For climb checks, I am having the player roll several climb checks to reach the desired height. To succeed, the player must make the height in successful climb checks before meeting one of the fail conditions below.
The player 'fails' if either of the following is true:
The first fail case really means that the player took a bad spill from the rigging. Calculate fall damage from whatever height they were when they fell. I considered adding a 'man overboard' chance (eg: d100 1-60: Character lands on the main deck and just hurt themselves, 61-75: The Character falls at the feet of Capt. Harrigan and Mister Plugg having a conversation at the helm... extra embarassing, 76-100: MAN OVERBOARD! (see the storm scenario for recovery)), but likely will leave that to the scripted components to not over-do water recovery encounters.
Tamara the rigger has randomly gotten rigging repair: so she must 'climb 30 feet' as part of the assignment. She is not working with any of the NPCs, and has a Climb skill of +6. She chooses to shop today, and is taking a -2 on all checks (giving her a +4 net). Since she is a human, she climbs 15' per check (another simplification - I'm not making a check per action, just per round-equivalent of movement). She must make 2 successful climb checks before meeting one of the conditions I listed above.
The climb check is a DC10;
If she had rolled a 1+4=5 on the third roll, she would have failed and fallen 15' (use normal fall rules). If her third roll had 'soft' failed, she would have failed the task but not fallen.
Hope this helps and gives some idea on what you can do to make it a little more interactive and consequential. The skill-test allows formore 'detail' in what actually happened so you can tell the story appropriately.
You could easilly be a Robin Hood type figure where you're stealing from the merchants and pirates in the area (but maybe don't rob settlements?).
Most pirate NPCs are CN, only the more depraved are actually evil. But even beyond that - you don't have to murderous and sadistic and be a pirate. In fact: murder was bad business. Sure, you have to make a living by stealing from others - but generally you don't have any respect/acknowledgement of whatever entity you are stealing from (so it's not really stealing, but more being patriotic). Depravity and treason are not what every pirate craves - most are just there to make a living off of the fat cats from other countries.
An overarching theme (and generalized plot point) is in the spoiler tag below:
From one perspective: the PCs are fighting corruption within the ranks of the Free Captains, though they don't know it until way later. So they're being 'good guys' to the pirate organization.
I do understand the concept of squibbing - just not in any real historical context outside of very superficial changes (think the sloppy sailing, name/signage change and lower yardarm in Master and Commander).
As described in the text of the AP - squibbing just changes the lines of the ship in a significant enough manner. If the squibbing is done in a public setting, then the squibbing is useless. Regardless of the actual changes done to the boat - it needs to be done in a secluded place to have any real effect.
I think that if you really want to make Rickety's a larger port of call, then you need to avoid the concept of squibbing all together and just make it a place for repairs, etc. But then you're diminishing the importance of getting the free captaincy in the next book. "hey, if we can just steal from a free captain, flaunt it, and get away with it, why would we need to go through the whole ordeal of being trusted by other pirates?" That PCs are supposed to be avoiding pirate civilization and laying low after dissing a major pirate (but at the same time come to find hints that there are lots of people that dislike Harrigan as well).
We can go in a circle on this, and ultimately it's your campaign - but I do strongly feel that the very secretive/secluded nature of Rickety's is essential to make much of the story work. You're trading a minor unacceptability of engineering (the squibbing) with many other story inconsistencies.
My greater point: why would traders come to Rickety's? Or more: why would YOU want to have your ship renamed and overhauled at Rickety's knowing that there is a stream of regular traders there?
The historical (and/or realistic) concept of squibbing - I'm going to claim ignorance on this as an entire historical process and deal with it as it appears in the story. Part of the point of squibbing is that it is done in secrecy (this is especially true as a plot point with the arrival of the other captain). That isn't to say that there aren't some very light amenities at Rickety's, but they should be enough to 'get the job done' more than be Disney Land. IE: any courtisans are likely also workers (and probably double as bar/commons maids), only a small selection of liquor (rum and ale mostly, with wine being reserved for christening?), and the crew's accomidations are probably no more than 2-3 dorms with bunks, etc. I'd imagine that the shipwrights at Rickety's are there on a rotating basis - their in-and-out is probably all that really drives trade. That, and Rickety acquiring loot/items/etc as part of payment. One ship per week doesn't seem to be a significan't selling point - especially since if someone just took a ship and needs it reworked, there's a high likely hood that they have all that was on that ship. The 'market' at Rickety's just doesn't seem to be there.
