I just wanted to chime in here and say that, apart from the Qadira book from a while back, this is the the single best Campaign Setting book I've read for Pathfinder. It has interesting mechanical crunch in delightfully inventive monsters, it has an exciting and interesting look into an underloved country with fascinating storytelling potential, and it's just goddamn fun to read!
I wish we'd gotten more setting material books like this in 1st edition. If the whole line had been nothing but great deep-dives like this I'd have been immensely satisfied. It really makes Golarion feel [/i]alive[/i].
James Jacobs wrote:
I was wondering when we'd get the "Mengkare is Evil" adventure path
Ok the shield stuff isn't quite as wtf after reading the back pages.
It's a piece of a piece of the shield that's embedded in the PCs, that makes sense. The way it sounded in the intro was that an entire shard of the shield was in each PC and that was mind-boggling. The framing in the back article is worded more clearly and sells the idea better than the intro.
That said there is one thing I'm legitimately excited about:
This entire part of the adventure feels like it was cut out of a module that took place in the First World and somebody tried to file off the serial numbers.
I'm actually kind of frustrated here. There's an opportunity to set an entire adventure in the Boneyard and I'm about fifteen pages into a fey-filled romp with weird puzzles and tooth fairies. Like, I enjoy these monsters but the tonal dissonance from this is astounding.
Rather than focus on thematically appropriate outsiders or other related creatures there's a huge focus on fighting fey? I mean the way I'm looking at this... I'm on page 36 and there's been mites, tooth fairies, wasp swarms, yeth hounds, giant fleas, and stirges as enemies that feel out of place. I mean maybe you can make a case for the yeth hound.
None of the above really feels like it meshes thematically with what the adventure is actually trying to sell. There's not even an explanation. The PCs can ask about the fey and it boils down to an answer of "I have no idea dude."
I can't wait to see how this book wraps up.
I had to add: On page 26 there's art of a tooth fairy (this one is Small) with an esobok psychopomp sitting at her side. But the esobok is like... tiny? It's the size of like a small dog. But it's a Medium sized monster and as an outsider isn't subject to spells that could shrink it (reduce person) and that isn't reflected in the text either anyway.
I really had high hopes for the last 1E adventure but this is showing a lot of really rough seams in places it shouldn't, like development and art direction. This might actually be sloppier than Return of the Runelords. I'm worried too much focus was on PF2 toproperly quality control stuff...
So I got my subscriber copy and skimmed some stuff and holy heck this is kind of a mess. Just from a world-lore perspective the history of the campaign is just weird and confusing, especially the parts about the Shield of Arnisant.
Why in the hell does this weapon fire shards of the Shield of Arnisant as ammunition??? And how did it fire 4-6 (the number of presumed PCs) at once in a single test-firing? That's almost half the shield in one go. That doesn't even make any narrative sense.
There's also this bit which isn't really spoilery as it's just some background text, but it shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the world:
"Before Roslar’s body was placed in his tomb, rumors of his involvement in Arazni’s death surfaced. The Knights of Ozem, reluctant to call shame upon one of their own, conducted a lackluster and inconclusive investigation."
Because you know what an organization run by lawful good paladins is known for? Coverups and deceit of the sketchy actions of one of their own.
Any other group I could understand. But the leadership of the Knights of Ozem (and most members) are both honorable and righteous if not outright paladins with a demanding code of conduct. This flies so hard in the face of that.
I'm literally only 4 pages in and kind of surprised. Maybe the rest of it will be better but like, not off to a stellar start.
That's not even bringing up the kludgey way the PCs are brought together (it's just a coincidence!) but also that it's very similar to the intro to Wrath of the Righteous.
Just a heads-up: Sorshen, Arushalee, Nocticula, Casandalee, Shensen, etc are all James Jacobs characters regardless of who wrote the particular AP. You can probably just ask him about these characters in his ask JJ thread. You have the fortune of all of them being created by the same guy in this particular instance.
From the makers of who is really a veiled master comes a new tinfoil hat discussion thread:
SECRETS OF THE STARSTONE CATHEDRAL
To get everyone on the same page, let's talk about what the Starstone Cathedral is.
