What aspect of the Pathfinder universe do you dislike?


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I, along with many other people, don't like how the afterlife works, namely how petitioners have their memories erased as it raises a bunch of philosophical and moral issues (is such a petitioner the same person as before? If not, is rewarding or punishing them justified?)

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Who are those "many people"?


I don't really like how so many kinds of Outsiders are spawned from mortal souls. Sure, Outsiders can breed and make baby Outsiders who were never mortals, but for the most part demons, daemons, devils, angels, archons, azatas, and the other big name Outsiders rise from mortal souls, and that just doesn't seem right to me. The only ones who don't that I can readily think of are the qlippoth, and they're a whole other subject entirely.


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I don't like how in a world with many deities, the game rules nonetheless assume people are not polytheists. Like there's no reason someone who isn't directly affiliated with a church or deity, wouldn't say prayers or perform rites for whatever deities are appropriate to their immediate concerns.

Like it shouldn't be weird for the same person to say a prayer to Desna and Gozreh before an ocean voyage; to say a prayer to Erastil for a good harvest; say a prayer to Irori that the tax collector is honest; and say a prayer to Iomedae, Gorum, and Torag before a battle.

But the character sheet just has one spot for deity.

Dark Archive

Yqatuba wrote:
I, along with many other people, don't like how the afterlife works, namely how petitioners have their memories erased as it raises a bunch of philosophical and moral issues (is such a petitioner the same person as before? If not, is rewarding or punishing them justified?)

I see it as a legacy D&D problem, more than a 'Pathfinder' problem, since that's pretty much how it's always been.

Souls lose their memories, and even 20th level clerics with amazing stats and having mastered the most incredible lore over their careers turn into 1 HD petitioners with the same blah intelligence, a few generic skills, etc. (The same things happens with undead. A specter or wraith or even shadow is sometimes assumed to *be* the soul of the person that died to spawn it, but the two shadows in front of you have 3 HD, Dex 14, Int 6, Wis 12, Cha 15 and know only Fly, Perception and Stealth, despite one of them having been a 5th level Int 18 Wizard with all of the Knowledge skills near-maxed ten minutes ago, and the other having been a Cha 9 1st level Commoner... One gained 2 HD and +6 Cha, the other *lost* 2 HD, 6 Int and a library worth of skills, and yet both are assumed to be the 'souls' of those people. To tweak this, these could be changed to templates, like ghost, vampire or lich, so that the mental stats and memories (and class levels!) remain. Another option, perhaps only for some undead, like shadows, would be to rule that shadows are *not* the souls of the people they killed, but predators from the Shadow plane who use the power of a mortal death to open a tiny momentary portal to their home to bring another one across. The person who died becomes the fuel for their summoning from the Shadow plane, but in no way a 'template' for their creation.)

It's a very different paradigm than assumed by some faithful in the real world, where they go somewhere to be reunited with lost loved ones, since, in a D&D based afterlife, they won't remember said loved ones...

I'm not a fan of it either, but it is what it is, and it's not like the whole afterlife component of the game matters to the gameplay (barring some sort of Planescape-like scenario where the players are actually gaming in Axis or are petitioners themselves!).

As for things about the setting I'm not a fan of;

Mix and match settings in general bug me. I prefer a setting that is either completely made up, and with few or no analogues to real life cultures *or* one that's *all* analogues of real world cultures.

But when Greyhawk, the Realms or Golarion has a bunch of made up fantasy nations, like 'this is the country of devil worshippers' or 'this is the elven kingdom' or 'this is the magical flying city' *and then* has a 'fantasy Egypt' and a 'fantasy Japan' I feel like it's incomplete, because they rarely, if ever, seem to have a fantasy Russia, or fantasy France, or fantasy Ireland. I love me some Al-Qadim/Zakhara, and Dragon Empires, and Hamunaptra, but am not a fan of them being plonked down in fantasy worlds that don't have analogues for western or eastern Europe, or that have only a tiny jungle like Chult tucked away to the south of the map to represent all of Africa.

Represent, or don't bother. I'm fine with either. But halfway doing it and sticking a fantasy Egypt or Araby or Asia or whatever on the edges of your otherwise made-up fantasy world feels weird and inconsistent. And, again, that's hardly a Golarion-only complaint. The Realms has a faux Egypt and a faux Asia and a faux Arabian country. Greyhawk has Hepmonaland, a sort of faux Central/South American region, and sort of started the whole trend of a fantasy world full of fantastic cultures and gods with names like Wee Jas and Istus and Heironeus and then the real world Camazotz sort of sneaking in...

