodeus really cares about that stuff, that sounds like something those Chelaxians tacked on."

In other words, future ex-clerics are fair game.


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Hi there! Before I get started, I want to be clear: I love Pathfinder's art, including a lot of really creepy stuff. I also definitely don't think it shouldn't exist--artists who like drawing spiders, deep sea monsters, gore and body horror obviously deserve work, and GMs deserve visualizations. At the same time, something that has been bothering me a lot lately is how ubiquitous it is, how hard it is to avoid, and how difficult it can be to see it coming.

I'm very afraid of spiders. From an early age, I learned to page carefully through new Monster Manuals, paranoid and skittish. I still feel nervous on the Bestiary's silver dragon page specifically because, as a kid, I always had to remember to flip two pages ahead. Pathfinder's spider art is inescapable, and it is realistic. The ogre spider is petrifying to me. The problem is, this art isn't just scary to me. It's art I mostly just don't get to enjoy at all, which sucks for both me and the artist whose work goes unappreciated. I can't look at the ogre spider. I can't look at the drider. I just hurriedly flip to the next page, put a piece of paper over the image, or, on AON, use an adblocker to hide the image for me so I can read in peace.

It's not just me, too. My girlfriend is much, much more afraid of spiders than me, and she as a GM straight-up can't access parts of the first Kingmaker book without exposing herself to art that makes her panic. The art isn't placed where she can simply zoom in and avoid it. It's right in the middle of the text.

My focus is on spider art here, but other common phobias, like trypophobia and thalassophobia, are relevant, too. Honestly, though, sometimes it feels like spider images in particular are leaned on for cheap PG scare value--"we can't do skin couches anymore, but nobody's going to give us an R rating if we put a giant realistic-looking spider on every other page."

Possible solutions:
1. Just commission art for different game elements when possible. There's no reason we needed art of the spiderlegs meal when many other meals were available to draw. It's okay to reduce the artists' focus on spider content for a lot of stuff. I'm not saying "no more spiders", but maybe keep in mind that the more common phobia art you put in, the more people are going to have trouble enjoying your books!

2. Include warnings. Page numbers at the start of the book would be nice, though I think you could go a tidge further and put some sort of marker on the edge of a page that precedes potentially upsetting art. This might be hard to get used to, but would make a serious difference.

3. Stop making the art so hard to avoid. Put it on splash pages, or block it off more carefully. Offer imageless PDFs, or even PDFs that remove specific triggers, like a "spiderless" PDF, a "kid-friendly" PDF that removes gore, etc.

4. I have no idea what the limits of the PDF file type are, aside from "significant and cumbersome". If there's any way to spoiler images, gosh, that'd sure be nice, but I never bet on .pdf having the bare minimum of utility. ;)

5. Embrace cartoony styles more, especially for scary art. This is half-serious, but I do think that varying your art style can be a great way to make the world feel more wild and collaborative, show other ways to play your game (some people play gritty, some people play Nodwick-style "bloodless battles"), and expand your options.

I understand a lot of these changes would be a lot of trouble to initially implement. The fact that I'm still asking will hopefully impress upon people that this is important to me and those I know. This is an entirely fixable problem, but first we need to admit it's an accessibility issue. A picture of spider art that scares readers off the page isn't a feature. It's a bug.


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Hi, all! So we've all been in a pretty creative headspace lately thanks to the Remaster, and I thought it would be fun to brainstorm the kinds of variant rules we've had on our minds these last few years.

So, for me:

Variant spell components
I got really excited when I heard they were "getting rid" of these, even though it turned out to be a misunderstanding. I've long felt frustrated that every single spell, no matter who's casting, has to involve incantations and gestures. It's very flavorfully limited, even if it's obviously important from a balance perspective. It also makes certain spells like message somewhat confusing.

I'd love a system where maybe you could get more control over how your spells manifest, or where different spells would each have their own unique components. Maybe witches would all rely on raw materials, while wizards would be more dependent on the verbal and manipulate traits, and druids could cast a lot of their spells, like Wild Shape, "stilled".

Would that be hard to balance? Definitely. Extremely. Probably untenably. But the heart wants what it wants.

Bringing back the old consumables system from the playtest
From what I've heard, this original system was really cool, and I think we missed out on it. Like, I love the idea of consumables that are actually powerful in their own right, balanced around not being able to benefit from them an infinite number of times per day. it sounds like a man that got scrapped for realism reasons, but it sounds like a good system in a mechanical sense. This would take up a high page count, of course.

Variant proficiencies
I would love to see a system in which simple weapons could be wielded as martial or maybe even advanced weapons, gaining more traits or more damage as a result. The idea of it going the other way, of weaker versions of martial/advanced weapons being wieldable as simple weapons, could also be cool, though that would obviously cheapen access a little bit in a flavor sense.

So, what would you like to see? There aren't really any wrong answers--we're not talking about how the game itself should be changed, we're talking about variant rules that could be fun to explore


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Hi, everyone! This is just a lighthearted creative thread focused on brainstorming new class names. I noticed we kept doing this on all the "please rename x" threads, and it was always the least exhausting section those threads had. It's kind of an interesting challenge.

Ideally, let's not argue about whether the classes need renaming here. This is more a brainstorming space. I'm actually kind of interested in seeing if we can come up with anything good here.

Monk renames are worth 5 points, oracle renames are worth 4 points, magus and druid renames are worth 3 points, barbarian and fighter renames are worth 2 points, and all other classes are worth 1 point. I'm on the phones with Paizo right now, and they say that whoever has the most points at the end gets to make their least favorite ancestry Rare in the Remaster.


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So, I was looking at the steam trolley today, thinking about playing a getaway driver-type character for an upcoming oneshot. I'm really enjoying reading about the vehicle subsystem.

That said, I noticed that the steam cart has a very flavorful ability called "Steam Cloud". The Steam Trolley, which is supposed to be a larger version of the steam cart, lacks this ability.

This could be a balance decision, but it seems to come at the expense of the steam trolley having much unique about it (beyond being the only affordable land vehicle that can house a 5-person adventuring party, which would be a problem if we weren't playing in a mid-tech setting). It also feels a little weird, since it gives it much less in common with the steam cart.

Is this really necessary for balance? Could it have been a mistake?

I'll admit to a bias here--the steam trolley is my only option if I want to be able to drive the whole group, but with its low speed compared to a typical carriage, every extra utility counts.


Hey, all! This should be a simple one. So, the yellow musk creeper has a spray pollen ability which inflicts fascination and also, notably, forces the creature to spend all its actions hanging out with its new plant buddy. Barring a Critical Failure, any hostile behavior ends both the fascination and the "stay close" compulsion. The "stay close" compulsion is not something normally inflicted by fascination.

The creeper also has Bore into Brain, which explicitly doesn't end the fascination--but doesn't say anything about whether it ends the "stay close" compulsion.

AONPRD wrote:

Bore into Brain (manipulate, mental) The creeper bores dozens of tendrils into the brain of a Small, Medium, or Large humanoid creature that's unconscious, willing, or fascinated by Spray Pollen, and within reach of the creeper's tendrils. The creature must succeed at a DC 18 Fortitude save or become stupefied 1 (stupefied 2 on a critical failure). Subsequent failed saves against Bore into Brain increase the stupefied value. If the creature reaches stupefied 5, it is turned into a yellow musk thrall. Boring into a creature's brain doesn't end fascination caused by Spray Pollen.

Spray Pollen (mental, poison, incapacitation) The yellow musk creeper blasts yellow pollen in either a 30-foot line or a 15-foot cone. Each creature in the emanation must attempt a DC 20 Will save. Once a creature succeeds at any save against Spray Pollen, it becomes temporarily immune for 24 hours.

...

Failure The creature is fascinated. For as long as it is fascinated, it must spend each of its actions to move closer to the yellow musk creeper as expediently as possible, while avoiding obvious dangers. If the creature is adjacent to the yellow musk creeper, it stays still and doesn't act. If anyone takes a hostile action against the creature or its allies, the effect ends. Otherwise, the creature can attempt a new save at the end of each of its turns. On a success, the effects end.

So, do I have this right? When the yellow musk creeper starts boring into someone's brain, they can run away without a problem, they're just still under the Fascinated condition:

AONPRD wrote:

Fascinated

You take a –2 status penalty to Perception and skill checks, and you can't use actions with the concentrate trait unless they or their intended consequences are related to the subject of your fascination.

So, Bore Into Brain allows you to start running, but you can't cast a spell unless you're fireballing the big scary flower.

Do I have this right?


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mods busy post alignment takes

Nah, I'm just kidding. This isn't that kind of alignment thread. Alignment takes are like sandwich definitions: everyone has their own, and arguing about them is the pedagogical equivalent of pressing the crosswalk button several times to make it turn green faster. It accomplishes nothing, but if you find it cathartic, good on you.

No, this is actually about alignment etiquette. Specifically, it's about people policing each other's characters' alignments. I've really soured on it. Especially when it's other players or onlookers.

Alignment is unbelievably subjective. I think it's inarguable that modifying the alignment system is the most common house rule in the entire game, and in D&D besides. A lot of people prefer a more complex Evil, or a higher-standards Good, or to not use alignment at all. Others do like the stock mechanic, of course.

All of these interpretations are fine. They work.

But what happens when they clash? Well, we know the answer to that: We start arguing. That's fine, too. As long as both parties want to argue, they can go to town. It's a lot more problematic, though, when you start an argument with someone who didn't come looking for one.

So here's a scenario.

Let's say I'm joining a new game, and I come in with an elf wizard. This wizard is sweet and friendly to everyone, he likes to help others, but he's also got a quiet mean streak. He likes to be good, but if someone's in his way, he's willing to burn down the guy's home and kill his family in front of him.

What's this character's alignment? Neutral Evil? True Neutral? Chaotic Good? Whatever I pick, there's a risk another player will notice and have an objection. I know because it's happened to me, and lately I've seen it happening to others. It seems to happen a lot on these forums in particular. We love to argue here, don't we?

In this case, though, I'm just trying to play my character true to the way I see alignment. I didn't want to have to defend my character's alignment to someone else.

A lot of GMs will take a laissez-faire approach when it comes to this infamous mechanic--"As long as you aren't being egregious, I'll let you define your own alignment. I care more about how you play your character, anyways."

And in that situation, the best thing as a fellow player to do is mind your own business. You shouldn't need the GM to weigh in and tell you to back off. Someone choosing an unusual alignment for their PC is not an invitation to start a Paladin Falls debate with them.


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Hi, all! In the spirit of the old PF1 thread of a similar name, this is just meant to be a fun casual place to talk about the projects you're working on right now that you're really excited about!

Feel free to exchange thoughts and feedback, but I think it's best to only offer serious criticism of a project if someone says they're looking for it, and try to avoid derailing the thread with any big discussions.

I'll start! I'm currently working hard with my girlfriend on a collection of slightly risque ancestries we're hoping to publish under Pathfinder Infinite. The main ones right now are mothfolk with a big "drawn to danger" motif, beefolk with a bit of an "ex-Thriae who overthrew their queens after prophecy failed" implication, slimefolk (more in the "slime girl" genre than the "sapient ooze" direction Battlezoo's taking), a sort of "what if some wicked little tricksters got kicked out of Hell, gnome-style" devil ancestry, an ancestry of people who've been turned into lifesize doll-like living prisons for troublesome spirits, and an alraune heritage of people who sought out a mystical coral reef that completely remade their bodies into their "true selves". It's an absolute ball so far, and I'm so excited by it I keep starting to derail other threads, so I figured I'd get some of that energy out here.


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Hi! Just a quick suggestion I have, after noticing I and a dozen other people didn't understand what Community Use was for: I think it'd be great to add a short one-sentence summary of each subforum's purpose to the main subforum page. Like, just so people know the basic role of the subforum and can put it to use properly. This would at least be nice for the major subforums that are more ambiguous, like Community Use.


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So, every now and then, a new Discourse pops up over Pathfinder becoming "kid-friendly". Some people like it, and some people don't. When these arguments start up, there's a very common defense used to counter those who don't like the change: "Calm down. There's always third-party content."

This, to me, always made sense. Sure, maybe there will be fewer "canon" adventurers featuring shopkeeper's daughters and the sort, but people who like their fantasy a little on the grittier or raunchier side can just buy from third-party publishers and still have a ton of fun.

However, I've recently noticed a clause that may be intended to tell us that this isn't something third parties are intended to provide.

Pathfinder's Second Edition Compatibility License wrote:
You must use your best efforts to preserve the high standard of our trademarks. You may not use this License for material that the general public would classify as 'adult content,' offensive, or inappropriate for minors.

So, with the disclaimer that I am running with my personal interpretation of this paragraph, which could be wrong, here are five points I want to express while I look for a clarification.

1. Family-Friendly Paizo is Not a Bad Thing
I think it's ultimately a good thing that a family can grab some dice, roll up some characters and have fun with a wonderful game like Pathfinder without having to worry. I think moving away from the more NSFW content was a good move for Paizo. Paizo content is too center-stage, and moreover, if Paizo writers don't want to write NSFW content, that's totally fair!

At the same time...

2. Risque TTRPG Content is Not Bad, Either
So, full disclosure--I've been writing erotica for a living for nearly a decade at this point. I have a lot of sex worker colleagues and friends. Risque content, whether it's openly XXX-rated or just a little inappropriate for kids to see, is a valid art form that requires skill and artistic integrity just like any other. It should not be looked down upon or degraded simply for focusing on expressions of passion and intimacy. Those things are part of the human experience just as much as grief and violence.

Some people enjoy featuring varying levels of NSFW content in their games. That's valid, and there's nothing wrong with it. If it's not for you, that's totally cool and also super valid! Nobody should ever feel pressured into engaging with adult-only content. But we that doesn't mean it's bad.

