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Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Happy New Year, James, hope you're feeling well rested and rejuvenated after your Christmas break!

Have you had chance to read any of Stephen King's The Bazaar of Bad Dreams yet? If so, any favourites?

I'm about 5 or so stories in, and enjoying it so far. I really enjoyed the first story, Mile 81, but what I really like are the short intros to each story. I find the inspiration and process of the stories fascinating, even (especially) if the source is really mundane. Makes me wish more fiction came with such details.


Is it likely that the future Darklands adventure path will integrate the Occult Adventures rules to a similar degree as Wrath of the Righteous did with Mythic Adventures? If not, will some other AP do that? Strange Aeons seems like it could, given just the basic concept, but from what I've seen on these boards it sounds like that one will use mainly material from the forthcoming Horror Adventures hardcover.


James Jacobs wrote:
HangarFlying wrote:
Did you enjoy your viewing of the new Star Wars?

In fact, I did. And now that I've had a few weeks to think it over... I think it's my favorite Star Wars movie yet.

** spoiler omitted **

Man...more than Empire? That seems almost blasphemous!

My personal order is 5, 4/6, 7, 3, 1, 2

Although I'm still pretty bummed about the now forever lack of Mara Jade, who will never officially exist. (Not to mention Thrawn, one of the best villains of all time)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Kalantra wrote:
If a pc casts alter self and changes into a strix. Do they get a fly speed?

No.

Note two things.

1) Fly as a spell is 3rd level, so any effect that grants flight below 3rd level is either breaking the game's design philosophy or needs to be hindered/hampered in some way to make it less powerful. Levitate is a great example. Allowing alter self to grant fly in ADDITION to the host of other benefits it grants is way too good for a 2nd level spell like alter self.

2) Alter self is VERY SPECIFIC in what it allows you to gain. It says:

alter self wrote:
If the form you assume has any of the following abilities, you gain the listed ability: darkvision 60 feet, low-light vision, scent, and swim 30 feet.

Flight is not on that list, therefore granting flight is beyond the scope of alter self.

If you alter self into a strix, you DO gain wings, but you can't use them to fly. They're basically just decorations.

(That limit on powers granted for ALL polymorph spells like alter self is a deliberate design choice; that limit didn't exist in 3.5, and as a result every time a new monster got invented, every polymorph spell got increasingly more powerful, and that's lame. These limits are throttles to polymorph magic that allow the game to introduce any new monster with any new powers the designer wants without worrying about whether or not the monster breaks the game in that way.)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Wrath wrote:

If you had a chance to bring something from Golarion that was unique to that planet as an artefact in your house (display cabinet kind of thing), what would you choose? A reason for why you'd choose this would be cool too.

Appologies for the poor question structure.

Assuming said artifact would work as magic, then no contest—a ring of three wishes.

What would you use those wishes for?

Emergencies.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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shadram wrote:

Happy New Year, James, hope you're feeling well rested and rejuvenated after your Christmas break!

Have you had chance to read any of Stephen King's The Bazaar of Bad Dreams yet? If so, any favourites?

I'm about 5 or so stories in, and enjoying it so far. I really enjoyed the first story, Mile 81, but what I really like are the short intros to each story. I find the inspiration and process of the stories fascinating, even (especially) if the source is really mundane. Makes me wish more fiction came with such details.

I read that book more or less the week it came out back in early November. I'd read a few of the stories before—Mile 81 and The Green God Of Agony in particular, but both of them were really cool stories still. Of the NEW stories in the book that I'd not yet read, I think Summer Thunder was my favorite.

And I agree, I love reading those intros to the stories. King's been doing that for his books for ages, and I wish more authors did it.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Gambit wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
HangarFlying wrote:
Did you enjoy your viewing of the new Star Wars?

In fact, I did. And now that I've had a few weeks to think it over... I think it's my favorite Star Wars movie yet.

** spoiler omitted **

Man...more than Empire? That seems almost blasphemous!

My personal order is 5, 4/6, 7, 3, 1, 2

Although I'm still pretty bummed about the now forever lack of Mara Jade, who will never officially exist. (Not to mention Thrawn, one of the best villains of all time)

Empire was my favorite before this one, but the fact that Force Awakens has a more diverse cast edges it out for me over Empire.

I'm only barely aware of Mara Jade and Thrawn and all the other expanded universe stuff; never read any of those books. As a result, no big loss for me. That said, the fact that Disney's opened up the world to allow for numerous other movies in the Star Wars universe BEYOND the construction of a trilogy is awesome, and I have full faith that characters as good or better will show up in time in some movie(s) down the road. Frankly, I'm really really eager to see a director like Martin Scorsese or David Cronenberg or Eli Roth or Quentin Tarrintino take on a Star Wars movie. I know it's unlikely for some of them, but a full-on R-rated mature Star Wars movie would be really cool. And beyond that, I'd also like to see movies set in the Star Wars universe that delve into genres other than space opera, which it SOUNDS like is what we'll be getting pretty soon...

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Kavren Stark wrote:
Is it likely that the future Darklands adventure path will integrate the Occult Adventures rules to a similar degree as Wrath of the Righteous did with Mythic Adventures? If not, will some other AP do that? Strange Aeons seems like it could, given just the basic concept, but from what I've seen on these boards it sounds like that one will use mainly material from the forthcoming Horror Adventures hardcover.

Since the Darklands is established as one of the places where psychic magic is more common, then chances of Occult Adventures playing an increased role in a Darklands AP are very good.


Hi James...not really a question but just a comment.

