Follow TV Tropes


Shout Out / Pathfinder

Go To

  • A race of Cyclops with Oracular powers, where have we heard that before?
  • Lord Gyr of Gixx, continuing a fine D&D tradition of characters with names that sound a bit like Gary Gygax. His friend-turned-rival, Lord Avid Arnsen, is named for D&D co-creator Dave Arneson.
  • The illustration for the Cacodaemon, and even the name for the flying toothy maw of an orb outsider is one for Doom.
    • Which were themselves based on Jeff Easely's art of the Astral Dreadnought for 1987's Manual of the Planes for AD&D.
  • Deep crows dwell in the dark places within the earth.
  • Advertisement:
  • One adventure, Escape from Old Korvosa, has a crate used to ship a rat-monkey from S. Island. And speaking of "S. Island", the Megaprimatus Ape was included in Bestiary 5.
  • A.E. van Vogt's estate loaned Paizo limited use of the coeurl (AKA the "original tentacle kitty", which inspired D&D's displacer beast).
  • Skeletons of Scarwall's introduction starts with "What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse."
  • Children of the Void introduces two types of alien monsters, the parasitic akatas and the plantlike moonflowers. The former are inspired by the Xenomorphs from the Alien movies, while the moonflowers take their inspiration from The Day of the Triffids and Little Shop of Horrors.
  • The cover of Seeker of Secrets features an adventurer engaging in the industry-wide gag of pulling ruby eyes out of grinning idols as a tribute to one of the first Dungeons & Dragons covers.
  • Advertisement:
  • The campaign setting timeline mentions that a large forest was trampled by "the Slor".
  • Classic Horrors Revisited tells us that gargoyles' appearance adapts to their environment over time. One particular tribe has been living in a graveyard so long that they look like angel statues, and they've picked up a curse that causes them to freeze into immobility when anyone looks at them. Just don't bli—
  • Bestiary 6 introduced the Unrisen, a monstrous undead formed from botched resurrection magic. It's origin, plus it's habit of being reduced to basic alchemical ingredients when killed, brings to mind the human transmutation scene from Fullmetal Alchemist.
  • The monster designs in Bestiary II are loaded with shout-outs. Obvious examples are the Arbiter (a legless Modron), Cacodaemon (a miniature of the Doom version), and Soulbound Doll (the Zuni fetish from Trilogy of Terror and the Maidens from Rozen Maiden).
  • One of the monsters in the first book of the Carrion Crown Adventure Path is a disembodied floating head, the most powerful of which is a flying medusa head, which can temporarily petrify those it bites. It even has Flyby Attack as a bonus feat.
    • To drive the point home, the beginning of the article features a picture of Seltyiel fighting a group of medusa a Clock Tower.
  • The basic alchemist class is inspired by The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The vivisectionist archetype of the class is very clearly inspired by on The Island of Doctor Moreau, while the reanimator archetype is based on Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Herbert West–Reanimator by H. P. Lovecraft.
    • One well-known organization of alchemic lore is Ustlalav's Sincomakti School, an anagram of Lovecraft's Miskatonic University.
  • Speaking of Lovecraft, Paizo's gone beyond the subtlety of the Shout-Out and directly printed in several of their materials just how wicked sweet and totally awesome the Cthulhu Mythos is, and by the way you should check out Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu game. The most explicit examples include:
    • The adventures Carrion Hill and Wake of the Watcher, inspired primarily by "The Dunwich Horror" and "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" respectively.
    • Wake of the Watcher also features a full article on the Great Old Ones, including rules for worshiping them, and stats for the Colour Out of Space, Elder Things, Mi-Go, and Spawn of Shub-Niggurath. As both a capstone reference and campaign-ending encounter, Wake of the Watcher includes stats for a Star-Spawn of Cthulhu.
    • The first Bestiary features the Shoggoths, as well as Ghouls and Ghasts (which existed in D&D since the beginning but have been modeled after Lovecraft's versions for Pathfinder). Likewise, the Skum is a preexisting D&D monster that's been retrofitted into a stand-in for Lovecraft's Deep Ones (as well as D&D's Kuo-Toa, which are not open source).