Personally, I am going to play off of the relatively baron landscape to emphasise the trust that does exist in the pirate culture (to help counter their first month of rebelliousness on the Wurmwood and Man's Promise). Rickety rewarding the PCs for saving a drowning employee and other acts of generosity can go to help show that pirating in the Shackles doesn't have to be as ruthless as their induction on the Wurmwood makes it seem.
I picture Rickety's significantly different than ya'll I think: it's more of a glorified hideout than any source of civilization. It needs to keep a low profile to do what he does, so being a point-of-pleasure or a restocking-point kind of defeats the purpose. If Rickety Squibs was in a city - it'd be underground, acessable only from a loose-stone in a gutter, and with the lanterns burning low to not attraction attention. Any entertainment and/or supplies that are there should be coincidental - this is a place of business. It should be a very Viking setting with the PCs bringing more liveliness to the location than the otherway around. Note that one the next stops for the PCs is probably more fresh water - which is even in low supply at Rickety's.
Do you expect to go to your car body repair shop to get hookers and beer? If so, please tell me where!
All that said - I do think that I am going to work in a small pirate-accepting settlement into one of their stops during book 2 (with full understanding that they don't have the standing, yet, to travel to Port Peril). It might be one of the 'reasons' they have to go travelling through the shackles rather than just pillaging randomly. Maybe Kroop knows a guy at lil-pirateville that has some ideas about cracking the rock...
Seeing as your PC is trying to impersonate someone that the Captain and officers probably know pretty well - the chance of him even being in the room for more than a moment with out at least one of them noticing is extremely slim (sense motive in the teens for most of the officers I'd guess).
Don't forget that the PC would get punished for 1) assaulting a crew member (poisioning Cauky) and 2) attempted murder x10 (once for each officer). The captain may cut out his tounge, remove his fingers (slowly) and put him in the cage to rot for all to see. Keelhauling is probably too good for them.
I fully expect one of my players (we start S&S in a few weeks) to attempt something outright stupid like this. An example will be made of them to set the tone (or perhaps I'll work in a second encounter where the captain eviscerates an NPC caught red handed doing something only minorly naughty - maybe catching a grab at cauky?).
I was going to roll his attack versus the flat-footed, unarmored PC. If he misses his attack roll - it's still 'hit' (in a story-sense) but didn't do damage in a mechanic sense. An attack roll less than an opponents AC doesn't neccessarilly mean that the attack sailed past the target, but it just means that it wasn't a significant enough blow to cause damage (think about fighting a creature with lots of natural armor and no dex - a miss means you probably glanced off of their scales - no different in this case just with softer scales :p). The terms 'hit' and 'miss' are taken too literally by most I think. Hit is really 'made good contact' and miss is really 'failed to make good contact'.
This is one of the best examples I can think of, or different yet: think about a football player or hockey player (goalie in particular). Even modern, form fitting, flexable 'armor' (ie: padding) is still restrictive. Folks that are used to it can do amazing things, yes, but that same athlete with out the padding on will do even more amazing things.
I do not have my book in front of me to confirm if this is in there or not, but the table that lists mount/barding costs in the PRD has a foot note after the 4x cost for large barding: "(2) Relative to similar armor made for a Medium humanoid."
If medium mithral chain armor costs 1100, then large mithril chain barding should be 4400.
Where is it described that material modifiers are counted AFTER cost multipliers? The only mention of anything like this is in the magic item section where it says that magic costs are applied after multipliers for size ('special' sizes/shapes section in both the armor and weapon magic creation guides). This makes a bit more sense. The difference is that material isn't really an 'extra' it's more of a 'type' modifier.
I'd think of something like this:
(B + M)xS + E = T
B = Basic Medium Humanoid Cost for the 'type' of item
For my S&S game: My players are all using a 'modified 4d6' method. Basically each character has a pool of 24 dice they get to arrange into each stat, taking the top 3 dice for each. It randomizes but allows players to skew in favor of their primary stats.
eg: a Cleric definately wants a higher wisdom, but doesn't care so much for int. So, he rolls 4d6(pick3) for STR, DEX, CON, CHA, 5d6(pick3) for WIS and 3d6 (straight) for INT. The fighter and rogue both did 6d6 for STR and DEX/CON with 3d6 for the other 4 stats.
