How often do dead people spontaneously rise from the grave?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Actually it does require house rules. You're basically making up spells that don't exist to try and explain something that does exist already. You're making up divination spells that don't exist. You're asserting that they do exist because of a denial of what creatures in the world are actually capable of rather than finding explanations that lead to a consistency and potential for adventure.

Alignment does require free will. It's about choice. Read the alignment rules. It's at the top where it notes that the incapacity for moral action results in no alignment. See, if everything is pre-ordained from before your creation then you are not making choices because the choices were made long before you existed, you are merely acting out a script that you have no ability to alter or change - thus no free will = no alignment. If you are not capable of moral choice then you are not aligned. You cannot have a black white.

And again, the setting proves that deities are fallible, prophecies are fallible, and countless "prophecies" turn out to be a load of crap (even in one of the APs you basically meet some NPC who is a doomsayer spouting prophecies that are loads of crap, and can catch herpes or something from him when he touches you :P). Gods in Golarion have been killed by mortals, and some gods were mortals who risked their lives on a stupid drunken dare to go on to become the god of drinking responsibly like him (da fuq?).

Basically prophecies work except when they don't. Shadows kill everything except when they don't. There are spells that exist to stop low CR creatures from doing stuff except when there aren't.

And I agree that Aroden's death was a shock. It's no wonder. She (Pharasma) was exposed as a fraud. Her own clerics turned from her because another god they didn't worship died and that death proved her fraudulence. The ones who did stay with her are trying hard to ignore the prophecy thing out of great denial. "Oh our goddess of prophecy is false...err, she's more about childbirth anyway. And seeing the future, and knowing everything about people before they're born, but conveniently waits until she's seen their entire lives before passing judgment, because..."

But I'm not the one making up spells and stuff here.


Ashiel wrote:
Actually it does require house rules. You're basically making up spells that don't exist to try and explain something that does exist already. You're making up divination spells that don't exist. You're asserting that they do exist because of a denial of what creatures in the world are actually capable of rather than finding explanations that lead to a consistency and potential for adventure.

No, you're taking a side comment completely out of context. I basically said "one could go further if one wishes." But Miracle, Wish, Contact Other Plane, and Commune are all more than sufficient.

Ashiel wrote:
Alignment does require free will. It's about choice. Read the alignment rules. It's at the top where it notes that the incapacity for moral action results in no alignment. See, if everything is pre-ordained from before your creation then you are not making choices because the choices were made long before you existed, you are merely acting out a script that you have no ability to alter or change - thus no free will = no alignment. If you are not capable of moral choice then you are not aligned. You cannot have a black white.

Pre-destination is not the same thing as no free will. And you can make decisions without free will.

Ashiel wrote:
And again, the setting proves that deities are fallible, prophecies are fallible...

Sure, but that doesn't mean a group of CR9 or less creatures are going to be out-manevuering gods. Takes more mojo.

Ashiel wrote:
Basically prophecies work except when they don't. Shadows kill everything except when they don't. There are spells that exist to stop low CR creatures from doing stuff except when there aren't.
Ashiel wrote:
And I agree that Aroden's death was a shock. It's no wonder. She (Pharasma) was exposed as a fraud. Her own clerics turned from her because another god they didn't worship died and that death proved her fraudulence. The ones who did stay with her are trying hard to ignore the prophecy thing out of great denial. "Oh our goddess of prophecy is false...err, she's more about childbirth anyway. And...

And if no gods including Aroden saw his death coming, then it was clearly something hidden from divination. Aroden wasn't an idiot, he'd have avoided anything remotely minor league.

Shadows, on the other hand, are quite minor league compared to 20th level casters and gods.

There ARE other ways to handle protections as well. Symbols of Scrying, Hallow actually can give everyone of a particular faith Death Ward, Teleport Trap, guards with Detect Evil/Undead (you'd need magic items), etc. Or roaming bands of undead killers.

It's just that divination is the cheapest way.

Personally, I think some homebrewed stuff makes sense here. The rules are for adventuring, not "how to run a kingdom/planet and stop the creation of massive armies of X/Y/Z". But I forgot that in a realistic setting, casters don't do any research -- that just makes sense, right?

