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Walter Sheppard wrote:

This is the original question...

Fromper wrote:
Is torture always evil, in the context of PFS alignment infraction rules?

...and this is the response.

Michael Brock wrote:
Yes torture is evil.

*Sigh*. You're cherry-picking. Original question:

Fromper wrote:
Is torture always evil, in the context of PFS alignment infraction rules? How violent does it have to be to be considered torture?

The second question is the more important and telling part of the question. He made the follow-up question expecting the answer to the first question to be yes. Which I would have expected too, given PFS.

You're also misquoting the torture clarification, Michael added the 'excessive' there later on, which waters that definition down. And good that he did, because the definition you quoted was so strict it was causing issues.
Walter Sheppard wrote:
Smiles and sunshine for everyone? :)

You're trying to make peace, and even though I might not agree with the rhetoric means you're trying to achieve it, I will drop the issue. This thread should now die, as after the initial confusion was corrected with "excessive"-amendment the only really meaningful information contained here is this:

Michael Brock wrote:
Slapping a bound man probably does not cause excessive pain. Filleting his fingers probably does. This is one of those situations where I can not provide an absolute definition for every situation that may occur so I leave it to the GMs to make the best interpretation they possibly can.

Which actually doesn't change the status quo quite much.

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Bob Jonquet wrote:


Fortunately, we don't have to debate it since Mike has made the clear ruling that torture is evil. Period. At this point, personal moralities are irrelevant. The only remaining question is what is/not torture (defined as excessive pain and suffering).

You see, we agree here. My point is that there are no clear cut lines anywhere around this subject exactly because the question on what is and what's not torture is and will be grey. This question is not "the only thing that's remaning". It's the very only question that has ever been meaningful in this discussion.

We could replace the term "torture" with "booboo" and say "Booboo is evil, but we can't define booboo specifically." and be really none the wiser. They're just words. Saying booboo is evil without defining what booboo is specifically, is just empty. I exaggerate a bit here of course: torture and excessive pain do have some generally understood if hazy meaning and thus give some general guidelines which will probably be enough for most practical situations. This is probably more than was before this discussion. Like always, discussions push the grey area back a bit and that's a good thing.

But still, please do not pretend that the original question is somehow.. clearly answered. Even though it was opened with "is torture evil?" it's quite obvious that what was being searched for is not semantics and associations of the word torture. Instead, what is sought is actual guidelines on what kind of game play behaviour is evil and what is not, around all kinds of behaviour that revolve around the scope of intimidation and torture. Then answering this repeatedly with something along the lines of 'yeah torture is evil but it's actually up to you to decide what's torture and what's not when the situation gets hazy' does not really say that much.

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Also 'realistically', if the pathfinder society gains a reputation as an organisation which is inherently non-evil and will not carry intimidates through more than just a bit of roughing, this should implicitly mean negative circumstance penalty to most intimidate attempts where the target recognizes you as a pathfinder society member. This penalty could be lessened if you manage to convince the target that you're actually a rogue, get-things-done member instead. But even then the penalty should only lessen, not negate, because the target still has an angle to exploit against the intimidator.

The whole problem here is the inherent dynamic interaction between threat of violence towards someone in a inferior power position and intimidate as a technique in the first place. If the person in inferior power position knows that the person in power is actually rather constrained the intimidation will be much less effective. Target gains a sense of physical safety. If the interaction between the target and the enforcer is richer than just random encounter, the intimidate might rely on other effects than just plain threat of violence or force of personality, such as threats of other action that undesirable by the target, etc. but how often does that happen in the fantasy setting?

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Júlíus Árnason wrote:


That's not how the world works, that correct. But it is how Campaign leadership wants the Organized Play to work.

This isn't (or shouldn't be) an argument on the definition of torture or trying to parse some morsels of meaning form Mike's answer. According to PFS Campaign Leadership torture is evil and torture is defined as causing excessive pain and suffering. Excessive is not a complicated word and there aren't degrees of "excessive pain".

Sure there are, because there are degrees of pain much before it turns into excessive pain. Where's the limit? We can assume there are persons who wont break no matter what level of pain or suffering is used. There are persons who will break at some ridiculously high level of suffering. Then there's a level of pain where only very weak-willed or despondent individuals will break, or just at the threat of it. Also, there's the problem that because the subject person will try to spin lies, there's the problem that at some point you wont you wont know whether they have broken and told the truth or not.

