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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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So, how do we feel about changing the term 'ikon' to 'eikon'? Both are variant spellings of the same English word descended from Greek, both with connotations of religious iconography. I have already seen some tiresome protests that 'ikon' is just misspelled for the cool factor, where eikon makes it a lot clearer the variant spelling is fully intentional.

I don't know of any other possible real-world significance to one over the other so I'm just throwing this out there. I like either variant spelling, especially since it disambiguates from many other relevant uses of icon and again drags up those divine connotations.

So, a question occurred to me today as I was poking the survey--what do we expect the hybrid blasts would be, assuming they indeed come? I was trying to picture which combinations I thought would be most interesting and realized a lot of the combinations are either not obvious or not obviously different from another element.

One significant question is whether the combination is more... material or metaphorical I suppose. For example, if you combine Fire and Air in a material way, the most obvious combinations are either super-heated air or bellows-stoked flames depending on whether you add six of one or half dozen of the other. On the other hand, a valid metaphorical options for Air-Fire would be lightning, the big hot energy blast of the sky (To be clear, I want lightning to be a basic blast option, I'm not off that barrel yet, this is just an example), or possibly Smoke (incidentally, now that Wood is an element, Smoke 100% should be a Fire-Wood blast, not a Fire-Air blast.

It would be kind of weird imho to have some blasts be purely material (magma) and some be metaphorical (acid; fire + water?) or even more strained ("Life" from wood + water), but on the other hand I kind of accept that this is likely an inevitability given there is up to 21 unique combinations to be had. With that in mind, go at 'em.

One idea that may be worth exploring is having the three 'opposed' combinations produce a 'clash' element; a chaos, so to speak. On the other hand, Steam and Dust are perfectly viable concepts for Fire-Water and Air-Earth at least, though it is an open question what hybrid blasts will offer besides new ways to deal bludgeoning damage (or fire for the 5 fire-hybrid blasts).

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Apologies if this has been covered before, but for understandable reasons, it's not easy to search the forum for what people think about 'Balance' and get a relevant answer.

I'm looking at Uneven Ground and the Balance action of Acrobatics and finding a bit of a high-level conundrum. As written there is pretty much no way to establish an entire room with a uneven ground that can even be entered by characters untrained in Acrobatics while also giving any kind of challenge to those trained.

Obviously, this suggests that establishing most of all of an entire room as uneven ground is a non-starter, but I'm converting a 1e AP, so I absolve myself of that solution. On that same note, I'm aware that flight is much more common at this level, rendering the point moot, but I still want to establish a ground rule (heh) for those going on-foot.

Presently my solution is that there are two 'types' of uneven ground in the room (in addition to the acid water)--a handful of areas with a sub-20 DC that is difficult but not impossible for untrained characters to manoeuvre, and some areas with a level-appropriate (mid-30's) DC that will reward those with the skill investment by opening up manoevring opportunities.

That said, I suppose the core of my issue is that the rules are pretty much silent on a variety of scenarios involving "What happens if you try to enter uneven ground without using the Balance action?"

I've already seen the thread discussing the confusion behind needing to start a Balance action already on uneven ground, so that's not so much where I get hung up. For me the issue is that if you stride or even leap into uneven ground (perhaps a patch of obscured ice), you are rather left hanging with how you interpret the line, "or risk falling prone or even injuring yourself".

Strictly as-written there I can see two obvious interpretations:

1) You simply cannot enter uneven ground without attempting an Acrobatics check, meaning that if you are untrained and the DC is high enough, you cannot do better than losing your action.

2) It is possible to boldly march into uneven ground and take the risk... which must be ad hoc'd by the GM.

Considering that my above example included the possibility that somebody might Leap into a square they did not realise was uneven, I feel like the latter must be more fitting.

Fortunately we are not entirely without recourse--the line about making a Reflex save if struck while on uneven ground suggests it might be possible to co-opt Reflex as a more universally applicable stat for those who are not skilled. The only issue is now ensuring that 'Stride plus Reflex' doesn't simply invalidate those who invested in Acrobatics and use the appropriate action.

