General Aveshai

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I also agree. I did say "if I wanted to write" but the fact is I would never want to write something so simplistic, but others might and it was mostly just to illustrate a point. Also, I find TV Tropes to be lazy and overdone, so variable mileage and all that. ;)

Anyway, the point being that races like Orcs and Drow should be able to exist outside the realm of socio-political scrutiny and interpretation if the author so chooses. The fact that almost nothing can exist outside the realm of misguided scrutiny anymore speaks more to an issue with the audience rather than an issue with the writer. Please note, I'm not trying to absolve all writers as some truly are deserving of such scrutiny.

While I do think verisimilitude among any single race is often far more interesting, I would like to point out that the idea that an entire race CAN'T be uniformly evil (or anything else) is also problematic. There is room for both ends of the spectrum (endless variety and singular uniformity) and everything in between. The real problem is entirely conceptual - people spend too much time focusing on what can or can't exist, trying to root everything to either the human experience or something personal they can relate to, trying to categorize everything in an effort to establish meaning or understanding (be it in the real world or one built in the mind's eye). It's a fundamental problem with humans in general. It's a matter of stepping outside oneself and realizing anything is possible (creatively speaking) and nothing should be ruled out, nor should we try to define all things. I really don't want to veer this into a philosophical threadjack but when people discuss things as "part of the problem" I find it important to address the real problem rather than the micro-problems that spin off from it. Finally, yes, I recognize that we can't magically transcend the limitations of language and thus all experiences and ideas must be conveyed in some form humans can relate to. The problem is matter of framing, not of conveyance.

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To turn it around another way, what if I wanted to write a story about a sun-blasted desert world where there are two civilizations: a pale-skinned race living underground and the dark-skinned surface dwellers. One of the civilizations is evil (mutated and gone slightly insane) and the other is good. Now, perhaps the dark-skinned surface dwellers are the good guys (with the evil faction having been driven underground) or perhaps they are the evil ones (having been driven mad from being forced to live in the above-ground wastelands).

What do we take away from this? Should all writers for the rest of time just avoid using a setting like this for their work in case it might offend? Or perhaps writers should just save these sorts of stories for a rainy-day-future, a future in which all of humanity finally achieves a reasonable level of common sense.

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Matthew Pittard wrote:

Sissyl: There are surprises here too. I noticed immediatly that Sobek wasnt Evil. That surprised me as Crocodiles traditionally in Egyptian culture were feared because they prowled the Thebes looking to 'kill' those who got too close. Thus their connotation as 'evil' and thus I would assume Sobek would be. I think its an interesting (and welcome) development that he is not. The same goes with keeping Apep and Set separate. They are two deities which were always quite similar and i always viewed Set more as LE than NE. The fact that Set is not a god of foreigners in Golarion but more the god of Storms and Deserts (as well as Darkness) is very interesting.

All in all I love it.

Again, Sobek was never seen as truly Evil in ancient Egypt, not as we understand the concept of Evil anyway. Sobek was necessary evil, which technically makes him "not evil". CN is a perfect fit. Sobek was super violent and fairly unpredictable but not malicious. In fact, he was seen as a protector deity - his violent outbursts would ward off evil spirits. As for his association with crocodiles: there is a huge difference between killing (all carnivorous animals kill as part of the cycle of life) and purposeful or systematic killing with malicious intent (which would be Evil).

As for Set, he's a tricky one since there are so many interpretations. Some of those interpretations do tend to mix him up with Apep (which I don't agree with and it gives Set a worse reputation then he deserves). Depending on which version of the Egyptian pantheon you use and which myth cycles you keep and which ones you ignore, Set could be NE, LE, LN, N, or CN. The thing is Egyptian mythology underwent many story changes and myth cycle revisions throughout the religion's 3000 year history. So it's all a matter of which snapshot of time you go with (Early Dynastic, Late Kingdom, etc.) or which myth cycle you choose (Ogdoad, Ennead, etc.).

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catdragon wrote:

Seems like there ought be more evil gods...

But that is probably just my opinion.

Yeah, like Sissyl said, there just aren't a lot of evil entities in the various incarnations of the Egyptian pantheon. Even Set, in some interpretations, isn't necessarily evil, it's pretty much just Apep (and some smaller weaker entities that would probably "just" be Demigods in Pathfinder). The Egyptian gods existed in their culture mostly to teach and oversee orderly conduct, the ancient Egyptians didn't have as much in the way of sweeping drama plays involving light vs. dark, good vs. evil, and that sort of thing.

Their culture was vastly different than even other ancient cultures that would come onto the scene later. The core tenants of their faith pretty much revolved around the concept of Ma'at (see the LN deity above). A lot of the moral and ethical issues of Western cultures and ancient religions would have been pretty foreign to them. Being a "Good" person to the ancient Egyptians was pretty much all about being a "Lawful" person, in pathfinder terms. Even then their culture wasn't about Law vs. Chaos, as entities such as Sobek (rightly described as CN here), were seen as necessary evils to maintain the balance of the world.

This also explains why Ra is LN. If you read the myths, Ra never really does anything "Good" (he can actually be a bit of jerk), it's all about cosmic order.

All in all, I'm incredibly impressed (though not really surprised) at how well the Paizo people nailed down the various alignments and portfolio dynamics here. It's always nice to see when people "get it" as opposed to just trying to shoehorn round pegs into square holes. They could have made more of them good and/or evil to make it a more rounded pantheon for an RPG, but no, they stuck to core tenants and kept the pantheon culture intact. Well done, Paizo!!

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Even if you keep it limited, rather than Pathfinder's interpretation of it being usable everywhere, I recommend restricting it to region rather than city/surrounding area. So instead of Local: Magnimar or Local: Korvosa, it should be Local: Varisia. This helps strike some balance between too limited and too broad.

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Well, I already posted my praise but I hadn't realized it was just the Blog thread about the Player's Guide rather than the product thread itself.

Anyway, at the risk of repeating myself, I must say that this is the best Player's Guide to date. Hands down. It's clear that Daigle and McCreary listen to feedback since they did everything right with this one (for me at least). This Player's Guide is a winning formula of awesome compounded by the fact that it's done for free and without diminishing the production value. Between the obvious effort that's put into a free product and an ever-improving presentation based on customer feedback, it's pretty apparent that the designers (and, assuredly, all the people at Paizo) care about the consumers and making sure they deliver the best product they can. This may come across as a bit sycophantic but I truly am impressed with how spot-on this Player's Guide is after seeing iteration after iteration over the years, not all of them great but always improving. Player's Guide 14 has nailed it completely.

Well done, Daigle and McCreary!! I'm excited more than ever to see what secrets under Osirion's sands will be revealed in the pages of Mummy's Mask. A perfect start to what will undoubtedly be an Amazing 6-part journey.

Now, if you'll excuse me, my nose is feeling a little too brown (must be the mud from the River Sphinx).

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David knott 242 wrote:

I am worried about the effect that this adventure path could have on American weather. This time last year, Paizo published "Reign of Winter" -- and we are just now getting out of our most brutal winter in several years. What is an adventure path set in a hot desert likely to do?

On a more selfish note, I'll keep my fingers crossed that the pattern continues. Not only was it a brutal winter for America, but it was for Canada as well since bad weather (of the cold variety) tends to be magnified from what the US gets. So if you guys get an insanely hot summer thanks to Mummy's Mask, us Canucks might get an extra-long summer for once, as compared to the usual 2 months out of 12 that we get where I'm from.

Though I'm not a sociopath, so if that nice Canadian summer comes at the expense of a deadly heatwave down south, I'll withdraw my cross-fingered wishing.

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@Nanatsusaya: Fair enough on the lack of equipment bonus. As for the stat bonuses - Krune can just barely cast 9th level spells (he's also level 17) and he got the Exceptional Stats bonus. Also, that bonus comes from the fact that the Runelords are 25-point-buy Azlanti (not from inherent bonuses from Wish or similar things).

So if it's a just an equipment thing, then that still technically doesn't make him less powerful than Karzoug since if you took away Karzoug's equipment as well then they'd be back on equal terms. I suppose it's fairer to do so when discussing raw Runelord power, so Karzoug is CR20, rather than 21; and Krune is CR17, rather than 18. With Zutha still also at CR20, at minimum.

@Alleran Zutha as a Mythic Lich would makes things even weirder since Mythic Liches use CR to determine the number of Mythic Ranks whereas at least with Mythic Tiers you can lower the amount that an NPC has, so you can have a Level 16 character with only 2 Tiers. So even if Zutha was a Level 15 Necromancer (CR 14), plus Lich (CR 16), he'd then have 8 Ranks of Mythic Lich which leaves him at CR 20 and this time without even worrying about 9th level spells or a stat boost.

In fact, I've been assuming Zutha couldn't be a Mythic Lich for precisely this reason since you need to handicap his Mythic rating to bring him in under Karzoug. Assuming the Exceptional Stat boost (all Runelords seem to get it) but ignoring equipment, the absolute minimum for Zutha in a vacuum would be Level 11 Necromancer (CR 10 +1 stats +2 Lich = CR 13) which as a Mythic Lich would give him 6 Ranks, making him Total CR 16. This is too weak since it comes in under Krune who is already the weakest Runelord. If we give him 9th level spells (why not) at Level 17, then we're looking at (CR 16 +3 as above = CR 19) 9 Mythic Lich ranks which would give him a Total CR 23.

The sweet spot (above Krune and below Karzoug), factoring out equipment but including the stat boost, is Level 13 as a Mythic Lich (Level 12 nets you CR 17 [Krune] and Level 14 is CR 20 [Karzoug]). Granted, using the Mythic Lich option does at least do the work of nailing down Zutha's level spot-on, but it doesn't feel right - Zutha, Runelord of Necromancy unable to even cast Create Greater Undead or Horrid Wilting (both 8th).

Deepest apologies to James for cluttering this thread. Though I am really curious as to his thoughts on this. However, if other people want to discuss this further I say we start a new thread.

