PF2R Drow


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Liberty's Edge

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CorvusMask wrote:
Preeeeeeetty much :'D I'm also afraid it means starfinder devs will not do much with Apostae at all for foreseeable future because they see planet's lore as doomed already

Or, enlightened by what happened to Paizo's plans for the PF drows, they might go full throttle on highlighting and detailing the many ways in which these elves are NOT the OGL drows. So that it becomes quite safe to put them under ORC at a later time.

Liberty's Edge

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Deriven Firelion wrote:

I wonder if you can actually make drow/dark elves cool again.

Drow were fun because they were evil, because they rejected the elf paradigm everyone had come to know, they were subversive and rebellious. It was because they stood so far above every other race that they were able to do this. To be drow in their first days was to say to the other races, "You are insects to us, cattle, we are the supreme race of elves, more powerful and capable than you. You are but there to serve our purposes when we even bother to notice you."

Magic was like rain water to them. It might occasionally make them wet, but mostly it was a minor discomfort. Their warriors were ambidextrous fighting as easily with two blades as most people write with one hand. Every one of them learned magic whether the power of generating darkness or the more powerful abilities of their priests.

This whole thread completely focuses on this one aspect of the drow and forgets what they were like as though they don't even remember how powerful and frightening the drow were as enemies. What it was like to be stalked in the darkness by these vicious, powerful elves that would feed you to their spider goddess or enslave you if they caught you.

There is no discussion as to they were popular. Why did the drow become popular? It was because they were powerful, not just evil.

Kobolds are evil. Orcs are evil. Lots of creatures of evil. They never reached the popularity of drow.

If you want to make drow popular again or dark elves, take off the boundaries and make them powerful again, scary powerful. Like they were when they first appeared.

My biggest problem with the drow doesn't have anything to do with their skin color. It has to do with them being watered down to the point where they are just some other elf and they've lost all their scariness that was derived from being a powerful race that stood above nearly every other group they faced.

That's the part of I miss with drow and dark elves. When you faced them, you dreaded it. Your wizards and magic users stared to rethink how they were going to use their magic. Your warriors were like, "Oh damn, the cuisinarts are here. We better hammer their warriors down fast or we're going to get sliced and diced to pieces. Should we run?"

There are so many younger people on this thread it's like they don't even know what it was originally like to face the drow in a D&D game. It was a fricking nightmare. It was scarier to fight drow than a demon or dragon.

That part has been gone for years. That's what I would love to see brought back. The scariness of the drow or dark elves. They haven't been scary or worth a second thought in years. They built entire adventures around drow because they were such a scary and difficult to defeat enemy.

All that left them long ago. The dark faerie elf rulers of the Underdark/Darklands have been gone much longer than this change. I'd like to see Paizo bring back some of that scary, powerful feel to dark elves if they're going to keep them around.

Why do people insist so much on these dark dangerous unknown enemies being elves ?

I can very easily see the Sekmin fit these boots perfectly.

Liberty's Edge

Temperans wrote:

I mean dragons are made to be stronger than equal level creatures and nobody complains that they are broken or designed badly.

Some creatures are just means to be stronger and saying that they aren't is just foolish because its that type of stuff that give RPGs character.

In PF2 that is quite possible for NPCs. Not for PCs though.

And balance of power between PC builds are such a fundamental part of PF2 design that it will not change.

If people want to play a PC who is far above the other PCs just by nature of what they are, be it drow or dragon or whatever, PF2 is definitely not the right game for this.


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I can't speak for other people. And I, personally, don't "need" them to be elves. Another species can fit this niche fine. I think elves work good here, because the elven cliché is "light", "good"," noble" and drow subverted the cliché. So "Subverting what you would believe from this species" is part of the appeal. Sekmin don't have a "good appeal" that is subverted with their design.

And: "Evil snakepeople with an empire, trying to pull the strings" on the other hand feels just a bit too close to comfort, because a frightening number of people believe this exact thing to be true in our Real world.

Dark Archive

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The Raven Black wrote:

Why do people insist so much on these dark dangerous unknown enemies being elves ?

I can very easily see the Sekmin fit these boots perfectly.

Elves are virtually always depicted as preternaturally perceptive and agile, and often as relativity either benevolent or enlightened.

