yronimos's page

153 posts. 16 reviews. No lists. No wishlists.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Frames Janco wrote:

I've liked some of the suggestions about favoured enemy as feats, and I agree that it is thematically great.

I have always associated it as a representative of the ranger's experience encountering something and they have taken the time to analyse their encounter and remember the details on behaviour, weaknesses etc. This moreso over "I hate goblins". For this reason I like Hunt Target to a degree, as its like studying the enemy on the fly.

But I would be interested in seeing Favoured enemy come back as a "I've experienced this before" kind of thing. Haven't put pen to paper as to what it would be mechanically, but something that takes into account the enemies you've faced. Something along the lines of if you have had an Encounter with this creature, you gain a bonus on [combat mechanic] or [skill check] to do with it. Maybe you can have enemy specializations = lvl + wis or int modifier, but can swap them out after a new encounter.

Not sure if anything like that works / is viable, but I would love to retain the idea of "I have a history with this thing", as it reflects the ranger's wisdom.

I like where you're coming from on this. And I wouldn't just limit it to combat mechanics or enemies - seems like, where appropriate, this sort of mechanic should extend to other interactions with the favored "enemy" - intimidation, persuasion, negotiation, bargaining and trade, etc.

For example, if your character had a history of navigating treaties with trolls, or trustworthy trading with dwarves, or has such a reputation for bullying and intimidating orcs that there's a good chance they just won't want to mess with the party....

I'm not sure what the best mechanic for that sort of thing might be, either. It strikes me that Lore is potentially structured in a similar way, but I'm too tired to work out the logistics of whether that has any potential to go anywhere. Still, it does strike me at a distance as something that resembles a skill, more than a feat....

I also start to really appreciate where BRP/Call of Cthulhu is coming from with its skill system; did you use the skill this session? If yes, check a box, and at the end of the adventure, there's a chance your skill will improve.... In D&D terms: so, you hunted an undead? Check that box, and build your history and expertise with undead when you level up....

Anyway, that's just a couple random thoughts. To me, there's some appeal to being able to say "I have a history with this sort of thing", and being able to back it up with an unobtrusive mechanic with some real benefit to it....

6 people marked this as a favorite.

What Brother Willi said.

Technically, outside of Golarion "fluff", there are no Evil Great Old Ones, no Good ones, no Lawful, Chaotic, or Neutral ones.

The ethics and morality of the Great Old Ones are so alien, they cannot be compared to those of human beings, and their experience and interests are so alien that human individuality, rights, dignity, etc. simply play no significant role in the day-to-day affairs of Great Old Ones, in much the same way that individual ants in an anthill hold no special interest for human beings who tread on those ants by mistake.

In the Lovecraftian universe that spawned the Great Old Ones, concepts like D&D Alignment are a figment of human imagination, a fairy tale we tell ourselves to make it easier for us to sleep at night. The human concepts of "Good" and "Law" derive no significance apart from that which humanity grants to anything that benefits humanity, for whatever mere humanity is worth in a universe where humans are hardly worthy of an insignificant footnote in the greater scope of the vastness of the space and time of the universe. In the Lovecraftian universe, there are no gods but those we might imagine for our own comfort, or choose from the endless and unimaginable hosts of sufficiently advanced aliens whose ruined civilizations and technologies litter the universe, and hence no objective morality... there are no laws except for those imagined by humans, or the limited set of physical laws that bind humanity within the restrictions of time and space, and hence no objective ethics. The Lovecraftian universe is bound only by the "alignment" of Relativity, in which Law and Good and Neutrality and Evil and Chaos are only constructs built by those with limited perspective for those with limited perspective relative to their own limitations and experiences - perspectives that would make little sense to anything else in the universe.

To the Great Old Ones, there may well be great good to be found in those things that mere humans find to be abhorrent and Evil, an an eldritch order to be seen in those things that humans can find only chaos and disorder in. To see the universe as the Great Old Ones see it, one must stop thinking like a mere human being, and see the universe in an alien and inhuman way, and go "insane" from a human perspective, though arguably the "cultist" who at last can see from that perspective gains levels of wisdom and power over the laws that govern the greater universe beyond the limited human perception of "good" and "evil" and "law" and "chaos" that the cultist can access higher truths and manipulate greater rules that govern the universe in ways that would seem like miracles and magic to us - the "mad" cultist has actually gone saner than human beings by ceasing to be bound by the mundane limits of his/her humanity.

The alien amorality and "madness" by which the Great Old Ones choose to govern their experience are crudely aped by the "Evil" and "Chaos" elements of D&D alignment, but it's really not a very good comparison....

1 person marked this as a favorite.
RumpinRufus wrote:
We've had goblin PCs since 2010. Nothing is changing!!

Goblin PCs have been a part of the game since 2005 as part of D&D 3.5, and, though my memory of earlier editions is a little foggier, I wouldn't be surprised if Goblin PCs weren't part of a game earlier than that, at least as far back as D&D 3.0.

Of course, 2011 would see the first "We Be Goblins" scenario published, focused specifically on Goblin heroes, and adding them to the lore and history of Golarion.

As far as justifying it for the groups who missed/ignored the "We Be Goblins" series, I haven't read the whole thread yet to see if anyone else has answered, but I think we can refer to the "We Be Goblins" series for at least one in-universe explanation:


"We B4 Goblins": (Prequel) "As whelps of the Licktoad tribe just out of their swaddling cages, the goblins Chuffy, Mogmurch, Poog, and Reta must prove themselves by undergoing a series of challenges, from tying a string to a large spider and shouting insults with hot rocks in their mouths to facing off against a goblin bully and his dimwitted minions. As a final test of their mettle, they must make a dangerous (and smelly) trek to claim a toad from the nearby swamp and present it to the terrifying presence that lurks within the Cave of Darkfear, only after which can they truly call themselves goblins! But as the goblins return to the Licktoad village, they come across a brightly colored, jingling human carrying a map to a small farm up the river where a family of halflings are celebrating a wedding—the perfect setup for a goblin raid! Will the heroes acquit themselves in the finest goblin fashion by wreaking havoc upon the nuptials? Or will they be bitten by ferocious dogs and smashed by frying pans?"

"We Be Goblins": "The Licktoad goblins of Brinestump Marsh have stumbled upon a great treasure—fireworks! Yet unfortunately for them, the tribe member responsible for the discovery has already been exiled for the abhorrent crime of writing (which every goblin knows steals words from your head). To remedy this situation, the Licktoads’ leader, His Mighty Girthness Chief Rendwattle Gutwad, has declared that the greatest heroes of the tribe [Reta Bigbad, Chuffy, Poog, and Mogmurch] must venture forth to retrieve the rest of the fireworks from a derelict ship stranded in the marsh. In order to prove themselves as the Licktoads’ bravest goblins, the PCs must complete a series of dangerous dares, from swallowing bull slugs and braving the dreaded Earbiter to dancing with Squealy Nord himself. Yet even once they’ve proven their mettle, the adventure is just beginning. For the ship in question is far from uninhabited, and Vorka the cannibal goblin would like nothing better than a few tasty visitors...."

"We Be Goblins, Too!": "The Licktoads, once the great and fierce goblin tribe in Brinestump Marsh, were defeated by human adventurers! All that remains of the tribe are its four goblin "heroes"—Reta Bigbad the fighter, Chuffy Lickwound the rogue, Poog the cleric of Zarongel, and Mogmurch the alchemist. Homeless and bored, they left their swampy homeland to join the neighboring goblin tribe, the Birdcrunchers. The good news is that the Birdcrunchers are willing to let the goblin heroes join their tribe. The better news is that the Birdcrunchers have heard of these four, and want one of them to become their new chieftain. The bad news is that before the goblins can join, they'll need to endure a series of dangerous and humiliating tests. Very dangerous. Very humiliating. The worse news is that lately Birdcruncher chieftains have had really short lifespans—they're being killed by the pet fire-breathing boar of a local ogre who wants the Birdcruncher land as his own. Can the four heroes of the now-dead Licktoad tribe save the Birdcrunchers and, in so doing, become their new leaders?"

"We Be Goblins, Free!": "After losing chieftain after chieftain, the Birdcruncher goblin tribe finally found competent leadership in its four goblin "heroes"—Reta Bigbad the fighter, Chuffy Lickwound the rogue, Poog the cleric of Zarongel, and Mogmurch the alchemist. But it turns out leading a tribe of goblins isn't much fun, and the newest Birdcruncher chieftains are bored. In order to cure their doldrums, the chieftains have issued a new demand—find them some adventure, or else! Eager to please their great chieftains, the Birdcruncher goblins frantically try to whip up all sorts of amusements, including goblin games, feats of skill, and a grand feast. But trouble arises in the midst of the goblins' feast for their mighty leaders—the goblins who went to harvest truffles for the feast got beat up by some stinky humans! Now the Birdcruncher chieftains find themselves getting more adventure than they bargained for as they venture to the Bestest Truffle Field to pick up the slack for their bumbling minions. Will the goblin heroes be able to make it to the field, find the treasured fungus, defeat the mean humans, and make it back to the tribe in time to enjoy their well-deserved feast?"

In short:

The four legendary Licktoad Goblin heroes began their career as young heroes among their own tribe, and grew up to prove themselves as paragons among their tribe, before the Licktoad tribe was destroyed under the leadership of the all-too conventional and short-sighted Chief Rendwattle Gutwad (His Mighty Girthness), and scattered to the winds. The Licktoad heroes quickly found themselves welcomed and adopted into the Birdcruncher tribe, where they quickly rose to the top of their new tribe as joint leaders and role-models for the other Goblins.

So, who are all these new Goblin adventurers suddenly wandering around seeking adventures?

Some are wandering, homeless Licktoads, inspired by their heroes to adopt the lifestyle of Goblin adventurers. Maybe they will be adopted into other Goblin tribes and become leaders and heroes in their own right, or maybe they will cast their lots in with stinky Longshank and other traditional adventurers, and find their niche there.

Others are Birdcrunchers, sent on quests or also inspired to become adventurers by those same heroes, ultimately further helping the Birdcruncher tribe to flourish even further as a rare center of Goblin civilization.

Still others are Goblin adventurers from neighboring tribes who, quick to notice the success of the Birdcrunchers and connect that success to the efforts of Goblin adventurers and heroes, have produced adventurers of their own to try to compete with their neighbors.

After all, Goblins are relatively short-lived and often child-like people who, by nature, rarely survive far into adulthood and very rarely benefit from each others' experience and leadership, but the Licktoad heroes have done enough good in their own time to become legends and role-models among Goblins, sparking a generation of young Goblin adventurers and heroes in their wake.

How long will this development last? Will it die out when Reta, Chuffy, Poog, and Mogmurch pass from this world into memory, quickly forgotten the moment that younger Goblins are distracted, and return to acting more like savage pests than heroes? Or will this new generation of Goblins inspire another, and generation by generation slowly lead their kind to a stable form of civilization? That depends on the heroism and conduct of this fresh new breed of Goblin heroes, and on the willingness of their skeptical neighbors to set aside their differences and work with these adventurers; perhaps only time will tell how this will work out.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

I want to take a moment and talk a bit about the a concern I am seeing here with some frequency, and that is that characters will be streamlined and not customizable. I get that we are using some terms that may lead you to think we are going with a similar approach to some other games, but that is simply not the case.

