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More demon questions!

I know Flauros and Ymeri have a...tempestuous relationship. Which one of them ultimately wields more power? And are there any demigods, in the abyss or not, allied with Flauros?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Calliope785 wrote:

More demon questions!

I know Flauros and Ymeri have a...tempestuous relationship. Which one of them ultimately wields more power? And are there any demigods, in the abyss or not, allied with Flauros?

Dunno.


Gotcha. More of a "we needed a fire demon lord" sort of character than something the fine folks at Paizo have really fleshed out, then?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Calliope785 wrote:
Gotcha. More of a "we needed a fire demon lord" sort of character than something the fine folks at Paizo have really fleshed out, then?

More like I've not thought about it so I dunno.


Sounds fair!

I guess this has been bugging me for a bit, and I was curious if you had thoughts.

Summoning spells seem to have some rather unfortunate implications. Namely, you're taking a sentient creature from its homeland and enslaving it to suffer (though not die) in your service for a few minutes (yes, it's small, but getting into fights you don't want to isn't fun).

I'm aware that outsiders aren't "people", but obviously they still feel pain, loss, and fear.

So is summoning unwilling creatures, especially non-evil ones, to fight on your behalf an evil act? Or is this one of those "don't think too much about it, you'll ruin everyone's fun" sorts of tropes of the genre?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Calliope785 wrote:

Sounds fair!

I guess this has been bugging me for a bit, and I was curious if you had thoughts.

Summoning spells seem to have some rather unfortunate implications. Namely, you're taking a sentient creature from its homeland and enslaving it to suffer (though not die) in your service for a few minutes (yes, it's small, but getting into fights you don't want to isn't fun).

I'm aware that outsiders aren't "people", but obviously they still feel pain, loss, and fear.

So is summoning unwilling creatures, especially non-evil ones, to fight on your behalf an evil act? Or is this one of those "don't think too much about it, you'll ruin everyone's fun" sorts of tropes of the genre?

That's not how summoning spells work. They don't pull something from somewhere else to work for you. They manifest a creature out of magic, summoning it into existence to serve. It exists only during the duration of its spell. We describe this in greater detail in Secrets of Magic.

Rituals like planar binding or the like DO conjure specific existing creatures from elsewhere, which is why you have to treat with them and bargain or the like to secure their aid.


Oh, got it. That makes it a lot more ethical.


James Jacobs wrote:
Calliope785 wrote:

Sounds fair!

I guess this has been bugging me for a bit, and I was curious if you had thoughts.

Summoning spells seem to have some rather unfortunate implications. Namely, you're taking a sentient creature from its homeland and enslaving it to suffer (though not die) in your service for a few minutes (yes, it's small, but getting into fights you don't want to isn't fun).

I'm aware that outsiders aren't "people", but obviously they still feel pain, loss, and fear.

So is summoning unwilling creatures, especially non-evil ones, to fight on your behalf an evil act? Or is this one of those "don't think too much about it, you'll ruin everyone's fun" sorts of tropes of the genre?

That's not how summoning spells work. They don't pull something from somewhere else to work for you. They manifest a creature out of magic, summoning it into existence to serve. It exists only during the duration of its spell. We describe this in greater detail in Secrets of Magic.

Rituals like planar binding or the like DO conjure specific existing creatures from elsewhere, which is why you have to treat with them and bargain or the like to secure their aid.

Then why does Pathfinder RPG named the spells like Summon Monster were names as such? According to the dictionary, "summon" means to call people together, to ask someone to come. If summoning spells are actually temporal creation instead of summoning, shouldn't these spells have been named as Temporal Monster Creation or something like that?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Aenigma wrote:
Then why does Pathfinder RPG named the spells like Summon Monster were names as such? According to the dictionary, "summon" means to call people together, to ask someone to come. If summoning spells are actually temporal creation instead of summoning, shouldn't these spells have been named as Temporal Monster Creation or something like that?

The main reason is because of legacy—that's what those spells were named in D&D, and when we created Pathfinder, changing the name of spells was something we were nervous about because we weren't sure if our readers wanted to come along with us to the new game.

