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Weirdo's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 2,514 posts. No reviews. 1 list. 1 wishlist. 1 alias.


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Shadow Lodge

You shouldn't allow yourself to be pressured into running a game you won't enjoy, and if your players won't accept that then they aren't being fair to you.

That said, have you considered why you think you won't find this fun? The problems might not be as big as you think (Kydeem de'Morcaine's case is extreme).

Bandw2 wrote:
I've tried explaining to them, that trying to RP any sort of interaction with normal races, is going to go down-hill fast,

Not if you make the odd races part of the world, in which case they are "normal." See for example Bas-Lag which has cactus people and scarab-beetle people, and these are mostly integrated into society and interact just fine with the human characters.

Bandw2 wrote:
we're trying to set up an AP too(so, it's designed for them to you know, be human-like).

APs can be altered. Would it really change things that much to replace all the halfling or gnome or elf NPCs with flower-people such that the race is integrated into the campaign? Unless specific racial dynamics or xenophobia are a big part of the AP (like in Kydeem de'Morcaine's example) it shouldn't be an issue.

Bandw2 wrote:
pretty much only one out of five has decided to make an actual race, you know, with a cultural identity and societal norms, something I could actually have walking around and met upon.

Are the players willing to create culture and societies for the new races they want to play? If so, that should not be a problem (though you will want to require the cultural details well in advance of the first session).

Bandw2 wrote:
One of them actually asked me if he could play as a quadruped rat thing with carrion sense, and he was going to try to only scavenge to eat.

Here's where compromise would be a good idea. Explain to him that quadrupeds are normally not used as player races because of their difficulty with handling items. Would a ratfolk not satisfy this character? If he really wants carrion sense, he can trade swarming for it - carrion sense is not a great ability so it's not an OP trade. Alternatively, he might consider a rat shapeshifter.

It's also important to discuss the scavenging aspect - how prominent does he want that to be, and will it make anyone at the table uncomfortable? Are you mostly worried about what NPCs would think, or do you personally find it gross? If so, would having that activity be handled off-screen with Survival checks be acceptable?

Shadow Lodge

I play over Skype nowadays because I moved away from my gaming group. It's not as good as a table, but it works. It also encourages the use of more tech because the screens are already there.

We use d20pfsrd for rules lookup. It's faster to search and load than pdfs and you don't have to remember what sourcebook the rule was from.

We also have used campaign wikis for years now and they're a good way to handle handouts and player notes. We do sometimes update or refer to them at the table.

I use RealmWorks for my campaign notes and it's lovely. When player access comes out it will replace the campaign wiki.

Several GMs in my group use background music. I personally prefer it used sparingly and low-volume or else briefly to set a scene - it's called background music for a reason and should not overpower table discussion. It's also harder to use over Skype because it's tricky to get the volume at sweet spot between "can't hear the music" and "can't hear the GM".

Shadow Lodge

Holy Tactician is good, but it's not compatible with the Sacred Shield archetype and Battlefield Presence alone is not much fun. I'm assuming you're making a quick homebrew replacement since you said you want to step out of PFS rules.

I would suggest Aura of Purity from Oath Against Corruption, but changed to target undead:

Aura of Purity wrote:
At 3rd level, you gain a +4 sacred bonus on saves against spells and effects from creatures of the aberration (undead) type. Allies within 10 feet gain a +1 sacred bonus on these saves. This ability functions only while the paladin is conscious, not if she is unconscious or dead.

Alternatively, despite being gained at a higher level the 8th level Protection domain power looks like a fair trade (and it's one of Milani's domains):

Aura of Protection wrote:
At 8th level, you can emit a 30-foot aura of protection for a number of rounds per day equal to your cleric level. You and your allies within this aura gain a +1 deflection bonus to AC and resistance 5 against all elements (acid, cold, electricity, fire, and sonic). The deflection bonus increases by +1 for every four cleric levels you possess beyond 8th. At 14th level, the resistance against all elements increases to 10. These rounds do not need to be consecutive.

I'd suggest adapting the progression slightly so that it grants +1 AC only at level 3, +1 AC and energy resist 5 and level 6, and increases the AC bonus by +1 every 5 levels after 3 instead of every 4 levels after 8. I do not think this is too powerful because it only works rounds per day, while Aura of Courage is constant, and while this is more generally useful Aura of Courage grants stronger protection (+4 to allies and full fear immunity to the paladin). Also deflection bonuses are fairly common so this won't stack with things like Rings of Protection and Protection from Evil.

First-level liberation domain power also would work but Protection seemed more appropriate for a Sacred Shield paladin and it's also an aura so thematically consistent.

Shadow Lodge

johnlocke90 wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
I appreciate the massive amount of work you put into PF, but does there really have to be someone at Paizo who decides what constitutes each alignment (outside of canon Golarion and PFS)? Why not leave that up to each table?

Everything is left up to each table. Including whether or not your wizards use spellbooks, or whether or not your clerics have to worship deities, or whether or not there are magic item shops, or whether or not you track encumbrance, or whether or not you use alignment at all.

Making sure that the way alignments are interpreted and handled is as important to me as making sure that we present any other element of our game in a stable, consistent way....

His point is that this strict definition of what a paladin is doesn't make sense in a world with aliens, ninjas, robots and guns. I mean, if Golarion was supposed to be a traditional fantasy game then it would make sense to have Paladins with such strict limitations on behavior, but Golarion isn't that sort of world.

So, we have a game where certain high fantasy tropes are strictly adhered to for thematic consistency while most are completely thrown out the window.

I mean, when my party has a three armed gnome alchemist and a tiefling gunslinger traveling to the moon to kill evil moon succubi, the Paladin of Asmodeus does not feel out of place.

No, not my point.

Rather, it's that the design philosophy is inclusive with respect to most content, including regional climates, cultural variation, races (the ARG), classes (ninja, gunslingers), tech level (steel to firearms to robots), deities (Sarenrae to Ragathiel to Arshea) and general theme/tone (Wrath of the Righteous vs Way of the Wicked), but exclusive with respect to paladins alignment restrictions and a few aspects of evil like undead, magical cannibalism, and [evil] spells.

The argument I was responding to was that a universal interpretation of the paladin code and alignment restrictions is good/necessary because of uniformity. But Pathfinder and Golarion don't have much uniformity compared to, for example, World of Darkness. Therefore, I would like someone to explain why it's important that these particular issues be treated with uniformity in published material.

For example, one good reason to treat spellbooks with consistency is because there are a lot of mechanical rules surrounding them and variation would be confusing. Another is that it provides a gold cost (and material risk) to balance the wizard's versatility.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'd add some choices about the way they travel. Foot, horse, wagon, or boat? What provisions do they take - do they oversupply in case of delay or emergency or travel light? Do they plan on foraging to extend their supplies? Do they travel as far as they can every day, or camp early at opportune sites? Then try to make these choices matter.

You can also add environmental or terrain encounters that require some choice from the party but don't take an extended scene to resolve. Shaun Hocking mentioned dust storms: perhaps they need to decide whether to press through or seek shelter. Or maybe there's an old or damaged bridge in their path and they have to decide whether to risk it, ford the river near the bridge, or go out of their way looking for a better path. Or they come across some resource such as rare herbs that they can harvest. Or they pass near a lookout that they can use - gaining warning of obstacles or encounters ahead - if they take a small detour.

Shadow Lodge

Googleshng wrote:
If you aren't playing in Golarion,you shouldn't be looking at any ISG feats to begin with.

Guess I'll stop buying Campaign Setting books then. And I really liked Chronicle of the Righteous.

I know JJ has signed out, but for the sake of anyone else following...

James Jacobs wrote:

Everything is left up to each table. Including whether or not your wizards use spellbooks, or whether or not your clerics have to worship deities, or whether or not there are magic item shops, or whether or not you track encumbrance, or whether or not you use alignment at all.


TO BE CLEAR: I am not saying you can't have paladins of Asmodeus in your game. It's your game, after all, and I have no right to decide how you play the game. What I'm saying is that I regret publishing the notion in the first place, since it gives the false impression that we have them in our game. It frustrates me to see an error take on a life of its own like that is all.