So, here's the big takeaways. It was created by Aroden when he raised the fabled Starstone from the sea, houses the Starstone, and people who enter and pass a series of supernatural ordeals ascend.
Now, who's ascended?
Arguably, Aroden. Absolutely Iomedae, Cayden Cailean, and Norgorber. So, four.
There were four bridges leading to the Starstone cathedral, one for each ascended god. Aroden's bridge collapsed following an earthquake after his death.
But who built these bridges?
Crossing the chasm into the Starstone cathedral is a task that leads to the test. Did the city of Absalom commission these bridges? Dis a construction crew risk proximity to the cathedral to build these? Why didn't they repair Aroden's bridge?
But that isn't even the greatest mystery. To get onto that topic, we have to revisit two pieces of official art of the Starstone.
The first piece, from the Guide to Absalom
The second piece, from Champions of Purity
In both of these pieces, zoom in and look at the framework around the primary entrance. You'll see there are six circular recessions flanking the door with a larger, thirteenth recession above the entrance. You'll note that three of these circles are filled with engraved symbols: Iomedae on the left, not at the top or in a particular order. On the right, you'll see Cayden Cailean's symbol followed by the mask of Norgorber.
If these were made by mundane hands, why are they in erratic places instead of from top to bottom or in order of ascension? Why is Aroden's symbol not present? If they aren't handmade, what divine force crafted them?
Why is there a finite number of spaces?
The position of the symbols isn't by alignment as there are only 9 alignments.
Is it by month of ascension? Did Iomedae ascend in Calistril?
If this is the case, does that mean there can only be 12 (possibly 13) ascended deities?
What happens when they all ascend?
WHAT ISN'T THE CHURCH TELLING US?
WHAT DID ARODEN KNOW?
Hey folks, I just wanted to share some variant horror-themed rules I put together in time for Halloween. I wasn't ever really satisfied with what Horror Adventures did for the fear rules (the levels are a little too kludgey) and the "madness" stuff is kind of tasteless and tacky.
So, what I've done is hacked up those fear rules, incorporated elements from Sword & Sorcery's Ravenloft core book, a little of the stress mechanic from Blades in the Dark, and some of the stress/trauma analog from Darkest Dungeon.
Hope you find it fun!
Just popped in to say I'm really happy with how folks have received the parts I worked on in this book. The aphorites and axis were passion projects of mine long before this book got started, and it was cool to be able to bring that all full-circle.
That said, as I'm seeing the full product now, I am legitimately surprised there's not a single archetype or new base form for summoner!
Liane Merciel wrote:
I hardly post on here anymore, but I wanted to step in and say that this is my favorite CS book since Qadira. It's so well thought out and easily could've been twice as long and still kept me as interested. I read it cover-to-cover in a single, eager sitting.
Excellent work, Liane and co. Truly excellent.
I'd handle it like any class feature that changes your creature type: Don't change anything. Skill points wouldn't change, etc.
You retain: your HD, mental ability scores, feats, skills, etc.
You gain: Initiative based off Intelligence, the ability to control your sweet new robot body, creature type treated as "AI" (and Construct, when inhabiting a robot) for purposes of spells and effects that effect creatures by type.
I'm going to make this brief:
Not removing Folca from the PDF isn't a great choice. Pathfinder is already widely pirated and extremely easily accessible in pirated formats (including brand new releases that have only gone out to subscribers). Removing Folca won't incentivize that any more than it already is. That makes "we don't want to make it a rare, pirated item" sort of a cop-out of responsibility.
Because what do you think will happen if Folca is removed from reprints? Either you care more about a non-issue that doesn't help fighting piracy, or you care about not profiting off of child abuse.
Yes, it takes a lot of resources to do layout again. Maybe if you hadn't put incentivized child abuse in the book in the first place, or if it had been caught in the several steps of development/editing/copyfitting you wouldn't have to make this choice.
The consequence of screwing up is fixing the mistake. Not just apologizing and continuing to draw in revenue off of a book that features incentivized abuse of children.