For this purpose I propose a reaction on the same tenor as Grab a Ledge. If you, while moving by other means, enter or move through uneven ground, you may spend your reaction to stabilize yourself with a Reflex save. Furthermore, to highlight the utility of spending the action to Balance, the Reflex is a binary "Half speed/Fall" with no chance to recover on a regular failure, as the Balance action has.


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I'm not sure how much of this is going to arrive at an actual question so much as an assemblage of vague gesticulating at lore, but something that has been eating my brain lately has been the interaction between the positive and negative energy planes as the cycle of souls.

In particular, I wanted to address your attention toward beings who, while still living, have an inverted relationship with vital essence such that their bodies gain sustenance through void and decay, and are harmed by life. This list includes but is not limited to dhampirs, urdefhans, mortics, as well as those graced with the divine mysteries of death.

Now, as (mostly) living, mortal creatures, these people have souls which will survive them and go on to the Boneyard for their final judgment. From Planar Adventures we know that souls themselves are made up of a) a spark of unaligned quintessence, i.e. raw spirit-stuff of the outer planes, infused with b) a unit of positive energy (p.67), as well as possibly other unmentioned trace ingredients.

I understand that dhampir and the like are intended to be rather unique exceptions to the relationship between living creatures and vital energy, but while I have an idea or two, I feel like I would like more insight into how this process functions beyond the way the game mechanics treat them. For example, do dhampirs et al still have normal, living souls inhabiting a void-powered vessel? I would say it seems like they must, since there is no garden of anti-souls mentioned in any sources so far, although it seems that urdefhan reportedly do have un-souls from their daemonic patrons.

I don't have the Guide to the Multiverse for reference, I vividly recall references to an ancient struggle between positive and negative planes remniscient of the mystery behind matter and antimatter, described as a primordial crime which robbed the negative energy plane of its potential for creation, forever relegating it to the role of cold, empty void. I have seen barely any reference to this event since, but the question still compels me. Are urdefhan an jury-rig version of the kind of life the Void would have produced in its own version of the Material, or was one or the other energy plane always meant to 'win' in order to begin the dualistic engine that powers the cycle of creation?

Basically, how do living creatures in a universe powered by positive energy, where almost all creatures from mortals to incarnated souls such as angels and demon are sustained by it, come to be physically healed and sustained by its antithesis, an energy known to bring only death and decay normally, while still alive?


This is a pretty specific offshoot from the core of the class so far, so I assume it would probably need to be like a class archetype or something, but a vision popped into my brain and I had to share it. The way the Inventor custom-crafts weapons and armour, especially adding non-magical versions of elemental damage to their weapons, or gaining resistances to their armour, reminded me of how in Monster Hunter you have your weapons crafted with the elemental abilities of the monsters you slay.

I was thinking it would be really cool to have an Inventor type which could perform similar feats of acquiring monster parts or just crafting semi-organic weapons and armour powered by monsters' innate abilities. Obviously, granting actual monster abilities would be a nightmare to balance, so for the intents and purposes I'm thinking here it's mostly just a cosmetic thing without further development (and I suppose the bit about causing your inventions to explode would be a bit unfitting) but one can dream...

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Greetings one and all. My group is in the process of playing through my conversion of Carrion Crown into 2e and we are just beginning Wake of the Watcher (having started back in the playtest). The minor changes to Broken Moon to increase the amount of werewolf politics and diversity of alignment ranges among the packs seem to have been well received and over Christmas I was inspired to do a somewhat more significant overhaul of Wake. I am now fairly deep into this rewrite but I felt like sharing the changes I’ve made in case they catch anybody’s interest, and also perhaps to generate inspiration for one or two loose ends I haven’t found interesting answers for yet.


To start, I should share the goals/inspirations I had for going to all this trouble. In some ways this process probably started way back when I first read the phrase ‘Reverse Innsmouth’ in the Forward and, lacking context at that time, ended up with a vivid snapshot of what those words might mean. Fast forward to when I actually read through the adventure, I realized my first impression was wrong, but having just finished adding supplemental werewolf politics I was emboldened to make a few changes. My second primary goal in altering Wake was to remove as much of the unintentionally racist themes and undertones that rather inevitably carried over from the source material as I could.