I finished up reading the adventure portion of Song of Silver just last night. I actually really enjoyed the adventure and found it well written, although I seldom get to play so I probably won't get a chance to run it.

Just throwing that in since you mentioned you hadn't heard much about what people thought. With Christmas chaos and everything it was several weeks between it arriving and actually getting a chance to read it

Paizo Employee Creative Director

MMCJawa wrote:

Hi James...not really a question but just a comment.

I finished up reading the adventure portion of Song of Silver just last night. I actually really enjoyed the adventure and found it well written, although I seldom get to play so I probably won't get a chance to run it.

Just throwing that in since you mentioned you hadn't heard much about what people thought. With Christmas chaos and everything it was several weeks between it arriving and actually getting a chance to read it

Yay; thanks! :)


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Good evening James! I hope life has been treating you well. Here's a few questions I've been sitting on...

1. How does the Church of Pharasma feel about the Lingshenese practice of putting the souls of soldiers into terra-cotta statues?
2. Has there ever been a 20th level commoner on Golarion? The greatest farmer who ever lived perhaps?
3. What is the most bizarre dungeon you ever designed?
4.Between CR 15-20, which is the hardest CR to design a creature for? I'm guessing 19, but that's just a gut feeling.
5. On a related note, what CR is your favorite to design for a creature?
6. Is Zhanagorr (kraken leader of Wanshou) mythic, or just a very powerful elder kraken along the lines of Qwoshokk from Mythical Monsters Revisited?
7. Which high CR end-boss style monster do you feel has been underutilized in tabletop rpgs in general?
8. Have you guys ever considered doing a Tian Xia Bestiary?

Just want to say, I'm running Jade Regent for a 2nd time, and boy do I want a map of the land bridge between Avistan and the Crown. I know it's pretty much a thousand miles of tundra, but the completionist in me craves it so, so much!

And to echo MMCJawa's comment, A Song of Silver was a good read! No idea when I'll get to play/run it, but it's fun and looks really challenging. Some unique monsters in there I was not expecting!

Anyway, Happy New Year and best wishes for you and Paizo!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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KetchupKing wrote:

Good evening James! I hope life has been treating you well. Here's a few questions I've been sitting on...

1. How does the Church of Pharasma feel about the Lingshenese practice of putting the souls of soldiers into terra-cotta statues?
2. Has there ever been a 20th level commoner on Golarion? The greatest farmer who ever lived perhaps?
3. What is the most bizarre dungeon you ever designed?
4.Between CR 15-20, which is the hardest CR to design a creature for? I'm guessing 19, but that's just a gut feeling.
5. On a related note, what CR is your favorite to design for a creature?
6. Is Zhanagorr (kraken leader of Wanshou) mythic, or just a very powerful elder kraken along the lines of Qwoshokk from Mythical Monsters Revisited?
7. Which high CR end-boss style monster do you feel has been underutilized in tabletop rpgs in general?
8. Have you guys ever considered doing a Tian Xia Bestiary?

Just want to say, I'm running Jade Regent for a 2nd time, and boy do I want a map of the land bridge between Avistan and the Crown. I know it's pretty much a thousand miles of tundra, but the completionist in me craves it so, so much!

And to echo MMCJawa's comment, A Song of Silver was a good read! No idea when I'll get to play/run it, but it's fun and looks really challenging. Some unique monsters in there I was not expecting!

Anyway, Happy New Year and best wishes for you and Paizo!

1) Not fond of it, but it's mostly just a delaying tactic rather than a corruption—it's on par with usages of trap the soul and the like. In time, those terra-cotta statues will be destroyed and those souls will go on. Pharasma is patient and she teaches that to her worshipers, but for many I suspect the subtle differences between this and undeath are lost.

2) No.

3) Hmmm. In print, I guess I'd have to say the dungeon I did for Elder Evils. Not in print would be Treerazer's Deathstalk Tower.

4) I find that they're all equally difficult to design in that CR range. The hardest ones to design are those that are CR 1 or lower, since Table 1–1 doesn't offer much advice there and there's not a lot of wiggle room.

5) 30.

6) He's not mythic. He's a powerful kraken though, that's for sure.

7) Hmmm. I guess good-aligned ones like solars and metallic dragons.

8) No.

And glad you enjoyed Song of Silver! YAY!

Silver Crusade

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

Why are the Doobie Brothers so insufferably catchy?! I've been humming the ending to Black Water for DAYS now!


James Jacobs wrote:
Athyra wasn't one of my NPCs, although I could see how you might think that! I generally keep my PCs to myself and use them in adventures I write... so far, I've done this five times (once in "Flood Season," twice in "There Is No Honor," once in "Burnt Offerings," and once in "A Song of Silver.") The same does NOT go for NPCs from my homebrew world......

So Shensen was in Song of Silver. Who were your PC's in the other four? I assume it was Tyralandi in one?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Why are the Doobie Brothers so insufferably catchy?! I've been humming the ending to Black Water for DAYS now!

I have no idea, and couldn't identify a Doobie Brother song if I heard it.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Mythraine wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Athyra wasn't one of my NPCs, although I could see how you might think that! I generally keep my PCs to myself and use them in adventures I write... so far, I've done this five times (once in "Flood Season," twice in "There Is No Honor," once in "Burnt Offerings," and once in "A Song of Silver.") The same does NOT go for NPCs from my homebrew world......
So Shensen was in Song of Silver. Who were your PC's in the other four? I assume it was Tyralandi in one?

Flood Season: A different version of Shensen (as a drow) appeared here—this version of Shensen is more in line with her original build when I started the Forgotten Realms campaign I played her in. I consider this version a "rough draft" version of her.

