Pathfinder Adventure Path #73: The Worldwound Incursion (Wrath of the Righteous 1 of 6) (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Adventure Path #73: The Worldwound Incursion (Wrath of the Righteous 1 of 6) (PFRPG)
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Chapter 1: "The Worldwound Incursion"
by Amber E. Scott

For more than a hundred years, the demon-infested Worldwound has warred against humanity, its Abyssal armies clashing with crusaders, barbarians, mercenaries, and heroes along the border of lost Sarkoris. But when one of the magical wardstones that helps hedge the demons into their savage realm is sabotaged, the crusader city of Kenabres is attacked and devastated by the demonic hordes. Can a small band of heroes destined for mythic greatness survive long enough to hold back the forces of chaos and evil until help arrives, or will they become the latest in a long line of victims slaughtered by Deskari, the demon lord of the Locust Host?

This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path launches the Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Path and includes:

  • “The Worldwound Incursion,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 1st-level characters, by Amber E. Scott.
  • A gazetteer of the crusader city of Kenabres on the border of the Worldwound, by Amber E. Scott.
  • The search for an infamous demon hunter in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by Robin D. Laws.
  • A complete outline of the Wrath of the Righteous campaign.
  • Four new monsters by James Jacobs, Jason Nelson, David Schwartz, and Jerome Virnich.

Each monthly full-color softcover Pathfinder Adventure Path volume contains an in-depth adventure scenario, stats for several new monsters, and support articles meant to give Game Masters additional material to expand their campaign. Pathfinder Adventure Path volumes use the Open Game License and work with both the Pathfinder RPG and the world’s oldest fantasy RPG.

ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-553-2

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscription.

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The Standard for AP Openings

5/5

As the title, this book is everything I love about Pathfinder and the best opener of any AP I’ve played. For context, I have played one other AP from beginning to end, 4 books of another, and the first book of another.

There’s challenge! There’s scale! There’s memorable NPCs! There’s such an energy and drive here that has kept me stoked for more. Yes, I am biased by my love of paladiny lawful goodness, but that’s just a small part of what makes this book work so well for me.

As a final note, anyone who wants to whine about LGBT-inclusion can kiss my transgender lesbian ass. This book rocks.


Pathfinder or politics?

2/5

The adventure is fun, if you can get past the writers doing their best to ram the most hot-topic controversial political issues of the day down your throat at every turn. I've had to dramatically modify the fluff of two major NPCs in order to avoid political conversations I don't care to have with my party.

Stick to writing stories, guys. You're not going to attract new fans like this.


A good start

5/5

Just to get this out of the way, let me start with the following obligatory advice:

Advice on adjusting the difficulty level of this AP:
Before running this AP, I was warned that the power of mythic PCs quickly outpaced the difficulty of the encounters the AP provides. Despite taking a number of precautions to mitigate this (having players use a 10 point-buy, applying advanced templates to every mythic creature, etc), I found this to be true.

In light of our experiences, and those reported on the boards, the consensus seems to be that there are two generally viable ways to deal with these problems:

Option 1: Power-down the PCs.

(a) Don't give the PCs mythic ranks.

(b) [Optional:] Use the Hero Point system introduced in the APG, and give the PCs a number of Hero Points per day equal to the number of mythic ranks they're supposed to have. (This makes players a bit more robust.)

(c) More or less play the AP as is. (Though there are a couple of encounters in book 6 that will probably need to be made a bit easier).

Option 2: Power-up the encounters.

(a) Give the PCs mythic ranks as the AP suggests (possibly with the nerfs suggested in Mythic Solutions).

(b) Use the (vastly) upgraded stat blocks presented in Sc8rpi8n_mjd's modified stat blocks document to upgrade encounters, and then further multiply the HPs given in the stat blocks by something like (creature's mythic rank+3)/3. (For more optimized players you may need to multiply HPs even more.)

Our experience, FWIW: We played books 1-4 more or less as is, and (despite my efforts to boost and combine encounters) found books 3 and 4 to be far too easy to be fun. We then adopted something like option 2 for books 5 and 6, and found that to be much more challenging and enjoyable. But we also found that combat can take forever -- don't be surprised if you find yourself needing to spend more than one session to get through a fight.

This is good start to the AP, with an epic event to kick things off, a number of interesting NPCs to roleplay with, and a decent dungeon crawl to work through.

--Fun of playing this leg of the AP, as written: 4.5/5
--Fun of the story of this leg of the AP: 4.5/5
--Total score: 4.5/5 (rounded up).


A Solid Foundation for the Entire Campaign

5/5

The Worldwound Incursion is an extremely good start to an epic campaign. This module of the Adventure Path builds a solid foundation on which the rest of the campaign rests.

The start of the module effectively not only shows what is at stake in the campaign and what will happen if the PCs fail, it also manages to build solid relationships with many of those who will be the PCs' closest allies as the campaign progresses. The NPCs have clear, strong and differing personalities which together with their background stories make for believable and likeable (or at least entertaining) NPCs.

Furthermore the AP manages to shine a light on not only the physical corruption demonic taint brings to mortals and nature itself, but also shows how the corruption of crusaders, mercenaries and in general fallible mortals slowly destroys the very nature of the crusades and crushes all hope of victory.

Add that the story is brilliant, the combats appropriately challenging and the rewards are very good as well, and the module offers plenty of good roleplaying opportunities, whether one prefers the more serious, the over the top and funny (with a touch of the dramatic) or a mixture of both.

