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Maelorn7 wrote:

Hi James! First of all - thank you and all the team for the 2nd part of Age os Ashes, my party just finished it last Sunday and it was great!

The question - how widespread is teleportation across Golarion? Can I suppose that one can easily teleport between, say, Isger and Abssalom? Or it is more obscure and one should try really hard to do this?

Thanks!

Yay, glad you liked it!

Teleportation isn't something that most folks can afford or have access to. The hope/intent is that if the players want to do teleporting... they should provide that themselves rather than pay gold for a service from an NPC.

That said, we've used it before to get PCs into the start of an adventure fast, particularly in the Pathfinder Society, but that's more of a kludge to get the game started quickly without having to get bogged down in the minutiae of overland travel.

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DavidW wrote:

Reposting wall-of-text time travel questions (sorry about that).

1) The early adventures give the impression of a special role for the Oliphaunt of Jandaley - e.g. the "runelord legacy" section in Secrets of Roderick's Cove talks about the Oliphaunt's arrival as the thing Alaznist is waiting for, and Runeplague's introduction says that Alaznist alters the timeline in seven places and *in addition* brings the Oliphaunt forward. But by book 6, the Oliphaunt's being brought forward is just one of Alaznist's interventions, and not even the most significant (from a PC perspective). Is this just the AP evolving in the design process, or is there something going on in-world?

No worries; thanks for re-posting! :-)

The Oliphaunt's impact (pun intended) on Varisia in the last adventure IS pretty significant, but the fact that it's not the only thing endangering the modern era is meant to impress upon the PCs just how immense the magnitude of the danger is. But yes, there were some other developments as I worked through the adventures that added more time-travel based threats to the campaign as I went along.

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DavidW wrote:

Time travel question 2/5:

In Runeplague, Ayavah's vision has the PCs and Sorshen facing off against the Oliphaunt - but the PCs actually meet the Oliphaunt while Sorshen is still in the Everdawn Pool. Again, is that intentional, or just AP design evolution?

It's more of a metaphor than a literal prediction—it's meant to not only warn the PCs of a possible dire future, but also that they will be able to work WITH Sorshen rather than against her. There needed to be several hints along the way that Sorshen was going to be an ally, to prevent PCs from assuming that ALL the runelords were on the kill list.

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DavidW wrote:

Time travel question 3/5:

Secrets of Hollow Mountain seems to imply that the PCs are now in the alternate timeline created by Alaznist's manipulations, but they still remember the old timeline because their own future actions insulate them. And that seems compatible with Runeplague and Temple of the Peacock Spirit - especially with Xanderghul's worry about time being changed. But then in book 6 it turns out that Sorshen is trapped in the Everdawn Pool in the alternate timeline, so that her simulacrum couldn't be present (unless the simulacrum could have escaped the Everdawn Pool while the real Sorshen stays trapped? - but that doesn't seem to fit what book 6 says) and similarly the Sihedron doesn't exist in the alternate timeline, so that the Sihedron Council couldn't know about it. That seems to imply that the PCs are in the old timeline (but remembering the new timeline) until they emerge from Crystilan in book 6 - but then, how is that reconciled with Xanderghul's knowledge that history has been changed?

The PCs are the only ones that exist in all the timelines. Time is squishy and weird, but the idea is that since they're unique among everything in the universe in that they will be involved in the time shenanigans that occur in the sixth adventure, that what they're experiencing in the present of adventures 1–5 is one of many possible timelines, but with bleed over from other histories. That's what the penalties to Knowledge checks is modeling, but also what some of their trait "power ups" they gain along the way are also representing.

So, short version is that all the things that happen in book six's time travel events don't actually happen for the PCs until they get there to book 6. From their viewpoint, they haven't happened at all before then, so the timeline they're in is different in some ways.

Xanderghul's knowledge of it all is a side effect of his great power and him being at ground zero of the first of Alaznist's time travel things and all his centuries of prep work built into researching time stuff.

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DavidW wrote:

Time travel question 4/5:

In Runeplague, we're told that "as a result of actions the PCs take in the final adventure while they are in the Dimension of Time" Alaznist isn't aware of them earlier in the AP - what actions are those? I couldn't find them in Rise of New Thassilon.

The fact that they actually make it to the Dimension of Time is what shields their actions from Alaznist. Their entrance into the dimension sends a sort of "temporal diversion/cloaking" back in time to cover their lives so that all Alaznist really sees of them is their actions in a timeline where they fail to succeed at the Adventure Path. Since until the PCs actually GO to the dimension of time, they have no other option BUT to fail the Adventure Path.

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DavidW wrote:

Time travel question 5/5:

...or am I overthinking this? (One reading of Return of the Runelords is that the timeline is damaged by Alaznist, not just changed, and things are intentionally confusing and contradictory.)

Time travel plots always start to unravel once you start overthinking them, frankly, because us humans simply don't experience time in any other way but a linear forward one second per second format. We're pretty good at imagining how things might work if that changes, but just as good at imagining how those things might not work.

The best time travel stories address these issues by either being specifically about paradoxes, or by putting in enough information to explain why a paradox doesn't happen in the particular story they're telling. As long as those explanations are good enough, the story can survive.

