Got that. Last question about the subject: Are Great Old Ones and Outer Gods the only creatures to exist apart from the cycle? Your words earlier indicate that all Outer Gods are somewhat inimical to human(oid) life (or noxious, to use a term that doesn't imply conscious malice), and I want to know if they are the only ones who keep going from one multiverse to the next.
Manasaputras theoretically also do, but I think there was never any confirmation of their pre-multiversal incarnations in-setting, only in the "general" rules.
James Jacobs wrote:
Is Desna older than the current multiverse?
I'm, huh... Asking for a friend.
I dislike Cthulhoids being implicitly more powerful than everyone else.
We have Angels, Azatas, Archons, Devils, Demons, Daemons, Fey, Divs, Genies, Agathions, Aeons, Inevitables, Munasaputras... All Outsider Races, some of which go very deep into the weird/abstract/unconceivable end... Yet somehow these are supposed to not elicit the primal fear and madness that Cthulhoids do. Aaaand we have the creative director stating that Outer Gods are terribly powerful creatures which are older than the oldest deity in the universe.
I just wish we left the Lovecraft-inspired stuff into Lovecraft-emulating stories and stopped sticking tentacly monsters of outer space maaaaaadneeeeeess and DOOOOOOM where they don't belong.
The Raven Black wrote:
Those who remain ** spoiler omitted **
Oh, good, good. This is excellent.
I'm also satified with what the Monad turned out to be, but quite surprised about the Asmodeus and Ihys.
The Raven Black wrote:
Oh, I'm definetly planning to! Just have to figure how to fit everything I wanna get this month in my budget, but this is definetly one of the top spots of the list.
The Raven Black wrote:
I was surprised that the Positive and Negative energy planes were almost never mentioned in the excerpts though.
Huh, that's curious. Tell me?
Does the Prime Material gets destroyed and recreated with each iteration of the Multiverse, or only the Outer and Inner Planes get renewed, while the Material itself remains?
I ask this because JJ has once said (mentioned? mused?) that Outer Gods and Great Old Ones survive the destruction of the multiverse, and they are creatures of the Prime Material. Given that the Positive Plane is intrinsically tied to the Prime Material in PF's cosmology, maybe it survives each "hard reset" as well...
that's the sort of "dark knowledge" you can gleam from Those Who Remain (BTW, are those confirmed to be Azathoth, Nyarlathotep and the like?).
Alternatively, *some* beings survive from one multiverse to the next, like the aforementioned Manasaputras and their dark counterparts. It would perhaps make Pharasma less "unique", but that could be easily solved by saying it's a "different" sort of surviving - Pharasma survived as herself, while the others have to be "reborn".
Also, mean, James, mean.
And I did say a third, not the third. :P
I'm gonna spoiler tag my question just in case:
Now that we know:
That there was another multiverse and there's going to be a third one after, is there any mention of the Manasaputra? Surviving the destruction of the Multiverse is their whole thing.
Thank you, kind sir! :D :D :D It's certainly very interesting.
I'm not a fan of how it makes Lovecraftians starsquid such powerhouses, but I like the idea of the survivor of a previous multiverse!
What if Pharasma is the Lady of Pain, and the Great Beyond is the remains of the Great Wheel? :P So many possibilities
Again, many thanks! :)
I've got it, and what this reveals about Pharasma's place in the cosmos...wow.
Anything you wanna share? :) Do we have spoiler tags on this forum? You could use those if we have. :D
But if you believe Tabris, then aren't you, gasp, evil?
I think he means he believes Tabris about Pharasma's place in the cosmos, seeing as he wrote it.
I certainly hope not to get confirmation of Tabris' views regarding Celestials of the "infinity of evil", because frankly, grimdark despair-inducing musings on evil are... Boring. Extremely so.
Still, I gotta wait for the PDF before knowing one way or the other... Unless some kind soul decides to share wink wink
Todd Stewart wrote:
I'm yet to read how Planar Adventures handled the Speakers (got the PDF only this morning!), but some ambuiguity and wiggle room for the GM is always welcomed! Not full vagueness (That we already have), not minucious detail either.
