Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
I think we might be talking past each other here: Kaspyr2077, you're thinking of the term "pantheon" in a more holistic, real-world sense, and it is very insightful. What I was more asking for help with was setting up the kind of Pantheons the game rules use, like the Demon Bringers or Hearth and Harvest, to best reflect this character and so I can determine which domains I can pick for things like Divine Access.
Okay, I didn't know about those, and apparently I was mistaken in the context of the system... but wow, that's... awkward. I can only conclude that there was a need for a system to worship of actual pantheons as a whole, and from there, simply expanded those to cover more vague cultural constructs, but... those aren't pantheons, they're cultures. The rules construct is fit for purpose, but the name for it is just inappropriate for the use it's being put to here.
What if the dragon was badly injured and caught when still quite young. She was waiting to die, when adventurers found her. She waited to die, but instead, she ended up silently... listening, while the adventurers argued amongst themselves what the right thing to do was. Eventually, they decided to cautiously free her, even treat her wounds.
She would immediately have killed the fools when free, of course, but they stood ready to defend one another, even as they cared for her. So she quietly accepted their aid, and while waiting for her chance, she had nothing to do but examine their moral arguments between each other, observe how convenient it was to have someone take care of her when she needed it, and witness how the bonds between these people made them much more formidable and accomplished than any of them would be alone.
She went on to visit them regularly for further conversation after this, as she wrestled with the ideas. Eventually, she hired them to resolve some problem for her. Then, they began exchanging gifts. She saw them retire, raise families, grow old, and was introduced to the next generation of adventurers. She had enjoyed the previous relationships, so she had to learn to befriend these new people for further conversation. Eventually, she learned to protect and enrich herself by becoming a patron of a fairly large town, where she owns several successful businesses. Bandits never remain a problem for long, she has all the support she likes if a challenger comes along, and her horde is growing quite a bit faster than any rival she's heard of.
Maybe she's considering founding an institute for wizards, so that they will gather there, and they'll happily gather knowledge to teach her, giving her a shortcut to power that most of her kind would never dream. Yes, this "mutually beneficial cooperation" business is an approach to life is just so... useful.
That's not what the pantheon rules say about the setting and fails to explain one of the most notable pantheons in the setting, the Godclaw.
Pathfinder Fandom page wrote:
Although the God Claw venerates aspects of Abadar, Asmodeus, Iomedae, Irori, and Torag, it is unclear from which of these gods it draws its power; indeed, it is possible that its own convictions grant it divine strength. Clerical signifers and other religious members of the order have access to the Glory, Law, Protection, Strength, and War domains.
The Godclaw doesn't worship a pantheon. It worships several gods, and it's not entirely evident who grants them power, but it probably isn't all of them as a pantheon, since that's not what that word means.
... You know, it never really occurred to me that someone could read that section proscriptively, instead of descriptively. If you read it proscriptively, and allow some generous leeway, I guess it could mean what you think it means. If you read it descriptively, it means what I'm telling you it means. For clues which might be more accurate, you might want to consider what the word "pantheon" actually means in a real-world cultural context.
Yes, the Olympian pantheon was associated with a culture and geopolitical region, but all its members also had a common origin, and were all governed by a central authority. The Norse pantheon(s) had more diverse origins, but were allied to each other, led by Odin, etc. A pantheon is a family, community, or political entity among the gods. Telling Zeus he's in some kind of union with Loki, just because your mortal community prefers it that way, seems like a great way to catch a lightning bolt to the face. All polytheistic pantheons I can think of has this sort of relationship described among their own gods. Assuming a setting where the gods are real and have their own identities, why would they abandon their original ties and start new associations with gods they don't care about, just because mortals got it into their heads? It doesn't make sense. It makes the gods highly unstable and subjective to the point of uselessness. A god, in a setting where gods have their own individual identities, don't develop new identities just because some faction of believers develops a heresy.
This is an anthropological view of how a belief system might emerge in a world like ours. In a world where gods are real and distinct things with wills of their own, two pantheons don't merge just because some people were cohabitating, and worship of this group as a pantheon probably wouldn't provide any special benefits unless those gods formally made that alliance for that express purpose.
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
The idea was to show this character as a product of his upbringing, honoring both his dwarven and elven heritage, giving both pantheons equal respect and blending their philosophies into something new. He has terrible nightmares of fire and destruction that started to become very real fires in the waking world, and things like smithing, herbalism and gemworking were ways to use that fire for constructive instead of destructive purposes, as well as actual spellcasting training obviously. He decides to take up the adventuring life because his visions have gotten increasingly specific, showing the destruction of a specific town, and he wants to stop them from coming true (he's written with the Age of Ashes AP in mind, specifically with the Haunting Vision background).
