The traditional level based answer is that the PCs confront serious problems, but problems limited in scope by their level.
For example: weak/low level PCs defend a village against Goblins. High level PCs defend a kingdom against an invasion of Dragons. Both stories have a very similar structure (PCs defend the innocent against invading monsters) but their level controls the type of antagonists and scale of the threat.
Looking at the Fellowship of the Ring in particular, some chunks would work as adventures but some wouldn't.
"You four are Hobbits who need to get to Bree" works fine. It's a wilderness trek with low level characters.
"You, Aragorn, need to get these helpless Hobbits to Rivendell" works fine for a game with only one player. "You four are Hobbits who get to watch my GMPC fight Ringwraiths while you cower" would be terrible.
"You five super heroes (Gandalf, Aragorn, Boromir, Legolas, and Gimli) need to get these helpless hobbits alive through Moria." works fine. "Watch my superheroes protect you in Moria" isn't playable.
Where things get interesting is after Amon Hen when there are two parties. "You two need to sneak into Mordor despite being low level" is totally playable. "You three (Aragorn/Legolas/Gimli) need to rescue NPC hobbits from Uruk-Hai and deal with the war from Helm's Deep to the Black Gate" is a pretty typical structure for an epic campaign.
The interesting thing about the "The three hunters fight the War of the Ring" campaign is that, off-stage, something more important is happening. That's an interesting twist that I think could really add something to a game where the typical assumption is that the most important work anyone is doing is being done by the PCs. I don't see why in principle that needs to be the case though.
For a durable item, such as a sword, I could claim that it had been forged two centuries ago and the PCs are buying it from the estate of a collector. But for a consumable, such as a True Healing Potion, that story becomes hard to justify.
Potions don't go off, why not have them be centuries old as well?
AMAZO: "Ah, I do have something you might like. This potion was brewed by the great Artokus Kirranas himself as a gift to the Duke of Verduran on the birth of his heir, but misfortune forced the Duke to sell twenty years ago. It is said to heal literally any injury, but as it is irreplaceable I couldn't let it go for less than 1,200 gold."
There is also shipping, the PCs don't need to buy things from the people who make them, they can buy things from merchants. Nothing I buy is bought from people who could have made it themselves. The clerk who rings up my coffee maker doesn't know how to make it, the infrastructure that made my laptop is mostly on another continent. The salesman who recommends a television to me doesn't need to be an engineer, in fact in any sane economy he won't be. The engineer will be spending his more valuable time doing engineering not sales.
16th level craftsmen are rare, but so are 16th level customers, the craftsmen have to develop networks to put them in contact with the kind of people who have 1,200gp to drop on a potion. Shipping isn't a significant expense when the base good is worth >1,000gp an ounce. I would just assign a level to a marketplace and say you could easily find goods of that level in that marketplace.
Isn't this just mechanically identical to raising the bonus granted by expert/master/and legendary?
Increasing the bonus from proficiency is an option, but it is cleaner to do it directly rather than add a step of consulting a chart to find new lower tier DCs.
If my expert has a +16 and faces a DC 30 lock I don't need a table.
I honestly don't know if A can target B with a magic missile and vice versa. The rules simply don't answer that question.
Maybe they can't because there is no line of effect.
That is a basic basic question that the rules absolutely need to be able to answer if the game is going to be playable as written.
Yes, you could improvise an answer, and yes you could houserule it into a solution, but saying that means there isn't a problem is the Oberoni fallacy.
But such rules won't save you from people creating specific situations where they don't work well, just to say that the rules are silly.
That's kind of what a playtest *is*. Feedback that "The rules are unclear / don't work in situations like X" isn't some disloyal attack on Paizo, it is literally what a playtest is for.
Suppose Ezren is fighting a goblin near a bend in a dungeon passage like so:
If you are reluctant to click on links to strange pictures on the internet, know that it shows Ezren one square below and two squares to the right of a goblin with a wall that grants the goblin cover, but doesn't break their mutual line of sight.
My reading of the rules is that while Ezren can fire his crossbow at the goblin (who will get cover), he can not cast Charm on him because of the rock wall in the way. If you played PF1 that result might surprise you, but I do think it is what the PF2 rules say.
In describing spells page 196 says spells require line of effect:
Line of Effect p.196 wrote:
You usually need an unblocked path to the target of a spell, the origin point of an area, or the place where you create something with a spell. For more on line of effect, see page 298.
Page 298 describes line of effect by reference to the rules for determining cover:
Line of Effect p.298 wrote:
You usually need an unblocked path to the target of a spell, the origin point of an area, or the place where you create something with a spell or other ability. This is called the line of effect. If you need to check whether you have a line of effect, draw a line like you do when determining cover (see page 314). Only solid barriers break line of effect...
Page 314 defines the procedure for determining line of effect:
Cover p.314 wrote:
To determine whether a target has cover from an attack, the attacking creature or object draws a line from the center of its space to the center of the target’s space. If that line passes through any blocking terrain, the target has cover.
Question 1: Is this intentional?PF1 handled line of effect differently. In PF1 line of effect worked like line of sight, it required a line from any point on the attacker's square to any point on the defender's square (not just center to center). Ezren unambiguously could target the goblin with magic in PF1. It seems plausible that the change is not intentional.
Question 2: What spells don't use "usual" targeting?
Ooof. Three to five pages of pure rules is an ugly thing to hand a new player who may be sitting down for their first ever game of Pathfinder.
The first edition character sheet has a big story/background column, a big full color picture, and still manages to get the necessary rules onto one side of one sheet. Those are vital (and achievable) design goals.
Well, Lisa doesn't have to believe anything...
Smart and competent people can look at the same data and draw different conclusions, she isn't infallible.