My suggestion is to fall back on the fact that there's only one timeline that the PCs in any one playthrough of Return of the Runelords exist. Think of other groups playing the campaign as alternate timelines, if you will. And think of all the other possibilities of how things might or might not have played out as even MORE timelines. But the only timeline that, in the end, is the "real" one is the ones you and your players created as you played the adventure path. No one, not Alaznist, not you, not me, can predict exactly what events are going to specifically play out in the course of that playthrough of the campaign. We can all predict things pretty well... you and I more than Alaznist since we've got access to all 6 books... but players always have that tendency to turn left when the GM or the adventure thinks they'll turn right.

That all said... yes absolutely, the timeline is damaged by Alaznist, not just changed. That's why they're called temporal wounds—they represent scars and trauma inflicted on the timeline, and time itself is trying to heal. The PCs in this way of thinking are time's antibodies to Alaznist's disease.

Silver Crusade

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

Do you think Shyka the Many found Alaznist's and the PCs' time travel antics hilarious?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Do you think Shyka the Many found Alaznist's and the PCs' time travel antics hilarious?

If she even noticed... who can say? The Eldest are kinda hard to predict.


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

Thanks! - I really appreciate the responses. (My day job is philosophy of physics, it's hard not to worry about these things.) & as I say, it's an awesome adventure path. Running it is a few years away as I haven't done Shattered Star yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

Since this thread is for questions: How much of the Runelords trilogy did you have mapped out when you wrote Burnt Offerings, and how much was filled in later?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

On a somewhat similar note, how far in advance did you know

Spoiler:
that Mengkare and the Golden Orb were responsible for the Rending Droskar's Crag?

Age of Ashes definitely felt like a lot of threads reaching all the way back to the 3.5 days finally came together!

I recently binged the backlog of unread replies I had in this thread. Once again I was amazed by how patient you are will all of us. Thank you for everything you do!

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DavidW wrote:

Thanks! - I really appreciate the responses. (My day job is philosophy of physics, it's hard not to worry about these things.) & as I say, it's an awesome adventure path. Running it is a few years away as I haven't done Shattered Star yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

Since this thread is for questions: How much of the Runelords trilogy did you have mapped out when you wrote Burnt Offerings, and how much was filled in later?

At the time of Burnt Offerings, I knew I wanted to do a sequel—if the first one was "Deal with one runelord," the sequel had to be "Deal with all the rest." Which matches the way Alien and Aliens played out. Escalation.

Shattered Star kinda happened on its own, but ended up being a really good middle part that helped spread things out a bit, and helped set up Varisia in a way that reacted to the threat without forcing the heroes to immediately deal with runelords again.

My original idea was that Return of the Runelords would close out the edition cycle from the start. For various reasons it ended up being the penultimate 1st edition Adventure Path, in part because my other responsibilities didn't give me time to run the actual final Adventure Path.

The exact details of how Return played out mostly didn't get filled in until I finally started working on it, but I knew from very early on that I wanted Sorshen to play a non-antagonist role, to have Alaznist be the primary villian, and to involve time travel and a trip back to ancient Thassilon in some form. I had to play those cards close to the chest since folks have been asking for a time travel AP for many years, and I had to pretend like "Nah, we don't have plans for that," when I had very specific plans for it as early as the first AP was coming out... even before I was certain that the game would even be around long enough to get there!

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FallenDabus wrote:

On a somewhat similar note, how far in advance did you know

** spoiler omitted **

Age of Ashes definitely felt like a lot of threads reaching all the way back to the 3.5 days finally came together!

I recently binged the backlog of unread replies I had in this thread. Once again I was amazed by how patient you are will all of us. Thank you for everything you do!

Spoiler:
Involving Mengkare and Droskar's Crag didn't piece together until I actually started plotting out the adventure path. When I started, I worked backwards, knowing that Mengkare was about 1200 years old or thereabouts. I then worked with the timeline to see what sorts of major events occurred along areas I could incorporate into his tale, to both give him more weight on history (as should be the case for a dragon of his power) and to highlight some of the setting's more interesting historical events for all the new folks coming to Golarion for the first time with the new edition. The link to Droskar's Crag was a bit of fortunate luck, but I am much more pleased with how I was able to tie his history in with the dragon stuff in Taldor. That gave me a PERFECT way to start building his issues with the flaws in humanity.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
FallenDabus wrote:

On a somewhat similar note, how far in advance did you know

** spoiler omitted **

Age of Ashes definitely felt like a lot of threads reaching all the way back to the 3.5 days finally came together!

I recently binged the backlog of unread replies I had in this thread. Once again I was amazed by how patient you are will all of us. Thank you for everything you do!

** spoiler omitted **

You know, in a way that is more pleasing than knowing everything was laid out from the start. I really enjoyed those payoffs and its cool to know they paid off organically after all these years.

Question Tax: In G&M, the core 20 Gods each got a piece of art representing their followers' depictions of them on Golarion. What is one of these depictions you are particularly pleased with and why?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

So I'm running Second darkness right now and one of the players asked about their payment as a servant to house vonnarc. I couldn't find anything in the book as to whether they get paid. Would house vonnarc pay them? if so how much? My initial thought is they get paid in the silver pieces equal to the servant points they earn.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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FallenDabus wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
FallenDabus wrote:

On a somewhat similar note, how far in advance did you know

** spoiler omitted **

Age of Ashes definitely felt like a lot of threads reaching all the way back to the 3.5 days finally came together!

