Do the Leng Men and their moon masters frequently raid the outer planes for slaves, etc.?
Are other outsiders wary or avoident of them because of their servitude to Nyarlathotep and his potential wrath or notice? Specifically Celestials and Devils and especially higher outsiders.
Can you give any more information about Kadath itself if I presented it in terms of Pathfinder? Can/do other outsiders travel there? What are the dynamics between Kadath and the normal gods, and the Great Ones and the normal gods? Are they aware of it, utilize it, afraid or warded from it, etc.?
If Desna was provoked, say by one of her beloved and important clerics or servants being directly threatened by Nyarlathotep, how would a 'face to face' between herself and the Crawling Chaos go down?
On a similar note - the Gods are generally against intervening in the material plane for various good and obvious reasons, but it doesn't seem like the Outer Gods (and to a lesser extent, not being true gods, Great Old Ones) follow these rules. Will the more normal deities break this rule if an Outer God seeks to manifest on Golarion or another important material plane location they care about?
Hey Rite! I want to say first off, I really think you did a fantastic job on this setting. I am a huge fan of the Dimension of Dreams and this is a perfect addition to my dream-heavy campaign.
My one issue/complaint/thing I'm wondering about, and do not take this overtly hostile as that is not my intention here, but the Dreamlands is essentially based on Lovecraft's dream cycle - and I've noticed almost nothing of that, save for some brief references confirming that the Coliseum is indeed in THOSE dreamlands. I was hoping for some attachment to the dream lore, monsters, NPCs, fluff from the actual dreamlands here, connections to some of those stories, etc. and I found this extremely lacking. It's a great setting, but it could have easily just been in its own fantasy world and not 'the Dimension of Dreams' that Pathfinder has created, which is inherently the same Dreamlands as the Dream-quest and other stories. I suppose I was just a little let down here, and was wondering why you removed the setting so far from its source. Any particular reason?
Thanks for the response. I am a big fan of Chaosium's Dreamlands material and Lovecraft's dream stories. :) I am a little disappointed that your plan for the double-duty gazetteer got scrapped, but such is life.
1) On the matter of the Elemental Planes, some of the books suggest that at the edge of these planes they begin to cross over into the next elemental plane 'physically'. If one traveled beyond the edge of the Plane of Fire, what exactly would happen? The same question to the Plane of Air, which terminates against the Material Plane. Is this a physical boundary, i.e. if you traveled enough into the Material or towards it from the Plane of Air, would you cross over? I'm curious to how this might be like in a descriptive sense. I'm getting some of this stuff from Planes of Power, for the record.
2) Are Kaiju a planet's defense against things like Great Old Ones?
3) Speaking of Old Ones: If a Great Old Ones influence, or the GOO itself crept into the First World, how would that Plane react? What of the Eldest, especially with such horror creeping into one of their domains?
4) How would you recommend applying stats to the Great Ones (the little gods of Dream), like Nath-Horthath? As normal Gods, without stats, as demigods, as outsiders, etc.? Curious. This might actually come up in some of my design work.
1) Is the connection between Golarion and Earth unique when concerning the Dreamlands, or are the Dreamlands present and similar on all planets with sentient/dreaming life?
2) I was a bit disappointed that we did not get a proper Gazetteer about the Dreamlands in Strange Aeon's Dreams of the Yellow King. I know you did not directly work on the AP, but I'm still curious: Is there any plans for releasing one, and perhaps A Pathfinder-setting friendly map to go with it? I really enjoyed the article on Leng, but a piece on the Dreamlands would be a wonderful resource.
3) Is there anything like an Animus Mundi on Golarion; i.e a Soul of the World? Either as a Force, a Place deep within a Plane, or both/more.
4) My players are detouring through the Dreamlands in an interlude between Chapters 5 and 6 of RoTRL. Dual question:
Hey James! How is your Autumn going so far?
Do you and your friends/loved ones enjoy any fun fall stuff, like haunted attractions, decorating for halloween or even ghost hunting?
A few other Q's:
1) Speaking of Serpent Folk - do they view Yig, in comparison to Ydersius, like humans might few Ithaqua vs. Aroden - as in something that mocks the form but is inherently alien and horrific or evil?
2) How do the main deities view Yog-Sothoth specifically? If a character in your game used Commune is Contact Other Plane for deeper information, what would some insight be into Its greater nature from their point of view?
3) What's a good modern day Mythos compilation by newer authors you would recommend? I saw the Shadow Over Innsmouth takes you posted, and I'm currently looking for some stories to read!
4) How would a Runelord interact politically and personally with some of the modern Golarion powers, like Queen Abrogail, Geb, Queen Elvanna, or Mengkare?
5) If the Whispering Tyrant became active again, how would he and Geb interact?
Thanks for some insight. As usual, not necessarily looking for official canon rulings, just your personal.