That's all pretty cool, for sure. Which deities from those two pantheons speak most to you in relationship to these things? My primary point was that you were using a word incorrectly, and that was needlessly sending the discussion off into the weeds - a "pantheon" is a distinct concept from who you choose to worship personally, and what personal philosophy emerges as a result.
That's not what a pantheon is. Gods exist outside the will of any mortal, and a pantheon is a relationship between those gods, well outside a mortal's opinion. A "personal pantheon" makes no sense.
What you're describing is a collection of gods that the character offers prayers and possibly sacrifices to, which is much more sensible. The approach you could take here is to examine the character's background, figure out their dreams, aspirations, hardships, stresses, and cultural background, compare those to the list of known gods, and find five or six who are relevant. Which gods do they naturally gravitate toward, by personality or trade? Who would you be terrified of and seek to appease? Who could really take some worry out of your life? Figure out how offering worship of these gods intersects with your life - how often do you do that? What does it look like?
There's no need to try to consolidate them into a "pantheon," unless your GM is willing to give you custom rules for it, which would be... oddly accommodating.
The "Authorized" argument is pretty sketchy, because there's no language in the agreement about de-authorization, and I'm not aware of any legal framework that could be referencing. That whole part of the OGL is set up in such a way that it strongly suggests that the intent is to allow the licensees choose the iteration of the agreement that is most favorable to themselves as the basis for any legal dispute - and the people who wrote the thing are publicly supporting this interpretation. There is no process for what Hasbro is trying to do, which is to just unilaterally disqualify all previous iterations of the agreement from use in that clause, unless that's a legal structure in the specific jurisdiction where they agreed to settle disputes.
If such a structure does exist, it needs to be legislated out, because the entire concept is just anathema to contract law.
I'm not sure where, exactly, this case would be adjudicated, but the principles behind it are pretty uniform everywhere, as far as I know, so I'll help you out.
Say you're homesteading. You have the land, and you want to start building. Your nearest neighbor, Watts, agrees to lend you the hammer. He signs an agreement with you, for some reason, about this hammer - he remains the owner, but he grants you its use, and rights to the things you produce with the hammer, in perpetuity. You spend the next twenty years building things. Houses, sheds, barns, etc, you have the place pretty well outfitted and looking good.
At this point, twenty or so years into it, Watts shows up, announcing that he's changing the deal, and he has ownership rights of anything produced by the hammer, past, present, and future. You think he's stupid, tell him you're not using the hammer any more anyway. You go to court over who is entitled to what.
You don't want to abide by the terms of the new deal, so, the judge will take the hammer away from you and give it to Watts. You don't get to use it any more. He has canceled your original agreement, as you say, despite the "in perpetuity" clause in there. However, you built several buildings with that hammer on the understanding that those were your buildings, Watts would never have a claim to them, and if you knew Watts would come along and alter the deal, maybe you wouldn't have used that hammer in the first place. Since you made decisions and took action on what to create based on the initial agreement, and you would have made different decisions under different circumstances, the rights to those creations will be based on the initial agreement - Watts doesn't have a claim at all, and NEVER WILL, guaranteed by that "in perpetuity" clause.
If it is not signed, the leaked version of the OGL will not apply, which means that the original version of the OGL - the one agreed to by publishers - will be the only agreement to apply. As it grants rights "in perpetuity," it would be absolutely ridiculous to argue that an update to the agreement could revoke those rights.
The only ways to lose rights granted in perpetuity is to 1) formally surrender them in a new agreement, or 2) not contest their encroachment, until you not having them is considered the new norm. Neither applies here.
Going by the 1.1 leak, Wotc/Hasbro could sell PF1e themselves... It requires everyone using it to give them a copy of everything made using it and gives them the right to use it as they wish.
Irrelevant, since Paizo has not signed the 1.1 OGL. Everything Paizo published under the OGL was published under the good OGL. 1.1 - or now, OGL 2.0, as I hear they've renamed it - is not what Paizo ever agreed to, and Hasbro cannot unilaterally "update" the OGL and claim Paizo did agree. Hasbro could march ten thousand lawyers in solid gold suits to the courtroom to argue the point, but if their argument is "We replaced a good contract with a bad contract, so the person who signed the good contract is bound by the bad contract," there does not exist a bribe large enough to convince a sane judge to even hear the case.
What you're saying is entirely true, if someone is dumb enough to try to work with Hasbro to create third party content under the new OGL, but as it currently stands, as long as creators don't sign (and presumably don't start new projects after it goes into effect), the changes to the OGL don't apply. Mind you, Hasbro and WotC would be absolute fools to bring this thing out in any form even slightly resembling the leak, and they know that, considering how quiet they've been lately, so it remains to be seen if they are bold and dumb enough to make it official at all.
