Orfamay Quest's page

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Claxon wrote:
Cuup wrote:

Say the group's archer is hit with Dominate Person. The Wizard issues the command "throw your bow overboard". On the next round, the Wizard sets a new command "go swim after it".

Does the first command count as "against the archer's nature"? I would think that if the bow had major rp-attachment with the archer, like it was his father's, or it was gifted to him by his hero, this argument could be made, but as long as it was just a bow (magical or otherwise) that he bought last week, he wouldn't get a new save to resist the order.

Look, I don't know about you but I'm not in the habit of getting rid of extremely expensive personal possession.

I'm not in the habit of running out of the building naked, either. But if the building were on fire, I'd sure as hell do it. So it's not against my nature.

Similarly, if the building were on fire, would you leave your bow behind, or die trying to retrieve it from the wreckage?


I think several of you in this thread who are saying destroying incredibly valuable items isn't against the nature of most people are not the kind of people I've familiar with. So let me ask you this? Will you give me your car? Or go set it on fire?

Depends on whether I'm compelled to or not, now, doesn't it?

"Claxon, I have here a court order demanding that you give Orfamay Quest your car. Will you give me the keys, please?"

"No, I won't."

"You realize, Claxon, that this is a court order. If you don't turn over the car, I will have to arrest you."

"I won't turn over the car."

"Very well, then."....

---- two hours later ----

"Counsellor, have you made it clear to Claxon that unless the car is turned over, he or she will be in contempt of court and jailed?"

"I have, your honor. Claxon still refuses to turn over the car."

---- two weeks later ----

"Counsellor, your client has now been imprisoned for two weeks. Is Claxon willing to turn over the car?"

"I'm afraid not, your honor."

---- two years later ----


"I'm sorry, your honor, but Claxon is still unwilling to turn over the car."

---- ten years later ----


"I'm sorry, your honor. As you know, my predecessor retired six months ago, and it's taken me some time to get up to speed on this case. I regret to tell you that Claxon still refuses to turn over the car, though. I submit that that, as in the Chadwick case, continued incarceration will do no good, and request release."


"Thank you, your honor."

The Chadwick case is interesting; I think it's believed to be the longest imprisonment for contempt of court in the history of the United States. Most people won't hold out nearly that long.

If you're not willing to hold out that long, you shouldn't get a save. "Don't want to" is entirely different than "against my nature."

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Dark Midian wrote:
Still though, he shouldn't expect strangers to pay his way to Cambridge, especially since he needs to make up a 37k difference.

There's a difference between "expect" and "hope for."

If the gofundme campaign succeeds, he gets to go to the college of his dreams. If it fails, it costs him some embarrassment. Not much downside, for a hell of a lot of upside.

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doc roc wrote:
Ask a stupid question..... but why did he apply Cambridge without investigating the tuition fees? Rather ironically... geting into Cambridge is a mark of decent academics.... but your mate seems to have shown a distinct lack of common sense?!

Because something like 10% of college students actually pay full sticker price, and the rest pay something dependent upon the financial aid offer they get. Which is not made until after they apply. Or, to put it another way, there is literally no way to investigate the kind of scholarship that you will get, because you don't have enough information.

In his case, he apparently got a scholarship, but not one that was big enough to cover the entire cost. He needs to find a way to make up the difference, or he needs to pick a cheaper school. Given that Cambridge is arguably the best university in the world, it makes sense for him to investigate the possibility of making up the difference.

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Palidian wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
CR is a diagnostic tool to help the GM figure out how hard something is. If you're trying to make something harder without increasing the CR, you're basically trying to fool yourself.
From what I've experienced, I believe that CR functions more as a measure of how dangerous an encounter is relative to the PCs themselves.

That's pretty much absolutely backwards-to-reality wrong. CR is a measure of how difficult an encounter is relative to a hypothetical "standard" party (which they typically keep in the room next to the "standard" platinum-iridium kg).

If you happen to have a group of lightweights (whether kilograms or party members), that's on you, not on the Paizo design team. Because they aren't going to come into your kitchen table and audit your Cha 8 bard.

Conversely, if your party can easily handle a CR=APL encounter, then the solution is to throw a CR=APL+1 encounter at them, not to try and game the CR system to get a more powerful encounter that still has the same CR number.

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137ben wrote:

1080: Clever Blasting God Stoppers

First time I can remember a Saturday update in quite awhile. I think the title is a reference to the film adaption of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Actually, Everlasting Gobstoppers were in the original 1964 book.

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The Raven Black wrote:
If you know they are framed, it is your Lawful duty to say it, prove it and find the real culprits

I'd say, it might be your lawful duty to say it, but not to prove it nor to find the real culprits.

You have your job, and the duly appointed investigators have theirs. The duly appointed investigators also typically have better training, greater authority, and more appropriate equipment to do investigative work.

Would you really want the local ER physician walking off the job because he believes that the police arrested the wrong man following a stabbing? Or would you rather that he gave his belief (and the evidence supporting it) to the appropriate authorities?

Most "lawful" people -- and, in fact, most rational people -- would rather that the cops did the cops' job and the docs did the docs' job.

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Haladir wrote:

At my table, gems, jewelery, artwork, and other inherently-valuable items are priced at what they can be sold for. So if you find a 500 gp emerald, you can sell it for 500 gp.

If you want to buy an item to more easily transport wealth, there's a 10% markup. So, buying a 500 gp gem costs 550 gp. A successful Profession (merchant) check drops the markup to 5%.

I also usually require a 5% fee to change money. So trading in a chest full of 50,000 cp will net you 475 gp.

That seems both reasonable and realistic. The PF designers decided to simplify it even further (because multiplying by 0.05 is hard, I guess....) so goods are either (unrealistically) not marked up at all, or doubled. The question is whether a gem like an emerald is in category 1 (which is unrealistic, but convenient) or category 2.

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Matthew Downie wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
But in practice, you can't, because you don't know who I am, you don't know how to find me, and you don't even know that I have a violin I want to unload.
Have you tried listing it on eBay?