Song of Silver: This version of Shensen is more in line with how she ended up being after a few character rebuilds a year or two into the long-running campaign, and I consider it the "canonical" version of her these days.

There Is No Honor: Lavinia Vanderboren is partially inspired by a planescape character I played—a rogue/spy/diplomat/scoundrel named Lavinia Ameiko. Rowyn in the same game was VERY loosely based on a character I played in a different game, Rowyn Tai'tesseril, who was a cleric. Neither of these characters was really based all that much on my actual played character, though—mostly just name borrowing.

Burnt Offerings: Ameiko Kaijitsu is a MUCH closer and accurate representation of my Planescape character Lavinia Ameiko, although much lower level. I brought in Lavinia Ameiko as a 3rd replacement character in that campaign at about 7th level and played her till the end of that campaign, but her personality was relatively close to Ameiko Kaijitsu (only she was more rogue and less bard).

Tyralandi is a reverse of all this. I created her for Erik Mona's Age of Worms game based on the art Wayne did for the iconic cleric for Dungeon Magazine. So in this case, while she's my character, the design of her appearance came first, not second. She never appeared as an NPC in an adventure either—we never actually statted up the iconics for Dungeon.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Tyralandi is a reverse of all this. I created her for Erik Mona's Age of Worms game based on the art Wayne did for the iconic cleric for Dungeon Magazine. So in this case, while she's my character, the design of her appearance came first, not second. She never appeared as an NPC in an adventure either—we never actually statted up the iconics for Dungeon.

I seem to recall a certain Tyralandi statted up in Dungeon 146 in charge of the Porphyry house. Add favorite half-fiend template, still casts divine spells, different patron.... but maybe... just maybe..
As for a question, us poor rubes only know about one, maybe two adventure paths ahead. How far ahead do you actually have planned or in production? If Strange Eons is the furthest hint we have is you knowledge 2 adventure paths beyond, four? Six? All the way to Pathfinder 200? (By the way can I cheat and count you as being on Pathfinder 136, since I've been with you since Shackled City?)I don't need any spoilers, I'm just curious how far beyond what we know you have in the works.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Jareth Elirae wrote:

Tyralandi is a reverse of all this. I created her for Erik Mona's Age of Worms game based on the art Wayne did for the iconic cleric for Dungeon Magazine. So in this case, while she's my character, the design of her appearance came first, not second. She never appeared as an NPC in an adventure either—we never actually statted up the iconics for Dungeon.

I seem to recall a certain Tyralandi statted up in Dungeon 146 in charge of the Porphyry house. Add favorite half-fiend template, still casts divine spells, different patron.... but maybe... just maybe..
As for a question, us poor rubes only know about one, maybe two adventure paths ahead. How far ahead do you actually have planned or in production? If Strange Eons is the furthest hint we have is you knowledge 2 adventure paths beyond, four? Six? All the way to Pathfinder 200? (By the way can I cheat and count you as being on Pathfinder 136, since I've been with you since Shackled City?)I don't need any spoilers, I'm just curious how far beyond what we know you have in the works.

The version of Tyralandi statted up in Porphyry House was in fact the first time I used that name for a character. If I remember correctly, I made up the name for that character at that point, and didn't transplant the name from an NPC in my homebrew—she certainly wasn't a PC transplant at that point. When it came time to create a character for Age of Worms, I knew I wanted to play the Wee Jas cleric but needed a name, and after agonizing over coming up with a cool new name I gave up and recycled the name from a prior adventure I wrote. In world, they're different characters—they just have the same name. Which happens in our world too. We have two Jameses at Pazo, for example.

We generally plan ahead an additional 2 years for Adventure Paths. Right now, we've got announced APs up through Strange Aeons, which launches this year at Gen Con. I wrote the outline for the one that launches after that back in October or thereabouts, and it's starting the writing process this month—we've not announced it yet but it's pretty locked in from start to finish. The one that launches after that, at Gen Con of 2017, has NOT yet been outlined but I've a good idea of what it is all about and could, in theory, start writing its 20,000 word outline any day now (I won't cause I've got other responsibilities for the short term, but still). Beyond that, I do have basic plans in mind for the APs in 2018 and 2019 as well, but they're still at a stage where things might shift around...

We don't have things planned out to Pathfinder 200 yet. But we do have them planned out to Pathfinder 126 pretty solid, and to Pathfinder 138 in slightly less solid format.


Do you know who the primary designer of the Occultist was? I love the class, and was curious why scorching ray isn't on their spell list, despite the upgraded version, contagious ray, being there. Seems like a curious omission.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
We have two Jameses at Pazo, for example.

Paizo has two T-Rexes?!

Dark Archive

James, through a series of events my game has ended up in hell, though the players don't know that yet, what could I do to make them feel their in a different plane without giving it away that they've been sent to hell?


Rysky wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
We have two Jameses at Pazo, for example.
Paizo has two T-Rexes?!

They're similar, but one is an allesaurous.


Do the two "Hell's X" Adventure Paths implicitly take place after a successful conclusion to "Wrath of the Righteous?" I'm thinking of the way "Jade Regent" and "Shattered Star" implicitly assume that someone successfully completed "Rise of the Runelords" a few years earlier, so that Sandpoint was not burned to the ground by goblins, incorporated into the Empire of New Thassilon (or would it be New Shalast?) by Karzoug, or utterly obliterated by the emergence of Mhar and a horde of other eldritch monstrosities from Leng.

