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Old Jun 19th, 2012, 10:06 AM
Mal Radagast's Avatar
Mal Radagast Mal Radagast is offline
Just learning to lose.
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Blood For Wine

Character Creation
Let's start with a 15-pointbuy, yes? (I like to encourage you all to be bad at something.)

Go ahead and take full HP for first each following level, you may choose to either take half or roll, but you make the choice before you roll and live with the results.

The minimum skill allotment for any class is now 4+Int; fighters and sorcerers take note. We'll also be using Ehlana's Knowledge Point - that is one free skill point per level, to be put specifically into a Knowledge skill. If it is not put into Knowledge, it is lost.

Concerning Feats:
Characters are treated as already having Two-Weapon Fighting if wielding only light weapons. Now, the Two-Weapon Defense feat grants +2 shield bonus. Lastly, Improved and Greater TWF are one feat which grants an extra off hand attack at BAB +6 and +11, with -5 and -10 penalties, respectively.

For all intents and purposes, Weapon Finesse includes Agile Maneuvers. Similarly, Shield Proficiency now includes Shield Focus. Two-Weapon Fighting will also include Improved Shield Bash. (Note that, in the last case, if the shield and weapon aren't both light, then you will have to actually take the first TWF.)

Improved Trip, Improved Disarm, Improved Dirty Trick, Improved Feint, Improved Reposition, Improved Steal - replaced with Deft Maneuvers.
Originally Posted by Deft Maneuvers
You do not provoke an attack of opportunity when performing a trip, disarm, dirty trick, feint, reposition, or steal combat maneuver. In addition, you receive a +2 bonus on checks with these combat maneuvers. Now a prerequisite for the relevant greater combat maneuver feats.
Improved Bull Rush, Improved Drag, Improved Overrun, Improved Sunder - replaced with Powerful Maneuvers.
Originally Posted by Powerful Maneuvers
You do not provoke an attack of opportunity when performing a bull rush, drag, overrun, or sunder combat maneuver. In addition, you receive a +2 bonus on checks with these combat maneuvers. Now a prerequisite for the relevant greater combat maneuver feats.
Point-Blank Shot, Far Shot - replaced with Versatile Range.
Originally Posted by Versatile Range
Prerequisites: Precise Shot.
You get a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls with ranged weapons at ranges of up to 30 feet. In addition, you only suffer a –1 penalty per full range increment between you and your target when using a ranged weapon.
Toughness, Run, Endurance, Diehard - replaced by the Jondera's Endurance:
Originally Posted by Jondera's Endurance
Prerequisite: Con 13+

Benefit: You gain a +4 bonus on the following checks and saves: Constitution checks made to continue running, Constitution checks made to hold your breath, Constitution checks made to avoid damage from a forced march, starvation, or thirst, Swim checks made to resist damage, Fortitude saves made to avoid damage from hot or cold environments or from suffocation, and Fortitude saves to avoid being stunned. You may run up to 5 times your speed as a full-round action, and retain your Dex bonus to AC while running. You automatically stabilize if reduced to negative hit points. You gain +3 hit points, plus +1 per level beyond three. Also, you may sleep in light or medium armor without becoming fatigued.
Leadership does not exist; NPCs may choose to help or follow you in the course of the game, or not. Dodge does not exist; anything which requires it now has one less prereq.

Crafting. There are no crafting feats - item crafting will be entirely dependent on relevant Craft skills; magic item crafting, then, will be dependent on relevant Craft skills and Spellcraft checks, as well as availability of appropriate spells. You're welcome to experiment with co-crafting, and/or add whatever ingenuity you can come up with - I'll just make up some circumstance bonuses/penalties as we go. Mostly, I just feel like you never get to properly play with crafting in these things, and it never feels the same as it does in great fantasy stories, so I'm happy to try to play with these mechanics in a way that everyone enjoys. (Maybe even having some less expensive trials or 'imbuing,' you know, maybe a character figures out that they can temporarily transform one item into a magical item with an appropriate combination of spells? We'll see.)

Homebrews and jury-rigs
In conjunction with our patchworked approach to crafting, there will be harsher limitations on availability of many items in shops - Ustalav is not exactly a prosperous country. There is a certain wealth, but mostly it's hoarded in old noble houses and their own trade. Of course in certain cities you might find a variety of mad scientists, wizards, or alchemists - but how far you can trust their products will be up to you! I make no guarantees for items purchased to come exactly as advertised, and if you're looking for something really specific then it might very well either have to be commissioned or invented yourself. (I don't want you to feel like you never get anything fun, though, so I'll be adjusting some of the loot tables based on your characters. We can justify this by presuming that mostly you only think to take what you can use - certain loot is definitely more noticeable by characters who recognize its value.)

