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PK the Dragon wrote:

Another pitfall, IMO, is defining yourself by the ways you differ from your race. Not quite as dangerous, but still not terribly interesting.

By this I mean, if the *only* defining part of your character is that you're a Dwarf that drinks tea and lives above ground, that's not particularly interesting either, by itself. What makes Harsk fun is the complete package.

The way I see it, a "normal" version of the race can be interesting if they have an interesting character (character meaning goals, dreams, personality, motivations, which can be informed by race, but shouldn't just be the stereotype of the race). A "rebel" version of the race can be boring if they lack an interesting character. And vice versa, of course.

So the tl;dr is to play a character. You can let the race be an important part of the character, or play a "human with elf ears", all that matters is that the character is interesting. This is also why I don't mind all human parties- if that's the story we want to tell, so be it.

Item 1 on the list of egregious differ-types is the Drizzt-clone. Not Drizzt himself, but every [url=]non-satirical[url] rebel to their kind (unlike linked entry) is basically as one-dimensional as a regular stereotype. It is basically all the stereotypical traits, inverted, which still just leaves you with a list of traits and not a character.

On a separate but related note, I like to think of character dimensions as such:
1st dimension: Actions
e.g. a vampire hits with a sword, a farmer tills a field
2nd dimension: Mannerisms, quirks, method of action
e.g. a vampire reluctantly hits with a sword, a farmer joyfully tills a field
3rd dimension: Motivations, goals, philosophy, reason behind action and mannerisms
e.g. a vampire reluctantly hits with a sword because his target was a friend, a farmer joyfully tills a field because he loves a simple life
4th dimension: Evolution of actions, methods, and reasons over time
e.g. a vampire reluctantly hits with a sword because his target grew to be a friend, a farmer joyfully tills a field because he learned to love a simple life when he almost died in his murderhoboing days of youth

Complexity of quirks varies, and one can make an incredibly detailed 2-D character. The Man with No Name is essentially one: His actions consist of really cool shooting, and his mannerisms are basically all Clint Eastwood death stares. And you don't need to go dimension-by-dimension, in order. A character made of mannerisms and evolution, but no actions or motivations is basically a Stan Lee cameo. Poor roleplayers may often have characters with actions and goals, but no quirks or evolution. Many unrealized characters are made of mannerisms and motivations, but without a game, they cannot act or evolve. Note that player characters will intrinsically have actions. But roleplaying a race as a set of mannerisms leaves you 2-D at best.

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Getting away from our-world race politics is tricky, so I'll try to handle this argument as tactfully as possible.

The easiest thing to do is to stereotype. This is also probably the worst thing you can do. Playing a caricature of a race is a lot of things. It's fairly unoriginal, lazy, and usually lacks depth. It is a mastery of mannerisms, not characterization. When done very well, it can certainly be entertaining, but it is also utterly predictable. If you watch (not read) Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, you'll notice large differences between Gimli and all the dwarves in the Hobbit. Gimli is basically defined as "the dwarf" which means being gruff, heavy accent, and lots of short-guy humor. This is as opposed to the Hobbit, where you have a brooding king, a really fat guy, a quiet battle-scarred veteran, a wise older mentor, a lovestruck kid, and 8 other dwarves with different personalities. They all have a common thread of being beard-y and short, but those are not their defining characteristics. As dwarves, they are far more comical than the elves in the same movie, but that is only a common element of characterization, not an overarching one.

You roleplay a person in relation to a culture, not just a race. Peoples' mannerisms are a product of their circumstances, and most characteristics would not exist in a vacuum. A dwarf would not have a thick Scottish accent if they did not learn language in a way that gave them a Scottish accent. But I'm not saying that you cannot have all the stereotypical racial characteristics. It is a question of depth of characterization. Having an accent is a gimme - if you grow up in a specific place, you will probably pick up a local accent. A snooty elf would probably be snooty because of the circumstances they grew up in, or their views on other races or classes. The difference is why a character is portrayed in a certain way. If you discover that reason, you can roleplay more consistently as well as more in-depth.

Basically, it is not simply:
Race -> Characterization

Race -> Culture + Probable circumstances
Culture + Circumstances + Personality -> Individual reaction
Consistent individual reactions -> Characterization

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OilHorse wrote:
My Self wrote:
It is smart targeting, since I suspect the eagles won't needlessly plop themselves onto the ground after a given target dies. Thus damage is conserved. Also, the delay is a function of summons existing for 1 round/CL, which means that you can choose to target on the 4th, 5th, 6th, etc. (up to 1 round/CL) instead of needing to target on the 3rd. Also ties back to smart targeting - eagles that don't drop (because the target dies/leaves line of sight) can drop on later rounds. It's not perfect damage distribution, but it's much better than wasting shots if there aren't enough targets this round or you kill a target without using all your shots.

But this is what I was saying though.

All Eagles are given targets and dive at same time. There is no "saving the shot"

So it is not smart targeting. If a shot doesn't drop the target and you had only 1 shot target it then it is up. If you target it with multiple shots and only needed the 1st shot then "too bad, so sad".

Targets would be declared at beginning of third round and could not be changed.

But don't the eagles independently act on their own (probably shared) initiative once given orders? A sample command: "Drop on the beardy guy until he's dead" will cause eagles to drop on him. So the first eagle goes, drops on the beardy guy, and hurts him. The second eagle acts after the first one, sees the beardy guy is still up and moving, and drops on the beardy guy, killing him. The third eagle's turn rolls around, and he sees the beardy guy is dead. So he doesn't do anything, maybe flies in a circle, or poops on the beardy guy's corpse. It would be reasonable (as a balance-minded GM) to make them all pick targets before dropping, but normal turn initiative works sequentially.

I don't think spending more rounds will make the spell any better. The concept of a delayed not-too-high-level resistance-bypass man-slayer is flawed from the start. For creating a new spell, I'd probably want to drop certain elements. The first element would be lower (scaling) damage, with a combination of an option to save, a resistible element type, and ability to miss. For example:

Damocles's Vengeance
School evocation; (Offensive fullcaster) 6
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, F (a bronze sword), M (a spool of thread)
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Effect rain of swords
Duration concentration (up to 1 round per 3 levels)
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

A massive (medium) downward-pointing bronze shortsword appears and rises up to 10 ft/level above your head. Each round you concentrate on the spell, two additional swords spawn. When you cease concentration, all summoned swords fall directly downward and shatter, dealing 1d6 piercing and slashing damage per 20 ft. fallen (maximum 10d6) to anyone in the square. You may direct the swords to move above and fall upon targets in range as part of casting, or afterwards as a standard action. Make a ranged touch attack roll against each target - if you are successful, the sword instead deals 1d6 per 10 ft. fallen (maximum 20d6) to the target. Regardless, the sword hovers above the target's square and this automatically ends your concentration. A single creature or square cannot be targeted by more than 4 swords, and any additional swords that would land in a square instead fall and shatter in a random adjacent square. The swords crumble to harmless ashy dust after they shatter.

CL 11, damage per round
Per-Round Damage (d6)
Round ___ 1 ___ 2 ___ 3 ___ 4 ___ 5 ___ Average _ d6 per level
No wait __ 11 __ -- __ -- ___ -- ___ -- ___ 11.00 ______ 1.00
Wait 1 ___ 0 ___ 33 __ -- ___ -- ___ -- ___ 22.00 ______ 2.00
Wait 2 ___ 0 ___ 0 ___ 77 __ -- ___ -- ____ 25.66 _____ 2.33
Wait 3 ___ 0 ___ 0 ___ 0 ___ 110 __ -- ___ 27.50 ______ 2.50
Wait 4 ___ 0 ___ 0 ___ 0 ___ 0 ____ 143 __ 28.60 _____ 2.60

Note: This might be a little too powerful.

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Stuffy Grammarian wrote:
OilHorse wrote:
Your Welcome?
No, you're welcome.

"Your welcome" isn't always grammatically incorrect. If you extend a welcome, then it is definitely your welcome. For example: "Your welcome is much appreciated on this fine forum". But this seems to the be case in which you are welcome, so you're welcome.

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OilHorse wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
OilHorse wrote:
21d6/ray level 6 scorching ray

Sorry, I have no idea where this is coming from. It would be 21d6 divided among 3 rays, not "per ray."

However, another thing that strikes me is that, in my experience, by the time you get 6th level spells, most fights are over after 3 rounds. In that context, 1,000,000d6 per ray isn't unreasonable, because there's no one left to use it on. A combat spell that takes more than a full round to get going isn't going to see much actual use in combat.

The spell effect I mentioned in the op takes 3 rounds to happen.