But, if you can't handle a proactive world and gods that aren't just vending machines with alignments, you can handle this another way. Big cities have plenty of money to equip guards, have thick walls, etc. Outside of that each day a Commune or multiple Contact Other Planes are cast to determine if any villages have been taken over by spawning undead and if so where. Then a team is dispatched.


Don't forget that if a bunch of people start dying, akhanas will swarm in and put an end to it with their spell-like abilities.

Speaking of aeons, free will is not an immutable absolute, or else the theletos would make no sense.

Not to mention that there is a spell called foresight that lets you see into the future well enough to help dodge an enemy attack. That increases your own ability to change the future, but the enemy was forced to make the attack you dodged for your vision to make any sense.

This is literally making my brain skip like a bumped turntable. We should probably change the subject.


I assume the aeons aren't the only things keeping tabs on the undead.


Yeah, but aeons are nice here because their goal would be to keep a lid on wild surges in undead populations, but not go on a crusade to wipe out every last one and make the heroes superfluous the way angels do.


I think, at the end of the day, we must simply accept that Golarion's ecology (and that of most other D&D-like settings) is deeply and irretrievably broken, and try not to think too much about it.

But if it helps, one could assume that (at least for the purposes of most undead) there are a highly specific and esoteric set of conditions not directly touched on in the source material that are required for their spontaneous creation; the (for example) rape and murder requirement to become a guecubu is simply the most obvious.

If such handwaving fails to satisfy... I'd say you're up a bit of a creek; it may be time to design your own setting.

(Or visit the Disc. Or the Hyborian Age. Possibly Athas. There are options; they're just few, far between, and tend to have not quite so many dragons.)


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

Why are we assuming Shadows have the ambition to do anything more than wallow in their misery in dank holes and cursed ruins, and kill anybody who conveniently wanders into their territory?

That seems like the simplest explanation, and fits into published encounters I've seen.


coyote6 wrote:
therealthom wrote:
Knight Magenta wrote:
Incorporeal creatures can't go through walls wider than 5 ft. They have to always be touching an outside surface. The shadow-apocalypse is stopped by thick doors and roofs. Though interestingly, this means that hamlets in isolated areas have thick bales of hay or some other such material padding out the outsides of their homes :)
Citation?

It's in the UMR:

The PRD wrote:
An incorporeal creature can enter or pass through solid objects, but must remain adjacent to the object's exterior, and so cannot pass entirely through an object whose space is larger than its own.

Thanks! I looked in "creature types" and didn't find it there. So I had to ask.


Drachasor wrote:
Something capable of killing a god unexpectedly is capable of ensuring gods can't see it coming. That doesn't make divinations in general any worse. Anymore than True Seeing counter invisibility once means that invisibility is useless.

I like how you assume I'm making stuff up.

http://www.pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Age_of_Lost_Omens

Quote:
On the prophesied date, instead of his return, all contact to the god was lost and the world was devastated by terrible storms, the opening of vast planar rifts, and decades-spanning political upheavals. Since then, no major prophecy has come true, a condition for which historians have named the current era.

Iomedae has something of a grudge against Pharasma, even, because she did not warn of Aroden's death which is something she's never forgiven her for.


I had a DM once who gave us each 10K to "buy an army"- there was a list of prices ranging from peasants to archers to elite knights and so forth. So King's Bounty stuff. We didn't need a mechanic for commanding or controlling the army- we just needed to spend 10K on troops in the best way possible. We'd get more troops later.

I bought a scroll of whatever create undead spell makes shadows and like 7,000 starving peasants. So an army of 7,001 shadows.

Everyone agreed that I "won", but then I had to pick again.


Squeakmaan wrote:
Why are we assuming Shadows have the ambition to do anything more than wallow in their misery in dank holes and cursed ruins, and kill anybody who conveniently wanders into their territory?

Because shadows are sentient creatures, not programmed robots, and because the only listed motivation in the bestiary is " to sap life and vitality from living beings," something that pretty well directly contradicts "wallow[ing] in their misery in dank holes and cursed ruins."

And also, because it only takes one atypical shadow with a bottle of Prozac to start the shadowpocalypse. So unless all shadows behave as you describe -- which gets back to the "not-robots" point -- what stopped that lone exception from destroying the world?


