Agents of Edgewatch Player’s Guide Is Now Available!

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The free Agents of Edgewatch Player’s Guide is now available! Player characters take on the role of rookie watch guards in the magnificent city of Absalom, where anything is possible—including the nefarious workings of dastardly criminals! It’s up to the Edgewatch to protect the city, a task made all the more important with this century’s Radiant Festival fully underway. From ex-gladiatorial fighters to cosmopolitan druids, a wide array of adventurers can find a calling as protectors of Absalom’s people. This player’s guide contains spoiler-free advice to prepare your characters for the challenges and opportunities ahead in Agents of Edgewatch.

In addition to advice on how to build your characters so they fit into the ranks of the Edgewatch, this player’s guide includes a host of new character backgrounds to represent which city precinct you served in before transferring to Edgewatch. Whether you were a prodigy from the Learned Guard, an ex-acolyte who joined the Graycloaks after losing the faith, or a tough-as-nails detective from the Puddles, you’ll find your unique skills useful as you guard the newly revitalized Precipice Quarter from dangers both commonplace and out-of-this-world. To help orient yourself, the back of the player’s guide provides details on Absalom, the City at the Center of the World, including a map and descriptions of each of the city’s richly varied districts.

Due to the sensitive nature of roleplaying as city watch members in an Adventure Path, this player’s guide includes new required rules for players as well as guidance for Game Masters on how to mitigate or eliminate potentially upsetting aspects of the campaign—including running the campaign without roleplaying as city guards. This advice is intended to ensure that you have a safe, fun time playing Agents of Edgewatch.


The following is just one of the 10 new character backgrounds in this player’s guide.

Learned Guard Prodigy — Background

For some, the nuts and bolts of keeping the peace are practically second nature. Such is the case for you, a member of the Learned Guard with an incredible mind for investigation as well as a gift for understanding magic. You probably aren’t a hit with your peers, who find your intellect and natural gift of deduction perhaps a bit off-putting, but when left to your own devices you excel, and you get along well with professors and mages such as those who work in Forae Logos or the Arcanamirium.

After no shortage of debating the pros and cons, you decided to transfer to the Edgewatch precinct. Sure, you have a keen understanding of the theories and principles behind law enforcement, but you’ve reasoned that in order to be a truly effective guard you’ll need some first-hand experience in a high-risk area nabbing suspects and protecting innocents—all the while taking fastidious notes and writing your grand thesis on the merits and shortcomings of Absalom’s laws.

Choose two ability boosts. One must be to Intelligence or Wisdom, and one is a free ability boost.

You’re trained in your choice of the Arcana or Occultism skill, as well as Legal Lore. You gain a +1 circumstance bonus to Deception, Diplomacy, and Intimidation checks to interact with Learned Guards and with academics such as librarians and scholars. You gain the Recognize Spell skill feat.

There’s never a dull moment in the city of Absalom, and as a member of the Edgewatch you’ll have your hands full as you rescue citizens and travelers alike from villainous criminals. Make sure you’re prepared to save the day with the Agents of Edgewatch Player’s Guide!

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That's 1E, not 2E. If you're knocked to 0, you have been knocked to 0.

Grand Lodge

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I find this discussion to be silly. First, are the general complaints about specific rule guidance that people seem to portray as more mandatory than they really are. If you don’t like a certain aspect of a product, then don’t use it. It’s a fundamental rule of the game that a GM only need use rules that they like for their campaign. The written product is just an avenue to see into the author’s intentions. You are never required to “run as written” yet some act like they do.

Second, the game is a simulation, not a replication of real life. It’s silly to try to analyze how something works in comparison to our physically rigid world. There are dragons. There are undead. There are fireballs. Magic regularly breaks all laws of physics so we really need to stop using “that’s not realistic” as any part of our discussion.

Finally, we are trying to layer 21st century irl morality and international law onto a fantasy campaign that has neither. It’s not going to work cleanly. The worlds are just too different. If we cannot ensure that law enforcement is going to live up to our high ideals in a world where we all agree to an extremely high level of civilization, do you really think it’ll be all that easy for it to exist in a much more bleak, brutal world where virtually everyone is walking around with an arsenal of lethal weapons? It’s ludicrous to think so.