Pretty sure PFS is the most strict authority you'll find on the legality of such matters, and they're okay with any of the rules sets, I think, so... it should be okay?
Uh loads of People played elves before the change. It wasn't foolish.
Lowest HP an ancestry could have, paired with a Constitution flaw, in a system where numbers are tight and combat is challenging. Elves were at a serious "staying alive" disadvantage before. It was a serious deterrent to playing an Elf. It's one thing to be okay with a character dying, but most players want to give themselves a fighting chance.
I have some thoughts on this matter.
I'll start with the example of Elves. Elves are a staple of this style of fantasy, but with the lowest racial HP AND a Constitution penalty, it was foolish to try to play one. This seems to be a design failure. Many settings have Elves as extremely long-lived, perhaps even immortal, but that seems a joke when the system makes them the most fragile characters possible. If anything, I could see them being less physically strong than Humans, because they don't have the mass, but then, they don't have so little mass that they're basically Halflings, either. I think a no-flaw set is perfect for them, with perhaps a choice of Dexterity or Intelligence and one free - a Variable Fixed/Free model.
Dwarves are similar, if not so thoroughly affected. The existing fixed boosts are to Constitution and Wisdom, reflecting toughness and patience, but the penalty is Charisma. Why? Because they're gruff and not particularly charming, is the explanation we're given... okay. Is that what Charisma is, though? It does affect Diplomacy checks, sure, but also Intimidation, and then some affect on your magical ability as a Sorcerer, Divine Font as a Cleric, etc. Charisma, in this system, is supposed to be a matter of force of personality, and I've never seen a dwarf portrayed as lacking that. I can't think of an attribute that I would describe them as lacking, so yeah, I think they should have an attribute option without a flaw.
Gnomes and Halflings, though, are at a serious mass disadvantage when compared to Humans, to the point where it's asking a lot of the suspension of disbelief to have one of these equal the strongest Human in strength. It's part of the fantasy of playing a small Ancestry, in my opinion. If you want Halfling Barbarians in your game that hit has hard as an Orc built similarly, that's fine for your table, but for me, it's a bit too cartoonish. Flaws should still be a Thing, I believe the original model works best in this situation, and I like Voluntary Flaw or the newer model as optional rules for those whose preferences are not my own.
Goblins are an interesting case, because their flaw is to a mental attribute, but the explanation is of an impulsive, inattentive nature, which, to me, seems to fit the definition of a Wisdom penalty quite well, and also reflect the fantasy of playing a Goblin as I see it. I think that flaw is perfectly justified, and the original model works fine. On the other hand, if you view your character as an exceptional Goblin that doesn't match this concept, the idea of switching to a Fixed/Free or a Variable Fixed/Free model could work.
So yeah, just using the examples of the core ancestries, I think, in some cases, a Fixed/Free or Variable Fixed/Free option is preferable, in some cases viable, and in some cases odd. Having some options in the future would be the best choice, in my opinion.
Here, you're talking about individual rules that the devs weren't satisfied with or had to compromise on. That's just how such things work. "Perfect" doesn't happen. This is not the same thing as you were saying before, here or elsewhere, which is making an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT KIND OF GAME. Paizo wanted to create a heroic fantasy game, and they did that. You want a more gritty, grounded kind of game. Paizo "taking risks" would not do what you continually suggest it would - inevitably move the game more in the direction of your preferences.
I prefer a more gritty lethal game than many people here and often wish that Paizo had taken more risks in game design with PF2,
You have used this argument in more than one thread. We have very different understandings of the words being used. See, the way you're saying it, "I wish they had taken more risks" seems to suggest "I wish they had made the specific product I want, that isn't very much like the product they made at all. I will imply that they wanted to make the game I wanted, but chickened out and played it safe."
Game design is not a linear progression toward the game you imagine, and failure to evolve in that direction is not cowardice. They made the game they wanted to make. You can like it or dislike it, but insisting that the game would be specifically what you would like, if only Paizo were bold enough, is just... weird and disrespectful.
Is that really true, though? Forgotten Realms' cosmology is based on that setting's pantheon with each of the major gods having their own plane that lesser gods aligned with or subservient to them also occupy, without actual Alignment having anything to do with it.
Uhhh... false. Search "forgotten realm wiki planes" and the first thing you'll see is a chart showing the planes as a Great Wheel, with the topmost level of organization being direction indicating Alignment. Good at the top, Chaos to the right, Evil at the bottom, Law to the left. So...
While it wasn't met with universal acclaim, 4e's world axis cosmology was also largely divorced from the Alignment system. Had a bit of "astral sea is law, elemental chaos is...chaos" to it but but it wasn't a clean divide & was more bast on the theogeny of that edition than alignment.
