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Quote:

Since the game doesn't include rules for...

I don't understand, why does this matter at all for narrative?

I've noticed other occasions as well were you imply some sort of backwards connection from rules to narrative, as though rules somehow define narrative, like there is some sort of inextricable link. Why?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Interesting Character wrote:
Quote:

Since the game doesn't include rules for...

I don't understand, why does this matter at all for narrative?

I've noticed other occasions as well were you imply some sort of backwards connection from rules to narrative, as though rules somehow define narrative, like there is some sort of inextricable link. Why?

The story is most important to me. Thus, rules should exist to facilitate the telling of the stories. I'm okay with stories that don't have rules, but not as interested in rules without story supporting them.


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So you don't see rules being used as language? As in mechanics that can be used to simply and quickly communicate details even if they lack attached flavor?

(example, how strong a character is, is more easily answered via a strength score than it is by describing every time how far between The Hulk and a local gym bodybuilder)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Interesting Character wrote:

So you don't see rules being used as language? As in mechanics that can be used to simply and quickly communicate details even if they lack attached flavor?

(example, how strong a character is, is more easily answered via a strength score than it is by describing every time how far between The Hulk and a local gym bodybuilder)

That's language, but not story.


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Were you considering including into APs some mass warfare stories between the whole nations? Like, the Inner Sea as I see it can explode into war pretty easily. Taldor vs Quadira, Cheliax vs Andoran, Osirion vs Thuvia, alliance A vs alliance B, etc... Maybe heroes could try to prevent it or end it, but anyway it is interesting to me why it wasn't the case for all the APs? It's just not the kind of story Paizo would like to publish, or it was decided to be too complex to cover in an AP or something else?

I have considered the story of Ironfang Invasion, but this is the classic evil humanoids vs good humanoids and not the scale I am talking about. In general if there was something like this in APs it was "Evil" vs "Good", like demons vs people, Djinns vs people, Undead vs people... Almost never people vs people on a large scale.


Another question - if somehow in case of 2 conflicting sides clashing in battle there are clerics of the same good-aligned deities, like Iomedae or Sarenrae, what their battle will be like alignment-wise? Will it effect them at all? What if the god's power is turned against its cleric (like cleric of Sarenrae casting fire spells against another cleric of Sarenrae and they both are righteous)?

So e.g. we have Taldan champion of Iomedae (lvl 11) vs Quadiran cleric of Sarenrae (lvl 11) and they have to fight each other because it is war and they don't like each other, and Taldor is defending its borders, but Quadira sees the of rising Taldor as a too much threat for itself (and Taldor is in fact planning to launch a military campaign against Quadira)...

So, will there be some side which will be considered "evil" for their alignment? Will they both be making "evil" deeds for following orders? Will some of them misalign from Sarenrae or Iomedae?

(Yes, I am planning such a campaign for my players, but not quite sure about this particular aspect, but see it as a big drama-potential).

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Maelorn7 wrote:

Were you considering including into APs some mass warfare stories between the whole nations? Like, the Inner Sea as I see it can explode into war pretty easily. Taldor vs Quadira, Cheliax vs Andoran, Osirion vs Thuvia, alliance A vs alliance B, etc... Maybe heroes could try to prevent it or end it, but anyway it is interesting to me why it wasn't the case for all the APs? It's just not the kind of story Paizo would like to publish, or it was decided to be too complex to cover in an AP or something else?

I have considered the story of Ironfang Invasion, but this is the classic evil humanoids vs good humanoids and not the scale I am talking about. In general if there was something like this in APs it was "Evil" vs "Good", like demons vs people, Djinns vs people, Undead vs people... Almost never people vs people on a large scale.

Mass combat isn't a strength of Pathfinder, so no, not really.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Maelorn7 wrote:

Another question - if somehow in case of 2 conflicting sides clashing in battle there are clerics of the same good-aligned deities, like Iomedae or Sarenrae, what their battle will be like alignment-wise? Will it effect them at all? What if the god's power is turned against its cleric (like cleric of Sarenrae casting fire spells against another cleric of Sarenrae and they both are righteous)?

So e.g. we have Taldan champion of Iomedae (lvl 11) vs Quadiran cleric of Sarenrae (lvl 11) and they have to fight each other because it is war and they don't like each other, and Taldor is defending its borders, but Quadira sees the of rising Taldor as a too much threat for itself (and Taldor is in fact planning to launch a military campaign against Quadira)...

