I read the CRB text to mean that those rules (when worn properly a backpack's bulk doesn't count against your encumbrance) are for backpacks in general and the Starfinder model is a new type of backpack. Since it is a backpack it qualifes for that rule. That makes the most sense to me at least.
Cover bonuses don't stack. If players can use a shield to gain cover then there's less incentive to actively engage with the battlefield. I wouldn't mind having rule options for shields, including ballistic shields like what some of the Rainbow 6 Siege operators can use, but I'd much rather have shields give a generic AC bonus than specifically a cover bonus.
So I can’t remember which page of the core rule book, out there is artwork of a Vesk fighting a space dwarf who is clearly defending himself with an energy shield and axe. If you are going to show that shields exist in the fluff and artwork why not put them in the books.
The Dwarf you're talking about is on p. 9 of the CRB, and the shield he's wielding very closely resembles the description for the Phase Shield armor upgrade, which is also in the CRB. The shield that exists in the fluff and artwork is in the book.
I went back and reread both the combat maneuver text and the Throttling weapon quality, I'm pretty sure you are both right and I'm mistaken - "a single attack" and "a combat maneuver" are not interchangeable. I recalled the Pathfinder rule that you can interchange certain maneuvers and attacks and misread Starfinder's combat maneuver text that mentions "a melee attack roll" as "a melee attack". That's what I get for skimming.
The main downside is that missiles are expensive so spamming a whole bunch of them will cut into your savings pretty fast. That said, I can think of two options.
1. The Duo/Trio/Quad Multistage Sniper Rifle found in the Armory fires off 2/3/4 mini-rockets with each shot. The description suggests it uses the rockets to redirect the bullet's trajectory to obfuscate the location of the shooter rather than saturate the target, but technically it fits your requirements.
2. Get a Dart Cannon (also from Armory), then invest in explosive darts (ie dumbfire rockets). The level 2 Light Dart Cannon fires 10 darts per shot, which should be plenty of boom. Throw in a blasting Fusion or two and you can alternate between single-target obliteration and area saturation. :)
If I understand it right you could always use Grapple as an option with Trick Attack/Improved Get 'Em etc since these abilities stipulate variations of "you make a single attack" and a combat maneuver is (usually) a melee attack. The benefit of Throttle weapons is that you apply your damage with each successful grapple check (including the first one to successfully establish a grapple) and that any bonus damage provided by your attack (such as Trick Attack) is applied to that damage roll even though grapples normally don't do damage.
Let's try an example:
Next we introduce a throttling weapon.
Example 3: An Envoy armed with a nanofiber garrote rolls an Improved Get 'Em and uses his attack to grapple an opponent. He gains a +2 morale bonus on his attack roll. He succeeds on the attack roll, so his opponent gets the grappled condition. Since he's using a throttle weapon he also rolls damage for the weapon (2d4+the usual modifiers).
Example 4: An operative armed with a nanofiber garrote rolls a trick attack to grapple an opponent. He makes the bluff check, so his target is flat-footed. He succeeds on the attack roll, so his opponent gets the grappled condition. Since he's using a throttle weapon he rolls the weapon's damage (2d4+the usual modifiers) and since he succeeded on his trick attack he also applies Trick Attack damage.
Although come to think of it, the attack=maneuver is a Pathfinder rule and I couldn't find any similar language in Starfinder. When a class feature like the Envoy's Clever Attack allows you to make "a single attack" does that allow you to use a combat maneuver (which is explicitly listed under a different heading than 'attack') or only a basic attack?
I suspect a problem with the Bestiary series is that they're mostly bought by GMs, a relatively small selection of the RPG market. By combining PC races and NPC monsters in one book it suddenly has a much broader appeal since it now has content relevant for both players and GMs.
Personally I quite like how the Alien Archives is set up, though I hope they'll add a vital statistics table for the new races introduced.
On-point: I really like the idea of the Maze Core but I agree that some of the restrictions feel a little unnecessary. I'm unsure what they mean by the "powered" requirement - do they mean the powered special weapon quality, or simply that the weapon cannot be analog? Do both components have to be powered?
Slightly off-topic: I'd sidestep the Maze Core completely and instead build Ruby's weapon as a coil sniper rifle with a heavy bayonet mount sporting a tactical scythe. She seems to use both modes of the weapon at the same time (in the Red trailer she uses the recoil from the sniper rifle to decapitate her enemies with the blade end), so near as I can tell it's not exactly a maze weapon alternating back and forth but rather two weapons in use at once.
