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Topic Brainstorm! One for the Good Guys


Pathfinder Player Companion

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Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

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We're doing a lot of brainstorming here for new products coming down the road in the Player Companion series, and while we always get our say, I wanted to hear what you want.

As GMs, I think a lot of us tend to gravitate toward monsters and villains and antiheroes. But does that mean that good guys have been getting the short end of the stick? So say we did a Player Companion focused right on the good guys - and by that, I don't mean just paladins and knights in shining armor and good clerics, but good guys of all stripes, races, nationalities, organizations - what would you want to see?

Cheliax

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I have a question. Are you meaning good guy groups or specific NPC's good guys? Since that effects my answer.

I am guessing you mean NPC's. If so then I would say well made and interesting with neat histories. Some plot hooks for PC's to interact with in a way that is interesting but doesn't make the NPC the focus. Tips for playing them as far as personality and making them complex(and I don't mean stats).


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:

We're doing a lot of brainstorming here for new products coming down the road in the Player Companion series, and while we always get our say, I wanted to hear what you want.

As GMs, I think a lot of us tend to gravitate toward monsters and villains and antiheroes. But does that mean that good guys have been getting the short end of the stick? So say we did a Player Companion focused right on the good guys - and by that, I don't mean just paladins and knights in shining armor and good clerics, but good guys of all stripes, races, nationalities, organizations - what would you want to see?

I take this as a hint your going for the "Books of the Holy,"

since we have the "Books of the Damned."


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Off the top of my head...

A more thorough examination of the good outsider races would be *great*, but for something more Material, the organizations around Mendev combatting against the Worldwound would be awesome, as would more information about Old-Mage Jtembe and his Ten Magic Warriors. I'd also like to hear more about when Thassilon was about the Seven Virtues of Rule. Information on how non-paladins can have more goodly options would be super sweet too. :)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Some stuff on how good can conflict with good (partly law vs chaos, but even two LG or two CG organizations can have differences.) How might they end up as adversaries to the players while retaining their fundamental goodness.

A better examination of the good outsiders -- without falling into "Good is dumb" or "Lawful means stupid" traps. How do they relate to deities? How do they inspire players (and how can they cleverly and covertly aid players to develop into greater and greater heroes -- they should be _good_, i.e. loving and altruistic, not people as jerkassed as the lower planes fiends, just wearing different team colors.) They ought to be inspiring, and dangerous (recalling, for instance, that Biblical angels usually introduce themselves with "Do not be afraid").

From a Golarion standpoint, more about Mendev and the organizations there would be very useful; ditto for Lastwall.

Taldor

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber

I'd like to read about the political impact of good churches, too often in RPGs our (well-founded) modern bias against politicians leads to things like national governments in league with Asmodeus.
Does the church of Shelyn influence civic programmes so that architecture in slum developments is less hideous? Does Sarenrae's church support leaders who promote social mobility? Does the church of Cayden bless the ruler who builds and funds orphanages?

I know that virtue is its own reward but something about how good PCs are respected and admired and thus gain boons: often these are seen in adventures with things like the discount in stores for heroes in Burnt Offerings but I would like to see systems of reward-for-virtue which a GM can pick up and drop into his game:
"In Katapesh, it is illegal to enslave adventurers given the title 'heroes of the people' by a local council of elders."
"In Andoran, non-halflings who support the Bellflower Network are given the title 'Gracious Lord' by halflings and will often receive free hospitality from grateful ex-slaves and their families." If you want more grounded crunch then: " These characters receive +2 to diplomacy checks when dealing with non-evil halflings"

It would also be cool to see some good-only magic gear: we get enough skinsaw masks that PCs can only give to a local temple to destroy, why not have some things that villians only keep to figure out a way to twist their powers but which heroes can make great use of.

3.5 had low-powered good outsiders that would symbiotically 'infect' heroes and help them out: sometimes I have gods grant the half-celestial template to heroes who have done great deeds, why not give smaller boons, such as a spirit that grants clw once a day and light at will who stays with heroX for a month, granted by Desna for those who do good stuff.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

This thread makes me :) so much.

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
So say we did a Player Companion focused right on the good guys - and by that, I don't mean just paladins and knights in shining armor and good clerics, but good guys of all stripes, races, nationalities, organizations - what would you want to see?

brb, working on list


Don't really want a book about good outsiders and good races; the plain fact is that good guys aren't usually antagonists, so there's less value in this than in a book of fiends or whatever.

What could be useful: a book of good-aligned organizations (with some NPCs thrown in). That gives more value, because the PCs can become members of the organizations, or ally with them, or work against them.

I agree with the above suggestions about Mendev and Lastwall. Also with the one about good-aligned and good-only magic items; there are indeed plenty of skinsaw masks and whatnot, it would be nice to have some loot that's aimed at Team Good.

Doug M.

Taldor

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:

Don't really want a book about good outsiders and good races; the plain fact is that good guys aren't usually antagonists, so there's less value in this than in a book of fiends or whatever.

What could be useful: a book of good-aligned organizations (with some NPCs thrown in). That gives more value, because the PCs can become members of the organizations, or ally with them, or work against them.

I agree with the above suggestions about Mendev and Lastwall. Also with the one about good-aligned and good-only magic items; there are indeed plenty of skinsaw masks and whatnot, it would be nice to have some loot that's aimed at Team Good.

Doug M.

Don't forget that this is for the Player Companion line, so it should be stuff aimed at players, rather than GMs. The fact that good guys are less likely to be antagonists is less important for a Player Companion.

Actually, with more of a player hat on, it might be good to have some archetypes or prestige classes for good characters from classes that are not typically seen as good: rogues, inquisitors, druids, wizards...

And I would dearly love to see something for the noble monks from Cheliax who work against the government.

Emipre of Devils wrote:


Children of the Upper Reach, devoted to Iomedae and the
study of a martial art developed to combat the dangerous
hamatulatsu, another fighting form patterned on the study
of barbed devils employed by the rival Sisters of the Golden
Erinyes in Isger. Based on the fighting styles of Melek Taus,
vanished archon of Heaven, it is called melekatha, and is a
soft art consisting of dodges, holds, and strikes that turn the
attacker’s energy upon the aggressor. The abbess, Helsan
Torvill, has not yet sent a ritual challenge to the Sisters of
the Golden Erinyes, and so they have not yet determined
which art is stronger, yet that day surely draws closer.