While not overly concerned about the negligible sorts of spell components (and they don't have to match handbook descriptions if you have better ideas), I won't make you run through restocking them all the time. However, I do like you to have specific ideas about what spells require and why. The more thought is put into this at lower levels, the more we can develop that into equivalencies for higher-level components so that everything doesn't just boil down to cash. (For example, if you're a cleric of Desna and you've previously dragged the party off-quest to gather a falling star that you saw...then maybe when you don't have a diamond for that resurrection, the star will work as well or better.)

On the subject of resurrections! No resurrection is simple in this game - they will require rituals along the lines of what Matt Mercer does for Critical Role. And they will get more difficult the more often one soul is dragged back into their body.

Passive Perception:
This is an adaptation from 5e/stolen from Sassafrass. The idea is that I'm not going to prompt you every single time you might possibly need to make a Perception or a Sense Motive check - that can have all sorts of adverse affects, from immersion breaking to metagaming (accidental or otherwise) and it's honestly just not necessary.

So if you specifically feel prompted by the story to make a check - if you're warily sneaking into a tomb or if someone is acting shady and you mistrust them - then by all means roll a check! Otherwise, I will assume that your characters have a passive check level of 10+your skill that if my NPC is bluffing, I still have to roll. If it's under your passive Sense Motive, then you'll get a secret message that the NPC is hiding something. Same for traps, etc - just because you're not expecting it doesn't mean that your character doesn't notice.

Probably I'll also use passive Knowledge checks when I have infodumps that I think one of you might reasonably know - and any time you encounter creatures in combat or whatever, if you don't want to roll then I'll use your passives.

Initiative/Off-turn actions:
Basically I'm a fan of just posting as you can (trying to time your post for turn order makes pbp combat even slower unless everyone is always available, which is unlikely) - just remember to wait for the full round to pass before posting again, and leave an ooc note in your post if there are specific reactions you would be saving (like if your character is prepared to counterspell or just keeping an eye out for a good AoO). For that matter, try not to outpace your party when we're not in combat, either - that's a weird etiquette thing I've noticed sometimes, when one or two players get excited and post a lot and then the timeline sort of diverges? Let's try not to have to write jump-cuts into our posts.

“The last thing he ever said to me was, 'Just always be waiting for me, and then some night you will hear me crowing.”

Last edited by Mal Radagast; Jul 14th, 2019 at 12:14 PM.
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Old Jun 19th, 2012, 10:09 AM
Mal Radagast's Avatar
Mal Radagast Mal Radagast is offline
Just learning to lose.
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For those of you unfamiliar with the primary campaign setting of Pathfinder, welcome to Golarion! This is basically fantasy mash-up world played as genuinely as possible considering the absurdity - think of it like Discworld, and if it's like Discworld then we are definitely in Uberwald. It's a bit kitsch, but we're kind of pretending it isn't - a lot like Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Now if you're looking on the map below (the link is zoomable), you'll find Ustalav just north of the lake in the middle, Lake Encarthan. Just to the east is Belkzen, home of the mildly offensive orc stereotypes, and further east is Varisia, land of the much more offensive Roma stereotypes! (I do try to put my own spin on things so that they're not outright offensive - the folks at paizo tried, but they don't know any better. ) If you go just west instead, you see Numeria, the sort of magitech apocalyptica wasteland I guess? The River Kingdoms farther west...actually seem like a fairly typical fantasy setting? It's like the classic bandit's wood, but a whole country. Then Galt is revolutionary France and Taldor is England (complete with a history of colonialism - their language is actually the Common language, and I personally assume that adventurers from Taldor are annoyed whenever someone doesn't speak Taldorei (or whatever we're calling it, Taldene?).

I'm not so much a fan of now I'm speaking Orcish in game threads. It's kind of, well, gaudy. The only color I expect to find, really, is in my DM fieldsets - DM-speak is DarkGreen, and warnings/damage is in DarkRed, as you'll discover - and in imagery.

Also I'm re-reading this after several years and I went into way more detail than we probably need off the bat! Wooops. I mean, there won't be a ton of language shenanigans and we'll handle those as we go probably...

When other languages do come up, what I like to do is actually use other languages. Only the beauty of this is that they don't have to be particularly correct, because nobody's going to be trying to translate them. As for the translation, it can be in italics, as a part of the regular format, or in tooltips, or in fieldset footnotes - as we go, if it comes up, I'm hoping you'll find a method you really enjoy.

