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Forced alignment change NOT involving how the PC was role played


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

Grand Lodge

Here's the situation with my group. This last mission we were on was to get this artifact level sword away from a paladin that thought he was doing good with it. What we knew about the sword was that when the paladin struck something with it, the creature struck would often times start behaving opposite it's nature (ie: evil creatures started being good, good creatures started being bad). Our group consists of mostly good characters, including a paladin, so we choose to talk to the guy instead of beating him up and taking his stuff. When we talk to him he's convinced his god gave him this weapon to do this work (his god being an old d&d god named Trithereon(sp?), a CG god of individuality) and no matter what facts we gave him (including telling him the sword was technically taking away others "individuality") he would not listen to us in the slightest, not even a diplomacy check was asked for. Our wizard, who seems to know everything, decides that casting Legend Lore on it to prove the function of the sword to the paladin and prove that the research we did on it is correct and it's a weapon not of his god would be the best course. To cast the spell he had to touch the sword. The paladin refused to see anybody that was wearing magic items, offensive our otherwise, for fear they would try and take his sword as others have tried. The wizard agrees and convinces the paladin to let him see the sword. Upon touching the sword (and failing a will save as he rolled a 12 and without any magic items that got him a 19) his alignment immediately goes from LN to N because of a randomly rolled, via percentile dice, alignment shift. This shook up the character quite a lot since his extremely structured life and mindset was now compromised, so the party decided to regroup. Now it looks like the wizard may leave the group as his lawful nature was the main reason he stayed with the group in the first place (he had to rely on his lawful sense of duty to stay because of some members of the group being extremely volatile and endangering his life unnecessarily and constantly, ie: goblin alchemist). My questions after that necessarily long explanation are:

Do you think it is fair to leave alignment shifts like that up to percentile dice as you could just make a LG PC instantly CE?

Do you think the DM unnecessarily punished the wizard for going about the scenario the "goodly" way?

Do you believe it's ok for a DM to mess with a PC's personality like that? How about leaving it up to chance on how a character turns out?

I'm glad we didn't fight him in the end as our whole group could have gone through an extremely drastic change. As is there are already multiple characters leaving/looking to leave because of how the scenario turned out. Am I thinking too strongly on this subject?

Grand Lodge

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And i apologize for the huge block of text

Osirion

It's an interesting concept for an artifact. I would have at least given the player some kind of "route of return" if he didn't want to have the PC's alignment permanently compromised.

Funnily enough, I'm working on a sourcebook right now which will help address similar issues!


It's an artifact-level mcguffin. These things happen sometimes. It's not like the Wizard was hit by this CRB item:

Quote:

Helm of Opposite Alignment

Aura strong transmutation; CL 12th

Slot head; Weight 3 lbs.

Description

When placed upon the head, this item's curse immediately takes effect (Will DC 15 negates). On a failed save, the alignment of the wearer is radically altered to an alignment as different as possible from the former alignment—good to evil, chaotic to lawful, neutral to some extreme commitment (LE, LG, CE, or CG). Alteration in alignment is mental as well as moral, and the individual changed by the magic thoroughly enjoys his new outlook. A character who succeeds on his save can continue to wear the helmet without suffering the effect of the curse, but if he takes it off and later puts it on again, another save is required.

Only a wish or a miracle can restore a character's former alignment, and the affected individual does not make any attempt to return to the former alignment. In fact, he views the prospect with horror and avoids it in any way possible. If a character of a class with an alignment requirement is affected, an atonement spell is needed as well if the curse is to be obliterated. When a helm of opposite alignment has functioned once, it loses its magical properties.


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Yar!

First, you are going to get a lot of different opinions on this, some of which may take this and opinions not similar to theirs personally and flames may start to rise. Just so you are warned.

Second, based on what info I have based on your post, I must say this: This is not GM punishing a player. Punishment has nothing to do with this. This character took a chance by touching a powerful artifact sword. There are risks involved with touching anything so powerful, he took the risk, failed his save, and is now having to deal with the consequences of that risk.

Unfortunate? Yes. Punishment? No.

