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Always enjoy Liane Merciel's work!


I posted about this once.

Though there's little cannon information either way.


Quintessentially Me wrote:

I'm reading my own biases into it, but I feel like the four components are in matched/opposing pairs.

Vital vs Mental (Body and Mind)
Spiritual vs Material (Spiritual and Physical)

That said, ignoring this and choosing to explore the other combinations sounds interesting. :)

I believe that that's the viewpoint that Paizo takes, from what I recall of this topic from Seifter and Jacobs posts.


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Insapateh wrote:
SOLDIER-1st wrote:
...I don't want to derail the thread overmuch.
Can you at least drop a few links? This sounds fascinating, as a leftie.

Dreaming, Handedness, and Sleep Architecture: Interhemispheric Mechanisms

Handedness, language areas and neuropsychiatric diseases: insights from brain imaging and genetics

What causes some people to be left-handed, and why are fewer people left-handed than right-handed?

Just a few. You can also look through the references on the wiki page for Handedness


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The Inner Sphere consists of the Elemental Planes (Fire, Earth, Water, Air), the Material, the Shadow, the First World, the Positive and Negative Energy planes, and the Ethereal Plane.


Tacticslion wrote:
SOLDIER-1st wrote:
Where does it say what the cocoon is made out of? I'm not seeing that in your link.
Hah! Well, I’ll be. Hm. There are at least two places, but one of those is a spoiler for an AP, and one of those is Starfinder (whose rules are slightly different). I don’t know about 2e.

Which AP?


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Where does it say what the cocoon is made out of? I'm not seeing that in your link.


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Rysky wrote:
SOLDIER-1st wrote:
Anguish wrote:

Being lactose-intolerant myself, I'm a bit confused by the premise.

It's not a species thing. Technically all of us are lactose-intolerant, but it's a question of degree. Some people produce less lactase naturally, permitting them to digest less lactose than other people can. But "more" does not indicate "excessive". A non-lactose-intolerant person can be overloaded.

So, in general, I'm not following the idea that any particular species on Golarion would be - as a rule - especially sensitive to lactose. It's almost like asking "which species are left-handed?" It's an individual-level thing.

I don't know about lactose or anything, but humans are actually highly abnormal in the fact that the majority of us are right-hand dominant. Most other species are ambidextrous, and of those that aren't, most of those are fairly evenly divided between left and right dominance.
Most likely due to the cultural stigma of left handed = sinister and thus literally having children who are left handed beaten until they are "right handed" for the longest time, a mindset and practice still ongoing in a lot of places unfortunately.

While that is an unfortunate stigma, most research shows that it's largely a fluke of genetics due to how our brains evolved. For whatever reason, the side of our brain that processes language almost universally controls which hand is our dominant. It's actually super interesting, but I don't want to derail the thread overmuch.


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Anguish wrote:

Being lactose-intolerant myself, I'm a bit confused by the premise.

It's not a species thing. Technically all of us are lactose-intolerant, but it's a question of degree. Some people produce less lactase naturally, permitting them to digest less lactose than other people can. But "more" does not indicate "excessive". A non-lactose-intolerant person can be overloaded.

So, in general, I'm not following the idea that any particular species on Golarion would be - as a rule - especially sensitive to lactose. It's almost like asking "which species are left-handed?" It's an individual-level thing.

I don't know about lactose or anything, but humans are actually highly abnormal in the fact that the majority of us are right-hand dominant. Most other species are ambidextrous, and of those that aren't, most of those are fairly evenly divided between left and right dominance.


James Jacobs wrote:
SOLDIER-1st wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
SOLDIER-1st wrote:

Do demiplanes have a general appearance from the outside, or is it more up to the specifics of the demiplane?

For example, if I was a shulsaga floating around in the Astral Plane, and happened to come across a new demiplane, without going in it what would I see?

It depends on the demiplane. Some might not even HAVE an "outside" to look at.

If you do happen to come across a demiplane, can you touch it or just walk in it, or do you still need Plane Shift or whatever for that?

(I am keeping in mind that it's based on the individual demiplane, and am asking if that's possible, not if it's universal)

If there's a portal into it, you can just walk in. Otherwise you need Plane Shift.

So how do Shulsagas tend to new demiplanes? From reading Planar Adventures, it seems like they can interact with (both externally and internally) demiplanes, and do so as a matter of course. But since they don't have Plane Shift as an SLA, nor would they have a tuning fork for a newly formed demiplane, how is this accomplished?


James Jacobs wrote:
SOLDIER-1st wrote:

Do demiplanes have a general appearance from the outside, or is it more up to the specifics of the demiplane?

For example, if I was a shulsaga floating around in the Astral Plane, and happened to come across a new demiplane, without going in it what would I see?

It depends on the demiplane. Some might not even HAVE an "outside" to look at.

If you do happen to come across a demiplane, can you touch it or just walk in it, or do you still need Plane Shift or whatever for that?

(I am keeping in mind that it's based on the individual demiplane, and am asking if that's possible, not if it's universal)


Do demiplanes have a general appearance from the outside, or is it more up to the specifics of the demiplane?

For example, if I was a shulsaga floating around in the Astral Plane, and happened to come across a new demiplane, without going in it what would I see?


deuxhero wrote:
Yes, but that's the more or less "canon" version. Not sure what kind of party would make an AI into a goddess without ensuring she's good though.

Probably a party that was also predominantly neutral.


Mechagamera wrote:
SOLDIER-1st wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Decimus Drake wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
siegfriedliner wrote:
Mind you one thing I quite like about alignment Damage is that it could lead to a pyschopass style dystopia were cities went about actively purging evil from them with detect evil sensors and alignment damaged based turrets on every corner to mow down anyone that pings as evil, its flawless because the turrets can't hurt collateral as only evil creatures are damaged by them.
There's a funny catch-22 that prevents this: executing humanoids without evidence of a crime being committed could be considered an evil act. Psycho Pass works because the system's definition of evil is inherently flawed and is frankly closer to what Pathfinder alignment would consider to be chaotic.
It's only catch-22 if you equate lawful process with "good". Their execution has nothing to do with their crimes. They are being killed because they are objectively evil and killing them is a good act because the alignment based damage being used to kill them is objectively good.
Killing Evil creatures sends them to the Evil planes, thereby strengthening Evil on the cosmic scale. Better to redeem them if you can.
I don't believe that's true in Pathfinder (not sure if you're talking about D&D, PF, or Psychopass).
I think it is: evil soul becomes an evil petitioner that (possibly) becomes a devil/demon/daemon (or whatnot). It is a fairly marginal thing: the odds are that it won't be a big empowerment of evil (most evil petitioners don't rise very high). A good soul could spend eternity singing "Joy to the World" (Jeremy was a Bullfrog version for CG) and not adding a lot to the forces of Good. On the other hand, that redeemed gnoll might end up becoming a Solar instead of a Balor.