I recently binged the backlog of unread replies I had in this thread. Once again I was amazed by how patient you are will all of us. Thank you for everything you do!

** spoiler omitted **

You know, in a way that is more pleasing than knowing everything was laid out from the start. I really enjoyed those payoffs and its cool to know they paid off organically after all these years.

Question Tax: In G&M, the core 20 Gods each got a piece of art representing their followers' depictions of them on Golarion. What is one of these depictions you are particularly pleased with and why?

Rovagug's cave painting. It makes him feel suitably ancient.

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fujisempai wrote:
So I'm running Second darkness right now and one of the players asked about their payment as a servant to house vonnarc. I couldn't find anything in the book as to whether they get paid. Would house vonnarc pay them? if so how much? My initial thought is they get paid in the silver pieces equal to the servant points they earn.

If it's not in the adventure, it's up to you, the GM. That adventure path is over a decade in my past and 2 editions away, so I can't just give a number off the top of my head, other than to suggest it should be an award equal to what the PCs might expect for defeating a challenging encounter, I suppose.


Under the Warrior Poet, it has this ability:

Chrysanthemum’s Blooming: The warrior poet gains Vital Strike as a bonus feat and can apply its benefit when using Spring Attack. If the warrior poet is at least 16th level and has Improved Vital Strike, she can apply that feat’s benefit instead. The warrior poet must be at least 11th level to select this flourish.

My friend and I were having a debate that whether the Vital Strike, later on, applied to all attacks with Improved and/or Greater Spring Attack or just the first one. As Greater and Improved have the first five words - the feat below is Greater.

Benefit: When you use Spring Attack, you can select three targets to attack during your movement instead of one. The second attack made this way is made at your full base attack bonus – 5, and the third attack made this way is made at your full base attack bonus – 10. All restrictions of Spring Attack apply to each target, and your movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity from any of your targets. You can’t target the same creature more than once.

Would you have a potential answer to this?


I've encountered a corner case and I always look first to the narrative side of things before coming up with rules or rulings, so I'm curious what you would say about it narratively in-world sense.

The case is a caster with a held charge spell, like Shocking Grasp or Chill Touch, when the caster gets grappled. It's well noted that even an accidental touch will release a charge but what happens when the contact is continuous rather than momentary? Does the spell automatically discharge every charge over time, just one, or something else?

Silver Crusade

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

Can iruxi blink or do they clean their eyes by licking them like some other reptile species?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Rekentine wrote:

Under the Warrior Poet, it has this ability:

Chrysanthemum’s Blooming: The warrior poet gains Vital Strike as a bonus feat and can apply its benefit when using Spring Attack. If the warrior poet is at least 16th level and has Improved Vital Strike, she can apply that feat’s benefit instead. The warrior poet must be at least 11th level to select this flourish.

My friend and I were having a debate that whether the Vital Strike, later on, applied to all attacks with Improved and/or Greater Spring Attack or just the first one. As Greater and Improved have the first five words - the feat below is Greater.

Benefit: When you use Spring Attack, you can select three targets to attack during your movement instead of one. The second attack made this way is made at your full base attack bonus – 5, and the third attack made this way is made at your full base attack bonus – 10. All restrictions of Spring Attack apply to each target, and your movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity from any of your targets. You can’t target the same creature more than once.

Would you have a potential answer to this?

It doesn't change how Vital Strike works.

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Interesting Character wrote:

I've encountered a corner case and I always look first to the narrative side of things before coming up with rules or rulings, so I'm curious what you would say about it narratively in-world sense.

The case is a caster with a held charge spell, like Shocking Grasp or Chill Touch, when the caster gets grappled. It's well noted that even an accidental touch will release a charge but what happens when the contact is continuous rather than momentary? Does the spell automatically discharge every charge over time, just one, or something else?

In first edition, a held charge in this case persists until you attack. Being grappled is not an attack, so being grappled wouldn't discharge the spell; you still have to attack to discharge it.

In second edition, as far as I know, there's no "hold the charge" for a touch spell. The cleaned up action economy doesn't need this kludge for holding charges. When you cast a touch spell, it goes off and you touch the target all at once as part of the casting of the spell. If you cast a touch spell and there's no one in range to touch, the spell is "wasted" in the same way that casting a fireball into the air won't hurt anyone.

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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Can iruxi blink or do they clean their eyes by licking them like some other reptile species?

They blink.


James Jacobs wrote:
Interesting Character wrote:

I've encountered a corner case and I always look first to the narrative side of things before coming up with rules or rulings, so I'm curious what you would say about it narratively in-world sense.

The case is a caster with a held charge spell, like Shocking Grasp or Chill Touch, when the caster gets grappled. It's well noted that even an accidental touch will release a charge but what happens when the contact is continuous rather than momentary? Does the spell automatically discharge every charge over time, just one, or something else?

In first edition, a held charge in this case persists until you attack. Being grappled is not an attack, so being grappled wouldn't discharge the spell; you still have to attack to discharge it.