Moderately off-topic: I think Pyrrha's spear/rifle and Nora's maul/grenade launcher are the best fits for maze core weapons. Yang's weapon seems like another hand cannon+gauntlet bayonet weapon for the same reason as Ruby's scythe. Weiss uses her sword with various fusions and/or pure magic, possibly a technomancer? Blake I'm not sure how to go about replicating, she alternates between straight blades and whip-pistol things - maybe maze core ripper dueling swords that transform into pistols with battle ribbon bayonets?
Really off-topic: I watched the Red and Yellow trailers to refresh my memory of the series, I'd forgotten how damn good the fight choreography was for this show. I should really watch it again.
Kudaku, your analysis is true in regards to a soldier vs a solarion in combat vs skill terms, especially when it comes to charisma skills. The problem however, is that if you have an operative or an envoy present they will more than likely subsume the role from you if the invest their skill points into it. For envoys it definitely makes sense to do so, for operatives they have so many skills that it's not unreasonable. I feel like players of those classes with a solarion in a group would need to purposefully not choose diplomacy/intimidate to leave it a relevant skill for solarions.
You have a good point in that skill overlap can be a problem for solarians, especially if you're playing in SFS or if your groups don't do session 0s. I'm not sure Operatives can regularly beat Solarians as face characters, Spy Operatives make excellent faces but the other specializations typically don't invest much in charisma. Since Solarians will typically have a much higher charisma than a non-spy operative and Sidereal Influence more or less cancels out Operative's Edge until the mid-late game I'd expect a Solarian to stay ahead of the operative. An envoy will definitely dominate a solarian in the social game if the envoy doesn't take steps to avoid it (not taking expertise in the solarian's Sidereal Influence skills etc), no argument there.
It's a bit of a problem that whereas you're rarely punished for investing in Dexterity (AC! saves!), Constitution (HP! Fort saves!) or Wisdom (everybody roll perception! Will saves!) the value of Charisma, both the attribute and the associated skills, sinks dramatically once you have at least one person who can cover it. Typically the conversation goes: "Right, who has the highest Diplomacy modifier? Eddie the Envoy does? Right, Eddie does all the talking from now on! Sam, you're the Aid check monkey.
Pathfinder gradually got around this problem by letting you use charisma for more and more things: Noble Scion, Sidestep Secret, Osyluth Guile... Some would argue they went a bit too far down that particular rabbit hole.
It's easy to miss the advantages of charisma when making comparisons like these. If you compare a soldier that invests in STR/DEX/CON/WIS vs a Solarian that invests in STR/DEX/WIS/CHA the soldier is going to have the better Con modifier (more HP, better fort save) and the solarian is going to have the better Cha modifier (better social skills).
If your party focuses exclusively on combat the solarian is going to be behind. If your party focuses exclusively on social encounters the soldier is going to be behind. Most parties fall somewhere in the middle, where both stats see some use.
Anyways, back on topic: From what I've seen so far the Solar Weapon will dramatically outperform Solar Armor once the Armory becomes widely available. With the new fusion that lets you add Charisma to damage with Solar Weapons investing in charisma is significantly more attractive, which in turn means that most solar weapon Solarians will have lowish dex mods and will want to grab heavy armor ASAP.
I'm hoping there's something in Armory that makes Solar Armor equally attractive but I haven't heard of it yet.
That certainly makes charisma more attractive! It's an interesting option - ability mod to damage is at its most powerful at low levels, exactly when Solarians struggle a bit. Depending on the price (and it's a level 1 item, I assume it can't be that expensive) it's a significant power boost to Solar Weapons. I hope there's something nice for Solar Armor users too.
Constructive Interference (2nd), Stellar Equilibrium (2nd)
Could you give some details on the Solarian revelations Constructive Interference and Stellar Equilibrium?
Is there an option to modify the Solar Weapon, such as giving it the reach quality or have it target EAC?
Are there any options to modify Solar Armor akin to weapon crystals?
There's a FAQ to clarify this:
You can find the ruling here. :)
Others can decide if they agree with you or not.
That's fine, I'm happy to explain my positions and my view on the state of the Solarian to anyone else who asks. :)
Isaac Zephyr wrote:
That's an interesting point. I'm not a huge fan of Antagonize for a solarian since the DC is rough (especially since Sidereal Influence doesn't work in combat) and you normally have better things to do with your standard action, but I hadn't considered Unfriendly Fire. Again I'm a little concerned about the skill DC scaling (15 +1.5 CR) but it's definitely an interesting option! A few more things like these for the Solarian and I think we can make the charisma a boon rather than a penalty. :)
I think the problem with simply eliminating the MAD aspect of the Solarian is that the class gets a lot of class features specifically to make up for being MAD. Solar Armor and Graviton Mode offsets having a lower dex, Photon Mode (and plasma sheath) offsets having a lower str, Sidereal Influence and free class skills offsets having no real points to invest in INT.