The nonlethal rule was put in specifically to help avoid the appearance of police brutality. It’s a sensitivity issue, nothing more. If your group is comfortable with dealing with the risks and complexity of LE using lethal force, then go ahead. The APs are published to appeal to the masses, and right now the masses don’t want that complexity. It’s really no different than the “special” rules that every other AP tends to employ and that are easily notified or ignored if it doesn’t meet the interests of your group.

tl;dr, if you don’t like the special nonlethal rules, don’t use them


thejeff wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Pretty sure disintegrate still kills people, nonlethal or not.

2d6 of nonlethal damage per level.

"Any creature reduced to 0 or fewer hit points by this spell is entirely disintegrated."

But nonlethal damage doesn't reduce your hit points, it adds up and you fall unconscious when it exceeds your current hit points, so a nonlethal disintegrate will never disintegrate you.

That's PF1. Nonlethal is treated as damage in PF2, and "lethal vs. nonlethal" is checked on the last hit. Disintegrate doing nonlethal damage would still be fatal. An Imperial Sorcerer would probably be advised to just use that against objects. Being able to delete a wall is pretty handy. It's like Power Word Kill, but has some utility alternatives.

Anyway, my thought is mainly that this AP is early enough in PF2 that there aren't a lot of built-in options for nonlethal. The incapacitation trait is a bit limiting for spells like Hold Person, and we don't have Merciful Spell. To avoid it being "the AP where everybody chooses between -2 attack or a sap", giving some special training to replace the many trait, feat, and spell options that PF1 would have recommended seems reasonable.


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Shisumo wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Pretty sure disintegrate still kills people, nonlethal or not.

2d6 of nonlethal damage per level.

"Any creature reduced to 0 or fewer hit points by this spell is entirely disintegrated."

But nonlethal damage doesn't reduce your hit points, it adds up and you fall unconscious when it exceeds your current hit points, so a nonlethal disintegrate will never disintegrate you.

Not the way it works in PF2, actually. Damage is damage and reduces your hit points. The only places where nonlethal changes anything are where nonlethal immunity comes up or, more relevantly, when you drop to zero from nonlethal damage: "When most creatures reach 0 Hit Points, they die and are removed from play unless the attack was nonlethal, in which case they are instead knocked out for a significant amount of time (usually 1 minute or more)" (core pg 459).

Right. I still think mostly in PF1 terms, so I just automatically looked there.

So yeah, if you're knocked out you turn into fine powder.

If you do have enough hit points to tank the 12d10 (or it's a spectacularly bad roll) then it's all nonlethal.

At least by strict rules. I suspect there are plenty of other ways to use spells to do lethal damage somewhat indirectly - while holding to the letter of "spell damage is nonlethal". Summoned creatures would seem the easiest.

Silver Crusade

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TwilightKnight wrote:
Finally, we are trying to layer 21st century irl morality and international law onto a fantasy campaign that has neither.

Golarion very much does have a 21st century morality. Perhaps a bit beyond that in all honesty.


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QuidEst wrote:
Anyway, my thought is mainly that this AP is early enough in PF2 that there aren't a lot of built-in options for nonlethal. The incapacitation trait is a bit limiting for spells like Hold Person, and we don't have Merciful Spell. To avoid it being "the AP where everybody chooses between -2 attack or a sap", giving some special training to replace the many trait, feat, and spell options that PF1 would have recommended seems reasonable.

I agree it definitely needs good ways to be nonlethal. I find the blatant "You can only do nonlethal damage" way too blunt an instrument.

It might be the only thing they could fit in the guide or had time to put together.

As I've said before, I'm curious how they were intending to handle the need for easier nonlethal options before it became controversial. I assume that'll still be in the AP and is what is mentioned as superseded by Player's Guide text.


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Rysky wrote:
TwilightKnight wrote:
Finally, we are trying to layer 21st century irl morality and international law onto a fantasy campaign that has neither.
Golarion very much does have a 21st century morality. Perhaps a bit beyond that in all honesty.

Say a somewhat aspirational one.

And what else could it have? We're 21st century people. We'd have a lot of trouble actually getting and portraying a 15th century morality. Even beyond the ways it would upset us, it's just a very foreign way of thinking that most of us don't understand.

Shadow Lodge

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Rysky wrote:
TwilightKnight wrote:
Finally, we are trying to layer 21st century irl morality and international law onto a fantasy campaign that has neither.
Golarion very much does have a 21st century morality. Perhaps a bit beyond that in all honesty.