In that scenario the caster using the 6th level version of Scorching Ray you mentioned would be able to get off 3 of those spells. Each of those spells has 3 rays dealing 7d6. Over the 3 rounds it is like 3 rays dealing 21d6.

Did I do a bit better explaining my process? I know I can be a little muddled when explaining things.

We can look at it like:

Level 6 Scorching Ray over 3 rounds: 63d6 total damage
OP Spell Effect: 60d6 total damage.

You should be comparing it as:

3x 6th level variant Scorching Ray (63d6) (3 rounds)
1x ?th level OP Spell Effect (60d6) (1 round + 2 rounds onset)

Spell slots are a finite source, and casting time vs. onset time is important as well. Also, increased onset is almost infinitely preferable to an equal amount of increased casting time, if you are able to select the targets at the end of the onset. Considering that this effect can also probably be delayed by a small number of rounds (like the Delayed Blast Fireball), and targeting is "smart" (you select subsequent targets after you roll damage for each hit, instead of declaring all targets first, then rolling damage), that also adds some value. A 1st level spell should not do 600d6 damage, even if I spend an hour casting it. Similar logic applies here.

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Kayerloth wrote:
Not sure which version I might be thought to be responding to (at this point in the thread) but to be clear the OP's OP is definitely completely outside of anything I would allow as a GM.

Would you say its... OP?

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Cavall wrote:
Breath of Life for rickroll

That's not a "Stayin Alive" moment?

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OilHorse wrote:
Cydeth wrote:
OilHorse wrote:

Don't attribute to malice...There was no real attempt for deception. I felt it was easier to portray it as a spell and gauge replies. As the replies came in I decided to open up on the actuality of what is happening.


The internet is tone deaf. The way you opened up seemed, to me, like a bait-and-switch gotcha moment, which definitely put me off things. Anyway...


And there's an entire section on Falling in the core rulebook. Look it up, I'm not bothering to copy it. I'm done here.

I was gonna read your whole post but I saw the end...

See ya.

Dox of the ParaDox twins wrote:
It seems to me that you are just ignoring all the good advice and at one point didn't even read one very well thought out post just because he wouldn't post a full paragraph or two and said for you to look it up. Don't come here if you don't want advice

Something about the general tone makes me suspect that we're on the express train to flamewar-ville. *Toot toot!*

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OilHorse wrote:

All fair. Thanks for the good write up.

Find my other post about what is actually going on with the Thrush and such.

Give me your thoughts on that.

The interesting thing is that the spellcaster is our shaman player who is always our support player. He is a smart guy who like to play non-direct offensive characters, he is also helped by his friend who likes to take corner cases and make something out of them.

Similar things hold true about the thrush situation. However, the caster isn't spending multiple rounds charging up a single cast, so some of the statements I made about inefficiency and not contributing do not hold. It's still anticompetitive, but the caster isn't otherwise useless at this point.

Dropping items on other people requires a ranged touch attack roll (20 ft. range increment) - I don't see why hitting someone else with your falling body wouldn't require some sort of attack roll. The rules are confusing at this point, and it would be better to have an individual GM case for this and stick with it. You're either in houserule territory or overly-pedantic-close-reading land. Consider allowing the target to make a reflex save (like for falling objects), having the attacker make a ranged/melee touch attack (like for dropping objects), or having the attacker make an acrobatics check (like for avoiding falling damage) would all be reasonable things to do. Or a CMB check (like bull rushing) or a fly check. Since the summons aren't descending under their own power (80 ft. flight speed), you could also roll a die to see if they fall into the square they intend to. Or you could scale the damage to a comparable (lower-level) spell - perhaps Fireball or Scorching Ray. The important points are that no damage is entirely unavoidable (0 failure chance) without having already defeated the enemy, you should be consistent with existing rules if possible, and since you are in houserule territory, there are houserule ways to perhaps mitigate your problem.

Also take note of the dense/heavy object and lighter object section of the falling rules. I suspect bodies might count as lighter objects, and thus do 1/2 damage (and not hit like anvils). People on this board understand falling damage to not be reduced by DR. However, you could consider this sort of dive-bombing as an attack, and subject it to be reduced by DR. Alternatively, an in-game option would be to have the Shaman's spirits get displeased, and the eagles/thrush/PETA/whatever become somewhat belligerent about the animal abuse. Or you could give some hesitancy about allowing the Shaman to prepare that spell: "As you perform your ritual chants to regain your spells, the spirits seem somewhat reluctant to grant you command over the eagles." Not that you need to deny use of the spell (or spellcasting) entirely, but just expressing vague displeasure may get a careful player to stop. There is also the out-of-gameplay option: Just ask the player to cut it out. But whatever you do, inform the players if you make major changes, and be consistent and reasonable about it.

But if everyone is having fun (yourself included), and your table (including you) would not have more fun if this combination were illegal, then you don't need to change a thing.

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So for most arcane damage spells...

Most require:
A touch attack
A save
Resistible damage
1d6/level damage
Resisted by SR
Either 1 target, or an area effect
Close or medium range (30-150 ft.)
Standard action to use

So your player is proposing to skip basically everything on the list by making it take longer to use? There's a few problems.

The most comparable effect is probably the Kineticist's supercharged gather power blast. You spend an extra round and a half to add 3 free burn. 3 free burn is less than it costs to use the Pure Flame Infusion (4), which makes you bypass SR. Kineticist composite blast damage is comparable to 1d6/level, and still takes a touch attack or save, and will still get axed by energy resistance. Granted, with your other cost reducers, you should be able to do this multiple times a day, but a 4th level spell will be available much earlier and usable a similar number of times.

Storm of Vengeance is also somewhat comparable, but it does much less damage, takes up a much higher spell slot, and is still resistible by SR and energy resistance. And the damage is fairly tame. Magic Missile skips saves and touch attacks, but is resisted by SR, has a really short range, and the damage is junk. This sort of spell is a 9th level+ sort of thing, comparable to cheesing mythic feather fall for massive damage. And even that requires touch attacks. This is like getting a mega coven of witches with the CL boost hex, but with only two rounds of prep time and fewer moving parts. 20d6 is too much, and that sort of damage only enters the question with 6th level+ single target spells (Harm, Disintegrate, etc.).

Besides that, it is hugely situational and fairly bad for game dynamics - likely to be very, very useful in combats where you get the jump on enemies, and really awful when you don't. Consider the conditions:
1. Combat is outdoors with little cover
2. Combat has a small number (2-5) of powerful enemies (7th level+)
3. Combat takes more than 3 rounds
4. The caster doesn't take so much as a scratch over the course of casting
Outdoors with little cover is possible. Small number of powerful enemies is also possible. If you meet an enemy party while on the road, this will likely happen. Combat taking more than 3 rounds is also possible, although less likely. Not getting hurt is also a possibility, although you'll have to be dodgy and careful. However, all of these taking place simultaneously is fairly unlikely. 1-2 powerful enemies will get ganged up on. 3-5 will put you into a fight for your life. If you are fighting 1-2 enemies, they will likely either get ganged up on and killed, or will take out some of you pretty quickly. 3-5 will require everyone contributing to combat. If one character is sitting around charging up his murder-spell, he will likely get chopped at by a sufficiently powerful enemy, or only need the spell as some sort of mop-up. Either way, that's 2 rounds of being dead weight, and a chance of being a game-ender. It doesn't seem fair to other party members. They spend 2 rounds fighting while one player spends 2 rounds being utterly useless. Then, they either fizzle after taking damage (likely), stop the spell because all enemies are dead (likely), or kill every enemy of importance (unlikely). All this doesn't sound very fun.

Oh, and abuse potential. Cast it at night when everyone is sleeping, slay the rest of the party, and take the loot.

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The Sideromancer wrote:
Here's another one: the LG country maintains a large standing army... that spends all of its time repairing roads and bridges.

Or maybe something that looks like gunboat diplomacy, but using giant intimidating navy ships to deliver supplies to people in need?

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Daw wrote:

Paladins are about strict adherence to the rules. Rulers have to find balances.

A ruler who dumps Intelligence and Wisdom isn't ideal either.

You know the last part was an aside about how people tend to build Paladins, right? Not as a necessary Paladin trait, since there is such thing as a WIS-based Paladin with more skill ranks. If we just looked at ideal combat stat distribution, all the best rulers would be Shamans and Arcanists.

Paladin Code of Conduct wrote:

Code of Conduct

A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if she ever willingly commits an evil act.

Additionally, a paladin’s code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents.

Associates: While she may adventure with good or neutral allies, a paladin avoids working with evil characters or with anyone who consistently offends her moral code. Under exceptional circumstances, a paladin can ally with evil associates, but only to defeat what she believes to be a greater evil. A paladin should seek an atonement spell periodically during such an unusual alliance, and should end the alliance immediately should she feel it is doing more harm than good. A paladin may accept only henchmen, followers, or cohorts who are lawful good.

