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Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Class Deck, Maps, Modules, Pawns, PFS RPG, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber. 10,765 posts (12,495 including aliases). 16 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 11 aliases.


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Quote:
But, again, as for literally every part of the game, the GM is final arbiter.

I don't mean a 'rule zero means anything goes' way. I think the DM's role in alignment is different from the DM's role in recovery of spells or healing or...anything else - even though they can run any aspect of their game however they like, only with alignment is that an inherent part of the mechanics.

That quote I gave was literally from the CRB alignment section. Including a little more, for context:

CRB p 168 wrote:
In the end, the Game Master is the one who gets to decide if something's in accordance with its indicated alignment, based on the descriptions given previously and his own opinion and interpretation - the only thing a GM needs to strive for is to be consistent as to what constitutes the difference between alignments like chaotic neutral and chaotic evil. There's no hard and fast mechanic by which you can measure alignment - unike hit points or skill ranks or Armor Class, alignment is solely a label the GM controls.

A few years later they published Horror Adventures and presented some advice on evil aligned spells. People spoke about it at the time as if it were a black-and-white thing, but even the section in question says "generally" and what that means is not spelled out - that doesn't make it superfluous.

I think it's over-reading that sidebar to suggest that the casting of aligned spells trumps the DM-fiat nature of alignment. My take on 'generally' is that it means "absent any further, relevant information derived from this specific case" ie if there's no moral dimension to the situation then casting an evil spell will move you towards evil (I think it then goes on to say that if you routinely use evil means to achieve good results then you'll also become evil).

Surely "advice" presented in a sidebar of a genre book expansion of the game shouldn't trump the rules in the CRB on alignment (which explicitly make it a subjective-no-hard-and-fast-rules thing)?


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Theliah Strongarm wrote:

With all due respect, I believe it may be time to move into Pathfinder 2. There are literally thousands of products for Pathfinder, and it can be overwhelming. Plus, some of the rules have become outdated in the game. The gimmick's old. "compatible with 3.5" I think Paizo has the ability, fanbase, and creative strength to not only pull it off, but to differentiate itself from D&D. With the shift of gamers toward D&D 5e, Paizo has started to lose fans. I have seen it on countless forums. I think it's time that Paizo spreads its wings and shows us what the company can really do.

I, myself, have moved to TOR. Pathfinder was fun, but it's dull to see yet another product that I'll never be able to track down due to it being lost in the shuffle of third-parties and houserules. Not to be another rage-poster, but I think it's time to say good-bye to Pathfinder and hello to Pathfinder 2.

The game is up.

It seems unlikely to me, at least for the next couple of years.

It's hard to tell from the outside looking in, of course, but it seems to me that Starfinder has knocked the company around a little bit. I suspect they'd want to pause for breath in 2018 before embarking on another new system.

If there is a decline in customers, then maybe it will be forced on them. Fwiw though, I haven't heard that 5E has damaged PF sales, even whilst taking market share. 5E has clearly done well, but apparently PF's sales are also still healthy. The market overall has substantially grown in size in recent years.


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Sutter did post something of an explanation. Unfortunately, all I heard was: "...something something something HYPERBAZOOKA something something something..."


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I have always been a tolkien/'traditional western fantasy' fan, but paizo's approach to the campaign setting has broadened my horizons immensely. You manage to make those countries out of my comfort zone feel like real places I want to explore rather than caricatures of movie-sets (which is often how I've experienced other 'non-western' campaign settings).

Is it too soon to begin a petition for a kelesh book?


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Heh. I'm amazed you got it done in a year with that level of background prepping. :p


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I don't know, but I'm middle aged which, according to some wit, occurs when you stop criticising the generation that came before you and start criticising the generation that came after.


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I didn't take James to be requesting people not answer general questions about the book's contents (I think it's fine to say something like "there's two archetypes and a bunch of feats for rogues").

I think the point was more not to go into too many of the gory details (like not: "Here's a cut and paste of all the feats a rogue might be interested in").

I thought it was more a question of degree.


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chris settlemoir wrote:
so ifi have every subscription but bought something thats not a subscription ill be delayed

Not necessarily. However, my experience is that adding non-subscription orders generally means you'll go out near the end of the queue. It's a bit hit-and-miss really.

