So you are saying that those lines in the tarrasque entry are complete hypotheticals that the designers added to no purpose, despite knowing that there was no spell or effect anywhere in the game that could possibly cause the siutation which they nonetheless spent the page space to describe the hypothetical effects of? That just seems... highly implausible to me.
On the other hand, if we assume that those sentences were, in fact, intended to have an actual, possible effect on play, there's a way to read of them that lets them still have that. That (since it's in the very section that describes the specific nature of the tarrasque's regeneration) that what the "would" in the "effect that would kill it instantly" clause is contrasting the tarrasque's regeneration with what "would" happen if it didn't have the regeneration that's in the process of being described, rather than what "would" happen if it had a different kind of regeneration than is being described.
Otherwise those lines are effectively pointless, which I just don't buy.
Since the wording isn't like that, what you need is something that can specifically override Regeneration. If you have that, you can kill it (and if it's a save or die effect it will rise again in three rounds unless you sunder it's corpse).
The "had it not had regeneration" clause is inherent in the fact that it's precisely the tarrasque's regeneration that causes it to come back three rounds later. If you needed "something that can specifically override Regeneration" in order to reach the "three rounds later" clause then you wouldn't ever reach the "three rounds later" clause, since the very thing that causes it to come back three rounds later from the death effect in the first place would have been overridden.
Note also that the Regeneration section states that "Attack forms that don’t deal hit point damage are not healed by regeneration." In other words, death due to pure, non-HP-based death effects wouldn't usually get healed by (ordinary) Regeneration.
The point of the Tarrasque's entry about what happens "if the tarrasque fails a save against an effect that would kill it instantly" isn't a purely hypothetical rule for a case that can never actually happen in actual play. It's not a rule for what would happen if something impossible happened.
It's a statement expanding the scope beyond what normal Regeneration is capable of, such that even if it is killed by some of the things that would normally take down an ordinary regenerating creature, it will still come back to life three rounds later, because its regeneration is much more powerful than theirs.
Joe M. wrote:
But would the Tarrasque ever count as a corpse? "Unconscious" or "out of combat" is not "dead." As long as it's still regenerating (so, always), I doubt animate *dead* would apply. Because "Targets: one or more corpses touched."
Per the beastiary: "If the tarrasque fails a save against an effect that would kill it instantly, it rises from death 3 rounds later with 1 hit point if no further damage is inflicted upon its remains."
Hmmm. Even that isn't entirely conclusive, though, as the effect of an AMF on an outsider is different depending on whether they were Summoned (instantly suppressed) or arrived through some other means (no effect).
I'd personally lean toward the latter, if viewed from that angle, since AP doesn't classify itself as a summoning effect (or any kind of conjuration at all, in fact).
An AMF has a very defined effect. It would suppresses the astral projection's created form for as long as the caster was within it.
Huh, I guess my thought was that the created form might fall under the "constructs that are imbued with magic during their creation process and are thereafter self-supporting" clause.
Depends on what you mean by "leave". You definitely can't cast spells while in it, but I don't think that just entering an AMF would destroy an already-created silver cord from a previously-cast Astral Projection spell. (They say almost nothing can, and if something as simple as your AP entering the radius of an iconic sixth level spell would instagib both your projection and your normal body I think they'd have mentioned it.)
So I'd expect that you could probably pull it off if you sent your AP into your demiplane, made it null magic, then killed "yourself", and let the silver cord yank your consciousness back to your real body still in Prime Material, per its function. You'd take a negative level penalty, but it might be worth it just for that extra assurance that the Tarrasque really is stuck.
He CAN enter. But he won't be able to get out without your "ejection seat", that's for sure... :)
Huh. I always thought that AMF said you couldn't teleport/planeshift into it, but you're right, that isn't anywhere in the description that I can find.
Anyway, yeah, either way they wouldn't be getting the Tarrasque out. In fact, from what I understand from reading Create Greater Demiplane even your own normal ejection seat stops working once the plane goes null-magic, so you have to be clever if you want to pull this off in a way that avoids being trapped their right along with it. Doing it through an Astral Projection instead of being there in person is probably your best bet.
(That, or just beat up some poor shmuck of an Evil Wizard a few levels lower than you are, Geas them instead of killing them outright, give them a few of the applicalble scrolls if necessary and have them do the demiplane construction/remodeling...)
It's not trapped it here, because anyone can go look for it there, and get back to the material plane with it.
Well, "anyone" can do so who has the requisite scrying skills to first locate your private demiplane and then travel there. While certainly not impossible to have happen, saying the Tarrasque is "not trapped" because of that is a bit like saying someone who has been turned to a statue by Flesh to Stone and then stashed away in the bottom of some dungeon isn't really trapped, since hey, some wizard could always scry their location too, teleport there and cast Stone to Flesh.
And if you really want to make absolutely, positively sure to lock it away, and follow Tiny Coffee Golem's suggestion of making the demiplane a null-magic one after you stick the Tarrasque there, then even that is completely off the table, as the entire demiplane is essentially wrapped in a permanent antimagic field, which doesn't allow any way for another spellcaster to gain entry, at all.
Yeah, yeah, so what if some of your crunchy heroes can put me down, you can't keep me down forever and I always come back with a vengeance. Plane shift me somewhere else to be someone else's problem, fine, I'll just go crunching and munching there until they send me back. It's all good.
That's why you use a private, permanent, population-less demiplane created by you for that precise purpose. No one there to even want to send the Tarrasque back.
And of course, since the Tarrasque can't exactly Plane Shift itself... well, let's hope it really does like eating itself. Or rocks. It's fine either way.
These are also not rays, so none of the normal ray attack feats/abilities will stack on them... altho I have seen that tried in play. No: Arcane strike, point blank shot, (although precise will negate the melee penalty as I read it), inspire courage (has to drop to use weird words).
Actually, if we use the fact that the Weird Words aren't technically weapons to disallow the first two feats from applying, then that same technicality means two things:
1) Precise Shot won't have any effect. To quote the PRD, on the Precise Shot feat: "You can shoot or throw ranged weapons at an opponent engaged in melee without taking the standard –4 penalty on your attack roll."
But more importantly...
2) Precise Shot won't be necessary either. To quote the PRD on the Combat section: "If you shoot or throw a ranged weapon at a target engaged in melee with a friendly character, you take a –4 penalty on your attack roll."
If the technicality of the Words not being weapons rules out the feat benefit, then it also rules out the penalty since they're both predicated on the same phrasing.
Grimnir Gunnarslag wrote:
We have a bard in the party that decided he would have fun with whips. So he took all the feats for it. We're seeing a marked increase in Disarm and Trip checks. We're enjoying it!
Same here, with myself being the bard in question in our case.
Sure, I know that whip-based disarm/trip isn't going to be applicable in every encounter we face, but it forms a very nice "thing to try after I've laid down all my buffs", and I still have my spells to fall back on if we face weaponless untrippables. Either way, having alternate forms of attack when they are viable helps spread out my relatively limited castings to the times when they're the only option, and it can shift the combat fairly nicely when we do get applicable foes.