Characters in the new edition have MORE options in most cases than they did in the previous edition. You can still make the scholarly mage who is the master of arcane secrets and occult lore, just as easily as you can make a character that goes against type, like a fighter who is skilled in botany. The way that the proficiency system works along with skill feats gives you plenty of choices when it comes to skills, allowing you to make the character you want to make.

Beyond skills, every class now has its own list of feats to choose from, making them all pretty different from one another and allowing for a lot of flexibility in how you play. And just wait until you see what Archetypes can do...

Next Monday we will be looking at the way that you level up, and the options that presents. Next Friday (March 16th), we will investigate the proficiency system, and how that impacts your choices during character creation and leveling.

Stay tuned folks... we have a lot of great things to show you

Jason Bulmahn
Director of Game Design

I believe this quote is the one we're thinking of, and it's found here, in the comment/discussion for the playtest announcement in the Paizo Blog: Pathfinder-Playtest#discuss

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Stone Dog wrote:

I can see [Goblins] as irrational and generally detached from empathy and perspective, but with a cunning and ingenuity that leads them to having an INT bonus even though they don't normally have much sense. Just as I can see them being driven and intense enough to have a +CHA without them being nice or sociable. And very possibly if you can get them past their cultural taboos, then they might make surprisingly adept wizards, but they normally go for alchemy in that direction.

Nobody expects that of them though, since the normal encounter with goblins leads people to think their apparent insanity is also stupidity....

I think Stone Dog's comments are worth repeating.

Being unwise or slightly mad is not the same thing as lacking "book smarts", and an intelligent people can go a long way with in terms of education without a written language. Goblins may be naive, short-lived, illiterate, distractible, hyperactive, aggressive, and given toward a lack of empathy and a tendency to think with their stomachs, but they have also been portrayed as having a fairly sophisticated culture and a great deal of skill with such complicated skills as music, storytelling, art, alchemy, magic, problem-solving, tool-making, engineering, society-building, complex planning and communication.... Their intelligence doesn't necessarily look like human intelligence, but then why should it? Goblins are an alien folk, with an alien psychology: it shouldn't look like human intelligence, but that difference should not be read as stupidity.

It's also worth noting that the Goblin heroes portrayed in the Goblin scenarios seemed (as appropriate for heroes) to be cut from a different sort of cloth than the average Goblin - they were a little smarter, a little wiser, a little more thoughtful, a little more forward-looking, a little stronger and more nimble and tougher, and more skillful, well-traveled, ambitious, and proactive than their ordinary Goblin counterparts. Goblin heroes are less likely to be the ones that cause mindless, selfish mischief with other people, and more likely to be the selfless leaders and diplomats and lawkeepers of their tribes, and act as the glue that hold their people together.

Goblin heroes aren't the rank-and-file Goblin goon-squads that adventurers slaughter by the dozen in the average dungeon adventure, any more than Human heroes are the rank-and-file bandits, assassins, cultists, or whatever that adventurers might slaughter by the half-dozen in other dungeon adventures.

I, for one, don't really mind that the stats for Goblins, Halflings, and Gnomes aren't all that different on paper - as I see it, if the stats are the only way to tell one character apart from another, it's probably a pretty boring RPG. There should be (and generally seems to be) a lot more to a character's unique "ancestry" than an extra +2 to a stat that nobody else gets - things like interesting and meaningfully different abilities and feats, for example, that nobody else gets, or interesting and meaningfully different backgrounds, skills, spells and such that help them to fill unique roles within the party that nobody else could fill so well. And, at the very least, there are differences in "fluff", such as the character's description, psychology, history, relations with other characters, etc. There are other ways to differentiate character "races" than simply throwing stat bonuses around, and if the design team can give us genuinely unique and exciting differences between Goblins, Halflings, and Gnomes that make all three ancestries interesting to play, without leaning on stat bonuses as the most interesting difference, then I can see that as entirely a win.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Desferous wrote:

It may be too late, but should there even be classes?

If there is going to be a redesign, how about opening the system to allow people's imaginations to really run?

The class system still boxes people into roles. It seems like systems have danced around it some, but What if there were skill strands based on attributes from which people could learn?

Just like you only have so much time to learn so much, you can be great at one or two skills or mediocre at a few?

Maybe characters could get investment points for particular strands based on primary attributes - intelligence is your primary attribute - you get points for intelligence based skills, same for str, wisdom, dexterity, etc.

I think it's a fair question, and one worth pondering, but the real question is whether D&D players as a general group can handle a game without a rigidly-enforced class system.

I had begun thinking down similar trails earlier this week when I saw yet another complaint or argument over Rogues and Fighters "stepping on each other's toes" in their combat roles or whatever, and someone posted a disgruntled "might as well make them the same class!"

Well, I asked myself, why AREN'T they the same class, with the varying gradations between sneaky trap-finder and scout, the guy with all the unique skills, heavily-armored guy, and heavily-armed guy being a matter of customizable choice from player to player, based on the sort of character the player envisions? There need not be only one class in the game, but perhaps the game could use fewer classes but better options for customizing them. Why not wrap several of the 3rd Edition "muggle" classes up into a single, better-balanced class with a menu of mix-and-match specializations? Why can't the guy with the sharp stick pick locks or bargain with shopkeepers or persuade stubborn NPCs when she isn't poking things with the sharp stick, and why couldn't a party containing two or more of these characters be allowed to customize those characters in ways that complement each other, rather than compete?

The counter to "why not?", is "Because, of course, the general D&D community couldn't handle that break from tradition, and tradition is built around having the skill-guy and pokey-stick-guy arbitrarily divided into a minimum of narrow muggle classes, and the more additional narrowly-divided variations on those two classes that do more or less the same but even more narrowly-defined things with varying degrees of success, the better."

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Berk the Black wrote:
I’m thrilled for all the plants and fey in this set. Plus the Hydra is ici g on the cake. 22 days and counting...

As a Reaper "Bones" unpainted plastic miniatures backer for all the Kickstarters, I've noticed that "more fey" has been a popular fan request for a long time: it seems that fey miniatures are sort of a rarity. It's definitely nice to see Pathfinder Miniatures adding some common ones in! These are some really nice fey miniatures, if the sample picture above is anything to go by - I hope the miniatures are as popular as the requests seem to suggest they will be!

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Joe M. wrote:

Also! Since I haven't commented on the main post yet, let me just say that I love what we've seen so far about Ancestries. It all looks really cool and like a great and flexible design structure.

I do share the concerns others have identified about characters who don't grow up in the culture of their Ancestry. Separating out Heritage Feats is a great start, but I would love to see a system that is fully designed to separate these aspects to better handle that kind of story. For example, notice the logical misstep in these sequential sentences:

Blog wrote:

You speak Common and Dwarf, as you may expect, and you can see in the dark just fine.

All that represents what's common to all dwarves, and comes from their innate tendencies.

But language, of course, isn't innate. The Goblin babies dropped in the Sandpoint orphanage by generations of adventurers probably don't grow up speaking Goblin! A Dwarf child, the only survivor of her village, is found by adventurers along with her clan dagger—she adventures to discover her past, but never had a chance to learn her ancestral language. Etc. etc.

(I know I'm not the first to point this out. I think someone called it in the Goblin thread, but if there was a direct mention in this thread I missed it so thought I'd drop the note.)

I think I can see why they did things that way - it doesn't make quite as much sense for the languages to be added on as part of the character's Background/profession, for example, or certainly as part of the character's Class (the character might normally learn the Dwarven language as part of his education growing up as a Dwarven farmer, but then it would get kind of unmanageable to draw the distinctions between backgrounds as Dwarven, Elven, Hobbit, Human, Orc, Goblin, etc. farmers mechanically - best to keep the mechanics more generic, and let the player fill in as many blanks as the player likes with descriptive text.)

It's probably easier to just work on the assumption that the character was raised speaking his/her "racial language" (whatever that actually means), and house-rule the exceptions as needed - and, fortunately, that seems easy enough to do.

It's probably just as easy, and better still, to just gain a choice of languages instead of set languages as an innate part of the Ancestry, with Dwarves and Elves assumed to have one more more "extra" languages compared to humans due to their longer life-spans... the suggested defaults would be Common for humans, and Common and e.g. Dwarven for Dwarves, though players wouldn't HAVE to choose the defaults - maybe that Dwarf orphan grew up speaking Common with his human family, and maybe chose to learn Dwarven on his own later on from an eccentric Elven tutor - or, then again, maybe the Dwarf chose instead to learn Goblin from his time growing up on a human farm trading produce to Goblin tribes outside of town for bland mushrooms, rare medicines made from licking toads, and shiny metal things dug up from some secret location known only to the Goblin muck-rakers in the swamps outside of town..... I would like having the choice to pick an offbeat language for background's sake if I wanted to, instead of taking a default "innate" language I had no choice over, and I'll be surprised if that's not the way they go with it. Even so, it's still easy to house-rule around, if it comes to that.

2 people marked this as a favorite.
MerlinCross wrote:

...I actually wouldn't have a problem with Goblins. If Paizo didn't seem to have made such a nice box to shove Goblins into. Now they seem to want to undo that and well, I believe the saying is "Painting themselves into a corner"? Other races got to do other things but Paizo, at least to my knowledge and I don't look into the lore of much unless I'm playing with it so I'd like to think this is common or 'general' knowledge, Goblins are just tiny menaces with teeth, fire and goblin speech and song. And people liked that so they pushed it a bit more. Now they seem to need to undo some of that pushing.

This is one person's ranting though....

That is one objection I've seen that I can get behind completely: that Paizo effectively cut off (or at least complicated unnecessarily) many interesting options by playing up the Always-Chaotic-Evil "trope" early on, and leaving themselves with very little room to back out of it without ret-conning their earlier work.

That's a fair enough objection. They're effectively trying to have their old cake and eating it too without anyone noticing, and then leaving it in the GMs' court to try to home-brew their way out of it by reading between the lines and assuming the implied options are still there even if Paizo aren't explicitly mentioning them, or are officially denying they exist. That's kind of an unfair burden to place on GMs, and a bit short-sighted as well. I suspect it's an over-reaction that was meant to compete directly with Eberron's (and, I believe, Planescape's) relatively open/nuanced treatment of races, classes, and alignments back when Eberron (and Planescape) was a thing, and now, thanks to the way the Golarion canon is being managed, Paizo are stuck with with their more reactionary characterizations, until they (or, more likely, imaginative GMs and players) can find some way to ease the alternatives in without rocking too many boats....

Even now, Paizo seems to be reluctant to explicitly say "whatever we said in the past, Goblin characters can - and should - be more interesting than just chaotic-evil fire-starting cannibal murder-hobo pests that can't cooperate with anyone except Goblin hordes, Hobgoblins, Bugbears, Orcs, evil necromancers, chaotic gods, priests of various disparate Lovecraftian religions, dungeon keepers of every variety, PCs when Adventure Paths call for it, and.... well, you know, Goblins can't cooperate with anyone - and yet, they're still diverse enough that they can still be interesting villains, too, just like human, elf, dwarf, or even halfling or gnome NPCs, which we might have to go back to the drawing board for because it just occurred to Yronimos that all those other races must also be too 'watered down' and 'diluted' to make interesting villains of, too!"