Now take that same level of perception and ability, replace benevolence with malice and enlightenment with cunning, and place it somewhere geographically where humans are already at a massive disadvantage.
It's like if you were playing a orc in a Lord of the Rings game and Legolas were after you.

Sure, Sekmin might be depicted similarly, but they don't have the history or same easy point of comparison.


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Personally, serpentfolk leave me completely uninterested. The entire “pre-archaic serpentfolk empires” that enslaved all peoples of various fantasy books and RPG lore is an entire snoozefest that descends into nightmare by repetition.

I liked the drow back in ‘82 for all the reasons Deriven Firelion listed above - (I was…8 years old) and saw them diminish in my personal interest for all the reasons Zaister mentioned above. I bought all the Second Darkness AP issues recently when they hit $2 a piece hoping they might be good. They…weren’t quite what I was looking for, in the same way Iron Gods didn’t live up to to what I hoped for in the way of Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. So maybe there are some grognardy feelings at play here for the…older folks, and maybe some supreme overinvestment from the younger Drizztragics. I don’t think some folks are going to listen to reason or reasons.

Paizo have made a decision, and it seems prudent and sound, however unpopular it might be with a segment of the fanbase. Multiple times in this thread reasonable suggestions along the lines of “no way to make them different enough to still be recognisable and no way to keep them as is” have fallen on barren ground. I see no way to make those people happy, nor, honestly, any reason to try.

At least Lolth had a planar labyrinth with mutiversal gates to subject pocket dimensions, pedipalpy yochlol handmaidens and a personal spaceship. If and when the…snekpeeps top that I’ll eat my forums.


Unicore wrote:

Are dragons really made to be higher level than they appear? Or just good at fighting as solo monsters? I mean most of what really makes dragon fights difficult is their speed, which the game is pretty loose about speeds as a balancing factor. Like it seems to factor into Ancestries for PCs, but the advice for speed on page 64 is to pick something that makes sense, so it is clearly not a carefully calibrated metric.

So if dragons are punching over their weight, it is because they have good numbers for their level and their abilities take into account that they are very good at the hit and run. Like a level 10 young red dragon has pretty modest attribute modifiers, just over moderate perception, 1 high skill, high AC, pretty close to average saves, under High HP, pretty average resistances, high attacks, just under high damage for its best attack but with an extra element rider. So maybe a hint on the high end, but a lot of monsters are there with them.

If anything, they just made too many very low level drow in PF2, like they top out at level 8, and are creatures for low level play. In PF1 they start around level 1 (CR 1/3) as well, so Drow in Golarion were always supposed to be around regular ancestry level. They weren't built to be Early D&D super monsters in Golarion.

I think the comments were aimed more at dragons from earlier editions, like D&D 3.5 and PF1E. Dragons in those games had all the best numbers--attack bonus, saves, number of skills, loads of attacks, good spell progression, etc. I disagree that nobody ever complained about them, though. I did, frequently, every time a dragon showed up in a 3.5/PF1E game I was in. I recall seeing some posts to that effect on the boards as well. "Make number bigger" was the dragons' solution to being challenging, and it wasn't especially fun to slog through fighting them because of it.

I prefer PF2E's dragons a lot more, where their numbers match up for their level and their challenge can come from them being higher level than the party and having the handful of tricks that every monster gets to make it challenging.


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keftiu wrote:
Do people think if they yell loudly enough, Paizo will go "yeah, I guess you're right" and do a 180 here?

I mean. It worked with Wizards to an extent.


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Evan Tarlton wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Shisumo wrote:

This may or may not help, but for those who are saying "Paizo's lore is different enough that it wouldn't run afoul of the OGL thing," consider the following thought experiment. (This actually works as a decent rule of thumb for "maybe we have a problem" when it comes to pretty much anything involving copyright, plagiarism, etc.) Imagine the thing you're talking about didn't exist. Instead, someone has come to you with their "new idea" and begins to explain it to you.

How likely are you to go, "But that's just [IP of some other company]?"