The only negative I can add is that for any moderately competent group the mythic rules being introduced in the end pose quite a challenge for the GM in future modules. Mythic is overpowered, there is no way around it, and in my group even the suggested alternative stat increases make for too strong a party if one wants to play the entire AP exactly as written. As the campaign has progressed I've needed to increase the CR considerably to keep combats challenging (or just at a point where they drain PC resources), but luckily the Paizo forums have an amazing reworking of higher ranking enemies/allies/neutrals. Personally I find that those reworked stats and the stronger enemies being allowed to use mythic while the PCs aren't makes for an appropriate challenge, but it would depend a lot on how experienced the players are.

All in all The Worldwound Incursion is a brilliant start to a very, very good campaign, although later modules do need a bit more mechanical tweaks from the GM's side than the average AP. The help found on Paizo's forums helps a lot in this regard though.


Excellent Start

5/5

My group and I finished this book yesterday after playing nine sessions roughly averaging 3 ½ hours a pop. We play online with 6 players.

Story: The story is great. Starts off with the big bad guys making a powerful statement. This gives the GM a chance to play up that the demons are no joke and over the course of the book, the descriptions emphasize just how rotten they can be. The writers rarely miss a chance to speak to their taste in graffiti, vandalism of statues and desecration of monuments. The story really falls into two parts, the first one isolates the PCs from the larger events but that works great to force them to build as a team, the later part of the story opens up the scene to allow the players to explore the destruction and claim some victories. I liked how that worked out

Role-Play: This was also really well integrated into the story. The book has some NPCs thrust upon the PCs right off the bat. They are all well flushed out and easy to adapt and challenge the PCs to interact and help them find their voices with these brand new characters. Later on there are more interesting NPCs presented to the PCs each of them also well flushed out with clear goals and easy personalities to interpret. Also, the story has a number of decision points that should challenge members of the party to consider their own motivations and cooperate and negotiate upon those ideas.

Combat Encounters: These were mostly good. I had to modify a little bit here and there given the size of my group and emphasis upon them to build powerful characters. My intention being to run this without mythic rules means I will frequently be forced to modify encounters so this did not bother me. If it were a standard 4 person party, I think a good amount of the encounters would be challenging.

Extras: The maps of the underground could have been a bit more interesting. As it is they look pretty generic. The maps of the city however are very compelling visually. Give you a really good sense of the damage that was done. Additionally the introduction to Kenabres allows you to set up some stuff before the events of the AP kick off, so if you feel like you need to invest your players into the city more, there is ample material to do so. The monsters at the back are also good. Mostly they flush out the ranks of the demons giving multiple options across all CRs.

Overall: Great start to the AP. I’ve noticed some complaints of this being too railroady, but I don’t think so. In fact there is a large portion of the second half of the AP which asks the PCs to explore the ruins of Kenabres. A GM could easily add or subtract encounters into this portion as he wants. So the characters have room to develop, the plot sets the stakes really high and invests the PCs into the books to come.


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Silver Crusade

Can we get an indication of whether this AP will have a PFS-legal portion, and what level it will be at? My group is interested in playing this AP for PFS credit, and want to know what level we should keep/advance our characters to (almost all of us have a single level 3 or 4 character).

Paizo Employee Developer

SwampTing wrote:
Can we get an indication of whether this AP will have a PFS-legal portion, and what level it will be at? My group is interested in playing this AP for PFS credit, and want to know what level we should keep/advance our characters to (almost all of us have a single level 3 or 4 character).

It's unknown at this point. Mike and John are the ones who will make that decision. Much of that decision will depend on how previous sanctioned Adventure Paths have been reported.

Project Manager

6 people marked this as a favorite.

Removed post in violation of our messageboard rules, and replies. Carry on, everyone.


I see one can not say anything negative against the LBGT material found in this adventure path otherwise you will be removed. Consider this my subscription cancellation.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeesh, it sure would suck if this thread got locked... especially before I found out how many times Xoveron can use mythic power, and what mythic rank he is on his home plane. Yeah.

(Hopefully this is clarified in the Bestiary 4 section on Dagon/Pazuzu/Kostichitcihicece.)

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Hadesblade wrote:
I see one can not say anything negative against the LBGT material found in this adventure path otherwise you will be removed. Consider this my subscription cancellation.

Man, I love that Paizo is so inclusive of things.

I for one hope they continue this trend! :)


James Jacobs wrote:


Those notes are basically as follows:

GLBT characters exist in Golarion, so make sure they're included.

As long as Paizo continues to have GLBT employees, we'll continue to put GLBT characters into our products. In fact, even if the employee thing changes, we'll still put GLBT characters into our products. As long as I have anything to say about it at least. There's a gay couple in the next adventure, in fact, so the inclusiveness isn't stopping with Anevia and Irabeth in this AP.

Furthermore, I'm gonna keep doing this in our APs until it's no longer an issue and folks just talk about the adventure without really pausing to discuss whether any one NPC is a sorcerer or wizard. And at that point I'll keep doing it.

Anyway... keep on topic. And since there are LBGT characters in the adventure, that part of the discussion IS on topic... but keep it civil, please!

So basically you are saying that you will use Pathfinder to push a certain point of view no matter what anyone thinks about it...

For the record, I am OK with LGBT characters as long as they aren't just stuck in with duct tape. But there is a point where it becomes more about pushing an agenda, and you cease simply telling a good story.

Sad to see that to you, it is mostly about pushing that agenda... that is the only reason to make this statement...

Quote:
Furthermore, I'm gonna keep doing this in our APs until it's no longer an issue and folks just talk about the adventure without really pausing to discuss whether any one NPC is a sorcerer or wizard. And at that point I'll keep doing it.

That is why some people claim it feels forced.

BTW, forced inclusion is not real inclusion. I don't know a single LGBT person in real life that appreciates being pandered to. They would much rather the addition make sense.

