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Back to the original post, competent bards are easier to make in PF than 3.5; though lack the prestige class combinations that highly optimizing 3.5 players could use (unless you "convert" 3.5 stuff into your home game - not an option in organized play).

I played a 3.5 campaign as a bard, and always found ways to be useful. Summon monster became my trap detector (and kept the party from drowning by summoning dolphins). Silence spells on arrows let me shut down enemy spellcasters. Creative applications of your abilities was the key to staying relevant.


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It is best to think of class as what people would call your education background (I graduated as a fighter, with a minor in wizardry). The title of what you present yourself varies with culture, occupation roles, and self image (Sounds like you're what we call a Magus in these parts).


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Just throw barrels of gunpowder near your target, then shoot the barrels. Unless you are dumping a bag of holding that has barrels, you won't roll hundreds of dice. It is an area of effect, though.

Guns and gunpowder can still be defeated by a zero level spell - create water.


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Although much later than hoped, at least it will become reality given that the pdf exists and some backers received physical copies. Maybe the rest of us will have it before 2019.

This is a lot better than Palladium's promised "Mechanoids Space" that was advertised in 1993 - supposedly to come out in Spring of 1994. 24 years later and it still doesn't exist, yet is advertised as "coming soon". Cthulhu himself preordered it, and when he finally wakes up a millennia or two from now it will still be "coming soon".


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I am in the camp of alignment as optional.

I have played many different game systems over many years. The D&D (and palladium) alignment systems can start knock down drag out fights between friends. My vote is on having it optional. D&D/PF had alignment hard coded in class mechanics, spells (detect, protection from), and magic items (holy, anarchic, etc. weapons); making alignment vital. It was just hard baked in the system. So - what are the pros and cons of an alignment system?

Pros - It gives a foundation of how a PC views the world. Great for beginning players to grasp the concept early on. This also lets the system create divine powers with actual mechanical effects. Holy weapons do added damage to evil beings, protection from good gives mechanical benefits that help an evil caster. Sometimes alignment becomes a storytelling tool; In the RPG "Vampire", a humanity rating was the closest thing to an alignment system. Most players did not care about "acting human" until they learned there was actual mechanical benefit to having a high humanity score (avoid becoming a mindless beast, and less weak during daylight hours if forced to defend themselves when attacked in their lair).

Cons - It can lead to heated arguments due to player viewpoints. If you have a player that has a past history of questionable choices, that player is likely to take alignment debates VERY personally. It sometimes gives jerks a license to be a bigger jerk. There are numerous examples of GMs that love to see paladins fall, or PCs losing class abilities and will throw situations at the group to make it happen. There are jerk players that act out and hurt the group on a regular basis with the excuse of "just playing my alignment". It also breaks down at times when playing a complex PC, or forced into unusual circumstances with very moral implications.

The ugly - Changing alignments can be a rich and rewarding moment when a PC shifts an entire worldview, or it can be a crappy Gygaxian trap because of some plot made magical rehabilitation machine that forced a barbarian to play another class by stepping in the wrong magic circle. A Christmas Carol was clearly a redemption story even if Ebeneezer was evil in a way that didn't involve killing or torture (just was miserly and a jerk), nor did his transformation to good involve a matyring heroic (just became mildly generous and happy). The law/chaos axis is much less clear cut because our culture has a plethora of good/evil conflict tales, and very few epic law/chaos tales (The "odd couple" is about the only clear example I can think of). Seriously, a lot of monks in Shaw Brother films show us that "monkey king", chaotic monks can exist in a story. Barbarians with high regard for tradition also seems to work against the "no lawful barbarian" idea.

To sum it up - Alignment has its uses, good and bad. Making it optional allows a group to retain the good aspect of it (holy weapons, easy to teach beginning PCs about character viewpoint), while allowing other groups to disregard it if it actually interferes with another group's fun (Why can't I play a monk that tries to humble authority by being lovably mischievous?)


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Digital content / download just leads me to a broken link.


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Skill synergy was a thing in 3.5 - not so much in Pathfinder. The best one can do is to roll each perform individually for the purpose of income checks taking the best result only.

GMs would have to judge if second attempts could be made with related knowledge or craft/profession checks. Usually, adventure paths will only allow one check per PC, if a PC lacks the knowledge or craft skill that is most applicable - a related skill might be used to substitute at a greater DC check. Synergy does not exist in pathfinder.