I guess what I'm saying is that I really do agree that the extremist "fluff" that painted Goblins into a very narrow box are really unfortunate - that fluff, as always, is NOT the same thing as rules, but, the Golarion setting being the relatively stable thing thing that it is by nature of the way Paizo supports it, it's really hard for many groups to see the difference between Golarion's old "fluff" and unbreakable rules....

1 person marked this as a favorite.
ThePuppyTurtle wrote:
...I don't agree that people will be the same way with their dwarfs and elves. Some might, but people generally don't....

I have seen some equivalents to that, in the form of various incarnations of Axebeard McFunnyAccent the Angry Dwarf and Longears Tree-Hugger the Snobby Elf highjacking entire game sessions with infighting "because that's how you're supposed to play them", along with Backstabby Steals-Your-Gear the "Rouge" Rogue stealing the party's gear and Sir Pious Preach-A-Lot the Paladin kiling party members for swearing or flirting with barmaids instead of helping little old ladies cross the street "because that's in the rules".

I've tried banning those classes before, only to find that it never helps: bad players just find new ways to play badly, and it ends up leading to a game of race/class/alignment-banning whack-a-mole.

Speaking of alignment, I've always found alignment to be the worst of the bunch for bringing out the worst in bad role-players. Unlike race and class, however, alignment opens up few (if any options) for character concepts, while (especially in 3rd Edition and later D&D) adding almost nothing mechanically to character options, and arguably less than nothing for role-playing support (those who can role-play, do so just fine without alignment; those who can't role-play, seem to get worse when using alignment as a crutch). I'd get behind dropping alignment from D&D entirely, if I thought Paizo could get away with it without sparking a table-flipping, dice-throwing riot, but that's perhaps a conversation for another time, beyond mentioning that I'd say that I've seen more alignment-related role-playing problems than race-related, and in the case of Goblins, it's that CE stamped somewhere in a First Edition Monster Manual that's probably the source of more game-table Goblin grief than anything else....

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Laird IceCubez wrote:
CrystalSeas wrote:
Friendly Rogue wrote:
PCScipio wrote:

Some more food for thought: Goblins of Purity.

** spoiler omitted **

"...all while maintaining the rip-roaring fun that being an arsonist or a baby-eater brings."

"- An exciting reworking of the alignment system that allows you to play arsonists and baby-eaters while still being good-aligned"

This is my point exactly.

You do realize that you're making your point with an April Fools Day joke, right? Kinda like quoting the Onion as a factual source.
I mean, the whole joke is that Goblins being a playable race is a joke. That's what made it funny, the unbelievability of it....

Actually, especially with the first "We Be Goblins" adventure being released only a couple months later, and almost certainly being under development and play-testing at the time the April Fool's post was made, and Goblins as a playable PC race dating back even further to 3rd Edition D&D, I get the impression that the joke wasn't the unbelievability of a Goblin PC, but rather the over-the-top objections to Goblins as PCs.

Note, for example, that the punchlines to the joke include things like groups being forced to include at least one Goblin PC, being forced to use a reworked alignment system that allows Lawful Good Goblin Paladins to eat babies, and the implication that nobody could be a Goblin PC before (when, as mentioned, the option has been around at least as far back as 3rd Edition D&D) - pretty much the same sorts of over-the-top objections that are being made now.

The success of the "We Be Goblins" series seems to suggest that Goblins proved to be a viable PC race without tables being forced to use them, without reworked alignment systems, and with only a little compelling fluff and support from Paizo to make use of an option that was always there by implication - not to mention without the need of a "Goblinomicon", reworked core pantheon, etc. And, I'm sure, Pathfinder II will work out just fine without the need for anything like that, if GMs and players are willing to give Goblin characters both the chance and the diversity of character and motivation that human characters enjoy at a healthy gaming table.

Actually, the more I see of that joke, the more it looks like a mix of the "what's the worst that could happen" objections and the humorous left-overs of the creative team's brain-storming sessions for "We Be Goblins" - the ideas that might have been tossed into the hat as jokes or as first-thing-that-comes-to-mind-even-if-it's-silly ideas that nobody could find a way to say "that's so crazy, it might just work" to. Taken together, the April Fool's joke and the first "We Be Goblins" look like Paizo stretching its legs a little after a lot difficult work on one of their projects, and taking some time to have a little creative fun on the Golarion playground with toys they made, but haven't had a chance to play with yet.

That the original "We Be Goblins" was quickly followed by three sequels, a couple quite detailed and colourful Goblin-related supplement books, a comic series, and a couple lines of toys suggests that they hit on something that caught not just the imagination of their own creative and marketing staff, but also the imaginations of some significant part of the Pathfinder fanbase.

Over the last seven years, Paizo's Goblin mythos has, as a result, become quite detailed and well-developed compared to many of the other player character race options, becoming a signature part of Paizo's intellectual property in the process.

To me, it seems perfectly natural that a subset of this material - along with a subset of any as-yet unpublished Goblin content - would be embraced by Paizo into the core rulebook: Paizo has the material, they have been using it to create scenarios and other products with, those products have been a success over several years, and like any core race or class or monster or whatever a core Goblin PC race (er, "ancestry") would be optional, so why not include it in core?

For those complaining about other PC races "deserving" to be core instead, what other PC race has Paizo created with better adventure, background material, and miniatures support, and distinct Paizo/Golarion flavor and association behind them?

11 people marked this as a favorite.
Lucas Yew wrote:
Frankly, all this goblin hate creeps me out for the sheer racism factor oozing out....

I haven't had a chance to read the entire thread yet, but that's part of what I'm getting out of the big objection to goblin PCs - that, and the fact that absolutely NONE of the detractor comments I've seen so far have even TRIED to employ the old "yes, and..." improv approach to role-playing, which, to me, has always been the biggest obstacle that D&D (in any of its incarnations) has had toward anything imaginative. "Goblin PC? No, you can't do that, not at my table. All Goblins are always X, all Dwarves are always Y, All Elves are always Z, and all humans are always boring. If you're a Rogue, you have to act like A, if you're a Paladin you have to always B, and if you're a Fighter, you always have to be a big, dumb C....."

I think the supporters who effectively say "The descriptions we get of Goblins are basically written by unreliable narrators!" or "Goblin history hasn't been written by Goblins" are also on the right track.

I'd feel encouraged if ANY detractors were to say "I'd be happy to work with Goblin PCs, if Paizo were to fix ______ or change _______ ...." I'd feel encouraged if ANY detractors were to say "Goblin PCs? Yes, and they also [insert cool change or addition here]!"

I'm not really very encouraged by the broad extent of the whole attitude of "NO. NEVER at my table! DON'T WANT! DON'T LIKE! You MUST ALWAYS play THIS character race and THIS class in EXACTLY this way, or I flip the table! Green is not a creative colour when I'm in charge!"

And make no mistake: when I see "not at my table", what I understand that to mean is not "unfortunately, I've never seen it work out that way at my table" (which would be sad, as an indictment of the individual players that have tried it and failed), but rather "I won't LET it happen at my table!" (which is far sadder, and more an indictment of the limitations of the GM and the group who refused to even try allowing something imaginative or fantastic, than a failure of any single player in an isolated incident or in a trend that seemed to fail because something I'm willing to fix was broken or missing!)

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Paizo is selling "non-mint" complete Beginner Box sets for under $30 US right now.

My experience with Paizo's "non-mint" products has been great so far: at worst, the non-mint products I've ordered from them have had minor shelf wear. (Your mileage may vary.)

I think the price is worth it - the Beginner Box is a nice, convenient product, and Paizo are, no doubt, selling the "mint" copies already pretty close to the price it costs them to manufacture it. I doubt you could produce or source the individual parts separately for very much cheaper. (The cost for about 30 pawns (about $6-7), a flip-mat (about $16), and a set of dice (about $6) will set you back that much anyway - the nice printed copies of the rule books, adventure books, and character sheets - not to mention the nice storage box - would just be icing on that cake!)

I've not looked around Ebay or anything like that, either - it's possible you might find a used copy containing at least the parts you want for even cheaper.

In any event, I'm tempted to snap up a couple of those non-mint boxes for myself: they would make great gifts for people who are into RPGs and so on.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
TheRealHoratio wrote:

I've been playing D&D for about 15 years now, through editions 3, 3.5, and 4th. I've always been the DM, and have run content for groups of between 2 and 6 players. Everyone I've played with before has made fun, interesting characters using maybe only one or two sourcebooks, all of which you would probably say weren't exactly "optimized". I never disallowed any books in my games, or banned any races or classes because they didn't "fit". When someone came to me with a character that they wanted to conceptualize, I would usually help them get there, because being able to play what you find attractive is a big part of the game.

I had to take a break for about 4 years, due to moving away from my old players and not being able to find new ones, but I recently came across a group that wants me to GM a Pathfinder game for them. During the character creation questions, I disallowed 3rd party material, cause I've read threads on here talking about some of the stuff that's out there, so I decided to just keep it limited to Paizo books. They told me what classes and races they wanted to be, which sounded fine, so I gave the greenlight on everything. Now, it is getting close to our first session, and I'm discovering the actual characters these guys have made, and it honestly has me terrified.

We're talking about basically a flesh golem of rules, stitched together from maybe 5 or 6 books apiece, in what I can only describe as less of an actual character and more just shiny numbers on paper. From reading threads on these forums, it's what I suppose you would call min/maxing, or optimization, which as I understand is very commonplace in the Pathfinder game system. What makes me feel even worse is that I tacitly allowed it. I figured that since I had never played with these guys before, I wouldn't say no to anything, or disallow any content except for 3rd party stuff, but I had no idea of the extent to which it would be taken.

Is that just how people play the game now? Is it really treated like an adversarial...

I think I can understand where you're coming from... it's a variation on what I've described as the "Half-Vampire, Half-Drow, Half-Dragon, Half-Werewolf, Half-Dinosaur, Half-Demon, Half-Angel, Half-Anime Ninja/Pirate/Robot/Gunslinger/Barbarian/Wizard-Cleric/Samurai" character - with the emphasis on trying to collect the biggest bunch of awesome numbers, rather than the biggest bunch of cool character gimmicks.

It's not so much that a Vampire Drow Ninja can't possibly be a fun and interesting character with some fun stories to be told about him.

Rather, it's more like I feel like I'm not even playing the same game after a certain point.

And I think that which side of that point the character is on will be evident when, as some of the replies above suggested, you spend a little time talking to the player about the character's back story and personality:

If you ask the player to tell you a little bit about who his character is, what she believes in, what her hopes and dreams are, who her friends and family are, what her greatest disappointment in life was, or what one thing the character did that her parents were particularly proud of, and you get a blank look, followed by some variation on "She's the party DPS character... the DPS numbers are awesome, she just kicks ass!", then you and the player are probably in the game with very different (and possibly incompatible) expectations and motivations.

