Rules wise? Not that I'm aware of. Fluff/intent wise? No, because having an alignment that far from the deities means your own worldview/nature is basically opposed to theirs. How can you commune with such a force and resonate with it on such an intimate spiritual level that you can receive divine power when you are, in one of the ways that matters very much, exactly what it is not?
A deity of law likely has the law domain, and even if it doesn't, it is lawful because of its own nature, the domains it does oversee, and its choice of planar residence. It favors order, discipline, adhering to rules, making plans as opposed to spur of the moment reactions, rewarding those who act for the benefit of the group rather than the individual, and so on. A chaotic character should bristle at such, because they favor freedom, flexibility, doing what is needed, making quick choices when the unexpected happens, and that everyone is important be they peasant or king. Both worldviews are valid, but not really compatible. As acquaintances, sure, as casual freinds, yeah, as even solid friends who like each other DESPITE their massive ethical diferences, could happen. But for the intense spiritual resonance required of a cleric? An intimacy of soul likely deeper than that between spouses? No.
Two quick points to remember.
1. Most people in a Pathfinder world are religious and do worship a diety, or multiple ones. And they aren't CLERICS. Their faith is strong, but not THAT strong. A cleric has dedicated himself to his god as much as the fighter to his sword or the wizard to his research, if not more.
2. Devils and demons are both evil, but they will also tear each others faces off on sight and almost never work together because of their alignment differences. Even on the celestial side, the gulf between LG and CG is extremely wide, full of polite nods, slightly condescending laughs, and a lot of "Thanks for the advice or offer, but no thanks, we need to do this the right way," from both sides.
tldr: I can't think of a way to get around the cleric alignment restriction and I honestly and personally don't think there should be.
We are now in the last *checks clock, calendar, and travel itinerary* 60 hours of 3d printer time before unplugging and heading up to PaizoCon2019! If anyone has any requests, any desires, any hopes and 3d printed dreams, let me know! Pre-orders get 10% off!
Check out the links I've previously posted, or just ask if I can make something! Gallows? Yes! Wheelbarrows? Yes! Ruined walls, fisherman's hut, demonic altar, openlock dungeon parts, laser turrets, forklifts, iron drums, LITTLE TINY ORANGE ROAD CONES???
Yes, yes, YES!!!
I'm in the Days Inn about a 5-10 minute walk down the road, sitting on a Double Queen room for Friday 2pm to Monday at noon. Currently only one other person, and I'm more than willing to just sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor (I HATE hotel beds, I'm spoiled on memory foam) so someone else can have the double bed, or even share it with a +1 (just don't make it awkward!).
As far as credentials for not being a creepy dude trying to lure you into a motel room, I'm the owner of Black Bard Studios, and I sell terrain in the Paizo store at the Con. I also do voice work for Syrinscape. And happily married, if that matters. The other guy is a family friend who is helping with the store when not participating in the con.
I just want to give someone the chance to save some bucks if they want! Cheers!
3d printing that is! Our little terrain store returns for a third year, and now we have 3d printed terrain to complement our resin and dental stone mold cast terrain. Thanks to the number of licenses we have access to (Fat Dragon Games and Heroes Hoard among them) the number of items we can create now climbs into the quadruple digits!
As always, our prices remain low and our enthusiasm high! But 3d printing is time intensive, so we would rather make what is definitely wanted rather than educated guesses. So, what do folks want? Ask if we can make it or browse the linked stores; we do have a website finally, but its still being assembled.
Can't wait to see you all again!
Someone said wrote:
The problem is that Pathfinder's alignment system is actually two parallel systems: there's a moral alignment and cosmic alignment. Undead are by-definition evil under the cosmic alignment system, because they are literally powered with negative energy.
Not true. Negative energy is neutral, in the non-aligned sense. Its no more evil than fire, earth, water, or air, which are all capable of killing you when applied in excess.
Every living non-immortal creature has negative energy in it, because that entropic force is the cause of aging. Creatures are born, their positive energy overflowing, as they grow and mature, and then the balance begins to tip, and they slow and age and die.
Undead are excesses of such force. They are arguably more like a volcanic eruption, or a tidal wave, or an avalanche: an excessive surge of otherwise normal energy.
The problem is that undead are capable of independent movement, even when they aren't capable of independent thought. A volcano simmers, until the forces at work on it force it to erupt. It can't perceive the town below it, nor can it think "I'd love to burn those puny humans and destroy everything they've made." The lava flow doesn't turn to chase a person. It just sits, erupts, flows, and is done. It doesn't choose its targets. For all the destruction is wreaks, its just a disaster.
But undead, even mindless ones like skeletons, can move on their own. Unless commanded by outside forces, they can still perceive, and react. A skeleton can perceive a creature nearby, and react to it. But while a "mindless" creature like a spider may react with flight or fight based on instinct, the only instinct a skeleton has is to cause entropy. Which is highly destructive to a balanced system. They don't hunt to feed, and even when they do, they do not need to feed to survive (even vampires aren't destroyed by not feeding). Some can even reproduce, but not in a traditional sense of comingled growth, like mother/father, or even host/parasite. The supplant and replace, turning their victims into their fellows.
They are a cancer upon the system, a cosmically hemmoragic aberration destroying a self-sustaining cycle piece by relatively insignificant piece. True, Golarion lore justifies this by having Urgathoa be the source of undead, as the first human to, wait for it, break out of the cycle. She caused a system glitch that might never be recovered from.
Lets not forgot how many undead kill with death effects. And while, yes, 3rd is not Pathfinder, its notable as the foundation. In 3rd, dying from negative levels not affiliated with some form of undead replication would STILL turn you into a wight! No longer the case in Pathfinder, at least as a hard and universal rule, but interesting to consider nonetheless.
Undead are evil because their very instincts drive them towards "hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master."
Even ghosts are consumed with the horror of their existance and the trauma that created them. Given enough time, and barring exceptional circumstance, I would personally wager that all ghosts eventually become evil as well.