My friend made a Gravedigger the other day, I gave him the option of a folding shovel which did 1d6 dmg and the choice of either slashing or bludgeoning, or a two-handed shovel at did 1d8 bludgeoning. I like the 1 extra fire damage thing for the lantern, which I did as a 1d6 bludgeoning weapon. I may late him do a chained lantern (Threesssh) later for a range of 10 ft. He loves the gravedigger. I ran a off-the-top of my head 1 on 1 session with him set in Ustalav, it's been fun! I use his bone reading to give weird flashbacks. :)
Hey James! Thanks for the earlier reply. A few more questions. Also, apologies for the confusion about your part in Strange Aeons. I think I just assumed, knowing your love for HPL.
1) What would the Denizens of Leng take as common classes or archetypes? Same with the Moonbeasts?
2) Glad you liked Stranger Things - so did I. I thought the
Spoiler:. What do you think?
Demogorgon was based on the Dimensional Shambler with a few stylistic differences.
3) Was the Winterwight (B2) inspired by the Others from A Song of Ice and Fire?
4) Do you remember what Lovecraft story pulled you into his literary world the most, or which one you found the most horrifying?
5) If Randolph Carter found his way into a Pathfinder story, what level do you think he'd be by the end of Dream-quest?
6) Have you read the Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman?
7) Any plans to feature Ithaqua, Y'Golonac, or Mordiggian in PF, or are they legally off limits? Either way, what do you think their CRs would be?
8) How do 'normal' ghouls interact, feel about or view 'Leng' ghouls in the rare instances they show up in Golarion (or vice versa)?
9) This might come up in game for me via Commune, and I'm curious: What is Desnas opinion/story with individual Outer Gods? Azathoth? Nyarlathotep? Yog-Sothoth?
Thanks for taking your time to answer these things, :)
I'm kind of sad that the Crawling Chaos isn't going to figure as written into this campaign, but I'm not that sad.
I've fit him into Rise of the Runelords very nicely and plan to bring his influence a bit more obviously into play with the continuing story in Shattered Star. He's easy to fit in!
It should be even easier to tie him into this: From what I understand, there will be Dreamlands in SA, and that's a perfect place to encounter his presence. You could always tie in little connections throughout the AP to signal his influence, and write in a meta-side-plot type thing that suggests much of what is going on is a part of his greater toying. He works best as subtle adversary that may or may not be directly influencing things, IMO. I at least plan to factor him in in some degree.
Hey James! Great, fantastic work on Horror Adventures. Really, really looking forward to running Strange Aeons. It's something I have been waiting for since I began tabletop.
A few questions for you, some of a deep Lovecraft nature:
1) At the end of Rise of the Runelords, if I implement a twist that could see Karzoug shunted fully in to Leng if the PC's destroy his Runewell but not his body, how could you see that working out in future adventures, say Shattered Star or Strange Aeons? If Karzoug was forced to exist primarily in the Dreamlands, what do you think he would go about doing - especially if the PCs figure him for dead?
2) Carrion Crown, chapter 4...
If the PCs fail to stop the Dark Young at the end of the chpater, or are otherwise forced to retreat from the fight and Shub-Niggurath manifests in Lake Encarthan, what happens exactly? Is this world-ending/changing, or does It cause a bit of destruction, wipe out Illmarsh and then de-manifest?
3) Speaking of Outer Gods:
How would the great evils interact with Outer horrors, and could you give some personal opinion on how you think it would play out if, say,
Thanks for some insight. Just curious to your personal opinions as if you were playing it out in a game, not necessarily an official canonical response (aside from perhaps question 2).
I think adding a bit of fluff is exactly what you need to do here, and maybe ask the DM to offer a few additional affects or messing with the spell a little?
I think the 'spiritual ally' of Azathoth could be some sort of horrific nightmare flautist to be on point: A formless, black monstrosity cradling a warped looking flute or an alien drum. While it's certainly not the spell as intended, a good variant might forgo the damaging nature of the spell and instead act like a bardic affect that gives negative modifiers, a confuse effect or a boost to your character, or act like Cacaphonous Call, Distracting Cacaphony or Sound Burst (for example) with a limited range or concentration effect.
Back to the question at hand, I'd use a disembodied Slam attack, something like a writhing tendril, groping paw or vicious end, to use Lovecraft's terms. I've always hated the 'divine weapon' as presented for the Lovecraftian gods in all of their incarnations. Seemed like a grandfathered thing from older versions of the game. I'd personally use natural attack types for the Outer Gods besides Nyarlathotep, whose form might dictate more human weaponry.
Here's a few suggestions for servant forms and their weapons:
Nyarlathotep, Human Form:
Nyarlathotep, Haunter of the Dark:
Elsa is totally a boreal sorceress.
I had a discussion with some friends of mine (I'm also running RoW, and RotRL, ironically as well) about Elsa's class. I believe Elsa is a perfect Boreal/Ice Sorcerer, but a GOOD example of a Winter Witch is, in Once Upon a Time lore, her auntie Ingrid. Pretty good example of the similarities and differences right there, if you ask me.
