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Sure, a civil war is going to bring out all sorts of terrible people, but the PCs shouldn't be the vanguard of transgressions. There should be others who cross the various lines and the PCs should be the people considering whether or not *they* want to cross those lines.

Like the basic assumption of the campaign should be "are you willing to do evil to get what you want" and not "you're evil, so we need to reinforce this by making you do evil stuff." Since, like, in Blood Lords what the PCs want in the immediate term is not itself bad (you're essentially trying to prevent deadly poisons from being put into the food supply), but the temptation is to cross all manner of lines in order to make sure this doesn't happen.

"Evil as a tempting force" makes more sense narratively than "evil as a valid alternative."


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We're only 2 volumes in, but it really feels like Blood Lords is the better Hell's Vengeance. You're agents of nefarious powers in an evil kingdom, but you're lined up against other agents of nefarious powers whose agenda you disagree with. It's a story that is wholly amenable to evil characters, but doesn't make it impossible to be a decent person who's just trying to make the best of the messed up situation they find themselves living in.

My big problem with Hell's Vengeance is that it seemed to better fit purely mercenary NE characters and CE murderhobos better than it fits LN Chellish patriots. Like the story you'd want to tell in something like Hell's Vengeance is "I grew up being told to love my homeland, and so I'm willing to fight for it, but along the way I realized a few things that made me reconsider."


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I mean, "Evil" isn't supposed to make a strong argument to the *players*. The bad guys are supposed to have flawed reasoning, and the good guys are supposed to win in the end. Evil isn't supposed to be as valid a choice as "not-evil".

I will note that the incompetence of evil is mostly in the context of Cheliax (no one ever said that Geb or Nidal weren't competent)- it's because the powers of Cheliax claim to have an orderly, tightly controlled, disciplined society. But this sanctimoniousness is intentional- one of the main ways that Cheliax differs from real world fascist societies (and thus doesn't read as an expy of such) is that Cheliax embraces its libertine nature and aesthetic "degeneracy".


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CorvusMask wrote:
Urgathoa apparently managed to reject Pharasma's judgement

My suspicion is that this happened because Pharasma allowed it to happen, because she was aware of Urgathoa's destiny. Tensions have just flared up of late because Pharasma's a lot less omniscient than she used to be.


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I think the safest way to do this is to let everybody pick their first class from whatever, but their second class is one from a list the GM curates in order to avoid the combinations that are much more powerful than the other combinations.

You can make this thematic with "you're all also sorcerers" or "you're all also summoners" or "you're all also psychics". I think most of the really problematic combinations are "two kinds of martials that double up on being good at one thing."


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Demon Lords are demigods though, that's why "Lamashtu became a full deity by killing Curchanus" is a thing- she was already a Demon Lord before that. Demigods are things that can have stat blocks, so you can stack their corpses like cordwood if you're powerful enough.

Aroden, Acavna, Amaznen, Curchanus, and Ihys are the only full Gods we know who have died, unless I'm missing some (which is possible) and I'm like 50% convinced that Ihys is someone that Asmodeus just made up for his reasons.


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It's possibly that in order to be a God and Die-For-Sure you have to be an Azlanti.

Like who else is Divine and Dead? Curchanus and Ihys are the only non-Azlanti deities who have died I am aware of, and it's possible that Ihys never existed at all.


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Yeah, the "recommended deities/skills" thing is about what the authors put in the AP. They're signposting "there will be stuff to do involving Erastil and the Society skill." Obviously if you pick a different deity, a GM *can* work them into the story but the authors of the AP didn't. Obviously a GM could work in a plot involving 8 different Empyreal Lords, but there's no way that Paizo anticipated which combination your group liked.

Like the Owlcat game has a plotline involving a Cleric of Groetus of all things, so with work you can make almost anything work. It's just that some things involve a conversation with your GM.


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Yeah, I'm an outspoken advocate for "non-theistic Champions" but I'm cool with the "Clerics are the God Class". I just want for faiths that aren't about "worshiping one or more gods" to get the same sort of toys that "worshiping one or more gods" classes get. Since if "I worship Desna" can get you all sorts of cool stuff but "I honor the spirits in all things" doesn't get anything close to that, then this sort of seems like an authorial endorsement of "worshiping Desna is more correct than being an animist" which is obviously not something we want to say.

The Oracle and a hypothetical Shaman class handle a lot of what I would want from the "Cleric analogue" for people who worship differently, but there's still no "martial advocate" analogous to the Champion. Like a Monk's Ki Spells can be divine, so I don't know why there can't be an opportunity to play an Animist Liberator or a Pantheist Redeemer or a Shamanistic Paladin.