I wondered because the Glorious Reclamation sounds to me like exactly what the more militant followers of Iomedae (if that's not too redundant) might get up to after the Fifth Crusade succeeded in closing the Worldwound. With that done, you'd have a whole bunch of veterans with not so much fighting to do up in Mendev, as well as up-and-coming young paladins and other Iomedaeans disappointed that the war ended before they got the chance to fight in it. I would think that the Thrune/Asmodean domination of their goddess's homeland would seem like an obvious next target for a crusade, especially for those specialized in fighting fiends.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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alientude wrote:
Do you know who the primary designer of the Occultist was? I love the class, and was curious why scorching ray isn't on their spell list, despite the upgraded version, contagious ray, being there. Seems like a curious omission.

I don't know off the top of my head, but it was one of the four folks on the Design team. This is a better question for Jason or Mark or Stephen or Logan. That does seem like a curious spell omission though.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Rysky wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
We have two Jameses at Pazo, for example.
Paizo has two T-Rexes?!

Nope. Just one. The other one is a grippli.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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ulgulanoth wrote:
James, through a series of events my game has ended up in hell, though the players don't know that yet, what could I do to make them feel their in a different plane without giving it away that they've been sent to hell?

By running an adventure written to take place not in Hell, and dropping in a few hints here and there that things might not be exactly as they seem, and setting up the end of the adventure to reveal the truth and then making sure to spend time with the PCs KNOWING they're in Hell.

And be ready for the PCs to discover it on their own if they try something that doesn't work on Hell—like teleporting home, or banishing a devil, or the like.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Kavren Stark wrote:

Do the two "Hell's X" Adventure Paths implicitly take place after a successful conclusion to "Wrath of the Righteous?" I'm thinking of the way "Jade Regent" and "Shattered Star" implicitly assume that someone successfully completed "Rise of the Runelords" a few years earlier, so that Sandpoint was not burned to the ground by goblins, incorporated into the Empire of New Thassilon (or would it be New Shalast?) by Karzoug, or utterly obliterated by the emergence of Mhar and a horde of other eldritch monstrosities from Leng.

I wondered because the Glorious Reclamation sounds to me like exactly what the more militant followers of Iomedae (if that's not too redundant) might get up to after the Fifth Crusade succeeded in closing the Worldwound. With that done, you'd have a whole bunch of veterans with not so much fighting to do up in Mendev, as well as up-and-coming young paladins and other Iomedaeans disappointed that the war ended before they got the chance to fight in it. I would think that the Thrune/Asmodean domination of their goddess's homeland would seem like an obvious next target for a crusade, especially for those specialized in fighting fiends.

Hell's Vengeance and Hell's Rebels are intended to take place simultaneously, starting more or less on the same day/week in-world and more or less staying in sync to the end (with the events of Hell's Vengeance perhaps covering a little bit more time than Hell's Rebels). They're also assumed to take place after the events of Council of Thieves in sort of the same way Jade Regent is assumed to take place after Rise of the Runelords (although this only really impacts Hell's Vengeance—it doesn't interact with Hell's Rebels at all.)

Neither AP is intended to take place before, during, or after Wrath of the Righteous, and so the baseline assumption is that the events of Wrath of the Righteous have NOT taken place in Hell's Rebels or Hell's Vengeance.

The Glorious Reclamation is indeed a militant order of Iomedans, but they have pretty much ZERO interest in the Worldwound at all, and are composed of crusaders who did not get involved with that plot. They're pretty much 100% focused on reclaiming Cheliax, and are made up primarily of local or near-local to Cheliax folks. You COULD, I suppose, have them form out of the results of the Fifth Crusade, but then you'll have an interesting emotional complication on your hands with players essentially playing characters who are kind of trying to destroy the hard work and success of a previous campaign's players perhaps. We made up the Glorious Reclamation brand new to specifically avoid that emotional tangle.

In fact, the rest of Iomedae's worshipers, particularly the crusaders in Mendev/Worldwound, do not support the Glorious Reclamation and see their actions as brash, rash, and ill-timed. Most of the worshipers of Iomedae realize that now is NOT the right time to try to re-take Cheliax, and that a full-frontal assault might not be the best way to do anything other than fail horribly. Further, such a failure could well have the opposite result, with Cheliax realizing they're not as invulnerable as they thought and then having them shore up defenses against further attacks.

In a way, we at Paizo are quite proud of what we've built with Cheliax—it's one of the regions in the Inner Sea that is distinctly PAIZO and not a variant of a real world area/mythological location/classic fantasy trope, and we're in no rush at all to flush that creation down the toilet. In a way, Hell's Vengeance is us recruiting the players to help defend that creation and to make sure it's gonna stick around for a long, long time... and with Hell's Rebels we're also showing that we can have robust anti-Thrune adventures for a long time to come that don't remove Thrune from the stage as bad guys we love to hate.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Rysky wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
We have two Jameses at Pazo, for example.
Paizo has two T-Rexes?!
Nope. Just one. The other one is a grippli.

Oh, right, Sutter. I refer to him by his last name so much that I forgot what his first name was >_<


Mr. James Jacobs,

In your estimation, what is a good fimbulwinter level event to be a story element as well as environmental hazard for PCs to face?

Also, what was your opinion of the Avatar Crisis from Forgotten Realms?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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The NPC wrote:

Mr. James Jacobs,

In your estimation, what is a good fimbulwinter level event to be a story element as well as environmental hazard for PCs to face?

Also, what was your opinion of the Avatar Crisis from Forgotten Realms?

Reign of Winter.

I was pretty annoyed by the Avatar crisis, actually. I've never been a fan of "blow up the world to reset it for new rules" tricks. In my opinion, if your game changes so much that, in world, you can't tell the same stories you did with the previous edition, you should build a new campaign setting to go along with the new rules.