Commando is basically the gunslinger version of Rambo. They can make traps, fight in the wilderness, and generally ruin somebody's day. It's a gunslinger that is less Wild West and more wilderness warrior.
Filidh was a request from the design team and is closely hewn to the real-world idea of a filidh. They're divination-focused bards who can see into the future.
Cultivator bards are all about affecting plants with their magic and cn make vegetation grow to aid them. The name is just a "makes sense" once you think of their role. They cultivate and nurture nature!
Water Dancer is one I'm really proud of. They're a monk who eschews unarmed combat for kineticist water blasts. They can even walk on the surface of water to avoid enemies. Part of my inspiration was Chinese fantasy movies and a strong dose of Avatar the Last Airbender.
Wasteland Meditant is a hermit-like monk who gains a lot of powers that help them survive in desert environments and can turn their enemies into literal pillars of salt.
Menhir Guardian is a monk that protects things like druid circles and sacred sites. Their unarmed strikes pack a punch and can send enemies flying.
Aldo, if folks wanna discuss archetypes I designed for Ultimate Wilderness I did:
Elementalist Shifter (shifter)
I wrote other parts of the book, too, but those are probably the most fun to talk about at the moment!
Those were some of the best episodes!
Dark Matter is great! I'm extremely bummed it was apparently cancelled after a cliffhanger season finale, though. Reminds me of Farscape.
I've watched nearly all of Clone Wars and a handful of Rebels. I plan on catching up with Rebels once it finishes its last season and just binge it all.
As a gigantic Star Wars fan I've seen all the movies, and am currently doing my best porg shriek in anticipation of Last Jedi!
I think the easiest thing for this is to allow Pummeling Style line to work with morphic weapons, describing it as that "one BIIIG LIMB".
If you take Feral Combat Training (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/feral-combat-training-combat/) you can apply pummeling style to natural attacks.
Since Mark brought up the shifter archetypes, I wanted to note that I never really intended for the fiendflesh shifter to be evil only. Maybe any nongood, but I didn't originally have any alignment restrictions in there because I wanted everybody to be able to play with it (especially PFS folks).
That said, I can absolutely see why they chose to make it that way because of the nature of emulating all manner of fiends. But for a non-PFS game, GMs shouldn't worry about removing the alignment restriction (or modifying it to any nongood) for their players. It wouldn't upset mechanical balance in any way.
That's one thing I wish I'd thought to include in the archetype: A way to sacrifice number of natural attacks for higher natural attack damage. Basically going from multiple limbs to one BIIIG LIMB. Kinda' Green Lantern big green fist style.
For GMs running at their home (sorry PFS folks) my house rule would be increase die size by one step for each natural attack you could have that you choose to sacrifice. So like, when you form your natural attacks if you only form 1 instead of 3 your damage die for that one attack goes up by two steps. Probably not optimal but it gets the idea across.
Magical tattoos seem like a great idea. Eldritch glyphs floating in protoplasmic masses, glowing veins throbbing inside of the ooze, connected to the symbols.
There are plenty of things that don't require hands/holding. For example, a horse pull a wagon, a bird could flip a switch with a beak, a pig can push open a door [not work a round knob though maybe hit a lever type], ect. it all depends on how fine the manipulation needed is. For me, 'can't hold' doesn't equate to 'can't flip switch'. At worst a Oozemorph could 'attack' the switch with morphic weapons dealing nonlethal damage. The impact doesn't inflict damage to an object but has force.
I could see a case being made for letting the oozemorph push stuff around and do things like open doors if their natural weapons would permit that kind of manipulation. But since they can't wear equipment they can't pull a cart, since they can't wear the bit/bridle/harness ;)
As such, the blob should be able to climb a ladder at 1st. If it's impossible, climb speed doesn't do much.
The intention is that they can't climb at all until 4th when they get the climb speed.
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
Ahh. Yeah, unlike monster oozes the oozemorph can't benefit from any item that requires it being held, worn, wielded, etc. So really ioun stones or ioun-like items.
