Bodhizen's page

Organized Play Member. 906 posts (925 including aliases). No reviews. 2 lists. No wishlists. 1 Organized Play character. 1 alias.


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The consequences are (likely) left deliberately vague so that the moderation team can decide how egregious a violation has occurred. It allows for flexibility without having to consult 50+ rules or a table to determine how a post has violated a rule, how many times, how seriously the rule was violated, and how many consequences in a progressive-discipline model have been given out.

Certain violations will trigger a permanent suspension. Those violations are going to necessarily be few, far between, and communicated clearly. Other violations are going to result in warnings, post editing, post deletion, or temporary suspension. Unfortunately, the more clearly defined the rule + consequence matrix is, the easier it is to craft violations that don't fit the matrix. You get a lot of, "What I <said/did> wasn't a violation of <Rule X> or didn't deserve <Consequence Y> because it doesn't fit the clearly established definition." The rules need to remain flexible enough to be useful, which means that some users are going to complain that they are unclear, arbitrary, or arbitrarily enforced because their perception of the violation/consequence intersection is going to be different from that of the people whose job it is to execute their best judgment.

This is not to say that rules should be deliberately vague, but they should not be so specific as to be too narrow to apply in most situations. The appropriate resolution to the natural flexibility (read: vagueness) of forum rules (or guidelines) is a clear rationale given for consequences. The moderation team here is pretty darn good at that already, given the fact that they let people know that posts were edited or removed, or that users have been suspended. Nothing is being done behind closed doors, even if people would prefer greater specificity in the guidelines.

All of this holds true in any healthy environment. When rules become so specific that you need to have dozens of rules to cover every specific type of violation that could occur, that's when your forum environment becomes difficult to navigate and oppressive. Keeping it simple, while allowing guidelines to be flexibly employed is going to make the environment easy enough to navigate (i.e. you won't have to memorize an entire rulebook to avoid traps) and allow for healthy discussion or activity.

Best wishes!

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As a long-time moderator for a variety of forums, I will chime in with this:

Whether you support free-range posting (no moderation, just let the community "police itself"), deleting posts that are problematic, or just locking down discussions, you're going to have people who disagree with how you've worked to keep your community safe.

It has been my experience that removing toxic behavior (and the ability of toxic posters to contribute toxicity to the community) is the most effective means of dealing with toxic behavior. There is some value in leaving artifacts of how toxic behaviors are dealt with to demonstrate to the community that healthy moderation does occur, but in my experience, having a few artifacts is far healthier and more productive than leaving every possible artifact of how the community is moderated. Having too many toxic posts preserved for posterity has a tendency to create an environment that leads to increased toxicity (often as a game for the trolls to see just how far they can push boundaries before action is taken), which has the unfortunate side effect of increasing trauma-causing behaviors (such as quoting from those preserved posts, or referring to them).

Essentially, it's a delicate balance that is not going to satisfy everyone. This is not a sign of poor forum moderation, merely a natural consequence of forum moderation in general. Toxic posters don't want to be moderated. Gaslighters will also argue against what they consider to be "reactionary moderation". People who are genuinely trying to interact in healthy ways will still try to interact in healthy ways regardless of how the forums are moderated (unless moderation is truly oppressive and harmful, at which point, healthy discussion will cease and posters will leave).

I will freely admit that I haven't spent much time on these forums in a long while. That doesn't mean that I've been disconnected from Paizo & Pathfinder - just not here on these forums. But, recent developments did encourage me to come back to not only weigh in on such matters, but reconnect with some of the awesome members of this community.

Suffice it to say... Trolls will regenerate, unless you use magic or burn them with fire. Leaving pieces of trolls lying around can give rise to fully reformed trolls. Let's work together to prevent trolls from taking over our spaces.

Best wishes!

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I apologize for not being more active here. I could add in the Silk Wyrm, but I'm loathe to do an update just for one monster.

What are some other things that people would like to see in this PF1 conversion (yes, I have considered a PF2 conversion, but I haven't actually gotten to play PF2 yet, so...)?

Ross Hearne aka poisonbladed wrote:
So many to think of. On a quick glance at the table of contents I think you have all the basis covered. Though there is this one monster from Al-Quadim that was like half cat half crocodile. Spacing the name right now.

I've had strong thoughts about Al-Qadim of late. For the moment, setting aside the problematic nature of some of the content, I did really enjoy the feeling of the Sha'ir. The implementation of such a class in PF1 has never felt organic or satisfactory to me, but I will fully admit that I haven't gone looking for every permutation of fan-created content related to the Sha'ir.

Then again... I have spent most of my Pathfinder energies focusing on my own pet project (a setting, which includes multiple world-layers, a couple of unchained versions of existing classes, a variety of new monsters, differences in traditional races, etc...).

Best wishes!

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As I've said as a moderator for other places before...

"There is no line. There is a neutral zone, and if you enter the neutral zone, you violate the treaty. Both sides may end up blowing up your starship if you enter the neutral zone. I strongly encourage you to stay out of it."

Best wishes!

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I don't think that you'll find too much in the way of updates, unless of course, people are really interested in more material for this conversion. I could expand on the bestiary, but honestly, that was my least favorite part of the conversion (barring the entries on the Dragon Kings and Avangion).

But, if you want to engage, I'm up for it.

Best wishes!

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DragonKing666 wrote:

I'm not normally into thread necromancy, but I have a few questions...

1. Bodhizen, did you ever complete the epic spell conversions or 10th level spell conversions? I'm quite interested in this especially.
2. Does defiling harm plant creatures or just nonsentient plants?
3. Will there be "raze" feats of any kind in the next update.
4. Will there be an update?
5. You have the Longevity and Immortal mythic abilities noted as being mythic feats under the Dragon King abilities. Was this intentional or an error?
6. Do Athasian Dragons still require a perfect obsidian orb worth at least 1,000 gp as a focus for their Dragon Magic ability? Currently, I have it errata'ed for my campaign that they do.

Anyway, excellent work. I absolutely love this conversion of Dark Sun. It's the best I've ever seen. :)

Hello, DragonKing666!

So, no, I never completed the spell conversion for 10th level spells. There never seemed to be that much interest in them, and the spells themselves needed a lot of work. The power level in the spells varied widely, but for the most part, they were underpowered compared to 9th level spells in Pathfinder. If there's interest, then I'm certainly up for revising them...

Let me see if I can answer all of the rest of your questions.

Question #2: Defiling would harm plant creatures just as it would harm a plant in a hanging basket. Defiling magic draws from the soil, but also from nearby plant life, and that would also include plant creatures. As an initial thought, I would say that any plant creature caught within the radius of a defiling effect takes 1d4+1 points of damage (no save) per defiler point used when the spell is cast. This is in addition to any other damage that such a spell might cause with its effects. The plant creature can also be the sole target for the defiler's magical energies, but only if the available land to draw energy from is already defiled, in which case, the plant creature takes 2d4+1 points of damage (no save) per defiler point used when the spell is cast. Any plant creature that is slain from such defilement crumbles to dust, but its equipment will remain unaffected.

For example, If the defiler cast an enlarged, dazing, burning magic missile (which would have a final spell slot level of seven, but only use a first level spell slot), they are reducing the spell by six levels, and the defiler would gain six defiler points. If a plant creature is caught within the area of effect for the defilement, it also takes 6d4+6 points of damage from the defiler drawing upon its life source. If it's caught in the effect while in lands that have already been defiled, the damage increases to 12d4+6.

However, if a defiler casts a spell and defiles land within the presence of any plant creature or creatures, all plant creatures with line of sight to the defiler or to any defiled squares automatically become hostile to the defiler. They will prioritize stopping or slaying the defiler over other targets.

Question #3: I had not planned to include any, as defiler magic already wreaks significant devastation for a pretty significant benefit. However, I could be convinced to write some.

Question #4: That depends... How many people are really using this? I had not planned to do another update, but I could be persuaded if there are a fair amount of people out there using this document. I will admit that I was somewhat astonished to find it on Scribd, but... I never sought to make any money off of this anyway.

Question #5: No, this is not an error. You get the powers of those mythic feats. It was a convenient way to grant those powers without copying and pasting the feats themselves or creating something similar, but new.

Question #6: I always felt that was a silly requirement, given the level of spellcasting and psionic power that was required to become a dragon king in the first place. Canonically, the dragon kings swallowed such orbs as they gained levels as dragon kings. In this conversion, I purposefully omitted this requirement, as it was just "Have the gold to have this thing and you can afford to be a dragon king, too... If you meet all of the other requirements." Granted, it is a way to reduce the power of the dragon king (but breaking its orb or orbs), but as a dragon king, I can use magic to rapidly repair, replace, or undo the damage, so... What's the point? I can cast make whole (quickened or otherwise) to fix those orbs in an instant.

Thanks for your questions. In the future, if you want to get in touch with me to ask questions (or to summon me back to these boards faster), you can reach me at

Best wishes!

Saint Bernard wrote:
After 2nd edition is out, do you think you will do new guide for the Champion class?

Perhaps, if I'm not working on any for-profit products.

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The link is still functional.

jbusnengo wrote:

Bodhizen, thanks for your excellent guide! I'm helping a newbie player put together his paladin, and this has been an invaluable resource. I especially like the role-playing advice and your warning against power-turtling. (I'll be the GM, so there's no need to worry about table variation here, as that's exactly how I plan to run the monsters.)

That said, there are a few things I've noted that you may want to address:

You describe the weapon of awe spell as "A modest damage bonus to your weapon, plus a shaken effect on a critical hit, which would be really good, except that a simple Will save can negate the shaken effect. Go for Inheritor’s Smite instead." The text of the spell, though, explicitly says that there isn't a save.

You describe the shield companion spell in a way that seems (at least to me) to imply that it can work on any ally: "Modest protective effects, but if your goal is to completely protect someone from hit point damage, this is the spell to take. This spell is excellent for a combat medic." The spell is explicitly limited, however, to functioning on your own mount/animal companion/familiar/eidolon. This may be a case of me misreading your language, though, rather than an actual oversight on your part.

Finally, have you considered adding material from Champions of Purity to the guide? Some of the spells look promising. Accept affliction certainly fits with the stand-in-the-way-of-harm strategy. The angelic aspect spells and archon's trumpet also look interesting, although the save on archon's trumpet is less than ideal.

Good evening, jbusnengo! I'm very glad that you're appreciating the Guide.

So, the weapon of awe spell is nice and all, and the weapon gets a Will save... And I'm a huge non-fan of "save-or-suck" spells (spells that do nothing upon a successful saving throw). I'm pretty sure that's a misreading on my part as for the effect of the spell. Excellent catch, thank you! As you can see, I've reviewed hundreds of spells, so sometimes things blur together.

Shield Companion is intended to imply that it shields your companion, not just anyone. I'll try to make that more clear in my Guide.

As for "have you considered" questions... This is no fault of your own, but I despise the implication that I haven't considered adding something into the Guide. There's a section on the Guide specifically to address that. As I'm sure you're aware, I've "considered" dozens of sources, and as I mentioned a bit earlier, I've reviewed hundreds of spells to give the most complete advise that I can give. Suffice it to say, I simply missed reviewing the spells in that book, and I do thank you (quite heartily and sincerely) for drawing my attention to that.

I can't say when I'll update the Guide again. I usually do so in December/January, but with Pathfinder 2.0 coming out, I may be working on a completely new Guide instead.

Once again, thank you for your interest in the Guide, and I sincerely hope that you find it to be of great use to your gaming table!

Side Note: I'm currently working on developing a setting alongside Deadmanwalking that will be compatible with Pathfinder 1.0 (I am considering the implications of making it fully compatible with Pathfinder 2.0, but as I don't have the Playtest yet, I cannot even begin to account for the changes). That's taking up the bulk of my writing time, and I hope that it is every bit as popular and useful to players as this Guide has been.

Best wishes!

Ryan Freire wrote:

I shall make my own way, and that way shall be one of kindness and benevolence. I shall allow my conscience to guide me. I will not willingly commit an act of evil, unless that act is done to create or preserve a greater good. Even then, I shall seek atonement for the evil that I have wrought.

