I don't understand the enclosure issue other than the basic idea that it was about private land ownership all season long, nor why it was so brutal. Can you explain?
My understanding is that it involved an economic shift where feudal subsistence farming came to be seen as less of a money maker than commercial wool production. Landlords who had (for generations) allowed peasants to work communal plots of land and feed themselves while producing a little revenue discovered they could fence in (enclose) the land, kick out the farmers (which generally took violence), and raise sheep for sale of wool on newly developing international wool markets (for dramatic profits).
The net result was a lot of displaced and pissed off peasants and some very wealthy landowners. I don't recall all the details, but I think it coincided with the rise of early proto-capitalism and a shift of thinking of the land as a feudal thing the peasants had some traditional rights in to thinking of the land as a commercial thing you could maximize profits on.
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.
Matthew Downie wrote:
The GM picks up the rulebook and starts searching through it, looking for the definition of Line of Sight. Is it corner-to-corner, or middle-to-middle? Failing to find it, he stops to do a search on the internet. Meanwhile, the players sit around, increasingly bored...
The GM could improvise something on the spot. "Sure, it looks like LOS to me." or "No, you can't see from here, you could see if you moved to there." That's a better solution than a thirty minute research break, but it is still bad.
Improvise unexpected corner cases. Don't improvise the basic rules. Write them down and stick to them. It drives me crazy as a player if the GM constantly changes his mind about line of sight and cover. It is frustrating to try to move not knowing what the ruling will be about what I can see from where I chose to move.
If the players don't know the rules they can't play the game. They become passive spectators of the GMs vision. Publicly available written rules empower players by being promises about how the game will be played.
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.
Something like this?
PDFs store information in layers, so the image of the map is separate from the text overlain on top of it. If you left click on any image in a PDF you will often be able to select and copy the image and paste it into the image editor of your choice.
Sometimes it doesn't work (either because of how the PDF is set up or because the creator has deliberately protected the image), but in this case the map is available.
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?
As far as I can tell, line of sight never gets a definition as a game term, and only shows up in some ability and spell descriptions (i.e. a reaction might trigger when someone does X within your line of sight).
In 3.X there was a rule to the effect that if you could draw an unobstructed line from any part of the attacker's square to any part of the defender's square the attacker could see the defender. No such rule appears to exist in PF2 and definitely should.
When a term is used in the rules but isn't explicitly defined we should assume it has the normal meaning it has in English. The example tells us explicitly that Kyra can see the Ogre, so her arrow (or whatever) is presumably traveling down whatever line the photons that bounced off the Ogre followed.
Kyra doesn't have line of effect to the Ogre, it isn't clear that she needs it to target the ogre with an arrow (though she would with a spell)? That feels like a pretty silly distinction. I'm not wild about a set of targeting rules that say there are circumstances where Ezren can hit you with an arrow, but not a magic missile. That seems fiddly and ugly.
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
The problem is the same if you run at it from the other direction. Suppose you want your 12th level Rogue to be challenged by a DC 30 wall surrounding a fiend's tower in Hell. What does that look like in the narrative?
Is a DC 30 wall a writhing mass of burning sinners trapped in soulstone that bite and push against anyone trying to climb them? Or is it just really smooth glass?
How is it different from a DC 40 wall? What does a DC 50 wall look like? Is it something mythic, like literally climbing a cloud? Or is it something realistic but very hard like a super smooth glass surface?
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.
Am I missing straight ability checks (i.e. "Give me a int check to remember what the inn keeper's hair color from last week" or "Give me a strength check to shift the rubble") or are they gone?
Are they entirely subsumed into skill checks? I.e. "Give me an Athletics check to shift the rubble" or "Give me a ?? check to remember the detail"
I suppose the relevant difference is training (no one seems to be "Expert in Wisdom" or anything like that) and level bonus (i.e. the 10th level character is more likely to remember the inn keeper's hair color).
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.
You don't have to pass a knowledge test to know something is too powerful to fight. Sometimes *failing* a knowledge test tells you that.
GM: A huge writhing mass of eyes, mouths, and tentacles emerges from the portal and slids into the room on a thick bed of slime.
The old CR system claimed that a +2 increase to CR was a doubling in power. A level was worth a 41% increase in overall power.
I.e. A CR 3 opponent was supposed to be the equal of two CR 1 opponents and a CR 10 warrior is supposed to be the equal of ~23 CR 1 warriors.
In practice it didn't really work that way, but that was the theory.
It's hard to answer without spoilers, and without a clearer view of what your paladin would be willing or unwilling to do.
Or, for that matter, how willing your GM is to improvise. For example, if the AP says "Go here and do X" and your paladin says "Nope, X is forbidden." can the game proceed? With a flexible GM? Sure. If they are set on following the AP precisely? The game breaks.
"You know those animals that I died trying to save innocent people from being horribly torn apart by? They're great. Stamp of approval. Raise them, take care of them, all that jazz."
Stranger things have happened.
Christians are really pretty pro-crosses. They wear them as jewelry, they build cathedrals with them as the layout, they carve them into giant monuments, they print them on their national flags and banners, etc...
One might easily forget that the Cross (they even capitalize it in English) was the method of execution of their founder. If Jesus had been hanged we might have loop shaped architecture all over Europe.
Handout Two wrote:
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!
I've been getting into the Fantasy Flight Genesys system (which is the generic version of their Star Wars games) which uses bespoke dice covered with symbols rather than numbers.