Silver Crusade

Hey James, happy birthday! (I'm a day early, but you probably won't be around tomorrow.)

All I got you was this unofficial reroll to use while GMing that you can spend on any d20 roll to make the game more fun for you and your players. :)

What are you doing for your birthday? And when you get back will you tell us what cool presents you got?


James,

Recently there has been some heated debate on the nature of alignment that has fallen into fighting between two general factions.

The first faction states that, since mechanically Pathfinder designed alignment to be completely descriptive then someone getting their alignment changed against their will (via an undead template, or via a cursed item other than the helm of alignment change) is under no obligation, what so ever, to roleplay the new alignment and can simply act the same way they always have and their alignment will return to their normal alignment over time anyway. Basically inferring that an alignment change has little impact on a character aside from potential class conflicts and/or interactions with certain magical items and such.

The second faction states that, if an alignment change forcibly occurs that it represents some kind of psychological change on the character. Thus they would indeed act differently and thus, effectively, ignoring the alignment until it goes away isn't a valid tactic.

What is your opinion on the subject?

If a PC is changed into an undead and their alignment changes to evil, are they actually evil, would they act differently, or is it simply to grant them a temporary vulnerability?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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The Fox wrote:

Hey James, happy birthday! (I'm a day early, but you probably won't be around tomorrow.)

All I got you was this unofficial reroll to use while GMing that you can spend on any d20 roll to make the game more fun for you and your players. :)

What are you doing for your birthday? And when you get back will you tell us what cool presents you got?

Yay; thanks!

No plans for anything on my birthday yet, since the Revenant was sold out on Saturday, so I'll be seeing that on Sunday... but I woulda been seeing it anyway, so that's not really a birthday plan. I generally don't do much unusual on birthdays, in fact... might go get some cinnamon roll french toast for breakfast though!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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HWalsh wrote:

James,

Recently there has been some heated debate on the nature of alignment that has fallen into fighting between two general factions.

The first faction states that, since mechanically Pathfinder designed alignment to be completely descriptive then someone getting their alignment changed against their will (via an undead template, or via a cursed item other than the helm of alignment change) is under no obligation, what so ever, to roleplay the new alignment and can simply act the same way they always have and their alignment will return to their normal alignment over time anyway. Basically inferring that an alignment change has little impact on a character aside from potential class conflicts and/or interactions with certain magical items and such.

The second faction states that, if an alignment change forcibly occurs that it represents some kind of psychological change on the character. Thus they would indeed act differently and thus, effectively, ignoring the alignment until it goes away isn't a valid tactic.

What is your opinion on the subject?

If a PC is changed into an undead and their alignment changes to evil, are they actually evil, would they act differently, or is it simply to grant them a temporary vulnerability?

There's nothing recent about alignment being the subject of a heated debate on the internet, and nothing I can say will end that debate.

That said, my opinion (which as Creative Director of Paizo is what strongly sets the in-print philosophy of books we publish for Pathfinder) is that alignment is a result, not a cause of actions. Alignment is reactionary and not the cause of actions and decisions. UNLESS YOU ARE A NON-NATIVE OUTSIDER, in which case it's reversed. In the case of fey and undead, things are in a weird middle zone between the two.

If a PC is changed into undead, and their alignment becomes evil, they act evil. If they weren't evil in life, they now act differently. Becoming undead is not something that someone who wants to retain a non-evil personality should ever want.


James Jacobs wrote:
The NPC wrote:

Mr. James Jacobs,

In your estimation, what is a good fimbulwinter level event to be a story element as well as environmental hazard for PCs to face?

Also, what was your opinion of the Avatar Crisis from Forgotten Realms?

Reign of Winter.

I was pretty annoyed by the Avatar crisis, actually. I've never been a fan of "blow up the world to reset it for new rules" tricks. In my opinion, if your game changes so much that, in world, you can't tell the same stories you did with the previous edition, you should build a new campaign setting to go along with the new rules.

Follow ups!

What's a good event that's of the same magnitude but not equivalency?

What about the narrative?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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The NPC wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
The NPC wrote:

Mr. James Jacobs,

In your estimation, what is a good fimbulwinter level event to be a story element as well as environmental hazard for PCs to face?

Also, what was your opinion of the Avatar Crisis from Forgotten Realms?

Reign of Winter.

I was pretty annoyed by the Avatar crisis, actually. I've never been a fan of "blow up the world to reset it for new rules" tricks. In my opinion, if your game changes so much that, in world, you can't tell the same stories you did with the previous edition, you should build a new campaign setting to go along with the new rules.

Follow ups!

What's a good event that's of the same magnitude but not equivalency?

What about the narrative?

Honestly, what you're asking for is "What's a good plot for an Adventure Path that involves events that could lead up to a world-ending or world-changing event." We do plots of this significance for the AP line relatively often—Second Darkness, Wrath of the Righteous, and Iron Gods all have pretty significant globally impacting apocalypse potentials. On a smaller and more regional scale I'd add Legacy of Fire, Serpent's Skull, Kingmaker, Shattered Star, and Hell's Rebels for regional disasters.

I don't have the energy or time to plot out an entire AP on spec though, since I'd rather do that when someone's paying me to do it. :-P

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Are there alternate realities of Golarion? Is this an area of metaphysics you guys have established in any way yet? If so, what can you tell us about them?

Edit: In the CRB, a Well of Many Worlds mentions parallel worlds (separately listed from other planets), and the GMG mentions it as a possibility (but doesn't specifically say Golarion) so I would guess the answer is yes, but wanted know for sure.


