Redeemed dudes?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion


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It's no secret that Pathfinder has a fondness for ladies with redemption arcs: Arazni, Nocticula, and Shensen are all iconic 1e characters with a lot of lore and actual play behind them. Compared to them, I reach for guys with similar heroic turns... and my mind comes up blank other than Ragathiel, whose redemption is a matter of ancient myth (and also, somewhat shaky). There's not a big male AP villain I can remember switching to the side of good, but I also don't have total knowledge of older lore - and so, I turn to you all!

I want to be clear that I'm not alleging any kind of agenda or outrage-baiting, just genuinely trying to get some sort of mental tally. If it's really an underserved niche, I'll be sure to write some myself!


Spoilers.

Depending on how it turns out, there is Alderpash, A Runelord of Wrath and a lich who was a prisoner of Baphomet's Ivory Labyrinth. So tired of being his prisoner, when the Mythic Heroes of Wrath of the Righteous swing on by to Murder Baphomet for Crimes against Iomedae's herald he will even promise to try to be good, and its a sincere promise.

Wrath of the Righteous also has Horgus Gwerm, my favorite Tsundere noble, and his story has tinges of redemption.

War for the Crown has a couple of male NPCs who aren't great, but can be turned around. We're still relying on player action though...

Carrion Crown has a Vampire ex-paladin who doesn't like being an undead so you can help him redeem himself.

There's probably more, "Was a bad dude, and that wasn't good, so tried being good and that was nice" is not an uncommon past for fantasy characters. What sets some of the more notable ladies is the level of evil that they held. Noticula was a demon lord and Sorshen was a Wizard Tyrant. That's a hard road to walk back from, and I appreciate them sticking around to do the work.

Not that this is a problem, but there's also just a lot more ladies in power positions in Golarion currently. I think the majority of heads of state are women?

The Black Sovereign Kevoth-Kul has done a bit of a turnaround, since he got sober, that counts.


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Hmmm, the only male character that I know that can be redeemed is from the second book of War for the Crown.

Songbird, Scion and Saboteur:
Bartelby Lothed is the main antagonist of the book. He is the current administrator of the county of Meratt and lives in the Songbird Palace, and the player’s objective is to both hold sway in the county and take control of the Palace.

They’re introduced to him when they arrive in the county, since he is hosting a party. He is a charming and intelligent man, but also bitter and casually cruel. Despite his accomplishments and failures in managing the county of Meratt, he is signaled as a potential tragic romance, and the book lets us know that he is very much redeemable, since his vein of evil stems from selfishness and arrogance, rather than any deep vein of cruelty.

The book also mentions that behind all of his façade hides a simple insecure boy.

When I GMed, one of my players 100% went for the bad boy. It was very tragic and very nice, hahaha. She saved him from an assassination attempt, which made him curious; then he saved her from someone of her past, and it started from there and culminated and him being talked down by her in a very emotional discussion, while all the rest of the PCs, more pragmatic, wanted to simply kill him.

Still, his redemption is very optional and I feel like a PC would need to specifically take an interest of him for that to happen, especially because what he seems to need is just some genuine love

I have actually noticed this too, to be honest. Even the demon who gets redeemed turns out to specifically be a Succubus, hahaha. And maybe I can be a little reactionary about these topics, but I feel like this phenomenon isn’t just limited to who gets more redeemed and who doesn’t… Are any of the core 20 male deities queer, or in a relationship with another male deity? Also not baiting, just genuinely curious. Imo, Cayden Cailean and Kurgess totally have a lot of potential.

Maybe I’m just a little paranoid, and that’s kind of not on topic, so I’m sorry about that! Still, I am sure that there are other redeemable boys, and I'm curious to hear about them from people that have played through the 1e APs more thoroughly.


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Travelling Sasha wrote:
Are any of the core 20 male deities queer, or in a relationship with another male deity? Also not baiting, just genuinely curious. Imo, Cayden Cailean and Kurgess totally have a lot of potential.

I think Cayden is pansexual, but I can't for the life of me recall where I heard that.

Ah, here it is James Jacobs mentioned this May of 2022

Digression:
James Jacobs wrote:

Yes. Getting more queer representation is important to me.