I think the coolest good organisation I have seen is probably the Lion Blades and they're not even really good. There are some good groups, like the Bellflower Network, but we could do with more good groups to join or aspire to join.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Not really complete, but man I'm sleep deprived. Words may not make much sense and thoughts are a bit out of order

Champions of Good

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
and by that, I don't mean just paladins and knights in shining armor and good clerics,

This is a really exciting quote. I've long thought that being an exemplar of Good shouldn't be locked to paladins and casting classes(and in turn, certain alignments). I've never been a fan of the idea of Lawful Good being Best Good, even as I like LG(just as I like NG and CG).

The idea of Good exemplars of other classes has a lot of appeal. I've wanted to play a holy barbarian and a holy monk for years. Providing options for those classes for players that want to play supergood characters would be a godsend for a lot of folks, especially as some classes are rather starved for them at the moment, while there are Evil options aplenty.

Some possible examples:

Celestial/Azata totems for barbarians. (we've had fiendish totems for a long time now)

Alchemists dabbling in the formulae of angels, trying to tap the essense of the divine for the sake of understanding it rather than controlling it.

Bards channeling rapturous joy right out of Upper Planes with a song.

Martial art styles and feats based on celestials. (we already have a number of these based on devils)

Good-aligned qinggong ki powers.

Options that enable rogueish types to play the part of the divinely-touched-and-protected Fool figure.

Having options that can demonstrate in-setting that the character has something good going on really helps. It's one thing to just say your character is all about Good and championing it and trying to roleplay it for all it's worth, but it's another to have something that lets you do all that and not feel like you're just "talking the talk and not walking the walk".

Dabbling in "Let me tell you about my character" territory

Spoiler:
I've really been fortunate in our Jade Regent campaign.

I had been frustrated with the lack of options to make a "holy barbarian" work and actually feel like the flavor was actually coming through. Our GM, Asurasan here on the boards, was super understanding and rewrote the Spirit Totem chain to deal holy damage to non-evil targets only. That combined with the aesthetics(having the spirit wisps come out in the form of celestial beings in Shoanti/orc-stylized forms based on his tattoo designs) really helped make this character feel like the character I wanted along with the roleplay.

Good in all it's myriad forms

I am completely with Lilith upthread on wanting more on the celestial races. I've never understood the protest that such a book would be useless on the grounds that most PCs wouldn't fight them, because there are so many other uses for Good exemplar outsiders than just that. Be they allies, beings that PCs might seek to emulate(bards that revere lilends for starters!), or just useful as world/setting building material.

But another reason I'd love to see celestials get more attention is so that they could spread their wings more, and really show off the range they could have. A lot of folks are probably sick of seeing this line, but...

It would be awesome to see celestials that were ugly, or embodied darkness and shadow, or were scary, or were alien, or were "primitive/savage", or just plain weird. All while remaining entirely Good. I loved beings like the Zoveri and the Busen from Planescape for those reasons, and the game has felt less vibrant since they faded out of use.

Celestials like that would go a long way towards fighting the stereotype that Team Good is somehow boring, "wussy", or bland by default. One of the criticisms I've seen of aasimar is that they were presented in 3.x as always being blond, fair-skinned, and pretty. This ignores all the wild range and fun that the Upper Planes have to offer. Those are some strange vistas with some strange, though Good, beings living in them, many of them likely originally born on alien worlds at that. One need only look through the "1000 aasimar traits" thread to see what possilibities could lie out there.

Showing all the range available to Good doesn't have to be restricted to outsiders though. Having cultural traditions supporting Big Damn Good available to many other cultures than just the expected countries would be a great boon. They wouldn't have to be widespread influences, but they would be there to be reasonably accessed by characters without having the overly contrive their backstories. Some areas are hurting for those options, or they have options that could use more attention: Jatembe* mentioned upthread is a great example. Garund in general doesn't have much in the way of Good-leaning cultures to pull from, not like Avistan. Further fleshing out Nantambu and exploring other traditions and organizations elsewhere could really help that continent out. (Dehrukani sounds really interesting for this sort of thing).

One reason that's a bit of a worry spot was a bit from 3.x that has always irked me. Probably the most hated block of text I can recall from the entire edition: Complete Adventurer - It was noted in the musical instrument section that celestials abhor percussion instruments because they're "primitive". Beyond painting celestials in a horrible light, this flat out ignored the barbarian-type celestials that had been established before and really dumped on "primitive" cultures both real and fictional that players may have wanted their Good characters to represent. Basically, that bit from that book assumed some sort of cultural homogeny(and snobbery) among celestials, and it really hurt the flavor and possibilities for the game if a GM took that at face value.

*Rahotep, Pharaoh of Tomorrow sounds crazy awesome too

New gods and (perhaps more likely) empyreal lords can really help here as well. Tsukiyo is a very cool addition to the game, what with being a LG god of Darkness and Madness. The only problem with him is that he isn't very accessable to Inner Sea Region characters without contrivance. A wider range of Empyreal Lords(and there are a ton of Lord types for all three major fiend races already) can make a lot of concepts easier to pull off. A Mwangi warrior revering Tsukiyo doesn't really click. That same warrior worshipping a god/empyreal that could reasonably be known in the Expanse just rolls out naturally.

Good being Good

Tonyz touched on this upthread.

Spinning out of wanting a wider range for Good that breaks stereotypes, it would also be preferable if Good can do it while remaining Good.

Sometimes that gets problematic, especially when the Good Is Not Nice trope gets played. The problem with that particular theme is that all too often, people forget that while Good doesn't have to be nice, it does have to be Good. The basic concern here is, please don't let Good fall into just being Good In Name Only.

And GINO is what a lot of "heroism" feels like sometimes. One of the things that nearly drove me away from the game in my earliest experiences with actual play was that it felt like Good was anything but.

Some real support for players that want to play redemptive, merciful, compassionate heroes with some actual empathy would be beyond nice. Support for characters that don't want to take the path of convenience and just shank the goblin babies; the ones that don't consider genocide to be an acceptable solution to anything. Support for characters that would try to save everyone they could, not just their own monkeysphere. Support for characters that want to give wealth away to the needy while not guaranteeing their own failure in the future because of how the rules and WBL expectations work.

Tying back into something else that Tonyz suggested, having Good be Good still leaves room for values dissonance between various celestials. I'm not saying they should be having themselves their own Blood War(to start, not Good), but there are plenty of things for them to disagree over and plenty of ways for them to play out that doesn't require them to be killing each other. They're immortal beings that are part metaphor, there's plenty of craziness they can get up to with each other.

Good being good at being Good

Some have complained about the setting feeling a bit bleak at times. There's something to be said for providing plenty of reasons for PCs to go out and be the Big Damn Heroes, but there's also something to be said for not overdoing it to the point of causing Darkness Induced Audience Apathy.