James Jacobs wrote:
The NPC wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
The NPC wrote:

Mr. James Jacobs,

In your estimation, what is a good fimbulwinter level event to be a story element as well as environmental hazard for PCs to face?

Also, what was your opinion of the Avatar Crisis from Forgotten Realms?

Reign of Winter.

I was pretty annoyed by the Avatar crisis, actually. I've never been a fan of "blow up the world to reset it for new rules" tricks. In my opinion, if your game changes so much that, in world, you can't tell the same stories you did with the previous edition, you should build a new campaign setting to go along with the new rules.

Follow ups!

What's a good event that's of the same magnitude but not equivalency?

What about the narrative?

Honestly, what you're asking for is "What's a good plot for an Adventure Path that involves events that could lead up to a world-ending or world-changing event." We do plots of this significance for the AP line relatively often—Second Darkness, Wrath of the Righteous, and Iron Gods all have pretty significant globally impacting apocalypse potentials. On a smaller and more regional scale I'd add Legacy of Fire, Serpent's Skull, Kingmaker, Shattered Star, and Hell's Rebels for regional disasters.

I don't have the energy or time to plot out an entire AP on spec though, since I'd rather do that when someone's paying me to do it. :-P

My apologies. I did not realize my question was going in that direction.

Different question. Since Golarion and other rpgs crib from real owrld regions and cultures for their game worlds. Which region in the real world in your estimation hasn't been over utilized or interestingly utilized?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Nightdrifter wrote:

Are there alternate realities of Golarion? Is this an area of metaphysics you guys have established in any way yet?

Edit: a Well of Many Worlds mentions parallel worlds (separately listed from other planets), so I would guess the answer is yes, but wanted know for sure.

There are, and the metaphysics are established... but not yet in print. We do know how they work though, so when it DOES happen (if it ever does) we'll have a starting point.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

4 people marked this as a favorite.
The NPC wrote:

Different question. Since Golarion and other rpgs crib from real owrld regions and cultures for their game worlds. Which region in the real world in your estimation hasn't been over utilized or interestingly utilized?

Central American stuff—Aztecs, Mayans, etc.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Nightdrifter wrote:

Are there alternate realities of Golarion? Is this an area of metaphysics you guys have established in any way yet?

Edit: a Well of Many Worlds mentions parallel worlds (separately listed from other planets), so I would guess the answer is yes, but wanted know for sure.

There are, and the metaphysics are established... but not yet in print. We do know how they work though, so when it DOES happen (if it ever does) we'll have a starting point.

What can you tell us about them? I realize the whole NDA thing means you're limited in what you can say, so I'm not sure what I can ask that you'd be allowed to answer.

I keep thinking of running an alternate reality game, possibly even a Slider-esque series of games, but would prefer to be consistent with the unknown but established metaphysics as much as possible.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Nightdrifter wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Nightdrifter wrote:

Are there alternate realities of Golarion? Is this an area of metaphysics you guys have established in any way yet?

Edit: a Well of Many Worlds mentions parallel worlds (separately listed from other planets), so I would guess the answer is yes, but wanted know for sure.

There are, and the metaphysics are established... but not yet in print. We do know how they work though, so when it DOES happen (if it ever does) we'll have a starting point.

What can you tell us about them? I realize the whole NDA thing means you're limited in what you can say, so I'm not sure what I can ask that you'd be allowed to answer.

I keep thinking of running an alternate reality game, possibly even a Slider-esque series of games, but would prefer to be consistent with the unknown but established metaphysics as much as possible.

Not ready to say anything about them yet, really. It's not an NDA thing as much as a "simply not the time or place to reveal something like that."

The easy solution, though, is that parallel worlds should let you link pretty much any game you want to a Golarion game. So it's really up to you if you want to play with them.


I was under the impression that the Great Beyond book established that there was only one Prime Material plane. Is that incorrect?


I'll embolden my actual questions so they don't get lost in the verbiage.

James Jacobs wrote:
You COULD, I suppose, have them form out of the results of the Fifth Crusade, but then you'll have an interesting emotional complication on your hands with players essentially playing characters who are kind of trying to destroy the hard work and success of a previous campaign's players perhaps.

I wouldn't run or play in Hell's Vengeance in any case -- it's the first AP Paizo has done in which I have absolutely zero interest in participating, as I don't play evil PCs or allow them when I GM. If I were ever to run Hell's Rebels, I think I would set it after WotR, add an "aspiring crusader" background trait to the ones listed in the Player's Guide, and, if my group made it all the way to the end and wanted to keep running those characters, continue the campaign into rescuing the foundering Glorious Reclamation and overthrowing House Thrune, with high-level versions of the pregenerated villain PCs for Hell's Vengeance as primary antagonists.

By the way, canonically speaking was there any significant Chelish participation in the Worldwound Crusades? I would think that at least some followers of Asmodeus, especially lawful neutral ones wanting to get away from (or blind themselves to) the uglier aspects of their religion's domination of Cheliax, might go off to fight the demons, even if the Pathfinder multiverse doesn't have the kind of open, Blood War conflict between Hell and the Abyss that featured in Planescape and later D&D materials.

James Jacobs wrote:
I was pretty annoyed by the Avatar crisis, actually. I've never been a fan of "blow up the world to reset it for new rules" tricks. In my opinion, if your game changes so much that, in world, you can't tell the same stories you did with the previous edition, you should build a new campaign setting to go along with the new rules.