Some players just roll 4d6 for everything. I even had one character roll stats before even picking what class he was going to play (which I loved this idea for flavor/randomness!).
I did set a floor of a total +2 bonuses minimum, which with any racial bonus comes out to a +3. I haven't decided how 'strict' to be with the casters if they get a low primary stat (as that will be debilitating when it starts limiting their spell level). It hasn't come up yet (all have rolled 14+, so 16+ after most appropriate racials)
If given the choice, I'd prefer to roll stats every time (I really dislike point-by because of the cookie cutter mentality it creates). I have a level 9 druid in another campaign that has: 10 str, 7 dex, 12 con, 13 int, 19 wis, 9 cha. Pair it down like this: my wisdom has 2 stat/level increases and a racial bonus to get that high. My rolled stats were horrible - but I ran with it (net bonuses of +1). The character is loads of fun and it forced me to REALLY go deep into the spell-based druid stuff for combat (though... riding my wolf-pet is fun :p). It forced me to think differently and presented unique challenges. The GM offered me a chance to reroll stats and I declined. Currently the druid is the most indispensable part of the party on the utility and damage front.
Just some IRL evidence about weapons going through water:
http://www.backwaterbowfishing.com/files/bowfishing_faq.htm (question 20)
"20. How deep can you shoot?
Probably 5-6 feet is about max with average bowfishing setups, some people will use stainless arrows for deeper shots, but you will lose a lot of fish at greater depths."
A thrown harpoon I would expect to be less effective than a modern compound bow and composite arrow. This isn't even taking into account an armored opponent, just a soft-scaled fish. Ever been to a test-fire range for firearms? All it takes is a 8' tunnel of water to slow down a bullet enough to be ineffective against a relatively thin (ie: not armor grade) sheet.
Also, NB that several questions discuss aiming - because of the refraction of light across a changed medium, objects aren't directly where you see them. It takes a good amount of practice to 'aim' into water.
After looking at RL effectiveness of shooting into water - I'd say that the PF/3.5 rules capture it pretty well. I may make a caveat that allows for thrown weapons into the first square of water (which would put a swimming, submerged humanoid target generally ~1ft from the surface), but it definitely wouldn't have any impact past that.
The playtest terms and conditions seem to align with any non-internal test that I've ever played in. Video game beta tests use this language all the time. You probably already agreed to certain terms similar to this when playing other games and haven't realized it since they hid it a little more. From my perspective, WotC just emphasised it a little more so they can have a very clear legal path towards any transgressors (ie: industry folks stealing their ideas).
Another thing to remember: being the 'big dog' in the industry, means that they're more likely to get targeted by fraud (or whatever). So the lawyering is meant to help protect from that. As any company gets larger their legal presence must increase as well, else they run the risk of losing their ideas, etc. And as many have said: if you don't like the terms, don't agree to them! You are given that option... the public/closed/whatever test is totally optional. Getting semantical about a fairly standard EULA is silly. (unless you really are worried about WotC-ninjas in your bushes...)
The AP is a guideline IMO. As a GM I very much try to be as canon as possible so that I don't lose track of what I've changed. I think that the writers wanted to limit some of the character options a bit so they didn't have to have every eventuality.
'So, if Rosie is alive, and you've captured Isabella - then do xxx, but if Isabella is dead and so is rosie, do yyy. Alternatively if Isabella is alive, but Rosie is dead - do zzz.' can be tiresome to think about... and this is only the 2nd of 6 installments. IMO one of the hardest parts in writing an AP series like this is making SURE to keep things inline and not allowing for too many choices that impact later choices directly.
What if your players decide to fight against the Wurmwood crew when they come across the Man's Promise? What if they just kill rickety squibbs at first sight? There are lots of major plot changing things that need to be curtailed to make the story go as planned - otherwise it's no longer the AP 'Skull & Shackles', but instead just another ad hoc pirate adventure.
I have looked around a bit, and I am unsure if the PDFs available for the Map Packs (specifically the Ships Cabins and the Pirate Flip-mat) are available in an interactive form like the Adventure Path map-extras.
I would love to take advantage of the artwork of the ships cabins and decks, but I do not want the grids and markers (to import into an online map tool for my use and apply my own grid).