(And I say this as a huge fan of Greyhawk, a former Realms fanboy, and a current fan of Golarion! Just because I like something, doesn't mean that I unconditionally love *everything* about it, and don't think it couldn't be improved!)


Wierd thought, purely souless game theory. If you want all your memories intact, is there any disadvantage to dying that can't be complained about as GM intolerance. While I find Quibblemuch's Land of the Dead idea interesting, I have had players who would be beyond merely butt-hurt if everything didn't come to a complete halt to bring their "Precious" back to the game. I can see the loss of identity being the only thing that puts a stop to the immortality via player stubbornness dilemma.

This is utterly a souless "meta" argument.


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I reject the premise that the afterlife in a fantasy game is supposed to be this "really great reward for what you did in life" instead of just "a natural process through which the universe recycles." Do what you want with your consciousness while you're alive, after that you're just stuff that thankfully something is going to make use of.

I would like more reincarnation in the metaphysics though.


Gorbacz wrote:
Who are those "many people"?

Whenever I make a thread about undead, gods, other planes etc there are people bringing it up.

Silver Crusade

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Yqatuba wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Who are those "many people"?
Whenever I make a thread about undead, gods, other planes etc there are people bringing it up.

Examples? Links? How many of those people are there? How many of them are in relation to total number of people playing Pathfinder? Or did you just try to make your position in the discussion stronger by appeal to numbers, but if I squeeze you hard enough it will be apparent that you can't really back the "many people" claim besides pointing to 5 or so posts? Sure, 5 people might be "many" for you, but I don't really see it that way.


I'm one of "those people". The grim fate of all souls, whether good or evil, is a very repulsive feature of the setting.

I agree, with Set that its inherited from D&D (starting with AD&D 2E) but it stinks in D&D also.


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Well trolled, bagman.

Dark Archive

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Yqatuba wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Who are those "many people"?
Whenever I make a thread about undead, gods, other planes etc there are people bringing it up.

Do not engage. The goalposts will continue moving until you have to provide him with a petition of signatures from 'many people' and then he'll just find something else you said to harass you and drag the thread off-topic and get it closed.

To the point, since effective communication is a weakness for all of us, attempting to back up a post with a statement like 'it is commonly thought' or 'many people agree' is a weak argument (and catnip to those who disagree and can pick on it to divert attention from the topic they dislike), and best avoided.

Even if it's true that 'many people agree,' it's not worth the arguments that will come from it and it's *more* than adequate if *one* person, you the poster, have an issue with it.

Indeed, it is sometimes preferable to start such a post with 'It may just be me, but I have a problem with...' Instead of the pooh-pooh comments, I find often that people are instead jumping out of the woodwork to say, 'It's not just you...'

Of course there will still be that one person who replies, 'No. It's just you.' but that's human nature, and you learn to roll with it.

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I'd avoid blanket statements such as "effective communication is a weakness for all of us". First of all, by not defining what you mean by "effective", you're making any qualification impossible, because what's "effective" varies from person to person.

Second, "all of us" is pretty much as self-defeating as "many people". A bit ironic given how you, very convincingly and correctly, explained why.

See? Now you're closer to being, hey, hehehe, oh I just sometimes kill myself, sorry, hold the vodka for a second, a more efficient communicator. You're welcome!


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I don't see how the afterlife Pathfinder can be so horrible compared to, say, a world without an afterlife. So your soul, as a petitioner, doesn't keep it's memories. So what? They're dead.

I'm just not connecting with what these people want out of an afterlife. Do they want it to just be life, again? When a person dies in a setting where you can traipse around the planes of existence would make death meaningless if you just kept your personality and memories.


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I too don't understand why Pathfinder afterlife should be considered inherently cruel. When you die, you decompose. First you decompose into the body and the soul, and each one decomposes further. Your memories also decompose.

It's only a Christian view to identify one's being with one's souls, and to expect the soul to be immortal. But the mortals of Golarion live in a different theology, where it's simply isn't true. You can argue that's wrong, but that's just arguing that the fate of soul different than the one in Christial theology is wrong.

As Albatoone pointed out, in a world where planar travel is possible but dead soul would keep their memories, the death would lose a lot of meaning.