But, if we are to have a "settled" answer, may that answer be, at the very least, something more unique than another demigod. The Aeons deserve that. There have been lots of tantalizing hints about the Monad in various Bestiaries and in the Occul Adventures, IIRC. It will be quite underwhelming if it turns out to be just a slightly-more-powerful Aeon.
I don't really expect a "Supreme Being", given that we've already been told by the Creative Director that the Pathfinder Campaign Setting shouldn't have an "overgod" or similar figure. But yet another demigod wouldn't do it justice, IMHO. The Monad should be something more of a cosmic force, or at least a full, if minor, deity.
Besides, there's a lot of Golarion specific locations I would like to hear about first, before CoB, that aren't covered anywhere else.
Precisely this. Other than Hell and the Abyss, all the planes of the Outer Sphère seriously lack in-depth information (one could argue that Heaven Unleashed gave the same treatment to the title plane, but I am ambivalent). I have nothing against the City of Brass in itself, but considering the limited space available, between seeing Axis or Nirvana get a decent write up, with the possibility of something truly original appearing, and the umpteenth treatment of the bazaars, slaves and byzantine laws of the Efreet capital, I would take the former every time.
It's a matter of diversifying the options available. If I want material on the City of Brass, there's a sleigh of sources to choose from. If I want, say, a city in the Chaotic Good plane, things get more scarce. Is it really that unreasonable to prefer that Paizo uses its limited resources to give us something different instead re-treading the same ash-soaked ground?
By "overdone" you guys mean the fact that the last major City of Brass supplement, the Necromancer Games boxed set, is 10 years old and that there are a total of two Paizo adventures that take place there?
Well, yes, that. And the old 3.5 D&D Planar Handbook. And the material from Planescape and Al-Qadim, before that. Not to mention all other media that use the place as a setting.
You can argue that it's not overused because the number of sourcebooks that address it is not that big, but, relatively speaking, it's by far the most popular planar site on the history of this game, except, maybe, Sigil, but I don't think I need to worry about Paizo using that, do I?
Try to name me any planar settlement, other than Sigil, that has been detailed and used the same amount of times that the City of Brass has been.
So long as it's within the realm of what is good, could they not just make up laws that support what they do in the land?
As in, arbitrarily? No, I don't think so. "I am the law, there whatever I say, goes", is more of a Lawful Evil thing. A Lawful Good character would probably meditate a lot about the right laws to impose and then follow those laws himself. Though, probably, there would be some clause for revision/distinction if said laws were later found insufficient or too overbearing.
All in all, I think a LG Paladin would generally impose a softer level of their own deity's statutes upon their nation.
I was one of those "couple of others", I believe. I was absolutely not on my best behavior here and I have certainly overreacted. Mea culpa. I can only offer my sincere apologies to those I offended with my unnecessarily harsh words.
Now, If it's indeed the case the case that Aroden's death is intended as a blank for each GM to fulfill as needed, then I'm perfectly okay with that. My problem would be if an answer was settled on and not shared.
On this respect, allow me to say that maybe giving some contradictory information and releasing confusing statements would be, actually, a good idea. Internal coherence implies that the answer is settled on and canonically relevant.
I don't see how knowing the "canon" answer to what happened to Aroden robs me, or anyone else, as a GM of the ability to create their own answer. Golarion has a lot of features to its world-building that I dislike and I've always just ignored them or worked my way around them without compliant. If Paizo's answer to Aroden's death was unsatisfying in my opinion or didn't fit for my games, I could always just do what I've always done. Of course, the opposite could happen and the answer could be so interesting that it inspires me. I Just wish I had the opportunity to know the answer and make that choice for myself.
Well, it certainly doesn't rob anyone from their capacity to creating their own answers. I have developed something along the lines of "Aroden was Golarion's Leto II Atreides" myself.