So, will there be some side which will be considered "evil" for their alignment? Will they both be making "evil" deeds for following orders? Will some of them misalign from Sarenrae or Iomedae?

(Yes, I am planning such a campaign for my players, but not quite sure about this particular aspect, but see it as a big drama-potential).

That sort of story isn't something that makes sense to me, unless the more aggressive side loses their cleric powers for being jerks but still goes on the offensive out of stubbornness.


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Hm... So the fight between the champions/clerics of good deities is something very off-road?
When Quadira was in war with Taldor (for hundreds of years as I remember) did they use cleric powers (good deities) to get advantage in conflict or clerics/champions tried their best to avoid/prevent conflict because it is evil thing? Like cleric of good deity casting clairvoyance to track the movement of enemy forces or asking their god to grant strength to soldiers makes great sense to me tactic-wise... some very useful spells (like read omens) are only available to divine casters.


James Jacobs wrote:
Ryze Kuja wrote:
If you and I were roommates in a flat in Absolom, and I had an affinity for using Daylight spells in the middle of the night so I could practice playing my trumpet so I could fulfill my dream of performing at the famed Wounded Wisp tavern, and you could use one level 6 or lower spell to fix the situation, which spell would you choose?
Teleport.

You'd leave meh!?! /screamcries into a pillow


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A PC's cohort got killed by proto-shoggoths in my Strange Aeons campaign (which I am enjoying more than anything I've run in two decades, btw). The character managed to grab a piece of him while escaping. The plan is to reincarnate the cohort--I want there to be some effect of reincarnating from shoggoth-infested flesh, but I'm stumped as to what.

Any thoughts on how someone could come back "wrong" in a Lovecraftian reincarnation?

Thanks for the thread!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Maelorn7 wrote:

Hm... So the fight between the champions/clerics of good deities is something very off-road?

When Quadira was in war with Taldor (for hundreds of years as I remember) did they use cleric powers (good deities) to get advantage in conflict or clerics/champions tried their best to avoid/prevent conflict because it is evil thing? Like cleric of good deity casting clairvoyance to track the movement of enemy forces or asking their god to grant strength to soldiers makes great sense to me tactic-wise... some very useful spells (like read omens) are only available to divine casters.

In the case of something like that, yes, it was a schism in the faith brought about by bad actors and troublemakers IN the faith who rode the line of what was and wasn't allowed while simultaneously having non-cleric troublemakers in Taldor stirring the pot by being awful on their side. Eventually, things settled down in Taldor once a less-awful regime came into power, and the Cult of the Dawnflower stuff was resolved when its overly militaristic sect (which honestly never made sense to me at all, considering Sarenrae is NOT a martial/war deity but a healer and a redeemer—the whole element of her worshipers being warlike was an element that crept into early 1st edition products without my knowledge or blessing and I'm glad it's gone) lost support of the church and the goddess.

A cleric of a good deity using divinaiton magic to track the movement of the enemy is perfectly acceptable, but the concept that two good deities would go to war and force their faiths to fight is not acceptable. It's not the kind of story that I want to tell in Pathfinder. Neutral and evil deities, sure, there's more area to explore there, but not good ones.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Ryze Kuja wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Ryze Kuja wrote:
If you and I were roommates in a flat in Absolom, and I had an affinity for using Daylight spells in the middle of the night so I could practice playing my trumpet so I could fulfill my dream of performing at the famed Wounded Wisp tavern, and you could use one level 6 or lower spell to fix the situation, which spell would you choose?
Teleport.
You'd leave meh!?! /screamcries into a pillow

If you're being a pest with your lights and sounds and can't be bothered to practice somewhere I'm not trying to sleep, then yes, in a hearbeat!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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quibblemuch wrote:

A PC's cohort got killed by proto-shoggoths in my Strange Aeons campaign (which I am enjoying more than anything I've run in two decades, btw). The character managed to grab a piece of him while escaping. The plan is to reincarnate the cohort--I want there to be some effect of reincarnating from shoggoth-infested flesh, but I'm stumped as to what.

Any thoughts on how someone could come back "wrong" in a Lovecraftian reincarnation?

Thanks for the thread!