In second edition, as far as I know, there's no "hold the charge" for a touch spell. The cleaned up action economy doesn't need this kludge for holding charges. When you cast a touch spell, it goes off and you touch the target all at once as part of the casting of the spell. If you cast a touch spell and there's no one in range to touch, the spell is "wasted" in the same way that casting a fireball into the air won't hurt anyone.

So, that would mean no iteratives in the greater spring attack or would only the first attack be a Vital Strike with no extras allowed (as per Greater Spring Attack)? That discussion immediately popped up right after.


Do animals take on the cycle of souls?

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Rekentine wrote:


So, that would mean no iteratives in the greater spring attack or would only the first attack be a Vital Strike with no extras allowed (as per Greater Spring Attack)? That discussion immediately popped up right after.

Don't know off the top of my head, but I suspect not. In fact, most touch spells don't even require attack rolls; it's assumed that you automatically touch the target. They might get saving throws to resist, but touch spells aren't the same as they were in 1st edition.

In any case, it's best to ask rules questions in the rules forums though.

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Zarcrod wrote:

Do animals take on the cycle of souls?

Not in the same way as sapient creatures.

Creatures with animal intelligence don't have the capacity to make their own choices out of free will; they lack sapience unless they're awakened or otherwise have greater intelligence imparted to them. As such, their souls might get reincarnated, or they might just get cycled directly into a landscape in the outer planes. They don't get judged and don't become petitioners. You need a sapient soul to get judged an become a petitioner.


I seem to have quoted the wrong post... and my choice of terms may have been terrible. This is pertaining to first edition.

I have looked on the rules forums, but if what they're saying is correct, you're getting three vital strikes at full BAB, with the exception of Greater Spring Attack adding attack penalties as per that feat.

Greater Spring Attack states that you can target three enemies and attack them during your movement.

Chrysanthemum's Blooming states you may use the benefits of Vital Strike while using Spring Attack.

Greater Spring Attack modifies Spring Attack directly.

Since Vital Strike says you make a strike at your full BAB, would the three strikes granted by Greater Spring Attack be all Vital Strikes or do they just get the one Vital Strike and only that?

For instance, with an impacting Katana, they'd go from doing 3d8 to 6d8+modifiers on three attacks if this were the case, which is 18d6 on three enemies (split evenly), which seems a bit... ah... crazy?

So, would this mean they get three Vital Strike attacks at the decreasing to hit with rolling their damage dice multiple times or is someone a Cheating Andy and shouldn't be dealing that much damage a round? Or rather, if someone brought this explanation to your own table, would you tell them no?

It worries me, due to the conflicts in people's opinions on the rules of this ability - what would your own ruling be at your table as that'd be as close to a source as I'd be able to use and have, to some degree, justification that it should or shouldn't fly a certain way (asking as a GM who is having to deal with this type of thing, but doesn't want to ban the archetype, because it's actually really flavorful)?

Dark Archive

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber

If Paizo Earth is on the same material plane as Golarion, do Earthlings go to the River of Souls and get judged by Pharasma? If the Old Kingdom of Kemet (Egypt) shares the same pantheon as Osirion, what does that mean for other Earth religions? Does Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, etc. exist on this version of Earth?


James Jacobs wrote:
Interesting Character wrote:

I've encountered a corner case and I always look first to the narrative side of things before coming up with rules or rulings, so I'm curious what you would say about it narratively in-world sense.

The case is a caster with a held charge spell, like Shocking Grasp or Chill Touch, when the caster gets grappled. It's well noted that even an accidental touch will release a charge but what happens when the contact is continuous rather than momentary? Does the spell automatically discharge every charge over time, just one, or something else?

In first edition, a held charge in this case persists until you attack. Being grappled is not an attack, so being grappled wouldn't discharge the spell; you still have to attack to discharge it.

In second edition, as far as I know, there's no "hold the charge" for a touch spell. The cleaned up action economy doesn't need this kludge for holding charges. When you cast a touch spell, it goes off and you touch the target all at once as part of the casting of the spell. If you cast a touch spell and there's no one in range to touch, the spell is "wasted" in the same way that casting a fireball into the air won't hurt anyone.

I am more concerned with how the world works than the mechanics (I always bend, break, or rewrite rules to better describe and fit the narrative, so the narrative is the basis from which my mechanical choices come for, not the other way around).

Touch spell charges are discharged even on accidental touches and that implies quite strongly that such spells discharge from a touch regardless of how or why such a touch occurred (there aren't exactly explicit attack actions in-world). The question is not whether getting grappled would release a charge (that is already clearly a yes, attack actions are required to initiate a touch against an unwilling target but the actual discharge is automatic from making contact), but rather the question is about multiple charges with a target in continuous contact.

So, how quickly will charges release into a target they have a constant hold on?

---
I'm not really interested in playing 2e. It is far too much of the wrong philosophy for me to enjoy.

Silver Crusade

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

Would you be interested in a new Tyrannosaur?

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Rekentine wrote:

I seem to have quoted the wrong post... and my choice of terms may have been terrible. This is pertaining to first edition.

I have looked on the rules forums, but if what they're saying is correct, you're getting three vital strikes at full BAB, with the exception of Greater Spring Attack adding attack penalties as per that feat.

