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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:

I don't have PC1 on hand to reference, but I understood that Lamashtu's anathema has changed (specifically to swap the mention of mental illness and deformity for a less loaded expression of the same concept).

Nevertheless, Lamashtu is still a demon goddess and my point was not to say that she is not evil. Rather, that she is one of the evil gods who most permits the story of a self-righteous follower who believes that Lamashtu is a savior of the downtrodden on their own perhaps deluded worldview.

It's not that she's not evil, it's that her teachings seem to be the right shade of moral dark grey to make the most interesting story. It's always been a little difficult with alignment telling the story if somebody who believes they're justified when they're slipping in to evil, and Lamashtu not requiring unholy sanctification helps that... even if the fact that she doesn't offer holy is an inconvenient truth to overlook for this follower.

In my Kingmaker CRPG, the Lamashtu priestess/cult leader was a better religious/faith leader than the foolish 'holier-than-thou' Heaven knock-off.

Just sayin.

Hah! Nice. Although to be fair, I kind of hated some of OwlCat's writing choices with regard to depicting some of the deities. In particular, the portrayal of pretty much every aspect of Shelyn's faith struck me very strongly as a case of, "she would not **** allow that," to twist the meme format to my own ends. Took me straight out of caring about that plot line.

For that matter I could complain for another day and night about being prevented from solving a dispute between two factions because I believed in freedom, not just goodness or just individualism, but that's even further than this already slightly off-topic aside.


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I don't have PC1 on hand to reference, but I understood that Lamashtu's anathema has changed (specifically to swap the mention of mental illness and deformity for a less loaded expression of the same concept).

Nevertheless, Lamashtu is still a demon goddess and my point was not to say that she is not evil. Rather, that she is one of the evil gods who most permits the story of a self-righteous follower who believes that Lamashtu is a savior of the downtrodden on their own perhaps deluded worldview.

It's not that she's not evil, it's that her teachings seem to be the right shade of moral dark grey to make the most interesting story. It's always been a little difficult with alignment telling the story if somebody who believes they're justified when they're slipping in to evil, and Lamashtu not requiring unholy sanctification helps that... even if the fact that she doesn't offer holy is an inconvenient truth to overlook for this follower.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
It seems like your standard corruption of good souls would be less important when so many souls are coming to you already. (Plus sin is more of a demon thing.) But I've read APs where devils are at least willing to broker deals to gain very specific souls, so there's room for a protagonist to barter their own.

I don't know. It's not like the wealthy are known to leave souls money on the table just because they already have more than they could ever use. Even if Hell is owed a share of all evil souls streaming out of the Universe, one can't rest on one's laurels in this growth-oriented industry. It is vital to diversify one's portfolio by branching out to audiences who may not already be familiar with the virtues of eternal torment and meet them where they're at.

I don't think we explicitly know why the planes desire souls in the grand scheme of things (at least, if not just as a sandbag against the Maelstrom), but it's reasonable to assume that they're valuable enough to want more than what your enemies have.

As an aside, even if we imagine a world where infernal contracts don't affect the number of hellbound souls because any soul that would sign a contract was already set for an LE afterlife, it might still be valuable for individual devils to shore up their wealth by having souls consigned to them personally, rather than wait to snap them up when they arrived on their own. Perhaps even one could imagine this his how the practice of infernal contracts got started in the first place, not that Asmodeus necessarily would have needed the help himself.

--

Oh, and PS, excellent guide! I was going to add that technically all Divine casters have option of dealing holy/unholy damage, since they should not be restricted from general holy/unholy spells, but I didn't realize it's only the two spells that have the Holy trait on their own, so it's really only Holy Light if you don't count indirect damage from summoning a celestial.


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Solarsyphon wrote:
I like the oracle conceptually and lore wise but I don't think it delivers. The introduction seems to describe it as like a wizard cleric whereas the actual mechanics function more like a sorcerer cleric.

This is a fascinating take for me because I have never thought of the Oracle as anything like the Wizard. I have tended to perceive oracles as being gifted power, often without their asking for it, and wielding it by instinct and intuition. In this sense, Cha is the only thing that makes sense to me.

On the other hand, I do kind of see what you mean if going with the idea that maybe oracles cut stroght to the source of power, bypassing the intermediaries that clerics use to moderate that connection. I don't necessarily think this is the theme I would want to centralize in the Oracle, but I can understand how it might be arrived at.


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I so happened to be rereading some of the Windsong Testaments when I noticed something that caught my attention. Abadar naturally appears in the story "On Family Bonds", given that he is the one who managed to coax Zon-Kuthon into imprisonment, but what I found significant was that in the story he is described as the protector of society, even among the gods. It is said that he saw the rumblings of a civil war among the gods because of the fight between Shelyn and Zon-Kuthon, and stepped in to prevent it.

I don't necessarily think Abadar is going to be the god to die, but I'm realizing that the idea isn't as unlikely as I had initially thought. If the coming war of immortals is anything that Abadar could have foreseen, he might have tried stepping in to stop it and found himself the first victim torn to shreds across the universe.


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Bokavordur wrote:
Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:


Perhaps you have heard that the Sevenfold Cynosure, Desna's realm, exists as the north star for Golarion so that she can keep watch on the prison and was originally created as the site of the treaty where the gods agreed to team up if Rovagug ever attacked their creation?
Ooooh I have not! Looks like I have some stuff to read tomorrow! Thanks!