Despite having all of TSR's old data, WotC follows a very different publication strategy than Paizo in lots of ways. Most obviously they publish way less often. D&D does a few big releases a year rather than Pazio's magazine style of lots of little releases all the time. WotC hasn't abandoned the idea of multiple settings, it has published a well received Ravenloft book as well as more recent Ebberon and Ravnica products despite mostly keeping things in the Forgotten Realms.
Sure, the box set followed by a million splat-books for each of a million settings model is dead, but that isn't the same as the idea of publishing multiple settings being dead. Maybe no one can make money selling a line of "Van Richten's guide to X" (which RPG geek tells me had ten entries by the end), but WotC made plenty of money off Curse of Strahd. No one knows if a Dragonlance book in the same style would be well received or not, or how much expansion Ravenloft can support (sure, CoS was great, but would people buy another big adventure set in Darkon?).
More generally, the danger is spreading yourself too thin, not different settings per se. If Paizo tried to publish ten gothic monster splatbooks for Ustlav adventures like the Van Richten line, they would lose money because that is too much page count to too little interest, even if they are all set in the one world of Golarion.
Paizo has concluded the best strategy is to keep everything on Golarion, WotC is experimenting with things like a big expensive Ravenloft book and a little cheap Ebberon PDF. Who knows how successful either company's strategy will be, but it's not like there is some simple right answer that people like Lisa know, if there were people like Chris Cocks wouldn't disagree with her.
There are various theories about why TSR failed.
There is a good discussion at the Plot Points podcast based on interviews the presenter did with many of the people involved. You can find it here.
Designers and Dragons is not free like the podcast, but is a pretty serious history of RPGs that discusses the issue as well. It's worth a read.
The idea that TSR had too many settings, that they put themselves in competition with themselves by fracturing the player base, was not the only problem (I tend to think TSR's crazy debt arrangement with Random House is a more significant cause), but you can't expect anyone to take seriously your claim that you are "very familiar with the industry" if you have never even heard of a theory that is both extremely common and plausible enough that serious people like Lisa Stevens believe it.
I think level inappropriate challenges are a vital part of play. Suppose a 10th level party is traveling from city A to B and are attacked on the road by ten 1st level bandits.
One theory is that such an encounter should never happen. It is a trivial threat, just skip it and get to the 10th level adventure in city B.
There are lots of fun ways that encounter can resolve though. The PCs can flatten them in a round, which is a fun power fantasy. They can overcome them non-violently, talk and get clues about the local politics that have led them to brigandage, etc... etc...
Good encounters can be had by interacting with characters or the environment in a way that tells you something interesting about the plot, the PCs, the setting, or whatever. The haughty wizard who fireballs the bandits and rides on has demonstrated a different character than the crafty rogue who hires them and puts them to use as informants. It is by those roleplaying choices that we express characters and build stories.
A challenge isn't a necessity for a good scene. If you find the strange carvings in the dungeon that tell the story of the ancient alien contact with the dwarves who built the place, the interesting thing is the story, not that the DC was such that you could have failed your linguistics to make sense of it.
If the DC in my 10th level tomb is 15, then the barbarian can interpret the glyphs and suddenly his being 10th level means something, his getting +1/level to everything did something, even if the wizard can do it without rolling. If the DC is 30 because the party is level 10, nothing ever changes for anyone. Giving everyone a +1 to hit and everyone a +1 to AC is literally the same as doing nothing at all.
Regarding overpowered encounters, if the 1st level party is traveling and crest a hill only to see three trolls down on the road ahead eating the remains of a horse and rider you can still have a good scene. They can fall back, they can sneak around, they can set an ambush and try to pick them off one by one, but whatever they do they know they live in a world with its own rules and logic that doesn't just exist for them. That is vital to the world seeing real.
One huge benefit is that they start thinking. If every adventure is written such that "charge in and kill everyone" is always a viable plan then that is a default plan they'll keep falling back on. If some of the encounters are over their level, they need to think more carefully, they need to decide whether they think they can take three trolls rather than just say "well, I trust our GM has done the math and wouldn't give us more than we can handle".
I do agree with your concern about experience points. I tend to house rule experience points quite a lot, the default system doesn't really do what I want it to. By default the experience system ignores the encounter with the low level bandits (or a social interaction with a bartender) despite those being fun opportunities for role play that maybe should have some mechanical incentive. I tend not to worry too much about it, my players are generally pretty willing to engage in all sorts of shenanigans with or without experience points as a reward.
In theory, the DC chart is supposed to tell me how hard a task is for PCs of a given level given designer's estimates of what PC bonuses might be.
In theory, the same task should have the same DC regardless of who attempts it. Picking the lock on Lord Gyr's bedroom door should be the same if a 5th level rogue tries or a 15th. Lord Gyr is the 13th level lord of a prosperous city, maybe he has a level 13 lock with a DC around 30.
In practice, I don't think it will get used that way. Without developing new habits (be it habits for home GMs or editorial oversight for publishers) we run the risk of a treadmill where the DCs make no sense in the setting and undermine the coherence of the setting.
Spoilers for some problematic DCs and situation from The Frozen Oath:
What should the DC be to examine a pile of furs in a warehouse and discover that a family of rabbits has burrowed into them to make a nest? An observer isn't certain to succeed, a big pile of furs might not look like much, but it is possible. The rabbits will have torn at the fabric, they'll have left droppings, they might have hollowed out a noticeable tunnel. If a first level Druid searches, what might his odds be?
5% says The Frozen Oath. That is a DC 24 check. He may be wise, he may be trained in perception, but no he is basically incapable of doing it.
What should the DC be for the druid to gently wake a sleeping rabbit without startling it? Low enough that a normal human might succeed? Low enough that someone wise and an expert in animal handling might succeed? 15 maybe?