1) Though thematically different, Baba Yaga and Cthulhu share a CR an similar level of power. They are both (sort of) from Earth (Cthulhu not originally, but It's gone native for now). How does the Witch Queen feel about the presence of the Old One? She is, inherently, a human taken to extreme levels of power and wisdom while Cthulhu is far beyond humanity by definition. How would these two interact if say, the Stars did come right? It's kind of a a theme-bender, but I'm curious none-the-less how you'd play it. Is Cthulhu and its ilk still so far beyond humanity that even Baba Yaga gets a nervous tik when he stumbles out of his vault?
2) I like to build up a lot of folklore in my games, and I think the Storval Plateau and Kodar mountains are rife with it among the native Varisians in Shoanti. I've made made a few folk-lore style stories about those areas for my PCs to hear around campfires or in taverns by old soothsayers an tribesmen. What are some other odd and spooky bits of lore the natives might have to say about those far-off and mysterious places that might be fun to toss at my players? I've teased them with multiple stories of ancient cities throughout the game, and as I'm running RotRL, they know of but don't know the significance of Xin-Shalast specifically yet among other rumored legendary cities (I'm in early chapter 4 now), and I'd like the cloud the water a little before they find gold.
You've done a wonderful job with this program. Thank you. Any word on a new update coming soon? I'd enjoy hearing about what material you're thinking about putting inside.
Also, how difficult would it be to implement a feature to add class levels to existing creatures be in practice? I'm afraid I'm pretty terrible at programming, so it's just a question out of curiosity. Thanks for the all of the hard work.
Hey James. I am still running Rise of the Runelords and I have been building up a side story that connects to both the main story and a characters back story. I'll spoiler tag it, but I would love to hear some input on how to pull it all together!
One of my player characters is a Witch that came to Sandpoint from Riddleport around the time of the Late Unpleasantness 5 years ago. She has a big bout of Amnesia about her life before that time. The last thing she remembers is working in some capacity for a group of mage-scholars (the cypher-mages) through a mercenary guild. One of the final things she remembered is a damp room overlooking the harbor, seeing the cypher-gate, and a haze of images. She remembers the guild leader, Viorian, holding a jeweled sword and suddenly going on a murderous rampage, slaughtering mercenaries and scholars alike. She doesn't remember much, and doesn't know how she survived. She remembers wandering the streets and eventually making it to Sandpoint just after the Late Unpleasantness.
Here's some of the backstory as I've come up with as of now. She now knows SOME of it, but not all of it. The player has given me license to do this of course. Excuse the length of this post, your response is meaningful.
His character once existed in Riddleport over 20 years ago under a different identity (Eurythidae)- a Dreamer and sorcerer (Dreamspun sorcerer, actually, an idea I actually took from an earlier comment you made about Randolph Carter) whom spent much of her time traveling the Dreamlands. After uncertain problems arising in the Waking World, Eurythidae felt she had to escape it - totally. I'm leaving the reasons vague. She encountered an elder Witch (Mavra Orne, a servant of the Black Man) that taught her much about the hidden ways and secret magic. Using a powerful spell (similar to magic jar), Eurythidae managed to pass bodily into the Dreamlands, but only sacrificing her waking identity in the process. That part was sealed away, and she forgot most of herself as a cost of the magic.
My player knows this as of Now. I'm filling in her adventures there in short story form. As I've got it now, she fell into travelling with a golden-haired, bronze-skinned man with emerald green eyes - named Chellan. I'm playing that the spirit of the Sword of Greed escaped into Leng at the direction of the trapped Karzoug, and is on a quest to find a way to free its master. It seems sure that some method may exist to free Karzoug from the Eye of Avarice bodily into Leng, and from there to the greater Dreamlands and perhaps back to Golarion through strange roads. In the Dreamlands, I am playing it that Chellan is able to take human form, though its soul is very much still the Sword. It doesn't have a lot of knowledge of the Dimension of Dreams, so when it stumbled upon an Elder Dreamer near the town of Ulthar while it was seeking a wise priest in that town, it began to manipulate her on a grand quest. It had heard in Dylath-Leen that certain mountain peaks held the images of Great Beings and Gods, and this reminded it of the Face on Mhar Massif. The two will travel greatly, eventually searching for something called the Dreaming Stone, which they hear is an ancient Key that can open a mythical gate to the Waking World and also holds the power to pull one soul that has touched the Dreamlands back from any place in reality, even a locked demiplane.
I have not filled in the details of this, but during their adventures they did manage to find the Stone, and the ancient Gate ended up being a ruin crossing the black harbor of Sarkomand. When they made their way there, having came afoul of the Moonbeasts and Leng-men in service to the Crawling Chaos (who had been keeping an eye on Eurithidae since her encounter with the ancient Witch in Riddleport and from earlier times in the Dreamlands) previously, they were cornered and attacked, the stone taken from them. At that moment, something happened - the Gate flashed a single time, and Eurithidae blacked out. She found herself being pulled somewhere ELSE. Suddenly, her memories gone, she was just a woman surrounded by robed scholar-mages in a damp room. She remembered coming to, being questioned, but little else. After a week had passed, with no memory of her time as Eurythidae, she was given the name Gabrielle do to her likeness of a missing orphan one of the Cypher-mages recalled seeing a decade prior. In reality, they knew exactly what she was, and planned to use her to finish the undertaking they had tried to do: Re-activate the Cypher-gate of Riddleport at the behest of an unknown patron somehow connected to a strange dream-realm beyond. Some time later, the mages tried to recreate the ritual using Gabrielle's energy - but Chellan, who had reverted to a sword in the waking world, made its move. It reached out to the Mercenary Captain Viorian Dekanti, hired to guard the mages in case something terrible came through the gate, and events transpired as previously stated.