There's probably something to be said about you adjusting your expectations and motivations to conform to what the player wants, or about trying to adjust the player's expectations and motivations to meet your tastes, or working together to meet half-way. And, from glancing over the replies above, I suppose plenty has been said about that already.

Really, though, this probably comes down more to a communication thing that probably needs to be sorted out before you ever commit to joining a group: an honest conversation about what each of you wants from the game, what your gaming style is, and what your gaming pet peeves are. Then, it's time to decide whether you're really a good fit for the group, after all.

2 people marked this as a favorite.

*Mutters something about F.A.T.A.L.*

OK, I guess it depends on the game world agreed to by your DM and group.

Because, in the real world, shocked Victorian archaeologists would routinely find all sorts of porn, in the form of sculptures, mosaics, frescoes, decorations on pottery, and more in temples, churches, markets, government buildings, and so on. It seems that at times in human history, "Lawful Normal" porn was an every-day thing for some cultures, and included gay porn, porn involving satyrs and fauns and other mythological beings, porn involving animals, and even the occasional naughty tentacles porn (no, really), and any of the endless varieties of more "vanilla" stuff you can think of. Certainly, it's taken for granted now that prostitution in various forms was a normal part of some ancient religions, and perhaps the paintings and mosaics were advertisements for what visitors to these cities could expect to find at the local temples.

It's probably not an area I'd have ever considered exploring in any of my games, and really not one I'm interested in exploring now, but, if that's where your group's going, then I guess your imagination is the limit, and you need not be bound by today's mores and taboos.

Just please: respect each others' boundaries, keep it legal, and don't do anything that will end up on national news and in Jack Chick comics as yet another example of the creepy things role players get up to....

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Perhaps "New Guy gets first choice of characters" should be a house rule at every table.

Why should Players with the most experience and the best grasp on the rules being given the chance to sit on the easiest classes to play, and force the newbies to scrape something out of the leftovers?

And, for a group of thoroughly experienced players, just let them play whatever characters they want to play - any decent lower-level modern module, scenario, or competent home-brew adventure will have multiple ways of solving each problem built into it, ranging from "Kill 'em all and steal their stuff", to "sneak or fast-talk or think your way around them". (A group of Higher-level characters can be expected to find alternative ways around problems, whether you build them into the adventure or not, so they should be fine doing whatever they want to do.)

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Sadly, good role-players never needed alignment to figure out how characterization works, while mediocre and troubled role-players have - at best - never really been helped by it, and at worst been led pretty far off target by it.


I'd say the areas where D&D alignment shines are:

1. As a way of designating factions or teams in the D&D Miniatures Game, in the same spirit that the color factions are used in the Magic: The Gathering card game.

2. As someone mentioned above, Alignment can be a useful tool for characterizing the alien "Outsiders" from weird magical planes of extreme Law, Chaos, Evil, and Good: gods, angels, devils, demons, and the rest of that unearthly, inhuman cast operate based on alignment, because they lack the free will that humans and human stand-ins (Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Vulcans, Wookiees, etc.) are characterized by. Similarly, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth are neat tools for determining how Elementals from alien Elemental planes work, but don't work so well for characterizing humans.

Alignment is of questionable value for:

* Use by lazy/overworked/rushed GMs for characterizing stock NPCs, without having to give much thought to individual motivation or characterization. "These Indians spot some cowboys. What do they do? They go on the warpath, of course, because Indians are Always Chaotic Evil!" One doesn't have to worry too much about why the Orcs are raiding villages - there's a CE on their stat blocks, so Orcs do unlawful and mean things because they are CE, and they are CE because they do unlawful and mean things, and that's all you need to know about them.

Alignment is really not a good tool for:

* Creating characters with any depth. In fact, Alignment does just the opposite of creating characters with depth: Alignment is a collection of nine stereotypes to choose from, and then follow to a greater or lesser degree depending on how closely you want to force yourself to follow them, or get forced to follow them by someone else (e.g., the GM).

Just drop Alignment from the game, and refer to it only on the occasions when you are dealing with extra-planar alien entities like angels, devils, demons, and gods. The handful of rules that relate to Alignment (detect alignment, smite, etc.) should be easy enough to sort out in any cases that don't involve such beings.

Instead, encourage your players to come up with better reasons, characterizations, and motivations than Alignment for the nice, mean, obedient, rebellious, and indifferent things their characters do.

And, if you aren't already doing so as a GM, do your players a favor and find better reasons, motives, and characterizations for your humanoid NPCs to do the things that they do, too.

There's zillions of RPGs that work just fine without Alignment and almost never hear of the "Stupid" alignment complaints, and it's not like alignment is up there with one of the truly defining elements of D&D, as if I'm suggesting running a game of D&D with no dungeons or dragons in it.

Your good role-players will never miss Alignment, and your mediocre players have a good chance of finally getting the whole role-playing thing once they can start seeing the Characterization Forest past the Alignment Tree. (Your bad role-players, on the other hand, will probably flip the table, but something tells me they'll flip the table eventually, anyway, or else drive someone else to, so you might as well get the table-flipping over with sooner than later....)

1 person marked this as a favorite.
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Or play 2E, there's really nothing wrong with that.
Bran Towerfall wrote:

we want the game to run faster and smoother. we take no joy in telling the gm that the ogre can't just pick up the dwarf and start running out of combat with him. "but the ogre is bigger than the dwarf?!?"

yes true..but you have to follow the grapple rules

"i hate the $%$# grapple rules, it was so much easier in 2nd edition"

*Prepares to get Dice thrown at him...*

Or, dare I say it: perhaps 4E is a better option? No, seriously: I've never had a chance to play 4E, but I'm told it's a far more "cinematic" rule set than earlier editions, and (presumably) lends itself well to the sort of thing the DM is apparently trying to do.

Whatever the case, compromise sounds like a challenge for this group, so it sounds like this group is going to have to weigh the various risks and rewards to their options, and figure out which option requires the least amount of compromise to work.

Maybe trying a different game will do it.

Maybe just gritting their teeth until the current GM is finished and then putting a different GM in charge will do it.

Maybe an intervention is needed to sort the GM and/or one or more players out and get them all on the same page.

Maybe the solution requiring the least amount of compromise would be for everyone to break the group up peacefully, and move on to other groups.

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I remember reading somewhere that in "real life", it took people a long time to figure out that the brain was the seat of reasoning - for a long time, people just assumed that intelligence and wisdom reside in the heart.

I think I imagine Pathfinder Goblins having a somewhat similar grasp on biology...

Except that for Goblins, the source of all wisdom and reason is...

...their stomachs.

Goblins that don't eat become irritable, their voices slur, they become listless and unresponsive, they stop making sense, and it's not because of low blood sugar - it's because hungry Goblins haven't been feeding their voices. They haven't been eating their words.

Eventually, their stomachs start growling and talking on their own, and then starving Goblins typically go on a berserk, feral, wordless, snarling feeding frenzy, until they eat enough words to talk sense again.

Some Goblins talk to their food to smarten it up before eating it.

Other Goblins like to make their food talk while they eat it to make sure all the words are fresh and good... hence all the unfortunate people who get tied up and slowly eaten alive by Goblins while begging for mercy.

Properly pickled food preserves the food's smartness.

For many Goblin tribes, the wisest, smartest Goblins are those that prepare and preserve the community's food. If you want to get the best advice and information available from a Goblin tribe, just follow your nose to wherever the food is being cooked, and talk to the cook. Cooking is one of the greatest and most sacred art-forms known to Goblins, behind singing, doodling, and making fires... good cooking is like a form of magic, and wise cooks are those who prepare food that is least likely to food poison an entire Goblin tribe. Wise Goblins are also the Goblins best able to start cooking fires. It's not uncommon for Goblin tribes to be led by their wisest cooks. Many people believe that both common meanings of the word "sage" came into the Common language from the Goblins, who use the word to refer to any herbs, seasonings, flavorings, or salts added to food, and to the Goblins who cook food.

The wisest Goblins of Goblin history, lore, legend, and art are depicted by Goblin doodlers as pictures of Goblins with chattering faces on their stomachs, and Goblin sages who really want to advertise their intelligence and awe their stupider subjects are known to paint or tattoo big smart faces on their bellies.

Titles for wise Goblins:
* Word-Gobbler
* Speaks With Food
* Wise-Gut
* Smart-Belly
* Chatter-Tummy
* Argues With Pickles
* Big-Belcher

So, may I suggest Gurgam Eats-His-Words?

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm thinking maybe the OP should find a new group, whether the GM is really this bad or not, for both the OP's and the GM's sanity, and possibly the group's, too.

I'm not getting the impression this mix of personalities is working out.

In any event, the Great Rules Lawyer Shoe-Tying Debate is the best thing I've read in a long, long time - thank you for that, guys :)

1 person marked this as a favorite.
EntrerisShadow wrote:
So I know this isn't precisely new, BUT there is a certain alignment - and I'm sure you've all guessed what it is even though I haven't put it in the title....

Oh, you mean ALL alignments? ;)

I really don't bother with alignments in my D&D games anymore - I've seen far too many cases where alignment breaks down into silliness.

I don't think my groups missed alignment when I cut it from my games, but I know a lot of people feel strongly about house-ruling alignment out of the game, so your mileage will definitely vary on how well your group will work without it.

For what it's worth (and of course, this is just a generalization): it seems to me that the groups with the most experience with other RPGs, and the groups with the least experience with D&D, seem to be the ones who handle both the use of alignment, and the lack of alignment the best. Long-term D&D players seem to have the most difficult time in imagining role-playing without alignment, and seem to have the worst trouble with translating alignment into character decisions that make sense in any context beyond "chaotic/lawful/neutral stupid" (and so on).

1 person marked this as a favorite.
MrCharisma wrote:


I guess we'll all have to make our own game where we play as the level 1 followers in the distillery, and see what kind of exciting adventures we can have.

"You all meet in a taver- er, I mean, distillery, when a peculiar old man in a pointy hat steps out of the shadows and says: 'I have a job for you!' The wizard-distiller always had peculiar jobs for your party. In fact, last month's grape delivery resulted in three burned villages, a goblin raid, an excommunication, a new recipe for Mogmurch's Pickled Goblin Wine, and nearly 5,000 gold pieces worth of treasure...."

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Cap. Darling wrote:
yronimos wrote:
Reverse wrote:
Ask your GM, who will be the ultimate arbiter of this decision.

This is the best answer.

It's between you and your GM.

Will your GM insist upon it? Then it doesn't matter what we think, your GM is the ultimate arbiter of this decision.

If you're lucky, your DM will ask you whether YOU think your Paladin should lose his abilities... is the fall-and-redemption storyline something you want to play out?

i dont think the OP will have problems with the GM since he appear to be the GM.:)

Doesn't change my answer much.

If the player is lucky, the OP will ask whether the player thinks his character should fall and lose Paladin abilities... is the fall-and-redemption storyline something the player (and group) is interested in playing out? (Or, alternatively, is the turned-completely-to-the-darkside storyline something the player is interested in?)