As for which languages are what, well, some things just make sense straight off and others we may have to experiment with. TVTropes gives us a good starting point :
Originally Posted by TVTropes
Absalom is Jerusalem. Amanandar is Hong Kong. Andoran is the early United States. Brevoy and Iobaria are medieval Russia. Dtang Ma is Thailand. The Erutaki are Inuit. The Forest of Spirits is ancient Japan, by way of PrincessMononoke. Galt is revolutionary France. Hongal is Mongolia. Hwanggot is Korea. Iblydos is ancient Greece. Irrisen is the fairy tale version of Russia (complete with Baba Yaga!). Katapesh is Arabia. Kelesh is Persia. The Lands of the Linnorm Kings are Scandinavia. Lung Wa and its many Successor States are China. Minata is Indonesia and the Philippines. Minkai is Japan and so is Shokuro. The Mwangi Expanse is Darkest Africa. Ninshabur is Babylon. Osirion is Egypt. Qadira is also Arabia (with some Persian influences). The Arcadians are Native Americans, and so are the Shoanti*. Sarusan is Australia. Taldor is the Byzantine Empire. Ustalav is fantasy Transylvania. The Varisians are the Roma. The Varki are Sami (native Finnish). Vudra is India. The Wall of Heaven is Nepal. Xa Hoi is Vietnam. Zi Ha is Tibet.
Then I tend to use Tolkien's elvish for elves (that is what it's there for, after all), often a mix of French and Irish for halflings, Scotch Gaelic for dwarves (which would explain their accents, aye?).

It's been suggested that Cheliax is fairly Italian (pre-Renaissance?) in style, and that works well with Varisian travelers - they were after all Chelish colonists, once. There's lots of kinds of travelersing folk, though, and Varisia is big. I'll mix in a bit of French/Irish style and perhaps language as well (Galician perhaps), to distinguish from the Chelish and also to represent the motley nature of their culture - especially as Desnans, with all their trade and travel. Closer on towards Ustalav I'd go with the more eastern Romanian. The shifts away from Italian structure also work well to set up straight Latin as Infernal - and so associated with Chelish. Abyssal will be more descriptive than translative - I'm thinking perhaps a chorus of screeches (as birds of prey might make) or howls (baying of dogs?). Perhaps those two are different styles or dialects of the same? Someone has suggested Celestial as choral notes - as of many voices - and I like that. It also means that players are most often going to make some of the more Outsider-ish languages very flat, and it will be a point of bemusement or irritation among the actual Outsiders. A human, for example, could sing Celestial, but it won't sound the same.

Rahadoumi is basically Indian, though we could use various Arabic languages for various dialects. The Shackles, I think, are so motley and haphazard that it's just a roughly accented Common spiced with whwherever the character is from. (A cross between classic pirate-speak, Planescape Cant, Firefly vernacular, and plain mashed-up American, probably.) Sargavan might be any of Chelish/Italian, Mwangi/African, or Shackles/mashup, depending on an individual's history.

Well, that's a good beginning, I think. From there, we can discuss/develop whatever else we require, yes?


“The last thing he ever said to me was, 'Just always be waiting for me, and then some night you will hear me crowing.”

Last edited by Mal Radagast; Jun 26th, 2019 at 09:22 PM.
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Old Jun 19th, 2012, 10:10 AM
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Mal Radagast Mal Radagast is offline
Just learning to lose.
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Golarion Calendar
Alright, so there's Moonday, Toilday, Wealday, Oathday, Fireday, Starday, Sunday - self-explanatory, really. The months then, I've rearranged from Paizo's...still cleaning them up though, so, under construction?

Pharast : First month of the new year, often the coldest, when the stars are clearest and the whole year is ahead. A month for planning and prophecy.

Thron / Iomedan : Those who keep the old ways may still call this time Thron, or wolf-month...while the name has passed largely to Iomedae, the wolfish association seems to have rubbed off somewhat. It would be hard to say whether the association has been better for the wolves' image, or for her own.

Desnus / Abadius : The first change of seasons, the first step on the year's new road. A month for anticipations. Good luck to venture out in Desnus, onto freshly clearing roads, now lined with little shoots and buds. The farther from Varisia you venture, the more you might hear this month named after Abadar - it is the beginning of profitable times, after all. By and large, Desna doesn't seem to mind sharing.

Gozran : Storm-month, as often as not - when the fields are fed and the folks are frustrated.