I would also very well argue that what the party is trying to accomplish with the intimidated does affect what is considered excessive. Slamming on the wall and knocking unconscious might be excessive pain and suffering when someone refuses to give directions, but definitely not when the subject has critical information regarding to the whereabouts of captives who are going to be killed. But even then, there might be differing opinions on what you can't do no matter what. I would personally consider any permanent damage like cutting off fingers always evil, but not necessarily just plain hitpoint damage depending on the circumstances. This could be due to personal experiences regarding pain and physical injuries, I'm not really afraid of those and don't see the big deal with stuff that heals. The mental aspect of torture is much scarier for me.

All in all, do not try to kid yourself into believing there are any clear cut lines anywhere around this _extremely difficult subject_. Stop it. You're making fools of yourself just trying to signal high level of morality. Just hope you won't run into the grey areas and if you do, try to be patient if there are conflicting opinions.

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The discussion is going on because Michael Brock made two quite absolute claims:
1. Torture is Evil
2. Torture is when you deliberatly cause pain and suffering to an individual and they are unable to defend themselves. ...

Together the strict interpretation poses a real and concrete issue with intimidation. Later on Brock goes on to amend the second point to

2. Torture is when you deliberatly cause excessive pain and suffering to an individual and they are unable to defend themselves. ...

The addition of the word "excessive" takes the definition back from nigh absolute claim to much more subjective one, thus watering down the definition and allowing much more leeway on the GM decisions. This would solve the issue pretty much. But because the term excessive was not present in the first comment and Brock didn't make it clear that he's withdrawing the early definition and replacing it with a new one, people missed the one-word addition and the damage was already done.

Also, please cut the crap with the "If you need to ask...". The line between torture and intimidation is if anything, grey. We can declare torture absolutely evil and have its definition be grey, or give it a clear all-encompassing definition and then say its borders are morally grey. But it's naive to try to give it both absolute evil and absolutely clear all-encompassing definition. That's not how world works.

Shadow Lodge

James Jacobs wrote:
Iridian wrote:

Can I deliver a held charge with a unarmed/natural weapon trip attack? How about with an AoO?

The cheesiest scenario: prehensile hair on an AoO to deliver a frostbite charge with a trip attack (possibly even enhanced with enforcer feat, although I dont care for that one so I'm not asking) for massive debuff and some damage to top it all.

Yes, but if you deliver the charge with an unarmed strike or natural weapon, you no longer make the attack as a touch attack—it resolves as a regular attack.

Thanks. But just making sure, we're talking about a trip maneuver here. I'm not quite sure what touch attacks have to do with the trip maneuver attack roll, which doesn't go against either touch or armor AC, but against CMD. Sorry for the possible ambiguity, I tried to be concise.

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Can I deliver a held charge with a unarmed/natural weapon trip attack? How about with an AoO?

The cheesiest scenario: prehensile hair on an AoO to deliver a frostbite charge with a trip attack (possibly even enhanced with enforcer feat, although I dont care for that one so I'm not asking) for massive debuff and some damage to top it all.

Shadow Lodge

Seraphimpunk wrote:
um, actually Dragon Style and Dragon Ferocity can work together:

This is obvious and was part of my intended point. However, see below.

Ssalarn wrote:
I'd also point out that there's a difference between "add your STR modifier" and "add a bonus [i]equal to[/url] your STR modifier". One is adding a specific bonus, the other is adding a new untyped bonus determined by a specific value.

Good catch, I must be blind. This would also lend credence to the interpretation that direct attributes bonuses don't stack even if they're untyped, seeing how Dragon Style doesn't mention anything about replacing the ordinary bonus.

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Some thread necromancy here, just adding a further point to clarify how the rules are not at all consistent across the board:

Dragon Style wrote:
Further, you can add 1-1/2 times your Strength bonus on the damage roll for your first unarmed strike on a given round.
Dragon Ferocity wrote:
While using Dragon Style, you gain a bonus on unarmed strike damage rolls equal to half your Strength bonus.

Both of these feats use the pretty much the same wording, but there's no way to interpret them consistently.

The first one is 'obviously' intended to replace the standard 1x Strength bonus on unarmed strikes to be 1.5x, not 2.5x, whereas the latter is 'obviously' intended to add 0.5x Str bonus, not to replace.

The 'source of bonus' is also poorly defined. As far as I know, nowhere does it define whether a feat, ability or spell that gives an attribute bonus to something is the source or whether the attribute itself is the source.

As far as I can tell, there's no RAW here. Even RAI is kinda fuzzy, I'm quite sure the designer just didn't think of this possibility.

I come from the land of warhammer, where uncertainty and gaping black holes in the rules are everyday life. You learn to accept it. It would seem like PF is spoiled by the much more consistent rules and despair abounds if a solution can't be inferred from the rules. ;)

Hope for FAQ ruling. PFS at least is destined to doubt and GM arbitration which it loathes.