It'd make for a bad story history wise. It would make for a good AP for heroes though. Or, maybe it already happened and was contained. Thus, any reports of shadow beings are hunted relentlessly and is why it's not really a threat anymore. Or, because holy water can rape face with shadows and temples everywhere basically give the stuff out for free.


Buri wrote:
It'd make for a bad story history wise. It would make for a good AP for heroes though. Or, maybe it already happened and was contained. Thus, any reports of shadow beings are hunted relentlessly and is why it's not really a threat anymore. Or, because holy water can rape face with shadows and temples everywhere basically give the stuff out for free.

You have an interesting opinion of what "for free" means. List price is 25gp per flask, which is a month's wages for not-enough-holy-water-to-injure-a-shadow Based on that argument, Apple basically gives iPads out for free.


They give it away at cost. They make nothing. That's basically free as I said.

Plus, if you don't think a good temple wouldn't be giving the stuff away in gallons in a mass shadow holocaust we have different expectations of the good alignment.


Buri wrote:
They give it away at cost.

Check out the cost of casting Bless Water.

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They make nothing. That's basically free as I said.

... in Bizarro world, maybe.

Quote:


Plus, if you don't think a good temple wouldn't be giving the stuff away in gallons in a mass shadow holocaust we have different expectations of the good alignment.

I guess we do. My expectations are that a good-aligned church wouldn't be stockpiling gallons of holy water and wouldn't have a stockpile of powdered silver to make it from, as there are much better things that could be done with money on that scale. A gallon of holy water is about 8 pints, 200gp in materials alone, plus the labor to make it. That's enough to build a shrine, create a public infirmary, or to house a half-dozen of the homeless.


I don't understand why people appear to be getting annoyed over this. It's really very simple. As I said, the ecology is, ultimately, irretrievably borked. It cannot exist as written without massive applications of handwavium and/or Goldbergian logic constructs that look as though they were imagined by the spawn of M.C. Escher and Nyarlathotep.

It's the natural and inevitable consequence of a setting which basically tries to incorporate every damn thing, ever. Something's gotta give. And setting integrity is a surprisingly fragile thing.

(Apropos of nothing, I just learned that spellcheck's best guess when confronted with "Nyarlathotep" is "radiotelephone". I find that oddly hilarious. XD)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Because shadows are sentient creatures, not programmed robots, and because the only listed motivation in the bestiary is "to sap life and vitality from living beings," something that pretty well directly contradicts "wallow[ing] in their misery in dank holes and cursed ruins."

Here's the rest of the info from the Bestiary entry, seems like what I was saying is pretty spot on.

"The shadow prefers to haunt ruins where civilization has moved on, where it hunts living creatures foolish enough to stumble into its territory. The shadow is an undead horror, and as such has no goals or outwardly visible motivations other than to sap life and vitality from living beings."


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Check out the cost of casting Bless Water.

Okay?

Quote:
Components V, S, M (5 pounds of powdered silver worth 25 gp)

Do I get two gold stars?

Orfamay Quest wrote:
I guess we do. My expectations are that a good-aligned church wouldn't be stockpiling gallons of holy water and wouldn't have a stockpile of powdered silver to make it from, as there are much better things that could be done with money on that scale. A gallon of holy water is about 8 pints, 200gp in materials alone, plus the labor to make it. That's enough to build a shrine, create a public infirmary, or to house a half-dozen of the homeless.

Or they can just do their thing and heal someone using blood money constantly. Magic begets magic. I would expect a good church to also be combating the threat since part of being good means protecting innocents.


How often do dead people spontaneously rise from the Grave ?

When every the DM, said so, to create a Store line or Plot device.

Otherwise it is called game: Fluff.

.........................

Did have a game world once, were dead would spontaneously rise from the grave. ~~~~ 2nd SpellJammers hand just come out with rules for creating worlds and travel, and Ravenloft box set was still fairly fresh ~~~~

Had a world ( Jupiter side ), that had 2 suns ( that went around the planet ), and 2 moons ( that went around as well ),

The suns were: opposite side of the planet.
Elemental ball of Fire = could travel to elemental plane fire.
Positive ball of Light = could travel to positive plane. Any undead that was not 500 feet under the ground or inside a lead coffin, during this day was automatically destroyed.

