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Imron Gauthfallow

Tequila Sunrise's page

3,260 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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GreyWolfLord wrote:
...not bad, just really really boring...

*very confused*

What metric do you measure entertainment by?


Serghar Cromwell wrote:
thegreenteagamer wrote:
Is it possible, just once, to have an alignment thread pop up that doesn't end up boiling down to repeated personal insults between posters?
That's funny.

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. ;)


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Aelryinth wrote:

He's deluding himself.

Casting IH is making an evil choice. He's a hypocrite. He can continue to think he's making good choices, but where it really matters, i.e. wanting healing, he stoops to using Evil because it's better and more convenient.

He could say whatever he wanted...his actions would speak for him, and soon enough he'd start popping the paladin's detect-o-meter, which has been a kind of 'oh s+&&' moment for some people when it happens. Of course there's the one guy who tried to make it seem like I was singling him out personally, but he's the same guy who thought he could stay CG while using Evil magic to good ends. I warned him, he learned otherwise. And since I don't allow Evil PC's when I GM, he had a choice of taking drastic action to reclaim his destiny, or becoming an NPC. I ended up with his character sheet, and he started someone new.

What happened to the new NPC after that was interesting, but that's a separate story.

==Aelryinth

Aelryinth wrote:

This would fall under tolerating a lesser Evil to fight a greater Evil. It's still Evil, in the end. Your example is different because the character is going into it with eyes open.

he's Evil with a Code. that doesn't mean he's not Evil, nor does it mean he can't have noble qualities. But he is indeed making his choices and choosing to be Damned rather then making other choices. it IS his choice.

==Aelryinth

I'm really starting to see why so many gamers are fundamentally uncomfortable with the idea of objective alignment.

Thanks for your thoughts.


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Digitalelf wrote:
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. :)


Digitalelf wrote:
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
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"?

Obviously I am not Aelryinth, but I have a similar view that casting spells such as IH gradually shift one's alignment towards evil...

I have not had such a player as the one in your example, but in my games, evil can be a choice, a good character that continues to play with evil, especially willingly so, no longer has a say about retaining his good alignment. I am NOT NOT NOT saying that one simple casting of an evil aligned spell will change a good character's alignment, but what I am saying is that if a good character continues to make conscious evil choices again and again, his alignment will not just shift, but will eventually change. Such a character could then start to make good choices (for starters, by discontinuing the use of evil aligned spells), and start back up the path towards good.

This is all predicated on the fact that I do not view evil and good as being equal, that it is much harder to maintain goodness than it is to do evil - so one cannot steal one day, and give to the poor the next and expect their "moral account" to be balanced out...

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!

Scythia wrote:
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.


Claxon wrote:
Tequila Sunrise wrote:

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.

Indeed Apsu shares this primordial status. Of course, thinking free reign to define alignment is required isn't necessarily true. I would think the actions of each define good from evil, as one is good and the other is evil. They do not decide something is good or evil, but rather their actions could determine what good and evil are.

Now, I'm not saying its actually true but it is a possibility. For me, it's however you want to decide it is for your story. It's not necessary to establish one way or the other.

Some people prefer immutable decrees of the universe that say what good and evil are. And that's fine. I think it's more interesting if the gods collectively define what good and evil are (as well as law and chaos). And I hope others think that's okay too, even if it's not their cup of tea.

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?


Claxon wrote:
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Claxon wrote:

Perhaps Tequila Sunrise, but if I recall my Golarion lore correctly good and evil didn't even exist until the gods created them to separate them from law and chaos.

Law and chaos I could see being called primordial fabric of the universe. Actually just chaos. The first being coming into existence naturally disturbed this and created order (law) and then later created good and evil as distinctions form these.

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?
There is a "head honcho" god, though he is far removed from the universe. Apsu is his name, and he is the equivalent of 3.5's Ao. However, not much is not about how Apsu and Tiamat led to the creation of the traditional Pantheon we are familiar with. It is only stated that Apsu and Tiamat are the original two beings.

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.