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Some call me Tim wrote:
Iridian wrote:
1. Does making the combat maneuver check break invisibility?

"Combat Maneuver: This is an action taken in combat that does not directly cause harm to your opponent, such as attempting to trip him, disarm him, or grapple with him (see Chapter 8). (PFRPG 11)"

"Causing harm indirectly is not an attack. (PFRPG 302)"

Not that I entirely agree with that line of reasoning. "When you attempt to perform a combat maneuver, make an attack roll and add your CMB in place of your normal attack bonus. (PFRPG 199)" That sounds suspiciously like an attack to me.

Yeah, but the thing here is that it's not obvious if combat maneuver check is a Combat Maneuver in itself. Usually combat maneuvers are listed or separately specifically stated to be combat maneuvers. In this case, this is just a check. Certainly, to a point it looks like a combat maneuver, but in other aspects it doesn't. The check itself happens when far away, so it's quite different from the typical maneuvers which require interaction. This can be a hint towards RAI: it can be that the intent is that you charge first, then make the maneuver to see if you get full attack. But then the ability is rather poor.

Overall, depending on the interpretation, this ability can range from strong ability to near useless. The limited rounds on the trances, and the fact that it takes a full-round action to enter one is a big drawback (you cannot enter the trance in the surprise round completely to charge on the next round). If you can try the maneuver check against many opponents, it's somewhat useful, but if it's a full-blown maneuver against a single target you're forced to charge, you could just as well position yourself in the surprise round and full attack on the next.

This one is looking poorer and poorer the more I think about it...

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asthyril wrote:
PRD wrote:

Miscellaneous Modifiers

A creature can also add any circumstance, deflection, dodge, insight, luck, morale, profane, and sacred bonuses to AC to its CMD. Any penalties to a creature's AC also apply to its CMD. A flat-footed creature does not add its Dexterity bonus to its CMD.

4. ^

flat-footed -> denied dex to AC

flat-footed -> denied dex to CMD
invisibility -> target denied dex to AC

but I can't find anywhere that it would say:

denied dex to AC -> denied dex to CMD, or
invisibility -> target denied dex to CMD, or
invisibility -> target flat-footed

The last one wouldn't really make sense either. Flat-footed is a global condition of an entity: if I'm flat-footed, I'm always flat-footed to everyone. Whereas I can be denied my dex to AC against some opponents but not against others.

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Specifically:

Tengu Swordmaster Tiger Trance:
Tiger Trance (Ex): The swordmaster pounces upon her opponents, striking with the ferocity and brute force of a wild tiger. While in this trance, a swordmaster can make a combat maneuver check against an opponent within charge range. If she succeeds, she may charge that opponent and make a full attack against that opponent.

1. Does making the combat maneuver check break invisibility?

2. Similarily, does making this check benefit +2 from the invisibility vs. sighted opponents?

3. Can this check benefit from the Monk Maneuver Master

Reliable Maneuver (Ex):
At 4th level, as a swift action, a maneuver master may spend 1 point from his ki pool before attempting a combat maneuver. He can roll his combat maneuver check for that maneuver twice and use the better result.

By RAW, I would figure that this is not a combat maneuver, just the check, and the answer line would be No, No, No, and the invisibility would only be broken on the first actual attack? I can't figure out the intent here.

4. Slightly related question but not specific to this ability, am I correct in that being invisible only denies dex to AC, but doesn't remove dex from CMD?

5. There was a thread about this, but can I make the check against different opponents until I either run out of opponents, or pass the check?

6. Am I forced to charge if I fail the check?

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Cheapy wrote:
Oh hey, that's one of the questions where a lot of people think it works by the rules, but are wondering about the intent. By a lot, I mean at least 3.

Cool, I thought I was the only one. Thanks for the support. :)

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I'm working on a dragon-themed tiefling. If I take the tiefling 2x claws, can I use the draconic bloodline claws to increase the claw count to 4, and use my feet as the limbs to deliver the attacks?

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blackbloodtroll wrote:
No. Use claw damage.

Is this because the monk Unarmed Strike is not considered an effect that augments unarmed strike? The concept "effect that augments" is a bit fuzzy here, what does that mean?

Obviously, I think that it should, and Oterisk's guide to dragon disciple implies this as well ( https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cmswe4jHDb1Vcm3oQME3mxUelX_WzKbQ8r9_1mw QS6M/edit?hl=en_US&pli=1 ) so I would like to have a bit more clarification than blunt, authoritative-looking (but not from authority) "No.".

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A bit thread resurrection here: I feel like the original question wasn't answered clearly. The way I understood it (and actually one I'm looking the answer to):

If a level 1 monk character with Feral Combat Training (claw) is making a _single_ claw (1d4) attack, can he use the Feral Combat Training effect "..as well as effects that augment an unarmed strike." to apply the monk improved unarmed strike damage to the claw, thus having the claw deal 1d6 damage?