The thing is, I'm sure the Paizo staff's answer would be way better than mine, because they have access to a greater amount of information and design insight to go from, including connections we don't even suspect exist. Again, let me point you towards the answer about the Starstone, made of deep space stuff, aboleth magic, pieces of a moon goddess and "Golarion scar tissue". Who could have guessed that?
Now, you see, until Mr Mona disabused me of the notion, I was under the impression that such an definitive answer existed. That there was a deep, subtle, intricate and completely over-the-top awesome Theory of Everything that explained how the same thread that caused the ascendancy of House Thrune also broke down prophecy, and Paizo wasn't telling us for arbitrary reasons.
I was under the impression that there was something as exciting as "A moon goddess shielded the planet from a doomsday weapon with her own body" out there, and that this something would also explain what the f* was "Apexis" and what's the Aboleth endgame... And we could never see that something.
"But where do you take that from?", you ask me "That there was a theory of everything?". And I answer, we have been told, time and time again, that the world was "shaped" by the death of Aroden. That the Eye of Abendego, the Worldwound, infernal Cheliax and all of that are the direct result of Aroden's fall...
And sure, maybe something like Thrune Ascendancy can be linked to Aroden's death by a "link" as simple as "Cheliax lost it main god creating a vacuum that was eventually filled by Asmodean propaganda". Maybe the Worldwound is as simple as "Deskari' enemy wasn't there anymore, so he did what he pleased".
But that is not what I gleaned from the books and the way Paizo staff talked. Maybe it's my problem as an interpreter and they never intended such a meaning, but what I understood was: "There's a hidden story that explains that the Thrune Ascendancy was not simply an after-effect of Aroden's death, but a direct consequence of it".
As an example, in my "headcanon", by making himself the very embodiment of prophecy and then allowing himself to pass away, Aroden greatly bolstered the concept of "free will" and "self determination", and as such dealt a heavy, intentional blow to the powers of Hell, who responded by taking over and ruining the nation that embodied his ideal. A kind of post-mortem petty revenge, if you will.
See what I mean? Aroden's death is not "something that happened". It's THE event. It's the shot heard round the world. The assassination of the Archduke. the very big bang to current Golarion.
In such circumstances, kowing the hows and whys of his death would made the setting richer, and allow us to understand more of it's current configuration.
But then came Erik Mona explained that they also "don't know", and only have a "working theory"... So maybe my belief that there is a Theory of Everything is just wishful thinking, and reading too much into things, and seeing something that wasn't there... But I hope I could made clear the reasons for mine and others' frustrations. It doesn't arise from the fact that we are somehow unable to deviate from written material, but from the fact that a "layer" of said material was being kept under wraps forever.
This. This is perfection.
Alternatively, they find out that the Stone stopped working with Aroden's death. It used to run on the same engine as prophecy, and now it's broken.
It's also known that such murderhobos are the only beings in the whole multiverse who can operate completely outside the purview of "Prophecy", "Coherent World Building" and "Good Old Common Sense", so it's completely believable. Only they could kill the Man of Prophecy.
Bill Dunn wrote:
The thing is there's supposedly a TRUE answer and makes sense of absolutely everything.
"Oh, but you can ignore it and make your own".
I can also ignore prophecies aren't supposed to work. I can also ignore the Worldwound. I can ignore that Aboleths exist. I can ignore that Golarion is a round planet, and not a flat-Earth.
In my headcanon, as people call it, I can do anything.
That's why this argument falls flat in my book. It's a non answer. A "just because".
Garrett Guillotte wrote:
You know, the funny thing is that the Gap doesn't bother me at all and never will. The reasons are quite clear: If Golarion's "past" was accessible through Pathfinder it would "crystallize" future development (unless Paizo decided to mess around with alternate universes). The fact that it doesn't come across¹ as arbitrary makes me at ease.
¹ I just want to underline that I'm not saying keeping Aroden's death under wraps is arbitrary, just that it feels so. It's about perception, not a moral judgement on the people at Paizo.
captain yesterday wrote:
I do hope you know that "none of you damn business" is a perfectly valid, and in fact perhaps the most appropriate, answer to all of your questions.
