What about Golarion bugs you?


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Liberty's Edge

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I'm kind of bummed that the world as a whole has taken a turn for the higher fantasy/power level lately. I may be mistaken but I recall Golarion being billed as more Westeros and less Faerun originally, yet with each canon/lore release the general power level goes up. Some of the last APs have been especially egregious.

Suddenly there's level 11 barbarians and level 13 wizards running around as mook encounters? Where are these people coming from?

Grand Lodge

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"Devil's Advocate" wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

Please actually fact check yourself. While Charles Darwin himself both donated to various charities to aid poorer countries/cultures around the world and also supported missionaries whose goals where to teach and aid those less advanced countries, his writing clearly show that he viewed certain groups of people as less than human, ethnically inferior, and in the worlds best interests to be eventually exterminated. He was not racist in the sense that he hated people for the color of their skin, their nationality, (well to a point, he also clearly believed that white Europeans where the pinnacle of evolutionary and cultural achievement at their time), but he did believe that those individuals where inferior based on the circumstances of their birth, and in a way set this as the standard scientific...

You mean in other words, he was your typical Victorian Brit.


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Mikaze wrote:

Unfortunately, while later writers ditched the worst elements that stuck out, a lot of the baggage still hangs around. How often do we still see examples of "mongrel" and "degenerate" races/ethnicities turn up in that same vein even now?

Yes, I cringe quite a bit at how often references to blood purity pop up in the Azlanti write up coupled with "pureblooded" Azlanti humans getting a +2 to all stats rather than just one like the other human ethnicities.

Shadow Lodge

LazarX wrote:
You mean in other words, he was your typical Victorian Brit.

Pretty much. Very Taldan.

That does bring me to something I hate about the setting though. Sort of the absolute lack of much of a Taldor (as a power of Faction) draw. It seems to have gone away, but originally Taldor was presented as an incredibly wealthy Faction that had fallen into a sort of disfavor as a political unit.
It had lost a lot of it's gained lands, it had sort of a few cold wars going on, both political and religious, and it had little real direction and focus, with many of it's nobles backstabbing each other and going every which way, with the ever present hope that it would pick itself up and rise from the ashes. Now, it sort of seems like just an absolutely deluded group that refuses to die, but has nothing to offer. It's unimaginable wealth seems to have just vanished, leaving it's people literally as just pretending as if they had it while things go further and further down the drain.

The later view of Taldor seems very cliché and just really doesn't logically work. It's older presentation had Taldor being sort of the underdog nation, once a great power that had fallen, both due to luck as well as poor decisions from it's numerous nobles throughout the empire, but hadn't fallen to a point it was simply not a threat. Now, it's basically pointless. It doesn't have the wealth to basically do anything, it doesn't have the political leverage or backlogged favors to call in at the last moment, it doesn't have really anything to fall back on to (potentially) even make it a worthy advisory that needs to be watched or with the potential to reclaim it's lost power, even slowly. Osirion, for example is focused on rediscovering the lost arcane and divine secrets of it's past, and has turned around from it's decline, (though it's still fighting a long uphill battle), and does retain some bite. As is, though, I just can't see a reason that most other nations would not simply conquer Taldor, who really can't do much to defend itself, and everyone knows it. Now, I get that they don't want to do a major face-lift on the world, out of character, but at the same time, in character it seems pretty absurd that Qadira, Cheliax, Andoran, and any number of other nations (many of which already have a pretty bad history with Taldor) wouldn't simply agree to ally and attack it from all sides and divide it amongst themselves.

Cheliax has already basically usurped everything of Taldor's past glory worth having, (become the lead nation of humanity, moved Aroden's capital temple from Taldor to Cheliax, become the chosen people of a new major faith, and continued to grow stronger, more civilized, and productive).

Qadira has the whole religious blasphemy against Sarenrae, cold war for trade, and past history of brutal wars and bloody battles over trade.

Andoran, as a nation that focuses on a new way of government, which espouses that tyranny and nobility (titles), governments designed to empower the crown rather than listen to the people are all vile and easily corruptible and the word needs to see that they will fail and fall, also has a pretty brutal history with the Taldan motherland, and has seen that their more progressive philosophical, peaceful approach has not worked at all in regards to Taldor, well, why would they not go out of their way to help their defeated enemy be put out of their misery and also help to liberate all of the now freed slaves the country had held while with actions louder than words show the world what they preach.

And that's just three of the big ones.


The thing that bugs me, mostly is the "one of everything" aspect of the setting. While I realize it's almost necessary with the approach Paizo is taking with doing only one campaign world, it can get tedious.

That's why I have three settings: A western fantasy setting, a guns+magic setting set in a kind of age of colonialism, and an eastern fantasy setting.


_Cobalt_ wrote:


The thing that bugs me, mostly is the "one of everything" aspect of the setting. While I realize it's almost necessary with the approach Paizo is taking with doing only one campaign world, it can get tedious.

That's why I have three settings: A western fantasy setting, a guns+magic setting set in a kind of age of colonialism, and an eastern fantasy setting.

TSR / WotC did the many settings bit and I don't think it did that well for them. It divided their player base and dropped the sales of any given release. The one setting bit does have the "kitchen sink" drawback, but it helps bolster sales for individual releases. Although I think some releases probably suffer if they relate specifically to "corner case" areas within their setting.

Shadow Lodge

I'm not sure how true that is. Dragonlance sold phenomenally from what I understand, because it set so many of the standard ideas about a campaign setting aside but was still incredibly familiar. Likewise Forgotten Realms/Greyhawk are generally viewed as the D&D setting, depending on your personal view, and are pretty standard or generic settings. Ravenloft also became a pretty major alternative setting, though I don't think it came too close to the big 3, but still not to be ignored either. Much later Eberron came along, and again it sold extremely well, and sort of knocked it's way into being seen the D&D setting, depending on your view.

