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Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Hit points are a hideous abomination of several different descriptions merged into a generic term.
Mark Hoover wrote:
Hit Points are Hit Points. They are whatever you need them to be at the time.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
There was a lengthy section about this in the first edition AD&D DMG, and Gygax addressed this question at some length. Of course, there's no normatives involved, since you play the way you want to play, and it's silly to say you should play this way if it's fun for everyone at your table to do it another way.
All of this, yes!
According to Old Geezer of RPGnet, who played under Gary Gygax himself, hit points were originally just a rule to make the game more fun. That's it. There was no in-game explanation; hit points existed so that players had a finite resource to track as their characters progressed through the dungeon. Hit points create a tension which, barring cheap and easy healing, slowly builds up as a party progressed through a time-sensitive adventure. And at the hobby's start, that was the beginning and end of the concept of hit points.
But then fans started asking what hit points mean. After getting over his initial surprise that anyone even cared what such a game rule means, Gygax came up with the various situationally-dependent explanations that most D&D (and PF) gamers use today. I.e., skill, luck, endurance, divine favor, or whatever else the character and situation call for.
Alternatively, many gamers just don't think about it. In the words of Old Geezer, "Hit points are hit points. They represent hit points, and they simulate hit points." ;)
(Apparently Arneson didn't like hit points, favoring a 'damage save' mechanic instead.)
And the tragedy is that a role player such as yourself needs more expound-ment to see a problem with fanservice. Maybe the next time you watch a fanservice-heavy anime, role play an impressionable teenage girl with low self-esteem. And then imagine that you always have been and always will be that female anime fan until the day you die.
That'll be much more enlightening than spending hours and hours throwing every conceivable argument at some anonymous internet posters you feel compelled to argue with.
I get an inordinately large kick out of hearing words that got ripped right out of English, spoken with a Japanese accent. ("Japan doesn't have a word for that?!") Also, if I generally like an anime but not its voices/sounds, I can mute it and still know what's going on.
So I finished watching Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic - or at least the first season of it, as it turns out that there's a second season that's not on Netflix (yet) - and while I didn't have very high expectations going into it, I was surprised by how much it surpassed them...
I found the first season really picked up with episode 4. The first 3 are a little cliche and simple on first introduction.
Thanks, you just convinced me to give Magi a second chance. :)
Moreover, you have yet to demonstrate why this is at all worthy of moral outrage.
I can see why Aranna pegged you for a troll.
Well, this thread exploded since my last post. People sure do love their fanservice!
Less controversially, I just watched about a dozen episodes of Legend of the Legendary Heroes. It started out promising, but got too campy-dark-predictable in that way that so irritates me. Skipped to the last episode to make sure, and sure enough I was right.
...I think I'll try Ghost in the Shell: Arise next.
VM mercenario wrote:
I call that a feature.
DR isn't supposed to be a real obstacle for PCs, IMO; it's supposed to create another reason that the world needs heroes. :) And the '+1 weapons overcome any and all values of X/magic' always seemed silly to me, so I really like VM mercenario's idea.* It creates an incentive to get those higher enhancement bonuses without creating an insurmountable obstacle for characters whose magical weapons aren't quite up to snuff.
*Which isn't a new idea, to be fair; plenty of gamers have played by it. But kudos for coming up with it on your own VM!
I'm surprised how difficult it seems for some anime fans to see why fanservice might be really objectionable to women. Does sex sell? Absolutely. Will fanservice ever totally disappear? No more than racism, homophobia, or boy bands will completely disappear.
But that doesn't mean we throw up our hands, and say "Oh f!*@ it, bring back the Backstreet Boys!" Because here's the thing: fanservice creates a very subtle but very real effect on women and especially girls. You can say 'Well if a girl doesn't like fanservice, there are other things to watch,' but the fact is that girls will end up watching some of it anyway. Aranna watches fanservice because some fanservicey shows have other redeeming qualities; other girls and women get peer pressured or 'I want to watch what my male friends, bf, husband, big brother, or daddy are watching!' into watching animes with fanservice. (As has been pointed out, an R rating is no real obstacle for a determined child or teen.)
And what's the effect of a girl and even a woman watching fanservice? A small but insistent voice in the back of her head telling her 'You only have small-to-regular boobs, you ain't nothing!' 'Your ankles are bigger than your wrists, you ain't nothing!' 'Your waist is too big for a man to wrap his hands completely around, you ain't nothing!' And so on. It's like how stereotypes like 'black people are stupid' and 'gay people are sex-obsessed perverts' create a kind of background mental chatter. Consciously, a person knows that it's absurd and irrational; but people aren't rational. That mental chatter is enough to undercut or even crush many people's self-respect, which results in all sorts of issues.