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Sean FitzSimon wrote:
Iridian wrote:
Question regarding the usefulness of Stone Shape: 10-30 cu. ft. seems very little.

I think the best way to start examining this spell is to avoid the "build a wall" aspect of it. Wall of Stone is 2 levels higher and infinitely better at this- and rightly so.

Shape stone excels at doing small projects in a big way. ... tear down a particularly important support structure

If you take Wall of Stone as a 5th level spell you'll never be without stone to manipulate, and that's even better.

So a lot of creativity is needed. Righto. The tearing down a support structure is particularily devious, it would seem. In principle you could topple towers with this, given some DM fiat. It's sufficient to cut a sufficiently slant seam 1mm thick to the tower base, and it'll just slide across the seam and fall.

Strictly speaking, in the toppling case if there's no lower limit to the thickness (thinness) of the seam you'd need to make it's sufficient to just to break the chemical bonds and microstructure holding the stone together. We're talking micro/nanometer scale here. So given consistently rocky enough of a mountain, you could slide the top off to a nearby town. :P

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Question regarding the usefulness of Stone Shape: 10-30 cu. ft. seems very little. I mean, a single game square occupied by medium character occupies a space of 5x5x10 = 250 cu. ft. Does creating walls that are 1" thick really fly? Even then, you'd be able to create, say, a 10-30ft x 10ft x 1" wall, which is a wall on two to six game square edges. Frankly, doesn't sound too impressive to me, especially for a touch spell.

Can you touch the ground, have the stone snake on the floor through a 1"x1" passage to form a wall 100 feet out? Or how is it you make this useful?

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GâtFromKI wrote:
You're wrong.

A comment from the 'neutral' sidelines:

Gat, your style is confrontational and somewhat black and white. This makes it difficult to take your points at face value. Your feedback has been seen and partially appreciated as well, but carrying on here appears a bit.. fruitless.

If you really feel that strongly about this, why not write your own guide, from your own point of view?

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Sean FitzSimon wrote:

It doesn't explicitly say so in the Elemental Spell feat, but yes, it'll add the descriptor to the spell.

The bolded bit is relevant.

Oh nice, thanks! When I saw the devotee feat, I just knew I had to make a blaster that employs it. I think oracle is best suited for that, due to the feat's very limited scope (divine, fire). Even though you say blaster oracles are less than optimal. :)

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Slightly offtopic but regarding blaster Oracle: am I correct in that Elemental Spell only changes the damage type, but does not change the spell descriptor to the element type? Relevant for PF Society Organized Play feat Devotee of Sun Goddess, which gives +Cha dmg to fire/good spells. And to some other descriptor-based bonuses.

Very nice guide, thank you.

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Doc Cosmic wrote:

Well, the nice thing about the feat, and being a spontaneous caster, is that you can choose when you want to add the fire descriptor and on what spells, allowing you to pick up non-fire spells with your "free" spell choices and adding the fire descriptor to them as needed.

Of course, the 2 level dip for Diabolist is one of the best dips in the game if you are a caster. There are few builds that it does not enhance. The only reason to not take Diabolist is because it does not fit your character concept, so you just can't go wrong with it.

Does Elemental Spell: Fire really add the fire descriptor as well? It just says it changes the damage dealt to fire, but unlike several of the bloodlines, doesn't mention changing the descriptor. It would be logical that it does, but as it's written, it doesn't?

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Dangleberry Tagnut wrote:

I just consider it a free action, and allow for the possibility that many free actions can interrupt the flow of the round.

An example of that, would be a person up a ladder, holding a flask of alchemists fire. An enemy moves to the base of the ladder, and shakes it, trying to dislodge them.

TL;DR: Free actions are by default your turn only, unless explicitly mentioned otherwise or if GM allows.

The free actions are not just implied to happen during your turn, they're listed in at least two places (CRB p. 13 'Turn', p. 181 'Actions in combat') as things that you can do during your turn. This is explicit.
Also there are many implications that free actions are your-turn-only by default, in that it's explicitly mentioned in couple of places that a particular free action can be performed at any time (CRB p. 42 'Charming smile', p. 67 'Quarry').

+1 to the replies to the OP: the description explicitly says when it can be used as free action, and this overrides the general your-turn-only restriction.

As for the scenario you described: you're playing a pen and paper role playing game, not a CRPG or a tactical player versus GM mind combat. You can always come up with corner cases, where you get to see whether you or your GM is a dork or not, if you can't get into sensible and positive agreement.