That is my only qualm about the characters in this. They fell flat. Uninspired, except in the use of actual gender changing, and that was so minor it was glossed over.


Hadesblade wrote:
I see one can not say anything negative against the LBGT material found in this adventure path otherwise you will be removed. Consider this my subscription cancellation.

Well, I think they have been fairly tolerant of other opinions... at least the employees have. The Paizo community, not so much.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It's not necessarily what you say, but how you say it.

"The most important rule: Don't be a jerk. We want our messageboards
to be a fun and friendly place."

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

12 people marked this as a favorite.
Mead Gregorisson wrote:

So basically you are saying that you will use Pathfinder to push a certain point of view no matter what anyone thinks about it...

For the record, I am OK with LGBT characters as long as they aren't just stuck in with duct tape. But there is a point where it becomes more about pushing an agenda, and you cease simply telling a good story.

Sad to see that to you, it is mostly about pushing that agenda... that is the only reason to make this statement...

Quote:
Furthermore, I'm gonna keep doing this in our APs until it's no longer an issue and folks just talk about the adventure without really pausing to discuss whether any one NPC is a sorcerer or wizard. And at that point I'll keep doing it.
BTW, forced inclusion is not real inclusion.

Mead,

Let's be specific. You've expressed concern that this inclusion threatens the story. Please explain how? For a moment let us set aside everything else and square this one single point away— did you find the inclusion of LGBT characters in this Chapter to hurt the story? If so, please explain how.

That's not a trick question. I am banking on it being a very difficult question, because I can't see how that can be true, but if that is the case—I would like to hear it.

************************

Now, I am going to speak to the larger issue. You seem to think Mr. Jacobs is pushing an agenda. I don't feel that you're being terribly empathetic or even realistic about your concerns and what you expect from this.. protest?

Sometimes I wonder if we Forum Posters fail to cut through to heart of these matters. Or perhaps we're so emotionally invested that we can't speak candidly without aggression.

I am going to try to be candid without being hostile.

Lots of LGBT people work at Paizo. Many were involved with the creation of this product. Their art and craft went into this book.

Many LGBT people are loyal customers of Paizo, and the revenue they provide pays salaries and benefits for everyone in the company.

I believe many of Mr. Jacobs's friends and loved ones belong to the LGBT community.

Mead, aren't you expecting a lot of this man? More than is reasonable? What you consider to be advancing an agenda, many feel to be honoring and respecting another community as equals—as friends. Deserving of love and respect like any person does.

I'm afraid you come across like you're thinking of LGBT folks like questionable ingredients on a pizza. "Oh, okay.. if you have to have anchovies this time, I "guess" it is alright. This one time. But let's just do it this one time, because there's a plot element attached to it. Let's not get in the habit of making this a regular thing."

I would never want to be a special exception that someone needed a special excuse to have around. Good god, Mead, that would break my heart.

So how can you ask James to do that? And how can you be surprised and disappointed when he says no?

Mead Gregorisson wrote:
That is my only qualm about the characters in this. They fell flat. Uninspired, except in the use of actual gender changing, and that was so minor it was glossed over.

I cannot reconcile this. Many adventures have heterosexual characters or characters where the sexual orientation is never brought up. Does their sexual orientation seem inspiring in comparison? Or just as commonplace and boring as these LGBT characters?


Jim Groves wrote:


Mead,

Let's be specific. You've expressed concern that this inclusion threatens the story. Please explain how? For a moment let us set aside everything else and square this one single point away— did you find the inclusion of LGBT characters in this Chapter to hurt the story? If so, please explain how.

That's not a trick question. I am banking on it being a very difficult question, because I can't see how that can be true, but if that is the case—I would like to hear it.

************************

Now, I am going to speak to the larger issue. You seem to think Mr. Jacobs is pushing an agenda. I don't feel that you're being terribly empathetic or even realistic about your concerns, and what you expect from this.. protest?

Sometimes I wonder if we Forum Posters fail to cut through to heart of these matters. Or perhaps we're so emotionally invested that we can't speak candidly without aggression.

I am going to try to be candid without being hostile.

Lots of LGBT people work at Paizo. Many were involved with the creation of this product.

Many LGBT people are loyal customers of Paizo, and the revenue they provide pays salaries and benefits for everyone in the company.

I believe many of Mr. Jacobs's...

Did it hurt the story? No. Did it help the story? No. Did it feel like a natural part of the story? No. I actually said all 3 of those in earlier posts.

The story itself was pretty good. I liked the ending. But that doesn't mean that I think everything meshed.

I'm not protesting, I am pointing out what I felt wasn't up to standards. There have been LGBT characters in the past that worked. These ones did not. Or, I should be specific... the former man did not.

However, I felt it was better to discuss my issues with this issue in the thread, rather than in a review...

But the bigger issue in hitting every single one of your customers over the head with the LGBT hammer is that you alienate others. The key is to find a balance. Making LGBT characters "until it is no longer an issue" is a poor way to do that. The reason, because then you are making them for that goal, instead of for the story.


Rather than discuss/argue/debate - I'm just going to put up that in my opinion the characters in question were personable and very well done. It's heartening and feels right to have the positive role-models within the AP be wide and varied.

I really don't see how people can have any problems with this... as all it takes for you to redact it for your home game is to cross out Anevia and write Anvenn instead and the rest of the entire AP volume does not need to be changed in any manner!

Seriously, it is that easy.

Project Manager

14 people marked this as a favorite.

As James said, gay people exist in Golarion. So do trans people.

With lesbian/gay/bi folks at roughly 5% of the human population in the real world (and having no reason to assume it's different in Golarion), given that most APs have 20 or more NPCs, it would be more unrepresentative not to include at least one LGBT character in each AP. Including them isn't "forcing" anything or "pushing an agenda," any more than it's "forcing" things to acknowledge that, like the real world, Golarion has a roughly 1:1 ratio of female to male humans. Or that babies exist. Or that people are of different heights.