If the fallen-Paladin plot is NOT a storyline the player is interested in following, I see no sense in forcing it on him/her and the rest of the group, especially if it "nerfs" a character that's probably not likely to be overpowered before falling.

With any luck, it's something that the player, the OP, and the group are all interested in pursuing, and it results in a dramatic, interesting, and exciting Shakespearean tragedy that the player will talk about for years, and everyone goes home happy. It's something that can work well... it's just not something everyone enjoys.

Otherwise, the OP might get more mileage from just simplifying the grey areas in the party's moral choices a bit, and give the Paladin PC some obvious, clear-cut, politically-correct villains to slay, so that the player's itchy trigger-finger gets some relief.

Good luck, in any case.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I rather liked the idea someone mentioned about the albino, sightless beasties.

"The Land of the Lost" appeals to me as well, though I don't think I could resist a Lovecraftian take on that idea.

I think I might skim back through Stephen King's "Graveyard Shift" and "The Mist", and H.P. Lovecraft's "The Rats in the Walls" and "At the Mountains of Madness" again.

From there, build up a sunless, twilit, subterranean world populated by jungles of fungi where titanic, flabby, blind, tentacly, alien, not-quite-dinosaurs stomp through glowing mists and shadows, and an hellish ecosystem of blind, nightmarish, squirmy things flap and squirm and creep through the undergrowth, caverns, tunnels, vaults, and ruins of decayed and deranged lost civilizations...


"It was six-legged, I know that; its skin was slaty gray that mottled to dark brown in places.... Its skin was deeply wrinkled and grooved, and clinging to it were scores, hundreds, of those pinkish "bugs" with the stalk-eyes. I don't know how big it actually was, but it passed directly over us. One of its gray, wrinkled legs smashed down right
beside my window, and Mrs. Reppler said later she could not see the underside of its body, although she craned her neck up to look. She saw only two Cyclopean legs going up and up into the mist like living towers until they were lost to sight... I had an impression of something so big that it might have made a blue whale look the size of a trout - in other words, something so big that it defied the imagination. Then it was gone, sending a seismological series of thuds
back. it left tracks in the cement of the interstate, tracks so deep I could not see the bottoms... For a moment no one spoke. There was no sound but our breathing and the diminishing thud of that great Thing's passage. Then Billy said, "Was it a dinosaur, Dad?" ..."I don't think so. I don't think there was ever an animal that big, Billy. At least not on Earth." - Stephen King

"[Mi-Go] been inside the earth, too—there are openings which human beings know nothing of... and great worlds of unknown life down there; blue-litten K’n-yan, red-litten Yoth, and black, lightless N'kai. It’s from N’kai that frightful Tsathoggua came—you know, the amorphous, toad-like god-creature mentioned in the Pnakotic Manuscripts and the Necronomicon and the Commoriom myth-cycle preserved by the Atlantean high-priest Klarkash-Ton...." H.P.L.

"...The rats were moving in, creeping on their bellies, forcing them forward. 'Look,' Warwick said coldly. Hall saw. Something had happened to the rats back here, some hideous mutation that never could have
survived under the eye of the sun; nature would have forbidden it. But down here, nature had taken on another ghastly face. The rats were gigantic, some as high as three feet. But their rear legs were gone and they were blind as moles, like their flying cousins. They dragged them
selves forward with hideous eagerness.... The mutated bats had not lost their tails yet. It whipped around Hall's neck in a loathsome coil and
squeezed as the teeth sought the soft spot under his neck. It wriggled and flapped with its membranous wings, clutching the tatters of his shirt for purchase. " - Stephen King

"...I seemed to be looking down from an immense height upon a twilit grotto, knee-deep with filth, where a white-bearded daemon swineherd drove about with his staff a flock of fungous, flabby beasts whose appearance filled me with unutterable loathing..." H.P.L.

For the vaguely human, lost-technology aspect provided by Sleestaks, chuck in a good dose of silent, wide-eyed, deranged, degenerate, and suitably slimy and eerie Deros (see Richard Sharpe Shaver's mad ravings), padding through the darkness to operate their sinister buried and crumbling technologies to fill the surface world with madness, nightmares, and turmoil:


"...The elevator will descend... into the caverns. Chance has not looked favorably on occasional voyagers in those five hundred cages. They have pressed the wrong button, too many times. They have been seized by those who shuffle through the caverns, and they have been . . . treated. Now they ride the cages. They never speak, and they cannot meet your gaze. They stare up at the numbers as they light and then go off, riding up and down even after night has fallen. Their clothes are clean. There is a special dry cleaner who does the work. Once you saw one of them, and her eyes were filled with screams...." - Harlan Ellison

"Clothed in rags and dirt, hung all over with hand weapons, their hair long and matted, were the strangest, most disgusting creatures I had ever seen in my life. They were dwarfs, some of them white-haired, from the Gods know what hidden hole in Mu's endless warren of caverns. "What in the name of mother Mu are these things?" I asked.... "You already know of them... They come from the abandoned caves and cities of Mu.
When the machinery became defective from age, many centuries ago, a vast number of caverns were sealed up. Fugitives hid in them, used the defective pleasure stimulators, m and as a result, their children were these things...." They were dero, children of dero, enslaved in some manner by the derodite master who sought the death of all Mu! And the very fact of it brought home to me the greatness of the menace we were beginning to fight....

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It's probably better posted as a new topic, but...

Exactly what is it about having a Paladin in the group that seems to always send one or more other players running for the nearest explicitly evil PC?

Is it an ancient D&D tradition that must be honored?

Is it something the Paladin's player is doing?

Is it something the DM does that seems to direct all the interesting plots toward the most extreme alignments?

Is there something else I haven't yet considered?

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Rub-Eta wrote:

I think some people are too afraid of railroading for their own and the game's good.

Now, to explain what I mean. There are varied degrees of railroading, the difference in how much there is depends on what kind of game you play. But remember, more railroading doesn't equal a worse game.
Railroading is more or less unavoidable, as all DMs have a will and mind of their own, otherwise it's railroaded by the players instead.

When railraoding gets bad is when it's noticeable. When action and consequence is not related. This mostly spawns because the DM had another outcome in mind and sticks to it, even when the players are clearly pulling the other way and acting in ways that cannot be met with the provided response.

I think there's something to be said for this sentiment.

Railroading can have its place as one of the many tools at the group's disposal for efficiently getting from one fun part to another.


There's a spectrum somewhere between GMs providing no interesting choices and ignoring PC contributions to the story by forcing the PCs to make only the "right" choice at one extreme, and on the other GMs providing no interesting choices and leaving uninterested PCs to wander aimlessly through a non-story where PC's have no "right" choices to make because it's all so much sand in the sand box. One of those extremes is railroading, the other probably doesn't have much of a name, but, speaking from experience, both extremes (and probably most if not all of the grey areas in between) are unlikely to be fun for most players.

"Railroading" can be useful for moving things along when there are no interesting choices that can be made, and both the players and the GM have nothing interesting to contribute to the story. In a way, "cold opens" are a form of railroading, and yet they can be an effective way of starting the game. Fast-forwarding between the end of one exciting adventure to the start of the other is another form of railroading, and it too can be an effective way of (for example) moving past downtime and talking to shopkeepers, if your group doesn't find that sort of thing interesting. One of the core assumptions of an adventuring group, that the PCs are all there for a reason and they willing to work together, is a form of railroading that again has its place in getting the game moving, and one which most players are willing to cooperate with on the understanding that finding reasons not to go on the adventure and spending time getting convinced to go is not as fun as getting to the dungeon to beat up monsters and take their stuff.

Be honest about it when you are using "railroading", though: the "illusion" of having interesting choices is possibly even more demoralizing for players than being told outright "hey, I'm going to assume everyone is going to enter the dungeon together, so when you open the door, here's what you see... there's a red door hanging off its hinges on the left, a locked blue door on the right, a bookshelf covered in cobwebs in the middle, and what looks like gems mounted in some strange carvings on the wall behind you... what do you do next?" A quick, unobtrusive, honest railroad at the beginning, and then a (hopefully) meaningful choice. Chances are, your players aren't going to mind noticing that they didn't have a choice about starting the adventure, especially if they have an interesting choice... at least, as a player, I never minded the occasional railroad, when it gets used to give the game some structure and direction between the decisions.

But, nobody likes being told, "you stand outside the dungeon, what do you do?" "I, um, don't go in?" "Wrong, guess again." "I go to town to talk to a shopkeeper?" "Wrong, guess again." "I... listen at the door?" "You can't do that." "I guess I just walk into the dungeon?" "Good choice! Now, there's an orc with a box of treasure standing in front of you, and one door behind him. What do you do? No, you can't open the door yet, you have to fight the orc, but not until he taunts you first...." Railroad station after railroad station, with no opportunity to get off the rails, dressed up to look like a choice the player doesn't really have: I'm pretty sure these are the moments where most players notice railroading, and object!

In the end, those moments when players provide clear goals and meaningful choices of their own, and those moments where they speak up, add to the story and move it in the directions they enjoy, and make it the GROUP's story are, at least to me, the most fun part of this hobby.

And so here, I think, is the opposite of railroading: Both with and without a sandbox environment, you benefit from giving your players clear goals and meaningful choices, from providing just enough information for them to make informed decisions and to set the mood without info-dumping on them, and from making room in your plot for those wonderful moments when your players do things you didn't expect and direct "your" story off the path you expected or thought you wanted them to take.

Reserve the railroading for those dull moments when there's no other way to get to those moments where the PCs are able to contribute something meaningful and fun to the game.

And then, there's my old friend, the Sandbox Ancient Red Dragon:


chbgraphicarts wrote:

Don't be afraid to kill the PCs.

In railroad games, you can't kill the PCs because you've put them into situations yourself - if you did, you're just being a dick.

In Sandbox games, they're where they are, when they are, of their own accord. If they didn't heed the warnings to avoid the Great Wyrm Red Dragon, then its their fault.

Your job as DM isn't to be their friend; it's to actively TRY to kill the players in as fair a way as possible.

This may seem counterintuitive, but trying to TPK the party makes for a more exciting and enjoyable time.

We have a wide-open sandbox, and yet here, of all the things that we could do, the "meaningful" choice boils down to "either do something safe, or get eaten by a dragon... what do you do next?"

Your job as the DM should not simply be to actively TRY to kill the PCs.

Your job as the DM, especially in a sandbox environment, is to provide the players with interesting choices.

Have the players got it into their heads that they want to visit a dragon? Make it interesting.

They COULD get in a fight with the dragon, and probably get eaten, and that's fine, as long as they have enough information to know what the outcome of getting in a fight with a dragon before they are ready is going to be.

But, as a DM, you could, for example, have a dragon that has other goals besides eating PCs: the dragon can offer the PCs a job, the dragon can trade with the PCs, the dragon could do any number of other things besides kill on sight. And that's just fine, too. (As part of your sandbox design, you did plan motives and personalities for the characters?)

The PCs can have a choice between walking right in the dragon's front door, or sneaking in through a back way, and maybe having a chance of catching the dragon off-guard and maybe having a fighting chance - after leveling up in optional dungeons found along the hidden way. (As part of the sandbox design, you did plan more than one railroad track into and through all the dungeons, including the dragon's lair?)

