Does anyone else want playable serpentfolk?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Silver Crusade

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

One of the nice things about Nagaji is that Pathfinder is already somewhat invested in normalizing Nagas, who traditionally were usually just weird monsters despite fans in popular culture.

Like easily the best romance in any of the Pathfinder novels was between Celeste and Torius Vin.

That's more to do with Nagas, which I rather see more of than Nagaji.

And yes.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:
just weird monsters despite fans in popular culture.

To be fair popular culture nagas are kind of different than D&D/PF nagas.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Rysky wrote:
2 & 3) And why do you have to cleave to "tradition" in certain aspects rather than creating something new?

I don't have to. I want to. Primarily out respect to all of those who have inspired me over the past 40 years with stories of scary snake people (from Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, and Robert E Howard on up to D&D's yuan-ti); I want to honor and carry on that tradition, not transform it.

Rysky wrote:
4) Would having them be playable really take away all of the mystery. To me most mystery is "robbed" when they're put into the Bestiary.

I feel that it would, hence why I mentioned it in the first place.

Rysky wrote:
6) What about Vishkanya? I have honestly had zero interest in Nagaji due to their genesis (humans genetically modified to have scales, creepy and unnerving, but not in a cool or interesting way) and their art and design.

Vishkanya are VERY likely to see return as ancestries in 2nd edition at some point, but they don't really fit a "snake person" role in my mind as much as do the nagaji. Furthermore, and more importantly... unlike nagaji (which are 100% fanciful inventions by me not based on any real-world culture), the vishkanya are based on elements from earth history, and so we need to be respectful of those elements and history—the world's changed a LOT in the few years since we put them in the game, and before they come back, we need to do more research to be certain that what we're doing with them in Pathfinder isn't problematic.

Rysky wrote:
7) Why so? Cheliax and House Thrune didn't have to be softened despite Humans being one of the most played Ancestries.

As the person who brought serpentfolk into Pathfinder in the first place, specifically to fill a villainous role in the Darklands (they were initially intended to replace mind flayers in that role, which is why they have a strong magic tradition involving mental attacks), serpentfolk are more valuable to the stories I want to tell if they're monsters, not player characters. And comparing them to Cheliax is nonsensical; we've already established over the past decade tht humanity is a PC option AND is the most versitile role as regards allies and enemies in the setting. This is mostly because humans are the only ancestry in the game that also exists in the real world, so we all have a LOT more insight in to how humans can vary than we do snake people. That affords us an immeasurable amount of latitude in how we present them in the setting, be they as PCs or NPCs.

Rysky wrote:
8) *looks at Shoony and Leshies and Iruzi*

Exceptions, all of which have significant in-house interest and support from our developers to become player ancestries. If serpentfolk had a stronger champion for them as PC ancestries among our staff, then this would be a different story. As far as I know, they do not. And in fact, they have a very strong champion for them NOT being PC ancestries in myself, and (if I've interpreted the words of others at work) several others at Paizo.

Rysky wrote:

9) What? Huh? Starfinder and Pathfinder are different systems with two opposite settings, putting more Ancestries in one isn't gonna make people stop playing the other.

I don't care for Sci-fi, it doesn't matter how many playable species they add I'm not inclined to play it. Adding more Ancestries in Pathfinder isn't going to make people stop playing Starfinder.

Doesn't change the fact that they're both games we publish, and it's valuable for the two of them to maintain differences in some areas—be they in rules, flavor, or philosophy.

Part of my job is to make creative decisions for the setting like these. I get paid for my opinions, and to help curate the setting's themes. Those opinions ARE influenced by feedback, obviously, but sometimes I have to respectfully ask folks to understand that not everything I decide will be the right call for everyone. In the end, I have to make the decisions that are right for Golarion, as I envision it. Some day in the future I'll be gone or retired or whatever and someone else will be in this position, and at that point, things will likely change. And in this case, I'm just trying to manage expectations to folks and not give false hope that we might do serpentfolk ancestries anytime soon.

In any event, I feel I've made my point here; feel free to continue to discuss the merits of serpentfolk as PC options, but I'm going to spend the rest of my Sunday preparing for the next game I'll be running for friends on Wednesday on Roll20, playing video games, reading, watching shows/movies, and sleeping.

Please be respectful of each other in the meantime! Thanks!


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Rysky wrote:
I have honestly had zero interest in Nagaji due to their genesis (humans genetically modified to have scales, creepy and unnerving, but not in a cool or interesting way) and their art and design.

So rather than changing the fundamental premise of snakefolk (alien, ancient, powerful, mendacious, weird pre-human culture) because we like how they could, could we instead change the Nagaji to be more appealing without changing their premise ("nagas decided- having people around with hands is useful")?

Nagaji being created as servitors doesn't really disqualify them from being interesting any more than "Ghorans being created as a food source" or "Whatever wizard made cecaelias for whatever reason" does.

Silver Crusade

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Rysky wrote:
I have honestly had zero interest in Nagaji due to their genesis (humans genetically modified to have scales, creepy and unnerving, but not in a cool or interesting way) and their art and design.