4E's "Points of Light" isn't a setting, so much as a prompt in homebrewing one. It is an example of D&D tossing aside tradition and the quality material provided by the past, yes, but they replaced it with... not much of anything.
So it *can* be done, even ignoring how many preexisting settings got ogl books during the 3.5 years & threw it out all together.
... You are presenting this as an argument, even though you're agreeing with me.
Sounds quite like any of several homebrew settings I've run, actually, but once again, those aren't official products. You seem to be laboring under the assumption that I'm pro-Alignment, and arguing that it's mandatory for using the system. I'm not. It's essential for running existing official settings, and while D&D and Pathfinder rely on those settings to sell materials, they'll be entirely supported by the mechanics. I have nothing at all against running different settings that don't operate the same way, and prefer to do so at my table. Don't think I've ever personally done anything with the interplanar wars and such.
What bothers me is the kludges people are trying to use to extract Alignment from established settings without understanding the role of Alignment to begin with. You're all welcome to use them at home, obviously, but they probably won't be used to change anything officially, because they're obviously clunky hacks, and I thought we were resenting clumsy retcons here.
"we may never escape the long term ramifications of paizo initially selling itself as the safe place security blanket doubling down on the familiar for everyone who was afraid of all the change WotC where forcing on them with 4e." Wow, are you okay? You seem to be taking this awful personally. I don't know how to tell you this, but Paizo, as a company, liked D&D and helped shape a lot of it, with the magazines. They weren't forced into a lack of creativity by a need to grab market share - Paizo, as a company, loved D&D and were unceremoniously booted out of the creative process, like a parent who lost custody. I don't know of any indication that they yearned to be free of the yoke of Alignment.
If the game were designed today, it probably wouldn't be so Eternal Champions influenced, and the system and any settings designed for play using that system probably wouldn't have Alignment as a feature. However, at this point, there are several decades of existing tradition. It's self-perpetuating. A D&D or spin-off system is going to have Alignment, because the existing settings require it. A new official setting will probably have Alignment, to honor that tradition and take advantage of all the stuff written for it.
Nothing prevents a new setting from taking a different direction entirely. For a homebrew, feel free. A new official setting... probably won't, but easily could. There's just too much weight of tradition, at this point.
The specifics of how the math of AC work aren't reflected in the game setting. 3.0 removed THAC0 and created a much simpler, more intuitive way of resolving the math of combat, and there was no need to justify that specific thing in-character, should you port your AD&D2 campaign over. The Forgotten Realms underwent another world-shaking event to change it to reflect the new rules content, but none of that really addressed the way swords and armor intersected.
Alignment isn't really a mechanic in the same way. It's a setting element upon which some rules hang. All official settings have been created with Alignment in mind, and it's baked into the setting at a fundamental level. The cosmology as established requires Alignment to function as they are.
Removing Alignment involves destroying the cosmology of any official setting. You could scratch out that part of your character sheet and not do that, I suppose, but that's not removing Alignment. That's papering it over.
... It's not focused on your character or their deity. You're focused on alignment as some kind of stand-in for religious doctrine, and it's not intended to be that at all. The idea of the fundamental, axiomatic forces of Good, Evil, Law, and Chaos in the setting takes place above and beyond your character, their god, or their afterlife. We're talking about grander scale concepts in the setting that make the entire cosmology and its history work the way they do, and that's why it's not a trivial thing to just toss them out - the setting wouldn't survive as-is.
You don't like alignment because some say it is a thing, and others describe that thing in a way that... supports that definition? Each alignment is a cosmic constant with a broad enough definition that there are many different ways to approach it. My post - the one you're referring to with the "cosmic constant" descriptor - says as much on its own.
You could indeed remove alignment, but doing so would uproot the premise behind several important setting elements, in Golarion or in any official D&D setting. If you play a homebrew without those, or you never engage with them, feel free to ignore them at your table. But this is why alignment isn't going away.
On a better note, I agree with you on the idea that it's not great to force characters to be Evil based on their blood, even should they draw power from it, and I think most other posters disliked it as well.
I would consider creating before designing to be an act of incredible stupidity, more than anything.
Celedons are divine tools and guardians that lose their purpose and become a liability of they lose their faith. When a god can't trust anything else, this is a sensible choice, and assuming it lacks a soul - which it appears to - then there's no harm done, from the divine standpoint. It's a high-level automaton.
If you can't join a campaign as an inherently devoted servant of Asmodeus, maybe don't try to play one. If you want a character with the potential for a crisis of faith that they survive, maybe play something else.
I mean, I'm not convinced that celedons should be a PC race, because they have inherent purpose, but if they must be, then they should be Rare, and the circumstances under which it might or might not be appropriate to play one should be laid out.
The fact that the nine-point Alignment system encompasses many different individual sets of values is... kind of the point, though.