I appreciate that. However, it also frustrates me when I encounter people on the forums who feel comfortable calling different takes on alignment or paladins "ridiculous" in a way that very rarely comes up in discussions of magic item shops, encumbrance, etc., even though people may have very strong opinions about the merits of those rules. GMs who ban the summoner or gunslinger for balance or flavour reasons, or who give out Weapon Finesse for free, aren't "ridiculous," but GMs who get rid of alignment or even just alignment restrictions are.

It's not everyone, and I know there are also people who feel free to declare official rulings ridiculous as well, but there's a definite subset of players who seem to feel that while they have no right to decide how I play the game, they have the right to make their contempt for it very clear because being closer to the official take makes them "more right." James Jacobs, you are the "royal we": if I'm not playing your game, then doesn't that mean I'm not playing Pathfinder? The result is that I feel sometimes excluded from the PF community because of how I like to play alignment. I'm honestly not sure whether I feel comfortable dropping by the Paizo table at GenCon to say hello & thank you because of that exaggerated sense that your Pathfinder is not mine.

Obviously I don't expect you to publish Asmodean paladins just because a small but vocal group thinks that they would be cool. But there's a difference between saying "we don't like and will never support X" and "X is fundamentally incompatible with the core game." The later is unnecessarily divisive and exclusionary - especially since the "incompatibility" is based on unwritten "self-evident" and "common sense" principles that are in fact neither (even if they are widely held).

Shadow Lodge

Psyren wrote:
The same way any other restriction improves the game - by preventing incongruous concepts and enforcing thematic consistency in the world. Such as, say, preventing a holy warrior from worshiping an unholy entity, or punishing a code of conduct class that strays too far from the deity or ideal empowering it.
James Jacobs wrote:
That said... someone at Paizo needs to be the person who makes the decision on how alignments work and what behaviors constitute those various alignments. That person happens to be me, as the company's Creative Director. Part of what I get paid for is to provide these baselines for the game.

I appreciate the massive amount of work you put into PF, but does there really have to be someone at Paizo who decides what constitutes each alignment (outside of canon Golarion and PFS)? Why not leave that up to each table?

Uniformity is not really your design philosophy with other things, like ninja, samurai, firearms, and aliens, which have as this thread attests always been treated with a "throw it all in there and gaming tables can ignore what they don't like" attitude.

Since the whole point of objective morality is that good and evil don't vary regionally like culture and technology do, it makes sense that alignment is defined at the setting level - that Golarion should have a unified sense of morality. But it's not nonsensical to allow for variation in how exactly good and evil, or the role of deities, are defined at the system level (it's as easy as saying "clerics are empowered by deities or divine forces").

So if it's cool to have one AP feature aliens and another feature Baba Yaga, why is it that Asmodean paladins not only must be kept out of Golarion, but implicitly forbidden by the core rules? ("If you deviate from these rules, the paladin you're playing is fundamentally different than the one assumed by the core rules.")

Linguistic Aside:
RDM42 wrote:
Thomas Long 175 wrote:

Seeing as how they saw fit to specify deities on the cleric and not on the paladin, I'm inclined to heavily disagree. The sheer fact that they specifically stated the gods were the source of one classes' powers in one sentence and then went out of their way to create an ambiguous statement in the following statement would suggest that they didn't want it come from deities.

Otherwise, it would have been much simpler to simply call it out as coming straight from deities like in the previous statement. If anything, in this case the sheer fact that its ambiguous when they clearly did have a clear way of stating the deities in question means they were probably looking for a way to state it without using deities.

So you are basing your opinion of what IS rules as written based on what is NOT written, but(to you at least) 'implied' by the negative space of not being more clearly defined?

A bit convoluted way to reach a conclusion.

No, that's actually part of our basic language-processing equipment. Specifically, people infer things about an unfamiliar word using the presence (or absence) of adjectives, since the adjectives the speaker feels are necessary (or not necessary) to describe an object can say things about a typical member of the group (for example you say a “red glorp” because most glorps are blue – you would instead say a “tall glorp” if most glorps are short and red) or contrast it with other objects in context (you say a “tall glass” because a short glass is also present; the word “tall” is sufficient to inform a listener you want the glass instead of the (also tall) pitcher).

People have this really neat thing called “Theory of Mind” which means we can make decisions based not just what we know and think, but on what we predict other people know and think, and how we predict they will act given what we think they think.

Brains are awesome.

Shadow Lodge

You can also use a string or measuring tape to cut down on counting - measure the appropriate distance (100ft, 60ft, etc) in straight squares on your battle map and then just place the measure between shooter and target to see if it reaches.

Shadow Lodge

Circumstance modifiers to AC also apply to CMD, and I think cover is considered a circumstance modifier, so yes.

Shadow Lodge

Googleshng wrote:
The rules specifically state that any character whose choice of deity matters for anything found within the CRB or APG must be within 1 step step of their deity, with the notable exception of inquisitors, who specifically are allowed extra leniency because the services they provide for their church outweigh the general heresy involved in doing what they need to do. Even then, they are only permitted a diagonal step from their deity's alignment (i.e. LG to TN). It is reasonable to extrapolate that without that special exception, any character must be within one step of the alignment of the deity of their choosing, there just was no particular reason to call attention to it when the non-divine classes were first written.

I'm not sure where you're getting this from. I know there's a PFS specific rule that any character with a deity must be within one step of the deity's alignment, but I don't think that's codified in the CRB or APG. Also, inquisitors are called out as following, not being an exception to, the one-step rule, despite the class claiming generally that they are above the normal rules of the church.

Inquisitor wrote:
Alignment: An inquisitor’s alignment must be within one step of her deity’s, along either the law/chaos axis or the good/evil axis.

Shadow Lodge

OldSkoolRPG wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
LazarX wrote:
And if you don't care about our preferences for how to present Golarion... I'm not sure why you're posting in the Campaign Setting forum...
Aren't we still in Rules?
Yes, what he means is that Golarion is the official assumption of the rules and if you are playing in a homebrew world why not post in the homebrew forum.

I think he meant the actual Campaign Setting forum. As far as I'm aware, the Homebrew forum is appropriate for discussing specific homebrew settings or setting aspects (“I have this homebrew deity/paladin's code, what do you think”) rather than discussing aspects of the game without a specific setting even if setting/table culture variance might be relevant (“Are ambushes dishonourable for a paladin”). If anyone playing in a homebrew setting, even an altered Golarion, always posted in the Homebrew forum it would be flooded.

OldSkoolRPG wrote:

Yes, but when you cherry-pick the Golarion setting then you are making a homebrew version of the setting which isn't helpful to a rules discussion.

Virtually any discussion of the rules becomes impossible without a standard setting as a starting point because discussions would always be derailed by people giving reasons why in some possible world the rules as written wouldn't work or could reasonably work differently. Exactly what has happened in this thread.

I would argue that discussions of the rules become impossible with a standard setting because the thread was largely derailed by people discussing whether the OP's question was possible in Golarion and whether that bit about Asmodean paladins was canon, while the relevant rules question would be what the meaning of the term “worship” is in terms of the rules (not defined outside PFS as far as I know) and what the intent of the “associations” clause was (which actually was an interesting part of the discussion).

Pretty much the only time the rules are influenced by setting is with respect to religion/worship and alignment, since those things do have mechanical effect but there's a lot of variation in how people want to handle it. There's also some rules elements that were introduced as pieces of “setting” but are frequently transplanted into a different setting, and work essentially the same way. For example, if Dervish Dance is introduced in a setting without Sarenrae it still mechanically works the same way and I can still advise someone it would be a good feat for their Dex magus.

LazarX wrote:
That's one basic assumption I'd like to challenge. PF is not really setting neutral. It may be played in a variety of settings but the rules are clearly biased towards a set of assumptions that you are playing humanoid type characters who tend to be of the heroic nature in a world set up much like Golarion. It's more accurate to describe it as setting biased.