If it is indeed the characters thinking about disbanding and not the players, then I give them props. It takes guts to say "you know what, based on this character and the recent events, adventuring may not be for him. He will either retire or look for a different group with less dire obstacles to deal with". If that's in character, then great. I've had plenty of "great" characters leave groups (and I came back with a different character) because after interacting with the group and events, it simply made sense.

If however it is the players themselves and not the characters that are having the issue, then this is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Personally, I do not think this should be a "fair vs unfair" argument. This is an "omg! I didn't realize there are powerful magic items like this that can actually change the way any person perceives and interacts with the world simply by touching it! That is a really powerful and dangerous artifact!" issue. These things do exist, and these guys just came across it. No, if there are feelings of "this is unfair!", then the issue is about expectations. The GM was expecting one kind of game, and the players (some of all or even just one) was expecting a different kind of game.

For more definitive answers, I'd need more information. Is it OK for a GM to "mess" with a PC's personality... first: it depends on how he went about it. second, "mess" is a bad word... how about "adjudicate the consequences of PCs interacting with the world, particularly powerful magic items that by their nature exert influence over those around it appropriately", in this case being an magically empowered alignment shift. It could have been done differently, but that may not actually be "better". The players/characters now have a choice: accept the shift and deal with in via RP (which includes disbanding), or find a way to reverse the magical influence the sword just exerted on them. Find a way, magically, or even through non-magical/RP ways while adventuring, to shift back to lawful. I'd like to think of things like this as an opportunity (either for RP or for more adventure/side quests).

Best of luck, and I hope that, even with characters leaving, it is due to in character reasons and you are all having fun.
If not, then you all need to have a heart to heart talk, players and GM, about game expectations.

~P


While I personally might steer clear of such a change in alignment by an item(since alignment is so varied in opinion anyways among players and DMs), the game has items that do similar things (helm of opposite alignment) and similar situations that forced an alignment change (infected with lycanthropy in older editions). It sounds like the wizard had an idea of what the weapon was doing to those struck by it though and chose to touch it anyways. One thing I would quibble about is Legend Lore requiring a touch on the item, as it does not seem to have any text requiring touching to work, though it does make sense for the spell.

In the end, LN to N is not a huge shift and while it is unfortunate that it's a shift that could remove a PC from the rest of the group, that sounds more like a problem with the rest of the group not being people the PC would associate with except for a massive sense of duty. Also, other situations could have changed the alignment of a player involuntarily, so I don't think the DM designing a malignant item that could do the same thing is out of line.

That said, the game is a group effort and if the majority of the players involved have a problem the DM has to take that into account or possibly lose the players. If it is going to break the game up for one PC to shift ever so slightly in alignment then the players should go to the DM and politely and without malice explain that they aren't happy with that effect in game and ask if the DM can run a game without that item, or with that item but a temporary effect or an effect that can be removed by destroying the sword.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Perfectly legitimate risk..

Artifacts are dangerous... artifacts are unpredictable.

Now for me however, whenever I run an encounter I think of the possible ways an encounter can go and try to keep all those possibilities in mind.

DM's should be very cognizant of this when they introduce artifact level magic in the game, but even more so when it's highly random based.


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Well...at least you have a method of removing said alignment change.

Now you just need to buy yourself a miracle. I suggest miracle because it does not have a material component cost for what you need (i.e. "Undo the harmful effects of certain spells"). So now all you need to do is go to a major metropolis and buy spellcasting services from a church. Cost will be 1530 gp (17 lvl caster x 9th lvl spell x 10). Good luck!