Their rules text is full of little blue boxes for the boost dice, little purple diamonds for the difficulty dice and so on. Basically every mechanic is expressed in dice (you add 'bad' dice for difficulty, not raise a DC or penalize a number, you add 'good' dice for skill or a masterwork tool and so on), so the symbols are *everywhere*.
I don't know the first thing about assistive technology PDF readers, but are they able to be easily modded to read symbols like that? Are the Fantasy Flight books a huge pain in the neck for visually impaired folks or is there some convenient workaround?
Any blind Edge of the Empire players round here? Does it work at all or is it just a mess?
The more substantive question is whether there is any formal content to the requirement that a Paladin act with honor. Honor (whether internal or external) is a matter of sticking to a code, it doesn't specify what the code is.
I agree that you could have assassins with a murderous honor code, presumably any group could have any code. Even more obviously the internal code a person hold themselves to could be anything.
If the code says a Paladin has to act with honor there are a handful of choices:
a) Take the requirement out of the code.
I don't like (a), honorable paladins are enough of a trope that I think it would be sad to lose them.
(B) seems like a recipe for misunderstandings and 'why did my jerk GM make me fall' threads. To play the game we've got to get on more or less the same page, and cranking out a code seems like the bare minimum necessary.
(C) isn't possible. I count at least 50 Empyreal Lords for starters, not to mention all the nations and races that might have different honor codes.
(D) is possible, so at least there is that. If the codes don't vary dramatically from (e) then there isn't much point. If the codes *do* vary dramatically I don't know that the resultant class still looks much like a Paladin. Suppose the honor of Kelinahat (the LG Empyreal lord of intelligence, spies, and stealth) has secret agent "Paladins" who put on shinobi shozokolie, sneak around, steal documents, plant forgeries, and poison their foes. Sure, it could be an honor code, but at some point I start wondering why they're built using the Paladin chassis. The classes aren't infinitely flexible, a spy is going to need a lot more skill points and tricks and a lot less armor and smiting than the Paladin chassis assumes. Just play a religious ninja or inquisitor or something rather than trying to bludgeon Paladin class into that role.
(E) isn't great. After all, Glorion isn't Europe, Iomedea isn't Jesus, and some knightly habits haven't aged well. Still, it gives you a Paladin class that is recognizable as an instantiation of an archetype. I'm not wild about it, but I like it better than the alternatives.
(F) is obviously best, but what is it? Any ideas?
I'm not so sure about this assertion. The games Pathfinder is descended from are hardly free of being about wandering adventurers and mercs-for-hire, and they never needed to adulterate the concept of 'honor'
I suppose I have in mind the idea that you can't be honorable all by yourself on a desert island, you need to be enmeshed in a web of social obligations and cultural norms before interesting stories about honor can emerge.
In a Westeros game I can play a feudal knight who has obligations to the faith, obligations to his peasants, to his immediate lord, to his great house overlord, and to the kingdom generally. Those social relationships define the knight's sense of honor and you can get plenty of drama out of conflicts between them. My lord has converted to worship Rh'llor, what does honor demand? My peasants will suffer if I join my lord in revolt against my king, what to do? My lord is a monster, can I break my oath to him?
Setting up all those social connections requires (I think) a smaller more detailed world. Golarion is broad and necessarily shallow, L5R can drill down on those relationships and conflicting duties only because it focuses on one country. Golarion just can't. We've got pirates, 10th century looking crusaders, pulp expeditions to darkest Africa, Eygptian tomb raiders, evil AI's, and swashbucklers in revolutionary France all rubbing shoulders in the same setting. Golarion just can't go into the kind of detail a really social game needs, it's just too big. Over on the War for the Crown sub-forum (explicitly billed as a Game of Thrones style political drama) there is significant disagreement what the Emperor's *name* even is, let alone what his powers and duties are.
Your point about the past is well taken, Faerûn for example is certainly no better, it's a kitchen sink with a little bit of everything as well. How do you define honor for a Paladin who might be a human from Lastwall worshiping a LG deity, a Catfolk from the Mwangi Expanse worshiping a NG deity, or an android from Numeria worshiping an Empyrial lord who only gets one line on a massive table somewhere? What does Aegirran's theology dictate? Or Uskyeria's? Or even Torag's for that matter?
Honor is about living up to the expectations of your culture, but that is only possible if you have a detailed account of what your culture's expectations are, and *that* isn't possible if you have dozens of nations and hundreds of religions in your setting.
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.
Eutropia has deliberately not been given a canonical age, Paizo generally taking the position that the less nailed down they are by details (such as ages and dates) the less likely they are to paint themselves into a corner.
I don't know how to link to a post, but Crystal Frasier has said Carrius could have been as young as 12 and just acted like a teenager in another thread. Alternately, the 'teenage' Carrius, could have been as old as 19.
Stavian III's bio says Eutropia is two years older than Carrius and that Carrius died 20 years ago giving Eutropia a possible age of 34 to 41.
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.
So Eutropia's kids might be John and Jane Eutropia? If John was older he would become the Emperor of house John and his kids might be house Mary?
Having your family name change every generation defeats the purpose of a family name. You can't even appeal to a tradition of always naming the firstborn son the same thing to preserve a family name, since the various Stavians aren't first borns and Stavian III's son wasn't named Stavian.
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.