27 says the Frozen Oath. This is exactly the dc of a hard check for the level the scenario is pitched to, but it creates a senseless world. If this situation came up in a level 5 scenario I guarantee the author would have picked 20 and if in a level 15 scenario a 33.
If I'm playing the Druid I discover at level 5 I have about a 50% chance of doing any animal related task, at level 10 I also have a 50% chance, and likewise at level 15. I never get any better is one problem, but I don't know what my skills mean is another. Does +15 animal handling mean I can probably calm that rabid dog? No one knows. If I have a +15 at low level then yes, +15 is plenty to calm a DC 20 rabid dog. If through bad choices and poor optimization I have a +15 at high level then no, it isn't enough because a rabid dog is suddenly DC 30.
To be clear, this isn't a system problem. The system works just the same if it is given a DC 5, 15, or 50. This is a scenario problem. The DC doesn't have anything to do with the world, so the world and the numbers stop making any sense. In theory a rabid dog should always be the same DC and at high levels you're calming demonically possessed dire wolves or whatever, but in practice the DC table creates a lazy shortcut where you don't actually think about how hard the task is, you just plug in the PCs level and do whatever the chart tells you.
It is a solvable problem, but the solution is careful habits from GMs and editorial oversight from Paizo or we'll have more failures like
DC 27 to calm a bunny
I guess there are two distinct issues here:
Combatants Motivation: Combatants should fight in a way that makes sense given their goals and abilities. An assassin should kill (not disable, but kill) his one target and then get out of there. A cornered animal should do enough damage that it can get away and not care about killing or not. An orc raiding party might take pains *not* to kill so they can capture slaves or prisoners for ransom. An outnumbered fanatic might prefer to murder one of his hated foes over disabling two or three. Etc... Combatants will try to kill or not as makes sense for their goals...
System Assumptions: Realistic violence is deadly. Cinematic tropes require heroes who survive a gunfight a week. What are you trying to model? The default for Pathfinder is (I think) heroic action and adventure where the PCs face dangerous monsters and perils four times a day and live to the end of a six book AP. They need to be pretty resilient. The system should make it pretty hard to kill someone.
I've played in games where an unlucky crit can one shot a character from full health to death. I've played in games where the combat rules literally couldn't kill characters (at 0 you're "out of the fight", but only deliberate and non-mechanical coup-de-grace execution could kill). Those are mechanical choices independent of what NPCs should be trying to do.
Problems, obviously, arise when the two are in tension. How do you do a sniper in d20 Modern (basically 3.0 in modern day)? Death Attacks with saves? The fiction says a bullet to the head should kill. The rules say the target is a 10th level character with 100hp and the assassin does d8 + 10 + some sneak attack.
I suppose what the 15th level trained character needs to do is find a 1st level, wise, expert character.
A 1st level character with a 14 Wisdom and Expert proficiency has a +4 and only needs a 9 on the die.
"I, with my +17 can't do this. You, with your +4, will have to do it for me."
Skill at medicine becomes not based on level, but based on talent and training (the 1st level wise expert beats the 15 level sensible apprentice).
Talent and training being important is fine, but there is something deeply bizarre about the rules adding level to every check only to subtract it out again (in effect) at the DC stage. Why not cut out the middle man and ditch levels if you want to go this way?
The DC for "Treat Wounds" is a function of the doctor's level. The higher level the doctor, the more difficult the check.
A first level Fighter, a soldier trained in Medicine and somewhat talented (Wis 12), comes across the victim of an orc attack and wants to treat his wounds. DC 13 with a +2 means an 11 on the die to succeed.
First up, a 50% chance of failure at a routine task you have invested some of your very limited character creation resources into is frustrating. Healing 1 hp
Second, the odds of critically failing are very low (5%). So a common result will be the player declares an action, fails the roll, *nothing happens*, and he tries again, maybe nothing happens *again*, and he tries a third time and succeeds. That's boring and tedious.
Third, even if he succeeds, he heals the peasant 1 shiny hp. He's going to have to roll again. And again. And again. If the peasant has 5 points of damage, he's going to have to roll around 10 checks to deal with it. Why on earth is the system requiring 10 rolls to resolve a simple task?
Finally, late in his career, the same fighter comes across another wounded peasant, another victim of another orc attack. He is no wiser, but vastly more experienced (15th level! A god among men!). The new DC of 30 with a +16 means a 14 on die. Huh?
Why has the DC skyrocketed? The task is the same. His chance of success has dropped from 1 in 2 down to about 1 in 3. His chance to critically fail has gone from 1 in 20 to about 1 in 7. Why has his experience of patching up wounds through 15 levels of adventure made him worse at it?
At least if he succeeds he'll heal the peasant 15hp and be done.
Alas, even with that boost his total chance of healing the peasant has gone down with experience and training. Before he could keep rolling (and rolling) until he heals the peasant, he was likely to get his 5 successes before he got the critical failure that stopped the process. Now he's very likely to be done in two or three rolls (which is still one or two too many) but he is way more likely to critically fail, bolster the peasant against further attempts, and be defeated.
Bob has 110hp.
That seems super weird. Breaking the connection between hp total, consciousness, and death seems hard to get used to.
Suppose a horde of 100 goblins charge the Fellowship, instead of running the Fellowship decide "Nah, we'll just stand our ground and kill them", at what level is that a viable plan?
Gandalf, Aragorn, Boromir, Gimli, and Legolas have 15 actions between them, and the hobbits cower. Let's assume they're at least level 6 or so and can hit and kill a goblin 95% of the time so maybe 13 dead goblins a round.