It depends on what level of "detail" in one setting you equate to the other.
Sure the fighter doesn't go into the level of detail of precise angle and timing of his thrusts or slashes. But at the same time, he does have to go into the level of detail of where his character moves on the combat map, whether he uses power attack or not, the tradeoffs of to-hit vs. damage, whether he charges in ahead of the party to try and take the enemy spellcaster down quick at the risk of maybe getting cut off and flanked, or advancing more carefully but taking more fire.
So why should social skills be different? Well, they're not that different, actually. I'd no more let the player get away with just saying "I bluff the guard in a way that (somehow) convinces him to leave us alone" and decide the entire social encounter with just one single roll than I would let the fighter get away with just saying "I (somehow) kill all the goblins attacking us" and decide the entire combat encounter with just one single roll.
That's not to say that I'd require the player to actually be a good liar/diplomat in every respect. It doesn't matter if the player stutters in his supposedly-eloquent speech, or takes significantly longer than his character would to come up with the lie, etc. Requiring that much would be like requiring the fighter's player to actually be able to swing a sword in the same way as his character.
But just like you should know the overall tactical positioning, different kinds of attacks and other general tactics you want your fighter to use, you should also know, on a general level, the kinds of social positioning and tactics you want your face to use. You don't need to actually be a convincing liar, but as a GM, I'd want you to at least be able to tell me what the lie is that you're telling.
The example I usually like to think of is trying to lie to a shopkeeper in a way that gets you a discount. Do you lie and tell him that the junk you're trying to pawn off on him are valuable antiques that are way more costly than they really are? Do you lie and tell him that you're a poor orphan with twenty-five siblings and won't you pretty-please give me some extra money to help feed them? Each choice might have better or worse consequences depending on a number of different factors, and each one imposes unique roleplay issues on further interactions with that shopkeeper, in terms of keeping up the deception. A player might choose either, and depending on their future play there might be better or worse consequences of either way. But if you want to tell a lie, then you're gonna have to pick that lie and live with the rest of the consequences, playing them out through the rest of the roleplay.
Taking that element of play away? Reducing that to a generic die roll that just dispenses the mechanical benefit with no questions asked or side-effects of the particular lie you chose to deal with? Not a play-style I'd use in a game I GMed, personally speaking.
Now, if you think I made up some sort of roll by pointing out that an unskilled roll for an Int skill uses the Int bonus, I suggest you read up in the book.
Ok, I think I'm starting to follow you now. So when you say "think on your feet", is what you're trying to describe actually "make an unskilled roll for an action that is specifically covered by an INT skill"?
If so, then I think that is basically the root of the misunderstanding. Of course using an untrained skill (if the skill is even usable untrained) is a roll against the same DC as always, just using the base stat.
But when you claim that there is an actual "think on your feet ability" in the rules that is represented by an INT roll, such a claim doesn't specify any particular skill as being in effect. So it sounds like you're saying the rules require such a roll every time a character does anything that could be construed as, well... "thinking on your feet". Whether it's covered by a skill or not.
That was the idea I was objecting to in that post just above. The precise extent of exactly how "dull" a player "should" play an INT 7 character, not so much. If "think on your feet" to you only means "use a specific skill untrained" and nothing beyond that then that conflict is apparently just one of semantics.
Let me give you an even better example...you have a party that seems utterly lost on a point...but they start brainstorming. If you call for Int rolls, and make them too low, you might as well not bother. If you make them fairly high...and give them a new roll every once in a while...maybe making it tougher as it goes...who will make the roll? Odds are it won't be the guy with the 7 Int, if anybody does.
So are you talking about situations where the players are stumped, and the GM is feeding them information based on the INT roll? Because I don't see how that relates to the situation being discussed. Yes, INT 7 characters will have a very hard time getting those kind of hints from the GM. I don't think anyone's suggesting that they're as entitled to those as the INT 20 guy.
The problem is when you make the very act of "thinking on your feet" into a skill check in and of itself. I.e. when the party isn't stumped, when the players themselves come up with an idea of their own that qualifies as "thinking on their feet". But if "thinking on your feet" requires a check beyond saying what you're going to do (like "bluffing the guard" requires a check beyond "explaining the lie they want to tell") and you ask for a DC20 INT check for them to put that into practice then you get the absurdity of the situation described above.
There are DCs for recalling specific facts, for evaluating the value of items, and for crafting items. There is no INT rolling DC mechanic described anywhere in the rules for "make this DC in order to justify the idea you, the player, already thought up", because if there were it would result in the problem that Johnico so aptly points out.
...so you're claiming, if I understand you correctly, that everybody in Golarion gets their stats from an array instead of rolling? Can I get a source on that? I don't follow what you're basing that requirement on.
Or rather, let me put this another way. If you're saying the usage of an array means that "0%" of all Golarion NPCs have a stat under 8, would you also say that there are that same "0%" of all Golarion NPCs who do not have one of their stats at at least 13? As far as I can tell, that same logic would apply.
Except that, you know, it doesn't make much sense. Arrays are nice to enforce a good, not-too-minmaxed distribution on PCs... but in terms of modeling a population as a whole they're pretty terrible. Some people get lucky and are born with massive talent in many different areas. Some people are born with handicaps in many different areas.
So unless you're asserting that those sorts of things just plain can't possibly happen in Golarion, then it really does sounds to me like people, by and large, are "rolling their stats" rather than getting them from an array, by and large.
Oh, certainly not. I don't think anyone's suggesting using player knowledge to avoid things that can be modeled with actual rolls, any more than a low STR character avoiding an attack roll by describing the exact sword-swinging technique. If you want to construct a cantilever, you'd better be able to make that engineering roll. Similarly with making an inspiring plea and CHA, etc.
At the same time, if an int 7 character speaks up to the int 20 guy with max ranks in engineering and says "hey, wait a sec... do you think you could work up one of your fancy gizmos to get us out of this pickle here?" I don't think I'd smack him down as a GM for coming up with the root idea. Similarly with other basic stuff like "hey, talky guy... think you could maybe... I dunno, lie to those two groups out for us, get 'em to fight each other instead of us? Way you've got with words, you oughta be able to pull it off..."
INT may be an aggregate measure of how a character "learns and reasons", but I don't think either of those factors necessarily rule out any kind of creativity or idea generation per se... even if the character in question lacks the actual "book smarts" or other learned skills to put the specifics of those ideas in into concrete practice on their own. This allows them to participate in the party planning for kind of scenarios without replacing the efforts of the people who'd be actually pulling them off for the party.
As GM I never curtail a player's ideas due to low stats. You cannot peg something like creativity to someone's intelligence, there are plenty of dumb people that come up with great ideas all the time.