But also, 20–30 years ago, a lot of the designers of the games seemed less concerned with the implications of summoning a creature in that way, so there was NO lore really talking about how the spells worked or impacted things, with one exception—some late 2nd edition D&D books talked about it, and about how creatures could be snatched out of their lives by these spells. And it could even happen to adventurers who were on other planes. It didn't really explore or even acknowledge the cruelty of this act, and kind of presented it instead as a potential trap for PCs and didn't care how it impacted anything else.

That always bothered me though, and so in my games I've always used the rule that a summons summons a new creature from the fundamentals of reality and possibility—sort of manifesting a temporary creature from magic to do the spellcaster's bidding and then vanishing later. That also helped to deal with the idea of folks using summoned creatures as "banks" or by summoning creatures who come with powerful weapons just to take those weapons and so on.

But in Pathfinder, there was no room for lore like that in the rules, and no method by which we could really put that lore out there in a way that as many players would even ever see it since non-Rulebooks sold less and so many GMs had (and still have) overly protective control over lore "secrets."

It wasn't until 2nd edition that I was able to convince folks to include this information in the rulebooks.

The "dictionary definition" of the word "summon" has more meanings than just "call people together" though. Language is more flexible than that.

"Summon monster" is easy, feels evocative, has tradition, and doesn't sound like a cludgy jumble of words. "Temporal monster creation" sounds too clinical and further makes it sound like you're creating a time-themed monster.


That gets me thinking - what are the ethical ramifications of creating a sentient being that will cease to exist a short while later?

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Dubious Scholar wrote:
That gets me thinking - what are the ethical ramifications of creating a sentient being that will cease to exist a short while later?

I think it's best to assume that creatures that are summoned aren't gonna be around long enough to ask this question of themselves, but a spellcaster who deliberately poses these questions to intelligent creatures they summon is a jerk at best and a sadist more likely.


At first I intended to write Temporary Monster Creation. I honestly have no idea why I ended up writing Temporal Monster Creation instead. Not sure if that would have changed your answer though.

Anyway, you said some late 2nd edition D&D books talked about the nature of summoning spells. Can you tell me the names of these books? I want to read them.

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Aenigma wrote:

At first I intended to write Temporary Monster Creation. I honestly have no idea why I ended up writing Temporal Monster Creation instead. Not sure if that would have changed your answer though.

Anyway, you said some late 2nd edition D&D books talked about the nature of summoning spells. Can you tell me the names of these books? I want to read them.

Secrets of Magic is the book you should check out. It's not a "late" book but instead a "recent" book, but the relevant line of text is:

Secrets of Magic page 21 wrote:
The magic of creation gathers raw material essence, the matter of the universe, and temporarily confines it in a concrete physical form, which dissipates when the spell ends. Summoning magic is similar but creates a simulacrum of a creature from matter, willpower, and sometimes raw spiritual quintessence.


What I asked was "Can you tell me the names of the 2nd edition D&D books talked about the nature of summoning spells?" since you said some late 2nd edition D&D books talked about it. Can you tell me? I wish to read how the summoning was described back in the day.


Wow. I'm so happy you thought of that and acted on it.

*wanders off once again vindicated in liking Pathfinder*

James Jacobs wrote:
Aenigma wrote:
Then why does Pathfinder RPG named the spells like Summon Monster were names as such? According to the dictionary, "summon" means to call people together, to ask someone to come. If summoning spells are actually temporal creation instead of summoning, shouldn't these spells have been named as Temporal Monster Creation or something like that?

The main reason is because of legacy—that's what those spells were named in D&D, and when we created Pathfinder, changing the name of spells was something we were nervous about because we weren't sure if our readers wanted to come along with us to the new game.

But also, 20–30 years ago, a lot of the designers of the games seemed less concerned with the implications of summoning a creature in that way, so there was NO lore really talking about how the spells worked or impacted things, with one exception—some late 2nd edition D&D books talked about it, and about how creatures could be snatched out of their lives by these spells. And it could even happen to adventurers who were on other planes. It didn't really explore or even acknowledge the cruelty of this act, and kind of presented it instead as a potential trap for PCs and didn't care how it impacted anything else.