So if someone came along and said, "I'm going to introduce a variant ancestry of elves for Golarion. They are dark-skinned (and are called "dark elves" as part of that), live exclusively underground, have darkvision, many of them are evil (they worship chaotic and evil deities as part of that), they organize themselves into scheming political factions that are ruled matriarchally, favor the use of poison and hand crossbows, and have a tradition of warping humanoids into monstrous abominations, some of which are spider/drow centaur-kinda things called 'driders,'" at what point in there, if any, would you have said, "But that's just D&D drow with some tweaks here and there?"

And how far back up the chain of those descriptors would you have to go before "this is clearly not D&D drow" would seem reasonable to say?

This honestly, at this point I just have to ask what exactly these people are fighting for?

They can't use the name, and they can't build off the Drow lore that was already established in setting since it copies DnD, so what are you asking for?

They can use dark elves.
They can be matriarchal.
They can't use their history.
They can't use their culture.
They can't use certain fashion (like specific outfits).
They can't use the name.
They can't use Driders.
They can't live underground.
They can't have them worship Fiends.
They can't use their iconic magic.
They can't use the naming conventions.

If Paizo had dropped the evil matriarchy and drow nobility powers and gone in much harder on the fleshwarping angle, they might have been able to salvage something, but that's not what they did. They were forced to do something fast, and they didn't have the time for the from-the-ground rebuild they would have needed. I don't know why so many people don't understand this even after James explained it.

My dad was a carpenter and furniture reupholsterer for many, many years. One thing he said during the one day he showed me how his job worked was that if you find yourself in a position where you have to do a job quickly, you will have to face the very real possibility of losing a finger or a customer, and noone is worth losing a finger over.


If I recall the deal with dragons correctly, it's not so much that they're just straight up stronger than other monsters of their level--all of their numbers fall well within the creature creator guidelines. Instead, what makes dragons feel stronger is that they have fewer 'bad' numbers in their statblock. Taking for example, the Adult Red Dragon, none of its numbers are even at the Extreme category for its level, but without counting skills, neither are any of its numbers 'low' (and a couple are slightly above 'high').

It would be short-sighted to design a level 2 creature and give it all level 3+ stats because it is supposed to be 'scary'--that only just breaks the whole point of having levels to achieve an effect you can get just by using higher level enemies. If you need drow to feel scary to a party of level 4 characters, you need to use level 3-4 drow in just enough numbers that it comes out as a challenging encounter, and to do that you need to be able to trust that a level 3 drow statblock has the stats of a level 3 monster.

Everything after that is a matter of presentation--let them use clever tactics to hold the upper hand. Give them an environment which plays to their strengths--if you're fighting on ledges separated by 10' gaps, all drow can leap those easily but the PCs will have to be more careful. Give them cover to use, give them traps, and give them the ability to melt away into the shadows and go for reinforcements or wait out their poisons to soften their targets.

Bigger numbers alone don't make an enemy feel more intimidating, it jsut makes them feel misplaced. The list Deriven gives strikes me more like a list of abilities the PCs can see being used against them (though let's not pretend balance was a consistent concern in early editions, so the raw numbers may have also been there)

Silver Crusade

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“Are we know to expect every Serpentfolk in Golarion to act like Cobra Commander”

yes, no backsiessssss

Radiant Oath

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Inarea wrote:
What feats do cavern elves have access to that will recreate a pf1e drow noble character? Isn't it just dark vision.

Wanted to chime in on this point a little: for a long time this had been my rationale as to why Cavern Elves weren't meant as substitutes for the drow, because there wasn't really a way to replicate the "noble drow" just from ancestral feats alone.

But the recent announcement got me thinking about that, and I realized that on the whole a lot of the lore surrounding them is very eugenics-y in nature, that they're just inherently better from birth and what not, and the whole POINT of moving from "races" to "ancestries" and the latest rules update about neutral ancestral ability modifiers that will be codified in the Remaster was to get AWAY from that paradigm, since it's haunted OGL games as long as the drow's other problematic elements.

Besides, drow nobles weren't really balanced for regular gameplay as PCs anyway given they got way more modifiers than regular PCs AND spell resistance on top of their bonus spell-like abilities, so I imagine their primary use in-game was to bolster the statblocks of NPC villains with class levels, something I'm not sure really occurs the same way in 2e (the same is true for Azlanti humans, who had a +2 in each ability score, and again were more meant to be timelost villains like Karzoug and Alaznist).

