So, what if I decide to play as a Hobgoblin?


Ironfang Invasion

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Also keep in mind that before the invasion, other people might well be only moderately hostile to the Hobgoblin, who would then have had some chance (although difficult) to earn some good will. Of course, when the invasion starts, then the cries of "round them up to the internment camps!" will start going up pretty quickly . . . .

Arguably, for a Drow in Second Darkness, this would be easier initially, since unlike Hobgoblins, Drow have NO previous history with most people on the surface (just another weirdo that stepped off a ship, or something like that), and even Elves in the know (or who think they're in the know) will usually realize that they can't just murderhobo the "problem" away in the middle of a town . . . At least they need to do it discreetly . . . Although if they're dumb overzealous, maybe they WON'T try to do it discreetly, and will accidentally both get the character (and rest of the PCs) more on guard and get some ill will from other nearby people, thus accidentally creating a partial resistance to further attempts. The same should apply to a Hobgoblin in at least the very early introductory part of Ironfang Invasion (unless the AP actually begins with the invasion already in progress), although to a lesser extent due to the extensive previous history of Hobgoblins known to most people.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

If someone insisted on playing a Drow despite my objections in Second Darkness and were warned by me that there would be consequences, then first, the player would be forced to run an evil-aligned character because the rules state Drow Elves are evil. To the point that

Spoiler:
when a non-Drow elf does something evil enough, they FREAKING TURN INTO DROW BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES
which pretty much states outright "Drow. Are. Evil. No ifs. No ands. No buts. Evil." And second, the elves would murder the Drow anyway because in Second Darkness they are a bunch of dicks who think of humans as inferior and only care about keeping their secrets.

Hobgoblins might not be to the same level of "must be evil" as Drow, but you have an ongoing war against the Hobgoblins and a lot of hate against the species. I would warn the player "I do not want you to run a hobgoblin. If you insist on running one despite my objections, just know there will be consequences and you will not be happy about them" and then the character will be arrested, if his party members try to support him they will be arrested as well, and in all likelihood he'll be put to death.

Mind you - if a player ends up Reincarnated as a Hobgoblin, they are going to have a lot of problems as well. A major plot point will undoubtedly become finding a way to disguise that character and even with divine proof (augury) that the person isn't a hobgoblin by origin but was reincarnated into a hobgoblin body... and the guards may very well say "Okay, we'll pay for the next reincarnation and for the Restoration" and then put him to death. (Fortunately, reincarnate almost never gets used in my campaigns. I try to avoid PC death until they have access to Raise Dead in any event. Hero Points help in this.)


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Tangent101 wrote:

The problem is players often don't truly comprehend consequences for their characters.

A thief steals and is caught? They find it annoying that they get tossed in jail. But let's say the thief stole from a noble with connections... and the noble chooses to have the thief's hands chopped off.

While the LSJ campaign is pretty carebear otherwise, the standard penalty for theft IS loss of a hand for the first two offenses.


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What if my thief is a Kasatha? :p

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Tangent101 wrote:
I would warn the player "I do not want you to run a hobgoblin. If you insist on running one despite my objections, just know there will be consequences and you will not be happy about them" and then the character will be arrested, if his party members try to support him they will be arrested as well, and in all likelihood he'll be put to death.

Again, this level of 'consequences' is wasting table time while you force the player to make a different character anyway. Save time and just say 'no'.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

It has already been stated by a Paizo employee that it is not appropriate to run a hobgoblin for this campaign.

People are insisting they want to anyway.

Do you honestly think a GM stating "no hobgoblins" is going to stop them from constantly insisting they should be allowed to? We had Paizo itself come out and say "don't" and they say "but we want to!"

So. If a player insists even after Paizo says "not appropriate for this AP" that they want to run a specific race or class? They will find a way. And if they are that insistent in my game? They will be allowed to. They will also know outright that they will be a walking bulls-eye.

Seriously. Paizo has said "hobgoblins are not appropriate" and we have a player coming up with a Paladin Hobgoblin to "prove" that they could do this. And it's not for a roleplaying challenge. As Cap (I believe) pointed out, it's because they want to be the focal point of attention in the campaign. They want to be that Special Snowflake.

I am the sort of GM who speeds combat along when players are looking bored. I fudge rolls, and when someone is having a bad day and just want to kill things I'll outright state "I didn't see that roll" and let them reroll. So trust me. I'm not a bastard out of habit. But I also believe in consequences for actions. Because the game isn't supposed to be about one person. It's about the group having fun. Everyone having to bail out one player over and over again because they have a Special Snowflake syndrome? Gets old and boring fast.


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Or they boost his armor and saves to the 9s and let him tank since he has the main character bulls-eye and thus can protect everyone else by virtue of being unkillable


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Isn't it part of the lore that the people of Nirmathas are full of Chaotic Good nice guys that tend to judge people solely by their actions and not their race? Pretty sure I saw that in their writeup in the Inner Sea Guide. If that is the case then the whole racism angle won't be a problem regardless of a hobgoblin invasion.


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I don't know why people are acting personally offended by this. It's almost like I specifically and deliberately insulted and antagonisted them. I don't know what I did to cause you all such anguish.


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I'm certainly not invested in it, if you want to make Hobgoblin Drizz't, go nuts! :-)


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Axial wrote:
I don't know why people are acting personally offended by this. It's almost like I specifically and deliberately insulted and antagonisted them. I don't know what I did to cause you all such anguish.

Honestly, I think you're pushing a VERY hot button here.

(1) The GM announces, "This is an AP where <insert race here> is the primary opponent of the party for the first few levels."
(2) The player announces, "Great! I'll play an <insert race here>, because it'll give me all kinds of opportunity for excellent roleplay!"

As a GM, I have experienced such players multiple times. It has always, without question, without exception, been a nightmare for both the GM and the other players. It has NEVER gone well, and usually ends up with the other players asking me whether I can PLEASE kill off that character so they can get back to "their regular game".