Planescape and Spelljammer, as I understand, not so well, but again did not flop either, and still have active fans.

Now, that being said, there where also plenty of other settings to, and at some point it becomes too much, and it's more true that there where too many lines to support and it started to kill the company. If things had been different, say they would have only done Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, and then maybe ended with Ravenloft, later adding Eberron, I seriously doubt it would have been at all how it turned out. All offered very interesting views and concepts to the game (well, not really Forgotten Realms, maybe ridiculous NPC's?), but where also nearly completely separate worlds, unaffected by each other. I don't think that for the most part, they have really ever competed with each other, but instead kind of served to fill their own needs among subsets of fans.

If Paizo did that, I really can't see it being a bad thing at all. For those individuals that do not like Golarion, but do like Pathfinder, it would be anther avenue for them to explore and perhaps get into, while they are probably not going to get to much into Golarion material, no matter what. For those that are new (or would be new) to Pathfinder, it gives them a new setting that they might start to learn about from the start, instead of coming into a world that is already very explored and defined at this point. For the non Pathfinder or Golarion individuals out there, it would be another product that they might be inclined to look into and use for whatever system they are already playing, and might even bring them into Pathfinder and/or Golarion from there. Maybe they have heard good things about Paizo's products, but just are not rally interested in the setting.

Having a second setting would also do Golarion well, having something that, while not really competing for it sales-wise, would be competing for innovation and standards of excellence.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Although some of us who buy Golarion products would also buy the new setting without reducing our current purchases, there would be some people who currently buy Golarion products who would prefer the new setting and would switch.

That means sales and profitability of the Golarion lines would drop (either stock would move slower or it wouldnt move at all and print runs would drop, pushing up costs per unit). The only way it would be beneficial (to the current product lines viewed in isolation) would be if there were some players who bought into the new product line who then ended up buying Golarion sourcebooks that they otherwise were not going to.

The only way it would help the company globally would be if the increase in profit from the new product line would offset the near certain drop in profitability of the current product lines.


From what Vic, Lisa and Ryan spilled the TSR was quite a mess with their releases and managing multiple settings at the same time. I am under impression that Paizo's policy of sticking to single setting is based primarily on their experience with cleaning that mess. Maybe we could get Lisa to confirm or deny that...

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Ninja in the Rye wrote:
Yes, I cringe quite a bit at how often references to blood purity pop up in the Azlanti write up coupled with "pureblooded" Azlanti humans getting a +2 to all stats rather than just one like the other human ethnicities.

As opposed to being a false (i.e., not supported by game mechanics), and classic "Lawful Evil" behavior?


Lord Fyre wrote:
Ninja in the Rye wrote:
Yes, I cringe quite a bit at how often references to blood purity pop up in the Azlanti write up coupled with "pureblooded" Azlanti humans getting a +2 to all stats rather than just one like the other human ethnicities.
As opposed to being a false (i.e., not supported by game mechanics), and classic "Lawful Evil" behavior?

Right.


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The main thing that bugs me about Golarion is that they kept the "This is the dwarven nation" "This is the elven nation" thing around, even if they're not particularly significant in global politics. It just seems so artificial to me that there are loads of human cultures and languages and all, and then "oh, yeah, there's this elven nation; it's elf-y. They speak elven"

The fact that "Always Chaotic Evil" is still a defined thing bugs me, but I can deal.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Ninja in the Rye wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:
Ninja in the Rye wrote:
Yes, I cringe quite a bit at how often references to blood purity pop up in the Azlanti write up coupled with "pureblooded" Azlanti humans getting a +2 to all stats rather than just one like the other human ethnicities.
As opposed to being a false (i.e., not supported by game mechanics), and classic "Lawful Evil" behavior?
Right.

Reversing the question: would you have been okay with it if the Azlanti "pureblood" believe was false (and implied "darker" behavior by the ancients)?


Probably.


Jeff Erwin wrote:
Myrnn wrote:


The Earth wallpaper thing. Just silly and kills the verisimilitude for me. There is an analog of most major historical cultures....only here they exist at the same time. I also don't find the gods engaging on any level. I love Paizo and the Pathfinder game, but the setting is something I don't care for.

I get this, but to a certain extent, if you use Earth-analogues - and you have to to play standard PF, since it's really an imaginary medieval/early modern setting, at least culturally, it's difficult to construct a world that doesn't share significant geographic similarities and end up with a lot of the same results.

The clothing, foodstuffs, technology, cultural isolation/cosmopolitanism, and underlying mythos (that always exists in tension with the RW - we enjoy things, or don't - like Osirion - based on the ways that it is or isn't the RW) all demand certain similarities.

Europe developed the way it did in part because of geography. Asia also. Varying that in significant ways has significant effects. Tian Xia is more isolated than RW Asia, and that makes sense in how it's depicted. One thing that's clearly not going to happen in Golarion is the Eurasian plague and nomad invasion corridor, even with that festering region over in Iobaria and the steppes of Casmaron, because part of that engine is China. But, if, for example, you place "Japan" next to "Spain" things go out of whack. I think a more fantastic and less RW myth-based planet is a great idea, but sometimes, one wants to be a knight, a samurai, or a yogini, and not having that choice is a downer.

Hence, that's more of a 3pp bag.

Absolutely, I know where you're coming from. And it makes sense to disguise the familiar or create a new iteration.