I've found that the best strategy is to read the 'end by' date (ie 20th January) and take anything earlier than that as a blessing. That way you only ever get good news.


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
The point is that rules arguments tend to get vicious, PP, mainly because some people are very frustrated by the arguments' repetitions and become increasingly hostile and entrenched as a result. They give up on making meaningful contributions and just try to shut down the debate because, in their minds, the debates are stupid and shouldn't even exist. Some people just want it to stop, and due to that combination of exasperation and arrogance, they can get very ill-tempered.

I think that's something the individual poster should work on, not an issue with the community.

There will be lots and lots of threads you aren't interested in. Deliberately trying to sabotage them because you've talked it through before or because you're sick of the topic is not helpful, nor friendly to those who do want to keep discussing it.

If you've 'given up on making meaningful contributions' don't talk about it. Don't try and stop other people from talking about it or 'shut down the debate'.


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Enjoy your trip, Erik. We'll be sure to save our harassment for your return. :)

Don't know if you've done Hawaii before, but there's a charter flight service for four people or so around the big island that's great. Looking down into bubbling lava. Pretty cool!


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Dragon78 wrote:
Nice, too bad I can't get it right now because of them releasing that map _ folio at the same time.

As a subscriber, it's no drama to opt-out of one book when a double month rolls around. Customer Service can sort it out for you in a jiffy.

So you can receive this as a subscriber without the map folio, if you wanted to.


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kyrt-ryder wrote:
Sure, each path has its own perks. I'm just saying acknowledging that trait of Paizo's leads to less heartache than assuming otherwise.

There's a lot of truth there. There's others too, I think. People analysing PF nowadays often underestimate just how important it was to be as backwards compatible with 3.5 as possible.

More broadly, I often see people cry "bad design" as if it's some kind of objective thing - the reality is that quality of design can't be determined without knowing what the goal was. Oftentimes I think paizo's goal is different than what the current day critic would want.


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Garrett Guillotte wrote:
New map, new globe! (interactive, gif)

This thread is really cool. :)


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James Jacobs wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Hi James. Are you confident predicting which of your adventures will be well received by the public? Or is what tickles our collective fancy more of a mystery?
Absolutely not. Pretty much every adventure I've written I kinda feel like is terrible and dread its release.

I can sympathise with that. It's not a question but, for the record, I can't think of a single example of a "terrible" James Jacobs adventure. Your first level adventures, in particular are always amongst my favorites.


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Thanks, Jessica. I have next to zero experience online other than the paizo forums. Perspective like that is really useful. I think your point about splitting the on-topic discussion from the "that's not appropriate" posts is well made. I've never really made the effort to do that before, but it's obviously a superior method now you say it.


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Hey, Deathquaker. Nice post. You should do more of that again. (Please) :)

As you know, I was one of the in-private apologisers who said nothing as it all happened. Since you've left I've been thinking it over, and it has struck me that i don't really know how to deal with inter-poster conflict as it arises on the boards without either leaving good people hanging on their own (and silently flagging and/or emailing community@paizo.com, which is my usual approach) or calling out other posters, which on my reading is against the forum rules.

I'm still sorry that I didn't do more at the time and I don't mean this as any kind of excuse. However, I wonder if the community team can provide some kind of guidance as to what we should do in this situation. It seems to me the forums don't do a good job of protecting those who really don't want to participate in the fight-y threads. People shouldn't leave here feeling like they're on their own and yet "flag it and move on" may well not lend them the support they deserve.


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Erik Mona wrote:

I will repeat myself.

This is an EXPERIMENT. It's certainly ok to stand back and to say stuff like "I am concerned about the way this looks to be going" or "based on what I've heard, I'd prefer that there was 'generic' or 'no' setting material in the books," but some of the doom and gloom here strikes me as over the top and waaaaay premature.

If we don't experiment with format, the line stagnates and everyone gets bored (and stops buying our books). Is _this_ experiment a good idea? Can Paizo pull off what is admittedly a relatively difficult task?

I think we can. I'd love to hear whether YOU think we can, but personally I'm going to pay a lot more attention to comments based on the book itself than I am to pessimistic snark on this thread several months before the book comes out.