If you want to house rule skill synergy, related skills added a +2 bonus, limit of one bonus per check. (Example, diplomacy adding to knowledge:local when seeking information).


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I think adventure paths are fine. What I really want to see are adventure modules for above 17th level play. Bonus if they can be somewhat tangent or related to an existing adventure path. A sort of "reasonable stretch" to allow PCs that finish an adventure path successfully would find the module natural to expand into, yet the ability for a freshly created high level group to play in as well.

A great example was "Witchwar Legacy" being somewhat usable with "Reign of Winter".

As for mythic, one could make a low-tier mythic module without drowning in the balance problems of mid to high tier PCs. Giving a PC one or two tiers isn't a big deal. Things get hard to run past mythic tier 4 or 5; Player choices can shift the power beyond the scope of a printed module for the masses, and requires the GM to have specific knowledge of each PC in advance. A printed module can't assume a mythic vital strike build, or a beginning player choosing subpar mythic path choice. Thus modules are best used for mythic tier play that go no higher than 3 at the most.

In short, more high level, and or low mythic tier modules would be nice for me.


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Whoops. My mistake - meant to say Cassian, not Galen in the above post.

One example of an evil character in a morally mixed party is Cassian from Rogue One.

spoiler:
Cassian kills an allied informant rather than risk his capture. He kills a partisan rebel as readily as storm troopers to accomplish his goals. We may be sympathetic to his ultimate goal (fight for the rebellion), yet he is willing to do many dark acts to get there. All this, and still works fairly well in a group of people of mixed alignments.

To answer Genetic Flood - Yes, during the fight on the planet Jedha between partisans ambushing an Empire tank and storm troopers.

spoiler:
As Jyn seeks cover behind a tank, Cassian sees a partisan about to throw a grenade at the tank. To save Jyn (who is important to the mission), Cassian kills the grenade bearing partisan without hesitation.


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One example of an evil character in a morally mixed party is Galen from Rogue One.

spoiler:
Galen kills an allied informant rather than risk his capture. He kills a partisan rebel as readily as storm troopers to accomplish his goals. We may be sympathetic to his ultimate goal (fight for the rebellion), yet he is willing to do many dark acts to get there. All this, and still works fairly well in a group of people of mixed alignments.


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Make sure you know what does and does not receive a reflex save. It won't help against an opponent swinging a weapon, or spells that require fortitude or will saves. Color spray or sleep spells requires will saves, for example. The biggest weakness of reflex, or any saves is the natural one. A natural one always fails with attack or save rolls, no matter what your modifier is.


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Simulacrum is a better solution if you are going where I think you are going. You need a magician's assistant for your caster's traveling magic show, right?


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Casting resurrection on this thread -

At this point, we have quite a few new base classes, iconics, and prestige classes to warrant an NPC codex 2, 3, and possibly 4. Sadly, I don't know if sales figures would support such an effort.

Monster codex was nice, villain codex was a bit all over the place.


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If high hit points can be explained as skill at turning injuries into less serious injury, it still leaves a question about magic healing.

The solution - everyone builds up a tolerance to magic healing. It just takes more to get the same effect on the same person after a time.


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What? My epic, mythic fighter isn't more powerful than a wizard? Teleport? I just slice through the time space barrier and BAM, teleport and planar travel. Fly? I just punch the ground and the planet moves away from me - TADA! I'm flying! Invisibility? I kill everyone in the room and they can't see me. Mind control? I call that my intimidation skill. Divination? My CHARACTER forces the GM to tell me the plot. RAWR!


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If you fail a fortitude save, you immediately go through suffocation phases. If you fail and the Void dragon is very young, you might only go unconscious if you fail the fortitude save.

It may seem nasty, yet at CR13 save or suck effects can get nasty. At a DC of 23, it is a good thing void dragons tend to be rare.

If you want to nitpick, the ability might be useless against water breathing beings that have an adaptation spell on them (so they don't suffocate out of water).


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Slow is a great way to counter haste.

Bestow Curse (the 50% combat freeze application of it) is in many ways far worse. Sure, it only freezes a person in 50% each round of all their combats, yet it is permanent until the curse is removed. The touch range makes it tricky in combat to apply as well.


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Writer error.

Some spells and mythic abilities can bypass non-mythic immunities, yet nothing is mythic in Kingmaker.