I'd chat with your GM first, since that sort of thing is up to them to approve and incorporate into the game.

Since reincarnation creates a brand new body, any corruption to the old body wouldn't carry over, I'd say. Corruption to the mind or soul, sure. In which case I'd have the cohort have some sort of mental affliction (assuming the game table was comfortable dealing with mental illnesses in game, of course, otherwise I'd not do this at all).

In the case of reincarnating into a new body that's "off" I'd probably have the new body be humanoid still but be something associated with fleshwarps (such as a sinspawn) or I as the GM would build up some custom rules for it to model the cohort having a creeping corruption, perhaps using one fo the corruption rules from Horror Adventures as a starting point.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

In the case of something like that, yes, it was a schism in the faith brought about by bad actors and troublemakers IN the faith who rode the line of what was and wasn't allowed while simultaneously having non-cleric troublemakers in Taldor stirring the pot by being awful on their side. Eventually, things settled down in Taldor once a less-awful regime came into power, and the Cult of the Dawnflower stuff was resolved when its overly militaristic sect (which honestly never made sense to me at all, considering Sarenrae is NOT a martial/war deity but a healer and a redeemer—the whole element of her worshipers being warlike was an element that crept into early 1st edition products without my knowledge or blessing and I'm glad it's gone) lost support of the church and the goddess.

A cleric of a good deity using divinaiton magic to track the movement of the enemy is perfectly acceptable, but the concept that two good deities would go to war and force their faiths to fight is not acceptable. It's not the kind of story that I want to tell in Pathfinder. Neutral and evil deities, sure, there's more area to explore there, but not good ones.

That’s fascinating. So did Sarenrae not authorise war clerics of the Padishah empire to use her divine magic for purposes other than healing and preventing harm? If so, with such an obvious display of Sarenrae’s displeasure with the war, did the emperor’s expansionistic policies create a big schism in Kelesh in reaction to the war?

Also — I know you don’t do Starfinder questions — but I’m curious about how undeath affects the cycle of souls in Pathfinder. Does the existence of nations like Geb cause a lot of harm to that process? If Geb had formed under slightly better pretenses and became a nation of mostly neutral-aligned undead that weren’t overtly causing a lot of harm to mortal life, would it be a Pharasmin’s duty to obliterate that nation (if able and with relatively little collateral damage), or to peacefully coexist and guide its denizens towards a final death?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Opsylum wrote:

That’s fascinating. So did Sarenrae not authorise war clerics of the Padishah empire to use her divine magic for purposes other than healing and preventing harm? If so, with such an obvious display of Sarenrae’s displeasure with the war, did the emperor’s expansionistic policies create a big schism in Kelesh in reaction to the war?

Also — I know you don’t do Starfinder questions — but I’m curious about how undeath affects the cycle of souls in Pathfinder. Does the existence of nations like Geb cause a lot of harm to that process? If Geb had formed under slightly better pretenses and became a nation of mostly neutral-aligned undead that weren’t overtly causing a lot of harm to mortal life, would it be a Pharasmin’s duty to obliterate that nation (if able and with relatively little collateral damage), or to peacefully coexist and guide its denizens towards a final death?

She did not authorize that war, no. (This is a great example of the complications that rose in the earlier years of the game when we didn't have anyone in a Creative Director role, so you had multiple groups here coming up with storylines that didn't always sync with the world itself.)

Undeath is a large enough blemish on the cycle of souls that it angers the goddess in charge of that cycle. Alignment doesn't figure into it at all. Pharasma is equally upset by all undead, whether or not they're evil or good or something in between.


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What degree of involvement did Pharasma have in sealing away Rovagug? I’ve always gotten the impression that she could destroy/cage him by herself if she wanted to.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Mathota wrote:
What degree of involvement did Pharasma have in sealing away Rovagug? I’ve always gotten the impression that she could destroy/cage him by herself if she wanted to.

She helped Torag and Gorum design the cage to hold him.

Obviously Rovagug can't destroy the cage by himself, otherwise he would have escaped. And since Pharasma wasn't powerful enough to put him in a cage on her own, that suggests that she can't destroy the cage on her own. Just as it took multiple gods to cage Rovagug, it'd take multiple gods to destroy it (or something else that plays out over the course of eons — aka "story plot").