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Wow, sad to see such a titan of the industry leave Paizo. I've been following his work since he was writing Greyhawk modules back in late 2nd edition (his additions to Against the Giants in the Silver Anniversary series was my first taste if I recall correctly). He's taken me on some fantastic journeys over the years, sometimes as a player, sometimes as a GM, and always as a reader of his work.

Aside from his phenomenal contributions to the industry, I've always enjoyed his candid and frank discussion and his willingness to help out and participate with the community. I've never made it to a gaming convention (someday) and so I've never had the opportunity to meet him in person but the amount of time he has dedicated over the years to interacting with the fans who share in the love of the game certainly speaks to his character.

As for the ridiculous amount of negative posts in this thread, while I can't say I'm surprised, I will say that it is absolutely disgraceful. Immature derision and a lack of class is not only shameful but it's slightly pathetic as well.

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I can honestly say I've never listened to or purchased an audio book. Ever. But this will soon change. I never thought I'd see the day where an audio product (not counting actual music, obviously) would fill me with anticipation.

Bravo Paizo, yet again. Another first for me. First the minis (never collected them before other than my Games Workshop stuff, but never bothered to for TTRPGs), then the adventure card game (never bought or played an RPG card game before), and now this. You guys keep going at this rate and I'm not sure how many "cherries" I'm going to have left.

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@Prince of Knives - you may not have meant to imply a value judgement but I'm going to have to agree with DrDeth that the tone of that post did come across as such. Just a prime example of being careful on how you write. As for the actual intent of your post, I think its fair for you to have the benefit of the doubt here but the post did come across differently.

To the thread in general:

As to the original post, I think it's been handled well by James Jacobs and there isn't much left to comment on in that regard (as tempting as it is to address said original poster. . . must resist). Since the thread has now evolved more into a discussion of design styles surrounding flavor and utility and "should there even be separate PC and NPC options": I think that yes, there should be a range of options to fit all molds, some flavorful, some very good, some very niche. Granted, nothing should be completely useless (even under the auspice of "flavor") in the literal sense of the word - like a Feat that does absolutely nothing - but as long as there is even some slight margin of utility it could have a use in some scenario or another even if it is sub-optimal.

As for judging what's good for PCs versus what's more appropriate for NPC's - I would think that would be apparent given time and attention. I don't what to outright say it should be "obvious" or "common sense" as not everyone has years of experience, and the cornucopia of options for Pathfinder can easily be overwhelming for new players/GMs and even some mildly experienced ones. I understand that. But there are usually little flags or signals that can help indicate when designers design something with NPCs in mind. For example, "Player" options in books primarily aimed at the GM (Prestige classes traditionally used for villains come to mind).

Granted, even in these circumstances lines can be blurred as some people are fine taking "NPC choices" because it fits their character and for no other reason than Story. Period. For some people, the numbers don't matter, the utility may not even matter, in some cases, only the fluff matters. Now, there might be people thinking, "but if only the fluff matters, why not take a better or more useful ability and just reflavour it to be fluffy and effective?". And herein lies the major issue with the discussion at hand - there is fundamental paradigm gap between different play styles where each side (call it narrativism, gamism, simulationsim or some other grouping entirely) just isn't going to "get it". And there's nothing wrong with that. Sometimes viewpoints are just so completely different that it's tough (or nigh-impossible) to see where the other side is coming from. No one's having badwrongfun here but it is important to note that different RPGs have different design goals and those those goals will interact with different play styles to varying levels of satisfaction - which is where the GM comes in to ensure that said different RPGs are adjusted as needed to suit the unique needs of their particular group.

The only thing all of us should agree on (though apparently not all of us do) is that it should not be the responsibility of the game designers to address every possible play style per product (as in, each and every product must address all possible play styles). Aside from the fact that it's pretty much impossible (though it becomes more doable if a game tries to address many possible play styles over different products throughout the game's life-cycle), it's really not desirable either. If every company did that then every single game would be GURPS and, while GURPS is great, I don't think having multiple companies making multiple variations on GURPS would be enjoyable or productive to industry creativity.

TLDR: Fundamental differences in play style paradigms indicates that a discussion on whether player option selections should always be of "greatest/average utility" will always go nowhere fast. You've as much of a chance at a deeply faithful priest converting a militant atheist or vice versa. Instead, time would be better spent discussing how GMs can best identify underlying patterns in the design philosophy that could help indicate what will or won't work for their group's playstyle.

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Gancanagh wrote:
I'll gladly travel to the Nether Lands and personally deliver him a physical copy at the door (with a bonus VHS tape of Transformers movie, the animated one from the 80s of course).

Could we please keep in mind that no matter how much I despise science-fiction in pathfinder books, I really like it in movies and products 100% based on science fiction stuff.

I just don't like it mixed together because it doesn't make sense they don't have lights or computers with so many intelligent mages in the world, if there would be that technology somewhere (in this case Numeria) the entire worlds would already be drowning in electric lights, mobile phones and computers from alien future times.

So it just doesn't make sense to me that mages one planet away still use candles and flying carpets.

Sorry, and now off to playing Zelda A link between worlds, I won't be bothering you guys for a while me thinks.

I know no one on these boards is going to convince you otherwise, but that being said: what would make less sense to me is if all those flying-carpet-riding-mages one planet away spent all their time climbing up the evolutionary tech tree, over generations of lives, to accomplish feats that they could master using magic in a significantly shorter amount of time. Even if it took the first few generations of wizards a couple thousand years to invent 9th-level spells they still achieved Interplanetary Teleportation in a shorter amount of time than its taken us to go from the early dynasties of Egypt to the Moon (5,000 years give or take) and we still don't have interplanetary teleportation.

The other side of it is why would the few groups of people capable of inventing technology to make life easier for everyone bother to do so? They already have the tools (through magic) to make life easier for themselves, why equalize everyone? True, that would be desirable in a Utopian world but humanity has proven it is anything but benevolent, as a whole, traditionally. Why provide opportunities to the masses that might let them climb on top - better to just keep them illiterate, poor, or working 9-5 in a cubicle to barely maintain their mortgage. The most powerful in society don't get that way because they like to share.

And those "average" people whom would benefit most from greater technology (or easier access to magic) are also the same people who can't afford or don't have the capability or understanding to innovate such things for themselves anyway.

So, TO ME, it would make even less sense if a magic-heavy world DID bother to develop computers and whatnot on its own.

EDIT (accidentally posted before I finished writing): To bring this back to Numeria; a small group of people having access to alien technology from another (presumably less magical) world does make sense. Again, it's not going to spread too far beyond those who maintain control of the tools that keep them on top. And the rest of Golarion (which is mostly magic-heavy) isn't racing to catch up technologically because, again, they already have magic.

I do agree that magic and technology are an odd pair to coexist in a world where they would both supposedly evolve naturally from innovation. But they can easily coexist within the universe at large and obviously do as an inescapable fact since every human invention is a form of technology, including metallurgy. The streams are allowed to cross, and the concept of "foreign contamination" actually makes for some really interesting storytelling, despite what the naysayers claim.

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Samasboy1 wrote:

Per Artifacts & Legends, Gorparlis was the Runelord of Gluttony, replaced by Krune.

Since Krune is also the Runelord of Sloth, it is either a different Krune, or they meant Zutha.

Speaking of which, has anyone else noticed how often these two guys get mixed up? It seems to happen a lot, either referring to the Runelord of Gluttony as Krune or the Runelord of Sloth as Zutha. Not sure where this force of habit started but it seems like it gets picked up by most authors.

Shattered Star does it (Book 5), Artifacts and Legends does it (as mentioned), Lost Kingdoms does it, and now Mythic Realms has done it as well. I know there were a few books before Shattered Star that did it as well (though I can't think of them off the top of my head).

I'm actually sort of curious where this phenomenon stems from.

EDIT: Changed "bad habit" to "force of habit". "Bad" made it sound more negative than I intended.

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I'm sure plenty of adventurers/challengers/crusaders have thought the torch looked silly. . . right up until Baphomet tore them a new one.

On another note, I'm really looking forward to this one. I'm especially intrigued by the Demodand article. Then again, I really look forward to every AP issue; I'm easy that way.

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Just caught up with all the new posts and first I'd like to give a big thanks to everyone who's put in the time to share all the goodness in the new bestiary. You guys (and gals) are real troopers. Thanks!

Now, so far I really like what I'm hearing. This book sounds awesome which I sort of expected since Paizo hasn't put out a lackluster Bestiary yet.

I'm very intrigued by their take on Fomorians. From the sounds of it, they're going with the original Tuatha de Danann interpretation where they were noted as beings of incredible beauty. I can always count on the people at Paizo to do their homework and stick close to the original myths. Also kudos on making them Titans since that's basically what they were in the actual myths, the Irish equivalent to the Greek Titans.

Does the Fomorian entry mention any connection to their fallen and more hideous kin? Or are there any name drops, like Cethlenn or Ethniu?

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Gui_Shih wrote:
Paizo knows their books are cheap. They are obviously aware of the problem and they don't care. From whom else are you going to buy your APs?

You must be living in an alternate universe then. "Don't care" and "cheap" are not qualities I would ascribe to Paizo employees or their products. It sucks that you've had bad experiences and crappy luck but issuing broad disgruntled statements isn't the answer.

For the record, I own pretty much every book for Pathfinder (minus one hardcover and two softcovers) from every line (AP, Module, Campaign Setting, etc.) and I've never had a single problem. Not one. That's zero product defects for nearly 200 books. Using your anecdotal logic I could say that Paizo produces flawless products that never break because that's been my experience. I won't though, since I'm not in the habit of using my sole experience to fire off blanket statements.

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Thanks Jason. I was planning on giving him the same boost; I was just curious what the authorial intent was. Again, he's got a ton of flavor and I think you did a great job conveying the all-consuming darkness that is the Lord of the Divs.

And that goes for everyone that worked on this book. All of the Fonts, Places, and NPCs are incredibly well-done and very inspired. This has to be one of the most solid Campaign Setting releases to date and certainly one of my favorite. Easily on par with the best of the Revisted line and Dungeons of Golarion, IMO. Definitely in my top 5.