I shall lead by example, not by force. My ways shall serve as an example unto others of goodly behaviour, but I shall not force others to follow my example, as that would force me to exert control over them.
Control is not freedom. Laws and regulations are unnecessary mechanisms of control, not protection for the people. People will do good if you give them the chance to do so freely, and so I will work to convince others of the inherent goodness of people and seek to sever the yoke of law whenever good people suffer from its burden.
Tyranny and slavery are an abomination. I shall not allow anyone to be subjected to them without challenge, and I shall devote myself to the downfall of such practices.
I shall question what is known. I shall actively seek out knowledge and truth, but only when I have questioned facts and beliefs will I find truth. I shall question the way that things have always been, for stagnation is death, and exploration is life.
Justice shall be dealt by my own hand. I shall not look to others to mete out justice in my stead. I shall act upon what is good and truthful, even if it conflicts with the expectations of others. Those that pass judgment must be the ones to swing the sword, and I shall not stand in the way of others delivering justice by their own hands, unless that justice comes at the expense of what is good and true.
This is a pretty non restricting "code" Which is the problem with attempting to create a chaotic good paladin. Codes that don't actually restrict behavior that might be fine for a standard pc of that alignment fall somewhat short thematically, of paladin.

You're absolutely right, and that is one of the downfalls of having a chaotic good "paladin" (which is why I use separate terminology). It's one of the reasons why I feel (after many years of going over these exact issues) that "chaotic good" and "paladin" are not a good matchup. Anything that would be restrictive as a code would set off the warning alarms for a chaotic good character, and anything that isn't really restrictive doesn't feel paladin-like.

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I really like how the spells seem to be avoiding the "save or suck" conditions that many spells in PF1 suffered from. They made certain spells "undesirable", as characters that made their saving throw would render your spell effectively wasted.

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Revan wrote:
Frankly, per Bodhizen's definition, literally *nothing* in Pathfinder, roleplaying at large, or real life can accurately be called Chaotic.
That seems a bit harsh. I've seen what's described being played, and it's doable, though rare.

It was also a complete mischaracterisation of my position on the matter, but I feel that you've addressed that adequately, so thank you kindly, good sir!

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Bodhizen wrote:
That is a big issue. The poor writing of what "chaotic societies" would look like in Pathfinder has been particularly astonishing to me. Chaotic societies are anarchic, pretty much by definition. Paizo hasn't done "chaotic societies" any more justice than Salvatore did Menzoberranzan. The only reason that these chaotic tribes of barbarians, and chaotic samurai, and chaotic cavaliers even exist is because multiple someones attempted to shoehorn representative sampling into the game in order to say, "See? Chaos exists!" They took neutral structures (at best) and slapped the "chaotic" label onto them for some strange reason, even though they don't remotely represent chaos in any meaningful interpretation of the word. An overhaul isn't explicitly what's needed. What's needed is for people who write for chaotic representation to actually write chaotic examples and stop slapping the "chaos" label onto things just to add a sense of "wild west lawlessness" into the setting.

Rather than giving you a point by point response on the last few posts, I will say that I think our definitions differ mainly in the following way:

I think the third or maybe quarter (assuming Neutral Alignments are more common) of the population (or societies) who come closest to meeting a Chaotic ideal qualify as Chaotic. Just as I think about the same percentage who come closest to it qualify as Lawful.

If you're attempting to qualify something as lawful or chaotic for the purposes of representation, I can see this.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
You seem to be of the opinion that most of those I believe would qualify as Chaotic would be Neutral, with only the real extreme fringe being Chaotic.

That's probably accurate. Chaotic "societies" (anarchies) are exceptionally rare and are almost universally transitional conditions.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
And that's a completely valid viewpoint from the Alignment descriptions of either Law or Chaos, but not IMO an ideal way of looking at Alignment from a playability perspective (assuming you want Law and Chaos to be commonly played, anyway), and not especially reflective of Golarion or most other settings I've seen (as you acknowledge here).

I don't expect law or chaos to be common, truth be told. Most people are more neutral than anything else in real life. Playing toward the lawful or chaotic end of the spectrum takes as much work as it would actually acting that way in real life, but I do understand what you're saying.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
I will say that most Paizo supplements seem to favor my interpretation, which is irrelevant in a wider context, but certainly valid for whether Paizo should consider a CG Paladin (the thread's original point). What would be required for it to be a good idea would be for it to be CG by the standards used by Paizo, which I think are a lot less strenuous in regards to who can be Chaotic than yours are.

This is, generally speaking, true. While I feel that Paizo has done a poor job representing what chaotic is in any meaningful sense of the word, if you go by Paizo's standard, pretty much anything "neutral" could easily be considered chaotic; not by its nature of actually being chaotic, but by virtue of slapping the chaotic label onto it via a nebulous set of quasi-but-not-really-guidelines.

What aspects of a character's life need to be represented by chaos in any meaningful sense of the word to consider the character chaotic? Exactly how many rules would they follow and still be considered chaotic? Are we assuming that chaos is "self-interest" while lawful is "altruism" when approaching chaotic good and lawful good? Are we defining chaos versus law as "this is my personal internal code that is irrespective of anyone else's personal internal code" versus "my personal internal code is identical to the socially accepted external code"?

Paizo isn't very clear on what those standards are, and they don't really match up with any reasonable interpretation of "chaos". Paizo's standards, to all appearances, are both mechanically and metaphysically identical when determining what is "neutral" and what is "chaotic". The only difference seems to be the label. wrote:

Lawful characters tell the truth, keep their word, respect authority, honor tradition, and judge those who fall short of their duties. Chaotic characters follow their consciences, resent being told what to do, favor new ideas over tradition, and do what they promise if they feel like it.

Law Law implies honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority, and reliability. On the downside, lawfulness can include closed-mindedness, reactionary adherence to tradition, self-righteousness, and a lack of adaptability. Those who consciously promote lawfulness say that only lawful behavior creates a society in which people can depend on each other and make the right decisions in full confidence that others will act as they should.

Chaos Chaos implies freedom, adaptability, and flexibility. On the downside, chaos can include recklessness, resentment toward legitimate authority, arbitrary actions, and irresponsibility. Those who promote chaotic behavior say that only unfettered personal freedom allows people to express themselves fully and lets society benefit from the potential that its individuals have within them.

Neutral Someone who is neutral with respect to law and chaos has some respect for authority and feels neither a compulsion to obey nor a compulsion to rebel. She is generally honest, but can be tempted into lying or deceiving others.

The entry for neutrality is particularly telling, as it implies that chaotic characters are compelled to rebel, which is a definition that I don't believe that anyone is using. This is why I'm not especially fond of using Paizo for the standard when it comes to alignment.

In any case... You and I generally appear to be reaching at least a tentative consensus on the matter. Woot!

Iron_Matt17 wrote:
Actually on further inspection, my idea of a Chaotic Society may be the same as Bodhis. (I would love to hear your thoughts Bodhi) But in the end my discussion does not answer the questions on how to play a Chaotic character or even a Chaotic Good Paladin. But I think it was worth speaking on...

It appears that they are consistent, yes.

========== Having said all that... ==========

Going by Paizo's definition of what's chaotic, they still value unfettered personal freedom, and resent authority. A code would contradict that (it would explicitly attach fetters).


Going by some of what Deadmanwalking has been saying about the power of a (we'll call them "holy warrior" for the moment) holy warrior could spring forth spontaneously from within without the need for a godly being. This may be mechanically similar to paladins, and so we'll call this holy warrior (for the purposes of further discussion) a Templar. Assuming that this Templar is a chaotic good character that follows an internal code of behavior (which isn't consistent with chaos, but it follows Paizo's lackadaisical standards for chaos), here's what I'd propose for their code:

  • I shall make my own way, and that way shall be one of kindness and benevolence. I shall allow my conscience to guide me. I will not willingly commit an act of evil, unless that act is done to create or preserve a greater good. Even then, I shall seek atonement for the evil that I have wrought.
  • I shall lead by example, not by force. My ways shall serve as an example unto others of goodly behaviour, but I shall not force others to follow my example, as that would force me to exert control over them.
  • Control is not freedom. Laws and regulations are unnecessary mechanisms of control, not protection for the people. People will do good if you give them the chance to do so freely, and so I will work to convince others of the inherent goodness of people and seek to sever the yoke of law whenever good people suffer from its burden.
  • Tyranny and slavery are an abomination. I shall not allow anyone to be subjected to them without challenge, and I shall devote myself to the downfall of such practices.
  • I shall question what is known. I shall actively seek out knowledge and truth, but only when I have questioned facts and beliefs will I find truth. I shall question the way that things have always been, for stagnation is death, and exploration is life.
  • Justice shall be dealt by my own hand. I shall not look to others to mete out justice in my stead. I shall act upon what is good and truthful, even if it conflicts with the expectations of others. Those that pass judgment must be the ones to swing the sword, and I shall not stand in the way of others delivering justice by their own hands, unless that justice comes at the expense of what is good and true.

It's different from what Deadmanwalking has proposed, and it does attempt to maintain some semblance of internal consistency with prioritization of goodly behaviour. It's not chaotic in any meaningful way, but it's about as loose as one would get and still allow a chaotic good character to find some appeal in this set of tenets.

As always, everyone, best wishes!

willuwontu wrote:

I think I see the cause of our division in views now, but let me double check that I understand what your getting at.

I believe you're saying that chaotic characters only act randomly, merely going along and taking action by their own whims of the moment. A CG person just merely happens to be one whose whims tend more to the G side of things.

They don't act completely randomly (i.e. Two-Face flipping a coin), but there's no codified set of behaviours that they adhere to.

willuwontu wrote:

If that's not right please ignore this section below (skip to next quote), or read along if you'd rather.

I'd say you're correct in that a true chaotic being would be like that. The big issue is the setting, as others have noted, we have societies for the chaotic tribes of barbarians, and the existence of chaotic samurai and cavaliers implies that there is a structure to chaos in the setting. While I don't disagree with your intrepretation (and indeed, cannot refute it), I think using it would require quite a bit of overhaul to the design of the game and it's world.

That is a big issue. The poor writing of what "chaotic societies" would look like in Pathfinder has been particularly astonishing to me. Chaotic societies are anarchic, pretty much by definition. Paizo hasn't done "chaotic societies" any more justice than Salvatore did Menzoberranzan. The only reason that these chaotic tribes of barbarians, and chaotic samurai, and chaotic cavaliers even exist is because multiple someones attempted to shoehorn representative sampling into the game in order to say, "See? Chaos exists!" They took neutral structures (at best) and slapped the "chaotic" label onto them for some strange reason, even though they don't remotely represent chaos in any meaningful interpretation of the word. An overhaul isn't explicitly what's needed. What's needed is for people who write for chaotic representation to actually write chaotic examples and stop slapping the "chaos" label onto things just to add a sense of "wild west lawlessness" into the setting.

willuwontu wrote:
Also, I think that if we were to use your definition of a C person (as I interpret it above), C alignment character's (both PCs and NPCs) should be much more rare. I'd even go so far as to say it should be restricted from use by players. Overall, I think a loosely structured C alignment works better for the game as it is.

I'd agree with you that a loosely structured chaotic alignment works better for the game. Chaos is even more difficult to play than lawful is. Law at least has rules to follow (and break). Most interpretations of chaos I've seen (both in this thread and in the game) are perfect representations of neutrality, and completely terrible representations of chaos. Chaos may not be 100% random, but for it to be <50% random (or at least seemingly random) would be every bit as much of an injustice as forcing characters to be lawful at all times.

Going back to Tectorman's example of Deadpool being a chaotic character (I just got out of Deadpool 2 myself), Deadpool actually plays by the rules (by choice) sometimes, and explicitly does so knowing that there are rules to play by and that he's choosing to do so. He breaks that "chaotic" part of his character from time to time, but generally speaking, he adheres to chaotic principles. He does what he wants to do and G-d damn the rules. He's not a perfect example of a chaotic character, but he's about as good as it's going to get.

willuwontu wrote:

Indeed, it would definitely be frustrating (I agree as a C person they should be breaking their code and falling if played faithfully), which would cause consistency issues. Unfortunately, I also see no ways to fix that, which is an issue, other than to say that the player would need to work with the GM on the timings of their fall so they don't lose their powers at a crucial moment.

I also agree with that last point, but I do note that maybe instead of pleading for their deities power, instead they've just been loyal to the deity (a faithful worshipper) and are rewarded without expecting it. Also randomly bestowing power fits a C deity much more than a L one.