Paladins are primarily servants upholding Good and Law, in that order. Adherence to rules is fairly important, but unless the rules are the Paladin code, it need not be to-the-letter-strict. Notice how you do not fall if you commit Chaotic or Law-Chaos Neutral acts, while you do fall if you commit Evil acts. These rules may be difficult to follow as a leader of a mixed-alignment country, but hardly impossible. As for the question the OP brought up- I suspect a Paladin-King might even have a little more leeway in this matter, since you can denounce other countries as illegitimate authorities. Although the true test of legitimacy would be if the GM believes the authority is legitimate. Regardless, I don't see anything that suggests Paladins are wholly incapable of ruling well. And Paladins aside, Lawful Good characters are definitely capable of ruling well.

I guess if you dived into some sort of strange mindset mentality, you could justify Paladins being fundamentally less capable of ruling. This would be the case if you think that you would be most effective if: "you must be willing and unhesitatingly eager to exploit others' kindness/civic duty/concern for fellow human beings/etc. to maximize your personal benefit" (i.e. Evil) and "you must be adaptable - able to constantly change and reinvent yourself to improve" (i.e. Chaotic). If you think these particular mentalities are inherently more effective than Good "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" and Lawful "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentalities, then maybe Paladins would be less capable. But then again, so would all Lawful Good people.

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Daw wrote:

Paladins tend to make lousy rulers by the way.

1. Living by Laws is ok if you can't think for yourself all that well.

Why would Paladins be necessarily lousy rulers? The way I see it, Paladins would probably implement laws that...

1. Do not violate your deity's code
2. Respect your deity's guidelines
3. Work for the common good
4. Adhere to tradition (have existing precedents or are communally accepted)

Unless your deity's code says you can't think for yourself, there's no reason that a theoretical Paladin cannot be a good ruler. Working for the common good and respecting tradition are not thought as detrimental to leadership. Although your code may personally restrict you, you do not need to enforce your code upon a whole population. And most Paladin codes are not so restrictive as to prohibit sound governance. So long as you make solid laws and implement them well, you can be an effective ruler.

In practice, INT and WIS are Paladin dump stats, and you don't get a whole lot of skill points.

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Daw wrote:
My Self wrote:
Daw wrote:

Isn't declaring yourself to be equal to, or above the law inherently not Lawful?

Good or Evil is not relevant to the above.
Doesn't mean that everyone agrees on what the laws mean, or even whose laws are valid.

Declaring yourself equal to or above the law is not Lawful unless...

- You do not recognize a particular regime (and its laws) as legitimate (although you recognize laws in general as legitimate)
- The law declared you equal to or above itself before you did
- The law contradicts itself and you cannot act within the law without acting outside of the law
- There is no law (or functionally none), so you must become a law unto yourself

This is not even the case described, however. This is about what a LG person in a position to dictate laws could do. This is not about if it is LG to get to a position to dictate laws.

A LG paladin has to have Laws that he believes to be sacrosanct. He does not make them up, he enforces them. All of your examples are examples of invalid laws, so the are not, The Law. The paladin does not hold every law sacrosanct, but those he does hold sacrosanct are above his own discretion. Lesser laws are only relevant in how they support The Law..

Paladins waver, and sometimes fall away from their Lawful Certainty, sometimes they will be swayed to a different set of laws, but if they are still a paladin, they Must have laws that they hold sacrosanct. That is what a paladin is.



Capitalized/italicized law aside, you think that Paladins must hold a set of ideals above themselves. And this thread assumes that a Lawful Good character (probably a Paladin) is more or less legally in a position of power. So the logic follows: Since they are in a position to dictate laws (my words), and they must have laws they hold sacrosanct (yours), they should dictate laws that uphold their ideals (i.e. The Law). We can excise the tangent about lawfulness in relation to human law, since it is not entirely relevant to the initial question. If all this is the case, then there is no argument.


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Daw wrote:

Isn't declaring yourself to be equal to, or above the law inherently not Lawful?

Good or Evil is not relevant to the above.
Doesn't mean that everyone agrees on what the laws mean, or even whose laws are valid.

Declaring yourself equal to or above the law is not Lawful unless...

- You do not recognize a particular regime (and its laws) as legitimate (although you recognize laws in general as legitimate)
- The law declared you equal to or above itself before you did
- The law contradicts itself and you cannot act within the law without acting outside of the law
- There is no law (or functionally none), so you must become a law unto yourself

This is not even the case described, however. This is about what a LG person in a position to dictate laws could do. This is not about if it is LG to get to a position to dictate laws.

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A Lawful Good person in a position to dictate law would consult with respected community leaders and reference precedents to determine future laws. They would not hold themselves above the law, since that's part and parcel of being Lawful Good. Since they are Paladins, they would probably have a certain level of transparency or legal obligation for officials to not lie, since this is part of the general code. Their government would have some sort of police force, militia, and/or army, authorized to use lethal force when necessary. Capital punishment is on the table, although its use and implementation would vary from paladin to paladin.

The key takeaway is not just the letter of the law, but the reason why they follow the law. Paladins are necessarily LG, which means they respect tradition (L) and use humane methods to act in the interests of others over themselves (G). This is opposed to LE, who exploit laws and tradition (L) and use inhumane methods to act in the interests of themselves over others (E). Being lawful means respecting (to some degree) tradition, precedent, law, and community. So in lieu of an existing law, a LG person will refer to precedent, community, and tradition to determine law.

As for the nature of their laws, they will likely require general civic participation (L), and promote the welfare of as many people as feasible (G). They will err on the side of "too specific" over "use your common sense" and "talk to a judge/officer/jury/other people" over "figure it out yourself". General security would be more important than personal freedom, although (under good implementation) the greater security would allow more personal freedom.

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Spacelard wrote:
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:

Why would a good ruler want a unicorn dead, those things are generally good natured things?

"I'm evil."
"Okay, go kill that good natured pretty horse."

Weirdest sounding royal audience ever.

Unicorns poop Skittles. Everyone knows that.

Taste the rainbow!


or don't

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Tacticslion wrote:

This is... actually a really cool concept!

And the thread has some awesome ideas!

That said, I've a few questions and comments.

I'm actually curious: if the country is chaotic evil, to what end are they interested in any sort of justification of their actions?

Chaotic evil, to me, ultimately needs to justify nothing - they are ultimately able to accept anything they desire for their own reasons. So, for example, if the country is chaotic evil and run that way, any government would inherently be a sham; the power structure would simply be whoever happens to be the "strongest" (relative word - it's whoever has the ability to leverage their greatest asset to greatest effect in a manner that allows them to control - through fear, manipulation, persuasion, beating others up, or whatever - the majority of influence).

Now, obviously, you're doing this for the benefit of the PCs.

But what motivation does the government have to trick a few low-level rubes?

They are interested in justifying their actions because everyone is the hero of their own story. The Joker isn't "a monster" for going on sadistic murder sprees, he's just "ahead of the curve". Anakin Skywalker incapacitates Samuel L. Jackson, kills a bunch of children, strangles his pregnant wife, and tries to murder his best friend because "the Jedi are evil", not because he knows "it is too late" for him to step out of the deep end. Real-world comparisons abound.

The government structure wouldn't need to be a sham - it could simply be a minimal-interference government. Maintain roads, construct utilities, make sure nobody is taking away others' rights, and keep a standing army. As long as your definition of "taking away rights" is sufficiently loose, there's no reason why you couldn't have a government in a CE country. Perhaps three basic rights: the right to think what you want, the right to do anything you want, so long as you are not taking away someone else's rights, and the right to retributive justice. Society might exist on a shoestring of mutual understanding, where the only reason people don't rob each other blind is because of the risk involved. Trust would be required on an individual basis, not an implicit one. And it would create a very feudal environment. But it could work out. The government would possess the right to beat up anyone who came after them, and if they had the largest/best army, they would win. If you are waging a crusades-style constant war (with looting involved), the government could rack up the funds to run the army and continue to recruit for the army. The only thing you'd need to do from there is ensure that people always want to fight...

Which would probably come from propaganda. Shoot some propaganda around, and make people think your enemy is truly evil. Instead of just drawing from the greedy, bloodthirsty, and desperate crowds, you start pulling in the patriotic and righteous crowds too. As your propaganda gets better, your army grows, so your government can invade more places, take more from your enemies, and therefore take less from your people. Maybe they can also protect/spread local business interests abroad, although that is rather Lawful. Meanwhile, your soldiers becomes liberators, fighting against a despotic regime that oppresses its people. They become heroes. You get misguided good people fighting for an evil cause. Or people who don't realize they are evil, who believe they're still the underdog Jedi-Council-but-not-Master sort. Or the Punisher sort of people, who think they are patriotic heroes while they slaughter anyone who gets in their way. Or... player characters.

