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FormerFiend wrote:

I mean in a very real way, Golarion should be *the* most important place in the universe, or on that list, because it's where Rovagug is so if anything ever happens to Golarion, everybody dies.

Other gods contained Rovagug once, they could plausibly contain it again. Not without heavy losses, I would expect, but it would not have to be the inevitable end of all reality unless I am missing something in the lore.


We just get weird inconsistencies like how when a demonic invasion happens & the forces of Heaven, Nirvana, & Elysium don't charge out to meet it because of vague cosmic balance stuff that may be fundamental laws of the universe that the gods can't circumvent or may be a simple case of gods adhering to the MAD doctrine, except either way it only applies sometimes with no stink being raised when Aroden killed Deskari the first time & the celestials mounting a direct defense when the exact same thing happened centuries ago in Tian Xia to the point that it created an entire nation of aasimars.

Am I wrong in remembering that at the point at which Aroden disposed of that previous avatar of Deskari he was not all the way to full godhood yet, and might therefore plausibly not come under the scope of whatever physical or political principles restrict gods from direct intervention?


On the other subject, Starfinder appeals to me as a setting of infinite possibilities. I actually don't find the elevator pitch for either setting to be particularly insane... well, maybe Shadowrun but more so in the specifics than the general concept of "what if standard fantasy setting, but no medieval stasis, advanced to near future(for shadowrun) or space opera(for starfinder)."

And if you want space opera that actually connects on to Shadowrun, or at least to the extent that Shadowrun connects on to Earthdawn as its preceding more standard fantasy setting, Equinox is a game that exists. Not a thing that works particularly well for me because if you are doing focused cyberpunk-type research and hacking about in a setting with high magic and high technology both, the mostly relatively low levels of either you need for space opera (an aesthetic paradigm established before WWII) break my suspension of disbelief, and plausibly weird and dense transhuman settings have a much higher entry barrier IMO. To make Starfinder's infinite possibilities work in my head does require some degree of "either the really transhuman stuff is off-screen or some gods or other powers are covertly blocking it." (Maybe that's why Golarion went missing during the Gap.)

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keftiu wrote:
I'm a little surprised that folks are so opposed to going from the existing 1-10s to Ruby Phoenix, as it always felt to me like each one would produce a team as tightly-themed as the NPCs are. Surely the audiences would love a team of steampunk outlaws or Mammoth Lords?

My feeling is that the audience probably would, but the Mammoth Lords really aren't set up to be the kind of people who would be interested in going half way around the world to compete against random people they do not know for the benefit of an audience; everything about their motivations set up in their AP is focused on their own tribe's survival and safety, and confronting locally-scaled opposition. I love Quest for Frozen Flame and do hope I get to run it at some point, but it's not a story that feels like it naturally leads into anything else concerned with the outside world, at least for the kinds of characters I can connect to fitting well with it in the first place.

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

Indeed and one of the reasons I like 11-20 APs is I like the stories of "people who have each individually done impressive things coming together later in their life to do something"

Like if you want to play the tough, cynical veteran with the heart of goldit's hard to be that guy at level 1. It feels weird to be a level 1 character whose story involves "I've been fighting wars for kings and the like for the last decade".

That all makes sense to me, and I can certainly appreciate those stories as stories; I've just happened to largely been dealing with players who feel a significant positive difference to getting inside a character's skin if they play them from the beginning of their career, and that's also my preference as a player, so we're not likely to be drawn to that shape of story as something to play ourselves/

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James Jacobs wrote:

If you're asking for a 1-10 AP that ends with the PCs near where Ruby Phoenix begins, not likely. The goal of Ruby Phoenix was that it requires "heroes who have proven themselves" in order to get invited to try out for the tournament, which means that ANY 1—10 Adventure Path was intended to be one positioned for proceeding into that Adventure Path.

I wasn't asking for a 1-10 to end with heroes geographically near where Ruby Phoenix begins, cool though that would be; was thinking more of a 1-10 that encouraged a party coming through it to think of themselves as "we are a team of people good at what we do who enjoy basically respectful competition with professional equals" more so than, say, "we heroically defend our local homeland or tribe from ten levels' worth of adversaries most of whom we think in terms of killing." (Maybe, for example, by putting in one or two rival adventuring parties who are not jerks or going to turn on the PCs at some point by default.)

If anything, I think it would work better for my potential player groups, in terms of psychological plausibility, to get a team for Ruby Phoenix out of playing the first half of Strength of Thousands, with its emphasis on being part of a community and on non-murdery solutions to many problems, than out of the existing 1-10 APs that I have read (not got to Outlaws of Alkenstar yet). Though realistically that will never happen because we'd all be overwhelmingly more likely to want to finish Strength of Thousands.