The PCs might come across NPCs on the road to the Dragon's hideout, who can explain the dangers of fighting a dragon, and offer to raise a mercenary army to help, for a price. The PCs might come across NPCs who can offer to help raise an army, if the PCs can help them reclaim their rightful thrones, rescue the heir to the Wacky Wayside Tribe from a Goblin horde, defend the Baby Orcs from the fanatical Dwarf Paladins, or any number of other opportunities for adventure that would be more easily in the reach of lower-level PCs. (You do have multiple factions with their own independent goals moving around autonomously through your sandbox where they can interact in meaningful ways with the PCs?)

The PCs might come across scheming younger wyrmlings well within their CR who offer to help conspire with the PCs against the Great Wyrm and/or each other, or choose to work against the PCs if diplomacy rolls go bad, or, either way, provide a way for PCs to safely scratch their dragon-fighting itch with a fairer opponent. It's up to the PCs and their dice how to deal with the wyrmlings, and, if it comes to fighting, it's up to you to make sure the wyrmlings give the PCs a good, old-fashioned, dangerous fight. (You have populated the sandbox with NPCs capable of filling a number of different roles, from useful pawns, to useful partners, to trusted allies, to competition, to trouble-making enemies, to immediate threats, depending on how things like skill roles and PC choices drive the plot?)

And, if the PCs want to, in addition to all the other things they could have done, they still have that choice of marching right through the dragon's front door and picking a fight with it - in which case, your job as a DM is to make it as fair, as fun, as exciting, as memorable, and as rewarding a TPK as you can. And, there's nothing wrong with that: give the audience what they want, and make it as interesting as you can... if the players aren't talking fondly years from now about that time their low-level PCs chose to pick a fight to the death with a Great Wyrm and got royally, hilariously, gloriously, and quite fairly curb-stomped, then you have not done your job as a GM.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Zhangar wrote:

Since you're the guy deliberately bringing a diabolist into a campaign with a paladin, I'd say the burden's on you to make it work.

(And yes, I'd take a similar stance if someone brought a paladin into an established party with evil characters. It's up to the player to show he's acting in good faith and not just trying to stir stuff up.)

Honestly? Talk to the gnoll's player and pitch your idea to him. He's who you need to convince.

Edit: In character - I'd suggest going for complete transparency. You need to convince the paladin (and probably the rest of the party!) that he needs you, and that ultimately he can trust you.

You're essentially a supervillian asking to join the provisional government. You need to be able to present a more compelling reason than "I can bog the game down by flooding the battlefield with minions and that's really mechanically powerful!"

This, mostly.

I'd talk it over with the other players (especially, but not exclusively, the Paladin), besides, as part of making it work.

"Hey, guys, I've got this character concept I've been wanting to try out. Would it be too jarring for your characters? Any objections from you guys as players? What concessions/compromises can we make so that these characters work together effectively as a team? I've got no special plans to role-play the friction between these characters, but I can do so if you really want to - is that something you'd really rather explore, and if so, how would you like to do so?"

Somehow, I can easily imagine a Gnoll Paladin being a bit more tolerant - or even approving - of a Lawful demon-summoning character, especially one that plays toward the more neutral end of the Evil spectrum, and (if I were the Paladin's player) I'd have a lot of fun with grey-area moral interaction between the two characters, where the Paladin can see a world where it's morally alright to bind and subjugate demons, in the name of preventing them from running loose and untamed upon the world to do as they please. After all, how far off from the concept of an exorcist would either character really be? Would someone who commands devils to do as they're told, and a Paladin protecting the weak from devils really be that incompatible as team members? But, the Paladin's player (and the rest of the group) may have other ideas, so it's really something that you'd want to include the group on while making a decision.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Did they mean to set this to "Unavailable"?

2 people marked this as a favorite.

A collection of William Hope Hodgson's classic weird-fiction "Carnacki: The Ghost Finder" pulp stories, about a spritualist-detective... it's kind of like Ghost Busters meets Sherlock Holmes.

I recently finished a collection of Robert Aickman's ghost stories, a collection of Dunsany's fantasy stories, and a collection of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars novels (now that I've finally read them, the John Carter stories are a very obvious inspiration for Dungeons & Dragons - far more so than Tolkien's work!)

1 person marked this as a favorite.

What a neat little idea!

Now that I've noticed them, I think I like the idea of these little one-page dungeons, at least in principle. So far, I haven't seen any of them that grab me as must-have items, and to me they feel like they need "a little extra something", but the idea still seems sound anyway.

I think what seems to be "missing" is that I somewhat prefer Paizo's maps, and a Pathfinder-specific setting? Maybe the creator of these Mini-Dungeons could work something out with Paizo to create a series of these mini-adventures tied into Paizo products?

It seems to me that including little single-page adventures like this with map-packs, making use of the tiles in the map packs, would be a lot of fun: Find yourself wanting to start a game on short notice? Pick up a map pack from your FLGS (or from your collection), and run the included adventure.

Or, include a single-page adventure like this with flip-mat dungeons, keyed to the same map.

Sadly, it seems like the Pathfinder Battles Encounter Pack idea hit a dead end, but including mini-adventures with a small pack of themed monsters could have been fun as well.

And, as they seem like a perfect quick pick-up-and-get started item, these single-page adventures seem like they would be a perfect supplement to the Beginner Box, with a few modifications (include page numbers for the Beginner Box bestiary for monsters mentioned in the adventure, for example). A pack of perhaps a dozen of these mini-dungeons designed for levels 1-5, tied into the Beginner Box adventure as alternative beginnings or continuations of the original adventure, would be a great supplement to the Beginner Box (which, in itself, is a great way to run stripped-down games with minimal preparation for Family Game Night.) I don't know about anyone else, but I'd spend $12 or so on a nice pack of Beginner Box Mini-Dungeons in a heartbeat....

1 person marked this as a favorite.
thejeff wrote:
How about young dragons? They're not all ancient overwhelmingly powerful monsters.

That's a good question.

I've never used a younger dragon in my own games, and, now that you mention it, it sounds like a great opportunity to delve into their personalities a bit.

Thinking back on it when trying to find precedents, I don't see young dragons being given too much characterization very often. More often than not, young dragons seem to either get treated like mindless animals (which seems like such a waste of potential characterization), or at best like friendly creatures.

What would that eccentric, elderly neighbor have been like when he was younger? Perhaps he wasn't always a stingy, greedy, penny-pinching creep? I suspect no young dragon plans to grow up to be like its lonely, bitter, selfish, angry parents and grandparents, and instead start out thinking that it can't happen to them, that they'll do better. And then, as the years pile up along with the disappointments and disasters of age, dragons find that they've turned into their parents after all.

If those ancient, incredibly powerful monsters are like the worst versions of elderly humans "dialed up to 11", perhaps their younger counterparts are like youthful humans with the exaggerated sins of human youth... ambition, vanity, pride, arrogance, competitiveness, conspicuous consumption, showing off.... I can almost imagine the stories around younger dragons being the stuff of hard-boiled detective fiction, crossed with Jersey Shore reality TV, crossed with gangster films, crossed with the excesses of hip-hop music videos, crossed with the sort of youthful decadence described in "The Picture of Dorian Grey", crossed with the larger-than-life lifestyles of rock-and-roll or sports stars:

Dragons, young and beautiful yet fundamentally corrupt, selling their souls to "Keep up with the Joneses", taking the easy way out to quickly gain the wealth to buy the fantasy equivalent of gaudy "bling", fast cars, expensive clothes, ridiculous mansions they cannot actually afford, and the endless supplies of the drugs needed to keep them running, every day an instant away from spectacularly crashing and burning in gauche tragedy to the smirking amusement of their peers and competition. In fact, ancient dragons are nothing less than the hollow, burnt-out wreckage of the excesses of their short-sighted, mis-spent youth... those who survived a youth of hollow excess, to age and die alone in hollow excess.

Where do young dragons get their hoards? One dragon got his by selling drugs to formerly peaceful Orc tribes who now march on civilization to loot enough money to buy more. Another dragon inherited her wealth from a wealthy uncle, and now squanders it on wild parties that, for kicks, sometimes involve the summoning of eldritch abominations into this world. Yet another married into his wealth, and conspired to have his wife killed so he could use some of the gold to pay off gambling debts. Another dragon has quickly and spectacularly climbed to the top of an intercontinental shipping company by killing off his biggest competitors, and now pays some of his new-found wealth on bodyguards so he can survive the same treatment from his surviving competitors. Another lives on allowance from his parents, and uses some of it to cover up blackmail for the crimes he has committed. All these and more are cautions and opportunities for any adventurers who find young dragons offering them jobs, or who are sent on missions to loot the hoards of young dragons!

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Rastrum wrote:
If you're looking for a mythological reason, it probably goes back to Fafnir, and the old iconography of dragons as personifications of greed.
LazarX wrote:
Actually Fafnir was a dwarf who became a dragon because of his overwhelming greed and treasure lust. In the original Icelandic tales, Dragons, or Serpents in general are symbols of greed.
Domestichauscat wrote:
I've wanted to ask billionaires that hoard most of their money in savings accounts the same thing. Maybe it's more of a humanity thing rather than a dragon thing.
Ashtathlon wrote:
Because I don't trust banks........

I think these are actually the best answers, at least to my understanding of dragons.

Dragons are like flawed people, with both their strengths and their deadly sins and weaknesses "dialed up to 11" over centuries of life.

They are creatures of superhuman strength, learning, and age... and also creatures of superhuman avarice, pride, vanity, ambition, wrath, envy, gluttony, and (though these don't get emphasized as often in traditional fantasy) lust, sloth, ennui, and apathy.

Toss in a healthy dose of superhuman paranoia and misanthropy as well, with respects to Ashtathlon: dragons don't trust banks... in fact, they don't trust anyone.

Your average dragon is kind of like your average eccentric, elderly neighbor: locked up in a decaying old haunted house completely alone, thinking dirty old man thoughts, hoarding a lifetime of pinched pennies and perhaps ill-gotten loot in a sock under the mattress, afraid to throw away old newspapers and broken appliances and other junk because he might need them some day, certain that everyone else is as greedy and angry and wicked as he is, angrily muttering about the "good old days" of his wasted youth, and dreaming about getting the chance to shoot those damned adventuring kids who keep daring each other to sneak onto his lawn.

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Just what is a Paladin, anyway, outside of RPGs?

Paladin, definitions and etymology:


The word comes into English from French, Italian, and Latin, where it originated as as the Latin term "Palatinus" (a functionary servant of an emperor).

It has variously meant over time:

1. Any of the 12 legendary peers or knightly champions in attendance on Charlemagne.
2. Any knightly or heroic champion.
3. A determined advocate or defender of a cause.

It's all a fancy way of saying that, historically, paladins have been advisers, politicians, police officers, activists, and soldiers... not necessarily holy, good, or lawful ones by D&D terms (although one might reasonably expect Charlemagne to have specially trusted his paladins, and that "knightly" would imply literally some fealty to the Church and adherence to the code of chivalry at one time... sort of the equivalent of politicians and police officers swearing to uphold and defend the Constitution and the law... in the real world, breaking codes of conduct in such offices rarely strips politicians and officers of their power... one might cynically say that the opposite is true.)