Scythia wrote:

Interesting. So far it sounds like the consensus is that Alignment is more powerful than even deities.

If not deities, then who, within the game, is the arbiter of what is Good and what is Evil?

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.


Claxon wrote:

Perhaps Tequila Sunrise, but if I recall my Golarion lore correctly good and evil didn't even exist until the gods created them to separate them from law and chaos.

Law and chaos I could see being called primordial fabric of the universe. Actually just chaos. The first being coming into existence naturally disturbed this and created order (law) and then later created good and evil as distinctions form these.

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?


Zhayne wrote:
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.

Claxon wrote:
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. :)


Aranna wrote:
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.

Ah, gotcha.

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?


Aranna wrote:
Peter Green wrote:

So take the issue of torture or lying for instance? My question as DM is a simple one: Does the fact that the PC just tortured or lied increase or decrease the overall amount of evil in the world? If the answer is "decreases evil," then his action was good.

It's almost like that famous answer to "How do you know the difference between art & pornography?" "I may not know how to define it; but I know it when I see it."

Therefore, if the paladin tortures the half-demon in order to ascertain the location of a group of elf-children who are currently being sexually abused, then his actions were good. As DM, it seems pretty obvious to me.

This is why torture (for information not pleasure) and lying are Chaotic Aligned actions in my new definitions. They can be good... they can be evil... but they most definitely are dirty tactics. A single chaotic act from a paladin wouldn't cause his fall... but if he makes a pattern of torturing his enemies for information, then his alignment would start to move toward CG and away from LG causing a fall unless he alters his behavior.

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.


Bandw2 wrote:
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Peter Green wrote:


I only permit my players nonevil characters in any event. Although I allow wide latitude as to what counts as "good." Moreover, I practically ignore law vs. chaos altogether. (I might use it with respect to spells...but as of yet, still haven't found occasion to.)
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.
I feel Law vs Chaos should be order vs liberty/freedom or some such.

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:


I only permit my players nonevil characters in any event. Although I allow wide latitude as to what counts as "good." Moreover, I practically ignore law vs. chaos altogether. (I might use it with respect to spells...but as of yet, still haven't found occasion to.)

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.


chaoseffect wrote:


Ashiel wrote:
moved all the healing spells back into Necromancy where they belong.
I'd vigorously fist bump with you through my screen if I could and then pull back and make an explosion sound. I'm not normally into that sort of thing, but my level of agreement with the bolded statement...

Thirded!

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...


Aranna wrote:


I had a perfect alignment system with a 16 word set of descriptors that could describe ANY character... But EVERY player hated it with a passion. So it sits in a binder somewhere in a dusty box never to be used again. And I find that simply cleaning up the meaning of each axis transforms the D&D alignment system into one that is easy to understand as well. Good vs Evil is the willingness to do harm to innocents. (new)Law vs Chaos is the willingness to use dirty tactics to get to your goal... things like poison, traps, torture, curses, or even mind control fall under dirty tactics.

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!


Haladir wrote:
Frankly, I think the closest real-world analogy to D&D alignment is the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator.

I discovered the Myers-Briggs typology years ago, and my four-letter type did and does describe me with uncanny precision.

Just saying. :)


Nearyn wrote:
Clipped scene

Well written, sir, and an excellent demonstration of the hazards of tying too many rules up with alignment!


Nearyn wrote:

@OP:

I use the alignment system in my games, and I use it as written. The funny thing about the alignment system is, if you read it, and if you respect the simplicity of it, it works quite well with the game. It permits the players to roll and work with basically any character concept, to fill any role in almost any setting, and the alignment's interactions with the game's mechanics remains intact.

I have become convinced that alignment "problems" usually stem from people inventing problems. Either because they cannot be bothered to read the alignment rules, or want to discard the simplicity of it, in favor of something that takes into account their personal views on what is good and evil. Either will make the system appear clunky and useless.

-Nearyn

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.


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Jaçinto wrote:

Probably wrong here but this feels like it is coming to a roleplay vs rollplay issue. One side uses alignment for story and character development and world immersment, and the other just sees it as a resource to be monitored through a profit/loss system.