This is an interesting situation, and could be seen as an exciting challenge in role playing. I'd agree with the pirate that it isn't a punishment, although the GM seems to have made a real effort to ensure that at least one character got zapped. A shift along the law/chaos axis is a lot harder to conceptualise than good/evil (I tend to think of law/chaos as much more psychological than ethical - i.e. it's much more of a description of what you are like than what you think). This character shifting to neutral is now less pathologically organised, and may find that he doesn't care quite so much about the behaviour of others so although his original character would now wish to leave the group, his new character doesn't want to as much. (Although the opposite shift would probably be more fun - now I want to leave the group, only my sense of duty means I have to stay).
This cuts to the big problem though which is that the character is now a different character. All his stats and crunch are the same, but the fluff is something different from what his player was wanting to play. And this has happened by sudden, uncontrollable die roll. Would a save against death or die have been unfair? No. (Mean, but not unfair). Would it have been better or worse? Depends on the player. At the level you seem to be playing, death is a nuisance. Having your personality changed is potentially more than that, especially if you the player don't want to play the new personality.
I think the decisions to be made are for the players, not the characters. The character isn't likely to be shook up - he isn't carrying an identity card that states his alignment, it's just part of who he is and it's changed, so he's changed, so he may look back on his previous life and think "what on earth was I thinking?", but he's hardly going to be tormented by his new persona, because that's who he is now. The player has to decide if they can/will play the new role. If not, then realistically it's new character time, and I'd hope that the GM wouldn't penalise the player for making this choice.

Sczarni

Alright... somebody diplo the wizard into getting an atonement spell and return his alignment to LN.

attonement:

Atonement
School abjuration; Level cleric/oracle 5, druid 5, inquisitor 5; Domain purity 5

CASTING
Casting Time 1 hour
Components V, S, M (burning incense), F (a set of prayer beads or other prayer device worth at least 500 gp), DF

EFFECT
Range touch
Target living creature touched
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance yes

DESCRIPTION
This spell removes the burden of misdeeds from the subject. The creature seeking atonement must be truly repentant and desirous of setting right its misdeeds. If the atoning creature committed the evil act unwittingly or under some form of compulsion, atonement operates normally at no cost to you. However, in the case of a creature atoning for deliberate misdeeds, you must intercede with your deity (requiring you to expend 2,500 gp in rare incense and offerings). Atonement may be cast for one of several purposes, depending on the version selected.

Reverse Magical Alignment Change: If a creature has had its alignment magically changed, atonement returns its alignment to its original status at no additional cost.

Restore Class: A paladin, or other class, who has lost her class features due to violating the alignment restrictions of her class may have her class features restored by this spell.

Restore Cleric or Druid Spell Powers: A cleric or druid who has lost the ability to cast spells by incurring the anger of her deity may regain that ability by seeking atonement from another cleric of the same deity or another druid. If the transgression was intentional, the casting cleric must expend 2,500 gp in rare incense and offerings for her god's intercession.

Redemption or Temptation: You may cast this spell upon a creature of an opposing alignment in order to offer it a chance to change its alignment to match yours. The prospective subject must be present for the entire casting process. Upon completion of the spell, the subject freely chooses whether it retains its original alignment or acquiesces to your offer and changes to your alignment. No duress, compulsion, or magical influence can force the subject to take advantage of the opportunity offered if it is unwilling to abandon its old alignment. This use of the spell does not work on outsiders or any creature incapable of changing its alignment naturally.

Though the spell description refers to evil acts, atonement can be used on any creature that has performed acts against its alignment, regardless of the actual alignment in question.

Note: Normally, changing alignment is up to the player. This use of atonement offers a method for a character to change his or her alignment drastically, suddenly, and definitively.

Just popped in my head. How did the paladin wield it all the time without eventually rolling a nat 1 and fail the save possibly losing all his paladin powers or turning into an antipaladin.


go back to the paladin, have allies with detect alignment spells active to discern his new alignment, and touch the item repeatedly until he returns to the alignment he had before. of course, that's pretty much metagaming, since i don't see why his character would be upset about the situation, and it's certainly not that much of a shift in the first place, so i don't see why he would be acting in ways that would anger other characters. i see it as a chance for role-playing, you shouldn't be fixated on a certain thing, you should role-play a certain character and what happens to them, most of which is never entirely under your control. alignment isn't a fixed thing. most characters have some set of circumstances where they would take actions that would shift their alignment one way or another. this just accelerated that process.

i'm not really sure if that paladin still has their paladin powers though.


Unsurprisingly, I agree with the Pirate.

Mucking about with Artifacts is pretty much the definition of a "risky proposition". It's unfortunate that the wizard felt the need to touch the artifact alignment changing sword that changed alignments by touch to find out more about it, but them's the breaks.

