Pathfinder Adventure Path #98: Turn of the Torrent (Hell's Rebels 2 of 6) (PFRPG)

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Sanityfaerie wrote:

Even with the Baphomet connection, let's look at what he has to offer:

Edicts: Confuse paths and roads, outwit your foes instead of overpowering them, pace labyrinths

Anathema: Kill something that cannot significantly harm you, bargain with Asmodeus

That's... honestly not terrible? I mean, the bit where they habitually muck with the transportation infrastructure isn't ideal, but the rest of it seems like it's something you could work with.
...

A little late to the party, and a bit off topic, but my wife has been introducing our son to the Hanna-Barbera shows of her youth, and now the thought of a small cult of Baphomet worshippers based off the Really Rottens from the Laff-A-Lympics is going to haunt me all week. Switching signposts, and all that.


Brother Tyler wrote:
Is this for the role playing game or for the adventure card game?

The RPG. They moved my post from the wrong section to a different, equally wrong section. Thanks for pointing that out to me, I never would have noticed in my current state. I'll prod them about it.


Castilliano, I intend to nab most of what you said there. "As you drink the fiery blood of the elemental lion, you feel a sleeping fire take root in your weapons, waiting to be called out.", etc. And if one doesn't like that, visit the tribal shaman, smoke some things, eat some eyeballs, and see what the spirits will offer you in exchange! (I have a feeling it's going to come out to 250 gp whatever it is.) I want to develop a few aspects of the idea a bit further, but it seems a promising possibility.

Captain Morgan, I just don't see my players getting excited about a game if I open it with forbidding a laundry list of classes. I think I can swing the idea of champions and clerics if I present the anathema as taboos, instead. I tend to do my own pantheons, anyways, so I just have to make them seem a little alien. Certain classes would be rarer, certainly, but I can see a rogue as someone who figured out how to make up for their lack of brawn with tricks and cunning, and there are enough accounts of (often fairly stylized, granted) conflicts among pre-agricultural civilizations that I don't think the concept of warfare would be completely alien, so that gives fighters an opening.

I think lawful in a prehistoric setting would manifest as a great reverence for tradition, along with prioritizing the community over the individual. I think both lawful and chaotic would come off as a bit muted, in any case; there's not a whole lot for the lawful to uphold or for chaotic to rebel against.

Thanks for pointing me at Battlezoo, I'll have to take a look.

Squiggit, I'm a big fan of Monster Hunter (although that's not what I'm trying to create here), so wearing a suit made from a dragon seemed a reasonable way to justify heavy armor. I just need to stay strong and not let them talk me into adding bowgunners!

Final query before I get out of everybody's hair. I've decided to drop pervasive magic and instead use free archetype, choosing from a list of "folk magic", as it were. Talisman Dabbler, Herbalist, Ritualist... can anybody think of other good candidates?


Gortle wrote:

I don't really want to introduce extra fumbles and failures into the game, but if you really want the flavour that is your choice. You are making significant customizations here.

You are trying to rebalance the game with inferior equipment. That does effect the balance between martials and casters.

Personally I'd just remove some parts of the base game because they don't suit the setting. You could just get rid of about half the equipment in the book and maybe ban some class options. As long as the players are aware of it up front I think it would work well. I really do like a strong theme for a game

I hadn't thought of it that way. I'm leery of the idea about just stripping out a bunch of stuff from the game, but I agree that tinkering with the weapons may be nothing but a path to madness.

Apologies if this should go in homebrew. It's been a while since I posted anything substantial on these boards, and I thought that was for showing off finished work. Is there a guide somewhere to what's allowed where that I can consult in the future beforehand?


As a major fan of such chimerical settings as Land of the Lost, Clan of the Cave Bear, 10,000 BC and Far Cry: Primal, I've long wanted to do a series of games set in a prehistoric setting. I had high hopes for Quest for the Frozen Flame giving some pointers, but they chose to hew pretty closely to the standard rules, with everybody getting standard steel weapons via trade and gold pieces being handed for eventual use. I have a few ideas for a more isolated setting, but haven't subjected the game to the rigorous degree of analysis that some here have, and would welcome any feedback or tips.
Spoilers hide cyclopean walls of text that could only have been built with the guidance of ancient astronauts*.
STONE/BONE WEAPONRY

Spoiler:
First edition's Ultimate Equipment had a whole section on using primitive materials, which I thought a good starting point. However, the baseline "weapon becomes broken on a critical fumble" would clearly have a radically different effect in PF2's degrees of success system. Would it be better to have critical failures on attacks inflict a set amount of damage to the weapon, possibly ignoring hardness? What sort of effect would this have on gameplay? Is there some alternate that might work better?
On a related, but lesser note, Ultimate Equipment had fairly detailed rules on what weapons stone, bone, and obsidian could be used for, which more or less ruled out many two-handed weapons with the exception of spears. This is a realistic approach, but I've noticed that one's choice of weapon feels like a much more significant tactical choice than in 1E. Also, are pure wood/cord weapons like clubs and bows still fragile, due to a lack of refinement/metal banding?
Should it be necessary to introduce more advanced metals, I've considered reskinning the various starmetals. Give steel the properties of adamantine, to emphasize its incredible durability and edge, for instance.
Thoughts?

ARMOR
Spoiler:
Armor's a much bigger sticking point for me. Most armor types use metal, and heavy armor seems ridiculously out-of-place for the setting anyways. Still, the tight math and tactical focus of 2E (which I love and will not be parted from) means that outright removing those armors cripples a lot of classes.
After toying with tweaking proficiencies, or providing miscellaneous bonuses to people who could wear heavy armor, or slipping everybody 4 Dexterity on the sly, my best idea is to move the goalposts for what constitutes armor.
Light armors might include woad, wearing a bunch of good luck charms (initially dubbed fetish armor until I thought better of it), and woven grass.
Medium armor would be leather, studded leather, and either some amalgamation of bone and shell or the skin of a touch, scaly predator.
Heavy armor would be hide, bone (but bigger bones), and the plates of a tankly creature such as a landshark or dragon.
This would mostly just reskin the preexisting armors, although their categories would be changed. I don't think changing the available armor specializations is likely to break anything, but as I've said analysis isn't my strong suit.
If someone can suggest a better alternative, please share your thoughts.