    • Bestiary 2 features Gugs, the Denizens of Leng, the Spiders of Leng, The Hounds of Tindalos, Serpentfolk, and the Worm That Walks.
    • Bestiary 3 features the Great Race of Yith, Vooniths, and Zoogs.
    • Faiths of Corruption includes cults of the Great Old Ones.
    • The Great Beyond includes blurbs on Lovecraft's Dreamlands (here called the Dimension of Dream) and Plateau of Leng as places dimension-traveling PCs can visit. The city of Unknown Kadath has been mentioned in Paizo products once or twice.
    • Into the Nightmare Rift includes a gazetteer of Leng and stats for some of Lovecraft's more fantasy-oriented creatures, such as the Nightgaunt.
    • Bestiary 4 gives us the Colour Out of Space, Dagon, and finally features Bokrug, Hastur, and Cthulhu.
    • Bestiary 5 finally includes actual Deep Ones and Lovecraftian Ghouls rather than the aforementioned analogues of them.
    • Strange Aeons is a full-length campaign of Lovecraftian horrors, the result of a 'special agreement' between Paizo and Chaosium.
  • The sourcebook for Andoran mentions some of its smaller but notable communities, including the towns of Claes and Triela.
  • The Ultimate Combat sourcebook features a character archetype for Fighters: The Dragoon. A spear specialist who eventually gets a leaping attack.
  • Two of the peaks in the Five Kings Mountains are named Mounts Langley and Soryu.
  • The sourcebook Princes of Darkness, focusing on using devils in a campaign, features a magic item called a bilious talisman, which strongly resembles the Behelit from Berserk.
  • One reference liable to go over the heads of modern gamers - the Holy Gun archetype in Ultimate Combat gains firearm-using feats from a class feature called Have Gun. If you couldn't guess, this is for a variant paladin.
  • The Kellid and Shoanti human ethnicities are strongly inspired by the Cimmerians and Picts, respectively, from Robert E. Howard's mythos. (The Shoanti have a little Native American thrown in... but then, so did Howard's Picts.)
  • There are several different kinds of gremlin in Pathfinder, but one in particular, the jinkin, is based on the movie Gremlins.
  • The underwater "gillmen" are a clear Shout-Out to the Atlanteans of Marvel and DC Comics, like the Sub-Mariner (on whom their illustration is strongly based) and Aquaman.
  • The Magus class has an alternate class feature called "Bladebound," in which the Magus wields a "black blade," an Empathic Weapon that can drain the life from others to heal the wielder and has a mind of its own that can try to take over the wielder's mind. Elric of Melnibone can sympathize.
  • The red planet of Akiton (initially mentioned in Children of the Void and further detailed in Distant Worlds), with its giant four-armed warriors, is clearly an homage to Edgar Rice Burroughs's John Carter of Mars novels.
    • On the other hand, the "Green Planet", Castrovel, is based on Venus as portrayed by another 1920s sci-fi writer, Ralph Milne Farley, in The Radio Man and its sequels. The Lashunta (psychic humanoids with antennae) are inspired by Farley's "Cupians", while the Formians (a race of giant telepathic ant-people) are lifted wholesale.note 
  • The antipaladin appears to be wielding Frostmourne.
  • The "thin man" from Inner Sea Bestiary—a ghostly creature that always stays just beyond the reach of light—was inspired by the Slender Man. The end result (a fanged monster) came out very different from Slendy, but it functions basically the same.
  • Sorshen, the Runelord of Lust, was named after Sorsha from Willow.
  • Bestiary 2 has stats for the Jabberwock, and Bestiary 3 includes the Bandersnatch (which can be Frumious) and Jubjub Bird.
  • The Kytons, previously just a species of chain wrapped devil, have been expanded into a whole fiendish faction of Cenobites.
  • A spell in the Dungeoneer's Handbook lets you conjure a Thwomp
  • The first part of the Serpent's Skull Adventure Path is prefaced with "A Tale of a Fateful Trip". Naturally, it begins with the PC's becoming castaways.