There IS nothing stopping me from slotting my Cavern Elf's ancestry bonuses into DEX and CHA, and getting the other features like the spell-like abilities and poison use through a combo of ancestry, class and skill feats to make a PC that looks like a drow, swims like a drow and quacks like a drow! And, as others have stated, nothing stopping GMs from utilizing what we already have from base 2e to keep the drow around in their personal games.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:
Why do people insist so much on these dark dangerous unknown enemies being elves ?

Humanity is what it is today because of contuity. We've literally been brought up with this dependency on contuity for at least several centuries. It's gotten us through the rise and fall of numerous civilizations and upheaveling events.

The desire for contuity has long been ingrained in Humanity. Change is jarring and thus will always be met with resistance.


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Rysky wrote:

“Are we know to expect every Serpentfolk in Golarion to act like Cobra Commander”

yes, no backsiessssss

Cobra Commander? Come now.

They're supposed to act like Starscream.


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As long as it’s not the the goofy Tv version of Serpentor from GI Joe. Every scene the character went in the battle the voice actor blasted Cobralalala.


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OT: The Marvel comic was soooo much better.

Liberty's Edge

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Ravingdork wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Why do people insist so much on these dark dangerous unknown enemies being elves ?

Humanity is what it is today because of contuity. We've literally been brought up with this dependency on contuity for at least several centuries. It's gotten us through the rise and fall of numerous civilizations and upheaveling events.

The desire for contuity has long been ingrained in Humanity. Change is jarring and thus will always be met with resistance.

Not by everyone thankfully, or we would have died out a long time before even inventing TTRPGs.

One thing stronger than the wish of humans for continuity is their ability to adapt to change once it has proven worthwhile.


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Wow, what a mess.

First time poster, so hi everybody, you guys are all great. The debates are excellent, keep it up.

I don't know if I am in the minority, but I love D&D as well, it's where many of my group and others started in this awesome hobby (that or slowly sliding in to TTRPG via Warhammer), and I am saddened by the divorcing of all, or much of, of the history that comes from D&D. To me, Pathfinder is what D&D should be, the spiritual successor to the games I played in my youth, with rules that are way more interesting to someone like me, while still being in touch with the roots of the game through the shared language in the SRD.

The Drow are iconic, and I will miss them in Pathfinder when they are gone. I will miss the dragons too, and probably a load of other changes to the world that have yet to be announced. All of this feels like a step backwards, which is odd given Wizard's recent missteps it was a fantastic opportunity for Paizo to sweep up new players and grow the game, but instead we seem to be focused on creating barriers to entry, while making existing players disillusioned with the direction of travel.

Personally, I would prefer it if Paizo continued with the OGL for longer (like forever!) to make this unnecessary, but it is unlikely (like impossible!) that they can or would want to change course now.

Anyway, I hope it all works out in the end and my worries are unfounded, but I care enough about the Drow to voice my concerns.

Liberty's Edge

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GoblinIsland wrote:

Wow, what a mess.

First time poster, so hi everybody, you guys are all great. The debates are excellent, keep it up.

I don't know if I am in the minority, but I love D&D as well, it's where many of my group and others started in this awesome hobby (that or slowly sliding in to TTRPG via Warhammer), and I am saddened by the divorcing of all, or much of, of the history that comes from D&D. To me, Pathfinder is what D&D should be, the spiritual successor to the games I played in my youth, with rules that are way more interesting to someone like me, while still being in touch with the roots of the game through the shared language in the SRD.

The Drow are iconic, and I will miss them in Pathfinder when they are gone. I will miss the dragons too, and probably a load of other changes to the world that have yet to be announced. All of this feels like a step backwards, which is odd given Wizard's recent missteps it was a fantastic opportunity for Paizo to sweep up new players and grow the game, but instead we seem to be focused on creating barriers to entry, while making existing players disillusioned with the direction of travel.

Personally, I would prefer it if Paizo continued with the OGL for longer (like forever!) to make this unnecessary, but it is unlikely (like impossible!) that they can or would want to change course now.

Anyway, I hope it all works out in the end and my worries are unfounded, but I care enough about the Drow to voice my concerns.

Just a not that the total disappearance of drows has never been Paizo's plan for them, pretty much the opposite, until the attempted weaponization of the OGL at the beginning of this year forced their hand.