So no matter what kind of person you are, *I* have a tendency to project my previous extremely negative experiences onto such a situation. And I'll have to join in somewhat with Tangent101's post (though less vehemently): If even the Paizo staff suggest that such a choice would be detrimental to the AP, then the player is specifically choosing selfish self-aggrandizement ("*I* can do this right, because *I'm* a better roleplayer than the kind of schmucks they're talking about!") that sets off loud red warning klaxons in experienced GMs' brains.

I personally would not allow it in my campaign. Ever. (I did allow a drow paladin in my RotRL campaign, and it was the best GM decision I ever made, but I never would have allowed a goblin paladin.) If your GM allows it, have fun! And write up a campaign journal so I can see how it goes! I'd actually read it to see how the GM handles it.

But I see it as a mess I wouldn't touch with a 10' pole.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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We see this happen with pretty much every Adventure Path—a player wants to run a "proud nail" character that's not appropriate for the theme of the AP. Be it a paladin in a pirate AP, a goblin in Runelords, a drow in Second Darkness, a non-evil character in Hell's Vengeance, a Thrune loyalist in Hell's Rebels, a winter witch in Reign of Winter, a Great Old One worshiper in Strange Aeons, a demon worshiper in Wrath of the Righteous, and so on and so on. There's a certain type of player who enjoys playing against type in this way—in playing the "one" example in the campaign of the character in question who isn't an enemy but is an enemy of the enemy (which, in theory, would make them the ally of the PCs, but in most cases that doesn't work).

With the EXACT RIGHT group, something like this can work, but that group needs to be willing to cede an extra amount of GM attention to the "proud nail" PC and the GM needs to be willing to rebuild and refit most of the adventure's assumptions and encounters in order to allow the campaign to continue without the "proud nail" PC being attacked on sight by the PCs and/or their allies.

In most cases, as folks have mentioned, it's a bad idea because it deliberately disrespects some of the central assumptions of the adventure path's plot.

Playing a hobgoblin in a game where the main bad guys are hobgoblins and you spend many encounters working against hobgoblin goals and working with NPCs who hate or fear hobgoblins as a direct result of the hobgoblin actions taken during the campaign means one of two things is likely to happen:

1) The hobgoblin PC is gonna get killed.

or

2) So many exceptions are made to allow the hobgoblin PC to function within the context of the story that either the plot becomes kind of diluted or meaningless, or the amount of "screen time" that PC has with the GM and how often that PC ends up being the focus of an encounter means that the other PCs recede into the shadows and take on the role of supporting characters.

It's that second reason that I fear many players are drawn to "proud nail" characters. Those players want to be the center of attention, often to the detriment of the other players. Remember that UNLESS you're the only player in the campaign, you need to respect the other players and try not to steal their time "on screen" in the game, be it by building a character who has so many options that their turns in combat take three to four times as long to resolve as other player turns or, as in this case, by building a character who's so inappropriate for almost every encounter in the campaign that the GM has to focus most of the encounters on dealing with how that inappropriate PC gets to function in the encounter.

That's why people are offended, is my guess. They've had this happen before, and have endured games where they get to play less than they should because a proud nail character hogs the GM's time and disrupts/derails the AP's plot. It's really just a variation of the player who deliberately builds a paladin when he learns that all the other players are playing chaotic scoundrel characters, or the player who deliberately builds a scoundrel who wants to become an assassin when he knows that the other players are all playing good-aligned crusaders.

It's a team game. Playing a character who doesn't fit the team diminishes the game for the other players.

We're still quite a ways out from the Player's Guide for Ironfang Invasion, but I really can't imagine us suggesting that a hobgoblin PC is appropriate for the AP. In fact, I suspect we'll go out of our way to point out how INAPPROPRIATE such a choice is. A hobgoblin PC is, in many ways, a better choice for EVERY OTHER AP we've published than it is for Ironfang Invasion.

My suggestion if you want to play a hobgoblin is to put that character idea on the back burner and save it for a non-Ironfang campaign.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Thank you, James.


Huh.

I was hoping to do something like the OP myself, but work hard to hide it, in order to minimize my screen time.

The loose character idea was: yeah, it sucks, but it makes sense; but my brethren are in the wrong here, and if I can prove my worth, I can eventually be open, even if many never accept me. But not today.

Oh well. Guess no GM's gonna let that fly now. :/

(Concept loosely based on an organization of lawful good government assassins - not the class - who were an agency of five strange mutant creatures I was running who kept their true nature secret at all times by heavy investment in disguise. I'd have to consider it carefully, and it'd be something I'd have to consider how to handle to avoid inconveniencing anyone else, but it seems... unlikely, given the vehemence, here. Makes sense, one supposes.)

((First two purchases are always a ring of sustenance and hat of disguise - though the 'hat is only for those creatures that need it. Anything with a continuous keep watch effect is next, and now I'm the perfect guard...*))

* No wonder everyone finds me creepy, I'm covered head to toe in feature-obscuring stuff, and I stay awake all night staring out at everything! I find me creepy, and I'm a lawful good guy and playing me XD!!**

** Well, okay, not anymore...


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James Jacobs wrote:

We see this happen with pretty much every Adventure Path—a player wants to run a "proud nail" character that's not appropriate for the theme of the AP. Be it a paladin in a pirate AP, a goblin in Runelords, a drow in Second Darkness, a non-evil character in Hell's Vengeance, a Thrune loyalist in Hell's Rebels, a winter witch in Reign of Winter, a Great Old One worshiper in Strange Aeons, a demon worshiper in Wrath of the Righteous, and so on and so on. There's a certain type of player who enjoys playing against type in this way—in playing the "one" example in the campaign of the character in question who isn't an enemy but is an enemy of the enemy (which, in theory, would make them the ally of the PCs, but in most cases that doesn't work).