So rather than changing the fundamental premise of snakefolk (alien, ancient, powerful, mendacious, weird pre-human culture) because we like how they could, could we instead change the Nagaji to be more appealing without changing their premise ("nagas decided- having people around with hands is useful")?

Nagaji being created as servitors doesn't really disqualify them from being interesting any more than "Ghorans being created as a food source" or "Whatever wizard made cecaelias for whatever reason" does.

(responding to James in a sec but first this real quick)

I'm not asking for Snakefolk to be changed though. Having them be a playable Ancestry wouldn't change any of that except for "powerful" for that specific Snakefolk in question.

And I don't mind why Nagaji were made, it's just that they're current design and art is uninteresting to me.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I'd be more open for Nagaji being the serpentine player choice if a redesign akin to the catfolk were to happen.

But I'd want to say, that as someone who witnessed the explosive trend of more and more players in D&D 5E wanting to play more and more monstrous races in that edition, I wouldn't be surprised if that trend bleeds into Pathfinder 2E, if it hasn't happened already.

I've certainly clung onto the Leshy, Shooney and Iruxi stronger than I had with the Core Races, and I'm a strong advocate for Anadi and a type of construct ancestry (something along the lines of a Medium-sized Wyrwood, not some human-looking like Androids).

With all that in mind, I completely understand and respect Mr. Jacobs' points, and I hope there'll be a stronger 3rd party support for more monstrous ancestry options in the future.

Silver Crusade

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James Jacobs wrote:
I don't have to. I want to. Primarily out respect to all of those who have inspired me over the past 40 years with stories of scary snake people (from Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, and Robert E Howard on up to D&D's yuan-ti); I want to honor and carry on that tradition, not transform it.
Sorry to keep harping on this but there's a conflict, at least from my perception, that keeps popping up. Wanting P2 to be it's own thing, versus keeping stuff included from other writers like Lovecraft exactly as they wanted it. I don't buy and play Pathfinder because you like Lovecraft.
Quote:
I feel that it would, hence why I mentioned it in the first place.
*nods*
Quote:
Vishkanya are VERY likely to see return as ancestries in 2nd edition at some point, but they don't really fit a "snake person" role in my mind as much as do the nagaji. Furthermore, and more importantly... unlike nagaji (which are 100% fanciful inventions by me not based on any real-world culture), the vishkanya are based on elements from earth history, and so we need to be respectful of those elements and history—the world's changed a LOT in the few years since we put them in the game, and before they come back, we need to do more research to be certain that what we're doing with them in Pathfinder isn't problematic.
*nods* I fully agree on all points with you here.
Quote:
As the person who brought serpentfolk into Pathfinder in the first place, specifically to fill a villainous role in the Darklands (they were initially intended to replace mind flayers in that role, which is why they have a strong magic tradition involving mental attacks), serpentfolk are more valuable to the stories I want to tell if they're monsters, not player characters. And comparing them to Cheliax is nonsensical; we've already established over the past decade tht humanity is a PC option AND is the most versitile role as regards allies and enemies in the setting. This is mostly because humans are the only ancestry in the game that also exists in the real world, so we all have a LOT more insight in to how humans can vary than we do snake people. That affords us an immeasurable amount of latitude in how we present them in the setting, be they as PCs or NPCs.

I don't consider the comparison nonsensical, since it was response to having to "soften the villains" if members of the Ancestry were playable. Which it wouldn't have to? It's not all or nothing. You can have an evil culture and have people in or even not of that culture not be locked to that alignment or that role.

Cheliax existing doesn't require all Humans be Evil nor does Humans being playable require House Thrune to soften.

Same with Belkzen and Orcs, the Belkzen Orcs were/are predominately evil, but they're just one single country of orcs compared to the numerous Orc cultures all over the world of Golarion.

Quote:


Exceptions, all of which have significant in-house interest and support from our developers to become player ancestries. If serpentfolk had a stronger champion for them as PC ancestries among our staff, then this would be a different story. As far as I know, they do not. And in fact, they have a very strong champion for them NOT being PC ancestries in myself, and (if I've interpreted the words of others at work) several others at Paizo.
*nods nods*
Quote:

Doesn't change the fact that they're both games we publish, and it's valuable for the two of them to maintain differences in some areas—be they in rules, flavor, or philosophy.

Part of my job is to make creative decisions for the setting like these. I get paid for my opinions, and to help curate the setting's themes. Those opinions ARE influenced by feedback, obviously, but sometimes I have to respectfully ask folks to understand that not everything I decide will be the right call for everyone. In the end, I have to make the decisions that are right for Golarion, as I envision it. Some day in the future I'll be gone or retired or whatever and someone else will be in this position, and at that point, things will likely change. And in this case, I'm just trying to manage expectations to folks and not give false hope that we might do serpentfolk ancestries anytime soon.

*nods*
Quote:

In any event, I feel I've made my point here; feel free to continue to discuss the merits of serpentfolk as PC options, but I'm going to spend the rest of my Sunday preparing for the next game I'll be running for friends on Wednesday on Roll20, playing video games, reading, watching shows/movies, and sleeping.