If the goblins are fanatically motivated and will never run, they'll all be dead in about 8 rounds. In round one they'll get around 87 turns, then 74, 61, 48, 35, 22, 9, and then 0 for a total of 336. If you're generous with the shortbow targeting that is about 1,000 attacks, about 5% of which hit, the Fellowship is looking at getting hit around 50 times, for about 625 damage (50 x 2d6+1d10).
Spread evenly among the five front liners they need to be high enough level to each soak about 125 damage. If Boromir is a human fighter with a a 16 Con, he'll have 125 hp at level 9.
So, maybe level 9 or 10 is around the point a party can take on more goblins than you possibly want to roll for.
One note is that the Fellowship don't have any actions that kill lots of goblins, even if Aragorn kills with every blow, he's only killing three per round. If Ezren is level 5 he can toss a fireball which kills 50 goblins. An actual Pathfinder party with area of effect attacks (fireballs, negative channeling, healing to mitigate their own damage, etc...) will be able to handle vast hordes of weenies at a much lower level.
The above also assumes the horde can draw line of sight and get hundreds of bow shots a round, if the Fellowship can get into a choke point with limited sight lines they take a lot less damage. If a front line of goblins moves round a corner, makes two attacks, and dies while the great mass churn in the background waiting their turn to die, the Fellowship isn't going to take much damage at all. With good positioning, a 5th level party should be able to handle 100 goblins.
I'm opposed to conflating character class with social class in general, but this is extremely heavy handed and clunky.
So the gods, or the universe, or something, takes mental control of every living thing in the universe and forces them (be they god or commoner) to not claim to be Paladins? Why? What's the big payoff? Smashing any ambiguity or uncertainty out of social encounters isn't a bonus, it's a cost.
Scammer con-men pretending to be Paladins are great villains. Real Paladins who have to prove themselves are great story beats. Even if you wanted the fantasy of 'everyone believes and respects you because you're just so awesome' it doesn't make sense. 8/9ths of the population isn't LG, and it's not like the remaining 1/9th should take you seriously just because you're a paladin.
BOO! BOO! BOO I SAY!
If 2 warriors duel, using the same armour, weaponry, and both their weapons are poisoned, both are in full awareness of said poison and both have agreed to the terms of said duel, is that dishonourable? If so why?
Yes, and because an honor culture says it is.
Honor isn't a private relationship between two combatants, it is wrapped up in culturally relative notions of face, respectability, reputation, and propriety.
The culture passing judgment (to which the warriors may or may not belong) might have rules against poison for obvious reasons. Discouraging secret murder, arms control, restraining overspending on positional goods, etc... The reasons a culture might ban a given weapon are pretty obvious.
What makes those rules honorable is that they are rolled into the culture's conception of what is appropriate and acceptable. That's all there is to honor. The idea of "non-culturally specific honor" is gibberish. It's like asking "what is objectively fashionable?" it misunderstands what the words means. "Decent people don't do that, they do this" is what honor is about.
If Paizo wants honor to be important to Paladins it is going to run into a bunch of problems. 1) most Americans don't live in an honor culture and have no idea what it means. They will grasp for concepts like fairness or goodness by mistake. 2) 'honor' isn't self defining or generic, it is only coherent in relation to a particular culture's standards 3) Golarion does not contain sufficient moral philosophy to speak sensibly about what Iomedae, Abadar, and Serenrae might think about honor or how Korvosan notions of honor differ from Osirian ones.
I suspect Paizo is aware of those problems as has chosen to remove (or at least greatly downplay) standards of honor from the Paladin in order to have a more generic fantasy setting that requires less work to maintain and adapts more easily to a variety of player's preferences. Compare Golarion to Rokugan for example, Rokugan is explicitly a game about samurai and honor is given a vast wordcount and hundreds of pages to try to explain what the culture actually values. It was a major innovation when Golarion got a sidebar for each of the core deities Paladin's codes. L5R is set in one nation, not Golarion's scores of cultures. L5R assumes the PCs are all members of the samurai caste, Golarion defaults to Pathfinders and wandering mercenaries (the 'hobo' is really the important part of muder-hobo for this purpose, the PCs might be from any nation or culture and may differ from each other and the locals wherever they are, it's a game about atomic individuals not people deeply enmeshed in social obligations), it's a really different setting and probably not one that can support games about honor.
Honorable/dishonorable is a different axis than good/evil. 'Maybe it is good to use poison in situation X, Y, and Z' seems irrelevant to the question of the honor involved in the tactic.
Honor is weird. Challenging your rival to a fair fight is honorable, sneaking up on him to gank him at 2AM isn't. A SWAT team that send ten guys with rifles and flash bangs to ambush one sleeping naked fugitive hasn't fought evilly, but they have fought dishonorably. If that seems stupid to you ("You should maximize the officer's safety!") then, congratulations, you're not part of an honor culture (I imagine most of Paizo's customers don't value honor, I certainly don't), but at least understand the culture.
Poison isn't honorable, if Paladins are bound by traditional notions of honor they shouldn't use it. If you want Paladins *not* to be honorable, and just to be good holy warriors, that's fine, but it is a significant break with tradition.
gustavo iglesias wrote:
So the laws in XXI century and the laws in fictional Golarion might not be the same, you know.
The law against murder is literally millennia older than the 21st century. The US law of murder is lifted basically intact from the common law of medieval England who lifted it from ancient Rome.
Sure, Magnimar might have some alien code where their definition of murder wouldn't be recognizable to a medieval or Renaissance person, but if so that makes murder's inclusion in the code even worse.
If Paizo is going to use a term in the rules, in the absence of information to the contrary we can only assume it is used in the normal way. They can provide specialized meanings for terms, but if they don't we have to assume they mean what those terms typically mean in English.