That was very long-winded and I apologize. I need to follow up from there, and tie in the game in the Present Time for my players. My end result is to form a connection between the Leng Device in the Pinnacle of Avarice and its activation with a synchronous activation of the Cypher-gate in Riddleport, which I am secretly stating in my game as an ancient gateway to Leng itself, which overlaps Varisia to a certain extent and lines up on some level with Sarkomand. The cypher-mages are power hungry and knowledge hungry (at least this cult of them), and have contacts in the Dreamlands, especially with an unnamed Patron that is offering great promises if the mages complete their goals and open the Gate, Eurythidae being the best option to do so still. I feel I want to the EndGame to be an open bridge between Leng and the Waking World, allowing a fleet of Black Galleys to enter the Harbor in Riddleport while at the same time engineering the awakening of Mhar. The Patron is, of course, Nyarlathotep himself. All of it, since the beginning, as been a plan to cause Leng to erupt into the physical world like a bursting cyst, awaken an Old One, and further his own inconceivable goals. Now I just have to fit it all together.
As of now, we are just beginning Chapter 4: Fortress of the Stone Giants, and my players have returned to Magnimar and now Sandpoint. Near the end of chapter 3, they encountered a witch cult in Hook Mountain whose leader was a horrible, immortal crone that had strange interest in their Witch. Stopping the cult, they encountered a manifestation of Something from Beyond (An original monster template design, Outsider, with Blackblade Magus levels), encountered the Black Man, but failed to stop the ancient Witch, who escaped. More in there, but after all of it, the Witch did get some of her memory jarred back, a gift from a contemptuous Nyarlathotep, and she recalled parts of her old life in the Dreamlands. I allowed her to a partial rebuild from normal Witch to Dreamweaver Witch, merging the concept of the Dreamspun Sorcerer and Witch.
I know this was huge and long and drawn out, but what do you think? How would you pull it together? I am blanking on specifics and a way to tie it all together by the end of Rise of the Runelords. I plan to continue with Shattered Star, which I've read. Help me, Mr. Jacobs, you're my only hope (as someone who designs the exact kind of games I've always wanted to run!)
I have seen a few posts on this matter that seem to suggest this ability grants another attack. I do not see how this ability was in any way intended to do that.
Trying to decipher it, I think it -mostly- means the Swashbuckler gains an improved version of Fighting Defensively numerically (+4/-2), but as a swift action it can have an addition application:
Since a swift action can happen at any point during your turn, you could conceivably take a standard or full attack action as normal, without penalty, and afterwards activate this ability to boost your armor class until your next turn. This would mean that the negative to attack rolls would only apply to attacks of opportunity. On this line of thought, it could be used with versatility to increase your defense based on the out-come of your actions as they occur: say you provoke from an enemy by failing and acrobatics check, or an enemy unleashed a readied action at you. At this point, you could freely attack offensively while having the ability to activate a +4 AC bonus at any point during your onslaught should fate turn sour for you.
This is my thoughts on how it's intended, and I think makes the ability as a whole more thoughtful and effective for an ability of its level. Thoughts?
Hey James, :)
I have a few random questions that will all probably serve to inspire my next several game sessions in Rise of the Runelords, and especially the Lovecraftian/Dunsanian side-flavor I've got going on there. Forgive the couple 'stat' questions, but give me a personal answer if you can swing it (not looking for world-building here).
1) If you had to offer a Pathfinder-based class/level for Randolph Carter post-Dream Quest (moreso as the King of Ilek-Vad and less as whatever appears in 'Through the Gates of the Silver Key.), what would you offer?
2) Similarly, Keziah Mason. I am aware the Dimensional Occultist archetype was made with her in mind. What level would you give her?
3) Speaking of the Dreamlands: Is there any plan to include more information on them in a future product or AP? I am aware Leng has gotten a page in Into the Nightmare Rift, but it would be interesting to see something practical (and fluffy!) on the rest of the Lands of Dream at least how they relate to Golarion.
4) Last question for this evening, and I'll keep it on topic. Zura is the (presumably) Azlanti queen turned Vampire Demon Lord and mistress of all sorts of bloody, terrible hungry-dead relative things. Xura is the Land of Pleasures Unattained (a fantastical and presumably boundless area in the Dreamlands that appears in the White Ship and others). With all Lumley stuff disregarded for the moment, I'd REALLY enjoy using both concepts as existing in my Golarion (already have, really). I enjoy the Players getting slightly confused when they see one mention of Z/Xura as a dark and nightmarish place and another as a dark and nightmarish...person. However, being who you are, I have the respect and would really love to hear a thought or two on how you would have both concepts exist and possibly connect, if you were doing things.