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Jeraa is right.

For it to stack, you would have to choose a class that also has trapfinding. Examples are slayers or investigators with the trapfinding talent selected.

The archeologist bard has some trap finding abilities (trap sense), yet not specifically "trapfinding" as the rogue class ability. Thus a Rogue with trap sense would stack with an archeologist bard (or even a barbarian) with trap sense (which only gives bonuses to find traps) - yet not the trapfinding ability (which gives bonuses to find AND disable traps).


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We have used critical fumbles before. It was combat rolls only. For critical success you had to confirm as normal (second roll over enemy AC). For failure, confirming the same way would penalize the group on a high AC foe, and beg the question of why the enemy's AC would matter if our bowstring breaks or not?

The compromise would be making a reflex check to "confirm" the critical failure. The GM would know the DC needed to prevent a critical failure (based on complexity of the fight and random chance). This means high reflex save PCs critically failed less often.


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The rule of fun applies. If you think too hard on things, parts of the game unravels. The system of leveling is pretty unrealistic, yet it is an important stick and carrot reward. If wealth by level is a strict thing, spell components can be "refreshed" with extremely wealthy adventurer pocket change - as can normal ammunition and food. Make whole and mend can fix equipment wear and tear issues.

RP is like a movie, we aren't shown every moment of a character in realtime. Seriously, adventurers will more likely have crazy things to detect invisible foes (marbles, flour, vials of paint) than they are to possess soap or a hygiene kit.

As spoken by MST3K, "if you're wondering how he eats and breathes, and other science facts. Then repeat to yourself its just a show, I should really just relax."


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It's the perfect passive-aggressive way for a GM to say "Here, you end the campaign for me."


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For a home game, it is a GM's call. There are advantages and disadvantages to either call. As your GM has made the call, the only way to allow an Eidolon to have equipment is to gate, plane walk, or otherwise planar travel to give the Eidolon equipment while it is in its home plane. Such equipment always appears with the Eidolon when summoned, and vanishes when the Eidolon departs.

The advantage to this would be equipment that "resurrects" after each summoning (just in case sundering is a thing in your campaign). How this affects charge/use items can be wonky (potions, wands, scrolls, etc.)


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I wish the original poster good fortune on this endeavor. The biggest obstacle may be that we are to explain not the defined definition of optimizing; we are to explain what it means subjectively to us.

We might as well try defining "what is art".

At this point in my life, all I ask is that players avoid joke characters and stop trying to force square pegs into round holes. A sorcerer with an 8 strength shouldn't try to frontline fight with weapons, a socially awkward barbarian with a 7 charisma shouldn't be the face person of the party, the intelligence 9 low level fighter without knowledge skills shouldn't be the monster lore expert. Sadly, I see a joker in the deck in most RPG groups.


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In one of D&D 3x deities books, there was a dragon goddess named Ioun. Said Ioun stones were were actually named after her in that setting.


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I agree this needs to have an answer for Pathfinder Society play. A GM can just make the ruling for a home game, yet PFS needs a concrete agreement if a player wants to know how a feat like expanded arcana might work with an arcanist.

Can an arcanist take expanded arcana? (Normally an arcanist above first level "prepares" fewer spells than they have spell slots - unlike a wizard).

Can an arcanist take spell mastery?

Can an arcanist use pearls of power or thnderstones? Both? Neither?

At least a ring of wizardry still works.


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Shaving private Ryan


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1. Interesting. It is like a random augmented summoning.

2. It is worth a single feat. Augmented summoning always boosts the same two stats, for the same amount. Harrowed summoning could end up giving you a smart elemental for half as long a time period as you could have a normal one, so the potential drawbacks outweigh the advantage. It's not exactly "Epic augmented summoning" (a 3rd party epic level feat that gives a +12 bonus to Con and Str of your summoned creatures. Granted, they kind of need the boost when PCs are 40th level).


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Only one attack.

If you have the feat "combat reflexes", or have some feat or class feature that specifically enhances your attacks of opportunity, then you have a conditional exception.

Please consult the core rulebook for the combat reflexes feat.


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The last time our group discussed the law vs chaos axis of alignments ended like this -

Fight!


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It's not a case where interacting with a deity never happens. It is a case where such interactions might sour the future use of such deities.