You're right, I thought creature meant specifically outsider in this context for some reason, not a mortal.


The Raven Black wrote:
Decimus Drake wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
siegfriedliner wrote:
Mind you one thing I quite like about alignment Damage is that it could lead to a pyschopass style dystopia were cities went about actively purging evil from them with detect evil sensors and alignment damaged based turrets on every corner to mow down anyone that pings as evil, its flawless because the turrets can't hurt collateral as only evil creatures are damaged by them.
There's a funny catch-22 that prevents this: executing humanoids without evidence of a crime being committed could be considered an evil act. Psycho Pass works because the system's definition of evil is inherently flawed and is frankly closer to what Pathfinder alignment would consider to be chaotic.
It's only catch-22 if you equate lawful process with "good". Their execution has nothing to do with their crimes. They are being killed because they are objectively evil and killing them is a good act because the alignment based damage being used to kill them is objectively good.
Killing Evil creatures sends them to the Evil planes, thereby strengthening Evil on the cosmic scale. Better to redeem them if you can.

I don't believe that's true in Pathfinder (not sure if you're talking about D&D, PF, or Psychopass).


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So the Balisse angel gets the fantastic ability Guiding Angel, which allows it to literally do the angel on one shoulder trope.

What are the chances of some other extraplanar creature having a similar ability (a devil perhaps)?

(Yes this is a request framed as a question)


In PF1, Outsiders breathe, but do not need to eat or sleep (although they can do so if they wish).

Since Outsider is not a trait in PF2, does that mean that denizens of the Outer Sphere need to eat and sleep now?


Once again, the art is fantastic.


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NemoNoName wrote:
SOLDIER-1st wrote:
They're law-enforcement personnel who's primary method of funding comes from being hired to enforce other's laws.

+1

SOLDIER-1st wrote:
That their ideals come before gold (presumably) doesn't particularly invalidate their mercenary status. Many mercenary companies (both modern and historical) will have a codified set of rules detailing what types of jobs they will and won't do that they will at least mostly adhere to.

But those mercenary companies have rules about how they will earn the money. The goal is still to earn money. That's the difference with Hellknights.

Hellknights goal is to uphold the law. They just also insist they are properly paid to so. That does not make them mercenaries, just people who refuse to be exploited by the ruling classes.

I just don't see that as enough of a difference that calling them mercenary is inaccurate.


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NemoNoName wrote:

This does not say anything about being mercenaries. You can work for different rulers without being a mercenary. Mercenary is one who works for gold, not ideals.

These on the other hand do support the mercenary monicker somewhat more. Especially this last bodyguard order. Although I'd still be iffy about calling them mercenaries. Getting paid is not mercenary by itself; mercenaries are about the gold alone.

Hellknights do seem to put ideals above the gold, at least as a organisation...

I think they're using the noun (a soldier hired to fight in a foreign army) definition rather than the adjective (serving merely for pay or sordid advantage) definition of the word.

They're law-enforcement personnel who's primary method of funding comes from being hired to enforce other's laws. That their ideals come before gold (presumably) doesn't particularly invalidate their mercenary status. Many mercenary companies (both modern and historical) will have a codified set of rules detailing what types of jobs they will and won't do that they will at least mostly adhere to.


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NemoNoName wrote:
Rysky wrote:
While you’re not far off on it being a “calling” that doesn’t make the Hellknights not be mercenaries, which they’ve always been.

I'm not super familiar with the lore (especially older lore), I've yet to see any indication anywhere they are mercenaries? They work to preserve and further law, and while they do accept money from various rulers/states to help out, this is always in furtherance of their own ideological goals.

Can you please point out more specifically why you think they're mercenaries?

Path of the Hellknight pg 4 wrote:
The Hellknights and their vision of order owe allegiance to no single nation. While most of their grim citadels lie within the borders of Cheliax, they do not serve that nation and their sense of order is derived from a compilation of severe strictures known as the Measure and the Chain. In troops or alone, Hellknights travel across the Inner Sea region hunting fugitives, solving crimes, and imposing order upon wilder lands. Rulers or law enforcers in need of aid—and who willingly pay to support the knights’ battles—might also summon them to particular sites where lawlessness reigns.
Path of the Hellknight pg 12 wrote:
Most of these appeals to hire the mercenary order go ignored, as the Hellknights simply can’t be bothered with every minor lawbreaker or escaped prisoner. Truly unique or innovative crimes, however, stand a chance of capturing the Hellknights’ attention. In such cases, a single fugitive hunter is typically dispatched to evaluate the request and, if the crime and criminal are deemed worthy, to bring the offender to justice. As such assignments become matters of honor for Chain Hellknights, they approach them with the utmost seriousness and prove dogged in their pursuit. From the outset of her quest, a Hellknight of the Chain insists upon receiving a fee and the right to ultimately choose how her captive will be incarcerated. If the Hellknight deems no local institution fit to hold her prisoner, she can choose to return to Citadel Gheradesca and imprison her detainee there—a fate most consider to be worse than death.
Path of the Hellknight pg 14 wrote:
Most members of the Order of the Chain are fighters stationed as guards at Gheradesca. Player or nonplayer characters, though, might have been singled out for their keen minds and so might enjoy special dispensation to train and quest as mercenary fugitive hunters.
Path of the Hellknight pg 35 wrote:
Settlements dealing with dangerous cults or threatened by zealots often reach out to the Order of the Pyre, hiring the mercenary knights to restore a community’s faith.
Path of the Hellknight pg 54 wrote:
The senator helped the order promote its services as mercenary assassin-hunters, and by the time the Chelish Civil War ended, the Order of the Scar was firmly entrenched in Taldor. […] Today, the mercenary Order of the Scar works almost entirely on retainer to wealthy individuals paranoid about assassination.