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For Thassilon - Lost Kingdoms is your best bet. For more on the Runelords and their magic, Shattered Star has some nice tidbits throughout, but especially the first and last installments of Shattered Star.

Shattered Star 1 has a great article on Starmetal and how these mysterious metals were used by the Runelords. And Shattered Star 6 has an article providing a 1-page profile on each Runelord.

As for their ranking - that's never been published but James Jacobs has provided it on these boards on a number of occasions. It goes:

- Krune
- Belimarius/Zutha (James has gone back and forth on this one a few times)
- Karzoug
- Alaznist
- Sorshen
- Xanderghul

Though not official yet, James has estimated Sorshen's CR at about 26 and Xanderghul's CR at 28. Obviously subject to change.

As for Krune, he was statted up for the final scenario of Season 4 Pathfinder Society Organized Play. The PFS module is called The Waking Rune.

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I'm using Mythic in my RotRL campaign as well. As for making Karzoug Mythic, what I've done to explain that is his "default" is Transmuter 20. When talking about Karzoug being the middle Runelord, I place the accounting of that power roster as just before Earthfall.

So it's the events of RotRL that is making Karzoug Mythic. For my campaign, the Soul Lens is the trigger. Basically, all those souls Karzoug has been siphoning aren't just to help with his release but are also part of his ritual for Mythic ascension. So by the time the party gets to the final fight, he'll have siphoned enough soul power for 3 Mythic Tiers. Putting him on the high-end of a +1 CR boost without going too overboard on "displacing" his position within Runelord rankings.

Speaking of Runelord rankings (and a slight tangent):

We know Krune bottoms out the scale at Level 17 (CR 18) with Karzoug in the middle at Level 20 (CR 21). Now assuming Belismarius is Level 18 (CR 19) or thereabouts, I've been having trouble figuring out how Zutha can be weaker than Karzoug.

Assuming he's the same level as Krune - 17 - and gets the same +2 boost to CR from stats and wealth that all Runelords seem to get, he starts at CR 18. Fine. But he gets +2 for being a lich which puts him to 20, and he built the Cenotaph which we now know he used for Mythic rituals (see Mythic Realms) so he probably has at least 1 Mythic Tier. So he's at least Karzoug's equal at CR 21.

However, I figure he's actually more powerful than that - equal to Belismarius in Levels which puts him to 22 (minimum). Also, without spoiling too much from Shattered Star, there's an NPC in the Continuing the Campaign section who wishes to serve Zutha and that guy is CR 24. It would be weird (for me) to see a minion who is stronger than their boss, so for my campaigns I've pegged Zutha at CR 24, same as the servant (he's stronger is some ways and weaker in others). Level 19, +2 wealth and Stats, +2 Lich, and 5 Mythic Tiers.

But even outside my own campaigns, in "Official Golarion" I don't see how Zutha can be less than CR 21 at minimum.

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R_Chance wrote:
That's pretty much it for me too. Some things fit a setting, others just don't.

I think you meant to say, "Some things fit a personal taste, others just don't."

Because, guns and whatnot fit the setting (Golarion as designed by Pazio) just fine. This is usually where contention lies when these sorts of discussions come up. It may not be for everyone, which is understandable, but it's not a setting mistake.

People often make the error of saying guns don't belong in "THE setting", when they mean to say "MY setting". Granted, there are those on the boards who actually do mean "THE setting", but those people are less reasonable.

@Abraham Spalding and Mike Franke: That's something you don't see enough of in fantasy settings - Polyremes.

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Scott Betts wrote:
the David wrote:
So, they aren't gonna publish new articles. How about access to the articles from the past? Do you still have to pay for that?

Those articles are still available. Yes, you still have to pay for access to those articles.

you lose access to what you paid for. If they keep up the servers and you still have to pay full price, you're getting ripped off.

No you're not. In fact, your subscription is worth more now, at this very moment, than it was at any point in the past. Your subscription gives you access to more content this month than it did last month. And last month it gave you access to more content than the month before that. All this means is that the value of your subscription will stop increasing after December, because the amount of content it provides you with will remain static.

I'm going to have to mostly disagree with this. You're correct when you say the subscription is worth more money each month as new content is added. Or rather, it WAS. Now the value will begin to go down each month as no new content is added. Allow me to demonstrate why with examples.

1) If someone offers to sell me a set of encyclopedias with a new addition each month ad infinitum then that is a subscription. If the subscription only provides me with the most recent addition starting when I subscribed and each addition onward, then the value of subscription stays the same from month to month. If I'm given all the back issues of the encyclopedia no matter when I subscribe then the value of the subscription is highest upon first subscribing and then lowers for the very next month and then remains the same afterward.

2) If someone offers to sell me a 26-volume set of encyclopedias (or a magazine that will eventually end at a given point) but I can buy them one-at-a-time on a month to month basis, this is really a single purchase spread out over the course of the delivery. Each increment has identical value. Also, if I choose to opt out and I just stop collecting the set at any point with no additional cost, then, the value is still the same for what I purchased. The total worth may be less but the value of use for me is still the same.

3) If someone offers to sell me a limited-set of encyclopedias but I have to continue to pay to read or reference the encyclopedias, well, that's a rental. I'm essentially renting the material. And when you rent something the value of the rental cost declines with each new payment. If it's a product that deteriorates over time (cars for example) but the rental cost stays the same then the decline is even steeper.

The minute you take a subscription model and then halt new product production it usually becomes a set. They stop giving me volumes and I stop giving them money. But if I'm still paying each month to access old content but not getting new content, then it becomes a rental.

So it was a subscription (with back-issue access) where value was highest upon first subscribing, then value dropped afterward but stayed the same month to month, and now finally value will begin to go down each month. Not stay the same. Not increase. Go down.

If the argument to justify this (and claim that the subscription is still providing the same amount of value, which is isn't) relies on the fact that DDI gives access to a bunch of other stuff as well then they need to lower the monthly subscription cost to reflect the now-limited and unchanging nature of the content offered. Because it's no longer a sub, it's now a monthly rental cost that allows access to all the programs and articles.

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Even if what Tabris wrote about was true and not half-crazed (unlikely in most cases), there are still some things which he could write about which could get you in big trouble for revealing "state secrets" and those secrets need not be shadowy conspiratorial evil. You can have conspiratorial good.

For North American readers, I'd ask if anyone remembers the "Valerie Plame" scandal. Revealing the nature and/or activities of undercover operatives could be what got him in trouble. Writing about the plans to have certain agents of good willingly "fall" to evil (but not really) so they could infiltrate the enemy lair.

In some cases, it could be because he wrote about active operations that the good guys weren't comfortable talking about, or completed operations where the operative had to push the envelop a little to maintain his cover and the good guys are uncomfortable talking about it, or operations where they lost the operative because they drank the kool-aid and truly did fall to darkness and the good guys are ashamed of these particular incidents.

And you can be an undercover operative and do s!&%ty things and still not be completely evil, misdemeanor felonies if you will. It's like a DEA or undercover Vice agent - they'll usually give their real bosses notice first before they commit a crime (if they have the chance, sometimes you gotta act quick) to maintain cover: doing drugs, selling drugs, assault, vandalism, minor arson. The agencies with undercover operatives have a pretty wide range of sanctioned crimes that are allowable in extreme cases but there are still some things that are completely off-limits such as murder obviously.

I think this is still in-theme for the good guys, especially Chaotic Goods. How far are you willing to go to stop an evil 10,000 times worse?

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It can resurrect someone who was undead but then killed again. It cannot resurrect someone while they are still undead.

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Yeah, as they currently stand, and going by raw stat power: Razmir (CR 20*) doesn't even stand a chance against Tar-Baphon (CR 26).

*I'm assuming PC gear and Exceptional Stats which bumps his CR by +2 (Level 19 Wizard = CR 18 + 2).

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So, let me get this straight. This thread isn't really a thread about speculation concerning Cthulhu's statblock but rather a thread where the OP wants to rant about how Mythos entities are being utilized in Pathfinder? Right?

Well, I can't say I didn't fall for the bait and switch, but I will say I'm a little disappointed with the "switch" part.

Now, FrankManic, I'm just going to skip over the parts where you claim Pathfinder trivializes heroism and Mythic is a "Bad Idea" and "stupidly, insanely OP" as that part of your posts is just way off base and getting into a discussion about it would be way off-topic. Instead, I'll just address some of your other stuff instead.

FrankManic wrote:
I could start ranting about how making Cthulhu into something that can be defeated, or even resisted, utterly defeats the purpose of Cthulhu and the entire Cosmic Horror genre. But I'm not going to. Because I tend to start frothing at the mouth.

Well, you're frothing at the mouth already so you may as well go on. Oh, you do. Good then.

FrankManic wrote:
The point of Cosmic Horror is that no matter how big or mean or whatever you are you're still Human and operating on a Human level. Cthulhu is not on a Human level. Nyarlathotep is not on a Human level. Yog Sothoth is not on a Human level. They're utterly beyond human comprehension and understanding and always will be.

Actually, the word that should be used here is Mortal, not Human. We Humans are just a single type of mortal. There are also other animals, and when you get into alien species or cross-genre (such as the case of Pathfinder mixed with Mythos) the scope of sentient mortality widens quite a bit: Elves, Dwarves, and whatnot. And you when you look at these beings existing beyond Mortals, you're correct. However, the lowliest of these Cosmic Horrors do not exist beyond the bounds of Immortals necessarily and that's where the justification lies for giving the Great Old Ones stats in Pathfinder. Because you can play Immortals, you can play Demigods. Cthulhu or Hastur can't be killed by just any random adventurer or even a mid-level hero with an Artifact. It still takes the power of a Demigod to put down any of the Great Old Ones and I think that's completely fair.

