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  • Acceptable Targets: The ogres are pretty obviously a parody of all the negative sterotypes about rednecks and the like e.g stupid, mean, ugly, insane, perverted, prone to violence etc.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Is Desna just the goddess of dreams? Or... something else? Perhaps the sole good aligned Great Old One or Outer God. Considering she is a giant space butterfly who created a demigod from her own shadow, this interpretation isn't that far fetched.
    • Turns out Desna was one of the first eight gods in this reality, not one of the Outer Gods (called Those Who Remain).
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • While it's certainly never killed D&D's popularity, there is periodic criticism of the dark skinned elves being evil. Pathfinder sidesteps this by making it clear that, yes, elves have a wide variety of skin tones. They also changed the Drow to purple or dark blue, to make them look even more unnatural, and generally plays up the fact that they're wholly subterranian as what makes them weird, not their skin and hair tones.
      • More generally, even at its inception the Pathfinder developers felt a need to try and begin to untangle the system from the stickier racial analogue problems (and often good-faith accusations of being founded on white supremacy and colonialism) that had weighed its parent system down after decades of cruft. PF 2nd Edition very deliberately went much further, wholly incorporating the African equivalent into the base Lost Omens setting (complete with Adventure Paths!), and outright removing reference to sentient creature "race", using the term "ancestry" and "heritage" instead (and making the system of ancestry and heritage interaction a lot more robust). By the time of the Lost Omens Ancestry Guide, virtually anything a player could want to play was available in some way.
      • As another side note along this line, the incredible proliferation of "half dragon" stuff in D&D 3rd was actually a big point of frustration for the PF developers; James Jacobs himself once openly admitted that everyone involved was sick of them by the time PF came out. As a result, that is one of the few heritages that isn't found in either version of Pathfinder; while the core rulebook for both versions includes Dragon Disciple as a way to dragon your character up, that's about as far as it goes outside of a few additional options in the "Legacy of Dragons" splatbook, which is as much about what dragons leave behind in their wake as it is about characters. Moreover, the PF lore actually takes pains to point out that dragons don't diddle everything in sight, and actually consider (even among good dragons) the idea of diddling non-draconic lifeforms repugnant; a lot of the "draconic heritage" people manifest actually comes from simply being exposed to draconic magic or some other form of power or plot (such as Mengkare's no-dragons-involved human breeding program).
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    • Dirty Fighting enables people to make combat maneuvers of any kind without provoking attacks when they're flanking (and gives a bigger bonus if you do have the "improved" version), and also counts as Combat Expertise, Improved Unarmed Strike, and having a Dexterity and Intelligence of 13 for the purposes of qualifying for feats. Bypassing four different requirements in one and being a useful feat in its own right, it's basically an apology for the excessive feat tax on combat maneuvers.
    • Many players were disappointed that the "Council of Thieves" Adventure Path has the players start off as rebels wanting to free their city from Cheliax, but quickly sidetracks them with the rest of the actual plot. A later Adventure Path, "Hell's Rebels", focuses entirely on Rebellion.
    • Resonance Points were divisive during the playtest of the 2nd Edition. Even people who liked them felt they needed a lot of iteration to get down pat. It didn't help that the alchemist had been refocused to make resonance a core part of its revamped formula mechanic. Thankfully, the alchemist's mechanics were eventually changed in a patch to make their formulae features separate from resonance, and after the playtest, Pazio announced that they'd be doing away with the resonance system entirely. The only remnant of it in the finished product is as the name for a cap on how many permanent magical items a character can have active at once (ten items, if you're wondering).
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    • Alchemists are widely regarded as one of the most divisive classes in 2nd edition. Two of the major complaints have been how crafted items use the item's base DC rather than the alchemist's much better scaling class DC, and that lower level alchemists struggled to have things to do due to very limited resources. In the second round of errata changes, Paizo threw them a bone in two major ways: first off, they made the Powerful Alchemy feat a baseline class feature (and lowered its level to 5), letting any items crafted via Quick Alchemy use the character's class DC. Secondly, they made the two formulas you get from your research field into signature items; when crafted using Advanced Alchemy, you create three amounts of that item from a batch of infused reagents instead of two. This gave lower-levelled alchemists easier access to resources, particularly those of their research field.
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  • Base-Breaking Character: Folca, a daemonic harbinger of abduction, strangers, and sweets, has elicited extremely strong responses around the Paizo forums. Some players think that he's a decent fit for Pathfinder, considering how the game goes into disturbing territories regularly. Other players are disturbed by the content that Folca represents, believing that even if Pathfinder is a dark game, topics such as child abuse should be handled more carefully than for simple shock value. This issue has only gotten worse with the release of the Book of the Damned splatbook, which reveals his fiendish obedience ritual to explicitly traumatize or harm a child, putting his portfolio above simple implication.
  • Broken Base: There are several:
    • The encounter with Iomedae in Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth has become rather divisive.