So yeah, while I would like a slightly more definitive statement from Paizo on the why's of mindless undead being evil, I can still get behind the blanket idea because of how the cosmic system "should" be working in their absence.
I heartily recommend anyone looking into a Venom/symbiote concept check out N.Jolly's Symbiotic Slayer in Legenday Games' Villains: Vigilantes book.
Short summary: Vigilante archetype, the symbiote is a familiar with the [symbiote] archetype that functions similar to a synthesist eidolon, gaining extra powers (and Ego!) from taking symbiote vigilante talents to improve its abilities.
One of the best executions of the concept, and even if vigilante isn't your thing, its still worth it for the sheer concept. I'm using it as an independant creature divorced from the class, that gains power based on its hosts (aka level). Just use the familiar and vigilante talent slots like a sort of quasi-gestalt. Works great!
I love anime, I love sharing anime with my kids (the ones appropriate to age level, of course), and I have no problem with people using it as inspiration.
Have I seen cringy anime inspired stuff? Oh yeah, and some of it was even mine, back in the day. But I got better, older, wiser. I learned that with any source of inspiration, be it anime, comic books, movies, novels, or even the PERSON'S OWN BRAIN, the most important thing is moderation.
Every truly problematic character I have seen has been problematic because they were slavishly straightjacketed to their inspiration. Characters that were not allowed to grow, to evolve, to react to their surroundings, whether that be the world, the NPCs, or the other PCs (especailly other PCs). I see it as an extension of the "build" mentality (which I have my own opinions on, but that's a different topic) where characters don't progress through a journey of choices and opportunities, they just climb a ladder of pre-destined advancement. This becomes doubly problematic as most "based on so-and-so" characters tend to have a certain point where the build "works" or "comes online", with what comes before being "incomplete".
Characters inspired by something, anything, tend to be problematic when they subscribe to a circular logic mentality of "My character is based on So-and-so, who would react like so, so thats what he does." You aren't playing a character at that point, rather, you aren't playing YOUR character, you are playing the original character transplanted into a world/culture/story they likely won't or can't mesh with. Those minor dissonances will pile up until they become obvious, at which point you either have to break free or double down.
The same thing about movies "inspired by" books that gets us upset (not sticking closely enough to the source material) should be the goal when creating characters, in my opinion. If several sessions go by and I can ask "Is your character based on anything?" and you give an answer and my response is "Oh, I can see that, cool!" then its fine. You can have a hot headed pyrokineticist who wants to be strong, and nobody will know its based off Bakugo from My Hero Academia. Just use some moderation.
And sometimes, it will be hard, sometimes people will make connections that aren't there. In the recent session of Return of the Runlords, the gingerbread witch's familiar savagely murdered some sleeping goblins, one of its red candy eyes glowing from within. A couple players said they caught the Goblin Slayer reference, but that was merely coincidence. The glowing eye was a reference to the particular entity serving as the witch's patron, foreshadowing for a later reveal (which im not going to drop here because my players lurk here too).
One thing I want to return to. Kineticist is great for realizing most "inspired by" concepts. It really is. Heck, I'm playing a dragon pact kineticist in a Rise of the Runelords game. My Ulfen Warrior from the Land of the Linnorm Kings is slowly turning into a monster, a fanged, spiked draconic hulk. He's wrathful, even as he tries to protect the people around him. My inspiration? The Elder Dragon Nergigante from Monster Hunter World.
So yeah. As in all things, moderation.
I'm looking at the map of Talon Citadel in Red Flags, and the scale says 1 square = 5 feet. Ok, it seems about right overall then.
But upon looking closer and reading the text, I find a lot of inconsistencies:
Spoilered for Obvious DM reasons:
It describes the approach as being narrow, to the point where rounding the first talon bastion would require horses to be shoulder to shouler. As it stands, the space on the map is barely enough for a single medium humanoid to comfortably walk, much less two horses.
In N5, the stairs leading to the 20' ramparts would be very steep (6 inch tread over 12 inch rise).
Likewise the stairs leading to the N8 from N7. There needs to be room for the tunnels leading to N9 and N10, so N8 must be 10 feet up, which means those stairs are very steep.
N11 describes the stairs leading down as 10 feet down, same problem. N11 also describes the trapped area of floor as 20 feet, rather than the 10 on the map. This creates a distinct tactical change relative to the trap in the room.
N14 describes the mirrors as 10 foot with 20 foot danger zones. The map describes half those measurements. Again, this creates problems with how the trap in the room is resolved.
The occupant of N15 is gargantuan, but at the listed scale has no location it could actually fit in using its native move speed without squeezing.
The problem is that many other map elements remain correct, like the beds in the servants quarters and the tables in the gambling area. Even the stairs being overly steep is understandable, but the actual contradictions between map and text in areas N11 and 14 really stick out.
All of this said, the point of this adventure was more to playtest roleplaying and skill interactions, rather than stress test more combat. But it also does admittedly become a small dungeon crawl past a certain point. Should the map size be doubled to be accurate to the text? Should only parts? Should it just be left as is, despite the contradictions?
Hoping for an official weigh in, as those map/text contradictions strike me as tangible problems rather than cosmetic oversights. Other opinions are welcome as well!
Completely up to you and your players. But it certainly does afford a fair amount of plot potential.
Some things I did/had happened.
A monk was killed by the memory kineticist. Madness on waking was specifically phobic of the kineticist.
I had done full rebuilds on the idea their past selves were very different people, including different classes. So I allowed those who "beat" their memories to gain a minor ability from their "old" selves. Basically either a feat or a feat's worth of class ability.
Certainly you could swing all sorts of fun things. You could have the old memories hitch a ride in the defeated person, acting as a possessing force or laying low and then animating the next corpse they come across/make by force. Let that PC get flashes of insight and memory in the adventures to come, but red herring him occasionally with other irrelevant memories (OH CRAP, I owe that food vendor money!)