It's not supposed to be a shorthand for your character's beliefs and personality. There are billions of possibilities for that, not nine. Alignment represents your ALIGNMENT with the planar axes representing fundamental forces. It's not that hard to see that a character who is marked Neutral or Evil is tending oddly toward being giving and benevolent, and tell the player to correct their sheet. It's not hard to observe that a character who is allegedly Lawful is playing fast and loose with the rules of organizations they're not even opposing, and tell the player to correct their sheet.
The point is that those pairs of letters on your sheet represent ACTUAL SUPERNATURAL FORCES in the setting. You can have real problems with the philosophy of, say, Ragathiel, and still be Lawful Good, and various spells, weapons, and entities will all recognize you as such.
These are all kind of ridiculous, to be honest. Most people aren't going to be conscious of and aware of the alignment chart in their daily lives. A "Neutral" character is almost never going to be ideologically committed to balance - they're going to favor Good neighbors over Evil ones, as life is just better when people aren't actively trying to screw you over. Alignment is a descriptor you apply to a character that's probably not exactly aware of it, not a team you play for, unless they're one of the extraplanar beings that exist for the purpose of advancing their cause.
A Lawful Neutral character is one that values laws, traditions, and structures, and isn't particularly charitable with their own resources.
Also neutral is not the most passive, it seems passive because its the default alignment of everyone. So its hard to notice how much is actually done by neutral characters. Its why it seems like neutral is going with the flow, but notice that redemption (neutral good according to champion) requires a lot of work and initiative on the part of the person seeking to change. While chaotic tends to be the most active because they tend to be a lot more willing to explore and try new things. Good vs Evil is a bit more complicated, but evil tend to require more active participation: For most cases its hard to be evil without actively choosing to do that.
Why are you so keen on ascribing passivity as an alignment trait? It's just not that. A person in any of the nine boxes could be just as exceedingly motivated as anyone else, depending on their motivations, needs, goals, etc.
Lawful Good can look more passive than other alignments, because most of the people who are passive are trying to present themselves as law-abiding and charitable, in order to maintain goodwill in their communities. Even if you're Chaotic Evil, if you don't have the means to enact bloody revolution, it's probably best to keep your mouth shut, fake a smile when dealing with people and institutions, and go seethe about it later, until some psycho warlord comes recruiting. Lawful Good people don't have the same motivations of murder and mayhem that Chaotic Evil people might, but they can actively protect and preserve the people and institutions they value, and that's pretty great.
Squiggit, agreed I wish alignment wasn't just put it as a ribbon for 2e. It feels like there is even less connection to it than before. Specially with the fact that they obfuscated the whole "must be evil" thing for the undead archetypes (specially lich).
Wait, they did? That's weird. I thought that the creation of undead was supposed to be universally evil in this setting? I'm getting mixed messages about that.
Freehold DM wrote:
I maintain that alignment doesn't need to be dropped completely- but it is in dire need of a face-lift due to modern sensibilities and to distance it from memes and gygax both.
Don't like alignment mechanics, or in the setting at your table? Houserule them out or ignore them. I've run whole homebrew campaigns where it just never came up.
Want to distance yourself from memes? Don't play with players who can't separate memes from actual play.
Want to distance yourself from Gygax? Don't invite him over to play.
The mechanical limitations of PF2's alignment system kinda suck.
I agree, and tend to ignore them. Benefits of not playing in any kind of organized and official game.
The thematic ones are generally fine though. Again, I feel like a lot of the arguments against it start with distorting the system into the worst and most absurdly caricatured possible version of itself, which is just kind of whatever.
Again, I agree, but this is mostly a problem with obtuse and argumentative players. Let them wave their red flags proudly, and then bounce them.
Then maybe don't start with a high-level concept for your character, or play a game that starts at level 10? I start my process by envisioning what the character is going to be like at a high level, and then figure out how to make it work with a 20-level build. It's got to be viable all the way through, but of course the character isn't going to play the same at level 1 as they will at level 20.
SuperBidi said a lot of good things.
I don't expect a character to start resembling my concept of their eventual capabilities until level 8-10 or so, which seems to be what Victor is mostly asking about.
I do expect my character to contribute meaningfully from the start of the game, as well as provide a foundation that I will gradually build on, tell the story of their growth and maturation, etc.
@S.L.Acker - There is a concept known as "verisimilitude." It's the quality of a work of fiction where it might operate under very, very different rules from our own world, but it's internally consistent enough to allow for suspension of disbelief and immersion. Your argument that alignment is invalid because it's different from our world is... odd. Plus, it only seems different because we're getting a metaphysical look at Golarion that's impossible for our own. Atheists would say it doesn't exist, religious folk will say you're looking in the wrong way, agnostics with a scientific vocabulary will say it's "unfalsifiable." The rules of our world and the rules of Golarion are, presumably, different, but not so different that it invalidates values. Here, let me break it down.