A-frackin'-men. I was never into the Realms, but I loved the first-edition Dragonlance stuff -- the original Adventure Path, you might say (or snarl, if you're a fanatically anti-railroad grognard), and the associated Chronicles and Legends novels. Which would you say jumped higher and farther over the shark, the Avatar Crisis, or the Chaos War and transition to the Fifth Age in Krynn?

James Jacobs wrote:
That said, my opinion (which as Creative Director of Paizo is what strongly sets the in-print philosophy of books we publish for Pathfinder) is that alignment is a result, not a cause of actions. Alignment is reactionary and not the cause of actions and decisions. UNLESS YOU ARE A NON-NATIVE OUTSIDER, in which case it's reversed.

Interesting. Does that imply that the free-willed being Arueshalae who chose to forsake her demonic nature and seek redemption effectively came into existence at the moment Desna spoke to her? So that she had continuity of memory with Arueshalae the succubus, but was in a real sense a different entity?

James Jacobs wrote:
The NPC wrote:
Different question. Since Golarion and other rpgs crib from real owrld regions and cultures for their game worlds. Which region in the real world in your estimation hasn't been over utilized or interestingly utilized?
Central American stuff—Aztecs, Mayans, etc.

TSR tried that briefly in the nineties with the Maztica expansion of the Forgotten Realms, but it didn't sell all that well -- perhaps that falls under "hasn't been interestingly utilized." I think the Indian Subcontinent is also severly underutilized, which brings me to another question: is a detailed sourcebook for Vudra anywhere on Paizo's development horizon yet? And if not Vudra, how about Kelesh? Lots of cool stuff to draw on in Persian mythology...

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Nightdrifter wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Nightdrifter wrote:

Are there alternate realities of Golarion? Is this an area of metaphysics you guys have established in any way yet?

Edit: a Well of Many Worlds mentions parallel worlds (separately listed from other planets), so I would guess the answer is yes, but wanted know for sure.

There are, and the metaphysics are established... but not yet in print. We do know how they work though, so when it DOES happen (if it ever does) we'll have a starting point.

What can you tell us about them? I realize the whole NDA thing means you're limited in what you can say, so I'm not sure what I can ask that you'd be allowed to answer.

I keep thinking of running an alternate reality game, possibly even a Slider-esque series of games, but would prefer to be consistent with the unknown but established metaphysics as much as possible.

Not ready to say anything about them yet, really. It's not an NDA thing as much as a "simply not the time or place to reveal something like that."

The easy solution, though, is that parallel worlds should let you link pretty much any game you want to a Golarion game. So it's really up to you if you want to play with them.

Sorta related: one idea I had for an alternate history version of Golarion was to replace some of the gods who passed the Test of the Starstone with would-be gods that failed. Jason Buhlmahn listed the names of a few of them in the foreword to Wayfinder #3.

his list::

Demuren – god of sacrifice
Eltara – goddess of peace/silence
Gobru – god of fish/boutiful sea
The Masked God – god of secrets (actually a front,
collecting info and secrets about its patrons)
Mellag – god of rot
Oggo – god of the sixteen poses
Plokkis – god of spoiled food and wastefulness
Silmor – god of blades
YepYari – goddess of clouds and tornadoes

Can you tell us anything more about these failed gods?

I'm a tad curious about what a reality where Aroden didn't die would be like. I presume that would reveal too much about the nature of his death in the canonical reality?

Also, can you give any advice on how to deal with knowledge (history/local/nobility/religion etc) checks when history is completely different?

Lantern Lodge

James Jacobs wrote:
Secane wrote:
5) Is there anything the Dominion of the Black actually fears? Magical Ponies? Magical Caring Bears? Their Mother-in-Laws? Competing organizations that mass produce whatever the Dominion of the Black is selling, in a china factory like way? (The last is a stereotype)
5) Yes. They fear other things in the Dark Tapestry, such as the Lovecraft elements. They also fear some powerful enemies on various worlds who have risen up against them. They fear Desna.

Wait... a min...

1) Why would the Dominion of the Black fear Desna?

2) Is Desna an early "Iron God"?

Iron Gods:
Aka a Machine AI turned into a god over many years and with worship? (Like one of the possible endings of the Iron Gods AP?)

3) If so, does this explains why Desna is usually present in the material world and not the outer planes? Cos she started as a material being? Maybe as a giant spaceship's AI?

4) In Chronicle of the Righteous, Black Butterfly's entry states that "Legend tells that at the dawn of creation, Desna placed the stars in the sky."

Does this meant to mean that Desna mapped out the universe (as a spaceship), actually created the stars (more like a world maker) or in a mythical sense(aka it's just a saying)?

5) Is something like a yah-thelgaad or Chyzaedu Paladin even possible?

6) How does Flumphs protect worlds or fight against the Dominion of the Black or similar Lovecraft elements?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
I was under the impression that the Great Beyond book established that there was only one Prime Material plane. Is that incorrect?

That is incorrect. The Great Beyond has a few pre-Pathfinder RPG things that have been adjusted. Not many, but that's one of them, if indeed we DID say "only one material plane." AKA: The existance of parallel worlds was even MORE secret in those days!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kavren Stark wrote:

I'll embolden my actual questions so they don't get lost in the verbiage.

James Jacobs wrote:
You COULD, I suppose, have them form out of the results of the Fifth Crusade, but then you'll have an interesting emotional complication on your hands with players essentially playing characters who are kind of trying to destroy the hard work and success of a previous campaign's players perhaps.