...

If you are on the rollplay side, just cut out alignment if you only look at it like something on a balance sheet. It serves no purpose for you. It's a story builder.

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.


KSF wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Huzzah for Izana from knights of sidonia as well, maybe?
Huh, had not heard of that character. Is the series good?

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:
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
thegreenteagamer wrote:
"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.'

Wolverine publicly and repeatedly attempts to snake Cyclops' girlfriend from him. And, depending on which timeline, eventually succeeds.

Sound's kinda Anti-hero-ish to me. Bond was never that big of a ____.

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. ;)


thegreenteagamer wrote:
"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.'


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thegreenteagamer wrote:
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. ;)


Digitalelf wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Pathfinder, like the material it was drawn from... ...Discussions like this, by necessity, have to be argued outside the ruleset in the sense of defining home campaigns, not laying down Law By RAW.
If anything, Pathfinder has done its best to pull away from the material it was drawn from (concerning alignment, morality, and ethics anyway), as 2nd edition AD&D did a fine job of clearly defining alignment, morality, and ethics by laying down the law by RAW...

Oh, I wouldn't say that. The very nature of alignment is contradictory within the 2e PHB; there are spells like detect evil which demand objective definitions of Good and Evil, and Law and Chaos are defined as objective states...yet Good and Evil are explicitly defined and called out as subjective viewpoints.


Freehold DM wrote:
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Knights of sidonia has grabbed hold of me and refuses to let go.
Season 2 can't come soon enough!

knights of sidonia is done with me. Finished knights of sidonia. It winked at me afterwards, told me to clean myself up, and lit a cigarette before leaving.

The series went from firm Sci fi to a rather rotj ending that I still enjoyed. Loved all the characters and truly enjoy the transgender/gender neutral character. Can't wait for season 2.

Love the ungendered character too, and I'm curious why there only seems to be the one. If it weren't for her comment to Nagate in episode 1 about eventually morphing into one gender or the other, I'd assume that she was a natural hermaphrodite.

(I use 'her' because the foreshadowing is pretty clear.)

Also apparently random anthro-bears; gotta love anime!


DominusMegadeus wrote:


Also, dumbest [evil] tag in the universe.

Hahaha, that is indeed one incredibly shallow excuse for an [evil] tag!

"It was written by an evil wizard, and it smells bad, and it totally requires a natural stone with blood in its name...it must be [evil]!!!"


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LazarX wrote:
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
LazarX wrote:
These arguments ignore one critical fact. Infernal Healing was not created as a world-independent core spell. It was created as part of Inner Sea magic which means it's a Golarion native spell. And in that spell what makes it evil is that Asmodeus created it and released it as a means of corruption. THAT is what makes it evil. You can't discuss the spell without the setting that creates it. If you use this spell in a different setting that's not Golarion, it needs another justification for it's very existence.

"A wizard did it."

It's simple, it follows the precedent set by virtually every other wizard spell, and it creates the perfect justification for renaming the spell, dropping the specific components, and removing the [evil] tag.

You're welcome.

Then what you have is an unbalanced spell that violates some core tenets of the game, a spell I would not allow in any campaign I'm running. Infernal Healing is balanced by the problems it brings into the game. A person healed by this spell will ping on Paladin or other Detect Evil radars as will anyone carrying wands/scrolls/potions of said spell

*Marked Return To Sender*

For someone so concerned with reading into context, you sure seem to have missed an important detail. I would have thought that the bolded part of my post would imply simpler spell text, but since you missed it I'll give you a hand:

--------------------------------------------
Asmodeus did it wrote:


You anoint a wounded creature with devil’s blood or unholy water, giving it fast healing 1. This ability cannot repair damage caused by silver weapons, good-aligned weapons, or spells or effects with the good descriptor. The target detects as an evil creature for the duration of the spell and can sense the evil of the magic, though this has no long-term effect on the target’s alignment.

--------------------------------------------

A wizard did it wrote:


You give the touched creature fast healing 1.