In game terms, the Paladin is an attempt to model the legend of Sir Lancelot. Lancelot's fall as a Paladin came in the form of nothing less than adultery with the queen of the king he swore to serve faithfully: lust, betrayal, deception, disloyalty - pretty heavy stuff, compared to the cheap "gotcha" moments DMs have been known to cause Paladins to fall with in D&D! Far from being precisely LG in a traditional D&D sense, Lancelot disobeyed Arthur (his king) at times when he thought it would do the most good (like befriending Arthur's arch enemy rather than fighting him, and then convincing that enemy to surrender peacefully to Arthur). Lancelot did display great, heroic courage and strength and a willingness to risk his own life when challenged - characteristics we'd hope to see from any PC class.

In short, the Paladin has evolved from "a determined advocate or defender of a cause", or a political adviser and servant to the government, through some attempt to simulate the heroic exploits of Lancelot, to what it is today: "That Lawful Good Sore Thumb that the DM Torments and the Rest of the Party Can't Stand."

What went wrong?


Most of the other classes in D&D have evolved, grown, and expanded a lot over the decades, but the Paladin has remained chained to the narrow image of a class embodiment of a single, arbitrary, poorly-defined alignment which has weirdly resisted change since the 1970s, instead festering regularly into the "Lawful Stupid" caricature that acts as the party's nagging Morality Police or which grinds the party to a halt to become the center of attention in debates over minutiae, becoming the tail that wags the party's dog to the increasing frustration and annoyance of the rest of the group (or, alternatively, innocently being turned into the harassed whipping boy and chew toy of sadistic DMs and generations of "Chaotic Stupid" Gnome Rogue party thieves for no particularly good reason.)

The Paladin, if she had a voice, might at this point speak up to declare that she is only facing worldly persecution, because She has stuck to her principals since her creation in the 1970s.

I would disagree: the Paladin is repeatedly at the center of party problems because, in spite of decades of change in the game, the Paladin has stubbornly tried to stay the same, until she is no longer playing the same RPG that the rest of the group is.

In short, the game has moved on and grown, but the Paladin stereotype has not, and instead becomes an out-of-place obstacle for the rest of the group to trip over.

The solution, I submit, is for the Paladin to evolve, and to set her sights beyond merely the Lawful Good alignment... indeed, to set her sights beyond alignment altogether!

There's no reason a Paladin couldn't be a champion of Law and Good, if she wants and it fits her character concept. There's nothing wrong with that.

But, the definition, "a determined advocate or defender of a cause", actually opens up a lot of doors for the Paladin, allowing her to cover ground that she has only rarely covered before.

For examples:


Imagine a party containing a traditional Barbarian, Ranger, Druid, and Cleric with (say) the Plant and Sun domains... the party has a bit of a theme to it: nature, the wilderness, and so on. Imagine that a Paladin joins... not a Paladin champion of the Lawful Good alignment, or even of Chaotic Neutral Alignment (or whatever), but rather, a Paladin who is a determined advocate or defender of Nature.


Imagine a party of Goblin adventurers... including a Goblin Paladin of Fire; rather than being devoted to any specific alignment, the Paladin of Fire is a champion of the pure truth and wisdom and beauty of burning flames - the flames that keep Goblin villagers warm and safe at night! The fire that cooks Goblin food! The fire that keeps children amused and out from under their parents feet! The fire that brings beauty to dry, dead forests, and brings down the stockades around farmer's fields! The fire that burns books and the evil letters and words! The Goblin Paladin of Fire burns writers at the stake to protect Goblin society from harm, the Goblin Paladin of Fire brings fire to the fire-less, and tasty cooked food to the hungry. The Goblin Paladin of Fire brings the Burning Torch of Vengeance upon threats to his people, and holds the sneaking dogs and stamping horses in the darkness at bay around his bonfires!

For any party imaginable, a Paladin could be developed who could fit right in with codes of ethics and philosophies which range from the familiar to the slightly alien, but still make logical sense, and are still recognizably Paladins in their own way.

And, non-Lawful Good Paladins could just as easily make unusual villains - and not necessarily Evil Anti-Paladins, either.

As for alignments, why not a True Neutral Paladin, devoted to maintaining a careful balance between all the different factions in the alignment matrix? It's a bit weird, it's a bit kooky, but in a world of Dwarves and Elves and planar beings and mysterious aberrations, it could be among the easier philosophies for people in the real world to understand. The Big Bad Evil Guy of the Week this time isn't a Chaotic Evil Necromancer, but rather a Neutral Paladin and his cult of deranged fanatic silent Monks attempting to balance out a world which has tipped too far toward the side of Law and Good, by helping the forces of Chaos and Evil to regain their share of the balance... the cult may even try to summon some eldritch horror of neutrality from out of the void to help with this cause... a strange, unearthly being with no interest or commitment or devotion to any particular extreme of morality or ethics, a truly neutral disregard of all things equally as little more than dust beneath its vast, tentacled feet.

What if a Dark Elf Paladin of Knowledge and Liberation, along with her Bard accomplices, were to bring a crusade in the name of the Dark Elf notion of wisdom and enlightenment to the surface world, advocating the construction of special academies of learning, and building magical printing presses to mass produce "The Mysteries of the Worm" and "The King in Yellow" for the benefit of ignorant surface-dwellers, to free them from the restrictive chains of their collective sanity?

The Lawful Good Paladin stereotype is so very narrow and human and western a concept! Yet, we as a tightly-knit culture of gamers can barely agree on what the philosophy of the Lawful Good Paladin actually is... why should a world peopled with so many non-human races be expected to have exactly the same ideas of what Paladinhood means as one faction of the gamer world, when so many of those fantasy races are so different from their Human counterparts, and so many indeed are so different as to be more or less completely alien?

What sort of Paladin organizations might be established in the deep vaults beneath the earth or in the spaces between the spaces, under the guidance of the churches and monasteries and asylums and factories and vaults of Boggards, Ghouls, Derros, Drow, Gugs, Intellect Devourers, Kuthites, Shoggoths, Aboleths, Cloakers, and so on? Mere sane humans may not quite understand the morality and ethics of such beings, but surely they, too, have devoted advocates and defenders of their own alien causes, whose inhuman faiths grant them powers and abilities that would seem miraculous to common folk.

Lawful Good is only a narrow subset of the available alignments, and alignments are only a narrow subset of the possible philosophies that might drive a Paladin and inspire her faith and fervor. With so many possibilities, so many non-human races in the game who do not necessarily share human ideals and aesthetics, why should we expect all Paladins everywhere to adhere to exactly the same code of ethics and philosophy?

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Not to mention, attempts to punish a sulking player who can't figure out how to fit in, who doesn't feel motivated to cooperate, and isn't very interested in sharing the spotlight with team mates, are not going to suddenly raise that player's morale and bring about a Renaissance of good will, cooperation, and understanding.

Punishment will only alienate this player even worse, and reinforce the exact behavior you are wanting to change.

Punishment gives the player even more attention than he's already getting at the expense of players who are team players. You're actually punishing the good players, and rewarding the troublemaker and attention-hog by giving the troublemaker and attention-hog the trouble and attention he's seeking.

Punishment raises the level of angst and alienation in a player who already feels like the best way to express himself is through angsty, alienated characters.

Punishment only pushes a problem player even further away from you and the group, while breaking down the reasonable communication and out-of-character teamwork that are your only real hope of mending the situation.

Punishment sends the wrong messages to the other players, who may be left thinking "wow, this DM is a hardcase, I'd better watch my step and stop taking fun chances, so I won't be next", or worse, who might be inspired to join in with you in punishing, ostracizing, and alienating a player who probably needs a friend and support more than anything else right now.

I think DrDeth is on the right track for the way to handle a PvP attempt: "No, the only way I'm going to allow a PC-vs.-PC attack, is if your character becomes an NPC. Isn't there any more constructive option your character can try, like talking to the Paladin? Or, would you rather create a new character who fits better with the party and campaign, and let me run your character as a recurring villain? You really have written a very deep, complex, and well-rounded villain, and I would be honored to have your permission to write her into the campaign...."

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I would certainly loot the seemingly endless wealth of possibilities provided by the Yokai spirits! Some movies that could help:
- "Spirited Away"
- "The Great Yokai War"
- "Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare" (Video review here: )
- "Yokai Monsters: One Hundred Monsters"
- "Yokai Monsters: Along With Ghosts"

Though certainly not traditional theme-park "Eastern" material, I always thought that the Easter Island giant statues made for a very creepy and unearthly setting, and Australian native "Dream Time" imagery should provide some fantastic sources of monsters. Add on top of that the various ways that Lovecraft, Arthur Merritt, and other weird fiction authors have invoked eldritch mysteries into settings in and around the Pacific Islands, it seems like a natural fit for Pathfinder's often Lovecraftian flavor of pulp fantasy, and a great way to inject something new into "Eastern-flavored" fantasy RPGs.

Also not strictly traditional theme-park "Eastern" material, I've always thought that the film "Big Trouble in Little China" seemed like it would be a fabulous inspiration for an RPG campaign setting: freakish monsters, mysterious alternate universes under the streets of a Chinatown, eccentric wizards, martial-artist street gangs, demon-gods, not-quite-living-or-dead ghoul sorcerers, and lots of other fun ideas abound here, and should be right at home in a pulp fantasy setting!

And then, you have the amazing varieties of terrifying undead presented in all the various Japanese, Korean, Thai, Chinese, and Filipino horror movies that surfaced in America in the wake of the surprise success of remakes like "The Ring" and "The Grudge". A lot of these films seem to have these sorts of ghosts thriving in and around technology in a world where people no longer live in harmony with the natural world or with the past of their ancestors; I've considered from time to time adapting these sorts of stories to a fantasy setting with magic serving in place of technology as a focus for "J-Horror" style hauntings (picture "The Ring", for example, with a crystal ball or magic mirror, instead of a television....)

1 person marked this as a favorite.

A cooperative game like Pathfinder cannot long survive an uncooperative player or GM. It relies on the group members, out-of-character, to work together to share the spotlight, and help each other have fun... if one or more members of the group are unwilling to compromise and sacrifice a little of what they want to help everyone else have fun, it's an out-of-game problem.

A conscious player decision to create and play an uncooperative character in a cooperative game counts as an out-of-game problem.

Out-of-game problems, demand out-of-game solutions.

1. If you haven't already, talk to the other players, and listen to what they say. Verify that this really is a problem that affects them, rather than a personal annoyance/pet-peeve of yours that you are projecting onto them (and perhaps exaggerating) - we're human, and as role-players we're imaginative humans: it happens!

2. Once you are sure whether it's a problem that is irritating the group, or one that's just irritating you personally, talk to this player - it sounds like you have done this already, but nothing productive happened. If it's just you getting annoyed, you are dealing with the player in terms of a personal favor to you. If you are dealing with the player in terms of a problem that annoys the whole group, talk to the player along with the group as a group problem.

