Bananas theory about the origins of Norgorber


Pathfinder Campaign Setting General Discussion

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So this is basically the rantings of a madman. Strap in!

As far as long-standing Golarion mysteries go, the identity of Norgorber is one of the least explored. Over the last few months I've spent some time thinking about the nature of Norgorber and some of the oldest Inner Sea concepts and ideas, specifically ones that came from James Jacobs' original homebrew campaign setting. That said, I think I might've found the inspiration for Norgorber, which in turn could go well to explain who or what he is in Golarion context.

To explain the idea, there's a few points of info that need to be understood:


  • Norgorber was created by James Jacobs
  • Norgorber came from James' homebrew campaign setting
  • James' homebrew setting was created in the 1980s

Now, I'm going to change gears a little and talk about He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. This might not seem related, but it absolutely is.

So, back in the early to mid 1980's He-Man was one of the biggest toy and television properties in America. Alongside the toy line, Mattel released a series of miniature comic books that explored the backstories of each of the characters in the Masters of the Universe setting. In those comics, it was hinted that the iconic villain Skeletor had a "secret that would undo him" if anyone learned of it. Sounds familiar!

So in 1986 this topic was touched upon again in the comic The Search for Keldor in which it is heavily implied (and later confirmed in the 2002 Masters of the Universe reboot) that Skeletor was once known as Keldor, and was the brother of the true king of their world, Eternia.

As many of you likely experienced, your favorite childhood toys, movies, games, and tv shows often inspire your earliest homebrew work when developing a campaign setting. You draw on the things you love, the things you want to experience and share with others. In that regard, I think that the Skeletor/Keldor story inspired or played a hand in James' creation of Norgorber (and unless he confirms or denies it, we'll never know for sure).

If we assume that the above is true, then it raises the distinct possibility that Norgorber's secret is a familial one, and I'm putting money on the Reaper of Reputations being the brother of Aroden, or some other extremely famous Inner Sea personality.

tl;dr Norgorber is Skeletor


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F$&#ing Skeletor!

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

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It's okay, Mum-Ra. I loved you, ancient spirits of evil and all.

Silver Crusade

Fictional characters having mysterious backgrounds that turn out to be relatives of the good guys isn't exactly unique. I haven't looked it up, but I'd assume there's a whole page on TV Tropes about it.

Why look to He-Man for that, when so many others had the same type of thing going on in the same time period? Heck, just look at Star Wars and the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon for more likely inspirations if it turns out to be that sort of thing.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

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Specific wording in Norgorber's entry that if the secret were to be revealed it would "be his undoing" and basically the exact same wording in Search for Keldor. Also bananas.


I can get behind anything pro Skeletor. I was "that kid" that grew up in the 80's whose favorite anything was always the bad guys: Skeletor, Cobra, Decepticons, V.E.N.O.M. and I won't even get started on the slew of comic book villains that are still my favorites.


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Meh. I still think the "three halflings in a trenchcoat" theory is the most likely one.


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Grond wrote:
I can get behind anything pro Skeletor. I was "that kid" that grew up in the 80's whose favorite anything was always the bad guys: Skeletor, Cobra, Decepticons, V.E.N.O.M. and I won't even get started on the slew of comic book villains that are still my favorites.

Oh, come on! I'm right here!

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

My personal headcanon is that Aroden's death came at Norgorber's hands.


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Kalindlara wrote:
My personal headcanon is that Aroden's death came at Norgorber's hands.

For a while now, I've been thinking Aroden isn't really dead, just not what we'd recognize as Aroden anymore. So, what if Aroden...

Spoiler:
pulled a reverse-Quaid, creating a deep cover identity of a proto-Norgorber... and then Aroden discovered the mask became real. They fought, and the Norgorber identity proved stronger; Aroden was smashed, his pulverized remains swept under the mental rug. This proto-Norgorber didn't escape unscathed though, and fragmented further into his four current aspects who still wrestle for dominance within his singular godhood.

I think according to canon, Norgorber "ascended" to godhood before Aroden's disappearance, but this might have just been...

Mr. Robot spoiler:
an deific manifestation similar to the relationship between Elliot and Mr. Robot.

Edit: Hell, at this point...

Baldur's Gate spoiler:
maybe four of Aroden's children with slivers of his deific power gained enough mythic levels to take Aroden on, and they killed him?

A future AP built on around the core of the Bhaalspawn saga would be cool to play.

Edit 2: And while I'm at it, in case any Paizo peeps and Contributers/freelancers are reading...

Golarion canon:
If Count Ranalc was playing a long game, he could have had some Ranalcspawn running around before his run-in with Nex (part of the reason he was banished by the Eldest?). Whether they were aware of their heritage or not, they could have gone on to sire children of their own... until thousands of years later, those descendants (the PCs) might be "awakened" and decide/be compelled to take back their grandsire's power and domain, firstly that on the Shadow Plane, and then on to his original holdings in the First World.


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

By the way, Sir Brookes, I absolutely loved your Ecology Of The Strix, I was honestly never a fan of strix until I read that. Great job! Especially the part about the eyes, and comparison to owls.

Give yourself a big round of applause! :-)

Paizo Employee Developer

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Robert Brookes wrote:
So this is basically the rantings of a madman. Strap in!

Yep.

Bananas.

[M.I.A.]Ba-Na-na(s).[/M.I.A.]


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Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
My personal headcanon is that Aroden's death came at Norgorber's hands.
~slaad lunacy deleted~

I have a new Norgorber/Aroden theory based on tonight's Mr. Robot, but it's even farther out there.

I blame Cosmo that I've been infected by an Asherahian linguistic virus and I'm turning into an Aroden Truther.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

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captain yesterday: If you liked that you're gonna love something else coming up ;)

Ambrosia Slaad: share share!

