The Raven Black wrote:
Black Raven, I agree.
Usually by the spell's description, a player can easily define if it's a good or evil act. The spell Death Knell is a merciless and dishonourable spell.
A bit of common sense goes a long way
Freehold DM wrote:
Including gay and trans characters per se is not a delicate act, avoiding tokenism definitely is, so is avoiding too much allegory or didactic content.
And inclusiveness can be different and is different to representation. Having a gay character in an AP doesn't necessarily mean it includes or welcomes LGBT gamers, its often the indirectness, layers of character that makes inclusiveness possible rather than simple representation.
Some very impressive strategic writing is happening at Paizo.
captain yesterday wrote:
Oh Captain Yesterday you always bring the 'fun' to these forums.
Wait...where did my rocks go? Someone stole my rocks! Looks like the handiwork of a Kender.
A player hasn't read the Adventure Path, published adventure or self-authored adventure. But the DM has read it and knows exactly what's going to happen.
So meta-gaming comes it play (with DMPCs) by default.
I'm not saying you can't have a successful DMPC (you can, I don't think Jaelithe and Ashiel and others are being disingenuous on that front) but it is a more problematic task than running regular NPCs as they usually don't join the adventuring party.
Its also a matter of play style, I'm an old-school grognard and I prefer the Players vs. DM dynamic and I'm definitely not a fan of GMPCs.
But I have no problem with other people who like GMPCs.
Ashiel it's a bit more complicated than that.
Once you know the information you can't delete it from your mind, it will always influence a GMPCs actions, negatively or positively.
Its always taken into consideration.
The subtypes work in any campaign.
And the subtypes are put in place so the Eidolon will fit into a fantasy worlds mythology not just for reasons pertaining to game balance.
Hopefully with future releases more subtypes will be added, or 3PP could take the initiative and publish a book on new subtypes.
Like what they did with the Unchained Monk and monk archetypes.
And when artists do get ethnicity right (like Wayne Reynold's version of Sajan and Seelah), the strengths of their art can be lost, and is often 'westernised' by other artists.
And this is where criticism is needed, lets the artist know they did an unsatisfactory job.
We do it with game design and game design improves, it goes from strength to strength.
Art shouldn't be immune to scrutiny.
Yeah I didn't want to open that pandoras box.
Yes I agree Nyarlathotep shouldn't be included in the black god conversation.
And any mention of moving away from canonical sources is countered by "what about PFS." There seems to be a 'you are allowed to do that/you are not allowed to do that" kind of sub-culture in Pathfinder games or at least promoted by (some?) people that play them.
Hopefully Pathfinder Unchained will get more people to 'break the rules.'
Condescending comments sure, lots of 'you are a bad gm/good gm' or 'GMPCs are always a problem' or "GMPCs are never a problem' type of comments.
Something like 10% of the posts offered helpful solutions that didn't push for an agenda of for or against.
A problem with these forums is that it is plagued with posts that shoves other people's opinions down other people's throats.
If this thread had a list of ways for GM's to make GMPCs function well in campaigns (for people who wanted to use GMPCs in their campaign), we would actually gain something from reading posts in this thread.
Otherwise all we are doing is flexing our debating skills, which is fun to a certain degree just not very productive.
pH unbalanced wrote:
The same can be said about the OP, campaign leadership has not suggested the idea of 'alignment ticking- 3 times and you are out' is part of organised play. Yet someone has introduced it into organised play.
Nyarlathotep has many forms with the black pharaoh being one of them, the 'black pharaoh' is kind of like a polymorphed form than a true representation of a deity.
Although you could treat it as such.
I agree with Draco Bahamut and others that Golarion is in need of a black pantheon (Mwangi and Garund) as well as chaotic/lawful/good/evil outsiders, which is related to such a pantheon.
Nethys (Nethys can send a white woman as a herald?) and the 'black pharaoh' are not the best examples on how there are black gods in Golarion, Mwangi and Garund have been under-represented in relation to religion in Golarion.
