Who here misses the edginess of 3.5 Edition Golarion?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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Silver Crusade

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You did direct this to a Paizo employee.

NotBothered wrote:

Please stop being so precious with your NPC's, particularly this one.

THE ultimate point of the game is for the PC's to defeat every single one of your bad guys and then queue up for the next lot that comes along.

This BBEG has already suffered from a severe case of writers armour, please don't make it any worse.


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Rysky wrote:

You mean not having them as antagonists. Which they've never been in the APs. Having them be allies isn't plot armor.

Aside from the end of Carrion Crown where have liches been permanently destroyed in APs?

Why do they need to be allies at all? They are clearly NPC's the characters should be opposed to based on the mindset of a good party. Introducing such characters if you're going to writer armour them just leaves an unsatisfactory feeling.

I'm not saying you have to kill them but the option should be there to allow you to do so, and I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that some will want to.

I'm harking back a couple of years now but I think you can kill Vordecai permanently in Kingmaker, but other than Carrion Crown I'm not sure I can recall fighting another lich, not that I've played or Dm'd every AP


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Rysky wrote:
You did direct this to a Paizo employee.

Yes because it was his opinion I was quoting, and his colleagues that are responsible for the matter in question.

There would be little point in addressing such a complaint to fellow board members attention as they have no control over what's published.

Silver Crusade

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NotBothered wrote:
Why do they need to be allies at all? They are clearly NPC's the characters should be opposed to based on the mindset of a good party. Introducing such characters if you're going to writer armour them just leaves an unsatisfactory feeling.
This doesn't make any sense to me. They were introduced in non-antagonistic situations and set up as allies, neither AP was set up with them as targets. The Midnight Isles is about getting an audience with Nocticula and working against the other Demon Lords. Return of the Runelords was about Sorshen becoming your patron and working to stop Azlanist while redeeming herself. The plot never went with "we need to go kill these people". Not liking working them yeah, but aside from fanatic crusaders in Nocticula's case having them as adverseries were never on the table, nor made sense.
Quote:
I'm not saying you have to kill them but the option should be there to allow you to do so, and I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that some will want to.
There is info for if your party doesn't want to work with either and/or if they attack, but your characters aren't really coming across as Good if they attack Sorshen in Return. They also wouldn't survive that.
Quote:
I'm harking back a couple of years now but I think you can kill Vordecai permanently in Kingmaker, but other than Carrion Crown I'm not sure I can recall fighting another lich, not that I've played or Dm'd every AP

You can permanently destroy Vordecai because his phylactery has already been destroyed, the PCs don't have to hunt it down.

Silver Crusade

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NotBothered wrote:
Rysky wrote:
You did direct this to a Paizo employee.

Yes because it was his opinion I was quoting, and his colleagues that are responsible for the matter in question.

There would be little point in addressing such a complaint to fellow board members attention as they have no control over what's published.

It's not addressing him that was the issue, it was what you said.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Rysky's point, I believe, was that it's fairly hypocritical to dress someone down for being "biased and confrontational" when your own post used patronizing and confrontational language like "stop being so precious with your NPCs". When you come into a thread apparently looking for a fight and then try to tear someone apart for responding with (honestly in my opinion notably less aggressive but arguably) similar levels of posting energy, it doesn't really engender positive energy or create much likelihood of getting a response.

That being said, I'm someone who often comes off much more harshly online than I intend to, and I'm going to extend the courtesy of engaging in this conversation under the assumption that it's intended in good faith.

I fundamentally disagree with your assessment that "THE ultimate point of the game is for the PC's to defeat every single one of your bad guys and then queue up for the next lot that comes along". Frankly, that sounds intensely boring unless the whole group agreed that all we wanted was an RP-lite dungeon crawl. In my experience, many players actually enjoy a game where they're forced to think, adapt, and sometimes even lose.