If you redesign the Solarian so that it can be built in the same way as a soldier (pump str&dex and ignore charisma at level 1, boost str/dex/con/wis every level boost) then you're making it a class that gets essentially everything melee soldiers get with free damage/save/skill boosts on top.
I'd rather go the other way by making charisma a more interesting stat for Solarians. Right now it feels like a tax since the most popular revelations are charisma agnostic and apart from resolve there's not many things really encouraging you to invest in charisma.
I've been asking for power armor to be fleshed out ever since I made my first character, really happy that powered armor gets the attention it deserves. :D
I wouldn't mind seeing an "upgrade" system for weapons and armor as well, but I definitely think PA needs it more than the other armor types. "Utility PA" like Flight Frame, Spider harness, and the Explorer Cradle need to scale in order to stay relevant past the initial levels. Other armors normally use armor upgrades to replicate these abilities which are much more plug & play.
Linked weapons fire as one, you only make one attack roll when firing them. The main reason to use linked weapons is that you can increase the potential damage you deal with each attack action.
Since point weapons are binary in that they either miss or destroy incoming missiles, I don't think twin-linked point weapons get an extra benefit in this regard.
Operatives look extra strong at their signature skills at level 1 since the Skill Focus boosts them ahead. It's actually fairly common for new parties to think the hacker operative is overpowered at low levels since his modifier in his signature skills (computers, engineering) overlap with and will initially likely be higher than both mechanics and technomancers. These concerns tend to disappear when they have played for a bit and see the drawbacks and downsides of the operative compared to other classes. The skill gap closes and eventually disappears, assuming your players are building intelligently. If a player desperately wants to be the best at hacking they can always take Skill Focus at level 1 and retrain it later.
If you just consider the flat numeric bonus in computers (I use this as an example since its the one with the most overlap between classes) provided by the classes, it looks like this:
At level 1 operatives get +1 or +3 (hackers). This scales up to +6 by level 20.
Presented this way, envoys are the best hackers in Starfinder. But of course this doesn't paint the full picture. As noted Operatives start off extra strong at low levels. Some classes get other class features to boost their modifier (drone mechanics can use the droid to Aid Other, exocortex have a freely retrainable Skill Focus feat via Memory Module and get a +1 circumstance bonus via Coordinated Assault) and other classes have extra strong incentive to improve Intelligence (Technomancers), which indirectly aids their Computer checks. In practice I've found that the values are fairly equal past the initial levels. If you look beyond the skill modifier to the actual class features, Mechanics (and arguably Technomancers depending on how you interpret various spells) far outstrip the other classes in the sheer range of options available for Computer checks.
As far as DPS goes, in a 1-man Patchwerk fight I believe the Operative come in 4th, behind the mechanic at 3rd and ahead of the envoy at 5th. It's easy to get lost in the big damage numbers Trick Attack provides but you have to keep in mind that it has to be fairly large to make up for the Small Arms/basic weapon drawbacks and that operatives typically have a 60-70% chance of making the TA check land until level 7. Past 7 they can get it 100% of the time by T10, but by then the weapon scaling has seriously kicked in. When you reach the mid-game full attacks provide significantly more damage than TA, but Operatives rely on trick attacks to make up for their lackluster accuracy. They have to choose between low accuracy but higher damage via making full attacks, or higher accuracy but low damage via TA. An interesting point here is that TA can leave your target flat-footed, boosting the party's damage output by making the target easier to hit for others.
I think the one thing that bothers me is that Operatives can be better at skills that should theoretically "belong" to other classes.
I absolutely see where you're coming from, but the way I see it the Operative chooses what skills "belong" to him by picking his specialization. One thing I love about operatives is that they pick their own secondary stat via the specialization system, which means you can make an extremely wide range of viable characters. That said, having a hacker operative and a mechanic in a party is a bit like having two mechanics in a party - some overlap is unavoidable. This is why session 0 is so important, especially for operatives.
One thing I really hope Starfinder will find room for is a way to let Mechanics and Technomancers pick from a wider range of signature skills than just computers/engineering/mysticism. It's a bit of a shame there's no option for Physics geek technomancers or medical nanobot mechanics.
Except that, in this game, it appears that vision options like darkvision and low-light vision are essentially 'free' in the balance calculation for whether a not a race is balanced. You can see it in the monster creation rules, explicitly spelled out, and it seems to also be the case when you reverse engineer the race points of the various extant races. Take away the Drow's Light Blindness penalty and they're still essentially a glomming of Androids and Lashuntas and sit pretty on par balance wise with either race.
I think trying to extrapolate race balance from the monster creation rules is a dead end, PC races and monsters have vastly different checks and counters.
I don't see environmental protection or a cheap item as not at least alleviating the effect.