In particular, one version of the origin story shows up in the Three Fears of Pharasma (Windsong Testaments web fiction found on Paizo blog) which lists Desna among the first deities to come into existence. The history of her home realm briefly comes up in another of the Windsong Testaments, the Rage of Creation. And of course one of the testaments is about Desna herself and the tale where she accidentally unleashed Ghlaunder. There are probably a more lore sources than that to list, but since those are easily readable on the blog, they're probably the most immediately accessible.


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Unless we get, like, a Holy Mystery and an Unholy Mystery, I hope that the option of sanctification remains equal for all mysteries--whether that's open, deity dependant, or none.

Oracles gaining the option to take their divine wellspring and throw in with either holy or unholy powers seems perfectly fitting and should help the notion that sometimes oracles fill in when clerics aren't prevalent, so overall I'm in favour of oracles gaining some option to sanctify--even if it requires dedication to a supportive deity.

Granted, the Animist is an example of a divine caster without the option to sanctify, but also Animist's divine concerns feel a lot more imminent, concerned with aspects of this world rather than the dichotomy of the heavens, so even if the question of sanctification becomes an option for most Divine casters, perhaps they need not apply.

Given that alignment damage is now spirit damage, the stakes are a lot lower for whether a divine character can sanctify. All they miss out on is bonus damage against niche targets, and even in that case, they can always choose holy or unholy spells. It may feel weird that a devout Sarenite sorcerer with an angelic bloodline can't tap into either of those to unleash holy divine lances, but they at least can still use the spell to do normal spirit damage.


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Arkat wrote:

I can tell you beyond a reasonable doubt that Rovagug will be safe.

Paizo needs him to end the world.

I agree that I can't imagine they'll kill off Rovagug without making something much worse than having a caged rough beast trapped in the planet core happen, but when you look at the sheer variety and number of ways that the world has been predicted to end, I really don't think they need to keep it for that specifically. There are more than enough dark omens pointing to the doom of the entire universe that just sorting out which ones might come true in which order could be its own branch of eschatology.


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Now that I have a moment to pop back around and look at this closer myself, I love the idea of a dragon that's just a glutton for magical power to the point where magical things cling to its body and it likes to adorn itself with objects of worth--even if wearing its treasure in such an ostentatious display of wealth in fact devalues that very same worth, almost like it was a metaphor for something. Finally we have a dragon that has a clear and true obsession with hoarding treasure beyond generic universal treasure lust.

It's not at all what I expected from the fortune dragon, but I can't look away. I love the way it pierces its hide to cram even more wealth, explicitly unconcerned with the extra weight inhibiting flight or hindering its movements.

The only thing that yet vexes me is that with Divine and Primal dragons there's a pretty obvious set of hypothetical dragons you can project. There are at least 9 obvious Divine Dragons even without stretching to include concepts not based directly on one plane, like maybe a dragon for the River of Souls that's distinct from the Boneyard dragon, and yet another for like, Faith as a concept. Primal dragons you can probably name an aspect of nature and call it a dragon. When it comes to Arcane and Occult dragons its a lot harder to project what design spaces are out there - especially without the legacy schools of magic. Perhaps Rune dragons are in our future...?

Oh well, there's plenty of time for the remaster to fill in more updates to the lore as we go.


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Bokavordur wrote:
Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:

I wonder what the basis for the theory that Desna is an outer god comes from? I'm pretty sure it was debunked years ago but I haven't retained the source on that. In any case, a goddess killing a demon lord should be swinging way

Oh it very likely was debunked. I have not been around log enough to know much at all. I just liked it when I heard it due to circumstantial evidence of her associations with space and not having a "home" place as much. Then the fact she is the most involved in fighting the Dark Tapestry.

So, very likely not true, since not a whole lot of evidence, I just find it fun. Oh and for swinging above her weight class I more meant that from a newbie/outsider perspective she is like this goddess of butterflies, dreams and luck, but then her lore is like "one of the strongest gods, present at the binding of Rovagug, accidentally creating a minor deity randomly, almost started a planar war due to a demon lord possessing one of her priests" kind of things. I love Desna, and I also enjoy playful theories like that occasionally.

It is true, Desna is a very fun goddess with many interesting stories. In any case, the idea that Desna's butterfly-elf form isn't enitrely her original holds merit. Desna and her girlfriend Sarenrae are I believe thought to have come into existence more as cosmic entities that do bear some notional resemblance with the way eldritch beings are as much concept as they are entities.

Indeed, I like Desna's hidden depths as a delicate-seeming deity for much the same reason I list Shelyn above as among my favorites.

Perhaps you have heard that the Sevenfold Cynosure, Desna's realm, exists as the north star for Golarion so that she can keep watch on the prison and was originally created as the site of the treaty where the gods agreed to team up if Rovagug ever attacked their creation?


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Bokavordur wrote:
Set wrote:

Desna, friendly happy butterfly lady of dreams and travelers and the stars. Some demon lord Aolar starts killing clerics of various gods and gets around to those of Desna, and she responds in her peaceful hippy way by fluttering down into the Abyss and ripping his face off.

I'm a big fan of the theory that Desna is not REALLY butterfly lady, but an Outer God who had blended into the gods of Golarion. Given the way that she absolutely swings above her weight class.

