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James Jacobs wrote:
No women on that list, which sucks, and is something I'm trying to address.

Gotta recommend P.C. Hodgell's Kencyr series... I read the first chapter of the first book (God Stalk) when I was 16 (in 1982) and was immediately smitten.

What do you think of Fritz Leiber? Michael Moorcock?

How many swear words do you think H.P. Lovecraft uttered when he got his copy of Astounding Stories with the first chapter of "At the Mountains of Madness" in it and found they'd illustrated the climactic moment of the story right there on the magazine cover? That's always been a head-shaker for me.


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James Jacobs wrote:
Grond wrote:
Which of these two authors do you prefer, H.P. Lovecraft or Robert E. Howard?

Lovecraft is my all-time favorite author, so him.

Howard's in my top 11 list though. Which is probably as follows, with Lovecraft in the top spot and the other 9 in random order:

1) Lovecraft
2) Stephen King
3) Clark Ashton Smith
4) Algernon Blackwood
5) George R. R. Martin
6) Ramsey Campbell
7) Clive Barker
8) T. E. D. Klein
9) F. Paul Wilson
10) Dan Simmons
11) Robert E. Howard

No women on that list, which sucks, and is something I'm trying to address. The ones who are currently closest to breaking into my top 10 author list would be:

James Tiptree Jr.
Caitlin R. Kiernan
Shirley Jackson

Which also needs work.

If you're hunting for female authors, may I suggest Ursula K.Le Guin? As an Oregonite, she's practically your neighbor, and she is the author of a story which became PBS's first foray into producing their own science fiction, "The Lathe of Heaven". She also is well known for her fantasy work as well.

Sovereign Court

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I would second the Ursula Le Guin recommendation; 'Wizard of Earthsea' and its sequels are excellent.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wow, and there I thought Ursula K. Le Guin is compulsory reading material! Go read her ASAP, you'll emerge stronger.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The Doomkitten wrote:
Are you excited for the upcoming Firefly Online, with all the original Big Damn Heroes voice acting their characters?

Nah. Not that interested.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Andrew Crossett wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
No women on that list, which sucks, and is something I'm trying to address.

Gotta recommend P.C. Hodgell's Kencyr series... I read the first chapter of the first book (God Stalk) when I was 16 (in 1982) and was immediately smitten.

What do you think of Fritz Leiber? Michael Moorcock?

How many swear words do you think H.P. Lovecraft uttered when he got his copy of Astounding Stories with the first chapter of "At the Mountains of Madness" in it and found they'd illustrated the climactic moment of the story right there on the magazine cover? That's always been a head-shaker for me.

Fritz Leiber is in my top 20 writer list.

I enjoy Michael Moorcock's Elric stories, but have only read a small number of them and haven't read any of his other works. At this point, he's not an author I'm all that interested in reading more from, in any event.

I doubt Lovecraft uttered any swear words at all about the cover—but he was frustrated with the textual changes and errors that crept into the final print copy.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
If you're hunting for female authors, may I suggest Ursula K.Le Guin? As an Oregonite, she's practically your neighbor, and she is the author of a story which became PBS's first foray into producing their own science fiction, "The Lathe of Heaven". She also is well known for her fantasy work as well.

I've read several of her stories and they haven't really interested me.

You'll note that there's one thing that all 11 of the authors I mentioned above share—they're mostly known as horror writers or DARK fantasy writers. The two exceptions would be George R. R. Martin (whose Game of Thrones stories contain more than enough to quantify them as horror, and who has also written plenty of horror stories himself) and Dan Simmons (who is a VERY well-rounded genre-hopping author, but who got his start doing horror).

I generally am not as interested in other genres, and as a result, authors who don't write dark stuff or horror tend not to interest me. Ursula K. Le Guin's stories aren't dark and creepy enough for me, and her writing style isn't interesting enough for me to make an exception as a result.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

GeraintElberion wrote:
I would second the Ursula Le Guin recommendation; 'Wizard of Earthsea' and its sequels are excellent.

Read it. Wasn't that impressed. Not my thing, I guess.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Gorbacz wrote:
Wow, and there I thought Ursula K. Le Guin is compulsory reading material! Go read her ASAP, you'll emerge stronger.

Not so compulsory if you're into horror or dark fantasy.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Have you ever read Goth by Otsuichi? Most of the stories are told from the pov of series killers. It was probbaly the first non-monster horror novel I ever read.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Rysky wrote:
Have you ever read Goth by Otsuichi? Most of the stories are told from the pov of series killers. It was probbaly the first non-monster horror novel I ever read.

Never heard of it. My tastes in horror tend to be more into the supernatural rather than not, though.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Have you ever read Goth by Otsuichi? Most of the stories are told from the pov of series killers. It was probbaly the first non-monster horror novel I ever read.
Never heard of it. My tastes in horror tend to be more into the supernatural rather than not, though.