OK, so it assumes you're a two-armed, 3-9 foot tall corporeal character in a world where magic exists, there's some distinction between “divine magic” which is related to faith and other kinds of magic, technology lies somewhere between spears and revolvers, and morality is an objective force with physical effects (I'm not sure where you're getting that the rules assume PCs are on the “good” side of morality). That still covers quite a lot of setting ground – incuding as Zhayne pointed out worlds where deities are not proven to exist (since nothing mechanical about a divine caster's power changes if it springs from his own faith in something that doesn't exist), which is not what I'd consider "much like Golarion." EDIT: Or like by group's longest-running campaign world in which the particulars of the afterlife are not known, or a previous game in which we were in the afterlife.

Shadow Lodge

You're right, increasing Wis that much might be a problem on a druid, especially since it's effectively a permanent increase. And reserving flight for the werebat-kin is OK, it's just a decrease in versatility compared to the standard druid.

Wild Shape -4 sounds good. I wouldn't use monstrous physique - the transformation makes them superficially similar to monstrous humanoids but it's still supposed to be a bestial effect and not due to kinship with for example minotaurs.

Size increase is a good idea! You're thinking they'd get the size modifiers listed in Beast Shape without turning into an animal? Keep in mind that effect is probably better than a full transformation because you can use equipment and cast spells normally, which also means your AC will be much higher (armour still functions) and damage is potentially higher since two-handed weapons have higher base dice than natural weapons and get 1.5xStr to damage. You want the skinwalker to get useful combat modifiers, but not to outstrip a normal combat-built druid (or a barbarian!) Spacing out the size increases might be a good idea. The one other thing about a size increase is that it's not useful for Dex-based characters - and a size decrease below small comes with problems like reach 0. You might consider allowing the skinwalker to take a simple Dex increase instead of changing size.

Maybe this progression?

4 - two Beast Shape I qualities, Extra Feature OR Aspect of the Beast
6 - Become medium/small as Beast Shape I
8 - three BS II qualities and gain Wild Shape (animal only) at -4
10 - Become large as BS II or Dex +4
12 - Four BS III qualities and multiattack
14 - Become huge as BS III or Dex +6

So your bonuses are lower than than either the normal druid or the barbarian's rage, but you're humanoid (unlike the druid) and can maintain the buffs indefinitely (unlike the barbarian).

Shadow Lodge

Dweomer's Essence might help with SR, depending on how much you want to spend on this fight.

Shadow Lodge

This thread is still going because no one can agree on paladins. Even with strict RAW LG paladins of approved deities you get questions about whether killing a helpless prisoner (or certain kinds of monsters) is always evil, or whether ambushes are dishonourable.

James Jacobs wrote:
And if you don't care about our preferences for how to present Golarion... I'm not sure why you're posting in the Campaign Setting forum...

Aren't we still in Rules?

LazarX wrote:
JoeJ wrote:
The first part, yes. The second part, no. For rules questions the default assumption is that it's not specific to any setting, including Golarion.

Considering that many of those in discussion, have been quoting Council of Thieves, passages about Chelaxian HellKnights, and mentioning yes that makes it a Golarion question.

Golarion IS the default world assumption for the game, just like Greyhawk was for D+D 3.0.

Doesn't mean Golarion is the end of the discussion. For example, in Golarion there are no philosophy clerics, but RAW allows for them.

I personally have been discussing Asmodeus and the Hellknights because it's a familiar example of LG and LE persons and deities working together with mutual respect. It's a very interesting part of Golarion and one that is relevant to the current discussion because it's easy to see how if pushed just a little bit beyond where official Golarion canon draws the line, it could lead to a (probably short-lived) paladin of a LE deity.

Personally, I cherry-pick the Golarion setting for delicious inspiration. There's a lot of good stuff in there and I borrow or adapt some of it for my settings, but PF is setting-neutral and my group has never played in something recognizable as "Golarion." And I expect that even many people who do run "Golarion" games make a few changes here and there to suit their tastes. So while the devs may have decided that the Asmodean paladin didn't fit the setting, some people liked the "mistake" and they can play with it as long as the table agrees.

Shadow Lodge

I really like how this takes a race that should thematically make good druids and allows them to actually grow their natural shapechanging through the class rather than making the natural ability irrelevant next to Wild Shape. However, it needs a bit of tweaking.

First, you need to refer to the skinwalker race and their normal shapeshifting rules, because otherwise it doesn't make sense to someone unfamiliar with those rules (the archetype could just be called "skinwalker"). For further posters without Blood of the Moon:

  • Standard action to activate
  • Lasts until dismissed (swift action)
  • 3 + 1/2 level uses per day
  • Gain +2 to one stat (by were-heritage), and choice of feature: d4 claws, Darkvision 60ft, +1 natural armour, others dependent on heritage eg scent, extra natural attacks, speed

Second, if you're going to allow the character to take poison you need to specify what the poison does - normally this works because you take on the poison of the specific animal you change into, but that doesn't apply here.

Third, I think it's too weak. You're giving up scouting/stealth utility since you can't turn into small or inconspicuous animals, access to the very good elemental forms, stat increases, and the benefits that come from increased size (like reach). You also give up flight unless you're werebat-kin, which is a poor choice for a druid due to its Wis penalty. In exchange, you retain the ability to use humanoid equipment while shapeshifted, get to spend more time in shapeshifted form between levels 4 and 8 (at which point I find the druid rarely runs out of shapeshifting), and get to just pick the Beast Shape abilities you get rather than finding a form that offers them. Now, some of the Beast Shape abilities are pretty good but they're not fantastic without the rest of the Wild Shape package, especially since skinwalkers can already get the sensory abilities. That doesn't seem like a fair trade to me. I'd suggest adding one or more of the following:

  • Add back animal forms (but not elemental forms) at effective druid level -2, which restores some scouting utility. The reduced level and loss of elemental forms balances the new abilities, especially since the archetype encourages using racial shapeshifting as the main combat ability.
  • Let them select which Beast Shape abilities to use each time they shapeshift rather than choosing one set per day during spell preparation. If you're worried about them swapping out abilities too rapidly because of their large number of shapeshifting uses/day, have taking on or changing Beast Shape qualities spend extra uses.
  • Increase the skinwalker's shapechanging stat boost, natural armour bonus, and/or natural weapon die size to keep the combat bonuses more in line with what they'd get from Wild Shape. (Maybe +2 and +4 nat AC at levels 4 and 8, +4 and +6 stat at levels 6 and 12, and increased weapon die at 10.)
  • Allow the skinwalker to shapechange as a move or swift action at higher levels.
  • Let all of them select flight, because it doesn't make sense for a werebear to be able to constrict or secrete poison but not fly.

Shadow Lodge

Heal check (DC 10-15) after the fact should be able to distinguish lethal from nonlethal damage, and maybe a Perception or Sense Motive during the fight (DC 20). However, as Anguish pointed out, deal enough non-lethal damage and it becomes lethal damage. In fact, since a first level commoner has about 4 HP, a first level martial PC with an 18 Strength deals lethal damage with the first punch. I had a character accidentally kill a low-level caster with a single "nonlethal" punch.

Definitely talk to the player OOC. If he doesn't understand the brutality of his character's actions, it might help if you explain more vividly not just the consequences for his character, but the physical consequences of his attacks. Depending on damage dealt: split lip, blackened eyes the next day, nosebleed or broken nose, spitting out blood or teeth, broken jaw, or cracked ribs. (If he wants to play a thoughtlessly brutal character you'd need to establish this isn't the right AP and/or table for that.)

Shadow Lodge

Yup, and I'm polishing up a list of my own.

I recommend looking at the Tome of Prowess. It's a complete overhaul of the skills system, but includes some good ideas for high-level skill uses, including using Heal to bring back the recently dead and Linguistics ("Ciphers") to make linked pages for instantaneous communication.