Additionaly, the losing of memories may explain why anyone would choose to do evil in a world where they KNOW that afterlife exist - they simply don't care too much about their souls, since after they lose their memories, the souls aren't realy "them" anymore.

I think that the current situation is more internally consistent than a fantasy setting with planar travel, traditional Christian soul fate, but without traditional Christian God, would be.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I reject the premise that the afterlife in a fantasy game is supposed to be this "really great reward for what you did in life" instead of just "a natural process through which the universe recycles." Do what you want with your consciousness while you're alive, after that you're just stuff that thankfully something is going to make use of.

The First World campaign setting book makes it clear that afterlives have nothing to do with what a given soul "deserves" or any reward or punishment, it's just settling up and paying off the various gods/planes who are winning the ideological battle being played out in the Material Plane.

First World, Realm of the Fey wrote:
In the dim recesses of prehistory, a coalition of deities decided to create a new form of life. Unlike their existing servitors—angels and devils and other creatures created to represent the fundamental forces and truths of the universe—these new “mortal” entities would serve a greater function, acting as filters for the fundamental life energy of the multiverse. The energy would be translated into discrete self-directing portions called “souls,” which would use the experience of their finite lifetimes to pursue different paths. The resulting choices and circumstances would determine how the energy would be divvied up between gods and planes, as judged by Pharasma, goddess of death. It was both elegant and fair; since no god could be trusted to apportion the vital energy of existence, the energy would direct itself.

Your life isn't about you - you're voting with your actions/beliefs for which philosophy/alignment/god you think is best, and your soul is then won as energy serving/fueling that philosophy/alignment/god. Your soul is like a financial contribution to a candidate, but you don't have any say in what that candidate does with your money.


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A Sufi, a Zoroastrian and a Fruedian Scholar walked into the Salon, and were unable to communicate at all.


Adjoint wrote:


It's only a Christian view to identify one's being with one's souls, and to expect the soul to be immortal.

But that's not true. Its not only Christians (and Muslims) that assume immortality of the soul. Look at the ancient Egyptian religion, for example.

"Your soul just decomposes, becoming scenery" seems like a pretty uncommon viewpoint in the real world's religions. Even in religions like Hinduism, where the individual soul's identity is ultimately lost, the soul becomes one with something eternal.

But, ultimately, people are going to dislike different things.


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On topic, I really dislike the "Age of Lost Omens".

Super flavored concept that has absolutely no effect or real relevance in game. Every time I read something about a prophecy in Golarion product my first thought is "How does the death of Aroden affect this" and then realize it doesn't.


I dislike:
the lovercraftian things....( not a fan of it)
I dislike lost omens
I dislike this thread
I dislike that the pathfinder wiki keeps calling Merisiel ( did I spell it right??) a half elf when she is a pure blood pointy eared elf.
I dislike a dead aroden and his former undead herald who I'd really like to see returned to demigoddess on the side of good.. or neutral in her case...


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I like that Aroden's gone just from the perspective that Iomedae is a more interesting character in that she's not as perfect as her old boss, she just stepped into the job because someone had to.


Aroden died to free us all from the bondage of Prophecy. Asmodeas is taking out his pique by corrupting Cheliax. You know, I like conspiracies more than I like going on about what I don't like.


I also dislike the lack of good conspiracies too
and if they brought aroden back I can assure you, I'd dislike that too.
and here is why

off topic: DnD's over used reset button of killing off Mystra just to bring a version of her back for the next edition ruleset.


Gorbacz wrote:
Who are those "many people"?

I am one.

And back on topic, I really dislike the diety apathy.
The gods are merely stationary teats to be milked for whatever magics the follower sees fit. The inmates are ruling the asylum. This is NOT how it should be.


"The inmates are ruling the asylum. This is NOT how it should be."

Where is it not so, perchance?


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Having the deities be interventionists who are constantly meddling in things does put a cap on "how many deities you can have" and also sort of undermines the agency of the only people in the setting that really matter (the PCs in a given game).

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Nyarlathotep wrote:

On topic, I really dislike the "Age of Lost Omens".

Super flavored concept that has absolutely no effect or real relevance in game. Every time I read something about a prophecy in Golarion product my first thought is "How does the death of Aroden affect this" and then realize it doesn't.

Um, Aroden's death was the herald that prophecies don't work anymore on Golarion, so all prophecies are "affected" by his death.