    • The Advanced Class Guide was rushed to print for GenCon 2014, fan-speculation being that the reason for this was so Paizo had something to show off, because Wizards of the Coast was premiering Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition at the same time. This, however, led to glaring editing mistakes, and one class had a post-playtest downgrade - the Warpriest, which originally could make attacks using its level as Base Attack Bonus with its Sacred Weapon(s); there was much outcry over it being "bad", but an equal amount of cheering, as the Warpriest in the playtest was noted to completely run amok in groups due to this full-BAB plus 6th-level Spell progression. The divide is fairly 50/50 on Paizo's forums, and the book has received the worst/most mixed customer reviews (3.5/5 on Paizo's site) for any of the PRD "Big Books".
    • Pathfinder Unchained spawned many examples:
      • The Unchained Summoner, being the remake of a class that's already divisive, was destined to crack opinions. For most of those who regarded it as too effective, it's a welcome series of nerfs that manages to retain the class's flavor and, unlike some other Unchained classes, offers a few new archetypes to replace those rendered ineffective by the swap (though at least a few argue that it was needed but went too far with some of the nerfs). To those who didn't mind where the Summoner was, balance-wise, it's a bunch of unnecessary changes to a class Paizo has always been unnecessarily fixated on "fixing," even in light of well-acknowledged power differences between the other, more-versatile full casters and everyone else, and, unlike some of the other Unchained classes, no longer leaves the original class as an available option for Pathfinder Society play.
      • The Unchained Monk. In stark contrast to the Rogue rework in the same book, the Unchained Monk has a few minor tweaks to the manner in which it gains ki powers to make it a bit more customizable and full-BAB, but little else, and it loses the Monk's traditional advantage of three good saves in the process. Worse, the rework completely altered some of the Monk's core abilities and mechanics, rendering unusable a number of popular and powerful Archetypes that needed them to trade out. Many fans who were looking forward to some love for a class that, if not in quite as bad of shape as the Rogue, still definitely needed a boost to put it on par with the other martials, were very disappointed, arguing the remake fixed some minor issues but didn't really address the Monk's core problems. Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition's alterations to the class are generally seen as a much bigger step in the right direction. Others, usually those who liked the old Monk's power level just fine, feel the resulting class isn't bad, just a lateral rather than forward shift that's still a fine and playable class that keeps the Monk right where it used to be, and they regard that as a good thing.
      • Most agree the Rogue needed a bit of a boost and welcome the many changes and advantages that the Unchained Rogue represents, particularly that, unlike the other Unchained variants, the Rogue doesn't have to lose anything to get them (meaning almost all archetypes for the 'base' Rogue still work fine). But a number of players are still unhappy, feeling that making the Rogue too effective in combat waters down the class's skill monkey feel.
      • Some even think the new "skill unlock" system Rogues have was pushing it a bit far past balancing, with the interpretation that this means certain skill-monkeys could be better at the skills other classes are flavored to specialize in.
    • The late 2015 errata and changes to previous books. While many previously-troubled archetypes got welcome reworks, and some saw increases in raw power, many previously-unique classes and archetypes were either completely remade beyond recognition or just nerfed into the ground. Worse, these changes started by impacting the effectiveness of many of the most popular methods and tactics martial classes relied on to do their jobs, bending the already-strained martial-caster power dynamic even more in the caster's favor.
    • The reveal of Pathfinder 2nd Edition (or 2e) has imported the edition wars of Dungeons & Dragons to Pathfinder just by the announcement. Paizo had expected this division.
      • When Paizo revealed 2e, there were two camps. One side being excited of the update believe this is a necessary fresh start for the system, allowing them to import better received mechanics from Pathfinder Unchained and Starfinder into the core rules while also deal with infamous issues like the Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards problem. The other side was less enthused about this news, worrying that the game will end up becoming more like D&D 5th Edition at the cost of Character Customization and gameplay depth and/or were angered that 9 years of Sourcebooks are rendered mechanically incompatible for future books once second edition comes out.
      • Things became no less intense once the playtest dropped, though not always for the reasons listed above. Some main points of contention were the level-based numbers scaling (which some loved for simplifying progression and flattening the power curve between players, regardless of their specialization, and others hated for the same reason), the general power level of the characters (was it necessary for the sake of balance and the GM's sanity, or had Paizo just nerfed everything equally without considering how this would affect player experience? Not helped by a math glitch that made all characters significantly weaker than they should have been), the game's complexity (simpler than its predecessor certainly, but some viewed it as still very difficult to learn), and the test campaign Doomsday Dawn (which Paizo evidently designed to stress test the system in a way that they knew wasn't going to be fun, but forgot to mention this in the build-up materials to the playtest, leading many to treat it as a normal campaign and quit in frustration). The playtest system also was oft compared to, of all things, Dungeons and Dragons 4e.
    • The final release version of 2nd Edition has been met much more warmly than the playtest, largely in part thanks to the feedback received during that playtest, which allowed Paizo to change or even remove systems that players did not enjoy. Despite this, the game still has a number of issues the player base is divided on.