That's basically hiring someone to walk down streets knocking on doors for you. And you need to pay Ebay to do it, just as I said. The result is the same assymetry that I mentioned.


I wonder how hard it would be to set up the Golarion equivalent?

Probably incredibly expensive, since the nearest equivalent to the Internet involves buckets of magic, and magic is generally overpriced. Even sending a simple Email via message costs the equivalent of several thousand modern dollars; I can't imagine Ebay being cost-effective if you had to pay $1000 per person who read your ad.

But, more to the point, there are a lot of ways to make a more realistic fantasy economy, starting with variable markup depending on all sorts of things. For example, luxury goods and goods with thin markets generally have higher markup than ``the basics,'' because producers will compete on price (which generally reduces their margins). Supply and demand both fluctuate for all sorts of reasons -- as I sit, for example, they're expecting a 30 degree (Celsius) day, just like the past two weeks have been. I'd be willing to pay a lot more for iced coffee today than I would have back in December, but ice is also in a lot shorter supply because my supplier can't just cut it from a pond. (Pre-refrigeration, ice in midsummer was a luxury almost beyond price.)

I could make a set of tables and charts to control prices based on good types and supply/demand. Metagaming's Trailblazer (1981) used this as the core mechanic, and it was an "ok" game -- BoardGameGeek gives it a 5.6. But Sweet Jumping Jesus on a Pair of Sticks was it tedious to keep track of all the information. Given that Mathfinder already has a reputation in some quarters as being way too rules- and records-heavy, adding a hard-core economics simulator to PF would be like adding gyrostabilization and jet-assist to a ninja star.

Or, you know, we could just go for a simple "buy low, sell high" rule like "shopkeepers will only give you 50% of retail value for an item." Which is not only playably simple, but actually accurate for most of the boutique goods that adventurers will be dealing with.

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Loengrin wrote:

That's real modern economy...

Yes, but it also predates the Roman empire. Similarly, cows are modern animals (I can see some within a few miles of my house), but a Roman milkmaid wouldn't have any problem understanding how to milk one.

Monarchy has a lot of monopoly on trade...

I think we're back to "lolwu?" Ancient governments very rarely engaged in trade, instead (as modern governments did), they set rules about who could participate, charged taxes, and generally regulated it.

They can fix price of virtually anything they want...

Yes, they can do that. But they can't force producers to produce goods for a lower price than they're willing to accept, and they can't force buyers to pay a higher price than the buyers will accept. They can prevent a market from being made, but they can't force deals at the wrong price.

Once again the economly was not like now, it was a bartering system, not a fluctuating value money based on the market system...

Please, learn some economics. You're spouting gold-bug gibberish. Even Ron Paul would be embarrassed at this nonsense.

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Jarrahkin wrote:
If players only get half price for selling magic items (etc), due the way the market works, why can't they buy things for half price?

Because that's the way the market works..

Let's say you -- as in, you, personally -- want to buy a violin. And let's say that I -- as in, I, personally, have one that I want to sell, whether it's because I make them, or because I have a violin around that I don't play anymore and I want the cash for it. In theory, you could buy it from me at a mutually agreeable price.

But in practice, you can't, because you don't know who I am, you don't know how to find me, and you don't even know that I have a violin I want to unload.

You do, however, know how to find someone who will sell you a violin, or you can, very easily. I can recommend Telford and Sons'; they've got a lot of them in stock, at very reasonable prices. I also know someone who will buy my violin, and oddly enough, they're the same people. But they won't sell the violin to you at the price they bought it from me. Steve Telford needs to eat, and they have a mortgage to pay on the shop, and.... oh, my, how those expenses do add up. So Telford marks up -- actually, he probably doubles, as that's fairly typical in boutique goods like that -- the price.

Now, perhaps you don't want to pay Telford's markup. In this case, you might try to find someone else with a violin to sell, maybe by walking house to house and knocking on doors. If you do this for long enough, you will probably find someone,.... but you won't be working and earning money for yourself while you do that. If it takes you a week of looking to find a violin, and you earn $10/hour, you just spent $400 in opportunity costs, which means that you are still "paying" $400 more than than the person selling you the violin is getting. You could also hire someone to knock on doors for you, but in this case, you'd still be spending money and the violin would still cost you more than the original seller gets. Or maybe you could place an ad in the paper, but ads generally aren't free. You get the idea.

And the same thing happens in any other business. Sell a used car to a dealer, he'll pay you less money than he will charge for the exact same car when he sells it.


It's also historically more accurate, and why gems were valued by the wealthy as convenient international currency.

I'm not sure why you think this was more accurate..... but that has never actually been true. Gems are notoriously poor "international currency" precisely because you can never be sure what a jeweler is going to give you for them. There's no such thing as a $2,000 diamond -- or a five-hundred (British) pound diamond, for that matter. There's only a diamond that you yourself paid $2,000 for. If you wanted international currency, you usually either armed yourself with the local currency beforehand (the London bankers would be happy to sell you Italian lira at a huge markup, but you know that a lira is always going to be worth a lira), or you used a currency from a major world power (pieces of eight, British sovereigns, or US dollars have all held that role) that you hoped would be acceptable at your destination, accepting that, again, you can't really control the exchange rate. But the idea that a medieval businessman planning a trip from London to Madrid would routinely arm himself with gems is not supportable.

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Jurassic Pratt wrote:
If that good is Diamond Dust, then you start to cause problems. Spells require x gp worth of diamond dust. So if the price of diamond dust varies between transactions....then that raises alot of questions ruleswise.

Not really. Only one question : retail value or wholesale value?

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Loengrin wrote:

Yeah,.... not. A smelly nuisance in the stable is valuable fertilizer in the field. There's a reason that grocery stores don't sell me avocados at cost, despite the fact that they're not manufactured.
Yep... But food has always been a special case... Being a necessity it has always been frown upon when you try to make too much a profit of it... ;)

Food-or-not has nothing to do with it, any more than manufactured-or-not has anything to do with it.