The moons were: opposite side of the planet.
Elemental ball of water = could travel to elemental plane of water. Was a bright moon, that would glow bright blue all night.
Negative moon of darkness = Jet black moon, Night of the dead, any undead 250 feet above ground were automatic raised.

Air elemental were common on the surface of the planet, and dig deep enough, and earth elemental were common there.

Day 1: Fire sun = normal day = hot day.
Night 1: Neg moon = Night of the dead = warm night
Day 2: Pos Sun = Dead were destroyed = cool day
Night 2: Water moon = Full moon for lycanthropy = cold night

Rince and repeat.


Buri wrote:
Drachasor wrote:
Something capable of killing a god unexpectedly is capable of ensuring gods can't see it coming. That doesn't make divinations in general any worse. Anymore than True Seeing counter invisibility once means that invisibility is useless.

I like how you assume I'm making stuff up.

http://www.pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Age_of_Lost_Omens

I'll grant I wasn't aware of that. However, that's problems with MAJOR prophecies. You aren't going to have any major prophecies about an Shadow Apocolypse. That's because finding out information that has already happened is definitely quite easy. Crystal Balls, Symbol of Scrying, etc, etc. Checking up on settlements is quite easy.

Therefore, any place that got taken over by Shadows would be noticed on the same day. Then a massive hit squad is teleported in to clean it up. No end of the world. What you are after then, are equivalent to small prophecies about people and towns. Quite possible.

Big Cities of course are well protected. You have Symbols Permancied at the gates that go off when Undead see them. Glyphs/Runes of Warding set to detonate. Thick Walls are easy with Wall of Stone. Airspace can be guarded with teethed Forbiddance zones. And that's just off the top of my head.

Granted, things were easier in 3.5, but it's far from impossible to protect a civilization. There's also the fact that tracking and following undead after they've committed a crime is very easy if you have the right spells. So any major shadow action would result in massive shadow deaths.

And this is just brute-forcing it with publish spells, which assumes that no one does any research into more specific spells -- and I find it funny that some people here object to NPCs behaving sanely in this manner.


Seriously?

I know you really want to defend your position on this but prophecy and divination just isn't what it used to be in ages past.

http://www.pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Harbingers_of_Fate

Quote:
Their methods have been growing more and more desperate, as the book's final pronouncements are said to occur in 4714 AR, and so far none of them have come true.

NONE. From tiny to large nothing has happened that was once foretold. This is not a localized event. It was a fundamental change throughout the cosmos. Even the divination spell has a hard limit of out to a weak and even warns of stuff not working out due to individual actions. Divination is damned handy but it's nothing like what you're talking about.


Buri wrote:

Seriously?

I know you really want to defend your position on this but prophecy and divination just isn't what it used to be in ages past.

http://www.pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Harbingers_of_Fate

Quote:
Their methods have been growing more and more desperate, as the book's final pronouncements are said to occur in 4714 AR, and so far none of them have come true.
NONE. From tiny to large nothing has happened that was once foretold. This is not a localized event. It was a fundamental change throughout the cosmos. Even the divination spell has a hard limit of out to a weak and even warns of stuff not working out due to individual actions. Divination is damned handy but it's nothing like what you're talking about.

That's a little vague on the scale of what works and what doesn't, I see. I don't see any specific rules saying Divination spells don't work well or that it is impossible to get any info on the future. Your argument rings a bit false when, as you note, spells do exist that work and foretell bits of the future. Honestly, it doesn't really matter. Foretelling just makes things cheaper, but it isn't like kingdoms, churches, and gods can't afford the resources to spend a bit more.

Nonetheless, I have indicated that predictions of the future are not strictly necessary for defense. You seem to ignore that, however.


That's pretty much the point. Supposedly their only goal or motivation is to sap life and vitality from living creatures then they should probably be actively hunting lifeforms instead of explicitly choosing to hang around places lifeforms have long since vacated. An amusing choice of location given that Golarion (or most campaign settings at that) are filled with fresh humanoids rife for the picking.