--------------------------------------------

You pointed out an easily, easily solved problem -- the lack of justification for Infernal Healing in other settings -- and I solved it for you. I couldn't care less what you would or wouldn't do in your games, but from personal experience I can tell you that letting go of the unwritten 'arcane magic shall not heal' rule is nothing but good clean fun. And besides, as Voadam mentions, that rule by now has more exceptions than the English language.

As to concerns for imbalance, I posit that a spell is either balanced or it's not, regardless of alignment tags. Just like the ranger's unique ability to fight with two weapons at once and other amazing class abilities aren't balanced out by his requirement to be Good.


chbgraphicarts wrote:
ElementalXX wrote:
Interestingly in 4e there is CON/WIS/DEX/STR/INT/CHA to both hit and damage and nobody made a fuzz about it

Saying people didn't complain about 1 weird thing about 4E is like saying that people don't complain about a specific shot in The Phantom Menace.

It's really just the tip of the iceberg, and was really just endemic of the whole problem of 4E: That being that 4E's idea of "balance" was to make everything identical.

Having changed so much in a single edition-crossover, 4e got a lot of complaints -- some of them even legitimate -- and edition warriors especially seem to find joy in finding trivial bits of 4e to nitpick. So I've seen some trivial, petty petty complaints leveled at 4e. So you'd think I'd remember seeing complaints that rogues attack and damage with Dex, or that paladins can attack and damage with Cha, or that wardens can add Con to AC instead of the Dex/Int, or any of the other things that make 4e amazing. But I haven't. Not once.

So you're going to have to do better than "But we can't compare PF to 4e, because...it's 4e! Amirite, fellow 4e-haters? Amirite? Hur hur hur!" and some uninformed rantings, if you want to argue that Dex to damage is inherently problematic.

chbgraphicarts wrote:
Considering how spectacularly 4E failed and how many people jumped ship to Pathfinder, citing IT as something that "worked" is like citing the Challenger for safety features.

Considering how big that chip on your shoulder is, listening to you critisize 4e is like listening to an old school grognard criticize PF for being "the latest expansion of D&D's Magic: the Gathering edition."

Anyhow, if 4e makes you see too much red to accept its example of Dex to damage, look at 5e. 5e finesse weapons give the wielder the option of Str or Dex to attack and damage, and it's a simple property that various mundane weapons have.* Not one feat required. Again, no complaints as far as I'm aware, on either the balance front or the 'realism' front.

Dex to damage may or may not be problematic balance-wise in PF -- I don't know, I haven't run the numbers -- but it is by no means inherently problematic. Balance-wise or fluff-wise.

*Oddly, the finesse weapon property specifies that a player can't opt to add say, Dex to attack and Str to damage. Which is weird, because I can't imagine why anyone'd want to use both stats...


Freehold DM wrote:
Knights of sidonia has grabbed hold of me and refuses to let go.

Season 2 can't come soon enough!


LazarX wrote:
These arguments ignore one critical fact. Infernal Healing was not created as a world-independent core spell. It was created as part of Inner Sea magic which means it's a Golarion native spell. And in that spell what makes it evil is that Asmodeus created it and released it as a means of corruption. THAT is what makes it evil. You can't discuss the spell without the setting that creates it. If you use this spell in a different setting that's not Golarion, it needs another justification for it's very existence.

"A wizard did it."

It's simple, it follows the precedent set by virtually every other wizard spell, and it creates the perfect justification for renaming the spell, dropping the specific components, and removing the [evil] tag.

You're welcome.


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Gaberlunzie wrote:
The game never fully explains it's reasoning for why a rule is the way it is. We are assumed to figure out a reason on our own.

Or to change the rule to suit our tastes.

Just saying.

(Unless we're talking about organized play, of course.)


chaoseffect wrote:

Personally I hate starting at any level below 4 and even then I still think 4 is a tiny bit low. I'm more of a 5th level starting fan. You can still be a "rookie" adventurer at that level, albeit one that isn't a complete and utter f~~* up.