It's exactly this kind of patronizing attitude that irritates me about the whole thing. I can respect the decision to keep a mystery permanent. Onyx Path Publishing did this with their God-Machine setting, mostly to keep the "lost knowledge/conspiracy/everyone lies" theme they built the entire setting around, and I like it. Tolkien never explained who or what Tom Bombadil or the Watcher in the Water were (mostly because he probably didn't know himself), and I LOVE that.
My problem is that, as far as we know, the reason, or a big part of the reason why this knowledge is retained is because of the risk that people will lose interest once it's revealed. (Which is, incidentally, factually incorrect. The Starstone reveal made me more interest on it than I was before. Before it was a giant Dragon Ball for all that I cared. Now it has history and dramatic weight.)
"There, there, little child. The adult knows better."
I mean, "What other mystery will you wonder about"? I'm sorry, I do believe that is my problem.
I don't want to come across as too aggressive here, I jsut want to make very clear where the problem lies, for me.
captain yesterday wrote:
I've spelled it out quite clearly in the other post:Withholding information that is known and relevant.
That is, keeping under wraps not something they're saving to develop and flesh out later, but something they've already defined, something that has a HUGE impact (according to James Jacobs) on the setting at large, and doing this in order to keep the interest high is both a pretty low thing to do and eventually it will have the reverse effect. People won't care for it anymore because an answer is not going to be available.
It's like writing a classic whodunit mystery novel and then refusing to give the answers in the end to keep people talking about said novel. It doesn't work. That's how I feel about the whole thing.
I can't make it any clearer than this.
Because a Strong Female Character does not refer to a female character who is strong, physically or otherwise. It refers to a stereotype, or a trope, of a female character who is written to be "strong" but in the end falls flat as a character. Hence the capital letters. There are quite a few articles written on the subject available on the internet, mostly by feminist people working in the entertainment industry. Do look them up.
Adam Daigle wrote:
I've enjoyed reading the responses to this thread, and I have a sincere question. If I told you right now what happened to Aroden, what would your feelings on the mystery/event be in five years? Heck, one year? Six months? I'm pretty sure that once the reveal was dropped the boards would light up for a few weeks, but once everyone had their fill of discussing the particulars, this central mystery would dry up and become even less interesting than it is to some folks today.
In five years? If it was a very good plot point, I would probably look back on it with a smile and think that it was a great show of storytelling ability. If it was just okay, I wouldn't think about it often, but would probably have fun remembering how it fit with everything else every now and then.
Six months? I'd probably still be discussing it, if it was anything other than horrible. Granted, I have a significantly short attention span, but something like The Reveal would make me stick on Golarion for quite long.
However, allow me to be brutally honest here: Withholding the information to "keep the interest" is like... Well, let me go on with the George Martin analogy. It's like if, today, he announced that he wouldn't publish the remaining books of A Song of Ice and Fire and also would revoke HBO's rights and they couldn't show the ending of the story either, so people would continue to talk, theorize and buzz around his world.
That is to say, pretty a-holish, a bit juvenile and guaranteed to backfire somewhere down the road. No offense meant. Just how I feel about it.
I wouldn't say I hate such and such, but there are some deities I have a few issues with.
To start, Iomedae. She can be a bit likeable, but upon closer reading, there's something in her that screams "Strong Female Character", and that's just off-putting.
Then there's Asmodeus and his Moriarty-Complex. Everything always goes his way, he has a backup plan for the backup plan or his backup plan (Which was actually his plan since the begging, because using a backup would mean that his original plan failed, and that's just impossible), sitting at the top of what is described as the most organized hierarchy... I mean, I know a lot of this is fans impressions, not actual canonical material, but Asmy sometimes approaches Villain Sue territory.