      • The alchemist is probably the single most divisive class out of all the Core Rulebook classes. The class had overall been refocused from the mostly self-sufficient damage class with self-buff utility it was in First Edition, to more or less a walking item dispenser with a focus on buffing and supporting allies. While plenty of people like this concept, a lot of people feel the clunkiness of item usage combined with many of their buffs and benefits not being as good as spells limits the alchemist's true usefulness as a support character. In addition, two of the three initial research fields are also considered largely unsupported and subpar, with bomber being the only truly viable field. note  Finally, until they get Perpetual Infusions at 7th level, a lot of players feel running an alchemist in combat is boring, as they cannot spend every turn dispensing items or using Quick Alchemy without running out of infused reagents or items too fast, resorting them to making boring regular strikes that the class isn't designed to support. Many wonder why some form of Perpetual Infusions is not supported from level 1 in the same way spellcasters get cantrips.
      • The questionable state of the alchemist is not helped by the fact the mutagenist famously did not have its research field benefit changed from the playtest version, which was a big red flag considering the benefit note  was made a baseline mechanic for all characters. While this ability was changed in the first errata, this oversight lead many to believe the alchemist was left out to dry before the final release, and the current version of the alchemist is more or less an Obvious Beta that didn't get the revamps it needed to be fully viable.
      • While most people agree the design of martial classes has been vastly improved from First Edition, the reception to spellcasters has been more mixed. Many people upon launch felt they were too weak, believing they had been nerfed too hard. Over time most players began to realise spellcasting was still highly viable, and the perceived weakness was a case of a system that finally hit a good balance to prevent the age-old issue of Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards, but even then the subjectivity of this permeates the spectrum of opinions. There are two major complaints:
      • The first is that most spellcasters have been revamped primarily into support roles. A big part of this is no doubt edition whiplash from First Edition or even other d20 systems such as Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, where high-level spellcasters can carry entire parties, as opposed to Pathfinder 2nd Edition where builds are more role-based and can't be masters of all. However, even considering that, a number of players find it unappealing that casters feel pigeon-holed into support roles, reliant on buffing, debuffing, and crowd control over raw damage and the dramatic Save-Or-Suck spells they were capable of in other editions. While they can be built for damage, caster damage in this edition is more niche, with a focus on area-of-effect and exploiting weaknesses to make the most of their spell resources. Overall, due to the bursty nature of damage spells combined with a spellcasters' limited spell slots, martials will generally have higher consistent damage than even dedicated blaster casters, and with combat pushing players to invest in status condition inducing effects and personal buffs - which spellcasters are abundant in - most casters will be more optimised in a support role for martial damage dealers.
      • The second is that spells don't make anywhere near as much use of the new three-action economy as martials do; some spells such as Heal and Magic Missiles have interactions that change depending on how many actions you use to cast them, but most spells are simple two-action activities, making most people feel the chance to revamp spellcasting to something more interesting that interacts with the new action economy has been wasted. It doesn't help that the system's equilvanet to DnD 5e's concentration mechanic - sustaining a spell - requires casters to use an action each turn to do so. While it isn't required for anywhere near as many spells as 5e uses concentration for, it's notably required for all summon spells; it takes three actions to cast the spell and than a further action each turn to sustain the summoning, making it extremely limiting and difficult to maintain a summoned creature while also having autonomy over your character.
      • And of course separate to those two complaints, those who actually preferred spellcasters being overtly overpowered - either players who like the game-breaking power caps high potency spell casting allowed in earlier editions such as DnD3.5/PF1e, or those who just feel spellcasting should be more powerful than mundane abilities on principle - were never going to be happy with the changes in the new edition. The nerfs to spellcasting and the overall reduction in power caps that come with it are one of the biggest reasons a lot of First Edition players are refusing to move over.
  • Complete Monster: See here.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • Cayden Cailean, in his mortal life as well as during his godhood.
    • The entire premise of Rasputin Must Die!.
  • Creator's Favorite: The Aasimar race are sometimes accused of being this in design terms, since they have many benefits but no drawbacks and aren't considered to be overpowered enough to ban in most non-PFS games.
  • Designated Hero: Aroden really comes across as this. While he did help create the Azlanti civilization and slew numerous demon lords and other monsters, he also often left his followers high and dry in times of need, and when the woman who was basically his best friend was turned into an evil lich slave of Geb, he didn't lift a finger to help her. The second edition adventure path Extinction Curse only makes him look worse, namely in order to make Azlanti inhabitable, he stole five life giving orb-things from the Darklands and only left one, thinking it would enough to sustain the native Xulgaths (Troglodytes). It wasn't, and the race nearly went extinct, and they hate humans as a result.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Laori Vaus, Perky Goth elf chick from Curse of the Crimson Throne.
  • Evil Is Cool: Cheliax is prone to this, given it's ruled by literal Satanist fascists (i.e. a Lawful Evil dynasty that works hand-in-hand with the Church of Asmodeus) and is home to the Hellknights (Lawful-aligned knightly orders who wear Spikes of Villainy and often act as State Sec for Cheliax). It's telling that Cheliax is the setting of three official Adventure Paths,note  including the only one designed specifically with Evil-aligned Player Characters in mind (Hell's Vengeance).
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • Seltyiel, being the Lawful Evil iconic magus and Mr. Fanservice, seems to have a sizable fanbase.