Calistril : The warming month, for flowers and passions to blush and bloom. Don't ask what the Calis-pole dance is meant to symbolize, if you don't already know.

Shelyn : The place between passionate play and hard work - full of craftly festivals and people spending their first real profits of the year, or singing for them.

Tore : Forge-month, for hard work and heavy rest. Not always the most popular month, but a good reminder to folk who overdid it over Calistril.

Neth : Named for the best-known holiday of Nethys, Evoking Day. Strictly speaking, there are quite as many illusions as evocations on Evoking Day, which any tipsy wizard is liable to tell you.

Erast : The last change of seasons, which lends itself to hunts and forage, to building up those firewood stores and spending what time you can in the shortening daylight. Bright leaves and long twilights accompany, and that sense of drawing-close.

Cayden : Harvest month, best known for the memorable - or not so memorable, perhaps - Merrymead festivals.

Churchanon / Lamashan : It is well-known taboo in Varisia, to call this month Lamashan. No Desnan will forgive her for ripping the domain of Beasts from Churchanus, leaving him another dead god. Churchanus, the big bear, the sign of stalwart endurance in the toughening season...Lamashtu's month retains very little of that quality. Goddess of misfits and madmen, the nightmare month has become a very superstitious time for many.

Saren : The sun might not shine for as long during the days of Saren, but it shines all the brighter to compensate. Some say she chose this month as hers, to serve as winter's beacon. Every long night of the month named after her, it is difficult not to think of the coming Dawn.

First thing – the way the gods work in my Golarion…or, divine magic in general, I guess. The reason holy symbols are important, is that gods are holy symbols, the symbols are the gods. Clerics, to my mind, are kind of just sorcerers with ideals – and those ideas are networked, and as such they manifest. Gods are anthropomorphic personifications of powerful symbols driving the narratives of the world. (And yes, this perspective is largely lifted from Sir Terry Pratchett, mainly Hogfather and Wintersmith, if you’re interested.)

So, there are obviously actual gods – and certainly it is impossible to be an atheist in the sense that you don’t believe them to exist – and regular people have been known to ascend to godhood, not that often really, but it’s possible. However, those gods exist as portfolios of belief, as paragons of particular philosophies found in actual life. While is is possible to agree or disagree within them, it is impossible to believe in and follow a deity yet simultaneously live in a manner which is anathema to their existence. There are stories of fallen paladins and lost clerics, but then there are also simple conversions – as our perspectives as adults can shift over the years, so can our guiding forces and philosophies.

Concerning Good and Evil: It would be difficult to call any mind or soul existing over the course of time objectively Good or Evil. We are creatures of stories and arcs and actions and conflicts, and those acts may be good or evil and their effects upon the world may be good or evil, but the souls themselves? We can only be influenced towards trends in either direction. To decide to serve Good means that you attempt to take good actions, to bring about good in the consequences of those actions. It doesn’t make you an objectively Good person, but…someone who hopefully tries, to the extend of their capacity and understanding.

Some spells, like Detect Good and Evil, are more subjective than the lore surrounding them may account for. The effects of these spells will be filtered through the lens of both the individuals casting them and the powers they’re casting through, and those effects may not always be clear or objective either.

Incidentally, we will not be imposing any alignment restrictions to classes – though there will of course be repercussions if you violate the tenets of your faith.

And now, the gods...

Pharasma : The Grave Goddess; Grey Lady, or alternatively; Lady on the Grey

Largely styled after Ancient GreeceThassilon - lots of classical stone/marble sculpture, definitely Greek deathlore. Pharasma's temples are graveyards, sometimes mausoleums. Her domain is a wide river with many currents, varying in depth, and bordered by a vast misty cemetery. It’s a common Pharasman saying that, "Some folks pay the boatman, some choose to walk or wade...but we all must follow the River."

The River is often compared to Desna's Road, as well – Fate and Fortune are practically sisters. Often you may find statues of the two of them guarding graveyards together. Some folk interpret this as the Road through life becoming the River through Death, or see the difference as walking under your own power vs letting the current carry you. These impressions, of course, vary in accuracy. Some old old stories don’t even distinguish between the two – a notion which is at least somewhat supported by the fact of cats. Cats being sacred to both, as they’re known to travel wherever they damn well please, and they seem to have their own accord with Death, which isn’t the same as everyone else’s. Come to that, though, lots of gods like cats – they’re fond favorites of Besmara as well, and sailors often keep them on ships to chase rats...among other things.