1. In Golarion, Good, Evil, Law, and Chaos are real, fundamental forces. They're SUPER simple. Good = general benevolence, willing to expend time, effort, or other resources to benefit others more than the self. Evil = general selfishness, willing (possibly even happy) to hurt others to benefit the self. Law = a tendency to value traditions, routines, and other social norms and expectations. Chaos = valuing freedom and fluidity over structures. Neutrality is a point between either pair where you couldn't be said to be decidedly one or the other. That's it.
2. There are hundreds of gods with their own values that exist within the nine-point grid the above system creates. You could choose to follow any one of these dozens of belief sets, or you could choose to follow some other set of values, and that's an entirely valid way to live your life.
3. Other people will judge your values based on THEIR values, but it's understood that you're not generally expected to share values 100%, because there are so many different extant sets of values. Just try to follow the norms of the society you live in well enough to not cause disruption, or you won't live there any more. Unless, by your value system, you judge that society's values as intolerable, and then you can try to change it.
4. The average person probably doesn't interact with the underlying concepts too much. They believe what they believe, they go about their lives appropriately, they die, and then they go to whatever fate awaits them after. It's only a very rare few that interact with the planes, extraplanar beings, alignment damage, etc.
In short, on the ground level, it's not too dissimilar to our world in many ways. If you can't suspend your disbelief this far, what are you looking for in a fantasy TTRPG?
@Temperans - It sounds like people at your table don't like playing Lawful Good, which is fine, or don't understand what it represents, which is unfortunate, but puts you in a poor situation to try to discuss it online. Being generally benevolent and in favor of beneficial social structures doesn't make one inherently passive, stupid, or any other failing. Your group might or might not be made up of revolutionary-minded people who think burning down the existing order is an inherent good, so they have trouble understanding the viewpoint that social stability is beneficial, aspects of the existing order emerged out of necessity for the community, and that institutions, communities, and culture are worth preserving for the sake of the people within them.
When playing a Lawful Good character, consider that they are trying to achieve Good through the mechanism of Law. They generally value ordered systems as a method to achieve beneficial things for people. If a system fails to achieve that, it needs to be adjusted or scrapped and replaced, but there's a way to do that. That's how governments are supposed to work. That's basically it. Any "Lawful Stupid" or "Stupid Good" stuff that emerges after that is reflective of your group in some way.
Apart from those two arguments - the consequentialist morality argument makes me rage and cringe beyond the ability to meaningfully contribute.
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
A Good character drawing on and subverting inherently Evil powers is a huge trope in fiction because it's a pretty great story. Your interpretation of the morality of it shuts it down and makes it instantly far less compelling. I can't think of a story that's improved by tying a character's alignment to the nature of the power they use. The idea of writing a kind, law-abiding character's alignment as Chaotic Evil because of the class they're playing shocks and upsets me.
In the setting, Good, Evil, Law, and Chaos are all observable, measurable forces that exist and influence the material realm. The idea of relative morality is absurd in that context. It's fine to have values that don't align perfectly with one of them, but it's hard to say a thing is "good" when it isn't "Good," in the context of morality being empirical and fundamental, rather than a vague sense of a set of social expectations that shift at varying speeds.
I think the primary reason alignment survives intact is for setting continuity. Most D&D settings arose in days where aligned planes, the war between demons and devils, etc, were assumed setting elements, and to keep them going forward, Good, Evil, Law, and Chaos as axiomatic forces had to continue to exist. After that, any new setting would probably do something similar, because stories about such things are fun, and easy to use across settings. Plus, the mechanics are already there, so the game designers have a choice of utilizing them or not in a given setting, and "yes" is the obvious answer.
Obviously, when Pathfinder first came out, they weren't going to entirely throw out any huge concepts. They kept alignment because they were out to revise and upgrade D&D into their own thing, not apply the chainsaw. Now, it's hard to back out of, because Good and Evil, Law and Chaos are established to be important in the setting.
Alignments and classes:
Cultures that produce the iconic "Barbarians" tend to have lots of laws and taboos. It never made sense to me to have them inherently eschew law. Entering an altered mental state for battle doesn't seem like it should have anything to do with it.
I like kung fu movies, and they're just absolutely full of hermits and rebellious, contrarian students, basically all kinds of characters willing to spit at law, tradition, and hierarchy, and they seem perfectly able to learn kung fu. Again, not sure why Monks would have to be Lawful. Maybe they tend to be, as 95+% of them would be required to be in a very structured environment to learn martial arts, but the PCs can be the weird renegade ones.