I wonder what the basis for the theory that Desna is an outer god comes from? I'm pretty sure it was debunked years ago but I haven't retained the source on that. In any case, a goddess killing a demon lord should be swinging way below the weight class for a full deity, never mind that she happens to choose an elegant form. Doubly so, given the evidence that Desna is only two steps removed from the oldest god in the setting. Even if age doesn't imply power among gods, there's no mystery behind the probability of Desna being a powerful deity.


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Errenor wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

Just realized that, until the post above, I read Hide as the english armor while it was the japanese first name all along.

And I was trying to understand why the character would have such an odd nickname.

Oh. Ooh. And then most probably it isn't read as /haɪd/.

I feel that Tian Xia guide should include some guide on pronunciation...

Given this is Minkai, which takes most of its inspiration from Japan, and that Hide is a real name in Japan, it seems to make most sense to pronounce it like the Japanese name, and say 'he-day' - similar to the name Hideo Kojima, but without the 'o'


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SuperBidi wrote:

Iomedae

Cayden Cailean, Desna, Erastil, Sarenrae, Shelyn, Torag
Abadar, Calistria, Gorum, Irori, Nethys / Gozreh, Pharasma
Lamashtu, Norgorber, Zon-Kuthon
Asmodeus, Rovagug, Urgathoa

Seeing this list written out like this tickles my brain a little. I like how there are cleanly three "completely evil" deities and three "you can have evil as a treat, but you don't need it" in terms of the expected commitment to cruelty and harm.

Likewise, interesting that almost all the goodly deities give you the option to join the war or not except, naturally, the holy warrior goddess of knights. ... Seeing Iomedae stand out from the rest of the pantheon like that does make me wonder...


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I confess, I've long had a weak spot for "The strongest of these horrible giant monsters is actually the one who prefers to present themselves as being about human stature." Something about choosing a more comfortable, personable form adds layers to the unspoken threat that flexing out a bigger and badder form simply couldn't - or at least that's how I felt about it when reading the archdevils of 3.5e. That aside, I rather like that it seems like Sarenrae, Desna, and Asmodeus all have other forms but intentionally chose to represent themselves in a more humanoid manner after their creations.


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Prince Setehrael wrote:

My theory is that they are going in order of the oldest gods to the newest.

We started with Pharasma the Eldest/First of the deities now we go to Asmodeus.
According to the Book of the Damned and the Windsong Testaments Asmodeus and Ihys were the first born gods of this cycle of reality. As Pharasma was the Survivor of the Previous one.

So Sarenrae, Desna, or Rovagug could be next week's Prophecy.

If we're taking the Winsdsong Testaments order, we've already skipped Desna and Sarenrae--albeit it would be fair to suggest that the 'original eight' can really go in any order, and Asmodeus clearly likes to think of himself as being the Original.


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Aeshuura wrote:
Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:

Was reading a second time and realized to pay attention for various Japanese-ism and noticed another: "Mister Kami" might stand out in English as a bit odd depending on circumstance, but it feels like a very natural place to put the honorific '-san' ie. Kami-san. Especially in this context where a speaker might 'name' an unknown animal [species]-san, like "neko-san" or "inu-san", not unlike saying "Mr. Cat" or "Ms. Dog."

That's just a cute detail I thought maybe people might appreciate knowing.

I found it odd, I am more used to people referring to them as -sama, which would equate to Master Kami rather than use Kami-san... Not sure if there is a cultural difference for that...

That being said, I loved this story and would love to see more!

Indeed, Kami-sama is a lot more natural sounding if you're familiar with Japanese phrases. This may be what was actually intended by referring to Green Rush as Mister Kami, but I erred on the side of equating Mister to the 'san' level of formality. I'm not Hiromi so I'm only speculating on choices, but had I intended the flower seller's address to be that formal I would probably have called GR "Lord Kami" instead. On the other hand, since Kami-sama seems so often to refer to large, important deities, it may be that this kami is seen as more on an equal footing with a human citizen in this fantasy universe.


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Mathmuse wrote:

3. The Brinewall Legacy in Jade Regent had goblins from the Brinemarsh swamp raiding caravans on the route to Sandpoint. Innkeeper Ameiko Kaijitsu (one of those founding family members I mentioned above) organized a raiding party of her own to take out the overambitious goblin chief.

Okay, an innkeeper declaring war on a goblin tribe is far from legal justice. But the government's only corruption was in letting it happen.

An excellent list, but unless I recall incorrectly, the bounty on the goblins was posted by Sheriff Hemlock again - in wake of a string of attacks by firework-wielding goblins. Ameiko enters the picture when the source of the fireworks is traced back to their origin and that involvement mainly takes the form of organising a caravan to travel across Varisia based on the information uncovered.

Only a minor distinction, for sure, and which only further reinforces your data about negligible or no corruption in these adventures.


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Lafan312 wrote:
Finoan wrote:
Lafan312 wrote:
I actually didn't skip anything, copied it word for word from my Core Rulebook and double checked online (Nethys) as well. No such mention of no Strikes. Where did you find the additional sentence?
Familiar: Modifiers and AC.
My mistake, I didn't look at Nethys. So then why does Nethys contradict the actual text of the CRB? The actual book doesn't have that additional sentence.