It's actually a fairly common archetype, when you really stop and think about it. How high of an INT score would you give someone like, say, Luffy from One Piece if you were trying to build him in Pathfinder? The simpleminded "Idiot Hero"... who can nevertheless come up with some surprising or creative ideas when he's put in a situation where he needs to.
There are specific, mechanical requirements outlined of what a low INT means gameplay-wise, yes. But once you get beyond those and into roleplaying-land, I don't see why a low INT couldn't be modeled as any of countless different ways that the player wanted, including the lower INT representing a character who's "book dumb" in that they have a hard time learning new skills and such, but who can still toss out ideas with the rest of the party should he feel the urge.
So I was considering the spell Sepia Snake Sigil, and a question occurred to me, one which also extends beyond just that spell into several related areas. (Areas which I'm not sure would all necessarily have the same answer.) Basically, if there is a task, spell or action that takes an extended period of time to complete, such that bonuses affecting the task can go up or down over the course of it, then how is the final DC roll at the end calculated?
For some examples, let's say we have Sammy the Sorcerer who likes to buff himself with Eagle's Splendor, giving him a +2 to his save DCs:
1) Sammy buffs himself in a quiet moment, and casts Sepia Snake Sigil on a letter he carries around in his pocket. Weeks later (when the buff isn't active) an enemy pickpockets the letter and tries to read it, triggering the spell. Is the save DC the value at the time of casting, or at the time of triggering?
2) In the middle of a pitched battle, while he's had his buff going for a while now, Sammy casts "Hold Person" on a foe and has it stick, locking the opponent in place. They keep failing the saves... but halfway through the spell's duration, his Eagle's Splendor runs out. Are the remaining saves in subsequent rounds done using the DC at the time the spell was cast, or his newly diminished DC?
3a) Later on, Sammy sees Billy the Bard start to cast Silence on an enemy spellcaster. Since it's a one round casting time, he gets a chance to take an action before the spell finishes completion, and casts his Eagle's Splendor on Billy. Assuming Billy does get the spell off, does the enemy caster save at the DC from the start of the casting, or the DC at completion?
3b) Either way, the Silence fails, so Billy tries to cast it again, this time with Eagle's Splendor from the beginning. This time it goes in the exact opposite way: he starts with the +2, but the enemy caster dispels his buff with Dispel Magic while he's casting. Does that make any difference if it's going down in mid-cast instead of up?
4) Sammy then decides he wants to get into crafting... but he hasn't been pumping Spellcraft nearly as much as he should have been. So he gets a Crafting Hat, a +2 INT headband set to give him max ranks in Spellcraft. He then puts it on, and immediate starts crafting something that takes him two weeks to complete. By the time he's done, 24 hours have long since past, and thanks to the headband he has max ranks in Spellcraft at the time he goes to make his check. Does he make the check with his current ranks at the time he makes the check, or is it affected by the fact that for one day out of the fourteen, he had a much lower skill level?
I don't know if there's a single, official method of resolving such situations listed anywhere, but if there is, I couldn't find it. Some of these I do have a gut feel about (the Sigil, at the very least, seems like it should use the higher DC given that it was completely cast) but I'm not entirely sure, and some of the others seem even less clear, so I figured I'd ask to see if there was some official RAW somewhere that I'd missed.
The equalizer wrote:
Once again, as people have already said before in the thread, "not changing your player's chosen bloodline by no-save plot fiat" is not in any way the same thing as "never interfere with your existence".
There's plenty of ways that the "lords" could interfere, like sending celestial hit squads. That's the sort of thing a player should well expect, and fits in as a fun challenge that doesn't just go "lol" and flatly invalidate a player's concept with a snap of the GM's fingers.
And the best part is, throwing those kind of problems at the player actually makes sense. Because if we're saying these "lords" are taking the time to reach down and poke you themselves with their plot-fiat-level powers, then why on earth are they warping reality to grant you a new sorcerer ancestry at all? Why aren't they just stripping you of your sorcerer powers entirely, just like they would a cleric or paladin? If you really do think the quote about the "lords" watching you means they can muck with your class features like that, then, following precedent, that is what they should logically do.
Well, either that or just no-save kill you as long as they're going to the trouble of poking their fingers directly in themselves anyway.
Blake Duffey wrote:
For one thing, the helm of opposite alignment allows a save, where the above situation doesn't. For another thing, it's initiated by the player putting on an unidentified helmet, rather than initiated by the gods just up and zapping them.
So the helmet isn't nearly an apt analogy. An apt analogy would be the GM starting a session with "Oh, hey, George, by the way, you've angered the evil gods by your conduct, so they just hit you with alignment change magic. No save. Your character is no longer LG, he's CE, and I'll expect you to play them as such."
Note, incidentally, that my differentiating it from the effects of a helm of opposite alignment doesn't mean I actually like the helm of opposite alignment, or would ever use it in a game I'm GMing. While some people might be completely okay with the roleplaying aspect, other people can have a very visceral reaction to having to roleplay out behavior they themselves are opposed to, and skewering a player's fun to such an extent (for, potentially, a great many entire sessions) isn't something I would want to do to anyone. Even no-save death isn't nearly so bad as that.
So, in fact, I do think a helm of opposite alignment sucks, but it still sucks in different ways than the situation described in the OP.
Except that's just plain not how it works.
The game does have mechanics for the kind of non-magical persuasion that "anyone could do to a trusted friend, in theory". It is not an opposed CHA check, it's a Diplomacy skill roll against a calculated DC. The only time I can find this kind of straight, opposed CHA check for determining someone's actions in the rules are, specifically, in situations where the target is under magical influence.
So what is different in this situation if not that? If all you're doing is persuading someone who is your friend, why can't you use your Diplomacy skill ranks to boost your chances in this case?
Because this is something different than just persuasion, something that you can only do to a charmed person. Even the spell description specifically states: the CHA check is for when you're giving them an order.
Now, to be clear, the kind of persuasion ciretose is talking about, the kind that "anyone could do to a trusted friend, in theory" is possible too! There's no reason you couldn't charm someone, and do a normal, ordinary Diplomacy attempt on them. The pros to that would be that you get to leverage any skill points, bonuses, etc that you put into Diplomacy. But the CHA check is very clearly not that kind of mundane persuasion, it's something quite different, and something you can only do to someone you have charmed.
...okay, then I'm really confused. If the key factor of good, in your view, is that you "genuinely try to help this person be happy on their own terms" then how on earth is it possible for the magical equivalent of slipping a date-rape drug into someone's drink without them realizing it to even begin to qualify?
Even if, theoretically speaking, a person with a supremely diseased mind somehow managed to self-delude themselves into actually believing that "oh, she'd really be happier in the end if she just loosened up a bit with regard to me, I'll just mind-whammy her into doing that and she'll thank me later" it's still a fundamental abrogation of the "their own terms" part of your formulation. Or to put it in terms of how Pathfinder describes the Good alignment, a gross violation of "concern for the dignity of sentient beings". In other words, Evil.