Dread Knight wrote:
The reason why there isn't a game mechanic about tradition and weapons is that the Pathfinder game leaves 'flavor' up to the GM and players. That applies to every class and race in the game.
And yes a GM can rule that a lawful human cavalier that uses a gnome hooked hammer is performing a chaotic action.
If you read my original post I said there is a problem with alignment in general. Not that cavaliers can't be an exception to the rule in relation to weapons and tradition.
i used Davos the cavalier as an example to why the alignment system is deeply flawed.
Dread Knight wrote:
So you can't have a traditional way of fighting? That's really strange.
Nope, there is no mention of simple and martial weapon proficiency being a Cavalier tradition.
I used the longsword as an example. Lawful Cavaliers would have different traditional weapons based on region and culture.
The Lawful alignment is not a requirement to be a Cavalier but if a player decides to play a Lawful Cavalier they have to follow tradition (RAW, CRB p 167-168). And combat has no exemption from tradition, if anything you would find tradition prevalent in combat situations.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
But if you haven't read Lovecraft you could be mistaken about Nyarlathotep's origins. 'Hotep' is Egyptian and one of the forms he takes is a black pharaoh.
Nyarlathotep is most likely influenced by the writings of H.P Lovecraft (a favourite author of Paizo designers) rather than Egyptian or African sources.
In Cthulhu Mythology Nyarlathotep is also known as the 'god of a thousand forms' kind of fits in with Pathfinder's description "is one of the Outer Gods of the Dark Tapestry who takes on thousands of forms."
Flynn Greywalker wrote:
Osirion and Garundi are completely different cultures. With Osirion being influenced by Ancient Egypt and Garund being influenced by a mixture of real world cultures like Iran, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Ethiopia.
Do deities need to look like the people that worship them? The Eqyptian god Anubis has a Jackal head.
Andreas Forster wrote:
Furthermore, you can't counteract evil acts with good acts. Evil is evil and bad reputations are usually remembered for a long time, in many cases remembered for a lifetime.
If a character kills a farmer's son, the farmer will want revenge no matter what good acts the character might have done, unless they try to redeem themselves for the act in question, like casting a raise dead spell on the farmer's son.
Dread Knight wrote:
Davos's use of a gnome hook hammer in combat breaks with the knight's tradition of fighting with a longsword (a chaotic character challenges traditions and represents the destruction of order, CRB p. 167-168).
It's not silly, as you are viewing alignment as its written in the book, and characters should be accountable for their actions, how accountable and the way you go about it is up for debate.
Alignment is a generic paradigm, an ultra-simplistic way of looking at character motivation. It's contrived, at times non-sensical and fairly immature.
Davos the Cavalier
For example, Davos a human lawful/neutral cavalier, he has taken a knight's oath to show respect to all his peers, demand respect from the lower class and to be identified in battle with a clear display of armorial bearing (like a tabard with heraldry).
Davos also lies to his mother about his frequents visits to brothels (chaotic action), has killed a few orc prisoners for throwing mud, soiling his beautiful velvet cloak (evil action).
He also uses a gnome hook hammer in combat, a present from a gnome weapon smith who became lust-struck by his handsome appearance and well manicured finger nails (chaotic action).
Yet the alignment rules prevents such a character like Davos from being created.
The History of Alignment
In early versions of D&D, alignment's original conception was based around Michael Moorcock's idea that characters aligned themselves with either forces of law or chaos, not as a moral compass or a way of establishing character motivations but as an ally, kind of makes sense when look at spells like protection from chaos.
IMO what force a character allies themselves with should be separate from their characters motivations and moral compass or lack thereof.
Yes I agree,
However both words Dowry and Bride Price have specific meanings and interpreting these words for what they are is of no fault of the reader, if no alternative exposition is provided.
Crystal Frasier wrote:
You are talking about a class system not a caste system, a caste system is an immobile stratification system. Historically and how it applies to fiction and yes it is oppressive.
And as you know a class system can be oppressive (less opportunities, discrimination) but has positive aspects like mobility (that you mention in your post), you can shift social classes, limited or unlimited depending on government like an Aristocracy would create limited mobility.