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

She did not authorize that war, no. (This is a great example of the complications that rose in the earlier years of the game when we didn't have anyone in a Creative Director role, so you had multiple groups here coming up with storylines that didn't always sync with the world itself.)

Undeath is a large enough blemish on the cycle of souls that it angers the goddess in charge of that cycle. Alignment doesn't figure into it at all. Pharasma is equally upset by all undead, whether or not they're evil or good or something in between.

Does undeath actually harm the cycle though? As an analogy, undocumented immigrants can cheat the US immigration system by moving in before gaining citizenship, but depending upon whatever occupation they set up afterwards, this “cheating” isn’t necessarily harmful to the nation itself (and can often be beneficial). I get the sense this isn’t the case for undead though. Does their existence on the material plane cause negative energy to consume everything faster, increasing the cosmos’s entropic decline, or do some other kind of harm? Or are undead simply belligerent, otherwise harmless rule-breakers that evade Pharasma’s rule of afterlife?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Opsylum wrote:
Does undeath actually harm the cycle though? As an analogy, undocumented immigrants can cheat the US immigration system by moving in before gaining citizenship, but depending upon whatever occupation they set up afterwards, this “cheating” isn’t necessarily harmful to the nation itself (and can often be beneficial). I get the sense this isn’t the case for undead though. Does their existence on the material plane cause negative energy to consume everything faster, increasing the cosmos’s entropic decline, or do some other kind of harm? Or are undead simply belligerent, otherwise harmless rule-breakers that evade Pharasma’s rule of afterlife?

It does harm the cycle, yes. If the river of souls was made of water, then undeath would be represented by someone taking buckets of water out of the river and isolating it from the ecosystem. If something like this went on long enough, the world would dry out and die, but it would cause ecological impacts well before then.

In the Great Beyond, the outer planes are constantly being "eroded" by the Maelstrom, and outsiders are constantly being killed or destroyed for whatever reason. Without souls coming in, the number of outsiders declines and the amount of reality that they can even exist on declines. Eventually, it'd cause an early end to this cycle of reality if everything became undead.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Opsylum wrote:
Does undeath actually harm the cycle though? As an analogy, undocumented immigrants can cheat the US immigration system by moving in before gaining citizenship, but depending upon whatever occupation they set up afterwards, this “cheating” isn’t necessarily harmful to the nation itself (and can often be beneficial). I get the sense this isn’t the case for undead though. Does their existence on the material plane cause negative energy to consume everything faster, increasing the cosmos’s entropic decline, or do some other kind of harm? Or are undead simply belligerent, otherwise harmless rule-breakers that evade Pharasma’s rule of afterlife?

It does harm the cycle, yes. If the river of souls was made of water, then undeath would be represented by someone taking buckets of water out of the river and isolating it from the ecosystem. If something like this went on long enough, the world would dry out and die, but it would cause ecological impacts well before then.

In the Great Beyond, the outer planes are constantly being "eroded" by the Maelstrom, and outsiders are constantly being killed or destroyed for whatever reason. Without souls coming in, the number of outsiders declines and the amount of reality that they can even exist on declines. Eventually, it'd cause an early end to this cycle of reality if everything became undead.

Oh wow, thanks. That answers a lot of questions I’ve had. Being undead really sucks (if you’ve still got some sense of morality in you).


Do Force effects like Forcecage and Wall of Force create a Line of Effect that blocks the magical illumination from Daylight and the supernatural dark created from Deeper Darkness?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Ryze Kuja wrote:
Do Force effects like Forcecage and Wall of Force create a Line of Effect that blocks the magical illumination from Daylight and the supernatural dark created from Deeper Darkness?

No.


What happens to a soul of a humanoid that becomes undead? I understand they can't be judged, but is the soul damaged or changed from becoming undead? If the undead is destroyed, is the damage, if any, reversed? Does becoming different kinds of undead change / hurt the soul in different ways? Sorry for the multiple questions, but I figured they were all pretty similar.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Hi James. Have you heard the podcast This Paranormal Life? If not, it's a comedy podcast where each episode, the two hosts investigate a different supernatural case (specific cryptids, hauntings, aliens etc..) and determine whether or not they believe it is truly paranormal.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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voideternal wrote:
What happens to a soul of a humanoid that becomes undead? I understand they can't be judged, but is the soul damaged or changed from becoming undead? If the undead is destroyed, is the damage, if any, reversed? Does becoming different kinds of undead change / hurt the soul in different ways? Sorry for the multiple questions, but I figured they were all pretty similar.