Even through a different lens, it seems reasonable from a business development perspective to have the "everything and the kitchen sink" campaign world.

And I do like certain areas or aspects: the Worldwound, Cheliax, and others. However, they could of done so much more re-skinning the dwarves, elves, and others to make them fresh. I just never found it engaging. I don't even like the word Golarion. Ugh, awful name.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I often find my brain chasing around the question of Golarion Ecology.

IE, how did the dinosaurs survive to modern Golarion in Garund, and why don't they out-compete or become out-competed by megafauna like the dire lions and dire tigers I've found on the same encounter tables in the Serpent's Skull adventure path... or more ordinary elephants, hippos, lions, and hyenas, for that matter?

Triceratops are a lot like reptilian mega-rhinos, shouldn't there be friction between them and regular rhinos for the same resources if they both exist in abundance on the same continent? Brachiosaurs vs. giraffes and elephants?

I keep wondering how lion packs, hyena, and deinonychus flocks hash it out across the savannah. I imagine hyena do okay because they can scavenge rather well if they need to with their bone crushing jaws, which is a niche the 'raptors' aren't suited for, and if the 'raptors' push out the lions, that's one of the hyena's competitors down. And then I realize I'm thinking too much about these things.

Anytime I find myself wishing Paizo would publish a Golarion Ecology book and give species distributions I know I've been thinking too much about things.


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Set wrote:
Coriat wrote:
Set wrote:

Still, where does the snow go? It *obviously* never melts, and, in the average winter, it snows a couple feet. It's *always* winter in Irrisen, so they probably get five feet of snow a year.

Which never goes away.

Sublimation of snow and ice occurs at below-freezing temperatures.

Good point. Never was a bad word. Sublimation would ever-so-slightly mitigate the effect.

Instead of being buried under 7000 ft. of snow after 1400 years of endless winter, Irrisen would probably only be buried under 5000-6000 ft. of snow. :)

(The weight of the snow compacting the lower levels would also take off some height from that number, but not actually do anything towards making the country more livable.)

It can actually be a large factor, particularly if 5 ft per year is the amount of snowfall we are talking about. The rate of snow sublimation depends on a large number of factors (things like dry weather, sunny (even if cold) weather, windy weather, open ground, or the snow being in a forest canopy will greatly increase the rate, for example, while the snow being at the bottom of a deep defile or the lee of a terrain feature, damp air, etc would decrease it). However if Irrisen's weather and ground conditions are right then sublimation might conceivably offset the entire annual snowfall over large parts of the country.

Then you'd end up with a situation where some parts of the country might be covered in snow after storms before being swept bare by dry, freezing winds, while in some places you'd get massive, eternal snowdrifts (that would accumulate until they changed the shape of the land and became a protrusion rather than a shelter from the sun and wind, and the latter's eating away at them began to approach an equilibrium), while in others hardy evergreen forests might catch the snowfall in their canopies and swiftly dissipate it back into the air, and then new snow falls again...

...yeah, I had this high school teacher once, who made me do a project about whether Snowball Earth would really be a snowball all over...


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Also, the eternal winter magic covering the whole Irrisen in snow might be reactive to current condition, increasing or decreasing the snowfall depending upon current circumstances to fit preset conditions.


Drakli wrote:

I keep wondering how lion packs, hyena, and deinonychus flocks hash it out across the savannah.

Have you ever seen West Side Story? ;)


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I just thought of another thing that bugs me; Asmodeus is supposed to be a god with legitimate following, unlike most other Evil deities, who host cults and whose religious practices are generally not accepted in civilized culture, but he still hosts the stereotypical "Devil" appearance. Even accepting a difference in cultures, I can't see this gaining much support; were I to redo the mythos, I'd maybe (at most) make the devilish guise his true form, but he takes a more human form more often, when dealing with mortals.

I feel like it would be a lot more believable to give him an appearance and general presence of more like a stern and unflinchingly traditional paternal feel. His appearance would have an air of nobility, and a sort-of movie-star appearance (kind of like a blend of Robert Downey Jr in Zodiac and Hugh Jackman in the Prestige), that gives him an aura as embodiment of perfection and traditional order as a sort of "Dark Messiah" which fits in with the hierarchical "Evils of Free Will" morality.


_Cobalt_ wrote:

The thing that bugs me, mostly is the "one of everything" aspect of the setting. While I realize it's almost necessary with the approach Paizo is taking with doing only one campaign world, it can get tedious.

That's why I have three settings: A western fantasy setting, a guns+magic setting set in a kind of age of colonialism, and an eastern fantasy setting.

You know, I see where you're coming from, but at the same time, I can't help but sort of love that when someone wants to set up a character, they can set them up to be from anywhere in the real world.

I guess I'll add to this a bit: I'm sort of bored of European fantasy ideas! I'm also getting sort of tired of Asian fantasy ideas. The thing that really sold me on Golarion was most definitely Sargava. I think it's from playing Age of Empires 2 in my youth. To me the idea of people from vastly different cultures interacting has always been a selling point.

That said, here's one thing that gets me: Sargava. Which is weird because it sold me on the campaign setting. But I can love something and still have it bug me.

I don't really care for the demon worship aspect of some of the Mwangi people. Especially, I don't care for the bit that sort of implies that when the pale skinned people think the dark skinned people are savage and evil, it's because they totally are. It reeks of a Eurocentric mindset that I find sort of creepy, and quite frankly, way less interesting than the reality. Let me go ahead and say that in general, Golarion seems to use the Hollywood versions of different cultures a little too much to my taste.

