Why are PCs forced to side with the Devil in every Adventure Path?


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion

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Liberty's Edge

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While I love Paizo and their invention of the Adventure Path, I've noticed a trend in almost all the Adventure Paths (even those from Dragon Magazine) published so far. From Cauldron to the Council of Thieves it seems like you have to do something evil to win. Or more likely make a deal with an evil entity to gain an advantage. This is seriously getting kind of repetitive.

Examples:

Shackled City:
A PC must take on the tainted burden of a fallen angel's realm.

Savage Tide:
To finally defeat the big bad guy the PC's have to ally with the witch queen Iggwilv (who is also the mother of Iuz), along with not 1 but 2 other Demon princes! After previously making deals with and freeing a group of succubi. They do get the Eladrin to help, but what are the other forces of good doing? Sitting around on their thumbs?

Rise of the Rune Lords:
To defeat the Rune Lord of Greed the heroes have to enhance their weapons with runes from other sins (cause virtues would be useless?)

Curse of the Crimson Throne:
In Scarwall in order to gain this artifact the heroes have to ally with clergy of Zon Kuthon (torturers, disfigurers, and murderers) Not to mention a throwaway blurb at the end of the series where they mention that the only way to destroy all the cursed pieces of the dragon are to sacrifice an innocent.

Second Darkness:
The heroes have to pretend to be drow by wearing the bodies of slain drow as a disguise. Gooing along with the evil culture while in disguise.

Legacy of Fire:
in order to defeat one of the villains the heroes must accept a deal with some Denizens of Leng. Giving the villain a potion which will cause some soul destroying seed to consume him. (and they can't not make that choice because the DOL is way to powerful for them)

Council of Thieves:
and the latest one where the heroes must ally (wait, not just ally with but rescue!)a maggot & fly covered evil hag and a redcap that has to control the urge to chop down children, in order to learn how to defeat the main villains. To be fair the author did include the option of getting the info without helping the hag, but the adventure is written with the assumption that they will.

What's next? "In order to have righteous victory over the forces of evil, you just have to make an alliance with Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer... sure they murder people and eat them, but don't worry they're CHAOTIC NEUTRAL. I'm not kidding, I don't know how many times I've come across an NPC description: from a merchant who regularly poisons his rivals (it's just business), to the latest Madjaw from Mother of Flies who sometimes eats the flesh of human victims! (hence the Dahmer reference) Yet when I look up their alignment stats, what do I see: CHAOTIC NEUTRAL. ?!?!??!?
Is this an example of the standard player cop-out: "Oh I'm not evil I'm chaotic. Now excuse me while I kill the farmer and his family for the XP."
So what's with the constant call to corruption? Is it for bored white kids tired of playing goody 2-shoes? Aping the thrill choosing evil choices in all those Bioware games? (KOTOR, Dragon Age, etc) The H.P. Lovecraft fetish Paizo seems to exhibit? "It's cruel uncaring universe and there's nothing you can do about it muhaha!"
Is there something against heroes actually taking the heroic path? Is it seen as more "adult" to choose to compromise their principles? On a side note: I once read on these boards that James Jacobs admitted it was harder to find an appealing concept to attach to Assimar characters. Something he felt would make them interesting to play. Because being good is boring? I would propose that playing one should be more difficult and rewarding than playing the standard self-serving scoundrel. Cause doing the right thing is HARD. Remember that the Dark Side isn't better, just the quick and easy path, despite what the Sith fanboy posers keep saying.
Anyways, that's my piece. Thanks for listening to my rant. Am I right? What's the story? What do you think?

P.S. I'm also wondering about the hard-on you seem to have for soul destruction. In almost every issue of the latest path there's mention of someone's soul getting erased. Or an innocent's soul getting sent to Hell. Is it for the lurid horror factor? Or is it a game mechanic thing made up to deal with the ease of raise dead spells? It's also kind of confusing. In modern mythology only God can condemn you there (despite what that silly "Send Me to Hell" movie says), and in Pathfinder mythology I would think Pharasma would get miffed at all these demons robbing her of souls to judge. But then again this is your creation, just wondering where you're taking this.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Asmodeus is sutble, yet ubiquitous in his influence.


Tikon2000 wrote:
While I love Paizo and their invention of the Adventure Path, I've noticed a trend in almost all the Adventure Paths (even those from Dragon Magazine) published so far. From Cauldron to the Council of Thieves it seems like you have to do something evil to win. Or more likely make a deal with an evil entity to gain an advantage. This is seriously getting kind of repetitive.

