weirmonken's page

Organized Play Member. 219 posts. 1 review. No lists. 1 wishlist.

Scarab Sages


Just wanted to stop by and let you all know about the Slumbering Ursine Dunes, a module by Chris Kutalik set in a mythic wilderness where reality can twist and change based on player action. The module includes a large wilderness area to explore (using a unique pointcrawl system to direct your PCs to the adventure sites) and two dungeon sites: the biomechanical Golden Barge, set adrift from its dimensional mooring, and the Glittering Tower, home of a bearling demi-god under siege by pirates and the sinister Eld.

The Dunes are a truly unique and idiosyncratic product unlike anything else on the market and I can't recommend them highly enough. Although written for Labyrinth Lord, being OGL-based (if "old school") I'm sure some enterprising GMs could convert it to PF and really surprise their party with some weird, funny, and altogether different.

With only three days left in the Kickstarter and requiring only a $1 pledge to access an early draft, now is the time to check out the Slumbering Ursine Dunes:

Scarab Sages

Let me begin by saying that I know a few of my players skulk around these forums and, as such, I'd like to warn them that this is the last place they should be, as there will be extensive spoilers for my campaign.

That said, Serpent's Skull is the first AP that I'm running using the Pathfinder system and setting. I held Paizo in high regard for their great work on Dungeon magazine, and while I've been out of D&D for some time, when I decided to return Pathfinder seemed much closer to my own sensibilities than current WotC productions.

Serpent's Skull seemed to be an opportunity to explore certain classic themes in D&D that I had never played around with before: jungle exploration and survival, lost cities, and a very pulp, Indiana Jones-ish vibe. While the campaign does deliver this in heavy doses (especially the excellently-written first chapter, "Souls for Smuggler's Shiv"), as the later chapters were released I found that not every choice made necessarily fit my own aesthetic. As we continue playing through "Souls for Smuggler's Shiv", I find myself wanting to modify the campaign to ever-greater degrees.

This journal will not be a straight recounting of events from the campaign, but instead a place to store and share my thoughts on the AP as well as the modifications that I've made to it.

To start with, one of the things that I've come to love about Pathfinder is their dedication to the history of the hobby and swords and sorcery literature that informed Gygax and Arneson's designs. As I engage in my own exploration of those roots and develop a relationship with them, I hope to grow in my understanding of the pulp tropes that pervade our hobby.

In the near future, I'll be discussing some of the sources I'm examining for inspiration and the PCs themselves, as well as providing a broad outline for the changes I'm currently working to incorporate into the game.

Scarab Sages

Hey Folks,

I've got a couple of upcoming interactions in my campaign with slightly deranged hermits and am looking for some inspiration. So, what books / short stories / films do you think have particularly good examples of this archetype?

Any/all suggestions welcome, and thank you for your recommendations in advance.

Scarab Sages

Hey Folks,

I know I'm not the only person who grew up with 2nd Edition, and remembers it fondly, even if there were very few quality "modules", per se. One thing that I noticed was pervasive about that era was an attempt to really create a sense that intelligent monsters had credible, working societies of their own, and that they were just as capable of diplomatic resolutions to conflicts as they were duking it out with adventurers.

This spirit was embraced to a large degree by the sadly short-lived comic in the back of Dungeon magazine, "Downer", which I felt was truly brilliant.

Now, with all my old 2nd Edition books lost to the four winds, I've been trying to compile a list of products that really hit on this spirit of "evil societies still function, just with more backstabbing and intrigue" and was hoping for your help.

The first products that come to my mind are Legend of Spelljammer, which had a strong impression on my juvenile mind, although I'm not sure how it'll stand up to adult scrutiny. I recall it presented a city where Mind Flayers, Neogi, Dwarves and Humans all managed to live together in an uneasy peace.

Likewise, Night Below really hooked me with the idea that the Underdark was a place where a variety of city-states warred and allied with each other, with complex politics defining each holding in contrast to one another.

Finally, I know that the Planescape line was well-lauded for its cosmopolitan and political aspects, but I'm afraid I never got into the line, so missed the boat the first time around. I'd love any suggestions you may have.

Any suggestions along these lines would be appreciated, and I'd especially like to see supplements that concentrate on extraplanar politics and the dynamics of the Underdark.

Thank you in advance for any help you might provide!

Scarab Sages

Hey Golariophiles,

I know that monks are a fairly recent transplant to the Inner Sea region, either from the Crown of the World or from Casmaron via the Golden Path, but what named schools / orders / etc. are there in the Inner Sea Region?

I've caught the Houses of Perfection in Jalmeray, and I vaguely recall something about an all-female monastic order in service to House Thrune, but is that it?