Could even allow a character retrain if you were going with the "very different past selves" approach. If death does happen, talk to your players, lay it out there. Some will be on board for shenanigans, others will just want their percentile roll on the madness table so they can move on.
Had more than a few groups through the years where sleeping characters woken by the sound of combat between the enemy and characters on watch ask "You got this?"
If the answer is yes, the character delays. If no, they get up and join the fight with likely a grumble and curse.
Of course, this is entirely based on the relative threat. If a monster like a dragon ambushes during the night, nobody is silly enough to do that. If it's bandits, especially if the party is higher level, then sure.
It should be noted I run my worlds fairly dynamically, which is to say PCs are a part of it, not the center. Bandits don't necessarily scale with level, high end monsters lurk in well known spots. The guy who bumped into you on the street might be a low level pickpocket, or a Rakshasa.
I always keep in mind a fairly overlooked part of the detect spells: "Creatures with actively evil intents count as evil creatures for the purpose of this spell." Same for the other alignment detectors.
And then there's the spell Magic Aura for Detect Magic. Nondetection for both. Mislead. Basically, these spells can be fooled. The information you receive from them can be manipulated.
That evil vizier they just killed? He was lawful good and trying to counter the influence of the power hungry prince who's secretly pledged himself to Asmodeus. Mislead spell.
A person who's appearance screams "thug" runs past the PCs in a street, holding a suspicious package. PCs intervene, detecting the package as magical, and attempt to identify the item within, which appears to be an ordinary wineskin. Meanwhile, during the 3+ rounds that they (and likely any local guardsmen) have their attention focused, other crimes are comitted (pickpocketing the PCs, sneaking into the guardpost to liberate a comrade/confiscated illegal goods, etc). Magic Aura.
PCs tasked with guarding a person or site in the city see many people pass the location. One of them (a washerwoman, beggar, town guardsman, prostitute) is more than they seem, via nondetection, magic aura, glamoured armor, and a hat of disguise.
Finally, PCs scanning the tavern/townsquare/street with detect evil note a man who registers as evil. The man stares at another man some distance away. The first man is a grieving father fantasizing about revenge, the other a deceitful and murderous pimp with enough connections to avoid reprisal.
And of course all of this is disregarding the inherent limits of the spells, and the social ramifications of openly and blatantly using them. Best case scenario, its the equivalent of someone walking up to you and running a metal detector over you. If the person wears a symbol of a lawful diety, or the badge of the town guard, it will likely be tolerated, but overall its an invasion of privacy few will appreciate because of the possibility of misunderstandings as listed above. And that is assuming its known that the spell being cast is simply a detect spell, and not charm, suggestion, bestow curse, contagion, or any other hostile or harmful spell that has no obvious effects (like fireball).
tldr: If the spells (and their counterspells) are run correctly on a mechanical and in-game social level, its self correcting. In my experience of course.
The dungeon of Artrosa in Reign of Winter, book 3 I think? Its got some odd portal connections as it technically exists within 3 different super-huge statues. You could have each "wing" be different aspects of the brain, like emotions or id/ego/superego and so on.
Actually, thats a really good idea, bear with me a moment.
OK, what if you just used a relatively normal dungeon, the usual "locked doors, must find key" trope. Because thats the goal, unlocking all the doors. Breaking locked doors is bad, hurts the patient, causes BAD NEWS inside the dungeon. Like setting floor on fire, poison gas, etc. Make it really obvious that breaking the doors is not helping anybody.
So they need to find the keys. Make a dungeon like Artrosa, where its technically several mini-dungeons that interconnect. Whatever theme you pick (id/ego, empotions, etc) have each wing really show it. So if you use emotions, use re-skinned sinspawn as monsters and have the dungeon decor match (weapons and torture tools for anger, art gallery of portraits of loved ones and treasured posessions for love, etc). If you used id/ego, you could have constructs/inevitables and proteans/barbarians or such.
Can have some puzzles or diplomacy events that get keys, especailly if they involve using knowledge the PCs have about the patient. And after the last door is opened, whichever one it is, instead of where it should go (relative to the map) it instead leads into a boss room, with some suitable enemy. Personally, I'd use stats that make sense, but skin it as the patient in some form, depending on why the character is in a coma (past traumas, injuries, etc).
I kinda deviated from the OP request, sorry bout that. Hope this is useful in some way!
I did something similar to this, so I'm gonna give the same advice I gave myself:
Make sure your players are okay with this! For a lot of players, backstory is something they consider "theirs" and get real upset at the idea of the DM tinkering with it. Even a partial backstory like your idea. So definitely explain the concept, how the PCs amnesia and where they come from is important to the story, but their backstory needs to likewise FIT the story, so you might have to take liberties with things.
Now, like I said, I did something similar. I warned my players that I would likely majorly mutilate and chop around backstories, just to keep the "discovering the truth" element sharp. So I wanted very barebones stuff, and in most cases, I got it. All my players were onboard, but at the same time, one did go a bit more detailed. While I was able to change a couple parts of his without making it unrecognizable, I had to take a different approach to really give the "big twist" that I was putting in all the others. So with that character I ended up changing the entire class they had prior to amnesia (nothing in the AP says they have to re-learn their old classes!).
I did also ask for a secret, a thing that would interact with the backstory (or not) and be in a sealed envelope shown during session 1 so everyone would know it wasn't pulled out of thin air when it was discovered later on in the game. My group hates retcons.
I can post some more detailed stuff, like what I did with backstories, but I won't clutter up the board unless you want it. Hope some of this helped!
As someone who has gone through the experience of losing a daughter (although not in a manner quite so gruesome or prompted by the ill will of another) I want to voice a possibility that goes against the general grain:
Live for her.
Certainly, you can pursue the raise dead option, or the righteous quest to not let such tragedy happen to others, those are all fine. But those are actions. I'm talking about the mental state. You can spiral down into depression and madness, I won't argue that. I remember my tears, my desire to go dig a hole next to her grave and lay in it.