Having discovered 'blackcoat' as an old slang for vicars and ministers, I was at once reminded of Robert Jordan, and then of Joss Whedon. So Pharastmen (and women) are also known as greycoats, for the stone-grey tailored coats they wear, often with a black minister’s collar. Depending on who says it, the term could be positive or negative – grey being representative of stone statues, tombstones, morning mists, and also their apparent neutrality in oh-so-many conflicts. Some folks are a bit irritable about the whole Fate thing, as well. Well, aren’t we all, at some point or other? And it isn't uncommon, I imagine, for some sorts of Pharastmen to revert to the 'will-of-the-gods' method of argument, which annoys people. I don't think Pharasmans are predominantly known for this, but the ‘ineffectual prophet’ has become an amusing sort of Punch-and-Judy stereotype.

Besides cats, Pharasma prefers and protects owls, ravens and crows – all of which are often seen in the stonework of her crypts, mausoleums, and offices. They seem to be much more effective than gargoyles, which are more Lamashtu’s style, anyhow, or Urgathoa’s. Sometimes Pharasma will favor other scavengers, lost wolves and coyotes – though Lamashtu doesn’t appreciate it.

Scythe, Sickle, and Kusarigama are all viable options for favored weaponry of Pharasma.

Desna : Lady Luck, Goddess of the North Star, Dreamer, and Wanderer

Patron goddess of roads, ways, directions and paths. Desna favors the bold, the restless, and often the bloody foolish. Her temples are few, as mostly anyone drawn to her clergy is highly susceptible to wanderlust – more often you’ll find small shrines, usually little fountains or wishing wells along the side of the road. Followers of Desna say little prayers at crossroads, or talk to the constellations as they fall asleep.

Her influence is mostly known to the caravans and wilderness throughout Varisia, though of course she is everywhere (which I guess all gods are, but the Wanderer more than many). Though well known and largely respected, many of the more shall we say “career-oriented” believers, ones who follow Torag the Forgeheart or Erastil the Stag and Hunter, might scoff a little bit at the idea of devoting your sense of self to Desna. She’s not really “serious,” to the view of some poor stuffy souls.

Migratory birds (geese and swans, larks and swallows, etc) and their homes and stopovers are sometimes said to belong to Desna – disrupting them may draw her ire. Traveling herds also hold a special place as one of the main overlaps she shared with Curchanus in the age before Lamashtu ripped the domain of Beasts from him. Wild horses in particular are a favorite, and her clergy do not believe in “breaking” horses in to work. Either you can find a healthy partnership or you can not.

Knives and daggers have been wielded as favored weapons of Desna, and as useful tools when you’re packed light for travel. A while back some eccentric follower developed the “starknife,” which is…less practical. But you know, eccentricity is to be encouraged. Though probably she’d be happiest to see a cleric with an ordinary walking staff.

Sarenrae: Everlight, Dawnflower, Healing Flame, Redeemer

In the West, across Varisia, the Dawnflower is known through the lens of Everbloom, The Eternal Rose, Our Lady of Chrysanthemums: Goddess of Art and BeautyShelyn – the beauty and the dance of flame, the vibrant brush stroke of dawn. Her holy places are campfire clearings, where you can wake with first light. In the hotter regions south of the Inner Sea, the Healing Flame is the everpresent sun, the reminder that we all survive by its heat even while we may die by it – that something can be both dangerous and vital, healing and harming, is symbolic of the duality in each of us and in each of our actions. Her holy places are oases, sources of shade and water, maybe food or trade if it’s large enough. Both of these settings for her worship encourage trust and welcome of newcomers, both are open to the air, unprotected.

In Ustalav, the Everlight is a reminder that whenever things may seem grim, there will still be a source of light somewhere. Either you find it, or you strike it yourself, or if all else fails…well, you believe that she’ll find you in the end. The Redeemer is this philosophy internalized – that there is something worth coming to find. That there is something worth redeeming. Sarenrae means Hope. In yourself, in others, in circumstances beyond our control – which, in this world, is too many circumstances. Holy places here are generally smaller, quieter places…usually involving candles and mirrors. There is even a saying you might hear, “If you can’t be the candle, be the mirror.” If you don’t have the fuel or the spark to brighten up the place yourself, then you find someone who does and you help them.

Most other places in the world, you’ll hear them talk about Sarenrae’s appreciation for creatures with a connection to the sun – the cold-blooded snakes and lizards who bask in her heat for their own energy, roosters crowing as the sun rises, that sort of thing. Which is fine and true, if rather obvious. In Ustalav, however, they know who she really looks out for – prey. The deer who herd up for the winter, brave it and survive regardless of cold or wolves. The squirrels who spend all year preparing for the worst. Rabbits and hares of all kinds and climes, but especially the hare who jumps into the fire.