Wrath spoiler:
In Wrath of the Righteous, the group is met by a very heavy handed Iomeda. So heavy handed that many players and GMs might just rewrite the whole meeting rather than damage the party to pass a question test - in order to continue what they would do anyway. It's as if Iomeda wants to handicap heroes before they assault demons on their own turf. It didn't make sense.


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Some yes, some no.

Some spells like death ward and rope trick were needlessly nerfed - in the case of rope trick a paradox appeared. (the rope cannot be hidden, pulled up, or detached. It later says it snaps off if it exceeds a certain weight pulling on it).

Some spells are appropriate, or niche enough that they can't hurt a campaign much.

Some spells are far too unbalancing, or should be considered higher level "greater" variants. Time spells from second edition are quite unbalancing.Being able to change the age categories of dragons, or rewind minutes of time could have very anticlimactic effect on a campaign. Buffing spells, such as cats grace, lasting 10 minutes per level rather than one minute per level aren't game breaking - yet should be considered a higher level than they currently are (perhaps a "greater" variant that is 2 levels higher).


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Here's a thought.

If somehow strength was made the best via the system (gives health, skill points, and makes you more charismatic), then every PC would just take tons of steroids while many players would complain about how odd it is that a scifi game doesn't make int the best stat.

It actually makes sense that strength would be less important than most other ability scores as the technology advances. We don't build our own log cabins, farm our own food, or blacksmith at the forge like someone did two centuries ago. Those tasks required strength. In contemporary society, there re still construction, shipping and other jobs that require strength - yet the jobs that require people to sit in front of a computer and type all day are increasing in percentage compared with manual labor or sports entertainment jobs. In a scifi future, most people would just buy a robot to do the heavy manual labor.


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Still digesting the rules, yet there seems to be plenty of contradictions. Things like the DC to pilot more advanced vehicles is harder than less advanced, so it should be easier to win a race with a model T auto rather than a 21st century sports car.

I do know many board games and tactical war game (such as battletech) make the initiative loser move first, then the initiative winner moves last. The movement technically takes place simultaneously, yet the initiative winner now knows the opponent's path and can take that into account while the initiative loser just showed their intentions.

From what I gather in my first go through of reading, this is what happens in Starfinder. Essentially the initiative loser declares their intent first, the winner can declare their intent with the added knowledge of knowing what the initiative loser will do, and action takes place "simultaneously".

This is why the initiative loser declares what and where they fire first, the initiative winner declares fire last, yet the results are considered a simultaneous exchange.

It's rather pointless in a one on one duel, yet becomes important when there are multiple targets.

Still, I can't understand why flyby attacks are allowed if movement is considered simultaneous - unless the ship you fly past has opted not to move.


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How about this - your PCs angered a powerful demon. Did they prepare for the wrath to come. They need some crazy NPC that wears a tinfoil hat tell them how to at least sleep somewhere secure if they poke at demon beehives with a stick. For example, rest in a monastery that is protected by a forbiddence spell or something. If the heroes have a well defended base, then it makes sense why the demon doesn't go for a TPK. If the players don't get the hint, then a TPK happens.


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Scientific Scrutiny wrote:
All I can picture is an android with a still-bleeding heart duct-taped to their chest, proudly proclaiming: "I'm real! I'm real!"

That's the most awesome version of the Wizard of Oz yet! Tinman goes on a rampage, he's going to get a real heart one way or the other.


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There is nothing in the rules that spells this out. If that's the way your GM rules it, then that's the way it is for a home game. Just make sure to take advantage of it should you run into an opponent with an animal companion (rules that work against the PC should also work against opponents).

I know someone will bring up attacking police dogs as an example why it shouldn't provoke, yet you should respect your GM's call in situations that don't have clear rules.


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Companies hire the handful of people that can actually cast a wish spell in order to ensure their products are crazy awesome at breaking the laws of physics. This also explains how a huge 3 km starship only weighs 8000 tons.


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It gives probes / launched satellites a reason to exist - a remote controlled spotter ship, if you will.


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Best advice - know your group. Some groups like a vivid world with lots of new concepts, or exploring a new cosmology / theme / concept. Some groups just want to blow off steam, kill monsters and take loot.

You will need a lot of work to entertain the ones that appreciate detail. You will do way too much work for yourself if you flesh out a Tolkien-worthy amount of detail for a group that wants mindless murderhobo fun.


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Sounds like the old D&D cartoon.