I'm not saying that fanservice is the worst thing since Hitler, or that it's not a byproduct of human nature. I'm saying that the world will be a better place when more anime (and other entertainment) learns what 'everything in moderation' means.
Arpeggio of Blue Steel is a fast and fun action-drama! More action than drama, which is just fine by me. :) It follows the adventures of Chihuya Gunzou, his crew, and various cyborg ship-avatars who help and hinder him as he struggles to give humanity a fighting chance to take back the seas from the mysterious Fleet of Fog, which had crushed all human naval power 17 years prior.
What I found unusual about this show is that all but one of the developed characters are cyborgs, and the one human character who does has some depth (Captain Gunzou) doesn't change during the first season at all. The show's drama is mostly about the cyborg ship-avatars 'evolving' through making contact with Gunzou and interacting with his other cyborg allies. All of the cyborgs apparently have 'emotional subroutines,' or some such, which can make them very very human.
Anyhow, lots of action as I already mentioned, and not a single slow episode! I think there's one well-justified flashback during the first episode, with the rest of season one happening entirely in the present tense. A medium amount of fanservice and a couple of highly suggestive comments about 'naval warfare,' but no watermelon boobs!
This is an anime that I wanted to like, but it quite clearly was too focused on itself to care how I felt about it.
That's a shame! I saw The Irregular at Magic High School on Netflix, but didn't add it to my queue...because the blurb made it sound too slice-of-life-y, oddly enough. :/
You're welcome, and sorry if my reply was a bit abrasive. This video caused a stir back when it was first filmed, and edition warriors jumped on it as evidence that '4e is a video/board/card game with some background fluff text!!!' Heck, this video might be the origin of this ridiculous meme.
Anyhow, all I really know about Chris Perkins is that he helped create 4e and that he DMed for the Robot Chicken guys that one time. I don't know anything about his attitudes or ideals, which for all I know I might find terrible or amazing.
Well you can't help how you feel, right? Everyone's got 'em, and yours are as valid as mine.
You mean darkfire, the drow racial power? The one that creates purple heatless 'flames,' just like it does in every other edition of D&D? (I.e., no fire type or fire damage.)
Well, gee you're right! I once tried to use a similar spell to disorient a foe in a 3.x game, and not only did it not work, but I had to actually waste my turn casting it before learning that it didn't work. What a creative idea shot down in its prime! That must make 3.x games super board-gamey and legalistic and punitive! /sarc
I hope you can see how misguided this particular complaint is, and how Chris' call wasn't any less justified in 4e than it would have been in any other game. His real mistake was using the power's targeting rules to explain why it wouldn't work, rather than its lack of actual fire. Which is a small mistake, considering that another DM might have simply let the player waste his turn trying to use a power with a misnomer name that never had any hope of working.
Of course it's not inherently wrong to think so, because it's all about feelings. Just like it's not inherently wrong for an abused spouse to love their abuser.
It just says more about the speaker than the topic.
This is an excellent example of the lies that edition warriors like to spread, and the double standards they live by. Powers absolutely work in three dimensions, and out of combat by the way. Unlike conjuring spells in PF, which can't summon creatures to a space in the air. (SO MMO GAMEY!) And like invisibility, which ends when the subject performs an arbitrary action. (NO CREATIVITY TOO MUCH BALANCE!)
Again, the above is not a criticism of 4E. It is merely a statement of how it is designed. That kind of inflexible design would be fantastic for say a board game. It may be wonderful for some gaming groups. I, however, happen to like the direction up.
PF has zero consistency in errata; the devs let casters get away with murder but anything nice that martials discover get nerfed into the ground. But hey, that's not a criticism of PF; it's merely a statement of how it is designed. That sort of haphazard design would be fantastic for say a collectible card game all about magic, and it may be wonderful for some game groups. I however happen to like devs who care about their product, and for consistent balance.
When 1 of my game club members suggested we play Pathfinder( we mostly play Table-top minitures games, Warhammer ect) I asked him if it was like D&D he said yes. He said the player response to D&D 4.0 was less than desireable, so Pathfinder was created.He said think of it as D&D 3.75.I still have my 3.5 book,and I see many similarities.