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Wow, thanks for all the advice/content!

Should the LG country have a ban, restriction, or permit system for adventurers (that the CE country does not)?

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Thanks for the ambience suggestions. I'll make sure to make all the effects sound creepy. Face-concealing items sound good - make people less human, and appear almost stormtrooper-y. Should the equipment be uniform and well-maintained, or should it be haphazard, mixed, and cobbled together?

Weirdo wrote:
Have the good guys use terms that sound like euphemisms, but aren't, like "Re-education Centers" or "Ministry of Truth."

So these could be places like schools where they teach things like language (if the player characters don't know the local language), government fact-checking bureaus, etc.? Any particularly unflattering euphemisms for a tax collection agency? What specific fears should I invoke when trying to come up with names for a LG government's agencies?

How about sinister-sounding government official titles or religious leader titles? Are there any that would work particularly well? Any I should avoid? Would it be too obvious to go all "great/grand/supreme/dear leader"? Or "great general of heaven"? "The Boss"? "Minister of the Holy Land"? "First Citizen"? Are there more subtle, yet accurate ways to go about it? Any particular titles for police/guardsmen? Local priests?

As for setting, what state should the country be in? Should people be impoverished? Or unusually wealthy? Untouched by battles? War-torn? Should there be a lot of refugees? Lots of sights, sounds, and smells? Or should streets be empty? Should it seem sterile and lifeless, or should it be overflowing with problems? What would make the society seem evil, without actually being evil? Sprawling cities? Or ones that are subdivided by large walls?

What sort of terrain should the country be placed in? Should there be cities built on the sides of volcanoes? Mountainous, rocky terrain? Or swampland? Should it be on the edge of some vast, old-growth forest? Or a barren, icy tundra? Or maybe a desert? Salty flatlands? Lots of waterways, or none? Or perhaps dry or polluted waterways? Abundance of natural resources, or a complete lack of them? Frequently foggy, and sun often covered?

Also, to contrast with how the LG country appears, how should I outfit/portray/describe the CE country?

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Kileanna wrote:

I suggest you to look some pictures of european medieval/gothic/renacentist churchs, cathedrals, castles, etc. You can use them as an illustration too. They can be creepy.

Describe everythign as oppresive: clustered, walled, with a dim light. Fortresses have small windows so the lightening is often poor.

Also, describe high buildings as impossing figures. Everything must look opressive.

When portraying them describe them as imposing figures, speak in an humorless and harsh voice. Be polite but speak with authority.

If they are wearing armor never describe them as shiny. Describe them as bladed. An armored iron fist is also an evoking image. Everything must evoke opression, power, tyranny.

You can also look for some medieval religious hymns. Gregorian chants or something. They can be very creepy and mortuory. They might be just religious hymns but they'll evoke something much more creepy on your players, like necromantic rituals or something similar.

Playing with some images that are too associated with evil even if that's not true always helps creating the right mood so they unconsciously think they are dealing with bad guys.

Is this what you were asking for? I tried to give some ideas for the ambient, I hope you can use some.

Yes, you hit the nail on the head. Or at least one of the nails. I'm looking for good guys to passively appear evil, and ways for bad guys to make good guys appear evil. I want to go full-court press on creating conscious and unconscious biases against them. And I'll look up some Gregorian chants.

Would it be too much to have the paladin-sorts converse in a foreign tongue that the player characters are not familiar with? Or to portray them as having accents, if they speak a language player characters do know?

Should the good guy folks have lots of art in their important buildings, or no? Should the evil folks be heavy on art? If so, what kind? Gargoyles? Tapestries? Paintings? In good condition? Should there be a general lack of luxuries and comforts, or should there be an unusual opulence in important locations (churches, fortresses, government buildings, etc.), while there is a total lack elsewhere? Equal or unequal distribution of wealth?

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taks wrote:
My Self wrote:

So your player...

-Playing the game
-Playing with your group
-Building a character

Better than Sacred Geometry. Which seems to be some sort of unholy arcane fusion of cryptography and mental acrobatics, with a dash of illogical algebra.

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So your player...
-Playing the game
-Playing with your group
-Building a character

That sounds tolerable enough. He doesn't seem to be out to destroy your game, which is a definite plus over many people mentioned on this board. If your group likes him enough, and is willing to pitch in for his character, keep him. If they don't care either way about this guy, don't set up everything for him. If he really wants to stay, he'll prepare everything while you're playing (maybe with a little help). If he doesn't, you are not compelled to babysit him. You should probably set up for an adjustable 1-player campaign, with the option to include his character. Run his character as an NPC if he doesn't play, since your other player definitely seems invested enough to stay. You could hand-wave his half of combat if he's not ready.

If you really want him to play, send him texts or something every few days, asking him to post his progress on making his character sheet. It's really baby-sitting this guy, but if he doesn't make his character with frequent reminders, you're clear to boot him/let him drop out.

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EltonJ wrote:

Advice please. . .

My player of a chaotic evil priest went into a Chaotic Good ruler's castle and declared himself to be . . . evil and a worshiper of Incabulos. In the ruler's face.

So the ruler asked him to hunt a unicorn in the Celedon Forest. One of the players is plotting against this very vocal priest.

How I want things to go down.
During the hunt, the party is attacked by bounty hunters, all looking to bring our CE priest in, dead or alive. Preferably dead.

How the other player wants things to go down.
The other player will disguise his character as the CE priest, doing evil deeds in his name and wants to drive the bounty up. Then kill him when he's of no use.

If you want this to go down at all, the first thing you need to do is make sure all the players are on-board and OK with this. You don't need to reveal the specifics, so long as you clear it with them that there will be internal conflict, and someone's character will probably die. You may need to specifically talk to that one player and say that his character will die. If this is anything less than crystal clear and 100% accepted, abort, back out now, and try to come up with an alternative.

Depending on your GMing style, you could go full-on realistic consequences, and have your target die of poison-using archer bounty hunters, robbers, or dysentery. For a softer consequence, you could have reputation of his cult worship get out, and have all the shopkeepers charge extra, and all sources of non-cult information clam up once he shows his face. If he acts different, you don't need to make people automatically figure out, since you've successfully altered whatever CE behaviors he's been displaying. But I suspect you are already past the indirect intervention point of no return - you've given this player a lot of freedom, and he has gone pretty far with it. Restricting him would probably feel oppressive to him, since you've let him get away with a lot of stuff, and he has no reason to think you would change now. To make significant changes (namely character death), you either need to change your GMing style (permissiveness), or talk to this player directly. And changing your GMing style will probably feel like a (no-fun) betrayal on your part unless you communicate. Bottom line - talk to your players before you make big changes. (Also note: You can reserve the right to make big changes mid-game by making an agreement with players beforehand)

If your players are alright with going down this route, and your CE priest is OK with dying, let him go out in a blaze. He cannot start out as public enemy #1 immediately, since this weakens the impact. At this point, you probably have to have split the party, so you could consider holding some separate sessions in addition to full-party sessions. Instead of disincentivizing doing evil, start giving him increasing bonuses towards CE play. Keep an eye on this closely, since Chaotic and Evil characters given free reign tend to bring out the absolute worst in players. But *relatively* minor evils - petty theft, vandalism, arson, demon-summoning, necromancy, etc. should be on the table. Restrict more major ones as you see fit, but increase the incentives - perhaps a human sacrifice may reward the player with a special magic item. Do not make it easy, but make it rewarding. And reserve high-value targets by keeping them well-defended as attacks increase.

An alternative possibility to splitting the party fully - have all the players make a second set of characters. The CE character's player should make a more party-friendly character (to switch to once the priest dies), while the other players should make NE, CE, or CN lackeys to join the priest. The second party should be slightly less powerful, but otherwise be competent. Simple characters are better than complex ones. Make sure the players don't get *too* attached. Also consider having an alternate form of stat enhancement (automatic bonus progression recommended) so that they don't leak loot and double the party wealth when defeated. Regardless of if you have a mirror party set up, you should split your time between the CE priest's group and the regular party. I'd recommend the mirror party setup, so that nobody loses any playtime.