But it hints that there may be more to it, because it says outwardly visible motivations, not a lack of motivations. A wonderful open door that Paizo gives to use Shadows for interesting things rather than just intelligent creatures that sit inside a dark hole and wait for someone to fall in it. :P

There are a lot of fascinating things in the rulebooks and honestly a lot of them can influence stories in wonderful ways. A simple burning hands resetting trap opens the gates for things like hot air balloons or simple steam engines (so you might find some rather amusing contraption that a wizard's familiar rides around on in his laboratory :P).

And some ideas are good ones. Because of cheap consumables, mundane mortals (the level 1 kind) are often capable of carving out their existence in a world with magical creatures with DR x/magic (because a bunch of archers with a single oil of magic weapon can douse 50 arrows between them and start shooting).

Now with undead, shadows aren't the only examples of creatures that can very easily start an apocalypse. Plague zombies, wights, vampires, and more. So why do they not? It's not because "dur, da gods" (because the gods in D&D/Pathfinder are pretty useless and generally don't do much themselves).

Well answering these questions can lead to making your game a good and interesting one. Why do your vampires not spread their ilk constantly? Do they seek to reduce rivals for their meals? Are they arrogant and aristocratic and see humans as the common folk unworthy of sharing their nobility without a ritual knighting? Did they almost bring about the end of the world once and now have special rules amongst vampires concerning the procreation of more vampires (IE - do they consider humanity to be on a sort of endangered species list?)? Are they too busy fighting amongst themselves in the shadows to deal with slaughtering all the humanoids? Do they good into blood crazes and then stop for weeks, months, or years at a time before feeding again?

It's not so much about the shadows but about the question itself. :P


There really aren't divination spells that are beyond "tell what's *about* to happen."

Divination

Quote:
Similar to augury but more powerful, a divination spell can provide you with a useful piece of advice in reply to a question concerning a specific goal, event, or activity that is to occur within 1 week. The advice granted by the spell can be as simple as a short phrase, or it might take the form of a cryptic rhyme or omen. If your party doesn't act on the information, the conditions may change so that the information is no longer useful.

This is really the only open ended divination spell we get. The others are mere yes/no replies, learning attributes and locations of creatures and objects and so on. Scry only shows you present info etc. There really aren't any far reaching divination powers out there. If the gods do know what's going on there is none that are telling mortals what's going on. Even with commune and contact other plane you get very short, very limited answers.


Buri wrote:
There really aren't divination spells that are beyond "tell what's *about* to happen."

Information good for the next week is useful. Use multiple casters and you're pretty set.

Buri wrote:
This is really the only open ended divination spell we get. The others are mere yes/no replies, learning attributes and locations of creatures and objects and so on. Scry only shows you present info etc. There really aren't any far reaching divination powers out there. If the gods do know what's going on there is none that are telling mortals what's going on. Even with commune and contact other plane you get very short, very limited answers.

Learn to binary search; god programs 101.


Buri wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Check out the cost of casting Bless Water.

Okay?

Quote:
Components V, S, M (5 pounds of powdered silver worth 25 gp)
Do I get two gold stars?

Out of a possible 10, perhaps.

Quote:


Or they can just do their thing and heal someone using blood money constantly.

That would be a trick, since Blood Money is not a divine spell.

Quote:
I would expect a good church to also be combating the threat since part of being good means protecting innocents.

Even in Pathfinder, resources are not limitless. Part of being good effectively is prioritizing your limited resources to best address the needs of the people you're serving. That 25gp the church spent to make a pint of holy water is 25gp that didn't go to making two potions of Cure Light Wounds, for example, a spell I'd argue is probably more generally useful to have lying around, or to feeding the orphans in the local charity hospital for a month.


Oh, you didn't know that all clerics take a level of wizard to have free raise deads and restorations forever?


Drachasor wrote:


Information good for the next week is useful. Use multiple casters and you're pretty set.

Learn to binary search; god programs 101.

How much resources are you spending to develop this anti-shadow divination program?

How many other things could you do with all these spells cast by all these casters, things that you're not doing? Just to put this into perspective, Contact Other Plane is a 5th level Sor/Wiz spell. So is Wall of Stone. For the effort your divination mage is putting into this every week, a similarly situated conjuration mage could build a single defensive tower to keep orcs out of the southern border, or build study stone housing for 4 families of peasants.

