Hey, gang! As lead developer for this fun book, I wanted to chime in and give my thoughts.
There's a lot to love about Golarion. I'd prefer to see some of these very different cultures spread out over more continents, but it's a high magic world with tons of cool history, and Paizo did a great job of blending these old powerful detailed cultures when thrust together at their borders. So a quick overview on these races in Golarion and then some specific notes.
First, hopefully there's enough detail for the races in the ARC that you can just drop them into any setting. Remember that different cultures may have a different history. Not a lot of sages are gonna know what the darakhul history is and what they're up to, so even departures from Golarion's official timelines can slide seamlessly into the world most of the time. The best approach to integrating a culture is just to put it into your setting laterally, meaning let the people and cultures of Golarion stay and include the new race right alongside them. Ustalav might have a higher concentration of dhampir, a bunch of dour humans just waiting to be murdered by undead, and heroes manning Lastwall, but a city of civilized ghouls trading for living foodslaves fits thematically. Sahaguin tribes might make war the same palces as human pirates. They might also absolutely despise aboleths and cyclopes becuase some sahaguin inherit memories. The diabolical sahaguin might have a pct with Cheliax as that power tries to regain its naval supremacy. Anyhoo, you get the ideas.
So...some remarks on where I'd place specific races you mentioned:
Darakhul Darakhul are absolutely my favorite race in the book. I love thinking of them as faux civilized...looking and acting like human aroistocracy and soldiers, but having that undead savagery juuuust underneath. Above ground they could be anywhere, working to undermine mortal civilization or deeply involved with cultures that allow slavery. But they probable find the most purchase in Ustalav, Nidal, Geb, and Nex. A cool twist might be a growing tribe of cannibals that are actually ghouls, expanding across the Mwangi. That's actually a whole damn adventure path. Dibs. Obviously they could be anywhere in the three levels of the Darklands. I'd arrange oit so above ground they look and act human and fit in well, and below ground they keep no secrets and are more savage than even the drow.
Dragonkin For sure good dragonkin might have a small population in Hermea and evil dragonkin might hail from the Land of the Linnorm Kings. The Four Horsemen wrote a book that included some options for linnorm half-dragons and that might be fun to play with. Also dragonkin might be even more common on the Tian Xia continent.
Gearforged are perfectly at home in Numeria and maybe could be found in neighboring countries as well. Maybe a good twist would be for them to be very science-oriented and have a strong contingent in Rahadoum, where religion is banned.
Jinnborn Jinnborn are described as being disparate and not having a really strong unified culture. So they could be anywhere in a world where elemental magic is manipulated at the highest levels. In terms of strongholds, jinnborn might be most common in Qadira, Osirion, or Jalmeray (which also means Vudra). I also like the idea of air- and water-based jinnborn pirates spawned from the Eye West of Garund.
Shadow Fey Shadow fey are just sooo awesome. Especially if your campaign makes a lot of use of Ultimate Intrigue, because they should be the bosses of social combat. Obviously Nidal had ties to the shadow plane, and has close proximity with ancient elven kingdoms. I'd also consider putting shadowfey courts in Ustalav and maybe a contingent in Irrisen.
Tosculi I might consider a variant tosculi that has some sort of synergy with the Red Mantis worshipers on Mediogalti. A tropical variant might populate the Mwangi. You could also put them in the Mana Wastes between Geb and Nex or that prison island to the East where all the magical experimentation has gone wrong (I forget its name).
Trollkin I think the best use of these guys is in the Hold of Belkzen. Orc and half-orc tribes might venerate Lamashtu by breeding trollkin. Careful how you handle delivering human slaves to troll and ogre sires and all that, but it fits and makes that place even more dangerous. Maybe check out Jazz's Superstar adventure and see if there's room to add them. The old school hobgoblin adventure path coming out offers some promise here, too.