Greater Spring Attack states that you can target three enemies and attack them during your movement.

Chrysanthemum's Blooming states you may use the benefits of Vital Strike while using Spring Attack.

Greater Spring Attack modifies Spring Attack directly.

Since Vital Strike says you make a strike at your full BAB, would the three strikes granted by Greater Spring Attack be all Vital Strikes or do they just get the one Vital Strike and only that?

For instance, with an impacting Katana, they'd go from doing 3d8 to 6d8+modifiers on three attacks if this were the case, which is 18d6 on three enemies (split evenly), which seems a bit... ah... crazy?

So, would this mean they get three Vital Strike attacks at the decreasing to hit with rolling their damage dice multiple times or is someone a Cheating Andy and shouldn't be dealing that much damage a round? Or rather, if someone brought this explanation to your own table, would you tell them no?

It worries me, due to the conflicts in people's opinions on the rules of this ability - what would your own ruling be at your table as that'd be as close to a source as I'd be able to use and have, to some degree, justification that it should or shouldn't fly a certain way (asking as a GM who is having to deal with this type of thing, but doesn't want to ban the archetype, because it's actually really flavorful)?

First off, I haven't had my head deep in 1st edition since finishing up development on Return of the Runelords nearly two years ago, so I'm not able to give you either an official answer or an off-the cuff "how would I rule it in my game" answer.

If I were still running a 1st edition Pathfinder game, though, my solution woudl be to switch to 2nd edition.

But in an alternate reality where that's not an option... I'd see how it played out in a session, and then adjust as needed, after telling the player there's a VERY good chance that I'd be changing rulings if it ended up being too overpowered. When I do that, and roll back a ruling, I always give the player a free rebuild of their character to adjust things as they want.

There's SO many different options at the tail end of 1st edition that it's really the only way to handle things if you don't want to just limit the number of options players can take.

Vital Strike, for what it's worth, is pretty broken as is, in that it doesn't really take into account things like multiple die attacks. It's one thing to put it on a 1d8 sword attack, but putting it on a dinosaur bite, for example, breaks the expected damage curve. You've got the same thing going on here with an impacting weapon. My take is that Vital Strike should only double the FIRST die of an attack, honestly. Or maybe just cut the feat from the game entirely if it's that much trouble.

Or even better, switch to 2nd edition, where it's not a problem and combat runs more smoothly? :-P

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crognus wrote:
If Paizo Earth is on the same material plane as Golarion, do Earthlings go to the River of Souls and get judged by Pharasma? If the Old Kingdom of Kemet (Egypt) shares the same pantheon as Osirion, what does that mean for other Earth religions? Does Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, etc. exist on this version of Earth?

Getting into the game rules for real-world active, powerful, widespread religions is not a good idea—that's a great way to piss people off and start arguments and lose friends. I don't go there as a result.

Earth works best as a rare spice in game to play with the game's take on reality, but the more you bring Earth into Pathfinder, the more awkward things get. "Rasputin Must Die" represents how we handle this thing—and that's by presenting a fantasy version of Earth where we simply don't address everything in print.

As the creative director for Pathfinder, I have to watch what I say online, because I'm not interested in places on the internet taking a post I make out of context to fuel anti-Paizo, anti-Pathfinder, or anti-James hate and vitriol and cancel culturing. So I don't answer questions like this. Sorry.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Interesting Character wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Interesting Character wrote:

I've encountered a corner case and I always look first to the narrative side of things before coming up with rules or rulings, so I'm curious what you would say about it narratively in-world sense.

The case is a caster with a held charge spell, like Shocking Grasp or Chill Touch, when the caster gets grappled. It's well noted that even an accidental touch will release a charge but what happens when the contact is continuous rather than momentary? Does the spell automatically discharge every charge over time, just one, or something else?

In first edition, a held charge in this case persists until you attack. Being grappled is not an attack, so being grappled wouldn't discharge the spell; you still have to attack to discharge it.

In second edition, as far as I know, there's no "hold the charge" for a touch spell. The cleaned up action economy doesn't need this kludge for holding charges. When you cast a touch spell, it goes off and you touch the target all at once as part of the casting of the spell. If you cast a touch spell and there's no one in range to touch, the spell is "wasted" in the same way that casting a fireball into the air won't hurt anyone.

I am more concerned with how the world works than the mechanics (I always bend, break, or rewrite rules to better describe and fit the narrative, so the narrative is the basis from which my mechanical choices come for, not the other way around).

Touch spell charges are discharged even on accidental touches and that implies quite strongly that such spells discharge from a touch regardless of how or why such a touch occurred (there aren't exactly explicit attack actions in-world). The question is not whether getting grappled would release a charge (that is already clearly a yes, attack actions are required to initiate a touch against an unwilling target but the actual discharge is automatic from making contact), but rather the question is about multiple charges...

Even when we were publishing 1st edition, I didn't get into rules question answering on this thread, since it always seemed to backfire and blow up in my face with folks (be they online on these forums or in real life here in the office) complaining that I'm stepping on the toes of the Design team and spreading confusing rulings in the public.

