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Roseblood Sprite

Mort the Cleverly Named's page

1,256 posts. 6 reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Alexander Augunas wrote:
"Things don't need to be the optimally best choice in the game in order to be wicked cool."

Hello Mr. Augunas. It is hard to tell given how things are filtered in splatbooks, but I have theory that I am a huge fan of your design work, and would like everything to follow to come from a perspective of that degree of appreciation.

Okay, that said, there are a great many options in this book that fit neither criteria. Something can be horribly generic or have a super specific flavor and people will use it because it is good (Piranha Strike, Dervish Dance). Similarly something can ooze with flavor and be rarely mentioned because it is kind of terrible (the entire Aldori Dueling section of Inner Sea Combat).

So then, the issue I have with this book is not only are many feats non-optimal, they are also boring and then copy/pasted into two sections! Cushioning Armor is neither super cool nor optimal, and having it separate from Cushioning Shield is an insulting waste of space. If it was a freebie ability people would still probably not care about it at all.

Meanwhile many cool options are gated behind so many prerequisites that it may be cool in isolation, but is neither optimal (given the cost) or cool in general (because it ends up as the "one unique thing" you get to do). Like, in most situations the 5 feats spent on shielded gauntlet mastery could have made you much more awesome with a free buckler, with undisclosed effects in relation to two-hand/two-weapon combat (because the game seizes up on those).

So, while I fully acknowledge options can be niche, or involved in complex combos, or even just allowing specific flavors or themes, I don't think this sort of response can or should be used as a generic defense against any sort of criticism against one's work.

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I want to play an Action Point based Pathfinder, but it would be incredibly hard to convert. The Unchained system is not only unpolished but unfinished, has insufficient granularity, and makes some really terrible choices. Essentially, you cannot declare attack=move=swift=5' step=1/2 spell and that immediate=AoO without exploding everything, especially not when you are only going to throw out a smattering of abilities.

The most basic issue is that monsters are out of whack. Some get lots of small attacks, others get one big attack. The system doesn't attempt to address this, so T-Rex or wolf damage output just tripled (with three attack actions, natural attacks are not said to be different) while a Giant Octopus is as before, except someone stepping 5' out of range drops them from 8 tentacle attacks to 2. They don't even directly address pounce or fighting with a greatsword and a bite, things that are extremely common in the bestiary and pretty darn important. This isn't even getting to years of player abilities, we are on the level of "preview bestiary" and it doesn't work right.

You have similar issues across the board. Did your table rule Vital Strike as 1 action or 2? Then it is either a straight power up and size increasing builds are king or it is even more terrible than before. Abilities that move you from a standard to move to swift may or may not do anything, but if you can get something to immediate (normally not very useful) it becomes super awesome because now you are using your AoO pool and you are a Combat Reflexes away from having a huge one. The previous system just didn't value things this way, and fundamentally can't be used as the conversion.

Then there is the lack of granularity. One of the most popular house rules I've seen is some number of extra swift actions, because the smallest unit is "1 attack" and most are intentionally not worth that. The same with a 5' step, Rogues have enough trouble getting into Sneak Attack position without making the Fighter give up a tertiary attack for it. That, even by adjusting the values, there just isn't enough space to make something 1/2 or 1.5 attacks means you need to alter the very core to create something useable.

Finally, there is the fundamental issue that casters improve with more powerful spells, while martials improve by getting more attacks. Now, they are bogging down combat with 3 swings every round because "why not?" This empowers the self-buffing casters dramatically, as their previous limitation was often an excess of attack bonus but not enough BaB for more swings. So ironically, a system that people think will help martials only does so at the lowest levels before CoDzillas start ruling the roost.

Whew. So... not a fan. As I said, I'd kill for Action Point Pathfinder. However it needs much more work (like, all the pages from the Stamina section dedicated to it) and much more thought put in. As written, as much as I've played with it and wanted to love it, it just isn't worth the effort to fix.

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
So...the game is not clear which actions are Evil and which aren't in many cases. Debate in those cases is about whether a particular action should be Evil, often based on people's real-world moral codes, rather than whether it is (since whether it's Evil is intentionally ambiguous).

I absolutely agree. Most of this "absolute morality" is not defined, and even if you grab random examples from setting material they may well be contradictory because they are written by different authors at different times. Heck, JJ has argued both sides of whether a good deity can believe what Erastil believed in Kingmaker before.

I'd add to it that, even if people agree something is "Evil," they don't agree on degrees. For example, even if everyone agrees an [evil] spell is Evil and animate dead is extra Evil, how much more Evil is it? To what degree does the fact I am using them to keep criminals from being raised and they are mining under close supervision ameliorate or change the moral impact (if at all)? What amount of Good deeds will make up for it, and how will casting [Good] spells relate to it?

Honestly, I'm fine with it being vague and table dependent. The only real issue I have is with the moral crusaders who demand that no, it is "absolute morality," and therefore whatever their opinions are about degrees of evil and good are absolutely true and you are just deluded to think someone could be Good while summoning a dretch now and then (or, alternatively, that there is no amount of dretchs they could summon that would make them Evil and so you are "wrong" in that direction). That may be true at a given table, but even with "absolute morality" it does not mean a person who decides things fall on a different part of the spectrum from you (in relation to the balance of these) is wrong.

PS: Can someone point me to the part of Ultimate Intrigue that says [evil] spells are Evil? It seems to be standard Paizo procedure so I do not doubt at all that it is there, but I have been unable to find it.

It is not generally a good trade, but has a couple of uses.