Calistria is... She's the stereotypical mean girl, vain, narcissistic, rude and shallow that hides her unpleasantness behind a "empowered" discourse. The thing encouraging revenge against perceived slights is also disturbing. There are some parts of the world where asking someone to turn down the music because it's 1 AM and the neighbors need to sleep is a slight that warrants a drawn gun. That are people that think romantic rejection is a slight that deserves the cruelest punishments. And Calistria is ok with that. There's no authority that can say "this revenge was warranted, that other one was going overboard, you shouldn't have done that". The only one who gets to decide which "offense" deserves which punishment is me, with no other reason than my arbitrary whim.
She is, in short, the goddess of sociopaths. She should be Evil. The fact that she's the "main" deity of a race that is, supposedly, chaotic GOOD is throwing salt on the wound.
Last, but not least... I wish all Outer Golds, Great Old Ones and figures directly inspired on them (i.e.: Groeteus) could be obliterated from the setting.
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
Well, in my case, at least, it's exactly the opposite.
If I know I'm never getting a direct answer... Meh. Why should I care? The point of theorizing is that one day you'll be able to put your theory against the facts and see if you are right or not.
If George R. R. Martin said he would never, absolutely not ever reveal who Jon's parents are... Do you think people would be as crazy about it as they are? I know I probably wouldn't.
Said another way, you can tell a "Lovecraft'esque" story with an Empyrean.
Older than mortal races. Works in mysterious ways. Direct rapport with the Gods. Knows secrets about the universe no one can even begin to fathom.
It's about the atmosphere.
Dohnut King wrote:
These days, every fantasy setting and their aunt, whether for RPGs or Literature, absolutely HAS to include the "deep, dark mysteeerious tentacly things from beyond that nobody understands". It has grown so much that you can have a setting with no Elves or Dwarves, but a variant of comics horror aberration will be there.
Which... I sorta understand. I get the appeal. But it doesn't work. Not in a high fantasy setting.
Cthulhu lives in a city with non-euclidean geometry? B#&*&, please, i know at least three guys that have a spell that makes reality bend over backwards for them!"
Lovecraft protagonists were men of science who didn't really believe alien things with tentacles could exist. Pathfinder protagonists... Saw a demodand last month, an efreet the past monday, a guardinal the day before yesterday and a vortex dragon today. What should be so terribly scary and maddening about the next "outsider"?
It doesn't fit. Simple like that.
Interesting. I hadn't seen that before. Thank you.
The comment about "old faces" intrigues me. What of the Parthfinder "lesser" gods could be important enough... Brigh? Casandalee?
I'm more curious about the other 13 gods marks. I mean, we know one is newish and is an AI. I would assume before that one there is a god for tech. So that's 11 other new gods. I assume the lashunta have a god or two they add, kasatha probably bring one on the mix. Maybe once for exploration? Those are the ones I'm curious about, both new and minor who have stepped up
I was under the impression that the majority of the Core 20 are going to be kept, and only some, definitely less than 10, are going to be new.
Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
Actually I think he was sort of her lieutnant, or something. Ihys never existed. It's jsut one more damned lie.
Meh. Back then "chaos" was just shorthand for "evil" and "law" for "unflinchingly neutral smug bastards". Seemingly, Good was inexistent.
This. This so much.
And actually, going with Lovecraft's own themes, Cthulhu is just an organic super alien. There's nothing supernatural about him, he's just much more advanced than us, but in the end he's just one more critter in a cold, dark and meaningless universe.
People prop Lovecraft's creations way higher than what they were actually supposed to be.
I'd love to see Manasaputras detailed.
In fact, it would be handy to see all the canon information on the planar races spelled out on the wiki. I count on it to check, for example, if a new Archon was published in a sourcebook I didn't get for some particular reason, and get the general idea for it.
It's not so much "PCs are always superior" as "I wanna play something in which the top dogs are not tentacly things from the outer dark for once".
Almost every pop culture setting these days, from comics to RPG, introduce "Lovecraftian" beings at least once, and they always have this feeling of displacing whatever was at the top and warping, if not the entire story, at least the cosmology, around themselves... In the end, they are just a more pretentious form of Mary Sue.