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I think it's "Faith + Something sufficiently powerful". Razmir doesn't have clerics because he's not powerful enough rather than "he doesn't have committed followers". Meanwhile Baba Yaga probably is powerful enough for apotheosis if she felt like it, but nobody in their right mind would think "worshiping Baba Yaga" is wise (least of all her.)

The sticky one is that an Oracle can get spells because of their faith in like "the concept of fire" because "the concept of fire" is extremely powerful. But if someone has incredible faith in the natural world, but not Gozreh, a nature god, or any kind of Druidic Order can they get spells? Do we need a nature oriented oracle or does this step on the toes of druids?


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So is it possible for a deity to cease to exist, but their clerics still get spells simply because they doggedly refuse to admit the possibility that their deity is gone? Like is "Ranalc's Clerics still get spells" not actually evidence he's still around?


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I feel like the point of putting the hex maps in the player's guide is not "this is what you're going to play on" (since that's the GM's job to figure out) it's "here's where you keep notes about what's on the map for your own use".


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I'm sort of waiting for Rage of the Elements to come out so we can build an All-Kineticist party so as to beat up our enemies with the Stolen Lands itself.


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Zaister wrote:
Isn't it a bit weird that the Player's Guide contains the complete map of the Stolen Lands? Aren't the PCs are supposed to meticulously explore and map them during the adventure?

Maps reflecting the geography of the region probably already exist before the party sets off. We know where the rivers and mountains are, for example. The maps in the Player's Guide lack any labels or points of interest, and the party's job in this AP is less "figure out where the mountains are" and more "figure out what's in those mountains."


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I mean, divine power is not "being a god" it's "the confluence of Vital and Spiritual Essence"; remember Divine Sorcs and Oracles get divine spellcasting without a God involved. It's conceivable that this is the only kind of magic that can safely flow from a "massively powerful source" to a much weaker target (like a mortal.)

Like if Nethys could grant arcane spellcasting to his Clerics, he absolutely would, but he can't since that's not how magic works. Wizards can serve Nethys like Druids can serve Gozreh, but in that case their arcane magic or primal magic does not come from their deity. If some being with absolutely no magic whatsoever becomes a deity (imagine an unarchetyped human fighter passing the test of the Starstone) they would grant divine spells and not no-spells. So I don't think it's weird that you get divine spells from a Primal being or an Occult being or an Arcane being- divine spells are just the kind you can get from something else.


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I assume Cleric is "Not Recommended" because there are specific deities that would make it *very* awkward if a PC were a cleric thereof, and that the players should not know who these are in advance but the GM should?

These are also deities that don't have good Champions, so you might want to be careful about Evil Champions as well as Clerics. A specific kind of antipaladin is probably the single worst choice you could make for the campaign.


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Lord Fyre wrote:
I know that this is mostly for PF2 APs, but can (and should) these kinds of warning be added to First Edition APs (at least for the PDF versions)?

I don't know how much of a financial incentive there is to go back and edit the old PDFs, and some PF1 APs *did* have content warnings (e.g. Book 6 of Hell's Rebels.)

It's just that PF2 has standardized things like the Pathfinder Baseline so content warnings are expected when appropriate.


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Just inside the opening cover of each AP volume, on the same page as the index there will be a "Content Warning" if one is appropriate. Sometimes it's something you can work around (Book 1 of Strength of Thousands has a warning for "in Chapter 3, a few stark depictions of animal cruelty and abuse" but is otherwise pretty clean. Knowing the potential pain points, the GM can certainly adjust them to make them less of an issue (I certainly don't remember noteworthy animal cruelty in SoT; but I think this is about how the Gremlins are mean to Binji?)

Agents of Edgewatch, Abomination Vaults, and Blood Lords are full-on "no-go" for this sort of thing. There's surprisingly little circus stuff in Extinction Curse though.


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I support this "Drow/Kyonin internal elf politics AP that is a Second Darkness sequel" idea on the principle of "if we put all the things I don't care about in a single AP, then there'll be less of those things in other APs" ;p


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The reality of the Katana is that Japan was not blessed with great natural resources for bladesmithing, so their smiths had to instead become very good at their craft- the whole "fold the thing over again and again" is a technique that you use to extend a limited quantity of high quality hardenable steel with lower quality steel (it also looks pretty.) The katana was thus engineered to be very good at fast slashes and basically nothing else, which was okay because "lack of good ore in abundance" also meant that you didn't tend to fight a lot of heavily armored people and most of the time you fought people with farming implements anwyay. You didn't want to parry or block with it since nicks in the blade are going to compromise your deep draw cut, and the edge being as sharp as it was meant it was brittle.