1) Legend lore abuse: You get the spell before anyone else, can cast it Level + Wis times a day, and most importantly it explicitly takes a minute rather than the normal casting time. Which, if you'll recall, can range from 1d4x10 minute to 2d6 weeks! That many uses in a single day and in a few minutes seriously pushes the limits of divination, and could easily be game-derailingly powerful.

2) Whispering Spirits: 4 levels is the far upper limit of what I would consider a "dip," but Wisdom as Insight to AC and Saves could theoretically have niche use in some bizarre all-WIS, high defense Monk-ish build.

3) Non-casting game: it sort of skirts the line, but I could see someone still allowing this class in one. It might not be the greatest choice, but hey, it would still be better than Sleuth.

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James Jacobs wrote:
Depends on the nature of the sacrifice, but yes, it can. In order to damn a soul to Hell or wherever, regardless of the alignment of the person in life, there needs to be either a special ritual or a special tool or a special location or a special ability in play to ensure the soul is damned. Such a soul is STILL sorted by Pharasma, but since the right conditions were in place, she sends it on to wherever it was supposed to go. Don't forget that Pharasma is not your friend. She's not good. Nor is she evil. If it's a soul's fate to be damned after being sacrificed, so be it.

Can this work in the opposite direction? Would it be possible for, say, a legally ordained court of Iomedae to condemn a criminal to death and use a ritual/tool/location/ability so their soul gets sent to Heaven to be locked away instead of being sent to Hell or the Abyss or wherever, so their soul can't go on to reinforce an opponent?

Would the answer be different for, say, a CE priest of Calistria doing a human sacrifice, or an LE priest of Abadar doing an execution (with the same sort of intent and circumstance, of course)?

Ooh... and what about the various gods Pharasma personally despises, and her own worshipers? Could the correct ritual/location/etc have her condemn the souls of her own worshipers to the hands of Urgathoa, Zyphus, Orcus, or Sifkesh, when they enter her court for judgment?

Unfortunately, I have no idea how the heck several of those are supposed to work, often because of the supposedly canon theory of "hands of effort," but also other areas of the rules.

If I use Shield Brace, do I still get the bonus from the shield? Is the weapon one or two handed? Can I still bash with the shield?

If I take the appropriate feat could I use Unhindering Shield to shield bash and use a greatsword? It declares it is "wielded," so could I just use a weapon normally and not bash with it but stack it with "when wielded" enchantments? Does that not conflict with how people interpret those on, say, boot blades or gauntlets?

Spring-Heel Jack Style requires a "move action," and therefore does not work with its prerequisites or later style feats. Oversight?

Not an oversight, but stuff like Adaptable Training is just stupid. It is literally the first "advanced armor training" and has nothing to do with armor, because it is actually a secret attempt at fixing the Fighter hidden in an unrelated section. Much like VMC Bards can redistribute skill points, or Stamina has a bunch of straight buffs unrelated to the system. I'm not opposed to these sorts of things, but hiding them in obscure subsystems like this is ridiculous.

This is a book with both Cushioning Armor and Cushioning Shield, as well as Combat Tricks for them.

If the intention wasn't to create piles of feats for Brawler players with eidetic memories, I don't know what it is.

All the game says is:

This safe house must be an area no larger in volume than a cube that is a number of feet per side equal to 10 feet per vigilante level. The safe house can be arranged any way he likes and it can be part of a larger building, like a secret room or an underground cave.

Which seems to implicitly assume it is some sort of structure or other enclosed area, but does not explicitly say that. If I want to arrange my safe house as "specific chunk of land, sea, or air" with no structure or anything to distinguish it feel like I could do it, and if I wanted to build a structure there later then I would be free to (as written). Although since it is not "safe random space anywhere," I could see someone feeling otherwise and forcing it to be something at least vaguely housy, even if that means "distinct forest clearing" or whatever.

Corbynsonn wrote:
Speaking of Combat Tricks, any stand out additions?

Not that I noticed. Lots of things wanting you to pay 5 stamina to negate a (generally small) penalty or get a (generally small) bonus, use a feat in a slightly different situation or an extra time, that sort of thing.

You can redirect a ray attack aimed at you, which is pretty sweet... except it requires Greater Ray Shield and 10 stamina. Could be useful if you use Martial Flexibility to the feats before a fight with an IP-infringing floating blob monster with a bunch of eye-laser stalks.

Also, one of those "small penalties" or "slightly different situations" might actually be amazing (generally or for a specific build), it is just none of them stuck out at me.

Owen, as much as I appreciate the "buck stops here" attitude, you really can't take credit or criticism for everything the freelancers do. There are certain authors I'm starting to suspect I'm a fan of (<3 a certain AA, I think), and others I might not be so keen on. It is tough when one does not know exactly who does what, and of course it goes through your editorial voice, but there really seem to be bits that "get it" in the way I think "it should be got" (obviously, from my perspective), while others don't.

I feel I've been a bit nasty in my last few posts, and I apologize for that. However, I do think that this book "missed the mark" from my perspective, and would be interested in the process that lead to it and whether it confirms or undermines certain theories I have about the design choices of individual authors, and which I am more inclined towards.

They still aren't amazing.

We are rapidly getting to the point where they could just make a "BaB = ranks" feat and be done with it, instead of random tidbits at a time. So, Adaptive Training and its ilk really need to just be one option. Armor Specialization and Armored Confidence are fractaly terrible, I don't even know where to being on them. Restrictive bonuses, tiny bonuses, bad scaling... it is terrible through and through. Armored Sacrifice would be cool if it wasn't a 1/day ability that is just okay, like so many things in this book. Then there are some feats, Quick Donning (bahahahaha), and Steel Headbutt which is just another 10 page "hands" argument that someone tossed in.