  • One of the Wondrous Items in the Ultimate Equipment book is a Chaos Emerald.
  • Valeros has more than a little in common with Willow's Madmartigan.
  • The nation of Brevoy is one big Shout-Out to A Song of Ice and Fire.
  • The Azruverda, a bizarre human-faced beetle from Bestiary 3, was inspired by the "Arthroverta", a similar monster from Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia.
  • The Xenopterids, human-imitating predatory insects from Bestiary 4, share more than a little in common with the Judas Breed from Mimic.
  • The Clockwork Mage from Bestiary 4 looks virtually identical to the Evil Wizard Construct of the Modrons from Planescape: Torment.
  • The demon lord Pazuzu, already based on a real world Babylonian demon, is given an additional nod to his role in The Exorcist; of all demons, he is the most fond of Demonic Possession.
  • Classic Treasures Revisited has a chapter on the Sphere of Annihilation. It features an illustration of one...inside the mouth of a statue depicting a green devil. Anyone who has ever played Tomb of Horrors no doubt suffered a nasty flashback upon seeing that.
  • The performance of an undine-specific bard archetype "controls water, bending and shaping it to his desire."
  • The background text for the froghemoth in the Bestiary describes it as seemingly uncomfortable wherever it finds itself, as if nowhere in the world was its true home. This refers to the monster's origins as an alien life form inside the gigantic spaceship at the heart of the classic Dungeons & Dragons module S3, Expedition To The Barrier Peaks.
    • Expedition to the Barrier Peaks is also referenced by one of the early adventures in the Iron Gods adventure path, which consists of dungeon-crawling through a spaceship and fighting vegepygmies and deadly mould.
  • The Shield Champion Brawler archetype in the Advanced Class Guide pretty much is there for everyone who ever wanted to make Captain Andora- er, America.
  • One blog post on the website gets recursive: The article, talking about gaming minis, has a link in the title leading to another announcement about a the release of a large Blue Dragon mini. The title? "To Saaaaand!"
  • Everything about the Swashbuckler class.
  • The Investigator Class has an ability called Studied Combat. You spend a Move Action to analyze your enemy, and get bonus on Attack and Damage rolls equal to your Intelligence modifier against that enemy. Sounds a bit familiar, doesn't it?
  • Two of the guns statted in the The Technology Guide are light and heavy variations of the Gravity Gun.
    • In addition, on page 30 of The Technology Guide, there are stats for an HEV Suit.
  • The Ninja class from Ultimate Combat has a ninja trick called Shadow Clone
  • Advanced Class Origins features a magical hat that boosts the abilities of the Investigator class. Naturally, it is a deerstalker.
  • Bestiary 2 has a stat block for the great white whale
  • The armored centaurs on the cover of Cheliax: Empire of Devils and in the Advanced Race Guide are nods to the first boss of Actraiser, which editor-in-chief F. Wesley Schneider is a fan of.
  • Bestiary 4's rukh is clearly inpsired by the roc in Ray Harryhausen's The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. The same book also has the bodythief, a giant intelligent plant alien that creates emotionless beings as replacements to humans. Sounds familiar?
  • One of the Occult Adventures iconics is Meligaster, Mel for short, who is the evil brother of the iconic bard, Lem.
  • The Kineticist was already dancing close to this, but the Elemental Ascetic archetype completely crosses the line: it's a non-spellcaster who uses elemental spell-like abilities, based on one of the 4 classical elements (Water, Earth, Fire, and Air), by doing kung-fu at their opponent (complete with gaining Improved Unarmed Strike and Flurry of Blows). Double points for potentially learning to use all 4 elements together by lv20.
  • Several Artifacts and Cursed Items in the Occult Adventures book are taken from Sci-Fi and Horror works:
  • In Bestiary 4, they introduced a monster called the Yaoguai. The creature is described as Mix-and-Match Critters made through evil wizardry note . The illustration shows a bear-like mutant
  • Bestiary 4 also has the Immortal Ichor, the blood of an evil deity bound into a capsule, known to occasionally leak out and possess humanoids in an effort to break the seals binding it in place. Sounds a hell of a lot like Prince of Darkness.