With the EXACT RIGHT group, something like this can work, but that group needs to be willing to cede an extra amount of GM attention to the "proud nail" PC and the GM needs to be willing to rebuild and refit most of the adventure's assumptions and encounters in order to allow the campaign to continue without the "proud nail" PC being attacked on sight by the PCs and/or their allies.

In most cases, as folks have mentioned, it's a bad idea because it deliberately disrespects some of the central assumptions of the adventure path's plot.

Playing a hobgoblin in a game where the main bad guys are hobgoblins and you spend many encounters working against hobgoblin goals and working with NPCs who hate or fear hobgoblins as a direct result of the hobgoblin actions taken during the campaign means one of two things is likely to happen:

1) The hobgoblin PC is gonna get killed.

or

2) So many exceptions are made to allow the hobgoblin PC to function within the context of the story that either the plot becomes kind of diluted or meaningless, or the amount of "screen time" that PC has with the GM and how often that PC ends up being the focus of an encounter means that the other PCs recede into the shadows and take on the role of supporting characters.

It's that second...

With respect, allow me to explain my reasoning.

I would certainly never do something as drop-dead stupid as playing a Deskari worshipper in Wrath of the Righteous or a Bound Thrune Agent in Hell's Rebels. Those are campaign-killing concepts and shouldn't even be considered.

This is more like playing as a good-aligned Tiefling in Wrath of the Righteous, a Dhampir in Carrion Crown or an ex-Dottari in Hell's Rebels. The "former bad guy" archetype is fairly well established in fiction, and leads to a few interesting plot threads: why did he leave the villain's army, what drives him to work with the good guys, and what can he tell us about the villain's inner workings?

With my hobgoblin, he would most likely be a former member of the Ironfang Legion. This wouldn't give him a huge amount of plot-related knowledge, but he would provide a window into the Legion and be able to share some information.

More importantly, he is a paladin. His status as a traditionally "evil" race is counterbalanced by him being a holy warrior. He shares the militarism and ironclad discipline of other hobgoblins, but is now serving good. Iomedae is a deity who embodies those values, such as lawfulness and militarism, so it makes sense that a hobgoblin would worship her since they already believe in those things; alignment shift notwithstanding.

Maybe he is able to offer redemption to certain other members of his race; if they surrender. It is speculated in another thread on this forum that the reason for the Ironfang Legion's hatred of humanity comes from hobgoblins being used as disposable cannon fodder by Molthune, and this grievance forms the basis for the legion's foundation. The basis for this is in the borders article of Hell's Vengeance part 5. Maybe, the hobgoblins, or at least a couple of them, are not entirely beyond hope. And how triumphant and awesome would it be if by the end of the campaign, the hobgoblin paladin has achieved such power and charisma that he is able to become the warlord of the Legion and encourage it's conversion to Iomedae; if not LG then at least LN. That would add a whole new force for good to Golarion and perhaps even partially change the status quo. A worthwhile achievement, no?

If not, then fine. The Legion can fall beneath the Inheritor's sword and vanish into the dust of history.

Lastly, he could have some history or interesting dialogue with other members of the party depending on their relationship with Molthune or Nirmathas. Being used as cannon fodder by Molthune and fighting against Nirmathas would definitely effect his world outlook; and his conversion to Iomedae would add another dimension to it.

In any case, I would not intend for this guy to be a stage-stealing Mary Sue. As attached as I am to this concept, I would be more interested by how he interacts with the other members of the party (whoever they turn out to be) over the course of the adventure, and where their journey takes them.

Grand Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I had a player a long time ago who always wanted to play something unusual or against type. His reason was that he hated playing humans/elves/dwarves/etc. it always translated into extra work for me, not to mention a certain amount of belief suspension for the other players as to why the townsfolk who hated lizardfolk didn't automatically attack the PC lizardfolk that just walked into town.

It got to the point where he'd want to switch to a new character every couple levels because the new toy wasn't new and exotic enough anymore. Everyone else just sorta rolled their eyes about him.

-Skeld


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

@Axial: In short, Special Snowflake Syndrome.

You are saying your character deserves not to have soldiers protecting their families and people who lost loved ones from outright killing your character because he's special. A paladin.

Your other examples? Completely different. Tieflings are not inherently evil... and are in fact considered a viable choice for the campaign. And are also discriminated against, btw. A former dotteri? Makes sense because when Thrune showed up the dotteri were purged of "disloyal" members.

This is no different than someone wanting to play a Drow in Second Darkness, or a Paladin in the pirate AP.


I wasn't aware Nirmathas was like the Imperium of Man with a "Kill Xenos on sight!" policy.

Does this mean that if I try to play as a Qadiran character in Reign of Winter, the villagers of Heldren will viciously stab him to death since Taldor's people have lost loved ones in the wars with Qadira?

EDIT: It would make perfect sense for people in Nirmathas to hate, despise, and be suspicious of a Hobgoblin character. However, "It's a hobgoblin! Kill him!" seems like a bit much.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Tacticslion wrote:

Huh.

I was hoping to do something like the OP myself, but work hard to hide it, in order to minimize my screen time.

The loose character idea was: yeah, it sucks, but it makes sense; but my brethren are in the wrong here, and if I can prove my worth, I can eventually be open, even if many never accept me. But not today.

Oh well. Guess no GM's gonna let that fly now. :/

Fwiw, I'd let it fly but I'd be pretty confident I'd be able to talk you out of it.

For me, it's all about the theme of an AP. The story of "mistrusted hero proving evil races can be virtuous" doesn't seem to me to be working in sync with the direction the AP is heading. It would be like someone wanting to play a blasé, not-frightened-or-fazed-by-anything PC in carrion crown - the whole point of playing carrion crown is to play various horror themes. A character unaffected by horror scenarios may not steal any spotlight. They may be well intentioned and considerate of other players. But do they help the story? Do they assist the desired mood or detract from it?