CRAFTING
Spoiler:
Here's the big one, and the one that has me fairly stumped. We're talking about a pre-currency civilization, in a system where crafting is performed by (money + time = goods). Crafting equipment is a pretty significant part of a stone age setting, if Jean Auel is any indication.
First, I think using Automatic Bonus Progression is a must. Reducing the amount of treasure the party needs to survive reduces the scrutiny any modifications to said system recieves, and we're focusing on survival with fragile weapons, it's probably better if the inherent bonuses arise from the hero, not from the flint spear that just shattered on the hide of a Rathal- wyvern. Bonus points if one can still craft, say, +1 Striking weaponry, with the implication that the PCs are among the first generation of people putting random weapons in boxes at the backs of caves for future murder hobos to find.
Second, I have a vague idea about using the Earn a Living feature of Lore to amass a nebulous stock of "trade goods" that can stand in for coin on minor, day to day purchases, assuming one has a community that can provide arrowheads in exchange for all the weaving you just did. This could be represented by having a much less friendly weight formula than the "1000 = 1 bulk" that coins enjoy. Is this too hand-wavey, or conversely too clunky for use? The ideal, to me, would be "just clunky enough to demonstrate the difficulties of a barter economy".
Third, I have an even vaguer idea about using parts harvested from monsters as replacements for the GP used in crafting of magic gear, and a vague memory that a similar system showed up in a 1E book, somewhere. I lack any idea which book, or how it would best adapt to 2E, however.

There's more to playing a pre-agricultural people than just their tools, of course.
MYSTICISM
Spoiler:
This is slipping out of the realm of rule mechanics and into aesthetics and atmosphere, but I think atmosphere comes across best when the underlying rules support and reinforce it.
I'm going into a lot of speculation here, so apologies if I rub anyone the wrong way, but stone age peoples weren't just surrounded by the supernatural, they were *immersed* in it in a way that would baffle many of us, above and beyond what you'd find in a medieval fantasy setting, and that's just speaking about a historical paleolithic culture. Once you add in functional magic and mystical creatures, you get a world where knowing how to get along with local spirits and to avert back luck is as critical as being able to identify poisonous plants.
As such, I think Secrets of Magic's pervasive magic rules are a good place to start, to represent the basic rituals and ceremonies that one would pick up as part of daily life. Can anyone think of anything else to drive this home? I think making a selection of level 0 or 1 rituals be common knowledge is a good start, though I'm unsure what they would be or if there are any pre-existing ones I can crib off of.
A more specific matter is wizards. If writing doesn't exist, it puts anybody using a spellbook in a bit of a tight spot. One of the old 3.5 books, either Complete Mage or Complete Arcane, I believe, had suggestions for alternate spellbooks, which I plan to take a look at once I dig it out of my closet, but any additional insights would be welcome. For instance, I dimly remember the idea of recording your spells as a series of paintings or standing stones, but what sort of incentives might balance having your spellbook be a series of cave paintings back home?
Come to think of it, alchemists are in a tight spot, too.
Beyond that, I'm not sure what else might be different or could be emphasized for the benefit of the setting. Clerics are more likely to worship local powerful entities or phenomena, I suppose (or gods that present themselves as such, at least.)

Spoiler:
*If one is prone to underestimating the engineering skill and manpower available to cultures of antiquity, anyways.

My thanks to anybody who waded through all that; I look forward to your criticisms and suggestions! If you think I've missed something critical about adapting the rules or the underlying assumptions in such a game, please, let me know.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:

The condition is genetic . Re growing the liver results in the same bad liver coming back. Changing the genetic material for the liver results in a violent exothermic reaction between the growing liver cells and the patients immune system. (hence the name)

Seems plausible. To hare off on a tangent, it makes me wonder if supernaturally tough creatures like dragons would be prone to difficulty with things like organ transplants and anything else requiring immunosuppression? How do you suppress the immune system of a creature with a dozen dragon hit dice (not a thing in Starfinder, but you get the idea) enough to get it to accept a foreign organ without catastrophic side-effects? Even if you could, imagine how murderously virulent draconic pathogens would be, so an immunocompromised dragon would probably be risking death even from exposure to a half-draconic rhinovirus.

Then again, mixing real-world systems and RPG logic is a recipe for strange rabbit-holes.


I'm starting Horizons of the Vast fairly soon, with a party working for Zennelidie Labs. Reading ahead, Serpents in the Cradle mentions that they're seeking a cure for draconic hepadystrophy, which would be deterioration of the liver unless they use different Latin in the Pact Worlds. One of my players has a medical background and a love of prodding at the backdrop of the setting, so I thought I'd poll the gallery for ideas about what makes it so hard to cure. I considered the idea that things like a regeneration table are outside of the price range of an overwhelming majority of the population, but if your spouse is a true dragon who founded a medical research corporation after your death money probably wasn't an issue.


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As students advance through the academia system, they get access to their branch's feats, such as Rain-Scribe Sustenance and Tempest-Sun Redirection. Some of these are handy, some are fairly niche, and then we have Uzunjati Storytelling. Uzunjati Storytelling lets you make a Lore check to impress someone, and then says this will rarely do anything, but might, if the GM feels like, lower a Diplomacy DC.
The level 12 feat you get, as opposed to, say, Cascade Bearers Spellcasting, which lets you pick your halcyon magic off any of the four traditions, or Emerald Boughs Hideaway, which gives you a personal bag of holding, is Uzunjati Recollection, which lets you spend *another* action to get a +1 to the Uzunjati Storytelling feat. A level 12 feat that gives you a +1 to a check that in the text says it won't do anything unless the GM feels like it.
This feels like the Uzunjati are getting such a short end of a stick that I'd have to bring back first edition size categories to measure it. Any suggestions for improvements or replacements?