I have a lot of colleagues who've been driven off of platforms and into the shadows of obscure less safe websites, had their incomes sliced open and sometimes outright stolen, because--say it with me--Our Society Treats Sex Workers Badly. I'm a little anxious about working hard to design something, publishing it, and finding it taken down within a week because it reminded someone too much of rope play.

3. Of Course Safeguards Are Important
I want to get ahead of this one. Yes, obviously, anyone publishing NSFW gaming content should be mindful of who is going to see it. Warnings should be included, at bare minimum, and it should be made very clear that it's not for children. Content that outright endorses abuse should also obviously not be included, but that's already more-or-less covered by other facets of Pathfinder's license.

Also, while I did mention XXX ratings, that's not really what I'm talking about here. Consider this conversation to mainly be about R-rated and "heavily suggestive" content for now. Basically, anything you wouldn't want a kid to see.

4. Not All Media Has to be Kid-Friendly
NSFW content at all levels has the potential to spark important conversations, to get people thinking about important concepts, to help people discover things about themselves or express facets of their identity that society does not treat well (hi, ace bisexual trans girl here), or just to, you know, have fun. The idea that adult-only content should be suppressed nearly out of existence because a minor might hypothetically ignore multiple warnings and lie about their age to access it is... not healthy, but unfortunately not that uncommon.

As an asexual person, I often feel really weird discussing my sexuality. It's actually very difficult to explain the complex nuances of the ace spectrum without getting a little bit NSFW. That's part of why this issue is important to me.

5. This Isn't a Demand, and I Don't Know How Strictly the Rule is Enforced, Anyways
At this time, I don't know the legal situation Paizo would be in with allowing NSFW content. I also don't know how strict the policy is--does it only apply to outright pornography, or does it also extend to content that alludes to sex acts or kinks?

Obviously, succubi exist in PF2. Is that level of implication (offering rules for gaming groups to include "acts of passion" that may be nonconsensual) the hard limit? Or are succubi just grandfathered in, and third-party products would be held to a higher standard?

At this time, I just want to express my opinion about the issue, and provide a safe and healthy environment for people to air their thoughts about it as well. I'd like it to be known that I would consider a strict application of the rule to be an unnecessary restriction--one that's not healthy for artistic and personal expression. Again, if that's not how the rule is enforced, cool! I'm just looking for clarification.

If it is the case, and it can change, I personally believe it should. With as violent a game as Pathfinder is, it seems a little silly for some level of sexuality to not have an outlet. Third-party publishing is perfect for that--it's safely distanced from Paizo and requires more active effort to track down.

To anyone who wants to engage, please be civil and try to assume good faith of others. This is obviously a hot topic that could get dicey if we don't treat each other with respect and curiosity.


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Hello, friends! I've been working on launching another Age of Worms game lately, and I'm working on a content warning sheet using this excellent resource from the Consent in Gaming supplement written by Sean K. Reynolds and Shanna Germain. Anyways, it got me thinking the work I was doing might be helpful to others!

So, here's my (fairly informal) list of major potential triggers for each chapter. This list may not be totally complete, especially since I haven't finished the AP yet (my longest-running game is currently on Chapter Nine). I'm also not going to include standard Pathfinder CWs like "gore" and "violence". An asterisk is next to triggers that can be quite easily cut out, or that are entirely optional bonus flavor, such as the character of Constance Grace.

Broad or Constant Triggers
Parasites
Bugs
Nihilism/the end of the world
Undeath and a general feeling of rot
Religious extremism and cults

Chapter One: The Whispering Cairn
- Harm to children (implied)
- Self-harm (religious)*
- Animal abuse*
- Poverty and worker abuse
- Freak shows*
- Violence against sex workers (implied)*
- Implied zombie necrophilia*
- Drowning
- Paralysis
- Elemental slavery (implied)*
- Drug addiction*
- Fatness framed as villainous

Chapter Two: The Three Faces of Evil
- Self-mutilation (religious)
- Animal abuse
- Magical insanity
- Suicide (implied)*
- Eye trauma
- Villains with deformities

Chapter Three: Encounter at Blackwall Keep
- Colonialism
- Fantastical racism
- Child endangerment
- Mass PC killing of nonevil humanoids

Chapter Four: The Hall of Harsh Reflections
- Giant spiders*
- Villainous madness*
- Player vs. Player deception/betrayal
- PC being kidnapped/rendered helpless
- Mind control/mental enslavement
- Paralysis
- Negative encounters with law enforcement
- Drowning
- Giant squids
- Mental illness
- Suicide/self-harm*
- Torture (implied)

Chapter Five: The Champion's Belt
- Mass death of noncombatants
- A man murdering his girlfriend
- Mental illness
- Prisoner abuse
- Violence against disabled person
- Villains with deformities
- Offscreen deaths of friendly NPCs

Chapter Six: A Gathering of Wounds
- Mass death of noncombatants
- Giant spider
- Mental illness framed as villainous or dangerous*
- Kidnapping

Chapter Seven: The Spire of Long Shadows
- Mass death in cult
- Magical insanity
- Paralysis
- Hallucinations

Chapter Eight: The Prince of Redhand
- Police state
- Eating of sapient beings/cannibalism
- Public executions
- Torture
- Villainous madness
- Nooses/hanging
- Villainous deformity
- Sexual harrassment*
- Animal cruelty
- Fatness framed as villainous*
- Slavery*

Chapter Nine: The Library of Last Resort
- Villainous madness
- Animal cruelty (minor)
- Magical depression
- Betrayal

Chapter Ten: Kings of the Rift
I have not yet run this adventure, nor have I read it many times, so I don't have a ton for you here.
- Slavery
- Paralysis
- Villainous madness
- Betrayal
- Mind control

Chapter Eleven: Into the Wormcrawl Fissure
I have not yet run this adventure.
- Insanity
- Body horror/fleshwarping
- Sexual assault (implied)
- Torture
- Villainous insanity

Chapter Twelve: Dawn of a New Age
I have not yet run this adventure, nor have I read it many times, so I don't have a ton for you here.
- Chance of an extremely dark ending
- Villainous trauma victim*
- Mass death of noncombatants
- Eye trauma


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This is a minor glitch, but I thought I'd let y'all know--the "Time Posted" number keeps switching back and forth for posts, going up and down and up again within the same minute.

Refresh #1
Refresh #2
Refresh #3
Refresh #4

(This is the thread I've noticed it happening.)


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So, I kind of wanted to say something about those threads that keep popping up, those "inexplicable" subject derails into complaining about site moderation, about SJWs taking over, about the "chilling effect on free speech" we've seen in recent months now that Paizo has adopted a policy of banning open bigots using the website.

This conversation is probably going to keep sprouting up for a while in various tangentially-connected threads. A lot of us would love to stop seeing it, but there are a number of regular posters here who feel frustrated at not being able to have conversations without fear of tripping up and getting called out and banned, and those frustrations probably aren't going to go away until either those users experience dramatic changes in perspective or push boundaries just enough to squeak into states of "Permanent Sus".

I don't really give their anxieties a lot of credibility, mind you. While callouts might sometimes be a little harsh or rude, and sometimes post deletions might feel unnecessary to some, those aren't really punishments to fear. Being criticized or having a post deleted is extremely light as far as consequences go. The only people who have been banned have been extremely hostile, repeatedly insulting minority groups or insulting those who advocate for them. I don't miss them.

Let's talk about that second target, the insulting of those who advocate for minority groups. That's a very familiar tactic to me. There's a funny habit the more subtle TERFs have formed of avoiding going after trans people directly. Instead, they criticize "trans activists". It's a very nice vague way of attacking the group while assuring any moderates watching that they have no problem with "the good ones". It's a tactic used by other reactionary ideologies, too--"I don't have any problem with [group], it's the activists who say that [group] deserves rights that go too far!"

This liberal language--celebrating the minority but punishing all activism on the minority's behalf--has the same "chilling effect on discourse" that a lot of people on this thread are afraid of. It makes allies hesitate to advocate for [group], and members of [group] afraid to advocate for themselves. [group] is expected to stay nice and polite and in their lane.

For another example... are we allowed to acknowledge yet how Gamergate was just an insane hate campaign fueled by rage that minorities in gaming communities were daring to speak up for themselves? You know, launched by an abusive ex who made up a bunch of lies to hurt a game developer who dumped him? Back in the day, Paizo moderation simply banned all talk of the harassment effort. Paizo didn't want to take a side, because taking a side would have meant banning a lot of blatant bigots and abuse apologists. I remember quoting a Zoe Quinn tweet about Thanksgiving, getting called out for it by another user, and knowing I couldn't really respond without all our posts getting deleted, because Paizo preferred comfortable silence over messy honesty.*

Paizo's taking a side now. I don't know the deeper motivations of those who don't like the side Paizo has chosen, or who object to the way Paizo has chosen to take its side, or whatever. But they're probably going to keep bringing it up for a while. They feel attacked. They protest that they aren't allowed to voice their opinions anymore, but... they never really say what those opinions are. And they wonder why some of us are suspicious or don't give them the benefit of the doubt.

"Paizo is silencing my beliefs!" What beliefs? That trans people deserve dignity? "You can't say anything without getting in trouble with the mods!" You mean like repeatedly misgendering people, or defending vehement bigots? What are you talking about, if not that?

I dunno. It's a tangle by design. With all these strings in a knot, it's hard to know which ones to cut, and which ones are just caught up in the mess.

It might help if those who really are just caught up in the mess actually seemed to care about making their positions clearer, though.

*I do think moderation was overworked and doing their best, but I always felt very disturbed knowing that we couldn't even criticize Gamergate, and that so many pro-Gamergate posters were being left alone, as if those views wouldn't filter into their behavior elsewhere. I also do believe that moderation was pretty openly anti-Gamergate, though I don't remember details on that. A lot of the pro-Gamergate users later got banned for other offenses, which kind of suggests maybe banning them sooner would have saved everyone a lot of trouble.


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Honestly, I find this to be a really interesting choice, and I'm curious what people think of it. The discussions it's starting elsewhere are riveting.

What do you think of 5e as a system for a Dark Souls RPG?

What do you think a Dark Souls RPG should feel like?

What TTRPGs do you think would make better models for a Dark Souls RPG?


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So, alignment threads seem to be chock-full of "example characters" of every alignment to try to demonstrate points. I don't want to do any more alignment debates for a good long while, but I do think that it's interesting to see other people's takes.

First, roll 1d9 ⇒ 6 to generate your alignment.
1 is LG, 2 is NG, 3 is CG, 4 is CN, 5 is TN, 6 is LN, 7 is LE, 8 is NE, and 9 is CE.

Once you have the alignment, provide a character concept--some basic backstory/personality--and try to subvert expectations. Remember: The goal is to create a character who subverts alignment expectations. Not every Chaotic Evil character is a murderous serial killer and not every Lawful Good character is an uncompromising squeaky-clean paladin who thinks sex is an enthusiastic form of wrestling. Play with what we'd think that alignment should be.

Also, please refrain from arguing alignments here. Everyone's interpretation of alignments is valid, and more importantly, not your problem.

I'll go first. I rolled LN above.

1. Kella, Rebel Monk (LN)
The ex-rumrunner Kella (half-orc rogue) was once happy to spend her days in the monastery, working on her illuminated manuscripts and ignoring the world outside. This changed when a local warlord demanded to use the monastery as the setting for her latest decadent banquet. When the abbot refused, all monks were slaughtered--save for Kella, who managed to slip out through hidden tunnels she'd discovered years ago.

Enraged at the desecration of her home, Kella now puts her smuggling skills to good use, assisting just about anyone who wants to violate the warlord's local laws. She doesn't care much who she helps--refugees, drug kingpins, freedom fighters, arms dealers--as long as they're a thorn in the warlord's side, she'll help them get their supplies into the warlord's territory. She does draw the line at helping necromancers or traffickers, but otherwise, Kella is totally focused on revenge. It has been a long time since she's been able to return to her manuscripts, and sometimes she wonders if she'll be caught and executed before she can finish it. She's too stubborn to let go of her grudge.


Okay, this is the pettiest thing ever, but... am I the only one having this problem? Whenever I refresh, or click a [# new] link, on a blog post, it sends me to the wrong part of the thread. Clicking enter on the link itself works.

This isn't remotely important, I just wanted to mention it in case there's an easy fix. :P


Hi, all!

So, a lot of people would rather avoid roleplaying in settings featuring heavy bigotry, and I think that's totally fair--a lot of people play D&D/Pathfinder/Crab Truckers to relax and have fun, and reliving real, lived bad experiences can be stressful. Or, if they're not queer, it can still be stressful to try to recreate stories they haven't actually experienced, knowing they're going to mess up.

I very rarely play in games with, say, transphobia, because most people I game with don't find that very fun. Personally, though, I think it can be really interesting to try to explore that with a fantastical lens. No shade to those who don't like it; I personally do, as long as it's on my own terms. I find it personally empowering to play a trans woman berserker who ran away from transphobic parents and became an adventurer, or an ace lesbian who fled an arranged marriage to a man. I find those sorts of stories more relatable than what feels for me personally like (and this will sound sassier than I mean it) fantastical wish fulfillment.

I'd like to hear other people's experiences--both negative (times you attempted it poorly, or got trapped in a bad gaming group where they insisted on roleplaying it out) and positive!


I'm sure the answer is 'no', but I have no idea.


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So, I'm pretty laissez-faire about the whole swearing thing, and I've always thought the "newspaper comics" thing we had going on with symbol replacements was fine.

That being said, if it's not fine? I think having the swear get auto-replaced with "smurf" would be a lot more effective. It has the bonus impact of making whoever's swearing look a bit silly, so if they're being abusive, it takes the punch of of things.