Obviously we don't know much about II yet (weird acronym) but my conception is that this force of ruthless, militaristic, dictatorial bad guys sweep out of nowhere and enslave the local area. A PC with traits in common with "the baddies" will detract from that impression. I don't mind a player demonstrating that characters can struggle against prejudice, overcome stereotypes, be redeemed or whatever the story is they want to tell. I just want them to tell it when it doesn't actively go against the theme of the campaign.

I'd be fine with a paladin hobgoblin PC in RotRL, for example. I figure that character can suffer a bit of distrust but ultimately Sandpoint people are pretty accepting and there isn't an army of your cousins rampaging through the region whilst you're doggedly demonstrating that not all hobgoblins are villains.

I ask all players to spell out (or at least be aware of) how their story supports the story of the AP. Even if people aren't as "anti-assumption" as this, there can be problems. Imagine deciding to run Wrath of the Righteous and the players turn up with a revolutionary, a wannabe pirate, a budding merchant prince and an aristocrat who's bored with their pampered life. I wouldn't rule any of those out, but they need to have put some thought into why they're going to stick around fighting demons for the entire campaign. Just giving cart Blanche means you're either going to be sidelining those PCs' back stories and intended evolution, or they're going to be continually pulling the focus away from the intended mood of "demons are just about to overwhelm the world! We are the final hope!"

I'm skeptical that "I'm the same race as the villains" is a particularly rich vein of roleplaying potential, to be frank. At best it seems like a few moments of prejudice followed by grudging acceptance. I'd be happy to work on the plan with a player, but my questions for them are going to be around "How do you see your story evolving? How does it support the AP's theme and storyline?" reassuring me that you're not trying to hog the spotlight is unnecessary. I need to be convinced you want to pull in the same direction as the rest of us (broadly).

Tangent:
I had pretty much exactly this in our current campaign. The players selected RotRL out of a bunch of options and I pitched it to them as being a classic "wandering adventurers doing good deeds and saving the world (by killing ever more difficult baddies and taking their stuff)". I stressed that they would become famous and loved and that I was not planning on shooting for gritty realism, nor particularly dark, conflicted PCs.

One guy came up with a tiefling that the world hated who was bitter about the mistrust and prejudice she suffered by virtue of her heritage, despite proving herself heroic over and over again. When I asked him how he was going to deal with very rapidly being lauded as a local hero and eventual saviour, it became clear that there was going to be lots of brooding sulkiness and that he'd effectively be sidelining himself from a big part of how I intend to run the campaign.

Our compromise was that he's come up with a new character (basically a Clark Kent, too-good-to-be-true hero) and that next campaign I'll run Council of Thieves where the resentful Tiefling will make an appearance - far more appropriately in my view. (And he's loving the chance to strut about winning the hearts and minds of the people of Sandpoint).

Long story short - it's not a judgement against the player, it's just that there's a time and a place. Even if YOU are able to work your "weird" PC into the story okay. I have to be able to do that as well as the DM. I generally go into an AP with an intended hook, theme or mood. They're not equally suited to all kinds of PCs, in my opinion. If you're really keen on a particular character concept, let me know and I'll pick an AP that I think will work better.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I'm not sure why you're locked into a Hobgoblin.

A Paladin conflicted with respect for the rigidity of Multhune but wants to protect the innocent has infinitely more room to play then special snowflake Paladin #876,954.

As far as Hell's Vengeance, they just say their inhuman troops, they never specify Hobgoblins, so continuing to use that as an argument for your position is disingenuous.


Axial wrote:

I wasn't aware Nirmathas was like the Imperium of Man with a "Kill Xenos on sight!" policy.

Does this mean that if I try to play as a Qadiran character in Reign of Winter, the villagers of Heldren will viciously stab him to death since Taldor's people have lost loved ones in the wars with Qadira?

EDIT: It would make perfect sense for people in Nirmathas to hate, despise, and be suspicious of a Hobgoblin character. However, "It's a hobgoblin! Kill him!" seems like a bit much.

No, but Molthune, which is also a big part of the Adventure Path, very well might have people who will try to kill or arrest you whenever you show up in their lands. Diplomacy and intrigue is probably going to suck as well.

Honestly though, I see no problem with your character being played at a table where your GM and co-players are happily willing to deal with the likely added RP time sink and constant explanation that will occur with such a character. Just don't expect for the Adventure Path or the Guide to provide you any options, traits or RP opportunities. In fact, expect for the AP to actively be against your character at every time and make things especially difficult for you and your co-players.

But, you know, try to have fun anyway.


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Tangent101 wrote:

If someone insisted on playing a Drow despite my objections in Second Darkness and were warned by me that there would be consequences, then first, the player would be forced to run an evil-aligned character because the rules state Drow Elves are evil. To the point that

Spoiler:
when a non-Drow elf does something evil enough, they FREAKING TURN INTO DROW BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES
which pretty much states outright "Drow. Are. Evil. No ifs. No ands. No buts. Evil." And second, the elves would murder the Drow anyway because in Second Darkness they are a bunch of dicks who think of humans as inferior and only care about keeping their secrets.

{. . .}

Don't worry, I'm not going to play a Drow or Hobgoblin in one of your campaigns.

But to say that the rules state that Drow are automatically Evil is just incorrect (unless something to that effect came out in Horror Adventures and hasn't made it out to the general public yet). If you take a few seconds to look up Drow under Uncommon Races under Advanced Race Guide on the actual Paizo PRD (no www.d20pfsrd.com copy needed), you will see that it says in the first paragraph that "they are not born evil" (and then goes on to say that the Evil is cultural). The thing about a particularly evil Elf turning into a Drow(*) is not a definitive proof -- who knows what ELSE that Elf was doing, such as abusing potions contaminated with genetic engineering materials, or maybe even suffering from poisoning with such materials by a similarly Evil rival who wanted to see her downfall (after all, it sounds like an awful lot of Elves other than that one aren't exactly paragons of justice)?