Oh, I'm not suggesting such an item shouldn't exist period. I think it makes perfect sense for drow to develop technology that allows them to (more or less) comfortably exist in other races natural habitat. My concern is simply that if such an item exists and has zero downsides, why would you ever see a drow not wearing it? Why would drow thrive underground and shun existence on the surface? Drow's aversion to bright light is one of the most defining traits of the race, I'd be careful to include a trivially cheap item that lets them as a race completely ignore that problem.
In my mind, the 5cr "sunglasses" a drow would need would be more like welders goggles than human sunglasses, but frankly, that seems about on point credit wise for what those would cost. I might increase it to 10 or 20 credits (to match the cost of a tool kit or environmental clothing, some of which would likely include welder's goggles), but any higher than that seems unrealistic.
If a player came to me asking for some kind of anti-blindness device, I'd happily agree that such an item should exist. However I think spending 1-5 credits to completely ignore a racial drawback is a bit too strong, and I'm not in love with the idea that every drow in Starfinder is going to be walking around sporting sunglasses Matrix-style. so I'd instead come up with a few different items.
Item 1 is the cheapo 1 credit option that most common drow laborers unfortunate enough to have to work in direct sunlight would use. My first thought is that wearing these should be the equivalent to wearing a gas mask in our world - you use it when you have to and you're happy you have one on hand when you need it, but you feel sweaty and uncomfortable while wearing it and it's a relief when you can take the damn thing off. Your example of welder's goggles fits well here, let's call them Darkshade Glasses. Darkshade Glasses are cheap, counter the drawbacks of Light Sensitivity, but need a minor drawback so that all drow don't permanently wear them. A -1 penalty to perception checks while wearing them due to the dimming effect seems like a decent compromise. The naturally keen-sensed drow would likely come to resent wearing goggles that leaves their keen eyesight blurred, and wearing such glasses would be a sure sign that you belonged in the lower classes.
Item 2 is the compromise option. We'll call it the Darkshade Visor. Darkshade Visor is a level 1 armor upgrade that costs 100 credits. Advanced technology lets the visor continually adjust the lighting level to a comfortable level for drow retina, as a result it lets you ignore the penalties of Light Sensitivity and has no drawback other than taking up an upgrade slot and the slight cost. This should be cheap enough that it's a viable purchase for a level 1 drow that starts a campaign where he'll be spending a decent amount of time in bright light, but expensive enough that most common drow wouldn't want to spring for it.
Item 3 is the Deluxe option. We'll call it the Darkshade Implants. The Darkshade Implant is a level 3 eye-slot biotech augment that costs 1250 credits. By attaching a translucent microfilm that automatically focuses and disperses the light as needed, it fully negates the penalties of Light Sensitivity and grants a +2 circumstance bonus against visual-based blinding effects such as flash grenades. Unlike other augments, the Darkshade Implants can be combined with other augments that occupy the eye slot.
So if you're a level 1 drow commoner, you use the darkshade glasses (and probably resent it).
If you're a low level drow PC or a reasonably affluent drow NPC you'd use the Darkshade Visor. I'd imagine these would be standard issue for drow infantry, much the same way modern armies issue nightvision goggles.
If you're a mid-level drow PC or a drow infiltrator/agent/executive etc you could consider springing for the augments.
How does that sound to you?
Why not? Light Sensitivity is defined in its mechanical effects. Why exactly would an item that specifically deals with those mechanical effects, not help with said weakness? Is there something special about the "low light level" produced by a pair of sun glasses that somehow drow eyes "magically" respond to it differently than any other low light level?
I think you're coming at this from different angles.
Your argument goes: "Light Blindness" is like human light sensitivity, which can be countered by sunglasses. Sunglasses exist, are effective and cheap to make in our world, so they should exist and be cheap to make in Starfinder.
His argument goes: Drow have Light Blindness as a racial trait, the race is balanced around having that drawback. If I introduce a 5 credit item that's not in the game that negates that drawback, it's not a real drawback - all drow will buy sunglasses and forget about the penalty. If that drawback disappears, the race is imbalanced. I don't want the race to be imbalanced, so I don't want to introduce the glasses.
Think of it like this: Humans have a (hidden) racial drawback in that they are unable to see in the dark. Nightvision goggles exist in real life, and allow humans to see very well in the dark. Should I allow a 5 credit item that gives a human darkvision 60'? No, because similar items already exist (Infrared Sensors armor upgrade/Darkvision Capacitors implant), take up armor/augment slots and are priced at 200 and 1750 credits, respectively.
I'd probably use the Darkvision options as an analogue for Light Blindness and design low-level armor upgrades and augment options to counter it. They shouldn't be too hard to get, but they shouldn't be free either. I wouldn't be surprised if there was an item like this in the upcoming Armory book.