Ah, Okies, my bad.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:


You'll note that there's one thing that all 11 of the authors I mentioned above share—they're mostly known as horror writers or DARK fantasy writers. The two exceptions would be George R. R. Martin (whose Game of Thrones stories contain more than enough to quantify them as horror, and who has also written plenty of horror stories himself) and Dan Simmons (who is a VERY well-rounded genre-hopping author, but who got his start doing horror).

I generally am not as interested in other genres, and as a result, authors who don't write dark stuff or horror tend not to interest me. Ursula K. Le Guin's stories aren't dark and creepy enough for me, and her writing style isn't interesting enough for me to make an exception as a result.

Speaking of female horror authors, have you read much from Gemma Files? I have only read her short fiction, which seems so far that it would be up your alley.

Caitlin R. Kiernan is kind of a hero of mind. Did you know that her professional background is in Paleontology, and she actually has formally described a new species of Mosasaur? I kind of wish she was still active in the field since it would be totally cool to bump into her at an Vert paleontology meeting.


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Hi James

You've mentioned several times now that Pathfinder doesn't have "robust" rules for mass combat.

I take it that you do not like the mass combat rules from Ultimate Campaign then?

What are they lacking, in your opinion?

Do you think that Paizo will ever make more robust rules for this?

I very much want to run an epic/mythic campaign where the heroes have to gather allies and combine forces to defeat a massive invasion. Sort of like the first Dragon Age game (or some parts of Lord of the Rings).

Now I know that the game focuses on party level combat, but how would you run such a campaign?

Would you hand wave the battles?

I just thought it would be cool to somehow put the players in charge of their armies and play out the combat with the enemy, but if the Ultimate Campaign rules aren't robust enough for it, I don't know whether to shelf my plan or what?

Cheers


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James Jacobs wrote:
Divine Source does not allow you to choose a favored weapon. As written, a cleric of a quasi deity does not gain a favored weapon. I suspect this is an accidental error of omission... but I also like the precident that it sets that a cleric of a quasi deity is just a little bit less powerful than a cleric of a demigod.

Question with reference to this.

1) The Distant Shores book provides favoured weapons for the quasi-deity hero gods of Aelyosos (Kelksomides, Druid 16 / Marshal 5, favoured weapon sickle; also Psomeira, Skald 13 / Champion 6, favoured weapon doru). Is this then an oversight? Or should quasi-deities also get favoured weapons for their clerics?

Note: An inability for quasi-deities to have favoured weapons would also influence the Warpriest class in a reasonably large way.

Other question, though, and the more - to my mind - important one.

2) Harking back to Jade Regent, in the early stages of the AP the party can meet Spivey, a Lyrakien azata cleric of Desna (level 3 cleric). A Lyrakien can be taken as an Improved Familiar for a spellcaster of the appropriate level and alignment. How would you, as a GM, adjudicate players who would like to take Spivey as an Improved Familiar, given that she has class levels? She can already accompany the caravan as a NPC ally, but making her an Improved Familiar would go a bit further and influence the rules regarding familiars at baseline, making her a "mechanical part" of a character.


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James Jacobs wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
If you're hunting for female authors, may I suggest Ursula K.Le Guin? As an Oregonite, she's practically your neighbor, and she is the author of a story which became PBS's first foray into producing their own science fiction, "The Lathe of Heaven". She also is well known for her fantasy work as well.

I've read several of her stories and they haven't really interested me.

You'll note that there's one thing that all 11 of the authors I mentioned above share—they're mostly known as horror writers or DARK fantasy writers. The two exceptions would be George R. R. Martin (whose Game of Thrones stories contain more than enough to quantify them as horror, and who has also written plenty of horror stories himself) and Dan Simmons (who is a VERY well-rounded genre-hopping author, but who got his start doing horror).

I generally am not as interested in other genres, and as a result, authors who don't write dark stuff or horror tend not to interest me. Ursula K. Le Guin's stories aren't dark and creepy enough for me, and her writing style isn't interesting enough for me to make an exception as a result.

I have a suggestion that meets the supernatural horror and a female author guidelines: Laurell K. Hamilton and her Anita Blake series.


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James Jacobs wrote:
And that's why it's SO IMPORTANT to not feed the trolls.

But but then we'd starve *sniff*,

Kidding aside. It's awesome you listed Dan Simmons as one of your favorites. It seems like he gets over looked a lot. I love Summer of Night it really creeped me out when I read it the first time and it really maintained that creepiness through multiple rereads. Have you read that one and if so what did you think?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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MMCJawa wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:


You'll note that there's one thing that all 11 of the authors I mentioned above share—they're mostly known as horror writers or DARK fantasy writers. The two exceptions would be George R. R. Martin (whose Game of Thrones stories contain more than enough to quantify them as horror, and who has also written plenty of horror stories himself) and Dan Simmons (who is a VERY well-rounded genre-hopping author, but who got his start doing horror).

