I agree with N.Jolly statement as a whole and reject Closet's sentiments. What effectively amounts to personality ("I believe in freedom, good will, and have a hobby of stargazing!") shouldn't be considered a balancing-point for actual, mechanical implications ("...So because of this, I can throw an off-brand chakram based entirely on how pretty and personable I am!") On top of that, it is frustrating how it sets a precedent that Golarion-centric games are things that everyone will be playing, because some GMs don't like refluffing and thus it unfairly locks-out a character (and indeed, their player) from being able to do cool or awesome things because they don't worship the right imaginary god, or didn't get picked-up by fairies when they were a kid. Similarly, the idea of "not playing the game right" is wholeheartedly bubkis; yes, there are rules and mechanics and settings, but the idea of locking things behind arbitrary distinctions and setting-specific concepts in a ruleset that is, at least in theory, setting-agnostic is kind of silly.
Crashing Tempest Academy was founded by the drinking buddy of Cayden Cailean, who upon hearing that his friend became a god, immediately claimed that HE was the one who put him up to the bet, and that HE got him the ideas that let him pass the Test of the Starstone. Upon not being smote on the spot, he then founded the Academy in honor of his friend's skill with utilizing the Steel Tankard/Mithral Rapier/Adamantine-Toed Boots so well in barfights.
Lensmaker Society is a branch of the Pathfinder Society, specifically the branch that realized that actually calling themselves Pathfinders while doing morally-questionable activities probably wasn't a good idea.
The biggest benefit to Path of War, such as the Warder or Warlord, is that they allow a player to use a multitude of different weapons or combat styles and make them work, without relying on "full-attack, end turn". You can play a completely dexterity-and-charisma-only character (a Warlord with Weapon Finesse and Deadly Agility) to play a roguish scoundrel that uses darts and daggers to make pinpoint-accurate attacks for debilitating his foes, or a ninja that does the same thing, all without needing to change a single mechanical detail. It allows you to play a savage and fierce warrior that protects his clan with his battleaxe and his brains (a Zweihander Sentinel Warder with Primal Fury and Scarlet Throne), or the same character can be a scholarly sort that dropped out of wizarding school to stab someone in the gut with a halberd. The Mystic is a way to play a monk that isn't terrible (Aurora Soul), or you can play your favorite cartoon or movie character that uses "magic" and doesn't rely on vancian spellcasting.
That being said, it's not without flaws. Some maneuvers are busted (either being too weak or too powerful), but the same could be said of spells. The Stalker is a class that feels at-odds with itself, being highly mobile but requiring to stand completely still in order to recover itself (making it feel a bit monkish in that regard, but not to the same ghastly extent). But otherwise, the system is usable and it works just as well when it comes to damage-dealing AND utility as the crown jewels of Pathfinder martial combat (The Barbarian, Paladin, and Slayer).
But then when you look at the options that maneuvers give you, these issues seem comparatively-minor. Swordsmen can sprout angelic (or fiendish) wings and fly about sewing terror where they land. Elementalists can coat their weapons or even their fists with fire and ice without needing to rely on fiddly spells or expensive items. Leaders can seize the opportunity and bring morale back to their men with a single strike. The sheer variety and flavor of the abilities rivals even spellcasting, without it busting the game open in-half and while still giving you a coherent set of powers. If you want to focus on fear, there's two disciplines with that as an important aspect. Ranged Combat? Solar Wind/Elemental Flux/Tempest Gale is what you need. Utility and maneuverability? Veiled Moon, Riven Hourglass, and Sleeping Goddess can make you unrivaled in evasion. It's a great way to palpably say "yes, this is what my character is about, and I can back that up starting from level 1."
I feel like using the old "and then a Runelord was the villain!" standby for a Land of the Linnorm Kings AP is a bit of a copout. If you're playing there, the most likely candidates for characters would be people native to the region or merchants/travelers from specific locations; Minkai and Osirion specifically, considering the trade routes. So, at least in my opinion, it would make more sense for a campaign set there to utilize the unique aspects of the Linnorm Kingdoms to create an interesting story.
THAT feels like a more interesting AP than "Another Runelord, Part 3" or "Cthulhu Lands On Golarion".