If 2nd edition is the "wrong philosophy" for you, then that's fine. 1st edition is a fun game. But it's got a lot of corner cases that engender complications such as the one you're encountering. When those occur, the game works best when the GM of the game works with the players to negotiate or simply provide a ruling for the table. That's the fastest and most efficient way these days for you to get an answer that'll let your game keep going.

For me, 2nd edition is the "right philosophy," and so I can't really answer your question in a way you'll be satisfied with, I fear.

In any case, since you're comfortable bending, breaking, and rewriting the rules to fit your narrative, then you've got the absolutely correct tools you need to solve the problem, fortunately! :-)

(My preference would be to simply ditch the whole held charge thing entirely, to be honest.)

EDIT: I'd say that a charge NEVER releases if you get grappled. You have to attack, not be attacked. Things like damage when you grab a thing are different effects entirely, not touch spells.


I was reading Gods & Magic (good book btw!) and was intrigued by Arazni's lore. Most notably, I found it interesting that while she's NE, she allows followers of alignments like CG that are far removed from her own. What inspired you to set it up like that?

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Rysky wrote:
Would you be interested in a new Tyrannosaur?

Yes. Yes I would be.

Dark Archive

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

Getting into the game rules for real-world active, powerful, widespread religions is not a good idea—that's a great way to piss people off and start arguments and lose friends. I don't go there as a result.

Earth works best as a rare spice in game to play with the game's take on reality, but the more you bring Earth into Pathfinder, the more awkward things get. "Rasputin Must Die" represents how we handle this thing—and that's by presenting a fantasy version of Earth where we simply don't address everything in print.

As the creative director for Pathfinder, I have to watch what I say online, because I'm not interested in places on the internet taking a post I make out of context to fuel anti-Paizo, anti-Pathfinder, or anti-James hate and vitriol and cancel culturing. So I don't answer questions like this. Sorry.

Classy response. I respect that this is more important than my curiosity. Was there any internal conflicted discussion on whether having an AP go to Earth was a good idea, or was everyone equally excited and on board with this idea when it was first pitched?

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FaerieLore wrote:
I was reading Gods & Magic (good book btw!) and was intrigued by Arazni's lore. Most notably, I found it interesting that while she's NE, she allows followers of alignments like CG that are far removed from her own. What inspired you to set it up like that?

Arazni's publication history is an interesting one. I invented her during development of the second volume of Runelords, in "Skinsaw Murders" while I was writing additional content for the haunted house in Foxglove Manor. In particular, I wanted to have two stained glass windows depicting two different liches achieving power, both as a way to give players a way to learn about some of the manor's history but also to show all readers how liches worked differently in Golarion than in D&D. In D&D, all liches come about the same way, by preparing and drinking a potion and creating a phylactery. In Pathifnder, I wanted each lich to have their own unique apotheosis method, and that it would trigger REGARDLESS of if they wanted to make the change or not. And so I included one, the lich Socoro, who voluntarily took the plunge to become a lich, and another, Arazni, who did not voluntarily become a lich.

Alas, there wasn't room in that one encounter to go into a lot more detail, and we were very much in the mode of scrambling to invent adjectives and come up with names for characters. My plan from the start was to present Arazni as a woman who'd had agency taken away from her and then focus an adventure path or something on her story where she gets revenge, takes back her agency, is vindicated, and triumphs over awfulness.

But not every story ends up getting to go somewhere, and as the years went on, my opportunities to explore Arazni's story further kept missing. She started developing in areas I never anticipated (sometimes with errors; in one of the books she's presented as a mummy, not a lich, hence the thing with her canopic jars, but usally with great improvements).

As it played out, her story stayed in limbo SO long that some folks started getting frustrated, rightfully so, with what appeared to be nothing more than a "let's abuse a woman NPC and give her an awful subservient role that she can never escape from." That was NEVER the intent, but that's what happened since her story kept getting shunted to the proverbial back-burner, and I kind of lost the thread on it.

Finally, as the edition was wrapping up, the chance to get her story told finally came about with Tyrant's Grasp. Getting that story going was one of the more painful parts for me since I had to admit where we'd screwed up with her character's story arc by ignoring it for so long and not giving it enough of an explanation from the start, but in the end, Crystal and others did a great job with getting her course corrected to where she was always supposed to go. I wish it'd been able to happen before we moved from 3.5 to Pathifnder, but I suppose better late than never, even if it'd been over a decade before it finally got out there.

So, once we get to Gods & Magic, Eleanor and Luis took the lead. They developed the book—my input was pretty much limited to writing the entry for Nocticula and doing some creative direction and editing and advice-giving along the way, and helping out where they asked for help. It was them who came up with the notion that she'd allow CG worshipers, which is really compelling and interesting. The whole point of Arazni is that she's recovering from a traumatic experience, but recovery from trauma isn't instant. To portray it as so is a disservice. And so she's on the way, and maybe in time she'll become Neutral or Chaotic Good or something but for the moment she's still filled with a fair bit of frustration and rage. Not so much that she doesn't encourage Chaotic Good worshipers though. Her story, in other words, is still not done, but it's finally obvious about where it's going.

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crognus wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

Getting into the game rules for real-world active, powerful, widespread religions is not a good idea—that's a great way to piss people off and start arguments and lose friends. I don't go there as a result.