So I repeat what I said before: The only possible way it can be not an evil action is if you and the other person both explicitly agreed to the spell's use beforehand, as part of a... magical S&M play, I guess. Otherwise, no, using mind-affecting spells in an attempt to obtain sex is entirely evil from the word "go".
Please stop saying that we're "ignoring" that. We're not. We agree that is what the spell does. The spell does make the target your friend. The spell does make it so that the target will generally help you as long as your interests align. Whether your interests align or not is, indeed, mostly in the purview of the GM. We agree that the spell does that.
We're simply pointing out that that's not all the spell does.
We're not ignoring the part you quoted. We're just also not ignoring the parts that you accuse us of trying to "cherry pick" when we take those parts into consideration along with the parts that you quoted, to get the entire picture of the sum total effects of the spell.
If, on the other hand, your GM goes "He's not doing that." you can attempt a charisma check to convince them to do it...like you generally could for most situations with NPCs
Where does it say that in the rules?
If what you're saying is true, and all Charm Person does is make them your friend, and the CHA check mechanic isn't an effect of the spell per se but rather just something "you generally could for most situations with NPCs" then why are those particular mechanics for this only detailed in the spell itself? If this isn't supposed to be its own unique thing, then where in the rules does it say that you can use plain, straight CHA checks in this way in a normal circumstance?
I did a bit of googling, but I couldn't find a place where this plain, straight CHA check mechanic was described as working in a mundane setting. (It does show up in other spells, though. "Command Plants" also uses the exact same mechanic, described once again.)
As it is, it seems like you're saying that the CHA check section in the spell description doesn't have anything to do with the spell itself, but is there a reminder of what you can just normally do with any friendly NPC, whether they were made friendly by the spell or not... except it's a "reminder" of a mundane mechanic that is only ever (so far as I can see) described in the spell description itself.
Does that really make sense to you?
Yes, and that was said with respect to a question about the divide between orders that needed a Charisma check and orders that didn't. Orders you give the charmed person that fall under the "general willingness" section don't even need the CHA check. They auto-succeed.
He then goes on to describe the kind of orders that will always require that CHA check in order to get the person to obey, and the example he uses is killing loved ones. The use of which as his example kinda implies that yes, it is possible (though not guaranteed) to get someone to even go so far as to even kill their loved ones with a CHA check.
Then he gives the caveat that if such an order is given, the target might commit suicide instead of carrying out the order. I can't for the life of me read that as him meaning "oh, they might commit suicide instead of doing it... but hey, they also might just laugh you off and just refuse a successful CHA check with no consequence too".
What he is saying is the creature may more likely kill themselves than be convinced by any means to kill their loved ones. Because they aren't puppets.
No. His example is specific. He's not just comparing likeliness as a metric, he says with reference to the character described in his example "the creature might take its own life instead". Not "the creature would be more likely to take its own life instead", but "the creature might take its own life instead".
He describes suicide as a real, potential consequence of failing a CHA check to do something so against your character, as a way that the target would avoid doing it. This makes no sense if the target could just as easily laugh off a CHA check they failed.
Let me try this another way. Why are you looking for the spell to be more than what it is described as, specifically making someone believe they are your friend?
...I'm not. In point of fact, I'd actually kinda prefer the spell was more in line with what you're saying it is. I do think that using the CHA check according to the rules is on the overpowered side for just a first level spell. I'd like it if the type of orders you could give with just Charm is limited in scope to only just the sort of things the character targeted might do for a good friend. That still covers a very decent range, and I like the more constrained nature. I would like to see it all being more of a GM judgement call rather than coming down to a hard CHA check.
But the fact that it doesn't align with my personal preferences doesn't in any way change the fact that I find it entirely, inescapably obvious what the actual RAW in this situation is.
Short of the developer showing up at your house and saying "Dude, it makes the person your friend. It's the GM's call what that means about what they will and won't be willing to do for a friend." I don't know how much clearer they could have made it.
None of this is wrong so far as it goes. It is the GM's call, like you say.
But the fundamental problem in all of this is that you're treating "willing to do for a friend" as the border between "succeeds" and "doesn't". That's not RAW. In fact, "willing to do for a friend" actually forms the border between "automatically auto-succeeds" and "needs a CHA check to succeed".
Having that border be there just makes no sense unless the CHA check actually can compel the target to do something they wouldn't do, even for a good friend.
Ergo, the spell clearly doesn't only just make them your friend. If all it did just make them your friend, the only orders you could give them would be the friend-willing, auto-succeed kind. Which would make the whole CHA-check section of the spell entirely pointless.
They wouldn't. He is saying that if you tell them to do something like that, even if you win the opposed charisma check the player isn't a puppet and might kill themselves before following such a request, even from their best friend.
This makes no sense at all to me. I can't even begin to see how the quote could be read that way. Why on earth would the target kill themselves instead of following the order you gave them if (instead of killing themselves) they actually had the option to simply say "dude, no. just... no" or try to kill the caster instead? (Pulling off the latter of which, incidentally, would also necessitate an auto-break of the charm even on the successful check.)
It seems very, very obvious to me that what is being said there, in specifying the suicide option specifically, is that the Charisma check will get you just about anything, but if you give the target an order so mind-bogglingly against their character they'd rather die than complete it, they might be able to manage to kill themselves instead of obeying that order, per the GM's call. Short of that, though, the CHA check takes it.
Except that's not at all how it works.
Alignment is about your intentions and motives and desires and how you chose to implement them, not about the effects that they happen to have. If you're scheming to murder a party member, and attempt to do so by channeling negative energy at them at a crucial moment in a battle, but only then discover that they were hiding from the party that they where a dhampir and your attack ends up healing them instead, that doesn't become a "good" act because of "the effects on the subject afterward". It's an evil act, regardless of the fact that it happened, luckily, to have positive effects.
In the same way, if use a mind-affecting spell to twist someone's mind into a state where they'll give you sex, that is a reprehensibly evil action even if you find out later that they "get turned on by domination".
The only possible way it can be not an evil action is if you and the other person both explicitly agreed to the spell's use beforehand, as part of a... magical S&M play, I guess. Otherwise, no, using mind-affecting spells in an attempt to obtain sex is entirely evil from the word "go".
Incidentally, AD, in reference to your request to have the devs weigh in on what happens if you issue an extreme order, I thought for sure I remembered reading a thread where they did so when I was looking into the same issue, so I spent some time googling and dug this up:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
So, in the minds of the designers, it seems that (on one hand) they do indeed consider in within the spell's intent that the GM can and should determine that the Charisma check still doesn't work if the orders are too extreme, even if the player makes the check.
But (on the other hand) for the folks who say making the Charisma check on a charmed person isn't a low-grade dominate, the explanation makes it clear that even if it's not quite that, it isn't far off either. We're talking serious mental/emotional torque being applied being applied by the spell at that point, to the extent where rejecting a succeeded Charisma check isn't just a matter of "lol, no, I'm not going to kill my family" but rather "can't... resist... must... kill... myself... to stop... from happening!"