Keep in mind though that with the large number of ways to get skill check bonuses in PF there's a big difference between the modifiers of moderately invested characters who just max out their ranks and those who out a skill, as described here. This can make it difficult to set DCs such that moderately invested characters can attempt really cool things, but highly invested characters don't gain access to those abilities at too low levels. For this reason, the Tome of Prowess uses a ranks-based system.

Shadow Lodge

You weren't the person being mocked. No hard feelings, and I expect Wheldrake intended to lighten the mood, but I thought he should know that he achieved the opposite - I was irritated, hence the rather long-winded reply.

Shadow Lodge

Humour's good, GoT is peachy, but there's a time and place for mockery and in the middle of a debate it comes off as a sideways/backhanded personal attack. Rustled my jimmies.

Wheldrake wrote:
IMHO, RAW isn't the be all and end all of all things. Take Sacred Geometry, for instance. Please. <g>

I'd rather not, thanks. XP

Shadow Lodge

Wheldrake wrote:
Weirdo, if you can simply choose to ignore that part of the core rulebook that contradicts an untenable position and claim that it is still RAW, then the very concept of RAW loses its meaning.

No, the part of the rulebook that contradicts the "untenable" position of a paladin of an evil deity is the associations clause which is clearly rules, not flavour text.

Wheldrake wrote:
The so-called "flavor" text of barbarians isn't problematical at all. There are many kinds of conflict; "little" is not "nothing".

The first part, "conflict is all these brutal souls know" clearly means, if read as RAW, that barbarians can know nothing that is not conflict. So no Knowledge (nature) or Craft, even though these are class skills for the barbarian. (If you're going to argue that these skills involve "conflict" I'll argue that Asmodeus is "virtuous" for certain values of "virtue.") The second part, RAW, limits what they can know within the category of conflict.

And it's not just the barbarian's flavour text:

Bards are required to place ranks in Charisma-based skills and/or learn enchantment spells in order to become "adept in the arts of persuasion, manipulation, and inspiration." Also, they are "quick-witted" so no dumping Int allowed.

Rangers are "Knowledgeable, patient, and skilled hunters" - You are not allowed to play an impulsive, impatient ranger.

"Cavaliers are skilled at fighting from horseback" so they are not just encouraged but required to take the Ride skill and/or Mounted Combat line of feats, even if they take the Huntmaster archetype and trade away their mount and charging class features (note the huntmaster archetype reads "Huntmasters train the beasts favored by lordly castes into swift and deadly trackers" but doesn't say that they do this instead of learning mounted combat so the earlier requirement is not negated).

Inquisitors have this all over the place:

  • "Grim and determined," - not allowed to be a cheerful Inquisitor who puts people off-guard with humour.
  • "They answer to their deity and their own sense of justice alone" so they're not allowed to join an order, accept a commander, etc., because then they would answer to someone other than the deity and themselves.
  • "and are willing to take extreme measures to meet their goals" - Is this supposed to be like the opposite of a paladin's code? If a good inquisitor can perform an evil act for the greater good, they must?

Not to mention that paladins don't always have to serve a deity, which means that there are cases in which they cannot "embody the teachings of the virtuous deities they serve."


Wheldrake wrote:
You know nothing, John Snow.

By the way, this is neither cute, nor funny, it's patronizing.

Shadow Lodge

I actually generally agree that the association clause is part of the code of conduct and that the best reading of it prohibits worship of an evil deity.

However, I also feel that the code cannot be effectively adjudicated without GM discretion - for example, what constitutes an evil or dishonourable act - and that the relatively loose wording of the associates clause in particular invites GM interpretation. For example, while it doesn't explicitly say you can't "knowingly" associate, it's still possible to "avoid" association as required even if you occasionally unknowingly associate with an evil character (who is not a henchman, cohort, or follower).

(Also, for the record, I don't think a tragic character is necessarily edgy, violent, or grimdark.)

Wheldrake wrote:

I mean, if we were looking for a RAW answer, it's right there in the core rulebook.

Core rules on paladins wrote:
Knights, crusaders, and law-bringers, paladins seek not just to spread divine justice but to embody the teachings of the virtuous deities they serve.
Paladins. Serve. Virtuous. Deities.

That on the other hand is flavour text and not binding.

Or would you say that a barbarian can't put ranks in int-based skills or Profession (soldier) because "conflict is all these brutal souls know" and they "know little of training, preparation, or the rules of warfare"?

Shadow Lodge

JoeJ wrote:
Treefolk wrote:
Pyromaniac! Gnomes do that well too!
What about a half gnome, half goblin alchemist?

Consider this idea stolen.

Shadow Lodge

If you're interested in non-violent solutions, use Diplo (Gather Information) or Divination to pick up legends or clues that might reflect what the dragon's desires or noncombat weaknesses might be.

Resist Energy and/or Protection from Energy (fire) are no-brainers.

Bane ammunition is very good value.

Cold effects might be useful but dragons often use Resist Energy and similar effects to cover their vulnerabilities.

Quench at CL 10 deals 10d6 damage to fire creatures with no save, no SR, and no reduction from cold protection or similar, and can also be used to dispel fire spells. It's a druid-only spell but your sorceress might be able to UMD it on a staff, put it in a Ring of Spell Knowledge IV, or otherwise gain access. I'm not 100% sure, but I think that since UMD allows you to use a spell trigger item "as if you had a particular spell on your class spell list" the sorceress would still get to use her caster level on the staff.

Old dragons also have very poor touch AC and low dex in general, so try to target that. Your gunslinger will have a good time, especially if you give him some Bane (dragon) bullets.

EDIT: Also, it's usually a good idea not to let the dragon full attack you. It's a good idea not to let anything full attack you if you can help it, but dragons have particularly nasty full attacks. Stay mobile or better yet stagger the dragon (Frigid Touch is great) or at least get yourself a nice miss chance with something like Displacement.

Shadow Lodge

Not sure which book or page this is, but here.

Formula for continuous spell effect is spell level * CL * 2000
Light is a 0 level spell (treat as 1/2), caster level 1.
Adding a non-weapon effect to a magic weapon generally costs 150%, so:

0.5*1*2000*1.5 = 1500gp (plus weapon enhancement)

Of course, magic weapons can be made to shed light for free.

Magic Weapons wrote:
Light Generation: Fully 30% of magic weapons shed light equivalent to a light spell. These glowing weapons are quite obviously magical. Such a weapon can't be concealed when drawn, nor can its light be shut off. Some of the specific weapons detailed below always or never glow, as defined in their descriptions.

Which illustrates something else: the forumulae given are guidelines only and should be compared to existing items for balance. Otherwise you get things like the Bracers of Falcon's Aim, widely considered a ridiculously good buy for archers and certainly better than the core Bracers of Archery.

Shadow Lodge

Sniggevert wrote:

By acolyte, I meant cleric. Clerics have an alignment aura of their deity, so regardless of how low a level it was, it would detect as evil if a cleric of any evil god.

PRD wrote:
Aura (Ex): A cleric of a chaotic, evil, good, or lawful deity has a particularly powerful aura corresponding to the deity's alignment (see the detect evil spell for details).

Yes, but an evil cleric of a neutral deity also has an evil aura, albeit not an extra-strong one, so an evil aura on a cleric doesn't mean an evil deity. And that's assuming that the paladin hasn't taken the Oath against Chaos, which trades Detect/Smite Evil for Detect/Smite Chaos and would be a very reasonable choice for a paladin who worships a LN deity or "Asmodeus, Prince of Law."

OldSkoolRPG wrote:
Ordinary laypeople may change religions but a paladin represents a champion and paragon of his religion. The service to the his deity is a fundamental quality of his class.

Wrong by RAW. By RAW a paladin is a champion and paragon of Lawful Good who may choose to also worship a deity. They often are, but are not required to be, paragons of their religion in addition to LG.

OldSkoolRPG wrote:
I have seen no plausible explanation that the paladin would then be able to himself be a follower of a non-lawful good deity.

You'd think so given the above, but paladins of Sarenrae (NG) and Abadar (LN) are common.