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Kasoh wrote:

But, in my eye, you don't get to say Valeros committed an evil action because he saved Abrogail Thrune's life and she went on to murder a thousand people. He saved someone's life. That's as far as the moral calculation goes.

And that seems to me an essentially Chaotic Good assessment. Whereas Lawful Good arguing "more good was done by the saving of a thousand lives than the saving of one" works for me. Chaos acts on impulse, be that self-serving impulse(Evil) or the impulse of what feels to be the right thing in the moment(Good). Law thinks things through and applies principles.

What the character does not get to do, is claim that stopping the evil they were chasing somehow absolves the action.

For a Lawful Good character in a situation where the only possible options are a lesser evil or a greater one to consciously choose the lesser, and do what they can to atone and make reparations later, seems entirely LG to me. (Presuming that all possible effort has gone into finding options that avoid both evils, and has failed.)

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S.L.Acker wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
[A]lignment will be assessed by actions and their consequences, not the motivations with which they are carried out.

How far removed from the inciting action does the consequence need to happen for it to still be connected to the PC and thus their alignment? If an LG character saves somebody irredeemably evil is it an evil act even if they don't know about it? What if they save a child that grows up to be a mass murderer? If a good character is shoving their way through a crowd chasing after a threat to the city's safety and shoves somebody who ends up trampled by the crowd does that count against them?

To my mind, the question of "how far downstream of their actions is a person responsible for the consequences" is the essence of the difference between Lawful Good and Chaotic Good, for what that may be worth. Again, entirely a thing needing being clear on in session 0.

However, we as beings with limited knowledge and foresight can't possibly judge by anything but the intention behind the act and if a reasonable person would link the action taken with the supposed intention.

If anything, I think limited knowledge and foresight apply more strongly to whether we can know the intentions behind an act than to whether we can see the consequences.

My starting position, for what it is worth - and subject to discussion with players before any particular game - is that Lawful expects thinking through and responsibility for the consequences of one's actions to a greater extent than Chaotic, be that Good, Neutral or Evil. I would certainly default to regarding a Lawful Good character unthinkingly getting a bystander trampled by a crowd as failing in being adequately LG. On the other hand, in a setting where morally significant free will is an established thing, that does place the responsibility for a child who grows up to be a mass murderer on the shoulders of said person once they have grown up to be making the decisions to murder or not, and entirely beyond the control (and therefore responsibility) of the person who saved them as a child.

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Errenor wrote:

I guess you just see it differently than most. It's not the power of Chaotic Evil, it's just the power of Magic for me. Yes, it's has some ties with demons in this case. It could be almost insignificant though. It definitely is not a direct conduit into the Abyss. Well, unless the player wished it so. The player, NOT the GM.

This would be one of those places where my deeper underlying principle is "things of that sort need to be agreed to by players and GMs before the game, and neither gets to automatically override the other".

A session 0 laying out the expectations of a particular campaign and confirming everyone is on the same ground seems essential to me. If I am offering to run Wrath of the Righteous, for example, a set of characters who would be effective and well-suited to Skull and Shackles are likely to fit very badly, or indeed the other way around. Better to confirm everyone is on the same page at the beginning; and because alignment is historically an issue so many arguments tend to arise over, and because so many of those are the same arguments over and over, being clear where everyone is coming from in handling alignment is near the top of the list for discussing there. A player doesn't unilaterally get to make decisions about that any more than they unilaterally get to make any other decisions, or than I do; that's the nature of a collaborative game.

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Temperans wrote:

Where the heck did people get the whole "Sorcerer Bloodlines need to be alignment restricted" in the first place?

I'm expressing it as a preference. And while Pathfinder has historically not had alignment restrictions of that sort, earlier versions of the D&D family of games have had more stringent ones, so I am not making this up out of thin air.


And before anyone says "but oh some classes had alignment restriction". Yeah the classes where you literally got power based on your behavior. A lawful good paladin was literally drawing power from them following a code of conduct (having a deity only changed the code and maybe granted a few spells/feats), Barbarians were literally drawing power from their anger management issues, etc.

Sorcerers? Their bloodline has no effect on their behavior.
Witches? Their familiar has no effect on behavior.
Oracles? Their mystery has no effect on behavior outside of the curse.

Your first paragraph is entirely true, and the examples you list in it are things I think Pathfinder is weakened by having set aside.