I think it's important to be able to have a dialogue in paladins - a minority of posters (some of which I suspect have been banned?) has tended to drag these discussions into arguments in the past, but our goal is to make PF2 the best game it can be and the best way to reach that goal is to keep the conversation going. Each and every one of us have to do our best to keep the boards positive and productive, and trust Paizo to do their part by removing any overly argumentative elements. :)
As for the topic... I think some kind of alignment restriction is pretty much unavoidable, it's too heavily tied to the class identity to be removed. That said, it feels strange that a class that's presented as "the armor master" has such a specific flavor and concept, and that "the divine champion" can only champion about a third of Golarion's pantheon. That the god of farming has a martial divine champion and the god of battle does not seems a self-contradiction. I hope that they include a martial divine champion in Pathfinder 2's CRB* that offers more alignment options than just LG, one that can represent all the gods in Golarion. That said, I'd be perfectly happy if they break the class down into alignment-restricted sections and call the LG version Paladin. That seems the best compromise to me. :)
I hope specifically that such a class is included in the CRB since a lot of players will never play with any other book than the CRB & Bestiary, and as such I'd aim to make the CRB support as many class concepts as possible right out of the gate.
Putting a cap on the bonus equal to your levels in Paladin is a good way to discourage the Divine Grace Dip:
They used similar language in the past on the duelist's Canny Defense ability to avoid wizards dipping it gaining INT to AC.
That said, I wouldn't be surprised if Smite Evil becomes less mathy and a bit more interactive in its own right.
I think part of the problem with having massive hangar bays is that the Starship combat rules really struggle with fights that have more than a half-dozen ships in them. Starship Combat shines when it's dealing with fighter-on-fighter or cap-on-cap combat, and works okay but can get slow when there's more than a few enemies involved.
Say we use the modern carrier as a baseline but double the fighter capacity since the smallest possible gargantuan carrier would be roughly twice as big (~600m) - it would be able to carry 180 fighters. Assuming it launches every fighter it has, the fight would look a bit like this. There is no way in hell that encounter could work with the starship combat rules as they are today.
Massive Sci-fi ships is a huge trope. Plane-size space fighters is a massive trope. Releasing a space combat system that doesn't cover these bases would be a massive hole. So instead we get some curiously undersized hangars to keep the numbers somewhat manageable.
I fully expect to see these rules revised and expanded upon, either in the Armory or in a book devoted exclusively to space combat. Personally I'd consider some kind of "swarm"-type mechanic to let larger fighter wings fight as a single entity.
The Raven Black wrote:
Gorum talks about his worshipers surrendering.
Not just worshipers, the text deals with surrender and prisoners in general as well:
ISG, p. 64 wrote:
(...) [Gorumite worshipers] are not murderers, and they hunger only for victory through strength of arms; killing prisoners or surrendering foes is beneath them.
The Raven Black wrote:
Torag talks about his worshippers accepting surrender from their foes.
You may have misread my quote(?), I think the most interesting aspect of that quote is that Torag talks about his worshipers not accepting surrender from their foes:
ISG, p. 150 wrote:
Against my people’s enemies, I will show no mercy. I will not allow their surrender, except when strategy warrants. I will defeat them, yet even in the direst struggle, I will act in a way that brings honor to Torag.
IE as far as Torag's concerned executing prisoners and/or refusing to accept the surrender of an "enemy to my people" is perfectly fine, even considered honorable.
The Raven Black wrote:
Definitely no the same
They seem similar to me, they're both dealing with the idea of how the two deities feel about accepting surrender and taking prisoners. Gorum says you should accept surrender (but you can freely strike down cowards and pacifists, which Gorum probably sees as one and the same). Torag says you should not accept surrender (or indeed show any mercy at all) if the foe is 'an enemy of your people'.
As far as I know you don't track the disease multiple times. Nor do you accelerate the disease track if you're exposed to multiple sources of the same disease, that mechanic is only detailed in the poison section of the afflictions text. Once you've caught a disease you follow the progress track for that disease, that's it.
I think that makes sense when you consider how a typical disease progresses. Let's use the bubonic plague as an example. If my character gets bitten by an infected rat, he could catch bubonic plague. If he gets bitten by 300 infected rats, he has a really good chance of catching the plague. However, in either case the disease should still follow the normal incubation time for bubonic plague. He wouldn't spontaneously bust out in boils or develop gangrene minutes after the first exposure, no matter how severe it was.