Please be respectful of each other in the meantime! Thanks!

Yay! Hope you have fun ^w^


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
I don't buy and play Pathfinder because you like Lovecraft.

Okay, but in fact you do.

You buy and play Pathfinder for the ideas that stem from the design team and the creative director, and those ideas stem from their influences. Their likes and dislikes. And what things they choose to keep traditional VS what things they choose to change or subvert are part of those creative decisions.

Many of the creatures, themes and world-building wouldn't come about if Mr. Jacobs didn't like Lovecraft. And if he chooses not to change up some aspects of something he's influenced by, that's his creative design, as much as we all disagree with it.


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Rysky wrote:
Having them be a playable Ancestry wouldn't change any of that except for "powerful" for that specific Snakefolk in question.

I feel like "I am a member of the tyrannical civilization that dominated the planet before humanity" is a really tough RPing challenge though, and most people are just going to gravitate towards something that could be better handled with another snakey kind of person.

Silver Crusade

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Ezekieru wrote:
Rysky wrote:
I don't buy and play Pathfinder because you like Lovecraft.

Okay, but in fact you do.

You buy and play Pathfinder for the ideas that stem from the design team and the creative director, and those ideas stem from their influences. Their likes and dislikes. And what things they choose to keep traditional VS what things they choose to change or subvert are part of those creative decisions.

Many of the creatures, themes and world-building wouldn't come about if Mr. Jacobs didn't like Lovecraft. And if he chooses not to change up some aspects of something he's influenced by, that's his creative design, as much as we all disagree with it.

Okay, let me be more clear.

I like Pathfinder for the other things offered, the more Lovecraft that gets injected, actual Lovecraft and not just Aberrations, the less interested I am in the setting and willingness to keep spending money on the setting.

Case in point the Windsong Testaments, I love most of the stories, but with the new creation myth with a deity of Lovecract added and codified as a core part rather than making a Pathfinder deity for it it felt like a real killjoy for the setting.

Silver Crusade

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Having them be a playable Ancestry wouldn't change any of that except for "powerful" for that specific Snakefolk in question.
I feel like "I am a member of the tyrannical civilization that dominated the planet before humanity" is a really tough RPing challenge though, and most people are just going to gravitate towards something that could be better handled with another snakey kind of person.

Sounds fun actually.

And also that's a culture mindset, not an innate one.


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Rysky wrote:

Sounds fun actually.

And also that's a culture mindset, not an innate one.

But, I'll circle back- if you want to play something fundamentally alien like a Serpentfolk, what would be the line between that and "playing an Aboleth"? Since to me, they're similarly alien, it's just that one is aquatic/piscine and the other is reptilian.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Hmm, I respect that the design team is going to make a decision on it one way or the other, and I'm actually super happy to have gotten James's insight but I think we should avoid getting too deep in the trenches of "authority," because that self defeats the purpose of feedback and community discussion, which ought to have the ability (but not the inevitability) to potentially change the minds of the authority we would otherwise be appealing to.

To James Jacobs: please enjoy the rest of your day, I get how you feel, as a worldbuilder myself (people stress me out with a lot second guessing creative decision-making, it's draining), you guys are doing great with Golarion, and even when I wouldn't make the same decisions, I'm glad there's a strong vision involved.
_____________________________________________

Back to main topic: so, let's take for granted that the design team is going to focus on Nagaji? Do we any thoughts for what we'd like to see for them?

Personally, I don't love how bulky and muscular some of the art for them I'm seeing is. What I'd like most would be to see them as a kind of sister species to Serpentfolk or some kind of offshoot so we can have that appearence, but that might be too close to treading on the conceptual space of antagonistic Serpentfolk the design team wants to avoid.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
Ezekieru wrote:
Rysky wrote:
I don't buy and play Pathfinder because you like Lovecraft.

Okay, but in fact you do.

You buy and play Pathfinder for the ideas that stem from the design team and the creative director, and those ideas stem from their influences. Their likes and dislikes. And what things they choose to keep traditional VS what things they choose to change or subvert are part of those creative decisions.

Many of the creatures, themes and world-building wouldn't come about if Mr. Jacobs didn't like Lovecraft. And if he chooses not to change up some aspects of something he's influenced by, that's his creative design, as much as we all disagree with it.

Okay, let me be more clear.

I like Pathfinder for the other things offered, the more Lovecraft that gets injected, actual Lovecraft and not just Aberrations, the less interested I am in the setting and willingness to keep spending money on the setting.

Case in point the Windsong Testaments, I love most of the stories, but with the new creation myth with a deity of Lovecract added and codified as a core part rather than making a Pathfinder deity for it it felt like a real killjoy for the setting.

Hey Rysky, the "there's a whole lot of the setting besides that one thing you don't like!" line fits you now just as well as it fits "I don't like that the LG paladin deity is female" or "I think Folca was a cool concept, shame he get excised" people :)

Silver Crusade

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Rysky wrote:

Sounds fun actually.