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Rysky wrote:
Um, Aroden's death was the herald that prophecies don't work anymore on Golarion, so all prophecies are "affected" by his death.

Right. Except prophecy keeps getting used in official products as part of various adventures and storylines.

I'm running Return of the Rune Lords right now, and visions of the future and other prophecy play a not insignificant role in the PCs actions.


Prophesies don't work . . . unless plot?


This doesn't bother me a great deal but I think it's weird how so many gods live on planes that don't match their alignments, usually with no in-universe explanation.


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KahnyaGnorc wrote:
Prophesies don't work . . . unless plot?

Well, "Prophecies are only sometimes reliable" is sort of a given considering that this is a game in which the players can affect what happens. Perhaps their actions will fulfill the prophecy, and perhaps it will not.

Having prophecies previously be reliable is just a choice you make for your prologue. I guess if they were always unreliable people wouldn't put much stock in them now.

But it's not like a flip got switched where every prophecy is automatically wrong. I can't prophesy "It will not rain tomorrow" and in doing so change the weather.

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Bartram wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Um, Aroden's death was the herald that prophecies don't work anymore on Golarion, so all prophecies are "affected" by his death.

Right. Except prophecy keeps getting used in official products as part of various adventures and storylines.

I'm running Return of the Rune Lords right now, and visions of the future and other prophecy play a not insignificant role in the PCs actions.

I wouldn't exactly say future sight granted from time shenanigans is the same as prophecy, with the amount of time travel involved in that AP.

What other prophecies are involved?


So, does this mean Arodens death somehow gave adventurers the power to disrupt the set and fated paths? Are adventurers his true heirs? This is better than Illuminati.


I just realized another way the "petitioners lose all their memories" doesn't make sense: when you cast resurrect or the like the person you're trying to bring back knows who's casting it and can decline if they want (and presumably would if an enemy was trying to bring them). If they don't remember anything how would they know if the person trying to bring them back was a friend or enemy?


People who get resurrected aren't petitioners yet. Once you leave the boneyard and end up in the great beyond, you're in that "has chosen to not return to life" space that can cause resurrection to fail.

If you think "oh, my pals are going to haul my corpse back and resurrect me" you hang out in the waiting room. Pharasma is patient and isn't going to push anyone down the river of souls faster than they are comfortable with.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

People who get resurrected aren't petitioners yet. Once you leave the boneyard and end up in the great beyond, you're in that "has chosen to not return to life" space that can cause resurrection to fail.

If you think "oh, my pals are going to haul my corpse back and resurrect me" you hang out in the waiting room. Pharasma is patient and isn't going to push anyone down the river of souls faster than they are comfortable with.

Well true resurrection can resurrect someone who's been dead for up to 10 years per caster level. Would she really let someone "just wait" for 200+ years?


Yqatuba wrote:
Well true resurrection can resurrect someone who's been dead for up to 10 years per caster level. Would she really let someone "just wait" for 200+ years?

I wouldn't be surprised if she'd let someone wait a thousand or ten thousand years. She lets the Rahadoumi and other ardent atheists just hang out forever until they fade away after all.

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Yqatuba wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

People who get resurrected aren't petitioners yet. Once you leave the boneyard and end up in the great beyond, you're in that "has chosen to not return to life" space that can cause resurrection to fail.

If you think "oh, my pals are going to haul my corpse back and resurrect me" you hang out in the waiting room. Pharasma is patient and isn't going to push anyone down the river of souls faster than they are comfortable with.

Well true resurrection can resurrect someone who's been dead for up to 10 years per caster level. Would she really let someone "just wait" for 200+ years?

From The Dead Roads about meeting with Pharasma: "The wait for her magisterial presence is normally any number of centuries"

Based on that... yeah, I think she's not going to worry if you wait up to 200 years.


Yqatuba wrote:
Well true resurrection can resurrect someone who's been dead for up to 10 years per caster level. Would she really let someone "just wait" for 200+ years?

True resurrection is able to revive even outsiders, who do not become souls waiting for Pharasma's judgment, but are simply destroyed. If it has the power to restore body and memories of someone who ceased to exist, I believe it could also restore someone who had become a petitioner.

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Adjoint wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
Well true resurrection can resurrect someone who's been dead for up to 10 years per caster level. Would she really let someone "just wait" for 200+ years?
True resurrection is able to revive even outsiders, who do not become souls waiting for Pharasma's judgment, but are simply destroyed. If it has the power to restore body and memories of someone who ceased to exist, I believe it could also restore someone who had become a petitioner.