Werelions could go lots of places. Noble werelions ruling thesavannahs of Tian Xia. Perhaps a kingdom of them from a vast luch plain as one of the Impossible Kingdoms of Vudra. But I think the most exciting place for them has to be as nomadic tribes offering to lead high-paying caravans past the gnolls of the Brazen Peaks from Katapesh to Osirion. If I can have lion people and hyena people n the same world, I'm putting them directly into conflict with each other.
Hope these ideas are helpful. We're really glad you're enjoying the book!
The only class that is inherently evil is the antipaladin. Everything else comes down to the choices a character might make in terms of abilities and how he uses them. Some abilities are evil. Some spells are evil. But the inclusion of a sinister-seeming option doesn't make a class evil at all. I can make a very effective lawful good witch right now. The existence of child scent or cook people doesn't make the witch class evil any more than the existence of unhallow and create undead makes cleric and evil class.
All I wanna know is if a witch can take a shaman hex. Since some spirit hexes seem more powerful than regular witch hexes, and no language specifically says they can, I guess the answer is no. Sad face.
As unofficial Herald of my friends at Playground Adventures, I just wanna say I'm excited about this. I listened to a mentor recently describe how his mother ran a game for he and his friends, tying homework and research into the story and making education fun. So I think this line of products is brilliant and way overdue!
Today I recorded a ROundtable podcast with James Intracaso, where I talked about the next two stretch goals of the Talented Bestiary, among other things. As soon as there's a link to the show Monday I'll post that link here.
We are looking for at least $9000 in the next ten days, so please tell your friends, gaming groups, web sites and everyone else. Let's add the creature abilities from Bestiary 2!
Glad to have you on board, Rainzax! I think the system is a little less labor intensive once you know it, certainly fast once you have a little practice, and one other thing.
I believe the Talented Bestiary tool is the most fun I've ever had creating creatures, and the Four Horsemen have created a loooooot of creatures, even without playtesting this book.
I can't wait til future stretch goals so we can design daemons and other goodies!
Hey gang, our first update after funding offered a list of all the creatures created in the book. The system allows creation of anything you can imagine, and to prove it we made a couple hundred monsters to test that system. You get them with the book including color art.
I thought I'd publish a partial list here so we can talk about which creature is coolest. The short answer is...all of them!
Great question, Teiidae! The sahuagin of Midgard have a looong history of mysticism, with a religion so ancient their own origins are a mystery. Every so often, a malenti is born to lead her fellow sahuagin in the subjugation of her neighbors. The influence of diabolical pacts or elemental beings makes this more than a mere mutation. Malenti are wholly different from sahuagin. They have savagery and conquest in common, but malenti look, act, and think differently. We typed them as native outsiders to reflect this. Mechanically this also has the advantage of giving sahuagin-focused adventures more diversity. Creature types affect mechanics, like favored enemy or some spells. A combat with a dozen sahuagin is easier on the PCs (and harder on the villain) if every bad guy is a magical beast. Make the boss and outsider, surround her with monstrous humanoids, and throw in some animals (I'm thinking......sharks?) and you have a more diverse encounter that lets PCs shine in combat, but without encounters being easy or redundant.
If you think of malenti as a bizarre mutation that results in a comely monstrous humanoid changing the malenti's type doesn't necessitate changing her other traits. You can certainly swap in monstrous humanoid for outsider, toss the native subtype, and proceed with villainy.
Looks like Victoria Jackzo's dhampir paladin archetype got axed at some point in development.
Yeah..over the course of putting this massive book together, we weren't able to keep everything we liked. It'a a sad truth of publishing that sometimes space, art, or other requirements forced quality content out of final versions. Usually we just hang onto those (especially if we've paid for them already) to use later on in a more focused product. In this case, my friend Jazz broke off several cool archetypes and the paladin went onto the self. It's not her fault (she turned over a fine bit of design). Just didn't make this cut this time.
When you've had things left out of a book because too many things started with the same letter, you start to understand Marc's job is a tough one.
Human Fighter wrote:
What does the Rogue lose for being an Eldritch scoundrel?