21st century's not over yet :V

In all seriousness, though, the idea of morality levels is just as absurd as the idea of technology levels. "21st-century morality" is the morality of universal human rights and the struggles within that framework are about which rights are universal and who counts as human. Golarion doesn't have that framework at all. Even its liberal revolutions seemingly never developed the idea. That many of the outcomes we see are consistent with a broad application of the universal human rights framework is basically a coincidence (from a Watsonian perspective - from a Doylist perspective it's because that's what the staff wanted to portray). And of course when it comes to social provision, freedom of association, and democratic rights generally, almost all of Golarion's countries trail far behind 21st-century Earth's liberal and social democracies.

Scarab Sages

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thejeff wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
The one bit of advice I was looking for that I didn't see is "what if some people want to play officers, and some people don't?" As in, how do you handle a mixed party here? How to adjust the narrative for having both Starsky & Hutch and Nick & Nora Charles in the Party?
Play at the comfort level that allows everyone to have fun. Discuss it with your players, and adjust your solution if actual play becomes uncomfortable.

Well yeah, but a little practical advice on mixing the two would be useful, since there are practical ways the adventures will need to change.

At first glance, I don't see a good way to do it - maybe making the non-cop characters consultants or something? A "party" of officers doing their jobs and concerned citizens trying to help out isn't going to work too well.

Its quite simple really. As the GM you tell the players that you will be playing the most restrictive version of this based on player request, where the minority (even one) gets to choose.

Frankly, that's how gaming groups who actually give two figs about their friends should be playing their games anyways, instead of making the one or two people with more sensitivities to play uncomfortably.

My opinion, is just like its difficult for parents to cook two meals based on child food wants (no, NUGGETS!), its nearly impossible to run two different campaigns based on different player sensitivities, and when you try to allow for all attitudes to play in the same game, that's when you wind up with inter-player conflict when players get made at one another because the Paladin won't allow the Rogue to torture a hobgoblin for information.

Scarab Sages

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Shisumo wrote:
...this opera-star-turned-ninja concept ...

I am so making this the next new campaign I get to play in.

Shadow Lodge

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I want in on that.

Liberty's Edge

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If people feel uncomfortable playing cops but are okay to be in a party with PC cops, a mixed party is quite possible (the consultant approach).

If people feel uncomfortable playing with PC cops and others absolutely want to play cops, then you play two games of AOE so that each can have their fun.

Should make for an interesting comparison too.

Liberty's Edge

What I am left wondering is how much the heavy non-lethal, no-dilemna, rules in the sidebar apply to non-cops parties.

After all, these rules imply that the PCs are cops with special non-lethal training and immobilizing equipment.

Grand Lodge

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Tallow wrote:
Its quite simple really. As the GM you tell the players that you will be playing the most restrictive version of this based on player request, where the minority (even one) gets to choose.

Of course that depends entirely on your limitations to recruit players. If you are not restricted to a specific set of players, then the GM can decide how they intend to run the campaign and players can chose to play or not play. With the explosion of online play, the ability to recruit players to your game is quickly moving past the traditional limitations based on geography.

Grand Lodge

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The Raven Black wrote:
What I am left wondering is how much the heavy non-lethal, no-dilemna, rules in the sidebar apply to non-cops parties.

Only so far as your group/GM allows them to. No rule is mandatory. Its your game. Play however you like.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:

What I am left wondering is how much the heavy non-lethal, no-dilemna, rules in the sidebar apply to non-cops parties.

After all, these rules imply that the PCs are cops with special non-lethal training and immobilizing equipment.

I mean, what applies and doesn't is left to your table. They're just working to create and establish a baseline that gives their customers a wide array of abilities to avoid replicating current, problematic police behavior.


Rysky wrote:
TwilightKnight wrote:
Finally, we are trying to layer 21st century irl morality and international law onto a fantasy campaign that has neither.
Golarion very much does have a 21st century morality. Perhaps a bit beyond that in all honesty.

But only in the Worldwound and Cheliax.

Scarab Sages

TwilightKnight wrote:
Tallow wrote:
Its quite simple really. As the GM you tell the players that you will be playing the most restrictive version of this based on player request, where the minority (even one) gets to choose.
Of course that depends entirely on your limitations to recruit players. If you are not restricted to a specific set of players, then the GM can decide how they intend to run the campaign and players can chose to play or not play. With the explosion of online play, the ability to recruit players to your game is quickly moving past the traditional limitations based on geography.

This is true. I was still in the mindset of a regular group of physical players that you play with all the time, rather than a situation in which you play with an assortment of motley friends based on what you are running. My preference is to have a regular group of several friends that play everything together all the time. And we come to a consensus on what to play. As a friend group, we do our best to not get too "evil" or "inappropriate" or "blue" if one of the members is particular uncomfortable with that, or if the spouse/children of the host house would be uncomfortable/inappropriate for that.