The question of what nation's law the Paladin has to follow is relevant though. If the Paladin travels to Cheliax do his obligations change? Obviously his lower priority 'obey the local laws' obligation changes, but do we really want the scope of his top level 'don't murder' obligation to change?
My position all along has been the law shouldn't be in the highest priority rule, the highest priority should be 'do no evil', not 'obey the law'.
Example. Suppose the Paladin travels to Razmiran. A Razmiri priest is killing some innocent peasants who failed to praise Razmir loudly enough and the Paladin tries to stop him. The priest responds violently, the Paladin does so also and kills him. Fall?
Surely not, who cares if Razmiran (a totalitarian theocracy) has a law saying "In this country any kiling of a Razmiri priest by a non-priest is always murder, no exceptions?" The code at that priority level shouldn't involve criminal law.
Under what justification is killing Karzoug not evil, but still meets a definition of murder?
It's homicide, the killing of one human by another without a recognized legal authorization to do it.
If I go kill my neighbor "He was a bad guy who needed killing" isn't a defense. It's not a defense even if it is true. If I travel to a foreign nation, break into the home of the head of state, and kill him, it's still murder even if the head of state is a bad guy and even if the nation is Shalast.
It might be a good thing to do (Karzoug is a very dangerous fellow and a threat to thousands of lives, and there aren't many people who can stop him), but sure, how is it possibly not murder? Murder is a legal judgment, not a moral one.
The Raven Black wrote:
Since murder is explicitly given as an example of an Evil act, no they could not
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
Killing Karzoug is murder. Killing Karzoug is not evil and should not cause a Paladin to fall. Murder =! wrong. Murder = illegal.
The Raven Black wrote:
How did the PF1 Paladin play it ?
The PF1 Paladin didn't have a prohibition against murder, they couldn't perform evil acts, but they could commit murder.
If Mr. X is bad enough and the local authorities are unable or unwilling to stop him, then adventurers kicking his door down and killing him is (potentially) non-evil. It isn't potentially non-murder though.
I've said it many times in another thread, but using legal terms like 'murder' confuses the issue. The question should be good vs. evil, not legal killings vs. murder. Invoking the law in the code encourages people to invoke the law in these arguments. Example: Just now Deadmanwalking suggested that maybe it isn't murder because it is a citizen's arrest. Citizen's arrests don't work like that in the US, and the law of citizen's arrests has slipped quietly into a rules question in a way Paizo couldn't plausibly anticipate or intend.
Legally, if there is a crack house on my block and me and my three friends grab guns, head down there, kick the doors in, try to drag out the drug dealing owner, and kill five people inside when the inhabitants resist, oh boy have we committed some crimes. Five murders for a start. "I am an agent of divine goodness performing a citizen's arrest!" might get me in a psychiatric prison rather than a regular one, but I'm definitely going to prison.
You can absolutely accidentally kill people with non-lethal damage in PF1. Non-lethal damage in excess of HP rolls over into lethal HP damage.
I ran a Pathfinder Society game where an overly enthusiastic PC hit someone with 20 points of non lethal damage. The target was (unbeknownst to the PC) only a 1st level commoner with 6hp. They took 6 non-lethal and the other 14 rolled over into lethal, dropping them to negative -8 and bleeding out. The PCs were busy with other things and didn't stabilize the victim in time, two rounds later they were at -10 and dead. A high strength, a crit, and a weak target, a sap can kill someone in one shot in PF1.
If a careless PC starts tossing large amounts of non-lethal damage around they can kill people accidentally in game just as in real life. When you suggested it isn't murder if you aren't trying to kill someone, I assumed you meant murder had to be deliberate, which it doesn't. If instead you meant nonlethal damage can't result in a death we disagree about the rules.
My problem with the "if you have different aspects of Law and Chaos you are neutral" then the same logic should apply to Good and Evil. Then, although maybe this is a pessimistic view of reality/setting, almost everyone is TN. Which I feel devalues the concept of TN.
It has never been clear how 'broad' the alignments are. Suppose you have a continuum of evil with serial killer cannibals on one end and the jerk who is kinda rude to waiters on the other. How far down that continuum of nastiness do you have to go before you get 'Evil' on your character sheet?
Are the nastiest third of the population "evil"? The nastiest 10%. Only the really dangerous and violent top 1% of serious criminals?
Same is true of Lawful and Chaotic. Is the free spirited hippy down the block Chaotic or do you have to be an active revolutionary to qualify?
Personally I like my alignments pretty broad. It keeps the 'Bob detects as evil, I should stab him' to a minimum if the crooked innkeeper who waters down the wine and cheats his guests a bit qualifies. If only Baby Eating Madmen qualify then 'Detect Evil --> Smite' starts getting too common for my tastes.
We're not talking about "saving throw" or "hit dice." Murder isn't a game term.
It is if it in the Paladin code. I literally can't know what the Paladin's saves are unless I know if he's committed a murder if his Divine Grace power depends on it.
With the Playtest code, murder is literally a game mechanic. Do it and your stats change, that's what game mechanics are.
the use of the word murder would be considered definition enough for most people
Look, maybe you think murder is simple and gentlemen should be able to easily come to an agreement. Maybe the 1,000 page volume on Criminal Law I have on my shelf is right and murder is actually pretty complicated. That isn't the main point I'm trying to make. The main point is a Paladin shouldn't care about whether something is murder (a legal issue), they should care about whether it is evil (a moral issue). They aren't the same thing, and commanding they abstain from murder muddles the issue by confusing the Paladin's duty (do no evil) with the law (don't commit a specific crime).
The short answer is use the definition of murder that works for you and your group.
"Invent game elements to suit your group" is always an option.
Paizo should rely on that answer as little as possible because letting customers avoid doing that work is literally the only thing they sell.