Whether witches or oracles should be bound to consistency with the source of their power depends on how much they are expected to know about what the source of their power is in the first place, to my mind, but I can totally see "only Lawful Good spellcasters get access to Lawful Good familiars" as a good thing. To my mind successful, fun, flavourful characters emerge from well-defined, coherent, consistently played concepts; and defining what is a good match with a particular character concept is exactly the same thing as defining the set of options that don;t fit with it, looked at from the other side.

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Kaspyr2077 wrote:

The idea of writing a kind, law-abiding character's alignment as Chaotic Evil because of the class they're playing shocks and upsets me

The idea of a kind, law-abiding character having access to the power of Chaotic Evil rather than inherently obtaining access to the power of Lawful Good does not work for me.


In the setting, Good, Evil, Law, and Chaos are all observable, measurable forces that exist and influence the material realm. The idea of relative morality is absurd in that context. It's fine to have values that don't align perfectly with one of them, but it's hard to say a thing is "good" when it isn't "Good," in the context of morality being empirical and fundamental, rather than a vague sense of a set of social expectations that shift at varying speeds.

The place where I see unacceptable restrictions on player agency, in this way of looking at things, is "the multiverse says this thing is Evil so you have no choice about having to regard it as evil". That they are observable, empirically measurable forces is precisely what removes them from the arena of moral decision-making.

I want to be able to tell stories where a truly good person can, if the situation calls for it, have to consider the possibility of sacrificing not just their life but their afterlife in the name of doing something good that the multiverse happens to have labelled Evil. (The infernal healing example again.) I want to be able to tell stories where accepting the objective polarities of the metaphysical forces of the multiverse or raging against them are equally valid options for PCs.

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aobst128 wrote:

Taking away player agency based on the semantics of cosmic force alignment and not on actual moral implications would be very frustrating for a system that's supposed to be able choices and morality.

This may be an irreconcilable difference in taste, then, because where you see frustration, I am seeing the kind of interesting roleplaying challenges that make alignment worth having.

I would also note that the apocalypse locust in the PF1 Bestiary 4, with its ability to brand people such that they become, metaphysically and for the purposes of related effects, Chaotic Evil regardless of their behaviour or intent, indicates that choices and morality are not universally in control of alignment status in Golarion's cosmology.


Choices and intentions are what defines a person's alignment.

Assessing alignment based on intention seems to add even more murkiness to just the places where arguments are most likely to happen. When GMing I make it clear from the get-go that alignment will be assessed by actions and their consequences, not the motivations with which they are carried out.

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
So being a demon-bloodline sorcerer shouldn't make you evil any more than being a Tiefling makes you evil.

The difference, as I see it there, is that "tiefling" isn't a character class. A tiefling is not inherently required to do anything with their life that relates to or engages with their fiendish origin. A demon-blooded sorcerer, by definition, is using powers directly deriving from Chaotic Evil as a cosmic polarity. A purely human sorcerer who leans into using the powers of Chaotic Evil is in any games of mine also going to become Chaotic Evil in short order if they are not already there.

This would, I think, work better if Good and Evil were referred to as Celestial and Fiendish as polarities go, because I think the game becomes a lot more interesting if alignments are cosmic forces that shape their users and all have a bunch of adherents embodying and more or less aggressively proselytising, but the game itself does not cede them any specific moral authority; that nothing requires either a character, or (even better for avoiding arguments) a player, to regard Evil as having to match their personal conception of evil, or Good good. Infernal healing, to pick a fictitious and therefore hopefully non-controversial example, is much more interesting to me as a concept if it can at the same time do something a player could plausibly deem good (heal someone) while still being objectively, in the setting, Evil, with the consequences that entails.

(Also, short of some really fancy footwork an Abysaal Exalt working not to be a relentless vanguard of oblivion and nihilism is inherently trying not to be an Abyssal Exalt as their makers intended, to my mind; I like Exalted as a cosmology because so very much of it is explicitly about exploring what in a D&D-derived model come out as alignment-based quandaries.)

I think the question of stories that can be told with Mythic if it is a fundamentally different, more narrative-element form of power, and the question of stories that can be told with Mythic if it is a set of ten additional levels after 20, do fairly rapidly run into the same issue of how much change Golarion can plausibly take; I love Golarion as a setting, but the stronger you make PCs, the more egregious "why aren't they teleporting about the place addressing other major issues, resolving mysteries and generally changing things beyond recognition" becomes.