Adam: In a week I'm sure I'll have an entire 80s cartoon thesis statement re:Golarion. ;)

Silver Crusade

The Dungeon Master is Norgorber's father?


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Robert Brookes wrote:

captain yesterday: If you liked that you're gonna love something else coming up ;)

Ambrosia Slaad: share share!

Adam: In a week I'm sure I'll have an entire 80s cartoon thesis statement re:Golarion. ;)

I would love that!

Now, who is Doctor Klaw...


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I get such a kick out of your alter-ego posts, captain yesterday. =)

I always assumed Norgorber cheated his way past the Test of the Starstone (ala Kirk in the Kobayashi Maru), and that's why his past is such a mystery and will undo him if it becomes known. Clearly, it's not possible to do such a thing, and yet...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Sundakan wrote:
Meh. I still think the "three halflings in a trenchcoat" theory is the most likely one.

That's actually my interpretation as well. Trenchcoat optional :)


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MMCJawa wrote:
Sundakan wrote:
Meh. I still think the "three halflings in a trenchcoat" theory is the most likely one.
That's actually my interpretation as well. Trenchcoat optional :)

Tammy approves.

Liberty's Edge

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Tammerine "Tammy" Dragontoe wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
Sundakan wrote:
Meh. I still think the "three halflings in a trenchcoat" theory is the most likely one.
That's actually my interpretation as well. Trenchcoat optional :)
Tammy approves.

Gotta be four halflings, though. One for each aspect.


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John Woodford wrote:
Tammerine "Tammy" Dragontoe wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
Sundakan wrote:
Meh. I still think the "three halflings in a trenchcoat" theory is the most likely one.
That's actually my interpretation as well. Trenchcoat optional :)
Tammy approves.
Gotta be four halflings, though. One for each aspect.

Actually, the Trench Coat is Norgober's Fourth Aspect.

Or maybe not. Who can really say?

Liberty's Edge

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Ventnor wrote:
John Woodford wrote:
Tammerine "Tammy" Dragontoe wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
Sundakan wrote:
Meh. I still think the "three halflings in a trenchcoat" theory is the most likely one.
That's actually my interpretation as well. Trenchcoat optional :)
Tammy approves.
Gotta be four halflings, though. One for each aspect.

Actually, the Trench Coat is Norgober's Fourth Aspect.

Or maybe not. Who can really say?

Well, the Pathfinder Society might be able to, depending on whether they can keep the Sky Key....


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So... he's the Second to Last Azlanti?

Silver Crusade

But...

Spoiler:
We establish in Hell's Rebels that Norgorber is from Vyre.

I mean, no one knows what he looks like at all. So I've always thought he could be a party of four adventurers who passed the Starstone test together.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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The actual inspiration for Norgorber (who sometimes got his name spelled Nogorber in my homebrew when I wasn't paying attention) is a combination of some of the gods in Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar stories (particularly Ningauble of the Seven Eyes and Sheelba of the Eyeless Face) and Ramsey Campbell's novel The Face that Must Die.

I was never into He-Man at all, and beyond knowing a few silly names (Skeletor, Orko, She-Ra, etc.) and that it was an unseen-still-by-me spectacularly bad movie in the mid 80s, my He-Man lore is pretty much non-existant.


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Ha! In your face Skeletor!

Walks like an Egyptian.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Mum-Ra wrote:

Ha! In your face Skeletor!

Walks like an Egyptian.

Well, that said... at least I have no personal dislike of He-Man. Can't say the same about Thundercats, which is in my top 5 LEAST favorite cartoons. So tread carefully, Mum-Ra!

Paizo Employee Developer

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James Jacobs wrote:
Mum-Ra wrote:

Ha! In your face Skeletor!

Walks like an Egyptian.

Well, that said... at least I have no personal dislike of He-Man. Can't say the same about Thundercats, which is in my top 5 LEAST favorite cartoons. So tread carefully, Mum-Ra!

I think the Thundercats are number one on Mum-Ra's list of hated cartoons. He certainly seems to get in fights with them a lot.


Yeah, once you get stray cats in your sitting tiger utility shed they're a b+&%% to get out.

Sovereign Court

while it isnt about Norgorber i have a theory on James's precursor reason to do the setting Golarion in thew first place.

OP-1 "Tales of the Outer Planes" last story in the book, To Hell and Back. to sum it up Azmodeus wants a realm of his own. He dupes heroes into going to a place in hell for a specific gemstone. this stone would allow him to build his own realm as one of the leading faiths of that realm.

If I am wrong so be it.

Page 78, 3rd column, last paragraph, "Asmodeus caught wind of baalzebul schemes. Is now attempting to pull out all the stops."

its in this adventure i think the idea of what if Asmodeus won and made golarion from the gem.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Mum-Ra wrote:

Ha! In your face Skeletor!

Walks like an Egyptian.

Well, that said... at least I have no personal dislike of He-Man. Can't say the same about Thundercats, which is in my top 5 LEAST favorite cartoons. So tread carefully, Mum-Ra!

I guess that's why the PCs killed him a few adventure paths back...


Please. We all know Norgorber is four halflings in a trench coat. The answer is right under our noses. That's why he has four so thoroughly different worshiped aspects and why he there is no single accurate way to portray his face! Wake up, sheeple! *rings crazy bell*


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

Damn it Yakman! Now I have no choice but to run Mummy's Mask with Catfolk the only allowable race.

*sigh* there goes my winter!


Well, well well. The most important fact is: Norgorber ist not really male, but female. So I would say: Shadow Weaver (from She-Ra)

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