Does anyone have experience with the MapPack/Flipmat PDFs and can tell me what they include?
Thanks in advance!
I'm tracking lots of different things in the background for the NPCs (even success/failure of their daily tasks to organically have more 'bloody hours' to get a few NPCs whipped) but I am not going to be tracking the grog consumption for most of them (the NPCs).
I'm might track grog-consumption for the other 'new' 4 NPCs... maybe have one of them be very sick from it and the PCs have the help them as a side task (gaining affection and maybe further disdain from Scourge). Otherwise, I think that I am going to be presuming that any of the long term pirates have developed a special immunity to the negative effects.
For other punishments: I fully expect 2 of my 6-7 PCs (yes, large game) will die due to punishment. I've been straight forward with my players that people WILL die early and often. For any group-combat encounters I'm strengthening the monsters by maxing hp of everything and maybe adding an extra fodder or two depending on the fight.
EDIT - Oh, I forgot to mention, also, I disallow Take10/20 unless a rule specifically allows it. (this is doubly true for the first few weeks on the pirate ship - failure means punishment so successive attempts doesn't help)
Ice Titan wrote:
1st - are you using Excel? I do not know how it will perform in Open Office.
2nd - The initial attitude column is number only, not an over sight (specifically left blank so I could quickly ID the 'description' for attitude to not clutter the opening columns).
You can reference the chart on the second sheet to see the number -> description code. But it's basically higher = friendlier (with 5 = helpful)
3rd - You can just carry over the same cell that currently has the attitude description. The number it pulls is referential anyhow (it pulls from the cell above it).
One Step ahead of you! (note the formulas on the second sheet for randomizing roles across the NPCs)
So, in an attempt to pre-plan much of the going-ons with the ship, I have created the following spreadsheet:
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B65KLWeEK60Iam9hWnNZMVBtMWM (Once you've opened the version @ google docs, click File -> Download to download an xls version of this... the random function didn't convert right as a Googledocs spreadsheet, so it is available as an xls only)
In the first sheet of the spreadsheet I have listed each of the attitude-changeable NPCs, their starting disposition (given in a 0-5 scale, 0 being unchangeably hostile, 1 being changeably hostile, 5 being helpful), and their role. Further more, I have given a day-to-day breakdown of where each PC will be on the ship each day, and a place to input the party's influence change with them (below their job-for-the-day).
Since I am running a game with 7 players, I needed a way to limit the interactions each day a little bit. Each of the players (4 Swabs, 2 Riggers, 1 Cooks-mate) will only be able to influence whomever they're working with that day. The same goes for when an NPC becomes influenced enough, I now have a reference for where they are working to know if they are 'helping' the PC do their task (especially early on when a player is working with Sandra, etc). This will also allow me to track the status of the NPCs, if they've failed, etc so I can 'populate' the bloody hour with some more beatings (and maybe eventually blame the PCs if they were working with the person that failed).
I have also 'pre-rolled' the random elements associated with Grok and Fishguts. (50/50 drunk Fishguts and 25/75 locked/unlocked Grok's Quartermaster room)
Row 28 also has a line for the PCs to indicate what jobs they can/can't do that day and some other notes. I didn't replicate the entire AP's day-to-day in this line, so you'll still need to reference the day-log still.
Some mechanics about the spreadsheet:
1) The cell beneath the daily task is a place to insert an attitude adjustment (using + or - accordingly). This will tally, modify the initial attitude and change their current attitude. There is no 'error correction' built in, so it's up to you to make sure the value is in range.
To reiterate: the only cell that you should need to edit, to use the attitude tracker, is the row with the attitude associated with the character (beneath their daily tasks).
Thanks! I forgot about Midnight Syndicate... some of their CDs are lying around here somewhere...
I am looking for some music for a few of the exploration areas and encounters. Does anyone have some good ideas?
Our last campaign (non-Golarion) made use of a lot of typical adventure music: soundtracks from Pirates of the Caribbean, Conan, Braveheart, etc.
Part 1 ideas below:
The first keelhauling - no idea
The 'rope race' at the beginning - no idea! (maybe the last act of William Tell Ov?)