@Wyntr: That makes no sense whatsoever for the Order of the Rack. Racks have, as their job, the followings tasks: Finding, Uprooting, and Destroying the chaos that is criminal activities. Torture is only necessary when the accused claims to have not done their crime; her brother admitted to the crime, and therefore his criminal activities had been uprooted and made known. The only step left was to execute him; giving him a chance to explain himself would show a wavering-at-best belief in the righteousness of the law, but torturing him more for no good reason is just a waste of time and shows sadism, not orderliness.
@AlgaeNymph: I don't see her as vile, and I agree that putting her as Lawful Evil isn't quite accurate when it comes right down to it. Is she merciless, forthright, and deadly? Yes. But none of these things are what people traditionally consider evil; she doesn't sound like she tortures people for fun. She doesn't find random people to lynch, she waits for the courts to claim someone is guilty before torturing them and fulfilling their execution. She's a mercilessly-direct Lawful Neutral for sure, but I'd hesitate to call her Evil any more than a ranger who puts down orcs and goblins on-sight no-questions-asked as Evil.
Personally, I am interested in seeing how Paizo will do the rest of the iconics for Hell's Vengeance. I think that the actual idea of "evil" will need to come out more, because Linxia doesn't strike me as particularly evil or cruel. If what they're going for is "Cheliax hires all sorts, and even someone who is a calm and even-handed arbiter of justice can do dark deeds in the name of a good cause" then I congratulate them on this character. If they instead are going for "look how eeeeeeeevil this girl is!" then I think they'll need to work a bit more on it.
Indeed Corvus. It's entertaining to see how an "Evil" campaign will be done, and hopefully it will be well-written (I have high hopes, considering most of the writers are not the "big-name" ones and will therefore have new views and opinions).
That being said, it's a little unnerving with James Jacobs' new revelation regarding the "most disruptive alignment". Is this why Erastil ended up so conflicted until he was rewritten? Why Iomedae is very shall we say "uppity" in Wrath of the Righteous' 5th installment? To me, the worse alignment is, and always will be, "whatever alignment the worst player in the group is playing". Sometimes that means the jerkwad "take no prisoners, let God sort them out" LG Paladin or Fighter. Other times it's the plucky "comic relief" CG rogue that steals from the rest of the party and always goes alone to pick fights with the LN city guards, then complains when it gets their character gets systematically beaten, jailed, and executed.
Really, it's all a matter of opinion. I like the idea of an evil-themed campaign just as much as a good, lawful, or chaotic one. As long as it's well-written, I'll enjoy it.
Polyamory is a thing, and isn't inherently wrong as long as everyone involved is open and aware about what is going on and is supportive of it.
As someone in a polyamorous relationship I can't say that I agree with you. Oftentimes that first step from turning a monogamous relationship into a polygamist one is filled with hesitance, fear of backlash, and self-doubt. "What if he doesn't want another person in this relationship?" "What if I don't like who she's bringing home at night?" It's a bunch of metaphysical landmines that you need to be certain you're okay with stepping on; there's no way to fully prepare for dropping a bombshell like "hey, sweetheart, I love you and all, but there's this girl..." on your significant other, unless you have gotten extremely-lucky when you started to date them.
Or unless it was open from the start, at which point that's describing something different completely. STARTING a relationship with the knowledge that it's a poly one is different than attempting to change a pre-existing relationship into a polyamorous one. In the former, all your cards are on the table (metaphorically speaking). In the latter, you're either thinking about someone else (which is dangerous water to tread) or you're already in a relationship with that second person and are trying to convince the first that it's alright (at which point you're just cheating and trying to change the rules retroactively so you won't be cheating).
Again, this is from the viewpoint of someone who's in a very happy relationship with two wonderful people; when one person became two people, I was utterly terrified because of the confused feelings I had, and how I could have potentially hurt the first person. I would have to say, in closing, that the gods SHOULD be multifaceted and complex beings. I believe that Erastil should be for anybody that raises a child but against single parents of either sex. I believe that Sarenrae should be all for redemption, but that this also includes working hand-in-hand with Asmodeus and accepting slavery where it is legal. And finally I believe that Shelyn is accepting of poly relationships, but ONLY once they're poly and that she's against the steps leading up to it. Is it contradictory and paradoxical? Yes, but they're GODS; mere mortal minds should think that they're being hypocritical or mysterious.