    • Queen Ileosa's outfits sure love to show off her 36 Charisma.
    • Nocticula has this in spades, being a demon lord of lust and succubi, though she no longer fits this after her Heel–Face Turn. Her brother, Socothbenoth, is no slacker, either.
    • Sorshen, Runelord of Lust, was this as well, as a beautiful woman who wore practically nothing, but in the modern day she's both changed her ways and started wearing actual clothes.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Mentioning one enjoys Pathfinder will bring Dungeons & Dragons fans out of the woodwork to tell them all the reasons they're wrong for liking it, and vice versa.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • In some circles, Valeros the human iconic Fighter and Imrijka the half-orc iconic Inquisitor. This was made canon in Spiral of Bones, though they make it clear that it's a casual relationship without any real commitment.
    • Likewise, Amiri, the human iconic Barbarian and Oloch, the half-orc iconic Warpriest.
  • Fetish Retardant: Urgathoa, goddess of the undead. A sexy Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette from the waist up, but rotting and skeletal from the waist down.
  • Foe Yay:
    • Lamashtu towards Shelyn, whom she wants to corrupt.
    • Everyone loves Shelyn, so most of the Evil Gods tend to like her like this.
    • Sarenrae and Asmodeus have a little of this going on; Inner Sea Gods even mentions their rivalry is a passionate one.
  • Fridge Horror:
    • Chainmail is not a clingy formfitting material, yet Laori from Curse of the Crimson Throne wears a skin-tight bodysuit made of the stuff, studded with hooks, spikes and other pointy bits. Zon-Kuthon's priesthood are noted elsewhere for sewing or otherwise integrating their vestments into their flesh...
    • An in-universe example: many have noted that the qlippoth often bear some resemblance to the more bizarre animals living on the Material Plane (such as insects, arachnids, and cephalopods.) The implications for this are unclear, yet still disturbing and generally something sages and philosophers don't like to dwell on.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Depending on who you ask, the 3.5 CoDzilla (overpowered "Cleric or Druid") problem has either been preserved or addressed, with both sides arguing that their claims are correct. Given that everything boils down to individual player preference and the skill of the GM to arbitrate these things, its probably best to Agree to Disagree. However, most people agree that the problem at least has been toned down.
    • End-level spellcasters in general, unless you buff the CRAP out of your enemies' saves. Or give them spell resistance.
      • Or give them the stealth/dexterity to act first. Concentration checks to cast while taking damage is no longer a skill in Pathfinder... while this means that you don't have to spend precious skill to do it, it also means that there's no way to nullify it, or set up enough skill buffs that you'll automatically succeed. A rogue flanking a caster will make casting especially difficult, and Fighters actually have a lot of options that make in a nightmare to try to cast against them within 30 feet.
    • The Synthesist Summoner archetype breaks the game so thoroughly that it's officially banned from organized play. Basically, it allowed the player to max out their character's mental stats, then make an Eidolon with maxed-out physical stats. Synthesist Eidolons appear merged with their Summoner, combining their stats.
      • Some argue that it is no worse than the normal Summoner or a CoDzilla, it just interacts with the party in a way that makes the existing flaws obvious. A CoDzilla can outshine the Fighter too, but that is really all the Synthesist does, so they can't avoid it. In fact, it's easily possible to claim that the Synthesist is weaker than a normal Summoner, as the Synthesist loses the second set of actions granted by the eidolon and is forced to choose between casting buffs and attacking. Generally, the Synthesist has much better defenses than a normal Summoner, but loses out on a great deal of offensive power.
      • Speaking of Summoners and the power of extra actions, the Master Summoner Archetype doesn't seem very bad, until you hit the higher levels and he drowns the encounter in entire herds of Augmented Celestial/Fiendish/Flaming/etc...Tyrannosaurus Rexes.
    • Originally, the entire Gunslinger class got tarred with this brush. A full BAB ranged class that also targets Touch AC, which is almost universally the worst stat on most enemies and they add their DEX bonus to the damage their weapons deal, something no other class can do except for an expensive magic item ability for melee weapons only, or a feat chain that only works for one specific weapon. However, after years of real-world play, the class proven more balanced than initially thought, with many weaknesses enemies can utilize (limited out-of-combat utility, spells and terrain features that make hitting difficult even with touch AC, high-probability misfires at most levels, reduced range compared to other long-range weapons with powers that only work within the first range increment, expensive ammunition, water) becoming apparent. Now, players and DMs alike generally agree that neither the class nor Early Firearms like pistols and muskets are what is broken - it's Modern Firearms like revolvers that are, and thus, most campaigns only allow Early Firearms.
    • Technological weapons in general, especially at low levels, mainly for the same reason as the gunslinger: most of the require only ranged touch attacks to hit, meaning they ignore the target's armor bonus from worn armor or natural armor (i.e a tough hide, hard exoskeleton etc,) which is particularily bad for big creatures, which get a penalty for size and tend to have low Dexterity, meaing they will likely have a touch ac in the single digits. As if this weren't enough, high tech guns both do more damage than bows or even normal guns, and most do 3X or 4X damage on a crit, rather than the usual 2X. The railgun is probably the worst offender in this regard. They are somewhat balanced by being very expensive, but still aren't unattainble for a low level party (the railgun is 30000 gp, based on the wealth by level chart, a level 5 character has 10000 gp on average, meaning a normal size party of four or five could easily afford one by putting their resources together and selling stuff if necessary.)