[b]Real[/i] Economics 101: prices are determined primarily by supply and demand. Each producer/seller (more on that in a moment) has a minimum price at which he's willing to participate in the market; each buyer has a maximum price. The market price is the point at which the number of sellers balances the number of buyers. This applies whether you're selling food, jewels, magic potions, or fidget spinners.

Looking at it from the seller's point of view, in general:
1) I need to make a profit, because I need to pay myself enough to eat, clothe myself, etc. And I'd like to make a big profit if I can.

2) If I can make 200 credits a day shining shoes, I'm not going to open a store that nets me only 100 credits a day.

3) All profits are net of my costs, including the cost I pay for items as well as my other costs like rent.

From those, we can see that there is literally nothing that an adventurer can carry that they can sell for the same price at which they can buy it, because the seller will insist on making a profit.

The only exception is something recognized as a universal store of value, like a ten dollar bill (or in older times, a silver shilling). Even there, in a realistic economy, you were unlikely to be able to buy and sell things at the same price. Those bureaux de change in every European capital? They're buying and selling dollars, but they sell dollars for more Euros than they buy them at, because that storefront isn't free, and the cashier still needs to eat. That cut diamond at the jeweler? He won't sell it to you for the same price he paid for it. Even the money counting machines at many banks take a cut of the pennies they count -- bring in a jar with 200 Euros in cents, and you'll probably get only 195 Euro bills for them.

Realistic economics is hard work. So Pathfinder simplifies it, because otherwise it's not much fun for a typical gaming group. But if anyone ever asks the GameMaster whether or not a particular good can be sold and bought at the same price, the answer should always be "no."

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Loengrin wrote:

So, Economy 101 :

Paying with money made in valuable metal is just a gigantic form of troc... Even if the country the money is made from disappear you still have your amount of gold, you can melt the into ingot and sell them in the next country and get more or less as much gold pieces from this country gold pieces than you had in the previous country... ;)
The same apply to all metal and ore... And you should treat the gems the same too... Everything not manufactured should be sold the same price when you buy it and when you sell it...

Yeah,.... not. A smelly nuisance in the stable is valuable fertilizer in the field. There's a reason that grocery stores don't sell me avocados at cost, despite the fact that they're not manufactured.

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dharkus wrote:
AFAIK from the rules anything like gems, art of any kind and jewellery sells at 100% - if it says in an adventure the art/gems/jewellery is worth 1000gp, they can sell it for 1000gp

Well, here's what the rules have to say about it: (emphasis mine)


In general, a character can sell something for half its listed price, including weapons, armor, gear, and magic items. This also includes character-created items.

Trade goods are the exception to the half-price rule. A trade good, in this sense, is a valuable good that can be easily exchanged almost as if it were cash itself.

It's a reasonable house rule that art can be sold for full value, but I don't think it's RAW.

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Malignor wrote:

Just pushing an idea here: Look at how people do business.

How would a trader make a profit, without scaring away clientele?

Um, how do they do that? This is actually well-understood in the real world. They buy low, and they sell high. In other words, they buy something for considerably less than its "retail" value.

In the case of most mass-production goods, this is covered in the difference between wholesale and retail price. For example, that $100 pair of shoes you are coveting in the store window cost the store owner $50 from his wholesaler, who probably bought it for $25 from the manufacturer. Jewelry stores are also famous (infamous) for extremely high markups -- the reason that you see so many stores in the local mall selling diamond rings for 50% off is because they already more-than-doubled the price they paid for the ring. That $1000 wedding ring cost them less than $350, so they can still sell at $500 and make a profit.

If the goods aren't mass-produced (e.g., a pawn shop), you still have the markup. Whatever the dealer pays you, he expects to more than recoup when he resells it.

But there's no risk of "scaring away clientele" here, since literally everyone does it. Show me a store that sells goods at cost and I'll show you a store that can't make rent.

This is simplified in Pathfinder, but still fairly realistic. Almost all goods are sold (by the PCs) at 50% of retail price, and they're bought at 50% of retail price. If you want to sell your sword, or your violin, or your mother's wedding ring, you get half of what [the shopkeeper expects] someone else to pay for it.

In answer to the OP's question, the rules are pretty clear that trade goods are THE exception (not "an" exception) to the rule above. If it's not a trade good, you get 50% of value for it -- I'd also like to point out that the rules are fairly clear that trade goods trade as such in bulk : "Trade goods are usually transported and sold in larger quantities than the amount listed. A farmer may have 10- and 20-pound sacks of potatoes to sell to a large family or restaurant, and be resistant to tearing open a bag just to sell a few individual potatoes," so the mere fact your mother's wedding ring is made of gold doesn't make it a trade good; gold, the trade good, is sold in one pound ingots.

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HWalsh wrote:

Then 3 actual Paladins showed up. There was no mercy, there was no restraint, the foe was killed in full public view. When someone does something like that they weaken all Paladins, and they make protecting people even harder. So Paladins would deal with it lethally and efficiently.

And then the three paladins fell. HARD. At least in every world I've seen or played.

As the meme has it, "Cool motive. Still murder."

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The Mad Comrade wrote:
Okay, now I get where you're coming from on automation. I stand corrected. :)

It takes a strong person to admit a mistake on the Internet. :)

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Rysky wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
You are responsible for your own justifications. Don't look for reasons against it, look for reasons for it.
I'm trying (and failing).

Then perhaps you shouldn't play a paladin, because you seem to be the one with a problem with it.

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thejeff wrote:
Part of the problem of course is that they can't get those jobs back. They couldn't have kept those jobs, no matter how strong a union they had.

They couldn't have kept those jobs, no, but had the union been more visionary (and management as well), they could have helped to identify cost-cutting measures themselves and helped to move their own members into a position to take advantage of the new economic situation. That's one of the reasons that the Japanese auto industry did so well out of the 1970s; rather than management fighting against the workers, management partnered with them to develop new ways to improve production, essentially allowing the work force to adapt itself to the environment as it changed.