Druids are... similar to what I just said about Monks, and also Wizards, too, I guess. (They put alignment restrictions on the Druid but never the Wizard? Weird.) Their need for focused, structured, hierarchical study is going to lend itself better to Lawful than Chaotic characters. Again, though, PCs are clearly more likely to be the gifted but eccentric hermit type than usual.
Clerics and Champions should be the people who align morally and philosophically most closely to their diety, or why is the diety entrusting them with divine power? It's very odd that some dieties can't have Champions because their beliefs fall outside a certain range.
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Seems a bit iffy, to me. I mean, your character's alignment is only a part of their personality, after all. I'm not sure how one could be a Druid without being aware of the greater cycles and their importance, and the need to sacrifice for their continuation. A Good Druid would go out of their way to minimize harm and suffering, I think, while a Neutral Druid would go about things in the most expedient way, while an Evil Druid would be all about finding ways to subvert the cycles for their own ends. A Lawful Druid might be entirely committed to their traditional methods as the only correct way to practice, a Neutral Druid might be more open to finding more convenient ways in the moment, and a Chaotic Druid might think the traditional methods are stupid and limiting, seeking to create their own method from first principles and constantly improvising.
TTRPGs are vastly more flexible than any kind of scripted video game. If the players tell me they want to build a castle, or tear one down, and they put in the work, I can describe the consequences, make a note of it, and move on, easily referring back to those notes should the need arise. This is true even if the group is five or six players. If the change is bigger than that - say, achieving divinity - then the only way a video game could handle that is to tell a story, which is also a thing we can do here.
The only way to interpret your objections that kind of makes sense is to assume that any APs put out are assumed canon, that some group of PCs has done the thing, and as a result, any release of a mythic AP would completely upend the setting. That may well be true, I don't know, but you're Not Even Wrong. You're conflating Mythic APs and Mythic rules for players to use in their home games. If it's not even true, then... what does it matter how much my group at my table changes the setting? Actually, do existing APs that end at level 20 not conclusively deal with existing threats, make a real difference in the setting, or otherwise change the status quo? Because that would be kind of upsetting, if true.
Except that this mentality means that PCs can never accomplish anything meaningful in your games, because future books won't mention them, and that's an awful way to play a heroic fantasy RPG of any kind, let alone a "mythic" one.
Whatever setting you're playing in, the one at your table is a unique instance. Unless the people at your table have PhDs in, say, Golarion history, for example, it probably won't start perfectly lore accurate anyway, and the impact of any future canon releases is even more optional than the details of existing lore. If your PCs had a memorable experience changing the setting, that's awesome, and in no way invalidated by the existence of a canon. You're building a cooperative roleplaying adventure experience, not an officially licensed diorama of an existing story.
After that campaign is over, you can wipe the board and start over, or you can continue on in your cooperatively developed customized setting, and that's a feature, not a bug.
I can boot up my copy of Skyrim right now, start a new game, and despite millions of people already having completed the story, I will play through the same story they did, not some apocalyptic waste left by millions of Dragonborn before me, and when I turn it off, other people's story won't be changed by my progress.
D3stro 2119 wrote:
Of course. Because before we can introduce improbable feats of fantastic heroism into the system, we need to eradicate improbable feats of fantastic heroism from the system.
D3stro 2119 wrote:
As much as I hate to defend 4e, at least 4e made it clear that certain "tiers" had different expectations.
4E was an odd, transitional, experimental kind of game, and while it made a lot of missteps, it had a lot of interesting, useful, and fun ideas that I feel should have been further examined. Minions, for example - great little tool - but also, and more relevant to this discussion, the tiers. Every ten levels, you reached a milestone where you gained a template of abilities representing a level of excellence that you had achieved, and the threats and challenges you faced would increase accordingly. Paragon Paths and Epic Destinies could feel awesome and significant, if (as always) handled correctly.
D3stro 2119 wrote:
Meanwhile, PF and I would argue current D&D is locked in this bizarre situation where the game can't make up its mind whether its supposed to be a gritty medieval game or a high sci-fantasy game, and the expectations and system as a whole suffer for it.
Agreed. If you look at the fundamental assumptions of the system, it's clearly supposed to be high fantasy, but some settings and rules constructs try to drag it back toward grit. I think a major turning point in the underlying assumptions in the wider gaming community was when they decided to make Greyhawk the core setting for 3.0 - a decidedly more gritty setting than the Forgotten Realms, Eberron, or anything else going on in the game at the time. I don't think the assumptions about the game have really recovered. These games are about small groups of adventurers battling dragons, demigods, primordial psychic horrors from under the sea, psychic brain-eating-octopi from the end of time, and magic floating megalomaniacal eye-monsters, using steel, spell, song, and the blessings of the gods to both attack and to avoid/undo consequences - with possibly some sci-fi thrown in. As high fantasy as can be. Trying to also make allowances for grittiness seems to be working at cross purposes.