      • Primalist bloodragers can trade in any of their bloodline powers they don't like for two Barbarian rage powers at no other cost. For those not in the know, this basically makes them better versions of Barbarians in practically every way. Like the synthesist, also banned from organized play.
      • Some of the races have particularly strong abilities which can completely level a game if not kept in check by a perceptive GM. Namely; the Samsaran's Mystic Past Lives alternate racial ability allows them to take spells from any other class of the same arcane or divine typing. The Kasantha have four arms, which allows them to a multitude of things that other players can't, as well as a bonus to AC. The Svirfneblin have a bonus to AC and all saves, spell resistance, and are, on top of all that, small.
    • Then there are any of the races with natural flight...
  • Genius Bonus: The Bestiaries are gold mines for people familiar with mythical monsters. Most people will recognize the classical monsters pulled from Greco-Roman, Egyptian, and Norse mythology. A lesser, but still significant, number of people will recognize the single popular monsters from certain mythologies, like the Algonquian Wendigo, the Orcadian Nuckelavee, and various Yōkai. But only very dedicated or specialized mythological scholars will be able to identify all the lesser known monsters right off the bat, which draw from Taíno, Mesopotamian, Persian, Aztec, Inuit, Ojibwe, Chinese, French, Aboriginal Australian, and Bagandan folklore and myth, among many others.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Sarenrae's holy symbol features what would later become Dark Souls's "Praise the Sun" gesture.
    • Zon-Kuthon's origin story is in several aspects a Darker and Edgier version of Nightmare Moon's.note 
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Seltyiel, the token evil iconic, is rather pitiable if you read his backstory.
    • Tieflings are often depicted this way in the fluff, although as individuals they can be anything from Dark Is Not Evil to Complete Monsters.
    • NUALIA TOBYN. Put on a pedestal by her neighbors, restricted in her activities by her adoptive father, knocked up by her Bastard Boyfriend who then left her, disowned by her father, and gave still birth to a deformed monster thanks to being in an area desecrated by Lamashtu at the time. No wonder she went crazy.
    • Arazni, so very much. She started out as a paladin following the god Aroden, only to have her god die mysteriously and to be horribly killed by the Whispering Tyrant shortly after. As if this weren't enough, the evil Necromancer Geb turned her into a lich under his control out of spite towards the Knights of Ozem. While she eventually broke free of his control, she remains a twisted and evil undead demigod with none of her original goodly nature.
  • Les Yay:
    • Between three of the four major good-aligned goddess, no less.
    • Merisiel and Kyra, if the "Ask Merisiel" thread on Paizo's forums is to be believed. Apparently, if she could spend one night alone with any of her companions, it would be Kyra and what she would do... is not something that she would be allowed to say in polite company. All we've got is her line about how humans "can be super sexy and intriguing, especially when they worship Sarenrae and wear so much armor that you can't make out the details but just barely."
    Merisiel: Kyra's still kinda a stick in the mud, but she's getting better at it. Slowly. Operation "loosen up the cute cleric" continues into its fourth year, in other words.
    Merisiel: Best part about Kyra's healing magic? They're touch spells, and she's too kind-hearted to NOT heal someone who's actually hurt.
    Kyra: By the Light of the Dawn, people, STOP encouraging her! I have enough problems keeping Valeros in line...
    Merisiel (to Kyra): Kissy kissy!
    • And then, the fifth volume of the Pathfinder Comic and Word of God confirms (finally) that Kyra and Merisiel are in a relationship.
  • LGBT Fanbase: Intentionally cultivated. The developers have stated their intent to appeal to a wide variety of players, regardless of race, gender or sexual preference, and have designed several characters to represent that variety—up to and including three of the four major goddesses of the setting, Sarenrae, Shelyn, and Desna, being canonically a thruple. In general, Paizo has openly stated that, unless said otherwise, any romanceable NPC has a compatible sexuality with whatever PC chooses to romance them. And they rarely say otherwise.
    • Many lesbian and gay NPCs appear throughout the various modules.
      • At least two wlw couples involving a trans woman appear in the adventure paths; Anevia Tirabade (human) and Irabeth Tirabade (half-orc)note  in Wrath of the Righteous, and Marislova (half-elf) and Jadrenka (changeling) in Reign of Winter.
      • Two of the main allied NPCs in Wrath of the Righteousnote  are in a gay relationship.