The suggested fix by quite a few people (and myself, in days of yore) is to play neutral good and call it chaotic good. It doesn't quite work that way, and it doesn't even work well. It has often (in games I've been a part of and games I've DMed) devolved into arguments of, "You're playing neutral (or lawful), not chaotic! You should lose your powers!" It was even more of a nightmare than the arguments surrounding lawful good paladins and their fall conditions, since it came up pretty much every single game and gaming session. You pretty much have to ignore "chaotic" in order to get it to work at all.

Random boons from gods is totally in keeping with chaotic behavior!

willuwontu wrote:
Indeed while a NG person would likely follow their code than a LG person, it still fits their capabilities relatively well. I would also understand if we never got a CG code due to the difficulties involved in creating one, but I can hope. I also think you could have a NG paladin for a LG deity as well.

The problem you run into is that the lawful good god would get peeved at the neutral good character for not attempting to follow their code like the lawful good characters do and probably cast them out at some point. However, a neutral good deity would laud such a character for maintaining some semblance of balance.

willuwontu wrote:
Agreed, it definitely rings LE more than CE.

So do antipaladins. I think it's an injustice to the antipaladin to label them as chaotic evil when in order to represent a genuine and interesting threat, they should be lawful evil. They're not mindless savages randomly sowing discord and terror. They should be precision forces of destruction, toppling specific governments in order to sow terror as opposed to wrecking random stuff just for the glee of wreckage.

willuwontu wrote:
Best wishes to you too!

Once again, best wishes to you, good sir!

willuwontu wrote:
I agree with this, but to repeat what you said at the end, chaotic characters while not accepting outside rules, would accept rules they made themselves from their own ideals and ideas.

That's actually not what I said at all. The chaotic character wouldn't limit themselves with rules any more so than they'd allow an external influence to do so.

willuwontu wrote:
So while they may not follow a rule because it's "god's law", they follow it, because it parallels their own internal rules, and thus they might accept that god more than others (maybe even looking to them for inspiration in their life). And while they may not accept all of that god's tenets, as some might conflict with theirs, they might be granted power by that god for their tenets in common and their looking to them for inspiration.

I don't think that you're grasping what I'm getting at. What I'm attempting to state is this: a chaotic character acts completely irrespective of rules. For them, it's as if rules do not exist, period. It doesn't matter whether rules are "internal" or "external"; they're "rules" and therefore, they "do not exist" for that character. There's nothing to follow, because they simply do not interact with rules, period. If they happen to do anything at all (randomly, or with purpose), that just so happens to follow someone else's "rules", it's a complete coincidence that has absolutely zero impact upon that chaotic individual. They don't accept rules. They don't interact with rules. They simply act.

willuwontu wrote:
This also fits with the theme of Paladins being bestowed power based on their past actions (back when it was the forces of alignment granting their powers to them, now it's the gods), instead of pleading with a deity for them (which could fit certain paladins, I'm not saying it's bad, just I like the image of the former over the latter).

Sure, you could bestow power upon a chaotic good individual as a reward for "following rules" (not that the chaotic individual is "following rules", they're simply going about their business), but when they reach an as-yet-undefined threshold of "not following rules", it would have to be revoked. From a consistency standpoint, that would make for an utterly frustrating experience for people who wanted to play a chaotic good "paladin". Should the character just so happen to act in accordance with whatever "rules" that their chosen god would set forth, with the explicit purpose of maintaining their bestowed powers, if they did so in a consistent manner, they would no longer be chaotic; they'd be neutral at best.

Having said that, I also like the imagery set forth by gaining their powers based upon past actions, but it's less consistent within the context of a setting that contains deities.

willuwontu wrote:
I see what you mean here, and honestly it's one of the hardest problems to fix. If they're acting more G than C to the point where they seem more N than C, (this hurts me to say) the GM may want to talk with them (nicely) and ask if they really meant to be C, and explain why they're bringing this up. Also this is why there should be a NG paladin code as well in addition to the CG one ;P .

I think that a neutral-good paladin code would work (though it also carries with it the inherent problem that the neutral good character would be more likely to have their powers revoked and require atonement than the lawful good character just for doing what neutral characters do). A chaotic good code would have to be so incredibly loose in order for it to be applicable to a chaotic good character (in terms of it actually being followed) that it may not necessarily be recognizable as a code. Even so, the chaotic good character wouldn't follow it because it's there, though they may be rewarded for managing to stay within the loose confines of behavioural expectation. At least... until they spent sometime outside of those loose confines.

"Do good deeds" would make for such a loose expectation for a chaotic good character that it could be followed (more because the character is good than due to their chaotic nature). "Create a work of art" is another that works reasonably well, though not necessarily as well as "do good deeds" because it's slightly more defined, since the character has to create an artistic work. That artistic work could be a blood-stain pattern on the ground that is aesthetically pleasing and still qualify, mind you, so it's achievable. But, they're really only achievable because "good" in the context of a paladin-like character trumps "chaotic", and that can reduce or eliminate the relevance of the "chaotic" portion of such a code, rendering it effectively "neutral". I argue that a neutral-good "paladin" (paladin-like character) could exist for gods like Desna or Cayden Cailean, but you have to completely ignore the "chaotic" portion of "chaotic good" to create a code for a chaotic good "paladin".

I'd like to add, since it was brought up earlier in the thread, the setting of Menzoberranzan was one of the worst examples of a "chaotic evil" society that I've ever read. Don't get me wrong, I greatly enjoyed Salvatore's stories (particularly the earlier ones), but it was a very structured society, from the matriarchy being in power, to the social strata of society (down to the slaves), to the timing and responsibility of the lighting of Narbondel, to the killing of the third-born male child, to the punishments for violating the "rules". It screams "lawful evil" in nearly every sense of the word. Don't get me wrong, the setting is very interesting, and I've played around in it a ton (the Menzoberranzan boxed set was one of my prized possessions back in the day), but as an example of "chaotic evil" society, it utterly fails.

willuwontu wrote:
Indeed these conversation are quite stimulating, and help me come up with ways to portray my characters better. Best wishes to you as well good sir!

I'm very glad that they're useful to you! Best wishes!

Deadmanwalking wrote:
That's certainly a typical Chaotic attitude, yes. But I think a particular Chaotic character can decide to, say, always follow the directions of color by numbers pictures specifically as long as they're Chaotic in most other aspects of their life.

I don't see that as particularly likely. I'll talk about this in terms of nature and demeanor (from some of White Wolf's RPG's). One's demeanor is how they present themselves to others, while their nature is who they truly are. I take alignment as the nature, while the actual role-playing at the gaming table represents one's demeanor. The chaotic character could decide to follow the directions of the colour by numbers... Because they want the outcome the numbers guide them to, but not because the numbers tell them to do so. In times of stress, they're even more likely to revert to their base nature, not less likely.

Granted, one could interpret alignment with regard to demeanor/nature as the chaotic side being one's demeanor, and the good being their nature. The priority of a paladin's code for PF2 seems to suggest that this is going to be the case with lawful and good (and PF1 seems to indicate this as well). That would mean that in cases where chaos and good do not conflict, one would demonstrate their general demeanor (chaos) pretty much all the time... Except where it conflicted with good (their nature); that's generally how it was used in the White Wolf games. Maybe your demeanor was "angry" but your nature was "cool under pressure", so you could walk around shouting obscenities at and threatening others all the time, but when you got into a stressful situation, you became calm and rational.

Anyway... The point is that one cannot present as "lawful" except in cases when they choose to be "chaotic" and call that "chaotic". That pretty much sums up what "neutral" is.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
In short, I think a Chaotic character can pick a particular aspect of their life and have it not be quite as Chaotic and still maintain their Alignment as long as Chaos is till their main thing in most of the rest of their life. And I think for a CG Paladin, like a CG Cleric doing stuff with Anathema, obeying their Code is that part of their life that isn't 100% Chaotic.

While this might be true, I think it isn't sensical to allow that such a character would be "lawful" about one of the most important aspects of their life (their faith, which would define their class powers in this context), and chaotic about things that are less important to them. Class is a pretty big defining factor of who your character is in-game. As for chaotic good clerics and anathema, we'll have to see what comes out to make a better determination on that point.

Deadmanwalking wrote:

Oh, agreed. But where do Chaotic Clerics come from? In my head, they're Chaotic people who just found a God that already agreed with their existing ideas and chose to follow them. CG Paladins would presumably arise in the same way.

"Wait, you'll give me superpowers for stuff I was probably gonna do anyway as long as I stick to doing that stuff? You're awesome. I'm in."

Chaotic clerics come from their mothers, just like the rest of us. Duh!

I can see a chaotic person finding a god that fits their personal views and deciding to follow them. I don't see that chaotic person (cleric or otherwise) choosing to follow that god because they like the rules of behaviour that the god demands of them. "You've got no rules that tell me what to do and how to act? Tell me more..." (leaning forward with interest) I believe it's more a case of, "Wait, you'll give me superpowers for stuff I was probably gonna do anyway as long as I stick to doing that stuff? Yeah... Ummm... I can't commit to that. Bye." (and turning to the other god) "Wait, you'll give me superpowers for stuff I was probably gonna do anyway as long as I do what I want to do without rules? Score! You're the god for me!"

Deadmanwalking wrote:

And I'd argue that they're not giving up meaningfully more freedom than most Clerics of Chaotic Gods are with Anathema, and those clearly exist.

I do think that CG Paladins are probably more likely to fall and need an atonement than LG ones as they work around or past their Code, but that doesn't make them impossible or anything.

They (un)clearly exist, as we haven't seen the Anathema just yet, but I hear what you're saying. Clerics of chaotic gods exist, and thusfar, we have no "thou shalt do" or "thou shalt not do" from those chaotic gods. Until we've seen that list of dos and don'ts, we can assume they exist, but we cannot assume what they actually are and how that impacts those clerics.

I also think that CG "paladins" are more likely to fall and need and atonement than LG ones... And that's where the major flaw is. They shouldn't be more or less likely to fall than a LG "paladin" in order to be a "paladin". I believe it's poor design, and punitive to players wanting to play a CG "paladin", to put them in that position. "Your paladin has fallen!" is contentious enough as it is without adding more opportunities for fall conditions into the mix.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
And the same to you. :)

Still wishing you all the best!

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willuwontu wrote:
That is the big issue here, because if we say that chaos doesn't ever follow codes (or just strongly dislikes following them and thus won't maintain over long periods of time) it causes an issue. This is shown with the question "What is good?", I'd say (and I'm probably not alone) that it's a code of how to act and behave with (and to) others. Which means that if chaos won't follow codes (or just dislikes them), they can't ever really be good. They might not necessarily be evil, but they wouldn't be good, and that causes an issue.

The fact that chaos doesn't follow codes is really only an issue when you attempt to shoehorn a code in. Chaotic people (or characters) may seem to do things without purpose (which is a completely chaotic thing to do in a pure sense of the word), and often times that's true, but they may also act irrespective of a code. That means that at times, their actions may be congruent with an existing code, or set of laws, but at other times they may not. The defining point here is that the rules don't matter. It doesn't matter if they exist, or if they don't exist. The chaotic character would do what they're going to do without any regard for rules or codes.

The lawful character would follow the rules unless they had a good reason not to. The neutral character would follow rules that they feel like following or that they agree with while not following rules they don't feel like following or that they disagree with. The chaotic character wouldn't even pay rules any mind because for the chaotic character, rules don't even matter to them. As such, with rules not even mattering, they wouldn't accept another entity placing rules upon them, as they would then be forced to at least tacitly acknowledge rules as appying or not applying to them. They would reject the notion that any being even has the authority to subject them to rules in the first place.

This does not mean that without having any regard for rules that the character cannot act in a good fashion. They act in a good fashion because they choose to, not because anything says that they must. It's like the atheist perspective; they don't rape, or kill, or steal because they don't want to rape, or kill, or steal, not because some mythical bearded man in the sky tells them that it's bad.

willuwontu wrote:
I see what you're saying, and while I don't fully disagree, I have to reference my statement above, if chaotic cannot maintain a code (or follow a set of rules) how can they maintain being good, when good is held to a higher (not higher, all alignments are equal, but I feel you'll understand what I mean) standard (and code/rules). Also note that social interactions tend to follow rules as well, the chaotic character is not required to just always ignore them.