In the case of Tyrant's Grasp specifically, Jacobs and the authors knew they were creating a story that could be somewhat controversial, but they also decided it was the right story to tell (I agree). It's unlikely to be a type of story we'll tell in the Adventure Path format again anytime soon, but that doesn't mean it wasn't worth telling. For a different ending, Tar-Baphon's phylactery would need to be destroyed in order to truly remove him as a threat, and frankly that was far outside the scope of the AP. Discovering Tar-Baphon's phylactery and destroying it so that he can be defeated is an entire AP unto itself, and perhaps one we'll tell someday. Who knows what the future might bring? But finding a power capable of destroying Tar-Baphon's phylactery, once the PCs have even figured out what and where it is, will be a significant undertaking in it's own right.

TTRPGs are unique amongst most gaming hobbies in that their nature allows an infinite number of stories to be told. Those can be stories of victory, stories of loss, stories of triumph, or stories of tragedy. The players are empowered to determine how they impact the events around them. The GM is empowered to tailor the story to the group. There is a sidebar in Tyrant's Grasp addressing an alternative where the PCs survive; if the group wants to continue that story with mythic tiers or some other device and hunt down Tar-Baphon's phylactery to put an end to him once and for all, then the group should play that story. It's just not the story we chose to tell this time around.


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Rysky wrote:
There is info for if your party doesn't want to work with either and/or if they attack, but your characters aren't really coming across as Good if they attack Sorshen in Return. They also wouldn't survive that.

And your last sentence, is the nature of my complaint. The other runelords are fair game but they do their level best to make sure even if you go after Sorshen you cannot get her.

And why would they not be good, she is a monstrous evil with a list of crimes against humanity Genghis Khan would be proud of. At no time can you justify that she deserves to be let off just because "she isn't like that anymore" without it coming across as protecting the NPC


Michael Sayre wrote:

Rysky's point, I believe, was that it's fairly hypocritical to dress someone down for being "biased and confrontational" when your own post used patronizing and confrontational language like "stop being so precious with your NPCs". When you come into a thread apparently looking for a fight and then try to tear someone apart for responding with (honestly in my opinion notably less aggressive but arguably) similar levels of posting energy, it doesn't really engender positive energy or create much likelihood of getting a response.

That being said, I'm someone who often comes off much more harshly online than I intend to, and I'm going to extend the courtesy of engaging in this conversation under the assumption that it's intended in good faith.

I fundamentally disagree with your assessment that "THE ultimate point of the game is for the PC's to defeat every single one of your bad guys and then queue up for the next lot that comes along". Frankly, that sounds intensely boring unless the whole group agreed that all we wanted was an RP-lite dungeon crawl. In my experience, many players actually enjoy a game where they're forced to think, adapt, and sometimes even lose.

In the case of Tyrant's Grasp specifically, Jacobs and the authors knew they were creating a story that could be somewhat controversial, but they also decided it was the right story to tell (I agree). It's unlikely to be a type of story we'll tell in the Adventure Path format anytime soon, but that doesn't mean it wasn't worth telling. For a different ending, Tar-Baphon's phylactery would need to be destroyed in order to truly remove him as a threat, and frankly that was far outside the scope of the AP. Discovering Tar-Baphon's phylactery and destroying it so that he can be defeated is an entire AP unto itself, and perhaps one we'll tell someday. Who knows what the future might bring? But finding a power capable of destroying Tar-Baphon's phylactery, once the PCs have even figured out what and where it is, will be a significant undertaking in...

When I asked you to stop being so precious with your NPC's it wasn't a confrontational thing or indeed patronizing. It was meant as a sincere plea not to keep making the same mistakes you have been making with NPC's in 1st edition. If no one ever has the stones to call out Paizo on this you will never know your customers find this an issue.

Nowhere did I suggest on the way to victory players should not be challenged, forced to change their styles to survive, adapt, or face loss. However the object of the game is co-operative storytelling and in such a way that guarantees player satisfaction. For many that means a win and it certainly should never mean that an enemy or potential enemy NPC placed in an adventure be made untouchable for whatever reason.

I have said this before and I will say it again and many adventure writers have offered this advice to starting DM's over the years too. If you do not want the party to kill your bad guy then do not put him in the adventure with the party. And that advice goes all the way back to Gygax and through many others since.

And with that if you find me annoying, confrontational or patronising, I suggest you take a look at my user name.

Silver Crusade

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NotBothered wrote:
Rysky wrote:
There is info for if your party doesn't want to work with either and/or if they attack, but your characters aren't really coming across as Good if they attack Sorshen in Return. They also wouldn't survive that.