Disclaimer: I am not at this time interested in a discussion about whether or not it’s “real” racism if the other party really is a subhuman fish monster, or whether the xenophobia is in some way vital to the feel of a cosmic horror story inspired by the works of Lovecraft. The bottom line is I love stories which subvert the fantasy assumptions of humans vs. monsters, and I am delighted by the imagined horror Lovecraft would have for my version of things. Anybody interested in debating these topics are cordially invited to start their own thread for the purpose—I might meet you there if I get the time.

Admittedly, calling it a ‘rewrite’ is a bit dramatic given the actual scope of things changed. To boil everything down to the simplest and most significant difference from the adventure as-written, I exchanged the roles of the Neighbours and the Recondite Order, making it so that the ulat-kini of the bay were in fact victims of the Order, who used their control over the fostering system to exploit both surface and sea-dwelling populations for their own gain.

Now, canny observers may realize that the Order as-written has only existed for the last 60 or so of the town’s 200-year history. On top of that, I wanted to give the town some relatively positive history with the Neighbours so as to indicate the possibility of a peaceful resolution between both populations, so in these interests I made a significant change to the nature of the Fostering Pact—the current system whereby a child is taken at birth was implemented with the rise of the Recondite Order to keep the fosterlings more complacent in their new home. Originally, the pact involved healthy young adults from Baytown accepting the honour of being tribute to go and live with the quasi-folkloric Neighbours and bring prosperity to the town.

Critical to this is a minor shift in the nature of the Neighbours. While it is not immediately apparent in this adventure, the ulat-kini or ‘skum’ are actually human descendants of alghollthu genetic tampering to create hardy slaves. While some ulat-kini still serve their ancient masters, many have escaped and live free, rejecting any god or master that seeks to control them. I took this as the baseline for the Neighbours and allowed for their growing reliance on the fostering pact in the past to shift their culture away from raiding to peaceful co-existence. While to this day they chafe under the rule of the cult of Dagon, they have no desire to lose the comforts of their arrangement, and see the fosterlings rather as their fellow prisoners.

This is the basic arrangement and I believe you can already see how most of this plays out, but if you’re interested in further details, I’ve split them up by category below.

~2000 years ago – Coast is inhabited by a tribe of ulat-kini who raid up and down the coast as you do.
200 years ago – Notorious smuggler and demon-worshipper Cassius Undiomede makes an arrangement with the tribe for safe passage. Eventually he is given a lordship and responsibilities. Despite being a ne’er-do-well and a cur to boot, he doesn’t want this gig to fall apart and blow his secret, so he arranges the original pact out of hasty self-preservation more than goodwill toward the townsfolk.
60-70 years ago – Brash and impetuous Manus Undiomede kills his father after seeing his sister go to the Neighbours, believing her sacrificed to Dagon. Pact collapses without the linchpin and the town festers while the Neighbours debate about whether to break the secrecy or return to the old ways.
50-60 years ago – A man named Voltiaro uncovers the secret on his own while exploring Undiomede House. Realizes the potential and uses his knowledge to become a prophet, declaring to the town to build a temple in honour of their founder and resume the old ways in order to appease the Neighbours. Thanks to his specialized knowledge he is soon rewarded with power, prestige, and wealth.
Current Day – The Neighbours chafe under the new regime. Some seek alternative means to ensure their species’ survival without returning to raiding and attempt to contact the mysterious fertility goddess Shub-Niggurath. This goes poorly. Others attempt to gain leverage with the Order by acquiring the Face of Dagon. This doesn’t have time to go poorly. Mi-go arrive, everybody has a bad day. PCs arrive. Everything gets better/worse depending on their proclivities.

Most of the changes I made to Illmarsh general were minor and mainly in the vain of making the townsfolk more sympathetic without losing all of that initial Illmarsh feel that should have the PCs suspicious of everything going on around them. None of these changes are really necessary if you’d rather have most or all the town implicated in the ills of Illmarsh, but that wasn’t my style.