The thing with this book isn't that the archetype aren't great, it is that nothing is great. There are some options that remove certain restrictions, but overall it is just space filling cruft. Nobody needed separate "material masteries" for armor and shields, nor did they need feats to get to use them slightly more often. It is overwhelmingly highly restricted trash, introducing new levels of restriction into the game (abilities that only work with one specific armor), and no evident passion or knowledge about issues relating to armor use in the game.

Pretty much. I'd be interested if someone could post who the main writers were on this (and ideally who wrote what), as I forgot to jot them down in my notes while I was perusing it. I'm developing certain theories about author's tendencies, and it would be interesting to see if I am totally off base on them.

I'd agree. The small bonus and adjacency requirement kind of kills of the Yojimbo, and while there are several passable archetypes they really aren't to write home about and are accented by some truly terrible ones (yes Armored Battlemage, we are looking at you, feel bad about yourself). Vanguard Style could theoretically make a "Tank" by working with Combat Patrol, but you still only get to cover one ward and it requires a ridiculous number of feats. This book is much more about using a buckler with everything or a heavy shield as a caster, not so much the "tanking" people want and they really could have copy/pasted from any one of several other games.

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Bulette style devours your feats to be very slightly better at overrunning. Nobody generally cares about Overrun enough to even take all the existing feats, so this will probably be the last time anyone cares enough to mention it on this forum.

Yojimbo can use Resolve+ on a ward designated when he uses Challenge (instead of Mount), gets armor training with one specific armor instead of weapon expertise (because, you know, a bonus with chainmail OR breastplate would be totes overpowered), and Bodyguard +1 instead of Mounted Archer.

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Brew Bird wrote:
What does the Clockwork Armor do?

Field Plate +2 with a +4 enhancement to Str/Con so long as it is wound. It also can have a crossbow or firearm added that it can fire as a standard action, which is not only horrible but something you should be able to add to anything.

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Armored Battlemage is mind-bendingly awful. It loses Spell Combat for earlier access to Medium and Heavy armor proficiency, and gains Armor Training. They also use their Arcane Pool for armor bonuses and get a few flat GP cost options for completely absurd bonuses (+5 for greater shadow? Seriously?).

Shieldbearer gets Improved Shield Bash instead of Weapon Focus and uses their shield as their sacred weapon. They also, inexplicably, use their Channel Energy as a 30' cone instead of a radius.

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Does that not seem absurdly circuitous, especially for a book that is supposed to be about such things? I mean, the two sections obviously weren't written with the same hand, and the difference is tiny and vague.

Further, your statement isn't even true, that is only a vague suggestion. The book says:

In this case, and in other instances of requests made to unfriendly or hostile characters, the GM should consider only allowing such requests that are couched in such a way that they seem to be in the target’s best interests.

Are you saying the feat exists to force the GM's hand in such matters? Though even then it won't, because despite only listing surrender, loss, mind control, or zealotry, Call Truce also offers "GM discretion" or arbitrarily increasing the DC. In practice I don't see the difference.

Let us face it: the feat does nothing. It changes "GM discretion" to "GM discretion." There is really nothing it could do that would not be a silly feat tax on a character wishing to use Diplomacy, as whether a situation works or not is still entirely the GM's discretion in either case and has to be.

Either that or it breaks GM discretion and I can stop rampaging Orcs, ravenous Ghouls, or anything else I can talk to and we are in a "Diplomancer" situation. The middle ground is so vague as to be essentially meaningless, and not referencing each other makes the two sections even worse. Honestly, this sort of thing is one of the biggest issues with the entire book.

In retrospect "Will save" could easily have meant the reduced Will save of the class, and was not as clear as it could have been. Sorry about that.

The point is that you argued for it as an NPC option that needed to be nerfed for a group of PCs. If it is an NPC option it should really be able to do the basic Hulk stuff described in the OP. If it is a PC option making them make a Will save to not murder the party is (as you've pointed out) disruptive infighting that doesn't really work.

However, doing both makes it bad at both. As an NPC it won't be able to accomplish standard "Hulk" tasks of destruction, and is so weak it isn't much of a threat for its level at all. As a PC hulking out will be disruptive, even if the class isn't terribly strong. So we've got a situation where it doesn't accomplish either goal well.

I'd agree there is a place for a "Hulk Out" archetype that doesn't necessarily work for PCs without special consideration. However, I don't think just having a forced transformation is enough for that. It needs mechanics that support being the Hulk, which this class does not have.

Rysky wrote:
What? I didn't say anything about its will saves.

Yes, you did:

It's main "feature" isn't so much the transformation as it is the DC 20 + Character Level Will save you have to make to avoid "hulking out" when stressed or after enemies are gone in order to not kill your allies or other non-combatants.

Rysky wrote:

I didn't contradict myself at all. Just because they decided to make this an archetype instead of a template doesn't make it PC friendly. Paizo slapping a big "do not allow your Players to use this archetype" label on it wouldn't have done anything, and it's up to the GM's digression anyway in what all content a player is allowed to use

And seeing as how you if you fail your save you try to kill allies and noncombatants then, yeah, pretty much a murderous beast.

Huh? You didn't contradict yourself on it being an NPC option. You contradicted yourself by saying the horrible Will save was okay because it was an NPC class, but it had to be weak because as a PC class it could TPK the party. That just makes it horrible at both jobs.