So I still think that, of course how you said depending on how you formulate your playing group, you go with the highest morality common denominator in what sort of game you want to play, soas not to force one of your good friends to either be uncomfortable or to not associate with you for the months or years that you are playing that game.

I know I wouldn't want to subject my 20+year gaming group to something they don't want to play, and I'm not going to try to force it on them or just not play, because then my friendship hangouts (the game is just something we do when we do hang out with one another, rather than hanging out because we are gaming) would be excluding a very good friend. And that's not something I'm willing to accept.

Shadow Lodge

Xenocrat wrote:
Rysky wrote:
TwilightKnight wrote:
Finally, we are trying to layer 21st century irl morality and international law onto a fantasy campaign that has neither.
Golarion very much does have a 21st century morality. Perhaps a bit beyond that in all honesty.
But only in the Worldwound and Cheliax.

The Worldwound hasn't been a thing since 2015.

Scarab Sages

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On the non-lethal rules. As a GM, I like for things to make sense. And just changing all damage to non-lethal doesn't make sense. However, I do like the idea that the police would be required to use non-lethal force.

So the idea is, that all character training and backgrounds leading up to being in the city watch, would come from police academy training. I'm not up on 2nd edition, so not sure if these are things (yet?) But options could be strongly encouraging choosing weapons that don't take penalties to do non-lethal (blunt weapons) or offering a feat or trait that allows them to do non-lethal without penalty. Or perhaps non-lethal is the default and they take a -2 to do lethal damage. Because its all about how they are being trained. You could even switch up the weapon categories, where any weapon that traditionally does lethal damage becomes exotic and requires an exotic weapon proficiency feat to use. Its all about the training and how the character was trained.

Furthermore, all spells are modified to do non-lethal damage. That's how the spells are created and work. And you can even come up with different names for them. Like heat ball instead of fireball. And if they find a badguy wizard's spellbook, they might be able to learn fireball, with the understanding that using it could get the fired from the watch and executed for breaking the code. Perhaps because its nonlethal, the reason why heatball is still a 3rd level spell is because it does 1d8/cl instead of 1d6 or whatever.

Sure, that causes a fair amount of extra work by the GM, but it allows the non-lethal damage from the PCs to make sense within both the verisimilitude of the story, and the meta of the game rules themselves.

Finally, badguys don't have this restriction, because this isn't about the rules simply saying, "everything is non-lethal" but rather, "all watch are specifically trained as non-lethal combatants, so that's the default player characters start with."

Scarab Sages

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Rysky wrote:
TwilightKnight wrote:
Finally, we are trying to layer 21st century irl morality and international law onto a fantasy campaign that has neither.
Golarion very much does have a 21st century morality. Perhaps a bit beyond that in all honesty.

I know you and I agree on a lot, but this is not one of those things. I do recall in years past we've had quite a few arguments on this specific topic. I think its dangerous to overlay 21st century morality on a period-specific genre-specific setting. Morality germane to the setting should be more akin to the period-specific and genre-specific settings as you correlate them to a similar time-period in the real world. In this case, somewhere between 2,000 B.C. and the Renaissance.

As always, in your personal circle of friends and/or gaming group, you all tacitly sign a social contract to adhere to a common morality, and if that group wants to overlay 21st century morality over Golarion, then you are not wrong to do so. But claiming that is the demonstrable default is kinda a disingenuous supposition.

Scarab Sages

Tallow wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
...this opera-star-turned-ninja concept ...
I am so making this the next new campaign I get to play in.

And I'll bet I could make this concept fit comfortably within an Agents of Edgewatch AP.

Silver Crusade

Tallow wrote:
Rysky wrote:
TwilightKnight wrote:
Finally, we are trying to layer 21st century irl morality and international law onto a fantasy campaign that has neither.
Golarion very much does have a 21st century morality. Perhaps a bit beyond that in all honesty.

I know you and I agree on a lot, but this is not one of those things. I do recall in years past we've had quite a few arguments on this specific topic. I think its dangerous to overlay 21st century morality on a period-specific genre-specific setting. Morality germane to the setting should be more akin to the period-specific and genre-specific settings as you correlate them to a similar time-period in the real world. In this case, somewhere between 2,000 B.C. and the Renaissance.