Rather, I decided to have the majority of townsfolk unfriendly and insular, accustomed to being judged for their reclusive religion, their peculiar customs, and their bizarre folk beliefs, and so prone not to discussing any of these things with nosy outsiders who have no respect for their way of life. Unlike in the adventure I decided that only a small fraction of the population are ‘true believers’, initiates into the cult who attend the secret mass at night where the secret shrine is worshipped at. The rest of the townsfolk are split among the majority otherwise very faithful Gozrans who attend the public mass and either don’t think much of the cult (after all, mystery religions historically having been relatively common) or keep to themselves, and the handful of townsfolk who are, “Not Very Religious”—almost a code among people who harbour private doubts about the cult’s practices but dare not voice them openly.

Of the named NPCs I made a few changes:
Horace Croon’s older sister left home when he was very young to be a tribute, promising that she would visit as soon as she could. Fate would have it she would be the last voluntary tribute before the end of the Undiomede line (or among the first fosterlings before the Recondite Order implemented their reform; timeline is a little hazy here). Croon would go on to harbour a secret hatred for the fostering pact and the Order, eventually discovering the secret for himself and working like mad to create a vessel to rescue her. He is not aware that the Neighbours are in fact relatively friendly. He otherwise behaves as-written
Laurel Sills is Not Very Religious after her baby brother was taken from her. Having at best a loose affiliation with the town’s traditions, she is the most openly friendly with PCs as they come into town, interested in swapping gossip and news about the outside world. If necessary, she advises PCs about the townsfolk’s taciturn nature.
Tam Breckege is a hybrid and reverse-fosterling. He has no memory of this and his mother was a true-believer lay cultist. He still wants to join the ranks of initiates but feels it is his duty to bear a second child before he does, except due to his hybrid nature he is borderline infertile and has only one child thus far. (The book doesn’t really make it explicit, but it is implied that a portion of the townsfolk are children of the Neighbours sent back to Illmarsh. This is my nod toward that, though I’m not sure if it will ever come up.)
Mayor Greedle is just… really genuine. I was charmed by his pleas for help and so I wanted him to honestly be concerned for the safety of the town rather than making a power-play. As-written he has no power in town, his own sheriff is loyal only to the cult of Dagon, and people are disappearing left and right while the Order does nothing.

“Glory to the Secondborn” – A minor change I didn’t remark on above is that I decided that the ulat-kini can be physically both male or female, and thus the fosterlings are offered from the second born child of either gender.

The Order was founded by an ancestor of Albor Voltiaro’s and the temple has been passed down in the family. I would have had Albor himself be the founder of the temple 60 years ago except his relative youth makes that improbable, so instead an unnamed Voltiaro originally discovered the truth about the Undiomedes’ Dagon-worship and decided to use his knowledge to gain dominion over the sea under Dagon’s blessing. Albor is simply the current benefactor of the exploitative cycle and he plans to leave the temple in the hands of his eldest son Caleb. His younger son, Everard, I’ve made a hybrid fosterling he adopted for the sake of molding into a loyal pawn within the Neighbours. To work this, I’ve given Everard responsibility of the Tulby child, and the opportunity to reject his emotionally distant father if the PCs show him mercy.

The Order otherwise sees all profit from dealings with the Neighbours flow directly to them. The true believers enjoy a measure of wealth and prestige in the town and the Order is constantly on the lookout for other townsfolk who can be manipulated into worshipping Dagon, and for dissidents who threaten their rule.[/spoilers]

[spoilers=THE UNDIOMEDES] I pronounce it ‘un-die-oh-meed’, if you were curious. Cassius Undiomede I decided was already a devout worshipper of Dagon who saw his relationship with the ulat-kini of Avalon Bay as a sign of his god’s providence. More chaotic than evil (but still evil) his only interest lay in profits and luxury, so when Versex made him a lord he took it as a mixed blessing. Unwilling to be bested in the long con, his wits were stretched to their limit, balancing the new responsibility of brokering an arrangement between his new town and his old allies which would keep both happy without interrupting his profit flow or exposing his secrets.