Someone said wrote:
Oppression is evil. This is pretty much the cornerstone of every moral philosophy out there, with the conspicuous exception of those that are transparently laid out explicitly to keep oppressors in power. Most relevant in this context, evil in Pathfinder is more or less defined as getting ahead in life by walking all over everyone else. Especially when we're looking specifically at Lawful Evil.
Alright, following you so far.
Someone said wrote:
Aaaaand you lost me. Allow me to explain why.
"Misogyny", by definition, is "the hatred of women". That's all it means, by dictionary terms. The prefix "Miso-" meaning disgust or hatred, and the root "-gyno-" which means females. At no point does it mean oppressing women, doing so systematically or on a society-level, or having any connection to "the Patriarchy" (which is a silly term anyway, and one that is about as black-and-white as calling the entirety of Paizo wrong when it is merely some of their writers).
Misogyny is a neutral act because it is hateful towards a subset of humanity and living beings. It is no more or less evil than Misandry (the hatred of men), Misanthropy (the hatred of all humans), or even Misocyny (the hatred of dogs, which all goblins in Golarion seem to pathologically suffer from). Nowhere does misogyny mean when a man thinks a woman isn't fit for being in a leading position, nor does it mean that a society places women lower on the political totem-pole. It can be combined with said events, but it is not, by the very definition of the word, the same thing.
Therefore, with this reasoning, it can be said that a misogynistic deity is no more evil than a deity who hates dragons, or goblins, or arcane spellcasters. Is oppression evil, and thus a deity that oppresses women evil? Yes, but no more than a deity that oppresses Ulfen humans, or elves, or men, or what-have-you. But again, this all is under the assumption that Erastil was ever misogynistic which, as I have proven with the definitions, he never was. He has old-fashioned beliefs on what a couple should do, but he does not Hate Women.
LordOfThreshold said wrote:
This might very well be the case, which just brings up the underlying problem that is inherent in the recent Paizo releases: "Chaos is the forward-thinking and fun alignment, Law is the mean-spirited and backwards alignment". This disappoints me on several levels, because it equates Chaos to automatically being positive and that Law, even when combined with Good, is negative. It bothers me that Wrath of the Righteous was plagued with bad characterization, especially of Iomedae, because "well, she's Lawful so of course she's going to trumpet people for disagreeing with her!" It annoys me how the Player's "Guide" to Hell's Rebels explicitly says that Paladins and other Lawful characters, even Lawful Good ones, are not good choices for a playable character (as well as bringing Milani to the forefront yet again when she is supposedly a minor ascended goddess, yet somehow manages to sneak into every recent Adventure Path as the 'best' option). It frustrates me that in Hell's Vengeance your planned-to-be-Evil characters are mostly fighting the Lawful Good 'Glorious Reclamation' and not, as the name would suggest, the eponymous rebels from the last AP (and, indeed, can't seem to ever do a thing against them).
The recent trend of Paizo's writing that "Law = bad and Chaos = best" is probably the real reasoning behind a lot of the problems and flaws that people see in these recent ideas. Erastil was written to be family-minded because he's Lawful and Lawful is apparently no good to the writing team, lumping him together with Iomedae and Asmodeus. I've not heard of a Chaotic deity being suddenly retconned into acting more proper, only of Lawful deities.
Jamie Charlan said wrote:
Plus he'll probably staunchly remain opposed to any gay/lesbian couples that want nothing to do with kids at all (as opposed to ones who adopt). It honestly would not make sense for him to change his mind about that last part, because he's a bloody god of exactly doing not-that!
An important thing to remember, as well, is that he'd be staunchly against straight people who don't settle down and have kids or adopt and be a good role-model, as well as gay/lesbian couples. Thank you for pointing this out Jamie; Erastil should not be whitewashed into being all-accepting of all lifestyles because that's not the kind of portfolio he has as a god. He's the Deity of Community, Family, and Protection of the first two for goodness' sake, not the God of Free Love. No matter your sexual preference he wants you to settle down and raise a family!
The fact that women carry the kid for 9 months isn't equal to oppressing them or even "protecting them for their own good", it's common sense to not get stabbed in the belly by a highwayman on the road. Similarly, he's not calling for men to go out and get slaughtered in war, because that leaves a kid fatherless. He'd be even more moderate and relaxed if there was such a thing as "test tube babies" in Golarion, but children still get born the old-fashioned way and people still go out adventuring and getting themselves killed, so of course he's going to be against men and women not being a part of a community with a white picket fence, a dog, and 2.4 children; they are actively against what he is the god of.