That negative effect comes through on both the GM and player level. With players, sometimes it feels like there's not much point in bothering to try and be Big Damn Good if you feel doomed to fail from the start, or that the setting is outright hostile to certain Good/idealistic concepts. On the GM side, this can get really nasty as some take the bleakness to be a status quo.

For example, going back to the redemption angle: There's a goddess of redemption in the setting. But there's precious little to show on the redemption front. I can't recall any tribes of "usually evil" races that have been saved by Sarenraen efforts, dispite them being around for a long time and that being their thing. One might say that "well that's what the PCs are for". But that doesn't help you if the GM concludes that "if it hasn't happened yet, it can't happen", which is exactly what some posters have done. And that's just for that angle.

I'm not saying things should be easy for Team Good, but they should at least be competent at actually doing real Good beyond just killing Evil. Otherwise they just seem to come across as impotent, hapless victims. Or obstructive beaurocrats. Or not very Good at all.

Having examples of Good done Good can really help there. Have some examples showing the efforts of good having paid off. Show the odd risen fiend. Show the rare redeemed monstrous tribe and the new culture born from it. Show the pockets of hope in the darkest regions of the world despite it's efforts to stamp them out.

Some say that having examples like this leave the PCs with nothing to do. It doesn't. It doesn't suddenly make the problems Good is fighting up and disappear. It doesn't mean there's nothing left to fight for. If anything, examples like the above are what's worth fighting for, both to protect, foster, and propagate.

The PCs can still feel like the odds are stacked against them. But at least they would have a hope in hell, so to speak.


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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I'm all for a book on Good.

The issue I have is that I always view the PCs as the central driving force for good. Not because they're more powerful, or anything, but because it is after all a game where the attention is centered (and rightfully so) upon the PCs.

So the big question in my mind is always "so what do I do with these uber-powerful forces of Good that won't overshadow what the PCs are doing?"

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
Mikaze wrote:
Good being good at being Good

Can I haz Good Elemental that shoots Beams of Good from his eyes?


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You mean like a lantern archon?

I just realized something awesome. If you extrapolate.. then four gestalts could combine into a super-gestalt with the size and powers of a Huge air elemental, 3d6 light rays, and a bump to the aura of menace DC (I can't figure out how much)! But wait. When would a regular gestalt be better than nine Small archons with 1d6 rays?

I would apologize, but I'm not even sure that this is a tangent.


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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Lilith wrote:

Off the top of my head...

A more thorough examination of the good outsider races would be *great*, but for something more Material, the organizations around Mendev combatting against the Worldwound would be awesome, as would more information about Old-Mage Jtembe and his Ten Magic Warriors. I'd also like to hear more about when Thassilon was about the Seven Virtues of Rule. Information on how non-paladins can have more goodly options would be super sweet too. :)

I'll have what she's having.

Taldor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber
Mikaze wrote:


Good in all its myriad forms
I am completely with Lilith upthread on wanting more on the celestial races. I've never understood the protest that such a book would be useless on the grounds that most PCs wouldn't fight them, because there are so many other uses for Good exemplar outsiders than just that. Be they allies, beings that PCs might seek to emulate(bards that revere lilends for starters!), or just useful as world/setting building material.

But another reason I'd love to see celestials get more attention is so that they could spread their wings more, and really show off the range they could have. A lot of folks are probably sick of seeing this line, but...

It would be awesome to see celestials that were ugly, or embodied darkness and shadow, or were scary, or were alien, or were "primitive/savage", or just plain weird. All while remaining entirely Good. I loved beings like the Zoveri and the Busen from Planescape for those reasons, and the game has felt less vibrant since they faded out of use.

Celestials like that would go a long way towards fighting the stereotype that Team Good is somehow boring, "wussy", or bland by default. One of the criticisms I've seen of aasimar is that they were presented in 3.x as always being blond, fair-skinned, and pretty. This ignores all the wild range and fun that the Upper Planes have to offer. Those are some strange vistas with some strange, though Good, beings living in them, many of them likely originally born on alien worlds at that. One need only look through the "1000 aasimar traits" thread to see what possilibities could lie out there.

Showing all the range available to Good doesn't have to be restricted to outsiders though. Having cultural traditions supporting Big Damn Good available to many other cultures than just the expected countries would be a great boon. They wouldn't have to be widespread influences, but they would be there to be reasonably accessed by characters without having the overly contrive their backstories. Some areas are hurting for those options, or they have options that could use more attention: Jatembe* mentioned upthread is a great example. Garund in general doesn't have much in the way of Good-leaning cultures to pull from, not like Avistan. Further fleshing out Nantambu and exploring other traditions and organizations elsewhere could really help that continent out. (Dehrukani sounds really interesting for this sort of thing).

One reason that's a bit of a worry spot was a bit from 3.x that has always irked me. Probably the most hated block of text I can recall from the entire edition: Complete Adventurer - It was noted in the musical instrument section that celestials abhor percussion instruments because they're "primitive". Beyond painting celestials in a horrible light, this flat out ignored the barbarian-type celestials that had been established before and really dumped on "primitive" cultures both real and fictional that players may have wanted their Good characters to represent. Basically, that bit from that book assumed some sort of cultural homogeny(and snobbery) among celestials, and it really hurt the flavor and possibilities for the game if a GM took that at face value.

*Rahotep, Pharaoh of Tomorrow sounds crazy awesome too

New gods and (perhaps more likely) empyreal lords can really help here as well. Tsukiyo is a very cool addition to the game, what with being a LG god of Darkness and Madness. The only problem with him is that he isn't very accessable to Inner Sea Region characters without contrivance. A wider range of Empyreal Lords(and there are a ton of Lord types for all three major fiend races already) can make a lot of concepts easier to pull off. A Mwangi warrior revering Tsukiyo doesn't really click. That same warrior worshipping a god/empyreal that could reasonably be known in the Expanse just rolls out naturally.

Bit of a long-winded think about why virtue is so often presented as effete, naive and pathetic:
I think this is a problem created in real life and dragged into the game.

Bullies and thugs like to portray themselves as virile, exciting and outrageous to justify what they do:
"Of course I hit him, he's a little whiner who needs to map up!"
"What are you doing volunteering with those old folks, boring!" I remember hearing this as a kid, the volunteer was helping to build things and listening to WW2 survivors tell war stories, which sounds pretty virile and manly to me, while the bully went to play football (soccer) down the park, which is one of the most effete sports I can think of. Ah, good old irony, a friend through troubled times.