Good thoughts, thanks. Using Twisting Tree seems a bridge too far, even if I could convince her. Staff Acrobat's already supposed to apply to a fairly large swath of weapons, many of them martial, whereas Twisting Tree is specifically designed to take a fairly basic simple weapon and make it a power-house of versatility. I do love Dual-Handed Assault.
I'd considered an Inventor, but a tengu with a clockwork-powered buzz-Khakkara seemed a bit beyond my ability/willingness to justify in such an AP. While Fighter/Staff Acrobat seems my best bet, I'll take a look at Battle Oracle; always nice to have some actual magic if you're wielding a weapon associated with priests. If I can't get my strength where I'd like it to be, ah well, our Alchemist in Extinction Curse got some extraordinary mileage out of Assurance (Athletics) where maneuvers were involved. Especially when her 8 Wisdom self was dominated and unleashed on the 10 Dexterity champion...


I'm possibly going to have the luxury of actually PCing in Quest for the Frozen Flame, miracles of miracles, and have a current obsession with the khakkara due to recently rewatching Slayers (we just called it Rezo's Jangly Staff back in the 90s, thrilled to know what the word for it is). Unfortunately, while I'm eyeing the possibility of a tengu with a khakkara, I'm having trouble choosing a build that feels like I'm really leveraging all the features (1d6 martial club, two-handed d10, shove, versatile P). Any suggestions?
I haven't set my heart on a particular class of yet; since I'm almost universally the GM rather than a player, I've had little enough chance to try the classes, so any of the classes would be a chance to try something new for me. Ideally it would be something that could use it effectively, instead of as set dressing.
Should it matter, I can probably wrangle access to Staff Acrobat and get the khakkara declared as such, being married to the GM. The idea of combat maneuvering everybody to tears while demonstrating extreme tengu mobility does appeal.


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Castilliano wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:

{. . .}

I don't think it would work like that myself. Given how the real world works, some powerful magic user would use magic to advance the world in a fantasy magic world. {. . .}

More likely that they would use it to take joyrides into orbit/the Inner & Outer Planes.

Magic can finesse some very powerful effects at the local level, and occasionally cause regional devastation, but it isn't very good at mass production.

Speaking of other planes, it seems connecting to the Plane of Earth (or City of Brass for that matter) would guarantee Golarions would learn metallurgy, steel, and so forth, at least as a concept to pursue.

Once somebody can regularly contact civilizations from beyond the planet, it seems technology would come swiftly. Privation might make implementing technology hard, make its appearance sporadic (i.e. Thundarr!), yet I'd imagine magic would be similar since it'd be tied to individuals (if all the institutions have to rebuild that is).

I've read that the recent theory is that people knew how to work small quantities of iron well before the Bronze Age ended. They preferred bronze, partly because of how easy it was to decorate with, partly because it didn't rust as badly as early iron, and a few other reasons. It wasn't until near the end, when tin from Middle East was disrupted, and infantry tactics began to overshadow chariots, that iron started to grow more popular. The industrial base had built up a bit, and smaller groups were growing in power; they found iron easier because it didn't need a massive trade network to make possible.

"Sure, mortal, we'll teach you iron in exchange for certain... considerations... The key is the material you use to tile your blast furnace..."
"Our what?"
"Blast furnace. You don't have those? Okay, this'll optimize the temperature you burn your coal at, so listen carefully..."
"Our coal? Our what now?"
"Oh, by Vyr Azul! Okay, listen..."
"Hey, pal, thanks, but it's only 1 point of hardness, right? And bronze only bends on a 1? I think I'm good."


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Deriven Firelion wrote:

They don't have to be high level to cure disease or poison or heal or create water for endless water.

Given the sheer number of gods, I think there would be tons of priests. I think it would be one of the most common professions in Golarion even more common than it is in the real Ancient world given the magic in Golarion and D&D worlds is real.

I think almost everyone in the world would likely learn some minor cantrips just like most of the modern world has some idea of how to use cell phones and computers. Magic would be like the cell phones and computers of a magic as technology world.

In the current iteration of PF, it would be even more common given the lack of ability minimum requirements to learn. You can have an 8 wisdom and still learn some cantrip.

I think the worlds would develop very differently. Way too many gods providing way too much access to easy magical power as well as ubiquitous users of arcane magic as well as long-lived races and planar interference. It would be a very different strange world that wouldn't mirror our timeline very well.

I think it should be taken into account when designing and thinking about a fantasy type of world.

The Bronze Age just isn't that interesting in a world where gods are providing magic like a pez dispenser, wizards can fabricate things out of thin air, local druids can alter the weather as needed, and you have creatures so powerful and magically inclined they would appear as gods to the locals.

That sounds like a *very* high-magic setting. I don't think such a world would have developed into anything like modern Golarion. I think we may just have irreconcilable takes on the setting, but one final rundown of your points.

1: The average person is suggested to be level 1, since you can't hire craftsmen with higher than a +4 bonus. Create Water isn't a cantrip anymore, so a basic initiate can provide water for a few people, but it'd really be easier to use a well or irrigation ditch, especially since it all evaporates in a day.
2: That sounds like a fascinating setting, but there's nothing in any of the Lost Omens source material to suggest that the guy sewing up the hole in your pants and the barmaid know cantrips. Also, a quick search indicates that even today only half the world has easy access to computers.
3: Don't you need a 14 to take a multiclass dedication, in addition to being level 2? I think we can assume the guy driving the hay to market didn't start as a wizard. Also, PC construction rules aren't necessarily indicative of NPC capabilities. (An argument that could be used for or against me, I realize, but I don't often see NPC blurbs stating CG Female Human swineherd/enchanter.)
4: The entire premise of the witch suggests that being a cleric isn't 'easy', or people wouldn't be cutting deals with their parakeet to get around it. The presence of a god doesn't automatically suggest the presence of clerics to them. The forgotten gods of Danger Island, Lissala, Hylax, Damoritosh and the old gods of Androffa are all gods that exist, yet none of them have much in the way of clergy on the ground on Golarian at this time. Keep in mind that, from the perspective of the character, being a worker of divine miracles isn't as simple as clicking 'cleric' on the class bar in the hour before they wink into existence, it represents years or decades of dedicated training and above average faith. Ditto for wizards, demonstrably so here, as arcane magic was outright lost until the Old-Mage reinvented it.
5: I think it is wise to consider the role that magic would play when envisioning a world, but the idea that all fantasy worlds derived from the same set of game mechanics must develop in the same way isn't very convincing. We've got multiple continents even in the modern Golarion, all of which developed with their own unique natures, none of which were dictated solely by what the casters were up to at the time.
6: The Bronze Age is absolutely the place for gods developing often fickle blessings to their heroes, and strange beasts being worshipped or propitiated as terrible gods (how many demigods had to rescue sacrifices from god-sent beasts?). As for the other two, fabricating a house from thin air is great, but it's going to vanish tomorrow and I'll still need a house then, and I don't think they've ever portrayed Golarion as so crazy high-level that level 13 druids are all over the place, altering the weather as needed.