When Sarenrae favors weapons at all, it is to render the swiftest justice possible and not to maim or to torture. She’s associated with scimitars in the deserts of Garund, but in Avistan you’ll just as likely find rapiers – they can be used to parry without attack, and strike sharp when they do. She won’t look kindly on a shield – if you’re willing to draw another’s blood then you must be equally willing to risk your own. You must be that certain.


Iomedae : Lady Valor, The Inheritor, The Paladin God

The epic of Iomedae is well-known – a human paladin so devoted and so dedicated to the righteous fury of her cause that Sometimes referred to in legends as the Last of the First, it is said that Aroden was the only surviving member of a race of gods who walked Golarion before living memory.Aroden Himself reached out across the battlefield of the Shining Crusade and lifted her up to become his herald. In this capacity she served him, performing even greater deeds and gaining a fanatical following of her own…until the great god’s mysterious death, when she unexpectedly inherited the domains of Glory, Law, and War. More of a trust than a gift, one might say.

Many of her followers are still bitter towards Pharasma – who, being both Fate and Death ought to have seen and warned of this eventuality. Possibly averted it. Who knows?

The holy places of Iomedae are sometimes great cathedrals, sometimes ancient temples to Aroden being maintained in his honor, but either way Iomedans love to build massive structures with massive statues and hold large masses with clerics preaching from pulpits. While she is the patron goddess of Justice and Righteousness, many less-devout commoners refer to her as the patron goddess of Telling You How Bloody Wrong You Are And Which Hell You’re Going To. For every bard inspiring the world with tales of heroic crusades and holy knights combatting great evils, there is another one somewhere warning of villains who thought they were doing Good in the world and were mistaken. On the whole, the worshippers of Iomedae certainly attempt to be a good influence on Golarion, but their reputation for zealotry is not without merit.

Iomedans are not known for their social graces – often disdaining the “less serious” deities like Shelyn or Desna, still harboring that grudge against Pharasma, and frequently arguing with followers of Sarenrae over the danger and weakness of showing mercy. Not to mention, historically, when armies of great evil arise, it has been the crusaders of Iomedae who hold them back, defend the defenseless, and pay for it with their blood. There is something to be said for the paradox of tolerance, and Iomedans will say it every chance they get.

The heraldry of Lady Valor often includes majestic beasts, Lions and Giant Eagles and the great Gryphons of course. Merciless predators with a reputation for dominion, the royalty of their respective environments.

Traditional symbols of war, swords, shields, and spears are her favored weapons.

Lamashtu: Grandmother Nightmare, the Mother of Monsters, the Howling Chorus

Should you find any clerics of Lamashtu in a state to converse with any eloquence, they may correct you on the colloquial pronouns given to their Mother, who speaks in many bellowing, yelping, screeching voices and therefore couldn’t properly be said to maintain any one gender. The association with maternity really stems more from a unique philosophy of care and adoption for those discarded by typical society.

If you’re going to find such an articulate follower of the Mad Chorus, it’s as likely to be in Ustalav as anywhere. The country doesn’t overtly patronize the deity, but then there is a certain appreciation here for the broken, the twisted, the lame and the lost – the protected of Lamashtu. The ugly and the overlooked. It would be almost a noble ambition if it weren’t so bitter and erratic – most usually taking the form of jealousy and revenge against that society which threw them out in the first place.

Lamashtu’s favorite way to gain followers is to break and to mar the naturally beautiful – they love to twist the chosen of Shelyn from her grasp, blessing them with unhealable scars or deformed children, showing them how easily the favor of that proper polite society is lost. How quickly it can be replaced with hesitence and revulsion. “The ravings of the mad,” they say, “are the secrets of gods.”

Scavengers, jackals and hyenas and coyotes, wolves exiled from their packs are favored of Lamashtu and the reason they contrived to rip the domain of Beasts from Curchanus. They believed that he was not properly venerating the stragglers, the hungry ones, those…less majestic, less beautiful, less appreciated. This was seen as a great win by many of the societies of gnolls, goblins, minotaurs and harpies, bugbears and hobgoblins – the thousand forgotten sentients of Golarion, reduced to the name of “monster.” To many, it was the first time they felt that a god stepped up and protected them, sheltered them, made them welcome. The blessings of their Mother are uncomfortable; the positions and politics of their Mother are unpredictable; but that their Mother cares for them in a world which emphatically does not is undeniable. Sometimes that is enough.