Or, after your grief, you can rise up as I have and take it upon yourself to live for her. Work twice as hard, to live your own life, and the one she will miss. Take the first step forward when you might hesitate, to honor her stolen first steps. However strong you believe she could have been, be that strong, because she would have gotten that strength from you.
She is a part of you, and you are a part of her. Let her life remind you that you are stronger than her death.
tldr: You can find focus without going grimdark.
Yeah, perfect strike as a standard action touch attack, plus she can spellstrike with that as well (at least, I found nothing that said she couldn't). Force punch is a fun one. Also, hotboxing the room with cloudkill is great too. My group panicked hard at that.
Speed is... well, I was going to say questionable, but upon a close read, its legit. The ability says the sword does damage as corrupting touch, but applies sword modifiers and benefits like feats, properties, enhancement, etc, and then says it is otherwise a natural attack that can't be disarmed.
Corrupting touch is normally a standard action "special attack", and thus can't be given extras via haste nor high BaB.
A natural attack wouldn't get high BaB extras, but would get haste, if a full attack was made. So, yeah, I guess she could go speed and hit twice. Yeep, my players dodged a bullet.
+1 to Haladir. Algae on a flat rock is easily equal to ice, perhaps higher, as you can frequently disturb the algae enough that whats on your foot breaks free of whats on the rock and you now have two slick surfaces sliding against each other, instead of rough on slick.
Thankfully my youth was spent before the advent of modern cellphones and youtube, since I lived next to a creek. So many dumps in the drink because of algae-under-foot.
I had an aetherkineticist in Giantslayer tread into this territory some time ago.
They decided they didn't want to stay in the water of the swamp when the hydra showed up, so up went the boat. And later flying around on a large portcullis, and a few boulder-copters.
We just went with it, but we did add the weight of any occupants to the weight of the TK. Which usually meant he had to toss a point of burn, but that felt fair for a short period of sky-taxi service. And it was cool and fun, so there's that. Also sped up game since it removed the inevitable "how do we get up there with our various climb checks" issue, also a plus.
I gave Hakotep a series of boosts, but in my group the one that had the biggest impact was one they learned about through their own investigations.
I gave him Sacred Geometry.
If you look at the lore, so much of Hakotep's power and resources are things he used his then-current power and resources to cajole, swindle, or steal from others. The flying tech. Some of his artifacts. Etc. Hakotep is basically a high CR conman. So, I took it one further.
In my games, due to a unanimous player vote, Sacred Geometry was deemed "unbalanced". So, I had my players find snippets of lore as they researched their for that implied a hermitage of Nethysian scholars had discovered the "secret underpinning geometry of reality and magic". Which Hakotep promptly stole from them, under some BS cause. The lore they were researching couldn't even keep the story straight, it waffled between "retribution of the gods", "insulting the Pharoah by refusing to share" (they taught him willingly), and "eliminated subversive threats to the country".
So yeah, my players gave me playful glares of "oh you cheeky bugger" and their characters had one more reason to loathe the Sky Pharaoh. And when he started tossing free metamagic around later? Still gets called out as the worst AP boss. Maybe not hardest, but worst, with all the loathing that can be packed in the word. Job done.
None of those are even close. How weird is it that this doesn't seem to exist in Pathfinder?
Instant verbal communication of any significant distance in the real world is a fantastically new technology comparatively, with the telephone originating somewhere in the 1850s, radio in the 1890s, the cellphone in the 1970s, etc. Arguably, there are few greater discoveries/inventions in terms of the impact, both overt and subtle, upon human existance.
Lets compare those dates to some of Pathfinder's notable anachronisms: gunpowder and the printing press. In the real world, the printing press has existed since the 14th century, and gunpowder dates as far back as the 9th.
If I were a deity tasked with managing elements of a vibrant world, I would likely vote to delay instantaneous communication as long as possible, regardless of what my portfolio is. Only the most change-focused, status-quo-destroying forces would aggressively advocate it. This isn't a judgement on the morality of it, change occurs when ideas and knowledge is shared, and removing the "wait time" of such interactions (especially those that might not ever have occured due to distance) exponentially speeds up that process.
The ascension of Nethys could be seen as the ultimate cautionary tale of instant communication, actually.
And then of course, is the good for goose, good for gander argument. If instant communication exists for one, it exists for all, unless that one is somehow unique and impossible to replicate (which would make it a greater artifact). Imagine what Cheliax could become with a state controlled cellphone network. What could the orc warchiefs of Belkzen do with the ability to be heard nationwide? What could cultists of Gyronna, Lamashtu, or Ghlaunder accomplish?
For that matter, what of Hell? The abyss? What could the Four Horsemen do, with the armies and weapons of Szuriel, Horseman of War?
Finally, as an amateur author, I can say that instant communication is the single biggest obstacle in effective mystery or horror stories, which depend on restricted information and/or isolation. Hence the Cell Phones are Useless trope, where you commonly find in such stories that the phone gets broken, runs out of battery, is lost, etc.
Certainly, what you do in your game is up to you and your group. But I would caution that certain doors shouldn't be opened unless you are willing to either accept the consequences or willfully pretend it didn't happen.
tldr; Knowledge is power, and instant knowledge is instant power. Smart game designers treat such abilities with care.
PS Not trying to be harsh or anything, just wanted to present some good reasons why the abilities aren't in the game.
Personally, I'm hoping the narrative device used to make goblins feasible as a core race is NOT time travel. Count me in the camp that believes such a "twist" will have very little emotional impact to counter a decade of established emotions from the player base. If it were shown to be radically foreshadowed in other materials and we all just somehow missed the writing on the wall up until now, well, that might work, but I kind of doubt that;s a possibility at this point.
Personally, here is my "hopeful theory":
The Polymorph Plague mentioned in part 3 of Return of the Runelords. If a significant portion of Varisia's population is exposed to a magical effect that turns them into monsters, its possible that some or many of them become goblins. If the effect is in any way like baleful polymorph, some might be left with their human intellects (but still have to deal with the instinctual urges of the new body). This could easily lead to new "clans" of semi-civilized goblins, especially after a decade or two (which would be like 4-6 goblin generations).
This would create an emotional impact that would help counter the established opinion. A gate guard knowing that the goblin who comes up to the gate peacefully might be the grandson of his own brother who fell victim to the Polymorph Plague fifteen years back is much more sympathetic than a simple "fixed it in post" time travel bit. Imagine, an adventuring party of the gate guard's rebellious daughter, his brother-turned-goblin's grandson, and his sister in law's twin children that arrived 8 months after the plague took her husband (perhaps he chose to never return and put his wife through such emotional burden, telling only his gate-guard brother of what happened before dissapearing into the wilderness).
Ok, I got rambling there, but still. I like this better than time travel.
Personally, I would love it if all bestiary entries listed the height/length and weight of a creature. Most entries do, but some omit these details. I find the data quite valuable given the single sentance needed to relay it.
While an ogre and a hill giant are both large, they have very different heights and weights, which can matter for the purposes of reaching objects or moving corpses or whether the surface can hold their weight. Yeah, I can just say "10' reach, it can reach up to 20'", but sometimes I'd like a little more granularity.
And I would love a scale reference in the illustrations. Many bestiary illustrations give no sense of scale relative to the subject besides the size entry. I frequently simply show the bestiary image to my players after describing the monster, and having a built in comparison to give a sense of how large or small the creature is would be extremely useful.
I'm unsure if it would be better to include a figure in the illustration for direct scale, or to perhaps have an appropriately scaled soft-colored silhouette adjacent to the image. I'm personally in favor of the silhouette, due to a wonderful prehistoric animal book from my childhood years at the public library. I think it would be unobtrusive and useful, easy to add to existing art (it could be zoomed in to the head or hand for smaller creatures), and likely free of the extra cost of adding a fully drawn figure to each piece.
So yeah, I guess this is the less rules based Bestiary request thread? Chime in or call me out, feel free!
We return! Back with more Hirst Arts terrain, and best of all, some of our own design! We also will be bringing some Starfinder dungeon dressing, in the form of crates, canisters, missiles, and so on! Also a small selection of Egyptian accessories. Need a sarcophagus? We've got them!
We've shifted some of our casting to resin for greater strength for thin pieces like our trapdoors, wolf skin rugs, and carpets!
It is a bit late to really squeeze in a major order, but if anyone has anything they would like to see at our table, shout it out now!
I have a 5 man group, and the action economy difference is notable there, with 6, you will definitely need to adjust things, unless they are running 10 point buy with other handicaps. At level 9, the two monks in my party were dishing out about 160 damage a round together, which makes most solo monster encounters trivial.
I would reccomend giving each creature the advanced template. The extra boost to AC from it (dex up plus nat armor) might be a bit much, so just go with a mental "+2 to everything". Simple, and should hold up. Otherwise, don't be afraid to increase the number of monsters; they have a 50% numbers advantage, so its fair if the monsters get that too!
Definitely reward players who have the stuff together and can spin their math out ahead of time. One of my monks routinely makes 9-10 attacks a round, and has a full on flowchart of how her attack progression works. I give her monster AC and CMD, she pays attention during the round for anything that changes it (witch hex), and then when her turn comes up, she can give me the results of her attacks (with the die rolls visible on her rolling app). A wonderful courtesy to me and the rest of the group.
Regarding taking loot from the dreamlands, I made a way available, but made it a "hidden quest" of sorts. Here's what I did.
When they first got lore on the Mad Poet, I made sure to finish the lore with: and to those who please him greatly and quench his eternal thirst, the Mad Poet grants knowledge of how to make dreams real.
I then created 8 "proto-dreamscapes" they could go to. Think of them like demiplanes: generally inaccessible because they weren't full dreamscapes and thus part of the dreamlands, but likewise were too strong and permanent to be stumbled into on the Dimension of Dreams.
I can post more info if people care, but the basic gist of them was that they were all "pending resolution" and when one was "cleared" by the PCs, they could either allow it to become part of the Dreamlands or dissolve back into the Dimension of Dreams.
Some of the proto-dreams were:
So, to reach these proto-dreams, they had to find alternate keywords in Lowls books. My group was hitting check DCs out of the park, so I just told them they were finding alternate keywords in other book combinations. The end result was the discovery that there were three of the eight realms they couldn't reach due to missing a trio of books. One book they found in Caliphas, one they found within the time-looping mages tower, and the last they acquired in Cassomir. This allowed them to find the last set of keywords for the final "true" dreamscape.
Paradise was simple. It was an idyllic countryside. Everything needed to survive or flourish was there or easily craftable (effectively allowing retraining for free, at triple normal time). Traveling to paradise meant being slightly out of phase with your group. All would arrive in paradise, but in their own versions of it, each slightly different. They could hear each other speak as if on the other side of a door, but not interact.
The only commonality was the well. A constantly full well with crystal clear water in it. Water so pure it would degrade quickly in any but the most perfect vessel (go go craft checks!)
But Paradise was a trap. Every day you stayed, you lost the will to leave. DC 15 charisma check to leave, increase by 1 each day. Once you could no longer make the check DC, stuck until you died of old age (and thus wake up back in real world.) The party monk elected to stay behind to craft a vessel, but he got stuck. So he spent the rest of his life crafting a perfect vessel (retraining to max ranks, taking 20 to make masterwork tools, 20 for the vessel, the retrained ranks back.)
The water of Paradise as a final gift to the Mad Poet wins the group a ritual that can be used in the dreamlands when both the real world and the dreamlands moon is full (restricting it to once a month), and allows each participant to manifest a dreamlands object (or creature) in the waking world, at a cost of 1 permanent negative level. Performing the ritual obviously draws the attention of dreamlands natives, so there was always an encounter to go along with it.
Its worked well enough, my party isn't really overgeared, and by the time they can get everything out, its nearly endgame anyway. Biggest thing my party did with the ritual was sell most of the dreamlands gear to buy a staff of healing in Celphais, which has proven smart.