With the cross-cultural intersections between Vudra and the Keleshite Empire, you'd think there'd at least be some styles in Qadira.

Any help would be appreciated. I imagine we'll see more of these across Golarion in the yet-announced "Inner Sea Combat" and "Tian Xia Gazeteer".

NOTE: Certainly no guarantees on either of those titles, but they do seem pretty likely; even if "Inner Sea Combat" is an ugly name for a book.

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm sure Mikaze will be very pleased.

Scarab Sages




Absolutely cannot wait.

Scarab Sages

An interesting conundrum for all of you Golarion continuity obsessives to consider:

According to Sargava, the Lost Colony, construction began on the future site of Eleder in 4138.

Yet, in the Acts of Iomedae (described in The Sixfold Trial), her second miraculous act was to free Eledar from a coven of Garundi witches.

Here's where the problem lies:

The Acts depict miraculous events during the time when Iomedae was a mortal servant of Aroden. According to the Campaign Setting, Iomedae would ascend to godhood in 3832.

Hence, nearly three hundred years before Eleder is founded, Iomedae frees the city from Garundi witches.

I've been giving this some thought, and a few possibilities occurred to me that could resolve this issue:

1. The city of Eleder itself was not freed by Iomedae, but the city's future site (and the M'Wangi people who inhabited the area) was, in the 3800s, visited by Iomedae. So, what the Acts actually mean is, "The future site of the city of Eleder was where Iomedae defeated the Garundi witches."

I find this the least compelling argument, personally, as it lacks any real drama.

2. The text in Sargava, the Lost Colony is viewing the issue from the viewpoint of Cheliax, as there was a preexisting civilization where Eleder now stands. The name Eleder cold refer to an earlier location or people that Iomedae freed, i.e. "Iomedae freed the tribe Eleder" or "Iomedae freed the city of Eleder". In this case, the naming of the city is inspired by the Acts.

This option begs the question, of course, what happened to the original people of Eleder? Did some great calamity fall upon the city, and there are yet-undiscovered dungeons beneath the current Sargavan capital? Was the colonization of Sargava such a brutal affair that the original people of Eleder were stamped out? Or, as an unforeseen consequence of Iomedae's liberation of Eleder, social order collapsed and the people of the area factionalized into the various tribes that we know of today, like post-Tito Yugoslavia?

3. The Acts were not compiled during Iomedae's lifetime, and were only written after the founding of Sargava in 4138. Existing as a series of oral traditions before this point, the miracle stories of Iomedae evolved over time to reflect the current concerns of the Chelish people. When they were finally codified into canon, there was bound to be some discrepancies.

This may seem absurd, but it does have some real-life parallels. Modern Biblical scholarship indicates that the Gospels were not written until decades after the death of Jesus and were compiled from third-hand accounts of parables and miracle stories. These oral traditions were collected and organized into narrative formats, leading to a number of discrepancies between the various accounts, such as the chronology of Jesus' travels, his exact genealogy, and (more simply) the number of angels that appeared to Mary after his death.

Although 300+ years is a long time to maintain oral traditions for the church of Iomedae, it seems unlikely that she had an extensive following before Aroden's death. Not only did Aroden have a more expansive portfolio, but the relative youth of her religion means that it probably spread fairly slowly. Also, a certain percentage of Taldor's empire (at this time being the dominant political force in Avistan) would feel uncomfortable worshiping a Cheliaxian goddess who did enjoy the "purity" of Azlanti origins due to her Ulfen blood. This seems even more likely when you consider that political tensions between Taldor and Cheliax were probably on the rise, as the Even-Tongued Conquest would occur only two hundred years later, in 4079.

While she likely had a strong following in Lastwall, the after-effects of the Shining Crusade likely kept the budding nation very busy as they engaged in their unending war against the orcs of Belkzen, who would prove to be more resilient foes than Tar-Baphon himself. Iomedae's clerics are not exactly the scholarly types besides, as they're depicted as constantly on the move in search of injustice, which Golarion certainly has plenty of. Therefore, field training of the clergy could have been held in higher regard than cloistered study.

During the compiling of these oral traditions into the Acts, there would likely be a lot of chaff to separate from the wheat, as the elder clergy debate which miracles are to be included and which are considered non-canonical. In the case of the Second Act, this relatively new story could have been selected for political reasons.

While religious faith often teaches us that scripture was passed down from the heavens, history indicates that these documents have an element of realpolitik as well. Concessions are made for the concerns of the day, and theology evolves over time to meet the needs of the faithful. From the transition of the ancient Israelite religion to Judaism with the destruction of the second temple to Mormonism's revision on their stance on polygamy, religions adapt or die.