To address your questions in order:
Yes, it's fair.
No, it's not punishment.
Yes, it's ok, even if it's by "chance" (maybe even especially if by chance - could lead to some fun roleplaying opportunities)
Yes, you are thinking too strongly on the subject. =^)

-TimD

Shadow Lodge

Lab_Rat wrote:

Well...at least you have a method of removing said alignment change.

Now you just need to buy yourself a miracle. I suggest miracle because it does not have a material component cost for what you need (i.e. "Undo the harmful effects of certain spells"). So now all you need to do is go to a major metropolis and buy spellcasting services from a church. Cost will be 1530 gp (17 lvl caster x 9th lvl spell x 10). Good luck!

Atonement, which Coraith mentioned, is cheaper for reversing alignment change. Only 950gp, or 450 if the caster already has a focus. It only gets pricey when forgiving deliberate wrongdoing.

It's rough, but this is a very mild case. First, LN to N isn't nearly as bad as it could be. Second, you had warning that this sword caused people to act in ways not fitting their alignment.

This isn't a punishment. Fighting the paladin would have been risky. The diplomatic solution just offered a different kind of risk. And since the wizard can very clearly pinpoint the source of the alignment change, he knows it's artificial and has reason to accept the reversal of that condition. No need to retire the character. You might even be able to talk the Paladin's church into providing the Atonement at no cost, in exchange for services rendered (namely, straightening out their Paladin).

Of course, he could also try roleplaying it out.

Grand Lodge

To state a couple more details The question of fairness was out if line and I acknowledge that, it was not my intention to sound like anyone was whining about this. The level of our party members ranges between 9-11, so we were a little surprised by a powerful effect such as that since our DM has been using artifacts of varying power (usually very underpowered for what I thought an artifact was supposed to represent) since we were 2nd level. He likes artifacts and, even though I don't share his views about them, he likes using them and that's ok. The wizard would be leaving from a character stand point as I know the player has put a lot of time and effort into him and is very fond of the character. The only real problem I have with the situation is that the DM is ok with the player bringing in a new character if it comes to that, but at 1 level lower than his wizard. That, to me, seems a little off.


i think the player is over-reacting. if the alignment change (change of personality) could change the character's actions enough to cause him to leave the party, why can't it change his actions enough to remain in the party? there is no rule that Neutral characters cannot be in the group such as yours. he's fixated on ONE SPECIFIC WAY he could be neutral as opposed to lawful neutral, and that one specific way would cause him to leave the group. tell him to think of another way to be Neutral. or heck, why couldn't the potential loss of an adventuring companion be an emotional crisis prompting other PCs (with alignments/actions problematic for said wizard character) to realize what's important to them and change their ways (changing their alignment in the process)? role-play it out, and maybe get THEM an atonement to 'speed up' the alignment change process for them (as verifiable proof to the wizard). i just see many more fun, interesting ways of approaching this apart from the 'well i leave' approach given.


Weirdo wrote:


Atonement, which Coraith mentioned, is cheaper for reversing alignment change. Only 950gp, or 450 if the caster already has a focus. It only gets pricey when forgiving deliberate wrongdoing.

I brought up the use of miracle because while this particular artifact is GM created, the core rule book has an artifact that does the exact same thing. See Serisans post above^^^^. That particular artifact requires a miracle or wish to undo. So it is probably likely that that is what would be required to undo the GMs version. If you can get away with an atonement go for it, but it is probably going to be easier to convince the GM of a miracle based on already created artifacts.


Adventuring is dangerous. Playing with artifacts is extremely dangerous. If your character concept cannot survive a few in game setbacks then don't play IMO.

You see this as a 'punishment'? I see this as a chance to RP how the wizard feels 'off' and 'wrong' and strives to re attain what made him the great man he was before the sword 'messed with his head'.

In other words, no I don't think your referee did anything wrong or improper. Role playing games are a SHARED story. Playing them means you give a lot of power to the GM and part of that is the chance that your characters may get a boo boo from time to time.