I think I would have loved seeing drows becoming a fully original part of the setting. Because I know how great Paizo are for creating genius lore.

Now I will see this happen to both the cavern elves and the Sekmin and I am sure I will greatly enjoy it.


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Rysky wrote:

“Are we know to expect every Serpentfolk in Golarion to act like Cobra Commander”

yes, no backsiessssss

Serpentfolk attack “ attack attack”

Alchemical Bomb and arrows land close by.

Serpentfolk “ retreat retreat “.

The really did not showcase how competent a leader he.was in the show unlike the comic.


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CC from the comics was Darth Sidious before we got Darth Sidious.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think there have been some fundamental shifts in gaming as well that make the space Drow occupied in earlier versions of the game less enthralling.

Darkness just isn’t scary anymore, especially in a game where darkvision barely registers as a feature and is prevalent in player facing ancestries. My favorite PF2 PC is a goblin cleric of Ketephis with a focus on the darkness domain. I have built the character that tries very hard to have the darkness scary and darkvision is so ubiquitous on creatures that the only way this character works is to get the advanced darkness domain focus spell and take creatures darkvision away. Adventures almost never play with the limitations of darkvision (being monochromatic) so there is kinda still a weird secret sauce where players can either just choose to make the dark irrelevant with minimal investment, or they can choose to make it something that matters by requiring light sources. What is a little unusual about this toggle is that it is pretty much out of the GMs hands whether “into the darkness” is an environmental feature, or completely irrelevant. “It’s dangerous because it is dark down there” just isn’t true of modern games.

Which is pretty connected to the second bit, the expectation that PCs are human or so close to human that human themes of fears and desires are just not as ubiquitous as they were in the past. I think one of the reasons while occultism is having a resurgence and arcane magic has been feeling stale in PF2 (hopefully getting a boost with the remaster) is “magic” alone doesn’t feel magical, rare or special in fiction anymore, especially when it is ordered, knowable, rote. It is easier to have eldritch horrors feel scary and have truly terrible intentions than human-adjacent motives be the driving plot beat because players reactions to flesh-rending tentacle beasts from “the beyond” are easier to predict and lead through a coherent adventure than incredibly nuanced villains. Just look at the Agents of Edgewatch AP to see both of these factors in play. When the villain is purely psychopathic beyond reason, but human(ish) players feel compelled to find out why and how this happened, but if those motives end up to gray, you end up with adventures with the expectation that players break up justified strikes over labor safety again nat laborers who for some reason are committed to fighting to the death rather than negotiating at all.

Really open-ended, human-adjacent villains can be amazing, but writing them into long, closed-loop adventures that are neither dependent upon those characters sticking around, nor on them being completely out of the picture is only really possible with a flexible and experienced GM, which you can’t write into a 6 book AP. I actually think more shorter, 2 to 4 book APs will make it easier to tell nuanced stories with call backs to other adventures than continuous APs. PFS for example does this all the time without it being too difficult because they don’t really have to know how the previous adventure resolved to be coherent enough for the next one. PFS adventures operate as if all outcomes happen after each 4 hour session. APs have to constantly be opening Schrödinger’s box after each encounter before moving the story along. Mean whole video games have created the illusion of choice, but almost always by forcing decision points into binary choices that TTRPGs can’t force.

All of this has led to pretty big shifts in the general audience of players that make “dangerous” but playable villains, who can be predictable for plot writing, but capable of not being that too, something that requires change and growing past certain expectations that worked 30 years ago. It is pretty understandable to want to be careful tying yourself too closely to a particularly nuanced creature from another game that has already been particularly focused on making those changes for a long time.


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Many environmental factors (as well as healing) are mostly trivial in PF2.


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GoblinIsland wrote:
Personally, I would prefer it if Paizo continued with the OGL for longer (like forever!) to make this unnecessary, but it is unlikely (like impossible!) that they can or would want to change course now.

Several pages ago in this thread, the Creative Director of Paizo, James Jacobs made a couple posts that speak to this point.

On Removing Drow From Pathfinder

On The Long History Of The Drow Issue

Both of those posts will explain why the change was necessary and why they aren't interested in changing course.