Most likely? Check your printing. The CRB is on its 4th printing and therefore 3rd round of errata. That line probably got added during errata to clarify the intent that familiars do not attack.

EDIT: Confirmed from the first Core Rulebook errata. This means you likely have a first printing book

CRB Errata wrote:
Page 217: Familiars' level wasn't explicit. Add "A familiar has the same level you do." The description of familiars didn't define any Strikes but also wasn't explicit that they couldn't make them. Add "It can't make Strikes" to the beginning of the third sentence.


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Was reading a second time and realized to pay attention for various Japanese-ism and noticed another: "Mister Kami" might stand out in English as a bit odd depending on circumstance, but it feels like a very natural place to put the honorific '-san' ie. Kami-san. Especially in this context where a speaker might 'name' an unknown animal [species]-san, like "neko-san" or "inu-san", not unlike saying "Mr. Cat" or "Ms. Dog."

That's just a cute detail I thought maybe people might appreciate knowing.


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A matsuri is a festival. Any festival, really, but in particular festivals related to Shinto or the shrines.


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OceanshieldwolPF 2.5 wrote:

At the risk of elevating the Holy/Unholy conversation, I'm almost as much a non-fan of the Holy/Unholy concept as I was of Alignment. Just seeing the inability of folks to see the nuance apparent in Holy Racists shows me that any kind of prescriptive moral appellation just won't work. I understand the apparent desire for a mechanic to express the celestial war and provide bonuses/penalties for combatants, but as a...flavor or theme it's positively...medieval. Which I guess really underscores the tension of a role-playing game that has roll-playing for combat.

Apart from that, I still can't quite understand the mechanics of Holy/Unholy/Sanctified. Will have to go back and read the Cleric in the Remaster again...

I don't think the point of removing alignment for holy/unholy was so unholy things could be good and evil thing could be holy. The moral ambiguity seems like it's for everyone else not directly signed up for the cosmic struggle. More to the point, I don't think "racists can be holy too" is really anuance that the game really needs much of. Except for the fact that characters don't have alignment written into their mechanics anymore, holy and unholy very much feel like the kind of element that would normally have been given Prerequisite: must be good. We don't really label all characters good or evil anymore, but the fantasy of holy characters being paragon of virtue doesn't really seem like it's changed to me? In fact, it seems more like it was intentionally kept the same, while freeing g every other character who didn't want to concern themselves with virtue or sin from needing a place on the grid.

--

As for how it works, my understanding may be incomplete, but you can only become holy or unholy with your deity's permission (so far, given its cleric exclusive as yet) and if you are sanctified, any spell that's listed as "sanctified" automatically becomes holy or unholy when you use it. Any spell that's already listed as holy or unholy doesn't change, and I'm pretty sure you're just not allowed to use the opposite trait. On its own holy or unholy doesn't change anything, but some creatures will be weak to one or other, while some spells will deal bonus damage to creatures with a trait regardless their personal weaknesses. Is there anything I'm missing?


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Want to add that Calistria's anathema fostering moderation with regard to lust and vengeance has never come of as paradoxical to me, nor really as very confusing. Unless we assume that deities as a rule espouse fanatical devotion to their thing, no matter how petty or grand, it makes more sense, not less, that Calistria says, "Be horny and get revenge, but also don't lose yourself in the process because if you get too obsessed, you're only going to sabotage yourself".

I imagine there are probably a number of Calistrian parables about the devotee who didn't know how to keep a feud at arm's length and ultimately destroyed their own lives or led their community to ruin.


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I feel like the alignment discussion might be getting a little lost in the weeds and may be overlooking some important nuance as it does so. It think it would be more accurate to say Alignment is more or less the same but nevertheless different. Like, of course the concepts of good and evil (and law and chaos) still exist - they're concepts and you couldn't delete them from the setting anymore than you could delete the idea of justice. On the other hand, people of the world no longer have an alignment in the sense of a (detectable) two-letter description of their soul's metaphysical sway.

Souls still have a sway, and that sway is toward good or evil (and law or chaos), but even before when this stamp was supposed to be objective, souls were judged and sorted according to a variety of factors and souls didn't exclusively go to the destination they were stamped with. It might be fair to say the idea of individuals having an 'objective' alignment is gone even though people clearly can still be judged as more good and more lawful etc. (and it might be fair to say alignment was never as objective as it seemed to us operating with only the two letters and some philosophical arguments about the nature of evil)

In the absence of alignment as a game-mechanical term and without the D&D-typical alignment compass to point our way to each plane according to the spectrum, I suspect the Outer Planes--without losing what we think of as their alignment theming--will be described more in terms of what that alignment means. Calling Elysium the CG plane and calling it the Plane of Freedom I think are not incompatible concepts, but that doesn't strictly tell us if the plane's substrate can be taken with a geiger counter that will measure 50 rads of chaos and 50 rads of goodness.

In the past we have understood that quintessence is fundamentally aligned along the familiar two axes, but while the concepts of pure planar law and pure planar chaos still exist and are crucially important for planes like Axis and the Maelstrom, we may find that measuring the midichlorian count of their soil isn't how the metaphysics of the setting will be understood going forward.