That always bothered me though, and so in my games I've always used the rule that a summons summons a new creature from the fundamentals of reality and possibility—sort of manifesting a temporary creature from magic to do the spellcaster's bidding and then vanishing later. That also helped to deal with the idea of folks using summoned creatures as "banks" or by summoning creatures who come with powerful weapons just to take those weapons and so on.

But in Pathfinder, there was no room for lore like that in the rules, and no method by which we could really put that lore out there in a way that as many players would even ever see it since non-Rulebooks sold less and so many GMs had (and still have) overly protective control over lore "secrets."

It wasn't until 2nd...

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Aenigma wrote:
What I asked was "Can you tell me the names of the 2nd edition D&D books talked about the nature of summoning spells?" since you said some late 2nd edition D&D books talked about it. Can you tell me? I wish to read how the summoning was described back in the day.

It was a Planescape book, I think. Or maybe a Dragon article. Dunno. It was decades ago, so I don't remember for sure.


In Pathfinder Second Edition, a sorcerer can learn a feat called Greater Mental Evolution. It lets the sorcerer add one spell to his spell repertoire for each spell level he can cast. Does he also add one spell to his cantrip as well? Since the cantrip is not as same as the 0th level spell, I'm really not sure.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Aenigma wrote:
In Pathfinder Second Edition, a sorcerer can learn a feat called Greater Mental Evolution. It lets the sorcerer add one spell to his spell repertoire for each spell level he can cast. Does he also add one spell to his cantrip as well? Since the cantrip is not as same as the 0th level spell, I'm really not sure.

I don't answer rules questions here—you'll need to ask this in one of the rules threads.


The 2e book describing summoning PCs is the AD&D 2e player's handbook.

"In rare cases, adventurers have been known to disappear, summoned by powerful spellcasters using this spell. Those summoned recall all the details of their trip."

Aenigma wrote:
What I asked was "Can you tell me the names of the 2nd edition D&D books talked about the nature of summoning spells?" since you said some late 2nd edition D&D books talked about it. Can you tell me? I wish to read how the summoning was described back in the day.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Calliope785 wrote:

The 2e book describing summoning PCs is the AD&D 2e player's handbook.

"In rare cases, adventurers have been known to disappear, summoned by powerful spellcasters using this spell. Those summoned recall all the details of their trip."

Aenigma wrote:
What I asked was "Can you tell me the names of the 2nd edition D&D books talked about the nature of summoning spells?" since you said some late 2nd edition D&D books talked about it. Can you tell me? I wish to read how the summoning was described back in the day.

In order to keep this thread from being tougher to navigate and keep up on than it already is, please use PMs to reply to questions like this... or at least "justify" your post with a new question for me so that I don't see a new post, get all excited to answer something, but then feel all dejected and sad when I get here and I have nothing to do. Thanks! :)


In Monster Codex, on page 153, there's an art that depicts an ogre embracing a green creature. What is this green creature? An orc? A half-orc? Or a hobgoblin?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Aenigma wrote:
In Monster Codex, on page 153, there's an art that depicts an ogre embracing a green creature. What is this green creature? An orc? A half-orc? Or a hobgoblin?

I have no idea, as I didn't write the art brief, and this was before we were better at captioning our art. It looks like a half orc to me though.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

What's your favourite story?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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thewastedwalrus wrote:
What's your favourite story?

Oooh... that's a tough one to narrow down on. I suppose it's probably "At the Mountains of Madness" by HP Lovecraft, though.


Oh, sorry about that, James! Will do.

To keep the disappointment of no questions out of *this* post...

About the iathavos qlippoth. What makes it qualitatively different from balors, pit fiends, or asurendra asuras, all CR 20 fiends, in being a unique example of its kind? Given there are qlippoth lords more powerful than the iathavos, I'm curious what makes the iathavos stand out as "a monster so abhorrent that even the Abyss cannot bear to allow more than one to exist at any one time."

James Jacobs wrote:
Calliope785 wrote:

The 2e book describing summoning PCs is the AD&D 2e player's handbook.