3. As an adult in a cooperative game, ask the player to steer the character in a different direction.

4. If the player refuses to change the characterization, you have some additional out-of-game choices:

- Learn to live with it, if it's just a personal pet-peeve of yours. Maybe it's YOU that is being unreasonable, if the other players are alright with it! We've probably all been there, where we have a bad day or week or month, and someone we ordinarily get along with well suddenly starts rubbing us the wrong way without trying. Maybe you just need some fresh air and a cleared head, before coming back to the table to forgive and forget, and make a fresh start of it. Maybe you can simply adjust your expectations of the campaign style and mood.

- Ask the player to change character altogether, especially if it's not just you, and the character really is annoying the whole group. "This character is just not a good fit for this campaign and this group... could we shelve her for now, and use her again later in a different group, for a different story?"

- If your group is open to the idea, see if a change of other characters and campaign, to something better-suited to cooperating with this one "jerk" character, can be placed on the table. Maybe the whole group is feeling introspective and anxious, are willing to explore grimmer territory, and is in the mood for a darker-and-edgier storyline full of co-dependent, troubled antiheroes trying to survive a crap-sack world, with the PCs as their own worst enemies, and maybe you can put yourself in just the right mood to give this setting and storyline to them in a memorable way they will talk about fondly for years to come! (This assumes the player's character concept would cooperate with a group, if the other players and GM were on the same page with this player, and that nobody else minds making a little room to indulge this player.)

- Talk to the player to find out what you'd have to give him/her to change the direction the character is going in, and give it to the player in good faith. Maybe all the player wants is a spotlight episode, where the character confronts her personal demons, sees what she is doing wrong, and changes her ways... a single episode where this character is the center of attention may be a small price to pay to promote group harmony and to keep an otherwise good role-player in the group.

5. If the player absolutely refuses to meet the group (or you) on middle ground, and you and the group can't find any way to compromise with the player (or don't believe you should have to), then it's time for the group to lose one or more members, or for the campaign or even the group to completely disband and move on.

I'm sure you hope that it doesn't have to come to the point where such an ultimatum would have to be issued, but sometimes it comes down to that, and if the differences are irreconcilable, then no game mechanics, NPC brow-beating, poorly-veiled hints from other characters, and that sort of thing are likely to help (in fact, in-game solutions tend to make out-of-game problems worse!) It's better to break things up, than to inflict a miserable time for weeks, months, or years on yourself, your group, or on one or two players who aren't having fun as a group.

Good luck in any case!

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It's been debated for decades, it's presence has spanned continents and generations, and it's taken hundreds of posts in this thread alone.

And yet, we still can't really agree on what these alignments even mean!

Alignment is an artificial construct intended to simulate and enforce role-playing character personalities by pigeon-holing them into nine poorly-defined, completely inhuman and unnatural bins. I think that, in the end, it can be concluded that alignment does a tragically-poor job of simulating personalities, and an even worse job of enforcing role-playing, as can be seen by the history of D&D being littered by horror stories about "Chaotic Stupid", "Lawful Stupid", "Stupid Evil", "Stupid Good", and "True Stupid" characters who are role-played to the letter of the Alignment Law, rather than its spirit.

I say again: toss out this wretched, ancient relic of the earliest days of formal role-playing games, when game designers didn't know yet quite how to make these games work, or how to explain playing a role to the first generation of pioneering RPG players! Alignment is a poor substitute for the imagination of players in their PC characterizations.


Imagine for a moment a group of warriors of a religious or quasi-religious order, whose leadership has ordered its knights to drive infidels out of a Holy Land. One obeys his commanding officer, and does his best to fight bravely and ethically, upholding his code of conduct as best as he can under the circumstances of war. One disagrees with his commanding officer, under conscientious objection refusing to drive the legitimate government out of the Holy Land for what he perceives as a self-serving plot of his commanders to seize power and loot treasure at the expense of an innocent and defenseless population. Another wishes to adhere to the principals of neutrality, doing his best to convince his commanders that his order should be protecting the innocent civilians, healing the sick and wounded of both sides of the conflict, fighting to bring war-criminals from both sides to justice, but otherwise taking no active part in what is, after all, a worldly war. And, yet another, finding himself on the losing side against an overwhelming enemy, cut off from his leadership, who has taken to fighting a sort of guerrilla war against the enemy, robbing supply trains to feed his followers, striking stronger forces from cover and by night to gain whatever advantage he can against the forces of evil, while insisting that he and his followers treat innocents and their prisoners with respect.

Which of these is the Paladin? Could most, or even all, be Paladins? Do they all have the same alignment? Would all of us be able to agree on the exact alignment of each of these characters? Should any of these characters be punished for "bad" role-playing of a "holy warrior" who respects good and law? Is there really no reason they could not work together as a party toward the same ends in situations where they can all agree? Or, is there really no reason the same player could not choose any one of these characterizations to best fit in with the campaign or party her group favors?

What I'm attempting to get at is that, within the confines of alignment, the notion that we all have of what a classic, Lawful-Good Paladin must be, is a caricature of a tradition that is itself a caricature of the letter of a set of guidelines laid down decades ago when D&D was still trying to figure out how it was different from war games that were, after all, not very different from chess.

Role-playing games have grown up a lot since then, but for some reason some part of all of us still wants to try to preserve the odd tradition of explicit characterization rules for how the white chess pieces must speak, think, and act while going through the motions of obeying the mechanical rules of moving so many squares forward on the chessboard until they meet a black chess piece, as if the modern role-player (or indeed, even the earliest role-players) could not sort out on their own, often far more interestingly, how they think their knight in shining armor should behave in her efforts to slay the dragon.

The player wants to portray a character who is a shining beacon of hope and faith in a world of darkness and chaos. Whose job is it to decide what that means to the player and exactly how to realize that vision through the PC's actions, thoughts, beliefs, and deeds? The game designers' job? The rules set's job? The fluff writers' job? The GM's job? Or, is it the player's job?

I, of course, am arguing that it is the player's job... the player might agree 100% with whatever Gary Gygax wrote on the matter in the 1970's, or, then again, the player might come up with something at least as compelling, but a little fresher and further off the beaten track, but still as real and convincing as anything in a fantasy role-playing game. And THAT is the sort of thing I always enjoy about collaborative creative experiences such as RPG's - discovering new characters, new ideas, new concepts, new descriptions and so on that I never would have imagined on my own.


A Lawful Good Assassin? Sure, why couldn't an assassin obey the laws, kill when ordered to, and use her arts for the purposes of saving lives and promoting the common good? (After all, how else might you describe a police or S.W.A.T. sniper, but as a [theoretically] law-abiding assassin, acting within the limitations of the law, for the common good?) You explain how and why your character is a good and lawful hired killer, and if you can convince me and the other players that it makes sense and works well with the campaign and party, and have a history of following through with that promise, I'll allow it without a second thought.

A Good Necromancer? I'm intrigued. How does that work? For just one idea, I picture a character like the "Ghost Whisperer" or the kid from "The Sixth Sense", who can see and speak with, deal with, and lead the unquiet dead to help them complete unfinished business in this world, and pass over to the next in peace. I could easily see such a character playing well in a party that includes even a traditional LG Paladin and LG Cleric and so on, if all the players are willing to cooperate with each other in a cooperative game, rather than sticking to strict alignment dogma and play their classes "straight" according to ancient, pre-defined tropes that don't actually exist in the rules but nevertheless drive Paladins to mindlessly act like Lawful Stupid jerks, and Necromancers to mindlessly act like Stupid Evil jerks, and party-attack and back-stab and kill each other on sight at every opportunity even when it makes no sense within a role-playing framework, or even a roll-playing framework....

It can work, and it can work easily. It only requires one small, simple thing: for players (and GMs) to abandon the peculiar notion that Alignment is a rule, that Class fluff descriptions are rules, that Race fluff descriptions are rules, and that these "rules" must never be broken, as if nobody in the history of D&D has ever house-ruled actual rules for the sake of the group's sanity and stability!

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Kobold Cleaver wrote:

...Just from what I generally see in tabletop games, though, I've learned to be wary about allowing monsters as PCs in Golarion.

Here's a known fact: Look for Good, Lawful or even Neutral goblins in all of Pathfinder's books and modules. Look for Good kobolds or orcs.

Sure, there might be one or two. One or two.

That number grows in an MMO way more than it should. Golarion is not a setting for monstrous heroes. Period.

I don't know if it will help, but I believe there's actually a canon precedent in the Pathfinder universe: the quite popular "We Be Goblins!" and upcoming sequel "We Be Goblins, Too!" adventures, with Mogmurch, Reta Bigbad, Chuffy Lickwound, and Poog of Zarongel as playable PC Goblin heroes in the first adventure (and, reportedly, in the second adventure as well).

If the reviews of "We Be Goblins!" are anything to go by, players everywhere actually do get into the right spirit of things and play the Goblin heroes in character, and have a lot of fun doing so. I would suggest it worked because of the fabulous and memorable Pathfinder Goblin artwork, the vivid and exciting "fluff" in the books which helped visualize how the Goblins think and act, and the other great support found in the module and other source materials for creating a believable and detailed world for these creatures to live in. Good character models, artwork, animations, and level/area design should accomplish that in an MMORPG medium.

A number of users have suggested charging extra to play monster races to discourage playing them.

I'm going to try something different, and suggest the opposite:

Take a monster race - I suggest the Goblins. Place upon them a low level cap, perhaps maximum of Level 3 (or, the PFO equivalent). And, make them FREE to play, for test-drive and preview accounts.

By their nature, they will likely attract the trolls and troublemakers, but the damage that could be done is limited, and trolling and troublemaking is really not far out of character for them. They'll proliferate in great numbers as special-snowflake types whose lives are cheap, but then what else would you expect from monstrous humanoid mooks? They will probably get kicked around a bit in PvP by players who get sick of Goblin griefing, and that's totally in-character as well. The monster PCs who are able to get along and organize and subsist in that environment by making themselves useful to more traditional PC races might actually carve out a civilized niche for themselves, and those who are able to organize may be able to alternatively launch monster sieges and become real threats to an extent, but eventually players are going to want to pay out the money to move on and become something other than the lowest-common-denominator chew-toys of the game world.

So, let us go forth with the battle cry, "Free Goblins!"

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Curses! You guys have got me on this, and my bank account hates me for it.

The Other Guys' special edition of the 3.5E core rulebooks were very, very nice. I wasn't going to buy them, but when my DMG wore out, and the special edition on sale cost only a little more than the regular edition, I figured, "why not?" Having a copy of a special edition in-hand, though, sold me completely. I bought the rest of the set of special edition 3.5E core rulebooks in a heartbeat. Pictures on the internet could not do justice to seeing a high-quality book in person.

I'm a sucker for special editions now! This will be going on the top shelf alongside the special edition 3.5e books and the special boxed leather-bound editions of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and the complete H.P. Lovecraft.

I'm pretty excited about this pre-order. And, should you ever do a special-edition Pathfinder core rulebook in a similar style, I'll pre-order that one in a heartbeat, too....