It's irritating to sit down and get excited for a concept just to realize that in order to even begin to do what I want my guy to be able to do I'm going to be waiting several months, should the game even last that long. It's boring to have to "battle" rats or mudcrabs with rusty daggers and it is beyond tedious to cast a single 1d4 Magic Missile, run out of spells, and then wildly squirt out acid for 1d3 for the rest of the day.

Same here. 1st level has supposed to represent some degree of experience since the dawn of D&D, but the way that certain class abilities and feats are gated, and the lethality of the low levels makes them play like some sort of Apprentice: the Fumbling pre-game.

Like Bruunwald, I can count on one hand the number of games I've started my players at 1st or even 2nd level, because I really do consider them to be the apprentice levels. And when I join a 1st level campaign? Hooboy, I whip up a PC with the full expectation that I'll be making a new one soon enough. No personality or background; just a character sheet with a first name that I can add fluff to later if it survives the first couple of levels.

So, anyhow, yeah. Nobody should sweat starting at 2nd level. :)


Orfamay Quest wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Rynjin wrote:
What are you even talking about?
He's commenting on TS's phrasing being able to be parsed as referring to the real world, and suggesting that Asmodeus has been the BBEG of the real world since 600 BC.

Specifically, the Book of Tobit. If TS truly predates the Book of Tobit, I'm impressed.

The point, of course, being that the idea that demons offer subtle gifts to corrupt the receiver is far from a new invention of the Pathfinder authors. If you're willing to give mind-controlling vampires a pass (which date only to the 19th century) and silver-vulnerable werewolves (which, I believe, date only to the early 20th), then you should have no problem accepting the seductions of evil as a standard part of real-world folklore.

Orfamay Quest wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:


Yeah, but you know that he was talking about Golarion's Asmodeus and the fact that he started playing the game before Pathfinder was a thing.

And I'm not going to enable him to pretend that Golarion's Asmodeus is in any way a new or imaginative take on the problem of Evil.

...

And I stand by that writing. If someone wants to pretend that they are willfully ignorant of that particular aspect of folklore while playing in a folklore-based game, they're both stupid and arrogant.

And if TS want to take that particular shoe, put it on, and loudly proclaim that it fits,... that becomes his choice.

Oh. Wow. Gee. Er, see, I thought your comment about me dating back to 600 BC was a joke.

But you seem to be arguing against things that I never said. All this stuff about Asmodeus working in mysterious ways, and whatnot? I don't have a problem with you using it to explain [evil] spells in your campaign, and I can certainly see the parallel with RW mythology; heck, Asmodeus is essentially the Christian Lucifer.

I just choose to explain [evil] spells differently.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Tequila Sunrise wrote:


As an aside, I could house rule just about any spell as [evil], and provide a similarly compelling explanation. So, other than blindly accepting that a game writer at some point slapped the [evil] tag onto various spells, the deciding factor in which spells are justifiably [evil] is whichever ones any particular DM can explain as being so.

"Decides," not "can explain."

If the DM says that infernal healing is an evil spell, he is under no obligation to explain to you why, either in-character or out. Similarly, if he decides that fireball or cure light wounds is an evil spell, you are not entitled to an explanation.

Sure, sure, "There is a good reason that this spell is Evil, and looking into this mystery sounds like a great adventure hook!" is a perfectly reasonable reply to "Why is this spell [evil]?"

Orfamay Quest wrote:
As you yourself pointed out, the ways of Hell are mysterious and Asmodeus is capable of creating almost anything as a way of enhancing his power and his grip over the universe. The idea that as a mere mortal, you would understand fully the depths of his plans is frankly presumptuous.

Er, no, that was your explanation. I myself come from an era in which Asmodeus was not the BBEG of the entire multiverse, and I don't particularly care for the idea of elevating him to such a position. ;)


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Orfamay Quest wrote:
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
kestral287 wrote:

And without some sort of indication of why it's evil, I can't figure out what makes this act evil in and of itself.

*Shrug* I may be in the minority on it, but that's me.