"In rare cases, adventurers have been known to disappear, summoned by powerful spellcasters using this spell. Those summoned recall all the details of their trip."

Aenigma wrote:
What I asked was "Can you tell me the names of the 2nd edition D&D books talked about the nature of summoning spells?" since you said some late 2nd edition D&D books talked about it. Can you tell me? I wish to read how the summoning was described back in the day.
In order to keep this thread from being tougher to navigate and keep up on than it already is, please use PMs to reply to questions like this... or at least "justify" your post with a new question for me so that I don't see a new post, get all excited to answer something, but then feel all dejected and sad when I get here and I have nothing to do. Thanks! :)


James Jacobs wrote:
thewastedwalrus wrote:
What's your favourite story?
Oooh... that's a tough one to narrow down on. I suppose it's probably "At the Mountains of Madness" by HP Lovecraft, though.

Which books/stories have you re-read the most?

How many sit on your shelf (virtual shelf or real) that you haven't yet read at all?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Calliope785 wrote:

Oh, sorry about that, James! Will do.

To keep the disappointment of no questions out of *this* post...

About the iathavos qlippoth. What makes it qualitatively different from balors, pit fiends, or asurendra asuras, all CR 20 fiends, in being a unique example of its kind? Given there are qlippoth lords more powerful than the iathavos, I'm curious what makes the iathavos stand out as "a monster so abhorrent that even the Abyss cannot bear to allow more than one to exist at any one time."

James Jacobs wrote:
Calliope785 wrote:

The 2e book describing summoning PCs is the AD&D 2e player's handbook.

"In rare cases, adventurers have been known to disappear, summoned by powerful spellcasters using this spell. Those summoned recall all the details of their trip."

Aenigma wrote:
What I asked was "Can you tell me the names of the 2nd edition D&D books talked about the nature of summoning spells?" since you said some late 2nd edition D&D books talked about it. Can you tell me? I wish to read how the summoning was described back in the day.
In order to keep this thread from being tougher to navigate and keep up on than it already is, please use PMs to reply to questions like this... or at least "justify" your post with a new question for me so that I don't see a new post, get all excited to answer something, but then feel all dejected and sad when I get here and I have nothing to do. Thanks! :)

Yay for a disappointment-free post! :-)

What makes it different is simply the fact that it's a unique monster. It's a specific choice I made in setting up how qlippoth work in Pathfinder, for the level 20 representative to be a single unique creature rather than an entire type of creatures. As I've said elsewhere, one of my design philosophies is to push back against symmetry, and having the level 20 "slot" for this group of outsider filled by a "only one can exist at a time" monster helps to break expectations and symmetry... and it's also a sort of easter egg throwback to things like modrons or druids in 1st edition D&D that had limits on how many there were at higher levels.

The bit about it being "so abhorrent that even the Abyss cannot bear to allow more than one to exist at any one time" is meant to imply rather than define. This lets each GM run with that bit of lore to develop additional bits of information about the iathavos that pushes up to the limit of their game table without being overboard. In my home games, the things that the iathavos does would NOT be appropriate to publish in a Paizo product, so yeah... it's left to the imagination as to why the Abyss only lets there be one of them at a time.

Note that "being the most abhorrent" at something doesn't also mean you have to be the highest level fish in the pond.

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Quark Blast wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
thewastedwalrus wrote:
What's your favourite story?
Oooh... that's a tough one to narrow down on. I suppose it's probably "At the Mountains of Madness" by HP Lovecraft, though.

Which books/stories have you re-read the most?

How many sit on your shelf (virtual shelf or real) that you haven't yet read at all?