The Hellknights typical methods seem to indicate that they receive most of their income from being hired as law-enforcement officials. It's less clear what laws exactly they enforce, since while they have the whole 'Measure and Chain' thing, it's also been stated that they enforce the laws of whoever hired them, but can also be hired by non-governmental officials. So the exact hierarchy of whose laws they enforce is unclear.


The art for the Hellknights is AMAZING. Can't wait to build a Hellknight character!


When PF2 was first being playtested and the essences structure was revealed, I started writing up an in-world magical text. It modifies the traditional Pathfinder casting slightly, so certain terms and concepts are not the same. Spoilered below.

Magic:
Spell components: complexity, power, duration (instant or continuous [maintained or set])
Caster components: focus/concentration, energy/resistance, skill

Primal Magic:

Primal magic (also called blood/sacrifice magic, sometimes nature magic) is one of the oldest and easiest types of magic there is. Casting a spell involves comingling one’s essence with a nearby ley line (see Ley Lines below), and then simply stating your intent, the ley line takes care of the rest (see Pros & Cons below). The more essence you comingle, the more power you can put into the spell. Comingling essence is almost invariably done via spilling blood at a ley line (thus the common names of blood or sacrifice magic), though other methods do technically exist.

Ley Lines – conduits of mixed positive and negative energy that run throughout the material universe like the circulatory system in a human body, also called the River of Souls or the Lifestream. While not sentient in the traditional sense, it is conscious enough to respond to intent, and can develop partial sentience under certain conditions. A powerful but poorly worded spell, a spell that managed to last beyond its intent and become permanent, or a death sacrifice can all result in a genius loci, which are essentially partially or fully sentient ley line ‘spirits’. These spirits can be communicated with via various methods. They are often bargained with or requested to cast spells, and many consider ‘spirit speaking’ to merely be a subset of primal magic (see Spirit Magic below). Genius loci can only cast spells of limited power and complexity and are further limited in difficult to understand ways by the intent of the spell or sacrifice that created them, but can still be very useful in certain applications.

Pros:
• Literally the easiest type of magic to use, it is also able to easily create inordinately complex and long-lasting spells, due to the semi-conscious nature of ley lines.
• Spells can be made practically permanent (will only end if actively dispelled or if the ley line moves [only happens over the course of millions of years or during a sufficiently catastrophic event, after which one would presume the spell effects would be rendered null anyway]). This of course does have a minimum power requirement based on the complexity of the spell (the more complex the spell, the more power is required for it to ‘solidify’ into permanency).
• Sacrifices can be combined to theoretically supply an infinite amount of power (since power is generated by amount of combined essence), though there are caveats. The intent of the spell means that either each sacrifice must have the same (or similar enough) intent, or only one part of the sacrifice can have any intent at all.

Cons:
• The interpretive nature of primal magic means that while spells can easily achieve complexities well beyond what other magics can, it might not necessarily be exactly what one wants. Communicating intent clearly is vital, which is why those who are highly in tune with ley lines (more generally speaking, nature), such as druids and shamans, tend to be more successful in getting their spells to do exactly what they want.
• Ley lines are not uniformly spread. While theoretically all parts of the universe have access to a ley line in one form or another, some areas have greater or lesser access. This means that primary practitioners of primal magic tend to stay in whatever area has the highest availability of ley line access they can get to. Power and complexity both are directly tied to the ley line in a particular area far more than they’re tied to the caster.

Divine Magic:

Divine magic (also called faith magic or miracle working) is another old and relatively easy type of magic, though it is more selective in practitioners than Primal magic. Casting a spell involves aligning or harmonizing your soul with that of a deity (see Divinity below), and then requesting (often via a ritualized prayer or specific supplication, but not necessarily, depends on individual deity) a particular action. Beyond that, little is definitively known about the actual details or mechanics of divine spellcasting, and popular theory states that it is different for each deity. While some deities answer divine prayers specifically and individually, others take a more hands-off approach and grant whatever is requested. What is known is that the better one’s soul is aligned or harmonized to the deity, the more divine empowerment one can channel. Much like with Primal magic, complexity of a spell is not a particular concern, as that aspect is handled by the deity/the deity’s mantle. However, as harmonizing with a deity’s mantle relies heavily on one’s emotional state, a divine spells greatest weakness is mind-effecting magic, as even temporary disruption of that harmony can cause the spell to fail or collapse. This, incidentally, is also why so many dislike the gods, particularly the goods ones, as they feel that when they call out in fear or despair, they should be answered regardless. Sadly, the alignment is a required component, and fear is not usually aligned with any deity that is likely to offer aid. Also, amusingly enough, it is entirely possible to cast divine spells from a deity that the caster knows literally nothing about, in the case of those who just happen to align with a particular deity naturally. Indeed, this is one of the ways that new deities are discovered.

Divinity – a divinity is any being that has a divine ‘mantle’. While the exact nature of the divine mantle is much debated, there are a few things that are known to be true. A divine mantle allows other beings to receive power from the mantle by aligning themselves with it (i.e. grants divine magic) and gives the bearer of the mantle a little understood connection with a specific thing or things (commonly referred to as domains or portfolios), which grants them considerable innate control over said thing or things, interestingly very similar to loci spirits (and in fact there are known instances of loci spirits being divine). It is also unknown what requirements for type of being attaining divinity there are, as there are records of deific animals, constructs, and even plants. A divine mantle also appears to be entirely based around an abstract concept of ‘power’, generally thought to be connected to the soul. As such, some beings are born or created powerful enough to start as deities, while others gain power over time until a tipping point is reached. Interestingly enough, it only needs to be a one-time thing, as many mortals who gained divinity did so via temporary measures (such as Nethys briefly gaining omniscience, then afterwards returning to his normal level of power). Once you gain the mantle, it can only be removed by being transferred to something else, regardless of how weak or powerful one might become afterwards (though this transferal does not need to be voluntary, as one of the more common ways of gaining divinity is stealing or taking it from something that already possesses a divine mantle). Also, while more worshippers can increase a deity’s power, lack of worshippers cannot strip a deity of its divine mantle. According to various writings penned by ascended deities (that is, deities that were once mortal) using the mantles power can be risky, as tapping into that power allows the beliefs of one’s worshippers to affect one’s own power and personality, both temporarily (just while one is tapped into the mantle) and even permanently if one consistently and frequently relies on the mantles power. It is theorized that there are actually many more deities than are generally known, most of which remain unknown in an effort to actively avoid altering their divine mantle and the potential personality shift that can come with such.