OldSkoolRPG wrote:
Except that the association rules for a paladin don't stipulate that they only apply if the paladin knowingly violates them. The code of conduct specifically calls out that the paladin must "willingly" commit an evil act to be jammed up but the association rules do not. Especially the portion about the paladin's own henchmen, followers and cohorts are extremely restrictive with no exceptions.

A deity is not a henchman, follower, or cohort, so the more restrictive wording doesn't apply, and the less restrictive "association" rules are clearly not written as an absolute prohibition - they say the paladin "avoids" association, not that the paladin "does not associate." It's almost like the writers wanted to allow a GM to decide whether having a LG paladin teaming up with an evil character to defeat a greater evil would make a good story!

Interestingly, there's a special reason that it might serve good to have a LG paladin in the church of Asmodeus. You're not going to sway Asmodeans by appealing to mercy or calling for humility. If you want to convert them to good, or at least away from evil, you need to speak the language of power.

Shadow Lodge

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phantom1592 wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
First, a paladin (or other good character) who worships "Asmodeus" could be really interesting. For example, upthread someone suggested a paladin raised by a LN cleric to believe that Asmodeus is a LN deity.

The thing I don't like about this type of story... is it makes a class with a poorly deserved reputation for being 'Lawful Stupid' into being... well.. REALLY stupid.

If he's LG and preaching about how awesome the LE god is... despite whatever logic and everyone else tells him... then he's being REALLY stupid. I'm not a fan of the idea of 'Oh yeah... the Paladin is totally wrong... lets all laugh at his foolishness' type stories.

I'd like to think that between his Class Skills and common sense he SHOULD know WHAT he's worshiping...


It's given as a class skill BECAUSE they are meant to take points in it... As a Paladin, SOME knowledge of your god SHOULD be mandatory.

As a paladin player I fully understand they don't have enough ponts for MANY ranks in it... but one point will give you a score 4... +INT...

There may be various sects and heretics running about... but paladins should be able to tell fact from fiction. They have the knowledge:Religion, Sense motive, immunity to charms... DETECT EVIL... They are REALLY designed around the idea that they aren't 'fooled' by such simple con artists.

This storyline doesn't require that the paladin be terribly stupid, just raised in a specific environment and hesitant to give up on what they've been told their entire life to believe. They can even train Knowledge (Religion) and just decide from an RP point of view that everything they know is biased.

Imagine you are a child in a LN village in Cheliax. You display superior athleticism and leadership from an early age, and so the stern but fair local priest of Asmodeus takes you under his wing. He teaches you that Asmodeus encourages his worshippers to be disciplined, keep their oaths, respect authority, achieve power through self-control, and fight against demons and other creatures of chaos (all of this is out of Faiths of Corruption and is acceptable to paladins). You are told to pray to him as the Prince of Law. The priest does not tell you that Asmodeus also calls for brutal punishment and taking advantage of the less fortunate, since he does not himself favour these parts of Asmodean worship, and you are told about Hell only as a place of perfect order (which is enough since you're not training Knowledge Planes). You read theological texts by LN worshippers of Asmodeus. You are taught a little about other deities, but mostly about how they are savage (eg Rovagug), uncivilized (eg Cayden), or else powerless against savagery without the aid of Asmodeus. You are trained in Religion, but your worldview is heavily biased - as indeed would be the worldview of any person raised in a single faith.

You find your calling as a paladin and because you have been taught that law is of the utmost importance, you take the Oath against Chaos. You are dedicated to fighting back the followers of Rovagug and Lamashtu, and the demons of the Worldwound, in the name of Asmodeus.

Of course, as you leave your town you encounter more and more worshippers of Asmodeus, and while the Oath against Chaos means that you can't conclusively identify them as Evil (you detect Chaos), they are certainly oppressing the weak and generally doing evil things. While you are aware that Asmodeus gives his followers permission to use his gift of power to a number of ends, you have always felt that it was best used to provide stability for all and defend mortals against the predations of demons and similar creatures. Seeing others "abuse" the gift for selfish ends saddens you, and you seek to lead by example, to show others that virtue is also a path to power and that power can be used for the benefit of all rather than only to benefit the powerful.

Perhaps you meet another LN Asmodean who seeks to use you against his LE rivals, and he is able to use you not because you are particularly stupid or gullible, but because he is a very keen manipulator and you want to believe him rather than turn your back on the religion you learned to love for the first two decades of your life. Perhaps you fall when forced to choose between obedience to Asmodeus and dedication to Good. Perhaps you become a Hellknight, realizing that you cannot be fully devoted to Asmodeus and adopting more of the teachings of Iomedae, but without fully abandoning your respect for the Prince of Law. Maybe you head out to the Worldwound to lose your moral confusion (and perhaps your life) in the simple fight against demons that originally drew you to Asmodeus.

In any case, it's a story of struggle, of morality, of identity, of faith. It's a tragic hero, doomed to failure in one way or another. It's a hard role to play, and some people might legitimately not want it in their game. That doesn't mean it's ridiculous or an abomination.

Shadow Lodge

Mechanically, though it is generally true that an easy knowledge check would reveal that Asmodeus is evil, and the "association" clause would prevent a paladin worshipper, there are several things that a GM could allow if they thought that such a character would be a worthwhile addition to their campaign.

  • Rule 0.
  • A setting where deities are more distant/amoral and the Knowledge DC would be higher than in Golarion.
  • Circumstance penalty on the Knowledge check due to being raised within a LN sect of Asmodeus worship which doesn't represent Asmodeus as evil.
  • Voluntarily failing a Knowledge check to represent being raised within a LN sect of Asmodeus worship.

Common knowledge says Asmodeus is evil, but we've all met someone who doesn't know something that's considered common knowledge. This is especially true if they are raised in an isolated environment. My group has certainly had characters intentionally fail Knowledge checks for realism in the past, when we feel that a character is unfamiliar with a sub-field due to their background. For example, a druid from the desert may be trained in Knowledge (Nature), but still not recognize a penguin.

OldSkoolRPG wrote:

Just like there is nothing in the rules that allow for the paladin to know the alignment of the 0 level butler he wants to hire. It just says that butler cannot be anything other than lawful good. It doesn't say the paladin can't knowingly hire a non-lawful good henchman. It says he can't do it period.

What the paladin knows or does not know isn't considered in the association restrictions. He simply cannot associate with those who are chaotic or evil and that includes deities.

So he better not have henchmen, since if he accidentally hires a LN or NG henchman he will fall. Also, he's allowed to associate with chaotic characters as long as they don't "consistently offend his code." Also, why is a paladin allowed to worship a LN or NG deity but not have LN or NG henchmen? Isn't that contrary to the idea that your choice of deity is the most profound decision you can make?

LazarX wrote:
Asmodeus core values, as lawful they may be, are anathema to any kind of conceivable Paladin. And I simply will not accept the idea that someone who can be that stupid to think of Asmodeus as a good guy as Paladin material, no matter what numbers you may generate for stats. At some point, flavor must be invoked to curb the abuse of RAW and this is where I draw the line.

It isn't about stats. A paladin gains nothing mechanically from worshipping Asmodeus (unless you take the Sacred Servant archetype in which case - domain). It's about how Asmodeus is a more unusual and therefore more interesting choice of deity than Iomedae.

Shadow Lodge

@LazarX - you assume that a paladin has to have the same strength of connection to their deity as a cleric does, but this is not the case. Paladins by the standard rules are not empowered by a deity, as JJ described above. While many do serve a deity with complete devotion, and surrender their entire lives and souls to that deity, this goes above and beyond the core requirement, which is complete devotion to the code. There is nothing preventing a paladin from worshipping a deity in the same way that most laypeople worship a deity - with ritual, deep respect and some level of emulation, but without complete surrender or necessarily agreeing with everything the deity says or does.

LazarX wrote:
And there is no escaping the fact that Asmodeus despite whatever tendencies he may have for Law is EVIL. Evil with a capital E. Eviil as in Master of Masters of Evil.