Also they don't do any additional acid damage, just natural attacks that can change damage type (s/p/b) as the oozemorph desires. This includes having like three bite attacks if they want, or what not.
As written, it replaced shifter claws not modified, so it doesn't get anything from claws. Robert is the only one that can say if that's what he intended though.
The oozemorph's natural attacks don't scale in damage and weren't intended to. Their natural attacks start at 1d6 and don't scale unless their size does (giant form and beast shape II, etc), which was intended to balance out their scaling DR.
An oozemorph in fluidic form couldn't hold the potion to administer it (since it can't hold items). But there's nothing saying you can't pour it on the ooze. That's another GM-specific question, mostly can something without a mouth drink a potion? I'm sure that's come up in PFS. I mean, oozes (even just as monsters) can drown, so there's some weird spaces for consideration there.
They can't pull a backpack either, because the "cant hold anything" caveat. That also means they can't open doors, flip lever, or anything that requires hands.
They absolutely could have an oil slathered all over them, though.
I'll leave you with the image of Valeros trying to spread petroleum jelly over a pool of jello.
Definitely intended them to be able to use nothing (except slotless, non-held magic items, like ioun stones) while in fluidic form. The intention was, if they can't wear an item, they can't benefit from it.
They can benefit from stat-boosting items while in humanoid form (and if they have to shed their gear and go blob, then pick stuff back up they'll still have the temporary ability score bonuses from the items until they're worn again for 24-hours).
But can I still get an answer what is reason for why archetype can't use any loot while in the ooze form? .-. I mean, both in universe and design reasons, in universe wise I don't get it because I've seen oozes with spells and magic items and design wise I don't get it since it means it doesn't sound like it has any way to keep up with other PCs except when its not in the ooze form?
The ooze form isn't a benefit, it's effectively a "bad thing" that the oozemorph manages to make the best of. In their natural, blobby state they're at a distinct disadvantage in a lot of ways. This is why their damage reduction and compression abilities still work outside of their ooze form. Outside of getting a (slow) climb speed, they're very vulnerable in that state.
The oozemorph is mean to excel when in humanoid (or others, depending on level) form, utilizing damage reduction, compression, and morphic weaponry (on top of the remaining shifter abilities).
Dropping into blob form might be able to be creatively used to good effect, but it is primarily a drawback and should be viewed as such.
That said, oozemorphs can absolutely benefit from ioun stones in both forms.
A kind soul shared the final text with me and I'm happy to say it looks almost entirely unchanged from my original turnover, so I can more confidently comment on stuff!
I can now say that the oozeshifter doesn't lose or gain anything that isn't expressly called out in the text. It loses item slots and the ability to hold/manipulate objects and wear equipment. But it retains all of the oozemorph's racial traits (senses, ability scores, etc). The character is treated as an ooze and their original creature type, but not all ooze rules obviously apply to them since the creature's TYPE doesn't change to ooze. (Not blind, etc). Much like how an android is treated as humanoid/construct but doesn't get all of a construct's traits.
So that basically answers the rest of the questions too. Can it climb a ladder? No, because it has no way to climb until it gets a climb speed at 4th level. I think the only thing that really should've been called out in my original text is the movement speeds. That definitely was missed.
I'm open for other questions too! Remember that developer intent trumps aaaaanything I comment on here. So when any official clarification comes up that's the word of law :)
For those curious, rageshaper's size increase wasn't intended to be a polymorph effect when written. The only ability score bonuses it receives would be from raging. The effect was based off of enlarge person (a non-polymorph size increasing transmutation effect) That's not an official FAQ, but it's something for GMs at home.
It's worth noting that a lot of these questions fall to the distinction between rules as written and rules as intended. Climb might say you need "both hands free" but there's a laundry-list of monsters without hands that climb, including oozes (giant amoebas for one).
As for the ooze's base speed, I'd always intended that it had the base creature's land speed and no others that were reliant on physical form (wings, etc).
With regards to the kitsune stuff, if really have to see what the final text wound up looking like.