I'm all for lack of realism in weapons because it's cool, but where is all the "people beat each other up with their incredible skill at wielding an umbrella" content I am craving?


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They haven't done anything with the Hellknights since publishing the three archetypes have they? It's perhaps possible that they thought that people would be more excited to be Hellknights than they have been, but more probably there's just a lot more books to publish than they have the time and resources to publish and it hasn't come up yet.


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This is a thing that's in the new version of Kingmaker, but not previous versions of Kingmaker?


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Yeah, I would say the only PCs are "games that you participate in". So if you have a home game that has 5 PCs, and a PFS group that has like 20 PCs then that means there's 25 PCs in the world, plus presumably a few who retired after finishing their story but who are still around somewhere. You don't have to take into account PFS groups running the same scenarios in different cities just like you don't have to take into account home games running the same AP in different cities.

There are a huge number of parallel versions of Golarion that coexist (how many different kings or queens did we get out of Kingmaker across all versions of that story?), so however many PCs there are total in ongoing games of Pathfinder are divided across Parallel versions of the world. Like my WotR game in which the PCs hunted down Baphomet and Deskari and killed them permanent-like doesn't have to be reflected in anybody else's version of Golarion, and by the same principle I don't have to acknowledge your PCs existing (unless we're in the same game.)

So I find it extremely plausible that at any given time that there are precisely 0 PCs who ware Strix, or Poppets, or Sprites, or Shoonies, or Conrau, and the only way we're going to get one is if "a human being who I share a game with wants to play one" at which point it's just up to that person and their GM to come up with the justifications for whatever happens to be true about that character.


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Yeah, I prefer not having those tables. If people at our table think "normal dwarves regularly weigh like 300+ pounds because their bones are really dense like rhino bones and they have a lot of muscle density" I don't see any value in the book saying that's not the case. It's more valuable I think to have the discussion with each other about "what is dwarf biology like" than to have it in a book where I can look it up, because "we develop a shared understanding of an imaginary world" is a fundamental thing in a game like this.

Like regularly I had players who wanted to play a character outside of the height/weight limits in that table. Like an aasimar that the player wanted to be like 6'11" and weigh like 120lbs in order to look like a weird bird or a Dwarf woman that the player wanted to be just under 5' tall.


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I think I would like "another Numeria AP" more than I would want a Tech book. I think you could make the incredible chainswords and lasers that you find work with the rules that you put in the toolbox of the APs.

The Technology Guide really wasn't especially useful in 1e except when you were playing Iron Gods (which was a great AP, but I don't think I ever opened it after we finished that one.)


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I don't think it matters to the actual game the numbers regarding what most people are like or what the average person is like. It just matters what the limits are because those are what the players and the GM have to work within.

There are exactly as many of skinny or fat people as the story includes and I don't have to worry about everybody else that never shows up in the game.


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It's hard to rate Age of Ashes since the primary problem affecting it is "the hazards and antagonists are overtuned" since it was largely written before the 2e rules were finalized. How much you feel comfortable massaging the math so your players have a good time depends on you. The basic frame of the adventure is pretty fun, but I wouldn't recommend it to someone who doesn't know 2e well enough to spot the pain points and know how to fix them.

Like every GM is going to have different strengths and weaknesses and part of mastering the craft is figuring out where yours lie. Some people might think "working the villain into the story sooner" is the easiest thing in the world and some will struggle. Some people will think "fix all the math so the combat has appropriate difficulty" is their least favorite thing and some people will think it's NBD.


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I personally don't want to see Drow at all until we get a book on the Darklands.

It doesn't really make sense to do an entry on an ancestry that's not:
- An ancestry you find in a lot of different places.
- In a book about a place where the overwhelming majority of them live.

Like if they do an Ancestry Guide 2 then you can put the Drow in there sure, but the first place we see them in a setting book shouldn't be a "heretofore unknown group in this place."


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This feels like the old Paladin arguments. Doesn't "Drow" mean "an elf who was underground during Earthfall that was corrupted by Rovagug's awakening?"

I just don't understand why there is so much interest in "putting the Drow in places that are not where we know they are and making them different than we know they are" when there is not similar interest in doing the same with like the Duergar or the Svirfneblin?