After all, we call Druid spells "Primal" rather than "Divine" now. In the fiction, this hasn't changed, but our understanding of how we categorise things has. There's a lot of room for the setting to stay the same while our grasp of it shifts to explore in greater detail what had only been brushed over--or to explore another way of looking at what we thought was a fundamental truth.


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YuriP wrote:

If that's the problem then maybe he's worrying too much.

I think that apart from the removal of the drow and the replacement of dragons linked to alignments with those linked to traditions, I didn't see much change in the lore with the departure of the OGL.

And honestly, even some of that I'm not 100% sure was just due to the license change. Because dark elves are already defined by Norse mythology and were already present in the Tolken universe before D&D. For me, the designers took advantage of the situation and just removed them from the game, as they was already having problems dealing with this politically incorrect association of dark elves = bad, light elves = good. While kobolds as reptiles with draconic traits are very linked to D&D (since the original mythological kobolds were fey and have their mythology mixed with that of goblins) and yet they continued in the game even with the license change.

To be clear, as I recall the developers have been pretty explicit that yes, they dropped the drow because of the OGL issues. Their preference would have been to guide the drow into a position where they were functionally a Paizo original creation that shares its origins and name with the OGL drow but is otherwise entirely distinct. The reason why this didn't happen is that they were years from enacting these developments, and the OGL debacle presented some rather tight deadlines on that idea.

Additionally, it's been said many times now, but Norse dark elves and drow are far enough distinct things that there is no way to claim the former when what you have is the latter--at least not while keeping really anything that drow fans like about the drow, and Paizo were not about to pretend that not-drow were 'drow enough', so instead we do have cave elves who aren't drow.


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James Jacobs wrote:
Feel free to adjust the ancestries of Willowshore's residents as you wish in your game. If you have a player who wants to play an ancestry that's not represented in the town's NPCs, it can be a good idea to include some of that ancestry to give that player character some links, but you should also chat with that player. I suspect that there's a fair amount of players who like playing more obscure or uncommon/rare ancestries BECAUSE those players want to play the unusual and strange and fish-out-of-water and unique character in the group, and they might not WANT to have others of their ancestry robbing that spotlight from them.

Ah, yes, this is also valid. Sometimes you absolutely need to play the character whose very appearance invites interest and confusion because what manner of creature is this and where do you come from? Definitely before I make any changes I'd want to check if any of my players were interested in thing their backstory to the elf presence in town, or if anyone was looking to be a standout monkey king yaoguai who happens to live in town.


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I suppose it depends if you consider elves and kitsune as 'human seeming' but there's I think at least 2-3 named NPCs of each in town, a couple halflings, a tengu, and one named ratfolk. The town is definitely mostly human, it's true, but my own limited experience is that this is often the case especially in small town stats. Willowshore excites me because it does include a variety of important non-humans, even if it's still a majority human town--and the diversity of those humans, at least judging by the names (I haven't taken a roster of the human ethnicities mentioned yet) has delighted me, too.

This is not to say that the diversity of the town couldn't be seriously turned up to suit a group's tastes, of course! I find myself kind of liking the explanation for the random elf population, but even still I wonder if it wouldn't be interesting to replace every elf with another long-lived ancestry--like perhaps yaoguai can live to be hundreds of years old and ended up populating a chunk of the town? Only thing is deciding what to do with half-elves for these purposes.

EDIT: Actually, dialing in on that idea a bit, its just idle pondering but I think that the most obvious answer for yaoguai-ing the elves would be making them like something like a band of heavenly spiders who watched over the town in early days... partly just because I want to give the players a reason to expect that spider-themed things in this town aren't inherently demonic--and course to play off of UC when they come up.


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I love elemental magics and I've taken to thinking of this sort of issue as the Earthbender Problem. When you give a character the ability to manipulate earth and stone (and especially if you include metal), after a certain point no amount of conventional fortification can either hold them back or hold them in unless you start pulling up arbitrary lines what can and can't be affected (for example... platinum mechs... *shudder*). Of course, regardless why these arbitrary limitations must necessarily exist, it can still be rather dissatisfying to have arbitrary gaps in an otherwise fairly rational magic system.

Especially if coming at this question from a purely physical standpoint, there just is no answer that can possibly justify why things that have been intentionally shaped should become immune to manipulation but an object of similar description which was not is 'natural' because what is and isn't perceived as natural is not a state that exists outside of its relationship to our perception.

On the plus, on Golarion the mind is one of the fundamental forces of magic. What if the act of consciously shaping something instills it with a subliminal fragment of psychic meaning that flags its place in the cosmos as 'worked'? What if it's this bit of mental essence that gets attached to these objects which interferes with low-level primal magic such as base kinesis, much the same way any amount of actual magic does?

I haven't thought through if there are any further corner cases that cause this idea to break down, but as a plus I find it gives me a rubric for deciding on weird interactions, like breaking off a chunk of a statue separates it from the network of meaning that is attached to the idea of the statue, or maybe a piece of rubble that looks like a duck isn't worked, but if somebody were to keep it, with enough time and love sunk into its makeup, it too gains enough arbitrary meaning to count as its own thing.


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Seems like this topic might be past it's prime.

Beat the rush and get out now while the back-and-forth is just bickering about tone and semantics, and as of yet merely teeters on the cusp of full-scale ad hominem attacks. Little of value will likely be lost that wasn't going to get pruned in the morning when the mods get in.