Off the top of my head, stories that I've read more than three times include:

Lovecraft:
LOTS of them, but in particular...
At the Mountains of Madness
The Dunwich Horror
The Shadow Over Innsmouth
The Thing on the Doorstep
The Whisperer in Darkness
The Shadow out of Time
Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath
The Call of Cthulhu
The Colour out of Space
The Haunter in the Dark

Robert Bloch:
Notebook Found in a Deserted House

Stephen King:
The Mist
Gramma
Survivor Type
Jerusalem's Lot

Algernon Blackwood:
The Willows

William Hope Hodgson:
The Voice in the Night
The House on the Borderland

TED Klein:
Black Man with a Horn

Ramsey Campbell:
The Tugging

Clive Barker:
Midnight Meat Train
In the Hills the Cities
Rawhead Rex

Robert E Howard:
Pigeons from Hell

Most of those are short stories, with Mountains of Madness and House on the Borderland edging into novella/novel category. I generally don't re-read novels that often, but when I do, they tend to be Stephen King novels I re-read recently after having read them first as a kid (It, Salem's Lot, Cujo, The Stand).

As for unread stories and books... literally hundreds. I've been doing posts to my (private) Facebook page for the past few hundred days showing off one book cover a day from my "Unread Archive." I buy books faster than I read them, and I'm 100% comfortable with that.


What do you think the funeral rites for a follower of Nethys look like?

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Winkie_Phace wrote:
What do you think the funeral rites for a follower of Nethys look like?

Mummification, I guess? Nethys wasn't a deity from my homebrew so I haven't thought too much about that.

Silver Crusade

What about funeral rites for Desnans?

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Rysky wrote:
What about funeral rites for Desnans?

Burials, traditionally in small roadside cemeteries either near their hometown or near the location of their next unreached destination.


In Pathfinder Second Edition, green dragons have poison breath weapon. Which is very weird because in First Edition they had acid breath weapon. Even in D&D green dragons have always had acid breath weapon. Why did you change this tradition? And if they have poison breath weapon now, shouldn't they have poison trait as well? Since red dragons have fire trait, black dragons have acid trait, and blue dragons have electricity trait, logically green dragons should have poison trait, right?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Aenigma wrote:
In Pathfinder Second Edition, green dragons have poison breath weapon. Which is very weird because in First Edition they had acid breath weapon. Even in D&D green dragons have always had acid breath weapon. Why did you change this tradition? And if they have poison breath weapon now, shouldn't they have poison trait as well? Since red dragons have fire trait, black dragons have acid trait, and blue dragons have electricity trait, logically green dragons should have poison trait, right?

That's because we were too timid about changing the 3rd edition D&D green dragon too much, and because 3rd edition D&D and thus 1st edition Pathfinder didn't really do "poison damage." Poison in those games mostly just did ability damage, and that sort of thing was not thematically appropriate to give just one of the 10 dragons.

We changed it in 2nd edition because it's more accurate to the green dragon lore all the way back to the earliest editions of the game, where they were ALWAYS described as having poison for a breath weapon, not acid, and because in 2nd Edition we were more confident about making changes to the game that were good for us and weren't going to scare away all of our customers for doing something different than D&D.

As for whether 2nd Edition green dragons should have a poison trait, or whether the others should even have the fire or acid or whatever traits... I don't have an insight there, and I've gotten conflicting feedback from the Design team about whether or not energy types SHOULD be part of a creature type... but "poison" isn't a trait that we put on monsters so I guess its a moot point anyway. If you want more insight there you'll need to talk to the design team.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Do dragons have their own names for their various types other than just colors/metals?

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fujisempai wrote:
Do dragons have their own names for their various types other than just colors/metals?

They go by those titles—red dragon or gold dragon or time dragon or crystal dragon or whatever—but generally prefer speaking them in Draconic rather than Common. And we don't usually make up words in other languages like that.

Also... dragons don't really have societies or entire cultures in the same way that humans and elves and goblins and iruxi and the like do. They're very smart and very sapient, but in Pathfinder their roles are more in the singular mode rather than as an entire society. They play a different role in the setting than do the settlement/nation/society builders, so there's less of a need, I feel, to invent a new, made-up word for them to call themselves.


"Poison" isn't a trait that Paizo put on monsters? But I found out in this page that poison definitely is a trait in Second Edition. Am I missing something?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Aenigma wrote:
"Poison" isn't a trait that Paizo put on monsters? But I found out in this page that poison definitely is a trait in Second Edition. Am I missing something?