I think the big fallacy in this entire conversation is conflating real world legal precedent with fantasy world definitions.
I absolutely agree. The problem is that if the rules use real world legal terms then it is that much harder to keep those real world concepts out of the argument.
The top priority line should simply reference evil acts and be done with it. Including 'murder' as an example invites 100 arguments about whether a particular killing is a murder. I'd prefer to just have the arguments about what is evil without dragging legalities into it.
I feel like 'no torture' and 'no evil tagged spells' are useful specificity, but 'murder' risks importing legalities that will derail debates all the time. Even if we use fantasy legal codes (what if most of the PC's killings in Hell's Rebels for example are good aligned, within the genre expectations, but clearly illegal murders under Chelish law)?
Or is the Constitution Lawful because it constrains government agents with a series of formal rules, rather than letting the government do whatever it thought best at the time in an unconstrained and flexible way?
The whole axis is an incoherent mess of red robed basketball players. If you focus on the individual freedoms produced (the red robes) you think limited government is Chaotic. If you focus on the method of constraints on options for the government, reductions in flexibility of what policies can be considered, the rules and regulations (the tall basketball pro) you think limited government is Lawful.
The problem remains that those things have nothing to do with each other. An absolute monarch is Chaotic, he can legislate whatever he likes unconstrained by law, tradition, or anything other than his whim. A constitutional republic is Lawful, there are acres of formal laws, informal traditions, and generations of precedent that precisely define what legislation they can and can't pass.
The absolute monarch might command everyone to wear a uniform on a whim. Likewise a constitutional republic might consult their complex legal tradition and conclude their constitution required the abolition of slavery. The two things (the process of decision making and which conclusions are reached) aren't tied together.
Suppose I beat someone about the head with a sap, intending them to fall unconscious but not die. Alas, beating someone about the head is a dicey business and they do die. I am, in most jurisdictions, guilty of some degree of murder despite not causing a point of damage to anyone under the rules.
At common law (which is the pre-colonial English shared basis of the criminal law of the various US states) you are presumed to intend the reasonably foreseeable consequences of your actions. "I only intended to bludgeon his brain, not kill him" is not going to fly.
Who cares about that though? This is exactly why I said upthread that Paizo shouldn't use the term 'murder' when they mean evil killing or some such. If the rule says 'no murder', people will argue about whether X killing is a murder, and when they do they will be tempted to import what that word means in real life law, and that will be hugely unproductive.
There is a huge body of law about murder that Pazio should not unintentionally incorporate into the rules. For example, Paladin sneaks into a Chelish jail to rescue an unjustly held prisoner. They are noticed and have to flee! While fleeing into the street a Thrune wizard lobs a fireball at them which kills a peasant who is also in the street. Under US law, the Paladin is probably guilty of murder.
Why? It's complicated, but the "felony murder rule" triggers criminal liability for deaths that result from a dangerous felony (the jailbreak) even if they weren't intended by the defendant or the direct result of his actions, you see in the case of blah blah blah.... Who cares? Why are we talking about murder? Murder is a technical legal term with a whole lot of baggage Paizo should keep well away from.
If I discovered you owned a vial of tiger blood in real life I might think you were a bit peculiar, but I wouldn't think you were evil.
It seems to me like any intelligible theory of good and evil is going to have to center around hurting and helping people, making people's lives healthier, happier, more prosperous, and so on and avoiding the reverse.
Simple possession of devil blood doesn't seem plausibly evil. A rule that said "Devil blood has spooky mystic radiation and anyone who carries or uses it turns evil and starts hurting people" would be different, but we don't have a rule like that, so it ends up being very difficult to see what is so evil about Infernal Healing (especially given that it literally saves people's lives).
My complaint is that the lawful / chaotic axis involves lots of dichotomies that have nothing to do with each other.
Consider the following:
Collectivism vs. Individualism
Those are all workable dichotomies, but your position on one of them is only very weakly correlated to your position on any of the others.
Suppose my character rises at the same time every day, completes his rigorous monk training regimen, and tries to perfect his skill. Sounds pretty disciplined and lawful. Nothing about that makes it any less likely that the skill he is perfecting is murdering his Chelish oppressors to hasten the glorious People's revolution.
Suppose my character believes "the old ways are the best ways", "the way my father and his father did things is the way we should keep doing things". Sounds lawful? What if my forefathers were all CE Orcs. Does my devotion to "Might makes right and murder anyone who pisses you off" make me lawful because it's traditional?
Suppose my character is an Andoran patriot, devoted to democracy, the wisdom of crowds, ending slavery, and the equal value of all living things. Sounds pretty chaotic. Does that make him less likely to be a judge, an agent of the state and a literally minister of the law.
The things traditionally associated with law and chaos have nothing to do with each other. My barbarian shouldn't lose rage powers when they start really trusting the tribal elders. My monk shouldn't lose ki powers when they start believing in democracy.
You can say these characters are neutral, but that misses the point. If you added "Lawful characters tend to be tall and Chaotic characters tend to wear red" to the list you could say my red robed basketball player was neutral, but that wouldn't help the fact that the basic division is illusory. There are innovative collectivists. There are traditional democrats. There are disciplined criminals. None of those are anything like a contradiction, but show up to a game with a LN cat burglar monk and people get confused.
Artificial 20 wrote:
"Can you help me?" asks the woman.
I think the reason the resolution seems unsatisfying is that it is hard to rationalize Infernal Healing as evil. Try another example:
Weird magic means that if an innocent child lives to his tenth birthday, the gate to the Abyss will open and demons will spill out killing thousands. Alas the kid is 9 and his birthday is tomorrow morning. Kill the kid and you've done an evil act, don't kill the kid and thousands (including the kid) will die violently.