It's not that an undead soul can't be judged, it's that the soul never gets to the place where judgement happens. If an undead creature is destroyed, the soul is released back into the River of Souls, but the time it takes to get to judgement varies. The GM/writer gets to make the timing decision there.

Becoming undead doesn't damage or taint the soul. If you willfully became undead, though, that's a different story, but that's a choice you made before you became undead. Furthermore, actions you willingly take while undead can adjust your ultimate judgement.

But once a soul is released from being undead, it doesn't carry a "taint" of undead on it.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Jam412 wrote:
Hi James. Have you heard the podcast This Paranormal Life? If not, it's a comedy podcast where each episode, the two hosts investigate a different supernatural case (specific cryptids, hauntings, aliens etc..) and determine whether or not they believe it is truly paranormal.

Haven't heard of it but sounds fun. I don't have much time in my life for podcasts though.


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Thanks for your answer James! Another follow-up question regarding undead, souls, and Pharasma if you don't mind:
If, given enough time, all existing things were to be destroyed or weathered away, why does a near-timeless entity like Pharasma care about mindless undead? Won't the undead eventually be destroyed and their souls be returned to the river? After all, if the undead are mindless, all actions they take while undead shouldn't affect their ultimate judgement? I'm curious why Pharasma doesn't mind mortals' self-deceit with immortality but does mind regular skeletons and zombies when I assume all will be destroyed eventually.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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voideternal wrote:

Thanks for your answer James! Another follow-up question regarding undead, souls, and Pharasma if you don't mind:

If, given enough time, all existing things were to be destroyed or weathered away, why does a near-timeless entity like Pharasma care about mindless undead? Won't the undead eventually be destroyed and their souls be returned to the river? After all, if the undead are mindless, all actions they take while undead shouldn't affect their ultimate judgement? I'm curious why Pharasma doesn't mind mortals' self-deceit with immortality but does mind regular skeletons and zombies when I assume all will be destroyed eventually.

Because she doesn't make exceptions. Undead is undead, mindless or not. Looking at my river analogy; it doesn't matter if buckets are being taken away by people with plots, or if "buckets" are just vanishing on their own without any mind directing them; the inevitable end result is the same.

Pharasma doesn't mind the pursuit of immortality because she knows the longer a creature lives, the more chances something will happen that kills them. As long as a thing lives, its soul is doing what it should be doing, and it doesn't matter to Pharasma if that takes eons to resolve. It's SPECIFICALLY the disruption to the soul's journey to judgement that worries her, because a soul has no capacity to make its own decisions. It has no agency. It can't make choices. Making something undead is always something that is DONE to a soul, not a choice the soul makes. Doesn't matter if it's a necromancer animating your bones, you working to become a lich, or a hapless victim turning into an undead spawn. None of that is things a soul gets to decide on.


I'm getting the impression that Pharasma cares about the journey that starts from death, which is why she dislikes undead in all forms. That makes a lot of sense to me, thank you.
One last question related with the above going into spoilers for Age of Ashes book 2 Cult of Cinders:

Spoiler:
What does Pharasma think of the anima invocation, the ekujae ritual to sacrifice and split the soul in to several spirits, used to bolster the elves' weapons to drive off Dahak?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

What is your preferred method for demigods? The mythic source ability I know; just curious if you had any advice for other methods.


Hi JJ! Quick question for you... interpretation of a spell:

Question: Can you move upwards with the spell Bladed Dash? (Or variations thereof... up and to the north/east as long as it's no more than 30 feet)

Bladed Dash says: When you cast this spell, you immediately move up to 30 feet in a straight line any direction, momentarily leaving a multi-hued cascade of images behind you. This movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity. You may make a single melee attack at your highest base attack bonus against any one creature you are adjacent to at any point along this 30 feet. You gain a circumstance bonus on your attack roll equal to your Intelligence or Charisma modifier, whichever is higher. You must end the bonus movement granted by this spell in an unoccupied square. If no such space is available along the trajectory, the spell fails. Despite the name, the spell works with any melee weapon.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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voideternal wrote:

I'm getting the impression that Pharasma cares about the journey that starts from death, which is why she dislikes undead in all forms. That makes a lot of sense to me, thank you.