I like the Gods, and I love the idea that different people might worship the same Gods under different names (Shimye-Magalla, Goddess of the North Star, etc etc). I also really like that different people will worship different Gods differently depending on their cultures. The Mwangi referring to Iomedae as a Mwangi warrior rather than a knight was particularly interesting. That all said, I also feel like Golarion has straight up too many gods. I'd sort of rather they utilized more of this "same gods in different forms" idea.

I don't care for the Great Old Ones, or Baba Yaga, because these ideas don't strike me as quite "standard fantasy" enough to be seen as separate from the works they came from, and that always took me out of the scene.

I don't mind Andoran like most people do, though the fashion is irksome. Galt on the other hand sounds almost exactly the same as its French namesake, and is so plainly France (and at a time not usually associated with fantasy) that I don't see it being inspiring to anyone, really. I've always been an Egypt fanboy so I'll let it slide with Osiriani, though I wish they changed its name.

Numeria is something I write out of my own games, but I think if I played a game set in Numeria and set it in my characters from other nations were in a completely separate universe, I'd probably love it.

Evil creatures always seem to invalidate each other. Like orcs are evil, sure, but there are so many horrible evil things, like demons or devils or oni or worse (another reason I don't care for the lovecraftian elements) that after a while orc becomes a joke.

That said, I recognize that these things aren't necessarily bad. I'm reading other people's opinions, and finding that I like a lot of the things people hate. Gnomes are amazing and unique (and for those who think unusually colored hair began in anime or Warcraft, look no further than Gawain and the Green Knight). Different cultures all together is a fun time. Guns are cool when only a couple people have them and not that cool when everyone does. Andoran is a cool nation.

So as far as I'm concerned, the separation part is maybe my favorite bit here. I can move things and erase things without much effort. I can play exactly the world I want to, and other people can play their own settings, and we'll still have a majority of things in common.


I think while I do not want a metaplot per se, I would like some ideas for how the world might change. Maybe a bit about each AP and how it effects the place when it finishes?


Worldwound kind of bugs me. I feel like it should be this major focus for every nation, but the rest of the world seems to mostly ignore it and leave it to Mendev to deal with.

Worldwound/Mendev also covers a lot of the same thematic ground as Lastwall/Belkzen, which makes it seem kind of redundant.

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Journ-O-LST-3 wrote:
I think while I do not want a metaplot per se, I would like some ideas for how the world might change. Maybe a bit about each AP and how it effects the place when it finishes?

Each AP has a "Finishing the Campaign" write-up, but unless you've run through the AP or are the GM and have all the AP final volumes, the events of any one AP basically don't happen. And unless the bad guys win, the end result is usually pretty minor, world-wise.

The only AP that makes assumptions about previous AP events would be Shattered Star, but it is in there.

Dark Archive

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Ninja in the Rye wrote:
Worldwound kind of bugs me. I feel like it should be this major focus for every nation, but the rest of the world seems to mostly ignore it and leave it to Mendev to deal with.

Most of the Avistani nations having at least a token force there as part of some 'grand alliance' of mutual self-protection (even if they do little more than observe and report back to their bosses how the situation is progressing) would make sense.

It seems very much 'in-character' for the Hellknights (who worship more LG gods than LE ones, and have paladins amongst their leadership) to have a large presence in Mendev, and yet, not so much. Indeed, given the Hellknight tendency to fashion specific orders towards specific goals, a Mendevian order dedicated specifically to fighting back the incursions of the Worldwound would make sense (and perhaps overzealous members of that faction could have ties to, or even be behind completely, the 'Burners' and the ill-treatment of Sarkorian refugees and survivors).


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I have to admit, while I love this setting, I have a difficult time with the sheer number of monsters seemingly overlapping their territories. Foe example I'd read something about Hydras living in swampy regions, then Black Dragons, then Water Orms, then Hag Cults, ect. I am almost spoiled for choice when it comes to putting monsters in specific regions and then I have to justify placing them there and how they would fit without breaking the ecology ect. I think that may have been mentioned.
Other point: hesitancy for detailing the "risky" or "difficult" parts of the world. Places like Nidal, Numeria, the Mana Wastes, and other realms that are made to represent a specific niche of fantasy/fiction seem to get slotted for DMs and GMs to work on themselves but require them creating entirely new rules for their homebrew games, which is a task that, as a GM, I know I don't particularly relish.
This being said, I still like how they had the guts to put these risky elements into their setting, bravo.


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As part of the backstory in my campaigns floating around that area, I have a Hellknight order that was in Mendev -- the Order of the Scalding Cauldron, known for its ruthless interrogation of conspirators and betrayers, led by a very charismatic knight of Iomedae...

...except she was actually a succubus anti-paladin, infiltrating and controlling the Order for reasons of her own. (Let's just say that combining a succubus' tastes with a Hellknight dungeon leaves way, way, way too much room for abuse of prisoners.) The Order was destroyed, and execrated, and its castle sown with salt, and...

...all-in-all, Mendev isn't real eager to see another Hellknight order anytime soon. Oh, and Polly got away. ;)


I believe the reason there aren't more Hellknights in Mendev is because the Iomadean church takes a very dim view towards working with them. Or so I think I saw James say at some point.


TheWarriorPoet519 wrote:
I believe the reason there aren't more Hellknights in Mendev is because the Iomadean church takes a very dim view towards working with them. Or so I think I saw James say at some point.

While working with all the other rabble? You'd think they'd be a bit more practical in their situation.


Having hell knights in your country is never practical, unless you are Cheliax.

Dark Archive

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Threeshades wrote:
Having hell knights in your country is never practical, unless you are Cheliax.