Next, you're equating Cthulhu with Yog-Sothoth and Nyarlathotep which you shouldn't. There is a demarcation (at times unclear in the original writings) between the Great Old Ones and the Outer Gods. And when it comes to the Outer Gods, Pathfinder's take on it agrees with you, they are beyond our reach. Not even Mythic powerhouses can hurt the Outer Gods, or any full-blown deities for that matter. Cthulhu is not an Outer God.

FrankManic wrote:
You're a overpowered Mary Sue with an overly permissive DM. . .

Yeah, I'm with Orthos on this one. Being a smug jerk isn't going to win you any debates and will only serve to hinder any legitimate points you're trying to make. Please don't do that. You're making the rest of us hardcore CoC fans look bad.

FrankManic wrote:
Let's try this - How would you feel about having Asmodeus statted up?

Same way I'd feel if they decided to stat up Azathoth or Shub-Niggurath; I'd be a little disappointed because I like the idea of the gods remaining intangible to lesser beings. I wouldn't freak out over it but I probably wouldn't include such an expansion in my home game.

However, Cthulhu is not Asmodeus. Asmodeus is well above Cthulhu's power level in Pathfinder. And, I do stress, in Pathfinder. The designers made a decision (that I and many other Mythos fans are fine with) on how to benchmark the Great Old Ones when they introduced the Mythos to Pathfinder, and "Demigod-level" is where they settled.

And, to head this argument off at the pass, when discussing Cthulhu in relation to Pathfinder, one has to discuss Cthulhu IN Pathfinder. Taking another version of Cthulhu and comparing that to another version of Asmodeus to say "Cthulhu, being a Cosmic entity, is clearly more powerful than a mere human divinity like Asmodeus" doesn't hold any water because there is no other context in which to compare the two power levels as they didn't originally exist in the same shared literary universe. So there's no standard base for comparison. I guess I could take a copy of Call of Cthulhu and bang it against a copy of the Book of Tobit and declare an arbitrary winner the same way I did when I was 6 and smashed my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles against my Thundercats and declared an arbitrary winner but, somehow, I don't think that would end the debate.

So, as for Cthulhu, as he stands in Pathfinder, he's a Demigod and can be killed by equally powerful Immortals. Asmodeus and Yog-Sothoth and the like are deities and cannot be killed by such lesser beings.

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Yeah, not using E6 (or E-anything for that matter, other than E20) and allowing Classes that can cast Haste are Core considerations of standard gameplay. Those are false comparisons to Mythic and what Magnuskn was conveying.

Mythic is not a Core consideration and thus relies entirely on the GM deciding to plug it into the game. Much like deciding to use Words of Power from Ultimate Magic, or the downtime system from Ultimate Campaign, or Hero Points from the APG.

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Even if this ruling does only apply to DR/Epic, that's still not great. Because you get situations where DR/Epic is worth less than stuff like DR/Adamantine.

For example, if I have a +2 Dancing longsword (no special material), I still can't bypass the DR of CR 4 to CR 16 Golems (since they all have DR/Adamantine). . . with the exception of the CR 19 Adamantine Golem (since it has DR/Epic instead of Adamantine) whose DR I can now bypass. Now that's just silly.

And it's not like that example is a corner case either. You're going to get all kinds of weirdness like that. Dancing is a +4 ability that's right in the Core Rulebook. And I have a lot more trouble justifying using Dancing to bypass DR than Vorpal because it's not like Dancing really improves the strength of the weapon.

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Odraude wrote:
The Oliphant and the Dark Comet aren't statted anywhere, and they are able to get stats. So I don't see why martials need to have Inner Sea Combat to be statted up.

With regards to the Oliphaunt, it has been mentioned a few times and is now a well-known part of the world lore. That's more what I meant. I don't think the creative team has entirely settled on the world lore surrounding mythic martials just yet (though not sure how far into development Inner Sea Combat is so perhaps it's all finally down on paper at this point).

As for the Dark Comet, I will give you the fact that this is mythic character with no previous world lore. On the other hand, since we don't know anything about Raskineya yet, the Dark Comet may in fact be a martial. Or a cleric. Or a monster.

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Grayn wrote:
To be honest, Kittyburger, in my opinion, in this day and age, a same-sex relationship (or trans relationship) would do little more than raise an eyebrow in most people (and hopefully it will do even less then that in the future).

Bolded emphasis mine. Yeah, sadly I wish that were the case, but realistically that should probably say some. Maybe in the boroughs of larger cities this may be the case, but it's still a pretty big deal throughout most of North America. I wouldn't translate the views of your local area to the larger population just yet. And just because it is gaining acceptance doesn't mean we can just start ignoring or stop being conscientious of the inclusion of LGBT. It's still necessary as this very thread has adamantly proven.

Grayn wrote:
My criticism has a lot to do with economy of the storytelling (contrary to popular belief).

Does it? I'd say the economy of storytelling in the module is pretty solid since Amber has done a wonderful job of fitting a massive range of story potential into only 60 pages (roughly). The background detail of a few NPCs has nothing to do with story economy. At all.

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Paul Watson wrote:
Sorry, but if the price of including others is to alienate someone, I'll take that trade. It sucks a person's prejudices against fictional people are more important to them than their compassion for real people, but, you know, we'll suffer the loss as best we can.

Here here.

It's Two people in a story featuring dozens. How is that forced? How is that pushy? Really?

As for the LGBT "agenda" - warning to anyone who uses such terms (be it the LGBT, straight, liberal, or conservative "agenda")- it invalidates your argument by making you look like a conspiracy nutter.

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Aaaaannndd we're back to this again. Fine, I'll bite this time.

I, for one, enjoyed Jim Groves' pizza analogy, but if that doesn't work for some people let's try something a little different.

For some people, they seem to think the concept of "Paizo presenting LGBT characters as part of a larger trend is too pushy" is an okay stance to take. Some people don't seem to see anything wrong with the notion of being "put off" by LGBT.

But take that concept for a moment, and change "LGBT" to Black/Hispanic/Native and try that same concept again. At what point do people who view a couple of characters out of dozens as "excessive" or "pushy" realize that this train of thought is discriminatory regardless of whether it's about race or gender or sex.

LGBT are people too. Human beings are human beings. It shouldn't be a difficult concept to get behind.

Mead Gregorisson wrote:
My main issues were with a lot of the earlier folks that would get hysterical at any deviation from the PC party line.

It has nothing to do with "PC". It has everything to do with common human decency.

And, Mead, just be clear, I'm not attacking you. As you said, you're only voicing your concerns, which is completely fair. I'm just using your quotes because you've been willing to be part of the discussion. Which brings me to my real sticking point:

Mead Gregorisson wrote:
But the bigger issue in hitting every single one of your customers over the head with the LGBT hammer is that you alienate others. The key is to find a balance. Making LGBT characters "until it is no longer an issue" is a poor way to do that. The reason, because then you are making them for that goal, instead of for the story.

Some might consider this insensitive but I'll say it anyway - some people are worth alienating. In my opinion, the minute someone doesn't want to approach all other human being in an equal fashion is the minute I no longer have to do the same to them. If someone wants to be discriminatory then they open themselves up to discrimination. Sure, it may be the lower road instead of the higher, kinder, path to walk but I feel it's a low road worth taking.

I wish bigotry and prejudice could be approached with kindness and understanding without the gentler party being walked over, I do, but 10,000 years of human history has proven that's not the case. It never works out well for the gentler party. People who show disrespect to others shouldn't be surprised when they're met with disrespect in turn.

So if Paizo decides to "heartlessly" ignore a sub-set of customers in order to push their "horrible" agenda of tolerance, I'm completely okay with that. Though I am in no way claiming that this is what Paizo is doing. I would not dare speak for them, only me.

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Zardnaar wrote:

Paizo is a great company and their product rocks in terms of production value. Sure there are some fanatic Paizoites but lets say for example.

1 3rd like Pathfinder because they lkike Paizo, Lisa Etc
1/3rd like Pathfinder because they like 3.x/adventure paths
1/3rd like PF because it is not 4th ed.

Losing one third of your revenue could elikminate all of your profit. Now 1/3rd may only be 1-% or whatever.

Yeah, I don't recommend basing any of your points around this example since that's not how business works. . . like, at all.

Zardnaar wrote:
I don't expect Paizo to cater to me perosnal needs and it would be stupid of them to do so. But if WoTC actually makes a half decent version of D&D Paizo could be in trouble. D&DN could also be good but still tank because of marketing, inertia with PF/PFS IDK. Paizo did kind of get lucky with a free run due to how bad 4E was IMHO.

Except, Paizo was a successfully operating independent "subscription-based Adventure magazine and peripherals" company for an entire year (RotRL, CotCT, SD, plus their Modules, Chronicles line and Gamemastery sets) before 4th Edition ever released. Did they get a boost to sales after 4th Edition disappointed some people? Most likely. Is the majority of their success, or even a significant portion of it, due to a "free run" from 4th Edition? Absolutely not. There's tons of room in this market for more than one niche.

Zardnaar wrote:
The other thing is I have close to 90 odd 3.x books now I do not really need anymore hence why UC is probably my last PF purchase outside APs.

Aaaaannd, right here, is where you recognize the primary competitive advantage of Paizo in the industry. It's not rules. It's story. D&D Next is not the primary product substitution for Pathfinder; that position goes to the D&D Settings. Also, people need to start moving away from the idea that Pathfinder and D&D are perfect substitutes (and thus perfect competitors) for one another. I don't know if any research has ever been done to map indifference curves for the gamer demographic but I'm willing to bet that the industry has pretty low elasticity. Yet, time and time again, gamers keep treating this industry like a high-elasticity zero-sum game.

Zardnaar wrote:

I prefer Darjsun myself but one would have to be delusional to claim any other D&D setting ijncluding Golarion is more popular than FR. Games like Baldurs Gate and the novel lines would probably prove that. It seems WoTC is going to come out swinging with FFR and Dragonlance leading the charge as those game worlds had the giggest novel lines associated with them.

The is no GOlarion equivilent of Drizzt, Baldurs Gate, Eye of the Beholder or Dragons of Summer Flame type book AFAIK. I could be wrong but if a Golarion novel has made the New York Times best seller list let me know.