I generally am not as interested in other genres, and as a result, authors who don't write dark stuff or horror tend not to interest me. Ursula K. Le Guin's stories aren't dark and creepy enough for me, and her writing style isn't interesting enough for me to make an exception as a result.

Speaking of female horror authors, have you read much from Gemma Files? I have only read her short fiction, which seems so far that it would be up your alley.

Caitlin R. Kiernan is kind of a hero of mind. Did you know that her professional background is in Paleontology, and she actually has formally described a new species of Mosasaur? I kind of wish she was still active in the field since it would be totally cool to bump into her at an Vert paleontology meeting.

Haven't read much of Gemma Files, but I believe I've read a story by here here and there; name is familiar to me.

And yeah, the more I learn about Kiernan, the more awesome she gets.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Snowsarn wrote:

Hi James

You've mentioned several times now that Pathfinder doesn't have "robust" rules for mass combat.

I take it that you do not like the mass combat rules from Ultimate Campaign then?

What are they lacking, in your opinion?

Do you think that Paizo will ever make more robust rules for this?

I very much want to run an epic/mythic campaign where the heroes have to gather allies and combine forces to defeat a massive invasion. Sort of like the first Dragon Age game (or some parts of Lord of the Rings).

Now I know that the game focuses on party level combat, but how would you run such a campaign?

Would you hand wave the battles?

I just thought it would be cool to somehow put the players in charge of their armies and play out the combat with the enemy, but if the Ultimate Campaign rules aren't robust enough for it, I don't know whether to shelf my plan or what?

Cheers

You misunderstand me. By saying "those rules are not robust" I mean that the rules don't support "heavy lifting" in mass combat simulation in the same way a full-on wargame does. "Not robust" is NOT a synonym for "I do not like them."

In fact, the mass combat rules were designed by me, and I'm pretty proud of them. But they were never MEANT to be a wargame, nor to support an entire adventure or campaign. They were designed to be something that happens quickly and swiftly during an adventure that is war-adjacent. I originally designed them for the 5th Kingmaker volume, where the PCs finally get the chance to use the army they built. The battles they play out are intended to happen in the course of a few back-and-forth rolls that take about 5 to 10 minutes to resolve so that the game can get back ASAP to the focus—the PCs doing things themselves.

They work VERY WELL for that, as a framework to guide a narrative that places the actual mass combat in the background.

They do not work very well for players who want to get into the nitty gritty of tactics and unit command and terrain and moving armies around; they do not work well to simulate a mass combat in the same way the Core Rules combat section simulates one-on-one combat. That was never the intent of the rules, in fact, and if I have any regrets about the rules being in Ultimate Campaign it's that we weren't more clear on that fact than we were.

Look at the mass combat games out there. Warhammer comes to mind, but there are plenty others. These are IMMENSELY complex games that require not only a lot of work and new rules, but in most cases also are relatively expensive buy-ins for players. The time it would take to build a full mass-combat system would be a major undertaking, akin to something almost on the level of designing a new game (in many ways, it WOULD be a new game).

We're already doing that with Starfinder, so I wouldn't expect robust mass-combat rules from Paizo anytime soon.

If I HAD to run a mass-combat/war campaign, I would use a different game than Pathfinder. OR I would set the campaign up like Kingmaker, where the mass combat is a background element and the focus of the story is on the individual story of the PCs and not their armies. OR if I had lots of time, I'd build the rules from scratch.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Alleran wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Divine Source does not allow you to choose a favored weapon. As written, a cleric of a quasi deity does not gain a favored weapon. I suspect this is an accidental error of omission... but I also like the precident that it sets that a cleric of a quasi deity is just a little bit less powerful than a cleric of a demigod.

Question with reference to this.

1) The Distant Shores book provides favoured weapons for the quasi-deity hero gods of Aelyosos (Kelksomides, Druid 16 / Marshal 5, favoured weapon sickle; also Psomeira, Skald 13 / Champion 6, favoured weapon doru). Is this then an oversight? Or should quasi-deities also get favoured weapons for their clerics?

Note: An inability for quasi-deities to have favoured weapons would also influence the Warpriest class in a reasonably large way.

Other question, though, and the more - to my mind - important one.

2) Harking back to Jade Regent, in the early stages of the AP the party can meet Spivey, a Lyrakien azata cleric of Desna (level 3 cleric). A Lyrakien can be taken as an Improved Familiar for a spellcaster of the appropriate level and alignment. How would you, as a GM, adjudicate players who would like to take Spivey as an Improved Familiar, given that she has class levels? She can already accompany the caravan as a NPC ally, but making her an Improved Familiar would go a bit further and influence the rules regarding familiars at baseline, making her a "mechanical part" of a character.