And also that's a culture mindset, not an innate one.

But, I'll circle back- if you want to play something fundamentally alien like a Serpentfolk, what would be the line between that and "playing an Aboleth"? Since to me, they're similarly alien, it's just that one is aquatic/piscine and the other is reptilian.

… Serpentfolk are humanoid snake people and Aboleth are giant squishy fish thingies.

Silver Crusade

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Gorbacz wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Ezekieru wrote:
Rysky wrote:
I don't buy and play Pathfinder because you like Lovecraft.

Okay, but in fact you do.

You buy and play Pathfinder for the ideas that stem from the design team and the creative director, and those ideas stem from their influences. Their likes and dislikes. And what things they choose to keep traditional VS what things they choose to change or subvert are part of those creative decisions.

Many of the creatures, themes and world-building wouldn't come about if Mr. Jacobs didn't like Lovecraft. And if he chooses not to change up some aspects of something he's influenced by, that's his creative design, as much as we all disagree with it.

Okay, let me be more clear.

I like Pathfinder for the other things offered, the more Lovecraft that gets injected, actual Lovecraft and not just Aberrations, the less interested I am in the setting and willingness to keep spending money on the setting.

Case in point the Windsong Testaments, I love most of the stories, but with the new creation myth with a deity of Lovecract added and codified as a core part rather than making a Pathfinder deity for it it felt like a real killjoy for the setting.

Hey Rysky, the "there's a whole lot of the setting besides that one thing you don't like!" line fits you now just as well as it fits "I don't like that the LG paladin deity is female" or "I think Folca was a cool concept, shame he get excised" people :)

… really, I get a Gorbacz response and it's you bringing the f bomb into it?

*sigh*

I don't dislike aberrations and cosmic horror, it's the inserting other deities from other works into the setting and making them more important than what the writers for Pathfinder made. I'd be having the same complaints if instead of Pharasma we had Eru or Velka instead of Zon-Kuthon.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Ezekieru wrote:
Rysky wrote:
I don't buy and play Pathfinder because you like Lovecraft.

Okay, but in fact you do.

You buy and play Pathfinder for the ideas that stem from the design team and the creative director, and those ideas stem from their influences. Their likes and dislikes. And what things they choose to keep traditional VS what things they choose to change or subvert are part of those creative decisions.

Many of the creatures, themes and world-building wouldn't come about if Mr. Jacobs didn't like Lovecraft. And if he chooses not to change up some aspects of something he's influenced by, that's his creative design, as much as we all disagree with it.

Okay, let me be more clear.

I like Pathfinder for the other things offered, the more Lovecraft that gets injected, actual Lovecraft and not just Aberrations, the less interested I am in the setting and willingness to keep spending money on the setting.

Case in point the Windsong Testaments, I love most of the stories, but with the new creation myth with a deity of Lovecract added and codified as a core part rather than making a Pathfinder deity for it it felt like a real killjoy for the setting.

Hey Rysky, the "there's a whole lot of the setting besides that one thing you don't like!" line fits you now just as well as it fits "I don't like that the LG paladin deity is female" or "I think Folca was a cool concept, shame he get excised" people :)

… really, I get a Gorbacz response and it's you bringing the f bomb into it?

*sigh*

I don't dislike aberrations and cosmic horror, it's the inserting other deities from other works into the setting and making them more important than what the writers for Pathfinder. I'd be having the same complaints if instead of Pharasma we had Eru or Velka instead of Zon-Kuthon.

So if the serial numbers were filed off it would be ok? Like, if say there was a trademark on the names of Lovecraft's entities, and instead Jacobs had named them himself, but they were otherwise heavily lovecraft inspired?

I'm kind of curious, because thats what I do (I want to avoid people coming in with assumptions about figures they think they know)

Silver Crusade

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I want them to make their own rather than use stock art, so to speak.

It's what Warcraft did with their Old Gods, they're heavily Lovecraft inspired but are entirely new and unique critters.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Rysky wrote:

Sounds fun actually.

And also that's a culture mindset, not an innate one.

But, I'll circle back- if you want to play something fundamentally alien like a Serpentfolk, what would be the line between that and "playing an Aboleth"? Since to me, they're similarly alien, it's just that one is aquatic/piscine and the other is reptilian.

Serpentfolk had a process to make them 'human' with flesh - the lore says they couldn't mate with humans - however all that has to change to make the ancestry work is for the lore to be an incorrect assumption and the rare 'my ancestor was a serpentfolk' works for the supposed to be 1% of the 1% player character options.

The entire 'everything has to be mysterious and spooky' really is the same for other races (as said before) - and popular literature notwithstanding, the pathfinder lore of (as an example) dark elves was way more steeped in evil than 99% of the rest of the literature out there.

No other game had the 'a regular elf can spontaneously become a dark elf if they are evil enough' clause anywhere - I mean no other race (non-planer - that I'm aware of) had such a strong connection with evil. Not even serpentfolk - who are only 'alien' in that their entire society pre-dates human civilization - the intelligence and ability to learn and adapt would allow them to change like any other intelligent race if given the opportunity to do so.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Ezekieru wrote:
Rysky wrote:
I don't buy and play Pathfinder because you like Lovecraft.