In the case of Wrath of the Righteous, what I have always wanted to do as a GM is end it with "and you are all in the depths of the Rasping Rifts facing off against nigh-endless demonic armies, and that's the last anyone on Golarion sees or hears of what became of you, at least for the duration of subsequent campaigns." I can't realistically see anyone at Paizo signing off on official content that folds, spindles, and mutilates Golarion the way Exalted, for example, pretty much has the baked-in assumption characters will do to their table's instance of its setting, both through massive power levels and through deep investment in the mythically weird, that doesn't feel to me like the genre it is going for. (To my mind genre is basically a contract between creators and audience, so that, for example, romance readers know enough of the basic shape of what to expect from a romance that buing one will be satisfying, and it feels to me like a fundamental part of the genre contract of all Golarion's varied and detailed lore is not chucking the whole thing in a shredder.)

(Also, seriously, if you want inspiration for high-powered character abilities off at interesting and often mythic-feeling tangents to punching the baddies in the face even harder, Sidereal Martial Arts in Exalted get gloriously bizarre.)

Given the above perspective, the options I see for story-types that would work with mythic are either

a) relatively low-level and low-impact - as the Iblydos examples above. Or something similar to Quest for Frozen Flame in scale and scope - working fundamental qualitative change in the lives, self-concepts, philosophy etc of your people for values of "your people" who are more isolated, or work at a lower tech or magic level than many parts of Golarion, feels to me like it could work for mythic feel without having to leave a bunch of bored potential world-wrecker PCs hanging about.


b) set much of the later parts off Golarion, even more so than Wrath of the Righteous. Or indeed as was done in Savage Tide, or for a not-just-the-Abyss example, the latter parts of the 4e Scales of War AP, uneven though it is and much though 4e is not to my taste. Given the existence of Starfinder, the space for doing that is probably planar rather than planetary.

I have rattled on this long already, I should probably suggest an actual story idea, so:

At what would be the climax of a thematically apt 1-20 AP the PCs are transported into the future. A really, really, bad future. One where, of the various cosmic apocalypses looming on the edges of the setting, Zon-Kuthon has won. Golarion is now a nightmare hellscape, but after some wandering around fighting various powerful nightmares getting the hang of what is going on, the PCs discover that the Great Beyond has been similarly messed up. They plumb the depths of Hell, discovering that some of its scarier mysteries (the Dustbringer in Caina and Rithayn in Phlegethon from Book of the Damned: Princes of Darkness, possibly some of the horrors mentioned as being in Asmodeus' personal vault in the Nessus entry in The Great Beyond including the key to Rovagug's prison) are all part of a vast and long-term plan, left there by the velstracs when they moved to the Plane of Shadows, to usurp Hell and worse. The Boneyard is under velstrac management, Groetus is being flensed and strip-mined, Rovagug is a hound directed by titanic spiked chains and truly cosmic amounts of pain to serve as the Midnight Lord's attack dog and probably gets sent after the PCs. They have to travel far and wide in the Great Beyond to put together the pieces of how all this happened, forge alliances between surviving remnants of previous forces however unpalatable (even daemons who want everything to end will have common cause with heroic PCs in opposing a multiverse of unending torment). Eventually they go through Eternity's Doorstep, beyond the multiverse as we know it, deep into what lies beyond, where they encounter whatever it was that Dou-Bral met that caused him to become Zon-Kuthon.

(I think there is a post somewhere in the Ask James Jacobs thread several years back to the effect that Zon-Kuthon was always Zon-Kuthon, suggesting Dou-Bral was a Trojan Horse of his to get into this multiverse from somewhere outside or possibly the previous iteration of the multiverse, but I am not finding it now.)

Then they have to come back in to the multiverse, by entering the Abyss from the other end. Qlippoth battles and sundry other cool Abyssal stuff ensues. Eventually they do so, and can return to present-day Golarion, where they can then go to Hell and destroy Rithayn, and by combining what they have brought with them with help from Shelyn, they can engage with Zon-Kuthon in Nidal, his unique foothold on the Material Planes, and prevent whatever event they have learned triggered the apocalyptic future in the first place.

(The shape of the 1-20 AP before this could include early bits in Nidal to set up locations and character attachments for the grand finale; travelling around the world to visit other Star Towers like the one in Curse of the Crimson Throne, and hey, they could go to the Pit of Gormuz to beat up Raskeya et al at this point and learn things about Rovagug that will be relevant in the dark future; and given that there is a kyton working with the Dominion of the Black in Iron Gods, possibly interacting with the Dominion on a large scale too. This post is probably long enough already without me going into any more detail there.)

And the AP immediately after this would be quite remarkable amounts of sweetness and light...

(ETA: lots of typos and some greater clarity.)

Eldritch Yodel wrote:

I've never really seen Zyphus as too too niche. Like, whilst he is going by purely going by "yeah he's the god of accidental death", but really that title just feels like a way of helping to describe his "idea" in the most simple way. If they just said "he's a god of death" that'll tell you pretty much nothing about what outlook on death he actually has, his view on death focusing on a nihilistic take on the pointlessness, unreasonableness of it.