I think there is a definite story arc to the adventure path. That story arc is a bit predictable. The 'enemy of my enemy is my friend' trope.

Then again this is a game where the preponderance of XP comes from defeating or killing your enemy, so let's not get too righteous.
I am going to go 'old school' for a moment and say an old adventure like 'Curse of the Azure Bonds' where the PCs have a cursed tattoo/geas which compels them is a good mechanic to propel the adventure forward. Though something like that would seem too much like a 'railroad' to some players.
I think the basic conundrum is that you have a game where almost anything is possible, yet you need the PCs to get from point A to point B in the plot in an enjoyable fashion.
A personal favorite trope of mine is 'the intractable good'. Wherein a force of good (local government, righteous temple, etc. )is pigheaded or refuses to listen to reason. This causes conflict as the PCs know that force of evil X is planning something but the powers that be refuse to listen.
Example: A remote temple of good is secretly tasked to guard an evil relic. Even talking of said relic gets the clerics and paladins upset. The relic may have been stolen, as evidenced by a growing plague of evil in the region (undead, signs of blight, etc.). PCs have to sneak or otherwise make their way into said temple to determine the truth. Adventure follows.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Villains get boring if all they do is be villains. Giving the PCs an opportunity to interact with bad guys in things other than combats is something that Paizo adventures have always had an element of. By the same token, we often make our good guys have flaws or elements that might make them not the perfect ally. It's all about giving dimension to characters, be they friend or foe or friend who becomes a foe or foe who becomes a friend. And setting up situations where the PCs have to choose between the lesser of two evils helps to model the fact that there are degrees of evil and degrees of good. And finally... what's the point of trying to be a virtuous soul filled with good if there's not evil to tempt you? How will you know you're TRULY good if you don't have evil to tempt you with and then prove yourself the better by avoiding it?

As for souls being destroyed or sent to hell... that's more or less just a gaming cliche that designers often like to use. In "Council of Thieves" it's particularly apt, though, as that's kinda what the whole AP is about. In other cases, though, it's just a turn of phrase that game designers seem to like a bit too much.

And yes... I'm a fan of darker, grittier fantasy stories, and as I'm the Creative Director, that sentiment tends to creep into most of Paizo's offerings. And we've had very few complaints.

When you get right down to it... the bad guys are usually more interesting than the good guys is all.

One more thing: In adventures, the expected role of "good guy" is the Player Character. And those are the only characters we DON'T stat up or orchestrate in an adventure... we present everyone else. And that skews towards foils or villains or antagonists.

I'm curious, though, to find out if the worry that we put too much evil in our adventures is shared by others? Again... the grittier adventures and elements we produce generally get good reviews and good sales, so I feel pretty justified in presenting these more mature, edgier products and adventures, but if folks are getting tired of them and want more good in the books... let me know!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

And although it's nitpicky... the Lovecraftian elements are not about evil. Evil is a trite human construction and such has no real bearing on the creatures and elements of the Lovecraft mythos for the most part. Although it's easy to confuse that and sink into "the aliens are EEEVIL" anyway... hell, Lovecraft did so himself several times, such as in "The Dunwich Horror."


Well Tikon Golarion isnt a world based on Western European Christianity. The rules and philosophy differ greatly. After all its a high fantasy setting, and part of the Pathfinder system is exploring shades of gray and morally questionable acts to attain a greater good. In the system actually encourages a person to face temptations and find a way to overcome them without being tainted by evil. After all don't forget evil can wear a fair face, and as we say in our world the devil can quote the scripture for his own purposes.

As for innocents being sent to hell well the Japanese culture seems to accept such an idea. Watch the Ju-on (English translation the Grudge) and you will understand a little better


Looking through your examples at the campaigns I've run, I would suggest different portrayals of the ones I am familiar with.

Shackled City:
I could have sworn that redeeming the fallen plane was presented as one of the options. This is just a place where the character can attempt the more difficult task that you mention. The path toward restoring their realm.

Rise of the Runelords:
I would argue that enchanting the weapons is evil. They don't force you to do anything. In fact, resisting the temptations provided by the weapons, I would suggest, allows for more opportunity for good that you mention in your rant.

Second Darkness:
Clearly, this is an evil choice. In comparison to, you know, the party killing everything that challenges them, then robbing their bodies, selling the things they can't find a use for. Yeah. Don't see how this situation becomes the evil choice.