Okay, but in fact you do.

You buy and play Pathfinder for the ideas that stem from the design team and the creative director, and those ideas stem from their influences. Their likes and dislikes. And what things they choose to keep traditional VS what things they choose to change or subvert are part of those creative decisions.

Many of the creatures, themes and world-building wouldn't come about if Mr. Jacobs didn't like Lovecraft. And if he chooses not to change up some aspects of something he's influenced by, that's his creative design, as much as we all disagree with it.

Okay, let me be more clear.

I like Pathfinder for the other things offered, the more Lovecraft that gets injected, actual Lovecraft and not just Aberrations, the less interested I am in the setting and willingness to keep spending money on the setting.

Case in point the Windsong Testaments, I love most of the stories, but with the new creation myth with a deity of Lovecract added and codified as a core part rather than making a Pathfinder deity for it it felt like a real killjoy for the setting.

Hey Rysky, the "there's a whole lot of the setting besides that one thing you don't like!" line fits you now just as well as it fits "I don't like that the LG paladin deity is female" or "I think Folca was a cool concept, shame he get excised" people :)

… really, I get a Gorbacz response and it's you bringing the f bomb into it?

*sigh*

I don't dislike aberrations and cosmic horror, it's the inserting other deities from other works into the setting and making them more important than what the writers for Pathfinder made. I'd be having the same complaints if instead of Pharasma we had Eru or Velka instead of Zon-Kuthon.

Yet you have the real world Cernunnos instead of some deity invented whole-cloth by a Paizo writer and you don't complain.

Pathfinder is basically one part purely original creativity and one part a joyful romp through mythology, cryptozoology, pop culture and TSR/WotC open content, sometimes with a greater deal of Paizo treatment, sometimes with none. In the case of Lovecraftian Mythos, the creative leads decided that these entities share the same bench as their original creations, so I'm not sure what you're railing against.

If you think that you're here to straighten out the issue that James decided that Nyarlathotep sits in the same category as some deity invented by Erik, Jason or whoever, you are likely trying to sort out a non-conflict for purely egoistic reasons. That never ends well.


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If serpentfolk are truly the replacements for mindflayers in this setting then it really does make sense why they aren’t PC races . That point alone is enough for me (not saying it has to be enough for anyone else)

I personally have limited knowledge of lovecraft and didn’t know there were similar things to serpentfolk in it. I though it was most really weird aliens and/or aquatic type things . So that was interesting to know at least

Silver Crusade

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Because Cernunnos (I'm now envisioning woodsy nuns) isn't a core part of the setting though.

Incorporating different entities from mythologies and other works doesn't bother me, it's when you take those entities and make them more important in the new fantasy setting than the things made for said setting.

Silver Crusade

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Lanathar wrote:

If serpentfolk are truly the replacements for mindflayers in this setting then it really does make sense why they aren’t PC races . That point alone is enough for me (not saying it has to be enough for anyone else)

I personally have limited knowledge of lovecraft and didn’t know there were similar things to serpentfolk in it. I though it was most really weird aliens and/or aquatic type things . So that was interesting to know at least

On the subject of major villains, has anything been done with Serpentfolk outside of Serpent's Skull?


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Ezekieru wrote:

I'd be more open for Nagaji being the serpentine player choice if a redesign akin to the catfolk were to happen.

But I'd want to say, that as someone who witnessed the explosive trend of more and more players in D&D 5E wanting to play more and more monstrous races in that edition, I wouldn't be surprised if that trend bleeds into Pathfinder 2E, if it hasn't happened already.

I've certainly clung onto the Leshy, Shooney and Iruxi stronger than I had with the Core Races, and I'm a strong advocate for Anadi and a type of construct ancestry (something along the lines of a Medium-sized Wyrwood, not some human-looking like Androids).

With all that in mind, I completely understand and respect Mr. Jacobs' points, and I hope there'll be a stronger 3rd party support for more monstrous ancestry options in the future.

As someone that strongly leans towards tieflings over any other race... the desire for "monstrous" races is because it represents a clear step away from the mundane, and for many it helps to reinforce the feeling that you are dealing with a fantasy world. Elves... are just pretty boys with spock ears. Overplayed, and too usually too 'human' to have much impact.

However, those distinctly nonhuman traits of "monstrous" races are mostly there to reinforce tropes that you wish to instill into the race. A half orc or a tiefling is shorthand for a background where a person has to deal with being an outcast due to the circumstances of their birth.

When selecting your races, you have to consider the tropes they represent, and the short hand background you want them to be baggaged with. Too much overlap, and the races lose distinction, and you gain little advantage from having races in the first place.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
lemeres wrote:
When selecting your races, you have to consider the tropes they represent, and the short hand background you want them to be baggaged with. Too much overlap, and the races lose distinction, and you gain little advantage from having races in the first place.