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Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:


---

In more direct response to OP, I've found entertainment trying to map regions of human history to relative dates of Golarion history for comparison, sometimes with interesting results. For example, the mythic time of Atlantis from Plato's Republic roughly lines up with the last...

Yes, I'm really thinking that the Tarrasque showing up is a good starting point. Ninshabur falls at the hands of level-inappropriate encounter, Taldor probably hardly gets off lightly (a couple civilizations did survive the Bronze Age Collapse, at cost), and the fall of the Shory would be a properly epic high point of the game. Ideally, Osirion would be at the height of its power, but historical Egypt had a habit of telling itself that it was still at the height of its empire centuries after the fact, so I can probably make that the perception without even tinkering with the timeline. Maybe throw in a couple more Spawn for the lulz.

Interestingly, if one were going for a time that matched scientifically (which is, obviously, a madman's pursuit), the Age of Darkness does have a certain resemblance. Some historians now think that the Collapse started with a super-volcano eruption that dimmed the sun for a few years and caused massive crop failures all over Europe.
Oh, well, at least it wasn't 1816.


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As a tangential aside, Eberron is an excellent example of how you can fine-tune things beyond 'high magic' and 'low magic'. 'Common but minor magic' gets you something approaching our modern era, whereas 'rare but powerful magic' gets you something more Middle Earth-ish.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:
Wonky Chewbacca wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:

A game where the magic doesn't exceed modern technology that would allow the powers in the world to have far more powerful technology than a real Bronze Age World.

D&D worlds are places where priests cure diseases with magic, heal instantly, and raise the dead. Magic users can create things out of thing air. Even alchemists can manipulated chemicals to do incredible things beyond modern day tech.

I get you sort of want to use some historical inspiration for culture creation. But you'll always have to acknowledge D&D worlds would make our modern technology seem just ok.

I think the big difference there is ubiquity. Sure, Remove Disease is handier than a regimen of antibiotics, but you're not necessarily goimg to have temples that stock level 5 clerics every dfew blocks, and paying for a spell is way more pricey (probably, tryimg to convert GP to USD is a rabbit hole to fall down). Raising the dead in particular rarely gets a mention, outside of PCs and (rather more infrequently) enemies of PCs. In some settings or eras, magic may be rarely available to the man in the street, with clerics mostly occupied in ritual, temple politics, and waiting on nobles, while arcane casters are either sequestered away with their own otherworldly concerns, or simpy feared and misunderstood.

On the other end of the spectrum is Eberron, which while made of purest awesome is about as far from what I'm aiming for here as one can get without digging my father's Spelljammer books out of the closet.
TL:DR, I think one can absolutely run a game that invokes the Bronze Age or Neolithic, you just need to keep in mind that magic can be on a slider just like technology.
I don't think it would work like that myself. Given how the real world works, some powerful magic user would use magic to advance the world in a fantasy magic world. There would be a huge number of priests given the number of gods allowing the use of magic to improve and care for the world....

Well, three points:

First, the assumption that there are high-level people idly kicking around all over the place is just that, an assumption. It applies to modern Golarion because of all the APs people need to kill their way through, and it *definitely* applies in Forgotten Realms, but Eberron, for instance, calibrates things so that very few people have actual PC levels, and even then someone above level 5 is exceptional. The Bronze Age is a time of mythic heroes, true, but one way you could present that is that, with much of pre-Earthfall history lost, everybody who can so much as forge a good suit of armor or cast a fireball starts attracting rumors about being the child of Nethys or Gorum.
Second, the thing about technology is its reproducibility. A lvl 9 wizard can do things that nobody can with modern technology, but if they're adventuring on the other side of the continent they're not really changing the life of the average Joe (except for preventing them from being eaten by chimeras.) There's probably some guy crafting everburning lanterns to decorate noble's homes, but even that, one of the most basic magical conveniences, represents the entirety of how many week's income for a normal worker? A skilled hireling can, with an 11 on the roll, get 2 sp a day. (Since there's no option in the corebook to hire anybody better, one can assume that people with higher checks are definitely not the norm.) That's over ten weeks pay, right there. Unless those in power are making an effort to spread their largesse and create a wondrous, magical city where everybody benefits, the commoners are never going to see any of that.
Finally, (and this is all archaeological speculation), part of the reason that technology remained relatively stagnant (compared to when it took off in Classical Greece, if we're sticking to the Mediterranean) was mentality. Lots of discoveries were made, but the idea that one should disseminate and share knowledge, instead of hoarding it for your own people's benefit, hadn't really caught on. Seafarers suspected the world was round (even if they weren't crazy enough to try sailing around it in the ships of the time), but that was a trade secret, kept within the brotherhood of navigators. You didn't go telling farmers.
One could assume people would be equally clannish with the supernatural arts. "Sell wands and scrolls? I labored for three years to work out the base principles of Magnificent Mansion, sir. Why would I give Ibrahim over in Nefvarin the chance to reverse engineer it and steal my secrets?! Sure, the coin would be nice, but my home has as many luxuries as I can fill it with, politics bore me, and unless somebody figures out how to build a cinnabar mine I bargain with shaitans to get most of my research materials, and they want more interesting things than silver dinars."


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Deriven Firelion wrote:

A game where the magic doesn't exceed modern technology that would allow the powers in the world to have far more powerful technology than a real Bronze Age World.

D&D worlds are places where priests cure diseases with magic, heal instantly, and raise the dead. Magic users can create things out of thing air. Even alchemists can manipulated chemicals to do incredible things beyond modern day tech.

I get you sort of want to use some historical inspiration for culture creation. But you'll always have to acknowledge D&D worlds would make our modern technology seem just ok.