(*)Which could provide awesome RP potential for a Drow character who gets confronted with that story later.

With respect to the "insight" angle that Axial mentions, AND with forethought of the consequences (walking bulls-eye and all that) you mention, I actually crafted my character's backstory so that she DOESN'T provide a lot of insight into the Drow: Raised on the surface (in Andoran) by parents who got TOO zealous about adopting surface ways and protecting her from the horrors that they fled (bringing up the PRD entry again, it DOES say "nonconformists rarely survive for long" -- but instead of killing themselves like Romeo and Juliet, they fled). So she's actually going in mostly naive (and not even having a clue that she's going to be running up against her own kind, until it's too late). NOT stupid, though -- despite the inadvisability of attempting to "solve the problem" by murderhoboing in the capital of Andoran, surface Elves "in the know" have tried to so so a few times, but botched the job, and thereby left her alive and now rather skittish, if not exactly yet properly trained in paranoia. Her reassignment to Riddleport is actually part of a more insidious plot to trick her into going to a location where murderhobo tactics should be easier to pull off . . . (This stuff is in the character's backstory in the link I gave above, if you want more detail.)

Now, Axial did originally post about Ironfang Invasion (hence this being in the title of the thread). I actually DON'T have an Ironfang Invasion character concept yet, and expect this to take a while to develop, so I posted the nearest thing to a parallel that I had in existing character concepts, in support of an at least sort-of-kindred-spirit concept, although with at least one notable difference noted above. When I eventually do develop an Ironfang Invasion character concept, it won't necessarily have any parallels with either of these.

James Jacobs wrote:
We see this happen with pretty much every Adventure Path—a player wants to run a "proud nail" character that's not appropriate for the theme of the AP. Be it a paladin in a pirate AP, . . ., a winter witch in Reign of Winter {. . .}
Reign of Winter Player's Guide, Character Tips Section, Paragraph 3 (Page 5) wrote:
Ice Magic: Irrisen's White Witches are masters of icy magic, but your character may be interested in cold magic as well. The winter witch archetype in Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea Magic is perfect for a witch character, as is the winter witch prestige class from Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Paths of Prestige (reprinted in this guide) {. . .}

Looks like Winter Witch isn't so forbidden in Reign of Winter now, is it?

(Although for purely mechanical reasons, anyone who follows the above advice had better really know what they're doing, preferably with the assistance of some Paizo material released after Reign of Winter (notably VMC Wizard (Admixturer)). As for my own character concept for Reign of Winter, I'm leaning away from the above advice and in favor of Burnination, which seems to be neither recommended nor discouraged, although this has its own share of mechanical problems to deal with. I'll let somebody else play the Jadwiga outcast.)


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Ross Byers wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
And again, I'd let the player know ahead of time that there will be consequences of their running a hobgoblin.

Lisa: Bart, just get out of here.

Bart Simpson: Hey, you get out out. It's a free country.
Lisa: That doesn't make any sense.
Bart Simpson: I know you are, but what am I?
Lisa: Get out, get out!
Bart Simpson: All right. But on my way, I'm going to be doing this...
[windmills his arms]
Bart Simpson: If you get hit, it's your own fault.
Lisa: Okay, then I'm going to start kicking air, like this...
[kicks up her foot]
Lisa: And if any part of you should fill that air...
[kicks up her other foot]
Lisa: It's *your* own fault.
[They shut their eyes and move toward each other, grunting as they flail or kick. Cut to downstairs in the kitchen, where Marge and Homer are. Their grunts soon turn to yells of pain, and sounds of fighting]

Just say no. 'Yes but I'll murder you' is just a less-honest form of 'No, it's unfit for the campaign.'

Trying to punish player choices like this, at best, leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth. At worst, it backfires because of either letting the offending player succeed in making the campaign all about their character, or being a tactical window that can be exploited (because their character has a 'taunt').

What's funny about this is that I, having never grown up with or even seen the Simpsons, got the kids and adults mixed up as I was reading this. "Man, I heard the dad was immature, but this is just nuts."


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I's not likin' this thread.


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In all seriousness, Darst actually did grab a lot of the spotlight when I played him in Burnt Offerings. He was fun, and most everyone liked him quite well, but the only reason he worked is that I, naive roleplayer though I was then, had the idea of making him a comic relief side character. Because he was robbed of most of his agency, he ended up complimenting other characters. A scene where a bartender refused to allow Darst into his bar was a roleplaying moment for the wizard who was looking after Darst, not Darst himself.

You could apply this elsewhere, but you have to be willing to accept less agency to make up the difference. Your hobgoblin/Thrune loyalist/drow/winter witch/Great Old One worshiper is going to get a lot of focus, so you have to give up most of your character development and find ways to make those scenes about other PCs. In short, become the sidekick.

You can make your character comic relief. Perhaps the GOO worshiper is just sort of goofy and oblivious—a Henderson-style character who doesn't even understand what's going on. Perhaps the Winter Witch is planning to take over Irrisen, but comedically overestimates her own power on a regular basis and generally has to be derided and shoved aside by the rest of the party. A key trick is that you have to use the Rule of Funny with their attitude. When the Thrune loyalist gets tossed in a dumpster, she doesn't turn violent or ditch the party, she climbs out and blusters a bunch. The comic relief character never wants to actually piss off their teammates.