Alternatively, just replace the whole word, so kids can't easily tell what the swear was anymore. "What the $%@#?" is literally something you could find in Zits or Dilbert--explicitly child-friendly comics. "That's #$%@*&!% crazy" is, again, something you could find in a newspaper comic. This would allow swears to retain a little of the tone while removing any of the actual bite.

I also want to say, for the record, that I think this is incredibly silly and way more conservative than basically anywhere else in society right now. Half-censored swears do not make the Paizo forums non-kid-friendly. If anything makes Paizo non-kid-friendly, it's the massive amount of violence in the game Paizo publishes, but that's never been a problem before.


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In the depths of the forums, beneath the most knotted and twisted of Boards - in turn hammered into place with the blackest, crookedest iron nails - there lurk beings so foul, so alien, so wretched that not even the Postmonster could bear to gaze upon them, not even the Trickster of Curtains or the Captain of Yesterday or even the heinous T of Z would keep them in their courts of monsters and atrocities. These beings were banished, cast down to the lowest points and sealed away, with the hopes that none would ever be forced to remember their embarrassing, outdated, irrelevant existences.

Only Candle Lighter, the lone kobold tasked with keeping the prison's warding lights aglow at all times, must gaze upon these creatures. She herself is both warden and prisoner, and were she not kept constantly busy with the lights, perhaps she might attempt to escape herself.

This place is prison to the worst, most unnecessary aliases ever known to the Boards. Aliases referencing inside jokes that no longer make sense, aliases attached to cults and organizations long since dead and dust, aliases with misspelled names or that still have the original Erik Mona avatar from that time everyone tried to make Erik Mona's avatar the most common one on the forums. D&D characters from Play-by-Posts that never got off the ground. Aliases with the poodle avatar.

This is the Bad Alias Jail, and no good aliases may enter these cursed halls.


Hi, there!

So, I'm trying to place an order for the Mwangi Expanse, but I need to change the address. Unfortunately, it won't let me add a new address. It just keeps giving me this message.

Clicking "Select this address" makes the little spinny wheel appear, then nothing happens.

EDIT: I fixed it! Turns out, if you get the address exactly right the first try, it doesn't trap you in the loop. I had to exit out, then re-type it with the full postal code/abbreviated state name/etc, and then it worked.

I'm leaving this thread up just in case this comes up again this Holly Days season.


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This is a discussion on this blog post. Erik Mona responds in the comments below the article.

We are forking this discussion from this thread, which, as keftiu, noted, kind of drifted off-topic.

Also of note:

Cori Marie wrote:
Gonna leave this here for absolutely no reason at all.
Sara Marie from nearly three years ago wrote:

Paizo.com is not going to be hosting discussions with people trying to justify or be an advocate (devil's or otherwise) for slavery. Unfortunately this has been how many discussion threads about slavery, including this one, have ended up going.

Slavery is something that has caused multigenerational damage to real, human, people. It has inflicted trauma on countless lives, directly and indirectly, and the repercussions and the racism it has fueled still reverberate across our society and people’s lives today. Human trafficking continues to perpetuate the injustices and cruelty of slavery to this day.

It’s part of our mission to encourage and support gaming environments where people feel welcome, included and safe. When a topic like slavery comes up and people try to justify it, it reads as trying to justify hundreds of years of pain, suffering, countless indignities, rape, and murder inflicted upon the lives of other humans. While one person might feel that they are discussing theory or abstract subjects, for too many people the subject of slavery is not some abstract concept, it is an active painful reminder that there are other humans who would try to excuse or justify this awful practice. Coming across this type of thread on our forums when simply trying to read about a roleplaying game causes harm to people in our gaming community and it is unacceptable.

Erik Mona wrote:

The mistake I made with the Absalom book is in dwelling too much on a very sensitive topic. Yes, the PFS plotline helped by removing legal slavery from the city, but I should have just let well enough alone, mentioning that it had happened in the timeline and then moving on to any of a countless number of other evils.

Instead I wanted to flesh out the context more, and make the change a more holistic part of the setting while still giving a few illegal baddies for people to kill.

The thing is, with this topic, that's too much. People just hate it in the setting period. We really should not have put it in there in the first place. Trying to deal with "phasing it out" within the context of the story adds fuel to the fire and makes people even more uncomfortable.

It's not worth it.

So while I suspect the word may come up a time or two in the future, we're just not going to be covering it going forward. A few in-production items might reference it still, but it's no longer going to be a notable part of the Golarion campaign setting.

If you want to write a big adventure where people burn Okeno to the ground to have it all make sense within the fiction of the campaign world, you are free to do so.

But we are not going to.


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I didn't feel great about the tone of the previous thread's OP, so I've decided to start a new thread to make things a bit clearer. I'm sorry to anyone whom the original post discomforted; the phrasing was my attempt to be tongue-in-cheek and "clear through brevity", but it didn't work for a lot of people and that's entirely on me. I communicated poorly and may have hurt some people. I'll try to do better this time around.

Hi, all! So, I actually really, really like PF2. It's a gorgeous edition that brings so, so much I love to the hobby, and I've been having a blast with it. I am also very much not on-board with adding to forum negativity. That said, I feel like some of us just need a safe, argument-free space to air our grievances and talk them out.

Please refrain from starting arguments on this thread. Start a new thread, if you have to, but I've noticed that the second an argument starts, everyone tends to go on the defensive. Sometimes complaints are just matters of taste or blatant misunderstandings, and in either case, it's okay to share your thoughts if you disagree, but please refrain from trying to "rebut" anyone's issues. Agree to disagree.

On the flip side, when trying to criticize, remember that a human being wrote whatever you're about to say you don't like--a human being who could very well see your post, since they're all on these forums to some extent. This is a thing they worked hard on, through a lot of adversity, and you're here to criticize things about it. That is going to hurt no matter how nice you intend to be. They get a lot of negativity in general on these forums, and by contrast, compliments are tragically uncommon. Consider sandwiching your criticisms in with praise, if you can. In general, be nice.

Everything I say, I say with the utmost affection and respect for the creators. They did a wonderful job for the most part, and a lot of the things I don't like are just matters of taste. The goal of this thread is to reduce the amount of "threads complaining about PF2" floating around, to help people process their issues with the game without needing to start fights about it. The game's not perfect, but no art is.

Worthwhile reading:
This thread's more benevolent counterpart.
A post by James Jacobs on the effects of unchecked negativity on the creators.
And another.


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Hey, all! I want to practice my character drawing a little bit. Post some interesting PCs (or NPCs) for me to take a stab at!

No guarantees of quality, mind you. Hey, you get what you pay for. :P


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Okay, I actually really, really like PF 2.0, but I got tired of getting into arguments with people every time I wanted to gripe about the things about it I don't love. I say everything here with the utmost respect and affection, promise. :P

The only rule here is that nobody's allowed to defend PF 2.0 except in the blandest possible "I don't agree, but you're entitled to your opinion I guess" terms.

Oh, and be nice. Pretend your favorite dev is reading your complaints, and think about how you'd come across to them.

Oh, and I suppose all the mods' rules apply, too. Technically.


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Hi! This is sort of a tangent off of the "bring back the Recent Posts sidebar" thread--I think there are some subforums that are often pretty hard to run conversations in because they're, well, dead, and that's a shame, because some of those subforums (like the TV Shows subforum, the Arts & Crafts subforum) actually contain really high-quality content that would fit perfectly fine in other subforums (like Off-Topic, or Gamer Life General Discussion).

It would be really cool, as a long-term modification, if we could work out a way so that those browsing certain subforums could see recent posts in the "subforum family". Like, if I'm browsing one of Off-Topic/Arts & Crafts/Television, I see new posts in the other two.

Maybe we could even be given a way to make a "playlist" of our favorite subforums. Like, being able to Focus only specific subforums, while leaving others Defocused, would be amazing. I don't want to look at all the endless Paizo product subforums, but I would love to be able to idly browse and see what's going on in, like, some of the Homebrew subforums, the old Age of Worms subforum, etc.

In general, using Arts & Crafts as an example, just merging it with Off-Topic could be messy--but nowadays, it's a very quiet subforum, and getting both OTD and A&C threads in my sidebar wouldn't bother me one bit.

So, a summary:

It'd be cool if certain especially quiet subforums were lumped together, so we'd get to see Recent Posts made in one while we were reading a thread in another.

Alternatively, it'd be cool if we could someday get the ability to Focus or Defocus certain subforums.


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Happy Saturday! Today's prompt: "flower garden"

Asva the Snapdragon, LE
Asva always makes sure she's dressed according to the latest in human fashion, in high slit satin gowns that glimmer jet black against her curry-yellow scales. Standing at 3'1", she decorates her two pairs of curving, twisting horns with thistle flowers and mint leaves. Her voice is a slow, winding high-pitched purr, like a thin spiraling trail of smoke from a smoldering cinder. Asva darts across the charred rubble she calls home like a water strider, her motions graceful as a dancer's and yet sharp, guarded, unpredictable. When she casts a spell, her magic lifts her whole tiny body up into the air as if it's too big for her, suffusing her whole head in magical flames as she struggles to keep the almost-painful magic contained long enough to channel it outward at an enemy.

Exiled from the depths for sending her clan into a disastrous war with the duergar, the former court magician Asva has come to despise the rule of kings almost as much as she despises herself. Asva and her band of kobold bandits--assembled from the tattered remnants of a stripmining crew that collapsed due to druidic intervention--now claim the surface land surrounding an active volcano as their territory, extracting harsh tributes from the small human and halfling tribes and villages that lie "beneath our mountain's shadow".

Asva paints herself as a "champion" for her bandits, a "liberator" to the villagers. Indeed, she did manage to drive out a hobgoblin warband recently, at great personal cost--her mate was slain in the chaos. But now her mental state is more fragile than ever, and everyone knows it. In truth, Asva is plagued by a terror of her own faults and mistakes. She refuses to learn. If everything she held now was lost in a day, she might just flee a hundred miles west and start again, or sign on with the first adventuring crew she finds and aim to forget it all.

The only thing that Asva has left that's truly harmless is her flower garden, a little space she maintains next to her lair full of interesting plants her "subjects" bring her. Unfortunately, a recent acquisition of a shambling mound seedling threatens to turn even the garden into yet another tool for her self-destructive schemes.

Interests: Fashion, food, collecting things made of glass to decorate the garden
Likes: Vampires
Dislikes: Bad table manners, people's knees


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For reasons I cannot fully explain, every single ounce of my hypomania today has suddenly and without warning coalesced into a single, incoherent thought, two words solitary, blazing in my mind like an archangel's burning sword, a singularity of pure, unyielding, unbending, completely useless certainty.


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*deep breath*

Okay, here we go. Let's try to be concise for once, KC. Even if I have extremely complicated feelings here and am still working out how I'm gonna express them.

EDIT: It's just one of those days--

Before we begin, I just want to say that this thread is intended to serve as a place to talk constructively about the problems Rysky and others have been bringing up elsewhere, as well as to talk about what I've perceived as some problems in how people have been bringing them up. As such, I am going to politely ask that the following arguments not be made on this thread, either because they are off-topic, never lead anywhere good, or have been done to death elsewhere:

1. Pleas for this thread to not exist. It exists. Hide it and move on with your day rather than trying to shut down the conversation, please.

2. Complaints that the moderation team is "biased" or has "double standards", such as acting on behalf of management or being intolerant of conservative views.

3. Arguments that this is "pointless" because Paizo doesn't have to care what we think, or because the forums are a "privilege, not a right". See #1.

4. Nitpicking at broad generalizations with irrelevant niche exceptions. Read people in good faith, and if they seem to be saying something really dumb or excessive or extreme, consider that you may be assuming less nuance than they actually intended. Yes, we know that not literally every single mammal gives live birth. We're discussing what animal might be making those scratching noises in Cosmo's attic. Let it go.

Okay, So. So. Here's The Thing. Here's Why Everything Is Terrible Lately.

I don't need to tell you that these last two months have not been fun for anyone. Through it all, there have been two groups that have been effectively obligated to engage to some extent with every single discussion, no matter how toxic or cruel, even if their own integrity and good faith were being attacked the entire time:

Trans people and forum moderators. the two genders

The "moderation team" we have been engaging with--Raychael, Tonya, Heather, the whole crew--is, as far as I can tell, a small cluster of Paizo employees who are expected to keep these forums as safe and supportive and friendly as possible while also doing other jobs that they're actually employed for. The team has recently lost two members, including the person who used to run the team. Sara Marie was a widely beloved figure who ran the team extremely effectively and did everything she could for the forums before being unexpectedly fired without clear cause.

As far as we know, Sara Marie was fired because someone in leadership had it in for her, or didn't like her vocal support for labor rights, or who knows what. We don't know and neither does she. It is honestly one of the grossest things Paizo has done, and one regret of mine is that in all the excitement about transphobia and doxxing, we have spent a lot less time talking about how her firing was gross and inexcusable and incredibly self-destructive on management's part. This isn't the thread to discuss it in detail, but I have yet to see anybody who disagrees with that basic synopsis.

Adjusting to new leadership is hard even under the best of circumstances--a graceful transition, an amiable departure, an initial quiet period for getting a feel for things. Paizo management's abusive actions cost them that transition.

That much is not the moderation team's fault. The responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of Paizo management, who have, incidentally, gotten to largely avoid having to interact with us at all while the moderators take all the heat for them from an increasingly anxious and frustrated community.

Over the last two months, nobody has handled things perfectly. Tonya herself recently issued an in-depth apology acknowledging that she and the team were much too slow to deal with abusive actors early on, and that their blind spots on transphobic dogwhistles exacerbated the problem.