LGBT characters exist in Golarion, the same as they do in the real world. It seems like more of an agenda to hide the existence of people than to simply acknowledge the fact that they're around, doing stuff, same as everyone else.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Mead Gregorisson wrote:
But that doesn't mean that I think everything meshed.

But how do heterosexual characters or those who are never defined by sexual orientation mesh?

Mead Gregorisson wrote:

I'm not protesting, I am pointing out what I felt wasn't up to standards. There have been LGBT characters in the past that worked. These ones did not. Or, I should be specific... the former man did not.

However, I felt it was better to discuss my issues with this issue in the thread, rather than in a review...

But the bigger issue in hitting every single one of your customers over the head with the LGBT hammer is that you alienate others. The key is to find a balance. Making LGBT characters "until it is no longer an issue" is a poor way to do that. The reason, because then you are making them for that goal, instead of for the story.

I don't agree with you, but I think not addressing it in the review was a decent thing to do.

I'm going to try again.

Why does there need to be a compelling and engaging story for there to be an LGBT character? Can't such characters just exist, because they do? Because in real life LGBT people exist, just because they do.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I guess I just don't understand how they "don't feel like a natural part of the story."

They are NPCs with background write-ups just like any other NPC from volumes past. I draw just as much inspirational and useful information from these as I did from say, Goti Runecaster or Ameiko Kaijitsu in Jade Regent. These are people who have experienced interesting stuff, and are going to experience further interesting stuff with my PCs.

All of that aside, I have never been this excited about starting up a new campaign. Wrath of the Righteous seems like it has the potential to be a truly unforgettable game!

EDIT: Wow, a bunch of good posts happened in the time I was slowly composing mine! :-)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I liked the adventure, but have a few qualms. When the PCs emerge from the pit to discover Kenebras is now a smoking ruin, why exactly would they immediately set off to investigate human cultists? If I were a player and told I was going to start a campaign about fighting demons, my first thought would be "help survivors and slay any demons that remain." Not to be deliberately difficult, mind you: I would just assume that the cultist thing was something for further down the road. After all, who cares about some demon cultists when actual demons are pillaging and plundering your city? That seems like a far more immediate concern.

Other than that, I have to say that this is probably the most over-the-top start to an AP yet, and in a good way. Surviving a mini demonacalypse, discovering multiple artifacts (even if most are minor), and getting to test run mythic power while smacking down foes that would otherwise result in a TPK were great touches. The ominous realization that the Wardstones are dead at the adventure's conclusion is a brutal cliffhanger.

Good stuff for a first time AP author.

Liberty's Edge

As an aside, a direct result of this thread is that one of my players is planning on having his character in our eventual WotR campaign be the child of two women. His character was literally wished into existence. It'll be fun!

(He also wants to become besties with Irabeth, because who wouldn't? She's awesome.)

I still fail to understand why being LGBT has to have some kind of magical plot reason behind it.

----

I was wondering - I haven't finished reading the module yet, but I saw some people up thread saying this module seems to be quite challenging. Would you say, then, that a 3-person party might be a bit of a stretch? Maybe if I gave them some bonus feats and so forth...?


Jim Groves wrote:

I believe many of Mr. Jacobs's friends and loved ones belong to the LGBT community.

Mead, aren't you expecting a lot of this man? More than is reasonable? What you consider to be advancing an agenda, many feel to be honoring and respecting another community as equals—as friends. Deserving of love and respect like any person does.

I'm afraid you come across like you're thinking of LGBT folks like questionable ingredients on a pizza. "Oh, okay.. if you have to have anchovies this time, I "guess" it is alright. This one time. But let's just do it this one time, because there's a plot element attached to it. Let's not get in the habit of making this a regular thing."

I would never want to be a special exception that someone needed a special excuse to have around. Good god, Mead, that would break my heart.

So how can you ask James to do that? And how can you be surprised and disappointed when he says no?
.
I cannot reconcile this. Many adventures have heterosexual characters or characters where the sexual orientation is never brought up. Does their sexual orientation seem inspiring in comparison? Or just as commonplace and boring as these LGBT characters?
...

Am I asking a lot? No. I am simply voicing my opinion based on what I see, and what I read from him in that post.

I respect his decision to include whomever he wants. But it just feels like he is beating others over the head with it.

That anchovy stuff was odd... I actually am having trouble trying think of a reply to it. Because I never said it couldn't be a regular thing, as long as it doesn't feel forced. Using your analogy though, it would be like the pizza place putting anchovies on every pizza they can... because they don't understand moderation. Considering the low percentage of "hetero" characters that actually get their sexuality spelled out, the fact that the major defining characteristic of those characters being whom they like to have sex with.. just falls flat.

Well, if a hetero character's sexual preference isn't brought up... does he or she really have a sexual preference?

You keep focusing my dislike of these characters as me being against all LGBT characters.

While it is true, I do have a preference IRL regarding anything LGBT... which also doesn't mean I hate them, ordon't know any... to my knowledge I haven't said all of the LGBT characters done were bad characters. I just felt like this was forced.

That's the thing, people always have that kneejerk reaction. People do not have to be happy with every aspect of a product.


Joseph Wilson wrote:

I guess I just don't understand how they "don't feel like a natural part of the story."

They are NPCs with background write-ups just like any other NPC from volumes past. I draw just as much inspirational and useful information from these as I did from say, Goti Runecaster or Ameiko Kaijitsu in Jade Regent. These are people who have experienced interesting stuff, and are going to experience further interesting stuff with my PCs.