You can see something similar fairly clearly in retail. Costco does partner with labor; it pays a much higher wage than industry standard, offers better benefits, and as a result gets a much more productive and valuable workforce. Sam's Club (one of the Wal*Mart divisions), er, does not. Costco has historically been able to get a lot more sales per store. It saves a lot of money not only on turnover, but also on things like reduced "employee shrinkage." Annual revenue per employee at Costco is more than double that at Sam's Club.

However, cutting labor costs is a cheap, no-brainer management decision, even if short-sighted, and labor doesn't really get a seat at the negotiation table to see if there would be more effective ways to raise profitability.....

Which gets back to: it's political, not economic.

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thejeff wrote:

Everyone who wants a well-paid, skilled, stable job without a degree needs to get together with everyone else who wants a well-paid, skilled, and stable job without a degree and agree that until the company in question is willing to pay 600 ducats an hour, no one will work for them at 300 ducats. Basically, what unions used to do if management tried to squeeze workers' wages to line their own pockets.

Today capital is managing to line its own pockets because they can approach every worker individually and say "we don't think what you do is worth 600 ducats, but we will let you stay on for 300," relying on the fact that there are, in fact, enough people willing to work for 300 that they don't need to pay more. Fire the ones who aren't desperate enough to accept poverty wages, and rely on the fact that you can always make more desperate people if you need to (for example, by cutting the social safety net).

And if you do stick together and demand 600 ducats, very often they can go off to some other country and get workers for 20 ducats - enough to save even with the lower efficiency and shipping costs and all.

And that's where various other pressures come in, for example, when unions were able to persuade people to vote for politicians that would actually enforce treaties preventing that stuff. Or, for that matter, organize boycotts that actually worked. How long do you think that Wal*Mart would be able to sell cheap Ruritanian T-shirts at 20 ducats if no electrician would repair a faulty switch and none of the cash registers worked? (That's one of the things that made the AFL-CIO so powerful: while you might not care about the cafeteria workers -- hell, let people pack lunches -- you did care if the United Food Workers strike was joined by the Teamsters. If no trucks would carry raw materials into your plant, nor would carry finished products out of your plant, that would cut into your bottom line fairly quickly. Yes, in ten years there may be self-driving trucks, but unless there are self-driving electricians, the unions could still be a position to dictate that you need to treat your truckers and food service workers humanely.)

In either case, the key is that labor itself can have the economic power of a cartel, but the current political situation has deliberately stripped labor of that power, while eliminating the existing restraints on the cartel power of capital.

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Sissyl wrote:
Orfamay: If what you say is true, the solution is simple enough: Everyone who wants a well-paid, skilled, stable job without a degree needs to start their own company/hire themselves out as a consultant/etc.

Not in the slightest. If you're a sole proprietorship, that doesn't actually adjust the negotiation disequilibrium at all. Look at how Wal*Mart treats its (corporate) suppliers -- they're notorious for offering you a supply contract for next year at a lower price than you got this year; if you don't want it, they'll simply contract to someone else. Wal*Mart is essentially a cartel unto itself (the formal term is monospony).

And the way to counter a monospony is not to create a corporate wrapper, but to create a cartel of your own.

Everyone who wants a well-paid, skilled, stable job without a degree needs to get together with everyone else who wants a well-paid, skilled, and stable job without a degree and agree that until the company in question is willing to pay 600 ducats an hour, no one will work for them at 300 ducats. Basically, what unions used to do if management tried to squeeze workers' wages to line their own pockets.

Today capital is managing to line its own pockets because they can approach every worker individually and say "we don't think what you do is worth 600 ducats, but we will let you stay on for 300," relying on the fact that there are, in fact, enough people willing to work for 300 that they don't need to pay more. Fire the ones who aren't desperate enough to accept poverty wages, and rely on the fact that you can always make more desperate people if you need to (for example, by cutting the social safety net).

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Devils Advocate wrote:
As an example if you are a liar and a cheat, you can try not to do those things but even if you are successful it will be because you *choose* not to do them - which means taking the liar/cheat option was probably your first instinct anyways - so have you really changed your nature or are you only changing your actions?

Yes, you've changed your nature. Just as you learned to cheat, you can learn not to cheat. Repeated choices become a habit, not a choice. Repeated habits become character.

That's one of the things that behavioral psychologists have been studying for a long time.

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Devils Advocate wrote:
Let me start off by saying that I (and my normal DM) take a slightly nuanced and non-canonical view of alignment than is found in most RPG rulebooks. To me alignment is a persons innate nature and is not something that is easily changeable (if it is even possible to be changed at all). A Good person doesnt become Evil just because they make some bad choices, and conversely an Evil or selfish person doesnt become Good even if they have a lifetime of good deeds.

You do realize that that view is absolutely at odds with every major theologian and ethicist (with the possible exception of John Calvin) since the beginning of written records?


He is Neutral Evil, selfish and only out for his own gain. He doesnt care who gets hurt in the process, but doesnt take any particulate joy in destruction or causing harm for its own sake. However he has a sense of enlightened self interest and takes a long view of what personal gain means.

In an effort to avoid this he will actively seek out a Good aligned God to worship and become a divine conduit for, in the hopes that this will earn him a better ultimate end.

Okay, salvation-by-works. That's a view that no one actually holds, although Protestants have often accused other people, particularly, the Catholic church, of holding that view. But I could easily see your character believing it, in the same sense that I could see him believing any other false-and-heretical belief.

That said, neither gods nor their mortal representatives are omniscient, so it's easily possible that he could fake "goodness" well enough to fool Father O'Hara at the local seminary, and maybe even the Bishop who actually does the ordination. And as long as he's using the spells and divine blessings for purposes that match with his god's, the god will probably continue to grant them, either not knowing or not caring what's in his innermost heart-of-hearts.

I could also see deities with a more realistic understanding of human[oid] nature being familiar with "Becoming the Mask," and reasoning that a lifetime of practice at faking being good is likely to result in the character actually becoming good, and being willing to take a gamble. Any of the redemption-oriented deities might like that particular wager -- Shelyn in particular is into redeeming the unredeemable.