You could initially have the main party setting up the CE priest for a fall, so that they can kill him and get a huge bounty. If your regular party is particularly unscrupulous, they could be doing that in conjunction with the CE priest. You could even have them rescue the priest from hanging once or twice (in disguise), á la The Good + The Ugly. A couple mid-difficulty run-ins with mid to low-difficulty bounty hunters seems fine, but you should not send an army after them. Regardless, the bounty-boosting is a good plot idea. However, there should be a definitely split at some point. Through incentivizing evil play (only for the evil character), their morals should become too repulsive for the rest of the group. Additionally, their increasing power should make them a genuine threat to safety. Make sure the party and priest do not meet up until you set up a finale. The priest should have the requisite strength (with an evil second party, summoned demons, or necromantic creations) to be a credible threat. They should always have an easy/plot-convienient way to escape, but not one that allows them to harass/kill the regular party. Perhaps a minute-activation town teleport stone, so they can always leave a town before the party arrives, but not fast enough to pull combat-speed guerrilla warfare. The bounty should be pretty large at this point as well, although that is a secondary concern.

The finale to this arc should be a climactic battle between the good and evil groups. A single shared objective with some sort of time component would be key. The GM and CE priest would run one side, while the rest of the party would run the other. If you used the double-party setup, you would have a slightly stronger regular party fighting against a boss-priest and several humanoid minions. If you didn't, you would still have a boss-priest, but the minions would likely be various demons or undead. The regular party could have a large number of allied soldier/minion types that get killed for the sake of the plot, but they wouldn't be player-controlled. How exactly you set up the battle wouldn't really matter, but the primary point is that the CE priest would die in epic fashion, after becoming a credible plot-threat and taking down a lot of non-player people with them. The normal party would triumph, and the CE character's player would rejoin the party as a not-CE character. And maybe an artifact would let you one-time resurrect any fallen members.

Your shared objective could be the sacrifice of an incapacitated mid-higher-level angel, a necromantic orb of great power, a life-stealing unicorn scepter, a rod that spontaneously could turn things to gold, or whatever, so long as it ceased to be useful if the regular party won, had magical powers that could possibly resurrect fallen allies (but only once), and was not game-breakingly powerful as a weapon.

To summarize: Yes, your idea could work. Get everyone onboard with it first. Proceed mostly as planned. Then set up an opponent faction headed by the priest. Make them a credible threat. Have the main party slay them. Priest gets evil deeds, glory, and epic death. Main party doesn't have to suffer from CE party member.

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What if there was a DPR paralympics?

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It would be hilarious to use a merciful metamagic Phantasmal Killer or Weird. Not viable under these restrictions, but really funny regardless.

John Mechalas wrote:

Honestly, let's think this through for a second. The request is for:

1. Area of effect with
2. "Decent" damage (with Blistering Invective called out as not enough) that is
3. "Somewhat" reliable (with Fireball being called out as "OK" because of SR, and fire immunity) whose manifestation is
4. not overt, so no obvious spell effect, at
5. L3 (preferred) or L4.

Putting that together, that's a L3 or L4 AoE spell with > 1d10 damage, that has no obvious manifestation, but allows SR and non-force energy damage types.

Not gonna happen. You're better off positioning people under an invisible chandelier and using shatter on the chain that it's hanging from. And you can do all that with L2 spells.

SL 2 mentioned, SL 3 or SL 4 seem reasonable. This implies CL 4 to CL 8. Blistering Invective (SL 2, CL 3) is 1d10 (5.5) on a successful Intimidate, another 1d6 (3.5) on a failed Reflex save, and another 1d6 every subsequent turn you fail to quench the fire. So that's 1d10+1d6 (9) immediate damage, then perhaps another 2d6 (7) before the fire gets put out. Worst case option is complete damage avoidance, such as if you try to cast this on a Paladin. Some rough guesswork might say that your Intimidate will hit a decent amount of the time, although the burns will might fail to catch or be quickly put out. You can probably expect about 8 damage per target, give or take a bit depending on how good your casting DCs are, and how good you are at laying down sick burns (intimidate). That would translate to roughly 2 expected damage/caster level in an area. A Fireball would lay down 1d6/caster level. You've got 3.5 damage/caster level on a success, and about 1.75 on a failure. If we pegged failure chance at 50%, you're averaging 2.625 expected damage/caster level.

Crazy assumptions aside, Stone Call might work a little at 4th level, since it's a SL 2 spell that does 2d6 (7 damage), no save. That's 1.25 damage/caster level, which is passible, all things considered. No save is much more reliable than a save.

Here's a question: Why aren't you playing with the Psychic bloodline? You can conceal some manifestations just by the nature of Psychic casting, while the other ones are pretty obvious.

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Paranoia+delusion murder-mist/plague.

Picture this: Your players walk into the mine. One of them picks up a journal describing a daily maintenance log for a few weeks, then a somewhat humdrum description of the the last few days. Towards the end, the writing begins to describe disturbances in the lower tunnels - sounds, noises. Various specific valuables gone missing - chunks of onyx, diamonds, silver dust, grandmother's pentagram necklace, etc. A few miners presumed lost. Then it mentions somewhere truly strange and indicative of a specific menace deeper in the tunnels, but it is cut off and perhaps blood-stained, with a third chunk of the book torn out. The clues seem to hint towards a Balor inhabiting one of the lower reaches. No dwarf in sight, however. Other journals/mine logs describe similarly strange happenings that are indicative of different threats. One tunnel/work gang might have put up mirrors and garlic, and had the strange noises/disappearances/happenings appear to cede. Another might have had everyone light scented candles. There might be a maintenance request to remove a layer of sea-scented slime mixed with bird bones in a lower tunnel. One or two might note that their vision seems clouded, or perhaps there's some smoke drifting into the tunnel. Many of them describe other dwarves as acting suspiciously, hiding secrets, or being overeager to escape company and delve deeper into the mine. As the players venture deeper, have a few of them make secret Will saves or something. Ask for their mind-affecting save modifiers, then roll the saves for them behind your GM screen. Those who succeed start to notice a sort of thin, wispy fog once they get deeper. Those who do not start to see the signs of a certain powerful threat down one of the shafts (like the Dwarves did) or hear some of the noises described. Both groups should see an increasing number of bloodstains and/or marks of more recent activity. As they progress, you should prompt a few more saves as such, probably at intersections, journal discoveries, or landmarks. Each success, the visible fog grows deeper, although it is not enough to seriously disrupt vision. Each failure, and more signs and noises are apparent. Once someone has failed (secretly, of course) a decent number (probably 3-4), you should pull them aside, and tell them an absolute lie about what is down one of the tunnels. Perhaps say that there's treasure down one of the tunnels, definitely out of sight to those who are seeing the fog. The next person who fails enough should be told that the first person was deceived by a much more powerful (demon, devil, ghost, shadow - whatever fits best), and they are being lead to its nest/home/man-cave. However, they should also be told that they cannot leave or tip off the demon/devil/ghost-thing that they know, since it is lurking higher up in the tunnel, towards the entrance. Given the journal reports, there might be a way to defeat it using materials left in the lower tunnels. The next player to fail gets told that the mist (which only the people who mostly saved should be seeing) is actually an illusion created by a murderous (cave-shaped mimic/necromancer/Dwarven cannibal cult/whatever works), and that the party needs to get out immediately or be eaten. Repeat secret, plausible, conflicting information/instructions until at least half the party is misinformed and disagrees on what to do. Remember that 3 people (in a 6 or 7-man party) 2 people (in a 4 or 5-man party) or 1 person (in a 2 or 3-man party) may not have failed most of their saves, and will see the mist clearly. This is alright, so long as everyone has doubts and secrets.

Once you have set up appropriate confusion among the party, and have gotten them deep enough into the mines, pop a reveal on them. Once you get deep enough, you should find the Dwarves, or their remains. What condition they are in exactly may differ depending on how you want the story to go. I'd say the most likely thing is that they all slaughtered each other, and it ends there. But you could use this as a setup for a more powerful enemy, such as a Zygomind (haha, good luck). Or as a stepping-point to dive into unknown territory - perhaps all the Dwarves' side-tunnels led to a single, strangely gourdlike lumpy-round cavern with a broken circular seal/table covering a deep, greenish watery pit. Then you flood the room. Or instead of that, the fog seems to curdle around a brass oil lamp left at the bottom of the tunnel. And the first player to pick it up...

Well, you get the idea.

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Right now, we're looking at multiple things - class design, and character design. Fighter would generally be considered a martial class, since it has d10 HD, full BAB, martial weapon proficiency, armor, hit/damage bonuses, and designated combat feats, all of which heavily favor building a character whose primary job is to consistently deal hit point damage with a weaponlike attack. A Wizard has fairly awful features to be a martial class - d6 HD, 1/2 BAB, less than simple proficiency, no armor, and no guaranteed hit/damage bonuses or combat feats. However, it can make a passible martial role character if built very specifically, namely by using spells such as Transformation or Shapechange. So what are we really trying to call martial? The base classes, builds that can be made with the classes, or some combination? Or something else entirely?