All of that aside, I have never been this excited about starting up a new campaign. Wrath of the Righteous seems like it has the potential to be a truly unforgettable game!

EDIT: Wow, a bunch of good posts happened in the time I was slowly composing mine! :-)

I should point out I am voicing an opinion. If people disagree, and find them to both be good characters... that is OK and not tacked on. It's no different than voicing an opinion about a character in any other AP volume or module. Not everyone finds everything to be perfect.


Mead Gregorisson wrote:

You keep focusing my dislike of these characters as me being against all LGBT characters.

While it is true, I do have a preference IRL regarding anything LGBT... which also doesn't mean I hate them, ordon't know any... to my knowledge I haven't said all of the LGBT characters done were bad characters. I just felt like this was forced.

Without trying to put words in your mouth - I'd suggest that perhaps your preference IRL is coloring the fact that you see them as forced where others do not.

Project Manager

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Alice Margatroid wrote:
(He also wants to become besties with Irabeth, because who wouldn't? She's awesome.)

I had a similar reaction. We may or may not have gone on several adventures together in my head.


Mark Sweetman wrote:
Mead Gregorisson wrote:

You keep focusing my dislike of these characters as me being against all LGBT characters.

While it is true, I do have a preference IRL regarding anything LGBT... which also doesn't mean I hate them, ordon't know any... to my knowledge I haven't said all of the LGBT characters done were bad characters. I just felt like this was forced.

Without trying to put words in your mouth - I'd suggest that perhaps your preference IRL is coloring the fact that you see them as forced where others do not.

I have lived with LGBT folks. My preference IRL means nothing. I know how to look at the individual.

But even assuming that is true.. would it not be my right? And if it is my right, would I not be allowed to voice an opinion about a product I purchased?

Let's say I believe that all dwarves should have beards.. even females.. if a product had clean-shaven dwarf females, I am sure my opinion would be welcome... even if it was that shaving the dwarf females just seemed forced... to put them on par with the real life view of beauty.

BTW, I do like clean-shaven dwarf females.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mead Gregorisson wrote:
Mark Sweetman wrote:
Mead Gregorisson wrote:

You keep focusing my dislike of these characters as me being against all LGBT characters.

While it is true, I do have a preference IRL regarding anything LGBT... which also doesn't mean I hate them, ordon't know any... to my knowledge I haven't said all of the LGBT characters done were bad characters. I just felt like this was forced.

Without trying to put words in your mouth - I'd suggest that perhaps your preference IRL is coloring the fact that you see them as forced where others do not.

I have lived with LGBT folks. My preference IRL means nothing. I know how to look at the individual.

But even assuming that is true.. would it not be my right? And if it is my right, would I not be allowed to voice an opinion about a product I purchased?

That works two ways. If you want to have the right to voice your opinion, others want their right to tell what they think of your opinion. Which they, including the guy in charge of Golarion and what goes into an AP, have done, so it's the point where you either tag it or bag it, because you ain't gonna turn the bear around with that stick you're carrying.


Mead:

You are right to have an opinion - as is everyone else posting here. Of which I'd suggest a fair proportion of those opinions have between zero and no issues with the characters.

But...

Mead wrote:
But the bigger issue in hitting every single one of your customers over the head with the LGBT hammer is that you alienate others. The key is to find a balance. Making LGBT characters "until it is no longer an issue" is a poor way to do that. The reason, because then you are making them for that goal, instead of for the story.

You are laying it on very strong that somehow this is Paizo forcing an agenda or hitting people over the head with the issue.... Which they aren't... in my opinion... which I'm entitled to :)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Mead,

I regret if the "special ingredient" metaphor didn't work for you. Maybe it was a bit odd. <shrug> Then again, I wonder how we can have true inclusion with 'moderation'.

Mead Gregorisson wrote:

You keep focusing my dislike of these characters as me being against all LGBT characters.

While it is true, I do have a preference IRL regarding anything LGBT... which also doesn't mean I hate them, or don't know any... to my knowledge I haven't said all of the LGBT characters done were bad characters. I just felt like this was forced.

This will come to a point where it may seem that I am badgering you. You posted and I responded. I will step back now and let your remarks stand without further comment.


Gorbacz wrote:

[

That works two ways. If you want to have the right to voice your opinion, others want their right to tell what they think of your opinion. Which they, including the guy in charge of Golarion and what goes into an AP, have done, so its' the point where you either tag it or bag it, because you ain't gonna turn the bear around with that stick you're carrying.

Yep, and then I can voice my opinion about your opinion.

I wasn't aware I was trying to erase LGBT from the face of Golarion. Having concerns about being smacked upside the head by the LGBT stick don't mean that the should be none of those characters.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mead Gregorisson wrote:


I respect his decision to include whomever he wants. But it just feels like he is beating others over the head with it.

I cringe even typing this, but to a very slight extent, I sort of agree. Just for wholly different reasons I suspect. I initially posted at my annoyance at the ratio of lesbians to gay men, noting there are far more of the former than latter. This frustration is borne from a real-world issue in which gay women are, for whatever reason*, considered more acceptable than gay men. Including a lesbian character can be interpreted as edgy and cool, while gay men are more controversial and potentially alienating.

I am accutely aware of this stereotype, and thus likely hyper sensitive to it, but when I see lesbians represented without a comparable number of gay male characters, I cringe. At that point the effort of inclusion seems disingenuous and, as Mead would put it, "beating others over the head with it." Am I being unfair? Dunno, but there it is.

*You know darn well what the reason is, don't make me spell it out.


BTW, this is all a moot point. As has been stated earlier.. all a GM has to do is change a minor character to whatever they prefer... and otherwise... Ms. Scott made a pretty good adventure with a neat ending.