Bear in mind that some Hellknights serve the 'Godclaw,' consisting of Torag, Iomedae, Irori, Abadar and Asmodeus. Only 20% of that is evil, while twice as much, 40%, is good. LG Paladins exist at the higher ranks of several orders, and CE antipaladins are *distinctly* unwelcome.

They'd be kind of ideal as opposition to the demons of the Worldwound, particularly those Hellknights who lean more towards the Iomedan faith, and are Lawful Good and / or Paladins.

Even the more evil of the Hellknights, who prefer Asmodean tents to Iomedan ones, and who dismiss the Paladins among their orders as hopelessly naïve, *still* don't want the world to get overrun with demons. The goal is to emulate the discipline and order of Hell, after all, not the rampaging madness of the Abyss.

If the Worldwound is all safely bottled up and there is no real danger at all, then sure, the Iomedans would wave off any Hellknight offers of assistance. But if the Worldwound is a real threat, and the Mendevian crusade is holding it back by a thread, then they may not have the strength to stop the Hellknights from moving in, all unwelcome like, to 'render aid,' and, indeed, many of them (and particularly the non-combatants) might welcome any foreign salvation that may present itself, even if it's from the Hellknights...

In a Mendev where there are some commoners willing to make deal with *demons* to survive, you can be sure that folk willing to have their lives saved and lands defended by Hellknights would be much, much more common.


In my homegame, I've created a secretive Hellknight order whose sole purpose is to find a way to close the Worldwound; the Order of the Suture.
In addition to sending Hellknights to Mendev to assist, typically disguised as Order of the Godclaw, they delve deep into lore about Aroden and the circumstances as to how he stopped the first incursion in Sarkosis.
Very cloak and dagger, because you don't want demons figuring out what you're up to!

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Set wrote:

If the Worldwound is all safely bottled up and there is no real danger at all, then sure, the Iomedans would wave off any Hellknight offers of assistance. But if the Worldwound is a real threat, and the Mendevian crusade is holding it back by a thread, then they may not have the strength to stop the Hellknights from moving in, all unwelcome like, to 'render aid,' and, indeed, many of them (and particularly the non-combatants) might welcome any foreign salvation that may present itself, even if it's from the Hellknights...

In a Mendev where there are some commoners willing to make deal with *demons* to survive, you can be sure that folk willing to have their lives saved and lands defended by Hellknights would be much, much more common.

My first instinct is that the Mendevian crusaders would try to push the Hell Knights into a sort of local law enforcement, policing up the less ethical scum and rogues. But after thinking about it, I think it would be pretty unanimous that the Medevian crusaders would (and probably correctly) view the Hell Knights as another enemy, and would basically need to split their focus between monitoring, if not outright fighting on 3 fronts instead of 2. There is no Blood War between Demons and Devils, and the Hell Knights are well known for dealing with Evil Outsiders. I'm not sure that the majority of crusaders would really care too much about the difference.

In a home game one shot, I had a character whose backstory was a Crusader of Pharasma, who had basically received a vision that Pharasma was getting sick of all the death and chaos (playing up the WorldWound as "something that should not be") and had begun to train other priests of Pharasma to be another faction within the Mendevian crusade. I thought it worked really well. Pharasma, being True Neutral, in my opinion, is less likely to be viewed as trying to usurp any political foothold, and I kind of liked that her Clerics can use some darker powers for good, without really being Evil.

As far as the Godclaw, I believe that Paizo has officially retconned that out, but if not, I believe that they are only a very minor faction within the Hell Knights, and seen as very much a heresy, not an accepted majority.


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Ninja in the Rye wrote:
Mikaze wrote:

Unfortunately, while later writers ditched the worst elements that stuck out, a lot of the baggage still hangs around. How often do we still see examples of "mongrel" and "degenerate" races/ethnicities turn up in that same vein even now?

Yes, I cringe quite a bit at how often references to blood purity pop up in the Azlanti write up coupled with "pureblooded" Azlanti humans getting a +2 to all stats rather than just one like the other human ethnicities.

My take on the Azlanti racial superiority is that the +2 comes at the expense of being, one and all, Aboleth sleeper agents. They're not a superior breed of human to the modern degenerates - They're super-soldiers built by a race of abominations from the depths of history. They just happened to go rogue and were summarily wiped out for their presumption. Modern humans don't have the same raw abilities but they also don't have built-in compulsions forcing them to be receptive to the Aboleths.

From the material I've read it seems like the conflict between humans and Aboleth is really the central, ultimate, deepest level of conflict in the world. The entire shape of the modern world is a direct result of the conflict between Azlanti and Aboleth. All modern nations, the entire human race, are scions of that conflict. And there's no real indication that the Aboleth have gone anywhere. They're still down there in the depths and just as nasty as ever. And because of that racial memory thing they haven't forgotten anything about the conflict while most modern human nations aren't even aware that Aboleth exist.

Eitherway - The patchwork nature of the setting annoys me too. I handwave the insane biological diversity with "A wizard did it" - Pulling critters in from other realities, building them from scratch, ressurecting fossils, who knows. There's also the migration of fauna among the various planets of Golarion, and the various "Lost Worlds" underground.

Silver Crusade

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

I have to add my voice to the choir stating the patchwork nature of the setting is somewhat annoying. The biodiversity issue bugs me, for sure, but what bugs me more is the mismatched flow of culture. Humans of Golarion gives a great map of how the various types of humans have spread across the continents, but that flow doesn't seem to match naturally the nations that are along those paths.