I think "mythic" is a setting and storytelling concept, more than it is a rules adjustment. If there could be an adjustment we could make to the rules to encourage a more fantastical feeling, that would be great, but I'm unconvinced that it would be practical to do that and still be playing the same game. If it was a suite of storytelling tools at lower levels, and then a purpose-built extension of the system for beyond level 20... that could work, I think.
To me, the base power level of the drow is the most obnoxious, least appealing aspect of the race. Losing that element and getting a balanced ancestry for playing them would be great.
I'm wondering if they need to be a full ancestry, or if it could be some variation on a heritage that you could keep even if you added a versatile heritage on top. Unless... how about a general feat that let you pick a second heritage and a racial feat for it? Too much?
To me, Mythic should exist to keep a feeling of progression past 20, to prevent the game from feeling "over" while you enjoy playing a level 20 character. The rewards should feel worthwhile, desired by someone at level 20, without throwing balance out the window. Growth might tend toward the broad, rather than deep. Interesting and powerful combos should be available, but higher numbers for the sake of higher numbers would be boring, and toppling the action economy should absolutely be avoided.
Basically, you want something to keep playing for an adventure or two at level 20, but not something so iconic and character defining that you have to keep playing even more to experience the joy of THAT.
There's an old joke in Math that economics is the science of applying mathematical models in those situations where they do not apply. It's basically a systematized way to ignore contradictory evidence.
Which is funny, because there is another old joke about governments controlling economies without understanding them.
Honestly, if not for it being an artifact of classic D&D for decades, "Law vs Chaos" would be really hard to justify as a concept applying to individuals. The functional difference is "Are you aware of your own personal moral beliefs and priorities, or are you making it up from scratch every time you have to make a decision?" Most people grew up being taught some kind of values and mores, and if they differ from those, they usually have an alternative belief they can articulate. It only becomes relevant at the Evil side, where people start considering burning down the system for their own gain as a lifestyle choice. Even your average wild-eyed revolutionary typically has a higher ideal in mind. "Barbarians" generally have societies with very strict taboos. Organized crime is VERY organized - being Lawful isn't necessarily about following the local laws, because those can shift over time and place, but about adhering to a code of conduct - and almost everyone has one.
Law vs Chaos only makes sense on the level of planes and axiomatic forces.
snipped - relevant part not easily quoted on mobile
... Your response to me is entirely unrelated to anything I said. There are lots of ways to take advantage of a legal system that do not involve posturing and virtue signaling. I'm not actually sure how that interacts significantly or directly with the legal system.
Team Evil can thrive in anarchy or a very lawful society, sure, but Evil is packaged in individual units, and each evil entity will have inclinations or interests best suited to one or the other. Lawful Evil uses the law to the best advantage of the individual, whether through loopholes, graft, or being part of a tyrannical hierarchy. Chaotic Evil attacks the hierarchy to disable opposition and to loot the ruins.
You left out "The law is a game. I play to win." It's not about maximization of Evil as an ideology or a faction, but maximizing personal short-term advantage.
Hard disagree. I'm all for the "spirit of the law," myself, but unfortunately, law, as created and practiced for centuries, very much involves the gamification, exploitation, and weaponization of the letter of the law. It's hard to even condemn, because you can't legislate how people will read and understand the laws, so things that are "technically" within the law are within the law. Don't like it? Fix the law.
Yes, obviously, laypeople having a casual conversation tend to get lax on details, even very important ones. That's unfortunate, though, because it creates an environment where you forget to draw important distinctions even when you're attempting a high-level theoretical discussion, like OP.
A republic is NOT a democracy. It has democratic elements, but it is not a democracy in the same sense that a house is not a pile of bricks. They have completely different qualities. Completely different philosophies, completely different merits and flaws, completely different vulnerabilities.
As a Poli Sci guy, I love the examination of how fantasy tropes in a setting interact with real world political models, and I like the chance to learn more about Golarion... but at this point, I'm mostly distressed that the word "republic" appears only once in this thread so far, and that is as a reference to the Roman one and doesn't acknowledge a difference between the concepts.
Democracy is a terrible system. It is mob rule by the largest majority, leaving minorities of any kind as victims. It's insular in the extreme, hypertraditionalist (deviating from local traditions and mores is a great way to ensure you never win a vote, appeals to traditionalism and nationalism have an extreme advantage in any popular vote in a democratic society), incredibly slow to respond to changing conditions, scales beyond the local level terribly without advanced technology... really, true democracy has only one advantage, and that's the lack of true aristocracy... which melts when the de facto aristocracy inevitably arises through faction-building.
The OP loses some points because they appear to be reaching for the idea of the constitutional republic, but never gets there.