I stated in the thread about the Player's Guide that it made me want to play this AP... and I stand by that.

My issue with the character aside.. I do feel bad if I made anyone feel bad, alienated or unwelcome, or if I hurt Ms. Scott's feelings. Not my intention. My intention was only to voice my concern.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Generic Villain wrote:
I am acutely aware of this stereotype, and thus likely hyper sensitive to it, but when I see lesbians represented without a comparable number of gay male characters, I cringe. At that point the effort of inclusion seems disingenuous and, as Mead would put it, "beating others over the head with it." Am I being unfair? Dunno, but there it is.

Generic,

Honestly, sometimes there is a real life lag between feedback and when you see a shift. Especially in the AP line.

I'll give you a relevant example, I received this same gay/lesbian lack of parity feedback after The Shackled Hut came out. It wasn't from you, but another poster who shall remain anonymous. I was happy to take that feedback into account—but by the time I got the feedback I was literally weeks away from turning in Chapter Three of Wrath. It was close.

I'll take it a step further. I wrote Chapter One of Mummy's Mask. I turned it in one week after it was announced at PaizoCon. One week after anyone publicly knew it existed.

There can be a lag between the time the authors and developers get feedback from the forums and when we can actually implement it.

That may not make you feel better, but trust me, at least one author has heard you and I'm sure the developers have as well.


Jim Groves wrote:

Mead,

I regret if the "special ingredient" metaphor didn't work for you. Maybe it was a bit odd. <shrug> Then again, I wonder how we can have true inclusion with 'moderation'.

Mead Gregorisson wrote:

You keep focusing my dislike of these characters as me being against all LGBT characters.

While it is true, I do have a preference IRL regarding anything LGBT... which also doesn't mean I hate them, or don't know any... to my knowledge I haven't said all of the LGBT characters done were bad characters. I just felt like this was forced.

This will come to a point where it may seem that I am badgering you. You posted and I responded. I will step back now and let your remarks stand without further comment.

It's fine. You are a good author, so the badgering is OK. My main issues were with a lot of the earlier folks that would get hysterical at any deviation from the PC party line. But I even include them in my above apology.


Oh, and I also do realize I was a bit harsher in my reply to Mr. Jacobs than I intended to be. I really have no issues with how he does things. I just felt the way he phrased his post was a bit disrespectful to some customers. But I do respect him for standing up for what he believes.


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Aaaaannndd we're back to this again. Fine, I'll bite this time.

I, for one, enjoyed Jim Groves' pizza analogy, but if that doesn't work for some people let's try something a little different.

For some people, they seem to think the concept of "Paizo presenting LGBT characters as part of a larger trend is too pushy" is an okay stance to take. Some people don't seem to see anything wrong with the notion of being "put off" by LGBT.

But take that concept for a moment, and change "LGBT" to Black/Hispanic/Native and try that same concept again. At what point do people who view a couple of characters out of dozens as "excessive" or "pushy" realize that this train of thought is discriminatory regardless of whether it's about race or gender or sex.

LGBT are people too. Human beings are human beings. It shouldn't be a difficult concept to get behind.

Mead Gregorisson wrote:
My main issues were with a lot of the earlier folks that would get hysterical at any deviation from the PC party line.

It has nothing to do with "PC". It has everything to do with common human decency.

And, Mead, just be clear, I'm not attacking you. As you said, you're only voicing your concerns, which is completely fair. I'm just using your quotes because you've been willing to be part of the discussion. Which brings me to my real sticking point:

Mead Gregorisson wrote:
But the bigger issue in hitting every single one of your customers over the head with the LGBT hammer is that you alienate others. The key is to find a balance. Making LGBT characters "until it is no longer an issue" is a poor way to do that. The reason, because then you are making them for that goal, instead of for the story.

Some might consider this insensitive but I'll say it anyway - some people are worth alienating. In my opinion, the minute someone doesn't want to approach all other human being in an equal fashion is the minute I no longer have to do the same to them. If someone wants to be discriminatory then they open themselves up to discrimination. Sure, it may be the lower road instead of the higher, kinder, path to walk but I feel it's a low road worth taking.

I wish bigotry and prejudice could be approached with kindness and understanding without the gentler party being walked over, I do, but 10,000 years of human history has proven that's not the case. It never works out well for the gentler party. People who show disrespect to others shouldn't be surprised when they're met with disrespect in turn.

So if Paizo decides to "heartlessly" ignore a sub-set of customers in order to push their "horrible" agenda of tolerance, I'm completely okay with that. Though I am in no way claiming that this is what Paizo is doing. I would not dare speak for them, only me.


The Block Knight wrote:

LGBT are people too. Human beings are human beings. It shouldn't be a difficult concept to get behind.

......

Some might consider this insensitive but I'll say it anyway - some people are worth alienating.

No argument there.

.......

I could point out that everyone that alienates someone believes that some people deserve alienating, no matter who it is.

The fact remains that no one will be happy no matter how anything goes. But people should be able to express themselves without being jumped on. As you said, you are not jumping on me... but people in this thread have been jumped on. Just as people get jumped on in threads on other topics.. such as guns and self-defense.

That is why I disagree with your statement about PC not having anything to do with it. While the company itself has shown a high tolerance for opinions of all sorts... the community has not.

I got attacked in a thread once because I pointed out how bad a scenerio of spraying bear spray in a school classroom would be.... which considering I am in bear country, have 3 cans.. and have actually used the stuff.. is pretty bad.

The reason? Because anti-gun types in the thread where so anti-gun, that if you were pro-gun... you should be shouted down. They were so anti-gun, they were willing to push something that could really damage a child's health. Every child in the school.