You'd just have to destroy the Petitioner first.


Rysky wrote:
You'd just have to destroy the Petitioner first.

I'm talking about transforming petitioner back into the mortal they once were, not restoring the destroyed petitioner. The spell specifically mentions being transformed into an undead as a limiting factor, but it doesn't mention being transformed into a petitioner at all.

An idea for a twist: the body and memories of a dead person are restored, bu the soul is a new one. You just cannot tell because it believes itself to be the same person that died, and as far as the body and memories are concerned, it is. Meanwhile, the petitioner created from the original soul continues its existence on another plane.

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Adjoint wrote:
Rysky wrote:
You'd just have to destroy the Petitioner first.

I'm talking about transforming petitioner back into the mortal they once were, not restoring the destroyed petitioner. The spell specifically mentions being transformed into an undead as a limiting factor, but it doesn't mention being transformed into a petitioner at all.

An idea for a twist: the body and memories of a dead person are restored, bu the soul is a new one. You just cannot tell because it believes itself to be the same person that died, and as far as the body and memories are concerned, it is. Meanwhile, the petitioner created from the original soul continues its existence on another plane.

Per the article in Pyramid of the Sky Pharoah in Mummy's mask:

River of Souls wrote:
Regardless of a soul’s final destination, upon receiving Pharasma’s judgment it finds itself changed. No longer a mortal being, the soul has become an outsider, a true native of the plane it now inhabits. Souls inhabiting the Outer Planes are known as petitioners and, as they’ve begun new lives, can no longer be returned to life by mortal magic. (In her capacity as the goddess of fate, Pharasma knows which souls are and aren’t done with life, including those destined to be called back to the Material Plane via magic. These souls are not judged or transformed into petitioners. Rather, they’re left to wait in the Boneyard until resurrected and allowed to progress toward their true death.)

Not to say you can't rule it otherwise, that's why home games have GMs, after all! It's just not how it works in-setting.


Cydeth wrote:

Per the article in Pyramid of the Sky Pharoah in Mummy's mask:

River of Souls wrote:
Regardless of a soul’s final destination, upon receiving Pharasma’s judgment it finds itself changed. No longer a mortal being, the soul has become an outsider, a true native of the plane it now inhabits. Souls inhabiting the Outer Planes are known as petitioners and, as they’ve begun new lives, can no longer be returned to life by mortal magic. (In her capacity as the goddess of fate, Pharasma knows which souls are and aren’t done with life, including those destined to be called back to the Material Plane via magic. These souls are not judged or transformed into petitioners. Rather, they’re left to wait in the Boneyard until resurrected and allowed to progress toward their true death.)
Not to say you can't rule it otherwise, that's why home games have GMs, after all! It's just not how it works in-setting.

Fair enough.

Silver Crusade

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One thing I'd like to add to the prophecy issue is that, from what I understand, prophecy and predicting the future are two different things, otherwise divination as a whole would have stopped working when the Age of Lost Omens began.

Using a divination spell to anticipate or predict something still more or less works, but that stuff mostly predicts things in the immediate future, and on a relatively small scale. What has actually failed are the grand, sweeping predictions with lots of specific details, the kind of ones that say "When Omen X occurs, Chosen One Y will perform Action Z." The future can still be predicted, but not as far out and with much more vagueness. The main reason this is considered a problem by Golarion's denizens is that a lot of people, especially ones in power, were invested in the specific outcomes of those prophecies, and Aroden's death means the outcomes of prophecies are no longer safe bets, and the people who bet on Aroden's return have effectively lost said bets, and their shirts as well.

The Harbingers of Fate are effectively committing the sunk cost and gambler's fallacies.


Makes me wonder what the souls in the cosmic waiting room do for all those decades or centuries. Pharisma must have a lot of magazines :p.

Another thing about the forgetting everything that bothers me: What if two people deeply loved each other in life? Would they just forget about that and not love each other anymore? That makes me want to cry TBH. Frankly I think I will just do what Cydeth mentioned and Rule Zero the hell out of it.

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My personal opinion of why they chose to have characters forget after Pharasma's Judgement is as follows.

To keep players deciding that the answer to questions is to go ask the dead guy in the ancient text. So that if people wanted to find the past to the long-lost stronghold, they can't just plane-shift to the appropriate plane and hunt down someone who lived there when it wasn't lost.