The scoundrel onlt gets 5d6 sneak attack over his progression, and half the normal rogue talents. In addition, he only gains uncanny and improved uncanny dodge if he spends a rogue talent slot on them. He loses armor proficiency and only gets 4 skill ranks per level.
In exchanges, he gets decent spellcasting and replace trap sense with a n internal alarm that registers nearby magical traps.
Hehe. That isn't the most consistent thing, and I know that so I should have been clear. Sorry.
Yeah..the scoundrel casts spells on the same progression as a magus, including cantrips. But he draws spells from the wizard list.
I really dig that dude. He gets things done.
Hope you're all enjoying the book!
Alexander Augunas wrote:
I know Steve did the Analects of Aroden and David did the Runes of Wealth. I don't recall who did which mini spellbook, however. (Aside from my own, of course.)
That's backwards, dude. I got the intro, the Runelord stuff, the stage magic guy, and the Cold Irony section. David did the good guys.
Sure it is. And Shalewigg will. But when we began this whole endeavor, I offered a number of choices for PCs and Shalewigg was the one the GM chose. Part of the deal was she served Famine, but wouldn't try to betray Asmodeus or the PCs. Just a chance to add flavor to the game while still carrying the campaign out as designed. Also...Shalewigg's inclusion was supposed to underscore the reality that fiends use each other, including their worshipers. Daemons, going all the way back to yugoloths, have a mercenary relationship with demons and devils. If the campaign starts with "you signed a Faustian deal, now you worship Asmodeus and you're Lawful evil", that's boring and I should have played someone different.
Might be this is the product of having to go through three GMs to find someone worthy of our party, but I think Shining Host exchanged a few messages about this to make sure.
In any event, the contract is more or less signed as offered. As long as Shalewigg's alignment and eternal destiny remain unchanged, all is well and we can get to killing fools.
I specifically asked not to be required to worship Asmodeus. It was granted on the grounds that I was not a divine caster, held no god, and maintained a good story without screwing up the party.
Now that was out of character, and I've stayed in character pretty well. I'm just not super fond of my request from before character creation being ignored. So I'll find a way to sign this contract in character, but "sign or everyone dies" doesn't mean much to a serial killer who was ale=ready consigned to death.
We'll see how this next one goes.
I have always had the same opinion about pbp. You play as frequently as you're able and try to understand when life makes posting difficult. Additionally, sometimes a scene doesn't call to your specific PC, so if the central figures are slowed down a little, and another is just not an active voice in the scene, it feels like the whole thing has stalled. Really, a little stimulus for Nikolai and he'd post more. But constant posting from Nikolai during the investigative portion of the game, or during scenes that should focus on Arkady or Verik, starts to make it a lot of Nikolai who already makes long posts during combat and who had his share of scenes with the wargs and trial and such.
So..I hope people can get back to posting and playing, but I am never critical if exams, work, etc get in the way. I have three jobs that demand time. I'm the last guy to be critical if the game slows for a few weeks before picking up speed again.
I absolutely think you can accomplish the adventure in the time allotted, or maybe even a little less. Just remember: Tristeza House is an intentional meat grinder. There are a lot of combats, but they run one after another and can even bleed into each other if the PCs are anything less than super efficient and clever. It might be easy for the party to explore the whole house in half the time ypou've allotted, but it will hurt.
If you have any questions about the adventure, feel free to drop me a PM and let your players know you're conspiring against them with the author!
This adventure is a great debut for an exciting new company. Written by a designer I hired for a project earlier this year, developed by my friend and fellow Horseman Stephen Rowe, and published by my friends at Playground Adventures!
GM rolling initiative is fine. The block initiative generally turns into "anyone in the party can post in any order to keep the action going, as long as an NPC doesn't get skipped".
You'll note I have been posting with Shaleiwgg to keep the scene going, even if out of turn. We hadn't talked about that, which is why I did something not-combat-optimal this last couple of rounds.
Drowning people is still fun, though.