Fwiw, the way I have found to get some character/philosophical depth to Zyphus and possible followers of his is to make him the god of "Pharasma's System Is Just Plain Wrong And I'm Going To Persuade People That Things Work Differently" (as opposed to Urgathoa as god of "Pharasma's System Is Just Plain Wrong And I'm Going To Indulge Myself And Ignore It, And So Can You"). There's a lot to be done with how tenable these positions are to your average mortal on Golarion who is told different things by different priests and is unlilkely to bump into something as convincing as direct divine intervention, at least not while they are alive.

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This is probably a ridiculously unlikely proposition, but a revival of the "<X> Monsters Revisited" line would warm my heart like few other imaginable possibilities.

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aobst128 wrote:

That would be unfortunate if that were the case. The whole identity of sorcerers is their inherent magic that they don't get a choice in. It's in their blood. That can definitely have a stake in how someone turns out but it's still the sum of your choices that make up a person. Having alignment restrictions for sorcerer's essentially takes away their free will because they never had a choice in the matter.

If a character's inherent sorcerous abilities derive from a strong connection to incarnations of Chaotic Evil, it works for me that they should be required to be Chaotic Evil, at least to begin with. Thinking in terms of redemption arcs from that might be workable with a role-play heavy group, though finding a modality for that that does not equate to "stop being a demoonic sorcerer" is kind of challenging in the context of the particular plausible player groups I am thinking of. (I may have been spending too much time thinking about how that kind of thing works in Exalted recently.)

Addendum, in the interests of fending off rehashes of unproductive discussions I have had before; I work in research neuroscience, and the general consensus in the groups I play with is strongly that free will, as it is implemented in Golarion, and the moral significance thereof, is an interesting fictional construct that works in a game context. Any argument based on the assumption that that value of free will happens in RL will get no traction with me.

I am generally in favour of much tighter alignment restrictions for any number of character concepts, as it is a shape of constraint I have found much more likely to generate creativity and interesting characters than to stifle them.

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James Jacobs wrote:

Not sure what "Mini AP" means, but if that means a 11–20 3 part Adventure Path, then the Stolen Fate Adventure Path, which starts in Absalom, makes an easy transition from Abomination Vaults to a new campaign.

But note that Stolen Fate has no through line with Abomination Vaults' plot and themes.

How likely are we to at some point get a 1-10 AP that left PCs well positioned for proceeding into Fists of the Ruby Phoenix? Not expecting or asking for plot throughline here, but something with thematic/subgenre expectations that would connect on well there would be very cool.

I've mentioned before that the shorter APs are essentially a no-go for my current plausible player groups, though Quest for Frozen Flame might turn out an exception if I skew it somewhat more isolated and stonepunk than written, and am very much looking forward to seeing whether/how Stolen Fate might work following on from one of the 1-10 APs.

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keftiu wrote:

People would be mad if Demon Sorcerers were required to be Chaotic Evil. I just wish the game was consistent.

I would be delighted if Demon Sorcerers were required to be Chaotic Evil.

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keftiu wrote:

If you aren't aware, it does seem like 1e's PFS #7-00 may have tied a bow off on them as a faction.

now that you mention it, I believe I had seen that said before, but was not remembering it when I made the post above, thank you for reminding me. Does that scenario actually detail any of what the Harbingers expected to happen in the Age of Glory, beyond the mere fact of Aroden returning?

Oh, and also I have a pretty fierce craving for detailed ecology information on some of the odder new monsters introduced in the PF2 bestiaries, and seeing where they fit in and interact with established monsters and their relationships.

I know if I run the numbers for ecosystems supporting stable breeding populations of that many different large predators it will just make me cry. I remind myself about suspension of disbelief, and also headcanon fungal crawlers as extremely numerous and ecosystem-basal in basically every bit of the upper Darklands we've not explicitly seen.

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The Harbingers of Fate and their Book of 1,000 Whispers.

Golarion's timeline has now progressed beyond the canonical scope of their prophecies for what should have been happening in the Age of Glory had Aroden not died, IIRC, but I'd still love to have details of what they expected, and which bits they were trying to make happen to "fix" things; I have toyed with the notion of homebrewing something in which a second volume of that shows up so that the basic idea can still be relevant for some decades to come.

The Dominion of the Black don't IMO count as obscure, but the sort of questions I'd like to see answered about the scope of their operations feel more on a scale to fit in Starfinder than Pathfinder.