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I made my peace with the entire subject. Obviously still not happy yet between 1E, 2E, Pathfinder 1E and 5E have many versions of D&D that I can use the Drow.

All that I ask is that the Darklands have interesting villains in them. They don’t have to be unique just make them competent and fun to use.


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What is the f8xation on how drow dress?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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The Thing From Another World wrote:

I made my peace with the entire subject. Obviously still not happy yet between 1E, 2E, Pathfinder 1E and 5E have many versions of D&D that I can use the Drow.

All that I ask is that the Darklands have interesting villains in them. They don’t have to be unique just make them competent and fun to use.

With ghouls, xhulgaths, vault builders/keepers, urdefhans, seugathis, sekmins, gugs, chardas, various forms of undead, morlocks, calignis, deros, myceloids, jinkins, algholthus, and fleshwarps... there's plenty of interesting villains in the Darklands of all levels and covering the full range of "pretty much non-stop evil" all the way to "antihero capable." The removal of drow won't make the Darklands any safer for your PCs.


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The Thing From Another World wrote:
Rysky wrote:

“Are we know to expect every Serpentfolk in Golarion to act like Cobra Commander”

yes, no backsiessssss

Serpentfolk attack “ attack attack”

Alchemical Bomb and arrows land close by.

Serpentfolk “ retreat retreat “.

The really did not showcase how competent a leader he.was in the show unlike the comic.

Man, they just don't make terrorists like they used to.


Totally Not Gorbacz wrote:
Everything we've heard so far from Paizo on drow in SF could be summed up as "this is a tomorrow Paizo problem". Which probably also says a lot about how SF sales stack up next to PF sales.

It's probably a function of "the lifespan of Starfinder 1st edition is sufficiently short that it's not worth doing the work to release it as a non-OGL product, when we simply could just build that into Starfinder 2nd edition."

Like Pathfinder 1st edition spanned roughly 11 years total, and Starfinder will be 6 years old come August. Work on the 2nd edition of Starfinder is going to start in a 2-3 years most likely.

Radiant Oath

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
What is the fixation on how drow dress?

Another remnant of their origins; nearly every major drow villainess from Eclavdra onward dressed like a dominatrix. This signaled, whether intentionally or not, that the drow were evil because they were kinkier than the refined and modest elves (There may be more to this, but I don't feel qualified to psychoanalyze what kinds of hangups Gary Gygax may or may not have had in that regard). And that got flanderized to the point that people were like "All drow (or at least all drow women) dress like that!" which Paizo then inherited and wasn't as high a priority for revision as some of the drow's more actively nasty aspects. Wearing corsets and harnesses can at least be spun as an empowering fashion choice, especially as Calistria was written as the most popular elven deity, so that kind of clothing no longer carried the stigma of being "evil-coded," as opposed to the concept that a powerful enough evil act can change your skin-tone.


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James Jacobs wrote:
The Thing From Another World wrote:

I made my peace with the entire subject. Obviously still not happy yet between 1E, 2E, Pathfinder 1E and 5E have many versions of D&D that I can use the Drow.

All that I ask is that the Darklands have interesting villains in them. They don’t have to be unique just make them competent and fun to use.

With ghouls, xhulgaths, vault builders/keepers, urdefhans, seugathis, sekmins, gugs, chardas, various forms of undead, morlocks, calignis, deros, myceloids, jinkins, algholthus, and fleshwarps... there's plenty of interesting villains in the Darklands of all levels and covering the full range of "pretty much non-stop evil" all the way to "antihero capable." The removal of drow won't make the Darklands any safer for your PCs.

No, but perhaps less interesting


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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
What is the fixation on how drow dress?
Another remnant of their origins; nearly every major drow villainess from Eclavdra onward dressed like a dominatrix. This signaled, whether intentionally or not, that the drow were evil because they were kinkier than the refined and modest elves (There may be more to this, but I don't feel qualified to psychoanalyze what kinds of hangups Gary Gygax may or may not have had in that regard). And that got flanderized to the point that people were like "All drow (or at least all drow women) dress like that!" which Paizo then inherited and wasn't as high a priority for revision as some of the drow's more actively nasty aspects. Wearing corsets and harnesses can at least be spun as an empowering fashion choice, especially as Calistria was written as the most popular elven deity, so that kind of clothing no longer carried the stigma of being "evil-coded," as opposed to the concept that a powerful enough evil act can change your skin-tone.