Maybe you are, but maybe you aren't.
I think a lot of people are asking for a lot more of the alignment system than they do of other aspects of Pathfinder. Why are demons vulnerable to cold iron, but devils vulnerable to silver? For that matter, why are lycanthropes vulnerable to silver? I've known since I was six years old that you need a silver bullet to kill a werewolf, but I've never received any indication of why that's so. I've never received any indication as to why gnomes live longer than dwarves, or why humans and orcs can crossbreed, as can humans and elves, but not elves and orcs. Et cetera, et cetera.

I don't know about others here, but there certainly are many many arbitrary and/or inconsistent rules in D&D and PF that get under my skin, including many monster resistances and vulnerabilities. Start a thread about them, and I'll be happy to talk about 'em!

However, this thread is about [evil] spells, so I thus far haven't had reason to comment on PF's many other inconsistencies. I suspect that other posters also see other inconsistencies in the rules that you might not be aware of for similar reasons.

Orfamay Quest wrote:
Failure to provide an explicit reason is not an inconsistency.

Call it inconsistent, arbitrary, or whatever you like. Point is, I think it's perfectly reasonable to expect either an explanation or a house rule when one of these sort of things come up. We all realize that PF is just a game, but this "Move along citizen, the rule is a rule because it's written in the rule book" attitude just doesn't cut it for some of us.

And frankly, I find this sort of attitude troubling, but that's probably worthy of a whole different discussion.

Orfamay Quest wrote:
One reason that infernal healing, in particular, could be evil is simply because it encourages the use of devil's blood and/or unholy water. This, in turn, will encourage people to start performing unholy rituals (because they need the unholy water) and/or making deals to devils (it's much easier and safer to ask a devil to donate blood than to try to kill it outright and exsanguinate it -- but you need to provide something "trivial" to the devil in exchange for its blood).

This touches on one of my other pet peeves; the unwritten 'Arcane magic shall not heal' convention that D&D and PF are still dragging along, such that arcane healing still demands either convoluted rules use or special conditions like infernal healing.

Anyhow, it's good that you've put thought into why IH could warrant its [evil] tag. It kinda begs for further explanation, given that unholy water and curse water similarly lack explicit explanations for being Evil -- but I'm guessing you can explain those too, so I'd say fair enough.

Orfamay Quest wrote:
It's not that hard to look at most of the "evil" spells that people want to cast and to see exactly why the forces of Hell (or the Abyss) would be offering them as sucker bait, knowing that people would be saying things like "how can it be evil to heal someone?" or "how can it be wrong to cast Protection from Good?" And from such cobblestones is the road to Hell constructed.....

As an aside, I could house rule just about any spell as [evil], and provide a similarly compelling explanation. So, other than blindly accepting that a game writer at some point slapped the [evil] tag onto various spells, the deciding factor in which spells are justifiably [evil] is whichever ones any particular DM wants to explain as being so.


kestral287 wrote:

And without some sort of indication of why it's evil, I can't figure out what makes this act evil in and of itself.

*Shrug* I may be in the minority on it, but that's me.

Maybe you are, but maybe you aren't. There do seem to be gamers who are perfectly happy to swallow inconsistencies within the rules just because "that's what the rule book says," particularly within certain fandoms. But I think there are quite a few others who are willing to read rules with a critical eye, and I think it's perfectly reasonable for a player to open a discussion with his/her DM about those inconsistencies.

Like if you were at my table, I'd be happy to give you my very concrete explanation for animate dead being Evil with a capital E, and why using it make your character Evil. On the other hand, I can't think of any particular reason that nightmare should be inherently evil, so I think you'd be perfectly justified in asking me to house rule the [evil] tag away.

This sort of thing is of course best handled outside of game time, but I'm not convinced that you're in a minority for questioning inconsistent game conventions, and I certainly don't think that it's unreasonable to ask for consistency one way or another. :)


Rynjin wrote:
Quote:
We don't steal treasure from foes if there is an available next of kin.

I can imagine that conversation goes well.

What the "good" adventurer says: "Yeah we killed your uncle Rob, but here's his stuff. Also, we killed your uncle Rob and actually put effort into dragging his s++~ out of whatever cave or forest or wherever we killed him, tracked you down, and are now here to give it to you."