You can also take a similar angle and become the "support". You basically give up having major goals of your own (beyond minor goals like "I want to find where my wicked hobgoblin brother took my ancient cask of wine!") and dedicate your character to supporting the other party members in their character development. Ask questions instead of seeking to give answers. Be the wingman. Be the Magical Minority drow who seems to only exist to improve the life of our high elf protagonist. Be the Manic Great Old One Dream Girl who appears in the life of our miserable wizard's life and teaches him how to enjoy killing aberrations again.

Be careful about taking the mechanical lead. Build a support character—a backup meleer, a healer or buffer. Or build somebody who can be bossed around. Darst was the team's scout, but he generally needed someone to tell him, "Darst, go look ahead!", which kept him from dominating.

Also, be open to death.

A hobgoblin paladin might be clearly "good", but they'll also attract a lot of attention and stand out sharply. I'm not sure I'd recommend it. Perhaps as a mentor figure who lets others take the spotlight, or a comedically two-bit paladin who only the party trusts.

Ultimately, you're always going to be a bit attention-grabbing if you do this. Be practical. Purchase a hat of disguise ASAP, or stay at the back of the party to avoid attention. Accept that this is not your story, and work hard to keep it that way. The only way you're going to manage any of this is by talking to the GM and players, too.

Frankly, I'm not sure it's worth the hassle.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Actually? For the setting of Golarion there is a lot suggesting that Drow are in fact Always Evil.

Case in point? This is from the first two paragraphs describing the NPC Shensen... who was born drow, but was reincarnated as an aquatic half-elf.

Quote:

When a group of adventurers encountered a small band of drow in the Scar Thicket of Cheliax’s Whisperwood, a furious battle ensued. The only survivor of the battle was a Keleshite druid of Sarenrae named Izorah, and as she sorted through the bloody aftermath, she was mortified to discover the dark elves had among them a young drow child who had perished in the fiery magic Izorah’s group had used. Overwhelmed with grief for her part in the child’s death, Izorah used reincarnate to give the child a second chance at life, restoring her in the form of an aquatic half-elf and naming her Shensen. Izorah then retired from the adventuring life to raise Shensen as her own daughter.

Freed of her drow lineage both physically and spiritually, Shensen grew up a devout worshiper of Sarenrae.

(The rest of this has been snipped as superfluous but can be found "A Song of Silver.")

So drow outside of Golarion are just black-skinned elves. Drow in Golarion

Spoiler:
are in fact elves who while in the Underdark called out to the Demon Lords to be saved from their fate and were transformed into black-skinned, white-haired elves who are evil because of the demon lord behind their corruption. And the one instance we have of a "good drow" (because of reincarnation), the drow is in fact light-skinned (and a half-elf to boot).

Personally, I would not be at all surprised if

Spoiler:
when a Drow goes good, they transform back into a pale-skinned elf seeing that is the base form
, in a spiritual way similar to how the (elvish species) moredhel would become eledhel in the Riftwar Saga.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Advanced Race Guide is setting-neutral. Getting "always evil" Drow there would result in a massive flamewar started by Drizzt fandom.


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I don't like monstrous races in games I run, but I'd say "no" on the outset, not let a player do it and then make the experience miserable for everyone, which is what you're tacitly doing by victimizing any player. If the player couldn't accept my "no" on his idea, then he's free to not play my game.

I would also point out that beyond the role play angle everyone's squabbling over, the hobgoblin is an extra powerful race with +2 to two abilities and no negatives, darkvision and a +4 to stealth as a medium race. It's going to start with advantages over the cores and I don't find that acceptable either.


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Tangent101 wrote:

Actually? For the setting of Golarion there is a lot suggesting that Drow are in fact Always Evil.

Case in point? This is from the first two paragraphs describing the NPC Shensen... who was born drow, but was reincarnated as an aquatic half-elf.

Quote:

When a group of adventurers encountered a small band of drow in the Scar Thicket of Cheliax’s Whisperwood, a furious battle ensued. The only survivor of the battle was a Keleshite druid of Sarenrae named Izorah, and as she sorted through the bloody aftermath, she was mortified to discover the dark elves had among them a young drow child who had perished in the fiery magic Izorah’s group had used. Overwhelmed with grief for her part in the child’s death, Izorah used reincarnate to give the child a second chance at life, restoring her in the form of an aquatic half-elf and naming her Shensen. Izorah then retired from the adventuring life to raise Shensen as her own daughter.

Freed of her drow lineage both physically and spiritually, Shensen grew up a devout worshiper of Sarenrae.

(The rest of this has been snipped as superfluous but can be found "A Song of Silver.")

So drow outside of Golarion are just black-skinned elves. Drow in Golarion ** spoiler omitted **

Personally, I would not be at all surprised if ** spoiler omitted **, in a spiritual way similar to how the (elvish species) moredhel would become eledhel in the Riftwar Saga.

The problem with this idea, is in today's society view of basic socio color identity, things such as black is bad and white is good may not be something Piazo wants to promote.

And your idea plays into that sterio type.
MDC


The other main factor that may or may not be a issue is:
Playing a Hobgoblin may be a unfair advantage over other players in the AP.

I do not know as I have not done any research on the path besides reading the basic fluff, but if playing a hobgoblin provides a large/medium advantage during some point in the AP vs a non-hobgoblin then it should not be allowed or if it is make the player use a slower Exp track or something to balance it out.

The idea is defiantly out there the Drizzit Drow concept helping the surface'ers stave off his fellow countrymen from the underworld is a fairly common idea (taken from country-man A helping country B stave off invasion from country A).
But often I think the real RP aspects are left out as racial tensions are often quite high during times of crisis and bad things can happen. If this element is left out of your RP'ing then you are more roll-playing than role-playing.

ie playing Shadowrun in the past the book states that racism is a part of the SR setting and you should expect it in play, if you chose to ignore it you are drastically altering the game world. Is this racism bad or good? IMHO it depends on how it is used in game and how it affects you in real life, other wise it is just a game.