The party started in Riddleport, if they party was going to fight against every wrong they saw at 1st level, they were probably going to die just because they weren't powerful enough to face those challenges with complete abandon. The city they are sent to later on is a similar thing. The party can't fight every injustice head on because that would not only get themselves killed, it would sacrifice others. This doesn't mean they can't do anything. I would even suggest that, again, this allows them a more difficult and rewarding venue to do good covertly.

Shadow Lodge

Actually, I rather enjoy the 'deals with the devil' that PC's get involved in. It encourages roleplaying and creates moral dilemmas.

To be fair though, in Second Darkness, its more about infiltration than joining them.

You are completely right about the Chaotic Neutral stuff though. It applies for both PC's and NPC's and feels like an easy ride for players who just want to justify evil acts. They also tend to get ignored during combat. After all, how often do you get a character who casts spells/use items which target chaotic alignments? (unholy/holy weapons = used often, Axiomatic weapons = rare)
[EDITED. Folks beat me on the post :)]


James Jacobs wrote:
And although it's nitpicky... the Lovecraftian elements are not about evil. Evil is a trite human construction and such has no real bearing on the creatures and elements of the Lovecraft mythos for the most part. Although it's easy to confuse that and sink into "the aliens are EEEVIL" anyway... hell, Lovecraft did so himself several times, such as in "The Dunwich Horror."

Correct evil is too weak a word to describe the alien mindset of the chronos like old ones. Insanity would be closer the mark. I played the Night below Campaign, my Dm over the course of his year obligatory military service pretty much read all of Lovecrafts work. He then applied it to the adventure. Let me just say the whole group ended up being paranoid in the end and the adventure was near impossible to complete, and our greatest enemy wasnt the aboleth or Ilithid but paranoia itself destroying our PCs minds

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

About Second Darkness:

Spoiler:

It's the most altruist do-goodly AP for chrissakes ! The second half is all about selflessly trying to save the Elves from destruction with little personal gain involved. (and that's, coincidentally, my main criticism against SD - out of blue you're supposed to save the butts of folks who don't really care much for you and even backstab you at one point, but nvm).


I think what the OP is hinting at is that by the book, the AP assumes that you have to give in to whatever evil is offering you power in order to do a good deed. Which, to me, is a different thing than 'gritty'. After all, the antagonists can still be vile, evil and/or incomprehensible [and yes, I like the direction Paizo is taking there], but the APs shouldn't necessarily force the PCs to align with them. If you want to emulate the 'lure of evil', I would propose adding in a sidebar that describes in a few sentences how the PCs might come by a certain piece of information in a way OTHER than allying with NPC X, and what additional challenges they must face if they want to do so. After all, being Good, especially Lawful Good, should be the hard choice - but it shouldn't be impossible.

(Yes, I know that the APs cannot possibly appeal to every combination of PCs as written, and that any GM out there is free to rewrite the adventures as it suits him. However, the effect of 'what's already in the book by default' should not be underestimated.)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

As for chaotic neutral, I do try to make sure that when you have a monster that's actually evil, such as a baby eater, then that monster SHOULD be evil.

In the case of the Mother of Flies... I suspect that either the bit about her eating kids was an unfounded rumor... or it's just a goof.

I'm fond of both lawful neutral and chaotic neutral as bad guy alignments, but if something's evil, it should be evil. In the case of the Mother of Flies... she was intended to not be EEEEVIL as much as she was chaotic. And the intent there, as I mentioned above, was that there's a lot of legend and rumor about her that's not 100% accurate.


i agree that pathfinder explores the "shades of gray" in morality. its just hard to pull that off in a game that quantifies evil and good as absolutes. hence the reason none of my players will play a paladin. its just to frustrating. don't get me wrong I love what you guys do its just been hard to get some people to play the game when as the OP said these last few paths have had points that have made my paladin and neutral good players, heck even my chaotic good players groan. yes I know I can change things and i often do but my players still don't understand why the paths seem to always meet this crossroads. especially ones that require some pretty in depth work a rounds. (looking at you savage tide and rune lords.)


Personally, while I could see for allowing a "good" options in some of these, I would make them much, much more difficult then the "bad" ones, and yes, neigh impossible in some circumstances. Being the good guy shouldn't always be the path of least resistance - on the contrary, often enough, it should be the hardest.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Gorbacz wrote:

About Second Darkness:

** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
That leads to the biggest potential breakdown of this Adventure Path.