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Now that we've been teased with the three totally brand new Ancestries appearing in the Tian Xia Character Guide*, I figured this was good a time as any to talk about whether any of the new ancestries might retroactively belong in Willowshore. Obviously, Shenmen and by extension Willowshore seems to be a place which leans more heavily on Chinese and Japanese horror tropes, but naturally a variety of influences are seen in the town.

*For those who haven't seen the stream: Sarangay, bovids inspired by Filipino myth; Yaksha, from Indian/South Asian myth; and Yaoguai, i.e. an ancestry that covers the common trope of 'this person was an animal/rock/tree and they became more humanoid when they gained power/sapience/enlightenment, such as the infamous Sun Wukong who is actually as much an example of a stone gaining sapience as he is a monkey).

The yaksha I expect to be more tied to regions where rakshasa are more prevalent and where Hindu influences are more apparent, so I don't imagine they'll necessarily be most on-theme for this AP, but it seems like unless yaoguai are particularly uncommon across Tian Xia, one or more would fit in only too well. Perhaps would anyone consider replacing one of the various NPCs around town with a yaoguai? Anyone have plans to make a yaoguai character?

I don't know if the sarangay are going to be associated with particular regions of Tian Xia, but I can see them fitting in happily. I don't know Tian Xia well enough to know which nations are more tied to Filipino inspirations, but judging by Shenmen's position next to water and central in the continent, I don't expect it to be a prohibitively far walk.

Anyone else excited by the new ancestries and planning to find a place for them in their Willowshore in some way or another? Or planning to bring one to the table when it's time for the summer festival?


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I admit I'm a little sad they didn't end up crafting a new name for the standalone oni-spawn heritage rather than go with the old oni-tiefling subtitle name, but honestly it's good enough (and definitely a touch deeper than the generic 'oni-spawn' that it might otherwise have been) and if it means getting our half-oni now rather than later I can live with it.

I shall have to inform my hungerseed oni ronin player for when they finally get to make their character for Season of Ghosts.


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lemeres wrote:

Let's go classical. A paired set of anathema

1. You cannot eat carrion meat (ie- no road kill)
2. You must always accept food offered to you by old women.

Hah! Easy anathema, I will succeed this geas so hard. By the way, what did you say was in this stew, granny?


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Kobold Catgirl wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
Kobold Catgirl wrote:

So in answer to 'why'?

Because I am complete trash for a cute sapphic romance or twenty.

"You know, the Core 20 turned into an all-lesbian pantheon so gradually, I didn't even notice."
In the follow-up event to War of Immortals, Paizo starts dropping prophecies about which male god is going to start HRT. Everyone's so sure it's Cayden. It's actually all of them except Cayden.

Cayden: "Wait, you mean you all thought...? My ladies, I've been on T for years."


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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
The heck is a "Poultarou?"

Given the context of "Poultryfolk" I'm gonna guess 'poultry' + 'rougarou/loup garou'.

This may be a good time to bring up that chickens is the wild used to be infamously fiersome fighters to protect their young... although the idea of a 'hen-hearted' person being cowardly also has a sizeable history :3


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The Raven Black wrote:
TheCowardlyLion wrote:
Zoken44 wrote:

I would love some alternative worship methods.

it is historically accurate that people would worship horribly destructive gods, but not be doomsday or maniacs. The Goddess Sekhmet was a goddess of war and of destruction. But she was worshiped to keep her placated.

So I would like ways to worship Rovagug in order to keep him quiessent.

Or worship to Lamashtu as a a goddess of motherhood and creation by monstrous races who would not necessarily have the same view of her as malevolent force.

People already do that in setting and always have.

Placating evil deities is not well represented in the setting.

Followers of Rovagug try to free him. Not to lull him back to sleep.

I was surprised and delighted to see that Willowshore features in the middle of its a lake a shrine where folk make offerings to stave off disaster, and the deity is (was) the CE goddess of destruction.


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The ultimate gambit... a dragon disguised as a dragon disguised as a humanoid. They'll never suspect a thing


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Worth noting that unsanctified spirit damage is still fully viable for any champion, not just the holy and unholy ones.


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You might want to take a second look. You say Tenets of Deity come last, prior to remaster, but in the version I see, the fist Tenet of Good is "Must never commit deity anathema nor an evil act" (paraphrased). The paragraph describes the order of tenets and causes, certainly, but the hierarchy of the code is laid out in the actual tenets and causes themselves.


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Ultimate power in almost countless hands... has anyone guessed this might be tied to the Exrmplar class? A spark of true divinity put in the hands of an untold number of mortals?

I mean, I guess they're all adventure clues not class hints, but maybe there's an adventure that officially unleashes Exemplar upon the canon?


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Ravingdork wrote:

Wait. What? I thought the whole point to having an order of priority was to more easily resolve such conflicts and to avoid shenanigans. For example, a champion of Sarenrae shouldn't fall because she was forced into a situation in which she had to lie in order to save a child.

I think I recall lying being a lesser anathema to knowingly harming an innocent, or allowing immediate harm to one through inaction when you know you could reasonably prevent it.