There are a great many factors and rules about divinity that mortals (and likely even the gods themselves) do not understand.

Pros:
• Another very easy magic to use, though less common than primal magic due to requiring a very specific type of person. Allows for greatly complex spells.
• Again, like Primal magic spells can be largely indefinite, limited only by the continued existence of the deity and the continued alignment of the caster with said deity.
• Within a deity’s specific portfolio they are virtually unmatched for expertise and influence, contestable only by other deities with the same or similar domains.
• Unlike other types of magic, there is no known method of blocking the divine connection other than by changing the alignment of the caster and/or the deity, rendering divine casters impervious to many situations that would cripple other magic users.

Cons:
• While not nearly as bad as primal magic, one is still at the whim of the deity, and situations might arise wherein they decide to grant some different spell, not grant a spell at all, or (admittedly rare in the extreme) die/lose part of their mantle and be unable to grant the spell.
• Being so heavily dependent on emotional state, it is easy to have spells interrupted or even lose the ability to cast spells at all. Mind affecting magic, personality change, and trauma/illness can all conspire to misalign ones soul from that of the granted divinity.

Psychic Magic:

Psychic magic is a relatively recent type of magic, and also the rarest. Often associated with monastic traditions, this is merely a correlation, as they both focus on and emphasize the same skills and behaviors. Psychic magic involves manipulating your spirit to produce excess spiritual energy (chakra, ki, chi, qi, serpentfire, etc, see spiritual energy below), and using that energy to cast spells. Psychic magic is difficult, as it requires a great deal of both mental and physical training and discipline, as one has to both provide the energy for the spell and direct it, unlike all other types of magic (primal requires an energy comingling, but not at a 1:1 ratio and does not require direction, divine requires neither energy nor direction, and arcane requires only direction and the ability to channel the energy, not the actual energy itself). Since both positive and negative energy are directly related to one’s physical health, increasing one’s ability to generate such energy involves rigorous physical conditioning, which in turn means one needs to increase their focus to deal with this increased energy. In the overwhelming majority of cases, psychic magic is largely underwhelming (though see pros below), requiring years or even decades of rigorous training to achieve even the most meager of spells, though as a lifestyle it is highly beneficial due to its requirement of good health and discipline. There are however extremely rare cases of people being able to surpass the normal limitation of an organic body (via genetic fluke, deific blessing, or magical aid) and generate almost inconceivable amounts of energy, allowing for spells of staggering scope. In the vast majority of these cases, the individual in question also ascends to godhood, which is what generates the largest draw for the style.

Spiritual energy – the energy of life. Described as a field of positive and negative energy that is given off by the soul, it is the animating force of the body. Technically, positive and negative energy are the same thing, just with different ‘charges’ (and in fact, more pedantic scholars have argued that the terms should be swapped to more accurately portray the flow of energy, but this is largely irrelevant to the actual mechanics themselves). A healthy body will be neutrally charged (i.e. having roughly equal amounts of negative and positive energy), with imbalances causing a host of physical problems. Too much positive energy often results in physical health problems, such as auto-immune disorders and cancer, while too much negative energy will result in mental health problems, such as schizophrenia or manic depressive/bipolar disorder.
Positive energy collects in nodes called chakras, and the negative energy orbits around this in various configurations dependent on the number and size of the chakras. The number of chakras is technically variable, but is largely defined by species, with lower order species, such as insects, only having one chakra, and higher order species such as humans having on average seven (records show that humans have between five and eight chakras). There is not true agreement on what the different numbers of chakras mean, though it is generally agreed that the more chakras, the more potential one has. It also seems to be related to level of consciousness or sentience, though there are too many inconsistencies to accept this as a hard rule.
It is important to note that a living body ONLY utilizes negative energy for animation (either physical action or psychic spells). The exact reason why is still unknown, but regardless, positive energy stays in the chakras at all times. No energy outside of a chakra will ever be positive. When one expends too much negative energy (such as by exercise or casting spells), the chakras will automatically convert positive energy into negative energy to maintain equilibrium. The effect of this of course is that life is only generated via positive energy, so the more one’s chakras have to convert positive to negative energy, the less ‘life’ or vitality one will have. This suppresses a wide variety of bodily functions, such as the immune system and metabolic rate, but also things like mood and libido. It is almost universal that the more positive energy one has, the more energetic and lively one will be.

Pros:
• The single largest use of psychic magic is mental manipulation, as this requires only a miniscule amount of energy, and is largely instinctive for most personality types (though one can of course always learn to improve). This is the one area where psychic magic excels beyond other types, and is the only area that is regularly practiced by those not fully devoted to psychic magic as a whole.
• If one can manage to surpass the typical limitations of an organic body, the power available is theoretically limitless, and there are records of people shifting geological formations or even completely destroying planets with psychic magic. Frequently a prelude to godhood.
• Even for casual practitioners, the health benefits, both mentally and physically, of this style of magic are noticeable, with lifelong practitioners living longer, having little to no diseases or illness, and remaining mobile and cognizant well into old age.

Cons:
• Requires extensive training and conditioning to achieve the same things that other styles can do as a matter of course.
• Easy to lose the ability to cast psychic spells, as disease, illness, poison, chronic injuries, or just lack of ability to train all can rapidly reduce the body’s ability to generate energy.
• There is a hard limit on how powerful one can become without outside aid, a limit that only one in millions or even billions can surpass.