Master of Masters of Evil is not one of Asmodeus' titles. Neither is Master of Evil, or Ruler of Evil, Prince of Evil, etc. Prince of Law is. (He also has 7 titles relating to Devils or Hell, but that doesn't mean he's more Evil than Lawful; refer to the Hellknights.)

LazarX wrote:
Deadkitten wrote:

For what it is worth on the argument.This is the section from Council of Theives, Chapter 5, Mother of Flies pgs 65-66

Military Orders & Paladins
** spoiler omitted **...

And it's been stated TWICE that th at passage is AN ERROR. So please stop citing it.

Sure, it's not Golarion cannon. Doesn't mean it doesn't make sense. Even says that Asmodean paladins would be (1) very rare (2) possibly not empowered by Asmodeus (3) bound to fall unless they died promptly. Sounds about right to me.

Shadow Lodge

Ross, generally agree with you, but I think there are two things you're glossing over that could make interesting stories:

First, a paladin (or other good character) who worships "Asmodeus" could be really interesting. For example, upthread someone suggested a paladin raised by a LN cleric to believe that Asmodeus is a LN deity. Even if this paladin later came in contact with LE Asmodeans, I could see him or her trying to reform this “misguided” group in the same way that a paladin of Abadar might try to convince worshippers of Abadar that they should all be LG or at least LN instead of LE. It might take a committed paladin quite some time to realize that the actual deity is LE and it isn't just a city “perverting” his lawful teachings to evil ends. Asmodeus, being a schemer and corrupter, might even find it useful to encourage such a paladin in the interest of good PR or getting rid of some demons. Or he might find the paladin annoying but unlike with a heretical LG cleric, he can't strip the paladin's powers. Either way, good fun RP.

Second, there are forms of "worship" between lip service and whole-hearted priestly devotion that could be interesting to explore. This is less suited to a paladin since they tend to be the whole-hearted type but is still valid for good characters like Ashiel's witch.

You could for example seek to emulate part of a deity's portfolio, as with LG Hellknights who legitimately respect and emulate Asmodean order and perhaps even ambition but without treading upon the less fortunate. You could have a genuine cultural/familial attachment to a religion much like you would have for "black sheep" sibling or parent; while you admit that the deity is morally deficient you still see positive aspects, find comfort in associated rituals, and may find it difficult to excise this part of your identity. Either character might morally justify their worship by arguing it is foolish to throw out the positive aspects of the deity along with the evil portion of their portfolio*, by aiming to appease the deity's wrath or turn the religion against greater evils, and/or by performing many greater good deeds in an attempt to compensate for whatever harm might be done by your association with the evil church. This is particularly easy if you're on your own or a member of a neutral community worshipping an evil deity, since the evilness of the deity will be if not ignored, less salient in everyday life.

*EDIT: Particularly valid if in a campaign with fewer deities in which there's not a "good version" of the evil deity. For example, in a friend of mine's current campaign setting there is only one deity associated with courage, fortitude, and "grit" - and it is CE.

Shadow Lodge

Nothing wrote:
JoeJ wrote:

You mean like a special GM-created long term summon? That's part of the encounter. Why should that be any different than hiring a bunch of guards?

I'm not getting why it's so hard to figure out party experience.

No, I mean the standard spells.

Say an adventuring party is walking down the street and an evil wizard sees them and ducks into an alley. The party fails their checks to notice him and he casts summon monster 5 a few times before they reach the alley he slipped into and they attack. During combat he summons a few more monsters. You're saying that the ones he summoned before combat started will count when calculating the CR and the rest don't?

Most of the other posters here say that none of the spells count, nor does his familiar, nor would any followers from the leadership feat, but you disagree? If so, is that your house rule or do you have any rules to justify doing it that way?

If you summon monsters immediately before an encounter, you are spending spell slots (or using magic items) which are assumed to be part of your available resources for the encounter. If you cast Summon Monster II just before an encounter, then you're not casting Invisibility as a pre-buff, or maybe you couldn't use Glitterdust during the fight. If you cast long-duration spells without component costs (like Dominate) prior to an encounter, you're not cutting into the resources available during the encounter and so the challenge is in theory greater.

Orfamy Quest wrote:
Having said that, challenge rating is a very crude instrument and you need to recognize that not all CR 10 challenges are equally challenging. A super-optimized CR 10 wizard is probably more powerful than a fighter2/rogue2/monk2/ranger2/sorcerer2. And concomittantly more of a challenge.

Agreed. The CR system is a guideline and if the GM is intentionally building encounters to be more or less challenging they should adjust CR/XP accordingly.

Shadow Lodge

I could see it go either way, but must point out:

seebs wrote:
What happens if it's used by someone who doesn't venerate a deity?
Magic Weapon wrote:
A cleric without a deity gets a weapon based on his alignment. A neutral cleric without a deity can create a spiritual weapon of any alignment, provided he is acting at least generally in accord with that alignment at the time.

Shadow Lodge

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RAW, though there is no explicit one-step rule for a paladin, a GM is free to disallow a paladin of Asmodeus via the “association with evil” or “providing help used for evil ends” clauses in the code, depending on how “worship” is defined in that instance. And PFS has its own specific one-step rule, so it really is safe to leave this in “ask your GM about paladins” territory.

I personally feel that this is largely a setting issue. It would be difficult or impossible to have a paladin of an evil god in a setting where deities are concrete and active in the world, require worshippers to follow detailed moral/ethical teachings, or gain power from worship (which can be used by an evil deity for evil ends). In settings where these are not the case, you could see situations more similar to real-world religion where people sometimes cherry-pick teachings or split into sects dedicated to the same deity but with very different behavioral standards or alignments. Eberron is an example of a “distant gods” setting.

James Jacobs wrote:

No... it means you can't have chaotic paladins, or paladin followers of chaotic creatures. My comments are about paladins only.

A non-paladin doesn't factor into my comments at all.

OBVIOUSLY you can have worshipers of chaotic deities. We do it all the time. They are not and can not be paladins though... which is what this thread's supposed to be asking about.

Feel free to rule thigns differently in home games, of course... but posting and asking them here in a context of "what's right" comes with an implied "What's right for the rules as written/what's right for Golarion."

Please don't use my words talking about why you can't have a Paladin worshiping an evil deity as anything other than paladins not worshiping evil deities, in other words. ;-)

The problem is that if you define worship of an evil deity as an evil act, or "cafeteria" religion as a chaotic act, these things must be evil/chaotic for people other than paladins. For example, if you have a cleric of Iomedae who ignores some of the more lawful aspects of Iomedae, and that is itself chaotic, does that make it impossible for the cleric to maintain a NG alignment? After all, they are committing the chaotic act of “cafeteria religion” (which is by your argument chaotic enough to shift a paladin from LG to NG) while also committing the specific chaotic act, say, of failing to punish a wrongdoer. That's a lot of chaotic acts - enough to make them a CG ex-cleric? Similarly, if worshipping an evil deity is an evil act, then neutral clerics of evil deities would actually have to do a lot of good in order to maintain a neutral alignment while regularly performing the evil act of worshipping an evil god. LN clerics of Amodeus would be either impossible – or they would be nicer people than LN clerics of Abadar!

This is on top of the problem of conversely defining orthodoxy as “lawful” that Ashiel brought up.

Specific parts of the code (like the rule against associating with evil) can be discussed with respect to the paladin only, but alignment in general cannot since paladins aren't the only class that cares about alignment.

Orfamay Quest wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
DominusMegadeus wrote:
(which is dumb in a world where gods are real)
Objection! Assumption. Not everybody who plays PF plays in worlds where gods are proven to exist.
Overruled. If you're houseruling out spells like plane shift and contact other planes then you're not longer discussing questions suitable for the "Rules Question" subforum.

You can have plane shift without having clear and active deities, simply by saying that the gods don't have established homes on other planes. And contact other plane doesn't necessarily have to put you in contact with a specific entity. You don't even have to contact “a demideity” or “a greater deity” for the spell to work as written - you could simply push yourself deeper into the collective unconscious of Heaven. Again, see Eberron, where the planes (and divine magic) exist but deities are not proven to.