The experiment is to see what people think of the book and the way we handled the design decisions in the book. How people react months before the book is certainly a PART of the experiment, but I don't want to give people the impression that what we're seeing right now IS the experiment, full stop.

By all means, don't let me get in the way of the darkness, but we're going to do the very best job that we can with this book, and we hope you think it is cool and worth your money.

That's it, really.

thanks, Erik. Paizo's perspective is invariably illuminating when debates like this go...like this.


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This is the pick of this month's releases for me. Can't wait to dig into it!


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kyrt-ryder wrote:

Do I just have a different perspective on what a level is?

To me, a level is a big deal, it's a person breaking past their limitations and becoming something greater.

It may happen fairly fast in-character, but the only way I could see it happening every IRL session [or even every other] is if a LOT of character development gets skipped.

I'm with you on that (both on a slower RL speed of levelling AND on limiting a campaign to a clearly defined span of levels).


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kyrt-ryder wrote:

Steve, I know you're fond of magic being able to do crazy things that martials can't but I do have one question...

... would you prefer a system where magic was handicapped in terms of it's actual use in battle? The way where a Mage is a terribly dangerous battlefield asset... but incredibly vulnerable to interruption and outright murder by mundane means while casting his magic?

Might you be more interested in a 'Magic against magic' that requires 'Steel against steel' as opposed to a game like Pathfinder where the magic is snap-your-fingers-and-it-happens?

Yeah thats definitely my preference as a player. A group of mes would play a Swords&Wizardry/AD&D mashup I expect.

I generally DM though (so leave choice of system to the rest of them).

If i understand your query correctly, youre right. My ideal rebalancing of PF would involve increasing the cost or danger of using magic, rather than boosting martials to the same scope.


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kyrt-ryder wrote:

Except they do... in that Martials don't level properly. Linear Warriors Quadratic Wizards is a thing.

Look at the way spells change in scope and function with level. I don't see any Martials in Pathfinder capable of standing alongside a full caster of level 13 or higher, and haven't personally seen any over level 8 but suspect a few might exist. [Coincidentally, level 8 full casters have the same class of spellcasting as Paladins and Rangers at max level.]

I don't understand the first comment I quoted, in that case. It seems a clear cut case of equivocation, to me.

However, it's not terribly important because my preferred scale of "what a hero should be able to do" depends on whether they have magic, in my ideal game - so we're solving two different problems anyhow.


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kyrt-ryder wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
If everyone is overpowered then nobody is.

That seems odd to me. I would have said that if everyone is overpowered then everyone is.

For me the benchmark isn't the other classes it's some kind of ideal "the sort of thing a hero should be able to do". If one class is above that, lifting everyone else is just making things worse, IMO.

This is what levels are to me. If the game pushes beyond the level that one is comfortable partaking in, then they shouldn't partake in those levels.

I think there's a serious risk of equivocation using overpowered like that. When people say "casters are more powerful than martials" they don't mean casters operate as if they are higher level martial characters. They generally refer to the qualitative difference in the classes across many levels.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
Also the CR's are balanced with a party of fighter thief cleric and wizard...

Are they? I thought one of the criticisms of the CR system is that it treats all PC classes identically.


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kyrt-ryder wrote:
If everyone is overpowered then nobody is.

That seems odd to me. I would have said that if everyone is overpowered then everyone is.

For me the benchmark isn't the other classes it's some kind of ideal "the sort of thing a hero should be able to do". If one class is above that, lifting everyone else is just making things worse, IMO.


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Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
From a resource management perspective: Starfinder is now in the equation. Are you also going to request a setting-neutral Starfinder?

If they want it, they should ask for it. Of course.

It's not the customer's job to make strategic business decisions. We have to tell paizo what our little bit of the market wants. They have to do the rest.


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Oceanshieldwolf wrote:

@PDK: I think the point you are missing is that we really like the system, and we want system books, not Golarion-books where they needn't exist. There are already Golarion books and customers for them.

Personally, as I said upthread, I think the tension whether to design with or without flavor creates some unnecessary blockages. And I'm ok with setting flavor that doesn't prescribe mechanics. In my system books. But I'd be happier without it. I like Pathfinder, and I buy physical PF system hardbacks. I'd like them to have no Golarion flavor so they can have more of what I do want. As a customer, I think that is ok to ask for.