MDC

Shadow Lodge

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Tangent101 wrote:
Personally, I would not be at all surprised if ** spoiler omitted **

I would.

Spoiler:
The most charitable reading of the elven leadership's actions in Second Darkness is that they fear that, now the Rubicon has been crossed, it is the ultimate fate of all elves on Golarion to eventually end up as drow. It is entirely in theme, both for that AP and for Golarion's tone, for them to be right.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Mark Carlson 255 wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:

Actually? For the setting of Golarion there is a lot suggesting that Drow are in fact Always Evil.

Case in point? This is from the first two paragraphs describing the NPC Shensen... who was born drow, but was reincarnated as an aquatic half-elf.

Quote:

When a group of adventurers encountered a small band of drow in the Scar Thicket of Cheliax’s Whisperwood, a furious battle ensued. The only survivor of the battle was a Keleshite druid of Sarenrae named Izorah, and as she sorted through the bloody aftermath, she was mortified to discover the dark elves had among them a young drow child who had perished in the fiery magic Izorah’s group had used. Overwhelmed with grief for her part in the child’s death, Izorah used reincarnate to give the child a second chance at life, restoring her in the form of an aquatic half-elf and naming her Shensen. Izorah then retired from the adventuring life to raise Shensen as her own daughter.

Freed of her drow lineage both physically and spiritually, Shensen grew up a devout worshiper of Sarenrae.

(The rest of this has been snipped as superfluous but can be found "A Song of Silver.")

So drow outside of Golarion are just black-skinned elves. Drow in Golarion ** spoiler omitted **

Personally, I would not be at all surprised if ** spoiler omitted **, in a spiritual way similar to how the (elvish species) moredhel would become eledhel in the Riftwar Saga.

The problem with this idea, is in today's society view of basic socio color identity, things such as black is bad and white is good may not be something Piazo wants to promote.

And your idea plays into that stereotype.
MDC

Not really. There are numerous dark-skinned human races who are not evil. In fact, a legendary wizard is from one of those races, and another dark-skinned race built flying cities before something went wrong and they all crashed.

The Drow are a group of elves that have been corrupted. Given that Elves in Golarion are essentially space aliens? Who come from another planet and travel through Gates? (Indeed, Golarion Elves are closer to the Warhammer 40K Eldar than they are to Tolkien's elves.) That Drow are black-skinned and HOW they are black-skinned is about the classic human view of "black is bad" coming from the early days of humanity where monsters (predators) lurked outside the firelight, just waiting for the light to dim so they could enter the camp and kill and eat.

Those early humans were dark-skinned. They didn't see their own skin color as evil or the like. To them, "darkness" was something OTHER than a color.

BTW, there is a very simple solution to this with your own game. Have the Drow be albino. Seriously, they live deep underground, never see daylight... oh wait. That would be insulting to albinos, wouldn't it.

Shadow Lodge

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Mark Carlson 255 wrote:

The problem with this idea, is in today's society view of basic socio color identity, things such as black is bad and white is good may not be something Piazo wants to promote.

And your idea plays into that sterio type.
MDC

Hmm? Drow are clearly unnatural, and their skin tone doesn't map to anything in the real world. Meanwhile, there are Black elves (who, incidentally, simply rode out Earthfall on the surface, neither fleeing to Sovyrian nor making a demon's bargain, meaning their history is the least problematic of all Golarion elves). And before the complaint is raised that this doesn't matter because it's a rarely-explored setting element, Second Darkness makes one of them a significant PC ally. The PCs' first significant elf ally, in fact.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Hobgoblins became Drow so suddenly, I never saw it coming.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

A demon lord did it. =^-^=

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Heh... I actually *HAVE* a Hobgoblin character in one of the APs I'm currently playing in.

Her Background:

Danaini grew up as all hobgoblins do: surrounded by violence and harsh militarism. Showing an early affinity for the shadows, beyond even the other cadets, she was sent to the Scouts/Sappers division for training. There, she was taught how to stalk from the shadows, how to find and exploit mechanical weaknesses, and how to avoid detection, in addition to how to fight as part of a team. She was 6 when she went on her first assignment, part of a team hired out to a self-appointed Baron to expand his lands in the River Kingdoms. The fighting was expected, but the travel was completely new to Danaini. While her other teammates were focused on the march to the target, Dani got to scout ahead. She had the responsibility to watch, and it was a pleasure for her.

It wasn't long before she started actively seeking long range jobs. Finally, she was hired as a bodyguard for a minor Taldan Noble who felt that surrounding himself with exotic retainers was a proper display of his wealth. Danaini left her tribe in the River Kingdoms and treked to Oppara alone. Along the way she met, and ended up travelling with, a Varisian man who spoke of the lands he had visited, the things he had seen, and the Lady who guided him. Never one for religion before, Dani was intrigued by the idea of a Goddess who wanted you to travel, to see new things, to experience everything out there. Dani knew something had changed within her when she defended her travelling companion without thought of compensation. The grateful priest gifted Dani with a small silver butterfly that she wears around her neck, under her armor.

Dani spent her year in service to the Taldan noble, and when her contract was up, she simply didn't return to her tribe. She wandered around, seeing what Taldor offered, and it wasn't long before she heard stories about an unending winter in a small village called Heldren.

I would highly recommend against a Hobgoblin in Ironfang, but if you are going to do it...

My Recommendations:

Really, I don't have any. I'm not sure that the mercenary background would work in this case, because it's too unbelievable that the citizenry wouldn't chase you out of town (as a best case scenario) just on suspicion. It worked in mine because mine was Reign of Winter. I had enough of a reason why I would be tolerated in Taldor, and once we were in Irrisen it wasn't a problem any more. It also helped that the rest of the party was a Snow-Caster elf, Skinwalker, and a Winter Witch....