Coming from Riddleport, the characters are most likely going to be Neutral, not Good. Therefore acting in a "self-sacrificing" manner is going to be unlikely.

Acting in a selfless manner for people you don't even like would actually be contrary to one's alignment.


Solrenevermead wrote:
i agree that pathfinder explores the "shades of gray" in morality. its just hard to pull that off in a game that quantifies evil and good as absolutes. hence the reason none of my players will play a paladin. its just to frustrating. don't get me wrong I love what you guys do its just been hard to get some people to play the game when as the OP said these last few paths have had points that have made my paladin and neutral good players, heck even my chaotic good players groan. yes I know I can change things and i often do but my players still don't understand why the paths seem to always meet this crossroads. especially ones that require some pretty in depth work a rounds. (looking at you savage tide and rune lords.)

This. I do not see how a paladin could survive to the end of any of the AP's if the OP's info is accurate. They would either end up dead from trying to kill the evil forces the plot is making them work with or end up stripped of their powers because they did work with them. The same to an extent for NG and CG characters, especially if they are clerics. It may just be me, but when it comes to fantasy gaming I do not ever play evil characters or play in evil-aligned games or in games where anyone else plays an evil character. I even stopped playing neutral characters sometime back in 2nd Ed because it was just too morally vague. To me, fantasy gaming is all about Good triumphing over Evil, not working with it, and I save my morally ambiguous gaming for WoD and other games made that way on purpose. So unless Paizo is going to market the Golarion setting specifically as a dark fantasy/horror setting, the constant compromising with or working with evil does not fit for me.


What's the greatest sacrifice anyone could make? Their life? Nah, they've got something much more important. Their soul.

Now if you do something evil, tainting your soul, or even irrevocably damning you to Hell for eternity, but the reason and result was for good, then it's possible that you just made the greatest sacrifice in the name of good that anyone ever could. You gave your soul so that others may be saved.

To illustrate my point, here's an example:

Say that I had a child, and somehow I found out that my child is THE Anti-Christ. True blue, take over the world and make everyone suffer Anti-Christ. I decide to murder my child so that he will never rise to be the Anti-Christ. If this actually ended the threat of the Anti-Christ (and didn't just postpone it until he was born as another child), then I've literally just saved EVERYONE from the worst fate possible, and by committing an utterly evil and reprehensible act, murdering my own child. It doesn't matter that he's going to be the Anti-Christ, he's still just a child, with no understanding of good or evil or any of that stuff. I murdered an innocent child, my own to boot. I am surely damned to Hell, where the soul of my child and I get to spend eternity together, only I'm being tortured the entire time.

But in sacrificing my soul, I have saved the entire world from the Apocalypse and the resulting suffering and destruction that comes from it. Good wins by default, and there is no need for the great battle between good and evil, meaning no war, less useless suffering.

So really, by committing these evil acts (and I don't know the specifics for any except the Shackled City one), could it be possible that their personal self sacrifice might just be the "goodest" thing they could do?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You can play a Paladin in every Paizo AP and follow his rules. Remember that in PFRPG the Paladin's moral code is less strict and allows, among others, for association with Evil characters in order to overcome greater dangers.

Paladins are as much champions of Good as they are paragons of Law. You can have problems having a Paladin and a CG character in a party, you don't need any Neutral/Evil folks for this.


ChrisRevocateur wrote:

What's the greatest sacrifice anyone could make? Their life? Nah, they've got something much more important. Their soul.

Now if you do something evil, tainting your soul, or even irrevocably damning you to Hell for eternity, but the reason and result was for good, then it's possible that you just made the greatest sacrifice in the name of good that anyone ever could. You gave your soul so that others may be saved.

To illustrate my point, here's an example:

Say that I had a child, and somehow I found out that my child is THE Anti-Christ. True blue, take over the world and make everyone suffer Anti-Christ. I decide to murder my child so that he will never rise to be the Anti-Christ. If this actually ended the threat of the Anti-Christ (and didn't just postpone it until he was born as another child), then I've literally just saved EVERYONE from the worst fate possible, and by committing an utterly evil and reprehensible act, murdering my own child. It doesn't matter that he's going to be the Anti-Christ, he's still just a child, with no understanding of good or evil or any of that stuff. I murdered an innocent child, my own to boot. I am surely damned to Hell, where the soul of my child and I get to spend eternity together, only I'm being tortured the entire time.