And your last sentence, is the nature of my complaint. The other runelords are fair game but they do their level best to make sure even if you go after Sorshen you cannot get her.

And why would they not be good, she is a monstrous evil with a list of crimes against humanity Genghis Khan would be proud of. At no time can you justify that she deserves to be let off just because "she isn't like that anymore" without it coming across as protecting the NPC

If you murder someone who has worked to redeem themselves, you too are a murderer and no longer fit the "good" spectrum of alignment.

Silver Crusade

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NotBothered wrote:
Rysky wrote:
There is info for if your party doesn't want to work with either and/or if they attack, but your characters aren't really coming across as Good if they attack Sorshen in Return. They also wouldn't survive that.

And your last sentence, is the nature of my complaint. The other runelords are fair game but they do their level best to make sure even if you go after Sorshen you cannot get her.

And why would they not be good, she is a monstrous evil with a list of crimes against humanity Genghis Khan would be proud of. At no time can you justify that she deserves to be let off just because "she isn't like that anymore" without it coming across as protecting the NPC

1) Because she's way higher level than your party and with mythic tiers, she never stopped being one of the strongest wizards in the setting, that's not plot armor.

2) That they most likely don't know about.


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Rysky wrote:


1) Because she's way higher level than your party and with mythic tiers, she never stopped being one of the strongest wizards in the setting, that's not plot armor.

2) That they most likely don't know about.

1) So was Xanderghul but it was made so he could be killed by the party half way through the AP

2) really I'd assume by the time you're even part way through this AP without even touching on any research you'd have a pretty good idea how vile the runelords were.


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NotBothered wrote:
[...] she is a monstrous evil with a list of crimes against humanity Genghis Khan would be proud of.

Do you have any evidence for these allegations?


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It sure is hard to avoid Tyrant's Grasp spoilers on these boards...

Having not played it or read it I have to say I would have been disappointed if the PCs don't sacrifice themselves heroically to temporarily inconvenience Tar-Baphon, rather than killing him permanently. No one tell me what happens (again).


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Zaister wrote:
NotBothered wrote:
[...] she is a monstrous evil with a list of crimes against humanity Genghis Khan would be proud of.
Do you have any evidence for these allegations?

The evidence lies in her background and the history of Thassilon.

Are you trying to suggest she was never a monster or are you arguing the party would not know it?

Silver Crusade

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NotBothered wrote:
Rysky wrote:


1) Because she's way higher level than your party and with mythic tiers, she never stopped being one of the strongest wizards in the setting, that's not plot armor.

2) That they most likely don't know about.

1) So was Xanderghul but it was made so he could be killed by the party half way through the AP

2) really I'd assume by the time you're even part way through this AP without even touching on any research you'd have a pretty good idea how vile the runelords were.

1) The PCs never encountered Xanderghul at full strength. Asking for that to happen to Sorshen is asking for a plot bullet just so you can kill her, that they didn't do that doesn't mean plot armor was in effect.

2) And will have been interacting with Sorshen most of the time and learning what she's currently doing what she's doing.

Silver Crusade

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NotBothered wrote:
Zaister wrote:
NotBothered wrote:
[...] she is a monstrous evil with a list of crimes against humanity Genghis Khan would be proud of.
Do you have any evidence for these allegations?

The evidence lies in her background and the history of Thassilon.

Are you trying to suggest she was never a monster or are you arguing the party would not know it?

The latter.


Broadly speaking, I think it's reasonable to apply "plot armor" to NPCs who are not explicitly in the PCs way (or indeed might be helping them) when you have plans for that NPC going forward.

Like in Wrath of the Righteous, the PCs murk Baphomet and Deskari, and entirely have it within their power to kill Nocticula. But she's not your enemy in WotR, and even if you're wandering the Abyss looking for targets she's low priority. Knowing this, you can insulate her because you have plans for her.


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Rysky wrote:


1) The PCs never encountered Xanderghul at full strength. Asking for that to happen to Sorshen is asking for a plot bullet just so you can kill her, that they didn't do that doesn't mean plot armor was in effect.

2) And will have been interacting with Sorshen most of the time and learning what she's currently doing what she's doing.