Arcane Magic:

Arcane magic is the most recent, and the most commonly used type of magic. Casting spells is essentially nothing more than transforming energy in one type, form, or place, to another type, form, or place (indeed, spells are often referred to as transformations by the more technically minded scholars). The caster is the channel through which the energy travels and is transformed. For example, one could transfer kinetic energy from a patch of desert sand with a large radius to a point coinciding with an enemy’s head to cause it to burst into flame (and incidentally create a very cool patch of sand in the desert). The limitations on this type of magic are almost entirely intellectual. Being able to hold the necessary transformations in your head accurately requires a great deal of skill, knowledge, and practice, and as such arcane magic is often limited to those who have access to educational facilities or experts. In addition, there is a genetic component as well, as everyone is born with a certain magical ‘resistance’, which inhibits the flow of energy through one’s mind, regardless of how accurate or thoroughly one holds the spells in their head. There doesn’t seem to be any way of reducing this resistance naturally, though there are case studies indicating that it changes over time. However, there are tools and other augmentations that can help mitigate a naturally high resistance.

Resistance – all things have a certain spell resistance that inhibits the transformation of energy of a spell. This means that practically speaking, all spells will require more energy to cast than they will produce, with the waste usually being in the form of negative energy (which can lead to toxic build-up and mental health issues eventually) and whatever the original energy type was. The calculations to determine spell efficiency are well known (and were in fact one of the first subjects of study for early arcane practitioners), but the reason for the resistance itself is not well understood. Theoretically, zero resistance objects or entities can exist, though no definitive examples have been proven (though several near zero substances have been discovered).

Pros:
• Provides a great deal of control to the caster, provided the caster accurately calculates all involved parameters.
• Consistency across all platforms. A particular spell will be the same for every single person that casts it, allowing for easy dissemination of information and education.
• Many tools to both increase ability and speed of casting exist
• Both modular and expandable. Easy to build upon what others have done if necessary

Cons:
• Even for those naturally gifted, it is often the least intuitive of the magic styles, and requires a high degree of education and intelligence for all but the most minimally complex spells.
• Nearly reliant on external tools if one either wants to perform the spell quickly or has a naturally high resistance

Secondary Styles:

Arcane/Primal: often called witches, use magic similarly to arcane practitioners, but rather than pulling from physical energy, they convert spirit energy from a ley line or genius loci into magical effects. This gives them much more versatility than a typical arcane mage, but at the cost of power/efficiency. Often use blood diagrams to improve efficiency. Interestingly, these are the mages that are most likely to practice necromancy.

Primal/Divine: easily the rarest combination of magical styles, as it requires physical interaction with a deity. Much like primal magic, it involves commingling essence with a divinity, granting the user the power of that divinity. Almost all known records of this type of magic ended with the user either dead or deified (or both).

Divine/Occult: a common combination of styles, the user utilizes psychic magic largely to influence their own mind and soul to further help them synchronize with their deity, and thus improve their magic. This is practically ubiquitous in the higher echelons of divine casters.

Occult/Arcane: combining occult and arcane traditions is best utilized by mages who need to cast spells quickly and/or with little to no preparation. Unlike with Arcane/Primal mages, the mage doesn’t use their spirit energy to power the spell, but rather to feel out the forces to be used in the spell, allowing them to cast via intuitively feeling the energy, rather than calculations. Users tend to be highly perceptive and have incredible situational awareness, being able to accurately sense things beyond the means of their physical senses. There is also an inverse correlation between psychic ability and resistance (the more psychically adept one is, the lower their arcane resistance) that is being intently studied.

Tertiary Styles:

Arcane/Divine: a rare combination of styles that is only seen with deities that have arcane magic as one of their domains (such as Nethys). Similar to, but much more powerful than Arcane/Primal, just substituting Ley Lines for a deity.

Occult/Primal: instead of commingling ones essence with a ley line, practitioners of this art commingle their spirit. This is almost invariably suicide, as ones spirit can almost never compare in potency to even the meagerest branch of the Lifestream, and will be swept away (ironically often creating a genius loci). Even utilizing all possible safety precautions, it still essentially comes down to being able to contain that much energy, which is impossible for almost every mortal. Only those rare occult masters who have surpassed typical mortal limitations can even attempt this, and even then caution is advised.

Spirit Magic:

Not technically an actual school of magic, “spirit magic” is little more than transferring a genius loci from a ley line to an individual’s personal spiritual energy (either their own or another’s), or a prepared vessel (typically constructs, though necromancy is also distressingly common). Genius loci come in an infinite array of forms (see Genius Loci below), but there are certain specific forms that are commonly sought after for binding. The first is a form that has a specific or unique ability that would be difficult to replicate otherwise (such as weather control or mental manipulation). The second is a form that is highly knowledgeable or knows certain secrets. Often young or desperate arcane practitioners will seek out a knowledgeable genius loci to provide tutoring, though of course binding a spirit and actually getting it to cooperate are very different struggles, and most possessions are the result of someone attempting to bind a spirit without securing its cooperation first. Most spirits do not have a particular desire to possess others, as it is a lateral move for most, and a significant downgrade for the more powerful spirits (as they’re limited to the spiritual energy of their host, rather than the entirety of a leyline). However, it’s a common enough practice that the binding spells are commonly known and are actually among some of the first spells most practitioners will learn and practice with.

Pros:
• Can allow even the weakest of spellcasters to achieve a moderate or high level of ability with magic
• Most gifted spellcasters will leave some sort of spirit behind, meaning that their knowledge and skill can be preserved and utilized
Cons:
• If spirit is not cooperative, can leave you worse than before, or even dead/completely possessed. Maintaining a good relationship with ones spirit is vital
• Limited by actually finding a spirit that has the desired properties. As with people, not all spirits are useful, and unbinding a spirit from one’s self is usually more difficult than the binding.

Genius Loci – partially or fully sentient nodes or manifestations of the Lifestream, often broadly referred to as spirits. They can arise naturally (and often do) from a powerful but poorly worded spell, a spell that managed to last beyond its intent and become permanent, or most commonly via the death of a sentient being. It is important to note that a genius loci is NOT a ghost or soul in any way. It is merely a spiritual clone of the being at its moment of death. The spirit may or may not believe this, but that has no bearing on reality. It is interesting to note that the people most likely to create a genius loci with their death are experienced arcane practitioners, an oddity considering that of all the magic types they work the least with spiritual energy.
Additionally, genius loci can be artificially created via certain magical rituals, though this is often difficult and expensive. Powerful mages have a tendency to use these manufactured genius loci as either guardians or libraries.