Trans people are used to being tone policed, to seeing dogwhistles allowed to fly under the radar without issue. Seeing abusive actors get "moderated", then pop up a week later to resume their abusive behavior, hurt. It felt like Paizo was turning into yet another toxic community for us, and moderation wasn't going to do anything about it because they valued the aesthetics of forgiveness and redemption above the feelings of safety of trans people.

Many cis people are, putting it kindly, a little clueless about these issues. They've never been an egg, so they don't understand why they're expected to tread so delicately on eggshells now. Some of them feel like they're under attack, like they're being told they "aren't allowed" to have an opinion, like they're the only person noticing, "hey, this person is being kind of rude", like they're the only person who's ever heard "hey, you catch more flies with sugar" but everyone yells when they try to educate us. They feel like the moderators are shutting down every discussion they try to start while letting "worse offenders" off the look.

That's how it has felt for these groups, I think. And those feelings of hurt and fear and frustration and embattlement are valid for both groups. To some extent, they are based on truths: I believe that the moderation we've seen has been, at times, inadequate. I believe that the moderation team needs to reconsider many of their policies, particularly their policy of silence on bans and tempbans.

And yes, being told that you have made a mistake, or realizing that someone doesn't trust you, can be very painful. Not being trusted hurts. Being told you're privileged or spoiled hurts. Sometimes these criticisms are true, and that hurts, too, and that, too, is valid pain. When my now-ex once told me I was being codependent and manipulative towards her, she was completely right, and I still felt devastated and attacked at the time.

You're always valid in feeling hurt. It doesn't make you petty or bad or wrong or selfish or fragile.

But there's a difference between acknowledging valid hurt feelings and translating that into actions and inferences on others.

The Moderators Are Not Our Emotional Support Punching Bags
Look, I'm not here to appeal to some idea of "balance" or "center position" that is somehow superior to taking a strong stand for what you believe in. I am not a centrist. Actually, I'm a pretty enthusiastic extremist. But "moderation in all things" is not the same thing as the Golden Mean Fallacy. It's about acknowledging nuance. It's about acknowledging what we don't know. It's about acknowledging that ultimately, when you bash the moderators, you are bashing people who do not have a lot of power right now, and there is still so much we don't know going on behind the scenes with them.

The moderators are likely victims of all this, too. They don't own the website. They're employees. Employees getting paid less than living wage, most likely. The moderation team is understaffed and underbudgeted. They have likely been just as burned out as everyone else has been during the COVID Years, and their workload just keeps increasing. Their current leadership is inexperienced, and the person who probably knew where everything got fired for no reason. Some of them have been involved directly in union matters, and activism is work, too. Oh, and then there's their actual jobs in Customer Service/PR, right? And these are difficult questions of moderation sometimes. Not all concern trolls realize they're concern trolls, and the whole problem with dogwhistles is that they are designed to blend in, to prey on how online discussion only works if everyone takes good faith for granted.

I have been getting incredibly uncomfortable with criticism of moderation, because I agree with a lot of it in principle, but not in tone.

And no, that's not tone policing. It's about not personally attacking people you don't know. It's about not assuming the worst of complete strangers based on second-party accounts--even from parties you generally trust--and taking that out on them.

Tone policing is telling someone not to be angry. I'm saying that directing your anger at people who may well be fellow victims of management is not the way to go.

So, it's often gone unstated that Tonya herself was criticized heavily by Jessica Price on several points. I think people are uncomfortable bringing this up because we'd all like to stay on good terms with the moderation, because we don't know the full context, and/or because some people don't trust Jessica Price's framing of events. That said, others do trust Jessica enough to feel uncomfortable with Tonya, and I respect that. It's helpful to remember, though, that two good people can severely dislike each other without it reflecting on either one's moral character.

The thing is, I agree with a lot of the criticisms! I think moderation techniques are drastically inadequate! But human beings came up with those techniques, and human beings are trying to tinker with them on the fly, and some of those human beings may well be complete jerks--or they may be trying their best to help and making extremely understandable mistakes.

I have Favorited a lot of posts critical of the forum moderation, because I think those criticisms are accurate, but the moderation team? I have nothing against any of them. I don't know most of them. We have not met.

And because there is a significant possibility that everyone on the team is trying to help, and is in a horrible situation where they are forced to be the face of leaders whom they themselves may be incredibly unhappy with, and because I have no way of knowing that this is not the case, and because I have no way of knowing who cosigned what post or what kinds of conversations went on behind the scenes, and because they are likely going to have to read any post about them I make, I do not think I am going to make anything better by taking out my pain and frustration on them.

This isn't a big company. They aren't distant public figures. Assume that every single member of the team is actually reading any given post you write about them. Yes, including the really snarky or bitter ones. Assume when you criticize an action "one" of them undertook that in reality multiple teammates were involved in that action, not just Tonya or Heather or whoever made the post about the action. And they'll see your criticism. The same thing goes for criticism of the team as a whole.

Have you ever had that moment where you write a really sour post about some "bigwig", and then they reply, and you suddenly feel awkward because they're being nice but they seem sad and you realize you didn't fully expect them to see your post at all, and suddenly you're apologizing and adding nuance you neglected to include in the first post? We're all meaner and harsher when we feel unheard.

But as valid as our pain and fear and anger may be, we do not have the right to take it out on people who we don't know to be responsible. It may be cathartic, but a lot of abusive behavior is.

It's also still abuse.

I don't know anyone who's crossed that line yet, but I do know people who've tapdanced on it repeatedly. That nuance you might be guilted into adding in retroactively? Let's try to add it in the first time instead.

My Problems With Paizo Moderation Practices
Okay. So.

Seeing Rysky's thread get deleted really upset me. I'm still pretty unhappy about it. I have real concerns about how the team is being run, but a lot of them are based on things I don't actually have any way of knowing. And on the off-chance that I'm wrong, I think I'd feel pretty rotten having those assumptions read by those they concern.

But it was not handled well.

I've really appreciated Paizo moderation over the years, including these last few months. You all have a nightmarishly difficult job, and you do an amazing job of it. Paizo moderation practices have been pretty good at tackling problems like "ah geez, the Full Caster people people are calling the Martial people cucks again", where it's more a case of good people losing their tempers due to poor communication on contentious issues. In that case, often the best thing to do is just delete a bunch of toxic posts and tell everyone to cut it out, calm down, and try again.

I also want to thank you for what you have done--the banning of certain abusers, the understanding and forbearance shown when we've gone too far or broken rules, and especially recently, the efforts I think I've seen you all making to be a little more transparent. We see that! It's appreciated! Thank you! This sounds sarcastic but it really, really isn't, I've just been struggling with this post for three hours straight and my breakfast was an apple!

Some of the following criticisms may seem dated to you, old news. But that's kinda the problem: none of us on this side of the screen really know for sure.

My concerns with moderation basically amount to this: As Rysky put succinctly yesterday, deleting posts is not, on its own, meaningful moderation. It's cleanup. It takes care of the bad posts but largely neglects bad posters and bad forum norms.

And yes, to be clear, I can tell that some people are being tempbanned or even permabanned now. Unfortunately, it's always been Paizo policy to not tell anybody what happened except the disciplined party. I don't think this is the right way to handle bullying and abuse. The targets of the abuse need to know something was done.

When I was in college, I reported a professor who was behaving very badly. For legal reasons, they couldn't tell me exactly how he was disciplined, but even then, they took care to message me and tell me that actions had been taken. That sort of vagueness was a necessary evil, but, like, at least they told me something. At least I knew they took me seriously.

A lot of the strongest solutions to these problems would involve extra labor to maintain, not to mention the time and effort to implement in the first place. We understand that. I know that's a big part of why you keep asking us to help as much as we can, to act as "unofficial volunteer mods", and I agree that we need to. And maybe the mods are already making some of these changes without us knowing, which would be great! But, again, not knowing is part of the problem.

And communicating... also takes time and labor, I know. Hell, reading through a post this long, on such a draining and personal subject matter, is the kind of job I would procrastinate to the end of the workweek. I know that almost every improvement we ask for is going to be in some way costly, but I believe that improving practices now will help avoid more labor-intensive breakdowns later. Still, I hate the position you all are in right now.

In Conclusion

Yes, I think people have been too harsh on the moderation team. But at the same time, some of that comes from real pain and real mistakes the moderation team has made, not all of which were even fully under your control but all of which still happened. That hurts to say, because I know it's a very harsh way to approach it. It certainly doesn't excuse the occasional abusive comments I've seen, not one bit.

Trans people are kind of at moderation's mercy. That's a very scary position to be in, and when we don't know what's going on behind the scenes--why someone hasn't been banned yet, whether someone is facing suspension--trust starts to erode.

We know you have the power to ban people. Because of that, when we see Abusive Bill post here again and again, we know that on some level, that's moderation's responsibility. He is here because moderation decided this was "okay". Is that an oversimplification? Yes! Of course it is! Jesus, I am positive the moderation team as a whole is disgusted that people who are extended benefits of the doubt keep taking advantage of that trust, sad and repulsed at how trolls keep sneaking under the radar.

But Bill is still here.

And so moderation becomes the face of the abuse itself, as every time Bill posts some flamebait, we mutter amongst each other, "Funny how he's still around." We don't know what's going on, what the process was to keep Bill around. We just see the results. I only work out Bill was banned if I stick around to notice, "Oh, hey, Bill hasn't implied I'm overemotional or violent in a while." And sticking around waiting for that gutpunch is sort of like waiting to see if a hiccup cure worked. It sucks.

It's not fair. We are on different trains heading the same direction, and we have pretty minimal way of communicating, "Hey, are you about to turn right and smash into us?". You likely often feel you have no way of shouting back, "No, sorry, we were just cleaning the turn signal."

The Trains Expert has logged on.

It's not a good situation. I think all of us are trying our best. But above all, I think more transparency is absolutely critical.

And for our part, yes, I really want us all to take a step back and remember that as frustrating as the situation is, sniping at the moderation doesn't actually make anything better. It probably just makes them sadder.

I wrote and rewrote so many parts of this post so many times. I'm about to post it, and I hope it comes off exactly as I intended. I hope nobody thinks I'm only lecturing trans and trans ally posters here, either--some of the meanest potshots I've seen aimed at mods have been from the same cis people I keep getting in arguments with. I'm not trying to dismiss people's pain or anxiety, or act like it entitles us to behave badly, or imply that everybody who's been critical of moderation or clashed with it has been abusive, or act like moderation has no idea what needs to change, or indicate "the real crisis here is that ear-splitting g&#@&!n smoke alarm". But I was also trying to keep this short. I genuinely thought I'd be able to. Hubris.

Anyways.

If you read this far, you're an angel. If you didn't and you skipped to this paragraph and plan to lie to me about it, [comedically disproportionate condemnation implying illicit affairs between you and the Christian Devil] that's totally understandable. Hope your Friday's going well. <3


I've been thinking lately about homebrew and independent game design, and in particular, how I seem utterly incapable of compressing a magic item description to a single simple paragraph. That got me curious - what kinds of game design challenges do other people struggle with?

I don't know if an open-ended prompt like this will get any bites, but it's really interesting to me as both a point of curiosity and a discussion point. How do you learn to be less voluminously verbose, for example? Does it come easily to anyone here?


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Hey! So, me and a few other Paizonians were talking in another thread, and we each spontaneously realized we all really missed the old sidebar that used to show the latest posts. It was a nice way to browse parts of the forums we normally didn't think to check, and helped the messageboards feel like a coherent entity. Especially in the days of Focus (a feature I use a lot, to be clear, out of necessity), that's something I really miss. I don't think we'd have gotten iconic threads like "Succubus in a Grapple" without people glancing at the sidebar and muttering, "Okay, I GOTTA know..."

Anyways, the last time I brought the sidebar up, a long time ago, I remember Gary Teter joking that he was pretty sure I was the only person who ever used it. But that's not true! There are pairs of us! Quartets, even! ;)

Aside from creating clutter for those who disliked it, the biggest problem I can see with the sidebar is that it might encourage endless dogpiling onto toxic threads. I do think it might be interesting if threads that get moderated heavily just automatically get removed from the sidebar, or maybe the moderator can remove them from consideration from the sidebar by checking a little box. I think making the sidebar an optional feature you could Enable/Disable would also solve most of the major problems it introduces, though that might be tricky to program.

So this is just a thread to say, for the record, that you would use such a feature if it ever got re-added.


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Fun fact: I first found out about NaNoWriMo from these forums, and that led me to write my very first book, way back in my middle school days. So as long as I'm bouncing down Nostalgia Road, as I've been lately, I figured I might as well make a quick stop here.

So, yeah, for those who don't know, National Novel Writing Month is a nonprofit event organized to promote literacy and the creative arts across the world, although I honestly mainly know it as "the event that puts my Thanksgiving plans in jeopardy every year".

The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write up to 50,000 words, or a full novel, within the month of November. Sometimes people set higher or lower goals, as they so please. I like to keep it traditional. It's a really helpful exercise for those who work better under deadlines, and those tight deadlines can really help inspire you. Plus, being forced to write 1,667 words a day for a month can be a real confidence booster.

Disclaimer: Obviously, we're having a 600-day year right now. I blew off last year's event, the first time I've done so since I started over a decade ago. I think I've reevaluated a lot of my feelings about NaNoWriMo as the problems with my own workaholism have become increasingly apparent, especially over the last few years, and I do think there are very good reasons not to like NaNoWriMo at all. I think NaNoWriMo's culture sort of encouraged a damaging norm of not taking care of yourself, of obsessing over productivity at all costs, and worst of all, of liking Harry Potter. But they've taken great strides in recent years, and I'm down for a nice, wholesome, good-faith stab at getting back into the rhythm. NaNoWriMo can be a lot of fun, and it would be nice to write for myself instead of for commissioners for a change.