Emma Frost dresses/dressed that way for the same reasons

Liberty's Edge

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Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
The Thing From Another World wrote:

I made my peace with the entire subject. Obviously still not happy yet between 1E, 2E, Pathfinder 1E and 5E have many versions of D&D that I can use the Drow.

All that I ask is that the Darklands have interesting villains in them. They don’t have to be unique just make them competent and fun to use.

With ghouls, xhulgaths, vault builders/keepers, urdefhans, seugathis, sekmins, gugs, chardas, various forms of undead, morlocks, calignis, deros, myceloids, jinkins, algholthus, and fleshwarps... there's plenty of interesting villains in the Darklands of all levels and covering the full range of "pretty much non-stop evil" all the way to "antihero capable." The removal of drow won't make the Darklands any safer for your PCs.
No, but perhaps less interesting

Seeing how drows were pretty premade while Cavern Elves are wide open and Sekmin not that well known, I think there will be more creativity and thus more interesting Darklands.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
The Thing From Another World wrote:

I made my peace with the entire subject. Obviously still not happy yet between 1E, 2E, Pathfinder 1E and 5E have many versions of D&D that I can use the Drow.

All that I ask is that the Darklands have interesting villains in them. They don’t have to be unique just make them competent and fun to use.

With ghouls, xhulgaths, vault builders/keepers, urdefhans, seugathis, sekmins, gugs, chardas, various forms of undead, morlocks, calignis, deros, myceloids, jinkins, algholthus, and fleshwarps... there's plenty of interesting villains in the Darklands of all levels and covering the full range of "pretty much non-stop evil" all the way to "antihero capable." The removal of drow won't make the Darklands any safer for your PCs.
No, but perhaps less interesting

To you, I guess so. To me, more interesting. To the rest of the world, I expect a mix of both.

I'm hoping that in the end, this change will be more interesting to most, or at least be a stalemate. Because if it turns out that the part of the Darklands the vast majority of Pathfinder players liked was drow, then that means we (and I, in creating the Darklands in the first place) completely failed at making this region into something for Pathfinder and not D&D.

I've got my fingers crossed that folks are still interested, overall, in the Darklands, and I'm 99% sure most folks will be... but again, for those whose interest in the Darklands and potentially all of Pathfinder hinged on D&D-adjacent drow, there's not much I can do for you other than hope that by this time next year, you'll have found something equally interesting about the game to enjoy. And if that's not the case... that's fine too. No one game is for everyone, and no one game will be any one person's forever favorite. Times and tastes change.


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I mean, the bulk of "is the Darklands interesting or not" should be predicated on "why the PCs are there" than "who is there when the PCs are not."

If we did more PF2 adventures in the Darklands, and those adventures were good, people would care more about the Darklands.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I have high hopes for the Sky King's Tomb for giving us more about the dwarves journey through the Darklands, and a 1-20 Orc-themed campaign that digs into their story and gives us a chance to really see the evils of Sekmin would be pretty cool, especially with the ORC kinda pushing orcs forward as an ancestry of note in Golarion. I think they have every bit as much room to be an ancestry with a complicated history and predisposition towards violence that is coming into their own with the decline of the time of humans.


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The Darklands represents far more in Pathfinder than in D&D if only due to having multiple layers of continent-sized regions. Compare to The Vault of the Drow which represents a city & its farms. That's like having alien planets nested below your feet. If not for daylight, many monstrous abominations would as readily devour humanity as any other snack. It's a good thing they also occupy each other.
And then there's all the same potential for ancient ruins and magical anomalies found atop Golarion. Heck, arguably the commonality of Drow might have watered down the Darklands' eldritch, esoteric, eerie potential.

Dark Archive

I feel like "what is interesting in the Darklands" is largely predicated on personal preference and currently extant information.
It's hard to be really invested in a monster species when we have very little information about them.
Kinda paradoxically: knowing things about a species makes me want to know more things about them; knowing very little doesn't make me want to know more in most cases. Funny that.