The character was neutral before, that has not changed. Now he is just re evaluating if his absolute rigidity in world view has served him as well as possible.


following up on what gilfalas wrote (along with my last post), the player sees the shift from lawful as removing the reason to be with the party, but really as a whole character he has alot more reasons to be with the party: certainly not every lawful or lawful neutral character you've encountered are potential allies/companions, right? so it sounds like the player is over-looking reasons why his original lawfulness could ALSO have been causing/reflecting motivations that made him want to leave the party in the first place, even if a lawful sense of duty also compelled him to stay. if we imagine that the alignment shift is removing parts of his personality, why can't it also be removing lawful parts that caused the character to be in conflict with some of the party to begin with?

in any case, i don't see why the character would need to leave immediately or abruptly, so it's a roleplaying opportunity to see how it plays out, whatever happens. the artifact didn't make him immediately angry at his allies, or treat them as enemies, so nothing immediate is likely going to happen. if his allies to stuff that rubs him wrong in the future, he can respond as appropriate to that. that doesn't mean leaving right away, it can mean a discussion or argument or whatever. perhaps the relationship between party members WILL change, but that doesn't mean the relationship must end.


Seems a large problem here is he's sticking to alignments way too strictly.

A Neutral character is not somehow incapable of still being organized and restrained. Lawful Neutral doesn't imply OCD last I checked, so his pathological organization was some sort of condition separate from his alignment, which an alignment shift wouldn't change unless it punted him all the way over to the Chaotic side of things (which IMO would be an interesting RP opportunity, a LN character with OCD shifted to CN and "freed" from his condition).


and even being Chaotic doesn't force him to immediately ditch his allies.
chaotic characters maintain allies all the time.
he's not otherwise aligned good/evil, so such issues aren't going to be that big for him.


It depends on the players. Some parties pride themselves on their well crafted characters and loathe losing control of their character, so I wouldn't do this when playing with them.

Others don't care and would find it amusing.


johnlocke90 wrote:

It depends on the players. Some parties pride themselves on their well crafted characters and loathe losing control of their character, so I wouldn't do this when playing with them.

Others don't care and would find it amusing.

That's true. Taking control of their character away from the player is always a bit of a risky move, especially when it's something long-term like a forced alignment shift.

However, if the player has access to some way to undo the shift, it shouldn't be a big deal.


I would argue that forced true alignment change is nonsensical. Any change must be maintained to endure and should therefore fade in the absence of a source of maintenance.

Alignment is really something too fundamental to a character to force change on unless it's based on the character's actions. You can overlay a fake alignment over the top with a compulsion, but you can't change who the character is underneath the compulsion.

Andoran

The GM should not punish the player (which is what the -1 level is) for roleplaying a change in personality and worldview (ie, Alignment) that was imposed by the GM in the first place.

Or maybe it was all just a trap for players in the GM's mind and having a lower level PC is the punishment for falling to it.

I would not enjoy playing with a GM that likes to trick and punish players though.

Also I am all for an involved player to stop playing a character if it does not make sense to him anymore. I do not think the game is better if a player spends the sessions being bored.


YEAH THIS IS TAOTALLY THE GMS FAULT HES JUST A JERK N IS UNFARE AN YOU SHOULD GET CHANCES TO CHANGE YUR MIND AFTER YOU GET THE WEAPON AND PLAY WITH IT BECAUSE EVERYTHING SHOULD COME WITH A LABLE AND WARNINGS!

OUR GM JUST PULLED THE SAME STUNT AND TPK'D US FOR USING EN ARTEFACT THAT WE HAD TOTALLY SPENT HEAPS OF SESSIONS GETTING AND WE EVEN HAD TO STEAL IT FROM THIS HIGH LEVEL GUY WHO CHASED US ACROSS MANY COUNTRIES. WHEN WE USED THE ARTIFACT WE ALL DIED AN NO SAVES EITHER JUST "ERMAGAHD GHOSTS U R ALL DEAD!!".

WE FILMED THE EVENT, SEE THE PROOF..
PS I'M TEH GUY IN THE HAT WITH THE STAFF

GM IS ***CLEARLY*** AT FAULT.

TL:DR - Sorry, play with artifacts, deal with the tough conequences.


Shifty wrote:

YEAH THIS IS TAOTALLY THE GMS FAULT HES JUST A JERK N IS UNFARE AN YOU SHOULD GET CHANCES TO CHANGE YUR MIND AFTER YOU GET THE WEAPON AND PLAY WITH IT BECAUSE EVERYTHING SHOULD COME WITH A LABLE!