So our *players* are teleported into a fantasy world, each given a magic item, then have to fight Tiamat *and* some homebrew demon wizard thing on a flying mount.....when we are first freakin level? I HATE THIS CAMPAIGN!


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When I was much, much younger and playing 1st or 2nd edition D&D, yes. I could reach level 20 in those days of Jr. High / High school when summer meant you could play D&D every day with friends.

These days, unless a group starts at high level, level 20 is out of reach. As busy adults, we can have a group play once a month. Even if we level after each session, that's 19 months just to reach the goal - almost two years.

Of course, this assumes one grinds from level 1 on up. I find it best just to know that levels change the game feel, to start and end play at whatever level the plot requires, and don't worry about grinding through "beginner" levels or leveling past a point when the plot is endangered by higher level class abilities.

The big factor for grinding through levels is time. In a few decades, once I retire, I'm sure I could play to 20th level in a few months again as I would have the time to play every single day. For now, not so much.


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Idle curiosity had me looking up the lengthiest casting times for a non-ritual spell. A few spells have a 24 hour casting time, such as awaken, hallow, and unhallow.

What does this mean? I think any caster that can pull that off deserves a medal at the very least. To cast a spell, you have to make a minimal concentration check each round. Even if taking ten in perfectly pleasant conditions, you would have to be superhuman to do so past ten hours.

To skip sleeping, eating, or drinking isn't bad for heroic PCs; at least for a mere day. To skip restroom breaks though, that is inhuman. So for all those casters that manage to pull off those full day casting times, congrats! Maybe next time you will wait a few levels and cast wish or miracle instead, that way you can do the same thing in a single round.

Fun fact - scrying takes an hour to cast and only lasts a minute per caster level. Talk about a lot of effort for a brief glimpse. It reminds me of the early internet days when you would take hours to download a picture from an old modem connection.

Any other thoughts?


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I shapeshift into the Watson computer to outdo the card counting ability of Rain man - card counting every casino under surveillance in the world simultaneously.


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Multiclass as an eldritch knight? Magus is one of the few classes that can directly multiclass into eldritch knight without dabbling into yet another class.


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Sort of. Ironically, it would require a sense motive check to see if the other person is studying your motives while not trying to appear to do so.

Sometimes no check is needed since it would be obvious. A guard clearly on duty is obviously using their perception skill, an interrogator is clearly going to use sense motive on the person that is interrogated.


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Here is an example of why motivation matters -
the culprit was mind controlled. Suddenly, you need to know who planted the mind control in the first place.

Granted, not every murderer or evil cultist was under mind control. If your PC is interested in redeeming others, or preventing others from becoming an evil, murdering cultist, it becomes important to understand why they chose the path they traveled.

I'm not saying that such villains deserve forgiveness or redemption, yet it may help a PC to watch the signs and stop someone else before they go to such a path.

Besides, keeping a villain yammering about their backstory is a great way to learn how to strike them psychologically, learn their plans, and delay them long enough if you need extra time.


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Lensmen, Lanterns, Jedi, space monks. Good to see this type of trope in Starfinder.


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Old school precedent - in 2nd edition D&D a paladin of Horus is chaotic good. By experience, this did throw off numerous GMs that were too used to trapping paladins into a moral dilemma corner.

paladin of Horus - It's an evil mummy, I attack it.
GM - It didn't attack first, you're in danger of breaking your code.
paladin of Horus - You mean that chaotic good code that means I do what feels right? Right now smacking evil undead before they do harm feels right.
GM - Oh yeah.......chaotic good.....I forgot.


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Playing evil isn't for everyone. Some just want to play an RPG character as they would play Grand Theft Auto video games.

As for me, I do prefer playing good PCs, yet I can occasionally play evil PCs. The appeal is to be free from the RL fear oriented lifestyle. What do I mean by this? Why are we cautious around strangers? Why do we lock car/home doors? It is because we fear evil people and what they may do to us.

In a RPG, you can become the thing you fear. It is a cathartic release of sorts while in a safe environment. You aren't actually harming others. What you are doing is letting go of that fear of those other evil people by acting out that other side of the equation.

Granted, it's not something I do often. I still enjoy playing PCs of any alignment depending on my mood, and I do enjoy playing good PCs more often than playing evil (an ego thing, I prefer neutral NPCs to cheer me on rather than cower in fear of me).

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