1) That's an exception. NPCs get to bend/break/make new rules up. Just because we do something for an NPC doesn't mean a PC option has to conform or gets a "free power up." But again, I suspect that the design of Divine Source simply forgot about the implications of favored weapons, and that if you DO allow someone who gains this power to grant a favored weapon to her clerics... that's hardly gonna break the game. It's a GM call, in other words. I'd absolutely make that call in games I ran in that situation.

2) When you gain an improved familiar, or a familiar of ANY sort, you gain a baseline version of the creature. The rules actually do not support your transformation of an existing NPC into a familiar. That's what Leadership and the cohort rules are for. Spivey can absolutely serve as a companion that follows the PCs along because they make friends with her (sort of a "free" cohort who isn't bound to a single PC but to the whole party, I guess), but she can't be a familiar. Because the rules don't allow gaining a unique individual as a familiar. (If you DO decide to allow this, when she becomes a familiar, she should lose ALL of her class levels and be rebuilt as a familiar... which would kinda suck for her.)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Message board troll wrote:
It's awesome you listed Dan Simmons as one of your favorites. It seems like he gets over looked a lot. I love Summer of Night it really creeped me out when I read it the first time and it really maintained that creepiness through multiple rereads. Have you read that one and if so what did you think?

I'm not sure where you're seeing Dan Simmons as being "overlooked." He's won awards; he's still writing, "The Terror" is in development to become a cable series, and we here at Paizo have been dropping in nods and homages to his writing practically from the start. You'll see several such homages in Distant Worlds, for example. And when I was reading Hyperion for the first time, I named a few rivers in Kingmaker after that (there's a Thorn River and a Shrike River, for example).

I have indeed read Summer of Night; it was pretty good. My favorite Dan SImmons novel is "The Terror," but I also loved "Song of Kali," the Hyperion books, "Drood," "Abomnible," and "The Fifth Heart." I've tried to read "Carrion Comfort" twice but both times it kinda bored me so I never finished that one... not sure why but there it is.


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James Jacobs wrote:
Message board troll wrote:
It's awesome you listed Dan Simmons as one of your favorites. It seems like he gets over looked a lot. I love Summer of Night it really creeped me out when I read it the first time and it really maintained that creepiness through multiple rereads. Have you read that one and if so what did you think?

I'm not sure where you're seeing Dan Simmons as being "overlooked." He's won awards; he's still writing, "The Terror" is in development to become a cable series, and we here at Paizo have been dropping in nods and homages to his writing practically from the start. You'll see several such homages in Distant Worlds, for example. And when I was reading Hyperion for the first time, I named a few rivers in Kingmaker after that (there's a Thorn River and a Shrike River, for example).

I have indeed read Summer of Night; it was pretty good. My favorite Dan SImmons novel is "The Terror," but I also loved "Song of Kali," the Hyperion books, "Drood," "Abomnible," and "The Fifth Heart." I've tried to read "Carrion Comfort" twice but both times it kinda bored me so I never finished that one... not sure why but there it is.

I guess I feel he's overlooked because around where I live if the name's not King or Koontz no one has heard of them. Any way it's awesome that you take time out of your day to respond to us fans.

Silver Crusade

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James I just picked up Heaven Unleashed and part 5 of Hells Vengeance
Paizo hit it out of the park with both books. I can't wait to buy part 6 of Hells Vengeance. If I only had more money.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Lou Diamond wrote:

James I just picked up Heaven Unleashed and part 5 of Hells Vengeance

Paizo hit it out of the park with both books. I can't wait to buy part 6 of Hells Vengeance. If I only had more money.

Good to hear, but you should post that in the product forums. Let the folks who worked and created those products know!


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James Jacobs wrote:
Axial wrote:

1) So are Chelish citizens drafted and have to serve a certain amount of time in the army?

3) So are we talking Roman-esque legions and phalanxes?

4) So probably deployed by Asmodean clerics and Devil binders working alongside the army?

5) So the Dottari maintains order in towns and cities, and the Chelish army is the main military...what niche do the militias fill?

1) Not sure off the top of my head. It's probably not official, but if you don't volunteer you get in trouble. Never really considered it, and I'm not sure if we addressed the issue in the Cheliax book.

3) Sort of, yeah.

4) Usually, yes.

5) Militias fill the niche of bolstering the dottari, and in some smaller towns or villages are the only peacekeeping force.

1) So there's technically no draft, but people get suspicious of you and call you unpatriotic if you don't enlist?

That's going to be a lot of trouble, since as you said most citizens don't have any love for House Thrune. Trying to press-gang entire neutral towns into service seems like a good way to recruit for the Glorious Reclamation.

5) Are the militias usually funded/commanded by House Thrune and other pro-Thrune nobles?

6) Of all the military entities in Cheliax that are loyal to the Empire, which is most associated with the Church of Asmodeus? Do they have their own militias?

Tl;dr what is the strong arm of the church?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Axial wrote:


1) So there's technically no draft, but people get suspicious of you and call you unpatriotic if you don't enlist?