But in sacrificing my soul, I have saved the entire world from the Apocalypse and the resulting suffering and destruction that comes from it. Good wins by default, and there is no need for the great battle between good and evil, meaning no war, less useless suffering.

So really, by committing these evil acts (and I don't know the specifics for any except the Shackled City one), could it be possible that their personal self sacrifice might just be the "goodest" thing they could do?

Two wrongs do not equate to a right. Only more suffering would result from such an action. One thing that defines goodness is its patience to wait and offer every possible chance to redeem an evil. In the situation of the child turning out to be evil. A good character with patience will do everything within its power to keep the child on a good and righteous path. Offering choices even to the last second, only when its clear that such a child is beyond any kind of redemption will a good character act in defense of innocent lives

The Exchange

Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber

Paladins: PCs for good church folk?

It might be surprising to know that I do like goody-goody adventures.

It would be nice if the community came to this thread.

Though I cannot say Paizo should switch out gears when they created such a successful setting. This world was created so Paizo could tell the stories the way they want to.

Lastly, I hope the creative director gets to sleep in.

Scarab Sages

I've got no problems with it. It makes for a good story.


There is no evil beyond redemption, there is no good beyond temptation.
And who are we to say eating children is a evil thing ? Maybe the children are evil and deserve this fate, or maybe they are so sick that its a act of compassion. If there is a society who believe that eating the dead keeps them reincarnating in humans bodies and that no child should be raised by others than the parents (because they don´t receive love), killing and eating the orphans is a good thing to do. I don´t endorse this, it´s only a supposition.

Only our perception of evil, makes something evil. So the GM knows better, but learning a bit about others don´t hurt too much.


Frostflame wrote:
ChrisRevocateur wrote:

What's the greatest sacrifice anyone could make? Their life? Nah, they've got something much more important. Their soul.

Now if you do something evil, tainting your soul, or even irrevocably damning you to Hell for eternity, but the reason and result was for good, then it's possible that you just made the greatest sacrifice in the name of good that anyone ever could. You gave your soul so that others may be saved.

To illustrate my point, here's an example:

Say that I had a child, and somehow I found out that my child is THE Anti-Christ. True blue, take over the world and make everyone suffer Anti-Christ. I decide to murder my child so that he will never rise to be the Anti-Christ. If this actually ended the threat of the Anti-Christ (and didn't just postpone it until he was born as another child), then I've literally just saved EVERYONE from the worst fate possible, and by committing an utterly evil and reprehensible act, murdering my own child. It doesn't matter that he's going to be the Anti-Christ, he's still just a child, with no understanding of good or evil or any of that stuff. I murdered an innocent child, my own to boot. I am surely damned to Hell, where the soul of my child and I get to spend eternity together, only I'm being tortured the entire time.

But in sacrificing my soul, I have saved the entire world from the Apocalypse and the resulting suffering and destruction that comes from it. Good wins by default, and there is no need for the great battle between good and evil, meaning no war, less useless suffering.

So really, by committing these evil acts (and I don't know the specifics for any except the Shackled City one), could it be possible that their personal self sacrifice might just be the "goodest" thing they could do?

Two wrongs do not equate to a right. Only more suffering would result from such an action. One thing that defines goodness is its patience to wait and offer every possible chance to redeem an evil. In the...

You misunderstand me. I never said two wrongs make a right. If it had been "right" then the persons soul wouldn't be damned to hell. But if he wasn't damned to hell, then it wouldn't have been a sacrifice.

I used the example of the Anti-Christ exactly for the reason that you seem to think my example doesn't work. As a child the Anti-Christ may be innocent, but as the Anti-Christ there is NO redeeming him. He is irrevocably destined to do as the Anti-Christ is fated, destined, prophecized to do. You can't stop the corruption of a child who's very soul is evil, even if the child doesn't understand that.

If we were to follow your reasoning, then a good character could never kill someone else PERIOD, because everyone and everything other then demons, devils, and other denizens of the lower planes, has the chance to be redeemed, and always will. While (other then self-defense) I hold that to be true here in the real world, it doesn't really fly in a fantasy game where the "good" thing to do is to go raid the goblin camp and kill them and drive the survivors off to keep them from harassing the village. Your line of reasoning would be to try to meet with and convert the goblins to good.


Please keep the darker tone in the adventures. My experience is that it keeps players on their toes and makes them realize that they should not just accept everyone and everything as it is.
Moreover it plays with the expectations they have about monsters, and makes them realize that everything is not just cliché.
Especially when you have players like mine, some of whom have been playing D&D since 1982, this adds an interesting new touch to the campaign, instead of just introducing more of the monsters they have battled so many times before and of which they know almost everything there is to know.