Dowries and bridepieces are loaded words, and the context they were used in was gender specific, and if they aren't inherently misogynistic I haven't seen evidence otherwise. The backstory Harsk the dwarven ranger iconic doesn't even discuss marriage let alone dowries.
Pathfinder Iconic back stories are only 300 words if even that, this is why they are open to interpretation, if i was going to write one myself, I'm pretty sure other people would interpret it differently. In my post I specifically used the word 'implied' because there wasn't enough text for a positive definition. 'Citizen-soldiers' could be interpreted in many different ways.
Lots of things in fantasy literature is oppressive or there is a sacrifice of personal freedom, knight orders, the demands of being a wizard, fealty to a despot king (or not), corruption and greed and these things can happen in any culture it's not unique among dwarves and I never claimed otherwise.
Edit: I'm not throwing around the word 'oppressive' as a negative thing, as a narrative device it creates the right environment for strong characters to flourish, to understand the deplorable consequences of injustice, George R.R Martin's characters Loras Tyrell and Brienne of Tarth comes to mind as likely candidates.
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I would say that dowries being a thing is a sign that dwarves have a slightly sexist culture (the basic consequences of dowries aren't exactly obscure). That's the most I can see, though, and it's not necessarily as harmful as it tends to be in real life. The dowry seems to just be a custom they stick to, avoiding most of the other baggage. Exile was for her causing her homeland trouble, not for her transgenderedness or for her being a woman (which is a somewhat confusing distinction to make, but you get what I mean).
Okay, I have re-read Shardra's background.
Dowries and the caste system have a history of direct association and in Crystal Frasier's writings this is implied "But the mines and refinery of Xolgrit fed the war machine of Rolgrimmdur far above, and militant efficiency demanded all citizen-soldiers accept and excel in their roles, no matter how miserable."
The dowry and caste system is both very misogynistic and discriminatory. Oppressive acts against class and gender and oppression is oppression, I don't think you can have 'acceptable levels of oppression,' or "wait your oppression is not as bad as mine" its all bad.
Furthermore "Guided Xolgrit's miners to rich new veins of ore and long-lost treasure troves. Shardra's confidence, skills, and womanhood blossomed, and eventually clans from Xolgrit and beyond offered handsome brideprices."
This is de-humanising turning Shadra into a commodity, her worth is defined by how much money she can make the other clans as well as improving the financial status of her own clan.
I like Shardra's story, it's a powerful tale, stories of greed and politics often breeds memorable protagonists
Playing RPGs (mostly D&D and now Pathfinder) for over 3 decades let me to the conclusion that player characters need an extensive character background so they can make judgments on pretty much everything including sexual preference and relationships.
Usually my characters have a 8 page character background, kind of like a mini-thesis.
Otherwise you are really left with alignment (that is generic in nature, which leads to tropes, instead of reinvention of existing tropes that make for more interesting characters ) to make judgment calls on who your character is and how they feel about something.
Edit: IMO the process of writing helps me figure things out (about my character) or leads characterisation and identity in exciting new directions.
@Coltron yes it's excessively brutal, but you have learnt a hard lesson,
Always kill your character's mother before she gets to you first, or for that matter you are better off killing every member of your character's family.
“I say we take off, nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”
It's not crazy at all. A brilliant optimiser and home-brew extraordinaire who posts on these forums gives all his players the Leadership feat for free. It gives the Charisma ability more use in combat situations.
IMO martial characters need the Leadership feat more than other classes, spell-casters have other options like Planar Ally and summoning spells or powerful Eidolons.
Story also plays a huge part in why a character needs a cohort, what type of cohort and what role the cohort will play. Mechanics aren't everything, Pathfinder is a role-playing game after all.
I'm currently playing a half-orc fighter from a noble house who has 4 warrior hirelings who are all old (45-55 yrs old), they reflect the fact that my character comes from a decadent feudal culture, which in the past was quite powerful, just not anymore.
edit: characters that are unlikable or have bad reputations (low Cha) still have friends, maybe not very good friends (could be a back-stabbing political opportunist), definitely a chance to introduce an interesting character into the game.