Shadow Lodge

JoeJ wrote:
Sauce for the goose. I answer any question of this nature by asking whether it would be appropriate to apply it in reverse. Using the Exact XP method in the CRB, the experience for an encounter is divided by the number of characters. So which party members count as characters? Does everybody get less experience because of the familiars, animal companions, mounts, and eidolons? Or would that lead to a player mutiny?

Maybe if the companion gets class levels on top of their normal progression - but that would result in a ridiculously OP companion.

Shadow Lodge

1. Agree with the above posters.

2. There is no requirement that you be within the enemy's reach. Thematically, you are pushing yourself forwards (and possibly your ally aside) without actually moving any squares - remember that while everyone occupies a 5ft square they are not glued to the floor.

Shadow Lodge

I believe so - if it's lost or destroyed, you can't have it in hand. Be very, very, careful with your Bonded Object.

Shadow Lodge

lemeres wrote:
No, but anyone that knew they were stolen and still let them get put in should be arrested. Because those are called accomplishes (or some other term; I am a lit major, not a lawyer; point is that I am fairly sure it is illegal, for good reason).

Accomplices. Accomplishes would be someone who is really good at stealing kidneys.

lemeres wrote:
If you were high enough level, you could possibly even bring the dead person back to life, making most of the moral question moot. Actually, I am pretty certain they could even join in the eating if you used Reincarnte, which would make this all sorts of weird since I think a human might be able to just have enough meat so that the party eat and cast restoration on themselves indefinitely..... which is a whole lot of moral and ethical questions that really should never get an answer....

I've seriously considered a character with Regeneration feeding a Donner Party by chopping bits off of themselves and regrowing them.

Umbral Reaver wrote:
The dying druid says to her paladin friend, "You must eat me. It is my way, that the dead pass their strength to the living. I honour your strength, and I ask that you honour mine. Take me into you, that I may go with you in your noble cause."

Yup. Or as my less flowery druid would have put it in that situation: "What, too good to be fed by my flesh? I have no more use for it. It's you or the worms, and you need it more."

Also reminds me of Cutter in Elfquest, cursing a bitter enemy: "You are meat to be wasted, your blood will fall on bare rock and nourish nothing."

Shadow Lodge

You can also play out a hunting encounter using a random table and the stealth, tracking, & combat rules, but that's a little more labour-intensive than most people like.

Shadow Lodge

Draco Bahamut wrote:
Arcane NPC class: Now that we have retraining rules, it would be fun to have an apprentice class that could be retrained later for GMs who like to do before we became adventurers campaing.

If it's a home game, it's really easy to house-rule that adepts can be either divine or arcane casters in order to create apprentices or other arcane dabblers.

Shadow Lodge

I think Kazaan is correct by RAW but it's a reasonable house-rule.

Shadow Lodge

Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Wait, JJ wrote eight paladin-alikes without smite abilities?! It's no wonder he ended up convinced that it was a bad idea!

Well, some of them did have smite. It just wasn't Smite Evil - the CG variant had Smite Law. Which really doesn't do it for people who want to fight Evil without being Lawful.

Domestichauscat wrote:
Mechanically I think he'd work like a Samurai with magic abilities. Probably can "smite" anything, but only half as often as a Paladin to make it fair.

What do you think about just swapping Smite for Challenge? The trade-off is versatility in exchange for losing Cha to-hit and AC and gaining a -2 AC penalty.

Aelryinth wrote:
Stacking good and evil powers is totally a thing in literature. Simon Green does it in his books all the time. One of his heroes wields a dagger blessed by a servant of God and cursed by a disciple of Satan. Cuts through just about anything.

And you don't think it would be a good thing for LN, TN, or CN deities to be able to grant a "divine" bonus rather than a luck bonus, or a choice between profane and sacred bonuses?

Shadow Lodge

I think if anything it's underpowered for the price.

The ability to switch slots in order to change skills granted roughly equally balances out the fact that it doesn't grant bonuses to other Int-based skills or checks - for non-casters. However, most buyers of Int headbands are casters, and casters will find the Int headband much more useful than this item, so I think the value of the headband is higher.

The skills are mostly appropriate, though I would replace Perception in the farming trio with either Profession (farmer), Profession (herbalist), or Ride.

I would also consider making the aspect dependent on the slot, and improved versions grant more skills from each aspect, rather than the reverse as you have here. It makes more sense to me to gain Appraise, Sense Motive, and Craft (Woodwork) than Craft (Woodwork), Stealth, and Knowledge(Nature).

Finally, I agree with Daspolo that worshippers of Erastil are likely to already be trained in these skills and that it might be more appropriate to grant a sacred bonus on the relevant skills. In this case, you might grant all skills with all versions, but have improved versions grant a higher bonus (eg +2, +5, and +10)

Shadow Lodge

Abilities that let you choose between a pet and something else (eg Druid's Nature Bond, Paladin's Divine Bond, Wizard's Arcane Bond). Pets can be a lot of fun, but in some situations they can get in the way or slow down combat. The amount of RP a player is willing to devote to the pet also varies wildly. Being able to swap out the classic pet for another thematic ability is nice for some characters.

Sorcerer Bloodlines in general. Emphasize a key thematic difference in the way that sorcerers approach magic compared to wizards, and also provide neat abilities to make sorcerers feel really different from each other thematically and mechanically.

Shadow Lodge

Aelryinth wrote:

Your personal viewpoint on Holiness has nothing to do with it.

If you remove alignment, then you can make everything holy as you like...but holy has ALWAYS referred to the good/light side of things historically, so you're just going to confuse people when you start mixing adjectives.

Google definitions:

Holy: dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred.
Sacred: connected with God (or the gods) or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration.
Profane: relating or devoted to that which is not sacred or biblical; secular rather than religious OR (of a person or their behavior) not respectful of orthodox religious practice; irreverent.

Sacrifice. From sacer, "holy." Human sacrifice. Good and light by PF standards? Holy war?

Satanism, a belief set largely defined by its rejection of another religion's teachings and thus a great target for the "profane" label, still uses the terms "holy" and "sacred" ("the Satanist holds these beings in a sacred regard") and even Christians will occasionally use the terms with reference to Satanism, as in Halloween is "Satan's Holy Day".

It's not my personal viewpoint that "holy" and "sacred" are defined outside of PF by their significance to some religion, rather than their "goodness" as judged from outside that religion.

Aelryinth wrote:

unholy, holy, profane and sacred are descriptors of alignment-based energies.

The unholy might of Asmodeus IS holy to his worshippers...but its' still black, dark, foul power from the pits of Hell, and is profane and unholy, doing no harm to evil folks, sourced from nastiness, and particularly painful to Good fellows.

I know that's how they're used, I just don't think it adds anything to the game to alter terms generally used to indicate religious/irreligious matters to fit alignment. The [good] and [evil] descriptors work fine for representing magic powered by alignment forces (and even better, since there are descriptors for all four alignments). From a game design perspective, changing "sacred" and "profane" bonuses to "divine" bonuses doesn't remove the ability to indicate that spells are powered by the foul energies of Hell. However, it does allow the bonus type to be used for un-aligned but clearly divine spells such as Divine Favor (which currently grants a luck bonus) and prevents stacking the two bonus types, which many find un-intuitive.

Not to mention complicating the language normally meaning "pissed off a deity": if I piss on the altar of Asmodeus, have I consecrated it or desecrated it?

Aelryinth wrote:
"The Sacred Texts of Urgathoa" don't have the same ring as "The Profane Pages of Urgathoa", after all.

I'd probably call it "The Eternal Pleasures of the Pallid Princess" (or "Eternal Pleasures" for short). More evocative.

Shadow Lodge

Secret Wizard wrote:
The Paladin granting a mental skill bonus is in line with the idea that Neutral cares about concepts rather than ethics. A skill bonus or penalty means a creature is further or closer to truth, the ultimate goal of every Neutral character.

I disagree.