ChrisRevocateur wrote:
Frostflame wrote:
ChrisRevocateur wrote:

What's the greatest sacrifice anyone could make? Their life? Nah, they've got something much more important. Their soul.

Now if you do something evil, tainting your soul, or even irrevocably damning you to Hell for eternity, but the reason and result was for good, then it's possible that you just made the greatest sacrifice in the name of good that anyone ever could. You gave your soul so that others may be saved.

To illustrate my point, here's an example:

Say that I had a child, and somehow I found out that my child is THE Anti-Christ. True blue, take over the world and make everyone suffer Anti-Christ. I decide to murder my child so that he will never rise to be the Anti-Christ. If this actually ended the threat of the Anti-Christ (and didn't just postpone it until he was born as another child), then I've literally just saved EVERYONE from the worst fate possible, and by committing an utterly evil and reprehensible act, murdering my own child. It doesn't matter that he's going to be the Anti-Christ, he's still just a child, with no understanding of good or evil or any of that stuff. I murdered an innocent child, my own to boot. I am surely damned to Hell, where the soul of my child and I get to spend eternity together, only I'm being tortured the entire time.

But in sacrificing my soul, I have saved the entire world from the Apocalypse and the resulting suffering and destruction that comes from it. Good wins by default, and there is no need for the great battle between good and evil, meaning no war, less useless suffering.

So really, by committing these evil acts (and I don't know the specifics for any except the Shackled City one), could it be possible that their personal self sacrifice might just be the "goodest" thing they could do?

Two wrongs do not equate to a right. Only more suffering would result from such an action. One thing that defines goodness is its patience to wait and offer every possible chance to redeem an
...

No one said being good was an easy task. In the case of the goblin village a good character would leave them alone if they were not posing a threat. In fact a good character would try to make overtures of a peace treaty between human and goblin for a better co-existence of both races, and show goblins that savagery just ultimately leads to destruction. Now with your example of the anti-christ still a ad example because the child in question still has the free will to choose between right and wrong. Nothing is set in stone and fate can be changed


Frostflame wrote:
ChrisRevocateur wrote:
Frostflame wrote:
ChrisRevocateur wrote:

What's the greatest sacrifice anyone could make? Their life? Nah, they've got something much more important. Their soul.

Now if you do something evil, tainting your soul, or even irrevocably damning you to Hell for eternity, but the reason and result was for good, then it's possible that you just made the greatest sacrifice in the name of good that anyone ever could. You gave your soul so that others may be saved.

To illustrate my point, here's an example:

Say that I had a child, and somehow I found out that my child is THE Anti-Christ. True blue, take over the world and make everyone suffer Anti-Christ. I decide to murder my child so that he will never rise to be the Anti-Christ. If this actually ended the threat of the Anti-Christ (and didn't just postpone it until he was born as another child), then I've literally just saved EVERYONE from the worst fate possible, and by committing an utterly evil and reprehensible act, murdering my own child. It doesn't matter that he's going to be the Anti-Christ, he's still just a child, with no understanding of good or evil or any of that stuff. I murdered an innocent child, my own to boot. I am surely damned to Hell, where the soul of my child and I get to spend eternity together, only I'm being tortured the entire time.

But in sacrificing my soul, I have saved the entire world from the Apocalypse and the resulting suffering and destruction that comes from it. Good wins by default, and there is no need for the great battle between good and evil, meaning no war, less useless suffering.

So really, by committing these evil acts (and I don't know the specifics for any except the Shackled City one), could it be possible that their personal self sacrifice might just be the "goodest" thing they could do?

Two wrongs do not equate to a right. Only more suffering would result from such an action. One thing that defines goodness is its patience to wait and offer every
...

You haven't even listened to me in the slightest, so I'm just gonna give up on you now.


ChrisRevocateur wrote:
Frostflame wrote:
ChrisRevocateur wrote:
Frostflame wrote:
ChrisRevocateur wrote:

What's the greatest sacrifice anyone could make? Their life? Nah, they've got something much more important. Their soul.

Now if you do something evil, tainting your soul, or even irrevocably damning you to Hell for eternity, but the reason and result was for good, then it's possible that you just made the greatest sacrifice in the name of good that anyone ever could. You gave your soul so that others may be saved.