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glass wrote:
Would the 12 part AP be half-speed advancement, or go to level 40? Or somewhere in between? EDIT: I realised the OP was not actually advocating 12-part APs, but presumably someone was at some point and I was curious about what was actually meant.

As one of the people who has been expressing a preference for longer APs, what I was hoping for is some mode for Legendary/Epic/call it what you will adventuring that goes beyond 20th level, say to 30th. Something that is specifically "levels past the current cap" rather than Mythic's "different track of advancement in parallel with regular levels". I did start suggesting this well back in PF1 times, and my mental model here was based on a combination of the pacing of PF1 APs mostly not going to 20th, and that the last few levels tend to advance more slowly (in terms of volume of AP content per level) and I would expect that tendency to increase in a putative new Epic system.

Also, by "longer" here, my primary suggestion in recent years has been for a 9-part AP adjacent to a 3-parter, which would not leave people who didn't like whatever the topic of the AP turned out to be without any AP content for an entire year, and which also seems to be less work (though I'm well aware making any such thing work is still an awful lot of work) than a 12-parter.

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I'm still on for a pure exploration AP, with no overarching big bad. Or one where the central conflict is between different equally sympathetic groups and "crushing the Evil ones" is not a workable solution, such as followers of Abadar vs. followers of Erastil over the path of growth and development of a small town - complex diplomacy FTW. Or an all-planar odyssey. Or something that gives us answers about the large-scale scope and make-up of the Dominion of the Black, though I have no preference for whether that happens in Pathfiner or Starfinder and I can see ways it migh be easier in Starfinder.

Though while I am coming up with a list of requests, I feel I should also note that I am still very pleased indeed that between Quest for Frozen Flame and some of the side elements of Extinction Curse the things I had wanted from a dinosaurs-and-megafauna Realm of the Mammoth Lords/Deep Tolguth AP, that I had been jonesing for for years and think I have mentioned in threads like this before, were provided in a very satisfying way.

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

If we need people to live in neat caves somewhere, I would prefer "some sort of person that we've never heard of before" (like the Shisk or the Goloma) to a type of person we've seen and already know what they're about.

If we want people living in neat surface-level caves in Arcadia, the cliff giants from 1e Bestiary 4 seem tailor-made for the role, and I can't recall any mention of them anywhere else in lore.

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keftiu wrote:

I know you're not a fan of the system, but the 4e setting books on planar content - Manual of the Planes, The Plane Above, The Plane Below, and Underdark (which details the underdark of the Feywild and Shadowfell!) - are still probably the finest planar fantasy supplements I've ever read, barring 2e Planescape's more Sigil-centric stuff.

Thank you for the recommendation, I shall put those on the list to look up at some point.

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Scale, and complexity.

I want places that are alien. Not meaning to come across contrarian for the sake of it, but nearby planes that are like the Material Plane or connect closely to it are the least interesting bits of the wider multiverse to me because they add relatively little to the things that can already be done on the Material Plane, and the bits that would add to that have by and large not had a huge amount of focus; there were implications in some of the 1e lore about potential really large-scale conflict going on between xill and phase spiders in the Ether, for example, but apart from one encounter in Kingmaker I can't recall anything in an AP or module touching on that.

I want places that feel big and alien enough that players and PCs alike will feel awed, where veteran adventurers will not just be either big fish in small ponds or hurtling towards the career-climax triumph of facing the BBEG of that particular campaign. I don't think that has to preclude either places that are complex and grounded enough to feel lived-in, or the in-locale equivalent of a Sandpoint or an Otari where low-level locals can have their first adventures, though the thing that would be most to my taste would be environs where beyond-20th level play was supported without the level of rendering the setting unrecognisable that could easily come from 30th-level characters wandering around Golarion. (I love Golarion unreservedly on the scale at which it works, I'd just like options to go bigger when adventurers get to the end of what the current system supports, and within the scope of Pathfinder rather than, say. scratching that itch by playing Exalted.)

I expect that my preferences here are a fairly small niche, but I was really impressed with The Reaper's Right Hand as a step in the directions of both high-level, and compellingly detail-dense, extraplanar content, so it can happen. And while D&D 4e is not a game that appeals to me in the slightest, I did read the entire Scales of War AP for that system because of its high-level planar content, and uneven though it is that feels like another worthwhile example that the kind of thing I am wishing for can be and has been done.

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NielsenE wrote:
Its pretty much true to the 1e AP (ie not foreshadowed).

I have just been reading my copy this last few days, and I am really glad to see how much this is the case; there are lots of APs where you know where the ultimate big bad will be from very near the beginning, a lot of what makes Kingmaker work for me is not having that information to distort expectations away from the exploring-and-kingdom-building plot.