So Xanderghul can take a plot bullet but Sorshen can't?

It could have just as easily been written in to give the PC's a crack at her too

I wouldn't
If i were playing in a Return game I'd avoid her like the plague. Why would you trust anything she says? She's an evil wizard out of the dark ages who says she's got over it.
No thanks I'd stay well clear until I could end her thanks. I don't think it's too much to ask for the PC to assume her agenda is to sue them against her rivals and sweep to power not unlike Alaznist is attempting to do.

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

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Removed some posts. Stop bickering. Get back on topic or stop posting in the thread.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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NotBothered wrote:

So Xanderghul can take a plot bullet but Sorshen can't?

It could have just as easily been written in to give the PC's a crack at her too

It absolutely could have been written that way, but that's not the story I wanted my authors to tell.

One of the joys of being the author or architect of an adventure or story is that you get to decide what that adventure or story is about. It's also a curse, because inevitably someone won't like what you decided to write about... but the only real option for a writer to avoid this is "Just don't write at all." And that option sucks.

Sorry the plot of Return of the Runelords isn't what you would have preferred. It's the one I wanted to present, and I'm VERY proud of it and of the hard work the six authors poured into bringing the story to life.

And keep in mind that as a GM you're free to change and alter an adventure's plot however you wish to improve it for your table. I don't know your players, personally, so I have no idea what sort of adventure to write for them. You do, though. And if that means changing Return of the Runelords so that you get to take out Sorshen at the end, by all means make the change! If that means that Return of the Runelords is beyond salvage for your game... then don't run it at all.

And if you're REALLY bothered that we at Paizo seem to have favorite NPCs, feel free to run adventures with them as the villains for your PCs to defeat. Shensen's stats work just as well whether she's an ally or an enemy, after all. The game rules don't care what side of the screen an NPC schemes on.


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James Jacobs wrote:
NotBothered wrote:

So Xanderghul can take a plot bullet but Sorshen can't?

It could have just as easily been written in to give the PC's a crack at her too

It absolutely could have been written that way, but that's not the story I wanted my authors to tell.

One of the joys of being the author or architect of an adventure or story is that you get to decide what that adventure or story is about. It's also a curse, because inevitably someone won't like what you decided to write about... but the only real option for a writer to avoid this is "Just don't write at all." And that option sucks.

Sorry the plot of Return of the Runelords isn't what you would have preferred. It's the one I wanted to present, and I'm VERY proud of it and of the hard work the six authors poured into bringing the story to life.

And keep in mind that as a GM you're free to change and alter an adventure's plot however you wish to improve it for your table. I don't know your players, personally, so I have no idea what sort of adventure to write for them. You do, though. And if that means changing Return of the Runelords so that you get to take out Sorshen at the end, by all means make the change! If that means that Return of the Runelords is beyond salvage for your game... then don't run it at all.

And if you're REALLY bothered that we at Paizo seem to have favorite NPCs, feel free to run adventures with them as the villains for your PCs to defeat. Shensen's stats work just as well whether she's an ally or an enemy, after all. The game rules don't care what side of the screen an NPC schemes on.

Okay then James, thank you for at least noting my complaint even though you clearly don't agree. I wanted Paizo to understand that I and perhaps others saw an issue and now you do, so I'll leave it be.


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NotBothered wrote:


THE ultimate point of the game is for the PC's to defeat every single one of your bad guys and then queue up for the next lot that comes along.

I disagree pretty strongly. Some of these big bads looming in the background is a big part of the setting's feel. Tar Baphon's point is to be a constant lurking menance. I'm undecided on if his breaking free was a good move or not in that regard. But taking him out removes so much more from the setting than the satisfaction of killing him provides. He shapes the history of nations, and is a name known to everyone. Killing him leaves a big hole in the setting. Same with other big threats like Razmir, Geb, The House of Thrune etc. The setting is richer for having them around. Replacing them with new villains that just kind of pop up gets pretty silly rather quickly. But it is a bit tricky to keep the threats around without it becoming a tedious "Dr. Claw always gets away" kind of situation.


Michael Sayre wrote:
{. . .} But finding a power capable of destroying Tar-Baphon's phylactery, once the PCs have even figured out what and where it is, will be a significant...