Thanks mate. I really enjoy reading your posts and seeing your thoughts and answers. Later.
One of the issues I have pondered over while running some Adventure Paths concerns the names and backgrounds of the various NPCs, especially enemies, the PCs confront over the course of their adventure. Many of the adversaries in Pathfinder adventures are very fleshed out, with unique names and backstory elements that are, if not relevant, extremely interesting in terms of the story or at least depth of world.
I'd like some advice on what other DMs have done to actually translate these various backstories and names to the PCs, in character. I feel like it is a waste to take an entire cast of adversaries with weird twists, cool names and other factors and turn them into simple fodder - which is often exactly how the PCs will encounter and forget them. A good example are the Kreegs from Rise of the Runelords (actually, a LOT of the adversaries in Rise) and some of the more monstrous beings from Reign of Winter. I've found inventive ways of naming and giving a bit of background on otherwise meet-and-kill encounters, like having the Rangers of Rannick give a brief on some of the Kreeg veterans, their names and appearances, and let the assumption that these two groups have been warring for a long time and have a sort of adversarial familiarity between each other.
I could use some pointers though for the future. What have you guys done in your games to get this information across - if at all? Knowledge (local) can sometimes work, and sometimes just telling the players the knowledge directly can pass, but I'm curious to other interesting and witty ways DMs have brought their NPCs to life. If a developer/contributer is around whom has worked on any of the Modules or APs, what is your assumption on getting the sometimes secret back stories of your villains into PC hands when you wrote them?
Personally, Nyarlathotep is the most fascinating to me.
I am running Rise of the Runelords at this time, and I have inserting a background plot involving a Witch-cult dedicated to the Crawling Chaos. The Witch character and the party do not know this, they have only seen strange hints surrounding certain runes, the legends of the Sandpoint devil and the scattered notes of a hapless Hellknight witch-hunter who has stumbled upon what he -thinks- is a bastard offshoot of an Asmodeus cult. I am going to connect this to Keziah Mason-like group of twisted witches operating around Hook Mountain... complete with super-science twisted 'magick' and hints of darker realms. I am going to carry it as far I can, right up to the end of Rise and into Shattered Star.
I guess the way I see it in my Golarion, is that in comparison to the true gods and their servants, and the gods and demons of the known realms are equivalently puppets. That's me though.
It matters for the curious and those who would like to know the entire story?
For PCs: Lore? If it all goes to final hell, maybe your last option is to fight fire with fire?
If Rovagug is free'd, you're doomed - but what if in those last few moments, you complete the ritual of the Key and the Gate and tear the door open and just...*interplanetary teleport the hell outta there*?
I think the question if a very interesting one. I don't really like the entire 'what's this monsters power level' argument in practice, but it is cool to think about how these great beings compare to each other, or even view each other - something the developers have been frustratingly vague about.
I would like to know more.
Currently running Rise of the Runelords, about to begin Chapter 3. As a fellow H.P.L. devotee, perhaps you can answer a few like-minded questions for a DM always looking to insert a bit more in the background?
1) Given Varisia's proximity to Leng, would it be reasonable to allude (but probably never answer) a connection between the Sandpoint Devil and Shantaks? Given that one of my party is a witch, I was thinking about introducing a spectral 'witch-cult' hidden in the lowlands in much the same vein as 'Dreams in the Witch House', connections to the Leeds family and the scattered notes of a Hellknight in far over his head as he realizes that these witches are not talking about 'The Prince of Law' when they cavort with the Black Man among lonely ruins. Thoughts?
2) If you could run the campaign (Rise) again for one of your personal group and wanted to insert some more Lovecraftian horror into it, what sorts of things could you see yourself cooking up?
3) In your opinion, Would any of the Bestiary 4 monsters make suited encounters in Rise of the Runelords?
Thanks for your time and hard work.
When I got into pathfinder, Galt was also the first place I played with and it remains one of my favorite settings on Golarion. Read Plague of Shadows - it probably has the greatest amount of immersion in Galt (along with Walkers, though I have not finished that yet) and can give you an idea of how things are in terms of military and something of the Gardeners.
The first campaign I ran with Pathfinder also traveled to Galt (I set it after the events of PoS) and the PCs did in fact go to Woodsedge to find the fallen Pathfinder Lodge there. It was a lot of fun having the characters break into a Galtan barracks and disrupt a public execution with awesomely rolled 3 Muskateers like action. My player group, even half-way through Rise of the Runelords now, still mark the Grey Gardeners as their favorite villains, and the most threatening and creepy ("...State your business, citizen.")
Point is, it's an area worth putting some time in, IMO. I thought about the motivations of the Gardeners and their true nature as well, and what I began playing with took a prop from Clark Ashton Smith's The Charnel God...