What a sane person hears: "Hey, we're murderers and now we know where you live. Here, take this hush money. Or else."

Wergild!


IMO, yes, but most [evil] spells have the tag because they're creepy, and in D&D/PF creepy = evil.

Which is a very poor definition of [evil], IMO.


Aelryinth wrote:
It also means that housecats beat dogs. Which is also weird.

This sort of thing is already true.

Unless PF buffed up commoners enough to survive house cats...?

Just saying.


Thanks for the tips, Jeremy!

I wonder if SCs would have caught on better if the DMG had somehow described them without giving them a title. Like, if there was just a table of DCs for complex non-combat encounters, an explanation of how to use them, and a few examples. Granted, that wouldn't have made the original SC math any better, but I wonder...


My story involves a college games club, and the first Geek Social Fallacy.

So I had been part of my school's games club for a while, making periodic efforts to start a regular D&D game together. It never lasted because of different class schedules, conflicting personalities, and most club members being like cats that had to be herded. I decided to give DMing at the school one last go, and to run the game outside of the club room in order to avoid the distraction of other games and people, and so that I wouldn't be obligated to welcome just anyone who wanted to play.

Game day comes, and I show up at the club room to lead the players to the building I had planned to for the game. In addition to the players I knew would be coming, one very loud and obnoxious guy wants to join. I told him straight up that he wasn't welcome because I knew I wouldn't be able to deal with his personality. He insisted that he could tone himself down, but he has some kind of disability -- ADD, ADHD? -- so I knew he couldn't for long, despite his best efforts. So I told him I'd be happy to play a shorter game like Magic with him, but not a lengthy game like D&D.

At this point, a couple of the other players say they want to play at the club, despite my planned game area being literally one building over. One of these players is the club's president. I tell them that one of the reasons I want to get away from the club is so that we're not obligated to game with Mr. Obnoxious, who I knew they didn't want to game with either. But then one of the club officers, who I suspect has a similar disability, tells me that if we give Mr. Obnoxious a chance for one game session, we can then game without him on games club turf if he doesn't work out. The club president hears her tell me this, without commenting on it. Remember this; it comes up later.

The players not wanting to leave the games room were still complaining, so I grudgingly agreed to run the game just outside the games room, and to give Mr. Obnoxious his chance. He manages to keep himself almost calm for about thirty minutes, and then sure enough, he spirals into all-out nails-on-chalkboard mode. By the time the game session was over, the stress of running the game and dealing with him had literally given me a stomach ache. So I told him sorry, we'd be playing without him next time. At which point he and the club officer told me "Well then you can't play on games club turf."

To which I replied, "But you told me not four hours ago that we could game on games club turf if we gave Mr. Obnoxious his chance."

To which she replied "Yeah, I meant you can play elsewhere after giving him a chance. Thems the rules." There was more, but she never admitted to misleading me -- "A lie of omission isn't a lie" sort of thing -- and the club president never admitted to tacitly supporting her lie by saying nothing at the time. So that was the last time I gamed at or near that games club, or had much of anything to do with any of them.

Because, remember folks: No gaming is better than bad gaming!


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Usual Suspect wrote:

I had a DM that let the party gang rape my character's cohort. The idiot couldn't quite understand why I quit after that. Kept pushing to know why I quit coming to the game (I had made a polite excuse as to why I wouldn't be back). He was terribly upset when I explained what a douchbag move it was for the DM to ignore evil actions in a game where he had specifically outlawed evil characters. Most of his players thought it was hillarious. Honestly, 3 twenty-something guys couldn't figure out why rape isn't fin or funny.

Pretty much ruined gaming for a year as I wasn't even interested in role-playing because of that.

Wow, that's an asinine group. The DM wouldn't have had to push me to know why I left...