Agreed. Dreamlands physics are not real world physics in the least. It tends to parallel more than say, the First World, because the Dreamlands is still effectively a conjured mishmash of permanent dreams from various mortals. But that doesn't mean you couldn't end up in an area of the dreamlands where the volcanoes erupt ice cold lava. While the first world tends to be "blatantly wierd", the Dreamlands (in my opinion) should be "unsettlingly unusual".
So yeah, time doesn't pass in Celephais unless it does. Simple as that. My players initially hated that, because it didn't make sense, especially when I just shrugged when they asked what happened to the sun if they left the city and came back several hours later. But after a while they realized that lack of sense was exactly what was great about it, what makes it memorable.
It sticks in your mind and bothers you, subtly, gently, until you forget, or confront it. Like any good Lovecraftian element should.
Agreed that boosting their power will only take away from the horror game atmosphere. I have a group of 5 players at 15 point buy, with solid system mastery, and while there have been some close calls (and a few Dreamlands deaths) so far nobody has dirt-napped for real.
Do note that Winter can easily become a NPC cleric along for the ride, as she ultimately is the last of the government and church sanctioned group come looking into the Count's indiscretions. So she has reason to follow along until his fate is fully sealed. While she takes a more passive role during the first adventure, this might work well. In my opinion, the greatest strength of the first adventure is the feeling of being caged in by all the threats, up to and including food supply and the weather itself. Strong parties can burn through the Asylum in a couple of days if smart/lucky, which takes a lot of the feeling of pressure and hopelessness away.
If you have a 3 person party making brief forays into the asylum, returning to Winter for healing, that might actually stretch things out nicely.
Tactically, have horrible creatures be, well, horrible. While a ghoul who paralyzes a foe might be tactically smart to then ignore the paralyzed PC and head for the next, have them just start eating. Not a coup de grace or such, just a normal damage bite attack. This gives the other two time to beat on the ghoul without an instant death or total party paralysis happening. If you still want consequences, you could even throw out a DC 10 will save or be shaken for a round, or a point of charisma damage for the one being eaten.
My group has gotten a laugh and some satisfaction when their solid teamwork just destroys monsters in Strange Aeons (the genuinely overpowered nightmare dragon in part 3 was disappointing, killed a round and a half) But they truly enjoy, remember, and talk about the fights where they had to scramble to survive (the formless spawn was a notable foe that they now take very seriously). I would definitely recommend not treating them with kid gloves, but that's ultimately just how my players prefer it. You know your players best.
Hope my rambling helps in some way!
Think of magical traps as similar to modern security. Motion detectors, laser tripwires, thermal/vibration/humidity detectors, etc. I consider the fact that anybody can detect them means they aren't fully invisible or beyond perception (otherwise how would you use perception to find them?) but they do require some specialized knowledge even beyond that of Disable Device to attempt to disable them. Faint shimmers, distortions like a micro-mirage, or even a sudden jump of static electricity could all be things the wary trapfinder notices. Sometimes it may be the business end, like a statue with a faint scorch mark around the eyes from previous firings, or a suspicious green film in the cracks where deadly gas has settled.
Most of the time actually dealing with a trap doesn't mean disabling the dangerous mechanism though, but rather the trigger. So picture a trapbuster using a handful of iron fillings to suppress the traps "proximity" sensor, or a few quartz crystals to re-route the magical "laser tripwire". If the wizard can have dragon scales and devil blood in his spell component pouch, the rogue can have this stuff in his MW thieves tools.
It may require a bit of seat of the pants inspiration on your part, but this can go a long way to making magic traps feel exotic and fun. "You notice a faint smell of freshly dug earth, unusual since the hall is solid stone. Looking closer, you detect a faint distortion on the floor, a slight blurring of the natural lines of the stone." How I would describe finding a Create Pit spelltrap. Hope this helps you!
Without spoiling things too much, book 3 will give him some opportunities to die without "really" dying. You might be able to use that to help drive home death for him. (assuming he lives to that point). While everyone else wakes up carrying the penalties the adventure gives, have him take longer. Don't force him to sit out something interesting, (unless the player would be cool with it), but perhaps say: "It seems that while the rest of you have woken, the wyrwood remains deep in some sort of torpor; he registers as functional, but only just so. Fortunately, the rest of the day is without incident, as is the night. And on the next morning, the light creaking sound of living wood indicates that the wyrwood awakens with you once more!"
Make it obvious that death is a bigger deal for him, that he needs to be careful. Just my two penny thoughts.
One more voice of thanks from me! I can only imagine how hard it must be to keep energy for the task, much less a smiling face before the proverbial camera, with the inevitable surges of outrage and dissatisfaction that surface. I pledge to do my utmost to keep my knee-jerk reactions restrained, to always proofread my own posts, and to wait a full minute then re-read it before hitting submit as the unveiling and playtesting advances!
Saldiven has put it perfectly as far as I'm concerned, so I'll just give my +1 short version.
Its all about context. If I'm walking down the street and see someone cutting open another person and injecting them with dangerous chemicals, I'm going to call the police. If I'm in the surgery room of a hospital and see the same thing, obviously I do nothing because the doctor is doesn't need any distractions. The location gives context. Nobody is surprised by spellcasting in the wizard academy.
If I see a person draw a gun, I'm going to assume I'm the target and react as such until proven otherwise. If the person with the gun is a police officer, I'm going to not assume that but will pay attention to what the officer says, to see if I'm in the middle of a bad situation or just on the side of one. The mage who works for the town guard can cast openly by virtue of his uniform and reputation.
When every spell is a Schrodinger's Cat oscillating between cleaning dirty clothes and dropping an orbital bombardment on the area, any civilization that doesn't exist in total anarchy will have both social and legal consequences for non-contextual spellcasting.
Magic is capable of:
So, comparitively, magic is like:
Most of those are things that require an actual permit to operate. And even the chainsaw is not going to make me any friends if I just pull it out of a bag and rev it up in a public setting.