One last question related with the above going into spoilers for Age of Ashes book 2 Cult of Cinders:
** spoiler omitted **

Pharasma is fine with that. That ritual uses souls (freely given) to empower weapons, but then once the effect is over, the souls move on to the River of Souls normally.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Oliver Veyrac wrote:
What is your preferred method for demigods? The mythic source ability I know; just curious if you had any advice for other methods.

Seems like you left out a word—I assume it's "What is your preferred method for creating demigods?"

In that case, it's "Come up with their story first, then generate all the rules clerics need, and only then build up a stat block for them—and maybe not even ever do that last step."

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Tallyn wrote:

Hi JJ! Quick question for you... interpretation of a spell:

Question: Can you move upwards with the spell Bladed Dash? (Or variations thereof... up and to the north/east as long as it's no more than 30 feet)

Bladed Dash says: When you cast this spell, you immediately move up to 30 feet in a straight line any direction, momentarily leaving a multi-hued cascade of images behind you. This movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity. You may make a single melee attack at your highest base attack bonus against any one creature you are adjacent to at any point along this 30 feet. You gain a circumstance bonus on your attack roll equal to your Intelligence or Charisma modifier, whichever is higher. You must end the bonus movement granted by this spell in an unoccupied square. If no such space is available along the trajectory, the spell fails. Despite the name, the spell works with any melee weapon.

You have to be able to fly, but if you can, then I've got no problem with moving upward with this spell. It doesn't grant you flight though, and jumping is upward and then downward movement, so you can't jump with a bladed dash.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
CraziFuzzy wrote:
When is Paizo going to hire a technical writer to make sure rule interactions are actually clear and concise?

Please try asking again without sounding like a jerk and without insulting myself and my coworkers.

Or better yet, don't try and take your insults elsewhere.

I meant no insult - it just seems that in many cases, 'narrative freedom' gets in the way of clear rules. PF2, so far, is a vast improvement in this regard because it has a strong structure to the rules from the beginning, but even then, there are times when the rules get more literary than they are precise, requiring more interpretation than simply parsing - if that makes sense.

The goal of a technical writer is to ensure that there is only one way to interpret a bit of writing - which can make for a far more durable rule system. It's not beautiful or flowery, but it serves the purpose of being RULES that way.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
CraziFuzzy wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
CraziFuzzy wrote:
When is Paizo going to hire a technical writer to make sure rule interactions are actually clear and concise?

Please try asking again without sounding like a jerk and without insulting myself and my coworkers.

Or better yet, don't try and take your insults elsewhere.

I meant no insult - it just seems that in many cases, 'narrative freedom' gets in the way of clear rules. PF2, so far, is a vast improvement in this regard because it has a strong structure to the rules from the beginning, but even then, there are times when the rules get more literary than they are precise, requiring more interpretation than simply parsing - if that makes sense.

The goal of a technical writer is to ensure that there is only one way to interpret a bit of writing - which can make for a far more durable rule system. It's not beautiful or flowery, but it serves the purpose of being RULES that way.

Interestingly, my question on technical writing was inspired by the same issue that Tallyn just asked about - spells like Bladed Dash are very colorful and descriptive writing, but I've never encountered two GM's who interpret the spell's effects, capabilities and restrictions in the same way.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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CraziFuzzy wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
CraziFuzzy wrote:
When is Paizo going to hire a technical writer to make sure rule interactions are actually clear and concise?

Please try asking again without sounding like a jerk and without insulting myself and my coworkers.

Or better yet, don't try and take your insults elsewhere.

I meant no insult - it just seems that in many cases, 'narrative freedom' gets in the way of clear rules. PF2, so far, is a vast improvement in this regard because it has a strong structure to the rules from the beginning, but even then, there are times when the rules get more literary than they are precise, requiring more interpretation than simply parsing - if that makes sense.

The goal of a technical writer is to ensure that there is only one way to interpret a bit of writing - which can make for a far more durable rule system. It's not beautiful or flowery, but it serves the purpose of being RULES that way.

Please keep posts here to questions for me—questions that are asked in a non-insulting way. If I say a question was insulting, please take that as a learning moment and re-ask the question.