AceofMoxen wrote:
I am utterly fascinated by the question "What evolutionary purpose does a belief in free will serve?" Nearly all Human cultures evolved to believe in free will, so it would seem superior. I think the ability to blame people for their "choices" must come into it. Someone who commits an anti-social act (murder or whatever) is more likely to do it again, so the ability to blame them soothes us for punishing them (more murder) and soothes us that we wouldn't do the same.

I do not think that is actually necessary, though. Creating strong disincentives for murder or other heinous acts, in order that a rational human will deterministically react to by not committing murder or whatever, does not require free will in any part of the equation.

Also, I would query "nearly all human cultures evolved to believe in free will", or at least to the extent free will works in Golarion and in the versions of D&D preceding Pathfinder, which is ultimately coming from one specific thread of early Christianity. Just out of the bits of history and culture I am reasonably familiar with, I can cite Norse wyrd, Classical Greek moira, geasa in the original Irish mythology, and the more predestination-oriented strands of Christian thought as counterexamples, and all of the more restrictive.

The Raven Black wrote:
That is an interesting point. If free will is an illusion, how come the illusion is so vital to our continued sanity ? Which biological purpose does it serve ?

Preventing us from getting depressed over our lack of control of things?

Claxon wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
(Incidental note in the hope of heading off some quagmires this line of thought has led to before; I work in neuroscience research, and arising from that am absolutely sure that morally significant free will in the Golarion sense does not exist in reality; so I am treating it as a game construct from the get-go.)
Even if it is true, that in reality we all lack morally significant free will, I will have to rebel against your assertion as it would lead to a pointless existence of nihilism. Everything would be devoid of meaning.

For what it's worth, that feels to me to be skipping over a number of steps which can reasonably be debated; I do not at all accept that "not having free will in the specific sense it is used in Golarion (and in the thread of Western philosophical thought from which that derives)" necessarily equals "horrible lack of meaning".

(Also, it seems to me that "if it were true that we have no free will I would have to rebel against the assertion" is somewhat paradoxical...)

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keftiu wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
keftiu wrote:

Aroden’s death may well have caused all the issues that coincide with it, but the end of prophecy is something that impacts the whole world, rather than just the folks familiar with one god’s cult - hence the setting being Lost Omens, and not Dead Arodenworld.
I thought WotR made it pretty clear that Aroden's death had no direct causal impact on the opening of the Worldwound, but I may be misremembering.
Who was talking about the Worldwound?

I was counting it in the category of "all the issues that coincide with Aroden's death".

keftiu wrote:

Aroden’s death may well have caused all the issues that coincide with it, but the end of prophecy is something that impacts the whole world, rather than just the folks familiar with one god’s cult - hence the setting being Lost Omens, and not Dead Arodenworld.

I thought WotR made it pretty clear that Aroden's death had no direct causal impact on the opening of the Worldwound, but I may be misremembering.

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The Raven Black wrote:
I now wonder what big prophecies they had in other parts of Golarion that did not come true.

The further we get into the timeline, the less hope I hold for seeing the Harbingers of Fate and the Book of 1000 Whispers get a major plotline that would tell us more about what the Age of Glory after Aroden's return was supposed to look like. (We know the founder of the Harbingers tried to bring that Book's prophecies about in order to set things back on course, but I do not recall ever seeing any specifics.)

If I were doing that, having the second volume of the Book of 1000 Whispers detailing events from 4714 on show up, or at least be rumoured to exist, would be where I would start.

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Feh, I take a break for a bit and miss some fascinating discussion in one of the most interesting alignment threads in a long time.

An awful lot of problems go away, and an awful lot of roleplaying opportunities open up, if one lets go of the assumption that what any given character considers good or evil has to map on to Good or Evil the cosmic polarities, and more recently I have been tending to refer to said polarities as Celestial and Fiendish in-game to encourage that distinction; treating those as physical forces, that happen to have dominion over what becomes of the soul after death, that a lot of associated outsiders identify with, but without any other moral weight.

I think I find that easier to engage with and certainly easier to GM with because my personal experience of humanity suggests that almost all people do what they do, whether the outcome be good or evil or Good or Evil, because they regard it as worth doing; intentially malevolent "evil be thou my good" is thankfully rare, though not non-existent.

(Incidental note in the hope of heading off some quagmires this line of thought has led to before; I work in neuroscience research, and arising from that am absolutely sure that morally significant free will in the Golarion sense does not exist in reality; so I am treating it as a game construct from the get-go.)

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keftiu, Cori Marie, KC; thank you for continuing to fight the good fight even when it's this uphill a battle.