Also, my sister's cat regularly gets very upset about too many or too few pets and tries to murder people, but that makes her "adorable" rather than a "murderous beast." As with everything, there is a certain level of efficacy required to be a legitimate threat instead of a joke. Unless you hugely over-level them this archetype falls in the latter category.

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Rysky wrote:

It's meant more for enemies/Antagonists than player characters...

If you buff it up it changes from infighting to a good chance of constantly having a party TPK on your hands.

The archetype allows you to tell stories/adventures about some poor bastard that can't control themselves from shifting into a murderous beast, similar to lycanthropes.

You seem to contradict yourself. If it is an NPC class that shouldn't be allowed to a PC an infighting TPK does not matter, and it should be stronger. If it is a PC class then balancing "attacking your party" with "being weak" is just awful, it makes you doubly useless.

Essentially, despite being forced to make the save, it does not support telling a story about someone becoming a "murderous beast." It supports someone becoming an "angry, tall weakling" that just ripped his trousers. Basically, instead of the Hulk you are Mr. Furious.

There is a place for classes best suited to antagonists. However, I do not think this weak class that cannot accomplish the thematic actions described by OP does a good job at that either.

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Cavall wrote:
Guess it's not for you. It's an archtype so hardly game breaking.

I really dislike this sort of sentiment. The OP went to a lot of trouble to go through exactly why the archetype fails to represent its concept or source material well while also being an extremely mechanically weak option that encourages anti-thematic choices. A dismissive response like this reminds me of a certain Penny Arcade strip.

Entirely in theory someone, somewhere might like anything. However, generally speaking, I don't think it is controversial to say that people prefer archetypes that mechanically support their flavor and are similarly powerful (even if it is in very different ways). Therefore I think a well thought out and thorough criticism like this is quite valid and not deserving of such a dismissive response. It is like saying "it is not for you" when someone criticizes a chocolate cake recipe for being made entirely of gravel and salami.

That is honestly a good point, though it is a weird artifact of how the system works rather than something that is good for the class itself. Ideally they could create a tag for a modified ability that may still be eliminated (like adding extra bonus feats to a list or slightly changing spellcasting), but otherwise I guess that would be a good point not to fiddle on (much like not changing one silly class skill).

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People have pointed this out. Similarly, their spell list includes the various protection from law spells and dispel law while they should probably have the inverse.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a tendency to fiddle too much or too little. The Tyrant didn't get a fixed weapon enhancement or spell list, but inexplicably lost Ride (you know those organized, lawful societies, really hate efficient horse-based transport). Meanwhile the Gray Paladin got a bunch of features kneecapped for the ability to Smite Neutral (and some stealthiness) instead of just being a less alignment restricted Paladin. Bonus points, it explicitly prohibiting worshiping a non-LG/NG/LN deity (despite, as far as I am aware, the class itself not explicitly requiring that).

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It does have ramifications in the fact that not only can you beat truth spells by having information in a different form,but having a huge bonus to have your identity safe. Knowledge checks don't reveal information about your other identity unless your identity is revealed. [Ultimate Intrigue, Dual Identities Feature, Page 9]

This is the whole thing: if you don't care if your identity is known, then abilities to keep your identity known do not matter. Just like every other character. The problem is people are comparing not wanting to bother with that one ability to ignoring a Paladin's code, but since there is no defined effect (other than the aforementioned, which we intentionally do not care about) it is being responded to with unwritten roleplaying penalties, house ruled ability changes, and straight telling you you are playing the game wrong.

I feel much of this comes from the fact the game's choice to deal with forms rather than knowledge gets very weird. I should note that your example, presumably "Subjective Truth," is yet another ability that goes bonkers. Like many abilities it is based on your form rather than the targets knowledge. You could watch me stab a shopkeeper as a Vigilante and then Quick Change to Social, but if asked me if I stabbed the shop keeper I'd still get the "Subjective Truth" benefits!

Heathwool wrote:
In short, why would you want to play a Vigilante if you wanted to just reveal yourself? I mean, the level 2 Shadow Sight ability is really nice for a class feature.

Literally everything else. Talents like Cunning Feint and Mad Rush and Lethal Grace would work for any Fighter, Rogue, or Slayer, but they are glued to this class so this is the class to use if those represent your character concept the best. Dual Identity is just one ability, and I don't see why ignoring it is so much worse than my Inquisitor ignoring Monster Lore.

Why must I be forced into the shadows just for wanting to play a Magical Girl? It cuts off a huge amount of character concepts, in my opinion because a desire to force flavor on others combined with a desire to avoid dealing with the massive gaps in how the Dual Identity ability actually works.

EDIT: Also, literal unmasking is not the issue. It doesn't matter if you wear a rubber mask, face paint, or part your hair differently, it is about what happens when you are defeated and your identities made known.

That is a frankly one of the neatest interpretations/concepts I've heard. While obviously not applicable to every character I think it is a super creative way one could run a semi-open Vigilante, and even try to mesh it with the rules.

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Cuup wrote:
There's a minute of prep time required to switch between your 2 different niches. You can reduce this time with some investment, but why invest when you can just pull an Iron Man? Now you're 100% social AND 100% combat at the same time.

That is the thing though: you aren't. As written your forms are still completely, 100% separate. If post-registration legally sanctioned Spider-Man wants to have his Renown intimidate people he needs to wear the suit, and he has to switch to slacks if he wants discounts and gifts. He can also switch alignments, which Masked Performer seems to think is really neat for "a different perspective" as well.