Actually, do we even know that he has just one of them?

Dark Archive

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I'm mostly confused by notion that Paizo NPCs have "plot armor".

Like "plot armor" is "When you kill this character, they still survive, because Mordenkainen has infinite clones in infinite demiplanes you could never hope to locate" or in other words "Iggwilv upon death still survives because she always has a backup plan" or even "Of course, Orcus doesn't actually die permanently, he is too iconic villain for that and we wouldn't kill him off permanently!"

Lots of D&D bad guys have plot armor, but none of paizo npcs really do. If they die, then they actually die rulewise.


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UnArcaneElection wrote:
Michael Sayre wrote:
{. . .} But finding a power capable of destroying Tar-Baphon's phylactery, once the PCs have even figured out what and where it is, will be a significant...

Actually, do we even know that he has just one of them?

My unjustified guess is that the Isle of Terror itself is his phylactery.


Steve Geddes wrote:
My unjustified guess is that the Isle of Terror itself is his phylactery.

I'm inclined to think it's not a physical thing at all. I mean a committed high level geokineticist can destroy an island...

It's probably an idea, or something abstract like that. Killing him permanently is going to involve a heist on the Akashic Record or something.

Dark Archive

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CorvusMask wrote:

I'm mostly confused by notion that Paizo NPCs have "plot armor".

Like "plot armor" is "When you kill this character, they still survive, because Mordenkainen has infinite clones in infinite demiplanes you could never hope to locate" or in other words "Iggwilv upon death still survives because she always has a backup plan" or even "Of course, Orcus doesn't actually die permanently, he is too iconic villain for that and we wouldn't kill him off permanently!"

Lots of D&D bad guys have plot armor, but none of paizo npcs really do. If they die, then they actually die rulewise.

Cough Iron fang invasion cough


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I find it funny that working with Sorshen is something that gets such a reaction. Never played Winters Reign? You rescue someone who makes Sorshen looks harmless.

One last thing attacking Sorshen just because she is evil would make me wonder how good the party is. And redemption is something that any person calling themselves good should not ignore.

Dark Archive

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Kevin Mack wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:

I'm mostly confused by notion that Paizo NPCs have "plot armor".

Like "plot armor" is "When you kill this character, they still survive, because Mordenkainen has infinite clones in infinite demiplanes you could never hope to locate" or in other words "Iggwilv upon death still survives because she always has a backup plan" or even "Of course, Orcus doesn't actually die permanently, he is too iconic villain for that and we wouldn't kill him off permanently!"

Lots of D&D bad guys have plot armor, but none of paizo npcs really do. If they die, then they actually die rulewise.

Cough Iron fang invasion cough

Default canon assuming players take different choices than your party doesn't count as plot armor :P Unless the adventure itself has NPC that doesn't die when killed?

(now, it might be different thing if there was multiple APs were same character was the main villain and they died at end of each AP only to come back anyway*coughcoughStrahdwasn'tsupposedtobeoriginallybroughtbackbythecursebec auseinoriginalversionthecursewasliftedD&DStrikesagain*)

Silver Crusade

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The final encounter with General Azaersi does heavily nudge the group to taking the diplomatic approach, but killing is never off the table.

Canon it shows went with the path the book suggested.


I would honestly find it strange that you could not have a PC owning slaves, which is kind of something you might have to do with Asmodeus as an Evil PC in Cheliax but in theory you could have Folca be a deity you could be a cleric too. "Unnatural Lust"? Really?

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Pretty sure Folca got retgoned.


I don't think I will miss him. If it was a monster to slay I think people would not have complained. Sifkesh is more compelling and scary as a concept and if Pathfinder keeps that in mind I don't think people's feathers would be ruffled.

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Dr. Gero wrote:
I don't think I will miss him. If it was a monster to slay I think people would not have complained. Sifkesh is more compelling and scary as a concept and if Pathfinder keeps that in mind I don't think people's feathers would be ruffled.

*nods*


Steve Geddes wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
Michael Sayre wrote:
{. . .} But finding a power capable of destroying Tar-Baphon's phylactery, once the PCs have even figured out what and where it is, will be a significant...