Holy places of Lamashtu are old ruins, wrecks, condemned and abandoned buildings no longer fit to live in, corrupted clearings of wood where little grows…places nobody else wants. Favored weapons of Lamashtu are natural attacks – teeth or claws or horns, whatever you’ve got that’s a part of you, a part of the bone of you. We’re mostly all blood and bone, in the end, and not so different.

Urgathoa: Hunger, the Glutton God, the Pallid Angel or the Angel of Despair

They say she was a woman who loved life, lusted after it so recklessly that she was cut down too soon, by some accident or misplaced trust, whatever dangers the world has to offer were as exciting to her as its pleasures. Loving them as she did, Urgathoa had no wish to move on – they say she swam upstream against the River, through herself back onto the living dirt of the Road – that she laughed and kissed the ground and the grass, that she praised Desna for all the adventures yet to come. That Desna recoiled, staring in awe and horror at the world’s first undead creature.

The goddess Hunger cannot taste food, cannot feel sated. None of the pleasures of the flesh which she so craved were available anymore. But she could not, would not, return to death and the unknown. She could not make herself face the possibility of unmaking. Instead she lingered, walked the world encouraging anyone who would listen to live their fullest lives…or sometimes their most grotesque and opulent lives, she sort of…lost track of sensibility after so long removed from the experience.

They call themselves the Famished. The cult of Urgathoa is hedonism taken to every extreme. She is everything that craves more, every urge demanding to be satisfied without restraint, every guilty pleasure, and they live that she might live vicariously through them.

Some don’t think to worship so much as study and emulate – jealous of her achievement, hungry to be like her, powerful and immortal yet still possessed of memory and personality. It is a hunger they rarely see as worship, and yet. She might tell them not to be jealous of her despair, but they will share it soon enough after all, as she watches their lives consumed with searching for the key to Forever at the cost of Now…and then, when they’ve died without living, she offers them another chance. Not a perfect chance, but they are so desperate to accept. “You take what you can get,” is a popular saying among the Famished.

Holy places of Urgathoa are, somewhat paradoxically, great revels, feasts and festivals, places of indulgence and enjoyment, where the lifeblood runs strong – except, of course, that you won’t hear anyone praising her name at such an event. Practically nobody holds them in her honor, and they would never consider to be grateful for Hunger and Despair. However, there are times…some times, when bandits or goblins threaten a great celebration, when things could’ve turned sour…and nothing happens. Possibly the day after, some bones are found in the bushes nearby. Possibly there are a few graves disturbed, or somebody remembers that one fellow who laughed too loud and stared too intensely, he left earlier than anyone expected. (Similarly you might find her likeness in some brothels alongside The Lady of Pain, the Savored Sting, the UnquenchableCalistra, depending on the attitude there.)

Urgathoa’s favored weapon is ingested poison – lichdust, arsenic, starving nettle, whatever makes your last meal memorable. Carrion eaters are her protected creatures – rats and vultures, beetles of all stripes. You take what you can get, after all.


“The last thing he ever said to me was, 'Just always be waiting for me, and then some night you will hear me crowing.”

Last edited by Mal Radagast; Aug 3rd, 2019 at 01:30 AM.
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Old Mar 7th, 2013, 11:31 AM
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Mal Radagast Mal Radagast is offline
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Found myself referencing the old application post, so what the heck, that'll go here.

Game NameCharnel Crown - Also Known As Carrion Crown
ThemeComposed by Philip Glass and Tori Amos, late at night, over a pot of dark roast coffee.

[Edit - By which I mean Gothic Horror, splashed with bits of Ray Bradbury and Susanna Clarke, and probably occasional bits of Terry Pratchett. No Saw, no Scream - nothing like a modern horror flick, please.]
FlavourThe crisp white flavor of snow and the coppery taste of blood, with a sickly-sweet cobwebbed mouthful of cotton candy.

It’s a cold, gritty late-Pharast night outside Harrowstone prison. One of those nights which might be damp in any other season, but which is currently fozen to sparkling dust. Midwinter clouds break overhead, and a grey moonlight settles into the dust...the whole of the world looks rather like a disused old study. A few figures can hear their boots crunching over the soil, not hardly muffled by the hoary tufts of grass. Grey-coated, they blend almost perfectly into the bleak-barren landscape. There are two, no three, of them...if you move a little closer, you might see the moonlight glisten pale across the cold blade of a ritual sickle...a little closer, and you can hear them whispering...