And as a customer, I appreciate that Paizo is/has embarking/embarked on an experiment, and that they will run it how and for as long as they like. I'm offering feedback on that experiment. I don't want a mix of Golarion in my system any more than I got with the deities in the Core Rulebook.

I wonder if it's also a function of Pathfinder's maturing. Early on, there was a clearly defined set of "things we need to make" and then a relatively uncluttered design space to be filled. I've never been a designer, but it wouldn't surprise me if coming up with new rules is easier when spurred on by motivating flavor (now they've made such headway in the mechanically-motivated area).

There's also all the market forces arguments. Maybe golarion has the pulling power to compensate for the loss of those who want a setting-neutral system.

Irrespective, it's clearly in paizo's interests to hear a wide range of feedback. Our job is just to tell them what we like. They have the difficult job of doing all the rest. :)


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cycnet wrote:
Please, enough with this "if you don't like fluff which doesn't work for your world you are a bad GM" or "if you prefer to have non fluffed materials for ease of use you are a bad GM" nonsense. It adds nothing to the discussion.

Hear hear. People's preferences are just what they like. There isn't anything wrong, bad or selfish about liking something other people don't.

I wish these discussions would remain focussed on "here's what I like and why" rather than "here's what I don't like and why you shouldn't like it either".


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It might be too rough (and possibly quite inaccurate!), for your purposes. Note it is specifically "not to scale". However, this is the closest we have to a world map so far, I think.

It might help resolve where the equator should be relative to tian xia and the inner sea.

Good job, by the way. :)


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Marco Massoudi wrote:

FEWER THAN 25 LEFT:

"Book of the Damned 3: Horsemen of the Apocalypse" sold out and only has some cheaper non-mint copies left!

Anyone on the fence about this should grab it ASAP, in my opinion. All three books of the damned are packed with flavor and campaign ideas.


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Whatever do you mean, Gorbacz?


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For me the acceptance of ultrarares boils down to what comes of it.

If it's a way for Wizkids to boost profit, I'm not a fan. If the extra revenue (or other accounting-related effect) is why they can include a variety of huges in the D&D line, then I'm a supporter. (I think the huge figures in Storm Kings Thunder were an absolute bargain).

Either way, I'm glad the philosophy appears to be "two variants of the same figure" or "an invisible repeated figure" rather than the old days of including "chase minis" in each set.


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Four dollar dungeons are widely praised (and cheap!)

For a Paizo introduction to RPG-ing which hits a lot of old-school notes, I recommend: Crypt of the Everflame. It is unfortunately out of print, but the PDF is still available.


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I posted in it a lot. Sorry for my part too.
Good call, though. Enjoy the long weekend! :)


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Ignore Sinister Stan.


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Ssalarn wrote:
So I would turn your own question back on you- why is it you feel the need to support arbitrary restrictions that wouldn't affect you anyways when not including them in the first place would have allowed everyone to enjoy them? Why be arbitrarily exclusive instead of inclusive?

It's a long way past (and you didn't address this to me) but I thought I'd offer a perspective anyhow, since removing what you term "arbitrary restrictions" would reduce my enjoyment of the product, even though I could just add in "must worship deity for any name-of-deity feat".

Like you, I have an enormous collection of RPGs (or have had, anyhow. I purge it from time to time). However, the mechanics has very little interest to me. I prefer Mage: awakening rulebooks to PF rulebooks, yet I've never even played the former. Similarly, first edition shadowrun was close to my ideally presented system.

My enjoyment of them (and what fuels my demand for them) is the flavor. I like the fact paizo presents an idea to be used exclusively by followers of a specific deity in their setting then says "here's some gizmos which represent that idea - including the limitation". I understand the viewpoint that mechanics could be standalone and flavor could be presented entirely separately (or more accurately in an additive fashion). However, I wouldn't enjoy that as much.

Whilst it's clearly not my goal to persuade you that you should share my preferences, hopefully you can at least understand them. Strange as it may sound to you, I don't read rulebooks for the rules but for the flavor (and how I might represent that flavor using the rules). As such, it's not true that it "wouldn't affect me anyway" - it would reduce my enjoyment substantially (rulebooks divorced from a gameworld generally sit, unused on my shelf).