He would no longer need to care about using his Wildsoul (Arachnid) abilities in public, but frankly that goes for many Golarion Vigilantes anyway. It says you "risk exposing your secret," but that is only going to be the case if you are doing something you shouldn't be able to. Plenty of members of "polite society" have combat abilities and spellcasting as well, so as long as they mesh or you aren't being super obvious like serving as High Priest of Shelyn by day and "Zealot Zon-Zon of Shelyn" by night it isn't much of a give away. It would be like assuming everyone who can ride a horse and swordfight is Zorro.

Honestly, it was repeatedly brought up from the very beginning of the playtest that constantly staying in Vigilante or Social identity would be a thing people would do with little drawback, and if Paizo wanted it to be a bigger deal they should have written a class where it was a bigger deal. Or addressed the effect of a "meshed" identity. They didn't, and I don't think it is fair to accuse people willingly giving up the scry defenses (a darn good ability) for what is essentially a flavor choice (the same one Masked Performers are directly told to make) of being "munchkins" or "cheesy."

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bigrig107 wrote:

A player that chooses to be a Paladin doesn't (on solid ground, anyway) complain that they have to have a code of conduct; its part of the class, and is known about before you choose your class.

Playing a Vigilante is accepting that you'll need to use your identities wisely, or suffer the consequences of your actions.

The difference would be a Paladin actually has a code of conduct. It also has a penalty for breaking it. Right there in the CRB, page 63-64.

The Vigilante has no code of conduct, nothing saying you have to stay secret, and more importantly nothing about what happens if someone's identity becomes widely known against their will. It says it isn't appropriate for every campaign, but that seems to talk about urban vs wilderness campaigns and I don't see any part of that ignoring that one specific class feature is a particular issue and choosing to ignore it or being unmasked should have the GM houserule all your abilities.

Rather, the idea that a Vigilante can be unmasked or could even choose to be unmasked is just ignored, which many have filled with all sorts of unwritten rules rather than accept as a blind spot. Personally, I think that making a class like this and never addressing "what happens when the Green Goblin gets unmasked at the end?" (even if it addressed by saying in the book "the GM will have to make stuff up") is a pretty severe issue, and no amount of enforced roleplaying can fix or even fully avoid it.

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Except for the whole "Council of Thieves" and "Hell's Rebels" APs that came out before Vigilantes existed, and seemed to be able to do just fine. If they needed this class to be okay then the whole party would need the class to be okay, because otherwise you just scry Aquaman instead because he is always just Aquaman while the rest of the Justice League... er... Children of Westcrown do their thing.

Also, in relation to Squiggit, the problem is you DO still have two identities. "Oh no, it is Peter Parker! I know he is Spider-Man, but since he is not wearing the suit I am not afraid!" Alternatively "Oh no, it is Spider-Man! I know that is actually well liked local reporter Peter Parker, but I'm not going to like him better until he switches back into his civies. I'll wait."

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Sure (unless you hide as an Everyman or something). It is also one that is already in the rules, and the situation literally every non-Vigilante in the game faces.

However, there is no conception of ignoring the ability and have an identity that is well known as both Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Given the possibility of that choice, or being unmasked, or needing to create a new identity, it seems a pretty big hole in the mechanics. If a random townsperson sees Spider-Man and knows he is Peter Parker, is it really reasonable that (as written) Spidey needs to spend a minute changing pants and psyching up to be Pete before his Social boosts applies?

More importantly, from what I've seen, people seem very keen on applying penalties for people whose identity is known. Not so much integrating the abilities or something, but penalties. Which is the topic of the entire thread. Despite the lack of mechanics it seems very important for people to tell someone doing this they are playing wrong, or chose the wrong class, or should lose abilities for it, or horrible things from mobsters will happen despite every other character being in that exact situation, or at the very least the fact the game doesn't even entertain the concept is somehow a good thing.

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As written that is simply not how it works. Luke Cage has people in his area of renown be Friendly instead of Indifferent. He can spend a minute getting angry and maybe change shirts, then everyone in several miles will be intimidated instead. Whether they know they are the same guy is completely unrelated to this, it is a function of the form rather than their knowledge. More importantly he needs to spend that minute, because he still keeps a social and vigilante form.

This is a pretty classic Oberani Fallacy. "The class has no issues, because I can ignore what is written and make up a bunch of house rules. If you have problems you are doing it wrong." The fact is this class didn't really think through the fact that, in totally normal play, these are important issues that could come up. They didn't even bother to talk about it as an issue. Rather, it is just totally ignored and all issues people raise handwaved.

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I don't see anything like that in the text you quoted. It mentions "social aptitude, roleplaying, politics, negotiation, and manipulation." None of those are "definitely keep your identity secret." It says wilderness exploration, travel, or dungeon delving would be poor choices. Still not a single word about secret identities being absolutely mandatory to keep secret.

And again: What of the Masked Performer? Same ability, but it is inexplicably okay for them to ignore it.

As for what the GM chooses to do, I'll just repeat what I said before:

Past Mort wrote:
While I'm certain some GMs will feel the need to brutally punish players who choose to ignore the Dual Identity stuff, there is no mechanical requirement and the abilities are not out of line with what a normal character could have, and I see not reason to take them away unless they explicitly say to. Frankly, it makes the class drastically more playable in a normal game with other non-Vigilante PCs.

People can choose to do otherwise. However I do not think it is necessary, and think doing so unnecessarily pigeonholes the class to an ultra specific idea for no good reason.

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Ian Bell wrote:
If Luke Cage doesn't have a secret identity that needs mechanical representation, then by Pathfinder standards he should probably be playing a brawler.