As to the ultimate fate of the soul,.... well, that's strictly in the purview of the GM, but self-deception is often the key to evil. There are a number of Biblical passages about God not recognizing piety without grace.....

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d'Eon wrote:

Let's use the example Haunt from the PRD.

** spoiler omitted **

The haunt triggers when someone enters the hallway. Once that happens, A surprise round begins and Initiative is rolled. Everyone makes a Perception check, DC 20, to hear the sobbing. Those who pass get to act in the surprise round, as long as they beat the Haunt's Initiative of 10. Any positive energy applied before Initiative 10 reduces its HP, and if it's reduced to 0 it fails to manifest until it resets the next day. If the Haunt isn't reduced to 0 before count 10, the fear spell goes off and the Haunt goes dormant until it resets.

Using detect undead would give you a chance to detect it before anyone entered the room, by making a DC 24 Perception check to notice it. The Perception check from detect undead is before the Haunt triggers, and since it doesn't state how long it takes to detect it, I'd say first round gives you the chance to roll, since the first round of detect undead gives you the presence or absence of undead. Remember that detect undead has a 60' range, and some Haunts don't trigger until you're much closer.

Just wanted to highlight the important sentence.

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Bob_Loblaw wrote:
Thomas Seitz wrote:


It's something that happened like...20 pages ago I think?

Then who's sword just went over the edge?

A random mook's sword. You will notice (e.g., panel 8) that the sword Roy was using was a single-edged cutlass with a basket hilt -- a typical pirate sword. His family heirloom is a straight, double-edged knightly arming sword with a straight (and green-colored) hilt.

Roy picked it up a few strips ago because simply shouting insults at the giant wasn't going to do anyone any good.

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All other classes are better than rogues. Mediums are an other class. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

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"Proof"? No. "Evidence"? Probably.

Partly it depends on the GM and the game world -- how far from The True Path does a paladin have to stray before they fall? Almost everyone on this forum agrees that it's a mark of a very bad game master to have a paladin fall for any transgression, no matter how minor ("YOU RETURNED YOUR LIBRARY BOOK TWO DAYS LATE! NO MOUNT FOR YOU!") but this should also apply to NPC paladins in a consistent and believable world.

In particular, I believe that paladins should not fall because of bad luck, because they were placed in a lose/lose situation, because they committed a minor transgression, or because they committed an act that is "evil" in a way that only someone with a doctorate in theology understands. But as a direct consequence of that, not every action that any specific paladin takes is necessarily a good, admirable, or morally pure one. It may just mean that the paladin hasn't crossed THAT line yet.

The paladin might even be planning some sort of evil act that hasn't come to fruition yet. Sir Righteous of Bright _might_ have finally snapped and he's looking to buy some insect-killer that he will use to poison his entire chapter house. "Sure, you can sell me that bottle of arsenic-flavored Kool-Ade. I'm a paladin, so you can feel confident that I'm not going to do anything morally wrong with it. You know that it's a great insecticide and it's one of the best ways to kill ants." --- actually, there's not a single incorrect statement in that quotation. Sir Righteous didn't even "lie" about his intentions; he just mentioned ants and how to kill them.

That said, most people would trust a mount-riding, certified lawful good paladin with industrial quantities of insecticide much more than they'd trust a mad alchemist who raves about "I'll show them who's insane. They want to see insane, do they? They don't know what insane looks like, bwahahahahaha!!!!11!eleven!!" And most of the time, they'd probably be right to do so.

Or, to put it another way,.... the fact that the guy is wearing a waiter's uniform in a fancy restaurant is pretty good evidence he's a waiter. But it's not proof, as Agatha Christie's collected works will illustrate.

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doc roc wrote:
I completely diagree with the notion that wanting more non-politicans in office is naive....

Yes, I'm sure you do.

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Ravingdork wrote:
Not sure there is an accurate definition. The term has never been properly defined, to my knowledge.

Actually, I think it's pretty good.

If we're talking seriously about "mastering" a game, it's hard to ignore chess, especially since chess "mastery" is not only acknowledged to be a thing, but Chess Master (or even Grand Master) is even a formal title, and the FIDE ratings are used to put people's mastery of the game on a linear scale.

So, what's involved in chess mastery? A proper answer, which I'm not going to give here, would involve references to literally thousands of pages in the psych literature. Chess masters literally perceive the game differently than novices. And, as Purple Overkill noted, knowing "the rules" is only a small part of chess mastery.

* The bishop moves diagonally is a rule.
* The bishop can only move on squares of one color is not a rule, but an implication of the previous rule. Everyone who's played more than a dozen games of chess, however, knows that each player has a "black" bishop and a "red" bishop, and never the twain shall meet.
* Control the center is not a rule, but a tactical guideline, part of how the chess "system" interacts.
* A bishop is worth roughly three pawns is also not a rule, but a tactical--or maybe strategic--guideline.
* The Caro-Kann defense is also not a rule, but a standard tactic of the sort you'd find in any of the thousands of guidebooks on opening theory, which of course are the equivalent of Pathfinder's charop guides. And, no, reading the books won't make you into Magnus Carlsen or even Paul Morphy, but you will find it very hard to achieve high-level mastery without reading those books. (I was roughly a 1500 FIDE-rating in high school. That was as high as I could get without reading all the damn books and memorizing classic games, which I found less fun than actually playing them.)

I think we can all come up with Pathfinder equivalents; for example, I suggest that knowing what spells are good for a sorcerer to have is kind of the same as knowing to "control the center." I wouldn't want to open 1. a3, and I wouldn't want my first level wizard to take the Spell Penetration feat, for roughly the same reason (it slows development).

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Sissyl wrote:
But still, it's not a good thing that almost every politician spent their entire lives in conditions that never intersect with those of common people.

Is it? Is it also "not a good thing" that most physicians spend their entire lives in conditions of good health?