Inner Sea Gods has a comprehensive writeup for each of the gods, you should check it out - it's a really good read! Here's the text Cyouni references:
ISG, p. 63 wrote:
When several leaders come together, there is usually some gruff posturing and a few brawls until a hierarchy is established. Underhanded tactics such as poison are considered dishonorable in these bouts, though spells that enhance the priest, his weapons, or armor are considered fair.
Gorum's philosophy is actually a really good example of how different cultures will have different definitions of what is and is not honorable. Gorum considers using poison in duels dishonorable, but surrendering to a superior foe is honorable and he expects surrendering foes to be spared:
ISG, p. 65 wrote:
Better to Die a Warrior Than Live a Coward: While Gorum doesn’t believe his followers should recklessly throw away their lives in battles they cannot win, agreeing to a fight and then fleeing a battle is the act of an unworthy cur. Surrender is honorable, for those who surrender may have a chance to redeem themselves in a later battle, but those who flee are best cut down before they shame themselves again.
Compare that to Torag's paladin code:
ISG, p. 150 wrote:
Against my people’s enemies, I will show no mercy. I will not allow their surrender, except when strategy warrants. I will defeat them, yet even in the direst struggle, I will act in a way that brings honor to Torag.
Accepting an opponent's surrender is honorable for the CN God of War and dishonorable (to the point of a paladin falling if he does) for the LG God of Protection & Strategy.
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Composite Bows are the master race of ranged weapons, and it has always been this way since the original 1st Edition D&D. There's no reason to change that paradigm now, especially because there's no new fad to make them less appealing.
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Darksol, let me see if I understand your argument correctly: In Pathfinder 1.0 (as well as in previous versions of D&D) bows are much, much better weapons than crossbows. A character you deliberately designed to use crossbows would still swap to a longbow in hard encounters, since the crossbow couldn't keep up in high HP & high AC fights. You consider this a good thing, because crossbows are unpopular compared to bows and thus crossbows should be an objectively bad option.
Is that accurate?
I've seen way too many newbie players grab a crossbow at level 1 because they think crossbows are awesome and then flounder for five+ levels trying to make the concept work because crossbows are mechanically awful. Very frequently these are characters that have longbow proficiency but simply like crossbows more.
I would greatly appreciate it if crossbows could be a viable combat style in Pathfinder 2.
I always found it strange that Barbarians and primitive cultures tend to be Chaotic in RPGs. Normally a primitive hunter-gather society is going to be strongly collectivistic (which I'd argue is a lawful trait) because they rely on everybody contributing to stay alive. Your value as an individual is primarily measured in the contributions you can make to your tribe. The best hunter, the best fisher, the strongest warrior, and the one who knows the best places to collect berries are all important figures because they are best able to support their clan. There's not much room for individualism or self-actualization when everybody's pulls together on the great mammoth hunt or else everybody starves to death. When your ability to contribute is sufficiently diminished or reaches a negative value (say from suffering a crippling injury or becoming elderly), you'd might even be encouraged to wander off into the wilderness to die since the tribe can't afford to feed you.
That's a really interesting take on it! The difference you outline between external and internal honor helps me understand why some people struggle with chaotic characters that act "honorable". If we use the different kinds of honor you outline and I understand you correctly, Robin Hood (posterboy of CG) routinely disregards (or even mocks) external honor but values his internal honor very highly. He'll happily rob a corrupt bishop or ambush a tax man collecting illegitimate claims but wouldn't dream of stealing from the little man.
Talek & Luna wrote:
Whoa now, hang on. Would you be okay with a paladin using a Cloud Kill scroll to clear out a rat infection?
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Telling your old grandma who is in a hospital with a terminal ill that his little cat is OK, when truth is his cat died of sadness should not be an evil act. Or a chaotic one, for that matter. Should a paladin fall for this?
I've lived that. In her later years my grandmother had severe dementia, to the point where she could barely recognize her husband or her own daughter. Every visit was heartbreaking but I like to think that I could just brighten up her day just a little bit it was worth it. Every 5 to 10 minutes I'd have to gently reintroduce myself as her grandson so she wouldn't be alarmed that there was a stranger in her room.
Every visit, without fail, she'd ask me something that presented me with this exact dilemma.
Have you seen my terrier? He was around here a minute ago. (her dog died fifteen years ago)
At first I tried to gently remind her of the truth: "I'm terribly sorry grandma, but Tom isn't with us anymore - he died a long time ago, remember?" and then I'd watch her relive the sorrow and los and anguish all over again - until she forgot. Every time I'd just put her through lots of pain that was, essentially, meaningless. I got to tell the truth, but I put her through five minutes of pure hell.
Then I'd try to evade or dance around the truth: "I don't know where your dog is right now but I'm sure he's doing just fine. Now who's that in this wedding photo?". This would occasionally work, sometimes she'd be distracted or content with whatever I could come up with, other times this would just make her agitated. "You don't know where my dog is? We have to go find him! Why is this door locked? We have to get outside, my dog is missing!"