So then, because they shout loudest and have actually come to dominate parts of our world (for instance, the mainstream press in my country is dominated by bullying louts) they foisted this vision of virtue as 'soft' and 'pathetic' on us all.
So now the easiest way to read about genuinely virtuous heroes is to read myth (Robin Hood, King Arthur) because being essentially decent is seen as unrealistic, especially for characters with any kind of power. Even heroic cops (all the way back to Die Hard) have to be obsessives with terrible personal lives, often with borderline mental health problems, to make them 'normal', 'believable' and 'human'. Apparently being virtuous, strong and kind don't fit right for 'realistic' characters.
Even Superheroes have this problem: Tony Stark lives in a crass hip-hip video at the start of Iron Man, Bruce Wayne is womanising bore to appear 'normal' and thus protect his identity, when Superman wants to appear 'normal' he doesn't just get a job and wear real clothers, he also becomes fairly pathetic, clumsy and boring.
The best hero I can think of, off the top of my head, who isn't troubled or pathetic in some way is Roy Greenhilt.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
GeraintElberion wrote:

I'd like to read about the political impact of good churches, too often in RPGs our (well-founded) modern bias against politicians leads to things like national governments in league with Asmodeus.

Does the church of Shelyn influence civic programmes so that architecture in slum developments is less hideous? Does Sarenrae's church support leaders who promote social mobility? Does the church of Cayden bless the ruler who builds and funds orphanages?

I know that virtue is its own reward but something about how good PCs are respected and admired and thus gain boons: often these are seen in adventures with things like the discount in stores for heroes in Burnt Offerings but I would like to see systems of reward-for-virtue which a GM can pick up and drop into his game:
"In Katapesh, it is illegal to enslave adventurers given the title 'heroes of the people' by a local council of elders."
"In Andoran, non-halflings who support the Bellflower Network are given the title 'Gracious Lord' by halflings and will often receive free hospitality from grateful ex-slaves and their families." If you want more grounded crunch then: " These characters receive +2 to diplomacy checks when dealing with non-evil halflings"

It would also be cool to see some good-only magic gear: we get enough skinsaw masks that PCs can only give to a local temple to destroy, why not have some things that villians only keep to figure out a way to twist their powers but which heroes can make great use of.

3.5 had low-powered good outsiders that would symbiotically 'infect' heroes and help them out: sometimes I have gods grant the half-celestial template to heroes who have done great deeds, why not give smaller boons, such as a spirit that grants clw once a day and light at will who stays with heroX for a month, granted by Desna for those who do good stuff.

+1

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

Mikaze wrote:
ALL OF THE THINGS

Beautiful!

Keep 'em coming ya'll. I'm WATCHING. O_O

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

:D

Going back to Good conflicting with Good, illustrating the values dissonance going on between different faiths and cultures(even with a single faith spanning cultures) could provide some neat fuel for stories. Like the difference between the Church of Sarenrae and Cayden Cailean when it comes to fighting slavery, particularly in Katapesh and Qadira.

There's also Good vs enemies within, where establishments meant for good fall well short of their ideals and presenting something for legit heroes to take a stand against. Stuff like the Burners in Mendev, which would send most Iomedaen paladins into a rage.

Cultural specific traditions for Big Damn Good heroes to pull from sound really exciting too. You could have stuff like:

Osirion - Just as the pharaohs were seen as living gods in mortal form, maybe there could be a parallel tradition of...for lack of a better term, mini-pharaohs that were believed to be(or perhaps actually were) incarnations or embodiments of celestials or even Empyreals. Maybe it wouldn't be a hereditary tradition so much as one that one felt called towards, like paladinhood. Or they could be born into it, via celestial reincarnation and then having to be tracked down and brought into the fold by this small group of exemplars, folks that embody all the best that Osirion could and probably should be. Also, cool Egyptian-style clothing, which always looks awesome in fantasy land.

Shoanti - I was thinking of celestial totem worship, but then I just remembered the Moon Maidens of the Lyrune-Quah(featured for a bit in History of Ashes but nowhere else yet AFAIK). There could be a lot to mine there.

Nantambu - This goes back to Old-Mage Jatembe and his legacy, but a city and major magic school based around his teachings has got to have plenty of possibilities to play with.

These could be things that players might not even be a part of, but they and their characters could draw inspiration and influence from them. An Osirioni slave might be inspired to rise to greatness for the sake of others, emulating these exemplars and serving not as hope made flesh. A Shoanti brave might be inspired to fight for something higher than just survival and personal honor, following esoteric dreams and spirit guides to provide more for his people. Entire Mwangi tribes might be driven to crusade against threats against the brightest beacon of hope in the Expanse, bringing ancient wisdom back to lands that have forgotten it.

GeraintElberion wrote:
Bit of a long-winded think about why virtue is so often presented as effete, naive and pathetic:

Spoiler:
While I don't really have a problem with troubled heroes(many of my favorites could be called such), I do sympathize with the feeling that the heroes in a lot of fiction getting pushed as being "in" these days frequently lean a bit much towards cynical...with some verging on sociopathic.

That's another reason I'd like to see idealistic heroes presented in more flavors, breaking the narrow expectations that are typically foisted upon them.

It's also why I can't help but instinctively push back against the ideas that certain races or "types" have to be anti-heroes or otherwise edgy, or that certain races aren't meant to be "happy". Take tieflings for example. Going full-tilt good, sometimes I might want to play a jaded but still fundamentally good Hellboy. Other times I might want to play the much more idealistic Nightcrawler. Would they have issues troubling them? Sure, but they shouldn't overwhelm them as some sort of rule.

Osirion

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More specifically [good] spells. There are specifically [evil] spells (animate dead, etc) but there aren't a lot of specifically [good] spells that aren't just carbon copy clones of evil/chaos/law spells (like magic circle against X or holy/unholy/etc. word).

Stuff that revolves around concepts like hope, sacrifice, compassion, redemption, forgiveness, etc. that doesn't come off as too terribly naive or unrealistic or namby-pamby. There's plenty of focus on sins and vices, not so much on the virtues, or on what a "good" person does, other than run around killin' evil folk with extreme prejudice.

Good options for lots of classes, like Mikaze mentions.

Azata or Agathion inspired celestial rage powers.

Sacred hymns for bards.

Alchemical purification / sanctification rituals, and perhaps an archetype that flings holy water 'bombs.' (or can just enhance holy water so that it has other effects or increased effects, such as making 'holy oil' that acts like both alchemist's fire *and* holy water to anything that would be affected by holy water, and has no effect at all on anything that would *not* be affected by holy water).