Meta-magic:

Meta-magic is often not even considered a form of magic, but rather a type of “reality bending”. The most prevalent theory suggests that meta-magic is merely a collection of oversights in the creation of the universe that were unintended. Another theory is that they actually were intended (though some of the ‘spells’ discovered make that claim seem dubious at best), but were only meant to be used by the creators, and just happened to accidentally be discovered by mortals. Both these theories are supported by the Aeon’s interest in all meta-magic/reality bending activity.
Often derisively called glitch magic, it is unpredictable, random, and (as of yet) follows no set pattern or coherency. There is very little known about it, but what is known is as follows.
The aspect of meta-magic that defines it is it’s violation of physics (most commonly conservation of energy, but most all physical laws have been recorded broken). All other magics follow the basic laws of physics. The most commonly encountered form of meta-magic is inherent meta-magic, which is described as abilities that a being inherently/naturally has. Dragons are the pre-eminent example of this, as almost the entirety of their being is beyond physics.


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Reading through Path of the Hellknight and found this bit:

Path of the Hellknight pg. 37 wrote:

Maralictor Darriyashi Lonvod (LN male human inquisitor[APG] 7/Hellknight[ISWG] 2): One of the few Vudrani members of the Order of the Pyre, Lonvod captains the

caravel Hellcat, the fastest ship in the Hellknight fleet. An ingenious tactician and a staunch atheist, Captain Lonvod leverages his vessel’s speed, stealth, and surprising sturdiness to harry pirates across the Inner Sea. He has a cold but respectful relationship with many among Andoran’s Gray Corsairs and Rahadoum’s navy, having often driven lawless raiders or slavers into their paths. The Hellcat also has a reputation for stealthily slipping close to shores, off-loading small groups of Hellknights and their allies, and then slipping away unseen. As an Order of the Pyre sea captain, Lonvod indulges few superstitions, but under no circumstances will he allow tengus aboard his ship.


I would agree that Order of the Chain would probably be the best fit, but the Order of the Pyre is also noted as the only Hellknight Order to have it's own naval presence. Pirates are notoriously superstitious and the Pyre's focus is on stamping out 'cultists' and non-approved religions, so you could possibly swing it.


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Great story! I've loved all of Liane Merciel's work that I've read, and look forward to reading more.


I am already anticipating this product.


My assumption was that it was the positive energy plane itself. Or possibly even the positive and negative energy planes combined yin-yang style.


Kellids in general have a strong dislike of arcane magic, preferring divine/primal. There are also several archetypes in 1E that are anti-arcane (though most of those I think are anti-witch specifically).


Rysky wrote:
The Gold Sovereign wrote:
People have been saying that the aeon didn't just take the place of inevitables, rather the inevitables are the aeons. Is that true? Could someone clarify that to me?
Aeon is the category, Inevitables an Axiomites are types of Aeons.

Oooh, that's interesting. I didn't realize that's what they meant when they said that Aeons were the new LN race.


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Evan Tarlton wrote:

And to add to these:

The good elemental lords have been freed, which means that there's almost certainly going to be a throwdown, and since an organization of mortals from Golarion were involved in said release...

And I did not know about that. Where did that happen?


Phntm888 wrote:

So, no cross-space voyage on a Shantak or outsiders/divine beings saying that you are needed to save the fate of another planet?

That last one would actually work pretty well for an Oracle in Wrath of the Righteous. Even provides an explanation for how they get their powers, and is in keeping with the them of the AP.

Are you looking more for a way to work in a character who arrives from Earth right at the start of the AP? If that's the case, then Strange Aeons and Wrath of the Righteous are the only ones that could really work for. Iron Gods, maybe, if you want to make a scientist or soldier from Area 51 who was experimenting on alien tech when it transported them.

If you're willing to have the character have lived on Golarion for a couple years, then the event that transports the character to Golarion, giving them the chance to end up as a character in the AP, is limited only by your imagination.

Right at the start. I know Strange Aeons, but I don't seem to recall Wrath of the Righteous well enough to do this, explain?

Yakman wrote:

Strange Aeons

Reign of Winter
Iron Gods
Tyrant's Grasp
Mummy's Mask

Strange Aeons and Reign of Winter I can easily think of ways this would work. I've read Iron Gods and can't seem to recall anything that would facilitate this. Haven't read the other two. Explain?


Thurston Hillman wrote:
SOLDIER-1st wrote:

So it seems like Kelldor knew about Tar-Baphon returning (he ordered the Mercenary League to double recruitment and train specifically for undead and orcs). It makes sense, as he's noted as being a powerful diviner (I seem to recall that he's a level 15 oracle). The only problem with this is that he started this operation two years before Tyrant's Grasp.

Any theories on how he got this information two whole years in advance?

(Of course there's always the option that I'm just looking too hard into things)

This is intentionally left a bit vague, and from a totally meta-perspective, was done with my personal forewarning of changes coming post Tyrant's Grasp. Sometimes, not explaining how a thing is known makes it more compelling for GMs to use. It also adds to the mystery of the High Prophet without making him seem entirely all powerful—preparation is different than just having some ace "I win card"

I admit, an earlier thought I had for Tar-Baphon's arrival, would have been (and still could be) having Kelldor call in a lot of debts and use his nation's immense wealth and influence to summon in a literal army of inevitables to fight at the border. Maybe because I really like the idea of an army of inevitables battling a horde of undead?

That does sound delightful. Thanks for the insight!


Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
EDIT: Also, the fact that atheists are either A. Fed to Groetus or B. Left to linger until their soulbodies disintegrate is rather lame. Why can't she *recycle/reuse/reclaim* like EVERY OTHER FREAKING DEITY?

I had assumed it was because their souls couldn't be broken down into quintessence due to the atheism. Their souls literally reject the system so hard they cannot be incorporated.


Mark Moreland wrote:
SOLDIER-1st wrote:
Aside from the comics, are there any other sources of fiction that the iconics appear in? Trying to get a better idea of their personalities that just the little blip given in their blogs.

The iconics don't appear in any of the novels (aside from a brief mention that's more of an Easter egg than a cameo), but they've nevertheless appeared in both the comics and Pathfinder Legends audio dramas.