That's going to be a lot of trouble, since as you said most citizens don't have any love for House Thrune. Trying to press-gang entire neutral towns into service seems like a good way to recruit for the Glorious Reclamation.

5) Are the militias usually funded/commanded by House Thrune and other pro-Thrune nobles?

6) Of all the military entities in Cheliax that are loyal to the Empire, which is most associated with the Church of Asmodeus? Do they have their own militias?

Tl;dr what is the strong arm of the church?

1) No one said anything about press ganging towns. Not sure where that's coming from.

5) Usually by pro-Thrune nobles, since Thrune runs the actual military. Some are self-funded. Some are funded by specific Thrunes (as is the case in Kintargo). It varies.

6) The inquisitors are the strong arm of the church.


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If you were to feature Carcosa in a Pathfinder game, who would be its inhabitants?

Clearly there would be worhippers of Hastur, but I expect a decent chunk of the populace to be non human, especially as I imagine the place not entirely on the material plane

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Entryhazard wrote:

If you were to feature Carcosa in a Pathfinder game, who would be its inhabitants?

Clearly there would be worhippers of Hastur, but I expect a decent chunk of the populace to be non human, especially as I imagine the place not entirely on the material plane

In fact, we are indeed featuring Carcosa in a Pathfinder game. Check out the last volume of Strange Aeons for details.


Tacticslion wrote:

Similarly to the above: mythic empower deals +75%, while archmage ability channel deals +50%

1) does mean an ability deals +125% (in your opinion, which is in no way binding, and should not be used in rules arguments here or with other people, but purely as one GM to me, another) for a total of 225%?

2) why or why not?

Thanks!

** spoiler omitted **

Thanks for all your answers! You... are a busy guy! We appreciate you taking so much time for your thread, James!

James Jacobs wrote:
My preference in that case would be +125% damage. Just add all the percentage increases together, then adjust the number by that new total. It's easier and faster math, and results in lower numbers overall, which is good for gameplay since the assumption is, as a general rule, the base numbers.

Okay, now this is a cool answer, because it represent a line of thought I'd never even thought of: it answers my question, but does so in a way that leaves no ambiguity... when I didn't realize that there was ambiguity in the way I was thinking previously! That's awesome! Thanks!

See, I hadn't seen a way of stacking them other than adding the percentages up first - that just seemed like the "obvious" thing to me as what "stacking" would mean. So to me, the answer would either be, "they stack" or "they overlap" - but you could actually see yet a different meaning of "stacking" and answered that question - one I didn't even know I had - before I asked it! So cool!

On a related topic:

1) Have you ever read a response or answer to someone's questions (in terms of general game-stuff, like above) on these forums that has caused you to sit back, re-think something you'd previously thought was obvious, and change the way you spoke/ruled/interacted with others at a table about things (in a positive way) in the future?
- 1a) if so, what? (if there is more than one, please feel free to choose a non-inflammatory/non-problamatic/non-difficult thing; I don't want anyone getting in trouble, and I'm not trying to stir up anything - I just experienced a cool moment, above, and wondered if you'd had something similar)

2) Have you ever read anything else on these forums (again, in terms of general game-stuff) that have similarly caused similar positive re-thinking and/or change in games-rulings/speaking/interaction about things at a table (in a positive way) on that topic?
- 2a) again; if so, what? (if there is more than one, please feel free to choose a non-inflammatory/non-problamatic/non-difficult thing; I don't want anyone getting in trouble, and I'm not trying to stir up anything - I just experienced a cool moment, above, and wondered if you'd had something similar)

Thanks! And thanks again for the thoughtful reply!

EDIT:

Adam Daigle wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Entryhazard wrote:

If you were to feature Carcosa in a Pathfinder game, who would be its inhabitants?

Clearly there would be worhippers of Hastur, but I expect a decent chunk of the populace to be non human, especially as I imagine the place not entirely on the material plane

In fact, we are indeed featuring Carcosa in a Pathfinder game. Check out the last volume of Strange Aeons for details.
Come inside, little priest.

And "revelations" like ^this^ don't count!

Harumph...

>.>

As an aside,

Desril:
Please see the PM: the short version, however, is that I had not realized that it was 3rd party (thank you!); strongly disagree that it was badly written (at least the version I saw - the one by Owen K. C. Stephens, before he was hired here; and I explicitly asked for JJ's advice as one GM to another, instead of for his "official" opinion - I understood that, and definitely do not wish to aggravate the the large T-Rex! Thanks again for your help! :D


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James,

I've been working on my own homebrew setting that seeks to "fantasy up" the Christianization of the Saxon British Isles, and I'm starting with races and religions, and I was wondering if you might offer your expertise as a designer to a couple of hurdles I'm staring down.

I've been redesigning all of the races using the rules in the Advanced Races Guide, and I want to keep them fairly balanced against one another. Do you feel that would call for them to all be built on exactly the same point value (I'm looking at 10 right now), or would going 2 or 3 points over one a few races be fairly negligible if their abilities were less specialized or features bonuses to things that come up less often in an adventure, like craft skills?