Theurgical arcana for wizards attempting to use the arcane to tap into celestial forces. There's plenty of specific demon / devil / etc. summoning spells. Bring forth the hordes of lantern archons, or whatever! Enchantment spells that cause evil-doers to suffer crippling flashbacks of their wicked deeds rebounding upon themselves, and similarly bolster good people in the area of effect by allowing them to feel the gratitude of those they have helped in the past (debuff evil, buff good, neutrals can go punt).

Good monk options with ridiculous names. Thundering Fist of the Righteous Heaven-Warrior. Sevenfold Karmic B****slap of the Boddhisatva of Wrath.

Options where doing 'good' not only has a good effect overall, but benefits the character performing the action. Good becomes it's own reward. If a Monk, for instance, uses his 'Wholesome Ki Massage' technique to use his Wholeness of Body healing an ally instead of himself, he gains a +2 morale bonus that he can apply to one attack, skill, save or ability check later in the day (or the ability to reroll one such roll? I dunno, something cool).

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Set wrote:

Good monk options with ridiculous names. Thundering Fist of the Righteous Heaven-Warrior. Sevenfold Karmic B****slap of the Boddhisatva of Wrath.

Paizo, please make this happen. Also, Open Palmstrike of Silvered Steel Crashing As The Waves.

One other thought I forgot under Good being Good: Another trap to avoid is the violation of free will as a means of redemption. Sanctify the wicked and the criticism it recieved are pretty well known by now; even if the flavor didn't quite get as questionable as the mechanics felt, it was still very questionable in a lot of ways. Another example out of fiction is the recent Zatanna Mindwipe fiasco, which actually retroactively ruined the character development for a number of characters. And the old Helm of Opposite Alignment.

And examination on how Good views compulsions could be worth the wordspace. While some compulsions could still be kosher(such as those that prevent someone from doing harm to themselves and others), others used to sway people romantically or "redeem" beings by forcibly reprogramming them should be seen as seriously icky territory. Of course this could just be as easy as having a short talk on Good and the importance of free will.

It's what Ihys would want! :)


Lilith wrote:

Off the top of my head...

A more thorough examination of the good outsider races would be *great*, but for something more Material, the organizations around Mendev combatting against the Worldwound would be awesome, as would more information about Old-Mage Jtembe and his Ten Magic Warriors. I'd also like to hear more about when Thassilon was about the Seven Virtues of Rule. Information on how non-paladins can have more goodly options would be super sweet too. :)

All of this, plus Mikaze's suggestions.


It's very exciting to hear the Good is on the list for getting the Schneider Treatment and for the time being I echo the Mikaze, with the only strong difference being that I'm not jazzed on all the monk ideas floating around.
Mortal perfection is a trope that meshes well with aspiring to enlightened virtues and monks do have extraplanr trappings.
I'd be far more interested in seeing other martial expressions of holiness (like inquisitors and cavaliers), since they have more new territory to span than yet more words about the holiest of holy monks.
/monkhate :P

I semi-recently put many an hour into a project called A Light From On High, and it will take a little while to synthesize my expansive pedantic thoughts into something readable.

In a meta-sense I'd diggggg Todd Stewart's views on Good in Golarion and Beyond.

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Set, Mikaze and GeraintElberion have pretty much summed up my feelings about this particular subject. I'd think the whole risen fiend concept could be explored in something like this, with Ragathiel being held up as a prime example. In fact, more information on this particular Empyreal Lord would be greatly appreciated as he just fascinates me (and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one that feels this way). You don't get to see many examples of risen fiends and something like that would go a long way to showing that the efforts being truly good are not for naught.

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A little bit of exploration of some of the goodly allies one can find in the unlikliest of places could be fun too.

And I'm not just saying that to get more exposure for the Darklands' azruverda! ;)


Paladin of Freedom (with a less "derivative" name pererably) alternate class? There should be more to it than "replace [good] with [evil] and heal with harm, bonus to allies to penalty to enemies" the anti-paladin got (prehaps focus more on mobility?) though I suppose new classes are reserved for hard covers.

Something about Evil aligned heroes working for good?


How about those who look out for "the street urchins" or those orphaned (and widowed) due to wars/raids/disease etc. Hospitalers have been mentioned but what about other organizations?

"Riff Raff! Street rat! I don't buy that, no siree..."

What about the city guards, the "Royal Fleet" to protect the shipping lanes (have these folks may have been mentioned in the new AP Skull & Shackles?) or those who patrol the roadways (= modern day state troopers)

Wardens have already been mentioned...

Are there folks who regulate and enforce trade laws?

Are there any Inquisitor "organizations" rooting not just the heretics?

Surely there are people patrolling the borders of the Worldwound like those of Lastwall.

And one just for fun...what about

WARNING: DON'T LOOK!:
the Fashion Police (o_0)

Rom001

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^^^^ On Inquisitors doing things other than rooting out heresy, you can have some Nidalese inquisitors of Desna working to protect the Desnan underground and their families from the Kuthonite police state, which probably has their own inquisitors hunting those same folks down. Ha, there's a thought: Kuthonite inquisitors in Nidal do play the part of "heretic hunters" within their own church, because the Desnan (inquisitors or otherwise) are infiltrating them and attempting to subvert their practices. Oh man, Shelynites would actually be an even bigger source of infiltrators, seeing themselves as an extention of their goddess' desire to save her brother, so they in turn try to do the same for ZK's followers.

Oh snap...

That could be a small part of another big angle waiting to be explored: Unconventional warfare that Team Good waged on a political, social, and spiritual level rather than just by force of arms and magic. There are some rich roleplay opportunities to pull out of that!

Was thinking about the Fool figure again, and got to thinking about Tsukiyo and his madness.

I know he's a bit of an outlier deity as far as the ISR is concerned, but some ideas, both mechanical and flavor-wise, on how to represent a Golarion character touched by an entirely benevolent form of divine madness could be goodfun.


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I'm interested in the clashes between Goods. I'd like to see different acceptable methods of Good - it seems awfully unimaginative to think that the only good guys are the ones who practice wanton charity and random acts of interfering kindness, and that the only alternative is a Lawful Stupid metagamer. I'd like to see shades of Good, variations of Good. On a slightly tangential note, I'd like to see an AP with a genuinely Good 'villain' - which is to say, someone who either doesn't have all the facts, or perhaps has drawn an invalid conclusion. Make the Good choices hard ones, as much as any other choices are.

It's been said before, but : alternative Paladins - Cayden's got to have some CG Paladins out there. Desna might have some Wardens of the Road, sort of thing. NG Pharast Paladins could be interesting (obviously focusing on the anti-undead aspect of things). A NG Dawnflower Paladin might be fun, as well, and a totally different take on the same alignment.