As written, it was only a matter of time before the dysfunctional family line came to an end. I’ve kind of phoned-in the exact reason why Manus killed his father. I kind of like the idea that he was as much affronted by the idea of their noble line mixing with the inferior Neighbours as much as out of spite for his sister being given over. One very minor thing I changed, I decided not to run with the villainous disabled person stereotype for largely personal reasons and removed reference to the wheelchair.

To reiterate, the biggest change to the Neighbours is making them beholden to the Recondite Order as vicitms, rather than their secret masters. I suppose it’s also worth mentioning that I have adjusted descriptions of the ulat-kini to reflect a more humanoid appearance, closer to Zoras from the Legend of Zelda, or Abe Sapien, downplaying the grotesque default appearance into a physically fit and athletic physique, befitting their origin as a source of hard labour. As mentioned above I also allowed the ulat-kini to be both male and female, though still infertile together, and borderline infertile even with human partners. Offspring tend to be either ulat-kini, fully human, or hybrids which are born looking primarily human but which eventually undergo a metamorphosis into an ulat-kini—rather than wait until old age I decided this change can be triggered at any time by a variety of poorly understood environmental factors.

Reworking the Neighbours to be sympathetic victims in the AP is no small task given as-written they are in some way responsible for almost every ill that befalls the town, but the main adjustment here is having their actions be motivated by their desire to be free from the Recondite Order while still having a way to continue their species without resorting back to coastal raiding. To this end a faction of Neighbours turned their attention to records of ancient druids worshipping a fertility goddess in the stone circle at Undiomede House, their goal being to see if they cannot earn the blessing of Shub-Niggurath and gain the ability to procreate on their own. At the same time another faction was contacted by some human death cultists (not knowing or not caring about their true nature) to find a submerged artifact in exchange for an idol that might give them leverage against Father Voltiaro.

As-written this goes poorly and things turn into kind of a mess. Other changes made here include adding an elderly human woman, Rebekah Croon, to the imprisoned ulat-kini (having refused to be moved to the safety of the tunnels under Undiomede) and leaving a few fosterlings alive under Undiomede, still being preyed upon by the Colour. Their role is primarily to show that the men and women fostered to the Neighbours are indeed treated fairly, and in fact Iq’lothattua, once a fearsome, ancient warrior of his people, is now an intensely dedicated guardian protecting all fosterlings sent down to them, considered a father figure by most.

The biggest problem I have remaining is the angle where, as-written the anti-mi-go faction of the Neighbours use the moits to protect themselves against the mi-go’s non-specific mental control abilities and then later introduce the moits to the human population. It would be possible to have the ulat-kini discover the moits only to have the mi-go take interest and cause the remaining destruction but I haven’t found an approach that feels especially satisfying yet.

Now of course if you’ve made it this far, you no doubt have noticed a number of my tweaks and changes have left relatively minor plot holes. Feel free to drop suggestions if you have ideas, my group has only just made it to the Lonely Quay so far. If you have other questions or comments I’ll try to respond to them when I can.

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I have a question regarding the Grab ability involving legacy rules and possibly omitted details.

If a monster with Reach uses an attack to Grab you at a distance, what exactly happens? The answer in PF1 is obvious, grappling pulls the target adjacent to you. If you don't get pulled in, though, on your turn, are you able to attack the monster even though it's outside your reach normally?

This came up when we were running part 2 and only didn't come up in part 4 because of the reach of a shapeshifted T-Rex, but essentially our goblin barbarian is riding his camel through the river when he gets plucked up by the scorpion's claws. He can't reach the scorpion and he doesn't really want to wriggle free and deal with the river current. He was most frustrated that nothing to our knowledge stated he could attack the parts of the scorpion he could reach (since obviously if the scorpion was touching him, there was *something* in reach).

If I were GM of this part I'd probably have said that any monster currently grabbing you with part of its body is by definition within reach, but it could be clearer whether this is supposed to be the case, or whether there is an omitted legacy rule from PF1 Grab that drags opponents into range of you. Or, I suppose alternatively it is intentionally frustrating that you can be grabbed out of range of an opponent and have no way to fight back.