So no, in terms of how the devs intended the spell to be read, it's not quite Dominate in terms of what it can force you to do, but it's not that far off either, and it can clearly muck with your head far beyond just "making you normal friends with the caster".
Isn't there even a feat where they can prepare a spell from a spell book?
I don't know about feats, but the Mnemonic Vestment sounds like what you're describing, which allows you to cast directly from your own scrolls/spellbook one time per day (and without the prep time to fill a left-blank slot that a Wizard would need).
Yeah. Or to put it another way, if a given plot element is something about the character's backstory that they could have specified one way or another in their backstory, they don't later on cede away control over that sphere of influence just because it didn't occur to them, at that particular time, to specifically say "and no, by the way, these yellow eyes are not from Orc parentage" in their backstory. It's still their backstory, it's still theirs, that hasn't changed.
Blake Duffey wrote:
When I'm in the player chair, I don't feel like I can dictate to the GM the actions of every ancestor of my PC or every event that happened before this group of PCs started. If I tell the GM 'my PC travelled through the Swamps of Sorrow' I don't think it's out of bounds for the GM to say 'you met someone in the swamp' or to develop some details of that time. Otherwise the PCs feel like they simply sprang into being from the ether.
But see, that's the thing. It's entirely likely that the PCs that you're speaking for won't feel like they sprang from the ether, because they will have their own ideas of how things like that trek through the swamp that they told you about went. Maybe for the PC, he envisioned the trek through the swamp as a harsh, lonely experience that wore on his spirit as he traveled through the cold isolation of the misty moors. And then the happy, jolly minstrel with his off-key lute shows up talking about how "hey remember back when we were treking through the Swamps of Sorrow together? man, those were some good times, it's good to see you again!"
I just don't see what you find so affronting about the idea that the GM really ought to check with his players for something like that, before introducing a plot element based on the backstory that they created. That he ought to say "hey man, just wanted to check with you, that trek through the swamp that you mentioned, could you give me a little more detail on how that went? did you travel with anyone, were you alone, might you have encountered any travelers along the way?"
Maybe even "I was thinking that you might have come across, say, an old crone in a hut there, and talked with her for a bit, does that sound cool to you?" And then you can even tailor the backstory to exactly how the player thinks he would have reacted to the situation with the crone, or whoever it was you wanted him to have met out there. Or just veto it, if it's not something that actually fit with the concept for that trip he'd had in his backstory.
Because, as mentioned, it is his backstory. If he'd imagined meeting an old crone as part of that, he could have said so, and if you want to alter his vision of how he imagined that trek through the swamp happened, it would be courteous to get his permission first before impinging on the part of the story that is his responsibility to write.
Blake Duffey wrote:
Of course the GM can set the general parameters of their world at the outset that the players then subsequently work within: what races and classes are available for the players to pick from. That has nothing to do with the GM subsequently mucking around with a backstory they approved (however detailed or non-detailed) that their player then constructs within those parameters.
Now, to be fair, I know how awesome that sort of thing can feel as the GM to throw a curve ball at the players. And personally? I've tried to facilitate that with my own characters at times. There was one character I built where I specifically told the GM that there were multiple blank spots I had left in my backstory that he could feel free to just go wild with if he wanted to. And he did; the father that my character had thought was dead actually turned out to be one of the Big Bads. It was good times.
But see, that's the thing. We established beforehand that I was cool with him throwing some curveballs in there, that yes, I had deliberately written the backstory to allow for that freedom. So when it happened, it wasn't the GM dictating what my character's backstory actually was to me, it was the two of us collaborating in a way we'd worked out the groundwork for previously, and already knew we were both on the same page with. Especially since those deliberately-blank spaces obviously weren't left in places that I felt would damage the fundamental things I liked about my character either way.
...the point was that the proposed situation is not (as you had been trying to make it seem) in any way an "absurd" one.
The specific consequences of lying being different between the two situations are irrelevant to the point that you absolutely can be in a situation where lying will save people, telling the truth will get them killed, and trying to play it cute can sometimes work in the short term but eventually get you cornered.
The point is that situations like this happened. To real people. In history. So it's not unreasonable to ask how a Paladin would handle it if that very situation happened to him. You can't minimize the question by brushing off the scenario itself as a fundamentally absurd or contrived situation, because it just simply isn't.
If you really think that this is an "absurd" scenario, then I recommend that you read "The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom. Because that "absurd" scenario? Was her family's life for an extended period of time. I mean, even to the point where the members of the family were having pretty much this exact same debate with each other over whether their religious code allowed them to lie to the Nazis when they asked those exact questions. Some of them did choose to lie, and it worked despite how you say it would be "stupid" for the Nazis not to check anyway. Some of them did try the sort of "not exactly lying" methods, in the vein that Kryzbyn proposes, which did work for a time also... but eventually ran out to the point where they really were eventually cornered and the dodges wouldn't dodge anymore.
All the talk in the world about how supposedly-unrealistic this situation is or how supposedly-simple a problem it would be to solve falls flat on its face before the real-world people who suffered through this exact dilemma.
Blake Duffey wrote:
If the GM decides that the PC has a half-brother he never knew about - that's not something the player can simply veto. The concept that the player can decide any/every minute detail about his sphere of existence simply doesn't make sense to me. There are many things that are simply outside the PCs ability to control. (you can't choose your family, for example)
Except... you can. You totally can. If you want to say, as part of your backstory, that you had two brothers, both of whom were killed by orcs, thus prompting you to become a Ranger with Favored Enemy (Orc) on a grim and gritty quest for revenge then you can absolutely "choose" that. Your family clearly is in the purview of the player to decide at character creation. If you want to say you had brothers, you had brothers. (And conversely, if you want to say you were an only child, you should likewise be able to specify that by the same principle.)
What I won't do is pervert the PC concept needlessly. If you tell me your PCs father was a devout farmer I won't give you a half-brother born from the brothel. I might give a long-lost uncle who didn't follow your father's devout lifestyle. If you tell me your thief from Tallashar was a burglar who went out of his way to not harm people - I won't say that you burned down the orphanage (at least not on purpose).
That "on purpose" qualifier you felt the need to add provides what might be, in my opinion, the clearest example yet in this thread of exactly why this kind of GM mucking around with a character's backstory can be such a horrible thing unless you work it out together with the player in question.
So yeah, I'm going through the campaign, playing my cheerful, happy-go-lucky CG Robin-Hood-esque rouge, robbing from the rich, corrupt and evil and giving to the poor. And then, halfway through the campaign, out of the blue... I meet a crippled and hideously burned orphan who was maimed because, apparently, the GM thought it would be a "super cool!" plot twist for me to have burned down a freaking orphanage a few years back. Oh, but don't worry, I didn't do it on purpose, and the GM thinks that's enough of a handwave not to "pervert" my character concept. Because causing horrific suffering accidentally instead of maliciously just makes it all better, right?