As always, in your personal circle of friends and/or gaming group, you all tacitly sign a social contract to adhere to a common morality, and if that group wants to overlay 21st century morality over Golarion, then you are not wrong to do so. But claiming that is the demonstrable default is kinda a disingenuous supposition.

1) Golarion is not a "period specific" setting.

2) How is it "dangerous"?

Scarab Sages

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Rysky wrote:
Tallow wrote:
Rysky wrote:
TwilightKnight wrote:
Finally, we are trying to layer 21st century irl morality and international law onto a fantasy campaign that has neither.
Golarion very much does have a 21st century morality. Perhaps a bit beyond that in all honesty.

I know you and I agree on a lot, but this is not one of those things. I do recall in years past we've had quite a few arguments on this specific topic. I think its dangerous to overlay 21st century morality on a period-specific genre-specific setting. Morality germane to the setting should be more akin to the period-specific and genre-specific settings as you correlate them to a similar time-period in the real world. In this case, somewhere between 2,000 B.C. and the Renaissance.

As always, in your personal circle of friends and/or gaming group, you all tacitly sign a social contract to adhere to a common morality, and if that group wants to overlay 21st century morality over Golarion, then you are not wrong to do so. But claiming that is the demonstrable default is kinda a disingenuous supposition.

1) Golarion is not a "period specific" setting.

2) How is it "dangerous"?

Golarion most certainly is a period-specific setting. Or rather, various different regions are different period-specific areas. This is not like its an analog of 21st century earth with fantasy trope dressing. The fact that Galt is the analog for the French Revolution, then it reasonably follows both the 18th Century France morality and French Revolution sub-genre morality along with fantasy trope dressings genre morality and Galt-specific sub-genre morality would be the default. Not 21st century morality. Andoran would be more akin to post-Revolution through Antebellum period US. Ustalav would be akin to pulp-style, 1930's-1950's monster genre, and maybe some steampunk (Verne-esque, Gas Light England/Victorian period, Dr Frankenstein/Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hide style) tropes. Which is certainly not 21st century morality. I'd be hard put to find the 21st century morality analog anywhere within the varying different genres that Golarion presents.

Dangerous to the verisimilitude of the game you are playing. Anytime I'm playing in a game and the GM or players demand that I apply 21st century morals to the fantasy, period-specific setting, I usually end up opting out of the group. Because If I wanted to roleplay with 1st century morality, I'd play a game which was set in the late 20th to early 21st century and in an earth or near-earth setting. When you start overlaying an inanalogous morality onto a game that is set in the analog of a time period or genre, you threaten to bring your players out of that setting and offer chances for there to be more arguments about alignment and morality than just everyone agreeing on the setting you are playing in. If your play group defaults to 21st century, great. But please don't assume this should be, or is the default for what I'm assuming will be a vast majority of roleplayers.


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Rysky wrote:
Tallow wrote:
Rysky wrote:
TwilightKnight wrote:
Finally, we are trying to layer 21st century irl morality and international law onto a fantasy campaign that has neither.
Golarion very much does have a 21st century morality. Perhaps a bit beyond that in all honesty.

I know you and I agree on a lot, but this is not one of those things. I do recall in years past we've had quite a few arguments on this specific topic. I think its dangerous to overlay 21st century morality on a period-specific genre-specific setting. Morality germane to the setting should be more akin to the period-specific and genre-specific settings as you correlate them to a similar time-period in the real world. In this case, somewhere between 2,000 B.C. and the Renaissance.

As always, in your personal circle of friends and/or gaming group, you all tacitly sign a social contract to adhere to a common morality, and if that group wants to overlay 21st century morality over Golarion, then you are not wrong to do so. But claiming that is the demonstrable default is kinda a disingenuous supposition.

1) Golarion is not a "period specific" setting.

2) How is it "dangerous"?

Probably more "dangerous" to assume some broad pop culture idea of the past - since that can be harmful to the actual people at the table, treating their characters in ways that will reflect real prejudices and oppression.

On the other hand, it's not really 21st century either. It is in some ways, but not in others. Slavery is still an openly legal thing in many places. The concept of democracy or any kind of self-governance is rare - though not unheard of.
But it's certainly not any particular past morality. Not likely in any specific places. Even those that are based on real places/times. Nor should it be - the world is far too different. The mere existence of other intelligent species changes everything. As does the active reality of deities. We can't even begin to make a realistic prediction of what societies shaped by magic and gods and different sapients would look like.
So it's basically fantasy morality, because that's what we've got to work with. And that's morality shaped by our own moralities with broad distinctions based on genre fantasy traditions and specific changes made for storytelling reasons in different areas.