Valeros has a bit more expansion of his backstory in the Pathfinder Adventures digital game (in the Fighter's Tale DLC), and Amiri is featured very prominently in Pathfinder: Kingmaker (as a core companion).

All of the iconics have a Meet the Iconics blog that appeared when they first debuted in the game, and the 12 2E iconics each have an Iconic Encounter piece of web fiction previewing some of their 2E abilities.

We're always looking for more venues to tell the iconics' stories, so if you have suggestions, I'd love to hear them. Thanks for your interest!

I forgot about Legends, I’ll have to see if I can give that a listen.

As far as venues go, I can’t really say. The comics and novels seem to be problematic. I think the easiest thing would be to re-introduce the fiction at the back of each ap book, specifically featuring an iconic or iconics. For me personally digital games don’t work very well, I don’t even own a computer, and my phone screen is prohibitively small for gaming (though I recognize that I am probably in the minority as far as technological access is concerned).

So yeah. Short of being able to reintroduce novels or comics (my preference is novels), I guess short stories are the way to go.


Cyrad wrote:
Bellona wrote:
I never liked the way that the Elemental Planes were set up, as shells around each other. That smacked too much of mediaeval metaphysics.

It makes sense to visualize the transition from one elemental plane to another.

The Material Plane (composed mostly of the vacuum of space) is wrapped in a giant bubble of air. The Plane of Air is the sky for the Plane of Water. At the bottom of the Plane of Water's endless sea is the Plane of Earth. The deeper you go into the Plane of Earth, the warmer it gets until you eventually arrive at the Plane of Fire, which acts as a gigantic sun for all the outer planes.

This makes sense and is reasonable, but because I am pedantic I really wish they'd put them either material>fire>air>water>earth or material>earth>water>air>fire.


I don't think there's definitive rules about this, but they seem to range as far as power is concerned. For example, Dusk Ronin is a child of two full deities, but I don't think that she's anything other than a standard star archon (CR 19), Ragathiel (CR 26 demigod) is the son of Dispater (CR 27 demigod) and Feronia (CR ? demigoddess), so roughly the same power, but Shelyn (full deity) is the daughter of Thron (not any sort of deity at all (so presumably less than CR 25, possibly less than CR 20) and some other unknown creature. That's as many examples as I can think of off the top of my head.


So it seems like Kelldor knew about Tar-Baphon returning (he ordered the Mercenary League to double recruitment and train specifically for undead and orcs). It makes sense, as he's noted as being a powerful diviner (I seem to recall that he's a level 15 oracle). The only problem with this is that he started this operation two years before Tyrant's Grasp.

Any theories on how he got this information two whole years in advance?

(Of course there's always the option that I'm just looking too hard into things)


No, just trying to find all the ones that could work. And preferably right at the start.


Phntm888 wrote:

Honestly, if you're okay with events that result in our poor Earthling ending up on Golarion occurring before the start of the AP, any of them. I highly recommend checking out these two Campaign Journals.

The backstory of Kyle O'Halloran in particular should be of use.

So long as you can contrive a reason the character ended up on Golarion, and the GM is willing to work with you, it could work with any AP.

Carrion Crown would be the hardest, since everyone is supposed to have known Professor Lorrimer, and it might be difficult to explain how you can be from another planet and his friend.

I have read both of those, great stuff. I'm mostly looking for an easy way to do it with events already in the story though, largely to prevent me from having to burden a GM with an excessive amount of extra work (and thus making it less likely to be accepted).


I'm less talking about fitting the theme, and more about ease of justification. Strange Aeons has a built-in plausible way for someone from Earth to wind up on Golarion.

Reign of Winter would be interesting, but I just can't really think of an easy way to insert such a character.


Which AP is easiest to work in a character from Earth?

My first thought is Strange Aeons, since the PCs are assumed to have been captured/enslaved by a denizen of Leng, who could feasibly have gotten someone from Earth.

Are there any others that particularly lend themselves to this idea?


Andre Roy wrote:
Carrion Crown ran from February to July 2011, Strange Aeons August 2016 to February 2017. That a 5.5 years gap that we could transpose in universe and go from there. So what was Count Lowls up to, 5.5 years before Strange Aeons?

Based on the Thrushmoor Terror, that would have been just before he acquired the PCs (which was 5 years before the AP starts). So probably that would have been when Lowls got tired of being ridiculed in Ustalav's academic circles and started becoming obsessed with his occult research and the Star Stelae.


Aside from the comics, are there any other sources of fiction that the iconics appear in? Trying to get a better idea of their personalities that just the little blip given in their blogs.


physicist-pi wrote:
Hell's Rebels (so Ravounel, so right on Citadel Enferanc's region) has Ithanothaur, a CN mature adult umbral dragon (so CR 15) living in the North Plains on the Cheliax-Nidal border.

That’s a good one, thanks!


David knott 242 wrote:

OOC = Out of character?

Correct. IC (in character) is used to denote things as perceived by the inhabitants of Golarion (so for example the transcripts from Golarion books) and OOC (out of character) is used to denote things as perceived by us (such as the mechanical rules).

I am also now realizing how incredibly off topic this has become. I apologize for derailing the thread.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
SOLDIER-1st wrote:
Ah. I guess that's a difference in perspective then, I don't see that as being as important as you seem to.
It's rather centrally important to how relevant Asmodeus is in cosmological terms.

Why? The other deities can also do it. It still would have happened, just differently. All his power and influence comes from the fact that he is older than everyone else. The multiverse would function largely the same with or without him.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
SOLDIER-1st wrote:
Read the Cycle of Souls excerpt on page 22 of CoR. It states exactly that they were the first, the strongest, and that they (or really Ihys) created the Cycle of Souls.
Ah! It does indeed. Still IC text and not well supported by the OOC stuff we have, which was my initial point anyway.