For religions, I notice that all deities in Pathfinder have exactly 5 domains. Do you feel this would be important to maintain as a balance factor, or is it not that big a deal? I notice they also always have their relevant alignment domains. If alignment is downplayed in the setting, would it be reasonable to only give these domains to a select few deities for whom that aspect of their being is particularly important?

On a similar note, what would your thoughts be on having cleric domains (or even classes) based around specific religions and pantheons instead of specific deities?

Paizo Employee Developer

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James Jacobs wrote:
Entryhazard wrote:

If you were to feature Carcosa in a Pathfinder game, who would be its inhabitants?

Clearly there would be worhippers of Hastur, but I expect a decent chunk of the populace to be non human, especially as I imagine the place not entirely on the material plane

In fact, we are indeed featuring Carcosa in a Pathfinder game. Check out the last volume of Strange Aeons for details.

Come inside, little priest.

Silver Crusade

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

Strange Aeons SPOILERS!:
Do you worry that, with the increased scrutiny on him in this AP, Count Hasterton Lowls will be nicknamed Hasterton LOLZ or LULZ by immature players? You know, like LOLth? :P

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Tacticslion wrote:

1) Have you ever read a response or answer to someone's questions (in terms of general game-stuff, like above) on these forums that has caused you to sit back, re-think something you'd previously thought was obvious, and change the way you spoke/ruled/interacted with others at a table about things (in a positive way) in the future?

- 1a) if so, what? (if there is more than one, please feel free to choose a non-inflammatory/non-problamatic/non-difficult thing; I don't want anyone getting in trouble, and I'm not trying to stir up anything - I just experienced a cool moment, above, and wondered if you'd had something similar)

2) Have you ever read anything else on these forums (again, in terms of general game-stuff) that have similarly caused similar positive re-thinking and/or change in games-rulings/speaking/interaction about things at a table (in a positive way) on that topic?
- 2a) again; if so, what? (if there is more than one, please feel free to choose a non-inflammatory/non-problamatic/non-difficult thing; I don't want anyone getting in trouble, and I'm not trying to stir up anything - I just experienced a cool moment, above, and wondered if you'd had something similar)

1) Yes. Several times. Nothing comes immediately to mind, but keeping an open mind and remembering there's all sorts of ways to play the game is a good thing. It's easy to lose sight of options if you focus too much on just your home game.

2) Also yes, particularly when I hear about folks who don't come from my own gender/race/sexual preference. Hearing about how gaming impacts others not only opens my eyes to other lifestyles, but helps remind me just how diverse we all are but at the same time can find a shared experience in a game like Pathfinder.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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martinaj wrote:

James,

I've been working on my own homebrew setting that seeks to "fantasy up" the Christianization of the Saxon British Isles, and I'm starting with races and religions, and I was wondering if you might offer your expertise as a designer to a couple of hurdles I'm staring down.

I've been redesigning all of the races using the rules in the Advanced Races Guide, and I want to keep them fairly balanced against one another. Do you feel that would call for them to all be built on exactly the same point value (I'm looking at 10 right now), or would going 2 or 3 points over one a few races be fairly negligible if their abilities were less specialized or features bonuses to things that come up less often in an adventure, like craft skills?

For religions, I notice that all deities in Pathfinder have exactly 5 domains. Do you feel this would be important to maintain as a balance factor, or is it not that big a deal? I notice they also always have their relevant alignment domains. If alignment is downplayed in the setting, would it be reasonable to only give these domains to a select few deities for whom that aspect of their being is particularly important?

On a similar note, what would your thoughts be on having cleric domains (or even classes) based around specific religions and pantheons instead of specific deities?

I wouldn't get too obsessed with trying to keep things "balanced." If you go TOO far in making things balanced, they all start feeling the same. If you offer 6 choices, but they're all fundamentally identical, that's not six choices. You're basically offering folks a drink of water in a differently shaped cup. I'd focus instead on coming up with fun-sounding options. Try to make them roughly balanced but don't worry about perfection. Then play. And then adjust after you play as needed.

For religions, the number of domains we chose was somewhat arbitrary. You want to give enough options so that if you have 2 or 3 clerics of the same deity that they can make choices that make them feel different, but at the same time you don't want to give so many options that the deity loses focus. Five domains felt right, and continues to feel right (especially if you further diversify with subdomains).

If alignment is downplayed in your setting, I'd suggest ditching the alignment domains entirely and just assigning 4 domains to each deity. Note also that assigning a deity 3 domains that are obvious and a forth one that is not obvious is a GREAT and simple way to make your deity feel unusual. Say you have a god of wilderness survival and exploration; you could give that god travel, animal, and plant, but then also give the god madness. Suddenly, you change the nature of the deity from just a plain old nature deity to something more interesting. Or swap out Madness for knowledge, or Rune, or whatever. Very handy way to give a new deity some personality instantly.