I'm not supporting preventing others from enjoyment for no benefit. You and I have mutually exclusive desires, so advocating for mine will necessarily involve advocating against yours (unfortunately). That's nothing to do with the rules themselves though, it's how one uses RPG rulebooks.


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Ssalarn wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
The argument about whether there should be golarion-tied mechanical options is separate to whether or not this is balanced or "philosophically compatible" compared with options from the RPG line.
I agree with pretty much everything you said, except this. If there are going to be different standards for what makes it into a softcover and what makes it into a hardcover, and let's be quite frank here, then you shouldn't need to go forum diving to know that. The issue is that many of the Golarion-tied options are strictly stronger than the "generic" core line options, and as long as that remains true than the existence of said options cannot be a separate matter from whether or not they are balanced or "philosophically compatible" compared with options from the RPG line.

I think I wasn't clear. I don't think we're miles apart.

What I meant was that they clearly are different. But the critique shouldn't be "X is overpowered, compare with Y". The critique should be "X should be called out more explicitly as from a different category of options than Y".

The horse has already bolted, but I would see little problem if some feats/traits/Prestige-classes and whatever other options had a "Golarion" tag alongside the various other classifications they had. Then it would be clear that these are not intended to be lined up alongside the various generic options under the auspices of the PDT.

Instead, one often sees critique along the lines of "this option is broken" as if every rules element was filtered by the same team and was designed to suit the same purpose. The reason I think they are different problems is that, even if you think the two categories shouldn't exist, it is possible to analyse each group of options separately and to intellectually distinguish the two.

One can critique an option both from the point of view of what was trying to be achieved as well as from the perspective of whether that goal should ever have been set.


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Ssalarn wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
First, the Design Team is not related to the development of, nor has any oversight over, the Player Companion line.

I think this is very relevant. The player companion line is (clearly, based on the above) a supplement concerning golarion, rather than an avenue for developing generic rules intended to be used in any setting.

It may have mechanical options alongside it's flavor and they may be usable elsewhere with a little work. Nonetheless, it's an error to evaluate it as if it's an extension of the PFRPG line - it's more an extension of the campaign setting line.

Paizo are producing for many different markets, albeit with a lot of crossover. By necessity, their products will involve compromise when it comes to issues such as this.

That is actually a clear factor in where much of the root of the problem lies. The core design team very obviously has some different philosophies and standards than the companion line team. Things that would never get printed in a core book frequently get printed in companion books, but there's not really any distinction between the validity or setting appropriateness of the options. In 3.5 (and I want to preface this with the fact that I greatly prefer how Paizo has done things overall compared to WotC) you knew clearly what was a Forgotten Realms specific option compared to a core line option, because all the Forgotten Realms options were in books with "Forgotten Realms" printed in multiple places across the cover. The player companion lines on the other hand don't really specify that they're supposed to be Golarion specific, so the options presented therein are generally treated exactly like any other option Paizo puts out, which is a big part of where these discussions come from. For most players, if Paizo printed it, it's got the exact same stamp of approval for general use regardless of whether it was part of the monthly softcover releases or the larger hardcover books, despite the fact that the differing design strictures have frequently led to situations where feats in player companion books are absolutely and undeniably strictly stronger than most feats and options found in core line products (Thunder and Fang, Sacred Geometry, Dervish Dance, etc.). There's also the added factor of people using the pfsrd to obtain much of their information, which pre-strips all the setting specific fluff out of the options and makes it more difficult for people to determine the context a feat or option was meant to be presented in, but there's not a lot of getting around that.

I think it's inevitable given the differing markets. As is the nature of all compromise positions, I suspect that even amongst paizo staff, nobody is entirely happy with where they draw the line, but they have to draw it somewhere. They could have a really clean break between rules and flavor, but I suspect the revenue hit would be unsustainable.

Nonetheless, I think it's incumbent on those of us who learn the distinction (explicitly spelled out above - thanks, Mark!) to keep that in the forefront of our minds when debating it.

Whether it's the way we'd choose to break up the product lines or not, it's the way paizo have chosen. So mechanics from the player companion line should be evaluated as "mechanical options for golarion that you might be able to use elsewhere" rather than as "options for generic worlds with arbitrary flavor restrictions".