I believe I already answered this above, but I think it bears repeating. The chaotic good character can be good because they want to be good, not because they'll be punished for not being good because of "Rules, man. Rules."

So, with regard to social interactions, a very basic one is a greeting. You say some form of hello to me, and I say some form of hello back to you. That's a pretty basic social convention. The chaotic character may say hello back to you, but not because it's the "socially acceptable" thing to do; things like "social acceptability" don't really matter to them. They say "hello" back to you because they want to. Or they nod their head and don't say anything at all. Or maybe they grunt a reply, or don't acknowledge you at all. They don't explicitly bow to the social convention of greeting you back.

willuwontu wrote:
Also, while a chaotic character might reject laws that don't conflict with good, they don't necessarily fight them all the time, instead ignoring them when inconvenienced by them. Some might choose to champion against them, while others might accept their existence and instead choose to educate others on the downsides of them.

I don't disagree with this at all.

willuwontu wrote:
Similarly, I think that the alignment square is a bad representation of how alignment looks and how the axes influence each other. Instead I'd consider it akin to the color circle, with an extra source color and G,E,L,C as the source colors (I really enjoyed how unchained did alignment, and this is like a more granular version of that), With the corner alignments being somewhere in-between. This means that each corner alignment, can be various shades of their sources. So we end up with some CG's whom have a little more C than G in them, whom like you said can't follow a code really, and other CG's whom would be able to (Maybe they've got a splash on lawful in their color ;D ).

While I don't inherently disagree with this, I find it problematic when one of the axes overwhelms the other to the point where the other is irrelevant. At that point, the law-chaos axis naturally settles to "neutral" because the neutral point in the axis prefers neither side of the law-chaos axis to the other.

willuwontu wrote:
I know it's not meant for me, but, You too, kind sir! Your posts are growing on me, and it is somewhat enjoyable to see them, despite my disagreement.

I appreciate the respectful discourse as well! We may not agree, but that's part of the process, and if we eventually reach consensus, I will feel that this conversation was deeply rewarding. If not, it'll still be a good conversation. So, I say "Best wishes!" to you as well, good sir!


Deadmanwalking wrote:
I'll repeat that I keep bringing up Good because a LG Paladin prioritizes Good over Law, and I thus consider a CG one prioritizing Good over Chaos to be very much the way a CG Paladin should work.

I think it's only natural that a paladin prioritizes Good over Law, as they would be completely unable to function as a paladin if they did not do so. However, that doesn't mean that Law holds no bearing upon their actions, and "Law" does not always mean "laws and rules". It can also mean "pattern", "code", "order" (as in the natural order of things in this specific context, not as in command, but it can mean that as well), or any other host of synonyms. I know you understand this, but I wanted to be specific that it's not limited to only the three synonyms I listed here.

Chaos, on the other hand, can also mean "discord", "disorder", "unruliness" (or again, a host of other synonyms not limited to the three I chose). Chaos finds itself in opposition to order or law not explicitly because it is the equal and opposite counter to any given rule or law, but because it doesn't engage with law. It's akin to colouring a picture by numbers; the lawful character will colour a section of the picture blue because the picture calls for blue, and that matters. The chaotic character may choose to use blue in any specific spot that calls for blue, or they may choose to use another colour instead because the colours called for don't really matter to them.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
I disagree that prioritizing the freedom of others over your own is in any way non-Chaotic. It's explicitly Good and thus not typical of CN or CE, but it's a very Chaotic act to prioritize freedom in general regardless of whose. And that's what most of the Code I'd give a CG Paladin is: prioritizing freedom.

I don't disagree that the prioritizing of freedom of others over your own is explicitly non-chaotic. I do, however, argue that doing so universally or consistently is non-chaotic. A chaotic good paladin, in prioritizing freedom, must sometimes prioritize their own as well, and that may sometimes conflict with prioritizing the freedom of others. This is best done when it does not conflict with a good act.

Deadmanwalking wrote:

Absolutely! Unfortunately, having a Code that actually necessitates lawbreaking is not feasible and does not actually covey the lack of respect for laws a Chaotic character should have, since it binds them to them every bit as closely as requiring them to obey them.

Which is why my CG Paladin Code is focused pretty exclusively on protecting the freedom of others rather than anything else.

I agree with you that having a code that necessitates lawbreaking is not feasible. I disagree with you that the chaotic character would overmuch care (or consider) the law when acting in a good fashion. It's good for goodness sake, as opposed to the proverbial bearded man in the sky telling them that they have to be good or be condemned to an eternity of fiery torture.

I understand and respect your position on the chaotic good "paladin" focusing pretty exclusively on protecting freedoms, but I argue that they must also preserve their own. In preserving their own, I find it to be at odds with the concept that they would allow their freedom to be restricted by a set of behavioural rules. The bearded man in the sky can't tell them what to do, but they can still do good of their own volition.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
And once again, the same to you. :)

As always, best wishes to you, good sir.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
CG people, being Good and willing to make personal sacrifices, are more willing to have a very few rules imposed on them for the good of others.

This suggests that chaotic is only chaotic when it's not busy being lawful, and bears no mechanical distinction from neutrality. "I don't do rules, except when I do some rules..." as opposed to "I don't do rules. I just do what I do. The rules don't matter." It appears as a distinction of degree (i.e. <3 rules, you can be chaotic; 3-6 rules, you can be neutral; 6+ rules, you've got to be lawful). The good portion of the alignment spectrum isn't what's in question here; it's the chaotic portion that's the salient point, but the conversation keeps on revolving back to good as if that completely negates the chaotic factor.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Oh, I'm not conflating anything. You're absolutely right about a CN or CE person's attitude, which is precisely why I used a CG person in my example. Being willing to put up with a few laws (and only a few laws) to protect others is a very specifically CG attitude to have, of the Chaotic Alignments, because it's a self-sacrificing one, and Good is the Alignment for that.

I hear what you're saying about how the LG character won't follow all laws because tyrannical laws would conflict with goodness, and I understand that the CG character wouldn't be against all laws because doing so might conflict with goodness. The problem lies with, "I accept all these laws (or behavioural rules in the case of a chaotic good paladin) consistently, each and every day." In so doing, they edge away from CG toward NG (and possibly toward LG), as they follow a consistent behaviour pattern (not chaotic in any sense of the word) that is codified into a set of rules or laws. If you hold these 5 tenets to be true at all times, you're acting in a purely lawful fashion with regard to those tenets, not a chaotic one.

It goes back to the earlier point about "how many rules do you accept before you're no longer chaotic anymore?" The lawful good character can refuse to follow tyrannical laws because those laws conflict with good. The chaotic character, by the same token, would have to refuse tyrannical laws because they conflict with good (still okay in this context), but would have to reject most (if not all) laws that do not conflict with good in order to remain consistent to their alignment, and the same would hold true of a paladin code.

The rub is that even if you manage to put together a set of tenets that don't conflict with good, there's no distinction between the law or chaos side of the law-chaos axis if the CG "paladin" universally follows that code. They can follow that code short-term, but would constantly find themselves violating it and having to perform whatever the mechanical equivalent of atonement would be for chaotic paladin characters (if it's not just straight-up atonement).

Deadmanwalking wrote:

Except that in PF1, as I mentioned above, Paladins were not required to have a deity. Most did, but it wasn't a requirement. They were, at heart, powered pretty much by their own righteousness.

And even if they are required to follow a Deity in PF2, I cite Anathemas for Clerics and how they work again to show that some Chaotic people are willing to obey the instructions of their God.

A couple of paladin abilities (divine bond and holy champion) directly reference the need for a god. One might claim that it's vestigial text, but it's there, hasn't been removed, and lends support to the necessity of a god-interaction for paladins; there's an absence of support against the necessity in the text for paladins themselves. The enrichment text directly references their service to a deity as well. I don't consider it a far stretch to default to, "God is necessary for paladinhood", though I do accept that other interpretations exist and can (and have been) fun to play. They're just not straight-up paladins.

As for godly instructions and chaotic clerics... Which instructions are these? What are, say, Desna's instructions for clerics? I'm not sure I've ever actually seen them spelled out like a paladin code. (I can only assume that anathema will address this in PF2).

Once again, best wishes, good sir!

Deadmanwalking wrote:

It would include an externally imposed Code. But who says that Paladin Codes are externally imposed? I've always gotten the distinct impression they were something that the Paladin sought out or possibly even came up with themselves.

One obvious version is for anyone who abides by a certain Code perfectly develops Paladin powers. That's always been my impression of one way Paladins happen: Someone is just so Good and Righteous that they start channeling the power of Goodness itself and becomes a Paladin.

It's interesting how paladin codes work, and how they're developed. Your interpretation is certainly a valid one, but mechanically, there's nothing that immediately springs to mind as to "spontaneous" (for lack of a better word at the moment) paladinhood. They're pretty much all tied to gods, if memory serves. Sure, you could do all the things that would allow you to become a paladin of Abadar, and then Abadar smiles down upon you and you're a paladin. But, that god-tie still exists.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Believing in one's own Code of behavior is totally a valid way to be a Paladin in PF1. And if Chaos were really as against following anyone else's dictates as you imply here, Chaotic Clerics couldn't exist.

That's not necessarily true. Clerics aren't held to the same standards that paladins are (for some inexplicable reason). Plus, there isn't a strict set of behavioural guidelines for clerics either (again, for some inexplicable reason). For some reason, if you want to be a priest and spread the gospel of Bob, Bob doesn't care overmuch about how you act when you're wearing his robes, but if you want to smite that demon, Bob's all up in your business about what you did with that prisoner you were holding last week. It's one of the reasons that I'm glad that they're introducing the anathema mechanic in PF2. However, Bob cares (again, for some inexplicable reason) more about the power he grants to smite evil than he does about the power he gives away to cast goodberry.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Chaos is not inherently against every possible restriction anyone could ever impose, not on a human scale anyway. A CG person, for example, is pretty okay with laws against torture and slavery existing. Someone Chaotic will want as few rules as possible in order to achieve the end of disallowing torture or slavery, but they aren't inherently against the idea of such rules existing.

You're right. Chaos isn't inherently against every possible restriction anyone could ever impose (on a human scale). They're still against those restrictions applying to "me" (the chaotic character). I apologize for getting political for a moment (and I'm not trying to bring politics into it, but just to use a convenient example), it's a very "libertarian" point of view. I don't like those rules, so they shouldn't apply to me, and you can't make me follow them. There's a bit of conflation of "good" spreading over into chaos. Sure, the chaotic good person would be against laws allowing torture and slavery, but the chaotic neutral person wouldn't necessarily be, and the chaotic evil person would be glad that torture and slavery happen without regard to the legality of it. It's more a concern for good over chaos.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
There's a reason that tenet only applies to defending innocents from oppression rather than everyone. Nazi punching is totally fine by it.

Maybe? Is it in the context of defending an innocent (or innocents), or is it just going up to a nazi (because they're bad people in general) and punching them on general principle? The tenet seems to apply in one case, but not the other.

Deadmanwalking wrote:

I actually went into that in my previous post responding to you. It comes down to someone philosophically devoted to the ideal of freedom being willing to give up a small amount of personal freedom to safeguard the freedom of others. Good is partially about a willingness to engage in self sacrifice, after all, irrespective of its ties to Law or Chaos.

For someone truly CG, rather than simply CN, the freedom of others is more important to them than their own freedom (or at the very least the freedom of others is more important than the small amount of freedom the Paladin Code causes them to give up).

That would certainly hold true... If the law-chaos axis was more suggestion than ethos. I see the "lawful" or "chaotic" part of the axis as bearing equal weight to the "good" or "evil" part of the axis. Your interpretation seems to prioritize good over chaos. In an equivalent manner, the chaotic character might not be willing to give up any freedoms and seek alternative means of achieving a "good" outcome. It's a valid form of play. I see no issue with "good" working within the context of a code; that part we seem to agree upon. So, let's leave the good/evil out of the discussion, because it's not the salient factor. The chaotic character is all about personal freedom (full stop). Personal freedom is not congruent with the concept that one must follow a code of behavior at all times.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
This assumes, once again, that Chaotic characters object to all rules (which I still think is an exaggeration), and that the code is externally imposed (which I wouldn't assume).