I think the big difference there is ubiquity. Sure, Remove Disease is handier than a regimen of antibiotics, but you're not necessarily goimg to have temples that stock level 5 clerics every dfew blocks, and paying for a spell is way more pricey (probably, tryimg to convert GP to USD is a rabbit hole to fall down). Raising the dead in particular rarely gets a mention, outside of PCs and (rather more infrequently) enemies of PCs. In some settings or eras, magic may be rarely available to the man in the street, with clerics mostly occupied in ritual, temple politics, and waiting on nobles, while arcane casters are either sequestered away with their own otherworldly concerns, or simpy feared and misunderstood.

On the other end of the spectrum is Eberron, which while made of purest awesome is about as far from what I'm aiming for here as one can get without digging my father's Spelljammer books out of the closet.
TL:DR, I think one can absolutely run a game that invokes the Bronze Age or Neolithic, you just need to keep in mind that magic can be on a slider just like technology.


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Kobold Catgirl wrote:
(Worth noting that the OP themselves has suggested it might be better for the thread to be derailed into silliness, especially since the mods aren't about.)

I mean, unless someone wants to donate, oh, 150 gp in onyx for my horse? It'll be more resistant to bludgeoning afterwards.


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RaptorJesues wrote:
I would say the Earthfall and subsequent Age of Darkness are pretty easy to compare wirh the bronze age collapse

That'd been my first thought, but I haven't found much information about Casmaron before Earthfall. Are there any sources out there?

And, of course, setting it in a time with Ninshabur and Ancient Osirion around contributes to the aesthetics of the period rather handily.


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Castilliano wrote:

Are you focusing on the Bronze Age or the widespread collapse?

With all of Golarion's major empires and ancient species, I don't think any time period qualifies for the former. Technology's always been skewed from Earth norms, with metallurgy in particular quite advanced. And the empires have outstripped anything from our Bronze Age so you might have to find a time after one fractured, yet I wouldn't say there's anything bronze about that.
As for the latter, there are many instances depending on what flavor of destruction you'd prefer or how much chaos.

Perhaps if you listed/ranked which aspects you'd like to include then it might be easier to answer. PCs don't usually operate at the scales/scope/timeframe we're talking about (unless trying to prevent it as a campaign arc!) so which bits were you thinking would be part of their narrative? And before, during, after?

I imagine one could tune Kingmaker to fit that motif, rising after the fall, or perhaps protecting one's kingdom from said collapse. Conan's setting might work as well (if there are any RPG materials still available that is). And depending.

Yes, less of a "prevent this" and more of a "survive this and lay the foundations for society's rebirth". Kingdom rules could be handy, though my attempts to graft them onto 2e always feel clunky.

I suppose the collapse of a bunch of ancient, sophisticated city-states in the face of environmental crisis and rampaging refugees is what fascinated me. Egypt knocked out of its golden age, Mycenae, Ugarit, Hattusha all wiped out over a span of mere years... I suppose one could substitute "Spawn of Rovagug" for "super volcano ". Didn't the Tarrasque take out the Ninshabur civilization? I should look at the timeline of when the various Spawn were devastating Garund. If Ulinat & Xotani vs Osirion and Tarrasque v Ninshabur roughly line up, I may have a thing. And for low-level mooks, I'm sure Rovagug's cult spikes in activity whenever its Spawn are active.


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I'm studying up on ancient history (and reading Island in the Sea of Time) and it seems like a fascinating period. Any suggestions, either to a similar period in the canon history or where one could be inserted?
I haven't seen vast amounts on Ninshabur in the core books, but it seems like my best bet. Are there any books that go into more detail? And did it ever get near Osirion during the time when its borders were at their height? What other cultures and kingdoms were in the region at the time?


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Kobold Catgirl wrote:

If you aren't explicitly a girl in your avatar and username, people assume you're not a girl. Changing the username isn't even always enough, as it's turned out.

Also, I like catgirls. Who doesn't?

Makes sense. I need a better avatar, people still don't get that I'm half-Wookiee on my mother's side. As for catgirls, some of the more hipster foxpeople I know seem to have some obscure aggro, the peasants.

EDIT: Not seeking to denigrate you or the legendary carpet of chest-hair Lictor Sabinus hides under that hellknight plate. I've never tried to derail a thread (much less my own) before, and am unsure as to the reccomended level of irreverent whimsy to use.


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Kobold Catgirl wrote:
If a shepherd cleric of Obad-Hai was into breeding Pokemon with normal animals and spinning comfortable loose-fitting garments with the wool, she'd be a Mareep-sheep-shawl Shalm-shaman

That's the spirit.

By the way, I appreciate the herculean efforts you've made these past months to act as a voice of reason and civility on these boards. If you don't mind me asking, why the name change?


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Kobold Catgirl wrote:

Some of the people I've talked to genuinely seem to be itching for a Very Specific Idea Of What Queer/Left-Leaning People Are Like. They want the "SJW I can own with my clever talking points", and so many of their takes just feel like they're arguing with phantoms.

It's where the "Twitter warriors" came from. It's where the "torches and pitchforks" came from. They can't find any of us being "triggered" the way they want us to be, so they just sort of make people up to be mad about.

If you like you can start talking to me about shalms, if it helps.


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Kobold Catgirl wrote:
Oh god, there's another thread about this??? How many do we need? Give the mods the holiday break off, people.

I'd hoped to avoid it by phrasing myself as diplomatically as I could, and keeping an agreeable tone to my responses, but it does seem to have reverted to ground state, yes. I got some decent feedback before it fell apart, but I apologize, nevertheless.

I will note that while Pathfinder is, ultimately, a game with the underlying intent of entertainment, its therapeutic value is quite real. What is therapy but mental healing, and what is fun but healing from the stresses and damages that living inflicts? Gaming has been critical in helping me explore the nuances of my gender, besides helping me defeat (by proxy) things I lack the power to throw fireballs at in real life.
Still, don't heal at the cost of others. If writing the old stories is causing the writers harm, the early parts of this thread provide many useful suggestions for alternatives we can seek. I for one had missed Luis Loza's original post, and was unsure what level of the company the decision had come from, or I would probably have started this on reddit or some such.


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dirtypool wrote:

1. Challenging the inclusion of fighting racists with me and not with the person who inserted it into your statement prior is curious.