One would also have to be delusional to compare and benchmark the achievements of a product line (Forgotten Realms) that's been operating for 26 years to a product line (Golarion/Pathfinder) that's only been in operation for 6.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of FR (I've been collecting Realms products since 1989), I literally grew up reading Forgotten Realms since before I was 10. Same with Dragonlance. But Golarion is excellent in it's own right and it's not a competition who has the "best" setting. Pathfinder also has plenty of time (two more decades in fact) to catch up to Forgotten Realms' notoriety in its own right.

Granted, some things (like Drizzt, Pool of Radiance, and Eye of the Beholder) were big hits right out of the gate, but even back then, at the beginning of their success I don't think they were making any "top 20 adventures/novels of the century" lists until much later when they could be judged in retrospect. Still, even just that early success can be attributed to something else which your next point brings me to:

Zardnaar wrote:

Thats what I was meaning in terms of popularity. I like most of the TSR settings (except for Ravvenloft) and Golarion and Darksun is probably my favoutie but you have tThe Prism Pentad vs Drizzt in terms of mass market appeal and that is a no contest. I'm not a massive Drizzt fan either but it is what it is. The 1st FR set sold something like 175 000 copies, Keep on the Borderlands sold over a million copies.

It is that kind of mass marketing I am referring to not if you like them or not as plenty of Paizo adventures are betetr than KotBL. Its like 3.x seems more popular than 4E and these days proably more popular than AD&D. I would rather have Paizo pick up the TSR trademarks being honest and make a PF 2 in 3-4 years time would be my ideal RPG but I don't think that is going to happen.

Here's the major mistaken thrust of your point - you're confusing popularity with marketing. You even interchange the two concepts between the last two paragraphs. You can't just take popularity or success and measure it in a vacuum. Similarly, you shouldn't attribute the same popularity standards to two entirely different marketing pools. What you actually should compare is the the success/popularity of each setting relative to the amount of resources spent on marketing it to consumers. If you do that, I think you'd find that the gap between the marketable popularity of Golarion versus the marketable popularity of Forgotten Realms isn't even close to as wide as you think it is.

If Paizo shoveled even half as much effort into mass marketing a Golarion version of "Drizzt" or "Pool of Radiance" as TSR did back in the day (or like the titan that is Hasbro does now) I would imagine it could be just as popular.

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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:

I haven't had an opportunity to actually PLAY a roleplaying game in years. I don't have a driver's license, so I can't drive to the nearest game shop to join in the PFS games there, and even then, I work most of the week and on the days I DON'T have work, none of my friends are available for such a venture, as some have work and others went and joined the military! The best I could manage was a pseudo-d20-Modern thing my brother and his friend put together, but it wasn't the kind of game that grabbed my interest at all. We had to play d20-Modern versions of ourselves as dimensional rifts opened all over Minnesota and we found ourselves battling with zombies, fleeing police officers, negotiating with dwarves and slaying trolls. My brother was really into it, but I really was left unsatisfied, as to accurately play myself I was panicking and screaming at the first hint of life-threatening danger, as I naturally would have been in that situation anyway. And my brother won't play Pathfinder Adventure Paths because he thinks pre-generated settings and adventures suck on principle compared to homebrew settings.

As to the suggestion that I loosen up and try to have ARE right. That is, from an objective standpoint, what I need to do. But I feel like such a hypocrite when I do it, extolling the virtues of the literature I read in college and then laughing at low-brow frivolity in a game based on the literature I read in college. Part of this coincides with my recent deconversion from Catholicism to agnostic-atheism and secular humanism. For the most part, as my username suggests, I played paladins and clerics of good gods, and now I'm not sure how to feel about playing such characters with my new belief system.

Yeah, there's definitely a larger "thing" going on here over and above just tracking canon changes. I understand that "loosening up" isn't an easy task that one can just do at the drop of a hat. So, may I suggest you take some time and devout some of your philosophical leanings toward self-introspection, but (this is key) do it without being overly critical of yourself. To this end, some (hopefully) helpful advice:

1) Learn to take yourself less seriously. This is the most important one. Throughout life, you're going to encounter situations and ideas much more important than what's happening in some fictional canon. When these times come along, the people who learn the most from life's lessons (in my experience) are the ones who can laugh at the slings and arrows. Adaptability comes with acceptance and acceptance comes easier when you're not sweating the small stuff.

2) While education is something to be taken seriously, again, nothing should ever be too serious. It's okay to "take pride in your education", but beware of "being prideful of your education". You seem to have an issue with dichotomies and treating two ends of the same spectrum as absolutes, as indicated by your comparison of classic literature to gaming literature. You can like both, it's okay. Don't allow your higher learning to force you down singular paths. Case in point(s):

2A) I have a friend with a Masters in English. She loves the classics but she also loves comics books.

2B) Another friend of mine has a Doctorate in History and a Bachelors in English. He thinks Nazi-Zombie B-movies are entertaining. And he also loves comic books.

2C) Me. I have degrees in Business and Economics. By university standard I should be wearing high-collared sweaters, reading only Forbes magazine, and watching business-related news broadcasting, and I should like golf. I hate golf. I love comics and gaming. Sure, I watch political programming and keep apprised of major marketing news but I also enjoy casual TV shows some of which are well-written and some of which are True Blood. There, I said it, I'm admitting on this thread that I watch True Blood but I'm not ashamed of that. Okay, I'm a little ashamed of that ;).

3) Sort of an extrapolation of (2), don't let any one thing (or anything at all really) define you. Define yourself by your standards, no one else's. Or, even better, remain undefined, so long as it suits you. I grew up hanging out with nerds, basketball players, and preppy kids - did these three groups ever get along with each other? Heck no, but I didn't let that stop me from hanging out with each of them. I listened heavily to grunge, punk rock, and metal in High School but no one would have known that from looking at me since I never "dressed the part". Be who you want to be and don't worry about how you should act or dress or think just because you like something heavily associated with a certain demographic or culture. Be true to yourself and life will follow suite. . . or to apply this to your Pathfinder issue, play the game YOU want to play. No one else can tell you how to enjoy your game. You bought the books, you own it now, make it yours.

4) Rather than general practical advice, this point is a bit more specific to your Paladin and Cleric issue. You're not sure how to feel about playing them? Well, I'm an atheist and a humanist and I've got no problem playing Paladins or Clerics, in fact, I really like Clerics. You should feel fine (though the trick here is, if you take point 3 to heart, you should ignore point 4 in favor of making your own call).

5) Liking different things or experimenting in your philosophy doesn't make you a hypocrite, it makes you human. Never doubt yourself based on your personal interests. That's actual hypocrisy. The dictionary definition:

hy·poc·ri·sies 1. The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness.

In other words, not being true to yourself. Enjoy the classics. Enjoy gaming. Enjoy bird-watching. Don't worry about holding yourself to standards that don't make you comfortable.

6) At the same time, be willing to step outside your comfort zone. Expand your boundaries.

7) Try some new food.

8) Once you've grown in confidence and become accustomed to accepting yourself, now try questioning yourself again but from new angles.

9) Accept your insecurities and in so doing, overcome them.

10 to 100) Live life.

101) Now, finally, you can worry about Golarion canon.

(This last bit isn't to sound flippant. I just think that by the time you get to step 7 I don't believe you'll care about step 101 anymore. And, yes, I'm a huge canon nut myself but I don't let it consume me).

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Mechalibur, just an FYI, I flagged your post to have spoilers added. I figured since this is the product thread rather than a GM thread, it's probably best to keep specifics like that under wraps.


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To expand on what Odruade said above and to elaborate and clarify a few things from earlier (for ease of eyesight, I'm going to avoid nested quotes where I can):

vikingson wrote:

Actually, do we ? DnD 5E (or 4E) ? not really ? Exalted... are they still publishing stuff ? Earthdawn - are they even alive atm ? Sci-Fi... yes we have FFG and hmmm. Who is publishing Traveller ?

so, no, really there aren't that many gaming companies left

Here is the Ennie nominations list. for this year. Unfortunately, it doesn't show the entire list for Fan Favorite Publisher which is a much more comprehensive list of over 30 active publishers in the industry at the moment. But the above link still shows products from over 20 publishers.

(And to add to Odruade's list above, there's also Shadowrun, Eclipse Phase, Unisystem settings from Eden Studios, etc.)

vikingson wrote:
The Block Knight wrote:
Basically, to break it down, all you're asking is, "Why aren't you making more products that I like?"
And here I thought I was asking "Why aren't paizo publishing the wonderful types of adventures they did when they still made Dungeon and throughout the first six Pathfinder APs"...

Which is what you're most interested in, which is a similar question in this case to "not publishing what you like". Though I will admit my previous phrasing of your issue may have been unfairly reductive (but only a little).

vikingson wrote:

Who exactly determined the market majority ? The forums ? Never seen much of a questionaire around, and if anyone on the forum who does not agree to the tendency of what is being published, he gets told that the "Majority" wants it "This way".

I have grown very critical of the assumption that someone claims to speak for the majority - even if he is in front of crowds of 100.000 people.

To be clear, I'm not claiming to speak for the majority. I try to avoid doing that like the plague. No, what I'm referring to is the sales trends that drive Paizo's market. Hence, Erik Mona can certainly speak to what the market indicators are showing. Now, not even Erik can (or would) speak for the majority but he can certainly infer certain "market majority" preferences based on Paizo's business data.

Look, it boils down to this, everyone on these boards who isn't a member of Paizo's management only has anecdotal evidence at best for what is or isn't popular or "risky" or what will or will not "work" for Paizo. And these anecdotes usually amount to "everyone at my local gaming store" or "I know 100 gamers and they all think X" - and that sort of anecdotal fluff is not what aggregate market trends should be judged by, at all. I do marketing for a living and let me say that anecdotal evidence is worthless (I'm sure any scientists on these boards will agree with me). Anecdotal evidence is only good for political talking points.

vikingson wrote:
What I am aiming is - WHO is providing fair and comprehensible, wide-ranging feedback ? People who actually have the chance to attend conventions (Sorry, I am not going to fly 5000 miles to provide some feedback at a US-based Con..) ? Or those posting most persistently on the forums ( or does quantity in posting nowadays trump quality of posts ?)... Did Paizo ever ask a marketing-consultancy company to evaluate the success of their APs ? And do the majority of players post on the forums or are even aware of them ? I somehow doubt it.