OUR GM JUST PULLED THE SAME STUNT AND TPK'D US FOR USING EN ARTEFACT THAT WE HAD TOTALLY SPENT HEAPS OF SESSIONS GETTING AND WE EVEN HAD TO STEAL IT FROM THIS HIGH LEVEL GUY WHO CHASED US ACROSS MANY COUNTRIES. WHEN WE USED THE ARTIFACT WE ALL DIED AN NO SAVES EITHER JUST "ERMAGAHD GHOSTS U R ALL DEAD!!".

PS I'M TEH GUY IN THE HAT WITH THE STAFF
WE FILMED THE EVENT, SEE THE PROOF..

GM IS ***CLEARLY*** AT FAULT.

TL:DR - Sorry, play with artifacts, deal with the tough conequences.

This post was clearly both necessary and furthered the discussion.

Truly you are the most rational and mature poster on these boards.


Welcome.

I just get frustrated when players apparently get a significant number of warnings about what they are up against, and then after (apparently) blithely ignoring what they have been told, come back to the boards and complain/seek support that the GM has dudded them when things went badly.

The OP's opener was pretty explicit that there was an issue there with the sword, and SOMEHOW the Wizzie decides to handle the thing regardless of all the warning signs, and now there's a question about whether the GM was unfair and punitive?

Come on. Really now.


Hee hee!

I also think it's unfair; the OP didn't use Caps Lock!


Shifty wrote:

Welcome.

I just get frustrated when players apparently get a significant number of warnings about what they are up against, and then after (apparently) blithely ignoring what they have been told, come back to the boards and complain/seek support that the GM has dudded them when things went badly.

The OP's opener was pretty explicit that there was an issue there with the sword, and SOMEHOW the Wizzie decides to handle the thing regardless of all the warning signs, and now there's a question about whether the GM was unfair and punitive?

Come on. Really now.

Oh no doubt it was kind of silly of him to grab hold of a sword known to change the way people think (also, who grabs A SWORD BY THE BLADE?) but it raises a good question about whether it's "Fair" to throw no save alignment shifts at the party, especially when overall it was a very tiny mistake in the grand scheme.

Though personally it's seems a bit coincidental that his alignment shifted in the least possible way, so perhaps the DM fudged that "random" roll a bit because they tried to solve the encounter in a non-violent manner.


Perhaps, and I am just putting it out there, but perhaps the party/player could just roll with the (slight) inconvenience of what happened (due to their poor decision) and seek a 'story based' rectification?

How is it the GM's fault the party is so fractured in the first place (ie the volatile dysfunctional party with its Alchy Goblin etc)?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Jt Squish wrote:
The only real problem I have with the situation is that the DM is ok with the player bringing in a new character if it comes to that, but at 1 level lower than his wizard.

That's usually the standard or at least traditional guideline for replacing a character.


Shifty wrote:
Perhaps, and I am just putting it out there, but perhaps the party/player could just roll with the (slight) inconvenience of what happened (due to their poor decision) and seek a 'story based' rectification?

He should, no doubt, but it's his char he should be able to let the char ragequit from existence if he so chooses.

Shifty wrote:


How is it the GM's fault the party is so fractured in the first place (ie the volatile dysfunctional party with its Alchy Goblin etc)?

Wouldn't the GM have had to have been the guy that said "Yeah that's okay, you can play that guy."?


Rynjin wrote:


He should, no doubt, but it's his char he should be able to let the char ragequit from existence if he so chooses.

The GM apparently said that was ok, with a 1 level 'penalty', Seems pretty fair.


alright, alingment isnt permannet. i start" acting lawful"is a good path to getting back his lawfulness.

the alignment chart goes as such: guard vs old woman
1. CG defends the weaker person
2. NG defends weaker or breaks up fight
3. LG breaks up fight
4. LN breaks up fight does nothing defends the weak
5. TN (insert anything)
6. CN kills one, both or does nothing
7. LE kills weaker
8. NE kills one or both
9. CE kills both

the leap from LN to TN is reaaly small. he can be TN and still do the LN thing. his ragequit is silly.
ps CN is a bad alingment.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jt Squish wrote:
Do you think it is fair to leave alignment shifts like that up to percentile dice as you could just make a LG PC instantly CE?