I think that's why I like Ghouls and especially Urdefhans. The former have a huge city, which is a massive departure from how Ghouls are normally depicted. Interesting. I would like to know more.
Urderhans are portrayed in a different manner in Extinction Curse than in other adventures which have feature them. You can engage in them with actual diplomacy and stuff, which pretty much never happened with Urdefhans elsewhere. They're an actual society, and not just murder machines.

Personally, I just haven't seen anything interesting enough from the other mentioned villains to care that much. That or they don't (currently) offer anything to care about: alien minds or primitive societies don't typically make for compelling characters.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

One interesting subversion would be to have an adventure set in the Darklands under the Mwangi Expanse where the party encounters pale skinned drow, thereby reversing the light/dark dichotomy we see in more Europe-like settings.


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I can only speak for myself, but the Darklands definitely got more interesting for me without the drow--and the number of people who have said as much here in this place for talking about the drow change leads me to believe I'm not alone.

It's not that I didn't like the drow--seeing chatter of what Paizo was doing with them stated to pique my interest, but it definitely felt like the drow were a 'solved equation' if that makes sense. There were so many other interesting things about the Darklands but they all stood in the shadow of the drow empire down there. It felt stale and stagnant and while it sounds like the work Paizo was doing to revitalize them would have grabbed me again (between giving us some protean worshippers and being one of the origins of fleshwarps, as well as some of that Nocticula's followers no longer being evil bit), that's not a future that's open to us.

Having read some of what people felt made the drow originally interesting has been very enlightening, and like many examples of old school lore, I'm drawn to certain aspects and would have been interested in a return to source, less watered-down drow with a modern fresh coat of paint--though I quite imagine the categories which drow proponents and I consider developments led to their being 'watered down' and which things worth keeping to be somewhat incompatible.

Mainly this change for me means more room for all the other cool things that exist in the Darklands, particularly in Sekamina, though if I'm being honest, one of the first things that tickled me as interesting about the Darklands were the munavri and the Sightless Sea.


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Rysky wrote:

“Are we know to expect every Serpentfolk in Golarion to act like Cobra Commander”

yes, no backsiessssss

AP 201--Can our party of heroes stop the sinister scaled Sekmin from assembling their most deadly device yet, the Solar Dominator?


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Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
I can only speak for myself, but the Darklands definitely got more interesting for me without the drow--and the number of people who have said as much here in this place for talking about the drow change leads me to believe I'm not alone.

As a living example of 'Cannot please everyone' the only thing that made me interested in the Darklands was the Drow. If Drow had been habituated on the surface of Avistan somewhere, I would have been interested in that location, like the Xen'drik drow of Eberron or whatnot.

Now that they're not there, well...I'm sure other folks will find something to enjoy down there, but I have no need for any of it.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
The Thing From Another World wrote:

I made my peace with the entire subject. Obviously still not happy yet between 1E, 2E, Pathfinder 1E and 5E have many versions of D&D that I can use the Drow.

All that I ask is that the Darklands have interesting villains in them. They don’t have to be unique just make them competent and fun to use.

With ghouls, xhulgaths, vault builders/keepers, urdefhans, seugathis, sekmins, gugs, chardas, various forms of undead, morlocks, calignis, deros, myceloids, jinkins, algholthus, and fleshwarps... there's plenty of interesting villains in the Darklands of all levels and covering the full range of "pretty much non-stop evil" all the way to "antihero capable." The removal of drow won't make the Darklands any safer for your PCs.
No, but perhaps less interesting

This is remarkably insulting to say in response to a developer.


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I don't see the point of keeping the drow around as they no longer serve the purpose for which they were created. Do we need another elf type?

The original drow had a purpose in the module they were in and the game world. Now PF2 Remaster will rename them and make them some other elf type with no real purpose other than what? Allow a player to make an elf that looks like a drow, but isn't really a drow with no real purpose in the overall game world?

Seems like energy better spent coming up with something unique with a purpose in the game world that might interest setting fans than to try to rename and keep alive a concept that died a long time ago and is nothing more than a lightning rod for someone to foment political attacks.

If the drow are no longer going to serve the original purpose for their creation, surprise us with something new and interesting that might give some new generation the same feeling the older generation of gamers felt when they first encountered the drow. Some new ancestry or group of beings that shakes the RPG world.

Though I imagine at this point that is an impossible task as it seems to have all been done.

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