2. If you need to face current real world injustices for your group to feel catharsis, would it not be better to play one of the many alternate history games where fighting against real like monstrous injustice is the point of the game?

1. Yours is the first response that felt like a personal attack, so yours is the first I've felt the need to defend myself against.

2. I've looked at a fair number of game systems, and I've never seen anybody who does it better that Paizo. White Wolf doesn't give a damn about things like encounter balance, Chaosium has this guanopsychotic d100 system that looks like it never evolved past the 80s, Exalted is either 300 pages of errata or... whatever they were trying with 3rd edition.


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CorvusMask wrote:
I don't think there is need to assume everyone preferring darker material is acting in bad faith (despite my bad experiences with warhammer fans ;P Some people can just like dark stuff without ulterior motive), but I definitely would prefer to see break from this subject for few months at least before it returns x'D

That's fair, it's been a fraught few months. I've only kept my fool mouth shut this long through teeth-and-fingernails willpower.

I've said my piece, let the devs make of it what they will, and gained some options and suggestions in the process. Call it a win.


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Cintra Bristol wrote:

Pathfinder has plenty of recent "dark" content, and no indications they want to veer away from the vast majority of it. Take a look at the big-bad/main encounter zone in the first adventure of Agents of Edgewatch. Bad guys who are implied to do virtually any sort of terrible things off-screen = fine. I have no idea what we'll see in the upcoming Blood Lords AP, but I expect it'll have some significant darkness.

Given the outcry that accompanied Agents of Edgewatch, I'm not sure how much of anything from that AP that we'll be seeing again. The Blood Lords AP is encouraging, I'll admit.


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dirtypool wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
He's asking for the opportunity to stab rapists and slavers in the face, because he and his playgroup find the experience of stabbing rapists and slavers in the face to be cathartic.

Well no, he’s asking for the company that just took it on the chin for the current state of slavery in their game to double down and make adventures exclusively built around slavery and to up the ante in the process and include rapists because somehow fighting slavers and rapists is more cathartic than fighting Owlbears and Bugbears.

Let’s not let all the context of the ask drip out.

Pretty sure rapists never came up in any of my posts. No 'somehow' about it, there just aren't enough owlbear-related injustices currently plaguing the Earth to drive home my general inability to address them in real life.


Saedar wrote:
Also: A lot of 3PP content is made by Paizo contributors.

I did not know that. I haven't touched 3pp since the old Book of Feats slagged my old 3.0 Epic Level Handbook game to glass (although that might be the fate inherent to all ELH games), but if it's more of an Ink Monkeys thing, I could well be described as down.


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Starcatcher wrote:

PATHFINDER DARK: FOR WHEN THERE'S ALREADY A WHOLE SETTING, BUT YOU ONLY NEED THE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDDDDDDDDDDDDDDGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGEEEEEEE

(I hope people remember monster truck commercials)

Well, if I can advertise it like that, I might drop the whole 'job' thing to pursue writing modules full time.


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Wonky Chewbacca wrote:
keftiu wrote:
I don’t want this, the devs don’t want to write this, and it wouldn’t be usable in Society play. I really don’t think this is gonna happen. As others have said, this sort of thing is why Infinite exists.

Yes, it definitely wouldn't be everybody's cup of tea, but I thought there'd be no harm in asking.

Amusingly (to me), the absence of much support for the idea suggests to me... how to put this...?
We've had a lot of people complaining about judging older historical periods by modern moral standards, and decrying the sanitization of the setting for a variety of claimed reasons. Since the only reason I can think of to portray evil is to overcome that evil, maybe I've stripped some of the ambiguity from my view of their claims.
(No surprise to most, I'm sure. Apologies, my persistent tinnitus keeps me from hearing higher pitches.)

Or, alternately, there's been yet another thread on roughly the same subject developing in parallel to mine, that's been keeping people busy. That's what I get for being such a slow typist.


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keftiu wrote:
I don’t want this, the devs don’t want to write this, and it wouldn’t be usable in Society play. I really don’t think this is gonna happen. As others have said, this sort of thing is why Infinite exists.

Yes, it definitely wouldn't be everybody's cup of tea, but I thought there'd be no harm in asking.

Amusingly (to me), the absence of much support for the idea suggests to me... how to put this...?
We've had a lot of people complaining about judging older historical periods by modern moral standards, and decrying the sanitization of the setting for a variety of claimed reasons. Since the only reason I can think of to portray evil is to overcome that evil, maybe I've stripped some of the ambiguity from my view of their claims.
(No surprise to most, I'm sure. Apologies, my persistent tinnitus keeps me from hearing higher pitches.)


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The Raven Black wrote:
Darker, grittier and "classic" PF can easily turn into shock value IMO. Even just so that you can show how your villains really are horrible beings worthy of your worst. Hence my warning.

It's a fair warning to keep in mind, to be sure. Hook Mountain Massacre was... excessive, no argument, there.


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Good points, all, particularly SanityFaerie.
I do have great hopes for Pathfinder Infinite, as that swings into gear.
I've considered converting older PF1 titles, though I've been waiting for the selection of items and monsters to grow more robust and save me time in that respect (I suppose with the Grand Bazaar and 3 Bestiaries out it may be time to get cracking on Legacy of Fire).
While doing terminal things to terrible people is pleasing, I also love the opportunity for being faced with terrible situations with no obvious 'best' choice. I loved War for the Crown for its murkier situations and need to compromise in the face of situational realities. Kill the murderous spider baron, even if he's mostly a jerk under a nasty curse, and you'll probably have to kill his retainers in the process, who are just trying to cope in a messed-up situation that their loyalties won't let them out of? (Mind you, it was all the sweeter when the party decided to dump a bunch of money into a trio of Break Enchantment scrolls and risk life and limb playing interference while the invisible bard tried to get off a sufficient UMD check, but figuring out how to direly risk life or limb taking an unexpected third option is part of the 'lesser of two evils' scenario.)
I'll have to look into 3pp. I've always hesitated because Paizo's writing is, by and large, stellar, and they've spoiled me, but if their market demographics have shifted that is where their first priority needs to be. I still love much of what they're coming out with (any AP that goes to Mars or gives me tundra nomads on megafauna would be okay in my book regardless, really). The last time I glanced in the direction of 3pp was back in 3.0, and so much of that was rubbish. Still, that's been... never mind how many years. I'll do some research into that angle.