I also think it's an exaggeration (and a misrepresentation of my position on this issue). Chaotic characters object to having to follow rules because rules exist, not because the intended outcome of the rule is something they wouldn't choose to do anyway. As to your other point, when "god" says, "thou shalt" or "thou shalt not" in exchange for power, it's an externally imposed ruleset. If the power comes from within, and has nothing to do with any deity or their rules, that's something different than a paladin (holy warrior devoted to a deity). That's a design space that has a lot of potential that doesn't really work well if you try to shoehorn it into the design space of "paladin".

Best wishes!

Xerres wrote:
I find that basically everything can be Neutral for some reason or another, unless it is utterly extreme.

Yeah, that's certainly a problem with the alignment system.

Xerres wrote:

Okay, my mistake. But Lawful "can" break their Codes, and do so, creating Fallen Paladins.

I can likely agree Lawful is less likely to break a Code on the principles of "I didn't write it, ain't my Code!" and that Lawful characters will accept what the Code says on the basis its the Code.

But I think when a Neutral or Chaotic character accepts a Code, it is not a flippant commitment. Less likely to accept a Code? I can certainly agree. But once its their Code, I think they follow through on it.

Easiest example: Gorum's followers being brave in battle. They're allowed to retreat from a battle they can't win, but to show outright cowardice in the face of the enemy is something I would say is vanishingly rare among Gorum's devoted.

Yeah, but there's a mechanical penalty for lawful characters breaking their code because they're lawful and codes are a lawful sort of thing to have. You can't really penalize a chaotic character for breaking a code when that's totally within the realm of expectation for a chaotic character. It sets them up for failure from the start, and I find that to be a flaw in the design of basing a chaotic good character's "quasi-paladin" status on a code of behavior. I've experimented with other ways to make chaotic "quasi-paladins" to varying degrees of success, and basing their power-set on codes almost always universally fails. I've had these discussions many a time at my gaming table, both from the GM perspective, and from the player perspective.

You're absolutely right that a neutral or chaotic character isn't necessarily going to make a flippant commitment. However, it's in their nature to break commitments for "reasons", be they "I don't believe the code causes me to behave appropriately in this situation" or "I refuse to be constrained by rules." You're right that Gorum's faithful would be highly unlikely to show signs of outright cowardice, but that doesn't mean that a follower couldn't justify some other means of retreat (that may seem cowardly to an observer, but be perfectly justifiable by some other metric).

Xerres wrote:

They'll do good deeds because they told themselves to though. "I chose this Code, I believe in this Code. This Code is mine, and I'm not giving it up no matter how much the world wants to break me from it."

You can't force a Code onto a Chaotic Good character, that's absolutely true. But you can't force one out of them either.

The concern I have here is that the position you pose here works out great for the neutral character, who can adopt a code (or not) as they see fit, but one of the defining characteristics of a chaotic character is that they refuse to be bound by convention. They could adopt a code, sure... But would they actually follow it? Good says "yes, sure", chaos says "this is a temp job, baby". Eventually, the chaotic portion of their alignment spectrum is going to rear its head, and it's "off with the code". Then you're looking at a fallen chaotidin (as I believe it was called earlier in the thread) who, being true to that chaotic part of their alignment, might just say, "I tried that. It wasn't for me." and not go back. Far more likely to do so (being true to form) than a lawful character.

Xerres wrote:
Chaotic characters will follow the rules they agree with, and fight against the ones they don't. I agree Chaotic characters will believe in their own judgement, but I think that they can judge a Code to be right and proper, and then choose to follow said Code.

They'll follow the rules they agree with because they feel like following them, not because someone says they have to. Neutral characters are more likely to be the type to pick and choose which rules to follow because sometimes rules are important to them, and sometimes they're not. Chaotic characters aren't going to buck rules just because they're rules, but they're not going to follow them because someone made rules, either. It has the same end result for chaotic characters as for neutral characters in many cases, but for entirely different reasons.

Yeah, they can judge a code to be right and proper, and then choose to follow said code... for a while... until the point where they don't want to follow rules anymore because they're not really rule-followers. They're not really the type to respect authority, and God's handing down those rules. They're no more likely to respect God's authority simply because it's God making the rules than they are to accept Billy-Bob's authority because some watery tart chucked a sword at him.

Xerres wrote:
Outside the provision about following Laws, and your own belief that Codes are for Lawful characters, can you explain how the current Paladin Code is not just as well suited to a Neutral character? Because Neutral characters are the ones that basically get to do whatever they want without any real chance of someone arguing their alignment. So its really easy to say something fits them.

Sure. The neutral good character puts good above law and order. If a good deed breaks the law (or a part of a godly code), then they don't have too many qualms about doing the good deed and not respecting the law. Paladin codes are based upon the premise that if you break them, you're going to have to work to earn your special powers back, and that's fine and good because the lawful good character is supposed to be a rule-follower by nature. However, it penalizes the neutral good character for failing to follow the rules when it's in his nature to sometimes toss rules out the window.

Xerres wrote:
The fundamental divide I can determine is that I think Chaotic characters can't be forced into following rules, but they can absolutely decide to do it on their own. I think your view of Chaotic as an alignment is needlessly extreme.

I believe the fundamental divide is that you conflate neutral and chaotic characters into the exact same behavior set with the exact same motivations behind that behavior set, thereby erasing the distinction between the two. I don't see my view of chaotic as an alignment as needless or extreme. From my perspective, your shoehorning chaos into neutrality out of what appears to be expedience (I apologize if it's not) to make a chaotic code work is needlessly extreme. You're absolutely right; chaotic characters can't be forced into following rules, and that's exactly what a code of behavior attempts to do at a very fundamental level. "You want these nifty powers? Follow these rules." A neutral character could decide to do it on their own, and get penalized for failing to follow those rules, which is unfortunate, but could end up being workable so long as they don't universally follow said code (which might be interpreted as a shift toward lawful). However, a chaotic character would not want to saddle themselves with rules in the first place, even if they made the conscious decision to do the same things that the rules tell them to do in the first place... Simply because they have a tendency to reject authority, acting in arbitrary fashion, recklessness, and hold a strong belief in unfettered personal freedom. Unfettered by what? Rules, man. Rules.

Xerres wrote:
And I also now realize that willuwontu wanted to stop continuing this debate. Should probably be a different thread made for arguing it.

The amusing thing about this is that in the context of a discussion on a code of behavior for a chaotic good paladin-like character, a chaotic good paladin-like character would tell willuwontu that he cannot dictate their behavior, and they don't need to follow his rules.

I'm really hopeful that this product will contain material for characters that want to delve into the tragic backstory of the Cyclopses of Koloran, Ghol-Gan, and Iblydos.

Xerres wrote:
In the greater context of the debate going on, I say I see Lawful Good Paladin supporters marginalizing Chaotic Good as inept or less 'Good'. And then I used your example for Caydenite Paladin, which was a gloriously shining example of what I was talking about, and I've outright said its the thing I take issue with.

Chaotic good is, by no means, inept. But, there are distinctions for reasons, and I see a lot of "chaotic" get confused for "neutral", and vice versa. Lawful is a lot more clearly defined (because it really is easier to define).

Xerres wrote:
Since you're saying that Caydenites, Sarenites, Shelynites, and etc that aren't Lawful Good will abandon any 'Code' when it suits them, I did take your example as a standard presentation of how you use alignment.

You say "will". I've repeatedly said "can".

Xerres wrote:

If that example is your typical definition of Chaotic Good, then indeed, I don't think your words have a lot of weight for a Chaotic Good Code. If that's not your typical definition, throw out another one, and I'll not be aggressive or use bolded text. Or if you don't want to, I won't keep mentioning it.

It isn't, but then again, you're not the arbiter of how much weight my arguments hold for a chaotic good code beyond your game table.

As I've repeatedly stated (in various forms), the chaotic good character will do good for goodness sake, but won't do good deeds because someone tells them that they have to. If they choose to do something that someone told them to do, "Rescue the princess, Mario!", it will be because they choose to do so, not because they're required by any sort of "anything at all that says that they must". This includes a "code".

Xerres wrote:

So I'll start fresh with my base position:

Chaotic characters will follow a Code if they believe in the Code. The same as Lawful characters. And the power of a Chaotidin would work exactly the same as a Paladin: their strength of belief in their Code gives them power.

If a Chaotic character stops following their Code, its because they stopped believing in it, and so they lose their power.

I see no reason this conflicts with the flavor of a Paladin, outside following Laws in the Code, so I am interested in the purpose of this thread, to think of a 'Chaotic' Code for them to follow.

That's where we're at odds. Chaotic characters will not follow a code, because a code is rules, and "rules are for f***sticks", so "damn your rules, 'cause I'm gonna do what I wanna do". Chaotic characters are more likely to believe in their own inner strength or judgment, or awesomeness, or rightness of purpose than any external factor (such as a god's rules) simply because they do what they want to do, when they want to do it. That's pretty much the nature of the chaotic part of alignment, and it's supported by the alignment definition of chaos that you were kind enough to provide earlier in the thread. It's not that chaotic characters cannot have strength of purpose, but they do so by their own personal ethos rather than by the rules of some god.

So, let's look at these proposed rules.

1) You must never willingly commit an evil act, such as murder, torture, or casting an evil spell.

The chaotic good character wouldn't do this because it would be evil... but that's more a factor of the "good" part of the alignment and doesn't interact much with the "chaotic" aside from the notion that it's a "rule" and "rules are for f***sticks".

2) You must not take actions that you know will harm an innocent, or through inaction cause an innocent to come to immediate harm when you knew your action could reasonably prevent it. This tenet doesn't force you to take action against possible harm to innocents or to sacrifice your life and future potential in an attempt to protect an innocent.

Again, great for the "good" portion. The chaotic portion would be ten shades of, "You can't tell me what to do!"

3) You should treat others with courtesy, dignity, and respect. Do not cheat, steal, or lie to others unless it is necessary to protect the life and freedom of innocents.

Again, no conflict with the "good" portion, but the "chaos" portion grates against the "rules", and the "you tell me that I can't lie, steal, or cheat unless it's for some 'good' reason"? Rules, man. Rules. I'll lie if I want to. Little white lies don't hurt anyone. Cheating at a friendly game of cards (for no money) doesn't really hurt anyone, except maybe the people I'm playing with, but it doesn't do any real harm, so whatever, man.

4) You must always defend the autonomy of innocents from those who would violate it. If one person is forcing an innocent to do anything against their will, you must attempt to stop this act, using words if possible and force if necessary.

No problem with the "good" portion. The "chaos" portion bucks right up and says, "I must always"? Hell no! That sounds like you want to make me "the Man", and I ain't "the Man"! And what if I want to let my fist do the talking for me. Punching a Nazi is totally the right and righteous thing to do!

5) You must personally respect the autonomy of others, never forcing them to engage in any particular course of behavior. You may advise and admonish, but never actually force them to do as you wish them to, except as necessary to fulfill the higher tenets (such as jailing a criminal who harmed or violated the autonomy of innocents is acceptable in order to prevent such behavior).

So... I can't force anyone to follow rules? The "chaos" portion of the alignment code says, "Cool, bro! So why are you not respecting my personal autonomy with those other rules?"

These rules would work out pretty well for a neutral good character. The fact that these rules even exist would put a chaotic (anything) character into a tizzy of "I challenge your authority, and you can't make me follow your rules."

Best wishes!

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Bodhizen wrote:
So, that follower of Cayden Cailean would be unlikely to abandon the villagers, but (to use similar emphasis to yours) they could if they want to and it wouldn't violate their alignment one iota, unlike the paladin followers of Sarenrae who, by abandoning the villagers, would explicitly violate their alignment and Sarenrae's code.
The bolded part of this is what I disagree with, for the record. Abandoning people to die when you can save them is Evil (well, it is without a heck of a reason anyway), and will make you non-Good very rapidly. It certainly won't effect the Chaotic part of their Alignment, but it sure would get rid of the Good part, and do so very quickly.

I get that, and I was explicitly non-specific there. Could there be a reason? Sure.

Xerres wrote:
Again, going by posters saying that the Code is hard so they need a reward, that's why Paladins follow them.

So... You're going by posters and not actually responding to things that I stated, yet in the same breath you're responding to me? Curiouser and curiouser.

Xerres wrote:

But anyway, you're absolutely putting Lawful on a pedestal if you say Chaotic Good can leave people to die so they can get drunk. Because then Chaotic Good is for worthless lay-abouts who care for nothing but themselves, and Lawful Good is for the ones willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of all.