Rape is something that the heroes kill villainous NPCs for doing, not something that PCs do because lolz the evulz!
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The Indescribable wrote:
Triphoppenskip wrote:
I'm always happy to have someone give me advice as a player or as a GM but I hate people like that guy who feel they have to be an a$$ about it.
While I obviously wasn't there, it sounds less like he was trying to be ass (to the rogue) And more like honestly trying to help and f!@@ing it up. And honestly, I'm probably guilty of that same infraction.

Yeah, few asses realize that they're being asses; they think they're being helpful, and just don't recognize subtle social cues like crossed arms and monosyllabic mutters.

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ngc7293 wrote:
Later at 3rd level, I decided to use spellstrike again and this time with shocking grasp. I hit. I followed the rules as I was told. Then he jumped like a cat (the other guy playing a magus) "NO THAT'S NOT HOW IT WORKS" (yes, he yelled). He claimed the spell strike worked with both of my attacks not with just the one. I tried to argue with the guy but he has this method where he gets louder with his argument. And then the GM was agreeing with him. I KNEW I was right but I was getting so frustrated and I didn't want to deal with these two and I blew up. I told them I had enough of the character and I didn't want to play the Magus anymore. (I was good enough to at least finish the session)

"I'm sorry, could you repeat that? I couldn't hear you over all the shouting."


Alan_Beven wrote:
4. Out of combat is freeform. Skill Challenges never worked for me.

I never got SCs to work either, but I didn't go total freeform -- I went old school. Freeform the barmaid seductions and other unimportant stuff, and single skill checks for relevant stuff, with logical limits based on circumstance. ("No, you can't diplomance the Duke into anything totally absurd, no matter how high your bonus is.")

A 4e DM once commented that SCs are best used as an informal framework to hang complex challenges on -- don't tell the players they're in a SC; just use the SC math to adjudicate the degree of their success or failure. That sounds like wisdom, and I know that many DMs like Jeremy have gotten SCs to work.


Contrary to popular opinion, I find that 4e is as immersive and 'real' as any other D&D or D&D-alike, and sometimes more so! Everyone gets a level-based bonus to AC and initiative, so I can treat hit points as a real in-world energy rather than as a metagamey abstraction. Monsters have stats and abilities that make sense, rather than X arbitrary feats and skill ranks based on their HD. Surprised combatants are always at a disadvantage, rather than probably being no worse off defensively than usual. Alignment is essentially inert, so nobody has to worry about how an organic personality fits into an inorganic spectrum of tropes. Melee attack bonuses are based on fighting style, MBA aside, rather than defaulting to Strength for everyone and every weapon.

This all means that 4e is great for immersive, believable campaigns.

4e is good for campaigns with moral ambiguity. Again, alignment is 99% inert, so when the PCs encounter an orc who claims to be different from his bloodthirsty kin, there are no clear answers or easy solutions.

4e is also great for creating a sense of real escalation without needing to obsolete monsters every five levels or so. A 1st level solo is a 6th level elite is an 11th level standard is a 16th level goon is a 21st level minion. Sadly, the MMs have stat blocks for each monster at only one of these castes, so it takes some effort on my part to re-caste monsters that I want to reuse at different levels. But to have foes show up throughout a campaign, posing a [collective] threat to the PCs while providing an objective benchmark for the PCs to measure their prowess against is totally worth it!


It's just the nature of the beast.

Homebrewing is a pretty individualistic pursuit, and different gamers do it for different reasons. For example, back in the 3.5 days I was a frequent homebrew forum-goer, but there were a lot of threads I didn't comment on because I just wasn't interested in that particular idea or because I had already solved that particular issue from a different angle. Some people homebrew to exercise their creativity; those are usually the people writing new races, classes, and whatnot. Others homebrew to solve problems they have with the game rules; those are usually the people writing 'innate bonus' hacks, spell nerfs, and whatnot.

As a specific example, quite a few DMs like to homebrew variant paladin and monk classes in order to offer players more options, while preserving those class' traditional restrictions. This is an exercise in creativity, and while I might be interested in those variant classes as a player at one of those DMs' tables, I have very little interest in discussing them in an online thread. Because as a DM myself, I solved the problem by simply changing or dropping the traditional restrictions.

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