"Should I do evil to prevent great loss of life" is a moral dilemma, and one the PF2 Paladin code resolves with a clear 'no.' That isn't a problem with the code, it's a strength.
The reason your example appears compelling isn't because we want utilitarian Paladins who are able to do evil to achieve net good results, it is because we don't really buy that Infernal Healing is an evil act. "This spell is evil, don't ask why" is what needs to go and be replaced by "This spell is evil, because every time you cast it Asmodeus gets arcane power that he uses to further his plans to enslave the universe." or some such.
If we had some clear idea of what was supposed to be so bad about Infernal Healing, we might be more sympathetic to the Paladin who says "I'm sorry you're going to die, but I won't help you. I won't do evil things, even to help good people."
Murder is a technical legal term that Paizo should avoid unless a) they know what it means, b) they can reasonably expect their audience to know what it means, and c) they specifically intend the meaning of that word to bind Paladins.
I don't think any of a,b, or c are true. I'd suggest they avoid using legal terms in general.
'A' is going to get them in trouble because they have invoked the law without saying what jurisdiction binds Paladins. A killing might be murder under Abaslom or Chelish law, but not under Osiriani or Taldan law. A killing, however evil, is not murder if it takes place in a wilderness subject to no sovereign. Given that basically zero word count has ever been given to legal systems of Golarion, the odds that Paizo has a well thought out idea of what counts as murder on Golarion seems low.
'B' is going to get them in trouble because their audience is full of people who have little bits of exposure to the law in one form or another, but have radically different and unsophisticated ideas about how it works. People upthread have made plenty of legal claims that strike me (as a lawyer) as nonsense.
'C' is most important. I don't think Paizo intended for a moment to bind Paladin behavior to legal codes at the top level. I suspect they meant 'Paladin's can't unjustifiably kill people', not 'Paladins can't murder'. If they don't mean to import all the legal baggage, they shouldn't use the legal term.
Cthulhu can use Wish to put an antimagic field in place, and being a demigod can cast merrily while inside it.
He could, for example, raise the AMF at extreme range then teleport adjacent to you, meaning you take the DC 40 save or die with only a +26. With second chance you have a 58% to pass. If he follows up with a DC 31 quickened Feeblemind your odds of reaching the end of the round with sanity intact drop to about 29%. Even if you survive, you're now in melee with no items, no smite, and no way to pierce his DR.
Demigods just win if they can use AMF.
Before cell phones the complaints were similar. Some people wanted to get on with the game, other people were derailing it with Monty Python quotation and gossiping about whatever was going on in real life.
Banning phones from the table is a thought, but you can't legislate that people get involved in the game. Some groups are more focused, some are more laid back, if your social circle isn't to your taste that's legitimately tough, but it isn't a sign of the times. It's always been hard to find a big group of people you gel well with regardless of the activity.
Wealth seems relevant.
When I was a kid, I had a new RPG book at Christmas or my birthday and that was it. I devoured those books in minute detail, because I wasn't getting another one for six months, I knew every illustration and jot of text. Even if they were terrible, you had to wring every drop of juice from them, because they were all you had.
Now, I have PDFs, the internet, a giant library, and more games than I can possibly read. If I go to DriveThruRPG and drop $100 on PDFs I can get more stuff than I can digest in a decade, and I could do that every week if I wanted to. The constraint on my gaming now isn't money, it's time, a million diverse offerings are paraded before me and I have to decide carefully not what I can afford with cash, but what I can afford to invest reading and playing time in.
Suppose you want Petyr Baelish to be the finest liar in the kingdom with a +30 bluff and all the fancy new social feats. Suppose you also want him to be a non-combatant who could be killed by a typical CR 4 grizzly bear.
It is probably not going to be possible to build Petyr using the PC rules. If you give him enough levels to rank a +30 bluff, he's going to be able to pull his little belt knife and murder the bear. That's fine for PCs, you want everyone to be able to contribute in the combats even the face, but it is unfortunate for NPCs.
Building NPCs in a looser, more flexible way is an easy solution. I don't see any reason in principle that the rules should forbid someone simultaneously having +30 bluff and only 10 hit points.
I like the lines of the dungeon walls lining up nicely with the lines on the grid. We live in rectangular buildings, I think squares are always going to look cleaner.
There are obvious compatibility issues with a switch as well (not just compatibility with old PF1 stuff, but third party stuff like D&D maps, accessories like Dwarven Forge, and so on). Don't hold your breath.
I've been playing D&D and its variants for about 30 years, and in all that time I've never run or played in a game where rape was a major theme, I've never run or played in a rape scene, and I'm struggling to remember times rape was even mentioned.
That was true when I played 2nd edition AD&D (which didn't have half-orcs in the player's handbook), that was true when I played 3.X and Pathfinder (which did). It just wasn't a very rapey game.
I don't see a tight link between a) half-orcs existing in the setting/default player options and b) the game having much talk of rape in it. In 3.X half orcs were the only way to get a racial bonus to Strength, that's why I've seen people take them, not because they're interested in playing out their rape fiction.
I don't think I've ever been at a table where someone went into some uncomfortable monologue about their parent's rape, and I would have thought that social conventions would be sufficient to keep that to a minimum whether they're playing a half orc or a human child of a rape victim.
It might be useful to talk about specific cases. I think the following four examples exist on a continuum.
For least sexualized I have in mind Brienne of Tarth. (example).
Next up maybe Seelah. She's got boobs sculpted into her plate armor, but she remains pretty modest by fantasy art standards. (example)
Next up we have Amiri. She has a pretty inexplicably bare midriff. (example)
Next up I'd like to suggest Alias, of Curse of the Azure Bonds fame. This is maybe the most famous chainmail bikini of my youth. (example)
I haven't included a link of the next tier because I think they're generally too distasteful. Past Alias I think we start drifting into just soft core porn (sultry drow sorceress, I'm looking at you).