I don't necessarily like this answer (if it's even correct). I think that the current version is a little sad. However, having had players who would've hunted down petitioners with the knowledge they wanted in a heartbeat, or gone to beat up old enemies even in their afterlife? I can understand it. It helps keep some mysteries mysterious, in my opinion, and keeps people for going for an easy answer.

My personal choice wouldn't be the broad metaphysical answer, but I'd probably just let petitioners have memories, but make it nigh-impossible to find them if you're wanting answers from them. Make it a quest or something, if they're persistent enough.

But that's me.


Adjoint wrote:
Cydeth wrote:

Per the article in Pyramid of the Sky Pharoah in Mummy's mask:

River of Souls wrote:
Regardless of a soul’s final destination, upon receiving Pharasma’s judgment it finds itself changed. No longer a mortal being, the soul has become an outsider, a true native of the plane it now inhabits. Souls inhabiting the Outer Planes are known as petitioners and, as they’ve begun new lives, can no longer be returned to life by mortal magic. (In her capacity as the goddess of fate, Pharasma knows which souls are and aren’t done with life, including those destined to be called back to the Material Plane via magic. These souls are not judged or transformed into petitioners. Rather, they’re left to wait in the Boneyard until resurrected and allowed to progress toward their true death.)
Not to say you can't rule it otherwise, that's why home games have GMs, after all! It's just not how it works in-setting.
Fair enough.

I found a spell that can revert petitioner to a mortal, and return their memories: Judgement Undone.


*deep breath*

Okay, these are just the things that absolutely bug me with the setting.

1) Not enough 'non-standard' races, ie the usual seven races, Halflings, Gnomes, Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Half-Elves, Half-Orcs, running around. I'd have preferred to see some historically traditional-enemies-of-the-players races having their own kingdoms and being world powers in their own right. A Hobgoblin empire that's remarkably forward-thinking and quite civilized ... but accepts slavery and expansionism and bigotry towards unregistered arcanists quite openly too. A nation-wide network of Kobolds who compete with the Dwarves for economic dominance of the metal and stone-based industries. Ogre Mages who run authoritarian but still honorable empires alongside Kitsune, Tengu and Humans, stuff that makes the players question who is really the monster here.

I wanted Paizo to shake the tree far harder than they did when they created Golarion, to step away from bored, tired and, I do apologise if this comes across as overly hostile, cowardly writing where Humans are inevitably the greatest good and the strongest power. Under-dogs are always far more enjoyable, IMHO, but having Humanity be divided not only by religion and territory, but also by how each nation, religious group and faction dealt with non-humans and their different faiths and societies would have been fascinating.

Do you ally with the strong economic power, even if they are non-human and have odd cultural quirks, or do you stand against them to be with your fellow man ... who may hate you for your religious beliefs and control of hotly contested resources? The question of the alien or the familiar should also be tempered with the actions of said alien and familiar, and should be something that players and GMs alike squirm on the hook when they're making their choices between the two in a situation where there's only a yes or no method of resolution.

Humanity is a pack of bastards at the best of times, and I'd have dearly loved to seen that explored far further and taken to the hilt, that the world of Golarion is a crap-sack, but Humans and the other 'default' races are no less crap-sack than any of the other denizens that live there.

2) Having pantheons made up solely of goodies and baddies. Having racial pantheons that work together against opposing racial pantheons, and then having other pantheons of multi-racial groups dedicated to the causes of Good, Chaos, Law and Evil would have been very interesting, especially if Gods might occupy places in two or three Pantheons at once, and might end up being the ambassadors or peace-makers if these Pantheons start to come into conflict or have rival members trying to claim sole dominion of a specific portfolio. A racial pantheon could have members running the gamut of all Alignments, and each pantheon, be their racial, multi-racial or alignment-based would then have a unique flavour to them that could be used heavily to create plot-hooks, tension between nations and religious groups as missionaries and evangelists run around and the various nations have to decide who can safely preach in their borders and who cannot ... and how to deal with troublesome cults and religions that threaten the nation's control of it's own people ...