Shadow Lodge

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Tallow wrote:
Andoran would be more akin to post-Revolution through Antebellum period US.

This is just false on its face. At no point between 1776 and 1861 AD was the USA as abolitionist (even at the height of Bleeding Kansas), or as democratic (even at the height of Jacksonianism) as Andoran has been since 4669 AR.


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Tallow wrote:

Golarion most certainly is a period-specific setting. Or rather, various different regions are different period-specific areas. This is not like its an analog of 21st century earth with fantasy trope dressing. The fact that Galt is the analog for the French Revolution, then it reasonably follows both the 18th Century France morality and French Revolution sub-genre morality along with fantasy trope dressings genre morality and Galt-specific sub-genre morality would be the default. Not 21st century morality. Andoran would be more akin to post-Revolution through Antebellum period US. Ustalav would be akin to pulp-style, 1930's-1950's monster genre, and maybe some steampunk (Verne-esque, Gas Light England/Victorian period, Dr Frankenstein/Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hide style) tropes. Which is certainly not 21st century morality. I'd be hard put to find the 21st century morality analog anywhere within the varying different genres that Golarion presents.

Dangerous to the verisimilitude of the game you are playing. Anytime I'm playing in a game and the GM or players demand that I apply 21st century morals to the fantasy, period-specific setting, I usually end up opting out of the group. Because If I wanted to roleplay with 1st century morality, I'd play a game which was set in the late 20th to early 21st century and in an earth or near-earth setting. When you start overlaying an inanalogous morality onto a game that is set in the analog of a time period or genre, you threaten to bring your players out of that setting and offer chances for there to be more arguments about alignment and morality than just everyone agreeing on the setting you are playing in. If your play group defaults to 21st century, great. But please don't assume this should be, or is the default for what I'm assuming will be a vast majority of roleplayers.

Do you think the vast majority of players have more than the vaguest idea of what 18th century French morality was like? Maybe French Revolution subgenre morality - but that in itself is a literary subgenre that reflects the morality of when a piece was written at least as much as the reality of period.

Maybe a little bit more likely for analogs to more recent and familiar periods, but far less so for older and more distant ones.

And of course, while these places draw from genre, many of the assumptions are quite different - no Christianity is a big one for any historical western genre.


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City Watch AP should be interesting. My players will play this like they're Dirty Harry. I'll run it normal rules and let them have their fun. We don't like real life in our fantasy games. My group doesn't play these games to simulate real life.

Paizo gotta walk the line as a corporation for PR reasons. Fortunately players don't. We get to take what they made and have fun with it in the way that appeals to us. That's why I love these games.

Silver Crusade

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Tallow wrote:
Golarion most certainly is a period-specific setting. Or rather, various different regions are different period-specific areas. This is not like its an analog of 21st century earth with fantasy trope dressing. The fact that Galt is the analog for the French Revolution, then it reasonably follows both the 18th Century France morality and French Revolution sub-genre morality along with fantasy trope dressings genre morality and Galt-specific sub-genre morality would be the default. Not 21st century morality. Andoran would be more akin to post-Revolution through Antebellum period US. Ustalav would be akin to pulp-style, 1930's-1950's monster genre, and maybe some steampunk (Verne-esque, Gas Light England/Victorian period, Dr Frankenstein/Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hide style) tropes. Which is certainly not 21st century morality. I'd be hard put to find the 21st century morality analog anywhere within the varying different genres that Golarion presents.
This just isn't true, various areas have aesthetics from certain countries and time frames sure, but they don't copy the mindset and morals of them, they're not blatant copies of previous earth eras and society.
Tallow wrote:
Dangerous to the verisimilitude of the game you are playing. Anytime I'm playing in a game and the GM or players demand that I apply 21st century morals to the fantasy, period-specific setting, I usually end up opting out of the group. Because If I wanted to roleplay with 1st century morality, I'd play a game which was set in the late 20th to early 21st century and in an earth or near-earth setting. When you start overlaying an inanalogous morality onto a game that is set in the analog of a time period or genre, you threaten to bring your players out of that setting and offer chances for there to be more arguments about alignment and morality than just everyone agreeing on the setting you are playing in. If your play group defaults to 21st century, great. But please don't assume this should be, or is the default for what I'm assuming will be a vast majority of roleplayers.

"Dangerous" made the concern sound dire, not about verisimilitude.