Sacrifice for others was supposed to be a Good aligned trait, not Lawful Good. Trying to squirrel it away from the other alignments is just cobbling together a fine pedestal for Lawful Good.

You're reading a lot into what you're thinking that I wrote that is neither what I wrote nor what I intended. Good characters do things for all sorts of reasons. Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic good characters do things because it's the right thing to do. Lawful good characters also do those things because they're "supposed to"; someone external to them expects them to do it.

Xerres wrote:
Whether its what they want or not, its what they are presenting. Saying that its Chaotic Good to leave innocent people to die because you want a drink creates a system where-in it is a lesser 'Good' than Lawful Good. And frankly not even on the scale of Good alignment at all by any reasonable measure.

I never said it was chaotic good to leave innocent people to die (that wasn't even my example; there was nothing that ever said that anything happening to the villagers was ever lethal).

Bodhizen wrote:
Here's where the chaotic-good paladin fails, though... The chaotic-good paladin of Cayden Cailean, when confronted with Cayden Cailean's cardinal rule of "do good deeds" (if that's his cardinal rule) might say, "Y'know what? Screw that! Imma get (more) drunk. Those villagers can save themselves."

You're reading things into what I wrote that I neither said nor implied. Ostensibly, the chaotic good character can choose to leave those villagers alone and not offer them aid for a variety of reasons (not limited to "they're getting help from the local militia and they've abused my aid one too many times") and still not violate his alignment. Good is not a strait-jacket any more than evil is.

Regardless of whether the example is lethal or not, the chaotic good character is not required by any extrinsic force (i.e. God, or a code, or "the law") to help. Even the lawful good paladin is not required to rush off to aid absolutely everyone who has a need (unless their god's code explicitly requires them to). So...

Xerres wrote:
Abandoning people to die so you can get drunk is not Chaotic Good. You can't save them? Okay, then you retreat. You're afraid? Weird for a follower of Cayden, but okay, fear overrides your morals. But you just want to get plastered more than you care about their lives That is not Good aligned. Its not a strawman on my part to say there's no Chaotic Good in your games, if you can say "You can abandon the innocent to die because you were thirsty, don't worry about your alignment."

This is another example of you assuming that the people you're responding to have no idea of how the alignment system works, and how you're deliberately misrepresenting my statements instead of asking for clarification when you're clearly misunderstanding. That's strawmanning. You're attempting to misrepresent what someone else has stated in order to tear down the other person's position.

Xerres wrote:
And I want to know, truly, how I'm using 'No True Scotsman' anymore than you or anyone else in this thread is. You say Chaotics can't follow a Code, you say Chaotics can't do this, can't do that. I'm saying that if you think that letting innocent people die so you can get a drink is Chaotic Good, then you don't know what Chaotic Good is.

Again, you misrepresent. I never said that Chaotic characters couldn't follow a code; in point of fact, I explicitly said the following:

Bodhizen wrote:
I'm not saying that chaotic priests couldn't follow a code, just as I'm not saying that lawful priests couldn't break a code. They'd be completely unlikely to submit to a code in the first place because that's not in their nature.
Xerres wrote:
I mean seriously, the Cayden bit is the only real contention I have with you, because its what shows how this view of alignment leads to "Lawful Good = Best Good" whether its intended or not.

I believe you've made that abundantly clear. You're like a dog with a bone.

Xerres wrote:
You may be insulted that I said it, and my bold text may be over the line, but going by the Core description of alignment, your idea of Chaotic Good is not 'Good' at all. And I stand by my assertion: You don't have Chaotic Good in your game if they can abandon the innocent to get drunk without it changing their alignment. And that's a fine thing if that's how you play the game, honestly it is! I'll straight up apologize about my bold text and say it was an overreaction. But your view of Chaotic 'Good' is at odds with the alignments as portrayed in the Core book, so I find them drastically less relevant in discussions about a Chaotic Good Paladin Code.

Again, you ascribe a single example (which I'll freely admit was a poor one) to an entire view of one of the systems used in Pathfinder. I'm really impressed by your crystal ball here, fellow, but you're looking inside someone else's head here, not mine. Check my reply to Deadmanwalking at the beginning of this post.

What I'm insulted by is the fact that you inexplicably seem to know everything at my gaming table, seem to be dictating to me my understanding of alignment, and the fact that you eerily zeroed in on a random (and again, poorly worded) example that you interpreted to mean a host of things that it doesn't actually mean, and then have the hubris to attempt to tell me that it does. And yet, none of this actually addresses the point that chaos and code are noncongruent, which was my entire point to begin with. Do you actually have anything meaningful to contribute here, or are you going to continue to dry-hump "Cayden Cailean's followers would never get drunk instead of doing good deeds" some more?

I know I'm quoting from pages ago, so please forgive me.

Xerres wrote:

Going by the many arguments of "Codes are hard, they must be rewarded." then the trading obedience for power is why Paladins follow their Codes in the first place.

Unlike noble Samurai, who follow their Codes of service without expectation of gain, Paladins are only in it for the power. Shiftless thieves, the lot of them, they'd steal a baby's lollipop if it gave them another use of Smite Evil.

And less jokey, Paladins still only follow the Code because something happens when they do. Or, if we accept that Chaotic Cleric submit themselves to the will of their Gods out of belief and devotion, accepting the 'rule' or 'guidance' of a higher power... then saying they can't follow a Code they believe in is absurd.

Paladins follow the codes they do not because they're hard, but because they believe that living by that code is the right thing to do. They don't get rewarded for their obedience half so much as they get punished by failing to live up to that obedience. From an in-character perspective, they receive power for obedience (or loyalty, if you will), but from an out of character perspective, they automatically gain their powers and lose them due to disobedience. Paladins gain power because they're obedient, not because they give up their free will. Players voluntarily give up some of their freedoms in exchange for the class abilities that paladins are granted. Paladins aren't in it for the power; they're in it for the faith. Players are in it for the power.

Having said that, when we go to the chaotic cleric, "God" doesn't expect as much from their clerics. Yes, PF2 introduces anathema to address some of that, but the fact of the matter is, God isn't expecting the cleric to go out there and bring the faith to the people by force. We're not expecting our Catholic priests (or priests of whatever religion) to be the holy warriors of old; we actually expect the opposite from them. I'm not saying that chaotic priests couldn't follow a code, just as I'm not saying that lawful priests couldn't break a code. They'd be completely unlikely to submit to a code in the first place because that's not in their nature. Ain't nobody gonna break-a my stride. Ain't nobody gonna hold me down, oh no, I gotta keep on movin'!

Xerres wrote:
Bodhizen wrote:
The neutral character would violate their "code" whenever it suits them.
No they wouldn't what are you even talking about? I am sorry, but this is absurd. A follower of Sarenrae does not turn away others seeking redemption on a whim, or whenever it suits them! A follower of Shelyn doesn't stand in the way of love when they can make a few bucks!

Actually, no it's not absurd. The neutral character explicitly gets to pick and choose when they want to follow the law (or a code) because it suits them, and when they don't want to, without violating their belief system. The chaotic character would actively avoid being put into a position where they have to follow someone else's rules because "f*** that". The lawful character is the guy who follows the speed limit because it's the law. The chaotic character is the guy who doesn't follow the speed limit because "f*** speed limits!" The neutral character is the guy who chooses to follow the speed limit when he feels like it, and when he's all alone on the road with little to no chance of getting caught, opens up the throttle. Can the lawful character speed? Sure, but not without violating his ethos. Can the chaotic character follow the speed limit? Sure, but he wouldn't just because the limit exists. He'd do it simply because he made the choice to do so, not because some damn sign said to do it.

Xerres wrote:
I apologize in advance for being rude, but this line of logic is upsetting to me, because its putting Lawful on a pedestal, and using alignment as an instrument to bludgeon other characters into their boxes. "You have [Blah] Alignment. You can't follow a Code. If you choose the same breakfast two days in a row you're Lawful."

I can see that this line of logic is upsetting to you, but it doesn't put lawful up on a pedestal. Lawful is hard. Following the rules all the time is hard. You don't get to break the rules every now and then and still be counted as having followed the rules 100% of the time (which is the expectation that the paladin is held to). In this context, you get some special toys for following the expectation, and if you break the rules, those toys get taken away from you (at least until God decides that you've learned your lesson).

Xerres wrote:
A Paladin can break their Code whenever they feel like, its how you get Fallen Paladins. They can decide the wind blew against their cheek too hard, and now the Code is out the window. There is nothing that stops them from breaking it, or a Chaotic character from keeping it. If we followed this extreme interpretation of what's Lawful and what's Chaotic then Chaotic Good wouldn't exist because not murdering the innocent is far too stable a position for a Chaotic character to have.

Yes, paladins can break their code and lose their powers as a result. That's kind of the point. The chaotic character isn't Two-Face, flipping a coin (or rolling a die) and letting fate decide what happens next. The chaotic character doesn't want to follow rules. They want to do what they want to do when they want to do it without anyone telling them they can't. That's precisely why giving them a code is nonsensical. That's telling them what they can and cannot do, which goes against their own personal ethos.

Xerres wrote:
Bodhizen wrote:

Here's where the chaotic-good paladin fails, though... The chaotic-good paladin of Cayden Cailean, when confronted with Cayden Cailean's cardinal rule of "do good deeds" (if that's his cardinal rule) might say, "Y'know what? Screw that! Imma get (more) drunk. Those villagers can save themselves."


This is exactly what I'm talking about when I say people just want Lawful Good to be Best Good, or True Good. A Chaotic Good character, especially a Chaotic Good follower OF THE GOD OF BRAVERY AND HEROISM! Does not abandon the innocent TO GET DRUNK!

I am very sorry, but this is the most absurd argument against Chaotic Codes I have ever seen. This is insulting a personal level to anyone who follows the Chaotic Good ideals. If Chaotic Good doesn't exist in your personal games then that is fine, but that is not the default of Pathfinder.

No, it's not that people want Lawful Good to be the "best good" or "true good". It's that chaotic good does good because they want to, not because they're expected to, or because someone tells them that they must. They wouldn't want to follow a Chaotic Code (again, chaos in this context and code are incompatible) because they don't want anyone telling them what to do.

So, that follower of Cayden Cailean would be unlikely to abandon the villagers, but (to use similar emphasis to yours) they could if they want to and it wouldn't violate their alignment one iota, unlike the paladin followers of Sarenrae who, by abandoning the villagers, would explicitly violate their alignment and Sarenrae's code.

What's actually insulting and what's actually absurd is that you made a lot of assumptions about what is and isn't in my games, that you seem to want to strawman and paint other posters with the "no true Scotsman" brush, and then there's your use of BIG BOLD TEXT in the context of a civil conversation (even with a difference of opinion), not the fact that we have different views. If that's too "insulting" for you, then you're welcome to see your way out. If you'd like to calm down and have a civil discussion, I'm happy to oblige. As Malachandra rightly points out...

Malachandra wrote:
That said, immediately jumping to the assumption that another user simply has their opinion in order to keep you from having fun is a little dramatic. And aggressively attacking someone for an opinion simply because you don't share it is out of line.

Best wishes!

johnlocke90 wrote:

Internal codes are virtually indistinguishable from a chaotic character though. Cayden Cailean arguably has internal code after all.

The only thing distinguishing him from LG is his dislike of external codes.

Code is indistinguishable, in this context (the law-chaos axis), from law. Chaos inherently struggles against any code, as codes dictate predictable patterns of behaviour.

Codes are intrinsically opposed to chaos, be they internal or external. If my code states, "Always be free", then it dictates a pattern of behaviour that prevents my character from accepting bondage in any form, be that physical, mental, or social. When presented with the choice to wear shackles or run from the character attempting to shackle me, I must (if I'm following a "code") choose the latter. It has dictated my pattern of behaviour, and patterns of behaviour are diametrically opposed to chaos. If my "code" states, "Always do whatever I want to do", that's mechanically indistinguishable from "I have no code", and therefore, as a code, it fails to function. The fact that this code is one that I internally accept rather than accepting as a condition of access to other powers is irrelevant. I have accepted this code which has limited my behaviour pattern, therefore, limiting the infinite possibilities that could result from my own chaotic behavior. This is a purposeful acceptance of laws that may not completely define me, but do so in part. Ergo, this is law (once again, in this context).