Personally I find Amiri and Alias too silly for my tastes but I'm not morally offended if other people draw the line in other places. Alias in particular pulls me out of the fantasy world and makes me just think "why would anyone wear that silly thing"? A blanket rule that says the Seelah illustration is too sexy seems unnecessarily prudish to me, but who knows. Maybe Seelah is driving women away from the hobby and Paizo would do better with art no sexier than Brienne, who knows? I doubt it, but its not like I have any crunchy data on the question.
Steve Geddes wrote:
"The Taldan law of Primogeniture" is not primogeniture as it exists in the real world
The Hillman quote is unfortunate and I don't think you should rely on it. It establishes a precedent that when Paizo writes things in English the words don't necessarily mean what they mean in English. No one in Taldor says "primogeniture", they say something in Taldan which Paizo translated as primogeniture. If an AP says a character is sitting alone in a room and later in the scene their lover is mentioned as present it doesn't fill the plot hole to claim "oh, in Golarion, "alone" means "by yourself or with your lover because they're just that close, isn't that sweet?"
When Eutropia claims the throne by virtue of being the eldest legitimate child of the previous ruler, she is *invoking* primogeniture, not abolishing it. Make up a proper name "The law of Agalznat!" use a generic term "the statute of succession" or be explicit "In Taldor inheritance follows these three rules..." but don't use a word that doesn't mean what you want. When people use the wrong words their readers are left unclear of what they intend.
That quote comes from a PFS scenario written by a different author and contradicts the Player's Guide to written by the AP's developer. Fraiser wrote
"While any Taldan can own property or hold a title via promotion, marriage, or appointment, the law of primogeniture dictates that only men can inherit".
It seems infinitely more likely to me that there isn't good in house communication between different authors than that Paizo hid the explanation of apparent contradictions in a PFS scenario.
If Wendigos are the mythological embodiment of fear of running out of food in a killer winter, going slowly mad, and resorting to cannibalism, then they can't be CR 17.
An adventure where you lose your way in the snow, struggle to deal with the elements, and are worn down by the blizzard, the nightmares, and the maddening howls of the stalking beast out in the storm sounds great, and it can be.
It doesn't work with 13th level PCs who can endure elements, create food magically, and teleport to their own personal heavenly demiplane whenever they fancy a rest. The time to run that game is when the PCs are 3rd level with a CR 7 monster.
Please describe how this is unfair and unscrupulous.
Species without a sense of obligation to their children don't survive, so given time you end up with species that tend to care for their young. There are exceptions, but humans aren't one of them.
Humans without a sense of obligation to their children strike normal humans as monstrous. The idea that I owe nothing to a helpless, intelligent, living, thing I created is pretty psychologically aberrant.
Vic Wertz wrote:
...we could give different mechanical benefits to Azlanti and Shoanti even though they're both human...
Please do not do that.
Many of Golarion's human ethnicities are direct real world expys. Sure Azlant evokes Atlantis, but Vudrani are plainly Indian, Garundi are African, Tian Xia is Asia, Osirian is Eygpt, and so on.
A tract explaining how Africans are good at X and bad at Y, how Asians are talented Z's but not good at Q, and how people from such and such place have high Constitution scores but low Intelligence is racism. Swapping 'African' for 'Garundi' or 'Romani' for 'Varisian' doesn't make it any less racist.
PF1 took the position that all these people were human and all used the same mechanics. Everyone chose from the same set of options. Anyone could take 'Heart of the Sea' if their human came from a fishing town, wherever that human was from.
If PF2 is going to try to assign traits, advantages, and disadvantages to real world races, that's just unavoidably racist. Malice isn't required, assigning people nice traits doesn't help any more than when some guy insists "I can't be racist, I think Asians are good at math and Blacks are great dancers". It's just going to be a disaster. There isn't a non-racist way to publish a book about how different the races are and what their various skills and weakness are.
This assumes a laborer is paid $75 dollars a day. In a medieval economy. That's...a hell of an assumption.
At minimum wage, 8 hours work in my state pays $82.
But, more important than the conversion is the ratio between the cost of labor and the costs of goods. No matter what you think the gp to USD ratio is, a dockhand in Absalom is looking at a belt pouch as costing ten day's wages. It is going to be as out of the budget of the Absalom dockhand as a $820 purchase is to a fast food worker in Oregon.
Skilled labor pays 1 or 2 GP a day, and can be done by anyone who can get the job (since Profession checks can be made untrained).
The core rulebook pegs trained hirelings at 3sp/day.
The profession skill returns much higher wages, but is a mess for other reasons. The amount you earn with it is totally independent of capital. Profession blacksmith (requiring an expensive smithy) earns just as much as profession beggar (requiring no capital at all).
The rules are all over the place. A doctor earns 1gp/day. A sage 15gp/day. A 3rd level wizard with a crafting feat turns 1,000gp of materials into 2,000gp of items *every day* generating insane wealth.
I would like to see them burn the whole system down and rebuild it from nothing. The PF1 prices are a mess.
A day's wages for a laborer are 1sp (so says the core rulebook), so a gp is maybe worth around $750. That makes a +1 keen longsword worth more than $6,000,000. A 3rd level bandit with a cloak of resistance +1 should retire and live the high life. A poor peasant boy, risking arrest to hunt the king's deer, should just sell his his $50,000 long bow.
Costs for non-magical, non-adventuring gear are almost random. A belt pouch, a little leather purse you might keep coins in, costs 1gp (better known as more than a week's wages). A fishhook costs 1sp, which is insanely high. Wax in Golarion is only marginally less expensive than an equal weight of gold in real life.