So, yeah! I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year. I may use this thread to talk about my ideas for what I want to write this time around--I've already got a couple. Is anyone else in?


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Hi, all.

I hope this is the right subforum from this; it seemed appropriate. We've been arguing a lot lately about the issues Paizo's facing, but everyone seems to be in consensus about one thing: We care about the people who make Paizo great and want them to be okay through all this.

A lot of people have said that a good thing to do is contact your favorite staffer, or ex-staffer, with some kind words. I kind of want to encourage that kind of constructive positivity amid all of this. Truly, I want it to be a part of the process here: It's easy to do battle with the bad things, but it's just as important to bring kindness to the good things, isn't it?

So here's the place to talk about the nice things you've been sending their way. Or just say the nice things here, if you don't know how best to send them or feel shy about doing so! That's, um, what I'm doing for the time being. :P

Please don't use this thread to snipe. It's just not the place for it. Also, if a thread like this already exists, I will not apologize, I demand control over all the threads, I will be the center of attention, I can no longer be contained and I will assimilate all who dare sorry, yeah, my bad, I didn't see it on my cursory scan. <3

Anyways, I'll start. I'm honestly not the best person to start, because I actually haven't interacted a ton with Paizo staff in a long time, but I do have some names off the top of my head to at least kick things off with.

Heather F:
Heather, I've seen you posting a lot to try to keep things healthy and moderated. I really appreciate your presence here. I know it can't be easy, for lots of complicated reasons that I don't really know the full details of as well as the obvious turnover issues. I've been on a lot of heavily-moderated threads in the past--obviously just a coincidence--and I think you're doing a bang-up job of being clear, up-front, and transparent. You're also being careful not to shut down discussion overall, which is really valuable to me.

Sara Marie:
I also want to express my deep appreciation for Sara Marie, which I've done a bunch but will do again because, like I said, I've been through a lot of locked threads (coincidence!) and Sara Marie and Chris Lambertz honestly just elevated the process. She always explained why a lock happened, every time. I remember one time she forgot, or her post got lost or something, and I remember what a big kerfuffle that was simply because she had set such an amazing precedent of always explaining a threadlock that everyone was thrown into confusion. Lots of forum moderators on other sites don't even bother to offer more than a cursory overview, but Sara Marie set a fundamental norm that helped me improve how I post. And that's why I never get any of my posts deleted anymore, especially not in the last 24 hours. Sara, thank you for making this community such a wonderful place to be.

Chris Lambertz:
Oh, and Chris Lambertz! Gosh, it makes me sad it took me a moment to remember her last name. Chris was infinitely patient with people, despite her frequent role as the big scary mod who had to step in and ruin everyone's fun flamewars. I remember how she would repeatedly lean in to moderate my Threadlock Refugees thread, always in a protective fashion--she easily could have said, "This thread just invites griping about moderation and the continuation of old arguments, we're locking it," but instead she would urge posters to respect the thread's intentions so it could stay open. That care and respect honestly meant a lot to me, and it's why TL Refugees remains one of my favorite dumb threads on these forums.

Mark Seifter:
I also want to thank Mark Seifter. I haven't engaged with him a ton, but his Twitter thread was really helpful in clarifying a few things about Paizo's financial situation, and he's generally a really honest, transparent person on these forums. He offers such valuable and insightful explanations of his choices, and he's a big part of why I actually bought Pathfinder Unchained, at a time when I was sort of not bothering to buy sourcebooks anymore. Mark, thank you for your fantastic work on these games!

Liz Courts:
Liz Courts was one of the most welcoming people and patient people on the Boards when I first joined. She was what made kid-me see this place as a special kind of community, not just a muddled mass of squabbling gamers. Her work with Hugo Solis on Wayfinder remains one of the most amazing and influential contributions to Pathfinder third-party content, an incredible labor of love that made the whole community better just seeing such a thing come to be. And then she actually got hired by Paizo, and did a fantastic job as Store Manager. I still think of her as Lilith, with the old avatar, and probably always will. Liz, you're f&@!ing rad! Thank you for having been such a wonderful pillar of the best things about this community.

Jessica Price:
Jessica Price was one of the people who really made me trust Paizo. She fought hard for what she believed in, for the people she cared about, and for her own dignity. Even when I disagreed with her, I respected her unwillingness to compromise on what she thought was right. Her work with Wes Schneider on an attempt at a bias-free hiring system was so fascinating to me, and it was a treat to listen to her talk about it at panels. Jessica, thank you for raising the bar for Pathfinder and helping make it what it is today.

Wes Schneider:
Wes Schneider, I don't know if we've ever interacted to any serious extent, but everyone I've spoken to has praised your efforts to make Paizo a more inclusive company and a more progressive creative force. The Pathfinder AP series is what made Paizo what it is today, and before that, Dragon magazine was what made me, well, who I am today. Thank you for making both of them so fantastic. I was around for the last year or so of Dragon magazine, and it was so, so very important to me that I got to be subscribed for even that short span of time. Special shoutout to the Music in D&D episode, which was both inspiring and really fun to read for Kid Kobold Cleaver.

Gary Teter:
I'm not going to make this whole post read to people in a goofy cartoon voice by saying the sm-word, but that whole prank is legitimately one of the funniest things to ever happen to me, and it was such a cute, silly way to engage with my absurd antics. Sorry I was such a brat about it at the time! I always worried that it was my drama that made the April Fools Day pranks stop, even though I know that's absurd. You put a lot of fun ridiculous energy into the messageboards. Thanks for being the best Postmonster a community like this could ask for.

Crystal Frasier:
Crystal Frasier, honestly, I only learned some of the coolest things about you after you left Paizo. You draw beautiful art and were incredibly witty and fun to talk to on the forums. I've basically never heard anything but praise and respect towards you. I remember that first blog post, and I remember how utterly delightful I thought the little comics of your "goblinsona" were. Honestly, that sense of humor--like the "goblins in the wires" images we'd get when the site was down--was an iconic part of what made Paizo Paizo to me. Your blog posts were really funny and really engaging, and I almost never read Paizo Blog posts until that point. Thank you for bringing so much fun and joy to Paizo, and honestly, I really need to read "Cheer Up!". :P

Okay, I'm sure there's more, but that's all I got for now. This started as me just wanting to improve the overall energy of the discourse right now and point things in a better direction, but honestly became really cathartic for me.

I know not everyone I posted about will likely see this thread, so I'll try to actually send emails or something out when I have the time and the energy and the non-crippling-shyness. I'm also sorry that I don't know enough to praise everyone working at Paizo, haha! I'm out of touch these days, and I'm also a terrible ditz.

Also, while I'm being all nostalgic and positive, big shoutouts to Ashiel, Mikaze, Freehold DM, Celestial Healer, Tacticslion, Radavel, emperor7, Heathansson, Courtfool, Ambrosia Slaad, TOZ, CrystalSeas, DMCal, Doodlebug Anklebiter, Dogbladewarrior, Fake Healer, Dragonborn3, Kelsey MacAilbert, James Sutter, Amber Stewart, Cosmo, Hugo Solis, Adam Daigle, Steve Geddes, Umbral Reaver, thejeff, Mark Hoover, that guy with the gorgon avatar, Dungeon Grrrl, Limeylongears, lynora, Aubrey the Malformed, Patrick Curtain, Crimson Jester, big time Kalindlara, Rysky, Sharoth, Captain Yesterday's Avatar, and Sebastian, among countless others. This weird list is not comprehensive or curated or anything. It's just people I have on my mind right now for random arbitrary reasons who are or have been, like, important to how I view the community. Thanks for making these messageboards what they are today.


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Whispering Cairn Maps (Current: Slide 14); 16th of Arodus, Time: 11:20 AM

Since the beginning of history, the mortal world has measured time in ages. Ages of Legend, of Enthronement, and even of Anguish mark the human tally of years, giving a sense of order to the events of past centuries. Over one hundred years ago, another Age was meant to begin—an Age of Glory for humankind, for Avistan, an Age marked by Aroden's return.

But it never came. The anointed date arrived, and Aroden did not. His clerics were called upon to explain it, but you might as well call upon a telescope to explain why a star has gone out. Prayers were answered with silence. The empires Aroden had molded into being crumbled. Many of the old gods were cast aside, for not one could explain what had happened. Prophecy was slain, and the Age of Lost Omens had begun.

A century passed. Mortals found new gods, or new names for old gods, or some combination of the two. Empires crumble or fall into hollow ruin, but Varisia has never had any use for empires, and so the Chelaxians and Taldans are not missed.

No town has exemplified the shift more than Diamond Lake. The pristine, near-crystalline body of water came under focus nearly one hundred and fifty years ago for the many ancient tombs dotting the Cairn Hills around it. An outpost sprouted up of adventurers, tomb robbers, treasure hunters. As the years went by, cairn after cairn was picked clean of relics. By the time of Aroden's death, the town was dying, too. The town would have collapsed had coal and silver deposits not been discovered in some of the old tombs, and so Diamond Lake became a mining town.

Over the last century, the lake has become more and more polluted, the fish within mutated and borderline inedible. The town has followed suit. Corruption has seeped into every crack in Diamond Lake's crumbling pavement. It is oft-said that there are two kinds of people found in the mining town of Diamond Lake: Those who have arrived disgraced, broken, seeking a fresh start in a town that will accept them as they are...and those who've come to take what little the former have left.

It is also said that one Age has yet to occur—the last prophecy still intact, the final fate for a world left sick and infected without its Living God. Golarion draws near an age of rot, of decay, and of writhing doom. Madmen and seers rave about it drawing nearer by the day. The Harrow has become obsessed with it, scarce able to perform even simple readings without whispers of writhing doom emerging from the cards. Monsters rasp its name in the fell tongue of Aklo with fear and excitement dripping from their jaws. Astrologers, diviners, and the servants of Fate believe that the Age of Worms may begin at any time.

The wisest among them fear that it has already begun.

Chapter One: The Whispering Cairn
CurrentDate: 13th of Arodus (August), 4706
8 am
1d100 ⇒ 25

The entire town stinks of sweat, beer, and despair on this warm summer day. But it's just another day in Diamond Lake.

In the perfumed arcade known as the Emporium, a drunken Governor-Mayor Lanod Neff rubs shoulders with petty heirs and heiresses awaiting appointments in the Veiled Corridor. Several of the less pleasant among them peek out the windows and holler catcalls at a passing elven woman down below. She ignores them, pulling her hood down slightly. She has no time for such nonsense at the moment. A floor below, a gaggle of grasping miners presses against the windowed door of a darkened cell, impatient for a glimpse of a two-headed calf. Many of the poorer patrons are using hard-won days off from their abusive employers to come here and have some fun. This is their idea of it.

Out in the street, a gang of rowdies screams obscenities at a crumpled halfling, kicking it as if scrambling for a ball. Their drunken laughter echoes off shuttered windows and booted doors, but peters out when they notice a heavily-armored dwarf coming their way. The gang scatters. His symbol of a sword embedded in a mountaintop might be wooden, but his greatsword and axes are not. The halfling crawls into an alleyway, leans against a wall, and pulls out a wad of something medicinal.

Across the polluted lake, an ancient tomb stands decorated with vivid green tapestries, colorful mint gardens growing atop it. Symbols of Wee Jas and Pharasma are carved above the entrance, though the latter has recently been vandalized to make the swirling spiral look like a very oddly-shaped item of human anatomy. From the Cult of the Lady of Mint emerges an out-of-breath woman in black, her purple cloak billowing behind her in the mind breeze as she races to catch the Jasidians' morning ferry into town. She's running very late.

Off the northeastern corner of town, a woman dressed quite like a ranger or druid rides a sleek warhorse. The horse pauses as it passes the Moonmeadow Mine, sniffing the air. After a moment, it lets out an uneasy whinny and hurries along, cringing under the baleful glare of a pale yellow-haired elf sitting by the mine entrance.

Up about fifty yards ahead of her, just out of sight thanks to the shape of the hills, a tall woman in a red riding habit and matching sun hat makes her way northeast. The Company Road here is littered with smashed wine and whiskey bottles, along with the occasional broken vial that likely once contained less wholesome substances, and her riding boots make unpleasant crunching noises every time she picks a less-than-cautious step.

At a crumbling old homestead further along the same road—the rendezvous point for the motley crew that is assembling, just an hour or two away from the Whispering Cairn—patiently waits a lean, muscular man with an oft-broken nose and the garb of a soldier. He sits on an old stool and... waits. He didn't expect to be the first one here.

Alaïs:
You've been in town for a few days now, and already it feels like you're making more enemies than friends. Moonmeadow can't seem to stand you—he takes every opportunity he can find to degrade your "supposed" birthright, to emphasize his status over you, and to send you off on errands. He has an ugly reputation in Diamond Lake, due to his refusal to hire non-elves, and you're pretty sure that's why you've been getting ugly looks from the hard-eyed miners around town ever since you arrived. Allustan seems to enjoy your company, so you've turned his home into something of a sanctuary, and you hope he doesn't mind. Even there, though, sometimes his insufferable brother comes by, and he's never anything but an oaf even when he's sober. Allustan seems completely incapable of telling Lanod Neff off. You haven't gotten a letter from your distant friend since you arrived in town, though you visit the general store every day to ask, just in case.

So you had many reasons to accept Briar's invitation when she came by. She seems like a genuinely nice person, and you're a little starved for nice persons at the moment. Plus, it's a nice small group—that bard of Wee Jas you've seen around town, some miner fellow who grew up here with Kata. Maybe you can make some friends. At any rate, you're trapped in Diamond Lake until you can raise the money to venture north to the Lurkwood, and your ancestral estate. The promise of massive profits is... well, appealing, to say the least.