If you're going to run this huge anti-divination campaign for two mage-years,... that's enough magical energies to create the Siegfried line, or to house a small city.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
That would be a trick, since Blood Money is not a divine spell.

Why does this matter? Any level 2 character can do it.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Drachasor wrote:


Information good for the next week is useful. Use multiple casters and you're pretty set.

Learn to binary search; god programs 101.

How much resources are you spending to develop this anti-shadow divination program?

How many other things could you do with all these spells cast by all these casters, things that you're not doing? Just to put this into perspective, Contact Other Plane is a 5th level Sor/Wiz spell. So is Wall of Stone. For the effort your divination mage is putting into this every week, a similarly situated conjuration mage could build a single defensive tower to keep orcs out of the southern border, or build study stone housing for 4 families of peasants.

If you're going to run this huge anti-divination campaign for two mage-years,... that's enough magical energies to create the Siegfried line, or to house a small city.

And it is unfortunate, but none of those other things stop the shadow-apocalypse. Shadocalypse? Stone housing for 4 peasants or survival for humanity? Not a hard decision.

But some weeks you won't have to spend many resources, as your basic questions on stopping undead from destroying civilization would give you answers of indicating there was no threat. Then you can divert those resources elsewhere.

That said, with some custom spells and magical items for such tasks, you could cut down on the resources. Naturally the books aren't filled with stuff focused on running a kingdom and protecting all of humanity, so the solutions it provides aren't always a great fit. This increases costs, but not to a degree that it remotely makes the work impossible.


Buri wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
That would be a trick, since Blood Money is not a divine spell.
Why does this matter? Any level 2 character can do it.

Any level two character can cast Blood Money?


Yurp. As long as one of those levels is wizard or witch.


I don't think it's within the game mechanics but there has to be thousands of "half wizards" and "half clerics" out there. D/F grade students or apprentices who just picked up a couple things before they dropped out.

Compare that to a major PF organization such as the Knights of Ozem. For every full fledged LG Paladin they probably get 100 other hopefuls who just "didn't take". Deep in their being they may have just been LN or NG and their trainers decided their talents were better off elsewhere. Or they may have simply failed their courses at Paladin academy.

Your local lvl2 Expert Blacksmith could could easily be one such castoff; learned enough to know something smells off and ready to send off a Feather Token (Bird) to get help from their old and now highly ranked friend in Vigil.

Further, such organizations probably also have plenty of personnel that are no longer fit for field duty. That 5th level Cleric that's too traumatized to return to battle?
He gets to cast augury 5+ times day and the question he asks each time is "Is ____ town threatened by undead?"


Also, divination apparently still works just not as previously understood. Norns for one are still able to do it accurately.

I'm sure after so many years since the start of the Age of Lost Omens the gods and other powerful beings have jury-rigged some sort of backup method (such as hiring Norns).


Riggler wrote:
If the world only exists to tell the story of the stars, the PCs. There may only be 4 active shadows on the world at a given time...and they are in the Lost Halls of Darkness. There's only three wights in the world right now, although there are stories of others that have risen and been defeated, there are only three right now and they are [with] the deceased Necromancer Dorian Germooth. For which the PCs will face when they are level 4.

This is an completely satisfying answer to the dilemma posed. Shame it got buried so quickly.

And a corallary to this answer to “why has there been no wightocalypse/shadowclypse on this world?” is that it hasn’t happened yet...but it happened on Eox, and perhaps it’s only a matter of time before it happens on Goralion.


Buri wrote:
Yurp. As long as one of those levels is wizard or witch.

Well, I'm glad you acknowledge that Blood Money isn't a realistic option, then; and further, that mass quantities of holy water are cost prohibitive.


Drachasor wrote:


And it is unfortunate, but none of those other things stop the shadow-apocalypse. Shadocalypse? Stone housing for 4 peasants or survival for humanity? Not a hard decision.

Not at all a difficult decision. "Guard, take this poor lunatic who keeps burbling about the shadow-apocalypse and put him back in the asylum from which he escaped! Now, my lord wizard, you were saying about this solution to unrest among the unhoused poor?...."