Jessica Price wrote:
Paizo does a fantastic job, no complaints here.
Just really a comment (not criticism) about the broad brush over the fine detailed brush, sometimes our gaming group is after specifics (how do different countries and cultures interact with each other as the campaign setting line tend to be really focused on a particular part of Golarion).
From my experience, yes the APs do have more social/cultural interaction in relation to the NPCs, Ameiko and her father's Japanese influenced glassworks business (in a foreign nation) and her unique family dynamic comes to mind.
Jessica Price wrote:
This subject matter is very interesting, as a suggestion would it be possible that Paizo might publish a book on society and culture, because this topic often comes up in our games. And the Gamemastery Guide and Ultimate Campaign don't cover these areas in close detail.
From memory, Towns of the Inner Sea is the only book that goes more in depth about class structure and politics. Really great book.
As one can see from my previous post we had trouble establishing judgment about homosexual dwarves, but there are also things like laws (and how they vary from nation-to-nation, my gaming group is really in the dark about that one), traditions, particularly barbaric traditions like trial by combat and outlawed ancient rituals.
We end up looking at historical cases, and from your comments the culture of Golarion is quite differently from our own world.
Jessica Price wrote:
Even in human history there are contrasting examples of oppression. From the sounds of things we were looking at it from a wrong context.
We researched academic articles on vikings and homosexuality with 'Sturlunga saga' being one of them, instead we should of looked at Renaissance Italy as Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo had sexual freedom (same sex relationships) without fear of persecution, and their society was quite advanced like the dwarves with the rise of status of artisan/art (a thought triggered by your post).
Yes where the real world ends and Golarion begins is always hard to know. Andoran and France's age of enlightenment, Taldor and the roman empire etc.
Yes having a massively expanded (hinduism inspired) pantheon of deities and avatars with many different pantheons existing without major religious wars creates a safe distance between Golarion and our world.
Jessica, your comments about Cheliax is very interesting in how context changes what traditionalist means, I will bring this up at my next gaming session, most definitely.
Thanks, its nice to have an intelligent, thought provoking conversation on this topic, really made my day.
Crystal Frasier wrote:
Wow, I'm really impressed.
Yangrit (or the player that plays Yangrit) will be over the moon about these concepts.
Thank you for your generosity, it will help us navigate these obstacles considerably.
Crystal Frasier wrote:
Yes, yes of course.
And oppression (or superstition)) is a universal tool of taking away people's freedoms or denying them knowledge. Whatever one assumes those freedoms to be.
Yes I agree, oppression and homophobia are not mutually exclusive. Although homophobia is often the result of oppression.
Crystal, thanks for the clarification, it will help us make the right decision on how homosexual dwarves are treated in our campaign world.
Really noone is proscribing against changing the world how you see fit. If, however, you're asking questions about the default setting, you're going to get answers about the default setting.
Shadra's story has oppressive elements to it, a dowry! And pretty much being exiled from her home.
I suggest you re-read Shadra's Iconic background a second time. Before making false accusations.
I wouldn't confuse traidtionalist with any sort of weird attitudes about sex/gender politics with dwarves in this setting. I think Shardra's background shows a far more egalitarian view of how dwarves handle such things.
That's right, there aren't any oppressive aspects to Golarion.
As Shardra's mystical skills and budding femininity began to show, her parents lamented their loss of a son and the addition of yet another dowry.
Dechl used what remained of her authority to accuse the spirit-talker of heresy. Although friends and family staunchly defended her innocence, Shardra took the allegations as a chance to act on plans that had grown increasingly tempting. She left Xolgrit and her tutors, childhood friends, and family by paths only the stones remembered.
The theme of 'oppression' is used in stories, great stories. And in roleplaying games you can play an oppressed character without personally believing in oppressive social structures that occasionally dot the landscape of Golarion.
Not everyone treats Golarion as a didactic or allegorical utopian fantasy world and nor should they be forced to.