In addition, I'm frustrated at how...generic...and samey some cultures can be. Being an avid student of the Total War series, I know Roman and Medieval Europe was an INCREDIBLY diverse and complex place. But the rules don't work to allow me to play something like a Genoese crossbowman (the tower shield must be held to gain cover from, so it doesn't work like the Genoese crossbowman's pavise), a true medieval monk (priests who DON'T have armor proficiencies and may only use a stick or something as a weapon), or something like that.

Sometimes it just feels like the more history and science I read, the more shallow Golarion can seem.


I dislike the human-centricity of it. While I DO enjoy the diversity of said human culture, I prefer the closer to equal footing other core races held in previous incarnations. We already live in a world grossly overpopulated with humans, I like to play someplace that feels different and diverse.

Also, hobgoblins DO look bad (as previously stated), and bloodmages as bloatmages are terrible. I''m fine with bloatmages being a cultural, Golarion specific thing, but to the exclusion of the old bleeder (unbloated) bloodmages of 3.5, or something similar to the Maho-Tsukai from Oriental Adventures it just isn't appealing to me. I always think of that floating fat baron from Dune...


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The Mana Wastes. Three kingdoms (and all that geography) tied-up around one tropey plot (two wizards go to war). It should have all been one region, instead of dividing it up like that - its pointless to have all three.

Ninja in the Rye wrote:

Worldwound kind of bugs me. I feel like it should be this major focus for every nation, but the rest of the world seems to mostly ignore it and leave it to Mendev to deal with.

Worldwound/Mendev also covers a lot of the same thematic ground as Lastwall/Belkzen, which makes it seem kind of redundant.

In my FR/Gol mash-up, I made both Mendev and Last Wall provinces within Damara - not only were they redundant, but they were way bigger then necessary.

I never really gave the World Wound much thought (because I don't use it), but I see your point: Fiends are threatening to take-over the world, and everyone is just going about their business. Not very logical, that.

Tholomyes wrote:
I just thought of another thing that bugs me; Asmodeus is supposed to be a god with legitimate following, unlike most other Evil deities, who host cults and whose religious practices are generally not accepted in civilized culture, but he still hosts the stereotypical "Devil" appearance. Even accepting a difference in cultures, I can't see this gaining much support; were I to redo the mythos, I'd maybe (at most) make the devilish guise his true form, but he takes a more human form more often, when dealing with mortals. *<snip>*

THIS.

I had the same problem with FR post-Spellplague. All of a sudden, Asmodeus - who everyone knows is evil and the lord of hell - is a major god. WTF?

So I combined him with Bane. Bane is a generic alias he takes on some worlds, which helps him deflect the dislike normal folks have for his known (devilish) attributes. Thus, FR does not have Asmodeus... and yet, it always had Asmodeus. Wish they had done something like this in Golarion (instead of both companies making the same dumb mistake).

If you have proof of God, why would anyone side with the devil? I just don't get it. 60-70 years of 'good times' is worth all of eternity getting your butt poked with a pitchfork? Not me, man, not me.

Silver Crusade

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

A few things about Asmodeus I feel compelled to point out.

First of all, he plays a vital role in preserving the world as Rovagug's jailor. That makes him more palatable to people than the demon lords or Four Horsemen, as he at least thinks the world and its people have at least SOME value, and at least the other gods who aren't evil are willing to let him hang out at their parties and stuff. They may not like him, but they respect his power and his responsibility. He's the guy with harsh and cruel methods that gets the job done, and that's something some people on Golarion can get behind.

Second, even he too was relegated to minor cult status initially. Worship of him didn't become widespread until the Thrice-Damned House of Thrune, a family of Asmodeus cultists, took over Cheliax with Asmodeus' help, in exchange for making his cult the state religion. Were it not for that, Asmodeans would still be in secretive cults among the higher eschelons of power and stuff. Cheliax gave Asmodeus worship legitimacy, and that caused other countries with strong ties to Cheliax to allow his faithful that same legitimacy.

Finally, Lawful Evil people that worship Asmodeus tend to believe that when they die, they'll get their butt poked with a pitchfork, but not for eternity. That's just the entrance exam to see if they have what it takes to be a real devil, and then they get to do the butt-poking. They view Hell's torments not as a punishment for their wickedness, but another trial to be endured before getting their reward from Asmodeus, who only wants the toughest, most stoic and ruthless souls to become his direct servants (direct in the sense that they're devils, they still start on the lowest rung of the corporate ladder with many various superiors before Asmodeus himself).

Dark Archive

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MarkusTay wrote:
If you have proof of God, why would anyone side with the devil? I just don't get it. 60-70 years of 'good times' is worth all of eternity getting your butt poked with a pitchfork? Not me, man, not me.

That's been around since the beginning, really, since even Greyhawk had 'evil gods' which, logically, nobody would ever worship except for tiny tiny numbers of completely crazy people. Their countries tended to be utter pestholes (who would, given a choice, live in Nidal? And of those in living in Nidal, who, *at all*, would be thankful enough for their wonderful life in torture / misery / crapsack-world to actually revere Zon-Kuthon for this 'wonderful life' he's giving them?).

Worshipping an evil gods means a crappy life, usually in one of the worst and most unpleasant regions of the setting, with no incentive at all, since they don't give crap all to their followers that good gods don't *also* give (and, mechanically, channeling positive energy is just crazy better than channeling negative energy, making it more rewarding to be a good cleric than an evil one), *and,* afterwards, a terrible nogood verybad afterlife full of suffering and horror!

I mean, really, if all of the big 20 gods showed up on Earth, and gave the exact same mechanical benefits to their followers, with good being somewhat better / more useful than evil, would anyone at all follow an evil god, instead of, say, Cayden Cailean?