They do take well-written product reviews into feedback consideration. I've heard them say as much before. I agree that the forums aren't a great indicator as that's all just anecdotal. The forums (and product reviews) can provide feedback for other things such as book layouts, design choices, stuff like that. But, primarily, it goes back to sales as the driving indicator. Though I know a few Paizo employees have mentioned in the past they'd be interested in some form of market research beyond what they already have access to.

As for using a marketing-consultancy company, as a marketer let me just say, ugh, please no! Don't get me wrong, marketing agencies have their place but they're a tool better suited to certain other industries and product focuses. Most of the time they cost way too much for way too little in terms of results. The actual effective marketing agencies cost even more. Trust me, I know the types of people that get scooped up by consulting firms and 75% of those people you wouldn't want working market research for a niche industry like RPGs (wrong tool for the wrong job).

vikingson wrote:
And oddly, "trending away"... Again, who says what the trend is ? I mean, precisely ? Is there something like an official "trendsetter-subscription" ? Or where is the test to qualify for being a trendsetter /Irony OFF ( I hope I made my point)

Again, Paizo's business data says what the trend is for them as a company. We, as consumers, can infer a bit about where Paizo's success is taking them in the products they choose to produce and in what niches they feel comfortable experimenting in. Sometimes, they take larger risks and produce something in previously untested niche to see if there room to develop in an unexpected way (such as Mythic Adventures) which is the sign of a smart and successful company. But most of the time, I would assume, Paizo tries to balance their product outflow around known market preferences and by sticking to what they're best at which keeps the customers coming back for more.

vikingson wrote:
What I do wish for is diversity, not comfort in selling more easily made adventures and stuff that hearken back to adventures basically identical to concepts from 30 years ago. When our group discussed the probable Spring 2014 AP "The Mummy's Mask" the answer was a near universal "thank God". One might say "Desert adventures sell"

I agree with you here. Like I said a few pages ago, I'm very excited about this AP. But you can be sure this AP will probably have quite a few pulp elements as well as Paizo's signature style of tradition mixed with oddity. That's really what put Paizo on the map - a solid stable of in-house and freelance writers who have a solid grasp of the design styles Paizo is going for, and from that they've captured and maintained a certain demographic of RPG consumers.

Actually, going back over your other posts I'm having trouble seeing your larger issue. You like the adventures Paizo used to produce (AoW, STAP, RotRL, CotCT) which were all super-successful in part because they hearkened back to adventure concepts from 30 years ago (and which defined Paizo's niche with consumers in the industry and thus has driven their pulp-oriented style ever since). . . . but you want more diversity instead of comfort in selling adventures that hearken back to concepts from 30 years ago . . . but you're excited about The Mummy's Mask which is a more traditional concept and not experimental . . . and now I'm confused.

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vikingson wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
We should have Gary build a macro or something that automatically reposts that post by you, Erik, whenever the topic comes up of "My way is the right way to play the game."
hm, so we have a pendulum swing into one aspect of the game and for qite a time staying there.... and that automatically makes it "right" or the only decent way to go ?

Nope, but that's why we have an industry with a bunch of different companies to meet all those different needs. This is called having "diverging interests" which is something that happens when you get more than one person having an opinion about something.

vikingson wrote:

Just looking at history... that tendency actually worries me.

And I am wondering why actually we speak of an evolution of role-playing if we simply re-imagine old adventures from the early decade of roleplaying. If the main way "supported" (not the sole way we _personally_ consider "right") seems at current to be the dungeon-crawl way ? Shattered Star, final three parts of Skulls and Shackles, parts of Reign of Winter.

Basically, to break it down, all you're asking is, "Why aren't you making more products that I like?"

To which the answer is - because they're making products that trend toward the "likes" of their market majority. It should be a well known saying at this point (especially around here) that you can't please everyone all the time. However, Paizo still does their best to put out the occasional product that isn't for their market majority and even engages in experimental themes from time to time. That's already better than most companies would do.

But looking at your statement, "that tendancy actually worries me," I'm beginning to think the larger issue here, for you, isn't that you want them to make more products you like but, rather, that their market majority is beginning to trend away from your specific tastes. Or perhaps, as your tastes have evolved over the years, that you may be trending away from the market majority (if Paizo's target market is assumed to have stayed relatively the same over the past decade).

If I suddenly woke up one day and found that the market now favoured Brony-themed Adventure Paths (or, shudder, that I suddenly did) and Paizo, in following the trend, continued to make products that the vast majority really enjoyed, but I no longer did, then that would suck, yes. However, no one would be to blame for that - not myself, not Paizo, not even the market. It merely becomes a matter of diverging interests. Now, I'd stick around to see if Paizo would still put out the occasional non-Brony material (I'm sure they would - they're accommodating like that) but for the most part I suppose I would start looking to see if other products met my interest.

vikingson wrote:

Someone asked elsewhere : when again will we get a city-centric AP ?

Or an exploratory one focusing on a specific region like Kingmaker ?

Are we ? *shrug*

The answer to that is easy: when it's feasible and when there is enough demand. Simple. Patience is a virtue.

I really, really, really, want a crap-ton of material about Casmaron but I understand and respect the fact that the creative team has a to-do list over a mile long and that while my interests are on there, they may not be top priority. I'll probably have to wait another five years before I finally get to see a bunch of great stuff about Ninshabur and the like but that's fine.

As for a region-exploration one, well, isn't that what this thread is about? The Osirion region AP. Sure, it may not be a hex-crawl, but it is most certainly about exploring a single region - its history, its people, its myths, and its mysteries. So, uh, wish granted!

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Drock11 wrote:
I like the new mythic rules and am planning on getting them, but I'm also hopeful that someday in the near future Paizo will make true epic level material and rules. I just hope they fix the math of it while at it.

Probably not likely since that will mean readjusting CR expectations with their campaign setting. Adding a third "new bar" to the power system would feel pretty artificial, "Now there's this whole new power level of things you didn't know existed before but they've totally always been around". That's pretty unlikely to happen.

Drock11 wrote:
As far as a cap on epic material went. While I don't think there was an official one most of the epic monsters and the arch fiends didn't go past the mid 30s in CR.

Actually most of the Archfiends capped in the high 20's to low 30's which is pretty close to what they're doing now. Meanwhile, Epic monsters ranged in CR from 26 to 56 which didn't make any sense within the context of the greater cosmology.

Drock11 wrote:
One of the things I'm disappointed about mythic rules is that each tier only adds about one half of a CR worth of value. That seems to have shrunk the range of possible 20+ challenges they will create from now on not only from a mechanical rules standpoint but also a setting or world building standpoint unless they don’t have a problem adding non-deity level foes that there will never be a hope for the players to challenge.

I was disappointed by that too when I first found out but only for about an day until I gave it some more thought. I would rather Paizo work within 5 new CR than 10 because once I start moving my players through APL 21+ I don't want to run into a situation where the amount of appropriate challenges per APL equals 2. Think of it this way, if they have 80 (completely arbitrary number) entities statted out above CR 25, would you rather have a relatively sparse distribution of 8 per CR (going up to CR 35) or a much denser 16 per CR (up to CR 30).

Drock11 wrote:
Even worse is that I have a feeling the creation of mythic rules has probably drastically reduced the chances of an epic style rules coming out ever or at least any time remotely soon. At the least I could see the need to basically restat a giant portion of the 20+ CR creatures and challenges they make in the mythic system if they do it.

Which is why the chances are pretty slim. Retconning their setting is not something they're likely to do, at least not on the large-scale that this would require. But again, I like that it caps at 30. It makes the high-level parts of the setting feel richer rather than stretch it out unnecessarily. I'd rather the Tarrasque and other CR 24-25 threats be still close to the apex of power rather than suddenly finding themselves only halfway up the chain. And just because it's only 5 more CR doesn't mean that there won't still be large differences in power between CR 25 and CR 30. CR 29 to 30 is at least an entire order of magnitude (possibly two) above CR 25 in terms of capability. Same way CR 15 is an entire order of magnitude above CR 10. There's a damn huge difference between a Fire Giant (CR 10) and the Heralds of the Gods (CR 15). Do we really need three or four more orders of magnitude or tiers of ultimate power beyond the Tarrasque?

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vikingson wrote:
Lots of stuff.

Ooooh, I really want to respond to some of your statements, but that would just encourage the off-topic shenanigans which is something I generally try to avoid - especially when it's just going to bring down the positive (on-topic) discussion to a less fortunate level.

Instead, I'm going to recommend that such discussion be taken to another thread. While it's an interesting debate, it is starting to lose its relevancy to the thread.

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Icyshadow wrote:
Quaker and Lincoln think alike, it seems.

Count me in the same boat. I wholeheartedly agree on Lincoln's take for high-level product design. And Deathquaker's rebuttals are spot-on, IMO.


The system works fine at levels 16+. The issue isn't with the game, it's with the paradigms of GMs who keep trying to adapt low to mid-level story structure to high-level play. There is a large paradigm shift that occurs (or should occur) once you hit high-level play where major elements of encounter design and plot design function differently. Now, I'm not saying the fundamentals of storytelling should change, on the contrary, the basic truths of good storytelling and plot design (and most of the dos and don'ts) are unchanged. Same as if you're an author writing street-level crime thrillers or a dramatic saga about Norse Gods - the basics are always the basics. However, the framework utilized to tell these stories (or modules in the case of adventure design as being discussed here) needs to be adapted to meet the style and needs of high-level play. That's always been the biggest hurdle since 3rd edition started.