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Well, I'm glad you acknowledge that Blood Money isn't a realistic option, then; and further, that mass quantities of holy water are cost prohibitive.

I said nothing of the sort. The average person in Golarion is level 1 - 5ish. Just round up a few apprentice wizards and you're good. It'd be a great way to spark a new age of mystic theurges that provide great insights into how arcane and divine magic work together were such a call be made.

The Exchange

Cenobite451 wrote:
(Apropos of nothing, I just learned that spellcheck's best guess when confronted with "Nyarlathotep" is "radiotelephone". I find that oddly hilarious. XD)

All hail Radiotelephone! Radiotelephone, the Crawling Chaos! Radiotelephone, Herald of the Elder Gods! All shall know madness at the coming of Radiotelephone!


You'd think in a D&D world they'd just be burning the bodies already.

Sczarni

From what I've seen of Golarion, pretty much every settlement larger than a thorpe has a dedicated church and at least one cleric.

A dedicated church means that, at some point in the settlement's history, someone shelled out for a Hallow or Consecrate spell. This means that anyone buried in the church's graveyard wouldn't rise spontaneously. (There's a reason real-world churches tend to have graveyards next to them.)

So how often do dead people spontaneously rise? As often as people die without getting proper burials. Maybe a lumberjack got killed by wolves in the forest and his family never found his body? Maybe an arsonist was hung in the town square and they threw his body into the river tied to a rock-- what's to fear from a zombie who's trapped at the bottom of a river? Maybe the carpenter killed his wife's lover in a fit of rage and hid the body in the wall of the new schoolhouse?

Pretty much every undead creature I've seen specifies that you don't rise as one unless you die under extraordinary circumstances. If you die like most people-- sick in bed, surrounded by loved ones, or maybe at the healer's house while an adept reads you a prayer-- then you get buried on hallowed ground and the only rising you do is maybe as a flower that sprouts on your gravesite.

But if you die far from home, or as the victim of an evil act, or if the people who find your body just want to get rid of you, well, makeshift graves don't last long.


It would seem to me that the course of events are is.

1. Shadow is spawned in some village (very rare)
2. Shadow converts whole village
3. army of shadows come to attack the next place.
4. Army are easy to spot so that's when the heros and high level people step in.
5. army destroyed

This of course requires that spontaneous shadow creation only happens about once every 10 years or so maybe less. Now if the P.C.'s happen to be in the village to start off with they might nip this in the bud.

Also the reason shadows hang around dead civilizations is because they are the reason their dead. Maybe shadows don't go attacking other places because they can't find them. I have never hear of a shadow asking for directions.


fictionfan wrote:
Also the reason shadows hang around dead civilizations is because they are the reason their dead. Maybe shadows don't go attacking other places because they can't find them. I have never hear of a shadow asking for directions.

There is something to this. A shadow can only sense the living within 60'.

So Mr. Shadow gets it in his head one day that he's going to ignore mom's warning to stay in the ruins, where the adventurers reliably come to provide sustenance to the shadows.

He begins travelling in a random direction, towards civilization many miles away. Perhaps he comes upon a farmhouse, or a thorp. He feeds, he feasts, and he suddenly has children of his own. Who don't have anything to eat. And he doesn't know which way to the metropolis because everyone he could ask died. Sometime during that feasting.

So what's a poor shadow to do? Pick another random direction, and hope to come across another farm house, where he'll collect more mouths to feed?

Most shadows, at this juncture, probably go home. The pickings might not be frequent, but adventurers tend to have such high strength scores, that each one can feed a decent family. They're reliable. Rumors of the wealth of that lost civilization abound, attracting more meals every day.

And when you aim for the sun, you do tend to get burnt. How many other shadows have tried to topple countries, only to be brought low by powerful bands of mighty heroes? But, back in those comfortable ruins, where only low-level adventurers bother to show up? Anyone could make a name for himself in the soul-sucking business.

Let's be honest with ourselves, most intelligent creatures are content with mediocrity, and people respond to threats with nuclear bombs. Sooner or later, someone notices the growing shadow-army, and then someone drops the Golarion equivalent of a nuclear bomb. And the rest of the shadows decide that they belong in the shadows, not the spotlight. Because, as intelligent creatures, they recognize that spotlights look suspiciously like targets...