Nihilistic 'hating' gods like Nerull (Greyhawk), Shar (the Realms) and Rovagug (Golarion) are my least favorites. The only followers they'd have would be totally misinformed about their gods tenets (and therefore not be clerics at all, most likely), balls-out crazy, or already dead because they killed themselves.

The strangeness of it all, is that worshippers of evil gods, by this rubric, have to be *more selfless and devoted* than worshippers of good gods, because good gods give better lives *and* better afterlives to their followers, which means it is purely in one's own selfish and greedy and self-centered best interests to worship a good god.

So, yeah, as the game goes, *logically,* the most selfish and evil people are going to want to worship good gods (to get the free toy prize in the package, and the bennies and the health care), while only the most selfless and devoted and self-sacrificing and non-materialistic worshippers (willing to suffer for their faith and take the more difficult path) are going to be drawn to evil gods.

And that's just cart-before-horse backwards, IMO.

But, we play the game we've got, not the game we wish we had.

And yeah, that Worldwound, where we know find out that the only reason the demons haven't expanded past the wards, which they can *walk past to escape* is because *they don't want to.* Sigh.

I'd much prefer if Numeria, Ustalav, the Hold of Belkzen *and* the Realms of the Mammoth Lords had different ways of dealing with demonic incursions, such as giant robot scorpions or an order of orcish fiend-binders that seize control of them and turn them against each other or rival Ustalavic factions that secretly defend their northern border with an army of undead (in the case of one faction, led by someone that nobody knows is a vampire), while a different faction invited the demons in to their duchy and are attempting to work some sort of Chelish bargain with them (only less likely to even succeed at pretending they are still in control, as demons don't have the same concept of 'bargain'). The notion that the demons are just flat out ignoring the other four neighboring countries *and* also deliberately choosing to stay within the wards and not attack Mendev directly (or teleport around all over the world, causing trouble) just makes the whole thing seem like an afterthought.

"Oh, I say, demons have secured a foothold on our plane and can pour through in limitless numbers, with even the least of them being able to slaughter a town full of people without fear of being harmed by their non-magical weapons! Good thing they have chosen to not do anything about that and we're all totally safe!"

Eh. And then there's Rahadoum and Razmiran, written before there were a plethora of arcane healing options and classes like the Oracle, Inquisitor and Adept which unintentionally completely mangled their themes of it being hard to find magical healing or fake having clerics or whatever. To make the setting flow more on-theme, a fair amount of rules content should be trimmed, IMO, and not just outliers like 'Paladins of Asmodeus' or 'Juju Mystery Oracles' or 'dwarven pantheists' which didn't do a darn thing to mess with the setting assumptions. While those particular nails get pounded, rules options that make entire sections of the setting implausible just stand around, whistling innocently.

So many of these things could be addressed by a few sentences.

Problem with the Worldwound? It's not a 24/7 always on infinite-demon-passing portal. It takes work to hold open, and only a certain amount of demons can pass through it, and only demons of a certain level of power (a demon lord, for instance, might have too much power to squeeze himself through the portal, and, even if he succeeded, might risk some of that power 'getting lost' on the transition, and leaving him vulnerable and weakened!). The demons might have to do stuff (mass sacrifices!) to open the portal and hold it open, creating adventure hooks (rescue the captives, or, dark option, kill them, to deny the demons a chance to use them to open the portal!). Additionally, the portal *summons* the demons, so they can't teleport or use their own summoning powers to just fart out more demons every day, until the world is overrun with them. Finally, the 'other side' of the portal is located in the realm of one particular demon lord, and he's limited to sending only demons under his command *and* limited to not too badly depleting his own forces, because that would leave his corner of the Abyss weakened and ripe for 'hostile takeover' by one of his demonic rivals (or a Qlippoth, or something).

And now we have a Worldwound that is still a terrible threat, but has very real reasons why it can't send infinity+ demons to overrun all five surrounding nations, and teleport all over the world, with a hundred of them appearing in front of Queen Galifrey and murdering the heck out of her, decapitating the Mendevian crusade in the surprise round.

And, since I just threw this up like brain-vomit, I'm *sure* that there are many far, far better fixes for this Worldwound thing than 'The demons aren't really trying to win, because they have a Plan, and it's something to do with Katie Sackoff, that we'll apparently never know.'


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To be fair, your last sentence pretty much describes the worldwound situation from the viewpoint of the Demons. Which the recent Wrath of the Righteous, Worldwound CS book, and Demons revisited fleshes out. They are not nihilistic engines of destruction...they would much rather corrupt people than simply kill them. The Crusades have been a great vehicle for that, just look at the Burners. And demons plays the long game...Deskari is immortal, and has since at least before the second crusade been carefully plotting out all the events of the worldwound, whose endgame is the plotline of Wrath of the Righteous

Their focus on corruption also means they have focused on the ?southern? border along Mendev, as there are simply much larger populations to target. The Worldwound CS book specifically plots this out. The Mammoth Lord and Numerian borders were always poorly settled, and most of the demons that operate in those regions are exiles looking to do their own thing away from the demon lords. Deskari and Baphomet seem to have a tight lease on most of the demons under there command.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

For me it's outsiders having greater teleport at will as a SLA.