Some of them, probably the upper strata of the Grey Gardeners are Ghouls - smart, 'civilized' ghouls that were also priests of a strange, ancient and shapeless ghoul God (which could be Kabriri, but I stuck with Mordiggian Itself, in the guise as a sort of Great Old One] - they kept the cult of the Charnel God alive in Galt, having seen the Revolution as a perfect way to step up from the simple funerary symbiosis of the pre-Revolution country. Now, the Charnel God is given far more to feast on, to take below - and by proxy, so are his priests well fed (and well funded, considered the loot), and no one remains the wiser. The deep sewers and deeper dungeons offer plenty of places for the ghouls to keep court, and some of those old tunnels deep below can connect to their old warrens. Ghouls do not age either, allowing the Gardener elite to remain effectively the same - people just assume they promote and change out every so often. Of course, the lesser Gardeners are humans, greedy or simply ignorant, and possibly cultists themselves. This was my idea, and I began to run with it before that campaign died out.
Are we talking Sandbox like, free-run, with lots of stories, quests and NPC goodness , or are we talking Sandbox like, players are expected to roleplay and do everything themselves?
Not to risk getting flamed, but I really hope it is not the second option. Why? Firstly, because most players will not do this. Some will (RP is good, yes.), but most won't. Also, to me it is kind of a cop-out if a game gets too heavily player based. Some people like an interactive story presented - I'd daresay that is why most people -play- tabletop (as opposed to GM), and many people may not have to time to invest the required hours to chore through all of the aspects of a real world when they really just want to get to some good meaty storyline, combat and advancement.
I hope players who actually like a -bit- of linear gaming, questing and story chains will have something as well. I really can't see investing my free time into chopping wood and building walls as a major chunk of my game experience. I want to meet the characters of Golarion, uncover lore, artifacts and ancient Thassilonian crypts, and experience combat with the vast array of strange creatures and NPCs the line has offered for tabletop.
I agree. But there is always a way to really kill him, just because I think railroading is a blowy way to DM.
That said, I agree that Karzoug would be awesome to treat with a comeback, and it might be that ends up happening in my game...
At the end, when you beat him in the Eye of Avarice, (or you destroy the Soul Lens), the resulting energy explosion will tear a hole in reality. Karzoug has a final Wish stored up just in case...
And when Leng and the Material Plane shift, perhaps a fact made worse by the influence of the Leng Device, Karzoug's Wish to escape will be mutated and a massive vortex might just appear where the Soul Lens was. If this happens, all living being in the demiplane will be sucked inside, including Karzoug - but when the PCs end up at at the Foot of Mar-Massif, Karzoug will not be with them. Assuming he gets some good final dialogue in, it might be clear to the PCs that he is dead - torn apart and sucked into some sort of black hole...
Until Shattered Star, when they visit Leng. One of my PCs has been enjoying some random side-games in the Dreamlands as of Chapter 2 in Rise, and I plan to incorporate her and these dreamquests in later, perhaps even in relevance to shattered star. The end result, if Karzoug escapes? Potentially, his soul could not survive as it was in Golarion - but that same soul figment trapped in the Eye was the same figment that exists when one enters the Land of Dreams, his Wish solidifying it enough to get dragged through to the other side of that portal. They may just find him again, but how is anyones guess. I was considering two options:
1) As a new power in the Dreamlands that retains his memories and seeks to return to the Waking World.
2) As a wandering dreamer on some sort of personal quest for the same end, perhaps even to find and attain Kadath. The Crawling Chaos watches him as well.
On a side option, if he -dies-, that Wish could be a Reincarnate pumped up. His soul got out. And he returns to life, memories torn to bits - but as the kicker, he's just a young boy, with no memory of life as a 10,000 year old Runelord, and as he grows up, most people find him pleasant, intelligent, and quite the dreamer. He's actually a nice guy - but he keeps getting flashes of memory, power and strange ability.
And who wouldn't want to play a Reincarnated Karzoug as a PC? They wouldn't know of course, but I think my group would absolutely love that.
Finally going to shoot a question to you, James. Lovecraft and pulp horror are also the kinds of stories that vibe with me the most, so I look forward to some of your answers!
I am running Rise of the Runelords, and I am introducing a personal side-quest for one of my players [a Witch, Patron: The dark, deceptive side of Desna, throwback from when she swam the stars in ancient days] in which I am slowly and randomly allowing [her] to explore the Dreamlands. I was thinking of inserting some tidbits from Dreamquest into her adventures and eventually tie it into the 6th chapter (near Shalast) and possibly into Shattered Star. I would like your thoughts on the Dreamlands in relation to the rest of Golarion, some cool ideas to throw in, and perhaps a bit of canon lore you might grace me with to throw in my game?
I have read most of the Dreamlands info Paizo has published, and have a history of Chaosium's Dreamlands book as well as the normal literature on the matter.
Random questions as well: Do Ghoul warrens, if one would follow them deep enough, connect to the Underworld of Dream, and perhaps, other waking worlds? In your view, could one find Randolph Carter there, perhaps as the new King of Ilek-Vad?