  • Lazzero Dalvera, the Iconic Evil Cleric from the Hell's Vengeance Adventure Path has a mace that looks exactly like the Oblivion steel mace, only black and spikier.
  • Occult Bestiary introduces the mnemor devil, a pale-faced horror that can slip out of your frame of reference if you lose eye contact with it.
  • Blood of Shadows includes an item called the "Rod of Delumination" which functions exactly like Albus Dumbledore's Deluminator from Harry Potter.
  • The Ratfolk Sage, listed as an NPC in the Monster Codex, looks an awful lot like Nicodemus in the illustration.
  • The Vigilante class introduced in Ultimate Intrigue takes obvious cues from Batman and his progenitor Zorro, but there are also archetypes that ape Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, and even Sailor Moon. The example art for the Magical Child archetype specifically bears a resemblance to Homura Akemi.
  • Larsa, a Ustalav dhampir vampire hunter, bears a striking resemblance to another well known Vampire Hunter dressed all in black, weilding a longsword. The only difference is that this one is female and probably doesn't have a tlking hand.
  • Horror Adventures has a hazard called "Sour Ground" that more or less perfectly imitates the undead producing burial ground seen in Pet Sematary. That book even described the cause of the reanimation as "The ground is sour."
  • The outsiders known as Proteans are thematically related to the slaadi from Dungeons & Dragons, as the voices of chaos, but their serpentine appearance is connected to the "Chaoskampf" motif in mythology, in which serpent/dragon monsters serve as a symbolic force of Chaos for the order-affiliated hero to destroy - Illuyanka, Azhi Dahaka, the Yamato no Orochi, Typhon and Jormungandr, for example.
  • Rovagug's alternate title, The Rough Beast, is a direct reference to The Second Coming.
  • The Book of the Damned supplemental book released a new Oni Daimyo named Akuma, whose favored is the unarmed fist and focuses on honor and martial arts. Sound familiar?
    • Additionally, Folca is essentially Pathfinder's version of the Slender Man, complete with child kidnapping.
  • Planar Adventures features a rogue archetype known as the Dreamthief, which gets a phantom equivalent instead of sneak attack and has the ability to sneak into people's dreamscapes, stealing dreamers' deepest emotions in ways that can change them radically. You'll never see them coming...
  • Some spells and their materials components contain shout outs in their own:
    • The text for Snapdragon Fireworks states they're very popular at halfling's midsummer festivals.
    • Conjure Carriage requires a gourd
    • The Focus needed for Detect Thoughts is a copper piece. A literal penny for your thoughts.
    • The material component for Passwall is sesame seeds. Open sesame!
    • The spell Deflection, which can bounce attacks back to the attacker, has a material component of a piece of rubber and some glue. I am rubber, you are glue.
  • The Psychometabolic Corruption, which grants Psychic Powers at the cost of Sanity Slippage and eventual Body Horror meltdown, is a shout-out to AKIRA.
  • While every Blob Monster in tabletop gaming history no doubt owes something to The Blob, the Carnivorous Blob in particular is a clear reference, with its pinkish coloration and vulnerability to cold.
  • The seaweed siren - a bulbous crab-like thing with three human heads on serpentine necks - may seem like another case of bored game designers running out of ideas unless you've watched a certain classic Disney cartoon...
    F. Wesley Schneider. When I ordered this art for the Skull & Shackles AP. I TOTALLY wasn’t...“inspired” by a monster from DuckTales. NOPE! Not At All. :D
  • Bestiary 6 has a monster called a conqueror worm (a high level monster which is a really big sentient worm that can grant spells like a god and usually has a cult following.) The name comes from a poem by Edgar Allan Poe, but in the poem it's meant more as a metaphor than a real creature.
  • Bestiary 5 includes stats for an undead Grim Reaper. The lore accompanying the bestiary entry suggests that while the exact number of Grim Reapers in the multiverse is unknown, there may be as many as nine.
  • Beat of Newt Prevention does what it says on the tin. Very much a Shout Out to [1]


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: