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Iomedae getting kicked around by Paizo until she dies wouldn't be that surprising, I guess.

TxSam88 wrote:

Well, it looks to me like turning into a JuJu Zombie would make the Druid Evil, which would put him into the Ex-Druid category.

"A druid who ceases to revere nature, changes to a prohibited alignment, or teaches the Druidic language to a nondruid loses all spells and druid abilities (including her animal companion, but not including weapon, armor, and shield proficiencies). She cannot thereafter gain levels as a druid until she atones (see the atonement spell description)."

So no wild shape at all.

The alignment restriction on druids is if they cease being neutral. If the Undead is Neutral Evil, they can retain their Druid powers.

You might argue that an undead might no longer revere nature, but that's a character level decision so either the PC is going to make it work or this is an NPC and it can be whatever the GM says it is.

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NerdOver9000 wrote:
I'm not privy to the business numbers, but I wonder if releasing the APs less often as hardcovers would alleviate some of this. The GMs get a single book per adventure, with both low and high level content. No more high level books sitting on the shelf never getting sold, higher initial price point and hopefully more profit per book. Looking at it, this appears to be the tack of the Starfinder AP line, so I guess in a relatively short time we should have an answer as to if it works.

As I understood it, the consistent income of the AP line's monthly releases is what keeps most of Paizo's bills paid between their hardcover releases. If adventure content was also on a quarterly release schedule, something like a world wide shipping upset could, in fact, be catastrophic for the company.

There is also the notion that Hardcover adventurer releases are more stressful on the developers (Though is this is because the compilations are usually in addition to their regular duties or something else, not sure)

And, Selling a 4 book AP at 25 dollars is 100 dollars. You'd be hard pressed to find people willing to spend 100 dollars on a single hardcover book when the game's core rule book is only 60. Not to mention that hardcovers cost more money to print, so the margin in them is finer as well.

More work for less money and less consistent income leads one to think that this is probably unlikely. But, I'm not Paizo's target audience anymore, so I could be off base.

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Whenever we get clarification on PF2 spellcaster balance, I realize that the game really did leave me behind and has no interest in me coming back.

Oh well. They certainly sell more books to the 'not me's of the world. Good for them.

Core is the Core Rule Book and Bestiaries.

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Mysterious Stranger wrote:
That makes it pretty clear that there is not a lot of magic earth anymore. I doubt that any leader is going to have access to magic items.

Though, conversely, if anyone was going to have magic items, it would be leaders. I can imagine that the Crown of the King of England might have powers akin to say, the Primogen Crown of Taldor and other such relics of office in the old world.

Senko wrote:
And I'm sure a skilled GM could create a high cr/mythic rank cr assassin that would threaten you in a one vs one fight much less striking from the shadows when your distracted and have let your guard down. I'm not saying the PC's aren't powerful I'm just saying there's a lot of equally powerful beings encountered in the AP much less roaming around the infinite planes that can be recruited to target them and it wont be an open fight against the party it'll be a strike against individaul beings not expecting a fight. For example after 10, 20 years pass will your character still be wearing all their powerful gear 24/7 365 day's a year? or might they take it off to make love/sleep/not walk around in heavy plate/etc.

If that's the story you want to tell, then that's the story you want to tell. No one can stop you. But Mythic characters are stupid powerful. Its hard to beat them on initiative, its hard to surprise them, its hard to do anything to them unless you're also mythic. Which Baphomet counts as, but he's still tiers lower than them.

A GM can contrive any circumstance they want to get any outcome they want, but my take is that if you have to go to such lengths to get the outcome you want, then the outcome isn't that feasible to begin with. Baphomet is a chump who got chumped and he isn't going to make a big play because he'll get chumped again.

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Yeah, Baphomet was killed in my table's playthrough of this AP. He was killed by the party archer, with a sword and she became famous for that sword instead of being able to full attack twenty arrows a mile away from her target or whatever mythic nonsense she had.

Of course, I also had the PCs mythic power drain into the closing Worldwound so when it ended all that was left was merely level 20 adventurers.

I know that one of our PCs was an incredibly old arcanist who died three or four years after the campaign, but that was what the player wanted. Everyone else went on to pretty good things more or less.

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As I understood it, a person just has to expose themselves to the Soul Anchor to gain its benefits, though it seems more like anyone who dies in its area of effect can benefit from it, but I had a few players who wanted to gain its benefits.

So, specifically, in Breaking the Bones of Hell, it says "soul anchors are an occult creation of Mahathallah—places where she has corrupted and damaged the River of Souls so that those who die in close proximity pass through judgment in the Boneyard with their memories intact."

So, it must allow a soul to get judged and retain memories because that what it says it does.

Keeping the memories allows one to keep experience, and I assume that means they are a more powerful outsider sooner. We see two examples of this Bloodriosette the Imp and Mangvhune, the serial killer. Influence from the Soul Anchor let them keep their mind and personalities more or less as they gained new forms. Occasionally, powerful individuals become specific outsiders on death anyway (Taldaris, Arazni) so, this is...a shortcut to that end.

So, at the small cost of blaspheming against Pharasma, you get to enter the afterlife with a level boost. the Soul Anchor is P2W the Afterlife, really.

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Conversion between systems is pretty much the same regardless of which direction you go. How hard it is depends on how much you already use the framework provided by the game.

First thing you have to do is read the adventure and understand the encounter flow and experience spread. In PF2, PCs need 1000 xp to level up. In PF1 on the medium track they need 2000 xp.

PF2 has Five encounter difficulty building thresholds: Trivial, Low, Moderate, Severe, Extreme. PF1 has five CR guidelines: Easy, Average, Challenging, Hard, Epic. They map to one another pretty well despite the name differences.

But, an on level moderate encounter in PF2 is worth 80 xp. A challenging (APL+1) encounter for level 1 PCs in PF1 is worth 600 xp, or roughly 150 per PC.

So, 12 moderate encounters will level a party in PF2 and 14 APL+1 encounters will level a level 1 party facing CR 2 encounters. That extra xp will have to come from somewhere. Throw in an extra NPC or a trap or hazard, or extra encounters from the PF2 baseline.

Or use milestone leveling and just convert the encounters.

So, converting encounters. A lot of creatures are already in the bestiaries. Just do a double check to make sure the level hasn't changed overmuch between editions and you're probably good to go. NPCs can be found just about anywhere and one CR 1 Cleric/Rogue is the same as any other when it comes to NPC stats. NPC entries in PF2 list a type of job or description that sometimes translates to a player class, but they sometimes don't. Just pick what feels right.

As a practical example, Agents of Edgewatch #1's first encounter is with four adventurers being rowdy in a bar. Its listed as a moderate 1 encounter and contains 4 level -1 creatures. In PF1 a level 1 NPC with a PC class will be a CR 1/2. If you put 4 of those in an encounter, its a CR 3 encounter.

Since the NPCs are drunk in a bar, I'd probably apply the sickened condition to the entire party, and let the -2 to attacks, saves, and checks lower the difficulty sufficiently to consider the encounter good enough.

Otherwise, drop one of the party members from the fight and say they died, or went to bed, or pretend they never existed.

So, speaking of the first encounter of Agents of Edgewatch. It can be bypassed with 4 DC 15 diplomacy or intimidate checks, one against each member of the drunk adventuring party. (Why it doesn't allow deception is beyond me, write Mr. Sutter, I guess.) Failure doesn't harm the party, but a critical failure results in a fight.

So, set the DC. 15 is fine for a level 1 PF1 character, really. You could make it DC 20.

A face character in PF1 will probably have 1 Rank, Class skill (+3) a +3 CHA, and maybe a trait for an additional +1, putting their bonus in the range of +8.

in PF2, a trained character will have proficiency (+2), level (+1), and ability score mod (+2 to +4 depending on if CHA is their primary ability) for a bonus of say, +5 to +7. Again, roughly the same at level 1. As the PCs level, these DCs and the numbers will be different and it will be up to you as the GM to determine what is an appropriate number. But if you're familiar with PF1, this shouldn't prove difficult.

In PF2 a critical failure is when the player fails the check by 10 or more. A natural one reduces the degree of success by one step, so it normally would turn a failure into a critical failure. It is easy enough to replicate this mechanic with saying if a PC fails the DC by 10 or more, a fight breaks out, but you typically see this threshold in PF1 at a failure by five or more. Up to you really.

Then there's treasure. Frankly, the gearing specifications between the two editions are different enough. There's a table in PF1 to tell how much treasure they should have. Make sure they get it. Remember to sprinkle rings of protection, cloaks of resistance, and stat belts & headbands in there and its largely done.

Repeat this for every encounter in the adventure.

The differences between the two systems become more stark as you level up, but if you're an old hat at PF1, then you know what to do when PCs get teleport and stuff.

Warped Savant wrote:
Kasoh wrote:
If they wouldn't actually do it, then its not actively evil intent.

Yes, good and neutral people will occasionally commit evil acts. If you Detect Evil on them during one those times they will read as evil even though that person typically isn't evil.

Hence why Detect Evil can give a false positive.

Yes, they should be stopped from committing whatever evil they were about to do, but does that mean they should die for a moment of weakness? (The answer to that will vary greatly by person, but that's kind of what this entire thread is about.)

Sure, its the example I take issue with, not the idea that Detect Evil can ping on a normally good person.

Thinking about doing evil is not an "actively evil intent." That is just a thought. People have thoughts all the time. Its when a person has decided to act upon those thoughts where they gain actively evil intent. (Because they intend to do evil, actively.)

Warped Savant wrote:
TxSam88 wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:

You get false positives.

No, you do not get false positives, the spell "Detect Evil" Specifically reveals if the target has an Evil Aura or not, this aura is based on their HD and actual alignment. The only way you get false positives are with the target having certain feats and/or spells, items on them. Their current thoughts or intents have absolutely nothing to do with it, only their actual alignment.

Yes, you can. From Detect Evil: "Creatures with actively evil intents count as evil creatures for the purpose of this spell."

A good person that is really angry about something and thinking about ways to kill someone even if they wouldn't really do it would detect as evil during that time.

If they wouldn't actually do it, then its not actively evil intent.

If its an undead, I have no issues with killing them without any other context. I'm 90% of the way there with Denizens of Leng and any other Mythos related creature. But I hate Mythos stuff so I guess I don't care if my alignment takes a hit for getting it out of the game.

Other creatures, I'd at least have a conversation with.

The creature always has the option to ask for parley, same as players do.

It just often doesn't matter in the end who strikes first though. I have a PC in a Reign of Winter game that starts every conversation with an NPC "I'm Roguey, these are my friends, we're here looking for Baba Yaga. Get on board or get out of our way. If you fail to get out of our way, you'll probably end up dead. Everyone else has. Up to you."

Do not have good luck with this pitch, to be honest. Most still end up dead.

From memory, I don't recall a powerful staff. I had to add one for the party arcanist.

Any divine scroll or spell can be made available to a cleric of appropriate level, so I assume it can be gotten even if it takes a few days.

Arcane spells...eh. The 75% rule works for most cases, and I assume any spell in the CRB is available without much effort. The more obscure the rules source or the more esoteric the effect I'll see if the local arcane caster is the type to keep such things around. (It is surprisingly difficult to find a copy of aboleth's lung in a desert town, etc.) And if I personally do not care for the spell, I won't make it available and the player will have to use one of their free 2 per level to get it.

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If Aroden was not dead, I'd imagine that he got interested by some arcane phenomenon in a parallel world or alternate timeline or whatever and he decided it would be interesting to investigate for a few centuries. As long as he comes back, its all fine, right?

So, he isekaied himself somewhere else and maybe he sealed away his godhood for the duration so he can get the full experience only maybe he went somewhere where there is no magic and now he's stuck.

Look, I'm not saying Eric Mona is Aroden but...

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I find it best to remember that Zimmerwald has strong opinions on how the political future of the area should go. I always find their insights fascinating and educational, but their expectations are a bit more ambitious than most of us expect from Paizo.

Ravounel also has the problem of needing the Council of Governors or whatever it is called of specific landed noble families to maintain the protections from Cheliax in the Kintargo Contract. Granted we don't know exactly how it works, but this board needs to ratify the Lord Mayor who can deny permission for Cheliax to deploy forces in Ravounel and if Cheliax does so, the entire Chelaxian Compact is voided.

That was the only reason the nation can exist at all because Cheliax cannot do much directly and Abrogail opted to negotiate instead.

Ravounel has a vested interest in making sure these lines have proper heirs and clean lines of inheritance, which will lead to problematic concerns when it comes time to take away their wealth and status when they are physical cornerstones of the entire nation's security against their diabolic neighbor to the south. Its also their biggest weakness as Cheliax could coerce or buy these people down the line as well.

zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Kasoh wrote:
As the nation gets older and has something to offer besides Kintargo and Vyre, I think it will have some kind of national identity.
If anything the reverse. Kintargo and Vyre are getting poorer, and nowhere else in particular is growing.

I'll trust your reading on the subject. My table's corner of the world has veered drastically off from the currently published norm so I don't have any incentive to keep up with it.

The DC to provide food and water for yourself in harsh conditions is DC 20. For every 4 you beat that DC by you get one more person provided for.

That's hard for level 1s certainly, but at that level so is Everything Else.

Deserts are hard to navigate as you can see no landmarks for miles. Players are very used to the GM putting a map out and just pointing in a direction and getting there, because actually following the rules for exploration are tiring.

If you want to travel forty miles, a party with a dwarf, halfling, gnome or small race has a speed of 20, or if anyone is wearing heavy armor, or anything else. They can travel 2 miles an hour, except that desert terrain is half speed. 1 mile an hour. That's eight miles in a day of travel. It will take five days to travel that distance, but!

Checking to see if PCs get lost while navigating is done every hour. Then a check to see if they realize they're lost. Then a check to get back on track.

And we're doing checks for temperature exposure.

All while checking for random encounters.

Imagine how much fun this is using the encumbrance rules. Its impossible to carry enough food or water without a pack animal or wagon. Which increases the amount of weight and supplies you need and...

Look, if someone wants to play The Oregon Trail at their table and everyone has fun doing it, great. The system provides plenty of ways for this to be difficult...for sub level 5 characters.

Making it more difficult just because you don't like magic reducing the load on people seems arbitrary.

zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Kasoh wrote:
I also find that Ravounel's national identity isn't quite solidified. I think you're more likely to hear someone say, "I'm a Kintargan" or "I'm Vyran" than anything else.
On the one hand, more's the pity, parochialism sucks. On the other hand, it might be for the best that no one's adopting a national identity defined primarily by selling out.

The nation itself isn't that old and its existence was born out of "Barzillai Thrune is a monster" more than "We're Ravounel." The founding of Ravounel was really a lucky break for the lives of the people in the area, as they didn't have to have a large fight for liberation, even though that would have helped solidify their national identity.

As the nation gets older and has something to offer besides Kintargo and Vyre, I think it will have some kind of national identity.

It is literally not a problem. This is game where the ultimate solution to travel concerns is to learn to teleport.

In Mummy's Mask, by the time the party is exploring the desert, they are level 8. They already have access to 4th level spells.

Create Food & Water, a Wand of Endure Elements, Create Water, and Conjure Carriage were in fact our travel solutions. Just as well really because the desert exploring section of Mummy's Mask is, actually, awful.

We still carried supplies and used actual pack animals as our concession to the person casting those spells dying, but when you're being hunted by a cult, you don't want a caravan of 20 to 50 people supporting your trek into the wastes.

If the party pools their money to get a decanter of Endless Water (A relative cheap expense at those levels when spread over 4 people) and all the water problems are also solved forever.

Pathfinder has never been that kind of game past level 4.

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I also find that Ravounel's national identity isn't quite solidified. I think you're more likely to hear someone say, "I'm a Kintargan" or "I'm Vyran" than anything else.

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Mysterious Stranger wrote:
Sun Orchid Elixir is not that easy to get ahold of it is considered an artifact. 50,000 gp is the lowest it has ever sold for and from what I understand it usually sells for significantly more.

For informational purposes, Lost Omens: Legends listed a few purchase prices for the elixir

Who wants to live forever?:
Queen Abrogail Thrune II—75,000 gp: The queen purchased her first vial after recent turmoil in Cheliax.
Countess Carmilla Caliphvaso (LE female human aristocrat)—71,000 gp: The Ustalav countess insists that the next time she purchases the elixir, it must be hand delivered by “dear Artokus Kirran.”

Queen Galfrey of Mendev (LG female herald of Iomedae)—64,000 gp: The Mendevian people purchased the elixir for their queen twice before she abdicated to become a herald of Iomedae.

King Huang of Lingshen (LN male human fighter)—80,000 gp: The king sent two trusted generals with chests filled with magic weapons to purchase a vial

I was surprised it never topped 100k.

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I want Cheliax to go to war so we can have an Abrogail Thrune version of the "Downfall" Meme.

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AceofMoxen wrote:
The "war of the spider queen" six-part novel series goes into quite a bit of detail, including lolth's chance at redemption.

Apropo of nothing, I would totally be here for the gigantic mess that Lolth turning not evil would have on the entirety of D&D Drow culture.

If I thought Noticula's assassin cults were going to have a hard time adjusting...

The Raven Black wrote:
Evan Tarlton wrote:
keftiu wrote:
I’d also love to hear what these “constant retcons” are.
Same. There have been retcons over the years, but all of the ones I can think of are from the 3.5 days (Darklight Sisterhood, paladins of Asmodeus), or from early 1e (Erastil being a misogynist).
And several of them were actually correcting earlier mistakes in lore and thus not actual retcons.

I sympathize with Paizo's publishing restrictions when it comes to errata, but this is six of one, half a dozen the other.

They published X and didn't like it, so they changed it to X-1 or Y. Its their stuff, they should make the reality of it match their vision, but unless new material is published denoting the previous as an error, its a retcon. I think that's fine. Working within the constraints of a setting and still managing to explain away something terrible is the kind of finesse I broadly enjoy about retcons.

People who frequent the boards and follow the posts of the big creatives in the company are in the know for what behind the scenes drama created some of these things. But I suspect we're a minority of people who read Pathfinder material.

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I will continue to use them as I have, as its not like I was that deeply connected to the lore they have.

The underground cities where Drow live are bastions of culture and art, having created such works as Star Wars, Fast & Furious, Pulp Fiction, and Back to the Future. Surface art is so drab in comparison to the esoteric and high concept of Drow Art.

It also is the worst excesses of Rich People Nonsense including the infighting and murder and interhouse rivalries.

Actually, I guess the Darklands is just a fantasy take on Hollywood.

Anyway, the most famous Drow at our tables is the Right Hand of the Hurricane King, Captain Sincere Ticktock, Pirate Wizard.

Other well known to the surface Drow from various campaigns are Supercilious, Facetious, Loquacious, and Amiable. Well known and maybe not respected, but certainly feared.

Out of deference for those who have bodies that aren't standard form, I have taken the spells that rebuild the body so as to conform to the person's form as they have accepted it. If someone is missing a hand and they've internalized that missing hand as part of their person and are more or less okay with that, a spell that rebuilds their body won't regrow that hand. If they'd like the hand back, it gives the hand back.

Since we're not talking rules here, I don't feel a need to maintain a consistent ruling on this as its a part of a discussion I'd be having with a player about their character.

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There's a few theories on what happened to Dou-Bral that transformed him into Zon-Kuthon. One of those theories is that he traveled to far into the unknown and Zon-Kuthon, a survivor of the prior universe (Somehow) body snatched him.

Its as good a theory as any.

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Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
I can only speak for myself, but the Darklands definitely got more interesting for me without the drow--and the number of people who have said as much here in this place for talking about the drow change leads me to believe I'm not alone.

As a living example of 'Cannot please everyone' the only thing that made me interested in the Darklands was the Drow. If Drow had been habituated on the surface of Avistan somewhere, I would have been interested in that location, like the Xen'drik drow of Eberron or whatnot.

Now that they're not there, well...I'm sure other folks will find something to enjoy down there, but I have no need for any of it.

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James Jacobs wrote:
Putting this behind a spoiler tag since it's going to be a wall of text... but here's some historical context to help folks understand Paizo's history with drow a bit better.

It sounds like a tough decision to make. Sorry you have to take that burden, Mr. Jacobs. Best of luck with the stuff in the future.

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keftiu wrote:

Oh, man.

Aroden's dead, and his greatest rival is a necromancer. Why haven't I worried about that before?

I wouldn't put it past Tar-Baphon to make something like a Charnel God of Aroden to enjoy the company of, but I also think Tar-Baphon is a Yandere for Aroden, so my take is suspect.

Sanityfaerie wrote:
Kasoh wrote:

I haven't read too much into the laws of mortality recently, but their beef is not that the gods exist, or that souls go to aligned planes after death. Their beef if that powerful outsiders empower people to fight ideological wars on their lawn and they don't want it anymore.

Its my best understanding that Rahadoum isn't anti-afterlife or anti-river of souls. They are anti-cleric, anti-Champion, and anti-oracle. And I suppose all divine tradition casters.

Now, what I do not relish is the loss of Rahadoum's N alignment, because then we might get to hear about how the fascist nation who trains a cadre of soldiers called the "Pure Legion" and persecutes its own people for believing in something other than the state mandated quasi-religion doesn't make them bad because look at what they're doing for science.

...and you were doing so well before that last paragraph, too. Come on. I was just talking about how this wasn't an alignment discussion in the way that makes all fo the alignment discussions turn toxic. Please don't try to turn it into one.

You make a post about Rahadoum and put alignment in the title, I don't know what else you're expecting.

The country as published has always been anti-religious and not anti-alignment or anti-planes so I don't actually expect anything to change because they have never cared if the god was Good or Evil or Lawful or Chaotic. To my recollection, no lore, feats, or characters actually need to be changed as a result of the upcoming changes, the details of which we are still not entirely sure of because they are removing something that Rahadoum has never concerned itself with to begin with.

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I haven't read too much into the laws of mortality recently, but their beef is not that the gods exist, or that souls go to aligned planes after death. Their beef if that powerful outsiders empower people to fight ideological wars on their lawn and they don't want it anymore.

Its my best understanding that Rahadoum isn't anti-afterlife or anti-river of souls. They are anti-cleric, anti-Champion, and anti-oracle. And I suppose all divine tradition casters.

Now, what I do not relish is the loss of Rahadoum's N alignment, because then we might get to hear about how the fascist nation who trains a cadre of soldiers called the "Pure Legion" and persecutes its own people for believing in something other than the state mandated quasi-religion doesn't make them bad because look at what they're doing for science.

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Morhek wrote:
In terms of other mysteries of Golarion

Seeing that list, I'm reminded that I actually used the Thorncrown of Iomedae in my Hell's Rebel's game.

The Pathfinders stole it (because I hate them) and House Thrune stole it back in a weird, quasi legal way because it is a cultural artifact of the Chelaxian people.

Knowing its value to Iomedaens and as an artifact, the Chelish Ship Impervious sails from Chelish port to Chelish port with a squad of Hellknights and Priests, as a continual moving vault.

The Impervious was due to dock in Kintargo when it fell under attack by the Inevitable Heat Death of the Universe the Flagship of Pirate Lord Sincere Ticktock (Our Skulls & Shackles game got weird, don't ask)

The Silver Ravens intervene and come into possession of the Thorncrown and use it to buy goodwill with the Glorious Reclaimation, ultimately using it to bring the White Majestrix to Kintargo to sit at a Peace Conference with the Imperial Majestrix.

nightfox the lost wrote:

So if I understand this:

willuwontu believes that the concentration check is a form of caster level check and is part of the spell,

bbangerter believes that the concentration check uses caster level as part of the calculation but is not actually a caster level check and is independent of the spell.

Now back to the original question than, how do you calculate the concentration check when the sneaky rogue uses UMD.
Check: d20 + "Caster Level" + "Primary Casting Attribute"

Absent any other caster level, I'd say the Rogue's concentration check is 0 (number of caster levels) and Whatever ability score is appropriate for the spell.

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Chell Raighn wrote:

It still should throw up a lot of red flags if you have a player who regularly makes full attacks, uses power attack, vital strike, or spends every round casting spells, who when they are affected by a mind-control effect suddenly are making one melee attack per round, fighting defensively and/or taking a penalty to deal non-lethal damage so that they are less likely to hit and deal as little damage as possible… its pretty obvious when players deliberately stop taking advantage of every tool in their arsenal. And this sort of behavior is infact metagaming and should be discouraged.

If you ever dominate a Barbarian and you hear the words “I stop raging”… then it is time to...

Eh. I'm not worried about it. At my tables, the players like turning their weapons on the other PCs while dominated. Its fun. Cathartic sometimes.

But the reality of this system is that a PC is five to ten times more capable at murder than the average NPC. At a certain point, A PC can deal enough damage to kill another PC and still have attacks left over. Dominating a PC who can do that and sicking them on the party is something that can end entire campaigns.

A GM has to be careful about using tools like that. And if the player avoids making full attacks so as to not utterly destroy the rest of the players, I consider that being kind to the other players. Sometimes the rest of the party resents being condescended to like that, but I've seen characters deal over 700 damage in a round--more than enough to kill the entire party twice over. I'd prefer moments like these be an exciting moment for drama rather than half the party dying.

I always chalk up a PC getting suboptimal during domination to the character resisting the command, so people can do the 'You're still in there!' stuff. Makes it more dramatic, no one dies, and we're just buying time for the cleric to cast Magic Circle Against Evil anyway. Sure, a character dealing with the consequences of having killed two party members while dominated can also be a good story beat, its a lot less fun if the other players at the table are mad at the GM and player for it.

I avoid Dominate Person as much as possible because of issues like this. Confusion, a much more difficult condition to remove, is still quite deadly and sees a lot of play.

Chell Raighn wrote:
True… if a player is willing to play ball with their character being dominated and actually perform actions accordingly, then there is certainly nothing wrong with letting them fully dictate their character’s actions while under the control of an NPC. The most common issue I’ve personally seen with this though is players deliberately pulling their punches or completely changing how their character fights so to not kill their allies while dominated… player agency is important but at the same time, metagaming is to be discouraged… players under the effects of a dominate spell are often more likely to metagame than they would have otherwise… so taking control away when that occurs may be necessary… and doing so on their first action when dominated will often help set the mood and illustrate how dire the situation may be.

For me, its simply a logistics issue. I have a lot of things on my plate as a GM and I don't have the intricacies of a PC's full attack routine memorized. The player is the best person to actually engage the mechanics of the PC because they know it best. I shudder at trying to do a Circling Mongoose Slayer Full attack or a UMonks's flurry in addition to whatever else I'm working on that turn. Getting Spellcasters is easier, but they rarely fail the saving throw.

Matthew Downie wrote:

GM: "You failed your Will save. You now think this wizard is your best friend."

Player: "I stab the wizard."
GM: "That's not an appropriate response."
Player: "You don't get to tell me I'm wrong about my own PC! This game is about making choices and that's what I choose to do! Free will!"

I don't like to trick my players into putting on helmets of opposite alignment, because I don't like taking away their agency. But if they did, I'd expect them to act completely differently, same as if they were hit by 'Charm Person' or 'Dominate Person' or 'Hold Person', or turned into a rampaging werewolf.

The GM can't (usually) control the player character, but if the player tries to control their own character in a way that constitutes blatant metagaming or similar, the GM can tell them to stop doing that or leave the game. Or turn the character into an NPC and have the player make a new character.

I wasn't really talking about enchantment spells. I was talking about something that changes forcibly changes a character's alignment. With spells, you have to follow the rules for the spell because the game has rules that need to be followed. And most players are okay with that (griping about wasting an evening aside) because they know spells are temporary effects and this isn't a lasting condition. Changes to a PC's alignment aren't usually temporary and can have a much longer lasting effect on the game. (At least I can't think of any spells that make you act like an opposing alignment for the duration.)

But using charm person in combat... the caster has to know that getting stabbed is a possibility. Its not like they cast Dominate, which lets you give direct orders that have to be followed.

I'm extrapolating the scenario there, but a person when placed between two friends who are fighting each other with life threatening violence...sometimes you just pick a side. Maybe the side that doesn't have a reality altering wizard on it. Or the side that can do irreversible damage to the other party. (A stab wound is easier to recover from than a disintegrate, after all.) Or maybe the character is neutral/evil enough to stab their best friend for a perceived wrong. Don't overestimate how useful Charm Person is. Something like 43% of people in the US are murdered by a friend or family member? (Source)

But, I'm also the guy who doesn't think metagaming is a thing. Its a word used by GMs to attack players and force them to do stupid things against their interest.

On the Helm of Opposite Alignment:
The Helm is such a garbage item designed to ruin games because its rules dictate such a specific outcome. I could go on a longer rant about it, but I'd rather not.

Phoebus Alexandros wrote:

Tolkien--like most authors--was doing his best to depict characters behaving in a way that was appropriate to a consistent, cohesive narrative. TTRPGs campaigns and narratives cannot be as pre-determined and purpose-driven as a novel, but ultimately PCs and NPCs don't act in a vacuum. They exist within a cooperative story. Yes, the GM is ultimately responsible for presenting players with challenges that are interesting and exciting, but there is a reciprocal obligation.

Within that context, square pegs and round holes are sometimes inevitable. Yes, dealing with the consequences of, e.g., a Paladin putting on a Helm of Opposite Alignment can be frustrating... but this is also a game where loss of limbs, senses or character levels, or even outright death are a possibility. "I'm not interested in that; anyway, I rescue the kitten" isn't exactly a viable--or fair--approach.

Beyond that, while I get that you were making a tongue-in-cheek closing statement, I'd like to think that there are more alternatives in a game between friends than simply dismissing an event and doing what feels good/convenient.

Levels, limbs, senses, death...these can be solved with a spell. So can alignment changes. It does not have to be a big deal. "Oh no. Anyway." is just as valid a response as any other. And my point is, the GM does not get to decide if that's an appropriate response.(Common Decency aside, but that's a table issue not a game issue) The GM controls everything but the player character. Its okay for a GM to be disappointed if their big twist or hard hitting beat didn't land, but they don't get to say the player is wrong for having their PC react a certain way. That's how they're choosing to play it, and the game is about making choices.

My point was that a GM should know their audience. Everything that happens at a table is brought into possibility by the GM. If they know that an element will be disruptive or not go over well its in their interest to think twice about including those kinds of elements. Just because the GM likes putting helms of opposite alignment on paladins does not mean that they have carte blanche to do so.

Granted, when I tell a GM I'm not interested in a plot development its usually before its sprung on me because my GM communicates things like that, "Hey, how do you feel about something like X happening?" Its a behavior I really appreciate because when I was sitting in the GM seat, I recall a few times when I did not and I really hurt a player's feelings and looking back, would not do it that way again.

Most players are reasonable, game to flow with punches, and usually quite eager to play their dominated PC against the party. A player saying, "I'm not doing that." usually means that the GM took a shot and badly missed and maybe people should take a step back and consider if they even want to continue on this path.

This got a little far afield of alignment class restrictions, but alignment is a facet of the game I feel strongly about, but alignment almost always ends up talking about the table in question because so much of it is dependent on the group playing.

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Also, using a fictional setting that does not have an objective alignment to determine how people should act in a setting that does have one is going to lead to misunderstandings and uninteresting outcomes.

Lord of the Rings is a novel whose characters do and feel whatever the author wanted them to for the sake of a story.

TTPRG characters act in a setting according to the whims of their players for the sake of their amusement.

They are not the same and conflating them is rarely productive.

Its also not the GM's job to police how a player reacts to the changing circumstance. If you wanted a dramatic portrayal of twisted corruption and fall from grace, then give that story arc to the player who will play ball with you. You know which one is sitting at the table. If you don't have that player don't try to make square pegs fit into round holes.

When my GM puts up a plot hook I'm uninterested in doing(Assuming its not the main quest, because if you're not interested in the main quest you probably shouldn't be in that game), I just tell them I'm not interested in that. Like an adult.

The alternative is:
GM: You're evil now.
Player: Well, that sucks. Let's just assume my character has a tortured interiority while they struggle against their newfound outlook on life. Anyway, I rescue the kitten.

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I stopped playing Starfinder because the starship mechanics weren't fun and I didn't like the upgrade treadmill and I wasn't a big fan of the setting lore.

With PF2 having lost whatever shine it may have had for me, I'm back to PF1.

Chell Raighn wrote:
Exactly… people get so hung up on the personality and beliefs of stereotypical evil that they forget, in a world of magic someone could become evil entirely involuntarily without even actually committing any evil deeds… and not all magical alignment changes include personality changes either… becoming a vampire instantly turns you evil, but besides an urge to drink the blood of every human you see, your personality remains unchanged… if you are strong willed, you can resist the urges and continue as if nothing happened, and yet you will still be Evil.