The Masked Performer Bard also has the mechanical representation of a secret identity, but it explicitly supposed to be one that everyone knows about. Why is it acceptable for them not to keep their secret but not for Luke Cage?

Further, Dual Identity is just one of a big pile of abilities for the Vigilante. For example the Arachnid Wildsoul is pretty obviously Spider-Man. After a story arc where Peter Parker reveals his secret identity to the world is he supposed to retrain to another class that doesn't actually support any of his iconic abilities because ignoring Dual Identity is totally unacceptable? Similarly, does every villain Vigilante that gets defeated and forcibly unmasked have to do a total rebuilt after because that isn't okay?

One can certainly, intentionally or not, end up with a Vigilante whose cover is totally blown. The issue is that the game does not address that possibility or give guidance to its implications, which really is important given how much time they spend talking about the feature. By doing it purposefully one shines a spotlight on that issue, but they are not responsible for creating it.

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All those mob bosses you beat up can now go after your family.

So... the exact same situation as every single PC before this class was made and every non-Vigilante in the campaign. Unless they are hiding what they are doing in a traditional way outside of this one specific class feature, of course.

Plus, I would imagine a lot of your civilian talents stop working (such as the ones that involve you hobnobing with royalty) after people realize that Steve the socialite is that they go golfing with is actually pumping them for info so he can exact vengeance as the Scarlet Pimpernel.

Alternatively I'm certain the Royal Wizard, Captain of the Fighters, and Archbanker of Abadar will be horrified you are going around battling the Thieves' Guild in normal, legal Adventurer fashion. Renown is little different from being a Celebrity Bard, and I would not see the need to take it away just because people know you put on a different hat and punch people in a legal and socially acceptable manor.


While I'm certain some GMs will feel the need to brutally punish players who choose to ignore the Dual Identity stuff, there is no mechanical requirement and the abilities are not out of line with what a normal character could have, and I see not reason to take them away unless they explicitly say to. Frankly, it makes the class drastically more playable in a normal game with other non-Vigilante PCs.

The only weird part is that a known Vigilante would have to change identities at all. If everyone knows that Luke Cage is Luke Cage, shouldn't he just get his Intimidate Bonus or Reaction bonus depending on the person, rather than depending on whether or not he spent a minute grunting and winding himself up first?

Well, that isn't the only weird part, I've got a list of those that starts with switching forms and thus alignments before kicking puppies, but this is the one that is going to come up the most in this situation.

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I'm going to say I have big issues with the storyline.

You start in Belkzen, but Orcs are only there until you are high enough level for giants. So knowing you start with stabbing orcs you need to actually be motivated to stab giants.

From Book 3 on this should be a campaign about armies. It seems like the obvious course of action would to be rally Lastwall, Nirmathas, Janderhoff, and possibly Korvosa, Ustalav, and even Nidal against the giant armies. However, I haven't noticed the path even mentioning that as a possibility. You just go from location to location beating in faces without dealing with the world around you (as far as I have found, which may be in error).

Also, Book 6 is terrible. A totally static castle you can blow up ten minutes into the adventure, that makes it difficult to come and go and doesn't make you feel the heat of the fact this is supposed to be an invading army.

It isn't, like, unplayable or anything. But there are 18-20 APs now, and given the issues this isn't going to be anywhere near the top of my "to run" pile.

Exactly. That is why I don't think it would really be classified as "torment." I mean, I guess you could be a brick and still be self aware which would rather suck, but I'm not sure what sort of lesson that would be teaching you other than Iomedae (and/or Pharasma) is allowed to do really jerky things to people who "fail" a heavenly deity but still end up in heaven somehow.

Although the Childhood's End reference is really interesting. To go on a bit of a tangent the children "get it" and are fine with joining the Overmind while the adults pretty much lose it and descend into suicide, "games" of war, and the like. Since most mortal inhabitants of the material plane probably lack the sort of mindset of those children one can understand the appeal of serial reincarnation, lichdom, and the like.

Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
If you're going to hang the Director on his words, make sure you take into account ALL of them.

It is good to look at all of someone's words. Lets look at mine:

Mort wrote:
I'm literally responding to the Creative Director directly saying a failed Iomedaen might go to Hell.

More importantly, I was asking about the implications of this:

Mort wrote:
Is it different if you failed because you got too far into a corner of the axis grid as opposed to keeping your alignment but rejecting magic/nature as opposed to just not caring enough about anything? Which of those would actually be a "fail" condition, anyway?

Part of the question was which of these was a failure condition at all, and how they differed!

So the Iomedaen was a LE jerk and goes to Hell (I'm sure that was chosen randomly, and not because all this damnation stuff is a dualistic God/Satan dynamic).

However the Erastilian mentioned above also seems to think he is going to be "tormented" somehow for losing his faith, which may make him end up as the "brick in the road of heaven" mentioned by JJ, though I have not seen that sort of thing as a possibility in a book, it is not really what I'd classify as "torment" but is pretty crumby thing to do to a person, and being absorbed by the plane is the eventual fate of most petitioners anyway.

Further, it seems "failed" worshippers are indeed getting punished:

James Jacobs wrote:
Or to endure any number of punishments in the afterlife.

He didn't mention "other stuff which is nice, despite 'failing'" as a possibility.

Which is the whole issue. Apparently you can be sent to Heaven and punished there by being made into a brick in a road, and a LG ex-Erastilian is worried about some sort of "torment." It isn't just about people being sent to different planes, it is about how "punishments" are happening, it is about the crossroads of alignment, failure, devotion, and punishment (also, apparently, consequentalism as part of judgment). There is a heck of a lot more to that then shuffling people along based on alignment.