Almost every ooc reference to Asmodeus that I have ever seen (see the books I read through above) directly says that he is one of the oldest and wisest beings in existence. Since the gods don't have stat blocks, nothing ever explicitly says anything about how powerful he is in comparison to other deities, but given the fact that he is the only full-deity devil and is opposed by the entirety of the celestial planes (which are chock full of true deities) without losing or dying, it can be presumed that he is something of a heavyweight. I agree that nothing ooc says that Ihys created the cycle of souls, but the cycle of souls is almost never ooc discussed to the best of my knowledge.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
SOLDIER-1st wrote:

Well, we know that there's no real timeline, but the above-referenced page indicates that mortals predate Heaven itself. So it seems the timeline is:

1) Asmodeus and Ihys (and later the other deities) create life
2) The outer planes are formed from the actions of the mortals
3) Ihys creates free will, starting the cycle of souls. Asmodeus displeased
4) Asmodeus and Ihys (and their various supporters) fight (I'm assuming this is what the books refer to as the Rebellion, but don't believe that it is explicitly stated anywhere)
5) Asmodeus kills Ihys, takes his followers to Hell (this is explicitly called the Exodus)

You're right in that CoR and BotD both seem to gloss over the intervening time between each event, but they do not give any span of time at all, so it's not really contradictory, just misleading. My take is that that's simply due to the face that Tabris is an immortal and thus has a very different concept/perception of time than we would (and ooc, that would drastically increase the page count if they tried to include too much of the intervening time for something that is relatively unimportant).

There's zero OOC text supporting the first part of #1 being the case (or, indeed, most of #3, though I personally find that one more plausible). And the huge gap there needs to have been between #3 and #4 for the OOC stuff we have to make sense is a bit of a timeline problem given Asmodeus's demonstrated character....

Not sure what you mean by the timeline problem given Asmodeus character...?

Other than that I seem to agree with you, just don't find most of it to be as important as you do. I think our different perspectives are largely procedural in nature. You are looking for IC and OOC references to explicitly support each other, thus holding the lore to a higher degree of rigor than I, who am content with a lack of explicit contradictions or mutual exclusiveness, am.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
SOLDIER-1st wrote:
That's not what I got from reading it. BotD specifically says that the other "motes" learned how to use the power of the Seal the same way Asmodeus and Ihys did, Asmodeus and Ihys were just the first to do so. As you said, other than that they were the first and strongest, there's nothing particularly cosmologically important about them.
It literally says 'Ihys and Asmodeus created the foundation of reality.' and other statements like that. Basically, the BotD version, as Asmodeus's party line, exaggerates his importance quite a bit. Which is the primary thing I was objecting to.

Ah. I guess that's a difference in perspective then, I don't see that as being as important as you seem to.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
SOLDIER-1st wrote:
CoR goes into a bit more detail about how the planes and outsiders were created (and has a more detailed, but still incredibly vague timeline), but other than that they appear to be the same.

At no point in CoR does it even imply that Ihys and Asmodeus are the first deities, nor that they 'created the foundation of reality.' or similar claims.

That's a pretty big difference, actually.

Read the Cycle of Souls excerpt on page 22 of CoR. It states exactly that they were the first, the strongest, and that they (or really Ihys) created the Cycle of Souls.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
SOLDIER-1st wrote:
I agree that the rebellion happened after Ihys created free will, but am not sure how that's a discrepancy? That's the catalyst that started the war/rebellion.
My issue is 'how long after that did the war occur?' CoR And BotD make it sound like very soon after, while the Archdevil articles and the like make it seem like a lot more time passes (I have a hard time believing the Heresy Ovens predate Pharasma as such, for example).

Well, we know that there's no real timeline, but the above-referenced page indicates that mortals predate Heaven itself. So it seems the timeline is:

1) Asmodeus and Ihys (and later the other deities) create life
2) The outer planes are formed from the actions of the mortals
3) Ihys creates free will, starting the cycle of souls. Asmodeus displeased
4) Asmodeus and Ihys (and their various supporters) fight (I'm assuming this is what the books refer to as the Rebellion, but don't believe that it is explicitly stated anywhere)
5) Asmodeus kills Ihys, takes his followers to Hell (this is explicitly called the Exodus)

You're right in that CoR and BotD both seem to gloss over the intervening time between each event, but they do not give any span of time at all, so it's not really contradictory, just misleading. My take is that that's simply due to the face that Tabris is an immortal and thus has a very different concept/perception of time than we would (and ooc, that would drastically increase the page count if they tried to include too much of the intervening time for something that is relatively unimportant).


Might check out a Phantom Blade spiritualist. Nice stat synergy and goes well with their whole sword thing. Also generally a very versatile and well rounded class.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
SOLDIER-1st wrote:
From everything I've read, the rebellion against Heaven/the Exodus and the war against Ihys are the same thing. They are explicitly called out as the same thing in several out of character text descriptions. There's also not really a timeline, but what vague one we have doesn't seem to contradict itself that I can find.

The thing is that the original BotD story portrays Ihys and Asmodeus as the sole creators of reality, as older than the other Gods and fundamentally more important. And that's the part that really doesn't fit.

If you'll recall my objection was to him being cited as 'one of two primal deities of the Great Beyond'. Indeed, I specifically noted that I totally bought him killing his brother (which, indeed, looking this over once more, there's a wealth of evidence for).

The CoR version is actually pretty divergent in regards to their importance, with them portrayed as just two among many (Ihys is still noted as having discovered free will, but that's the only reason either of the two is important in a cosmological sense).

That's not what I got from reading it. BotD specifically says that the other "motes" learned how to use the power of the Seal the same way Asmodeus and Ihys did, Asmodeus and Ihys were just the first to do so. As you said, other than that they were the first and strongest, there's nothing particularly cosmologically important about them.

Book of the Damned pg. 260 wrote:
The First were not alone during this age, though, for while they were the first, others followed their paths. From the ranks of the younger motes grew vital forces synchronous to the things Ihys and Asmodeus created, majestic and wild beast spirits, and new personalities akin to the First. These beings gathered upon the islands the brothers created, the greatest of them even learning to shape the power of the Seal themselves.

CoR goes into a bit more detail about how the planes and outsiders were created (and has a more detailed, but still incredibly vague timeline), but other than that they appear to be the same.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
The timeline still doesn't seem to quite work out because the rebellion against Heaven seems to have occurred long after free will was a thing (Moloch was explicitly an Archon who ran the Heresy Ovens immediately prior to the rebellion...that seems like something that is unlikely to predate mortals), but it's a lot closer than the BotD version.

I agree that the rebellion happened after Ihys created free will, but am not sure how that's a discrepancy? That's the catalyst that started the war/rebellion.

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