The key thing missing from ALL bestiary entries is feeding habits. This is a hefty motivation for any creature. The game itself doesn't provide this info because it isn't necessary. You only need to be able to overcome the encounter on a micro (one party of adventurers) scale. Thus something as important as how much and how often any monster needs to feed must fall under hand-waving.

Hence, the problem with this thread is that the question is unanswerable with the current system. The result always becomes "undead winz" because the PC's/high-level NPC's are unable to overcome a global threat, and that remains true so long as you only think in the micro scale as given.

However, there are a couple of points that work, and they exist within the game itself.

Other monsters.

Someone mentioned Aeons, but that's only the tip of the iceberg. Psychopomps, azata's, angels, even inevitables. If you can randomly come across a demon attacking a village because it happened to portal itself in then you have to wonder what all those good/neutral aligned "monsters" are up to.

Short answer, undead hunting.


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If shadows go wandering around looking for towns they might have to roll the random encounter table. How many things on that table could beat shadows?


fictionfan wrote:
If shadows go wandering around looking for towns they might have to roll the random encounter table. How many things on that table could beat shadows?

Now THAT is lateral thinking.


fictionfan wrote:
If shadows go wandering around looking for towns they might have to roll the random encounter table. How many things on that table could beat shadows?

PC encounter tables vs random undead's encounter tables. This is something I'd like to see.

The Exchange

BigNorseWolf wrote:
You'd think in a D&D world they'd just be burning the bodies already.

Good point, and an indirect answer to the original question of the thread:

"Rising spontaneously from the dead is common enough that players keep running into examples of it, but just barely uncommon enough that people insist on building and maintaining graveyards.*"

*Historically, churchyards were used until the mid-19th century in Europe; the idea of a park-like space set aside for the convenience of people who - under ordinary circumstances - could not possibly enjoy said space took a long, long time to catch on.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Ashiel wrote:

That's pretty much the point. Supposedly their only goal or motivation is to sap life and vitality from living creatures then they should probably be actively hunting lifeforms instead of explicitly choosing to hang around places lifeforms have long since vacated. An amusing choice of location given that Golarion (or most campaign settings at that) are filled with fresh humanoids rife for the picking.

Actually, Undead Revisited did go a certain way to explain why shadows don't spread far beyond their ruined haunts. Apparently, they possess an almost instinctive Agoraphobia, and dread the idea of being caught out in open spaces, especially where the sun might fall upon them. Quoting the excerpt put on the PFSRD:

"Fortunately for the living, shadows rarely spread far from where they first appear. Creatures of twilight, they can withstand the sun’s rays far better than some of their incorporeal cousins (such as wraiths and spectres), though they are much less comfortable out in direct sunlight or wide open places where it’s harder for them to sneak up on their prey. As such, a place consumed by shadows might lie only a few miles from a living settlement, with the shadows not bothering to cross the miles of open country, instead preferring to subsist off lone travelers and those unaware of their presence or the threat they pose."

Also, fortunately, at 6 Int, they aren't super bright.

Grant you, that doesn't diminish the frankly ridiculous amount of damage a single shadow could do if dropped in a back alley of a large unruly city like Riddleport.

Kind of makes me wonder why a particularly nihilistic necromancer hasn't done just that at least a couple of times now considering how relatively easy they are to create. Seems like a rather effective diversion, actually, especially if you and your allies are immune to strength damage when the sheet volume of shadows inevitably gets out of control.


Drakli wrote:


Grant you, that doesn't diminish the frankly ridiculous amount of damage a single shadow could do if dropped in a back alley of a large unruly city like Riddleport.

Kind of makes me wonder why a particularly nihilistic necromancer hasn't done just that at least a couple of times now considering how relatively easy they are to create. Seems like a rather effective diversion, actually, especially if you and your allies are immune to strength damage when the sheet volume of shadows inevitably gets out of control.

I dunno, there aren't really that many 15+ level casters around, even in a world like Golarion where high level characters are reasonably common (if the NPC database is to be believed anyway. I think there are exactly TWO casters above level 15, not counting boss characters from APs and such), and what percentage of that small number is interested in Necromancy?

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