The 'bilge' sentence (where the PC gets ambushed by 2 pirates) - Wagner - Die Walküre prelude (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFn29Y9J0fU)
The boarding party scene: Holst - The Planets, Mars. I'll probably start it in the 2nd or third 'chase' round before the boarding actions. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0bcRCCg01I)
On the island if the players sleep and/or encounter a swarm - no idea
Grendylow Queen - no idea
Mutiny showdown - no idea
My group had this discussion recently and came to the conclusion that AoOs should be done with the full bonus, not penalized. Think about it this way: are you permanently penalized to attack for wielding a (normal) shield? No, but you can use the shield as an offhand weapon in two weapon fighting if you so choose (though most do not). Holding a dagger in your off-hand is no different. If you make an attack of opportunity, your attack will be with your main hand and at the full bonus, just as if that dagger was a (non functioning) shield.
So, using this logic and example the two-weapon fighting penalties only apply during the actual full-round-attack action not at all times.
(I also like Grick's analogy in post #3, works well to help seperate the mechanics a little bit.)
IMO: the Ultimate books did not make characters any more powerful. Nearly everything comes with a trade off and most of the feats are something very specific. The APG upped the power level slightly, but not overly so as to unbalance the game.
Obviously without reading the S&S PG or first module: I am going to be allowing all of the major Paizo books (APG, UM, UC). I just remind the players that force gets met with force. Also, I think that the S&S setting would be very hard for some classes to participate in. Alchemists, Cavaliers and Paladins especially will have a ad hoc hard time in the setting both thematically and structurally.
For alternate rules: we will not be using Hero Points (the PCs already have enough advantages) and we will be using traits. However, I am limiting combat-affecting traits to conditional bonuses only (ie: none of the blanket +saves or blanket +hit, but always on skill bonuses are OK).
Every AOE, weither a 2d or 3d structure, is defined as an Area Of Effect. Lights, darkness, and other things with an obvious 'source' are also called AREA of effects when they should obviously be going in 3d. I dont think a new keyword (volume vs area) is neccessary when it's explicit about the area being a radius from a source.
I think the key phrase of the spell is: "This spell causes tall grass, weeds, and other plants to wrap around creatures in the area of effect or those that enter the area."
I read that to mean: if you have a plant that was in your spherical AOE to start, then any creature in the entirty of the AOE would be effected.
(Also from Black Tenticles: "This spell causes a field of rubbery black tentacles to appear, burrowing up from the floor and reaching for any creature in the area.")
I don't think trust has anything to do with it for many people. I trust my players to do what they feel is right within the rules, but with Pathfinder - sometimes old habits die hard. We, as a group (of adults, all over 30), are all learning a new-but-the-same game system where some nuances come out during character creation. Mistakes and misinterpretation of rules is only natural. Now, if you mistrust your players and believe some are cheating - that's a whole different story. One that I thankfully have little experience with in an RPG setting. (other tabletop games, on the other hand...)
Double checking character-sheets is NOT about trust to me, but it's about learning and growing as a group - together. I'm not out for a 'gotcha' moment, but a learning experience. Maybe *I* (as the GM and character-sheet reviewer) thought something worked differently and was able to learn from my player's experience. Even if the player made a mistake - correcting it can only be healthy for everyone involved. Everyone makes mistakes, correcting them is the adult thing to do. Ignoring them or presuming that noone makes mistakes is very un-adult like IMO.
Also, another big advantage of 'double checking' character sheets in the knowledge gained about a character's abilities. There are a lot of little-used feats, domain powers, archtypes, etc across several books. If you know what your players are using which may be a little out of the norm - then the entire game session can go smoother. As a GM, I dislike having to ask constantly "what does that do again?"
To the OP, you've said yourself that sometimes you interpret things from a 3.5e perspective where they are clearly different in PFRPG. Are these the instances that are being 'rules lawyered'?
In our game, one of the biggest rules sticking points is that our GM (bless his soul) is converting a 3.5-setting to PF. So many times there are abilities that work different on the included monsters, etc (mainly dealing with stuff that now uses CMB/CMD - sometimes he can find a PFRPG Bestiary analogy, sometimes not). We have a somewhat split crowd - me and one other enjoy getting the rules 100% right while some others in our group get bored when we have to take a minute break to look something up. The issue is when people have a difference of interpretation - generally from thinking about PFRPG in the 3.5-sense. Sometimes the GM just has to make a decision and move on.