    • Shardra, the iconic shaman in 1st Edition, is revealed in their backstory to be transgender. In the comics, iconic rogue Merisiel and iconic cleric Kyra, both female, are lovers.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Asmodeus, Lord of Hell and the God of Sin, was the first traitor in history. Born the twin brother of the god of Goodness, Ihys, the two different on Ihys's insistence on imbuing mortals with free will, causing a war among the gods. Asmodeus committed the first act of treachery and slew his brother, but honored him by letting free will remain. Asmodeus will work with the gods of good to outwit greater threats such as Rovagug, but remains a deceptive and brilliant archdevil who will manipulate everyone to his end goals, even acquiring entire kingdoms via clever dealing. Asmodeus is also believed to have authored the contract around all creation, perhaps even writing in an extra clause to ensure his victory in the long run, never being at a loss for a clever ploy, even if he refuses to ever tell a direct lie.
    • Mephistopheles, the Archdevil of Contracts and Secrets, was originally the consciousness of hell itself given form by Asmodeus. Utterly loyal to the Lord of Hell and ruler of the 8th layer Caina, Mephistopheles makes countless deals with mortals while constructing them to carry out the letter while sometimes violating the spirit while their souls can be claimed by hell. Even able to deceive any other archdevil save Asmodeus, Mephistopheles also made a deal with the depraved Barzillai Thrune to make him the Genius Loci of the nation of Cheliax while secretly arranging events for Barzillai's downfall so Mephistopheles can study his depraved soul. After ensuring the heroes kill Barzillai, Mephistopheles cheerfully sends them on their way, unless one wishes to enter into a new infernal pact.
    • Nocticula, the first of all succubi, was one of the most brilliant and dangerous demons in hell's hierarchy. Well known for seducing and murdering other demons for their power, even her brother Socothbenoth grew wary of her and attempted to betray her, only to be easily defeated. Growing weary of evil, Nocticula secretly plotted to become a goddess, using her cults and followers to assist her in this until she was able to ascend to full godhood as the Redeemer Queen, patron of outcasts and redemption.
    • Queen Abrogail Thrune II, aka "Her Infernal Majestrix", rebuilt the nation of Cheliax as the head of the Thrice-Damned House of Thrune. Playing the part of a frivolous child to mask her calculating mind, Abrogail is fully capable of outplaying almost anyone at court, making yearly Human Sacrifices to Asmodeus to renew Thrune's devotion to hell. Whenever her domains are threatened Abrogail forms clever plans to deal with any threats while using those chances to dispatch any lingering enemies, even tricking a good-aligned church into peace before finding a loophole to accuse them of treason and destroy them.
    • Queen Elvanna of Irrisen is the fourteenth daughter of Baba Yaga to reign from Whitethrone. Contacting her brother Rasputin, Elvanna forms a plot to usurp her mother after learning Baba Yaga consumes the life of her daughters, having placed her own family in strategic points to keep control of Irrisen. Overthrowing Baba Yaga, imprisoning her soul and giving the doll containing it to Rasputin to store in his own realm, Elvanna attempts to spread Irrisen's eternal winter across all Golarion to make it easier to conquer.
    • Arazni was once the herald and best friend of the heroic god Aroden. Leading the battle against the depraved Whispering Tyrant Tar-Baphon, Arazni was defeated, tortured and murdered by the lich. Revived by the tyrant Geb who derogatorily named her the "Harlot Queen" as his consort, Arazni was left to rule a nation of backstabbing, ambitious undead. Proving herself more than adept at dismantling the plans of usurpers, Arazni manipulated the elimination of her guards at the hands of knights, finally able to flee Geb to provoke Tar-Baphon into using his Radiant Fire superweapon to destroy her form and free her from Geb's control at the cost of many innocent lives. With her fate finally her own again, Arazni ensures the survivals of the heroes whom she has grown fond of, leaving her to choose her own path after centuries.
    • Skull & Shackles: Admiral Druvalia Thrune is the Big Bad, The Woman Behind the Man to Captain Barnabas Harrigan, and the source, directly or indirectly, of all the misery experienced by the player characters. Determined to escape the accusation that her career has been advanced by nepotism alone, Druvalia uses her catspaw, Harrigan to undermine the Shackles' defenses, while her great-uncle's vast wealth enables her to finance a private armada, which her deal with the archdevil Geryon enables her to sail through the Eye of Abendego and strike at the Hurricane King's domains. With only the players even aware that her invasion is about to take place, and the support of one of the rulers of Hell, Druvalia seems to hold a winning hand, and if the PCs do not bring their best game, she is easily capable of running the table and reducing the Shackles to a Chelish colony.
    • Ironfang Invasion: General Azaersi is a brilliant and overambitious hobgoblin general who dreams of building a new homeland for her people atop the bickering human nations of Nirmathas and Molthune. Recruiting dozens of Molthune's monstrous mercenary regiments to her service, securing the alliance of the dark naga Zanathura, the greater barghest Azlowe, and the legendary dragonslayer Kraelos, and rallying hobgoblins from across the continent and beyond, Azaersi builds her Ironfang Legion into one of the deadliest fighting forces in Avistan, and with the aid of a powerful magical artifact, is able to deploy them wherever she sees fit. Rendered all but invincible in the field, Azaersi overruns most of Nirmathas and a large part of Molthune, with the players the only ones who are able to even check her. Unable to best her army in the field, the PCs will likely have to resort to a decapitation strike to remove Azaersi from the head of the Legion—unless they can present her with evidence of treachery from her comrades, in which case, much to their surprise, they may find themselves negotiating a reasonable peace with the hobgoblin generalissimo.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moral Event Horizon: What Zon-Kuthon, god of pain, did to his father.