Earth works best as a rare spice in game to play with the game's take on reality, but the more you bring Earth into Pathfinder, the more awkward things get. "Rasputin Must Die" represents how we handle this thing—and that's by presenting a fantasy version of Earth where we simply don't address everything in print.

As the creative director for Pathfinder, I have to watch what I say online, because I'm not interested in places on the internet taking a post I make out of context to fuel anti-Paizo, anti-Pathfinder, or anti-James hate and vitriol and cancel culturing. So I don't answer questions like this. Sorry.

Classy response. I respect that this is more important than my curiosity. Was there any internal conflicted discussion on whether having an AP go to Earth was a good idea, or was everyone equally excited and on board with this idea when it was first pitched?

Absolutely; we talked about the pitfalls and dangers of having that adventure go to Earth and made a lot of early decisions to avoid as much controversial elements as possible. To be honest, I was more than a little nervous about having a real-world person, Rasputin, be set up as a villain. History is told by the winners, after all, and there's a lot more to Rasputin than him being an impossible to kill monster. In the end I think Rob did an amazing job walking that line between presenting a compelling story set in the real world while not crossing the line.

Writing RPGs is a weird thing. It's the fact that they're interactive, and that there's not a 100% reliable curator for your experience (your GM or your other players can make a perfectly acceptable adventure into an awful and insulting experience, for example—an element of responsibility that's removed from most other sorts of entertainment where the creators of the content have more absolute control over the end product) that makes it so much more difficult to include real-world elements that are uncomfortable or controversial. Content creators need to be EXTRA careful about how they present things as a result.

It's also worth noting that we created Rasputin Must Die in a very different sociopolitical world. I'm not sure we'd want to do an adventure like it today.

Dark Archive

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber

I really like the aesthetic re-design of classic monsters in 2E (such as hobgoblins and kobolds). It makes Golarion instantly unique and distinctive from other products. Was this pitched by the writing team to the artists, or from the artists to the writing team? Will we see this trend continue in future Bestiaries?

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crognus wrote:

I really like the aesthetic re-design of classic monsters in 2E (such as hobgoblins and kobolds). It makes Golarion instantly unique and distinctive from other products. Was this pitched by the writing team to the artists, or from the artists to the writing team? Will we see this trend continue in future Bestiaries?

The new art look came 100% from the art side of things. Defining Pathifinder versions of monsters shared with other games is something we've been working to achieve the entire time, but the edition change made a great opportunity to get a bunch of them out there that had so far, slipped through the cracks.


I find that only dissociated mechanics can avoid corner cases, the more associated the mechanic becomes, the more corner cases appear.

Your last response gives me the impression that you see this as a game first, that you think in terms of what the mechanics say is possible and creating explanations to fit mechanical results, instead of what makes sense narratively and simply choosing the best mechanic to describe the narrative choice. Would say that accurate?

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Interesting Character wrote:

I find that only dissociated mechanics can avoid corner cases, the more associated the mechanic becomes, the more corner cases appear.

Your last response gives me the impression that you see this as a game first, that you think in terms of what the mechanics say is possible and creating explanations to fit mechanical results, instead of what makes sense narratively and simply choosing the best mechanic to describe the narrative choice. Would say that accurate?

It's a game first, absolutely. But it's a NARRATIVE game, so the rules should support the story, and the story should drive the rules. It's frustrating for me when a rule accidentally introduces something to the game that clashes with the story, because it seems like the majority of folks take the rules first and the story second—I think that's a side effect of there being more players than GMs though.

Part of the problem is that we don't really have things set up where the story people and the rules people are the same people, perhaps.

In any case, yes it's a game first. If it were just a setting, it'd be just me writing stories and publishing novels (with other folks here doing whatever non-Paizo, non-game thing they'd want to pursue), and I'd probably be doing so as a second job while I did some sort of other job to actually be able to afford rent.... :-/

There ARE RPGs out there that are more narrative driven than Pathfinder, sure, but Pathfinder is not one of them. At least, not as far as the sales numbers comparing player-option books to sales numbers for novels suggests...


Hi James.
God's and magic is awesome, you guys have some of the best deities and lore.

my question is, would Korada ever grant a cleric a spell that causes damage to creature other than an undead?

there doesn't seem to be a way to use magic to "knock someone out" and it seems odd that a cleric of korada could use their divine weapon their fist to defend themselves using (non lethal damage) but cant do the same with the divine spells their God's grants unless the creature is undead.


Being a game first is not the same thing as putting mechanics first. In fact even Gygax said that "playing the game" is contrary to "playing the rules" that they are two separate and opposing things. Heck, many people play without any mechanics at all, so I'm not really sure why you'd think the alternative is purely to write.

Others I've had a more in depth discussion of this topic with, often tell me that they simply find it too uncomfortable to have rules yet to use rules as descriptive language snd to just "play the game" instead of "playing the rules." Would you be one of those people, or is the difference unclear?

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ikarinokami wrote:

Hi James.

God's and magic is awesome, you guys have some of the best deities and lore.

my question is, would Korada ever grant a cleric a spell that causes damage to creature other than an undead?

there doesn't seem to be a way to use magic to "knock someone out" and it seems odd that a cleric of korada could use their divine weapon their fist to defend themselves using (non lethal damage) but cant do the same with the divine spells their God's grants unless the creature is undead.