Terminology I'm using:
Martial class: A class with design elements that primarily favor martial character builds. This is in comparison to flexible and companion-hybrid classes, among others.

Martial role character: A character whose primary combat role is to consistently deal hit point damage with weaponlike attacks. Always an "arm" in the forge combat model.

Weaponlike attack: An attack that uses an attack roll against some AC or CMD. The attack roll is typically d20+BAB+attack stat+misc modifiers. The damage roll is typically ?d?+damage stat+misc modifiers. This sort of attack can always be used in a full attack, and benefits from iterative attacks.

Flexible role class: A class with design elements that do not overwhelmingly favor building for a single combat role or related set of roles, but instead offers many viable rolesets. Often also hybrid role classes.

Hybrid role class: A class with design elements that favors builds that fulfill multiple roles simultaneously. Often also flexible role classes.

Companion-hybrid class: A class with design elements that support multiple independent player-controlled bodies performing different combat roles. This is functionally a hybrid role class. This will typically be a support role PC, with a martial role summon or animal companion.

Edit: Some spacing/formatting altered. Terminology altered.

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Lady-J wrote:
My Self wrote:
Joynt Jezebel wrote:

I actually got a good laugh out of the killing and eating a tax collector.

Did he eat him raw, which would be barbaric, just roast and eat him, which is more acceptable, or sautee him in butter with garlic and black pepper, which is admirably refined?

Seriously if you didn't want a PC acting like this, you know, chaotic and evil, you probably should have disallowed the character.

I can understand that most people *hate* tax collectors, but this guy *ate* one! You know what they say: Revenge is a dish best served some fava beans and a nice chianti. Though your CE player is probably pretty useless; if you are what you eat, then this guy is definitely chopped liver (or tax collector?). Just make sure your CE buddy doesn't make long pig a regular part of his diet. It's all fun and games until someone takes an incurable prion disease to the brain.
as long as he himself isnt human or eating deseased people there should be no issue of desease

Of course not...

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JiCi wrote:

Ok, before you troll me, I'm not talking about archons, where it's just "Object/animal/ideal" + "archon" XD

As an clearer example, agathions have the suffix "-nal" after the greek/latin word for an animal classification. This... is where things start to become complex.

What's the naming convention for other outsider groups?
- Angels have either the name "deva", the suffix "-ar" or a unique name, but even then, that can become confusing.
- Devils use the "Object/animal/ideal" + "devil" formula, but their real names are rather complex, in a custom language.
- Demons sometimes use the "Object/animal/ideal" + "demon" formula, but again, their real names are as complex as devils, in a custom language.

The rest seems rather... random ?_?

- Daemons have a... Latin/Greek prefix??? I'm trying to figure out how daemons are named, as the prefix is a word or prefix related to the soul's death.
- Azatas... have random names.
- Qlippoth... have random names.
- etc...

So... how does naming an outsider from a bigger group even work? Let's say I want to create a Kineticist daemon associated to "dying from excessive Kinetic Burn" (y'know, a kineticist who pushed it too far), how should I properly name it?

Devas are a part of Hinduism and Buddhism. Monadic Devas draw their prefix from an idea. I have no clue about Movanic ones, although I did find a sketchy second-hand reference to Atman and Sanskrit translations. Balisse has hits on The Witcher (3) and French for an automated railroad protection device (balise) However, balise translates favorably - it can mean "beacon". Cassisian gets nothing useful, just hits on Aerobus (Cassidian). Iophanite sounds Greek+ite but is probably gibberish. Ikelos is a Greek divinity, good counterpart to Phobetor (nightmares). A lot of derivative names that aren't complete garbage. New names should probably derive from pretty (and relevant) words you hear, since there doesn't seem to be an overarching theme.

Azatas seem to be mostly Forgotten Realms names. The moth link seems entirely incidental. There's the tenuous maybe-possibly Hindu Yamah, but it seems like a stretch. Find non-guttural sounds and mix them until you have a CG outsider.

Devils are a mixed bag, though they seem to be mostly Greek, Latin and Hebrew. Zebubs are of Semitic (Hebrew) origin, I suspect Magaavs are as well, Erinyes are 100% Greek, Mnemors have a Greek word root, and Pit Fiends need no explanation. Lemures are almost certainly Gygax-custom. Barbazu seems to have a Latin root (Barba, meaning beard. Same root as barber!). Interestingly, some of the other Devil names seem to be Latin+Greek mixes: Gelugon comes from Gelu (Latin for cold) + gon (Greek for... angled?). Or perhaps it is a suffix reference to Dagon? You also get Cornugon (Cornu - Latin for horn). If you find a relevant unclaimed Hebrew name for something, a Greek monster you want to convert, or a good Latin+gon combo, use it.

Demons seem to be majority Gygax custom names, with some exceptions. Babau is an Eastern Mediterranean boogeyman. Succubus/Incubus is Latin, obviously. Swaithe appears to be an English surname, but maybe there's a local legend behind it somewhere. I think Quasits, Vrocks, and Nabassus are more Gygax-custom, but maybe I just haven't read enough. These you'll either have to dig through old sourcebooks to find, or just make up.

You're basically right about Daemons. The basis seems to be of Greek origin (Daimons), but naturally the writers mixed and matched. Notably, "Daemon" is basically the Latin spelling. Cacodaemon (Kakodaemon) is definitely Greek, while Crucidaemon is clearly Latin (and not real). To name new ones, mix and match Latin/Greek+Daemon as you see fit, although I'd err on the side of Greek.

Qlippoths use Hebrew names and Cthulhu Mythods derivatives. Comb lists here to find more. Alternatively, find a Hebrew translator and make something up. Or, just make really weird-sounding random names with improper consonant-vowel arrangements, because that's probably how Lovecraft did it.

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Un-Dead Horse wrote:
So when are we going to get to the part where the Paladin falls?

First, take the first exit to the right of LG Futility roundabout. In about a block you should get to the Morton's Relative Morality fork. From there, and take Low Road until you start seeing danger signs. A few blocks past the first sign, you should see a "Caution: Slippery when Wet" sign at the top of a slope. Up to this point, you should have been running parallel to the railroad tracks, but there should be a crossing where you are. Head down the slope as fast as possible so you can get away from the railroad, since trains come frequently and the next crossing is in miles. Follow the road away from the tracks for half a mile, and you should see the Point of No Return on your right. Go past that, then take the on ramp for the Highway to Hell. There aren't any speed limits here, so get in the fast lane, put your foot on the pedal, and lose your mind. You'll shortly find yourself at the bottom of Paladin Falls, although there's no place to stop there. Keep going, and you'll cross the Lethe River and wind up in the desert. It will probably be dark before you find a place to get off the highway, but there should be a hotel next to a mission you could stop at. The service is surprisingly good, and they're open all year-round. It's a lovely place!

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MageHunter wrote:
Goblin_Priest wrote:
All that is needed for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing. ;)
Or Neutral Elves

Just make sure your Neutral Elves...

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Before I write anything, I apologize for the clickbait title. [/sorrynotsorry]

How would an evil regime smear a competent Good government as the most vile thing on the planet? Specifically, I was thinking of a marauding CE country using various half-truths, exaggerations, conspiracy theories, and other deceptions to defame a LG country. The CE country would be some sort of mixed-ethncity empire or coalition that believes it is morally and culturally superior, as well as Good (Detect Evil would probably be thought of as Detect Ambition or something). The LG country would host an order of Paladins, be lead by a redeemed criminal-turned-Paladin, and share a contested border with the CE country. The CE country's propaganda should usually follow logically, seem to be confirmed by facts at hand, and not be racist, sexist, or belief that they are inherently superior (although superiority of ideals is OK).

Should the LG country be ethnically homogenous, and slandered as racist? Should the CE country have no tax (government budget won via pillage), and the LG government's tax be labeled as oppressive, bad for business, and kleptocratic? Would they have strict laws (slandered as oppressive), or lenient ones? (considered immoral). Many minor laws (bureaucratic and smothering), or a few large ones? (lack of nuance is disproportionate to crime?) Should they have a volunteer military, so the CE people can call the LG military warmongers? Or should it be a conscript military, so the CE country can say the LG people are violating their freedoms? Should the LG government be a democracy, and labeled as slow and ineffective? Or should it be a monarchy, and be called autocratic? Or maybe a theocracy, so the CE government can say that the LG government is a giant murder cult (and doesn't like freedom of religion)? What should the relative sizes and powers of these countries be - smaller CE one, to look like a defiant underdog, or larger one, to make the LG one look like an outlier? Would the CE country view divine magic or magic in general as evil?