The argument about whether there should be golarion-tied mechanical options is separate to whether or not this is balanced or "philosophically compatible" compared with options from the RPG line.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
First, the Design Team is not related to the development of, nor has any oversight over, the Player Companion line.

I think this is very relevant. The player companion line is (clearly, based on the above) a supplement concerning golarion, rather than an avenue for developing generic rules intended to be used in any setting.

It may have mechanical options alongside it's flavor and they may be usable elsewhere with a little work. Nonetheless, it's an error to evaluate it as if it's an extension of the PFRPG line - it's more an extension of the campaign setting line.

Paizo are producing for many different markets, albeit with a lot of crossover. By necessity, their products will involve compromise when it comes to issues such as this.


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Ranishe wrote:
If we're playing a different setting than Galorion, what all such strange prerequisites can we throw out? Should those feats / features be available at all? Basically my thought at this point is have a single book that's a setting summary for Galorion (or several for the several parts) that illustrates the feats, classes, dieties, etc that would (generally) be represented by characters from various locations, and let GMs (and players) work with that. Don't hide such setting information in gameplay rules. It's nothing but muddy.

Isn't that what they did? This option was published in the companion line it's "rules for golarion that you can use elsewhere with a little work".


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Ravingdork wrote:
What do you think? Should GMs take a hard stance on such things, or should a player be permitted to do these things in very specific circumstances?

It depends on the group. From what I know of your style (presuming the rest of the group is fine with it). I think your DM should treat these prerequisites as no more than "recommendations".

Quote:
Should the game developers put more thought into what they consider "hard" prerequisites/restrictions?

I much, much prefer rule books when they include restrictions like this (mechanical limitations for essentially no more than "flavor reasons").

Paizo are trying to please many groups with diametrically opposed preferences. They could pick a side in the "should flavor impinge on mechanics?" debate but they instead try to provide some material for each group.

Far from needing to "put more thought in", I suspect they've thought about a whole bunch of additional factors you and I have the luxury of ignoring as we discover our own preferences.


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My main reason for supporting PF is the people that make it. I really appreciate the thought and care they put into it.


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Erik Mona wrote:

The Worldscape is outside of time, in its own way, so it's not a requirement that the Reign of Winter timeline parallels hold true.

Thun'da is from the 1940s. Tarzan is from the 1910s. Red Sonja and Kulan Gath are from the Hyborean Age, some time between the period when "the oceans drank Atlantis" and the beginning of recorded history.

Mordred stretches things out a little, too.

Great instalment again, Erik. Each issue feels like fifty pages of action.


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WormysQueue wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
In a world with subjective morality, there's no way to know. That's a fundamental difference to the universe (and hence limits the stories possible, either way you go).
Soryy Steve, but I have to break from this very interesting discussion because so short before Christmas, I have not the necessary time for it (and it probably doesn't belong in this thread anyway).

You're probably right.

Merry Christmas. :)


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WormysQueue wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
What goes missing is the moral grey area. In a world of subjective morality, the holier-than-thou paladin who you disagree with may be a good person at heart or might be a baddie - those concepts just aren't the same thing in a world with alignment as currently modelled.
Probably depends on how you go about it. I only can see that as a problem if you interpret the rule terms as in-game-terms as well. I don't so I can have class paladins and other Paladins standing next to next. And the people around them think abouzt both as paladins.

Paladins falling was just an example. The point is there's an objectively correct answer to moral questions.

If the questionable character has an objectively determinable alignment of lawful good you know they're not a baddie, they're just misunderstood.

In a world with subjective morality, there's no way to know. That's a fundamental difference to the universe (and hence limits the stories possible, either way you go).

It's not really a "problem", in my view, but it is a reasonably profound difference.


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Paizo is the best.


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Tectorman wrote:
It doesn't matter. You are running a Pathfinder game. Pathfinder is the game that disallows otherwise perfectly valid character concepts, and tells players that they, the players, are the absolute last person who can have any idea what sort of a character he should be wanting to play. So it doesn't matter how willing to compromise you say you are. By running a Pathfinder game, you started that conversation with "Hello, screw you." That is what that communicates. The player always starts off at a disadvantage and the GM is always an adversary. Negotiating with you on even footing and with even respect? Perfectly fine. Negotiating with the game which started off by saying "up thine" and establishing a position of disdain? Hell no.