Public health is a major problem in the United States. Issues like food (un)availability, pollution exposure, unsafe living conditions, and so forth are, well, issues. For some reason, the Professor of Public Health at Whatsamatta U. has no problem understanding that malnutrition in low-income school children is a problem, despite the fact that the last time she skipped a meal, it was because she was a young intern and was working a fourteen-hour shift. She doesn't need to live in an apartment with lead paint peeling off the walls to recognize them as unsafe conditions.

She does, however, need to be fairly well-educated to recognize just how unsafe those conditions are, to be able to devise effective public policy responses, and to advocate for those policies.

Somehow, doctors who are "outsiders" to the conditions they study are still effective, but politicians aren't?

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CrusaderWolf wrote:
What's the cutoff line then?

Between the rational people who judge potential politicians on a case-by-case basis based on their experience (in government or not), judgment, and proposed policies -- and, on the other side of the line, wing-nuts who use phrases like "drain the swamp" or "outsider" as a substitute for actual evaluation.

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Regarding outsider presidents:

Richard E. Neustadt (1960) wrote:

When contemplating General Eisenhower winning the Presidential election, Truman said, “He’ll sit here, and he’ll say, ‘Do this! Do that!’ And nothing will happen. Poor Ike—it won’t be a bit like the Army. He’ll find it very frustrating.”

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BigNorseWolf wrote:

Perhaps a non career politician that was a good person? Or at least one that hadn't bullied and manipulated a system while providing absolutely nothing of real value to it.

A nice idea in theory, but probably less realistic in practice than Plato's enlightened despot.

One of the main issues with any "non career politician" is that politics requires a very unusual skill set. Trump, and any other high profile CEO, is used to being The Boss, and in fact, that's one of his major problems. He runs -- or ran -- a reasonably tight ship where everyone was supposed to do what he wanted and display personal loyalty to him, at risk, famously of getting fired.

But, really, that's not much different than how Steve Jobs ran Apple, how Bill Gates ran Microsoft, how Martha Stewart ran MSL, how Henry Ford ran Ford Motor Company,... the list is long if not actually endless (because there have only been a finite number of people in the world). The business community loves autarchy.

Politics, especially American politics, is a little different. It doesn't really matter who is President -- he (or she, eventually) still can't fire a Federal judge, or even a sitting Congressman. His ability to make policy is strongly constrained by the fact that any yahoo with $100 can file a lawsuit asking for the policy to be overturned on constitutional grounds, and the person who hears that suit is (by design and construction) completely untouchable by Presidential Power. The President doesn't have the authority to write new laws; he can't even submit bills for consideration (he needs to find a member of Congress to sponsor his legislation for him). All he can do is try to persuade a rowdy bunch of other politicians who are, ultimately, responsible only to their own constituents. Even Paul Ryan can't make the rank-and-file legislators vote the way he wants to, and he's the Speaker of the House.

So the idea that what we need to get decisive action in Washington is someone who has no idea how to get any decisive action done in Washington is.... well, let me say that it is typical for doc roc, in that it's absolutely Alice-in-Wonderland out of touch with reality.

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GM Niles wrote:
@Ambrosia This is a genuine question so please don't get angry. Why does it make you angry? Public schools are mostly state/local funded...


First, just because 49% or less of already-inadequate funding comes from a different pile doesn't mean that cutting the budget further is a good idea. But beyond that, the Fed has substantially different funding priorities than the states and LEA's, and the cuts will fall disproportionately on the wrong people.

In particular, I draw your attention to Title I funding, which explicitly supports schools and programs with a high percentage of low-income students. These are the students that need educational funding the most, but they are also the ones hardest hit by the traditional property tax base that funds most school districts nationwide. The low income parents tend to live in low-value housing, which in turn means low property tax revenues, which means underfunded schools. Since supplemental funding at the state level tends to get directed to the people with political pull (e.g. high income districts), low income districts get little to nothing from the local township or from the state. This is a problem. Title I is supposed to mitigate that, but Trump is slashing Title I.

Other programs that are primarily supported by Federal money include after-school programs for 1.6 million mostly-poor kids, class-size reduction money that is mostly directed to underfunded schools (since those are the ones that can't get enough teachers in rooms), and so forth.

Basically, this is a classic Trump budget where he gives lots of money to his cronies (the people who own the for-profit schools and are hoping for "choice") and stiffs the people with actual unment needs.

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GM Niles wrote:

MMCJawa is right on the money in regards to higher ed and this statement "our society's overwhelming treatment of College as high school 2.0, and pushing many folks towards higher education where other avenues might be better for them."

I'm in (lower) education and I see this every single day. How many liberal arts degrees do we need in this country? How many welders? Or machinists?

More liberal arts degrees than welders and machinists, I'm afraid. More people need to read the manuals on the welding robots and 3D printers (which requires literacy and critical thinking) than actually do the welding.

As the old joke has it, the 21st century machine shop will have a dozen robots, a dog, and a man. The man is there to feed the dog, and the dog is there to keep the man away from the robots.

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I'm not sure what there is to "discuss."

State aid to education generally and higher education in particular is down in nominal terms, while of course inflation generally raises costs. The extra dollars need to be found somewhere, and the usual answer is "tuition." (This is a long-term trend but I didn't see a need to dig up the historical data.)

The bulk of the increases are not in faculty salaries, but in administrator salaries. Administrators are not only getting higher raises on an annual basis, but they are also growing in number in proportion to the student body (administration and staff now outnumber teaching faculty).

Tenure-eligible faculty, the sort that Grey_Mage decried as "colleges are paying professors to do research rather than teach" are a vanishing breed. Today fewer 1/3 of the teaching faculty are tenure-eligible; fully half are "adjunct" faculty, normally teaching a few classes per semester for several different colleges, and often on food stamps and other forms of public assistance.

The professors who do research as a major part of their job are almost always cash cows for the university. Cal-Berkeley, for example, takes up to 57% of every research grant it receives as "indirect costs." This means, for example, that if professor I. Q. High applies to NSF for $100,000 for a new widget, NSF actually needs to give him more than $200,000 ($232,558). And, yes, a standard expense on grant proposals is "release time"; he could ask for, say, half of his salary to enable the university to hire someone to teach half of his classes.... but, of course, if he's pulling down $200,000 per year, that means that his "release time" item will actually generate $238,558 for the university. This makes research-active professors a very profitable activity for the university, because they generate money to supplement tuition dollars.