Imagine the chaos of, let's say, four Elven nations that have between them three Elven Pantheons and a Mixed-Race Pantheon. Elf Nation A might worship a strict, xenophobic Pantheon that demands total obedience from all Elves, staying within the territory of the Elven Kingdoms and the eradication of mixed bloodlines of Elves and 'lesser creatures', and whose followers are given sanction to make it happen by force if necessary, while Nation B and C might worship both a second Elven Pantheon revolving around freedom, truth and the embrace of magic and the Mixed-Race Pantheon in an effort to connect with and uplift the other races, while Elven nation C also worships, along with nation D, the Third Elven Pantheon that only likewise doesn't like other races but isn't as adverse to them as the first Pantheon, but instead instructs their Elven followers to spread out and conquer the 'lesser' races from within, through diplomacy, economic and assassination-themed methods to 'save' the world from the machinations of the other Gods.

Boom, you've got a shifting dynamic structure to play around with. There's a mixture of religious and political intrigue, internal strife, the Elves aren't a one-note race of 'we live in tune with nature and are magical pretty folk' and there's no end to the plot-hooks.

And that's just four Elven kingdoms who may or may not be separated by terrain, other nations or just hotly-contested borders. That's not including their interactions with their neighbours, the problems of the people within those kingdoms and the machinations of those Pantheons squabbling with each other over followers, and the power larger groups of followers may grant a God or Pantheon.

3) This is a far more personal whine than any complaint about Paizo itself, but I would have dearly loved to have seen an entirely 'mongrel' nation have appeared as an actual, if minor, world-power, ruled and populated by Half-Orcs, Half-Elves, Tieflings and other maligned and minor 'half' races, basically a mecca of trade and relative solace for the 'bastards' of Golarion, formed by former slaves, disenfranchised raiders and forward-thinking adventurers long ago and is now just as civilized, if slightly belligerent towards their ancestral 'enemies' than is truly necessary even at the best of times, as any of their neighbouring nations, which brings me to my final complaint ...

4) Nations being predominantly one-race with a minority of others is one thing, but seeing particularly older nations not having far larger numbers of other races annoys me. Having folks saying "I am Theyvian" not because they are humans or elves or whatever race lives there, but because they were born there. I'd have preferred to have seen a smattering more races that are far more multiracial than what we've got thus far, and to have nationality cause more issues for players travelling than their race.

An Elf from X may get more trouble from traders from Y because of their nationality rather than their race, while two Halflings from two different nations might see each other as more alien than the Gnoll from a third nation due to differing religious beliefs and social customs.

That said, these are basically my only real complaints with the setting that actively irk me.

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I kinda think when people create threads to discuss something, they shouldn't start with "Hey, here is a thread where you can complain or criticize about what you dislike AND WE MEAN EVERYTHING" in the thread title :P

:p Like these threads always devolve into people arguing when you dislike something they like, especially since people tend to write things they dislike as "bad things" rather than as things they have different opinion about. So even if somebody doesn't really have strong opinion on it, when they see it being called a "bad thing" they are like "Oh hey stop there, that isn't a bad thing"

It also leads to perception where people who visit these threads start to assume "Oh everyone dislikes these things" because people who look at the thread title obviously don't come to these threads to praise stuff :P

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HalfOrc with a Hat of Disguise wrote:

1) Not enough 'non-standard' races, ie the usual seven races, Halflings, Gnomes, Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Half-Elves, Half-Orcs, running around. I'd have preferred to see some historically traditional-enemies-of-the-players races having their own kingdoms and being world powers in their own right. A Hobgoblin empire that's remarkably forward-thinking and quite civilized [SNIP]

I wanted Paizo to shake the tree far harder than they did when they created Golarion,

Yeah, hobgoblins in particular make sense to have a kingdom / nation of their own. The Kingdoms of Kalamar setting had *two* hobgoblin kingdoms on the map, IIRC, along with the usual smattering of human, etc. run areas.

I also liked how the Scarred Lands setting had a nation of primarily half-orcs, most with two half-orc parents and the product of standard marriages, long-time descendants of half-orc mercenaries that had served in the armies of a neighboring country, and taken up residence in some of the lands they'd won for their sponsoring nation. I think they were bucking tradition to have most of the half-orcs in their setting being *not* the product of assumed rape.

I've long wondered what a lizardfolk or gnoll kingdom would look like. Or a giant- or dragon-run nation, not tucked away in some backwater or mountain valley or island, but smack in the middle of various human(oid) nations, and trading with some, and enemy to others.

And yeah, the humans being the only race to have multiple cultures and languages and nationalities and pantheons of gods, is kinda boring. A setting where two different elves or dwarves could follow radically different national or cultural standards, but not be mechanically different 'sub-races,' would be interesting.

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