The bolded, in my view, seems like an overly harsh depiction of the stance "alignment lies within the DM's purview". Hyperbole is rarely persuasive.

There are different perspectives on judging rules components other than just the "Player empowerment vs DM fiat" axis. One subsystem restricting player choice doesn't imply the game is saying "screw you", IMO.


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WormysQueue wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Whilst I think there's some room for moral ambiguity, there's substantially less room in a world where Paladins fall and detect evil works than in one with subjective morality.

I'm not really sure if this is true. Because there's basically nothing you can do in a world with subjective morality only that you couldn't do in an alignment world like Golarion either. I mean, can you play a holy warrior that is lawful good and adhering to a strict code akin to the Paladin code without actual using the mechanical chassis of a Paladin. Sure you can, and I'd argued elsewhere that such a person might still be called a Paladin by other people in the setting. You can even make him fall without having mechanical repercussions, if you want to. On the other hand, you don't have to play a paladin as the shining star of lawful stupidness either.

And what does detect evil really means in a world where a lot of evil persons exist that didn't ever break any law? Actually not much because you can't act on that knowledge and if you rather trust the chaotic good guy instead of the lawful evil guy, it might very well turn out that you trusted the wrong person. Meaning that alignment isn't quite as absolute as it may seem at the first look.

Yeah there are beings of absolute alignment. But as I see it, those beings are an additional layer to an otherwise morally subjective cast of people, not a replacement.

So as I see it, you can basically do everything you want, only that the system is written with a certain base idea in mind that gives it a bit of direction. You might disagree with my interpretation,but I still don't see how that system can be interpreted as "If you don't do it exactly how we command you to do, you are not welcome here."

What goes missing is the moral grey area. In a world of subjective morality, the holier-than-thou paladin who you disagree with may be a good person at heart or might be a baddie - those concepts just aren't the same thing in a world with alignment as currently modelled.

If they're a baddie, they lose their paladin abilities and will be detectable as such via objective, magical means. There is not as much wrestling with moral questions (a la the real world) because there's an actual, objectively verifiable answer.

I'm not arguing for or against, by the way (I'm ambivalent on the issue) I just think it's a substantial difference in the world if morality is objective (along with a reliable means of determining that) or is subjective and it has significant bearing on the moral stories one can tell.


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WormysQueue wrote:
By the way, I don't buy the argument that there is no room for morally grey gameplay just because of the alignment. In fact, there is a lot of room for something like that, even for Paladins. And the alignment system of D&D/Pathfinder is anything but trivial. In fact, my guess would be that most people who don't like, actually don't like the complexity it brings with it. After all, it's so much easier to be a murderhobo if you don't have to think about moral implications at all.

Whilst I think there's some room for moral ambiguity, there's substantially less room in a world where Paladins fall and detect evil works than in one with subjective morality.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I don't think it's so much that "alignment adds nothing to games" but that "alignment is objective and knowable to people in the world" tends to detract from games. Ethical questions are only interesting, after all, if they are hard to answer. When alignment is an elemental force, someone wanting to know what the "good" thing to do can either consult with various detectors for elemental forces -or- we've decoupled "good" from "that which is most desirable" so it means something very different in the game sense than the common language use of the term.

I don't think the issue is so much "there's objective morality" so much as "it's knowable and discoverable" and in fact game mechanics are based on it.

I mean, the basic question that has motivated countless people for thousands of years is "Am I good?" is not a thing that should be so trivially resolved.

When you say "should" is there a reason other than preference?

Personally, I agree with the stance that a game is better if its model of morality is subjective (although I disagree with the position that this implies it "should" have no mechanical impact), nonetheless I can appreciate a viewpoint that holds RPGs are better if there is no moral ambiguity or shades of grey. I don't think there's ever a way a game "should" be designed - it depends on who you are trying to entertain and that isn't a moral question.

I gave the analogy of a first person shooter upthread - I think there are some forms of entertainment where a black-and-white morality is fine or even desirable. I know a couple of people for whom RPGs are squarely in this camp and whilst I think they're missing out, I don't think they're wrong.

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