I like Dwarves much more than Elves and I would prefer to see "another, heretofore unseen kind of Dwarf" than "surface Duergar who are unlike their Darklands kin."


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Because ordinary Elves are more interesting than Drow?


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I just don't know what you get by having the Drow in Arcadia instead of a different kind of elf that we don't know much about yet. To me it seems like the latter is just much more interesting.


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I mean, we've been playing fast and loose with "you can take the armor off that baddie you just killed and it will fit you fine" regardless of the relative size of the people involved for a while, so "having there be very few rules attached to size" makes a lot of sense.

Like IRL plate armor had to be fitted to exactly the person who was going to wear it. But realism isn't necessarily a positive thing in a game context.


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That being said, understanding the reasons behind "Paizo's art rarely shows fat elves, etc." is different than saying "Elves cannot be fat or muscular". Since if someone who is playing an Elf barbarian, for example, wants to describe/draw them as being really muscular but with a gut there's nothing in the setting that says "Elves can never ever be like that," right?


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I think what needs to happen is that we need to drill down to what actually defines the Drow, since apparently the "Cavern Elf" heritage is different from "being a Drow." A group of of Elves who lived underground for a while and who now live above ground is all well and good, but why do we need to make them Drow instead of another kind of Elf? Like the Jinin are not Drow, or are they?


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I mean "throughout the entire history of the fantasy genre, there have been very few fat people visible, and when they do crop up it's generally in order to signpost vice" is hardly controversial if you've been paying attention.

I am generally of the opinion that your character looks like whatever you want them to look like, so height, weight, hair color, body type, whatever is whatever you tell me it is (within some reason), and all characters are equally competent modulo what the character sheet and dice say.


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I don't really believe the things that the Barbarian rage lets you do with your body go as far as I want, so if they're not going to give the really weird stuff to the Barb as instincts please give it to the Bloodrager as bloodlines.


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I don't think there is any value in making Drows *not* "people who want to avoid the sun". You can do that, but you could also make Halflings that are 8 feet tall and live on the moon.

You can change any one thing into something else, but there's not always a good reason to do that.

If we need people to live in neat caves somewhere, I would prefer "some sort of person that we've never heard of before" (like the Shisk or the Goloma) to a type of person we've seen and already know what they're about.


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I could see some underground people living under the overhangs of cliffs, like the Anasazi in the Southwest. Basically every non-magical way of "avoiding the sun" works about the same way.


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The point is that "we need to band together to fight off the armies of the undead" is a thing Cheliax will *use* to take pressure off themselves. If the whole War with Andoran thing got started, things were not likely to go well for Cheliax. They took a lot of Ls in first edition, so "point at the Mythic Lich" is a good way for them to deter any states that see blood in the water and want to see Cheliax brought low.

I'm not saying that they won't secretly try to make a deal with TB, but their public position will be "we need to band together to fight off the armies of the dead." Since that's what they need in order to buy time to lick their wounds and rebuild.

The other thing is that while the powers that be in Cheliax are unquestionably evil, they're the sort of evil that "thinks they are taking advantage of literal devils" and do not want their decadence and unquestioned power to be compromised. Tar Baphon may be only one alignment step away from LE, sure, but he still stands against what the decision makers in Cheliax actually want. There's also the national pride thing since Iomedae was literally from Cheliax, and while Asmodeus is the state religion, they don't want to throw in with the ancient enemy of literally the most powerful being from Cheliax.


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Ravounel is obligated by treaty to support Cheliax if attacked. They would drag their feet to the extent permissible and maybe a little bit further, and would probably be clandestinely assisting their nominal enemy.

It's an awkward situation for sure, which is why I think everybody is going to point to "the Lich up North" as a reason not to start this conflict.

If Ravounel were able to stand up to a Chellish invasion, things might be different, but Ravounel is comparatively tiny and what military power they can accumulate will likely be naval. Legalism and "bigger fish to fry" is essentially what's preventing Cheliax from marching an army over the mountains.


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I think the primary problem with "Cheliax ramps up shipbuilding" is that their neighbor and rival to the east outstrips Cheliax massively in terms of "supply of tinder" and somewhat in terms of "shipbuilding capability."

So if Cheliax were to engage in a massive effort to rebuild the Navy, that would provoke Andoran into building even more ships.

But one of Cheliax's most important shipyards lied in Kintargo and Ravounel has a ready supply of tinder. Cheliax and Ravounel are nominally allies due to a treaty of necessity, but Ravounel's values are much more in line with those of Andoran and nothing would test that alliance more than things coming to head between Cheliax and Andoran.