I've left numerous games over playing in a completely fictional fantasy settings like Golarion and the GMs have stated "well that's just how it was back then" to justify not treating women like people. There was no back then for Golarion. And applying what you think a certain time period on earth worked to a completely fictional fantasy setting that is not earth is nonsensical.

And yes I do assume, or rather hope a 21st century mindset and morals is the default. I don't want to play with any more "that's just how it was back then".


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If Golarion were meant to be an accurate representation of ye olde whomst've times there'd be extreme bigotry that simply doesn't exist in the setting write large (exceptions exist but are exceptions).

Most of the players running the game and developers making the game live in 21st century, so it's pretty reasonable to assume 21st century sensibilities toward it (that are unfortunately not as common as they should be).

Scarab Sages

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thejeff wrote:
Tallow wrote:

Golarion most certainly is a period-specific setting. Or rather, various different regions are different period-specific areas. This is not like its an analog of 21st century earth with fantasy trope dressing. The fact that Galt is the analog for the French Revolution, then it reasonably follows both the 18th Century France morality and French Revolution sub-genre morality along with fantasy trope dressings genre morality and Galt-specific sub-genre morality would be the default. Not 21st century morality. Andoran would be more akin to post-Revolution through Antebellum period US. Ustalav would be akin to pulp-style, 1930's-1950's monster genre, and maybe some steampunk (Verne-esque, Gas Light England/Victorian period, Dr Frankenstein/Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hide style) tropes. Which is certainly not 21st century morality. I'd be hard put to find the 21st century morality analog anywhere within the varying different genres that Golarion presents.

Dangerous to the verisimilitude of the game you are playing. Anytime I'm playing in a game and the GM or players demand that I apply 21st century morals to the fantasy, period-specific setting, I usually end up opting out of the group. Because If I wanted to roleplay with 1st century morality, I'd play a game which was set in the late 20th to early 21st century and in an earth or near-earth setting. When you start overlaying an inanalogous morality onto a game that is set in the analog of a time period or genre, you threaten to bring your players out of that setting and offer chances for there to be more arguments about alignment and morality than just everyone agreeing on the setting you are playing in. If your play group defaults to 21st century, great. But please don't assume this should be, or is the default for what I'm assuming will be a vast majority of roleplayers.

Do you think the vast majority of players have more than the vaguest idea of what 18th century French morality was like? Maybe French Revolution subgenre morality - but that in...

Players may not know exactly what those moralities were. But they certainly know the world was not 21st century morality. That's the main takeaway. Trying to pidgeonhole 21st century morality into period settings tends to cause more argument than not at the table, in my experience. YMMV.

Scarab Sages

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Rysky wrote:
And yes I do assume, or rather hope a 21st century mindset and morals is the default. I don't want to play with any more "that's just how it was back then".

And therein lies the social contract you make with the groups you choose to associate with. You get to choose what sort of people you want to game with.

But first, I do want to apologize when I speak of 21st century morality, I was not referring to horrible treatment of women, LGBTQIA+, or various ethnicities. I was quite glad to see the 2nd edition Lost Omens go more towards slavery just being evil to be defeated rather than something that exists in polite company.

What I meant by 21st century morality, is more the argument about trying to apply due process and 21st century law and order to what is essentially a collection of feudal societies in various states of authoritarianism, plutocracy, and fledgling democracy. And that may not be what you meant when you say 21st century morality.

I prefer though, to say that the fantasy dressing of the 18th Century France/French Revolution Galt, Pulp/Steampunk/Monster Ustalav, etc. overcomes much of the subjugation and punching down morality in our real history. In a fantasy world, women get to be heroes, leaders, etc. Much like what we see in Once Upon A Time (Regina, Snow, Emma, etc.), Red Sonja, Star Wars (Leia, Rey), etc. I don't consider that 21st century morality. I consider that one of the positive fantasy tropes that gets overlayed on the period and genre settings.

Sorry for the confusion.

Liberty's Edge

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Personally, I wish they'd published ways to do nonlethal damage as Feats (perhaps a couple of General Feats, one for weapons and one for spells), and then said all PCs in this campaign got them for free. I always prefer expanding the toolbox so people can focus on nonlethal damage in other campaigns as well as this one.

That said, I'm fine with going for strictly nonlethal damage this AP, and very happy that the monetary compensation scheme is based on returning evidence rather than just looting things.

zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Golarion doesn't have that framework at all. Even its liberal revolutions seemingly never developed the idea. That many of the outcomes we see are consistent with a broad application of the universal human rights framework is basically a coincidence (from a Watsonian perspective - from a Doylist perspective it's because that's what the staff wanted to portray).