So, yeah, I hear this "overpaid professor who never teaches" rant a lot, especially from self-proclaimed conservatives. Usually it says more about the person who gives the rant, saying that he or she has no idea how US education actually works.

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Serisan wrote:

Raise an appendage if you've ever retired a character because it was built when you didn't understand how to build it.

Raises a hand.

Raises a tentacle. Silly humanoids.

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d'Eon wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
The other part of system mastery is knowing/realizing how often stuff happens. Like that cleave struggles to have the correct setup to use. How long fights last.
This seems like a big part, and could maybe be more experience than mastery.

Experience is a source of mastery, but is not mastery itself. Nor, famously, is it the only source of mastery; if Master Qui-Gonn explains the problem with Cleave to me, I don't need to see it in action, yes? (Hence the proverb that experience is the fool's teacher, the wise don't need it.)

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Ravingdork wrote:

Again and again system mastery is mentioned across these boards. If you have it, you're considered a god among players. If you don't, you might get by, or squashed; whichever the dice may decree.

Is system mastery really a thing though?


There are lots of options available.

Some are good options, some are less-good options, and some are considered outright traps. Knowledge of which ones are good and which are traps is a major part of system mastery.

Another major part of system mastery is knowing how the twisty bits fit together. For example, the ability to penetrate spell resistance is key to a blaster-caster, but substantially less so for a conjurer. This make spell-penetration related feats and abilities vary in "goodness" depending upon the build -- again, this is a part of system mastery.

You mentioned and similar resources, but they don't tell you which feats are useful -- if you really want to read your way to system mastery, you'd be better off looking at the various character optimizations guides. But even those need to be taken with a grain of salt, as a True System Master [tm] understands how the general advice in those guides applies (or does not apply) in specific cases.

So, yes, you're off-base.

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The Raven Black wrote:
doc roc wrote:
No surprise in the result..... at heart the French have always been pretty socialist. Its no wonder they are so pro-EU.
I am not sure where you take that the French have always been pretty socialist

Doc roc has a rather individual take on the political spectrum. Check his posting history for confirmation. He considers Mussolini to be center-left and Hitler to be center right. Basically, if you're not actively campaigning for persecution of religious minorities, you're a socialist.

By that standard, of course, France is indeed pretty socialist; I think the only centrist government in his view was that of Pétain.

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If there's a feat that explicitly grants the ability to do X, then another feat that explicitly grants the ability to do Y should not implicitly grant the ability to do X. Especially when the second feat is a prerequisite of the first.

In particular, Dire Bat Shape says : "Prerequisite: Cha 13, Bat Shape, base attack bonus +3, werebat-kin.

Benefit: When you use Bat Shape to become a bat, you can choose to become a bat or a dire bat."

If I could already do that from Bat Shape alone, why does the Dire Bat Shape even exist?

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VRMH wrote:
Gate doesn't say you get to pick where on a Plane you'd end up though.

Actually, I think it does. "As a mode of planar travel, a gate spell functions much like a plane shift spell, except that the gate opens precisely at the point you desire."

That's explicitly one of the ways that gate differs from plane shift.

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One way that I make gnome names more fun is to remember that names have meaning. In Gnomish culture, almost any event can be celebrated with a name, and significant events can become familiar history and passed down as names. So a gnome might have a dozen names, all of which actually mean something, and writing a name is writing a backstory.

Here are some examples, taken from real-world culture. (Bonus points for the people who can tell me which cultures the customs are from....)

Gnomes are usually given "milk names" at birth, the names of recently-dead relatives, so if the Angel of Death needs to take the life of "Quintius Archengold," he will be confused by the fact that he just collected Quintius only a year ago, and spare the child. Once a child is old enough to join the church, she is given a confirmation name, usually related to some aspect of the divine (as a protective charm). When a gnome becomes an adult, she will take yet another (self-chosen) name, which is what she is usually called by her friends. In addition, most gnomes have one or more epithets or nicknames related to events in their pasts (for example, after a particularly unsuccessful -- or successful -- incident at the forge, a gnome might become known as "Ishkabibble Firebeard.")

Almost all gnomes have six familial names - a parental name (usually but not always the father's self-chose name followed by a suffix equivalent to "-son" or "-dottir"), plus the family names (of both the father and mother (usually with the one of higher status last). In addition, families are grouped into clans of related families and "houses" of related clans -- family names are usually related to a a traditional profession (e.g, "Gardner" or its equivalent), while houses take their name from a legendary founding hero. A married gnome of either sex will often take one of the familial names of his/her spouse as well. Many gnomes have locatives as well, explaining where they come from.

Most gnomes who practice a trade have an honorific title (like "Doctor") and many have a trade name under which they actually practice their trade (you don't think that it says "Sting" on his birth certificate, do you?). Most gnomish authors use pen names when they publish. Finally, most Bleachlings will renounce their names and take a single name as part of their new life.

And, of course, any or all of these names might be given or inherited in any language.

So we might get a gnome named something like

Magister Lokoumades Eleazar Amtiel Fafhrdsson Xanthisson Holodwer Taylor-Geltmann Florianopolous Oxoniensis of House Martel

Breaking it down (again, these are based on real languages and customs, bonus points for deciphering)

Magister -- traditional honorific for a spellcaster
Lokoumades -- self chosen name
Grasscutter -- epithet from a previous adventure
Eleazar -- milk name, after grandfather Eleazar
Amtiel -- confirmation name, meaning "truth of God"
Fafhrdsson Xanthisson -- parents were named Fafhrd and Xanthis
Holodwer -- married to Holod
Taylor-Geltmann -- Father's family are traditionally tailors, mother's are bankers (and v. wealthy indeed)
Florianopolous -- of the city of Florian
Oxoniensis -- in the district of Oxford
of House Martel -- and a member of House Martel (named after a famous warrior several millennia ago)

Of course, his friends and family call him Lokoumades or Grasscutter. He signs his checks as Lokoumades Xanthisson. Professionally, as a wizard, he goes by 'The Great and Powerful Gazoo."