Allustan has implored you to bring back copious notes, as well as any relics you find that he can examine. You've found it strangely easy to decipher many of the relics he has in his study, and both you and he wonder why. It's not Elven, that's for sure. So why does the language seem to flow so easily through your mind?

Edrukk:
A few days ago, a stalwart lad you've befriended named Broccan brought you in on a little scheme he and that bard, Kata Coszma, are planning to loot the old Whispering Cairn. They'll certainly have use for another pair of hands, especially belonging to someone who knows how to navigate old tunnels like a dwarf does. When Broccan invited you, you happily accepted, and decided to invite a fourth member—a stalwart lass you've befriended named Rosella who hails from the Bronzewood Lodge.

Quietly, there's more than one reason you're so eager to tag along. The whispers that trail around you seem very keen on something beneath Diamond Lake. You can't shake the sense that Gorum wants you to venture underground, and... perhaps the Whispering Cairn is what he means.

Kata:
About a week ago, you got into talks with a sometimes-friend/coworker of yours, Briar Vervain. She's an employee at the Veiled Corridor of the Emporium, though she used to work at the Sunshade House before it closed down (the owner died, very tragic business). She brought up off-handedly how that new trio of adventurers in town—Auran's Warriors, or something like that, but you corrected her to Auric's Warband—is going after the old Stirgenest Cairn. That almost made you laugh. The Stirgenest Cairn is an old joke amongst those who grew up in the area. The only contents of that cairn are... well, it's in the name.

She probed at your amusement, and you got to talking about the Cairn, and about the Cairn you happen to know of that actually is still unlooted. And the more you and she talked, the more you got to thinking. Nobody's ever looted the Whispering Cairn in full. Why shouldn't you? I mean, if anyone has a right to the contents of that Sarenrae-forsaken hole in the ground...

You brought up your idea to her. Briar seemed reluctant at first, but you managed to persuade her. You decided to bring Broccan into the mix as well—an experienced miner would be helpful to have along, and you've known Broccan through Caith since you were kids, so he's probably not out to betray your plans to Auric's Warband, or anyone else, for that matter. The town's been making you nervous lately. Auric's Warband aren't the only strangers in town: There's a rather uppity elf woman who's arrived quite recently, always hanging around Allustan or the Ellival residence. Plus, that strange pale-skinned sorceress with the jet-black hair who's been clinging to Balabar Smenk like a lamprey. Ilthane the Black. What do all these strangers want in town?

Of course, they aren't the real reasons you've been uneasy lately. You know that.

The three of you set the date: The 13th of Arodus, eight in the morning, you'd meet up at the old homestead the kids of Diamond Lake used to use as a hideout and clubhouse. There should be enough ancient treasures in the old cairn to see the three of you all the way to Katapesh. All the way to... wherever you want to go. All the way to Not Here.

Rosella:
I just realized I've been misspelling your name as "Roselle" this whole time. Sorry about that!
A few days ago, Edrukk, an unusually friendly dwarf who fixes up your armor and tools from time to time, gave you a surprising invitation: Apparently, he, a sturdy fellow named Broccan he'd just introduced you to, and that cultist bard, Kata Coszma, were going on an outing to the old Whispering Cairn. Four hands were better than three, after all.

You were taken aback that he'd thought of you, but excited at the prospect. This seems like a good crew, too. Kata has a good reputation around town, and Broccan, well, you've heard the accounts. Kullen's crew likes to push around Bronzewood Lodge members whenever they come into town. You've never heard of anyone standing up to him before.

After stocking up on tools and provisions, you set off first thing in the morning. You pray the dwarf wasn't exaggerating the potention earnings, and that this expedition bears fruit. With any luck, you can earn the cash on this job to finally get out of this town, out of this whole region, and to the big city you've dreamed about for years. Anywhere but here will do, but Magnimar beckons.

Briar:
About a week ago, you got in touch with Kata Coszma, a singer of the Emporium and servant of the Cult of the Lady of Mint. Kata worships Pharasma, grew up in the region, and is a lot less wild-eyed than most of the cultists in this town. She makes an excellent contact, and a decent friend, too. You can use all the friends you, can get right now.

Zalamandra knows what you did. You can tell—she hired you a little too eagerly after what happened, and she knows. She's being nice so far, but you don't trust the rakshasa tiefling as far as you can throw her. This is bad. Secrets held by Zalamandra are commodities like any other. You don't have money to keep her quiet, nor to get out of town. You don't have time to decipher the book. But opportunity knocks on strange doors.

Strangers have come to town of late. Most recently, a pale woman with long straight hair the color of a starless night, who's cozied up to Balabar Smenk like a sly, slippery eel. Her name is Ilthane the Black, and apparently she's some manner of alchemist or wizardess. More importantly, however, a group calling themselves Auric's Warband has shown up—adventurers from Magnimar, apparently, keen on looting the Stirgenest Cairn and bragging about it to anyone they meet. You mentioned this offhandedly to Kata, and she laughed. According to her, the Stirgenest Cairn has been empty for years, and contains only, well, stirges now. The only cairn in town that's not been looted is...

She trailed off. But you pried a little further. There was something else, you could tell, something she didn't particularly want to talk about. You didn't like prying, but this was important. She eventually revealed that there was another tomb. The Whispering Cairn. Unlooted, but very dangerous. You can tell Kata has some memories there. You convinced her that it would be worth trying your luck there, and importantly, you convinced her it was her own idea. You're putting a crew together: Kata, some stalwart fellow named Broccan you've never met, and, of your own volition, you've also recruited a bright-eyed elven woman you met while visiting Allustan's for translation advice. She seems eager to help, and she doesn't seem to have a lot of friends in town—which both makes you feel good about helping her and safer about bringing her on board. Best to keep a job like this discrete. Ideally, Zalamandra doesn't have to have any idea where the lot of you are headed.

A nice, simple four-way secret. Easy to keep.

Broccan:
A few days ago, an old childhood mutual friend (through Caith) approached you with an enticing opportunity. Kata Coszma, that bard of the Cult of the Lady of Mint, is putting together a crew to loot the Whispering Cairn. You realized this was your chance: Both to get some real money together, and more importantly, to do some actual, real adventuring. And it feels like the clock is ticking, with those new adventurers, Orion's War-Rig or whatever they're called, in town looking for tombs to plunder.

The town's been making you nervous lately. The adventurers aren't the only strangers in town: A strange pale-skinned witch with jet-black hair has been following at Balabar Smenk's heel like a stalking mountain cat. Chillblain the Dark, or something like that. What do all these strangers want with a wretched town like Diamond Lake?

Just you and Kata seemed like a rather small team, so you decided to bring in a friend of yours, Edrukk Thorvirgunson. He, in turn, recruited a ranger from the Bronzewood Lodge named Rosella. Four is a safer group size than two, after all. Today, first thing in the morning, you're all set to meet up at the old homestead the kids of Diamond Lake used to use as a hideout and clubhouse.

It looks like you're the first one here.

Don't feel beholden to the implied timeline above—you all can arrive and encounter Broccan in whatever order suits you.

A rather nice map of Diamond lake. A less-nice map with a key. In both maps, the Moonmeadow and Dourstone locations are swapped.


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Whispering Cairn Maps (Current: Slide 14); 16th of Arodus, Time: 11:20 AM

Welcome, my friends, to the story of Golarion's next and perhaps final age, and the fools who'll try to stop it.

As difficult as the choice was this time around, I am incredibly happy with the PCs I've chosen.

Kata Coszma, N human bard of Pharasma
Rosella Breban, NG human fighter of the Bronzewood Lodge
Briar Vervain, CG human oracle of Calistria
Alaïs Thalanassa, CG elf skald noblewoman
Broccan Dunchad, NG human brawler of no account
Edrukk Thorvirgunson, CG dwarf warpriest of Gorum

Spoiler:
Edrukk Thorvirgunson, your roleplaying style was already known to me. I really enjoyed playing alongside Edrukk's uncle, and I know Edrukk Jr will make a wonderful addition to this party, and a great fit for the Age of Worms. He's a gentle fire that nonetheless burns brightly.

Broccan Dunchad, again, I knew your style from our previous game together. Broccan is an incredibly sweet, lovable character, with a vulnerability I don't often see in D&D PCs—especially big tough brawlers. His original incarnation was the heart of the old Shackled City party, and I think he rounds out this party very well.

Alaïs Thalanassa, I think you have a very compelling and effective way of crafting PbP characters. Alais's long-distance relationship would be an excellent hook on its own, but that, coupled with her haunting ambitions, give an amazing depth of purpose to play with. She seems like a blast, and I'm so glad you decided to accept my invite.

Briar Vervain, your character immediately caught my interest for exciting hooks, a dark but vividly imagined backstory, and a base character concept I was immediately charmed by. Calistria is such an interesting goddess, and your character embodies her very well. Briar offers genuine, interesting moral failings that could give her a compellingly complex relationship with other partymembers. A great fit for an Adventure Path about the gradual corruption of the noblest of virtues.

Kata Coszma, like I said, I like Wee Jas, but what really grabbed me about your character was how gripping your writing was. "Prose backstories" are hit or miss with me, but yours was fantastic. Kata feels very well-connected to Diamond Lake—and to the Whispering Cairn—in a way I think will only get more interesting to explore as the party moves away from both. Her focus on death, too, made a great fit for the AP about the undead.

Rosella Breban, your character swooped in and caught me by surprise when I was pretty sure my mind was already made up on my selections. Rosella's story is sweet, relatable, and utterly tragic; the first thing I said to my girlfriend was, "I have to let her into the game. She has to get to Magnimar!" That's how you know you've got a proper heart-wrenching Sad Backstory™. Of course, it wasn't just the backstory—I'm really excited by her hooks, and I think, whether she gets a happy ending or a tragic one, Rosella's going to be a great match for this AP's tone.

Welcome to the campaign, and congratulations!! I'll be looking to start the Gameplay thread tomorrow morning. Thank you so much for putting up with the wait!

As a reminder, all House Rules are included on my profile. Also, particularly in the first week or so of play, I am probably going to be checking in here now and again looking for feedback. I like feedback. PbPs don't give me a lot of it. So I beg your patience if I come across as overly insecure—I'm just trying to get to know people and get a feel for how the campaign's gonna be.

Some Basic Housekeeping:
• Can I ask what people prefer to be called? I go by she/her.
• What's everyone's comfort levels? We touched on it briefly in the Recruitment thread. Any notable topics to avoid? Of particular note, Briar's backstory has some pretty heavy stuff in it, including transphobia and homophobia. Rosella's backstory deals with some real emotional abuse and neglect. Kata's backstory contains some real trauma. Edrukk worships a god who is, in the campaign, primarily associated with violence and, in his darker embodiments, slaughter (not that Edrukk worships those darker elements!). How do we feel about some aspects of these things coming up in the campaign?

Alignments
My personal alignment rules go something like this: If you'll consistently do evil things when there are other viable options, you're Evil. If you prefer to constrain your own and others' behavior around a code that is not necessarily subservient to your own convenience or morals, you're Lawful. If you consider your own personal "takes" to supersede any external framework (such as laws, codes, masters, etc), you're Chaotic. Killing or hurting a captive when there are viable alternatives, for instance, is always an evil act. You can commit evil acts and still be Good, but, well, has anyone seen Bojack Horseman? It's not enough to feel bad about it. You have to make genuine efforts to be better.

Final Backstory Tinkerings:

Does anyone want their PCs to already know each other?

So, the start of the campaign goes something like this: One or two of you (including at least one native of Diamond Lake, quite possibly Kata) have put together a plan to loot the Whispering Cairn. It's a well-kept secret among kids who grew up in the area that the Whispering Cairn has never been fully looted by the adventurers that come on by now and again. Some strangers have come to Diamond Lake of late, so the clock is clearly ticking to make it big and get out of this crummy little town!

Just as a suggestion, my favorite framing device goes something like this: Two people came up with the idea, someone invited a friend, that friend invited someone else they knew, and so on. When the party meets up, the original couple of planners can be increasingly nonplussed at just how many people have been pulled into this "secret" endeavor. It's a fun way to gradually introduce the crew.

Aside from already knowing other PCs, this is a good time to make those last-minute modifications. Briar, we talked about "localizing" Briar a little bit more, for instance. Edrukk, Gorum's worship will be a major element in the second book, as you encounter a heretical cult dedicated to his Erythnul incarnation. That might be of interest to you.

Everyone can feel free to make any tweaks they like in this time.


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Quote:

It’s said that the town of Diamond Lake started off rotten. Like an apple already browning when it fell from the tree. Maybe it’s all the ancient ruins and cairns dotting the hills. Maybe it’s the coal dust clinging to everyone’s clothes, the constant cough old-timers of the town have developed. Maybe it’s the remnants of the original inhabitants of the area, the goblinkin, who can still be spotted spitefully roaming the cursed hills or milling through the town looking for work. Maybe it’s the dead things that keep getting up and moving around.

Or maybe it’s something deeper. Maybe Varisia itself is plagued by a deeper sickness—a rot that festers, a death that writhes and squirms and multiplies by the second. Regardless, you want to raise the cash to get out of this awful town sooner, not later, and tomb robbing may be just the way to do it.

Druids and wizards speak of the mythical “Age of Worms” as if it is imminent, as if the next great era is just around the corner. Some suggest that it has already arrived.

Hello, everyone! I’ve been running an Age of Worms PbP for some time on these forums, and you might think I’ve gotten tired of it—but actually, I’m just getting nostalgic for the start of the AP. So I’m starting a second Age of Worms game! With this one, I can correct for problems I identified the first go-around and focus on PC growth a little more.

I should note that some aspects of the AP will see major changes—either as I modify elements to fit the PCs, or to fit my own ideas. For instance, the 8th installment will see massive elements overhauled, since parts of them really bugged me.