You'll find a list of traits we put on monsters in our Bestiaries. Check pages 345–347 of the first Bestiary, for example. There you'll see Fire and Acid and Cold as traits that go on monsters, but you WON'T find Poison. Or Sorcerer. Or Archetype. Or Downtime. Or Attack. Or Skill. Likewise, you won't see us tagging a new use for Athletics with the Mindless trait, or a new alchemical elixir with the Ghost trait. Not all traits are appropriate for every stat block.

Even on the page you link, you'll see that Poison isn't listed under the category of Monster Traits.


If you stat up a human commoner, a normal human soldier, an elite human soldier, a normal human knight, and an elite human knight and include them into Second Edition Bestiary, how high would their levels be respectively?

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Aenigma wrote:
If you stat up a human commoner, a normal human soldier, an elite human soldier, a normal human knight, and an elite human knight and include them into Second Edition Bestiary, how high would their levels be respectively?

That'd be up to the writer. Theoretically, any of those could be any level, but thematically they should land in bands that make sense for the setting you're writing for.

A baseline, generic human commoner would be level 0, I think, while a baseline generic human soldier or knight would be level 1 (but with different abilities). Elite, in Pathfinder, basically means +1 level higher than normal.

I personally feel like once you go above level 5, you should call the character something other than a "commoner" and instead focus on what they actually do, be it laborer or farmer or baker or whatever.

I don't feel like there's a built-in level cap, thematically, for soldiers or knights, other than that if you make a region's generic soldiers and knights too high level then it feels off.

But it really is up to the artistry of the writer to make those decisions as makes most sense for whatever it is they're creating.


Which was your most exciting/interesting moment in your homebrew campaign that involved a Great Old One or an Outer God?

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Courage Mind wrote:
Which was your most exciting/interesting moment in your homebrew campaign that involved a Great Old One or an Outer God?

Hmmmmmm. Probably the point where the PCs went on a long overland journey through the Parchlands, then fought their way down to the bottom of the Mobhad-Leigh to recover what they thought was going to be a powerful artifact, only to discover that the power down there was a "seed of Yog-Sothoth" that they had to defeat before it hatched, and then gained power to each of their characters themselves rather than in the form of an artifact that only one of them would use.

The details are a little hazy as to what that power was, since I ran this back in college in 1991 or thereabouts... but I do remember that there was some Yog-Sothothery going on down there in the Mobhad-Leigh.

Of course, the Mobhad-Leigh turned into something else in Golarion, but the Parchlands ended up staying as a place where the Great Old Ones were locked up.

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

If you could win a grand prize in a lottery, sweepstakes, raffle, etc. but it wasn't cash or cash equivalent (i.e. gold, etc.) and had to be something you kept or used personally, what would your dream grand prize be?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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JoelF847 wrote:
If you could win a grand prize in a lottery, sweepstakes, raffle, etc. but it wasn't cash or cash equivalent (i.e. gold, etc.) and had to be something you kept or used personally, what would your dream grand prize be?

Hmmmm. At this point in my life, a nice secluded house on the coast with a private pier and a boat, I suppose. Or maybe all of that on my own island.


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

Do you read any nonfiction? If so, what book(s) would you recommend?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Fumarole wrote:
Do you read any nonfiction? If so, what book(s) would you recommend?

Not as much as I do fiction. And even the nonfiction I do read tends to have potential fiction elements to it, with things like cryptozoology or the like.

The best cryptozoology book ever is "The Mothman Prophecies" by John Keel.

I've also read plenty of biographies of people that intrigue me—Lovecraft, John Carpenter, and Werner Herzog all come to mind.


In First Edition, I liked Monster Codex and Inner Sea Monster Codex very much. Are you interested in publishing similar books in Second Edition?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Aenigma wrote:
In First Edition, I liked Monster Codex and Inner Sea Monster Codex very much. Are you interested in publishing similar books in Second Edition?

I'm more interested in publishing adventures as a way to present interesting characters, personally.


Do you have a favorite (non Nocticula lol) villain from Wrath of the Righteous? (I guess either the game or the AP)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Calliope785 wrote:
Do you have a favorite (non Nocticula lol) villain from Wrath of the Righteous? (I guess either the game or the AP)

Minagho.

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