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WatersLethe wrote:

Paizo's writers, staff, and editors have expressed their disinterest in writing about these topics.

What you're asking for is for Paizo to go out of their way to specifically hire, train, and retain people at all levels of their organization with the only requirement being that they enjoy writing about edgy stuff.

There isn't a big enough market for that, and honestly, would likely result in catastrophic organizational problems.

You can also use all those elements in your home games to your heart's content, so I don't know why you'd need Paizo to go out of their way.

Did they express that? Alas. Maybe an independent creator browsing the forums will notice.

As I mentioned before, I have very little time to write my own campaigns, these days. Work and parenting barely leave time to show up for sessions, much less build them.


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In recent years it's been Paizo's policy to de-emphasize many of the more odious social elements that were established in Golarion's younger days. I understand and for the most part support the reasoning; many of Paizo's customers seek escapist fantasy and don't wish to be reminded traumas that they or their ancestors or kin may have experienced. Nevertheless...
I and most of my players seek a more cathartic style of play. We process our traumas and assorted modern angsts by facing truly visceral evils and an imperfect, flawed world, and stabbing them with a +3 sword. Would that I had the time to plan more of my own games, but the popularity of the Adventure Path line shows I'm not alone there. Therefore, I'm asking to see what sort of support there might be for Pathfinder Dark, or Pathfinder Classic if you will, an run of games with more mature themes, independent from the main line.
As others have mentioned, some of us want to free slaves, and to face drug dealers, bigots, imperialists. Why not a step further, with an adventure where the PCs are slaves and have to save themselves and their fellow downtrodden, rather than be rescued by others? Or morally murky adventures where one has to infiltrate vile criminal organizations in order to dismantle them from within? A long-running Galt adventure, where one had to balance the desire for true reform while staying in the favor of a mob that only seeks to perpetuate a cycle of violence and blame?
Pathfinder made its mark initially not only through a superior level of writing, but its darker, grittier world that held true, non-cartoonish evils, and felt like a realistic world, warts and all. I know some people here miss that feel, often at length. The original Dragon Age held the same sort of appeal for me, and I don't think I'm alone in my willingness to shell out my income for 'low fantasy' stories. Although one could hardly call it low fantasy, I always loved Exalted for its depiction of a fallen, Bronze Age world that needed fixing. It's a pity the ruleset is such a train-wreck (or three separate train-wrecks, by edition).
It should be clarified that I'm not asking about a line of evil adventures. Hell's Vengeance never held much appeal for me. Crushing realistic evils, not glamorizing them, that's the sweet spot for me. I understand that can be a fine line to avoid, given the sort of fanbase that might be attracted otherwise, but think that it would be worth it to try.
What do we think?


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Cthulhudrew wrote:
It will be interesting to see how paleolithic weapons and armor are handled (if at all) in this AP: how they function in 2E, what magic items and treasure looks like in such an environment, if there will be some barter rules, and how such equipment would compare to equipment of comparable level heroes from more technologically advanced regions in Golarion.

By all that's holy, I hope so. I've tinkered with Stone Age game concepts ever since Far Cry Primal (and a variety of movies, and Monster Hunter, which doesn't quite match up), but I've never worked out a replacement for a coin economy that I was quite satisfied with. If I can find it here, my "Iruxi tribes in Antarctica back when it was a forest during the Cretaceous" will have everything it needs!

Even if not, face-explodingly stoked about this one!


Nice! An excellent starting point. Gives me a nice benchmark to start comparing properties. Many thanks.


I'm currently writing a level 1-2 adventure involving an ogress wielding an uncommon crossbow that I have tentatively titled the Arbalester. This is a particularly bulky heavy crossbow (possibly with more bulk than normal), that one could crank the windlass an extra time (as an action) after it's been reloaded to deliver an extra punch. My thought was something in the neighborhood of a pushing or knockdown effect, but I'd appreciate any thoughts as to what might be an appropriate level of power on a level 2 or 3 item, along with pricing suggestions.
I imagine one could slide the balance one way or another by stipulating whether or not the extra cranking has to happen in the same turn you reload it.


thejeff wrote:
While I agree it's not how PF/Golarion works, it would be interesting to play in a setting that works more like classical polytheism did.

Might I reccomend having a look at Faiths of Eberron? I was always impressed by how realistic much of the culture felt, and this book's description of the Sovereign Host and the Dark Six always seemed particularly good.


Good points, both.
I've been mostly working through a backlog of PF1, so I haven't played much 2 yet. I still tend to mentally tie skill sets to classes. A rogue or ranger would probably serve me better. My thanks.


I find myself enamored of the idea of a rakish dwarf who wields a hatchet and a clan dagger simultaneously. A hatchet, however, is not a finesse weapon. Would the following stat line be a cripplingly bad choice?
Dwarf (Strongblooded) Emissary Swashbuckler (Wit, probably)
Free boosts go to Strength, Dexterity, Constitution and Charisma.
Ancestry boosts go to Constitution, Wisdom, and Charisma (Off-Setting Charisma Flaw)
Background boosts to Charisma and Strength.
Class boost to Dexterity.
Total ends up at
Strength 14
Dexterity 14
Constitution 14
Intelligence 10
Wisdom 12
Charisma 14
Have I generalized myself into obscurity in an attempt to have a decent Strength score, or can I squeak by, do we think? If nothing else, if I can make it until level 5 my Dexterity grows into some proper light armor.


I was rolling with the mildly military manner in which the PCs get treated up to this point, but the bit where the admirals or what have you say "You there, random lieutenants we've never met, you seem awesome! Decide these force dispositions!" blows it for me. However, I like the overall mechanic. Suggestions? I'm thinking command is holding them in reserve, and then their ship explodes or communications get disrupted, leaving the PCs to decide where they need to go, but I'd welcome any input.