To paraphrase myself from another thread, years ago, if my Iruxi cleric is just a nature-obsessed swamp-dwelling religious fanatic who eats raw fish, then the scales are just window dressing and I might as well play a human with those same traits- they'll make more of a splash.

So for my money, the draw of nonhuman options has to include things that would literally never occur to a human to care about... like, say, an Anadi who pretends to be human so as no to freak out the humans around them by being a big ol' spider... or, to go back to the Iruxi, I need to be dealing with more than being a swamp-dwelling predator- I need to play with reptilian senses and behaviors to make it worthwhile.


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Cole Deschain wrote:
lemeres wrote:
When selecting your races, you have to consider the tropes they represent, and the short hand background you want them to be baggaged with. Too much overlap, and the races lose distinction, and you gain little advantage from having races in the first place.

To paraphrase myself from another thread, years ago, if my Iruxi cleric is just a nature-obsessed swamp-dwelling religious fanatic who eats raw fish, then the scales are just window dressing and I might as well play a human with those same traits- they'll make more of a splash.

So for my money, the draw of nonhuman options has to include things that would literally never occur to a human to care about... like, say, an Anadi who pretends to be human so as no to freak out the humans around them by being a big ol' spider... or, to go back to the Iruxi, I need to be dealing with more than being a swamp-dwelling predator- I need to play with reptilian senses and behaviors to make it worthwhile.

On that note... how long does it take an iruxi egg to hatch?

This seems odd, but i feel it is a relevant question if you want to use that narratively. The sole survivor from a destroyed tribe, bearing the last egg of one's clan. That has potential. Particularly if the character was tasked with protecting ALL of the tribe's eggs.

An egg, of course, might be easier to handle than a crying human baby in a story. So if the time period is long, and perhaps with the help of a magical incubator (That seems like an iruxi tribe kind of investment), then it is easier to pull off this trope.

(note- quick googling says that dinosaur eggs could take up to 6 months, which should be long enough to be a major plot point throughout a campaign. Also, that is about 3 times the length of modern reptiles or birds. Which seems like a pretty big problem for their survival. Difficulties with reproduction are one of the noted causes of the race's decline)

Dark Archive

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Just saying though, denegerate serpentfolk make for good PC ancestry ;P

...No seriously, think about it: degenerate serpentfolk have lost their psychic powers and culture and live in tribes not that far away from gripplis, gnolls or charau-kau. Advanced serpent folk sometimes use them as mooks, but there isn't really any mystery to degenerate serpentfolk, they don't really differ much from iruxi and such besides them being evil and having a evil snake god emperor whose return would enlighten them.

Like, having advanced serpentfolk as pc ancestry would be like having original psychic powered high culture xulgaths before their infighting caused their culture to collapse: they are meant to be "advanced ancient alien culture that is scary" so having playable member of them does diminish the mystery. The modern xulgath and degenerate serpentfolk? Don't have that qualifier applied to them.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I just want to play a snake with no legs, now that magic item slots are gone and losing a boots slot isnt a major blow. Also the Nagaji have always looked.... just really bad to me. They look like a practical effects alien; human with a suit stretched over it. They are creepy but at theme same time come off, to me at least, as very visually uninteresting since there isnt really any notable inhuman details to draw your eye and give it any flair.

Dark Archive

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Serpentfolks have legs too though..

...But as I said, good excuse to do third/fourth snek ancestry ;D


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Coming up to this thread now that it’s blown up; I don’t love the idea that some ancestries need to always be baddies so that there’s ready antagonists, because I thought the whole point of getting away from that for orcs and drow was because it was racist nonsense.


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Also, I don’t like the way the nagaji look, and I like the serpentfolk flavor of falling from decadent, ancient heights. Lost glory and old ambitions are fun touchstones for a character, and a bunch of them can still be Evil crazies. I don’t think you lose anything by tossing them in a book somewhere.

Scarab Sages

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keftiu wrote:
Coming up to this thread now that it’s blown up; I don’t love the idea that some ancestries need to always be baddies so that there’s ready antagonists, because I thought the whole point of getting away from that for orcs and drow was because it was racist nonsense.

The reason there were orc and drow PC options in 1E isn't because excluding those options would be racist. It's because Paizo thought that players expected drow and orc PC options to be available.

James Jacobs mentioned the influence of Drizzt, but also half-orcs have been playable for decades and orcs were portrayed as heroic in Warcraft III. So heroic orcs and drow elves were popular in fantasy before Paizo released their version.

Besides, serpentfolk are from the Lovecraft Mythos. Heroic serpentfolk would be like a Good-aligned Outer God. Paizo tries to keep true to the mythology it borrows from.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rysky wrote:

9) What? Huh? Starfinder and Pathfinder are different systems with two opposite settings, putting more Ancestries in one isn't gonna make people stop playing the other.

I don't care for Sci-fi, it doesn't matter how many playable species they add I'm not inclined to play it. Adding more Ancestries in Pathfinder isn't going to make people stop playing Starfinder.