Sure, there are plenty of "relatively" safe and mundane uses for magic. Detect evil is like an airport security x-ray machine. Curative spells are objectively superior than going to the best doctor in the world. But the fact remains, so much of magic is capable of radically altering or destroying lives, without the permission of those affected.
I would say the best you could hope for is asking people for permission to cast a spell via diplomacy. Unless they have spellcraft, that could likely fall under the "dangerous aid" risk, +10 to DC. And even then, you would want to do it in a controlled enviroment, rather than a crowded market. Just because the guy you are talking to says sure doesn't mean the others within sight and earshot are going to react well to the Pathfinder version of revving a chainsaw/firing a gun/driving a semi truck/poison gas/grenade/lobotomy/nuclear strike/etc.
Mun's lab is wonderfully creepy and fitting to the style of the story, definitely use it. That said, if you wanted to trim it down, you could cut the derro out and just have it populated by the alchemical construct creations, lonely and abandoned by their master. Leave the skins in the room above and maybe put a hastily scribbled note nearby saying "Skins almost done for my "silent partners", must finish when I return after helping Lowls!"
The Mysterium is likewise great (totally play up the angel and face architecture, so creepy!), but you can weed out some encounters. The mindshattered guards could be found in a tangle where their own paranoia finally got the best of them and they turned on each other, or decided that death by suicide was better than what lurks in the halls. You could even have Mun do the same, being watched over by his lonely homonculus. Definitely play up how everything and everyone is ruined in the wake of Lowls. You could skip the soulbound doll and clockwork mage encounters too, they are fun but not really "needed" to the story.
As for part 3, try to keep the encounter with Princess Njano. You could cut the Div/Tannery plotline and just have Njano decide the PCs are capable enough to give Biting Lash a hard time, and thats good enough in her book. The fortress is kind of a useful plot device in that its fairly easy, its a great way of giving players a last bit of fighting "regular" humanoids before things get really wacky in Parts 5 and 6. Still, you could cut some of the extra animal encounters, or just turn it into a role-playing encounter where Biting Lash decides one old slave isn't worth the potential damage. If they go this route, you could then still have Kisetz and Hakoor attack afterwards, for "failing to return the favor Njano did for them".
Hope that helps!
walter mcwilliams wrote:
Did I miss where the MIA priestess is / met her doom? I don't recall reading it being mentioned anywhere.
Outside of Adam's quoted message board reply, there isn't anything set in the book. That said....
Mechanically, the penanggalen can only create a manananggal from a 10hd female humanoid. The missing priestess is listed as 9th level, so I figured close enough and when they encountered the manananggal, they noticed the pharasman spiral seared into her chest: her own holy symbol burned her after transformation, the last vestige of her former self. They found the symbol in a corner of the room where he legs were, flung under a cabinet. My players put two and two together.
Honestly, I wouldn't buff encounters at all. Run them straight, let your players enjoy the power they have earned. 7th level is no small thing!
This can help with outside motivation: if the PCs are obviously competent, the quest giving NPCs will continue to make requests of them. And when the threats start to suddenly increase, said investments will seem all the more justified.
As an aside to Giantslayer, this would actually be a really solid way to start it. Giantslayer suffers from basically being two loosely connected stories: Parts 1 to 2 make a great "short" campaign, but suffer from a weak bridge into the rest that is heavily reliant on "you are the only ones who can help!"
Regarding the other mentioned APs, the only thing to watch out for would be any plot points that are time or endurance based, as the higher levels will certainly overwhelm/outlast such obstacles. Beyond that, running the adventures as written will have 3 advantages: No extra prepwork as DM, players get to fully experience their acquired power, and it will go by quickly.
I would reccommend tracking XP through the "cakewalk" adventures, as that will help you keep them on par with the wealth they accquire during their high-powered escapades. They may hit level 8 before the third adventure, but just call that a reward for playing the "prequel"!
Note, the 1-3 gp for a Trained Hireling "represents a minimum wage for an adequately skilled worker, and an expert hireling usually requires significantly higher pay. The listed price is a day's wages".
This is all basically assuming a level 1 npc classed character, perhaps level 2. Level 5 is a character on the verge of being able to take a prestige class. While a long way off from legendary level 11 (as defined in game by the spell Legend Lore) they are very capable people. Heck, at that level you have survived the first chapter of an adventure path!
A level 4-5 will definitely fall under "significantly higher pay".
This feels completely reasonable. Perhaps a discount of 5gp if she isn't expected to fight any monsters (just like I would double this if it were an escort expected to solo fight the monsters with no help from the ones hiring). And then any other terms that might make sense, like a portion of pay up front to leave with loved ones if its a long journey, etc etc.
You know, that is actually a very good question. The core book does not actually state one way or another.
There is a sort of collective agreement that dead characters don't remember what happened while dead. This is clarified in Golarion setting books and Bestiary 2, via the Petetioner:
In Golarion a dead soul travels down the river of souls to Pharasma's boneyard, where it waits to be judged and sent to where it's supposed to be. It is assumed that souls "still in line" are the ones that can be still be brought back from the dead. Basically, raise dead lets you get a guy out of line. Ressurection can get a guy who might already have gone through initial processing, but isn't in a courtroom yet. And true res can actually pull a guy out of an ongoing trial. Breath of Life is so fast compared to that, its grabbing the guy before he even gets in the river of souls.
But yeah, short version? The dead don't experience anything they can describe to the living.
Mites are cowardly little critters: a mite that was "out of the office" might overhear the grippli's plans and ask to teach the secrets of vermin training to the grippli in exchange for protection. A lone mite in the wilderness is a dead one, after all.
The mite can easily fade into the background, which then gives you leeway for a problem or two later on. (Obligitory cautionary statement about having every NPC betray PCs, etc). Perhaps the people become alarmed at a "vermin farm" discovered in the sewers, where the mite has been trying to breed the most powerful specimen to give to his master, like a pedigree horse. Or a dissapearance of food, which when investigated leads to said farm, etc.