So now, my conception of what I had (up 'till that session) thought my backstory was has been annexed by the plot elements the GM thinks were just so gosh-darn-nifty to include, and I'm playing a character that the GM has, by his own raw fiat, suddenly changed my backstory into that of a person that I no longer enjoy being. It's like "rocks fall, you die", except even worse.
I don't care if the GM thinks it would be a cool plot twist to dictate that my character accidentally killed scores of orphans in his past. I don't care if he thinks that killing being accidental should make it not that big of a deal. It's a big deal to me.
This is why it's so, so important to work stuff like this out with your players. Or at the very least, allow them that veto. Sure, some players might be okay with having burned down an orphanage as long as it's not "on purpose". Some players might be okay with having orcish ancestry being the reason for their yellow eyes. But others might hate what it does to their character, and if they do, you just warped their sole window into the campaign experience into something they now dislike.
And you've done it by tacking stuff onto something that should have been within their purview to specify, given the nature of being able to write one's own backstory. They just trusted you enough to not feel that they needed to write "...and I didn't burn down any orphanages, accidentally or otherwise!" while they were writing up the backstory for their character.
If you and your players disagree on what constitutes perverting their character concept, they're not automatically wrong just because you're the GM. You shouldn't tell them to just suck it up and eat the olives you've dumped onto the ice cream cone they were making, even if you're convinced that those olives are actually, in your opinion, sprinkles.
Vod Canockers wrote:
Your great future was to provide the XP that goblin needed to make a level and become the leader of his tribe. The deity the goblin worships placed you in an exalted place in the after life.
Mmmmmm-hmmm. When reading it as RAW requires you to get that contrived as having a CE deity give a PC an exalted place in the afterlife for being kill #13 out of 256 for a minor goblin minion as a stepping-stone to a more significant career of the goblin's own, and try to pass that off as a "great future" then I think that's pretty crushing evidence as to the question of whether that blurb section is intended to be read as fluff text or RAW.
Ooooh! Ooooh! But on the other hand if the part you're referring to as flavor text actually isn't flavor text, but rather is THE RULES, then taking the Destined bloodline means that, RAW, the DM simply can't kill you off in the first session to a lowly goblin. Because THE RULES say that your character has a great future ahead!
Dang that's a powerful class feature! Thanks to this thread opening my eyes to the extra class features and requirements that those blurbs spell out, I know what my next sorcerer's bloodline is going to be!
RAW-mandated plot-shields ahoy! ;-)
More seriously though, yes, the DM "can" technically do anything he wants, up to and including "rocks fall everyone dies" at any point he desires. So he "could" use the "lords are watching" excuse to use uber-divine magic to change your bloodline to something else if your alignment went Evil.
But the thing is? He also could with exactly as much justification use that same "lords are watching" excuse to say "the lords see your villainy and strike you dead, no save, just die". Both are equally "plausible" from an in-story perspective for the powers-that-be to do, and both are allowable under Rule 0, and both are just about equally jerk moves to actually use in a game.
(Heck, killing your character is actually way more plausible, or even just taking away all spellcasting powers entirely, which is basically the same thing. Why the heck would these lords bother to switch the bloodline of an evil person?)
3 - Acrobatics: I don’t think any skill, with the possible exception of Perception, is needed (or even desirable) for all PCs. But, if you can get a decent Acrobatics score, you can break some important combat rules like provoking attacks of opportunity for movement, passing through enemies, and jumping over difficult terrain without slowing down. Also, it’s a skill that you want full ranks in if you have it at all.
I'd argue there's one exception to the full-ranks/not-at-all divide; if you wanted to drop three points on it to get the extra AC it gives you when attacking defensively or all-out defending.
(As a bonus, it can also put you in a fairly good position for making the DC for taking less damage jumping from heights, which could be handy, and improves your long jump a bit should you ever need to hop a pit or something.)
All in all, I woudl say "three ranks" can form something of a secondary cutoff where it can make sense for certain builds to stop short of full ranks, but still get a notable benefit from putting some in.
If a creature in your world is extinct, then as a GM you are certainly free to rule that any such pieces (fossils?) of that particular entity would be extremely rare... and thus more expensive than the cost limit of what RAW says you can expect to find in your pouch "for free".
But it's the kind of thing that has to be handled in a "homebrew" manner, since, as others have said, there's no possible way to have a unified component system that works without homebrewing for every possible GM's world.
If all pine trees have been extinct for centuries in Shallowsoultopia, then Shallowsoul can, indeed, complain about the utter "unrealism" of pinecone components for a given spell not being uber-rare components that are priced at 50,000gp and require a quest or two to find in the RAW. But if the devs (for some inexplicable reason) actually listened to his complaints, all that would do is tick off some other person (call him Shallowsoul #2) whose campaign takes place entirely in the Piney World of Pine Trees That Drop Piney Pinecones All The Time, and he can complain just as loudly about the "unrealism" of 50,000gp pinecone costs.
The devs have tailored RAW to price things according to the world they envisioned. If you're homebrewing a world, you'll probably have to tweak things if you want to make them fit.
This is an inescapable part of the job of a GM running a customized setting.
2 - Linguistics*
Another moderate advantage of Linguistics is if multiple party members pick up a relatively obscure language, then it allows for emergency impromptu communication with a low probability of being understood by any enemies you happen to be fighting/interacting with.
1 - Disguise
When combined with a character with things like the "Disguise Self" spell this one actually can become quite fun. If you know what the captain of the guard looks like, you can disguise yourself as him and act as a scout, except with more or less a CHA-based Stealth. Not to mention a "Stealth" that can potentially allow you to order foes into positions where your party can more effectively jump them. Or, heck, even just dig around for information more effectively when the target thinks you're someone on their side. It's really quite useful, when your character can do it on the fly with a snap of your fingers and a +10 bonus.
Though, outside of a Feint maneuver, can someone tell me when Bluff has ever come in handy for them?
I've used it quite a bit, often in conjunction with the above.
Just to make sure I clarify, in actual practice, I myself would probably run it something much like you describe, if it ever came up in any real game I was GMing. And I absolutely concur with you about the silliness of the tactic (my splitting hairs over RAW aside).
Even if RAW were completely unequivocal in allowing it (and I'll freely admit that it isn't, and that it's a murky area) it's still something I'd Rule 0 away regardless.
I guess it comes down to what that "capable" in the rules refers to. If you move away from the target square, then granted, the opponent is no longer "capable" of hitting you. But he's still perfectly "capable" of completing the actual (now-ineffectual) attack action that prompted your move. There's just nothing in range for him to hit.
It's perfectly allowable for you to attack an empty square, you're by no means not "capable" of doing that.
(Also, in the larger sense, it doesn't say anything about "getting actions back" in those rules, just that the character continues them, if they can. It seems to me that the most sensible implication is that the action is lost if they can't continue it. It just seems like it makes more sense than saying that they're forced to continue them, even if they don't want to, even if their chances of success are drastically reduced... but if those chances drop to a flat 0%, then suddenly they gain the ability to chose not to try and do something else, which they had no physical possibility of doing before. How does that even work?)