If it's a Holy book, rather than simply a Good book, perhaps a note on Holy-but-not-strictly-Good. There have to be some fascinating Neutral Celestials out there - arbiters and the like. Maintaining the Balance, sort of thing. The old orders of monks keeping the time of the universe. I have an amusing notion of anti-ascetic merchant monks of Abadar, spreading wealth by trade rather than charity. They probably get on well with the holy smiths of Torag.

I guess the big thing I'm getting at is variety - 'fantasy Good' is woefully lacking in variety. I love Mikaze's mention of Zoveri and Busen...creepy-good puts me in mind of old fairy tales, and I enjoy that.

Taldor

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I think that inquisitors were supposed to scratch the non-LG-paladin itch. JJ clearly dislikes them.

Grand Lodge

Depictions of non-clerics and paladins in service of good. A wizard in service of Desna, a fighter working to further the cause of the Silver Crusade.
Also, more archetypes like the sacnctified rogue, and Empyreal sorcerer.


That's funny, I'm not really an inquisitor fan. Er, at all. I tend to pretend that they don't exist.

Oh, I do like Mikaze's Fool-figure, and would enjoy some better characterizations of good Rogues. Hard to come by, those.


An explanation on why kidnapping an angel is [good] and kidnapping a fiend is [evil] (Personally I think the easiest option is a statement that the casting and reinforcement of Magic Circle Against X cancels out the alignment subtype's effects if opposite aligned)

Same for why negative energy is [evil] (and why undead, despite being MINDLESS beings animated by this energy, are neutral evil), but positive isn't [good] and enslaving sapient elementals has no alignment implications.

Contributor

Jaerc wrote:


In a meta-sense I'd diggggg Todd Stewart's views on Good in Golarion and Beyond.

Anything in particular from stuff I've already done, or just in general? :)


A guide on how to Play/Roleplay a freaking Paladin (useful for both players and GMs).

Books about the Good Outsiders (as someone mentioned, they can still be enemies).

Same thing I asked in the fiends topic: How to make celestials; stats adjustments, stuff they get from Racial hit dices, stuff they would still get with classes, what they get with more hit dices, etc...

Silver Crusade

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Todd Stewart wrote:
Jaerc wrote:


In a meta-sense I'd diggggg Todd Stewart's views on Good in Golarion and Beyond.
Anything in particular from stuff I've already done, or just in general? :)

I know one thing that has always stood out to me was the Isle of the Penitent in Nirvana. The idea of a good-aligned Silent Hill-ish purgatory zone was awesome to start, but the further talk on the boards sealed the deal permanently:

Todd Stewart wrote:
That was the intention. Think of sin or evil not being a taint or corruption to be healed by some outside judging force (like that frankly evil BoED forced redemption spell), but it being a willing condition you have to solve for yourself if you truly want to reform. No one can redeem you but yourself, and it will be painful, only because your desire for redemption may involve travelling through and recognizing a hell of your own making for what it is before you can transcend it. The plane will forgive you. The plane will accept you. But you have to do the same for yourself first, and it may not be a pleasant process.

I've kind of wanted to run a short game set there since then, where all the PCs are dead repentant villains of various sorts, piecing together thier pasts and facing their regrets as they go along. Never could quite settle on how best to put it together, particularly on the player side of things.

Also, Kahotep, not Rahotep. I've been misspelling it this entire time. :(

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After seeing them get chopped from books twice now, just have to say again that Celestial Totems(or Azata totems, Angel totems, Agathion totems, Peri totems, any Good totems) would be a very nice thing for people that wanted to play supergood barbarians. We've had fiend totems since the APG. Team Good's barbarians deserve their special thing too.


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Holy crap Mikaze, you're messing with my head here changing your avatar like that :)

Silver Crusade

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Temporary mourning period.

This may come across as really "videogamey", and honestly it kind of is, but something that lent itself to the visual of someone jumping and then jumping again in mid-air accompanied by a glimps of translucent wings appearing just long enough to drive that person higher could be a neat minor ability for some classes.

Utility spells and abilities focused around providing for others could be extremely useful for characters who find themselves needing to take care of a large number of refugees, disaster survivors, prisoners, etc, though it probably shouldn't remove the difficulty of such acts entirely(especially since one of the things that sets Good apart is that it doesn't resort to convenience over what's right).

Osirion

To offer my own two-cents, I'll mention one of the predecessors of what this book may eventually become: D&D 3.5's Book of Exalted Deeds. There was a lot of crazy stuff in that book (Vow of Poverty? What were they thinking?), but one thing I did kind of like and would like to see addressed is things like the "good" diseases and poisons. I didn't particularly agree with their interpretation - I don't think poisons and diseases would simply "only affect bad people" if they were altered by the good powers-that-be - but I do think there could be some interesting results when good powers try to muck around with traditionally evil/vile/dastardly attack vectors.

Also, to expand on one of Mikaze's suggestions, how about rules/templates for good-gone-bad, or bad-gone-good, creating actual fallen angels or risen devils/demons/daemons/gremlins/qlippoth/holy-hell-there's-so-many-evil-outs iders. Unless you're planning on a neutral/good-evil-crossover sorta Player Companion, seeing similar interactions between good and evil and the blurring shades of grey in between could be very helpful for creating more three-dimensional characters. To mention the previous holy-text once again, I really dug the many character interpretations, especially "Redeemed Villain". Perhaps things like that could become some interesting archetypes?

Props to Mikaze for many, many cool ideas, as always.

Looking forward to this!


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I' would very strongly prefer NOT to have "good poisons" or "good diseases". They so don't fit the way I see good working.

Good and evil are different approaches to the world and behavior, not just different colored team jerseys. That should show up in their tools and abilities as well.

Osirion

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tonyz wrote:
I' would very strongly prefer NOT to have "good poisons" or "good diseases". They so don't fit the way I see good working.

What he said. Although... It would be funky to be able to create a contagious cure spell that spread like a disease and immunized those 'afflicted' against a specific disease. But just flat-out diseases and poisons that affect evil things? Nah, that's dull.

It's appropriate to come up with a magical affliction that caused someone to be afflicted with guilt and remorse over harm they'd caused to other (or to relive every moment of suffering they'd caused, like some sort of perfect recall / empathic awakening thing), but trying to flavor such an 'evil-affecting affliction' as a *poison,* doesn't necessarily make sense.