This is not, of course, an inherent problem in Lovecraftian fiction. It's the result of overuse and thematic dissonance.
OK, Cthulhu Mythos 101, and why it actually does work for PFRPG Horror. You NEVER will see any of them in a game, other than their handyman/herald Nyarlathotep. The why is simple, they are SO Vast and incomprehensible that their very presence ends the game. The Gods can probably get clear, but could not face IT without perishing. Azathoth destroys the underpinnings of reality itself. Fortunately, somehow, the gods or their forerunners or perhaps the most powerful force in the cosmos, the writers, made this part of reality unpalatable to Azathoth and his Posse. Nyarlathotep deals with the ick factor (that is us) because it is part of his purpose, can we understand it? Nope. He does seem to want to encourage us thinking that we do have him figured out.
That's exactly why I say the Cthulhu Mythos are incompatible with a heroic fantasy campaign setting (You can, of course, play Pathfinder Horror in a Mythos-setting) - Tey reduce the rest of the cosmic players to chumps. "The Gods might survive if they run"? Come on.
That said, I think one of the major problems is that Mythos fans try to shoe-horn the feeling of the Mythos protagonists into the players of non-Mythos characters. To this end, the Mythos creatures become unassailable super-monsters incapable of ever being defeated by mere mortals (never-mind that they are absurd by their own literature standards) or even the gods themselves (which, incidentally, aren't all that impressive, either, by PF standards).
I'm quite sure I read James Jacobs once saying that they are not sure what is on the outside layer of the Outer Sphere, tough he liked the idea that it was the Abyss, up to infinity (I hate the idea, by the way). The inside is just the Maelstrom, with different planes poking around.
If I'm not mistaken, what Dou-Bral explored where the dark spaces between the stars of the Material Plane.
You could, at most, argue that there are more Outer Planes floating in the Maelstrom than the ones we know about, but there's nothing "outside" the Great Beyond canonically.
Of course, as a GM, you're completely free to come up with it.
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
a la "Council of Reeds"?
I... Like it.
Except... Not really.
Lovecraftian Great Old Ones are not only about power. They work by completely breaking down a character's sense of reality, causing upheaval in the whole structure of the story. They shouldn't exist. They are not rational. They are absurd.
So, if you wanna use a Lovecraftian abomination in a standard pulp fantasy setting, where things like dragons, mummies, manticores angels and demons run around, that feeling is lost: Why should a squid-thing give pause to a summoner who regularly deal with six-armed half-snake demon women? The only option is making them even weirder: they are worse than angels, fairies, dragons and other things, even more alien, even more absurd. You have to make them a step above the other "outsider" races, and thus the Lovecraftian themes "trump" the others.
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
It is, tough.
Gods like Norgober or Zon-Kuthon or Asmodeus don't pack the same punch when something like Azathoth exists. I can understand them. I can know them. Heck, most of the times, I know their origins, their limits, their themes.
A proper Lovecraftian being, tough? Alien. Unknowable. Indifferent to anything else. It has been here way before the gods, it will remain after they go. Extremely powerful. The heart of the universe. And so it goes. It's a whole different level of "Oh my, I'm really screwed".
If you make Azathoth something smaller than the top god in your setting, it's not Azathoth anymore. If you make Azathoth Azathoth, Lovecraft has subsumed everything else, and the "human" gods fare little better than mortals standing against the terrible elder things from the dark between the stars.
Generic Villain wrote:
While I agree with the gist of the post, I'd say it's not a problem, usually, to have dozens of unique pantheons. They can be balanced pretty well.
The problem is when you want to factor Lovecraftian Mythos in. They are predatory by their very nature - In order to preserve the authentic Mythos feel, they have to be beyond even the other gods. If they aren't, they become simply Very Big Aberrations, and thus, not Lovecraftian at all.
I have the unpopular opinion that Lovecraftian Great Old Ones et al shouldn't be mixed with other elements. They are better left alone.