James has already covered this, but FWIW, Pathfinder being is less liberal with making everything playable is actually something I enjoy and I was worried 2e would go the same route as Starfinder. Not that there's anything wrong with every species being playable, but there was definitely a point I found it overwhelming. Having the two games maintain that type of difference certainly helps me keep their themes separate.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I'm coming to this thread with absolutely no serpentfolk baggage (honestly couldn't tell them from Nagaji or whatever).

But I like what James said earlier, in regards to using them in place of mindflayers as Paizo has no access to those. Featuring a truly alien, truly complex ancestry that is never accessible to players can create an actual enemy group. I would think that inaccessibility actually adds to the quality of their lore and their position in the world.

I understand that if you put a humanoid race in a game, a subset of players will feel absolutely compelled to try to play them as an ancestry. I know a few folks who are raw about D&D not allowing them to play illithid, for sure. Monstrous races can be pretty fun! But I never see it play out as someone being a moral, conscientious objector to the evils of their people (the Drizzt model). It almost always is players trying to skate over the lore of their ancestry (usually with a dismissive "my people are jerks") and just use them because they look cool or have good feats.

Now restricting people to avoid that last case isn't really fair. But just like mindflayers are not valid options for cultural/ability reasons, I think including something like serpentfolk as a Pathfinder variant of that is fine. There are so many ancestries available to be put into the game, including entirely new ones with second edition like the Shoony or (hopefully soon) the Anadi, etc.

I also wonder, with how specific and foot-down James is about this... if we're seeing an adventure or even an AP with serpentfolk as the antagonists coming along soon?


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keftiu wrote:


Besides, serpentfolk are from the Lovecraft Mythos. Heroic serpentfolk would be like a Good-aligned Outer God. Paizo tries to keep true to the mythology it borrows from.

Who says they have to be heroic? Ignoring the fact that the evil end of the alignment scale is valid; serpentfolk have many cold hearted, manipulative racial supremacists, but one thing they are not is stupid. Many adventure paths and moduals have a failure outcome that could be considered... unfavorable to any nearby serpentfolk, and handling those problems would be a reasonable thing for those serpents to do.

Sure they might balk at the idea of taking on "charity" quests, and appeals to emotion would fall on deaf ears but even so they could be swayed by payments of more concrete usefulness than "gratitude" or "alliance". They see themselves as above mammalian humanoids and would dislike the idea of working with them as equals they could be quite comfortable with the notion of commanding a few notably capable pawns, regardless of whether such manipulation and control is real or simply a manufactured delusion of their own racial superiority mindset.


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So long as there's a close mechanical equivalent, using the art and lore of a different group is really easy to get okayed by a GM. Nagaji and Vishkanya will provide some excellent ancestries for close mechanics.

It's not as nice as getting an official version, but it's better to know than to just be waiting around for it when it's not in the cards.

Dark Archive

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I still say though that even if advanced serpentfolk take the mindflayer role of "alien mindset underground civilization", there is nothing really alien about degenerate serpentfolk. Like you could say that downgraded serpentfolk are pretty comparable to most ancestries really

Scarab Sages

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Kekkres wrote:
NECR0G1ANT wrote:
Besides, serpentfolk are from the Lovecraft Mythos. Heroic serpentfolk would be like a Good-aligned Outer God. Paizo tries to keep true to the mythology it borrows from.
Who says they have to be heroic?

If serpentfolk were a PC ancestry, then as PCs they would slay monsters, defeat evil wizards and save the world like what heroes do in the official adventures. Generally, such adventures assume the PCs are nonevil. They would be heroes in the 'protagonist' sense.

Also, players would be free to give their serpentfolk PCs whatever alignment they wanted. So serpentfolk PCs could be heroic in the more literal sense as well.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
NECR0G1ANT wrote:
Kekkres wrote:
NECR0G1ANT wrote:
Besides, serpentfolk are from the Lovecraft Mythos. Heroic serpentfolk would be like a Good-aligned Outer God. Paizo tries to keep true to the mythology it borrows from.
Who says they have to be heroic?

If serpentfolk were a PC ancestry, then as PCs they would slay monsters, defeat evil wizards and save the world like what heroes do in the official adventures. Generally, such adventures assume the PCs are nonevil. They would be heroes in the 'protagonist' sense.

Also, players would be free to give their serpentfolk PCs whatever alignment they wanted. So serpentfolk PCs could be heroic in the more literal sense as well.

I was just saying killing monsters and skating evil wizards, heroic though they may be are pretty reasonable things for most any alignment to do. Potent threats are a bad thing, uncontrolled damage is a bad thing. Given that very few things of the evil alignment are friends, unless your villains ARE snake men they function as foes of snake men just as easily as they serve as foes of heroic chars.


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On the topic of not liking the aesthetics of the nagaji, that is certainly something that can change between editions. Just look at hobgoblins for an example of something that has already received a visual overhaul.

Scarab Sages

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Salamileg wrote:
On the topic of not liking the aesthetics of the nagaji, that is certainly something that can change between editions. Just look at hobgoblins for an example of something that has already received a visual overhaul.