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Gilfalas wrote:
I emphasize generally because no one is cut and dried and there is room for free will and judging things on a case by case basis in all circumstances no matter what you alignment is.

I disagree with this as a misrepresentation of the Lawful point of view. Law is about following the rules, and not making exceptions on a case by case basis. Or, more accurately, the exceptions themselves are part of the rules.

To understand this, let's look at one of the most "lawful" formalism out there, the actual law.

If I break your store window, I have broken the law. (This is true in almost all jurisdictions, but I'll focus on US law, which of course is based on English Common law.) This is specifically codified in written law. For example, in Connecticut, this would be "Criminal mischief" and punished under C.G.S. 53a-116 or something similar, which specifies both the elements of the crime and the penalty to expect if you commit it.

That said, if you are arrested, there are a number of due process steps involved before you will be punished that are supposed to make sure that in this particular case, all of the necessary elements were present. It's not as arbitrary as "you did the crime, now do the time," because someone needs to actually make the decision about whether or not you did the crime or not.

Well, yes, but.... what if you're a special snowflake, and the law shouldn't apply to you for some reason? That, too, is written into the law. There are a number of affirmative defenses that entitle you, as a matter of law, to avoid conviction and punishment. For example, there is the "defense of necessity," which allows a person to commit a crime "when an emergency situation, not of the person's own creation compels the person to act in a criminal manner to avoid greater harm from occurring." (For example, there was a fire in your store, so I broke the window in order to get there and put it out.) Another defense is "duress," and so forth. The main point, though, is that these are not exceptions to the rules -- these are, in fact, part of the rules (which is why lawyers drive Jaguars). Society as a whole has already decided what the exceptions are, not an individual special snowflake. The rules themselves are built to be fault-tolerant and self-correcting, which means that no exceptions should be needed.

The idea that "lawful means lawful until something happens that I don't like, at which point I can break the rules" is a chaotic [or at best neutral] misrepresentation of law.

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Ravingdork wrote:

So long as it doesn't impinge upon the rights of others, or put anyone in danger, speech should be (and is) legally protected in the US.


What then gives a person the right to then condemn someone else based on the accuser's beliefs?

You answered your own question. I can "condemn" anyone I like for based on anything I like, based on my own freedom of speech. You can "condemn" me for anything you like, including my condemnation of others.

You have a right to be a racist bastard.
I have a right to call you out on it.
You have a right to call me out on my call-out, if you see fit.
I have a right to call you out on your call-out of my calling out.

All "freedom of speech" means is that the government can't arrest you for saying what you are saying. It doesn't mean that you can't be fired from your job for unprofessional behavior, that your neighbors can't ostracize you for your views, or that your gaming group has to let you join in their reindeer games. Nothing about your freedom of speech compels me to like you, to respect you, to support you, or to provide you with a soapbox.

XKCD put it well: "I can't remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you're saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it's not literally illegal to express."

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derpdidruid wrote:

I do agree with raving dork in that you need to intentionally be racist to actually be racist though.

I think this statement can be empirically disproven. Well, not the fact that you agree, obviously. But unconscious and unintentional racism is a well-established thing. You might think that you are completely race-blind, but it may still show up in your behavior.

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thejeff wrote:
Java Man wrote:

I heard it said once that old dragon myths embodied each of the Seven Deadly Sins, explains the boards and maiden "eating."

Dragons have long been tied to at least Greed - back to the earliest legends.

I get that we're trying to come up with practical reasons for many things that existed for symbolic ones in myth and legend, but I'm not sure that's always a profitable task.

Yeah.... the oldest (surviving) dragon in Germanic tradition is from Beowulf, and even then, the dragon had a hoard, a fact which was well-understood to the audience and which required no explanation.

I don't actually buy the "dragons embodied each of the Seven Deadly Sins" for a number of reasons, most of which is that there are other monsters that tend to embody different sins (although dragons are great monsters to symbolize Avarice), but also for the same reason -- dragons go back at least to Beowulf and hence predate Germanic Christianity.

As long as we're sharing false origin stories, though, I read an interesting one suggesting that "hoarding" was actually the origin of dragons. In Old Germanic culture, gold was something that circulated -- the king was called, literally, "ring-giver," because he gave his wealth away to his loyal retainers. A person who did not share his wealth in this way would be transformed into a dragon as his external form grew to match his greedy, draconic heart.

I've even heard it suggested that the words "hoard" and "treasure" were opposites -- "treasure" was something that circulated (like Beowulf Ring-giver's rings) while a "hoard" was something secret that dragons and draconic-hearted people kept to themselves. This is obviously false, because "treasure" is not a German word (it derives from Old French, from Latin, and eventually from Greek), but it's another useful way to interpret origin myths.

As Barry Hughart put it, "fable has strong shoulders that can carry more truth than fact can."

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Zelda Marie Lupescu wrote:

Okay, so they Gray Gardener prestige class says that you must execute a convicted criminal. Their guilt or innocence doesn't matter. That made me think, what if someone who truly believed in the lawful authority of the Gray Gardeners wanted to be a gray gardener?

The person was convicted.

Sure, they might be innocent, but you don't know they are. Just that they were convicted means they are guilty, so as a Lawful Neutral upholder of the law, you execute them.

From a Lawful Neutral perspective, society has rules and the rules must be followed. The guilt or innocence of any particular person is less important than the overall cohesion and stability of society. This is basically the same argument that "the good of the many is more important than the good of the few or the one," and it's, for example, the argument behind the idea that everyone needs to be of legal age to drive or to drink, without exception.


Now, what if you know that they were framed but there wasn't enough evidence... does doing your lawfully appointed job as a Lawful Neutral person mean you are now committing an evil act?

No, you are still following the rules of society and preserving the cohesion and stability of the justice system. Now, the fact that someone else has undermined that cohesion and stability is a problem,.... but that's a different problem.

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