I've been including positive male queer characters from the start. Check out the gazetteer for Sandpoint in the first adventure for Pathfinder, Burnt Offerings. On the iconic front, the investigator, Quinn, is gay. There's a significant gay couple among the allied NPCs in Wrath of the Righteous. Gozreh is, of course, gender fluid. I have long seen Cayden Caliean as pansexual, although I don't know that we've said as much in print. I believe Seltyiel was intended to be pansexual, although like Quinn, we haven't explored those stories with him yet (maybe in the comics?)

The primary reason that Desna and Sarenrae are presented as queer is because they're exports from my homebrew, and they've been queer there for several decades, so those stories are brought forward into Pathifnder.

There'll be more positive queer male characters as well, but I've been working to build a diverse set of characters in the books I write and develop for a long time; it's important to me, since I'm a queer male myself (whether or not I'd be called a "positive" one is, I guess, not up to me, but I try to be and hope I am).

Note that PART of the issue you're seeing is that for most of Pathfinder's history, the vast bulk of our character work has been tackled in the format of adventures, and adventures skew toward presenting villainous NPCs rather than "positive role" NPCs, simply because of the nature of such a product.

Anyway please return to Bad Dudes becoming Good Boys.

Liberty's Edge

IIRC, JJ himself realized that the most striking redemption stories were about beautiful ladies. And he hoped to introduce more diversity there.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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I've mentioned before that the first significant possible redemption arc we started was in the very first Pathfinder adventure, in Burnt Offerings...

Spoiler:
...which set up Orick Vancaskerkin as someone whom the PCs can help redeem and to make right on his bad decisions.

There's been other dudes who've been up for redemption as well, notably in Wrath of the Righteous (such as the mention of a certain ex-runelord above), but for MOST of part, redemption stories those things are largely left to play out in individual games. Kevoth-Kul (also mentioned above) is another great example of a redemption arc in progress. The ones that we (traditionally me for the first half of Golarion's existance, when I had a stronger role in all things involving story and lore) have picked up to expand upon have mostly been women, though, and so yes, we're hoping to continue to diversify that as we get the chance. This was also, in part, because traditionally there just HADN'T been as many stories featuring women in key and prominent roles in tabletop fantasy stories, so my inclination when telling a story tends to skew toward telling stories about women.

I fully admit that part of those themes in my own writing is influenced by my own life experiences where women are more forgiving and interested in self-improvement while men are more stubborn and unlikely to try to change their ways... I know that other folks' experiences are for sure different but my own life experiences have pushed me into that mindset and that, like everything else that influences a writer, is reflected in my creative output.

So... absolutely thank you to everyone for helping me to see some blind spots. My influence over EVERYTHING Pathfinder is not as much as it was in the past since the brand and world has expanded significantly in scope while I remain just one guy, and I'm incredibly excited and delighted by that as we continue to get more and more voices telling stories in the setting.


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James Jacobs wrote:
stuff

Aww, you're an absolute class act, James. I hope I didn't come off too strong a few posts above!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Travelling Sasha wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
stuff
Aww, you're an absolute class act, James. I hope I didn't come off too strong a few posts above!

You didn't come off too strong at all as far as I'm concerned. It's VERY important stuff to be said, and thank you (and others) for saying it. I know that it's easier to suspect than trust—I'm guilty of being quick to suspect myself rather than trust—so it's important to keep folks informed of those fears, but more important for folks like me to SEE that information and react to and accept it and use it to do better.


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Spoilers for a Pathfinder Tails novel below, specifically The Redemption Engine.

Spoiler:
There is an angel known as Arathuziel the Chained, who was a deimavigga devil before being swayed to angel status. He's suspected of being a baddy by some other angels, but turns out to be a good dude struggling with the mistrust he faces for wanting his redemption but willing to put up with it because it's the right thing to do.

One of my favorite characters in one of my favorite Pathfinder Tales books, honestly.

Travelling Sasha wrote:
I have actually noticed this too, to be honest. Even the demon who gets redeemed turns out to specifically be a Succubus, hahaha.

A couple times over, in fact. I love the story of the redeemed, or hopefully-redeemed fiend, and would personally love it if we got more varied with the kinds of fiends seeking redemption. Like what if there were stories of an omox who was looking to become a better person?