I agree. I think a lot of people would enhoy some kind of serpentine heritage.

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I'm not really sure of what people talk about when they say "how nagaji look". Like lot of art in advanced player's guide doesn't really match the later art. But they could also be talking about the pfs art or the dragon empire's art...

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Changing the look of the nagaji was, in fact, one of the things I mentioned that we'd be looking at, since the 1st edition look was all over the place.


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Kekkres wrote:
Who says they have to be heroic? Ignoring the fact that the evil end of the alignment scale is valid; serpentfolk have many cold hearted, manipulative racial supremacists, but one thing they are not is stupid. Many adventure paths and moduals have a failure outcome that could be considered... unfavorable to any nearby serpentfolk, and handling those problems would be a reasonable thing for those serpents to do.

There is something to be said for the "I won't let them destroy the world, because that's where I keep my stuff" evil PC mindset. However, it's a rare adventure path that starts with stakes that high.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Staffan Johansson wrote:
Kekkres wrote:
Who says they have to be heroic? Ignoring the fact that the evil end of the alignment scale is valid; serpentfolk have many cold hearted, manipulative racial supremacists, but one thing they are not is stupid. Many adventure paths and moduals have a failure outcome that could be considered... unfavorable to any nearby serpentfolk, and handling those problems would be a reasonable thing for those serpents to do.
There is something to be said for the "I won't let them destroy the world, because that's where I keep my stuff" evil PC mindset. However, it's a rare adventure path that starts with stakes that high.

fair enough, of the APs I've played, mummies mask is probobly the best suited for that. Jade reagent hinges too much on flavors and promises of rewards, rise playes the hero card a bit too hard and serpents skull... well it could work there if not for a more fundamental problem. I'm halfway through shackles and It looks passable there too but I'm not finished so who knows.


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To me, the bulkiness of Nagaji doesn't really fit the idea of a "serpent person" & makes them a little too similar visually to Starfinder's Vesk.

I hope that, when the Nagaji are reintroduced as an ancestry for P2, their visual design will be revisited**...
Also, maybe introduce heritages based on the different types of Naga (complete with visual cues like scale color, hoods, spines, etc. - but not hair!)?

As for Serpentfolk themselves:
I'm fine with them as the "Mindflayer" analog in Pathfinder & I'm ok with the stance of them being a non-player ancestry.
Although, the possibility of the "degenerate* serpentfolk" being a rare PC option - perhaps introduced in a setting book (a Garund book, please?) - sounds intriguing...

<shrug>

Carry on,

--C.

*Hopefully 'degenerate' is not used in the name given to this possible ancestry (although used as a descriptor by other ancestries - especially the 'advanced' serpentfolk - would fit the lore).

<edit> **Apparently, this is something that is being looked into (as per the Creative Director's post above), so YAY!


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'd be quite happy with an aesthetic redesign as well, provided it would be next to impossible to mistake them for an iruxi.

Dark Archive

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Psiphyre wrote:

To me, the bulkiness of Nagaji doesn't really fit the idea of a "serpent person" & makes them a little too similar visually to Starfinder's Vesk.

I hope that, when the Nagaji are reintroduced as an ancestry for P2, their visual design will be revisited**...
Also, maybe introduce heritages based on the different types of Naga (complete with visual cues like scale color, hoods, spines, etc. - but not hair!)?

As for Serpentfolk themselves:
I'm fine with them as the "Mindflayer" analog in Pathfinder & I'm ok with the stance of them being a non-player heritage.
Although, the possibility of the "degenerate* serpentfolk" being a rare PC option - perhaps introduced in a setting book (a Garund book, please?) - sounds intriguing...

<shrug>

Carry on,

--C.

*Hopefully 'degenerate' is not used in the name given to this possible ancestry (although used as a descriptor by other ancestries - especially the 'advanced' serpentfolk - would fit the lore).

<edit> **Apparently, this is something that is being looked into (as per the Creative Director's post above), so 'YAY'!

Well from James Jacobs' ask thread:

"What do serpentfolk call themselves? Catfolk are amurren, lizardfolk iruxi, ratfolk ysoki.
Sekmin. (Although they are only very rarely called that today.)

Sekmins are further split into the zyss (the ones who retain their magic and intellect) and the aapoph (the ones who are mutated and degenerated)."

So I correct myself: While zyss make more sense to not be playable, I don't really see reason why aapoph couldn't be playable unless xulgaths, charau-kau, gnolls and boggards are just as well off the table ;D

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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CorvusMask wrote:
So I correct myself: While zyss make more sense to not be playable, I don't really see reason why aapoph couldn't be playable unless xulgaths, charau-kau, gnolls and boggards are just as well off the table ;D

All four of those you mention are on the so-called table. The serpentfolk are in a different room from the one with the table, and there's a closed door or three between the rooms. :P


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Ravingdork wrote:
I'd be quite happy with an aesthetic redesign as well, provided it would be next to impossible to mistake them for an iruxi.

The "just looks like an Iruxi problem" is one I have with the prospect of playable Xulgaths, which should probably come before Serpentfolk.

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