Look at that LGBT thread that has been ongoing... you have the same issue. If you are not on a certain side of the issue... it is OK to drown you out.

Now, this thread has been a little calmer... which is good... especially since it is a product thread.

Maybe it is just me, but I tend to welcome all views on a subject.. even if I disagree with it. Not only can it make for good discussion, but it is possible for everyone reading to learn something... on both sides of the discussion.

The Exchange

Generic Villain wrote:

I liked the adventure, but have a few qualms. When the PCs emerge from the pit to discover Kenebras is now a smoking ruin, why exactly would they immediately set off to investigate human cultists? If I were a player and told I was going to start a campaign about fighting demons, my first thought would be "help survivors and slay any demons that remain." Not to be deliberately difficult, mind you: I would just assume that the cultist thing was something for further down the road. After all, who cares about some demon cultists when actual demons are pillaging and plundering your city? That seems like a far more immediate concern.

Other than that, I have to say that this is probably the most over-the-top start to an AP yet, and in a good way. Surviving a mini demonacalypse, discovering multiple artifacts (even if most are minor), and getting to test run mythic power while smacking down foes that would otherwise result in a TPK were great touches. The ominous realization that the Wardstones are dead at the adventure's conclusion is a brutal cliffhanger.

Good stuff for a first time AP author.

About your concerns with hunting down human cultists while actual demons are on the prowl:

It is a main theme of this adventure that Kenabres fell was because the demon horde had help from within. The PCs should know, by the time they emerge from the underground tunnels, that cultists have been spreading chaos and sabotaging the efforts of crusaders for quite some time. The fact that the crusaders can easily bland in a crowed makes them in some aspects every bit as dangerous as demons.
Besides, the adventure actually doesn't make assumptions about what the PCs do, or at least not about the order they do those things. There are 3 NPC related missions, any number of PC missions could be inserted by the GM as well (and PC who had some ties to the city might want to look for his family/friends/property/whatever to see what happened). Also, there's joining Irabreth and her small army. When they join Irabreth, if they havn't yet dealt with the cultists, she will ask them to do it. So I don't think you need to be concerned about this issue.


Anyway, I am leaving the thread again so that it can eventually move on to more of the volume that just LGBT, and I realize that if I stay in this thread that is less likely to happen. Though I know I am not the only one with the same concerns.

Still, while discussing the LGBT thing is part of the product discussion.. I admit a debate on much of the stuff we are debating is not... and if the mods want to clean up the thread, feel free to delete my posts.

I'll just have to see how future LGBT characters turn out.

Besides, I need to continue catching up on White Collar Season 3, which I might add has a prominant lesbian character,a nd the main character is played by a gay man that dresses a lot better than me.

Edit: oh wait, I am on Season 4.

The Exchange

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About the claims brought by Mead Gregorisson that the transgender NPC shouldn't have been a transgender in this AP, because it has nothing to do with the story, at all...

Yeah, the gender and sexuality of the NPC with the unusual gender and sexuality had nothing to do with the AP. It wasn't really a part of the story, and not related to any theme (except maybe to show Irabreth as a truly good, accepting person, which is certainly part of the "pure good" theme in the AP). As a matter of fact, it had no reason to be there.

Which makes it excellent that it WAS there, in my opinion. People's sexuality is just that - sexuality. It shouldn't have anything to do with the story, and it's just a detail about the character. The transgender NPC might or might not be an interesting person (that's a matter of opinion - I find her to be a decent character, though her role seems to be as a friend, so mostly she's just pleasant. Nothing wrong with that). She's also a transgender who was attracted to a woman.

It is obvious Paizo had made a conscious decision to include LGBT characters in Golarion. So, logically, they also appear in APs. Any attempt to tie the sexuality of those NPCs to the story would have made their presence feel MORE forced, since not a ton of fantasy stories are about sexuality and attempting to make the sexuality of a person relevant could have warped the story in any number of ways.

Instead we get exactly what Paizo was aiming for: inclusion. Those NPCs are there, they are not going anywhere, and their sexuality is nothing special (rare does not equal special). And it has nothing to do with anything, doesn't have a purpose behind it.In other words, exactly like in real life. Anyone who has a problem with how the matter of LGBTs is handled in the APs probably has the same issues in real life.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jim Groves wrote:

Generic,

Honestly, sometimes there is a real life lag between feedback and when you see a shift. Especially in the AP line.

I appreciate the reply, and looking back on my post, I should have worded it much differently. It was not initially intended to sound like a complaint. My original point was that I could empathize with Mead to a degree, but ended up muddying the waters further with my own social commentary. I know full well that you, James Jacobs, and a slew of others have heard what I had to say, and again, did not mean to sound like I was re-mounting a soap box. My bad.

Grand Lodge

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Lord Snow wrote:
Instead we get exactly what Paizo was aiming for: inclusion. Those NPCs are there, they are not going anywhere, and their sexuality is nothing special (rare does not equal special). And it has nothing to do with anything, doesn't have a purpose behind it.In other words, exactly like in real life. Anyone who has a problem with how the matter of LGBTs is handled in the APs probably has the same issues in real life.

What he said.

There are two arms to erasure, both of which end in spiked fists: The first is the insistence that the inclusion of minority characters should be limited to being "appropriate to the plot." The second is that the inclusion of characters of that minority is never "appropriate to the plot."

I would challenge anyone to say what's so inappropriate about having a trans woman character as a major NPC. Mead took a swing at it. He said that he thought Anevia's inclusion was "forced" and that made it inappropriate. But on a fundamental level, no fictional character is ever present in a story unless they are written there, so it is EXACTLY as forced for a transgender secondary protagonist to be present as for her to not be present.