Actually, do we even know that he has just one of them?

My unjustified guess is that the Isle of Terror itself is his phylactery.

That's a good possibility. I do seem to recall hearing that Urgathoa has it. Was that ever confirmed, or is it just a rumor?

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Doktor Weasel wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
Michael Sayre wrote:
{. . .} But finding a power capable of destroying Tar-Baphon's phylactery, once the PCs have even figured out what and where it is, will be a significant...

Actually, do we even know that he has just one of them?

My unjustified guess is that the Isle of Terror itself is his phylactery.
That's a good possibility. I do seem to recall hearing that Urgathoa has it. Was that ever confirmed, or is it just a rumor?

That was a potential plot hook offered in Mythic Realms.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
My unjustified guess is that the Isle of Terror itself is his phylactery.

I'm inclined to think it's not a physical thing at all. I mean a committed high level geokineticist can destroy an island...

It's probably an idea, or something abstract like that. Killing him permanently is going to involve a heist on the Akashic Record or something.

If that's even possible - using an idea as a phylactery, then he's tied it directly to the Whispering Way itself. Not the Cult, but the secret whispered tenets themselves.


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James Jacobs wrote:
and I'm VERY proud of it and of the hard work the six authors poured into bringing the story to life.

And you should be! Return of the Runelords was far and away my favorite AP to date.

Dark Archive

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I think regarding Folca I decided that the fighter from my RotR party killed him offscreen after the campaign was over :P

Anyway, I think its because on normal game PCs aren't assumed to be evil characters. The game where PCs do morally dark things all the time is already not normal game that suits everyone comfort levels, so neutral and good aligned characters wouldn't do things listed in the book

Dark Archive

thejeff wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
It's probably an idea, or something abstract like that. Killing him permanently is going to involve a heist on the Akashic Record or something.
If that's even possible - using an idea as a phylactery, then he's tied it directly to the Whispering Way itself. Not the Cult, but the secret whispered tenets themselves.

Nah, just the Whispering Way itself.

As long as even one adherent survives, so does Tar-Baphon.


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Looks like the thread has drifted away from the topic a bit, but I absolutely adored the feel of very early Pathfinder, and it does feel like it's been made more friendly for all ages as it's gotten more popular. I do miss it though.

Rise of the Runelords is probably my favorite Paizo AP, and my second favorite AP overall (behind Razor Coast), because when I read it I kept thinking "Oh cool, it's like D&D for adults that doesn't try too hard). It was gritty, it was pulpy, and the forward from Hook Mountain Massacares (probably my favorite single adventure) STILL has me thinking that one ogrekin was filating his brother in the original draft.

These days it feels like a lot of the grittiness has been smoothed out, which I understand, but it's now the rules system that keeps me engaged in Pathfinder more than the lore. Some of my personal problems with it have been reflected by others in this thread. There are several modules or APs I've looked and come across an NPC that immediately makes me go "Oh, this one is an author's favorite."

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martinaj wrote:
There are several modules or APs I've looked and come across an NPC that immediately makes me go "Oh, this one is an author's favorite."

I don't understand the point of this complaint. If an author doesn't have a favorite NPC in an adventure they write... they're not really into writing that adventure and I like to think that the authors we hire to write adventures have passion for the subject.

In every adventure I write I put a lot of myself into the NPCs... the allies and the enemies alike, and I often have multiple NPCs who vie for the role of "favorite."

And when I read another's adventure and they have lovingly detailed and interesting NPCs... that adds to the game for me.


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martinaj wrote:

{. . .}

Rise of the Runelords is probably my favorite Paizo AP, and my second favorite AP overall (behind Razor Coast), because when I read it I kept thinking "Oh cool, it's like D&D for adults that doesn't try too hard). It was gritty, it was pulpy, and the forward from Hook Mountain Massacares (probably my favorite single adventure) STILL has me thinking that one ogrekin was filating his brother in the original draft.
{. . .}

Suddenly, I have this twisted reimagining of the Ogres as a bunch of con artists running an insurance scam out of a massage parlor front business . . . .

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Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Lost Omens Campaign Setting / General Discussion / Who here misses the edginess of 3.5 Edition Golarion? All Messageboards

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