A thirst for knowledge and truth is a great motivation for a neutral character. But it's not the only motivation - not even for neutral characters who have strong ideals. A TN character can value nature, aesthetics, or self-improvement (physical as well as mental). They may also be a well-intentioned extremist - the kind who fight legitimate evil but are perhaps disproportionate in punishment or otherwise do not value the life and dignity of all creatures sufficiently to be considered "good." (I've got a set of TN paladins in my current world who are single-minded lycanthrope hunters. They don't care whether the lycanthrope in question is actually dangerous to others, they're just fulfilling the divine vendetta of their patron deity.)

Of course, characters of all alignments who strongly hold a particular philosophy will consider that philosophy "true," but I don't believe that's the same thing as an independent value for "truth" which includes a desire to seek out any evidence that contradicts your beliefs.

Again, I like Surge of Inspiration, but would probably make it available as an archetype and/or expand it to all skills from the start. It's certainly not overpowered compared to the ability to heal yourself and remove conditions as a swift action.

Bandw2 wrote:
also smite undead-outsider-dragon is called a ranger with favored enemy... not necessarily as good but still basically the same thing.

It's a similar mechanic but different thematically. The favoured enemy in theory represents extensive study of a particular target or prey. Smite is about invoking the power of the divine to destroy an enemy.

Suichimo wrote:
Anything called Holy just needs a renaming,

Actually, it's bugged me for a while that the evil divine stuff is labelled "Unholy/Profane." All religions regardless of their alignment should consider their precepts, scriptures, sites, etc to be holy/sacred (and the opposition's to be unholy/profane).

Shadow Lodge

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I like Surge of Inspiration, but is a Neutral paladin getting to choose between Lay on Hands and Touch of Corruption any stranger than a Neutral cleric getting to choose between channeling positive or negative energy?

Shadow Lodge

Simon Legrande wrote:
pres man wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
But what would such a character actually care about?
Feel your pain.
Balance. Good and evil, law and chaos, are in a constant struggle for supremacy. The paragon of neutrality has the job of making sure no extreme ever gets the upper hand. He embraces the struggle and vows to keep it going.

So why does he smite neutral-aligned creatures?

Secret Wizard wrote:

LG - Protect the welfare of all by imposing the values of a regimented ruleset.

CG - Protect the welfare of all by imposing his own, original values - stemming from the values of a deity.

LN - Protect a regimented ruleset itself. (Which could be "there should be balance" as well as something more material, like a magical warrior judge of sorts).

CN - Protect personal liberty from regimented rulesets. (But just for the sake of personal liberty - like a magical warrior Rand Paul of sorts.)

Shouldn't CG then be "protect the welfare of all by protecting personal liberty?"

Shadow Lodge

Of course TN characters can have strong convictions.

Those convictions just aren't likely to be about alignment. (The "servant of balance" that hates "extreme alignments" never made sense to me personally.) And the paladin class in PF is both mechanically and thematically tied to alignment.

So in order to have a TN paladin, one needs to either shift the concept to a holy warrior of a deity who happens to have an alignment rather than the reverse, or else do this:

David knott 242 wrote:
The Champion class from Arcana Evolved provides a possible way around that problem. That class is designed for a game that does not even have alignment. Instead, each Champion is dedicated to a cause, and his class abilities are tied to that cause. Obviously there would be no problem with such a character being of any alignment (inlcuding true neutral) unless the cause in question is unquestionably non-neutral.

I prefer the latter since it makes them more distinct from clerics, but I think it's fine to allow both clerics and paladins to serve as holy warriors of a deity. Paladins would probably end up with a "standard-bearer" function while than the martial cleric would be more of a "general/tactician."

Simon Legrande wrote:

Start with the existing Paladin class, then:

1. Change the alignment requirement to N
2. Replace every instance of the word "evil" with the word "neutral"
3. In the now Smite Neutral ability, change "undead creature" to "elemental"
4. Change the code wording to "Code of Conduct: A "paladin" must be of neutral alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if she ever willingly commits an extreme good or evil act."

There, done.

But what would such a character actually care about?

Shadow Lodge

The diseases described in pathfinder seem to all be infectious in that they are caused by contact with a carrier creature or contaminated food/water. This makes sense on one level given that PCs are more likely to be afflicted by infections. But thematically...

Should Remove Disease be able to cure things like cancer or heart disease?

What about conditions that are entirely inherited, like sickle-cell anemia?

Shadow Lodge

Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Space Crimes wrote:
Just from the mechanics Paladin is a class that uses an alignment to be especially effective in combat against the opposite alignment on that axis. Neutral doesn't really have an opposite the way alignment is visualized in the books so you'll have to think your way around that. To answer the question someone could write a campaign setting where 'Paladin' just stands for training to destroy evil creatures regardless of your own attitude so you could be neutral. Or another one where there is a real threat to the state of the universe because of aberrations that eat reality or something on a weird third alignment axis that the otherwise neutral character opposes.

I agree, the true neutral paladin is a conceptual stretch, and I've never had a player ask to be one.

FWIW though, I think that the 'anti-extremism' TN paladin is an acceptable concept within the context of the game's symmetrical sheme of morality. I think 'extremist' is somewhat of a misnomer for those who simply happen to be both lawful and good, or whatever, but oh well.

Space Crimes wrote:
Also, I think it's so weird that so many see neutral as either too apathetic to adventure or having an insane obsession with balance to the point of attacking everyone at some point. So many complaints about alignment restrictions and neutral gets put in the smallest box?
Agreed again. I think the disconnect comes partly from the 2e druid class, which has a TN requirement and is described as "Will periodically switch sides so that good nor evil nor law nor chaos ever becomes dominant."

Agreed with all this.

I think TN paladins are difficult to work as a champion of alignment for the reasons described, but TN is not inherently apathetic so they work just fine as champions of a specific deity or cause. It would require a bit of a mechanical tweak though since the paladin's powers are largely alignment-based. I wrote up a quick archetype (as part of my any-alignment paladin rewrite, the champion):

Some champions dedicate themselves to seeking out and destroying members of a particular organization or creature type that is opposed to their ethos, such as thieves, members of an enemy church, aberrations, or dragons.

Divine Foe: A foehunter selects a Foe instead of an opposed alignment. The Foe may be a creature type, as the Ranger's favoured enemy ability, a religion, or another organization or class of offender at GM discretion. They gain the ability to detect and smite members of the Foe group, rather than the opposed alignment. At GM's discretion, the champion may deal twice the normal bonus damage from smite upon an exemplary member of the Foe group (for example, if the Divine Foe is dragons, double damage may be dealt to a true dragon. If the Foe is a religion, double damage may be dealt to clergy of the faith rather than simple worshippers). This replaces the Champion's Aura and modifies Smite and Detect Alignment.

Aura of Vulnerability: The champion's weapons bypass the DR of any Foe, whether or not Smite is currently active on that enemy. Further, any weapons within the champion's aura bypass the Enemy's DR. This replaces Aura of Faith.

Foehunter's Resilience: The Foehunter gains DR 2/- instead of DR 5/opposed alignment. This ability modifies Aura of Righteousness.

True Foehunter: The Foehunter's DR increases to 4/-. In addition, a Foehunter who smites and strikes a Foe may end the smite effect as a free action in order to stun the Foe for d4 rounds. If the target succeeds at a Fort Save (DC = 10 + 1/2 level + Cha mod), they are instead staggered for 1 round. The Foehunter can only use this ability on a given Foe once every 24 hours. This ability replaces True Champion (Holy Champion).

Not entirely sure how balanced it is (needs playtesting), but conceptually I think it works.

EDIT: The applications I see for this would include things like an undead-hunting champion of Pharasma (or alternatively one who fights followers of Urgathoa), a Green Faith aberration hunter, and a champion of Callistra who smites abusive lovers out of a sense of justice. And yes, inquisitors work for this but for me it is significant that one class is Wis-based and likely to dump charisma (canny and insightful) and the other Cha-based and likely to dump Int and/or Wis (inspirational and charismatic) - which is also why, well-intentioned as it was, I don't think the Warpriest fills this niche.

Shadow Lodge

I'd go for one additional HP in the first round.

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