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Hey Paizo - thanks for including me in your products. It really means a lot to me :)

Grand Lodge

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Me too, for what it matters, though I think I've communicated this to James Jacobs at some point in the recent past. :)


Mead said it right, the problem was moderation.

There is no problem with a L,B,G or T character. The problem with this story is there is a LBG&T character (with a bi-racial relationship to boot).

In my opinion, the back story seems overboard with this character. Sure, there are gay, lesbian and trans people in the world, but how many individuals are every lifestyle at once?

That gives the feeling that the story is being driven by the agenda of inclusion. It would have just fine to leave it as the two characters being lesbian (or gay), it would have felt more natural.

If that was the case, then I think there would not be so many people be focused on this.

Just my 2cp.

Grand Lodge

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Grayn wrote:

Mead said it right, the problem was moderation.

There is no problem with a L,B,G or T character. The problem with this story is there is a LBG&T character (with a bi-racial relationship to boot).

In my opinion, the back story seems overboard with this character. Sure, there are gay, lesbian and trans people in the world, but how many individuals are every lifestyle at once?

That gives the feeling that the story is being driven by the agenda of inclusion. It would have just fine to leave it as the two characters being lesbian (or gay), it would have felt more natural.

If that was the case, then I think there would not be so many people be focused on this.

Just my 2cp.

Anevia's backstory could well be mine (except my wife's not half-orc. Going by her stats she's clearly a dwarf).

Hi. I'm transgender, AND lesbian, AND married. We exist.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

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I'm following this discussion like many others, I suspect, but don't have much more to say on this subject as things seem to be settling down a bit. I will be interested, however, in seeing how folks react to the next chapter, Sword of Valor, which includes another set of LGBT characters in it. For those who talked about the ratio of lesbians to gays, take heart. The storyline for Sword of Valor is about to balance that equation (for this AP, at least).

And, more importantly...I think the most germane points in the discussion of including such characters in these adventures is the notion of how "plot relevant" their sexuality needs to be. Typically, I'd say a character's orientation isn't something that has to be called out all that often. You could just as easily assume Ameiko is a lesbian (or even a bisexual) in Rise of the Runelords and Jade Regent. It's always the GM's choice in how he chooses to present the NPCs. However, where it does become relevant to examine a character's sexuality is when you need to talk about the relationships between NPCs...and even the potential relationship between an NPC and a PC, if romance is a possibility over the course of the campaign.

For instance, in The Worldwound Incursion, there's obviously a fast friendship which initially developed between Anevia/Anvenn and Irabeth. In time, their interaction turned to love. That means there's a history to their relationship which can help widen the characterization of both NPCs...to better understand them, how they think, and how they relate to one another and the world around them. To me, that's when it's vitally important to raise the subject of each character's sexual orientation. Outwardly, Anevia now appears as a woman (following Irabeth funding her transformation). Irabeth is also obviously a female half-orc. So, to anyone viewing them externally (as in the PCs who meet them during the adventure), it's important for the GM to have a detailed, intricate explanation for how the two women came to be in a relationship (which should be obvious to anyone observing them). Thus, in my opinion, the backstory to both of these NPCs is a very artful, credible, in-game way to explain it and carry it forward as those NPCs are depicted by the GM over the course of the campaign. That's what these character backgrounds are meant to provide.

Next up, in the Sword of Valor, you're going to see another LGBT couple, which is hopefully just as equally defined by their past and current relationship. That relationship should be evident as the PCs interact with them. Thus, it's important to know the specifics behind it. It gives you great insight into each of them as characters in the overall story...i.e., there's a secondary thread of their own woven throughout the greater story of the campaign. How the GM chooses to portray and shape that story is up to him or her. But the threads are there (just like any other character element) to be used if he or she wishes.

With regards to the larger idea of anything being "forced" by Paizo, I think it's clear (for many of the reasons others have given already) that Paizo is attempting to demonstrate a greater sense of inclusion by taking the time to create, explain, and involve such characters in their products, because there's an entire segment (no matter how small) of their customer base who can more readily identify with them. If you haven't attended or read about Wes Schneider's efforts to hold the ongoing panels for "Queer as a Three-Sided Die" wherein he and others among the LGBT community in the gaming industry take the time to discuss this topic at length, you probably should. Up until now, there had been no character (not a single one) in any gaming product whatsoever that anyone on that panel could recall which depicted a transgendered NPC. I think Anevia/Anvenn was purposefully crafted to reconcile that oversight. Is that "forcing" the inclusion or finally addressing an extreme deficiency? To me, it's more the latter. And, what's more, I'm appreciative of how Paizo took the time and effort to layer it into the NPC backgrounds in a way that better serves their characterization and their individual stories. Meanwhile, if it seems forced...or like a token effort...hopefully, another dose of LGBT characters in Sword of Valor will demonstrate it was no fluke.

Now, does that mean every adventure or every product has to call out an LGBT character or relationship? No. But it doesn't have to be hidden away either. Such people exist and it's a disservice to ignore them. As Jessica mentioned, it's already an assumption that Golarion has at least 5% of its population as LGBT individuals. That means one out of twenty NPCs appearing in any given product has a sexual orientation of that kind. Does it need to be called out? No. Not unless it serves to better understand the character's relationship to someone else in the adventure or campaign setting. That's when it's most worthy of examining. Because it's certainly relevant to what defines that character, just as much as their race, in-game profession, religion, and so on.

But that's just my two cents,
--Neil

P.S. This is a great adventure. These are great NPCs. And this is going to be a great campaign. Don't allow the examination of LGBT opinions and concerns to detract from that. If you do, you're missing out...not just on the Wrath of the Righteous AP, but a lot of things in life, too.

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