  • Narm: The Qlippoth Lord Isph-Aun-Vuln: her stats and description are actually pretty scary, however her picture looks rather like a giant meatball with a mouth and eyes, which is pretty hard to take seriously. Honestly, the illustrations for most of the Qlippoth Lords have this issue.
  • Never Live It Down: Iomedae has a reputation as a Jerkass God despite being Lawful Good, mainly due to a very odd and out of character scene in Herald Of The Ivory Labyrinth which even the writer has admitted was written horribly.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • The developers sought to do this with some of the classic monsters in the splatbook Misfit Monsters Redeemed, specifically going for some of the most laughed-at monsters from the older editions of D&D, such as the Dire Corby, Wolf-in-sheep's-clothing, and the infamous Flumph (which is now a good-aligned extraplanar messenger warning adventurers about threats from beyond the stars).
    • The 3.5 soulknife class was always something people loved in concept, but hated in execution. Following the new Pathfinder version put out by Dreamscarred Press, the soulknife is now, while not as top-tier as most casters, solidly on par with martial classes like the Fighter and Barbarian, and has a number of cool and unique tricks to give it its own unique flavor.
    • 3.5's Tome of Battle supplement was the opposite, in several ways. It filled a niche that many players wanted to see filled, but many people felt that it made martial classes too similar to spellcasters. Dreamscarred Press revived its Maneuvers mechanic with their Path of War supplement, which instead embraced the larger-than-life, almost magical feel that Tome of Battle had.
    • To hear the Paizo forum-goers tell it, the Rogue was the most god-awful waste of paper and ink e'er to have been sent to print. And then the book, Pathfinder Unchained came out, and released an upgraded version of the Rogue which left all the original parts intact and added on a whole bunch of other abilities, including giving the Rogue unique tricks with Skills, a very nasty set of tricks called Debilitating Strikes which make the rogue a combat-tactics monster, upping the power of many of their weakest Talents (to the point that several became the BEST talents overnight), and granting Weapon Finesse as an automatic Bonus Feat at level 1, with the ability to further use Dexterity in place of Strength to determine damage with the Rogue's Weapon of Choice at level 3! And because all that happened was the addition of stuff to the Rogue, that means that all the previously-published Archetypes now work with the Unchained! Rogue.
    • Goblins in D&D are fairly bland low-level canon-fodder who typically exist solely as minions to more powerful monsters. Pathfinder made them into a delightfully insane Mascot Mook race who love fire, fear writing (it takes words out of your head!), despise dogs and horses, sing hilariously gruesome songs as they go into battle, and don't fully understand their own mortality. They even have their own popular series of adventures to star in, and have been upgraded to a core playable race in 2nd edition.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Burn, the Kineticist's Cast from Hit Points mechanic. The common criticisms are that it's obnoxious to track, leaves the Kineticist ridiculously squishy (a fully-powered Kineticist effectively averages 1.5 hit points per level) despite being a CON-based class, and doesn't feel like Avatar: The Last Airbender.
    • The medium's influence mechanic rapidly shoots up, can offer very harsh penalties very quickly, and cannot really be reduced until the medium selects a new spirit. And getting five points of influence turns the character into an NPC until the channeling finishes.
    • Combat Expertise, an underwhelming feat that lets you trade attack rolls for an improvement to AC. Its sole purpose beyond that seems to be serving as a wall for feats, being prerequisite to no less than twenty-nine core Pathfinder feats, including all of the "Improved" Combat Maneuver feats (Improved Trip, Improved Disarm, Improved Grapple) which remove the ability for enemies to take Attacks of Opportunity for you using these maneuvers. It just seems to be there solely so players can't take these feats at first level.
    • Everything about the Eldritch Scion archetype for the Magus. It gains spontaneous casting, but loses Spell Recall, all casting and the Arcane Pool is determined by Charisma, they get a gutted version of the Bloodrage called "Mystic Focus" which they need to spend an Arcane Point to enter, which isn't so bad on its own, but they need to be in the Mystic Focus in order to use Spell Combat (one of their signature abilities), until they reach level 8.
  • The Sacred Geometry feat is near-universally banned to guard against any player evil enough to want to take it. How it works is complicated, but essentially it allows a player to enhance their spells with extremely powerful metamagic for no level adjustment, so long as they're willing to do tedious real-world math puzzles every time they cast a spell. Essentially it wrecks both encounter balance and the flow of play.
    • Resonance Points in the 2e playtest were almost universally reviled. Power gamers didn't like how it put a hard cap on magic items, preventing people from creating powerful builds akin to what was in 1e, and almost everyone hated how you needed to spend resonance to use consumable magic items, such as potions and wands. Combine all of this, and it's no wonder why they never made it to the Core Rulebook.
  • Squick:
    • Lamashtu has this covered. See Nightmare Fuel above.
    • Zon-Kuthon. He's covered in ripped flesh and sucking wounds.