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The Raven Black wrote:
Mind you, helping the masses value vague posts on social networks over the word of recognized authorities / experts is something any Lawful society will dislike, including Lawful Evil ones.

Yeah, Lawful Good has a really intense, nuanced, moderation style. It works, but it takes a lot of energy.

I find it all too plausible that Cheliax is racist against tieflings, because considering "mostly like the approved outcome but Not Quite, in ways that can be considered a moral failing or a betrayal" worse than "entirely the Other" is something I have seen in cases of RL bigotry.

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I would certainly be interested to see more Crown of the World content.

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DungeonmasterCal wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
I confess that I do love these forums. I love the community in-jokes, the history we’ve built that can be reread on occasions, the stories written through play by post recorded and revisitable for reminiscing.
I feel the same way.

And likewise, despite being a relatively recent and infrequent poster. It's a valued point of light for me in these dark times.

Civilisation III, over the past twenty years, without a doubt.

Though right now I am also playing a lot of Idle Evolve and enjoying it immensely.

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keftiu wrote:
To clarify: it /doesn’t/ work for me, and I wish it wasn’t part of the setting.

My apologies for the misreading.

Kobold Catgirl wrote:
I've basically come to the conclusion that any tabletop RPG that uses the d20 is basically handicapping itself out of misplaced nostalgia for what was originally probably just a marketing gimmick. If the first boxed set had used a Sorry!-style spinning wheel, we'd be stuck using that instead.

But think how much finer granularity we would have if we had started with d% as standard. It might actually be possible to make critical hit and miss rules that made sense! (Simulate the group of unskilled peasants in every montage you have ever seen being taught by the hero how to defend their village from incoming villains, as an actual training scene, and if any more than a tiny fraction of them come out seriously injured from criticals, you have a problem. Or you are playing W*rh*mm*r.)

I confess to having a possibly unseemly fascination with solid geometry which can be traced to the set of dice that came with the red box D&D basic set.

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I confess to discouraging people who min-max from joining games I run.

Haladir wrote:
I have to confess that every time I've played Pathfinder in the past three years or so, I've thought to myself that I'd be having a much better time if we were using a different ruleset.

I confess to having used GURPS for this purpose.

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Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
The Marvel Superheroes system of the 80's and 90's was fun too!

Goodness, that takes me back. The group I was in in secondary school played some of that in the late 80s, it never took off with everyone but I found it a lot of fun.

Most of the settings I've had most fun in have been homebrew. I quite like some aspects of Exalted's Creation, but given how much of Exalted's mechanics seems to be built around actively wanting the PCs to wreak fundamentally world-changing havoc, I'm not at all sure how much of that would survive any significant length into a campaign.

Most interesting-looking setting I have read recently is Mechanical Dream, though it seems a bit short on long-term plot hooks, and I am also very taken with The Strange and have an opening campaign in that setting sketched out. And I am aiming to pick up SPLINTER one of these days, because the basic concept sounds cool to me if the execution delivers.

(There is part of my brain that wants to graft Nobilis characters and concepts onto the Mechanical Dream world, but I have many other projects and life is short.)

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dirtypool wrote:


Not sure what that means?

It's probably worth noting that in Scots English "fash" is a verb meaning "to fret about something".

CorvusMask wrote:

We DO have Sun Wukong in pathfinder, i call it bigger dealio "so how come on Odin and Thor are off limits? ;P"

(especially since there are no pathfinder original ulfen gods either <_<)

But yeah I'm bit different category in that I'm bit more "so if the god is basically x, why can't it just be x?"

Because it runs into potential problems when God X has real life followers; I am glad to see PF's use of Egyptian deities works for keftiu but I would not wager on that being the case for other followers of Egyptian deities I know in RL, and I know rather more Asatru than followers of Egyptian deities (if there is a preferred name for that latter faith in the present day, I am unaware of it, and no disrespect is meant by not using it.)

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Berhagen wrote:

Still both ideologies are now associated with genocide….. so not particularly nice for a RPG.

Indeed, but I can quite sympathise with people finding those satisfying villains to thwart and defeat.

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CorvusMask wrote:
Like I heard Legendary Planet 3rd party ap has basically LN space nazis, but I haven't read it or played it so can't really confirm that

I have read it, it was one of the options for a game I was hoping to run a few months ago that fell through. The villains in questions are totalitarians in a roughly steampunk/dieselpunk setting, with a supposed ideology of racial purity which is I think intended to read as dark irony given that the species they belong to are basically steampunk cyborgs. There are bits of back matter and details of their aesthetic that suggest Nazis, but others that suggest Stalin, so I think anyone running the campaign could go either way.

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