I know it's a carryover from 3.5, but it's just such a stupidly-powerful ability to have that adventures have to go through great lengths to account for it. I mean, the Worldwound has to have all these specific anti-teleportation wards around it, and when

Spoiler:
those fail in Wrath of the Righteous, you eventually need to go find an artifact that prevents demons from teleporting within a 10 mile radius. And when you go to find it, the ad venture has to make all these excuses why the numerous CR20+ demons moving around the Worldwound aren't intercepting the players trying to get this artifact

In my games, I changed it so that all teleport spells are a full round action (so they can be interrupted instead of being an instant escape), and greater demons can teleport 1/day as a SLA. Only the most powerful of demons can do it at will.


and to comment on the evil god thing, It's really only problematic when you look at cults that form in relatively good/peaceful nations. I assume the average citizen in Nidal or Asmodeus grows up with the evil diety's doctrine and doesn't know better. He might very well think that other gods are actually evil or don't care about them. It's not like average person can cast detect evil; only priests can do that, and they may very interpret detect evil in a positive light depending on their circumstances. And as established in Golarion, the average person really only has a vague idea what the after life is about.

There are plenty of real world religions and cults who seem to adopt doctrines that are not beneficial to there lives...I don't see why that would change for a fantasy setting.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

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The demons aren't trying to kill everyone for the sake of their children.

YOU...are their children. After you've been led into a life of corruption, your soul and those of all your descendents fattened with sin to create more and more demons, yesssss.

Kill you? Think of the children!

==Aelryinth


To me, I think there are two types of problems. Problems with the setting as a game system, and problems with the setting associated with it as a place to build stories

Golarion from a game perspective is great. Paizo can create a bunch of mini settings allowing very different campaigns that would be tougher to pull off if each was a separate world.

From a story perspective....it gets kinda of weird, because you have a bunch of nations who don't really interact.

I would expect that in reality, we would see Numerian tech all over...even if you could produce/replicate it, that stuff would be valuable enough that there would be a thriving black market.

Similarly, guns should probably be more widespread. A magically advanced rich nation might find them less useful, but they would be perfect for arming peasant revolts, since they are powerful weapons that generally require (in real life) a bit less training to use, compare to say the training that goes into knights and such

Mendev would not be shouldering the burden of the Worldwound nearly alone, but would be a huge international effort, with pretty much every organized nation either contributing funding or weapons (Druma) or men to the cause (Taldor, Andoran, Cheliax, Irrisen, Nidal, etc). Only Kyonin (they can skip out off world, and are occuppied with Treerazer at the moment) and Rhahadoum (screw divine conflicts) really have a reason to skip out.

Alignment is also a useful mechanic for games but makes the setting black and white in a way I don't really prefer. I would say I also am not a huge fan of the way it stereotypes certain races. Really any mortal race that isn't an abberation should be neutral, with given cultures within good or evil leaning

Stuff not tied into game design and mechanics that I don't really like are mostly depictions of certain races. Dwarves really are kind of bland and a bit stereotypical (The Quest for Sky is cool, but culturally they pretty much are not too different from traditional Dwarves). I am also not a huge fan of how Kobolds are depicted, which usually paints them as tribal uncultured savages more similar to lizardfolk. I would prefer my Kobolds a tad more xenophobic, civilized and sophisticated, with a deluded view of their own prowess and destiny. But still technologically advanced and rivals to the Dwarves


Aelryinth wrote:


demons aren't trying to kill everyone for the sake of their children.

YOU...are their children. After you've been led into a life of corruption, your soul and those of all your descendents fattened with sin to create more and more demons, yesssss.

Kill you? Think of the children!

==Aelryinth

I'd say this hits it on the head. It's a recruiting tool. More time to corrupt = more demons. Why kill the goose that lays the golden, uh rotten, egg?

All the permanent gates to the Abyss are sealed in my homebrew. Occasional evil villains want to open them. That's when you call out the heroes and / or declare a crusade.


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Aelryinth wrote:

The demons aren't trying to kill everyone for the sake of their children.

YOU...are their children. After you've been led into a life of corruption, your soul and those of all your descendents fattened with sin to create more and more demons, yesssss.

Kill you? Think of the children!

==Aelryinth

Also, demons just want to have fun.


Fabius Maximus wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

The demons aren't trying to kill everyone for the sake of their children.

YOU...are their children. After you've been led into a life of corruption, your soul and those of all your descendents fattened with sin to create more and more demons, yesssss.

Kill you? Think of the children!

==Aelryinth

Also, demons just want to have fun.

And this. It would be like having last call early :)


FrankManic wrote:
My take on the Azlanti racial superiority is that the +2 comes at the expense of being, one and all, Aboleth sleeper agents. They're not a superior breed of human to the modern degenerates - They're super-soldiers built by a race of abominations from the depths of history. They just happened to go rogue and were summarily wiped out for their presumption. Modern humans don't have the same raw abilities but they also don't have built-in compulsions forcing them to be receptive to the Aboleths.

My take was it had to do with early childhood nutrition, health and education with the "purebloods" being the middle/upper classes and most people being "normal."


Some of the empyreal lords that represent concepts or archetypes that really don't strike me as Good enough to have an empyreal lord representing them. IMO, the standards for an empyreal lord should actually be higher than for a Good deity; even if they were mortal once, they've gone through a really long process of transformation so that their mortal failings were gone ages before.

IMO, Cayden Cailean is probably a lot closer to his original mortal personality than any but the newest celestials would be, much less an empyreal lord... I can buy Cayden Cailean as a CG deity because I can buy his personality as a CG mortal, but I don't really think he'd fit as an azata.

---

The Worldwound thing actually strikes me as awfully plausible, all that's required is that the other nations believe Mendev has it under control and they don't NEED to spend the lives of their own people on it... even if that's not actually true. And, well, the Worldwound hasn't swallowed Mendev yet, so clearly they've got it under control, right?


The NPC wrote:

As the title says: What about Golarion bugs you?

For me: The obvious real world expys.

What about you guys?

The names of places, people and gods in general.

A lot of them seem to come from a random name generator.

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