Setting: Varisia. A well-tinkered-with Varisia, with a lot of tie-in with Greyhawk. Pathfinder gods are allowed, but might just be reimaginings—for instance, Cayden Cailean might just be a more idealistic form of Olidammara, for all anyone knows. You are free to embellish as you see fit and I’ll tell you if there’s an issue.
Concept: This is a PF1e conversion of the Age of Worms AP, a campaign about the end of days and the prophesied heroes meant to try and fail to stop it.
Aim: This AP runs from 1st level to 20th level. I’m hoping we can complete it within 2-4 years, with a fast, steady pace.
Tone: Age of Worms is a fairly classic D&D campaign, with a lot of darkness and despair contrasted by brave, noble heroes doing their best to save the day. Will they succeed? Up to you! And the dice! And also me!
Playstyle: Combats will be harsh and vicious, but with mostly story consequences—I want to try to avoid unwanted PC deaths this time around. Outside combat, I focus on character arcs, relationships, and growth. Backstories will come up from time to time. If your backstory tells me you’re an exile from your homeland, you’ll probably either have to go home or meet someone from there at some point.
Major House Rules: Action Points, Background Skills, some custom traits, see profile and character creation info below.

Application Guidelines:
It’s okay to submit a completed PC. However, what I need from you is a post with your alias that contains:
Your character’s alignment, class, race, and party role.
Your backstory.
A good example post would be, Hi, here’s Jonathon Ageworm, a Chaotic Good human rogue. He’ll be sort of a trapsmith and backup melee combatant, with the backstory spoilered below, along with any other information I’d need to know.

What I Expect From Players:
Posting Rate: I am primarily able to post around mornings and evenings, PDT. If you can, indicate a time of day to me that you’re generally able to post so we know when to expect it. I would like to see 2-3 posts per day during the first week or so of play, but we’ll slow down after that.

How I’ll Choose Players
#1 Priority: Clear, friendly communication. We’re all here to have fun and play a game together. Be flexible, open to compromise, and respectful of other players’ comfort levels. Tell me if there’s an issue before it becomes a problem. Try not to leave people hanging on your answers.

I will be looking for players who I think will get along with each other and handle issues good-naturedly.

#2 Priority: Interesting backstories. Your backstories should have lots of hooks, as well as meat to hook into—it’ll come up in the campaign, so give me material to play with. You don’t have to write a tragic novella, but don’t just say, “He’s just a chill guy who wants to go on an adventure.” If you want a character whose adventure is only just beginning, I’ll at least want to see that they have character elements we can build on later. Maybe you want the chill guy to have a character arc where he learns to take things seriously, or where he finds out how dangerous adventuring can really be. That sort of thing.

I will be looking for PCs whose backstories complement the story and tone and offer interesting hooks.

#3 Priority: Good roleplay and characterization, and understanding of tone. This is a character-focused game, and meant to be a relatively serious one—jokes are fine, but joke characters are not. Nothing sillier than Princess Bride. The biggest running theme of this AP is slow decay. Things are getting worse, and many of the people who were supposed to fix things are either dead, have switched sides, or made fateful compromises.

I will be looking for PCs who I think would have interesting dynamics together and who can play well with the themes of this storyline.

#4 Priority: Interesting character builds. This is very, very low priority, and interesting =/= “powerful”. I don’t want an arms race. Like I said, I’m not going for PC death. Making your PCs as powerful as they can be is not appropriate, and will make me worried that you’re more concerned about your PC doing well than about telling an interesting collaborative story. On the other hand, if you create a character with dumped Wis and Con, I might worry that you’re not going to last long enough to get to that story.

I will be looking for PCs who I think will find fun ways to take on the challenges they will be facing, rather than simply steamrolling them or being steamrolled. Party balance is not my top priority, but I do care about every PC having their own niches to shine in.

Character Creation Info:
See my profile for my house rules.
Class/Level: 1st
Abilities: 25 Point Buy, no more than 13 points on any one ability.
Races: Core races, other races on a case-by-case basis. I’m open to it if you have a concept that fits, but nothing too weird.
Classes: See my profile for class modifications, but Unchained rogues are allowed, and fighters start with +4 skill points and Combat Stamina as a bonus feat.
Sources: Anything on the PRD. Spheres of Power/Might are allowed on a case-by-case basis. Please link any non-Core source your character relies upon in your profile.
Alignment: Any, but create characters with nuance and depth who can be team players. Any evil PCs should be written with room to grow.
Action Points: Everyone will start play with 5 Action Points (see my profile).

Equipment: 300 gp for starting gear. No non-Core armor, weapons, or combat items without GM approval.
Hit Points: Max for first level.
Feats: Everyone gets Dirty Fighting as a bonus feat. Additionally, you may choose either Power Attack, Two-Weapon Fighting, Agile Maneuvers, Mounted Combat, Weapon Finesse, Point Blank Shot, Martial Weapon Proficiency, or Light Armor Proficiency as a bonus feat.
Traits: 2 traits. One trait must be a Campaign trait—see my profile for a full list. Drawbacks on a case-by-case basis.
Skills: We are using Background Skills. Knowledge skills are heavily modified—see my profile.

Backstories/Personalities: I don't need a twenty-paragraph epic, but give me more than one paragraph to work with. I like to see hooks that tie in with the area, or things I can tie in with the adventure later on.

Setting Info:
Your PCs start in the ugly little town of Diamond Lake, which doesn’t matter very much at all in the grand scheme of things. It’s a mining town that sprung up from the remains of an adventuring town, and is now controlled by a bunch of feuding mine managers, a corrupt Governor-Mayor, and a bunch of squabbling churches.

Major Power Players:

Mine Managers, in Order of Prominence:
Balabar Smenk – A corrupt titan who seeks to rule the whole town.
Gelch Tilgast – An old ex-behemoth who now struggles alongside Parrin to reclaim his former glory from Smenk.
Luzarne Parrin – The sole female mine manager, made a widow under circumstances she doesn’t trust were chance, who struggles to hold on despite Smenk's near-monopoly on the market.
Ragnolin Dourstone – A dwarf manager who is known to mistreat his workers, most of whom are criminals or debtors who can't afford to quit.
Ellival Moonmeadow – A silver miner and elven prince who only hires other elves.

Misc Figures
The Neff Brothers – Governor Mayor Lanod Neff is as corrupt as he is incompetent, but his powerful brother, the wizard Allustan Neff, has kept him from getting his head cut off somehow. So far.
The Emporium/Zalamandra – The Emporium operates as a tavern, a brothel, and an mock-intellectual exhibit of “curiosities”. Its hedonistic owner, the rakshasa tiefling Zalamandra, is well-liked in town and generally seen as a decent neutral party in the scheming—but her employees are quite adept at gathering secrets, and she is a dangerous enemy to make.
Sheriff Cubbin – A man so infamous for corruption, people thought it was a joke when the Governor-Mayor appointed him.

Religious Groups
The Cult of St. Cuthbert – A very intense flock led by Jieran Wierus, a wild-eyed and earnest young preacher with a fervor that makes him many enemies. These followers of the Cudgel are dedicated to resisting the rot that suffuses Diamond Lake, to standing up for the common folk of the town. They are also definitely a cult. The best and worst of Diamond Lake’s poor and downtrodden can be found here.
The Cult of the Lady of Mint – A church dedicated to a saint of Wee Jas/Shelyn/Pharasma, goddess of beauty, love, death and magic. These zealots fiercely defend the graveyards from thieves and bandits, though they aren’t concerned with protecting the ancient cairns.
The Old Faith – Up in the hills at the Bronzewood Lodge, a circle of druids and rangers revere the Old Faith. Some practice it as the Green Faith, and worship no gods, while others revere Obad-Hai/Gozreh and Nerull/Groetus. Some worshipers of Erastil and similar more ‘popular’ gods can be found, but the Lodge’s leader, the ancient druid Nogwier, cares little for ‘young gods’.
The Church of Iomedae – Devoutly dedicated to their noble goddess (or to what some say is her original form, Heironeous), the followers of this small church attempt to provide some moderation to the vehement teachings of Jieran Wierus.

Nearby Locations of Note
The Mistmarsh – Three days’ journey south lies the Mushfens, and the Mistmarsh is a section of the Mushfens owned and defended
The Garrison – Bordering the Mistmarsh, the Garrison is staffed by honorable soldiers of Magnimar sworn to defend the surrounding lands. They aren’t allowed many dealings with Diamond Lake, though soldiers do come to visit on occasion, and their commander reportedly despises the corruption in Diamond Lake and would love an excuse to move in and impose some proper order to things.
Sandpoint – A weeks’ journey west lies Sandpoint, Diamond Lake’s “sister town”, which wants very little indeed to do with Diamond Lake these days.
Magnimar – Two weeks’ journey west (faster by ship) lies Magnimar.

Content Warnings:
AoW is also quite a harsh AP. Some combats will be very rough, and enemies don’t always play fair—if the smartest thing for them to do is to attempt a coup de gras before the cleric can cast remove paralysis, they might just do that. However, I prefer to inflict complications over outright deaths (and, in fact, my house rules are designed to avoid PC death unless the player says they’re okay with it).

As a general rule of thing, if something makes you uncomfortable, let me know and I will dial it back. I promise it won’t annoy me one bit. The priority is for everyone to have fun.

Potential triggers include:
Parasites: I am happy to dial stuff back, but this one’s tricky to eliminate entirely—the Age of Worms is about worms that kill people and turn them into the undead.
Player Deception: In one installment, the GM is encouraged to recruit a player to deceive the others for a time. This can be alarming or upsetting, and I understand if you’d just as soon avoid it.
Violence
Some gore/gross stuff
Betrayal/Corruption
Imperialism/Fantasy Bigotry

I will be recruiting 3-4 players. In addition, we already have a dwarf warpriest and a human brawler, and I've invited one other person who's guaranteed a spot if she's interested. So, a total of 6 players. Recruitment will close on 8am PDT of the 14th.

People are free to use this thread to talk about their characters, though actual roleplay shouldn’t go beyond one or two posts. Basically, don’t spam the thread, but you are absolutely welcome to use it to expand on how you think your PC would fit in the game or interact with other PCs.


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Honestly, I get why this isn't already a thing—it might clutter up the boards, especially if people decide to fill their profile bars with nonsense—but I think this would be a very positive change from an inclusivity point of view. Most boards I know, like GitP, already show a "Venus/Mars"-type symbol below the avatar. It helps cut back on confusion.

It would also be handy for the Recruitment subforum, since the GM is spared from having to open the profiles of PC applicants to see their basic information.


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Just a thread for me to talk about whatever. I've been trying to get into the habit of some sort of journaling, and a part of me would sort of like to start reconnecting with this community and see how things have been going. Two birds, one stone.

I realize people don't really know what I'm up to nowadays. It's been years since I was active around here. If anyone's wondering, I went into the teacher education program for a bit, realized it wasn't for me, burned out just before Covid hit. I started transitioning openly around the same time. Changed my legal name just the other month; still need to sort out the paperwork for it.

I've only recently started getting back into D&D. The edTPA—the test teachers have to take to get certified—is a nightmare train that you can only get off by jumping out of, and I lost touch with a lot of my hobbies in the fallout from it all. If people have noticed me being basically absent around here, that's a big part of why.

I've been writing for a living since then, which suits me just fine. I currently have two roommates to support, both of whom I'm dating. It's a "U-haul lesbians" situation. So it's a good thing writing's worked out. Neither of them have jobs yet. Of the three of us, I'm the most "neurotypical-passing", so I can be pretty productive when I need to be. When I'm not obsessing over my D&D characters, anyways.

Hyperfocus is kind of like a roc. It'll pick you up and take you soaring, and you'll forget why you ever bothered walking on the ground. And then it's just dead weight and you're remembering, "Oh, right, I was supposed to write actual prose today. Oops. Well, at least the GM now has 4,000 words to read if she wants to accept my PbP application."

Get it? It's like a roc. Turns into dead weight. Wordplay. It's midnight, I'm going to bed. I hope everyone's having a lovely night.

<3


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Hi, all! I was wondering - would anyone be game for an all-goblinoid playthrough of the horror adventure Escape from Meenlock Prison? My thinking is a one-shot with a major focus on roleplaying and character arcs. It would obviously be an evil-leaning party, but one that can struggle with actual moral dilemmas, so the horror still holds meaningful stakes. Hobgoblins with honor, goblins who just wanna have fun, characters along those lines.

I know that "interest checks" usually just morph into recruitment threads if people are interested, but for now I really do just want to know if this would be something people would be into. I know "RP-focused evil goblinoid party one-shot" is a bit of a weird one. I do have a concept in mind. I might look into launching an actual recruitment thread in a week or so if it's something that generates interest!


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Hi, all! This is a thread I thought might come in handy. We've all seen the dozens of Rise of the Runelords games that end at Thistletop, the countless Second Darkness PbPs that never make it past the first book.

Obviously, spoilers may abound for basically all the APs here.

I thought it might be useful and enlightening to have a thread to talk about where campaigns tend to stall. Sometimes an AP offers five doors in a row, or a lot of open-ended questions, or haunts, or all the various forms of "the players aren't sure what to do so they go quiet" and "the GM isn't sure how to run this so they disappear".

I can start. I've been running Age of Worms for some time now, and the biggest stalling points I've run into are (in order):

Age of Worms:
The Whispering Cairn in general. Haha, yeah. The Cairn is full of traps and puzzles, and those can be paralyzing, especially when the players realize how deadly this game is going to be. I recommend developing house rules like "you are always considered to have searched for traps" to save time. It's really important to be willing to offer hints if players seem stuck. Sometimes the lantern puzzle "clicks" immediately, and sometimes it takes up the whole session.