To illustrate my point, here's an example:

Say that I had a child, and somehow I found out that my child is THE Anti-Christ. True blue, take over the world and make everyone suffer Anti-Christ. I decide to murder my child so that he will never rise to be the Anti-Christ. If this actually ended the threat of the Anti-Christ (and didn't just postpone it until he was born as another child), then I've literally just saved EVERYONE from the worst fate possible, and by committing an utterly evil and reprehensible act, murdering my own child. It doesn't matter that he's going to be the Anti-Christ, he's still just a child, with no understanding of good or evil or any of that stuff. I murdered an innocent child, my own to boot. I am surely damned to Hell, where the soul of my child and I get to spend eternity together, only I'm being tortured the entire time.

But in sacrificing my soul, I have saved the entire world from the Apocalypse and the resulting suffering and destruction that comes from it. Good wins by default, and there is no need for the great battle between good and evil, meaning no war, less useless suffering.

So really, by committing these evil acts (and I don't know the specifics for any except the Shackled City one), could it be possible that their personal self sacrifice might just be the "goodest" thing they could do?

Two wrongs do not equate to a right. Only more suffering would result from such an action. One thing that defines goodness is its patience to wait
...

I have been listening to what you have said but obviously we have to definitions of what 'good' means. Patience, Mercy, Compassion these are some of the defining aspects of virtuous behavior that heroes should try to emulate. Freedom of choice is something all good characters should try to protect. Im not saying a good character should not fight. He should in the self defense of innocents, but neither should he take life needlessly or provoke a conflict where none should be provoked.


Gorbacz wrote:

You can play a Paladin in every Paizo AP and follow his rules. Remember that in PFRPG the Paladin's moral code is less strict and allows, among others, for association with Evil characters in order to overcome greater dangers.

Paladins are as much champions of Good as they are paragons of Law. You can have problems having a Paladin and a CG character in a party, you don't need any Neutral/Evil folks for this.

I disagree with this sentiment, paladins are supposed to uphold law, but knowing when to go beyond it for the good cause. They are not supposed to be equal and when law and good conflict good should be chosen in my opinion. Infact I do not require paladins to be lawful at all, any good alignment will fit the paladin as written just fine.

Back to the original post, I have to admit I can not recall any official written adventure that had a good story without shades of grey. The black and white fantasy setting has been changed to allow for less examplary heroes, characters with flaws in a less than perfect world, people can relate to that. There still are examplars of good and evil, but typically the adventurers are assumed to be working for a good cause if not per definition knights of morality.


Frostflame wrote:
ChrisRevocateur wrote:
Frostflame wrote:
ChrisRevocateur wrote:
Frostflame wrote:
ChrisRevocateur wrote:

What's the greatest sacrifice anyone could make? Their life? Nah, they've got something much more important. Their soul.

Now if you do something evil, tainting your soul, or even irrevocably damning you to Hell for eternity, but the reason and result was for good, then it's possible that you just made the greatest sacrifice in the name of good that anyone ever could. You gave your soul so that others may be saved.

To illustrate my point, here's an example:

Say that I had a child, and somehow I found out that my child is THE Anti-Christ. True blue, take over the world and make everyone suffer Anti-Christ. I decide to murder my child so that he will never rise to be the Anti-Christ. If this actually ended the threat of the Anti-Christ (and didn't just postpone it until he was born as another child), then I've literally just saved EVERYONE from the worst fate possible, and by committing an utterly evil and reprehensible act, murdering my own child. It doesn't matter that he's going to be the Anti-Christ, he's still just a child, with no understanding of good or evil or any of that stuff. I murdered an innocent child, my own to boot. I am surely damned to Hell, where the soul of my child and I get to spend eternity together, only I'm being tortured the entire time.

But in sacrificing my soul, I have saved the entire world from the Apocalypse and the resulting suffering and destruction that comes from it. Good wins by default, and there is no need for the great battle between good and evil, meaning no war, less useless suffering.

So really, by committing these evil acts (and I don't know the specifics for any except the Shackled City one), could it be possible that their personal self sacrifice might just be the "goodest" thing they could do?

Two wrongs do not equate to a right. Only more suffering would result from such an action. One thing that defines
...

And what your not getting is that I'm NOT talking about a good action. The action I'm talking about is EVIL. I have not denied this in any way. What I'm saying is that there are times where it is possible that the evil action will result in the most good. The fact that it results in good doesn't change the fact that it's still an evil act. My example is that by willingly sacrificing your place in the afterlife, you avert the worst fate that could befall the world and it's people. You may be lambasted by those who come after you, the good deities may even despise you for what you've done. You WILL rot in Hell. But you also saved the world.