I'd love to answer folks' mechanical questions, beyond the antimagic field stuff, but I haven't seen the final version of the archetype since I did my original turnover. I can explain broad stroke concepts, but only after I either get my contributor copy (probably a couple weeks) or it goes up on d20pfsrd or the like. I wouldn't want to contradict what's written or be disrespectful to the developer's choices on anything they may've changed!
I can answer one question I saw, though: I was imagining something like an ochre jelly when I designed the class (obviously not with the same abilities, but general "puddle of slime" shape.)
Caveat: Not on the design team, but the archetype's original author.
That said, the intention is that all of the Fluidic Body abilities are (Su), but the character's base form is now an ooze. Which is why there's the antimagic field callout. You automatically revert back to ooze form but can't use any other facets of this ability (shapechanging and the like). This doesn't prohibit the use of morphic weapons, since that an (Ex) ability.
Expectation Management: As an FYI Starfinder was in the early days when we were working on RoA. That said, Thurston and I did discuss the fact that Azlant did indeed have interplanetary exploration going on, which was canon before Starfinder. I don't know if any of those discussions ever manifested, but there's no reference to it in my adventure. But the concept itself is canon Golarion, and there's plenty of room to make your own inroads on that concept. But it's not narrative touchstone of the main story.
Not that it was a question, but since you mentioned the worldbuilding of Starfinder, I have personal qualms with that too. It's mostly from a storyteller perspective and seeing what, to me, feels like missed opportunities.
So, Starfinder is an alternate future timeline for Golarion. That's the basic conceit, that way Starfinder can't retcon future Pathfinder stuff. That said, I think Starfinder missed the mark with some of their ideas for just how divergent the world could be.
This was a chance to explore a parallel timeline where Aroden didn't die. For new players it wouldn't be any different than picking up the Inner Sea World Guide for the first time. Here's the God of Humanity Aroden and his herald Arazni and some other neat lore.
For previous Pathfinder players it would have cast the Pact Worlds in an entirely new light. Did prophecy still fail? If not, what were the repercussions of that? How did everything else shake out? What does this do to inform or not inform the Gap? Etc.
Starfinder's world feels too "close" to Pathfinder's and if I'm going to be basically playing in the same setting, I might as well play the game I'm familiar with. There's already rules for advanced technology, and if I want to involve starships we basically wrote the book on that for Aethera (conveniently).
Now, for other folks my personal qualms might not matter much at all. But for me, I feel like it could've been more interesting (to me!) and I can't stop thinking about that whenever I read material, and it kinda' drags me down.
Now, there's no saying I couldn't do that very thing in my own game, but that's a lot of work. If the story had grabbed me, or the system had inspired me, it might've been easier to get hooked from one side or the other.
I'm glad folks are enjoying it, though! I've just only got so much spare time, and I like Golarion more :)
I find a lot appealing about it, but also some things I'm hesitant on, myself. Care to elaborate your opinions?
I'm not a huge fan of the way power levels are scaled, how equipment (specifically weapons and armor) work with a scaling system, and I'm not fond of the ad-hoc way NPCs are generated rather than by creating them as you would a character. A lot of these are similar to the things I didn't like about 4E when it came about. Admittedly all of that is personal taste, not that they're bad ideas.
Are you also a "kitten flipper" like one of your colleagues? The public demands to know.
Thurston is the only kitten flipper (but Compton puts him up to it).
Why do you think Desna is so popular for designers to imply shipping with other deities (Cayden several, Pharasma you, Curchanus seems implied, and seemingly more, though that's all I've got at the moment)? Why do you think Calistria is less popular in that regard (as in the rather non-specific, "maybe everyone, maybe no-one, maybe some" suggestions)?
That's a really good question, and one I don't know if I actually have an answer to. Though it does remind me that I have lingering questions about the relationship (just, in general) between the Black Butterfly and Desna.
I do watch Rick and Morty and generally I really like it. The fandom however is full of so many Jerrys.
I don't have any plans to play Starfinder. While I was involved in the internal playtesting and worked on the Pact Worlds book, the system itself isn't exactly my cup of tea.