If it were in an entirely random event, it could be unfair. If in a scenario where an alignment is going to be magically shifted, I'd actually rather a random chance than a shift to complete opposite (where he would have ended up CN instead).

While I'd probably look a little askance at the GM for using such a powerful artifact, there's a lot of details of the campaign I don't know, so I can't really say he made a poor decision to do so.

In this circumstance as you describe, however, you all entirely knew what you were getting into, and based on what you told me, the wizard knew what the weapon did and thus knew he was taking a risk by touching it. If he didn't want to risk alignment shift, you all could have left the paladin to regroup and come up with a new plan (such as finding a way to disarm the paladin or sunder the weapon).

So while the situation might have been shifty, given this was a direct result of the player's choice, and he was given a saving throw, so I cannot say it was unfair, based on the knowledge I have.

Quote:


Do you think the DM unnecessarily punished the wizard for going about the scenario the "goodly" way?

I don't think he punished the wizard or the player because it was the player's choice to take the action he did, not the GM's.

BUT THAT SAID, I do have a related concern:

Did the legend lore spell work? The spell should have gone off, and the wizard had no reason to cease casting, regardless of alignment shift (maybe the jarring effect forced a concentration check, but he should have gotten one). That is something I'd take up with the GM -- because if you were successful, which I think you should have been, then the cost of the alignment shift might have been worth something.

If the spell failed or the wizard was forced to cease casting without good cause, I think THAT could be considered unfair and railroady.

Quote:


Do you believe it's ok for a DM to mess with a PC's personality like that? How about leaving it up to chance on how a character turns out?

I do not think it is okay for a GM to utterly alter a PC's personality at random, but I do not consider this situation to be "at random," given it was a clear risk that the player took of his own free will.

In an RPG, we must accept that we leave a great deal up to chance--it is a game in which a lot of dice are rolled. In Pathfinder and other d20 games, there is always a 5% chance, for example, that even the mightiest of warriors may absolutely flub a strike or fail to resist foul magics (rolling a 1 on a d20 for an attack roll or saving throw), and there is always a 5% chance that even the weakest of commoners might land a hit on a mighty warrior or resist powerful magic (rolling a 20 on a d20 for an attack roll or saving throw). So we have to accept that to a degree, our fates ARE going to be decided by a roll of the dice.

Now, I do believe there are mechanics that CAN be or at least feel unfair and too random. In AD&D 2nd edition, if you rolled 00 on percentile dice when casting teleport, you teleported yourself into a solid object and instantly suffocated to death. I killed a character of mine that way (in a middle of a fight with the tarrasque no less). I do think that mechanic was unfair, and I am glad future editions got rid of it. BUT I also knew the rule and knew the risk, so I accepted the result (albeit quite likely with some loud and vehement cursing :) ). I think it can be a badly designed mechanic if ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING hinges on a single die roll.

But I do not think your situation was such a case.

Quote:


I'm glad we didn't fight him in the end as our whole group could have gone through an extremely drastic change. As is there are already multiple characters leaving/looking to leave because of how the scenario turned out. Am I thinking too strongly on this subject?

I can absolutely understand why your fellow player is upset -- he thought he had a good plan (and he did) and luck of the dice borked it. He has to deal with a drastic shift to his character as a result. That is often not very fun.

I can also understand and am sympathetic with your group's concern at seeing how absolutely high your GM is setting the game's stakes--obviously, you didn't expect it, even when the GM set forth the situation apparently very clearly. A lot of time we as players tend to assume the GM will ultimately fudge things in our favor, when this is not always the case. Maybe a chat with the GM is warranted so you can all be clearly on the same page on what the stakes are in future.

I think your frustration and concern is absolutely legitimate, but I think you also might want to take a few steps back and realize that the situation is not as dire as you think it is.