To me it sounds like you're looking for a less-flavorful, more technical game than a roleplaying game. I think that we've produced an excellent set of rules and guidelines to tell stories with, and the fact that each game is moderated by a living GM means that any weird rough edges that might chafe at any one game table (these rough edges WILL be different for every table) can be filed down and fixed as needed by that GM to customize the game.

So if you don't feel comfortable adjusting the rules, maybe finding another RPG or even writing your own is the answer.

Because "narrative freedom" is very important to us.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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CraziFuzzy wrote:
Interestingly, my question on technical writing was inspired by the same issue that Tallyn just asked about - spells like Bladed Dash are very colorful and descriptive writing, but I've never encountered two GM's who interpret the spell's effects, capabilities and restrictions in the same way.

Again... please just ask questions here. I don't want to turn this thread into a discussion thread—that's better served by starting your own thread.

This thread is enormous, and it doesn't benefit by going off-topic with posts that aren't their own questions.

If someone doesn't agree with or like my answer and wants to ask clarification questions, by all means do so and I'll try to clarify.

If someone doesn't agree with or like my answer and wants to debate or argue with me or other posters, please please PLEASE start a brand new thread for that discussion.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Hey, James...hope you're well. I still follow along here from time to time, and in the interest of asking a question to keep things flowing, what's new with Paizo (that you can talk about) which I might not have heard (especially since I won't be at PaizoCon again)?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Neil Spicer wrote:
Hey, James...hope you're well. I still follow along here from time to time, and in the interest of asking a question to keep things flowing, what's new with Paizo (that you can talk about) which I might not have heard (especially since I won't be at PaizoCon again)?

Hey there, Neil! Good to hear from you! Things have been pretty crazy lately, with the one-two punch of coronavirus and Kingmaker fighting for dominance of king of stress mountain in my mind!

AKA: I'm assuming you've heard that we're doing a giant Kingmaker compilation, in other words.

The other big freelance project I've been working on is something I'm not yet able to talk about... I THINK it'll be announced at Paizocon, but maybe not.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

James, what are your thoughts on the Evil Dead 2 themed escape room in Seattle?

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

James Jacobs wrote:
Hey there, Neil! Good to hear from you! Things have been pretty crazy lately, with the one-two punch of coronavirus and Kingmaker fighting for dominance of king of stress mountain in my mind!

I can imagine...on both fronts. According to the news, it seems like Washington state is ground zero for the US-based cases. :(

James Jacobs wrote:
...I'm assuming you've heard that we're doing a giant Kingmaker compilation, in other words.

I have indeed. I wish I could have pitched in to help Jason on it (especially Chapter 4), but alas, the day-job is still quite crazy these days...not to mention the homefront with my kids.

Follow-up question: I was reading thru the new Lost Omens World Guide the other day, and I enjoyed the changes introduced by the assumed completion of various Adventure Paths. Did you have a favorite among those various outcomes, and what they might mean for future campaign plots?


Jumping off of Neil Spicer's question; is there an adventure path where you would have the heroes officially lose?

Edit: I did not ask that question very well. To clarify, what I'm asking is if you could choose one of the 1st edition adventure paths to have the PCS lose, which one would it be?


Hi James, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Here's mine: what is the relative power balance these days in Magnimar among religious institutions, governmental entities, and mercantile Houses?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

JoelF847 wrote:
James, what are your thoughts on the Evil Dead 2 themed escape room in Seattle?

My thoughts are "I am intrigued and interested eventually, but not right now."

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Neil Spicer wrote:
Follow-up question: I was reading thru the new Lost Omens World Guide the other day, and I enjoyed the changes introduced by the assumed completion of various Adventure Paths. Did you have a favorite among those various outcomes, and what they might mean for future campaign plots?

Return of the Runelords, Iron Gods, and Reign of Winter all had some delightful repercussions.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Kobolum wrote:

Jumping off of Neil Spicer's question; is there an adventure path where you would have the heroes officially lose?

Edit: I did not ask that question very well. To clarify, what I'm asking is if you could choose one of the 1st edition adventure paths to have the PCS lose, which one would it be?

Nope. I wasn't comfortable telling players and GMs "Hey, guess what? You and your table lost that campaign, as far as I am concerned." Seemed like a lame thing to do.

But had I done one, it would have been Crimson Throne, since it woulda been fun to keep Ileosa around.

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