Edit: Does Golarion have oppressive themed stories to tell? Fantasy versions of Amistad and Schindler's List, of course it does and we are better off for it.
Greg the Ghoul wrote:
No offence intended: even though you are a ghoul, you surprisingly have some really interesting stories to tell people about.
Thanks Set that's a very good analysis of dwarves culture, marriage and religion.
I haven't been using these forums long (6 months), and was thinking about leaving for good, not enough conversation, too much "I'm gonna prove you wrong," or insulting comments you might have just changed my mind, thanks.
Yeah, marriage to cement alliances is definitely apart of dwarven culture in this campaign world, and yes love has nothing to with it.
And a good dose of politics, grey politics are involved.
Our gaming group had a discussion about it and said it could create scandal among the dwarves and she couldn't be open about it, but your comment "They'd be just as upset if she went out adventuring and slept around with other boy-dwarfs, because the point is that she's supposed to stay home and marry WhatsHisName." This opens more doors for another option, great I will bring it up at our next game.
This is the question that the player asked me:
Q: does Dwarven polygamy exist? IE: one husband, two wives?
Yangrit (if it isn't yet obvious) is a lesbian character (based on a close friend of mine)... but she faces the prospect of an expected marriage to a fellow male artisan (Grunyar).
The GM has chosen for the visiting fellow artisan (in the letter) to be a female friend (Valmae Sammerist) and not my soon-to-be husband. If I (as Yangrit, as a dwarf from a traditional clan) pursue other (marital) options, should I expect the GM to play conservative or should Yangrit (based on the proximity and interaction with trading human colonies) try for a closer relationship with my 'friend'. Note that Valmae and Yangrit are so close, that she knows Yangrit is gay.
So... My basis being that I (Yangrit, who knows her own story) could introduce the 'fact' that Valmae (her close female artisan friend) not only knows Yangrit but.... (*Taddum!*) that she is also in love with Grunyar. So thereay be a pssible role play to achieve such an
The dilemma is .... it seems obvious that if Yangrit 'plays her cards right' we'll have a forge of amenable artisans at the Glassworks (Yangrit wrote a letter to her father, and he is buying the Glassworks and converting it into a dwarven forge, and sending dwarven artisans to work there). Meaning we can adventure without 'needing days at the forge' for Yangit.
BUT, if I over play this hand (in the pursuit of role-playing)...we'll be ostracised from the great advantage of the dwarven temple forge, and the DM's NPC's will all be for nought.
In my current campaign a player is playing a bi sexual female dwarf (her interests in men is really just to keep her father a dwarves lord happy) and we are finding it hard to create a relationship/social dynamic that contrasts the rigid traditions of the dwarves and sexual freedom.
We read a few academic articles about homosexuality in viking culture (a similar culture to dwarves), it was interesting but often vague and didn't really give us a way to move forward.
The responsibilities of completing goals in the adventure paths and the isolated regions that dwarves live in maybe part of the problem.
Has anyone found success in creating a dynamic that deals with rigid traditions and sexual freedoms in relation to dwarves?
Any constructive advice would be most helpful
Jacob Saltband wrote:
That's good news Jacob, hope it works out well for you.
There is nothing worse then not being able to play rpgs.
Vincent Takeda wrote:
Now DMPCs are NPCs, a definite change in goal posts.
NPCs are a supporting cast for the players, DMPCs are quite different as NPCs don't normally join an adventuring party.
It also depends on how you play the Pathfinder game, pvp or tabletop, DMPCs would function quite differently in both of these methods of playing the Pathfinder game.
Blackmoor wasn't really even a setting, not what we would call a setting. More like a campaign journal.
Arneson created the concept of dungeons with levels and the lower you go in the dungeon the harder it gets. Still a large contributor to the development of the D&D game.
On the topic of settings, Greyhawk has the best maps ever produced for an RPG, courtesy of the very talented Anna B. Meyer.
Fake Healer wrote:
A saving throw or an attack roll (rolling the dice) is not a decision. For example "Sorry GM I'm deciding not to roll a saving throw against that Charm Person spell." I have never seen it happen, because you don't have a choice.