You remember correctly for the general paladin code. Most deities aren't overly concerned with their followers lying, but all Paladins are prohibited from lying... except when it would conflict with their higher paladin virtues of protecting the innocent. This doesn't remain true for Sarenrae and Torag specifically (among a few others) who bar all their followers Paladin or not from lying, and since Paladins hold deity anathema on the same level as their highest "do no evil" tier, by default Sarenite Paladins (and Redeemers and Liberators) are not allowed to lie on the top order of things.

Of course, that doesn't automatically mean they would allow innocents to die so they could avoid lying, theyd just be forced to save the innocents without lying. There was actually a thread about this a few months ago.


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Despite it coming up on a number of occasions, to date I have not seen any evidence that a deity's anathema ever had an internal order, nor that any anathema was structured according to priority with the exception of the champion's code. Pre-master, I understood edicts to be "nice to haves" putting them universally below anathema "must not dos". After remaster I'm not spcertainif this has changed any, though many things that were anathema have been moved over to edicts.


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Count me among the many who are baffled by the idea that the game is meaningfully improved by reducing goblins and kobolds to black-and-white born omnicidal maniacs. It does nothing for me to imagine that some (humanoid) creatures are born so evil that their whole society is like a cautionary moral tale about what things are acceptable to kill on sight.

I saw the sentiment, "what is the point of goblins and kobolds (if not...)" but to that I wonder, what's the point of elves and dwarves? Some people like non humans in their games and many of those like it when those non-humans actually look a little nonhuman. The fact that they are playable and have three dimensional morality doesn't detract from their ability to be villains--if anything it only adds to it.

I applaud James' well-put response, and appreciate the insight into the probable future of ogres in the game.

... And PS, I may be misremembering but didn't Tolkien himself regret portraying the orcs as universally evil within the LotR? Like, no published retractions but I seem to recall in his letters something if the sentiment.


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Incidentally, the classical schools of magic in-universe are probably in part the invention of the runelords, whose influence has undoubtedly shaped much of the academic discourse on magic for the last 10,000 years, which may as well have led to wizards attempting to classify every type of spell casting into their pet categories. We may find that other traditions simply never grouped their spells in this way except to humour wizards, or we may find that even among wizards, rune categorization is merely one of the most popular of dozens of competing theories of magic


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Benjamin Tait wrote:
Ed Reppert wrote:
I wonder... does Norse mythology predate Tolkien?
I...Are you serious?

Almost definitely not. Reppert seems more likely to be responding to the claim that Tolkien's dark elf is the "original" despite Norse myth being, well, right there.


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I admit, I too was wondering what might the conspirator dragon say about the nature of Occult magic in the world, but also bear in mind that Spirit, too, is a tangible essence. Angels and demons and the very soil of Heaven are all made of spirit, and one thing that's been explicit from the beginning is that sometimes different traditions arrive at the same basic effect using different techniques. I'll grant this has terrible potential to drag any tradition off track into trying to justify any spell, but at the very least I can imagine how a dragon dedicated to schemes might develop a unique magic trick to conjure a skin suit made of spirit essence alongside its laundry list of more conventionally occult spells. Occult doesn't lack for Summon spells, nor does Divine.

Even so, I have been most curious to see how the Arcane and Occult dragons form a theme amongst themselves. So far I feel conspiracy fits the themes of occult pretty well, given that occult involve cunning study of unknown and unknowable subjects (such as the web of intrigue and lies, as much as the nuance and narrative shades of grey in storytelling). I wouldn't mind to see that there's a coherent underlying logic to these things, but nmi think the underlying logic necessarily plays second fiddle to what things 'feel' like they belong in each tradition... which given the millennia of magic research, even outside of Arcane, it shouldn't surprise me very much if the traditions have a long history of developing workarounds to achieve thematically appropriate tricks.

But I should sleep before I start getting in over my head theorizing about things with half knowledge.

(PS, a thing that has been an occasional brainteasers for me for a little while now, has been the limits of Spirit. Logically, there must be some deficiency with Spirit essence that the gods chose to craft the universe out of Matter (I mean, ignoring the meta reading that our universe is made from matter), rather than simply use the single, quintessential element that seems to have the capacity to become anything, but it's not immediately apparent what. I have a couple ideas, but none that satisfy me as anything more than a half-answer. Leading idea right now is that the malleability of spirit also makes it less metaphydically stable and so not as ideal for a project that they wanted to create and send off ticking under its own internal logic that they wouldnt have to maintain and reshape constantly)


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One of the things I was thinking about was the setting for Blades in the Dark, where the oceans are exactly like that, plus filled with leviathan-like demons, so that image is absolutely on point.


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Players on mu Carrion Crown game found Shadow Walking to certain locations required a little extra forethought because it turns out, being deposited back in the material universe up to a mile off target is a very big number for a coastal city, even if the bay is a sandy basin instead of a sea while in shadows.

Because the Netherworld is often described as barren and lifeless, it's easy to default to the idea of drought-like conditions plane-wide, but I imagine in any location where an abundance of water would become scarier and more inhospitable than its lack, that's probably the way to go. A twilight abyss filled with inky black shadows that loom under your boat seems just as shadow plane as a dry basin, depending on locale.