Finally I learned to embrace the gentle lie. "I just talked to Henry on the phone, he's doing just fine and he said to remind you that he loves you. He's out fishing today but should be home any minute now". I'm not gonna say it felt great to lie to her but it meant I could make her next five minutes a little happier and a little more comfortable and I'd do it again everty single time. If anyone wants to say to my face that by telling her that lie I was acting dishonorably or doing the wrong thing I'll happily punch them in the nose.
Then the player needs to weigh his odds. If he climbs 10 feet per check and he needs to climb 30 feet, he has a ~20% chance of making it without failing a check. He has to fail it by 5 or more to actually fall down, so he still has a decent chance of making it up there.
As a trained climber he should likely be made aware that after surveying the wall he thinks it's not impossible but likely a challenge for his skill. He could try it (but with the risk of falling) or he could try to find some other way to ascend it - buy a climbing kit, look for vines or a more favorable cliff facing, or get a buff spell to improve his climb skill.
Ultimate Intrigue has some optional rules to help solve the "the 150 orcs in the tribe all roll perception checks. 21 of them got a natural 20, spotting you" -problem, it's called "Replacing Opposed Rolls" and can be found on p. 189. It doesn't help with the climb example but it may be worth taking a look at anyway.
Edit: Come to think of it, maybe Ultimate Wilderness has something on climb rules? I never bought it so I wouldn't know, just glanced over a friend's copy.
gustavo iglesias wrote:
If there is a contract you have to sign, in a language you don't understand, and Desna tells you it is bad for you, and Zun Kuthon tells you it is good for you, who do you trust?
I'd definitely pick Desna over Zon. But again, not because I expect her to be inherently more truthful, but because I expect her to keep my best interests in mind whereas Zon is basically cuckoo for cocoa puffs. Honestly I never really got to grabs as to why he's a Lawful deity at all.
The second question is interesting... If Iomedae said "signing the contract is good for me" then I'd actually trust her over Desna. If she just said "signing the contract would be the best option" then I'd be leery. I could definitely see Iomedae have a "sacrifice one for the many" mentality, but I don't think she'd try to pull a fast one on me. I'd fully expect her to lay out the entirety of the contract, good and bad. I could also imagine her trying to strong-arm me into making whatever decision would serve her idea of the greater good.
Let's turn it on its head again. Who is more likely to lie to you in order to protect you - Desna or Iomedae? The Devil or the Azata? The Inevitable or the Slaad?
Does the reason for lying matter when determining if a person is honest or not?
I've never been comfortable with paladins using things like flaming weapons, corrosive weapons, et cetera. Playing a paladin, I'd personally look askance at a weapon like that, only comfortable with using a flame tongue against regenerating creatures or malevolent ice elementals and such.
How do you feel about the fact that the standard pathfinder paladin gets a class feature on level 5 that lets him summon a celestial spirit to turn any weapon into a flaming weapon as a standard action?
I'm not trying to outmaneuver you or put you in an awkward position or anything, but I honestly feel that you're holding the paladin to a much higher standard than the book itself - which is quite unusual. It's an interesting take on the class, but I don't think I'd enjoy playing it that way for very long.
Evan Tarlton wrote:
I'm actually playing around with a short adventure based around this now!
A small LG country in the River Kingdoms where the color purple is reserved for royalty and his personal guard as a memento of a long-dead king, and it's a crime to wear or use the color without cause. Since the king is a popular historical figure and an anchoring point for the tiny kingdom's sense of self the more recent government, eager to promote their patriotism, have been expanding the law to also include magenta and violet. Some radical politicians even call for the ban of blue and red, since they're the primary colors that form purple. LG Paladins of Shelyn respect this law as best they can so they make a point of not using the prohibited colors in their public art pieces, remove purple dye when they hand out free paint kits on feast days etc. On the other hand CG Paladins of Shelyn find the law ridiculous and needlessly oppressive and see no point in limiting the expression of their art, so they flat out ignore it.
Local governance puts pressure on the church of Shelyn to straighten things out, who are caught between a rock and a hard place. They turn to the PCs - in a conflict where both sides are Good with a capital G and oathbound not to back down, how can they resolve the conflict?
The color thing is a bit silly and I'll probably swap it to something a bit more relevant (depicting a holy person? Reclaiming a controversial symbol?) but I think it has some potential. :)
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Looks like we cross posted, but I'm pleased that I kinda answered your post anyway. What's been my experience is that devils can happily spin the truth like a US congressman on the election trail, but they rarely outright lie to your face. Half-truths, truths blanketed in conditionals and motivated by hidden agendas, sure. But outright lie? No, not really. The contract system shows that they rely on at least some level of straight play to function. I'd say the Evil in LE means they may try to corrupt and twist the truth, but the Law in LE but they rarely outright break it.