For the Paladin order in particular, what are some practices that could be construed as insanely evil? Perhaps Smite could be thought of as some crazy discrimination against ambitious people (evil folks), other religions, and certain races (well, types, not subtypes) of sentient beings (Colorful dragons, undead, Evil outsiders). The mechanic wouldn't be described directly "smite evil", but might be recounted as the Paladin getting a crazy look in their eye, glowing with evil magical power, and going on a murder-rampage. Maybe if they wore certain colors (black, red), and had certain styles of weapons and armor (mostly spikey things and face-covering helmets), and had certain aspects emphasized (blood-stained, giant, angry, implacable, etc.) they could appear to be villains? Or if their daily prayers consisted of loud ritual chanting? Spells/LoH were reflavored to be red, black, purple, spikey, or otherwise evil-seeming? Vague, grandiose, cult/conspiracy theorist-sounding pronouncements? Something like: "Once we destroy your precious (CE country), the righteous shall be rewarded with a new world order!"

In short, how do I make Good people look really, really bad?

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Reading just for technicalities, the spell lets you access any object "bearing your face or form", expels you from a single image you are possessing if that image is "destroye[d] or damage[d]", and lasts until the spell is stopped through traditional means (including magicide). The type and amount of damage are unspecific, how much your image must resemble you is not specified, and there is no clause saying you cannot re-enter a damaged image of yourself, so long as it still bears your "face or form". I suspect a completely shattered statue of yourself would not have your form, and a coin with both sides sanded flat would not have your face, but the exact limit seems arbitrary. I might rule that if the image was created with the intention of resembling you, and any person familiar with you can identify it as you, without contextual expectations (such as it being on a $5 bill and a penny, or sitting in the giant marble chair at the end of the Washington Mall), it should count as an image of you.

Taken at face value, defacing a your face on the face of some piece of currency will only prevent it from being used to spy on you if you get rid of the whole face. But face it - your GM is the final arbiter, you're the only one who nose if it will work at your table.

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Perhaps also:

1. Become leader of your nation's dominant political party (Commit regicide if necessary).
2. Install telescreens everywhere, built so that people can't it turn off.
3. Make sure it's always set to display your face. Maybe make an extra-large one in the largest sporting event in the country.

4. - 1983. ...?

1984. Profit Big Brother is watching you

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Sell lead sheets of protection from scrying...

with your face stamped printed on it.

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Tabernero wrote:
Goblin_Priest wrote:
Saldiven wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
My players consider that tax evasion is part and parcel of Milani's portfolio in her eternal fight against oppression ;-)
I guess they believe that the nation's government doesn't need to provide police forces to protect the citizens from crime, military forces to protect the nation from the incursions of evil wizards/monsters, social services to assist those citizens who are going through difficult times, or any other service or function, actually?
That's right. Taxation is "evil", so any true "good" government finances these things by looting neighboring nations. That's why hobgoblins are LG, right?
Don't you know? Living is EVIL because you have to kill stuff in order to eat it. Only plants can survive without growing into sadistic monsters of evil incarnate!

... Are you sure?

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Tabernero wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:
I wonder -- Has anyone posting on this thread actually been subject to a military draft? In the United States, males are required to register with Selective Service at the age of 18, but the way it is presently set up, nobody seriously expects to actually be drafted into the military. No American born after 1957 has actually faced the prospect of compulsory military service.

Well... I'm not American, but that's exactly how it works in my country as well. Men are required to register for Military Service when they reach 18 years of age, but no one is really drafted. We do have to swear allegiance to the nation and the flag, though

I actually missed the correct year for my registry, so I had to do it the following year and pay a fine... Of 86 cents.

Balancing fines is a delicate task - too high, and you lose anyone who would register late. Too low, and you lose the disincentive to not register promptly. Low (or no) fines might work if everyone has a high sense of civic duty and public-mindedness, since you wouldn't lose anyone for lack of incentive, but are less effective if people are selfish, lazy, or don't have the time. High fines work best if everyone is punctual and on top of their affairs, since you wouldn't have to fine anyone, but would definitely put a dent in the number of people who had to sign up late, whether because of other important commitments, negligence, ignorance, or happenstance.

I wonder, in Pathfinder, is taxation evil?

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Ryan Freire wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:

I wonder -- Has anyone posting on this thread actually been subject to a military draft? In the United States, males are required to register with Selective Service at the age of 18, but the way it is presently set up, nobody seriously expects to actually be drafted into the military. No American born after 1957 has actually faced the prospect of compulsory military service.

One counterintuitive thing I have noticed about the switch to an all-volunteer military is that it has actually, if anything, made our government more rather than less willing to start military operations. Politicians do a lot less soul searching before committing volunteer soldiers to military action now than they did when military action could potentially involve any young men of the right age.

One of my earliest papers in school was on this very fact. Human beings have an amazing ability to self-justify. When you add "i/they signed up for this" into the mix it becomes easier to wave off the consequences of military use.

Additionally, the move to an all volunteer military has completely neutered the anti-war protest movement in the U.S. One of the documented reasons for the removal of the draft was that by doing so, people with influence in washington would have less of a personal stake in opposing the war. This also trickled down through middle america people with more influence and resources were less inclined to give a damn, their kids didn't have to sign up to the military to pay for college or have employment. It trickled all the way down until the poorest segment of the population took up military service, the primary incentive offered (job training and college money) is entirely aimed at people who cant afford college and dont have influential connections to find a job.

There was a bunch more but the TL;DR of it all was basically that a draft military does more to discourage military adventurism and responsible military use than a volunteer military does which was frankly...

Unfortunately, military adventurism doesn't give XP rewards or thousands of times (minimum) the average daily wage of a regular person. Combat is even swingier, and the GM favors traps and ambushes. The length of the rules (including some document from Geneva) puts the Pathfinder RPG line to shame - but none of the encounters seem to follow the rules. And the plot tends to favor organized villains, who somehow never get caught. Oh, and the GM decided to toss in some Sanity rolls from Call of Cthulhu.

Good luck.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Poisoning someone is dishonorable. Thats why paladins can't do it. But if you can start a war to kill sauron and leave fields of dead peasants in your wake, you can certainly spike his wine with cyanide.

Though I suspect his perception checks are rather insane, since he can spot Frodo from hundreds of miles out. Assuming he doesn't just have some permanent scrying fixture on the Ring and cannot remotely see through its invisibility, he would have to make a check at ~528020 penalty, not accounting for needing to see through walls/mountains. Those all are fairly unlikely, given the artifact nature of the ring, the wraith-form-iness and increased visibility it gives for his Ringwraiths, and his possession of a Palantir. But at the very least, he is reliably able to spot (and send Ringwraiths after) a Small creature (+4) with a DEX bonus (+1), at least one rank in a class skill Stealth (+4), and a Stealth-boosting magic item (+5) who is trying to hide from him, while Frodo is wearing the One Ring. That means he probably has at least +14, to get a 50% chance to succeed, and likely many more, since he is also the sort of high-level crafter who can create a large set of artifacts which can only be destroyed under very specific circumstances, prolong the wearer's lifespan indefinitely (effective immortality), then convert the wielder into an especially potent form of intelligent Undead, among their other various effects. That means he probably has some ~14-25 class levels under his belt, along with various misc. modifiers for being a demigod. He probably also has a hefty Fortitude save, and maybe some Undead or Outsider resistances to go along with them. I suspect he is no slouch in paranoia and contingent+protective casting, either. Also a get-out-of-jail-free card between in his One Ring. And no need to have tea. I suspect spiking Sauron's wine with cyanide will go exactly as well as it sounds.

Oh, and he's basically just a giant eye (movie form, not necessarily books), so there's really not much else he's going to do.

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Lorewalker wrote:
Knight who says Meh wrote:

I'm oddly reminded of high school.

Tequila doesn't taste bad.
Provided you lick some salt beforehand, suck on a lemon afterwards, and don't keep it in your mouth any longer than the fraction of a second it takes to swallow it.
Then it tastes just fine...

Or neutral if you want.

Just keep saying "I'm doing it for the greater good!" It makes every act good, or at least tolerable, no matter how vile.

Or make constant comparisons to an undesirable alternative. Trump isn't a school-dropout or a totalitarian, genocidal dictator like Stalin! That's tremendous! Conscription makes a lot of people die to save the country, unlike forced undeath, which requires that everyone die! That's amazing! Tequila might taste awful, but it's not shoddy moonshine that makes you blind, dead, and a criminal! That's incredible!

You see, all you need is proper perspective and anything can be good in comparison.