Interestingly, that adventure also has an LG ex-Cleric of an LG god who has done nothing wrong except for lose his faith, yet:

The ex-Cleric knows his lack of faith has damned him to an afterlife of torment.

Given his alignment and lack of evil acts, people's arguments here would indicate such a fellow would still get shipped off to Heaven. However, with his +11 Knowledge (Religion) he seems to "know" that he will be "damned" to "torment."

So does he think Erastil is going to get to torment him in some way? Or despite his good alignment and lack of evil deeds he will be shipped to Hell for torment, because there really is an implicit assumption of a modern Christian-esque afterlife? Or that even though he is not a dissident and had faith and passion in his life (it only being broken by horrible loss, not being a thing he lived a life without) he thinks he is going to be judged "failed" and forced into the Graveyard of Souls and that that is "torment" as opposed to "boredom" (which, frankly, is the eventual fate of most souls who don't get destroyed).

Regardless, he doesn't seem to think there is any possibility of going somewhere without torment, such as regular Heaven and just not to Erastil's Domain within it.

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James Jacobs wrote:

What happens to someone who "failed" in life is DELIBERATELY left undefined so that the writers and creators of stories set in Golarion, be they Paizo employees or our freelancers or any GM can do whatever they want.

That goes for any soul.

We don't give exact rules for how a soul is judged. That's up to Pharasma, AKA up to the creator of the story.

Except you folks did define a "failed soul" and what happens to them:

River of Souls wrote:
The latter group-failed souls-might be considered spiritually stillborn. Whatever potential these souls carried onto the Material Plane was never stirred. They lived without convictions, passed through life without direction, and carried nothing with them in their passage. With no faith or passion to direct them to other planes, and no will to further the Boneyard's endless work, these souls are the flotsam of the River of Souls.

It goes on to explain that regardless of whether they didn't have the chance or fundamentally didn't care, they get shipped off to the Graveyard of Souls.

The problem is that you've suddenly added the concept of a "failed Iomedaen," which by definition would be impossible because that would mean they did have enough faith to qualify as that, but reached some other type of "failed soul" status that has never been mentioned before. It isn't that it is just undefined, it is that there was a definition and you've added another group without any explanation of what the heck that means. It isn't that apparently consequentalism is part of the judgment process now, or that there isn't an exact guideline of what happens to who and why, it is that a new type of failure has been added to existence without any hint of what it means "to fail," other than doing it might cause you to get judged differently.

The issue with that is the "downward slope" I mentioned. If failed Iomedaens go to hell and failed Asmodeans go to hell, hell ends up with a lot of extra souls. Just like how one can sell one's soul to Asmodeus but not to Iomedae.

That could be a setting. Hell/The Abyss end up with way more souls, but infighting keeps them weak compared to the good aligned planes. Or perhaps the universe is overwhelmingly filled with good folks, so bad folks + sales =< good folks. That could work as well.

The issue is addressing it. "Punishment," as far as I can find, is pretty much only used to send people to Hell to get tortured for being jerks or for worshiping Asmodeus. I can't recall anything about anyone being punished by shipping them off to nice planes like Heaven or Axis. It is just one of the many parts of the generically Christian sin/virtue, redemption/damnation stuff that slips in unexamined.

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James Jacobs wrote:
Or to become a brick in a road in heaven.

So, that would be the actual answer. If you hit the still undefined "fail" condition while paying lip service to a god (because having real faith is, by definition, not a failure) they get to do crumby stuff to you on their plane, or you get sent elsewhere for punishment. So is Asmodeus sending any rejects who were too nice up to be rugs in Heaven like Iomedaens end up in Hell, or is this strictly a downward slope as it is generally portrayed?

James Jacobs wrote:
It varies wildly, and two IDENTICAL people who do IDENTICAL things in life might end up with wildly different fates due to butterfly-effect type results of their actions

Wow, okay, this is an entire new issue. Two people give money to two homeless fellows. One uses the money to take classes and become a social worker, the other one used it for a robbin' knife. That result is apparently reflected on the givers, impacting their afterlives to a degree, despite being identical acts. Is it worse on the one giver if the thief stabbed someone? But wait, the person they stabbed was incidentally one of those secret evil cultists that run around settings, and they accidentally saved the world! How does that flap of the butterfly's wings impact the giver's afterlife? Lets not start on if the first giver's new social worker runs someone over they wouldn't have if they'd died in a ditch years before were it not for the money.

Having "butterfly-effect type results" impact someone's judgment is ludicrous. It means at least some portion of their judgment is going to be essentially random, possibly pushing them towards one fate or another for results they did not and could not have known. More and more, I think those protestors in the Boneyard have the only reasonable idea.

I'm literally responding to the Creative Director directly saying a failed Iomedaen might go to Hell. I'm well aware anyone can make up anything they want, I'm talking about the implications of his statement on the setting.

Given that the entire thread is about how things work in the setting, I'm really not sure "a GM can make something up" is in any way relevant.

Not only did I mention that "failed" is poorly defined, but that literally doesn't change anything. We could define "failed" as "ate too many parsnips in life" and all of the questions I listed about where they end up remain.

Seriously, how does redefining failure change the question "where do failed worshipers of non-LG souls go?"

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James Jacobs wrote:
in the same way a failed Iomedan soul might go to hell to be tormented, etc.

Whoa, back up for a moment there. This sort of thing is all well and good when you have dualism, but in polytheism based on an alignment grid damning folks to Hell for "failing" at worshiping a LG god has a lot of implications I don't think have been worked through.