This is very much how I see PF; it has some rules changes and some new classes, but the same is true of 3.5 compared to 3.0. All three are fundamentally the same game. PF 2e, whenever it happens, may truly be its own beast. We'll see.
I find it hilariously ironic that a vocal segment of the D&D fandom complains that 4e doesn't feel like D&D because it changed too much, while PF carries the 'spirit' of D&D...but totally isn't D&D! Sometimes coming from the mouths of the very same fans.
Freehold DM wrote:
I definitely recommend Freezing for you, Freehold! The most interesting thing about it is the reversal of the usual action-adventure gender roles: the women are the front-line warriors, while their male 'limiters' are the support *cough* casters *cough*. This reversal of gender roles even touches upon the show's non-combat events.
I ended up dropping it from my Netflix queue because the scifi-and-action-to-character-drama-and-fanservice ratio is too low for me, but it's not without its good points. Well-paced and action-packed, not too many flashbacks, and for fans of fanservice...!
Fan service in most cases hurts a good show... or at least is a turn off that you have to consciously ignore to enjoy the show. Sexist scenes shouldn't be celebrated they should be discouraged.
I...I can't believe it, but I find myself agreeing with you, Aranna. I just watched the first couple of episodes of Freezing, and it has promise...but oh, the fanservice! We'll see if its good features outweigh the adolescent ones.
I think the world will be a better place when female characters become a bit more mixed in appearance. Or, barring that, objectify men too: All male characters are either fabulously rich men with chiseled faces, bulging muscles, and personal entourages; or they're helpless loser background characters!
Like Tels, I also find watermelon-boobs off-putting. I like real-life ta-tas as much as the next straight guy or gay gal, but anime too often takes them to grotesque extremes. It's a lot like watching a South Park episode with Ms. Chokesondick; I usually do an eye-roll-chuckle the first time she appears on screen, but after that all I can think is "Sooo...nobody's gonna comment on this?"
Serghar Cromwell wrote:
Lol, yes. It does happen once in a blue moon though.
In parallel with this fortnight's three Paizo forum alignment threads, I started an alignment thread on a different forum. We're eight pages in so far, and no insults yet, despite the inevitable paladin side-conversation! Although we have recently drifted into discussing Hogwarts houses and the Sorting Hat.
I could speculate on the factors that contribute to a civil alignment thread, but that might offend this one's angry spirit. ;)
I'm really starting to see why so many gamers are fundamentally uncomfortable with the idea of objective alignment.
Thanks for your thoughts.
However, I could see with some players where I would just instantly make the character an NPC, because I would know the player, and thus know that he would not play the character any differently than before the change, thus perpetuating the problem (thankfully, as I said, I have not encountered such a player personally).
Yeah, this is what I've been imagining; a character who's willing to damn his own soul for the betterment of others. A tragic hero doomed to a terrible afterlife because a capricious universe deems his choices noble but his tools wicked. I.e., a player who knows that his character is technically Evil, but no less a good guy for it.
...I apologize. No doubt that would involve quite a bit of cognitive dissonance for you, but it sounds rather interesting to me. :)
Thanks for your thoughts, Digitalelf.
So from your comments, it sounds like you'd be happy with an Evil PC in your campaign who, other than casting a lot of [evil] spells, was in every other way heroic and Good by your reckoning. Would such a character eventually provoke the 'PCs who turn Evil become NPCs' clause from the 2e DMG*, or would they remain PCs so long as they remained 'Heroic Evil'?
*Don't recall if this ever carried over into 3.x...
A point of curiosity directed at Aelryinth:
If I recall from the previous thread which got consumed by the IH debate, you stated that using an [evil] spell often enough would shift the caster (and the recipient?) toward Evil over time. I take this to mean that in your games, such a caster would find themselves having more and more selfish thoughts, and would eventually begin acting on those thoughts.
If so, I can see how this is easily acted out from your side of the screen: You control the NPCs, so they act as you deem appropriate. And when you explain how [evil] spells affect a caster to your players, most of them are probably more or less willing to either avoid casting [evil] spells while playing non-Evil characters or to act out the alignment shift. My question is: Have you ever had a player who decided that "I don't care if using IH makes my character hear voices; Evil is a choice, and my character continues making Good ones"?
Well written, thejeff!
Judging by the frequent disagreements, if alignment is like maths, it's like calculus being attempted by kindergarteners.