This is not strictly true. There are several references to the idea of fundamental rights in regards to Andoran, and their opposition to slavery seems to be on that basis. It's far from a universal concept, but I wouldn't say it's completely unexplored.

zimmerwald1915 wrote:
And of course when it comes to social provision, freedom of association, and democratic rights generally, almost all of Golarion's countries trail far behind 21st-century Earth's liberal and social democracies.

This, of course, is quite true throughout most of those parts of Golarion which we have seen thus far.

Dark Archive

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I do have to agree on Golarion not really having perfectly modern morality, for example death sentences aren't seen as barbaric punishment outside of authoritarian countries :p That and they are perfectly willing to deputize random civilians with power to take care of criminals

Shadow Lodge

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CorvusMask wrote:
for example death sentences aren't seen as barbaric punishment outside of authoritarian countries

India, Indonesia, the United States, and Japan are liberal democracies, albeit with right-wing national governments.

Dark Archive

zimmerwald1915 wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
for example death sentences aren't seen as barbaric punishment outside of authoritarian countries
India, Indonesia, the United States, and Japan are liberal democracies, albeit with right-wing national governments.

I had one social study teacher over ten years ago really insist on US being closer to military dictatorship than other western democracies due to high focus on army spending and such.

I think they were being highly biased yeah, but point is that US isn't exactly seen as role model in democracy :p

Dunno about Indian and Indonesian politics much so can't comment on them. Japan's government though has a system basically only allows one party to exist and that one party ruthlessly cuts down any other potential parties with underhanded means.

Shadow Lodge

CorvusMask wrote:

I had one social study teacher over ten years ago really insist on US being closer to military dictatorship than other western democracies due to high focus on army spending and such.

I think they were being highly biased yeah, but point is that US isn't exactly seen as role model in democracy :p

Dunno about Indian and Indonesian politics much so can't comment on them. Japan's government though has a system basically only allows one party to exist and that one party ruthlessly cuts down any other potential parties with underhanded means.

Really Existing Liberal Democracies, then, s'il vous plait :P


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In a world with actual known good and evil based upon modern morality wouldn't it be stranger if good did things that we now called evil.

Slavery is deemed evil now, it wasn't in the past but on Golarion it has always been evil.

So why can't we use modern morality on a world where it's cosmically based upon modern morality?


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Nevermind that Fireball probably isnt really a police-caster spell due to the collateral damage.

Hasn't anyone ever seen an action movie?

There's massive explosions of fire all the time in movies that plenty of people survive all the time. Sure, they're usually heroes, but still, it's not that hard to believe that a fireball might knock someone over, heck, knock them unconscious, and not kill them. Its a staple of almost every action movie, or TV show.

It's not what you're used to in terms of thinking of how the spell works normally. But in terms of suspension of disbelief, is it really that different?

Grand Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber

In the updated Player Guide, they added to the line about always deadline non-lethal damage to exclude creatures immune to non-lethal. :3


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Golarion should be more socially advanced on average than earth. Consider that pre-Earth Fall we basically had "Star Trek" level technology (though it was manipulated behind the scenes), and then an apocalypse happened, and then about 10,000 years of stuff happen before Pathfinder starts. 10 millennia ago on Earth, agriculture was just getting rolling in the Fertile Crescent but Golarion has had at least one contiguous culture since Earthfall.

Golarion is less technologically advanced than Earth because big pushes to solve a problem do not require technological solutions- since magic solutions are available and are likely simpler. Like there's no real need to develop material engineering when you can just magically make materials stronger, or lighter, or resistant to various conditions.'c


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keftiu wrote:
Kinjar wrote:

In a world with actual known good and evil based upon modern morality wouldn't it be stranger if good did things that we now called evil.

Slavery is deemed evil now, it wasn't in the past but on Golarion it has always been evil.

So why can't we use modern morality on a world where it's cosmically based upon modern morality?

Sorry, but how the heck are you telling yourself slavery didn't used to be evil? There were abolitionists centuries ago, and slave revolts as long as slavery has ever existed. Something being acceptable because of racism or profit doesn't make it not evil, and acting like only the ruling class gets to dictate the morality of the era is fraught as hell.

What I'm trying to say is that society in the past did not deem it evil in anyway similar to what it is now. But in Golarion slavery has always been evil because Good and Evil are based off of current Morals.

A society that truly knows what Good and Evil are would not have morals similar to the past but closer to now.

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