Contrast that with Azata who (as far as I know) just don't have any particular affiliation with the truth at all. They can tell the truth or lie any which way they please. They seem much more closely aligned with fey than angels or archons. While I'd generally trust an azata to look out for my well-being, I see no particular reason to consider them particularly honest.
But let's attack it from another angle: Who's more likely to lie to you, a lawful neutral Inevitable or a chaotic neutral Slaad?
I think that's a fair assessment. I may be biased, but I've found that devils are overall surprisingly honest and forthcoming in Paizo APs. At least the devils the AP expects you to talk to rather than, y'know, put down with extreme prejudice.
Hell's Rebels spoilers, book 5 & 6:
Odexidie the contract devil is a perfectly straight shooter and single-handedly serves up the solution for simultaneously tweaking Cheliax's nose and making Ravounel its own country. Oughortan the pit fiend trades gifts for information in a fair manner and doesn't try to deceive the party in any way. At the very end Mephistopheles himself shows up but graciously lets the party go rather than destroying what is, by that point, a very powerful group of capital Good champions. He even guarantees that Barzillai has, finally, been put to rest for good!
Speaking more broadly, if you look at the contract rules you'll note that devils almost convulsively rely on the truth when writing their agreeements. Some contracts are just plain honest, while others have hidden clauses. In the latter case, while the devil can try to obscure the clause or obfuscate it behind legalese that'll make a supreme court justice's head fly clean off his shoulders - the truth is still there if you just dig deep enough. Even a devil that's powerful enough to just rip the soul right out of you needs to have a contract in place - a written agreement.
Contrast that with a demon who'd just go "Sure, do what I want and I'll give you power" then eviscerate you, use your soul for tooth-floss and play Operation with your body for giggles. Devils may not be trustworthy, but they're not all pathological liars either.
Who would you rather trust to be truthful: a CG faerie dragon or a LE Hellknight from the Order of the Scourge? Again, it depends on the context. Will the faerie dragon tell you a tall tale to set up his next glitterbomb prank? Absolutely! Will he lie and tell you the rickety rope bridge he sabotaged to keep bandits away is perfectly safe, leading to you dashing your brains out on the improbably sharp rocks below? Probably not.
Similarly the Hellknight would probably tell the truth if you ask him for directions to the nearest constabulary but will happily lie through his teeth if he thinks it'll help him track down his next conspiracy plot.
Ultimately, it just isn't quite so black & white. As always, context is king.
gustavo iglesias wrote:
With zero context (including who I am) and no idea what they're even saying? I have no idea. I'd probably trust both the devil and the azata to be advancing their own agenda?
I posted this in the original CG paladin code thread and Evan encouraged me to share it here as well, so here goes:
One thing just occured to me. If we assume that CG paladins follow the same tenets as LG paladins in regards to deity worship (worship a deity within one step of your own alignment) it would mean that we could have both LG and CG paladins of a NG god like Sarenrae or Shelyn. Two groups that both seek to advance the same causes and reach the same goals but do so using radically different approaches, potentially butting heads in the process. I think that could be a springboard for some really interesting adventures!
Anyway, let's talk about CG Paladins codes. With all paladins now being a champion with a divine sponsor, I think it's important to consider that there are two parties to the "paladin contract". It's not just the paladin that agrees to a code, you gotta think about the deity that's offering one as well. Let's consider some differences in how Iomedae and Desna might approach paladin orders:
1) You must never willingly commit an evil act, such as murder, torture, or casting an evil spell.
2) You must not take actions that you know will harm an innocent, or through inaction cause an innocent to come to immediate harm when you knew your action could reasonably prevent it. This tenet doesn't force you to take action against possible harm to innocents or to sacrifice your life and future potential in an attempt to protect an innocent.
1) I will never willingly commit an evil act, such as murder, torture, or casting an evil spell.
2) I will not take actions that I know will harm an innocent, or through inaction cause an innocent to come to immediate harm when I knew my action could reasonably prevent it. This tenet doesn't force me to take action against possible harm to innocents or to sacrifice my life and future potential in an attempt to protect an innocent.
Beyond that the code could be customized to fit each champion's personality and priorities. One champion of Desna could take up the cause of protecting traveling musicians and pilgrims, another would harry those who prey on people via rigged games of chance, a third would safeguard people's dreams by striking down monsters like night hags and Painajais. Since the goals of Desna's champions will differ, they'd be much more loosely organized. Each paladin would treat his code as a personal agreement between himself and his deity, and not something that's a concern to anyone else.