I think having entire classes based upon religions and pantheons is certainly workable, but personally, I much much much more enjoy the focus on a single deity, because that allows you to use that deity as a sort of "template" for your character to aspire to, in the same way someone might cosplay as a favorite comic book character, or in the same way a younger brother might try to emulate his father or an older brother.


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I've actually been trying to take that approach with races. I'm trying to hammer out the crunch for each of my six races with very different ability score bonuses and penalties and then adding traits that are either interesting or that skew the race towards a specific role (but not a specific class). Sidhe (elves) are really sneaky and perceptive, and gnomes can smell magic, having both the scent ability and a constant detect magic effect that only works as long as their olfactory sense is functioning.

For religion, I want to split things up between a few different faiths that generally don't recognize the legitimacy, or at least the divinity, of one another so I can really ham up how a lot of old beliefs were demonized for being pagan in the 8th century. I also want them all to function a little differently when it comes to mechanics. The most traditional religion I have is going to be a panthesitic machine that has elements of both druidism and Nordic myth, but was thinking of having all of their priests be druids, creating a druid archtype that trades out their animal companion for a single domain selected from one of the gods of the pantheon, and that spontaneously heals instead of summons. For the more "christian" faith, which is tentatively called the Church of Penitence, I was thinking of a system where every cleric chooses one domain from a large list representing their single deity (it's monotheistic), but then they would also all have a patron saint that determines their choices for their second domain.

As far as outright removing alignment based domains, what would you think of, for the purposes of this game, instead working at sort of redefining what that domain means while keeping the same mechanics? So a deity wouldn't have the good domain simply because they have a good aspect of their alignment, but they might if concepts such as altruism were a central tenant of their faith, or the evil domain if their beliefs were centered around selfishness or spite?


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James Jacobs wrote:
Ragnus Magnus wrote:
Say a druid wildshapes into an air elemental, would said druid be able to use a longbow of the appropriate size without penalty as long as they had proficiency?
They do not. That's kinda the role and niche of genies for one thing.

Hi James. Thanks for this older answer. I want to build on it, if that's OK. I have a druid in air elemental form. I'm with allies in a safe spot (no combat, they have time to get items out and place them on a table for me).


  • If they hand me a wand and say "use this to cast Cure Light Wounds on us," can I?
  • If they lay out a magical scroll and say "use this to cast Cure Light Wounds on us," can I?

(I kind of assume the first one is a "no" and the second one is a "yes" but I'm open to being surprised.)


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James Jacobs wrote:
Axial wrote:


1) So there's technically no draft, but people get suspicious of you and call you unpatriotic if you don't enlist?

That's going to be a lot of trouble, since as you said most citizens don't have any love for House Thrune. Trying to press-gang entire neutral towns into service seems like a good way to recruit for the Glorious Reclamation.

5) Are the militias usually funded/commanded by House Thrune and other pro-Thrune nobles?

6) Of all the military entities in Cheliax that are loyal to the Empire, which is most associated with the Church of Asmodeus? Do they have their own militias?

Tl;dr what is the strong arm of the church?

1) No one said anything about press ganging towns. Not sure where that's coming from.

5) Usually by pro-Thrune nobles, since Thrune runs the actual military. Some are self-funded. Some are funded by specific Thrunes (as is the case in Kintargo). It varies.

6) The inquisitors are the strong arm of the church.

I asked if Cheliax had conscription and you said "Not sure off the top of my head. It's probably not official, but if you don't volunteer you get in trouble. Never really considered it, and I'm not sure if we addressed the issue in the Cheliax book."

You also said a bit earlier that most Chelish citizens dislike or are at least unsupportive of House Thrune.

I extrapolated on that and concluded that if citizens were seen as disloyal for not volunteering, then either they would submit to the pressure and volunteer (leading to an unsupportive, unmotivated, disloyal army) or would resist it, resulting in blowback for House Thrune.

Perhaps instead, there is a largely Lawful Evil, pro-Thrune constituency the army recruits from?


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Hi again James

Thank you for answers and I hope I didn't offend you about the mass combat rules, I took robust to mean something else.

So looking to King Maker for inspiration on a hero driven-form alliances-to stop big evil onslaught-campaign is a good idea?

I can see why you'd be loath to point out competitors but is there a game system that allows for both the war aspect and the heroes individual actions?
I only know of either or game systems.

More general questions:

What is the best part of having fans?

What do you think your young self would say, if you told it that one day you'd have fans?

It has probably been asked before, but how much time a day do you spend on this thread?

At any rate I want to thank you for taking the time for it

Cheers

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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martinaj wrote:
As far as outright removing alignment based domains, what would you think of, for the purposes of this game, instead working at sort of redefining what that domain means while keeping the same mechanics? So a deity wouldn't have the good domain simply because they have a good aspect of their alignment, but they might if concepts such as altruism were a central tenant of their faith, or the evil domain if their beliefs were centered around selfishness or spite?