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So the major pressing issues for Cheliax are:
1) Domestic Unrest (people don't generally like living in an oppressive authoritarian state, and the Glorious Reclamation getting as far as it did is worrisome).
2) That Lich up north.
3) The conflict with Andoran that's been brewing for some time.
4) All the L's Cheliax has taken on the world stage (loss of Ravounel and Kintargo, erosion of their naval power, comparative stability of other inner sea powers.)

They're for sure not going to solve all of them, after all Cheliax is in a meaningful sense "the bad guys" as Asmodeus is one of the two primary antagonists for the entire setting (Rovagug is the other). So there's probably a better chance of Nidal becoming a good place than Cheliax, and Nidal becoming non-squicky would require divine intervention (specifically the re-emergence of Dou-Bral somehow.) The main difference between Cheliax and Nidal here is that Nidal really doesn't really pose a threat to its neighboring states (though individual citizens of those states desperately would prefer to never visit Nidal.)


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Your first implement is something you get without paying for (it might not be an item with any value, like a bell) so you can get a free weapon this way. However, it is restricted to "the options to which you have access" so mostly common items and anything uncommon you're granted by a class feat or the GM being permissive.

Note that "unconventional weaponry" is ambiguous and the GM is entirely justified in saying "no" to certain choices. You likely can't get an exquisite sword cane anyway, since the template is reverse engineered from a unique magic item in a specific AP (and it's a Level 4 item).


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Losonti wrote:
Which part of Swashbuckler requires you to have a weapon in hand? It should work just fine with that stance.

If you want to use one action for +2 AC for something like dueling parry, you'll need to be holding a weapon. But you can also just hold a shield and raise it for the same effect without needing to spend a feat, since the upgrade to dueling parry is a stance and can't be combined with stumbling stance if you're a non-monk.


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I feel like Blood Lords gives a pretty big indication about how they're going to handle the whole "Slavery in Cheliax" issue going forward. Since what Geb does with people the state considers disposable is arguably much worse than what Cheliax does with the people the state considers disposable.

But in the first adventure you go to "the farm where the workers are all zombie" and not "the ranch where people are raised as food for Geb's upper class."


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The appeal of FKM is that the Dwarven Mindset makes politics interesting (polite, reasonable, not-impulsive, but stubborn and utterly ruthless) and this is a place where the politics has absolutely broken society.


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It feels like each alignment's read on the situation for a character in the AP would be something like.

LE: Geb is an ideal state.
NE: Geb is great, because I can hoard wealth and power forever and there is no social penalty for exploitation and abuse so long as you pick the right targets.
LN: Geb is a horrible place in many ways, but it mostly works, and completely dismantling it is going to do a lot of harm.
LG: Geb is a terrible place, but there are decent people who live here, and we can and should be doing better by them. The system is too entrenched to be confronted directly, but we can chip away here and there.
TN: Geb is what it is.

CE would be "Geb is terrible, let's make it worse" which is what the PCs are trying to *stop* CG and NG would be "Geb is terrible, it must be destroyed" which is just working against the premise of the story.


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Vandalier wrote:
Any insights into how a chaotic evil character could be included? :3

It seems like a tricky one to fit in since the AP seems mostly to be about bad people in a bad society don't approve of what the other bad people in this bad society are up to, because that's liable to destroy the successful thing we have going here.

Like it's not the most inappropriate alignment for this AP (that would be CG) but it's definitely a Law-oriented Adventure Path. I'm not saying there aren't specific CE characters who could work, but there are specific LG characters who could work for sure.


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History from 10,000 years before the present shouldn't be presented as especially reliable anyway. Paizo has so far wanted to avoid framing "ancient elves were jerks" but there's no reason they shouldn't reserve that possibility in their back pocket if they want to use it.

Like "pre-earthfall Humans, and the quest for the sky Dwarves were big ol'jerks" is hardly controversial, and Elves take *naturally* to unbecoming elitism.


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I guess "what's illegal" is "whatever the most powerful local person believes to be illegal" but is there any way to find out "there was positive energy here"? Like is a zombie that is killed with positive energy different than a zombie that is killed with any other kind of energy? Like it's pretty clear from looking at a corpse that if it was burned or not, but you negative/positive/aligned damage something you can figure out from looking at a corpse?

Like since a spirit barbarian can make their rage damage positive, negative, or neither can they plausibly deny that they ever used the positive option and it's hard to impossible to prove otherwise?

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