I've always utilized a multi-tiered framework for designing homebrew adventures which is based around the concept that the themes and style of different levels of play undergo paradigm shifts at various plateaus of power. For me, these shifts occur at 7th, 11th, 15th, and 20th level. Now, for the lowest three tiers of play (1-6, 7-10, and 11-14) it's mostly the mechanics and themes that change but the actual adventure module format continues to work fine through all three of these tiers.

An example of a story-mechanics paradigm shift that occurs would be the use of natural disasters and how they're utilized as a storytelling device. At Tier One (Levels 1-6) the use of natural disasters serve as a plot device - tornadoes and avalanches that must be avoided as shelter is sought out or as "acts of god" in which the characters must deal with the tragedy of the aftermath. At Tier Two (Levels 7-10), natural disasters are now encounters and obstacles to be triumphed over sometimes with great difficulty but obstacles which can be faced head-on nonetheless. At Tier Three (Levels 11-14), natural disasters should no longer be used as storytelling device to threaten single parties (that role should now be reserved for extreme environmental effects and "unnatural" disasters such as a magical spellstorm or some such) but should now be used on an increased scale of widespread devastation (an 80-mile-wide flood is no more a threat to a Level 13 party than a 1-mile-wide flood of the same force) which puts the party into the role of immovable-object meeting unstoppable-force in order to save a large city or region from natural destruction.

Now the example above doesn't directly deal with the issues of storytelling for high-level parties but I first wanted to illustrate my design philosophy of storytelling paradigm shifts. With the above, though the purpose of natural disasters changes as an adventure tool between the first three tiers, the way in which such events can be written into a module doesn't really change from one tier to another -the standard adventure format works just fine in each of these cases (for reference, see any of the natural disaster encounters Paizo has worked into their APs over the years from Shackled City all the way to Reign of Winter).

However, once you get to the last two Tiers (at Levels 15 and 20), not only do the ways in which encounters are utilized change but also a good deal of the format for design philosophy itself changes, at least for me. Though that doesn't mean I agree with Anzyr above - Paizo has proven on many occasions (Spires of Xin-Shalast, The Witchwar Legacy, The Moonscar, Dead Heart of Xin, and the last two or three parts each of Shackled City, Age of Worms, and Savage Tide) that the standard adventure module format absolutely can and does work for the highest levels of play when the authors know what they're doing. Yes, sometimes you might need to use scry-locks or teleport-locks and the like, but a lot of the time (most of the time) you don't (or shouldn't) need to do that. Relying on such contrivances most of the time just speaks to bad plot design or a lack of story innovation. Again, not saying it should never be done - sometimes it's right for the story and the sign of a good module author is one that knows the difference between the right time and the wrong time.

All that being said (and I do apologize for the length of this post), I do agree greatly with Evil Lincoln that an overhaul (or at least a slight adjustment) of the format of how high-level design is handled in general for modules might actually finally help break the vicious cycle of supply vs. demand issues for high-level content. Paizo's Mythic Adventures is certainly one way in which high-level design philosophy is finally being addressed and innovated upon but it's a horizontal solution (though one I am very much looking forward to). There still needs be something for just straight high-level play as well. Again, Paizo's authors and freelancers are certainly aware of this which is why the high-level modules they do publish so often work, as high-level design concepts (such as the ones Lincoln suggested above) find their way into Paizo adventure modules in small doses: such as how Spires of Xin-Shalast is much more "sandboxy" than the previous modules in RotRL, or how the final dungeon is designed in Dead Heart of Xin compared to the previous dungeons in Shattered Star, or how the assault on the "Big Bad's" lair is handled in the last couple modules of Savage Tide. If that style of design philosophy could be carried forward on a macro-level for high-level play and adventure design, in general, I think it could change how high-level content is positioned in the industry, both on a marketing and product design level.

For a few years now, I've actually been meaning to write some kind of gaming. . . essay? Thesis? Design column? I don't know what you'd call it, but regardless, some form of written extrapolation on this subject and my take on "Level Tiers or Plateaus" and "Storytelling Paradigm Shift" but I've never really decided on the platform or delivery vehicle on which my discussions should take place, nor whether I'd even have an audience for such things. I suppose my overly-long diatribe above is a slight microcosm of said essay. Though it I were to ever do such a thing it would be much better formatted than my above writing which I'm sure is just quick stream-of-thought in quality.

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Yeah, between James' most recent post and his post a page or two back where he mentioned that just because they wouldn't be featuring a lot of aliens in this AP doesn't mean they won't show up at all in the AP line next year. . . I'm feeling pretty confident that us "sci-fi weirdos" may be getting a Numeria/Distant Worlds/Dominion AP as the August announcement. Fingers crossed.

That said, I'm very much loving how the release schedule is shaping up for early 2014. If there is one thing I love as much as well-done fantasy sci-fi or horror, it's fantasy done "ancient history meets pulp fiction"-style. I am very excited about the AP line finally going to Osirion and I'm glad they're not planning on over-saturating the themes in this AP. Now, if we could just get a Casmaron AP for 2015/2016 that features Ninshabur (I'm a sucker for Sumerian/Fertile Crescent myth aesthetic as much as Egyptian) I'd be set for life.

Also, Jim, congrats again for nabbing an AP spot on a phenomenal setting. First Baba Yaga's hut, and now this, you got into the AP freelance gig at the perfect time I must say. You must be feeling higher than a pesh addict about this.

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The title is not to be confrontational; it merely addresses the issue of how there can possibly be clerics who don't worship deities when that is the only kind of cleric you ever see in Pathfinder.

Except that's not what the title of the thread says. The thread title has nothing to do with asking if Clerics can worship something other than a deity, it asks if it's possible for Clerics to be something other than fanatical. That's two entirely different lines of thought. Perhaps the former is what you "meant" to say but it's not what you conveyed. Though you seem to think the two lines of thought are one and the same, which is untrue. For the record, I'm an atheist, so its not like I take offense to your post, but I do recognize their are Major differences between being deeply pious and outright fanatical. One can easily be a person of powerful conviction and spirituality without ever coming within 100 yards of being considered a fanatic. In fact, many people of faith are often quite perturbed by fanaticism.

This may be why some people see your title as confrontational. Just an FYI.

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The Runelord power-structure (in order of "weakest" to strongest) is:

Krune, Belimarius, Zutha, Karzoug, Alaznist, Sorshen, Xanderghul.

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Irnk, Dead-Eye's Prodigal wrote:
Snorter wrote:

@Tangent and Herbo;

He did say he'd come closer to seeing your points.


After he brought up a comparison that was so far off-topic that =/= doesn't even cover it in support of his argument.

Pretty much classic debate derailment strategy right there. Not cool.

To be fair to Lord Snow, I saw his centipede comment as harmless teasing. A misguided analogy perhaps, but harmless nonetheless.

Jim Groves wrote:
Whether xenophila is a theme or not is one question, perhaps a better question is whether it helped or hurt the story?

Mr. Groves, you are shaping up to be a wonderful Adventure Path author. No worries there. For me anyway, this is the strongest AP offering from a first-timer I've seen in a long time.

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littlehewy wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:
English is not my native language, and I'm certainly feeling the frustrarion of miscommunication in this thread. Even if I know all the right words and the correct grammer, this language FEELS different than mine. The stracutre of sentances seems to not be working as I would expect it to, and I somehow find it really hard to make what I write clear and easy to understand. I feel like if this were an actual face to face conversation, I could explain myself in 3 minutes. Oh well.

Aaaah. Well there's the problem. You actually write English too well for most of us to realise it's not your first language :)

Your spelling is much better than many of the native English speakers on these boards ;-P

Yeah, I think this ^^^ (littlehewy is right, your English is quite good) coupled with this:

Mark Sweetman wrote:
Keep in mind Lord Snow - that bestiality is a very charged word in the English language. It carries huge connotations of shame, debasement and other negative feelings. I'm sure you could think of similar words in your native tongue that are far harsher when said in that tongue than in English... bestiality is one of those words for us.

is where the issue lies.

You're original thread title was basically akin to saying "Pedophilia is a major theme in Reign of Winter". Regardless of your personal take on the matter, since the majority don't see bestiality in Reign of Winter SKR changed it to something less incendiary. Could he have changed it to "I think Bestiality is a theme in RoW"? Yes, he could have, but as John Kretzer already pointed out, that would have changed the title from an objective to a subjective statement which many people would have found more offensive as it would have changed the intent of the title. So, instead, he opted for what is usually the less offensive option and changed the word.

Most people would rather the word changed and the intent left intact. But, in your case, the intent of the title is what should have been changed since you miscommunicated your original intent in the first place. SKR just erred on the side of what they normally do when they change thread titles - if one word can "fix" a title rather than have to change the intent they usually opt for the word.

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GeraintElberion wrote:
lordzack wrote:
^ Really? I can count the number of megadungeons available on my hands.

10 megadungeons is a lot of megadungeons.

Compare with the number of Numeria APs...

Well, it's less than 10, but certainly more than the number of Numeria APs, I agree. I definitely want to see a Numeria AP before I see a Megadungeon AP. A Megadungeon wouldn't even be in my top 3.

But to say that there are "too many" Megadungeons already out there is borderline farcical. I don't care if it's done by Paizo or a solid 3PP, it would be nice to see more offerings in this category. From 3rd edition onward, I can think of five actual Megadungeons. That's it.

GeraintElberion wrote:

Paizo recently released a megadungeon called Thornkeep and will soon be releasing another megadungeon called The Emerald Spire.

Both also have accompanying map-packs.

And Shattered Star is a dungeon-delving AP.

With all of that in mind... why are people still asking for a megadungeon?

With all that in mind, still Why? Because all that stuff in mind has nothing to do with Megadungeons. Because they haven't done one yet. Emerald Spire will (hopefully) satisfy those of us who do want one. Thornkeep isn't even close to being an actual Megadungeon. It's a large dungeon, but not a Megadungeon. The fact that some people consider Thornkeep a Megadungeon shows that they don't necessarily "get" what the "Megadungeon Crowd" is actually asking for. Take a look at the samples provided in Dungeons of Golarion for a good idea of what a Megadungeon actually is.