If Law versus Chaos was as easily defined as "intrinsic reward pattern" versus "extrinsic reward pattern", alignment would be a much simpler concept to grok, but would require different identifying conventional handles (read: not "law" and "chaos", but more "altruism" and "self-interest"). One can intrinsically believe in a code of behaviour (such as the "code" of the lone gunslinger who rides off into the sunset) without it requiring external stimuli or interaction. Therefore, the lone gunslinger can follow a code that only he knows, but remains internally consistent with his ethos pattern.

Therefore, following an internal code remains an expression of lawful behaviour regardless of external factors.

Best wishes!

Wei Ji the Learner wrote:

I see Lawfuldins as having the code externally applied (I do this because it is the law and the rules), and Chaotidins as applying their code from within(I do this because this is where my seat of goodness is telling me to go).

And Neutradins as being a combination of the two.

I don't think any of them would go to the bar and get drunk if there was goodness to be done. Afterwards? Probably.

While it's an interesting position to take, I'm not sure that I agree with you, good sir. A character doesn't have to look for external reward to follow a personal (internal) code. Following an internal code would make the character lawful regardless of external factors.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Dekalinder wrote:
Well, since said paladin is Chaotic, he doesn't give two hoots about any rule or oath and can simply ignore any point he believe to be interfering with his cause of a greater good. So we can skip bothering with the code altogether.
That's not how Chaos inherently works, man. Heck, look at the PF2 Cleric rules, I mean Chaotic Clerics still have Anathema.

Man, I need to check into the forums more often. I know I'm replying to an earlier post, but I've been following the thread and this post is just a generic reply beyond this upcoming paragraph.

So... Sure, chaotic clerics are still going to have anathema, because anathema are more linked to the idea of, "If you do this, you piss God off" more so than "you're a goody-two-shoes all the time" or "you do what you feel like". Anathema are more about what you have to do in exchange for your power because God will take it away if you don't follow his/her commandments, even if those commandments are whimsical by nature. "Don't step in a turd on the third Tuesday of the month when the purple moon is in its waxing phase" might be oddly specific, and never happen... Except when it does, and that whimsical god might just say, "Whoa, buddy... You broke the one rule I had. Get ready for a whoopin'!" Might seem like something very "lawful" because of its specificity, but really just be that, "Even God didn't expect that to happen. Imagine that. He might just laugh it off... But he's probably going to kick your kiester."

And now... For the in-general...

The problem with the "chaotic" portion of a "code" is that chaos inherently conflicts with code. The neutral character would violate their "code" whenever it suits them. The chaotic character would be ten shades of, "F**k naw! You ain't restrictin' me with no code! Ain't no 'venturer got time fo' dat! I do what I wanna do!" It's not that chaotic characters can't follow a code, it's that they wouldn't ever want their own freedom of choice to be restricted in such a fashion, and would therefore never agree to it in the first place. It's why I think that Chaotic Evil doesn't work for Antipaladins. As Xerres wrote earlier...

Xerres wrote:
Which is what I feel the 'Chaotidin' supporters are constantly running up against, being told they aren't in their Chaos Box. When letting yourself be stuck inside a box is the opposite of Chaos.

The chaotic "paladin" would never let themselves be stuck in the box of "You're going to tell me what I can and cannot do." Having a code that says, "Be wild and free! Do what you want to do!" is actually functionally the same as not having a code.

I see a lot of people conflating what a neutral character would do when it comes to following a code of behavior versus a chaotic character would do. If your chaotic character would follow a code (when it suits them) and violate that code (when it suits them), there is no functional difference from the neutral character who follows a code (when it suits them) and violates that code (when it suits them). That's neutral (on the law-chaos axis) in a nutshell. They do what is most convenient for themselves at the time. The chaotic character should be ten shades of, "I could follow the code if I wanna 'cause that's my choice, but I ain't gonna follow no code 'cause I don't wanna. Butterflies are free, man! Butterflies are free!"

Here's where the chaotic-good paladin fails, though... The chaotic-good paladin of Cayden Cailean, when confronted with Cayden Cailean's cardinal rule of "do good deeds" (if that's his cardinal rule) might say, "Y'know what? Screw that! Imma get (more) drunk. Those villagers can save themselves." Cayden Cailean as the functional god of a chaotic good paladin has to say, "Y'know, you just broke my rule. Bad boy. Go atone before I give you your powers back." Shoot. Boss is on my case, and I didn't do nothin'. F**k the man! I might go atone today, but if this jackass keeps on harshin' on my drink, Imma gonna go find myself another church, yo!

Unless, y'know... They're not actually chaotic good paladins... They're another class entirely (like warpriests) that allow for that sort of thing without triggering a fall.

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I'm actually a fan of the, "this may not be the right tool [read: weapon] for this monster" vibe I'm getting. Don't get me wrong, having the über-Sword of Awesomeness +eleventybillion mow down everything you encounter is cool and all, but I like the notion that weaknesses are going to encourage you to think about switching up your weapons. It's not a requirement any more so than in PF1 to have multiple weapons for the job (PF1 didn't play with weaknesses nearly this much), but there is an incentive for sheathing your sword and grabbing your tetsubo from your back to pound some sense into the horde.

I really like this direction with monsters in PF2.

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Bodhi (of Bodhi's Guide to the Optimal Paladin/Antipaladin) here...

I haven't had much to say about the playtest, but I'm going to weigh in here.

Paladins are an archetype. They are the shining holy knight that embodies all that is good and righteous in the world. They are the best of the Knights of Charlemagne. They are the best of the Knights of the Round Table. They, more than any other class in the core rulebook, exemplify a very specific type of character. They are, in Pathfinder 1.0 and Pathfinder 2.0 both, very much functioning as intended. They're a literary convention, as it were, and if you want to play that particular literary convention, stripping out all of the idiosyncrasies that make paladins what they are just to keep the mechanical chassis would do the class a disservice.

I totally get that people want to play Chaotic Good paladins, and while I'm not against that type of play, it's not the paladin archetype. Would it be awesome to have a paladin of Milani? Absolutely. From an in-game perspective, does a Chaotic Good champion have the mental and emotional wherewithal to uphold to a code? If you're taking a pretty mean interpretation of alignment, then no. They pretty much do as they will without much regard for any particular sort of code. That's also why neutral good "paladins" don't necessarily work out well; they ditch their "code" when it suits them. That "code" is what paladins must adhere to in exchange for their powers. To be fair, the paladin gets some pretty sweet class abilities.

The problem with "clerics as paladins" is that clerics were far too generic in Pathfinder 1.0, and I'm not entirely certain that they're going to be "not so generic" in Pathfinder 2.0. We shall see how that pans out. Warpriests sort of hit the mark to fill in that gap, but they didn't do it perfectly, and I feel that's because people were expecting "paladin 2.0" from warpriests, and that didn't pan out.

Why does "god" love paladins more than their other children (clerics, inquisitors, and warpriests)? It's because "god" expects more from them, it's that fact (far more so than a specific alignment) that is the driving force behind why paladins are "god's favourite". Does that mean that other gods (that aren't lawful good) couldn't create a "paladin-like being"? Certainly not. It's more likely that they don't really care to and beings that aren't lawful good are probably not as likely to follow the strict guidelines that "god" demands in exchange for these specific powers.

It's really more a narrative issue than a mechanical one.

Having said all of that... I completely get that people may want to play paladins and not be lawful good. I believe that a good portion of that sentiment stems from the number of times they've seen either "lawful stupid" or "lawful @$$hole" played at their table. Those aren't fun to be around. Another chunk of it comes from the concept that "those few people over there shouldn't have the shiniest toys", and I understand that as well. If you really want to play a paladin of Gorum, absolutely nothing stops you... except you. Write up a code, hold some expectations for what you want out of this paladin and go for it. It's not really supported by the literature that supports the concept of paladins, but that's not really important to someone who really wants to play that paladin of Gorum.

Lastly... I'm a huge proponent of the idea that antipaladins, in order to be the dark mirror of paladins, should be lawful evil, not chaotic evil. I don't particularly care much for "chaotic evil" antipaladins, as they wouldn't really be able to hold on to any tenets to oppose those of paladins anyway. They don't want to convert you to their dark purpose and fulfill the desires of their black-souled deities; they just want to watch the world burn. Not that world-burning is a problem for antipaladins, I just feel that they'd be way too disorganized to be a match for the average paladin.

Best wishes, all!

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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

One thing that I think we could explain a bit better is the fact that every character has a breadth of options open to them when it comes to social and out of combat abilities. Some come from classes whose theme and purpose aligns closely with those parts of the game. For those classes, they usually get some additional choices so that they do not feel that they are lacking in combat ability (sacrificing social for combat, or vice versa).

That said, everyone has access to skills, skill feats, and general feats that allow you to tune your character to perform in the way that you want outside of combat (exploration mode and downtime mode). We will be looking at the modes of play on Friday and I am going to sneak in some information on this topic then to give you a sense of what's out there.

This sounds encouraging. I hope that the fighter class (and all martial classes, actually) see a decent amount of access. The fighter class in Pathfinder (First Edition) feels like it got punished in every area except feat access; fighters were skill poor, had to invest in Intelligence just to have better access to skills (at the expense of other Attributes), and because the real benefit they had was in the amount of feats they had, it felt like they got punished by having to use feats that would otherwise keep them on par with other classes on things that would actually grant them narrative utility. Personally, I'd like to see at least one decent narrative utility feature built into the base fighter chassis.

My single greatest concern is the lack of any mention of Fighters having greater narrative power than they did in First Edition. Can we please get a response to this concern?

Thank you for the suggestions. I've now moved on to the "strix" portion of my setting. Still considering general feats for the jungle-type setting, but also now considering feats for strix characters; their role in the jungle-world is an aloof race that views "walkers" as beneath them (both figuratively and literally). They're not slavers (a different race fit that bill), but they are a rather martial and rigid society with a vast empire. They are adept at both war and trade, and while they haven't expanded their empire in centuries, they're about to peak (culturally speaking) and have the potential to enter a phase of decline. Political corruption is just beginning to emerge, family values are just beginning to erode, and paranoia is just beginning to spread (although it hasn't blossomed into xenophobia yet). Effectively, they're the equivalent of 1950's America in terms of their economic power and military stature.

You're a necromancer traveling with a party of adventurers; if the paladin really has problems with the necromancer and how he behaves, he'll probably leave the party, as he will invariably find himself at odds with the party. If the GM allowed this to happen, the GM might have some conflict and resolution as a plot point in mind, but if the GM doesn't have that in mind, the GM should probably have told the paladin's player, "There's a necromancer in the group. I think it's for the best if you play a different class. Have you considered playing either a warpriest, cavalier, or inquisitor?" (depending on the paladin player's preferred mode of play, of course)

It wouldn't be difficult to re-tool the paladin as any one of the aforementioned classes, and if the paladin's player was looking for something that is "not too complicated" to play, I would have suggested a rogue, fighter, barbarian, or slayer instead of a paladin or cleric. It sounds like, based upon the party makeup, that you needed a "meat shield" and healer, and the paladin (or cleric) fills both of those roles. It sounds as though your party could possibly use some re-balancing in general.

Best wishes!

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Lady-J wrote:
except it is fact

Sorry, but you have no proof that your view could objectively be valid.

Lady-J wrote:
paladins in 5e can pretty much do what ever they want so long as they stick to the code that they themselves chose out this does in fact give them more freedom.

This neither confirms nor refutes any point made thusfar. It's nice to know, but it's unimportant.

Lady-J wrote:
another fact is that they are more powerful than pathfinder paladins, their aura effect everyone evenly paladin gets immunity to something so does every other party member with in 10 feet(upgraded to 30 feet at higher levels) paladin get charisma to all saves guess what so does every ally within the 10(30)foot radius their smite works vs everything and they get like a dozen different kinds of smite that each do neat effects, they also get spells at level 2 their only downside is lay on hands which works kinda like the 3.5 one.

Again, nice to know, but it neither confirms nor refutes any point made thusfar.

Lady-J wrote:
5e paladins get overall better features than pf and wear less of a strait jacket while getting to enjoy those powers.