I wouldn't remove alignment from the game, personally. I think it adds an incredibly useful tool to design, and as long as you have a GM who is comfortable with her/his interpretations of what each alignment means and you have players who respect their GM, there's no problems.

I wouldn't remove alignment domains at all and would KEEP alignment if you find yourself wanting to include concepts of good and evil and law and chaos and neutrality as part of your game.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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outshyn wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Ragnus Magnus wrote:
Say a druid wildshapes into an air elemental, would said druid be able to use a longbow of the appropriate size without penalty as long as they had proficiency?
They do not. That's kinda the role and niche of genies for one thing.

Hi James. Thanks for this older answer. I want to build on it, if that's OK. I have a druid in air elemental form. I'm with allies in a safe spot (no combat, they have time to get items out and place them on a table for me).


  • If they hand me a wand and say "use this to cast Cure Light Wounds on us," can I?
  • If they lay out a magical scroll and say "use this to cast Cure Light Wounds on us," can I?

(I kind of assume the first one is a "no" and the second one is a "yes" but I'm open to being surprised.)

In order to use a wand or a scroll, you don't need weapon proficiencies. You need a way to hold the wand or to make the somatic components, a voice to activate them, and the ability to cast spells. Nothing about being in elemental form compromises any of those. You can use wands and scrolls in elemental form as easily as you could in human form.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Axial wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Axial wrote:


1) So there's technically no draft, but people get suspicious of you and call you unpatriotic if you don't enlist?

That's going to be a lot of trouble, since as you said most citizens don't have any love for House Thrune. Trying to press-gang entire neutral towns into service seems like a good way to recruit for the Glorious Reclamation.

5) Are the militias usually funded/commanded by House Thrune and other pro-Thrune nobles?

6) Of all the military entities in Cheliax that are loyal to the Empire, which is most associated with the Church of Asmodeus? Do they have their own militias?

Tl;dr what is the strong arm of the church?

1) No one said anything about press ganging towns. Not sure where that's coming from.

5) Usually by pro-Thrune nobles, since Thrune runs the actual military. Some are self-funded. Some are funded by specific Thrunes (as is the case in Kintargo). It varies.

6) The inquisitors are the strong arm of the church.

I asked if Cheliax had conscription and you said "Not sure off the top of my head. It's probably not official, but if you don't volunteer you get in trouble. Never really considered it, and I'm not sure if we addressed the issue in the Cheliax book."

You also said a bit earlier that most Chelish citizens dislike or are at least unsupportive of House Thrune.

I extrapolated on that and concluded that if citizens were seen as disloyal for not volunteering, then either they would submit to the pressure and volunteer (leading to an unsupportive, unmotivated, disloyal army) or would resist it, resulting in blowback for House Thrune.

Perhaps instead, there is a largely Lawful Evil, pro-Thrune constituency the army recruits from?

Perhaps.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Snowsarn wrote:

1) What is the best part of having fans?

2) What do you think your young self would say, if you told it that one day you'd have fans?

3) It has probably been asked before, but how much time a day do you spend on this thread?

4) At any rate I want to thank you for taking the time for it

Cheers

1) The notion that if I die, I'll be remembered for a while.

2) I wouldn't believe my older self.

3) I'd say 30 minutes to an hour, spread out over the day in multiple visits.

4) Thanks!


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Hey, James,

Which is your favorite BioWare game of all time?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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The Doomkitten wrote:

Hey, James,

Which is your favorite BioWare game of all time?

Torment.


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Did you know it's my wife's birthday today? :D

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Tacticslion wrote:
Did you know it's my wife's birthday today? :D

Nope.


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Tacticslion wrote:
Did you know it's my wife's birthday today? :D

Happy birthday to her.

Scarab Sages

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So my players are gaining Mythic power through an ancient unique runewell, that was not attuned to one particular sin, and beofe we started the game i subtely got them to tell me all their greatest sin and their best virtue. I entend to give hem bonus based off of how they play their characters and depending if they lean towards their sin or virtue. So my question is i know each of the Sins is tied to a school of magic, what schools should i tie the virtues to? Should they be the same one or should they be opposites, and if so what would each schools exact oposite be?

also on a side note how much would you charge a player to fund the private teaching of an npc in the teaching of magic. Specifically sorceror. One of the players got attached to a girl who i mentioned had magic in her families past and could cast prestidgitation. and now they want to pay for her to be taught.


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James, a question about The Moonscar!

The Worldwound is connected to Deskari's domain, the Rasping Rifts, correct? Where does the Moonscar connect to? Would my assumption of The Midnight Isles be correct, given the prominence of succubi and the local leader's loyalty to Nocticula?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

We are starting Crimson Throne next week. Can I be sent an early copy of the collected edition?

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