This would be my advice to you, to take or leave:
- Talk to the wizard player. You're sympathetic to his character suddenly changing so much--but gently suggest that rather than think about how the alignment change removes his devotion to the party, think about how instead his devotion to the party might remain the same, but for a different motivation. He is no longer Lawful -- so actually, perhaps that should actually mean that some of the "volatility" that bothered his character so much actually no longer bothers him. Perhaps he is, under his new true neutral POV, in fact more sympathetic to the party. There should be a way to twist this to your advantage, not to your detriment.

- Talk to the GM about helping players find motivation to stay with the group -- if he is truly concerned about making sure everyone sticks with the campaign and keeps going, and if he is a good GM he should be, then he will work with you to do this.

- Talk to the GM about finding a way to reverse the character's alignment shift.

- Talk to the GM about whether the legend lore spell was successful. Again, it should have been, IMO, based on what you said.

- Talk to the GM about the fact that you are not having fun right now. While I do encourage you to give the GM the benefit of the doubt that his extreme methods--but fair, given the circumstances--were used for a reason, it still has had a result of everyone feeling crappy about their game, and people not having fun is the antithesis of the goal of any GM worth their salt.

- If the GM doesn't give a crap that you're not having fun after your being clear and civil and courteous in your discussion with him, then that is a signal it is time to find a new GM. But that should be a decision made after all discussions are had, and he should be given the benefit of the doubt until it is proven otherwise that he does not deserve it.

- Assuming you find a way to encourage everyone to stick it out and keep going, talk to your player about clever tactics--you are obviously in a very difficult situation, and a simple talk or fight strategy is obviously not going to work.
--The paladin is not going to give up the sword, obviously (unless the legend lore thing worked). Is attacking him directly the only way to get it from him? Does he sleep/eat/pee? Is there a way to filch it from him?

- If you are forced into a fight with the paladin, how good are any of you at disarming? Do you know you can aid another in a combat move -- so you all could aid another someone's disarm attempt? Get the the sword away from him ASAP. (And if you're feeling mean, wield the sword and hit the paladin with it -- an alignment shift should force him to fall and lose connection with his god.)

- While we're at it, what spells do you have that you can use to limit his movements or restrain him? Things that avoid saves are best -- pit spells and so on, or things that at least cause some degree of obstruction no matter what.

- There are spells that disrupt magic items, best of which is mage's disjunction. Maybe it's time to go scroll shopping.

- There is a very simple, 1st level spell that cloaks the aura of magic items called magic aura. If possible, get a wand of it and spam it so you do not appear covered in magic items, in case you confront the paladin on peaceful terms again.

- Look for ways to shift the wizard's alignment -- if he still wants it restored. Others have mentioned ways to do that. Although again, a shift to N is not bad and I think if some effort is made on all parts, there should be a way to find the wizard new motivation to remain with the party.


Yar!

DeathQuaker wrote:
... lots of good advice...

+1 to all of this.

However, I feel the need to mention something, mostly because a few people posted with an assumption that was clearly stated as untrue (but glossed over?) in the OP: the wizard DID get a saving throw to resist this effect.

This was not an instance of "you touch it and this happens no matter what, no save". That is not the case here. The wizard character touched the blade, and he did get to roll a saving throw against it! Just so happened that the dice-gawds didn't like him and he rolled poorly, thus failing the save and suffering the drawbacks of that failed saving throw.

So please, let's not rage at "no-save-alignment-shifts" when that clearly is not what happened here.

But most of all: read DeathQuaker's post above. It's a good one.

~P

Cheliax

You cast Disjunction on the artifact and ill stand at a safe distance so no one connects you to me (oh and its probably a higher DC will save than the original touching of the artifact with an even bigger negative if you fail)

"You can also use this spell to target a single item. The item gets a Will save at a –5 penalty to avoid being permanently destroyed. Even artifacts are subject to mage's disjunction, though there is only a 1% chance per caster level of actually affecting such powerful items. If successful, the artifact's power unravels, and it is destroyed (with no save). If an artifact is destroyed, you must make a DC 25 Will save or permanently lose all spellcasting abilities. These abilities cannot be recovered by mortal magic, not even miracle or wish. Destroying artifacts is a dangerous business, and it is 95% likely to attract the attention of some powerful being who has an interest in or connection with the device"

Shadow Lodge

Yeah, don't Disjoin an artifact if you can at all help it.

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