Thanks, I really appreciate any answer you might give. You have no idea how pleased I am that the creative director of my favorite tabletop shares a like-mind with my love for horror.
Azathoth is best used as a pseudo-manifest metaphor for the beginning, end and true nature of an uncaring universe. It is the void itself, the prime source and eventual entropic heat death of all principles, matter, energy and universal laws. Azathoth is a deity in the sense of what a deity would be in an apathetic universe without true gods or purpose.
In a reality like Golarion, Azathoth still retains its throne as probably the most terrible - Azathoth not only represents primal chaos, nuclear entropy and the fundamental (quantum?) churnings and changes of an infinite, cold, empty cosmos - the entire cosmos, regardless of Planes, interstellar boundaries or time.
What I would like to know, in the sense of Golarion, is how true the creators are staying to the ideas behind the Outer Gods?
It appears almost like Deities are more-or-less local, at least on a true cosmic scale, and the outer planes are centered as we know them upon beacons of intelligent life (planets like Golarion) and grow more meaningful and real close to such places (probably due to souls). Perhaps normal deities are limited in range to a galactic or inter-planetary scale, and the further you travel in space, the difference in reality/perception grows more and more alien and different?
Either way, the Outer Gods are in essence cosmic forces that represent the mechanical gestalt of a very intricate and non-human universe whose infinite levels of being manifest infinite sets of laws that only a tiny fraction are perceivable to us. It says a lot about the true importance of the Prime Material Plane, casts doubt on the omnipotence of the anthropomorphic deities of Golarion-like worlds, and makes the terror of the Outer Gods far more palpable in that fear-of-the-unknown and universal apathy way they were made to personify.
That was pretty entertaining Zergtitan. It would be interesting to run that scenario, have the PCs right the timeline, and then encounter the normal, evil runelords afterwards as a kind of 'you can't change fate' kind of thing.
With the exception of Tangents point about the Leng device, I think that's a cool thought about Karzoug being a bit lost in the new age - of course, his humanity is pretty tattered up, and in reality he's on the verge of being a Lovecraftian horror himself.
If Karzoug manages to escape utter destruction at the hands of my PCs, I am strongly thinking of having a planar backlash occur as the Eye of Avarice begins to crumble, in addition to the Leng Device being destroyed (or activated) - sending the PCs and Karzoug randomly to different planes or places or maybe even times. That happens, I may drop Karzoug in Leng itself, where he can pop up in Episode 5 of Shattered Star for a nice cameo - or more, depending.
I think invalidating some home games is inescapable. I also believe that many home DMs understand this, and from the opinions I have heard, many would rather see the setting advance and have some mysteries solved (and new mysteries arise in their place) then have the setting rest in limbo just for the benefit of not affecting the stories of home games. I understand that you guys as Developers run along a weird line, but I think posing canon changes are good and there is nothing stopping you from putting in sidebars that state 'these are how we figure it, but it's optional - here are how things could have gone, in summery, if this or that happened differently' and leaving it at that.
I was recently discussing Karzoug not dying in a different thread recently, and personally I would love the idea of the Claimer escaping death just barely and appearing as a recurring villain later on down the line but I am sure that would not be canon. Either way, I am curious on how Golarion will evolve - it is an interesting setting and the built in stories are great enough where they deserve growth.
I think I was going more for a continuance of Karzoug and less him turning all nicey-nice. Redeeming was an interesting thing to think about, perhaps only to hear about anyone actually coming up with ideas on how to do it.
I personally really think the concept of Karzoug not being eradicated as slightly more interesting in a long-term AP arc then not, so I'm just thinking of interesting and believable situations where that might happen. He's really a fantastic villain. :) I agree that he should probably remain a villain, but those grey areas are great for stories...
Because the Gods are busy cavorting and stealing your marvellous sunset city, oh, and they're kind of afraid of you master dreamer...
Now hop on this giant, scaly bird-horse-monster and I'll show you the truth of the Divine. No, really...
I wonder if the normal Gods have any say in a place like Leng when their silly followers decide to go chasing dragons...
Now, I get that it might seem a bit counter-productive to change the mind of the Big Boss of the entire campaign, but I would like to grab some ideas in case some great role-playing possibilities come my way. Has anyone dealt with Karzoug in a non-slaughter or seal up kind of way?
Thinking along the lines of the 'using Karzoug as an ally if Mhar wakes up' line of thought, has anyone encountered a situation where your PCs have actually let him go, or even tried to redeem him in some way (or perhaps make some sort of truce)?
Possible Light Spoilers
I am currently running Rise of the Runelords, Anniversary Edition and am getting a feel for my players. This is going to be a good role playing-heavy, Golarion fluff filled game - awesome. I felt this could better be answered HERE than in the AP board, for various reasons.
Soon, my characters are going to come up against Thassilonians, Runelords and other beings whom have been hidden away from the world for 10,000 years. Some parts of the adventure prompt dialogue between them and the players (The Scribbler, the inhabitants of the Runewell, etc.) - so I'd ask these few questions to see what people have thought up to better get an idea.