While an upper (or lower) plane could be 'spiritually toxic' and harmful to those of the opposite alignment subtype (or even 'spiritually corrosive,' and slowly infect and subvert those trapped within them to the alignment subtype of the plane), that, too, doesn't really fit the definition of 'poison,' so much as 'scary planar effect you don't want none of.'

Quote:
Good and evil are different approaches to the world and behavior, not just different colored team jerseys. That should show up in their tools and abilities as well.

Agreed. Thanks to Thassilon and the 'sin-mages,' we've got a plethora of stuff for gluttony and greed and wrath and pride, and even gotten seven of the schools of arcane magic into the mix, and a patron diety for almost every 'sin' (Urgathoa - gluttony, Asmodeus - pride, Rovagug - wrath, Zon-Kuthon - envy, Calistria - lust, Norgorber - greed, lacking a big 20 rep for sloth, 'cause whoever said he was gonna take the job slept in late and didn't show...).

It's well past time for some stuff based on the *virtues.* Is there a god(dess) associated with restraint/patience/temperance/moderation (perhaps Irori?)? One with charity, or wisdom?

Cayden's got courage, and Iomedae justice, Sarenrae honesty and Shelyn love, but the other virtues (and, to be fair, there's probably about *fifteen* contestents for the 'seven virtues' out there...) are not as well represented among the 'big 20' gods as the seven vices are.

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^^^^ YES.

Also, gotta share the misgivings about good-aligned poisons after what the ravages turned out to be(the things were downright sadistic). I liked that the BoED made a lot of holy-themed options available to all classes, but there was a lot of moral dissonance floating around that book.

Curses on the other hand... You could get some very evocative ones, but the trick is to not stumble into evil territory. It should be just and preferably poetic, but they'd also absolutely have to avoid cruelty and moral dissonance. Reminded of one of a friend's homebrew angels for one example, what with the disease talk: (repostin')

Spoiler:
One of my all time favorite creatures an online acquaintance created was the clementar angel, or leper angels:

Angels wrapped with fine white bandages like a leper, with wings made of the same flowing material. They're beautiful by default, but they take on the scars and suffering of those they heal.

The only time they themselves are healed of their scars and disfigurments is when they are administered to by their patron deity during a short time of solace, or when they curse those who would inflict disease upon others. On the latter, it's only a permanent, disfiguring curse. The victim remains healthy, but is marked forever by their own deeds.

The angels' only attacks were that curse and hanging bandages that acted as merciful spiked chains(this was 3.5). They were pretty much exclusively medics.

Speaking of -ar angels...

Solar
Planetar
?

Wonder if there's anything that could be mined out of further expanding a "celestial bodies"-themed series of angels. Lunar angels for example? Nebular? Taking that same approach with the Astral Devas, perhaps a specialized angel linked especially to one of the upper planes? Elysium/Nirvana/Heaven angels, with some crossover flavor with the primary native outsiders of those planes?

Just realized, Set's Martyr Angels almost fit the -ar theme as well. ;)

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Also, maybe a little hint of flavor and support, even if heretical, for devotees of Dou-Bral That Was(And May Yet Be Again)?

Or even Ihys!


I'm coming in late to this discussion but having followed it from the beginning I want to say how excited I am with what everyone's posted. I've been a GM for over a decade and am used to needing to create my own "Good" stuff since the gaming content was heavy on the opposite side of things or on the "Gray." Having in-game content that was "Good" would be wonderful.

While any player can make a character and chose a good alignment and RP it well, the game mechanics rarely give a benefit for being good. That's always an in-house thing at my table.

In game mechanics, being good is enforced through Punishment for failure to meet an expectation or Negatively Reinforced through atonement (or its ken) when you do screw up.
How many of us have played CN characters because differences of opinion existed between GM and player on the subject of what constituted true "Good?"

I know I've played my share of CN characters b/c it was simply easier. Defining good can be hard. In my experience its easier to get agreement on iconic evil, or even mundane evil than to draw a boundary around what constitutes "Good." Behaviorism is easier to define b/c it doesn't require thought, so we get the phenomena of the Lawful Stupid Paladin or Legalistic Cleric, both of which seem to have something stuck up…well I think its clear where that was going... No one likes Lawful Stupid.
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**My point:** I didn't see anyone define Good (or for that matter, Evil).
Maybe I missed it?
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Either way, posting on that topic would likely result in some cool discussion.
So, at the risk of getting philosophical, anyone want to take a stab at defining "Good?"

We could brainstorm a little about that and maybe move toward a consensus on what "Good" actually is (in reality, thus to apply it in game better) or at least what we want it to look like in game?

We could also approach from the angle of "what Good is not/ what Good doesn't look like."
I'm not suggesting this is easy, but am thinking it would be beneficial.

But, perhaps such a task is neither here nor there as (1) this is a brainstorming session and (2) concerns over synthesis is for the Powers-That-Be in the mighty Halls of Paizo.

Are there any takers from the more regular posters? I'm new here so I'll wait to post my own thoughts on what "Good" is or is not till I see there's interest from the group.


I'll bite -- but I'll spoiler it, in case it devolves into a political debate.

What good is:
"Good" is the desire to promote the well-being of others in general, combined with the willingness to forgo opportunities for personal gain (or to even take personal risks). Some may associate well-being with other things like independence or community; but either way, they want to help other people do better.

What it's not:
A mistake that some people make is to assume that they're "good" just for giving money to a cause. Self-sacrifice is noble; but when its purpose is to make poor people more miserable -- such as by taking away relief of their deprivation, or by imposing onerous cultural rules that the wealthy easily avoid -- then it might be lawful, but it isn't good.


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Blayde MacRonan wrote:
Set, Mikaze and GeraintElberion have pretty much summed up my feelings about this particular subject. I'd think the whole risen fiend concept could be explored in something like this, with Ragathiel being held up as a prime example. In fact, more information on this particular Empyreal Lord would be greatly appreciated as he just fascinates me (and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one that feels this way). You don't get to see many examples of risen fiends and something like that would go a long way to showing that the efforts being truly good are not for naught.

This, oh so much.

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josh4114 wrote:

We could brainstorm a little about that and maybe move toward a consensus on what "Good" actually is (in reality, thus to apply it in game better) or at least what we want it to look like in game?

We could also approach from the angle of "what Good is not/ what Good doesn't look like."
I'm not suggesting this is easy, but am thinking it would be beneficial.

I don't think we'll ever get a real consensus on alignment, especially since everyone wants something different out of the game, but personally:

(probably rambly)

Spoiler:

Good needs to mean more than what it has often been used as throughout the history of the game.

Sometimes Good has been little more than a label with as much moral weight as Red or Blue.