“I’m cold.” A young voice...somewhat petulant, though he’s got a point. “I still don’t understand why we’re here, Master A...ahm, Brother Chough.”

An older man sighs. “Which is why you ought pay greater attention. We require a noble soul, Brother Magpie.” He stresses the title ever so slightly, as you never know who might be listening in – as, in fact, someone is – and it wouldn’t do to give anything away too soon.

The young man scoffs...a puff of silver breath follows the sound. It rather makes you wonder why the older man’s sigh didn’t do the same. “I mean, couldn’t we just go kill a paladin or something?”

The third man laughs, but if there’s mirth in that laugh, it’s of a twisted sort. “That would get us a noble body, boy. Dime a dozen, those.”

“That will do, Brother Jackdaw.”


Climbing closer to the prison yard, a great stone sentinel abides, looming rather than standing over any who pass this way. ‘In Memorium,’ it says – a statue of the last Warden, who died here with so many other names carved onto the pedestal there...and some names which weren’t. The figures pause.

A scritchy, skittering noise rises from behind the sculpture. Stepping into the stone warden’s shadow, the figures discover an old gentleman with a book, scratching into it with a wellworn fountain pen. Crouched there over his book, in his once-black suit (though stitches and inkspots show up darker now than fabric), the gentleman glances up. Carefully placing his bookmark, he bravely stands to face the figures. Nobody notices where he puts the book. “Who are you, then?”

The older figure sketches a bare bow, gestures with his grey coat. “Men of the Pharast cloth, of course, out of an evening patrol.” His lips twitch. It was supposed to be a smile. “And...yourself?”

The old gentleman shakes his head...gravely, one might say. Though his daughter, who knows him best, would say sadly. “I know every Pharastman in the whole of County Cant, by face if not by are not among them.” The three figures’ faces darken, and the gentleman sighs. “I know an illusion when I see one, as well...and I am unfortunately adept at spotting a mad cultist, who is going to kill me no matter what I say tonight.”

The older figure stretches his arms as though to say, what else can one do? His grey coat falls to tatters and then to dust; the sickle in his hand shifts, shudders, then settles back into an ornate cane crowned with a gagged skull. The gentleman gives it a thoughtful nod.

The older figure stands now in a suit of bone. He mutters a brief incantation. The shadow...deepens, some how, and the old gentleman’s attention is caught by something within it. The figure watches, watches for terror on the old man’s face...what he sees, in its stead, is pain and longing and...something he can’t quite define. Turning to peer into the darkness, to see what horror the gentleman’s mind has conjured there, he bespies...a woman. A beautiful woman. His brow furrows.

The old gentleman crumples, crunching softly onto the frosted grass. His last breath puffs up as he lands. The woman falls back into the darkness, and silence falls back over the yard.

The younger figure breaks it. “Was it supposed to happen that way?”

After a moment, the older one shrugs. Dead is dead, after all. Well. In a manner of speaking.

After another moment, the third one chuckles. “See, boy? There’s a noble body right there, for all the good it does us. Noblility...hah.” He spits.

“That will do Broth – well.” No use now...if anyone else is watching, they won’t likely be fooled. “See to the body, then; make certain it won’t be Speaking to anyone about this.” The third figure nods. “The boy and I will begin our preparations. Meet us as quickly as you can – we haven’t the time for another delay.”

Professor Lorrimor is dead - found crushed under an old broken portion of the Harrowstone Prison wall, presumably the work of either nature, or else, well, everyone knows how it's haunted out there since the prison burned down. Natural or not, though, nobody suspects the living had anything to do with his death. Not that anybody much cares...the professor had an odd sort of reputation. Plenty in the village called him necromancer, and he this he neither confirmed nor denied. His daughter defends him constantly to the villagers, and she's respected enough (and possibly a little bit feared) that he didn't catch too much grief. Besides, he was out abroad so often - sometimes up to Lepidstadt, other times out of Ustalav altogether. Easily the best-traveled person in town - or village, as the case may be. The village doesn't have a name, grew up to accommodate the prison, and so it was once called Harrowstone, after the structure. Now that Harrowstone's burned down, nobody calls this place anything.

Here is where you're headed, to this bleak little nowhere because of some friendship or debt, some connection one way or another, to the very same Professor Lorrimor. He's made you his pallbearers, and it's fitting, really, that our story begins in a Pharast yard, a graveyard. Yours may end there, as well.


“The last thing he ever said to me was, 'Just always be waiting for me, and then some night you will hear me crowing.”

Last edited by Mal Radagast; Nov 30th, 2014 at 06:03 AM.
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