Edit: I'm also aware that a redeemed fiend, or fallen celestial, is meant to be really rare, even as far as rare sites are skewed into commonality around player characters. This is more a wish on my part than something I'd ever expect to see in the fiction; Pathfinder has soooooooo much room to play around in that isn't this, after all.


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Mummy's Mask spoilers:
Mummy's Mask contains the Scorched Hand, a rival adventuring grouo of Nethysians who, depending on how you handle them, can be swayed from hostile antagonists to allies. My party managed to thoroughly subdue them, accidentally killing their fighter/rogue, but paid to Raise her which impressed the cleric and his wizard boyfriend. She was just hired muscle, the cleric was there for religious reasons, and his boyfriend was there for him. They then handed their leader, Velriana Hypaxes to the city guard, but let the other three hand. They're now as involved in the defence of Wati from undead as the other adventuring groups while the party are in the Necropolis. If they are further swayed, you could probably even recruit them as Cohorts or ongoing NPCs - the second book has a lot of Nethysian skullduggery, and having a few Nethysians on hand might come in handy. If players lose a character, they also make for handy backups who are already tiedinto the plot.

Of course, Velriana very much doesn't count as redeemed. She was "exiled" from the city for breaking the rules, but doubled back to wait for her revenge. She's already attacked the party once and got away, she certainly plans to try again, and might even join the long-term villains if it helps her kill them. The book expects her to be dead and return as a Revenant, but my party never killed her so I levelled her up to an equivalent CR and had her Final Sacrifice the party Summoner's Eidolon and then fireball them before it became clear she was outmatched by numbers.


I do think Kevoth-Kul is an important one here, though we just haven’t seen a lot of his sober 2e iteration or his domain’s newfound kindness to Androids yet. That said, he was “redeemed” from an insensate figurehead to a warlord who wants to build a Kellid empire… we can probably go a little more virtuous with some other guy.

Shadow Lodge

Dunno if Grau Soldado counts, since

Spoiler:
the PCs are more helping him pull his life together than adjusting his moral outlook
, but his section in Edge of Anarchy is called a redemption.

And if we're bringing up Pathfinder Tales, there's

Spoiler:
Isiem from Nightglass
.


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I suppose there is also Iomedae's 8th Act before becoming a deity where she convinced a graveknight called the Black Prince to fall on his sword and find redemption by destroying himself? Not my fave redemption story because it's such a small footnote and I have some issues with the Redemption = Death trope, but at minimum her church's canon claims he was redeemed by destroying himself.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Perpdepog wrote:
I suppose there is also Iomedae's 8th Act before becoming a deity where she convinced a graveknight called the Black Prince to fall on his sword and find redemption by destroying himself? Not my fave redemption story because it's such a small footnote and I have some issues with the Redemption = Death trope, but at minimum her church's canon claims he was redeemed by destroying himself.

The idea here isn't "Redemption = Death" as much as it is "Rejection of willful embracing of undeath as a means to continue perpetrating evil acts beyond death = Redemption."


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Concordance of Rivals:

Pale Horse is a psychopomp usher who used to be a daemonic harbinger


Perpdepog wrote:
I suppose there is also Iomedae's 8th Act before becoming a deity where she convinced a graveknight called the Black Prince to fall on his sword and find redemption by destroying himself? Not my fave redemption story because it's such a small footnote and I have some issues with the Redemption = Death trope, but at minimum her church's canon claims he was redeemed by destroying himself.

Sorry that this is really late to the party, but still.

There's no one specific, but the Crimson Reclaimers have some redeemed undead in their ranks (at least, that's the implication I get from the Character Guide). Maybe this will be a set-up for certain redeemed undead to be fleshed out later in official material?


Are they "redeemed undead" or undead who were never evil in the first place? Since the Crimson Reclaimers do missions deep in the Gravelands, I assumed that a bunch of the Crimson Reclaimers were, e.g., intelligent skeletons who could pretend to be mindless skeletons while behind enemy lines.


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Given who I think is the patron of the Crimson Reclaimers, I think more of those undead are unwilling than redeemed.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There are actually lot of redeemable NPCs in pathfinder overall, canon usually assumes they are either dead or just never mentions them again (so no contradiction with party) There are couple examples of female redeemable characters(or at least ones you can turn on pc's side) without canonical arc like with Chellan's wielder or one of big bads of Council of Thieves.

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