Hobgoblins can be fun to play, and they do have a lot of roleplay potential, but I'd chose a different AP for it than Ironfang.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Also, Golarion drow are indigo/purple, not coal black. Rather than continue the legacy of Unfortunate Implications by having the irredeemably evil elves be black and the noble and good elves be white, they (wisely) chose to have the unnaturally evil elves be an unnatural skin color, and the non-drow any natural skin color you care to have. Zimmerwald mentioned this up a few posts from me, true, but I really feel this can't be stated strongly enough.

Still, Tangent has the right of it - Golarion drow NPCs aren't just evil, they're EVIL. They worship demon lords in the Abyss, they sacrifice people to their dark patrons, they enslave basically anyone who isn't them, they practice all sorts of body horror on their slaves and lawbreakers, and want to destroy everything on the surface because screw those guys. They're not misunderstood. They can't be reasoned with. They will murder your family, murder your friends, then finally murder you, forcing you to watch the entire thing and not feel a shred of guilt. Drow are one of the most dangerous civilizations on Golarion, and thanks to the surface elves, most people don't even know that they're an imminent threat.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

And they kick puppies.


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Mark Carlson 255 wrote:

The other main factor that may or may not be a issue is:

Playing a Hobgoblin may be a unfair advantage over other players in the AP.

This isn't a problem. I've played a couple hobgoblins before. They are superficially quite good (+2 Dex, +2 Con, Stealthy, Darkvision), but get very little else in the way of abilities. They basically get three pretty good traits, but nothing else. Hobgoblins are arguably more underpowered than overpowered. Very different from, say, drow, or duergar.

Also, a powerful race only holds out as an advantage for one level or two. Giving them a slower xp track would be overkill.


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@ Axial re: Heldren - Heldren's so unusually tolerant for a Taldan town that it's actually part of the settlement modifiers (and the town's cleric of Erastil has a Qadiran wife).

Damn near anything other than an Elvanna loyalist works as a RoW character. (I mean, you could easily have a Winter Witch PC in that campaign as the PC was a Baba Yaga loyalist rather than an Elvanna loyalist).

But that's Reign of Winter, where you are skipping across continents, space, and dimensions.

Being a hobgoblin paladin for Ironfang sounds problematic because the character actually sounds like a bid for being the main character - deliberately making a character that will eclipse the rest of the party in terms of at least screen time.

I'll second everything Kobold Cleaver said.

@ Tangent - drow are a goofy race; what I've gone with both Paizo drow and D&D drow is that they're not inherently evil but they are naturally sociopathic (at like a 99% rate) - meaning that while most of them don't find any joy in acting like monsters, they also don't feel any remorse in it either. And the drow who actually are complete monster have a easier time rising to the top, making everyone else have to emulate their behavior or be prey. Drow who actually have a functioning moral compass usually don't make it through childhood.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Mark Carlson 255 wrote:

The other main factor that may or may not be a issue is:

Playing a Hobgoblin may be a unfair advantage over other players in the AP.

This isn't a problem. I've played a couple hobgoblins before. They are superficially quite good (+2 Dex, +2 Con, Stealthy, Darkvision), but get very little else in the way of abilities. They basically get three pretty good traits, but nothing else. Hobgoblins are arguably more underpowered than overpowered. Very different from, say, drow, or duergar.

Also, a powerful race only holds out as an advantage for one level or two. Giving them a slower xp track would be overkill.

I should have made it clear that I was talking about role-playing wise and not roll-playing wise. ie in specific scenes/chapters of the over all story it is more advantages if your race is hobgoblin and or maybe you could get out of a situation easier. I do agree that you could possibly do the same with magic and or disguise skill but that is using something to solve and possible puzzle and not just having a get out of jail free card handed to you at PC gen.

Does that make my point a little more clear?

MDC


Sorry if I got off on a Drow tangent above. I used to be a moderator on another website and after posts like that above often I would get emails to look at the post and then decide what to do with it based on specific criteria provided to me and how the comment/complaint was written.
So at times I jump on things like that instead of just leaving them alone. As I am sure other mods will tell you if something goes unchecked for a short time it can get on the wrong track very quickly and end in a bad place with a lot of unhappy people.

MDC

Liberty's Edge Developer

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Tangent101 wrote:
Seriously. Paizo has said "hobgoblins are not appropriate" and we have a player coming up with a Paladin Hobgoblin to "prove" that they could do this. And it's not for a roleplaying challenge. As Cap (I believe) pointed out, it's because they want to be the focal point of attention in the campaign. They want to be that Special Snowflake.

You're misrepresenting what I said to insult a player.

I said the campaign is not built with a hobgoblin player in mind, and in the default assumption for the world it would be difficult, because hobgoblins are violent conquerors, slavers, and (at the worst of times) cannibals. In canon, they have a cruel, militaristic society that passes on that cycle of abuse to each new generation by killing off children who aren't strong enough or ruthless enough to endure.

But no canon survives first contact with the home table. In your home game you're welcome to play whatever you, your GM, and your fellow players find entertaining. You can have hobgoblins in your homegame act like any of the core races, with some good and some bad.

If you want to play a hobgoblin in this AP, it will require additional work on your GM's part. that is my only feedback. Let people enjoy their game.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Everybody's been talking about hobgoblins, but what about goblins?

Canon-wise, they're the bullied foot-stools of the Hobgoblins, so would they be appropriate -- perhaps one grew a spine or had greatness thrust upon them?

Does the equation change for goblins depending on whether they're hobby or not?

Community & Digital Content Director

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Removed a handful of baiting posts, retaining a few to leave some valuable responses. Folks, we have a wide variety of gamers here. Telling others how to and to not game isn't productive, it's not helpful, and it can be hurtful. Occasionally we provide advice for our community so that their characters and campaign can mesh well with the material we publish, but that isn't meant to be interpreted as the "only" way. Be cool to each other, and take a moment to revisit our Community Guidelines.

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