Malficus said wrote:
I heartily disagree with this notion. Gods throughout all of history, including the modern era, have been believed to be Good while still having inaccurate or negative traits. The fact that the good gods of Golarion follow a morality that is seen in the modern day as "liberal" or "forward-thinking" makes no sense, because it implicitly assumes that "conservative" or "traditional" thinking is wrong.
Say that I am a female (which I am), and I believe that women as-a-whole are just as deserving of various punishments and cruelties as a man (which I do believe; cruelties should not be evoked upon ANYONE no matter their gender, but punishments such as imprisonment or getting hit if you throw the first punch are also gender-neutral). Am I advocating violence against women and thus would be considered "evil"? No, and neither would a deity that believes that justice is blind, even-handed, and equal-opportunity. If a man punches you, either turn the other cheek or punch him back. If a woman punches you, either turn the other cheek or punch her back.
Let's take another view. A god believes in the sanctity of life and thus is against the aborting of a child so long as it was created in a loving or at least consensual union (obviously fetuses born of rape are exempt from this and can be removed freely). Is the fact that they are expecting something of their female followers in regards to their body a bad or negative trait? In my personal opinion I would say yes, but that does not equate to that god being non-Good. I disagree with their tenants, but I do not holistically declare that they are 'obviously' a Neutral or Evil god.
Gods that are purely of goodness or pure baby-eating evil are, frankly, boring. Sure, you could always give the justification of "but just homebrew it or houserule it!", but that isn't what various Paizo writers do. They "errata" it in, overwriting things that they disagree with on a personal level instead of leaving it in and offering their own viewpoint that, while biased (as all viewpoints are, including my own), is also merely a suggestion and is in no way official. It's a problem that I have with the writing of Pathfinder; don't get me wrong, I love the system and I believe that it is a fun and entertaining tabletop game. However, when the fluff-writers overwrite and self-censor to the point of making everything black-and-white, or when the crunch-writers reduce the effectiveness of a character option because it's "not realistic" while systematically ignoring that wizards use mind-control and an entire country exists because a witch got bored and ran a social experiment in the snow, I find it difficult to really enjoy the game without feeling punished or, dare I say it, discriminated against.
Hello Nathan! Thank you for the welcome.
As for removing absolute alignment, that is definitely one possible solution... but, in my opinion, it's not the only one or the 'most correct' one. As a player, I personally enjoy it when a character acts completely within alignment but in an unexpected personality.
A Chaotic Good freedom-fighter (such as someone that you might play as in Hell's Rebels) can be a vicious "man the guillotines and let the gods sort them out" type since he is still targeting the corrupt and stifling government that is currently in-place. Such a character is doing what is best for everyone and what will ultimately prove to be a Good act, but he is doing so Chaotically and in a way that might cause people looking in a lot of discomfort ("Does he really need to lift the head of EVERY Hellknight to show us the 'face of evil'?").
Now let's look at a Chaotic Evil character. He is polite and friendly, and he won't balk at the letter OR the spirit of an agreement he's made... but he still kicks piglets because they're in the way and paints signs on the road literally pointing to "Burning Orphanage" and "My Secret Lair". I imagine that the iconic Antipaladin is this sort of CE character; absolutely maniacal and evil, but in a way that you can't help but think is charming and hilarious. He's Dick Dastardly, tying people to the railroads with enough time to have them rescued. He could just shoot them and get it over with, but that defeats the spirit of being Chaotic and Evil to him.
In the same way, this can be extended to all alignments. Just because someone's a racist jerk doesn't mean he's not Lawful Good, or even Chaotic Good. Just because someone is friendly, willing to listen, and able to make reasonable counterpoints in a discussion does not negate that he could be Neutral Evil or Chaotic Neutral. The justification and overall result in his or her actions are what makes alignment, not how they act on a day-to-day basis.
Halae, Coyote, and Rynjin bring up extremely important points: Deities across history and other fantasy games have nearly-always had good and bad aspects to them. Some examples from real life would be:
Examples from fictional sources are just as easy to find:
Now, looking at these, we can see that gods that would fall under a form of Law or Chaos, Good or Evil... all of them have both flaws and virtues that would make them believable and worthy of worship beyond fear.
As an aside, this is my first post here on the Paizo forums after spending a long time lurking. Hello, everyone!