What I was getting at in my post is there are pros and cons in GMing, not always bad/good Gming.
GMPCs produce a certain play style, and/or influence play style, and posters such as Jaelithe and Kyrt-Ryder have used them or experienced them being used to much good effect.
Just because the GMPC play style conflicts with your current play style or perspective and your PREFERENCE is not to use them or play in games they are being used does not mean it shows your limitations as a GM.
Game mechanics and how they relate to specific characteristics (immersion) in the game has been going on since the very beginning of RPGs, even in influential games before that like Chainmail and the class 'fighting men'.
Black Dougal wrote:
Did you get a copy of Ivid the Undying by Carl Sargent, it was never published?
If not I think you could still find it somewhere? I know WOTC has sadly gone out of its way to shut down 3.5 websites like D&D Tools
Like what the previous posters said, and it's very difficult (and not very fun) to have game mechanics based on real world comparisons.
For example Heavy armour, such as 16th century Gothic armour (maximillian) will protect its wearer from most weapons, any weapons that are one handed have 0% to be effective. Two handed weapons have a slight chance, ogre strength and spells are more likely a worthier opponent.
Same goes with fighting skills, the famous samurai Miyamoto Musashi never lost a sword fighting duel and he openly admits he wasn't the strongest or fastest. How do you make an rpg based on that statement, very hard, nearly impossible.
I don't disagree with you, but fair is not the word I would use, true to the setting and the themes within sure.
What's a +1 bonus anyway, not really much of a bonus in the broader scheme of the power level of class abilities and optimisation; is it a bonus for dwarves if they are going to be frequently targeted by the many enemies they have accumulated over time in the history of fantasy lore.
When I have donned the GM cowled cloak, I stayed true to the setting and the story, which created bias, and I think that's what makes roleplaying games unique, quite different to video games in that the exact same story is often interpreted differently, the experience is always different.
It allows us to share familiar stories (like Adventure Paths) which can be vastly different from each other.
DM Beckett wrote:
It's a roleplaying game based in a fantasy world.
If I want to create a campaign setting that doesn't include white people, just say a Persian influenced setting would that make my setting bad or a failure in some way or worst still racist or prejudice.
Of course not.
A friend of mine who is of Syrian heritage does not like Zadim the Slayer iconic, not one little bit. Finds it a little bit offensive.
Players connect to specific characters or stories for a whole bunch of reasons not necessarily even based on gender, race or sexual orientation.
I have a Thai/Latvian/Ukrainian heritage, and the Pathfinder game hasn't failed me if my heritage and culture is not represented. Although I do tend to play outsider characters like half-orc fighters and monks from far away lands.
Edit: As long as there is diversity in characters and the type of stories that can be told then Pathfinder is heading in the right direction, make the game too allegorical and it will divide role-playing culture and ultimately the industry.
Fake Healer wrote:
Good Dming, bad Dming is subjective. Some gaming groups place little emphasis on mechanics, with more focus on story and don't mind that the villain gets away, it's more thrilling for them, it creates added drama to the narrative.
I personally don't like GMPCs, because as a player I want the adventuring party to make it or break it on their own. I love the challenge that independence can bring. This is my preference.
Every DM has a bias or personal preference. Who does the monster attack? How is alignment being treated in the game? How does low charisma and social interaction work?
Rolling (or randomness) to make non-bias decisions is fair, yet you sacrifice immersion and the ability to convince the players that this is happening for real.
A goblin is most likely to attack a dwarf over another race based on racial enmity. It's not fair, however that's what goes on in the world of Golarion.
Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
I remember an old Greyhawk adventure where you had to escort a group of pacifist ogres on a holy pilgrimage, and right at the end of the adventure something happens and they turn back to their evil selves.
And the party said "I knew it! I know we couldn't trust these ogres, holy pilgrimage what a joke!"
Greyhawk has a sense of irony or humour to it.
Dale, politics, particularly grey politics is a good way to start. Sounds interesting.