Good to know. It's a completely different design paradigm based upon a system two editions beyond what Pathfinder was based upon. That doesn't mean that the Pathfinder paladin is "subpar", just different. If you're making the assertion that the Pathfinder paladin is "subpar", not only is that a completely separate argument from paladin morality and fall conditions, but it is, once again, an apples to oranges comparison.

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Lady-J wrote:
that's more on the fault of the paladin class being poorly written then actual issue of ethics

There is no evidence to support this, only opinion.

Lady-J wrote:
5e has no restriction on alignment and also have codes that are much more lenient then pathfinders paladin, 5e paladins have little to no issues with any of the actions they take, they are also much more powerful than pathfinder paladins so the argument of the code is there for balance is complete hogwash

You're making an apples to oranges comparison. Not only are you arguing that 5e has less restrictive codes (your words were "more lenient", but I'm not really altering meaning in this context), which alters game-play, but does not provide any means-tested (objective) evidence that their ethical sandbox is measurably "better" (it's just an opinion, after all; subjective), but also you're arguing that because paladins in 5e are "more powerful", the balance with ethical codes is better. Those items are unrelated.

Not only that, but your contribution seemed to completely ignore (not refute) everything that I presented, which essentially boils down to, "the black and white morality interpretation that you have (subjectively) imposed upon the paladin class is incompatible with rules as intended, and strong arguments can be made for the notion that it is incompatible with rules as written, ergo, your black and white morality interpretation cannot objectively be valid".

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I am very hopeful that Pathfinder 2nd Edition will bring martials and casters into balance and redress the problem of the martial/caster disparity.

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There's a lot in this thread that's troubling.

First, the notion that no matter what the paladin does, the paladin falls. This assumes that the paladin's actions, via the butterfly effect, will eventually result in some act of evil that the paladin will be indirectly (but we seem to be assuming directly for some strange reason) responsible for. Since any act of good may provoke an equal and opposite response, the paladin must therefore fall and thusly, the paladin falls immediately upon dedicating herself to her god(dess).

This explicitly breaks the system, violating Rules as Intended (and arguably, Rules as Written).

Second, the notion that the paladin, upon learning that the person saved is an Agent of Evil (capital E here), the paladin must definitively "Deal with the Agent". This assumes that the paladin is omniscient, as letting the Agent of Evil live is considered to be an evil act, since the Agent of Evil (having no agency of their own) will undoubtedly commit an act of evil (or Evil), which the paladin is (in)directly responsible for. Therefore, the paladin has no choice but to execute the Agent of Evil.

However, murder is an Evil (again, capital E) act, and therefore, executing the Agent of Evil automatically makes the paladin fall. We'd try to resolve this by turning over the Agent of Evil to the Proper Authorities, but in so doing, the Agent of Evil could escape, committing further acts of evil, and therefore, the paladin once again is (in)directly responsible for the Agent of Evil's actions. Thusly, the paladin falls. All of this assumes that the paladin lacks agency herself as she must act to deal with the Agent of Evil, but simultaneously assumes that the paladin has enough agency to be responsible for her choices and therefore be culpable for her actions and capable of falling.

This also explicitly breaks the system, violating Rules as Intended (and arguably, Rules as Written).

Both of these arguments make the paladin unplayable. This breaks the design paradigm of the paladin class (as well as the design paradigm of the "good" axis of Alignment in the Alignment system in our fantasy swords & sorcery setting). As they both make the paladin class unplayable, neither one can be valid interpretations of paladin fall conditions or ethics in this fantasy sword & sorcery setting.

  • Paladins are not directly responsible for any actions but their own.
  • Paladins are not indirectly responsible for any actions that do not directly result from a paladin's action or inaction. Even NPCs have agency, and to deny them their agency is to deny the agency of the paladin or the player.
  • Paladins are not omniscient or precognitive. Pre-crime is not the prerogative of the paladin class.
  • If an act doesn't explicitly break the generic or god(dess)-specific Paladin Code, the paladin does not fall, period. Failing to kill a sentient evil creature that is not currently in the commission of an act of evil does not violate the generic paladin code, nor does it break the paladin code of any god(dess) that I'm aware of.
  • According to some paladin codes, the paladin cannot kill an evil creature that is not currently committing an act of evil. Some are even required to attempt to redeem evil creatures prior to "final solutions".

Ethical trap-baiting is not fun for players, particularly those playing alignment-reliant characters. Arguing the ethics of fantastical moral dilemmas in a fantasy sword & sorcery setting that assumes that killing other creatures is a "good" or "socially acceptable" act is also not fun for most players (hence the general, "Another 'paladin falls' thread? Oh, God! Here we go again!" feeling when one of these threads crops up). Since both of these are "not fun", it's a short leap from "not fun" to "badwrongfun" to even get into these sorts of debates, particularly when dealing in absolutes like, "all murder is always wrong, despite the rules-as-written conceits of the fantasy sword & sorcery setting".

Best wishes!

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Absolutely not. Absolutely nothing the paladin did violates Erastil's code.

The human culture is one of recent liberation from slavery. They are rebuilding their place in the world, and working to survive in a deadly environment that offers little refuge.

Thank you for the suggestions so far.

Looking for ideas for:

  • General feats for a jungle-type setting.
  • Human specific feats for a jungle-type setting.

Any ideas or assistance would be appreciated.

Best wishes!

I'm sensing a question here, even though one wasn't asked.

A DC 24 Will save (which requires the Paladin to have a Charisma score of 26 at 13th level) isn't impossible for a 13th level character to overcome. Provided that your 13th level opponent has a +2 bonus to Will saves, the average character probably only needs to roll somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-12 to overcome the sanctuary effect. It only lasts for a round per level (and you should have it active before you need it unless you want to use up the swift action), and it's defeated by area-of-effect spells and the paladin's (or target's) inability to physically attack or cast attack spells while the targeted mercy is in effect without losing the benefit. Sure, you can walk into entire rooms by yourself and maybe you won't have a problem, but you're neutralized as an attacker.

Additionally, the healing token spell only benefits your allies with your targeted mercy if they're within range of your Lay on Hands ability, which is "touch". If they're not within range, you cannot make use of this benefit, which severely limits its utility when used in conjunction with that spell.

That's why it's "okay", rather than "good" or "excellent".

Best wishes!

The link is still functional, but thank you. :)

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Author here. The link still points to the exact place the file is stored.

Best wishes!

Corintheothraxus, the great brassy wyrm, chuckles softly to himself as he looks at the intruders who have just entered the massive cavern that serves as his home and the resting place of his hoard. He shifts slightly, crossing his forelegs and sending a shower of coins and gems cascading down the pile upon which he lies.

"Watch this, intruders," he rumbles with a sharp echo. Sucking in a sharp breath, he puffs out a stream of fire that bathes a gelatinous mass in a fiery halo for a brief moment before it explodes, sending a thunderous retort ringing across the cavern and a man-sized mushroom cloud shooting up toward the stalactite and rebounding back in a dense cloud that settles down like a blanket as the explosion's roar fades.

Corintheothraxus begins to shake with laughter, amused by the pyrotechnic display. "Are you sure you want to brave me in my den, little people? There's plenty more where that came from."


  • Let the dragon-fight happen without the dragon sitting on his hoard; that's so cliche. If the dragon hears that the PCs are anywhere near his precious hoard, why would he fight them on top of it, which leads to...
  • Have the dungeon re-arrange itself during the fight. You can either put the dragon in an environment where its mobility is useful, or you can take mobility away from the PCs. If the heroes are bearding the dragon in its lair, then you should be taking the mobility away from the PCs. Walls come up, pits open up, traps go off, and the PCs can't necessarily help each other and gang up on the dragon, which leads to...
  • Give the dragon swarm creatures as minions. They're a gigantic pain-in-the-ass for anyone who has high AC and a lack of area-of-effect spells. That'll give your monk a challenge. Good luck getting past the swarms to get to the dragon.

That's all for now. Best wishes!

Bob Bob Bob wrote:

Oh, that's actually... well, cheesy as @#$% but it looks like it works. The part you're missing is:

Versatile Training wrote:
Once the skills have been selected, they cannot be changed and the fighter can immediately retrain all of his skill ranks in the selected skills at no additional cost in money or time.
So you're not using it to gain skills but instead get a free instant retraining. Now I just want to complain more about the skill selection though since you need max ranks of whatever you want to swap out. There's a few gimmes in there (Perception, Sense Motive, a social skill) but the Fighter chassis is still 2+Int and you don't get the swap until mid levels. So a Greatsword Fighter gets to choose between Diplomacy, Bluff, Intimidate, and Ride to keep maxed? That's... well, not a great selection. Not for the Fighter. Archers at least get Perception, I could see maxing Perception and Intimidate. But being forced into maxing Diplomacy and Intimidate/Bluff (especially without Sense Motive) sounds like this Fighter really sucks to play at lower levels. Skill selection is locked, good feats are specifically barred (and you have to take other feats to make up for this), your weapon training is limited, and until @#$%ing level 9 you're not really doing much with this. This is useful but not "hobble yourself for half your career" useful.

Yeah, didn't miss that part. I pretty much said in fewer words what you said here. :)

Cheburn wrote:
Once you've retrained your maxed Diplomacy into another skill (the first time you use this trick), how do you ever do it again? I see nothing in the AWT about the retrained skill points going back to Diplomacy to let you rinse and repeat.

You use that Manual of War to retrain a combat feat for the day, retraining a new selection of Advanced Weapon Training.

Snakers wrote:
The idea isnt taking the skills from the weapon group you have. Its taking a skill you already have max ranks in, which, by the awt, lets you redistribute the ranks ANYWHERE. So since you can switch out the awts, you juggle your own skill ranks across your character and to nil with being limited by weapon group skills.
Advanced Weapon Training wrote:
The fighter can use his base attack bonus in place of his ranks in two skills of his choice that are associated with the fighter weapon group he has chosen with this option (see below).

You can't substitute your BAB into just any skill. You have to have the weapon group that applies to that skill. For example, light blades allows you to substitute your BAB in place of your skill ranks in Diplomacy or Sleight of Hand. Sure, you can juggle which feat you have prepared for the day and take another Advanced Weapon Training (Combat) feat, but you still only get the 2 skills per day. If you don't need Diplomacy or Sleight of Hand today, you're out of luck. So... Not quite as flexible as you present.

master_marshmallow wrote:
Brb, need to get off mobile.

Dirty. :P

Let's look at this from another angle:

Our 5th level (human) Fighter has to expend the following resources to gain the kind of (mediocre) narrative power that is being talked about right now, which is less than the narrative power of your average spellcaster. Skills are great, but they don't have the incredible flexibility that is grabbing one of a hundred spells to do things that skills cannot do from your class spell list.

  • 7,500 GP out of 10,500 GP (71.4% of the 5th level Fighter's Wealth by Level) for a Manual of War, so that they can have a variable combat feat to move around as they see fit, once per day.
  • 1 out of 7 total feats (14% of the 5th level human Fighter's total feats) to have a feat you're going to swap out daily so that you can pick up the Advanced Weapon Training (Combat) feat to gain early access to Versatile Training.
  • 1 out of 7 total feats to take Quick Study, or Barroom Brawler, or another Advanced Weapon Training (Combat) feat to get Warrior Spirit (if you wish), so that you can learn a combat feat (possibly the Advanced Weapon Training feat) from someone who already has it.

Physical Resources: Pathfinder Core Rulebook ($49.99/$9.99 for the PDF), Ultimate Equipment ($49.99/ $9.99 for the PDF), Weapon Master's Handbook ($10.49 for the PDF), Advanced Class Guide ($44.99/ $9.99 for the PDF), Ultimate Intrigue ($44.99/ $9.99 for the PDF); $200.45 for physical copies (except for the Weapon Master's Handbook), $50.45 for PDF copies.

So now you can reassign your Base Attack Bonus to sub in for your skill ranks in one of four skills (Bluff, Intimidate, and the other two determined by your weapon group choice), all at the cost of at least one feat, and possibly 71% of your wealth by level if you really want the Manual of War. That's an exceptionally heavy investment for a pretty lackluster payoff. Sure, you can do it, but it's arguably not worth it. Plus, you have to spend over $50 to get all the resources to use all of this... if you even know what resources you need to get in order to substitute 5 ranks in 4 skills at 5th level.

And while I was working on that post, we hit the EUREKA! moment! Hurray!

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