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Virulently poisonous tequila probably costs north of 1500 gp/dose, since it sounds pretty deadly and Paizo folks really don't like viable poison builds. I suspect they'll nerf conscription next.

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Lorewalker wrote:
Crayfish Hora wrote:

Conscripts? Evil. Mercenaries? Evil. Weapons? Evil. Armor? Evil. Levies? Evil. Patriots? Evil. Treasonous traitors? Evil. War taxes? Evil. Arms dealers? Evil. Casus belli? Evil.

Don't worry, war is hell.
Hell is a lawful-evil plane of existance.
Therefore, not only is war evil, it's also lawful.
Therefore anything under the war-umbrella is also lawful and evil.

War is the devil's game, son!

Anyway, enough jokes. I once did a whole thread asking if war was evil and got lots of interesting answers.

As far as my opinion on conscripts goes, conscripting is a very lawful thing to do. Whether the society in question is good, neutral, or evil alters what severity of conscription happens. Now, if you were a chaotic good guy, damn straight you'd say conscription is evil! Free will for everyone! Flip the rules!

Now, since we are describing something in Pathfinder... evil is not an opinion. Something either IS evil or it is not. And if it is it is always evil. Such as raising undead is evil no matter the reasoning.

What is evil for CE is evil for LG is evil for CG. And that is true for all aligned actions and alignments.

So, the question is again, with this context... is conscription evil? Is taking someone's freedom evil if that person has not performed any action to choose the abandonment of their freedom(such as through criminal action or volunteering)?

You know the best arbiter of Good/Evil for your table?

Pop on a Phylacgtery of Faithfulness, start conscripting people, and find out.

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AmbassadoroftheDominion wrote:
also,(off topic). How do you guys post seven things in the time it takes me to write a response?

2 levels in Ninja. Gets you a Ki pool, Sneak Attack, a Ninja Trick/Rogue Talent, and extra attacks.

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Orfamay Quest wrote:
There are a lot of selfish neutrals on this forum who are absolutely convinced that they are good. They are, of course, wrong...

And it's hard to suss them out from non-(selfish neutrals) since many of them are intelligent people who think everyone else is wrong. It's a sort of illusionary superiority, like the Dunning-Kruger effect. I haven't fully convinced myself that this doesn't also apply to me...

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Knight who says Meh wrote:

There seems to be an argument that says "people in the past used conscription, I don't want to label everyone in the past as evil, therefore conscription isn't evil."

Ravingdork wrote:

If you conscript people...YOU'RE EVIL!!!

If you let innocents die because you're unwilling to defend them...YOU'RE EVIL!!!

It's a catch 22 of sorts.

So there is only one logical conclusion...EVERYONE IS EVIL!!!

Does every single action change your alignment? Can Good people do bad things? Can Evil people do good things?

Problem in the initial post is that Paladins don't do truly Evil things. Otherwise, they're Warriors without tower shield proficiency.

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I'd say that conscription falls under the "evil but not that evil" section that killing is part of in Pathfinder. There are good and bad ways to go about it, and good and bad reasons to do it or not do it. It would be best to avoid it if possible, but doing it isn't automatically bad. Paladins are supposed to uphold good and law, and upholding good generally comes with a deep respect for life. But while it may be ideal if you could talk the CE half-chomatic dragon demon lord into being a nice guy, in practice, smite+full attack is the correct approach. Paladins don't fall just because they end the life of another sentient being (which one might classify as an evil act), I don't see why your Paladin buddy can't support conscription to combat a greater evil. One might even make the argument that the Paladin not only has the right to support conscription, but the moral obligation to support it, since doing otherwise could lead to more not-so-evil people dying and suffering.

Utilitarian view on conscription:

To look at it from a more utilitarian perspective, you could consider the options:
A. Don't conscript. Free will for all, no extra suffering here.
-1. Win the war despite having a smaller military. Some soldiers die, but fewest people suffer, and you liberate your enemy's population. Best outcome.
-2. Lose the war, and your entire populace ends up under a racist occupying government. Some soldiers die in the fight as well. Your population ends up suffering indefinitely.
-3. End the war indecisively. Some people die, but the fewest people suffer.
-4. Enter a sustained war, which causes many deaths among a volunteer population over a long period of time.
B. Conscript. A large amount of your populace deprived of choice and may die in battle.
-1. Win the war because you conscripted. Many soldiers die, but their freedoms are intact, and you liberate your enemy's population. Second best outcome.
-2. Lose the war, and your entire population ends up under a racist occupying government. Many soldiers die, and everyone else suffers indefinitely. Worst outcome.
-3. End the war indecisively. Many people die.
-4. Enter a sustained war, which causes many deaths among many people over a long period of time.

If you don't conscript, fewer people will die (small -) over a short period of time (small multiplier). If you conscript, many people are going to die (big -) over a short period of time (small multiplier), since you probably will not overwhelm your enemy immediately. If you win, you liberate your enemy's population, which lets them enjoy freedom (moderate +) indefinitely (big multiplier). If you lose, your population suffers under a tyranny (moderate -) indefinitely (big multiplier). If you end the war indecisively or with a stalemate, nothing has really changed except the deaths (no modifier). If you enter a sustained war, the deaths from war will continue over a long period of time (moderate multiplier). If everything were weighted equally, not conscripting would be better. However, your situation suggests that not conscripting has a higher chance of losing the war versus ending neutrally or with a victory (small multiplier), while conscripting gives you a much better chance to end the war without losing, or at least continuing to fight. The expected returns of conscripting rise as a result, while the expected returns of not conscripting fall. Without knowing more details, including the population sizes, army sizes, number to be conscripted, how awful the enemies are, how likely you are to win, and a more exact value of freedom, life, suffering, and death (good luck finding that), I can't tell you if conscripting vs. not conscripting is a good idea. And some of these options come from the assumption that the enemy army will occupy (and maybe pillage/rape) your populace, not just indiscriminately slaughter them. If the enemy is out to kill everyone, conscript as much as possible, since you'll all be dead if you don't (huge negative). But I get the general idea that conscription was the best possible choice under these circumstances.

On Paladins:

When a Paladin is stuck at a fork in the road between two bad options, the expected response is to search the bushes for a third road that conveniently solves the problem with no moral compromise or hard decisions needed. Maybe it won't be incredibly convenient, and may in fact be a harder road. Some GMs will grant this, some will not. And the fork in the road is not necessarily picking on the Paladin or bad GMing - it may simply be a consequence of the story or the decisions the party makes. Failing to find this third road, it is 100% acceptable to choose which option has more good in the long run. The worst option at this point is to harm unwilling others by holding your purity *too* high. That's why Paladins have Smite - you have a license to kill, although you do not necessarily need to use it. Some GMs may make you fall for this, some might not. And there is such a thing as not attempting to be pure enough. If a Paladin made an evil choice, they are expected to atone for it, make amends, or at least feel significant regret. But failing to be a pretty picture-perfect paragon of Paladin purity is almost to be expected - that's why there's the Atonement spell. And the mission is more important than the methods, which is why Paladins can temporarily associate with evil characters. Certain possibly-very-evil-but-very-necessary situations may require a judgement call, but on the whole, it should be 1. Do good if remotely possible, 2. Compromise only when absolutely necessary, 3. Atone if you compromise.

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UnArcaneElection wrote:
JosMartigan wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
And that's also why a fireball was always so daggum deadly.

That makes me think I should house rule fireball and lightning bolt as 1d8 per level. LOL


Wait . . . I thought the in thing these days was to make Wall spells great again . . . .

Really? Isn't Banishment the new hottest thing? Either that, or alternative Wishes.

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Joe Hex wrote:
This topic got me thinking about something that probably has been covered, but I can’t recall… Could a d6 psychic who spent the feat for the proficiency, theoretically, get to lunk around in magic plate armor and unleash hell? I’ve considered sorcerers and psychics to be pretty much on equal foot power wise, but sorcerers have arcane spell failure when it comes to armor.

Don't even need the proficiency.

A psychic wearing full plate will suffer-
- –6 to attack rolls (which you probably won't be making)
- –6 to Str and Dex based skills (which you probably won't be focusing on)
- A 35% failure chance of any of your spells with a somatic components (you have no spells with somatic components).

Taking the heavy armor proficiency just removes the first item (the penalty to attack rolls.) This might be considered abusive by some GMs (who are fully within their rights to make you try to swim), but it's totally legal.

This is 100% possible. Also note that you'll be taking a 5-10 ft. movespeed penalty. Overall, nothing a dip in some martial class won't fix, if you really want to go that way. Somewhat similar to a Cleric, Druid, or WIS Sorcerer dipping Monk for the AC (although now CHA Sorcerers can do so too), albeit with a lot more immediate and cheaply scalable bonus.

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