Morality and ethics are subjective in the real world, hence all the debates. But within any particular DM's game world, that DM defines alignment. Thus, alignment can indeed be an objective and universal fact within a particular campaign.
Granted, alignment may get subjective and messy in organized play due to different DMs having different takes on alignment. But I'm guessing that there aren't terribly many gray areas written into official organized play adventures.
Oh, agreed! Planescape, my all-time favorite setting, is in part about ambiguity, contradiction, and having no definitive answers. And I suspect that many non-D&D rpg gamers think these things make games much more interesting too!
(I also find LazarX's 'deities don't have free will' idea interesting...)
So, if Apsu and Tiamat defined good and evil, who are the likely suspects to have defined law and chaos?
According to this wiki, Apsu shares his primordial-god status with Tiamat, who is unlikely to give him free reign to define alignment.
And then of course there's the issue of conflicting creation stories which DeadManWalking brings up, which while I agree makes the game world wonderfully ambiguous and interesting, doesn't exactly lend credibility to the gods-define-alignment possibility. Occam's razor, and all that.
I think of the arbiter as an omniscient and impartial entity whose sole occupation is the judgment of every other being's character. These judgments are what allows things like protection from evil to work the way they do, but the arbiter is otherwise invisible and impotent.
Not being familiar with Golarion lore, I can't comment on Good gods who hand down questionable edicts.
Interesting. So, for the sake of discussion, this begs the question of which god gets to define alignment. Does Golarion have a head honcho god like Zeus or Odin, or perhaps a god of wisdom or knowledge who might be accepted by the others as the arbiter of morals and ethics?
Actions determine alignment, not the other way around. The god's alignment would change, just as it would for a normal person.
Yeah, this. I've always considered alignment to be above even the gods, so alignment trumps all.
I think this is like asking "Which came first the chicken or the egg?"
Speaking for myself, it's not at all like the chicken and the egg. I started gaming in 2e D&D, which is famous for its many campaign settings, each with their own pantheons, including the Planescape setting which is an attempt to reconcile all those settings and all those gods in one cosmology. So for me there's no question at all; gods come and go, but alignment is part of the very fabric of the multiverse.
In another thread, DeadManWalking mentioned that many gamers come at alignment from a real-life religious perspective, which likely explains why they might have the chicken-or-egg reaction to this question, or to quite naturally put gods above alignment. Conversely, being an atheist might further explain my own response. As far as I'm concerned, the only god who has any say over alignment is the DM. :)
This is why I slightly changed the book definitions, it makes things clear instead of murky. In the case of doing evil to evil doers this has been a thing in the game already a crusader hunts down and murders the bad guys; he doesn't bring them in for a trial unless the GM has them surrender... Torture to stop further crime is good in your own words, yet it makes no sense if we leave that type of torture as evil acts. Better to make that a Chaotic act and call it a Dirty Tactic that way Paladins would still avoid it but it leaves the CG guys free to pick up the knives while the paladin guards the perimeter as long as you are fine with the paladin being cross with you later. No ones alignments need to change this way and everyone has a clear vision about the alignment of their actions.
Personally I'm rather uncomfortable calling torture anything but Evil, and would rather make exceptions that even paladins can take advantage of. Just like killing is normally Evil, while including exceptions for the pure of heart, as you note.
But c'est la vie, right?
This is where alignment gets [more] messy.
Torture is a violation of the victim's dignity, if not its life, which makes it definitionally Evil. (Both by my way of thinking and by the game's definition.) Even ignoring the utter lack of empathy that torture requires, which is easy to forget about or gloss over when it's your imaginary character doing the torturing rather than yourself in the real world, torture is inherently problematic. Because even innocents will eventually say anything to stop the pain, a torturer often has no way of knowing that her victim is even guilty.
That said, I don't believe in absolutes and I can certainly imagine plenty of corner cases where "Yeah, we have to torture this guy who we're absolutely sure is an evil cultist who knows where the evil sacrificial ritual is happening" is the Good decision. In the real world, the heat of the moment makes this seem like the right call much more often than it is, but again playing a rpg means that stress and emotional influences are [potentially] less misleading.
Liberty and freedom are pretty self-explanatory terms, but how would you define order?
Lately I've been thinking that since one of alignment's most commonly cited and practical uses is to provide a quick and easy reference to a monster or NPC's behavior, a good way to think of Law vs. Chaos would be "Likes Working in Groups vs. Likes Working Alone." These definitions have some overlap with the traditional definitions -- chaotics don't like being told what to do, for example -- but I wouldn't want to get much more definitive than that.