  • Tear Jerker: Planar Adventures says that Shelyn has a part of her godly realm set aside for Zon-Kuthon so if he ever redeems himself he they can live together again, which in turn implies she'd be willing to forgive him for everything.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy:
    • Vanilla/Chained Rogue is, in general, seen as underpowered since it's easily outdone by other classes as a scout and/or DPS melee character.
    • Vanilla/Chained Monk heavily suffers due to being a dedicated martial class with low hit dice (d8s), no armor, medium BAB, and being outdone by other martials. The best way to play the class is to ditch its signature unarmed combat expertise and go with the Zen Archer archetype.
    • In 2nd Edition:
      • While not unplayable, alchemists get a bad wrap due to a number of clunky and underdeveloped mechanics. A number of factors make them less effective and difficult to use than their pay-off, including the fact bombs don't ever get past expert proficiency (which combined with using a non-primary stat for their attack rolls, means they'll be far behind other classes in chance to hit), mutagenist and chirugeon being woefully under-supported research fields, and consumable items being generally far more clunky than magic items and buff spells, often requiring two actions and a free hand to draw and use. In theory, the sheer versatility an alchemist has access to is supposed to balance this out, but in practice people find the alchemist struggles to do little more than being a walking item dispenser, with little to do in combat apart from throwing attacks with far less effectiveness than other classes.
      • The warpriest cleric doctrine tends to fall off at later levels. At early levels, they are very strong thanks to good weapon proficiencies combined with buffs and healing from divine spells. However, after that early boost, their weapon proficiency never gets past expert, while their spellcasting progression is woefully slow and doesn't go past master. Meanwhile, cloistered clerics eventually reach the same weapon proficiencies, while having much faster and higher spell proficiencies. Past that, the only niche warpriests have to themselves is access to light and medium armor, but even then a cloistered cleric can take a dedication to gain those, which will have the same proficiencies as a warpriest while keeping their own superior spell progression. That said, warpriests do get easier access to heavy armor thanks to the Sentinel archetype, and they still have some niches they can fill as an armoured support character. They just require specific builds that more straightforward cleric playstyles may not work as well with.
  • Ugly Cute:
    • Golarion Goblins, unlike most versions of D&D, are essentially pyromaniac psycho chibis. Even cuter in the expansion books, where they tend to dress up as other monsters and carry around big d20s.
    • Fungus Leshy as well. Most of the leshy are Ridiculously Cute Critters, but the fungus-based ones look like baby spawn of Shub-Niggurath.
    • Cacodaemons, the lowliest of all daemons, are essentially flying mouths with eyes. They want to eat your soul, but how do they look so huggable while doing it?
    • Similarly, quasits, which are the demon counterparts to imps and cacos. The one in the bestiary is trying to look evil, but the fact that it's standing next to a candle kinda ruins the effect and makes it look somewhat adorable.
  • Uncanny Valley: Droogami's face in his 2e illustration looks disturbingly human.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Iomedae. Mainly due to a certain infamous bizarre and out of character scene in "Herald Of The Ivory Labyrinth", where she has a messenger essentially abduct the heroes so she can grill them for information about her Herald (while blasting them with sonic damage each time they give a wrong answer).
    • Sorshen in Return Of The Runelords. She's meant to be the Big Good but comes across as more of a Designated Hero, since despite making a Heel–Face Turn she doesn't show much remorse or do much to make up for all the atrocities she committed as a Runelord (which include sacrificing hundred of people to make the Everdawn Pool.) Not helping is that according to her stats she is actually more powerful than the Big Bad yet doesn't just take her out and instead relies on the (much lower level) PCs to do her dirty work while remaining in hiding for most of the Adventure Path. While the meta reason for this is easy to understand (if she did just take the Big Bad on herself, it would be over in a few minutes and the PCs wouldn't even be needed), In-Universe it just makes her seem like a coward.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Yoon's artwork in the "Meet the Iconics" had some readers confused on what gender she was, as she's around 8 to 10, though the text clearly states she's a girl. Notably, it's only that art that caused this, as all other artwork of Yoon gave her eyeliner and lipstick, and also made her more clearly feminine.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Partly the intent of the game's entire creation. The creators capitalised on the many D&D fans left in the cold by 4E and made Pathfinder largely in response to the 4E criticisms.
  • The Woobie:
  • Woobie Species:

2007 film

  • Complete Monster: The brutal Gunnar is head of a Viking expedition to the new world. Arriving on the American shores, Gunnar massacres a village full of innocent natives and later kills any prisoners taken. When discovered by the young Ghost, a Viking child left behind on a previous expedition and raised by the natives, Gunnar attempts to force him to lead them to the other natives so Gunnar can exterminate all of them and colonize the land. When Gunnar attacks another village, he proceeds to torture a captive to draw Ghost out and executes the chief Pathfinder by having him pulled apart by horses. Ghost agrees to help when Gunnar threatens to torture Ghost's lover, and leads Gunnar and his men into a trap at the top of a mountain. When his men end up falling to their deaths, Gunnar callously kills one just to increase his own chances for survival before trying to kill Ghost.


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