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Sanityfaerie wrote:
Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
Unlike with the colorful dragons, people still want to use kobolds going forward and they can't be straight replaced with much more interesting kobolds.
They... pretty much can, though? I mean, the fact that kobolds were totally draconic is the kind of thing that's sunk deep enough into them that it would be difficult to carve out, but we don't need to do that. Even the fact that they were associated with specific kinds of dragons is still more or less in there, or at least can be. The bit where we're pivoting on which kinds of specific dragons it is? That's something that can be retconned and/or ignored with essentially no damage. As far as I can tell, there weren't ever any major plot points around the specific kinds of dragon that individual kobolds could be associated with

Fair, I guess more to the point, dragons can be anything, but kobolds must still be identifiably kobolds. Captain Morgan already pointed out, the OGL dragon statblocks still exist, and if a dragon is needed in a future adventure, they can always be made to suit the purpose. On the other hand, kobolds are a beloved player ancestry and common low-level enemy, while monks are a core class. It seems bizarre to me to suggest that the OGL dragons are nearly as relevant to the remaster's priorities as either one of these.

I disagree that recycling old D&D colour-dragon tropes is a priority on the same order as kobolds or monks because there are dozens of new, non-OGL dragons to be explored, and Pathfinder is not eminently a game about fighting dragons. When I say kobolds can't just be replaced, I mean I feel the remaster toning down their ties to dragons and broadening to ties with any magical boss monster (including the new dragon types) was a brilliant move that preserves their fundamental identity as scrappy minions with innate powers.

A swamp dragon that's green and breathes poison with be meaninglessly different to me from a OGL Green Dragon, but if kobolds stopped appearing in adventures and player options in favour of coblyns, a small burrowing humanoid that cobbles together their magic from scraps left by their magically inclined patrons, that would be a neat idea but they still wouldn't be kobolds. I suppose for me the difference is that 'dragon' is a creature type, so some dragons being replaced by different dragons just isn't a problem for me, but kobolds are a creature themselves. Replacing them would still mean feeling their absence.


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Pronate11 wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:

The old dragons don't need to be remastered. Paizo could figure out how to do it, but it isn't a good use of their time because the old dragons are all still just as usable to the general public as ever. They don't even need good changed to holy like angels and demons need. They are less likely to show up in adventures, but that just means the new ones get a chance to shine. They don't even need to change any lore.

My bet is that if we see chromatics or metallics again, it will be an adventure as a stand alone creature. If a writer's vision just HAS to involve your classic black dragon, they can publish a unique but familiar looking stat block and call it a swamp dragon.

I mean, they don't have to remaster anything then. Everything you said could also be said about like kobolds or the monk. The chromatic and metallic dragons are iconic, which tends to lead to sales. I feel like remastering them would be enough to sell an entire book for many people. Plus, they can take this opportunity to make them even better and more interesting

Unlike with the colorful dragons, people still want to use kobolds going forward and they can't be straight replaced with much more interesting kobolds.


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It may not shock or alarm anyone who has browsed through past discussions of Champions and neutrality that I'm still in favour of neutral deities having champions that are not compelled to join a cause their deity may only tangentially support, nor that I'm still opposed to the idea of "Balance" used as a descriptor for "neither good nor evil", but I figured I'd drop by and say it anyway.

Given that the tone of the conflict has changed from "Good vs. Evil (and everyone is inherently ranked on the scale)" to "Holy vs. Unholy (as specific factions one joins)" I almost don't mind the idea of "Neutrality" being the name for the third faction, as it fits the theme of being a neutral party to two opposed factions. On the other hand, "Balance" between good and evil will never fit a neutral faction in my book--with the possible exception of particularly inscrutable aeons who are strictly managing cosmic forces, rather than moral principles. I like "Balance" in the sense of "I neither care for good nor evil but am concerned with maintenance and homeostasis of the cosmos" a bit better, albeit we may still be too fresh from the fight on removing alignment right now to fully separate the idea of neutral balance from still obsessing over good and evil.

Meanwhile, Law and Chaos may not longer be explicitly cosmic forces with their own proprietary damage types anymore, but the setting (so far) still has a plane of pure Law and a plane of pure Chaos. I don't imagine it's too controversial to imagine there might be champions who are similarly inspired by these divine forces who aren't interested in being forced to join the war between good and evil.

On the same token, it still seems weird to me to imagine that the only thing Champions are allowed to care about is either good or evil, holy or unholy. There is a lot more room in the divine wheelhouse for dedication to causes that have nothing to do with either--even for religious zealots and extremists, though the generally pejorative nature of those terms does not to me fit the nature of what I see in a typical Champion of Good of any stripe.


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I have to echo keftiu's statement. The question "Why don't these people leave their hostile environment" is a touch misdirected given the numerous historical examples of this phenomenon. The answer is not often simple, but may include one or both of, 'this place is their home,' and, 'there isn't anywhere else to go.'

The dwarves didn't just decide to seek greener pastures elsewhere, they were called by their god--and many of them chose not to answer. The ancestors of the hryngar stayed behind, only to find that their much depleted number couldn't hold their cities, and so they turned to Droskar for strength instead. They embraced cruelty in order to regain their status as a Darklands power, but it seems like the ayindilar chose a different route.

It's not like the Darklands force universally inevitable cruelty upon its inhabitants (the munavri and drathnelar, for example), and the ayindilar hide themselves away in isolated settlements, presumably surviving by not attracting too much attention to themselves and sustaining themselves with magic.

--

Either way, reports of the drow empire were greatly exaggerated, and in their place is the sekmin empire which actually rules below the surface.

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