Honestly, being able to train vermin is cool because it's unusual, not because its any more powerful. A snake can do almost everything a spider or centipede can do, and mindless might give immunity to bad things, but there are a lot of good morale bonuses out there that it can't benefit from.
Vermin druid and verminous hunter make it pretty clear that the cost/benefit ratio is pretty even. Just go for it!
Davor Firetusk wrote:
I've got a group together and based on what I've read so far, it seems like the more complicated (things past scribe scroll and brew potion) item creation feats are not going to be practically helpful, is that true?
The first adventure is chronologically short, likely less than a week, with no real downtime. The second adventure can technically take more if the DM doesn't push the assassination attempts and plays up the "slowly decaying town" atmosphere. Still, expect perhaps two weeks at most in the second adventure, with a few days of downtime scattered within.
The third adventure however, has two and a half months of journey, with only random encounters and a few scripted events. Lots of time for crafting. And unless your party goes all in with teleport antics, you could have similar amounts of time in the fourth adventure.
The fifth goes back to a smaller window with less downtime, and the last adventure is a breakneck race to the finish.
So item crafting could be quite useful between levels 7-12. Especially at the early side, its a long time before you get good opportunities to buy gear (and sell it too, technically you leave adventure 2 with a class-locked piece of gear that's too expensive to sell in town!).
I'd consider craft wand or wondrous. Armor and arms will frequently get upgraded unless you are locked into a very particular weapon type. Crafting a few wands of go-to spells with effects that aren't heavily level dependent could be very useful (mage armor, CLW, protection from evil, etc). Wondrous for odd utility items or stat-boosters. Remember, just because the cleric finds a +4 headband doesn't mean the fighter can't wear the old +2 one. You could even select the skills that int headbands boost based on future "hand-me-down" plans. More people rolling knowledge: dungeoneering means more chances of knowing how to not get killed by horrible things!
I've noticed in these positve/negative energy conversations that people seem to forget that things living on the material plane are comprised of BOTH positive and negative energy. Just as they are of fire/earth/water/wind (not gonna go there Captain Planet), all the inner planes mingle to create the material plane.
Humans are healed by positive and harmed by negative because of this. Positive encourages growth, closing wounds. Negative encourages entropy, compromising vital systems. An undead is significantly more tuned to negative energy, but it still has affinity for positive energy. But its dead cells CAN'T grow, can't heal, so the energy backfires. Personally, I see it as the few remaining motes of positive energy in it overload with the new power and explode just like living creatures do on the positive plane, but thats just my interpretation to justify awesome cleric exploding undead in bursts of light.
Undead aren't the opposite of a living creature. The opposite would be something with neither positive OR negative energy in its composition. People seem to think that positive to negative is two sides of a coin, with life on one and undead on the other. I submit this isn't true, that positive/negative energy is a spectrum, lets say 1-10. Here is where I would benchmark some things (vague aproximations and personal opinions aplenty here)
1 Pure Positive energy
To restate, undead aren't an opposite, they are a mutation, something that exists outside of the normal, natural bounds. By definition abnormal, unnatural.
But again, just my opinion. Still, its worked for me.
I'm running it with the "full reset" interpretation of the amnesia, rather than the "retracing steps" version. The paladin of Sarenrae was a cutthroat slayer in his past life who actually had a personal vendetta against Sarenites for refusing to cure his syphilis. (Aside: they totally would have, if he hadn't cut in line at the temple and then brawled with the guards when they called him on it. Still would have after if he'd just got back in line, but by then he was so pissed he sulked off and got murderous.)
That's why A: the character had drawn Sarerae's attention and B: had a bag full of holy symbols and prayer books in his personal possession. Waking up with no memory, he assumed he was a faithful fellow, put on his armor, and picked up his scimitar (which he stole FROM a paladin of Sarenrae). He's slowly discovered hints about how he wasn't a nice person, but it just gives him more conviction to make amends. Just found out about the scimitar, is making plans to return it to the family of its previous owner.
Other PCs have similar swaps: The monk used to be a skald, the witch was a kineticest, and the psychic used to be a summoner.
Its made for lots of fun scenes with object readings, discovered journals and doctors note, and talking to NPCs.
In Strange Aeons, especially in the dreamlands quests of book three, there are lots of potential "enemy of my enemy is my friend" situations.
But a LOT of those enemies are really evil on both sides! Can a paladin deal with those adventures as written, or do they need to just clank down the visor of their helm, draw their sword, and start swinging? Part of the code is "help those in need" as long as they don't use that help for evil or chaotic ends. And its true that some of these "bad guys" aren't threatening or harming innocents. But is that enough to override the prohibition of working with evil creatures? Or is accepting a non-evil quest from an evil creature not "allying" with them? I'm just looking for some opinions on these wacky and awesome, but slightly problematic, scenarios!
Some examples (spoilers for player courtesy):
The viscount's gala: ettercaps are abducting and apparently eating people during the gala. Which people seem to be aware of, just unwilling to acknowledge. This hits both "help people" and borders up on "punish those who harm or threaten innocents". It seems the only way a paladin wouldn't go on a tear up into the rafters or to the viscount is to just sit in a corner mumblings "its all a dream" to himself.
The skull of ghoul royalty: ghouls ask for help against gugs. Evil creatures asking for help fighting evil creatures. And technically using detect evil reveals at least the leng ghouls (and possibly some of the class leveled regular ghouls) are MORE evil than the gugs.
The red webbed foot: Again, helping ghouls against other creatures that are technically less evil. That said, the ghouls aren't hurting anyone (at least the ones that try diplomacy arent) and don't seem to have any plans to in the immediate future.
The ambassador's heartstone: A night hag, explicitly involved in the soul trade. About as bottom of barrel evil as it gets. How does this even get past the room description before the paladin says "I smite her"?
So, how can things be presented that a paladin can even go to the dreamlands without being constantly placed in positions to break their code of conduct? Or am I being overly harsh on the paladin?