How do the Runelords feel about Aroden? He was not a deity at the time of their empire, and the world was influenced greatly by the last Azlanti. Would you say his Death might be of interest to them, and possibly, could he have been alive during Thassilon i.e. could they have information on the mortal Aroden?
What would the Thassilonians have to say about the Empires of Taldor and Cheliax, especially (as big powers) and nations such as Nex and Geb?
Inquiring about the most powerful magic users in the realm, would Tar-Baphon be worth mentioning, and again, what might a Runelord do in regards to the sealed Lich - leave him be or try and find an alliance there?
Just looking for feedback on some thoughts before I get to that point.
"Yes, yes, kill him. In fact, kill him in such an inhumane manner that the throngs of fired militiamen from Cheliax and Andoran might place merit in the political upheaval ever-present and bring their tender...hearted knights (at least, Andoran) and plump, waddling horses across the sacred Sellen wherein the fields will be stained with the meat of the politically righteous...
And we, the Grey Gardeners of Galt will be there to instill Order as that pesky human quality intervenes to shift naturally the structure of anarchy to one of intolerable tyranny or democracy...
And the Orderkeepers you do not see will clean the fields of the unrighteous dead, and fat will be the hidden chambers beneath Litran, but fat they will not remain when the grey veils and mittens are removed and the feast begins...
My apologies. I seem to have gone into quite the fantastical rant there, citizen. I have been spending much time reading old Galtan prose, especially The Charnel God and The Burrows Beneath The Old Yard. Now move along, citizen, there is much Revolution to sustain, else the plump nobility sink their claws into an altogether perfect Eden of constant carnality.
I like to think of the Material Plane being far more important and vast than the Outer Sphere, regardless of what denizens of the Outer Sphere like to portray. The strange and abhorrent "gods" and forces far between the Stars seem to be of a different and indifferent kind to the spiritual aspects of reality. The relationship between the distant parts of the Material and the Outer Planes has not been explored yet in canon, and I am curious to hear opinions on it, official or otherwise.
On another note, The Outer Sphere is flashly, but it's also based highly on metaphors and ideas taking form. I think it is an unknown truth that the power of souls themselves craft the Outer Sphere into what it is, and all (or most) of the beings and realms there based upon not only the energy from the souls themselves but the hidden Will of the souls as a whole for their very existence. Perhaps without living souls, with no-one to notice, the entire Outer Sphere would simply sink back into the Maelstrom? Maybe logic does not matter as much there, and each conflux of souls generates its own center of the universe, even as others assume and thus sustain their own individual 'centers'?
On another note
Hermea to me seemed directly influenced by Aleister Crowley's path of Thelema, and especially of the social experiment he attempted on the Abbey of Thelema on an island off of Italy. That might be a bit obscure, but I still wonder if it was a factor in its imagining.
Inherently, the Abbey was actually a very good project despite the bad image Crowley received in the public. It was not eugenic, but it was designed to allow people to shed the distractions and habits of modern mindsets and focus on their 'True Will', which for a normal person was simply the task and path in life best suited to that individual based upon personality, upbringing, genetics and experience free of morality and restriction.
I would probably run Hermea that way if I used it, at least in part - especially because Crowley would make a great personality blueprint for an ancient Gold dragon... hehe
Though most of the things I would have said in Mengkare's defense have been said - the obvious ones citing that he IS working to make humanity better, he is not forcing anyone to be present, and he owns the land he is doing it on - in particular, I respond to another point about exclusivity being an evil thing in this case:
Isn't the entire afterlife system then, evil? Heaven in Golarion (and in real world religion, but that's besides the point) works in the same EXACT way. If you do not fit into the guidelines of behavior, personality, and intentions, you do not get in. You are banned. No happy afterlife if you are not a faction of Good.
Now that applies to everyone and Heaven is the bastion of ordered Goodness. Now Mengkare does this with good intentions but this somehow makes him evil? As stated, he's not forcing anyone to be there and in the right up, he does seem to be pretty altruistic aside from one or two possibly creepy rumors. Remember also that this is an exclusive society: If you are invited, you can stay. Coming from an ideal where everyone should be treated equally and given the same rights and opportunities and you cannot exclude anyone from anything, the ideal of Hermea seems unfair and vulgar - but of course, just because you find that idea unfair and vulgar does not mean the idea ITSELF is evil. Dragons have a different perspective as well. The Great Good looks differently from a Great Wyrm (which I'm pretty sure he is, per write up) than from the perspective of a short-lived, easily influenced and morally flawed race of socially dependent tribal-minded primates whom truthfully cannot separate the Great Good from the Great Good mixed with personal habit and comfort.
If it was an easy task for humans to escape evolution and better themselves as a group, it wouldn't take a Gold Dragon to guide it.
I vote Mengkare as Lawful Good. He would break that if he forced anything or tried to infringe his experiment on groups that did not ask him to, other nations, etc. Yet he does not, he just removes himself and extends offers if you match what he deems acceptable. Not to mention - life seems pretty damn good there.