You are not "committed" to an attack if the circumstances change before you are able to take it.
Hmmm, so are you saying that if a character does ready an action to, say, shoot an arrow at a spellcaster (or even worse, ready an action to cast Dispel Magic as a counterspell) and the caster starts to cast, and the readied action hits them, the caster should be able to just say "lol, psyche, the circumstances changed based on the result of your readied action, so I'm just going to shoot you with my crossbow instead" and not even risk losing the spell?
Your opponent could also move up to you and then ready his own attack with a trigger of you doing ANYTHING. Bingo, he gets to whack you when your turn comes around, because doing anything (even delaying or readying again) triggers his attack.
As cheesy as the tactic it's countering is, I don't think this would actually work. I don't really see how you could set a character delaying or deciding to ready an action (but not actually taking any kind of physical action yet) as part of the "anything" that triggers your attack at the specific point in time that you want, right at that window where your attack won't trigger his ready.
You might as well say "I ready an action to hit the rogue as soon as he decides to betray the party". And hey, you've got a version of Detect Thoughts that even mundane martials can use! ;-)
If you are out of reach, he is unable to perform that action... does that mean he can change his intended action, or must he swing at air?
If an archer readies an action to shoot a caster when they start casting, and hits for damage, can the caster subsequently chose to take a different standard action instead of the spell they were going to cast, rather than risking the concentration check?
I'd say no, which would also imply that they do, in fact, have to swing at air.
This also seems the problem (to me) with the idea that (RAW, at least, not saying it isn't a very good house rule that works better than RAW in this case) the attacker should be able to just continue with their move before striking. In the same vein as the spellcaster example above, it does indeed seem that a readied-action interrupt does indeed happen after the triggering player is "committed" to the action that triggers it, and that they don't get to retroactively restructure their turn after seeing the results of the readied action that was sprung on them.
Attacker attempts full attack. First attack of full attack triggers defender's attack and step. Attacker hasn't moved, so he gets to five foot step before or between or after any attack in his full attack. Attacker five foot steps and full-attacks defender.
This, though, is much more promising.
The only question in my mind that I'm not 100% sure about would be whether you can retroactively add a five-foot step before the triggering attack completes, or whether you're already committed (similar to the above example) to your first attack being made from the square on the map your character has already told the GM that said triggering attack was going to be made from. Reading the full attack rules and the ready rules, I can kinda see it either way.
Either way, though, you absolutely can make any subsequent attacks with the five-foot step interspersed before them, per the full-attack rules. And even if putting the five-foot step in retroactively didn't turn out to be strict RAW, I'd probably run it that way anyway, since it does make sense and cuts down on the cheese.
Cool, thanks for the clarification! All really good stuff; I particularly liked that one and the idea of fighting without the rules to help adjudicate disputes without actually getting into the dangerous stuff. Thanks for giving such a detailed expansion on how you'd handle it!
I don't pretend to have anything like a solution to the entire scope of the "the preponderance of spells let casters potentially be all things to all people" issue, but reflecting on the matter, there was one minor point that struck me. With regard to the "ick" factor of casters eclipsing the territory of other players, of casters showing up other classes "at their own game" I kinda feel it might help a bit if more spells functioned like "Disguise Other" and less like "Knock".
Both are 2nd level spells, and both involve a +10 bonus applied to a corresponding skill check. However, Knock can simply and flatly allow a Wizard to "go it alone", even possibly being a bit better than a Rogue with full skill point investment into one of their most iconic abilities, for no investment whatsoever on the Wizard's part other than the cost of obtaining the spell. Disguise Other, on the other hand, seems significantly more balanced to me, in that it still interacts with the skill in question to perform the effect. It just provides a bonus to it, and one that can be applied to anyone.
So imagine if what Knock did was actually to... say, just for example... make the outer shell of a lock or device it was cast on transparent, allowing anyone to see the exact mechanisms inside, and providing a +10 bonus to all Disable Device attempts against the object. That way, instead of suddenly lockpicking as though he suddenly had full ranks in the skill, it allows the Wizard to function marginally, or to function decently if he's actually made more of an investment, OR to stack onto the skill ranks of someone who really specializes in it and push it to even greater heights by cooperation.
That way, in the later case, when facing a particularly tough device, the result isn't one character or the other eclipsing the magical or mundane lock-opening abilities of their counterpart, but an exchange that allows them to both play a significant role in something that neither of them might have been able to do alone (and maybe even give a little fist-bump to each other once it's done).
That's just an off-the-cuff example, and would need more balancing to the range of actual lock/device DCs that might be in an actual campaign. The basic idea, though, is that magic and spells aren't quite so broken when they supplement rather than invalidate (or even overwhelm; I'm looking at you, Glibness) the underlying mundane skills that correspond to the same effect.
I have been in a number of situations where I’ve had to protect someone’s life or safety, prevent abuse (which is a good synonym for “torture” in many cases), and deal with violent and/or irrational people. In all of those situations, while I’ve sometimes had to use force, I’ve never had to use deadly force. (Tackling and restraining someone is highly unlikely to kill them. Stabbing or shooting would be “deadly force”.)
True, and in RP I'd also usually try to do that myself in such a situation as well. If I had a high disarm CMB, or if I had a spell that would reliably incapacitate instead of harm I'd use that, and if none of those were an option I'd still try to just knock the other guy out if I could without deliberately taking him all the way past -CON.
But I would expect that even doing that much would still fall under the heading of "Player vs. Player"; just not "Player versus Player with deliberate lethal intent". Which was why I had assumed it wasn't an option either, in groups that banned PvP on the whole.
What are those characters doing in a party together? At this point, barring a very unusual situation, I suspect players and game master have failed to assemble a functional adventuring party.
Maybe, but stuff like that can come up unexpectedly. I mean, I didn't pluck that "goblin children" example above out of thin air; I got it from heated debates I've seen on this very forum. The players and GM may not even realize (until you get to that very moment) that one member of the party sees them as fair game for killing while another might see that as completely and utterly unconscionable.
What I’m trying to establish is that playing without PvP can be totally realistic as well. It’s not implausible to resolve all in-game conflict without attacking each other, and it’s not badwrongfun to play the game with that agreement.
To make sure I clarify, I'm not trying to argue that it is badwrongfun. I'm just curious as to the specific mechanics of how, in the absence of PvP, different groups handle extreme situations like the above. (And I have had situations along those general lines crop up in our games once or twice--though not as extreme--so it's not a hypothetical in my view of the issue.)
I'm not trying to stump anyone for an answer, and I'm not even expecting one "right" answer. I assume each group probably has a different one. Take DrDeth's answer: that it hasn't happened for him at all, and that given how well he knows the group he has he just doesn't expect it to ever happen either. That makes sense. If you do have a group like that, there really isn't much call to worry about something that will probably never materialize.