If a worshiper of Asmodeus gives a little too generously to orphanages do they get "punished" by being sent to the afterlife without all the torture? Does a Urgathoan baker who "failed" (by Urgathoa's standards or some generic standard, I'm not sure how "failed" works when we are talking about worshipers of gods but the only definition is lacking "faith OR passion") get punished by being sent off to Nirvana and maybe baking cakes for Shelyn instead?

More importantly, what about the Neutrals? Do Gorum's followers get punished by being sent to live in the tidy, well run city of Axis? What about Nethys or Gozreh, they are dead center. What happens to their failed souls? Is it different if you failed because you got too far into a corner of the axis grid as opposed to keeping your alignment but rejecting magic/nature as opposed to just not caring enough about anything? Which of those would actually be a "fail" condition, anyway?

And while we are at it, why the heck can't I sell my soul to a psychopomp or Abadar or someone? Why is Evil the only team that gets to bypass judgment? Why doesn't "baptism" of some sort work in the opposite fashion?

I know it is a lot of questions, but as far as I know this hasn't really been touched on in anything and directly stating it opens a box of worms. While many books are obviously, though not explicitly, based on vaguely Christian notions of sin and virtue, damnation and redemption, and so on, they kind of just ignore it and everyone else does too. However when you directly state something like this the whole issue of 9 alignments governed by numerous powers with different definitions of positive acts and negative acts, and reward and punishment, I don't think you can just handwave it.

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Opuk0 wrote:
Although I'm not a particularly huge fan of the DC being 11+modifier. I understand it's to keep the same math, but it feels sort of... Blocky? We don't attack vs AC 11+modifier after all, so it just feels a little off-putting to me.

First, it actually isn't the same math. They either forgot to account for the average roll being 10.5 or for ties, either way for things to stay the same it actually needs to be 12 + modifiers, not 11.

Regardless, it is trivial to switch around. Make the DC 10 + modifiers and make the attack roll modifiers - 2 instead.

I wouldn't recommend just getting rid of it, though. Spells are already TPK fuel (for monsters or players), and you really don't want to give them +10% chance of success.

As for the system, I prefer the "players roll everything" variant from 3.5. Basically the players use spell attack rolls offensively and saving throws defensively. Same with normal attacks and "defense rolls." It keeps people invested and makes them feel like they are responsible for success/failure, even if the math is all the same.

James Jacobs wrote:
Hope that clears things up!

Exactly what I was looking for, and nicely reconciles everything. Thank you so much!

A Kaijitsu lore issue:

"The Brinewall Legacy" says that Amaya was born in 4680, and Ameiko in 4689. "Burnt Offerings" says Tsuto was born in 4688. However, "A Song of Silver" references Lonjiku's disappointment in his children as the reason for cheating. Obviously, he can't be disappointed in his kids 8 years before the first one was born, and if you place Amaya's birth late enough for Ameiko to be old enough to have been a disappoint she wouldn't be old enough for Council of Thieves.

Obviously it isn't a big issue or anything, but just for the fun of lore, which version would you go with? Older Ameiko/Tsuto to fit in Amaya? Or nix the disappointment bit and add "cheating for no reason" to the list of reasons Lonjiku was kind of a jerk?

I think the issue is a disconnect between the theoretical idea of the Hellknights and the details. In theory, they are supposed to be an incredibly strict Lawful Neutral organization, with a big dose of Lawful Evil members and some Lawful Good ones. The problem is when you get down to what these organizations actually do for many of them it is overwhelmingly horrible.

I'd personally call the armigers guarding brutal torture "evil." I honestly can't think of any published examples of "of the Rack" stuff I wouldn't, personally, consider "evil." They theoretically destroy dangerous magical knowledge, but I can't think of that ever coming up when they appear in modules. Similarly everyone in the Order of the Chain that doesn't exclusively punish the powerful, and even that is in support of the institution of slavery so at very best incredibly questionable (but again, leadership is Lawful Neutral).

However, the game has chosen to depict these as organization with "Lawful Neutral" members and even leaders. So you either recalibrate alignment so that "second in command an organization that executes people for verbal political dissent" (as mentioned in Bastards of Erebus), "leader of slave catchers," or "guards torturers" is "evil" that can be taken part in by "LN" characters, or the idea these people and groups are really Lawful Neutral needs to be abandoned and we need to finally give up and write "LE" on their sheets.

Sidenote: is it possible to unflag a post? I read something wrong, but can't seem to change it.

Rysky wrote:
If you participate in torture you're evil. Not neutral, evil.

That is fine. Please call up the Order of the Rack armigers in Turn of the Torrent and tell them to correct their character sheets accordingly. Also all the other members I mentioned.

Hellknight #685,340 wrote:
The difference between Orders and their leadership is what will mostly determine this sort of thing. If you join an Order devoted to slaughtering anyone who voices dissent, then yeah, you're probably Evil... because you chose to join that Order.

It is so sad to see such internalized anti-Hellknight propaganda...

The Order of the Rack has 3 leaders, two of which are Lawful Neutral. The one we know anything about hates Wizards not specifically because they deal in forbidden knowledge or anything, but because they are stealing magic from its rightful users (Sorcerers, like her). When we have gotten stats for generic Rack armigers and Hellknights they have also been Lawful Neutral (in the cases of which I am aware), even ones watching over torture of possible dissidents.

While the name, outfits, and incredibly strict devotion to Law (even when absolutely horrible) can make them seem purely and obviously Evil, even the Order of Booking Burnings and Dissident Torture manages to have piles of Lawful Neutrals in their ranks.

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