IMO - everyone needs to be 100% up on their own class, etc and the GM needs to be up on the NPCs/monsters/encounters he introduces. If you, as a player, are going to use grapple - please (for the love of Helm) know how it works. Same goes with spells, and just about any action your player is going to take. If everyone took a few extra minutes out of game to reread the rules in the books once in a while, it could prevent a lot of strife in the game. After playing dozens of different RPG systems, it's easy to get the little things confused.
I'd like to see a variety of 'ready' wearable containers (bandoliers, etc) and more specific rules for them.
Bandolier: This sash has several reinforced compartments made specifically to hold vials (potions, poisons, etc). As a move action, the character can retrieve or store one of the vials. This comes in 3 sizes: Small (Holds 3 Vials), Medium (Holds 6 Vials), or Large (Holds 9 Vials, -1 Armor Check Penalty). This item can be worn in the place of a cloak.
Utility Belt: (same as above) except this item can be worn in the place of a belt.
Also, 'disguised' weapons would be a fun addition:
Cane-dagger: This ordinary looking cane's true function is revealed upon close inspection (DC20 Perception) to have a removable handle with a blade on it. The blade functions as a punching dagger, and requires a move action to seperate it from the staff.
Collapsable pistol: This pistol is specifically designed to be disassembled and placed among other metal components or tools (tool box included for 100g more). The disassembled pieces may have other attachments to further add to the disguise (the hammer from the action comes with a small handle - making it look like a jewler's hammer). A DC25 Perception check to inspect the tool box will reveal the true nature.
First, let me be clear on how I percieve the game: it's a game. It's not a 'roll playing' game nor a 'role playing' game in the extreme senses. Many facets come together to make D&D/PF/Rifts/whatever work as a system. The flexability in those systems are what allow them to have wide appeal. In each of my gaming groups, we could easilly get together to play various games. We could play Risk weekly, we could play Munchkin, we could play Magic, or we could randomly play one of dozens (hundreds?) of games we all have tucked away in our closets. We would be perfectly happy. Instead, however, we've chosen a single game to play week in and week out for years. That game has always been some sort of system where we roll a d20 as a basic mechanic. We strike (what I believe) is a great balance between the facets of the game. We write character journals, but also keep track of combat statistics (largest hits, etc). We generally have our in game empire, but it requires a lot of 'face time' to maintain. We try to do things by the book as much as possible, but this isn't always easy when converting different editions. We have some people whom are 'character focused' (in a stat sense) and some people that are 'character focused' (in an 'RP' sense). Wait - that's the same thing. YES, IT'S THE SAME THING. People take pride in different things. Certain folks, whom lack a certain type of creativity, must be more rigid in their characters. Having a particular feat or skill is what drives their interactions with other players, rather than the otherway around. Some gamers start with a persona then work stats around it - some do things stats first. In the end - everyone is having fun and that is what matters.
Second, there are clearly people whom enjoy the 'rules lawyering' (not meant as a bad thing) and those whom dont in my group (the lines aren't drawn the same as the different types of 'character focus'). For consistencys sake - I'd prefer to get each situation correct as they are explained in the rules. I have no qualms with 'getting little done' in game (except out of respect for those that dislike the investigatory process). We've met at least weekly for many many years, what's the hurry? I 100% agree with the sentiment in the OP and many of the posters here. Respect those that enjoy getting things right, even if you may not like it. How do you know what the situation was that calls for a Bane Alchemist bomb being thrown by a Ninja Eidelon? Even if the situation isn't 'up to par' or is just a mental exercize - so what?
Finally, the idea of stretching the rules is perfectly healthy. You gain further understanding about the rules at hand when you try to mix things that weren't neccessarilly meant to be mixed. All of us are learning the game. If you know the rules, and their nuances better, then your gaming experience as a whole should be better. Your group can handle complex situations easilly, be prideful in knowing you did it right, and leave time for the character building (roll or role) that you desire.
As food for thought (not directed at anyone in particular): if the rules of the game weren't important - why have a system of rules at all? There are plenty of social scafolds to facilitate rules light gaming. Why play a moderately rules-intense game if you aren't interested in expressing yourself within those rules correctly (mostly, houserules not withstanding)?