Although Iomedae may despise those who use the "greater good" to justify wrongdoing, her emphasis on bringing "civilization" to savage peoples allows the clergy of Iomedae to endorse the colonization of Southern Garund. This endorsement would likely lead to larger donations to the coffers of her church, which would help fund the ongoing struggle in Belkzen and the cost of maintaining Lastwall's infrastructure. Further, through this endorsement of the creation of Sargava the Shield Knights would be essentially "buying a seat at the table". Clerics and paladins of Iomedae would be on the ground in Sargava to ensure that the most exploitative practices are stopped, and the clergy can also influence Cheliaxian policymakers to make just decisions thanks to their active involvement in the foundation of the colony.

If this seems out of character for a NG church, keep in mind that the Third Crusade of Mendev was used to justify the persecution of Sarkorian druidic culture and religion and the native Ioberian people of the region have been systematically brutalized by the Crusaders. Yet, despite these abuses, it is clear that no trials for war crimes are forthcoming, in part because of the "Blue Shield" that prevents Crusaders from turning on their own.


Scarab Sages

Paizo Folks,

I'd like to suggest that once a sufficient number of stories have been published in your web fiction line that they are collected in an anthology and published in book format.

I understand that such a product may be considered low-value to many consumers, since they can get access to these stories for free. However, I strongly dislike reading fiction on a computer screen because of the strain on my eyes and don't own or have access to an e-reader. I suspect I am not the only customer who feels this way, and a limited print run could potentially do well.

Scarab Sages

Paizo Folks,

I just wanted to take a moment to talk about one of my favorite 2nd Edition authors, Carl Sargent. I fondly remember his phenomenal work on Night Below and recently did some digging online to find out what happened to this hoary legend.

I think most of his fans know of the mysterious circumstances surrounding his disappearance from public life, with Sean K. Reynolds hearing second-hand that he was in some sort of car accident which prevented him from continuing his work. I sincerely hope this isn't the case, and there are a number of conflicting accounts out there that indicate he made a professional decision not to continue his work in the gaming industry.

If that happens to be the case, it has now been over a decade since he last wrote in the RPG field and he may have reconsidered such a decision. With that possibility still being on the table (as far as I'm aware), I would hope that the fine people of Paizo would consider sending him an inquiry about rejoining the fold.

If, on the other hand, it has been confirmed that he suffers from debilitating injuries that have robbed him of the ability to continue working professionally, I am deeply saddened by this tragedy and wish there was an avenue in which Sargent's fans could contact him to thank him for his contributions to our hobby.

Scarab Sages

Hey Everyone,

This is a pretty minor concern, but I think I've spotted a gaffe.

According to Dwarves of Golarion, only four sky citadels remain: Dongun Hold, Highhelm, Janderhoff, and Kravenkus.

However, the Campaign Setting establishes a fifth citadel, and refers to it in present tense: Kraggodan, in Nirmathas.

Has Kraggodan fallen, or was this simply an error in Dwarves of Golarion?

Scarab Sages

Hey Everyone,

I just noticed that this product is no longer available for preorder on the Chronicles page. Is it canceled? Does this mean future APs will no longer have map packs? I sincerely hope not.

Also, thinking of AP supplements, I would love to see more paper minis. I absolutely loved the tokens that came with old issues of Dungeon magazine, and if Paizo sold products like this (especially if they covered the full range of creatures in the AP) I would snap them up in a minute, even with recycled art.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Folks:

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for scaling back the prestige classes from their insanity in 3.5. I remember loving the idea when I first encountered it in 2000. As originally conceived (if memory serves), the PrC was a great idea: a specialized option for players when they joined an organization. As such, the PrC more closely tied characters to the world, and rewarded those who joined something larger than themselves.

Many of the PrCs presented in Pathfinder materials that I have seen so far have continued this tradition, and I applaud the choice. However, having recently picked up the APG, I noticed there were a lot more "generic" PrCs that did not specifically tie to the world of Golarion. Which is funny, considering that in the same book you've managed to present the perfect solution to specialist PrCs: alternate class features. By allowing players to choose a schtick at first level, this demolishes the need for PrCs that allow players to craft characters that fit a certain subtype.

Anyways, I wanted to let you know that, as a customer, I do not support the creation of more "generic" PrCs. I understand that there is a market for them, but they hold no interest for me.

Scarab Sages

weirmonken wrote:

2. Lost World. This is a subgenre that's been seeing a lot of love recently in the RPG market, but I'd like to get back to the source. What are the essentials?

Hmm. When I said "Lost World" I actually meant "Hollow Earth".