A cleric of Korada should focus on non-lethal options—supporting allies, for example, or solving situations without having to fight. Fisticuffs to subdue foes would be the solution for combat, with damaging spells being a last-ditch effort that would potentially trigger the anathema by using. I suppose you could interpret "lethal damage" as "Don't do damage that causes a creature to gain the dying condition," though, but the intent is that Korada's faithful don't cause lethal harm. Some of the deities in the game don't mesh well with the classic role of "beat up foes." That's fine with me, since there's literally hundreds of choices to choose from. If you're looking for a more combat focused deity with Korada's themes and don't want the challenge of having to avoid inflicting lethal damage, Sarenrae is your best bet.

But some folks like challenges like this, so that's why there's options like Korada in there.

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Interesting Character wrote:

Being a game first is not the same thing as putting mechanics first. In fact even Gygax said that "playing the game" is contrary to "playing the rules" that they are two separate and opposing things. Heck, many people play without any mechanics at all, so I'm not really sure why you'd think the alternative is purely to write.

Others I've had a more in depth discussion of this topic with, often tell me that they simply find it too uncomfortable to have rules yet to use rules as descriptive language snd to just "play the game" instead of "playing the rules." Would you be one of those people, or is the difference unclear?

This is moving away from questions and into a back-and-forth discussion, and I prefer not to have those go on in this thread since it tends to go off-topic, and back-and-forths are better served anyway with their own threads.

I'm 100% comfortable in making up rules on the spot in the game to shore up holes in game play, and am 100% comfortable in making rulings on unclear rules in play after hearing a bit from the players as needed and then moving on to continue with the story. And when creating an adventure, if I want to do something that the rules don't really cover, I make up new rules to do the job... be it a new monster, a method of doing kingdoms, a way to simulate running a rebellion, or whatever.

I guess I'm in the category of "play the game." It's pretty much always obvious to me what a rule is trying to do when you look at the situation in the game. Common sense and what keeps the fun going is the best guide.

Dark Archive

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber

What is the creation process behind the AP story bibles (before assigning each book to the individual authors)? Is it like screenwriting where you meet daily to make sure everyone is on the same page? How long do they take to write before the story bibles are then sent to the individual authors?

Dark Archive

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber

How has the writing process been refined/streamlined since the Dragon Magazine days or early AP days?

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crognus wrote:
What is the creation process behind the AP story bibles (before assigning each book to the individual authors)? Is it like screenwriting where you meet daily to make sure everyone is on the same page? How long do they take to write before the story bibles are then sent to the individual authors?

We have brainstorms and meetings to determine several potential Adventure Paths, at which point they're largely very brief concepts. "Iron Gods" might be "An adventure path where the PCs prevent an AI from becoming a robot god in Numeria" for example.

Once a developer is assigned to an Adventure Path, they then begin the process of building the outline, including coming up with titles for each part and names for NPCs and backmatter articles and individual adventure plots. They'll generally get it all in their heads, and then there'll be a meeting, typically with me, the devleoper, the publisher, and the art director to ensure everyone's all happy with the direction things are going. If so, the adventure path brief is approved, and then the developer gets to work writing the fully detailed outline to be used by all the authors. This is a pretty enormous document—they can end up being around 20,000 words long (about 32 pages in length, were it to be published). Once that's done, I go through it again to give it a final creative director pass, make change requests as needed, and then once those changes (if any) are addressed, it's approved and the outline is ready for the individual authors to see. The whole process generally takes about a month to finish up.

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crognus wrote:
How has the writing process been refined/streamlined since the Dragon Magazine days or early AP days?

We don't have to submit what we do to another company for approvals, so that part, at least, is MUCH more streamlined. If we think an idea's great enough to do, we do it. We don't need permission beyond Paizo, which is probably my second favorite change to the process since the magazine days.

We no longer rely much at all on unpublished/new authors. That kinda sucks from a "get new blood into the industry" and makes it a lot harder for a new writer to get established (writing for the magazines was how I got started, after all), but from a productivity standpoint it allows us to produce more content more quickly, since we aren't managing a slush pile or spending time that otherwise would be put toward production to training new authors. The role the magazines used to play has in large part been replaced by the fact that it's a LOT easier for folks to get their names and skills out there via self publication, the internet, or the much wider net of other publishers, none of which really existed to that extent (or at all) back in the 80s or even into the 90s.

We've got a lot more people doing thigns—in the magazine days, I would often be called upon to write, develop, and edit entire sections of the magazine. We all had to do 3 jobs, basically. At the height of the magazine era, we had 6 folks in total in one department working on the two magaiznes, and now we've got a LOT more working across three departments (design, development, and edit).

We don't have to deal with ads disrupting the page flow, and that's probably my FAVORITE change.

We have a lot more time to bring in additional eyes on content that requires the input of a specialist, or a sensitivity reader, or something like that where we don't feel like our own readthroughs are enough to get the job done right.

Overall... the cadence of doing the magazines felt VERY busy at the time, but in hindsight, it feels relaxed. We're doing a lot more today than we ever did back in the day, so I guess the biggest change is that everything's gotten "more".

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