Finn K wrote:
I think that it's important to note the difference between 'fighting fair' versus fighting honorably. I don't think either is intrinsically good or evil - but in the local cultural context one or both may be a requisite to be considered 'good'. (this is something that is totally setting/time dependent IMO)
Ion Raven wrote:
I disagree with your relativism regarding the Assassin in particular. I would contend that 'good-aligned' adventurers generally shouldn't be killing sentients (except in the defense of others). The evil necromancer in the tower causing problems kidnapping/raping/murdering - sure, go kill him, even make a profit off of it especially if you're NG/CG, but don't lose much sleep over it.
And yes, a mercenary troupe which murders mostly-innocent individuals to circumvent common-law justice for money would probably be considered evil IMO. This is counter to: a mercenary group that just 'attaches' to an army for a common defense. In general - the 'soldiers for hire' type mercs are probably neither good or evil intrinsically. IMO war/soldiers aren't evil generally because of the 'honor' part - they're defending their land or fighting for a righteous ideal (even sometimes over two psudo-opposed righteous ideals). There may be some that are blood thirsty, even in a righteous army - but in general I see protagonist soldiers as being LN. There is also a concept of honorable combat to most 'good' folks - dueling and a field of battle, even to the death, aren't evil and can have ultimately good outcomes (by a swift resolution of a disagreement). Killing someone in itself is not evil, but killing someone when a reasonable alternative still exists is. I think that many people don't look for enough alternatives...
Also, back to assassins in particular, much of the 'common fluff' in D&D and Pathfinder has using poisons as pretty Evil. Death attack preventing a 'good god's intervention' of ressurection also seems pretty not-good as well.
I think in general my disagreement with most is how 'low' many people set the bar for good-aligned characters. One of the few times I've vocally disagreed with one of my co-players is when a chaos-cult member tried to surrender to the (mostly good) party and they just killed him anyhow. The NPC was perfectly prepared to surrender and give the party information after a little bit of chiding, but instead they murdered him while he was on his knees, cowering with his hands above his head (he was never agressive to them).
IMO - I think too many 'Good' aligned PCs are way too caviler about killing other sentient creatures. That's what makes this debate all relative is that some in the thread see no problem with 'Good' creatures going out and killing mercilessly (even if it is 'justified' by most standards).
If a LG Paladin meets an escaped CE Human Rapist/Murder on the street and knows that he's been convicted already of his crimes - is the Paladin really going to just kill him? Absolutely not (IMO). The Paladin, by his nature is going to bring him back to jail without killing. If a Paladin in my campaign killed a convicted criminal he met on the street without provocation, the Paladin would have a serious heart to heart with his senenshal. If the Rapist/Murder fought back and provoked the Paladin that is a different story, but if a criminal is trying to get away - most Paladin would always go for the 'live catch' unless he or someone else was somehow directly threatened.
Where I differ from many individual's perception is: (mundane*) evil isn't neccessarilly a game breaker in a fantasy world. There is such thing as a 'neccessary evil' but it doesn't make them 'good' in an alignment sense. An evil character is one who would see a convicted murderer wander down the street, know there's a bounty and choose the 'dead' option first of dead or alive. I can't rationalize a scenario where any good hero would attempt to kill this individual during a chance encounter. A neutral hero (especially CN) may attempt to kill if they thought the target was exceptionally dangerous, but I think a LN Hero in this case would attempt a 'live catch' more than not.
For the most part wrt to killing civilized sentients (on the Good-Evil spectrum, IMO):
Good - Will never kill except in (direct) self-defense or extreme cases of malice. For a LG character that malice is generally given via an edict from someone of higher authority, a NG/CG character may take it upon themselves in extreme situations.
Using those definitions there is a little room for a LN assassin, but I think that the Evil requirement forces the PCs to remember: they're playing a class that ENJOYS killing and gets their 'power' from having killed just for the sake of killing.
*I think it's also important to talk about mundane evil (in the general case of an Assassin or other evil mortal) versus intrinsic evil (outsiders generally). A Paladin would (IMO) go for the throat when confronted with an evil outsider (Devil, Demon, etc) but an assassin or other mortal evil isn't neccessarilly someone worthy of being 'purged' in the strictest sense.
IMO: Whenever there's animosity in-game towards one character or another - it's many times a reflection of out of game animosity. If the players repsect each other as players, then they'd know when in-game 'realism' goes too far with racism, etc. If this is the case then the GM addressing the situation directly can cause more problems.