And Shattered Star, as a dungeon-delving AP, is not the same thing as a single Megadungeon. Again, that's not what's being asked for. Shattered Star is awesome, very awesome, but it's not the same thing. Just because some people want a Megadungeon doesn't mean they're "dungeon crazy" and just want more dungeons. That's not it.

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Cintra Bristol wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Riggler wrote:

There just seems to be other design choices that could be made to accomplish a more powerful AP without a hardcover subset of rules.

Like, which ones?

Like creating a set of granted boons that the PCs gain as they progress through the adventure, which specifically boost their ability vs. specific foes.

Like a set of items or rituals that allow the PCs to bypass immunities and other defenses of ultra-powerful foes.

Like specific materials which, when activated by specific rituals, are capable of harming ultra-powerful demon lords who might otherwise be invulnerable.

And like any of the options I've just listed, but having them grant the PCs a set of special defenses which allow the PCs to survive combat with said demon lord long enough to use these weapons/boons/etc.

Many players would feel cheated if they kept being told "the only reason you can actually fight these Demon Lords is because of the magical mcGuffin you have accquired. Your personal power is worthless." Granted, that kind of story has its place (and a rich history in the genre) and can be done very well but making that the only way to ever be able to fight Demon Lords is unfair to all the players and GMs who don't want to be forced to always tell the same story when it comes to Demigod scenarios.

Mythic rules allow for both the Personal Power and McGuffin stories to be told. So rather than excluding the personal preferences of an entire camp of players it includes the personal preferences of all. The way Mythic power can be gained or granted allows for divine intervention, personal power, and McGuffin story seeds.

Even if Demon Lords could only be killed by McGuffins, they still need to build a rules set for CR 26 to 35 Demon Lords anyway. It's more than just a simple matter of adding a few hit dice and making the numbers bigger. Plus, by having a consistent rules set, GMs will be able to build their own CR 26+ monsters. Pathfinder is never going to be able to stat out every single CR26+ entity in the game within a reasonable timeline (if ever) so this allows GMs to do it for themselves if they want to feature a specific villain that the game has yet to stat up.

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Riggler wrote:
I see what you guys are saying. Paizo is a business. Paizo is in the business of selling books. The more books they sell, the more money they make. And so the cycle of TSR and WotC begins anew. But I thought Paizo was different. I thought the business model was such that they didn't need all these accessories, because the bread and butter was the APs. I guess when you become the new King of RPGs, you act like the new King of RPGs.

The bread and butter still is the AP model. Nothing has changed. Nothing. This AP is about fighting Demon Lords (well, a lot more than that but I'm simplifying for the sake of discussion) so they built a ruleset to allow for that. They don't care overly much about selling Mythic hardcovers, the rules will even be available for free, they care about selling the AP. To sell an AP, it needs to "not suck" and a Demon Lord AP without rules for Demon Lords would suck.

Riggler wrote:

I wasn't even talking about something as complicated as that. Because it's true those would just each up AP space. Add supernatural abilities here or there to the bad guys, a couple of templetes in the beastiaries and start the PCs at level 5. Done, it's "mythic."

First, an AP that goes to Level 20 would need to start somewhere around Level 7, not 5, and James has said as much in the past.

Second, you're still missing the point. The AP isn't about being "Epic" (also, high or epic levels does not equal Mythic as that's sort of the point of the new rules) so just shifting the AP to focus on high-level play isn't going to accomplish what they're trying to do.

Riggler wrote:
A "mythic" storyline doesn't need a new rules set. It just doesn't. I have full faith that James Jacobs and Co. could contrust an epic AP within the current rules they had centered arond Demon Lords and it would have been just as great as the previous APs. A small subset of rules has appeared in most APs or player's guides. Sometimes they were good, sometimes they were not. They were experimental though for that AP. The new direction of a Hardcover Rules Set for an AP is just a bit harder to swallow for me. I think it's a bad direction. Again, I just don't think a new core rule expansion was needed to tell an AP.

Sooooo. . . . how would you propose to do an AP centered around Demon Lords without rules for Demon Lords? I also have confidence that James and company can deliver a fantastic AP just as great as the previous APs and they have chosen to do so by developing a new rulesystem to tell this story. You can't have a Demon Lord AP and then only have the Demon Lords sitting in the background - that would be cheap. So they put new a rulesystem in place to cover CR 26 to 35. And rules for characters to properly deal with high CRs as well. Whether Epic or Mythic, a new rulesystem would need to be created either way and the way Paizo has gone about it is the better of the two, in my opinion. This new storyline does need a new rules set. It just does.

This is the key point here: even if the AP went to Level 20, Player Characters would still not be able to fight Demon Lords. Period. New rules had to be made. Retconning the current rules to allow for Level 20 PCs to fight Demon Lords would have been a cop-out.

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As many have already said, kids have different tolerance levels and it also depends on what the parent is comfortable with exposing to their kids.

That being said, to follow Fall of Camelot's style, my thoughts in more extensive list form. Lists are fun! There might be some spoilery stuff here so I'll put in the tags just in case. Extended AP commentary:

Rise of the Runelords:
FallofCamelot already went over this one pretty extensively. Right out.

Curse of the Crimson Throne:
There are certainly uncomfortable themese and imagery throught most of this AP. Books 1 and 5 are the worst offenders but book 3 and 6 have some nasty moments as well. Basically, any AP that features heavy involvement from the church of Zon-Kuthon is probably a miss for children.

Second Darkness:
Drow are nasty and all of Book 4 is about hanging out with these "wonderful" model citizens. Way too mature for kids.

Legacy of Fire:
This one is pretty harmless. Some of the cultists of Rovagug might be a little gruesome but nothing over the top. The Genies and Divs aren't too bad either. This is one of your best bets, but even Paizo's "lightest" fare does tend to skew a bit dark.

Council of Thieves:
I'm on the fence with this one. The only issue with this AP is the heavy involvement of devils and some involvement with the church of Asmodeus, but they're all villains. If you do have any religious issues then this might be a no-no but for most kids it's just another kind of monster to fight.

Traditional heroic fantasy and kingdom building. Depending on the exact age the kingdom building sub-game might be a bit too crunchy but probably not. Also, there are fairy-tale elements. Fairy tales are scary but they are also awesome. Kids do like to be scared when it's done right and with a bit of whimsy. Just play up the whimsy. This is your other "best bet" alongside Legacy of Fire.

Serpent's Skull:
As mentioned, there are cannibals and other nastiness. It gets really dark when you get the lost city and the other lost city buried underneath. Scenes playing homage to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom may also be a bit much. There's a lot of gore in this one rather than other mature subject matter. Gore can be cut out, but there is a lot of it.

Carrion Crown:
This one is Gothic Horror. A lot less gore than the last one but a lot more atmospheric horror. Depending on your kids' sensibilities this one probably isn't appropriate. Then again, I would have loved this AP when I was 9 or 10 but I was watching stuff like The Blob and the hammer horror films and just eating it up. Do your kids like Edgar Allan Poe?

Jade Regent:
The first three books are fine. There are some scary and mildly-mature themes in books four through six but nothing too serious. Most of it can be downplayed with some preparation. Still, you'd be better off going with Legacy of Fire or Kingmaker first and settling on Jade Regent as "Plan C". Unless your kids are really into eastern-themed mythology in which case the small bit of effort it would take to tone down the tiny problem spots in the last three books would totally be worth it.

Skull and Shackles:
There is some obvious mature elements in this AP since it is about pirates. However, most of the really risque stuff can be found in NPC backstories and the like which can all be glossed over to give a more Pirates of the Caribbean feel. This AP shares several things in common with with Serpent's Skull. The first is the fact that they both take inspiration from PG fare (Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean). The second is that the later books of each AP feature ruins containing ancient Daemonic influence. And where there's Daemons there's gore and mutilation. Best to avoid unless heavy editing is applied.

Shattered Star:
Good Lord NO!! Yes, it's an old-fashioned artifact hunt AP through six dungeons, but they are six dungeons that contain horrifying creatures and subject matter. While creatures and tone can be swapped out it would do a disservice to the AP and you may as well run a different one. The atmosphere is very important to the respective dungeons. Lots of Lovecraft. Lots of Qlippoth. Lots of alien horrors from beyond. Even the first book has some of the most horrifying artwork I've ever seen for the devil villains; beautiful artwork but horrifying. Since the artifact is based around the seven deadly sins, sin and sinful acts also play a fairly big role in the AP. Granted, the sin-focus is mostly painted onto the villains and BBEGs of each module but they are very sinful villains indeed.

Reign of Winter:
This one has just started so I can't speak to the whole AP but it's heavily fairy-tale themed but much darker in tone than Kingmaker. Like FallofCamelot said, err on the side of avoiding this one.

There, I hope that helps shed a bit more light on some of the APs. Now, if you excuse me, it's past my bedtime. ;)

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Rathendar and Urath nailed it.

Yes, they would not have done this AP without having Mythic rules. True. But the point that is being missed is that they made a commitment to do this AP so they then made a commitment to build the rules to make it happen.

Basically, to oversimplify it, they need rules for Demon Lords to do a proper Worldwound AP. So they built rules for Demon Lords (and a bunch of other stuff) so they could write this AP.

This is not a cash grab. This is not a "plot" to turn people into Paizo-addicted super-collectors. This is not a change in Paizo's policy of how they handle hardcover rules supplements and support material with regard to their APs. This is not part of Paizo's master plan to introduce a bunch of power creep into the setting.

This is business as usual.

It's very similar to how Paizo built Mass Combat rules to supplement Kingmaker. The major difference being that the sub-system here is more extensive. That's it.

Honestly, I feel bad for James Jacobs. He's now had to post almost literally the exact same statements regarding expectation management in over 10 different threads (and counting) in the last two months. And sometimes he's even had to repeat himself in the same thread multiple times. Which has to be painfully annoying and frustrating.

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