After Player Death. You might literally lose someone in the second fight. Have backup plans. This is not a good AP for a four-person party.

Skeleton Recovery. I remember this being a bit of a swerve for the party—suddenly they're expected to go back to town and search for some kid's dead family? I recommend you keep the Kullen stuff moving. Keep asking them what they do next, offer suggestions if needed. Filge can be even worse, combining the "what do we do next?" with the "who opens the door?" challenge many times over. Don't waste their time on the doors into empty rooms.

Downtime. This is always a risk in PbPs, but Age of Worms is especially tricky because there's so much to potentially explore in Diamond Lake (and later, the Free City). Make sure you know where they're going next.

Entering the Mines. Again, give them a nice, simple, linear path here. This is not the most interesting part of the adventure. Don't turn it into one.

Hextor's Ambush. PCs like to wait next to doors. Theldrick will rally all his forces to the main room if he has time. This is a bad combination. Don't coddle them unless you want a lower-stakes game (which is fine), but do make sure they have some sense that the Hextorians are not going to wait idly in their assigned rooms.

The Vecnan Maze. Spend a good amount of time prepping the two maps—one for the players, one for you. Keep the party moving. This will be a challenging portion, but PbP is the perfect zone for it.

Map/Stats Confusion in 3FoE. This installment was rushed. Just double-check stuff and be sure you understand the Erythnul map. Seriously.

My memory's getting muddled from that point, but...

Blackwall Keep. All I'm gonna say is, the lizardfolk dragged. Try to cut back on the mindless slaughter if you realize the PCs aren't being challenged—it makes this installment a little less retroactively depressing, anyways. Let Hiska intervene and start a dialogue when things start to slow down.

Midnight's Muddle. In the Free City, the PCs are encouraged to inhabit a pleasant little neighborhood called Midnight's Muddle. It's a bit of a muddle. If you want to play with it, we had a lot of fun with characters like the nudist wizard Ph'rexis and the helpful druid Anlathi (I encourage you to make her a druid capable of reincarnate just so you can put a name and face to the PCs' chief source of revival for the next few levels). The Festering One stuff was challenging, and required a lot of prep to make it flow. It sort of dragged in places because mysteries are hard to improvise.

Hall of Harsh Reflections. This is a perfect format for this adventure. Make sure (ideally when you launch the PbP) that players are okay with its little "gimmick" potentially happening at some point. Be clear about what you expect in terms of respecting spoilers. The doppelganger's base has a lot of "doors", not to mention potential for deaths/retreats. The bit with the captives in Zyrxog's base really slowed them down, too, because suddenly they had to decide what to do with these people. Appoint a "leader" NPC so the PCs have one person to talk to.

Champion's Belt. The infiltration of Zahol's Kyuss shrine dragged a little, as did the introduction, but this installment generally appeals quite well to PC ego, so I didn't have much trouble that I recall.

Gathering Winds. Hoo boy. My players... well, they didn't really like this installment. It takes them out of the action in a big way just when they felt the stakes rising. Consider replacing it, or modifying it so it feels more relevant (I foreshadowed the "Vaati/Order of Storms" connections heavily). Flycatcher can be seriously annoying to them (especially since he might force a side-sidequest that lasts several weeks-months of irl time!) so be careful if you don't want them to immediately take Moreto's side. Also, on the positive side, consider offering some roleplay encounters in addition! My players got the chance to make deals with the Countess of Coalchester and the kolyarut (the latter only after he saw them withstand the Wind Duke's blessing in the cairn, though), and they got two fun recurring NPCs out of it. Which maybe made up for how they let Moreto go. That was probably a bad idea.

Spire of Long Shadows. Be careful. This is a rough installment, and PCs will probably die. In particular, be very, very careful around what the PCs do outside the Spire. I added a few friendly looters (who were actually working for Zyrxog, but that's another story) and an encounter with a hullathoin that sort of dragged because I didn't have a lot prepped for them. Emphasize that the area is deadly, but beware of turning SoLS into two installments. Also, be careful buffing the lich, but do consider buffing that encounter a little. My PCs actually had to flee and come back, and it was a very close, very exciting fight. Also, make sure that the PCs feel like they learned useful things from this installment. Otherwise, it might feel frustrating to them.

The Prince of Redhand. Beware the pre-Banquet period. Give the PCs time to do stuff, and make it clear that they won't have much downtime after this installment, but move it along to the Banquet quickly. Don't make huge encounters out of shopping for clothes unless the players are on-board with it. It can be fun, but the banquet itself is challenging to run, and you don't want the installment to take two years like I did. Pick a couple fun downtime encounters and don't go overboard.

Library of Last Resort. Okay, so... I'm running this one now, and since I'm not using xp, I basically replaced the fight with the orcs (which I let them easily talk their way out of) with a big conversation with the storm circling the island. As a sidenote, I'm trying to emphasize a theme of "the druids tried to delay the Age of Worms, but failed to actually stop it, and their choice of a slow decay versus a risky final battle is one the PCs have to atone for to some degree". Make sure the PCs choose a route through the menhirs promptly, and keep prompting them for where they go next as they proceed.

That's all I got! I'm a little foggy on some of the mid-installments, but I'm pretty sure all that holds up fairly well.

We don't have to spoiler talk about APs, but I'm spoilering the above simply because it's very long. :P


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This is a thread for keeping track of the various items of note in an Eberron campaign I will soon be running. I like to tinker with the setting a lot to make it feel more dynamic, and I don't like forgetting what I've tinkered with.

Sending Books and Reading Stones
Sending books are distributed monthly to households in large cities such as Sharn—provided they pay their fees on time to House Sivis, of course. A sending book generally contains 10-50 scrolls, each of which holding a carefully modified form of the sending spell.

On their own, sending books are almost useless. However, when torn out and used in conjunction with a reading stone—a simpler and cheaper cousin of the speaking stones used at message stations—a page from the book creates a direct line to a specific speaking stone in the area. Upon contacting the station operator, the caller's reading stone is commandeered and directed to connect with another reading stone in the area. This allows someone to call another home from the convenience of their own home. The conversation can be maintained for up to 5 minutes.

Reading stones are increasingly popular, though their inability to make contact with anyone outside city limits does present certain drawbacks—not to mention their total reliance on House Sivis's message stations to function. They also cannot be moved at all without expert handling, usually by a well-paid House Sivis employee. Cheap ones can break just by being jostled out of their constant crackling levitation.

A cheap reading stone costs 10 galifars, while a typical 25-page monthly subscription to House Sivis's sending books costs 2 gp per month, or 20 galifars as a flat annual fee. For this reason, reading stones are largely a luxury of the middle-class.

Sending books lose their power after a month if not used up. It has been suggested that this is not by accident.


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The rules of this "game" are simple: I like hearing how people reflavor their fantasy species, so share what you've done with the previously prompted race in one of your games, then prompt the next one!

For example, let's say the previous poster prompted with, "Next Prompt: Kobolds". I would then provide the way I like to run kobolds in one of my games:

Kobolds
In one setting I was working on with my sister, kobolds are basically dragon fairy tales. This is to say, most dragons do not believe they exist. Kobolds are generally unaware of this small wrinkle in their efforts to earn the dragon's favor.

A kobold tribe will attach itself to a dragon—basically any dragon, even a wyvern, metallic dragon, dragon turtle or pseudodragon if need be—and become its most faithful guardian the dragon never sees. They will clean up after the dragon, keep its lair tidy, construct endless defenses and mining operations to protect the dragon and bring it treasures. They take immense pride in their services, seeing this as their way of being a part of the glorious destiny of dragonkind. Many would-be dragonslayers never see the dragon itself, instead dying on the cheap spears and endless cheaper traps of the dragon's vigilant protectors. And the dragon, in turn, almost never sees the kobolds—if ever.

Dragons, for their part, explain the offerings and cleaning with a mix of lazy superstition and general laziness. "Oh, the mess just kind of gets cleaned up on its own," a wyrm will rumble, leaving the carcasses on the floor when it's done eating. "Maybe it's the kobolds!" it adds, chuckling.

Kobolds will do anything for the dragon they serve—even things their sometimes good-aligned dragon "masters" would probably cringe at. Kobold society bends towards authoritarianism, groupthink and exploitation, the workers constantly ripping apart the land around them to harvest more metals and coal for refining—and furnishing—the dragon's lair and hoard, and the traps that surround it. That said, they are not mindlessly destructive or cruel. Some kobold tribes, particularly those in the service of good-aligned dragons, do make some general efforts to practice what their dragon preaches. A kobold tribe in service of a gold dragon will not make use of slave labor and might even help out local non-kobold communities, begrudgingly. A kobold in service of a bronze or green dragon will generally avoid causing ecological devastation.

Kobold society tends to be complicated and messy, with the miners, warriors, trappers and cleaners forming a broad faction of workers. The priests and inevitable draconic bloodlines form two competing ruling classes, while the nursery workers who tend to the eggs occupy a role of unique respect that can never be intruded upon. When the priests gain the edge, the society starts to become more cult-like, and often more active in the local community—for good or ill. When the royals gain power, the society tends to become more exploitative and destructive, harvesting as much wealth as possible for the glory of the draconic bloodlines the society is ruled by. When the workers gain power, the respected trapbuilders tend to assemble councils that govern most affairs for everyone. The only constant for any kobold society is that all of this feuding is almost always entirely internal. Unlike drow or hobgoblins, even rival factions of kobolds almost invariably put aside their differences when it's time to get to work to defend the lair. True civil wars or absolute schisms are almost unheard of.

But it tends to get very, very confusing for the host dragon when they do take place.

Next Prompt: Orcs!

(Your concept doesn't have to be nearly this detailed. I'm just procrastinating work right now. Also, try not to go too obscure with your race or monster prompt, at least not for now!)


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Hey, all! It's been a bit and a half. That is to say, a bit over 13 years since I showed up here as a genuinely insufferable eleven-year old and started making trouble.* In all that time, though, I've never betrayed my greatest secret! Yes, that's right, Kobold Cleaver, the poster who couldn't stop posting and never shut up, somehow still managed to keep one secret from everyone—including herself!

See, I'm actually a girl. Who knew?

I mean, who knew, apart from apparently a few extremely smartass Paizo devs.

So yeah, I've been here a while, and I think I have developed a bit of a reputation as being, among other things, not a girl, so I thought the easiest way to get this new info out there would be in traditional Kobold Cleaver fashion: Creating a pointless thread from which to shout it into the cosmos.

Anyways, I'll take any questions, but I think that's all that inherently needed to be said. Special shoutout to June, Ward and Beaver for showing me exactly as much care and affection now as they ever have, which is to say, the plan for them remains unchanged.

Naturally, I will be expecting my updated Smurfette-bold within the week, Mister Teter.

;P

*:
Kobold Cleaver, Age 11; Oct 17, 2007 (paraphrased) wrote:
I HATE Eberron. But I LOVE Dragonlance. This is only because of Raistlin and Kender, though. I LOVE kender. But two reasons alone aren't enough! So now I need to find a good campaign setting. That means NO steampunk. Thus, no Spelljammer or Planescape.

Every single facet of my first post on this site was, like, a new shade of uniquely bad take. Very proud of that.


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One day, our dark draconic master will return to claim his vengeance against the treacherous Dahak and the wretched Apsu, and unite all of dragonkind—along with, of course, the heirs to dragonkind, the noble kobolds—together against our true enemy: those f@%$ing behirs!

Our cult may be few in number and dangerously underfunded, but what we lack in numbers we more than make up for with heart, grit, and a mostly functioning Autocorrect function on our devices.

Please no behirs or fake dragon god worshipers on this thread. True believers only. If you're interested, we're doing a bake sale this Saturday to raise money for our own dungeon. You can sign up on the sheet that Steven is passing around.


So, I have a problem, and I'm a bit surprised that no one else has posted about it yet. This is a question about everyone's darling, the Leadership feat.

From the PRD:

Quote:

Cohort Level: You can attract a cohort of up to this level. Regardless of your Leadership score, you can only recruit a cohort who is two or more levels lower than yourself. ...

A cohort does not count as a party member when determining the party's XP. Instead, divide the cohort's level by your level. Multiply this result by the total XP awarded to you, then add that number of experience points to the cohort's total.

If a cohort gains enough XP to bring it to a level one lower than your level, the cohort does not gain the new level—its new XP total is 1 less than the amount needed to attain the next level.

...

... Don't consult the table to see if your cohort gains levels, however, because cohorts earn experience on their own.

So, what am I supposed to do if I don't use XP at all? I use the milestone level system, as I think, honestly, most Pathfinder players do these days, and it's downright weird that the book doesn't have an explicit clarification for that extremely common playstyle.

The most obvious answers are probably just, "level them up whenever the PC levels up", or "level them up whenever the PC's Leadership score increases".

The latter seems potentially problematic, since Leadership Scores can shift wildly in response to story events and new gear (whoops, I spent a day wearing my Headband of Charisma, time for a level-up for the cohort!). Of course, the PC could just ditch the old cohort and get a new one who's more properly capable, so maybe basing it off the Leadership score is appropriate.

What do you think?


Alternate Title - PF INSTALLMENTS ARE TOO LONG!!!!!

I've always found Dungeon magazine adventures easier to keep up with, even though they're, well, in the wrong edition. Lately, I've started wondering if the length is the issue. Pathfinder installments are a lot longer, and for me, they feel like a lot more to wrap my head around as a GM.

A standard Adventure Path installment in Dungeon magazine would be around half (?) the length, meaning the GM only had to track so much at once. It also feels faster for the players, who get to have the "you beat the chapter!" music play twice as frequently. Personally, it feels better-paced.

What do you think?

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