I wouldn't run or play in Hell's Vengeance in any case -- it's the first AP Paizo has done in which I have absolutely zero interest in participating, as I don't play evil PCs or allow them when I GM. If I were ever to run Hell's Rebels, I think I would set it after WotR, add an "aspiring crusader" background trait to the ones listed in the Player's Guide, and, if my group made it all the way to the end and wanted to keep running those characters, continue the campaign into rescuing the foundering Glorious Reclamation and overthrowing House Thrune, with high-level versions of the pregenerated villain PCs for Hell's Vengeance as primary antagonists.

By the way, canonically speaking was there any significant Chelish participation in the Worldwound Crusades? I would think that at least some followers of Asmodeus, especially lawful neutral ones wanting to get away from (or blind themselves to) the uglier aspects of their religion's domination of Cheliax, might go off to fight the demons, even if the Pathfinder multiverse doesn't have the kind of open, Blood War conflict between Hell and the Abyss that featured in Planescape and later D&D materials.

James Jacobs wrote:
I was pretty annoyed by the Avatar crisis, actually. I've never been a fan of "blow up the world to reset it for new rules" tricks. In my opinion, if your game changes so much that, in world, you can't tell the same stories you did with the previous edition, you should build a new campaign setting to go along with the new rules.
A-frackin'-men. I was never into the Realms, but I loved the...

Bolding questions helps, but a giant wall of text like that does not. The "quote" feature truncates things if they get too long, as my above quote of your post indicates, and today I'm too lazy to copy/paste and reformat your post... so my answers will focus in on your original bolded questions without reference directly above...

There isn't a significant Cheliax presence in the crusade against the Worldwound. The church of Asmodeus is pleased that the Worldwound is distracting the church of Iomedae and their allies, which draws attention away from the more subtle evils of Cheliax. As long as the Worldwound continues, in fact, the better it is for house Thrune and Cheliax's Asmodeus stuff. Furthermore... devils and demons would rather focus their efforts messing with mortals rather than each other.

I'd say the "original adventure path" was the Giants/Drow/Demonweb Pits series, actually. Several years before Dragonlance. I think that since Dragonlance started further from baseline D&D, that the Avatar crisis "jumped the shark" higher.

Arueshalae is not a new creature. She didn't "come into existence" when she rose from evil. She is the same creature who started out as a chaotic evil succubus. There are always exceptions to rules, in other words, and in the case of outsiders being different alignments than normal, it's possible but very rare. We've done 1 non-evil demon in 100 adventure paths or there abouts as an example of how rare it is.

We'll be tinkering and dipping toes into areas like Vudra going forward, most recently and significantly with Distant Shores. No plans yet to do anything big with Vudra or other regions though.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Nightdrifter wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Nightdrifter wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Nightdrifter wrote:

Are there alternate realities of Golarion? Is this an area of metaphysics you guys have established in any way yet?

Edit: a Well of Many Worlds mentions parallel worlds (separately listed from other planets), so I would guess the answer is yes, but wanted know for sure.

There are, and the metaphysics are established... but not yet in print. We do know how they work though, so when it DOES happen (if it ever does) we'll have a starting point.

What can you tell us about them? I realize the whole NDA thing means you're limited in what you can say, so I'm not sure what I can ask that you'd be allowed to answer.

I keep thinking of running an alternate reality game, possibly even a Slider-esque series of games, but would prefer to be consistent with the unknown but established metaphysics as much as possible.

Not ready to say anything about them yet, really. It's not an NDA thing as much as a "simply not the time or place to reveal something like that."

The easy solution, though, is that parallel worlds should let you link pretty much any game you want to a Golarion game. So it's really up to you if you want to play with them.

Sorta related: one idea I had for an alternate history version of Golarion was to replace some of the gods who passed the Test of the Starstone with would-be gods that failed. Jason Buhlmahn listed the names of a few of them in the foreword to Wayfinder #3.

** spoiler omitted **

Can you tell us anything more about these failed gods?

I'm a tad curious about what a reality where Aroden didn't die would be like. I presume that would reveal too much about the nature of his death in the canonical reality?

Also, can you give any advice on how to deal with knowledge (history/local/nobility/religion etc) checks when history is completely different?

Can't tell you anything more about those failed gods. As far as I know, those are all names Jason made up for the foreword or has stashed somewhere, and hasn't done anything else with yet. I've pretty much spent zero moments working on developing these failed attempts yet, since they haven't really played into anything significant in a published product yet. Maybe some day though.

A reality where Aroden didn't die is, in effect, an entirely different campaign setting. Feel free to chat possibilities about what that version of a homebrew Golarion might look like in another thread with others, but it's not something I'm interested in doing much speculation about. Being the Creative Director, I need to take care on what I talk about since it's easy for folks to take things out of context or inflate with more significance than I intend.

You'd still use the normal Knowledge checks, but just with higher DCs. If, for example, your player characters transpose into a parallel Golarion with an entirely different history, that's not all that different than them transposing into the Forgotten Realms or the Star Wars Universe or whatever. It's still plain old Knowledge checks. After a time spent in the new universe I'd lower the DCs to account for the PCs becoming familiar with their new world (I'd probably say after the PCs are in the new world long enough to gain 1-2 levels is enough).

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
You'd still use the normal Knowledge checks, but just with higher DCs. If, for example, your player characters transpose into a parallel Golarion with an entirely different history, that's not all that different than them transposing into the Forgotten Realms or the Star Wars Universe or whatever. It's still plain old Knowledge checks. After a time spent in the new universe I'd lower the DCs to account for the PCs becoming familiar with their new world (I'd probably say after the PCs are in the new world long enough to gain 1-2 levels is enough).

Thanks!

Btw, how much time each day do you spend on this thread?

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