It also casts Chaos in a more negative light, at least when it comes to small groups of individuals expected to trust and work together -- like adventuring parties! But this might be a feature, depending on your PoV, because it's a convenient way to tell players "Don't play a brooding loner!"
Peter Green wrote:
Yeah, I find Chaos and Law to be rather confused, and not terribly inspiring. In the past, I've vacillated between redefining them in much broader terms, and not caring one way or the other.
This is on my short list of things that 2e did right, and I have yet to figure out why 3e changed it, and why PF and 5e have stuck with it...
Yeah, alignment is much more coherent when redefined so that each term is associated with a single belief or personality trait, rather than half a dozen. Particularly the law-chaos axis!
I've never seen alignment be a problem in actual play either, but denying people their experiences is a fast track to nowhere. I like alignment, but I recognize that it's pretty rough around the edges.
For example, I'm a very meticulous person when it comes to my hobbies [lawful], but very lackadaisical about anything I'm not very interested in [chaotic]. I'm honest ninety-nine percent of the time, sometimes to the point of bluntness [lawful], but I have no compunctions against lying through my teeth if I think it'll serve the greater good, and I think that honor is usually just a psychological weapon of those with superior tech and training [chaotic]. I'm a reliable friend and teammate [lawful], but I also don't like being told what to do [chaotic]. I have routines and habits that I like to stick to [lawful], but I have no use for traditions that get in the way of...well, anything [chaotic].
Am I lawful, neutral, or chaotic?
Now, I'm sure you'll peg me as one of those three, according to your own sensibilities. And about a quarter of PF gamers will agree with you; but two other quarters will peg me as either of the other two alignments, and the fourth quarter will say that I'm none because alignment doesn't reflect real people. You and I can make alignment work with a bit of reading between the lines, but they do have a point.
Which is a long-winded way of saying that I believe that alignment can be a real problem, even if it's never happened t me.
I really like the morals-made-reality aspect of alignment too, but yes, trying to reframe the debate as a 'rollplay vs roleplay' issue is absolutely wrong. And seeing how alignment was in part inspired by the red army vs. blue army rules of miniature war games, it's rather revisionist as well as insulting to other role players.
At best, alignment is completely orthogonal to character development. At worst, alignment is antagonistic to character development when there are alignment restrictions or other rules threatening to punish players for role playing their characters outside of whatever narrow role the game casts them in.
That's why there are so many role playing games completely devoid of alignment, including those of the fantasy genre; many many gamers role play without alignment better without than with. In fact I'm kind of amazed that this very fact didn't have you rethinking your whole premise before posting it on a public message board.
Knights of Sidonia is on my short list of shows for which I'm eagerly awaiting the next season. If you have the opportunity, you owe it to yourself to try the pilot. :)
Quark Blast wrote:
You're right; James Bond just gets half his girlfriends killed, and never keeps any of them for more than one fade-to-black ending.
Much more heroic. ;)
"Heroes" are a dying breed these days, with the rise of the antihero and the like. Who wants to be Captain America when you can be Wolverine?
...Wolverine is an antihero? He seems pretty darn heroic to me, but maybe he's less so in the comic books.
Anyhow, I'll stop nitpicking, and substitute 'Wolverine' for 'James Bond.'
I dunno, I always thought the pally was much more powerful than the other martials, but his drawback was that power could only be directed at evil, and he had to behave himself.
Sounds like you're a child of pre-WotC D&D too. :)
Anyhow, the "extra power balanced out by role play restrictions" philosophy fell out of favor in 2000, 'cause it works...well, inconsistently at best. And because the fighter got his own toys starting with 3e.
The paladin's alignment restriction and code are just legacy quirks at this point.
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
...In the setting backstory, humans and various allies killed all the gods but one, and that god is a horrid creature, so alignment isn't being enforced from above and humans are free to define their own moral compass....
Despite seeing alignment as an objective measure of morality, I've never thought of it as something being handed down from the gods. Is this a PF/Golarion thing, or a personal interpretation? Just curious, as I've seen many posters with the same interpretation.
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
I haven't heard any objections to that, from either side of the Dex to damage debate. I think Str to attack with thrown weapons would be a good thing, and I think that independently of Dex to damage. I'm totally okay with getting both.
Oh, just mention that 4e does Strength to the attack roll for heavy thrown weapons and you're sure to get a few objections. ;)