Aside from that all consuming hunger and the shift of other living people to prey status, yeah. Nothing unchanged.

Being turned into an intelligent undead is a traumatic, life altering (hah) experience. The physical needs of the undead body will compel people towards Evil actions. Sure, if they are smart or strong willed enough the outcome may be different, but that kind of willpower is for people with NPC stat writeups. The average Vampire Spawn Rogue 4 that populates the undead lair...well, I'll just call it unlikely tragic as their fate is.

My favorite example for this is actually the Harrow Deck of Many Things card Waxworks where 1d6 copies of the individual with opposing alignments are created with a desire to oppose your goal. Aside from the need to oppose you, this duplicate could be just as pleasant to get along with as the original.

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Chell Raighn wrote:
And if you read my earlier post… thats kinda my point. The alignment rules have so many rules and variances to them that personality and beliefs aren’t the only things that can make a person evil. Being evil through other means doesn’t necessarily mean your personality, behavior, and beliefs automatically change either…

To be honest, I don't remember if I did. I certainly didn't go back and re-read it.

But I also don't believe that personality and beliefs make characters evil. Only Actions taken can give a creature an alignment, and I, acting as the arbitrator of the universe in most of these cases, do not care why the character took the actions they took. Only that they took the action they did. That's how I determine alignment as a GM.

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Chell Raighn wrote:
This and also societal access to knowledge and beliefs can heavily influence things. Just because we as players understand the implications of necromancy in Galorian, doesn’t mean everyone who practices or studies necromancy in Galorian has the same understanding of it. Think about real world medical practices from the past, trepanation was a common practice and seen as a perfectly normal medical practice. Even after most of the world discovered that trepanation was a deadly practice it was sill practiced in areas where information from the outside world is slow to reach or controlled. Today we’d see anyone who’d practice trepanation as evil and a murderer, but if they only had knowledge from back then, they wouldn’t necessarily understand the implications the same way we do.

In the setting though, that doesn't change the alignment of the actions. Creating undead with necromancy is Evil. Even if one doesn't know its evil. Even if one uses it to do good. Even if one bends over backwards to justify the complex psychology of this tortured hero who just wants to help with their preternatural skill at making the dead animate...still evil.

The universal rules that govern alignment in the setting care not one iota for one's ignorance.

The first Drizzt novels were published between 1988-1990. They introduced Wulfgar and his sidekick/mentor Drizzt, the CG Drow ranger. By the end of the series, Drizzt had proven to be such a popular character that the series became about him and the subsequent trilogy was a prequel, The Dark Elf Trilogy was published from 1990-1991.

So, I would expect anyone whose formative years of gaming were in the early 90s to have experienced it to a higher degree than others.

Hard to say. You'd think there would be a trope specifically for this, but there's Defector from Decadence, Only Credit to your Race, Rebellious Princess, etc...most of these are quite old, but the DnD baggage of 'Always Evil' and monstrous peoples probably had a lot of Drizzt type charaters even before he became the defacto example. I'd like to know who did the first Rescue the Dragon from the Princess adventure, because it has to be earlier than when I think it was.

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Majuba wrote:
there's just something that aggravates a nerve when you see your Nth tiefling paladin or similar. I'm not sure where that comes from (if not just Mr. Do'Urden), but it seems widespread enough that it's worth recognizing and planning for if you want to play this archetype.

In my circles of play, I've found that tieflings are the most common ancestry pick for people who would like to play a character who might be born to regular family, but they're undeniably different. And sometimes this causes strife and possibly alienation from their birth family, forcing them to lead a life of adventure where they construct a found family.

So, even if I want to roll my eyes every time I see a player bring a tiefling to the table or a good drow, or whatever else I do not. Because that choice means something to the player and its wrong of me to denigrate someone else's expression (sometimes unspoken expression). Also because as a GM, I'm not their psychologist. Its not on me to unpack that.

Even if I have seen it before a hundred times. Its my job as the GM to give that player a good experience at the table. To the players it doesn't matter if I've done that every other time. The only game that matters is the one you're playing now.

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Its a spectrum. Its just as likely any random Neutral person could betray an ally if their goals don't align as an Evil person and counterfactual is also true, an Evil character could remain steadfast and loyal in the face of personal difficulty just as readily as a Good character.

A wide variety of behavior is allowed under each facet of alignment, because discrete actions, while the fundamental building block of a character's alignment, are not the totality of something's alignment. It is a summation of all their past actions (Unless you're an outsider, but that's different) and an indicator of their behavior for the future.

Its so table variant that discussing it over the internet is more often than not fruitless, except for the fun of debating morality with strangers.

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