Good needs to be about more that "us vs. them".

Good has to be more than just Evil with the polarities swtiched. If evil hobgoblins are committing genocide against others, Good's response can't be to simply do the same thing back to them.

Good is not neccesarily "nice", but it absolutely has to actually be Good. Same thing for Good not meaning "soft" or "bright". And Good certainly shouldn't be expected to be stupid.

Good doesn't play favorites. Good doesn't get sucked into the monkeysphere thing like Neutral might. Again, Good has to be more than a excuse for "us vs. them", and certainly shouldn't be founded upon that same conflict.

Good is not about what you wear or what you look like. Good is not about being bright and shiny. This seems an obvious thing to say, but it's frustratingly common to see just that happening. Looking creepy, dark, or simply not being "pretty" enough in no way has anything to do with morality. It's part of why I'm such a big proponent for dark/scary/ugly/alien-looking celestials. Beauty Equals Goodness is a trope long past need of retirement.

Good and Evil shouldn't be something someone is just born into. Choice is what gives those things weight. Having X be good/evil simply because they were born an X doesn't cut it. The culture can make them that way, but playing it the other way all too frequently just turns into an excuse for guilt-free baby murdering. No thanks.

Good can recognize that sometimes certain parts of certain cultures really do need to go. But Good should also be taking care not to fall into the trap of cultural imperialism or worse, using it as another excuse for genocide. If X is trapped in an unholy culture guided by a Y cult, Good should be working to remove Y. But they shouldn't be moving to remove Z as well where Z is something that makes them culturally uneasy but is not evil in and of itself, especially if fighting to remove Z is going to result in more pain and bloodshed.

Good doesn't equal civilized. That is, Good shouldn't be equated with cultural/societal structures over others on the basis of "primitive" vs. "advanced", for reasons that really shouldn't have to be pointed out.

LG is not Best Good. NG and CG are fundamentally just as Good

Good isn't about doing the convenient thing.

Good doesn't force redemption - that defeats the entire point. Good can offer it and lead others to it. In order for redemption to mean anything, to be true, it has to be chosen. Swordpoint conversion is no redemption of any kind. And magically forcing a change in alignment is a violation that Good should never be comfortable with.

Good does its damnedest to fight against the "cold calculus of war". Good tries to save everyone. It tries so hard it hurts.

And when it can't, it doesn't just wash its hands of any losses. When it is forced to make those hellish choices, it doesn't make them easily or lightly. Good doesn't forget those that are lost. Good remembers the lost even as it takes relief in those it could save.

And Good strives even harder to do the right thing for the sake of both.


Fredrik wrote:

I'll bite -- but I'll spoiler it, in case it devolves into a political debate.

Fredrik,

Thanks for taking a bite! :-)

Its sad, but I think you were prudent in using a Spoiler button. I've seen some heated posting related to this topic of 'Good' and was saddened by the non-creative 'heat.'

Thanks for the comments and sensitivity. :-)


Mikaze wrote:
josh4114 wrote:

We could brainstorm a little about that and maybe move toward a consensus on what "Good" actually is (in reality, thus to apply it in game better) or at least what we want it to look like in game?

We could also approach from the angle of "what Good is not/ what Good doesn't look like."
I'm not suggesting this is easy, but am thinking it would be beneficial.

I don't think we'll ever get a real consensus on alignment, especially since everyone wants something different out of the game, but personally:

(probably rambly)

** spoiler omitted **...

Mikaze,

Thanks for the impassioned and detailed reply!
If that's how you ramble, bring it on!

:-)

Clearly, you have thoughts on this issue. If you feel a consensus is likely out of reach, what do you think is within our grasp related to the defining features of Good?

More….

Spoiler:

I am of the opinion that talking around and about the defining qualities of "Good" may give us a border within which to find patterns or habits that could consistently inform player and GM options, making mechanic design more than a hodgepodge of disconnected options (my interpretation of many previous RPG attempts at quantifying 'good' aligned player options).

For example, if we all agreed Good needed to be more than a Team Jersey, we should be able to see the inconsistency of something like a "good poison" right off.
But if Good is dualistic, then ultimately a "good" poison is internally consistent with such an assumption (horrible one imo).

Maybe that strikes as a weak example as some would say such is obvious, but whoever thought it up didn't think so at the time and I doubt that person lacked intelligence, wisdom or creativity. She/He probably had all 12's or higher. :-) They may have considered Good the opposite of evil and left their definition at a simplistic dualism. Maybe not. We'll probably never know, right?

In my experience this sort of thing happens more often than not, because we all assume our view is the other persons, or aught to be--when in fact it is not the case. What is 'obvious' to oneself is often not to another, yet we easily move forward on assumption, then get confused or irate when view points don't mesh.

Since I've seen creative suggestions within this thread that require a Dualistic view of Good/Evil (~Eastern View) and suggestions requiring an Absolute opposition or tension view (~ Western View) to be internally consistent, I thought I'd bring up the notion of chewing on a definition to achieve some clarity. That type of conversation should happen at some point, so why not now?

I doubt we could find the community agreeing on everything, but I don't think that's necessary. Even a more clearly defined "Venn diagram" could be helpful. :-)

Thanks for your post. I really enjoyed what you had to say!

Taldor

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber
Mikaze wrote:
LG is not Best Good. NG and CG are fundamentally just as Good

A thousand times yes!

More generally, I think understanding Neutral helps us to define good as something other than not-evil. Neutral is also not-evil but it represents a different set of behaviours and ideas toward the world than Good.

I think that part of the issue of definition comes from the importance of context.

So, for example, "I am fighting to protect my country!" is not an inherently Good statement. There must be a wider context. I am sure we can all see how fraught this is.

I like Mikaze's rant, that could probably be edited into the introduction.

I think the nature of published adventures and campaign settings (not a knock at Golarion, I adore it) is that adventurers generally accept the status quo and act to restore the status quo by defeating evil. Is that a Good or a Neutral act?
Often enough it is Good because the Evil was going to make things worse but it is not probably as inherently good as trying to improve things.

For example: Jade Regent begins with a Neutral aim (installing Ameiko as ruler of Minkai) tinged with possible good (because Ameiko is good) but with the threat of evil (many might die in the process, perhaps Ameiko isn't cut out to rule). The quest becomes heroic and Good when it turns out that the alternative is evil, decadent spirits controlling the nation and enslaving/killing/eating/whatever the population.

Good people, left to their own devices, should still be doing good things. Not waiting around for another evil to need thwarting, that is a passive, reactive and rather 'soft' Good.

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