A while back I created a homebrew gnoll ancestry for one of my players, and apparently I actually made were-hyenas, because when we sat down for char-gen everyone chose gnoll. Contagious, I guess.
We have Martens, a LN Gnoll Secular Medic Fighter, who studied in a Rahadoumi medical university as part of a political give-and-take between his clan and the local government, now travelling to see the crazy theists up close. He's running a travelling doctor's wagon through Isger, and will head over to the Call when someone mentions all the other gnolls there.
We have Kitaur, a Neutral Gnoll Emancipated Druid. Her somewhat less evil Gozreh-worshipping clan was absorbed by a group of Orthodox Lamashtu followers, and they sold her into slavery as a joke. When Kintargo went independent, she started looking for a new home, preferably with all this amazing foliage. She's heard that Isger is starting to accept goblins, so why not gnolls?
We have Commodus Warpfacet, CG Gnoll Out-of-Towner Rogue (Ruffian). Raised by gnomes, they encouraged him to seek his own kind, possibly because their attention spans had lapsed. When Farimixa passed through, he started dogging her heels.
Last but not least, we have Farimixa, a NG (still not entirely sure why) Gnoll Emissary Wizard (Conjurer). Originally a mesenger in Thassilon, she was in the capitol of the nation of Envy (name escapes me) as a courier from the Sloth kingdom when it got stuck in a time loop. Now free, she seeks to prove the superiority of her magic, which is proving tricky for a variety of reasons. She's heard Breachill is oddly adventurer-centric, and hopes this means they will have a high tolerance for the unusual.
Obviously, a party that looks like a random encounter will have unique difficulties. While my intent is not to have them shot at every time they approach a community, I would value the gallery's ideas for any adjustments that I should make to the path as written. Challenges, opportunities, etc.


While many of the aforementioned new classes, options, etc of the COM are indeed game-changers that have reinvigorated my interest in the system, I noticed yesterday that the kasatha on the chapter art of pg 144 has his in-profile face COMPLETELY UNCOVERED. At last!
Hopefully he's too drunk to remember shaming himself and his clan in front of the iconic biohacker. She, for one, seems too polite to react. Possibly a feudal Japanese 'if nobody acknowledges the faux pas it didn't really happen and nobody needs to get stabbed' thing.


Also loving this one, no two ways about it. I did have one question, though. The Bug Snare (pg 44) is listed as a level 10 item. Is that a typo? It seems awfully high for something that does a d4 and entangles on a failed DC 13 Reflex save.


Bandw2 wrote:

i don't feel like slave trader is really something i'd consider a heritage. maybe instead have a heritage that removed common for free but also has a similar benefit.

otherwise, i rate it 4/5

I can see that. I originally was going to call it Katapeshi Gnoll, but went for something more setting neutral. As for what it does, I will admit that I was grasping at straws by that point.


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James Jacobs wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:

Fetchlings pretty please! Gnoll is a huge favorite since I have an old Gnoll character.

An aberrative touched Ancestry for those that want to be more tethered to the occult essences.

Aberrations are tricky things to pull off as PC races, or as non-evil for that matter. One of the toughest challenges I had back in Lords of Madness for D&D was to come up with a non-evil aberration race. There's nothing in the creature type that says "MUST BE EVIL" but the fact that they're supposed to be, well, aberrant, means that they can't fit into normal society or life in some way. Which makes them tough calls for things that should be able to fit in to a society, which is what has to be an underlying assumption for a player ancestry since the game's about characters working together in a society in most cases.

It's further a challenge in that the further we get away from the expectation of human sized and human shaped, things we take for granted in world design and adventure design start falling apart. If we make nagas a PC option, what sort of wearable magic items can they wear? How do they handle things like doorknobs? What if the adventure expects every player to have feet for some reason?

Starfinder's probably a better game to look to if you want to play truly unusually shaped characters... but even then it gets tricky and potentially has unintentionally comical or unbelievable situations showing up that can break a table's verisimilitude.

You made the silthilar (those were then aberration searms, yes? Been too long simce I cracked open my LoM.)? I loved those guys and their grafts!


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Wonky Chewbacca wrote:

Er, addressing the original post...

At the behest of my players, I have homebrewed a gnoll ancestry, and will be posting it in Homebrew tomorrow when I have access to a real keyboard. I will be welcoming all all advice and comments (on how workable they are, not the whole genocide issue that ate this thread alive). I will particularly be welcoming anyone with ideas for recreating the Net weapon, as I have a barbed net as a racial (ancestral, I suppose, after 25 years of gaming that's going to take some getting used to) advanced weapon to round out the ol' flindbars.

I am a lying liar who lies. After perusing the entries in both Homebrew and Conversions, I concluded that the aforementioned entry would best fit in the Conversion section.


LEVEL 13 ANCESTRY FEATS
Gnoll Weapon Expertise: requires Gnoll Weapon Familiarity: as per all the other Weapon Expertise Ancestry 13 feats, but spotty and with a creepy laugh. (I'm getting finger cramp, and that one's wordy.)
Incredible Ferocity: as, well, Incredible Ferocity, pg 59.
GNOLL WEAPONS
MELEE
Uncommon Martial Weapon
Flindbar: 2 gp, 1d8 Bludgeoning, Bulk 1, 1 Hand, Flail Category, Backswing, Disarm, Gnoll, Monk
Basically a bigger, non-Dexable nunchaku.
RANGED
Uncommon Martial Weapon
Barbed Bola: 5 sp, 1d4 Piercing, 20 ft range Bulk L, 1 Hand, Flail Category (I guess?), Gnoll, Thrown, Trip
I haven't seen a thrown weapon with the trip tag, but I haven't seen anything expressly forbidding it. Might add the Shoanti tag, too? Don't they use barbed bolas? Flail is a terrible approximation for weapon category, but it has swinging weights on a rope, so I guess it'll do.
Uncommon Advanced Weapon
Barbed Net: 2 gp, ? Damage, Range 10 ft, Bulk 2, ? Hands, Category ?, Tags Gnoll, ?
Hoo boy. We don't have nets yet, nor an entangle or grappling tag. I tried my hand a couple ways, and they all end up much wordier and clunkier than any of the weapon's I've seen in the Equipment section, so I will appeal to the gallery on this one.

Therein concludes my wall of text. I hope it proves useful to all the fans of morally ambiguous hyena people out there, until the game writers do it properly, anyways! It was this or kitsune, which are a much trickier proposition, as far as I can tell.

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