Still, it leaves the question of to what extent such a ban is practicable outside of such close-knit groups, and consequently I'm still curious as to how, exactly, non-PvP GMs would adjudicate a situation like that if it did arise.
But, even should this situation arise in a fun and functional group, there are lots of ways to resolve this conflict without stabbing your party member.
It's exactly this, the details of these "lots of ways", the specific techniques to get out of a situation like that without PvP, that I'm interested in hearing about.
How do people handle it when one character suddenly gets fed up with arguing about what to do with the goblin kids, and just tells the GM "I go over and attack the nearest one"? But then another character wins initiative and wants very, very badly to do whatever they can to stop the other guy with the single standard action they have before the other guy actually does it?
Is verbal protesting all they're allowed to do, but otherwise they just have to stand there and watch him kill them all if the other guy doesn't want to listen? Are they only allowed to use non-lethal methods of PvP (if they have any)? Or does play just stop right there, and the situation get talked over OOC until the players reach some kind of agreement that allows things to go forward in a non-PvP way? Would GM fiat be involved on either side?
Those are all possible approaches that could be taken. Or it could be something completely different that I hadn't thought of! I'm just curious about how various different groups would handle it, and about the pros and cons of each.
That... doesn't really answer the question at all. It's true that I've never resorted to deadly force in my personal life to resolve a conflict. But none of those conflicts have been of the life-and-death seriousness of the conflicts that we role-play in Pathfinder to begin with, so the comparison doesn't hold water.
In the unlikely circumstance that I did find myself one day confronted with a situation where I did have to take action to actually save somebody else's life, or something else on that level, I hope I would find the courage to go to those kind of lengths to pull it off when the moment came. (Or at least to make the attempt; I'm not exactly the most physically imposing of people, so my ability to actually succeed is... suspect, shall we say.)
So what happens when a PC is put in that situation? Like I said in the above examples, say the other party member is doing something along the lines of torturing/killing an innocent NPC. They're not listening to what you're saying to them. It's not a question of "talking out the nuances of loot distribution" or "clashing personalities", it's a question of "if you actually want to save his victim(s), you need to take the other guy down now."
We've always allowed PvP in all the games our group has run; it just seems unnatural to arbitrarily disallow such actions by fiat, and we're friends enough that it's never really soured anything in Real Life. Everybody just accepts that its part of the character interactions and role-playing aspect, and has fun with the story created.
Most memorable one was probably in the first campaign our group ran (though that one was actually GURPS; our current campaign is our first Pathfinder one). Through a chain of events, one party member ended up secretly arranging to betray the others to the Big Bad, but eventually got caught. I was GMing at the time, and after the party beat him up and had him sent off to the dungeons, I had him work up a new character that would be adventuring with the party instead... but just between the two of us, I also had the Big Bad break the original character out of prison, and had him set up as the surprise sub-boss before the battle against the BBEG himself. (Fortunately, his player was good about not metagaming.)
In the end, the guy's player was playing on both sides of that second-to-last fight, until his traitor character finally got killed, and then the party went on to fight the BBEG with the guy playing his new character only. It was an interesting bit of non-standard play elements to experiment with, and we had fun with the novelty of the direction it took things.
I outright ban it. I've seen too many games go down hill when players can attack other players.
As a question of curiosity on the matter (actually, addressed to anyone who outright bans PvP in their games) how do you deal with the actions not covered under that ban (i.e. actions against NPCs) but which are the actions which other characters would consider PvP to be the only fitting response?
For example (just to pose an extreme hypothetical) the party is chasing the bounty on a criminal, and one party member tells the GM they're going to do something nasty, like torturing the fugitive's innocent wife to try and get her to spill information, or whatever. It's not PvP in and of itself (so not covered by the ban). But once they start doing it, I personally would find it a far worse experience than allowing PvP to be told instead "no, your character can only try to convince him to stop; if he doesn't listen you can't actually take any offensive action against him, and you just have to sit back and watch him torture her."
You can swap in any of the moral dilemmas that crop up in Pathfinder discussion from time to time (whether or not to kill the goblin kids in the encampment you just raided is another old chestnut) but the gist is the same. In the context of such a ban, how do you deal with situations where a character feels it would be a fundamental violation of what they stand for to stand by and allow another character to do something without attacking them?
The Drunken Dragon wrote:
I have no objections to them. In most games, I've had rather merciless DMs. The wands are the only ways we can survive, since the cleric eventually lost all of their unused channels.
Yeah, this is the reason (or rather, one of the reasons) why I don't at all buy the whole argument of "well, you don't really need CLW wands to have a high encounters/day rate, because I'm sure that the only reason you've been taking that much damage is just because you're just playing carelessly" that other posters have been making.
Because how threatening an encounter is all comes down to the GM in the end. And CR is the least of it. It's often observed that a really skilled GM will be able to give players nightmares with the clever application of a challenge whose by-the-numbers CR is a mere fraction of the party's APL.
Now, some GMs will love the chance to make each encounter a desperate fight for survival, where the PCs have to use all their care and tactical abilities just to come out alive (much less at 100% health). Others will only do that once in a blue moon, and give the party much simpler and easier challenges in the intervening encounters. It's a spectrum, really.
Now, to be clear: I'm not disputing that mplindustries and the others making that argument might very well be right in what they say about the difference between their levels of play and mine. I mean... I don't try to choose sub-optimal tactics (except when it's in-character to do so) but if mplindustries and I had suddenly switched places at the start of the last session (where I lost well over half my character's health in a single encounter) mplindustries most likely would have been able to ace that specific encounter without so much as a scratch in a display of superior Pathfinder skill and playstyle, exactly as advertised.
But see, that's not the point. If something like that happens, if you ace an encounter without a scratch that the GM intended to be a challenging fight in and of itself, the GM doesn't usually go "oh, huh, I guess these PCs are just too smart for me to make an encounter that flat-out threatens them with death. I guess I should give up on doing that for the rest of the campaign!" Rather, it's usually more along the lines of "oh, huh, I guess the PCs handled that one better than I expected. I guess should up my game on the next one so that it's not quite so easy for them."
Wands of CLW allow the PCs to have multiple encounters/day where the GM is serious enough that there's a very clear, real and legitimate threat for the PCs in each and every one. For those players who find the threat of "immediate death, right in this very encounter" more exciting than the threat of "slow attrition over many fights eventually piling up, and maybe even doing so in a place where we're not able to just turn around and walk/fly/teleport back to the nearest town to rest for a couple days" then wands of CLW are a huge boon. Because they allow for fierce, pitched battles--battles where even with all the strategy and preparation that they bring to bear it's often a quite close fight. And they allow for it without requiring that one character play a healbot. Or requiring that the flow of narrative be chopped up into 1-2 encounter/day chunks.
D'oh! Completely missed the shift to the more specific case in the Acrobatics description. Don't mind me, just going blind here...