And no, in D&D not EVERYONE has free will. Demons and Devils, especially Demon Princes and Arch-Devils, are irrevocably evil (and that is what the Anti-Christ's soul is, despite the human body). We're not talking about the real world here, and unlike the real world, certain creatures have innate natures that CANNOT be put aside.


James Jacobs wrote:

As for chaotic neutral, I do try to make sure that when you have a monster that's actually evil, such as a baby eater, then that monster SHOULD be evil.

In the case of the Mother of Flies... I suspect that either the bit about her eating kids was an unfounded rumor... or it's just a goof.

I'm fond of both lawful neutral and chaotic neutral as bad guy alignments, but if something's evil, it should be evil. In the case of the Mother of Flies... she was intended to not be EEEEVIL as much as she was chaotic. And the intent there, as I mentioned above, was that there's a lot of legend and rumor about her that's not 100% accurate.

Now I'm confused.

CoT mini spoiler:
I think the OP was talking about the mad satyr Madjaw on page 18-19, and not the actual Mother of Flies.

Madjaw's alignment is listed as CN, but the Mother of Flies is NE.

I might rule that Madjaw is evil in terms of Smite evil and similar effects should it arise. He doesn't strike me as a regular satyr, but I don't know that many of them personally...^^

Or did I miss something here??

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

James Jacobs wrote:
I'm curious, though, to find out if the worry that we put too much evil in our adventures is shared by others? Again... the grittier adventures and elements we produce generally get good reviews and good sales, so I feel pretty justified in presenting these more mature, edgier products and adventures, but if folks...

Only to avoid a risk of becoming too predictable. :) Not that it has been a problem yet.


I don't mind stories where good and evil work together to defeat a greater evil. But it should always be portrayed as an alliance of expediency, and an alternative should be provided, no matter how prohibitively difficult it is.


ChrisRevocateur wrote:
Frostflame wrote:
ChrisRevocateur wrote:
Frostflame wrote:
ChrisRevocateur wrote:
Frostflame wrote:
ChrisRevocateur wrote:

What's the greatest sacrifice anyone could make? Their life? Nah, they've got something much more important. Their soul.

Now if you do something evil, tainting your soul, or even irrevocably damning you to Hell for eternity, but the reason and result was for good, then it's possible that you just made the greatest sacrifice in the name of good that anyone ever could. You gave your soul so that others may be saved.

To illustrate my point, here's an example:

Say that I had a child, and somehow I found out that my child is THE Anti-Christ. True blue, take over the world and make everyone suffer Anti-Christ. I decide to murder my child so that he will never rise to be the Anti-Christ. If this actually ended the threat of the Anti-Christ (and didn't just postpone it until he was born as another child), then I've literally just saved EVERYONE from the worst fate possible, and by committing an utterly evil and reprehensible act, murdering my own child. It doesn't matter that he's going to be the Anti-Christ, he's still just a child, with no understanding of good or evil or any of that stuff. I murdered an innocent child, my own to boot. I am surely damned to Hell, where the soul of my child and I get to spend eternity together, only I'm being tortured the entire time.

But in sacrificing my soul, I have saved the entire world from the Apocalypse and the resulting suffering and destruction that comes from it. Good wins by default, and there is no need for the great battle between good and evil, meaning no war, less useless suffering.

So really, by committing these evil acts (and I don't know the specifics for any except the Shackled City one), could it be possible that their personal self sacrifice might just be the "goodest" thing they could do?

Two wrongs do not equate to a right. Only more suffering would result from such an action. One
...

I know what you are saying in fact its the devils argument. The devil would say I am fallen so you can remain pure. Unfortunately a knowingly and willingly act of evil does not lead to good, it only begets more evil. By all account what you are saying may sound correct after all you think you are averting catastrophe, but what is really happening is just another evil is being unleashed a greater sin. Who is to say other people will not follow said example, or better yet who is to say by killing the so called anti-christ you havent condemned humans to a greater evil, for without this final trial to see the depths they have sunk to there can be no redemption.

And by the way I am Christian Orthodox and I know very well demons and devils represent.

Sovereign Court

This is an interesting thread!

It's true that in these adventures, at least those I have read, the PC's often have to compromise and ally with evil people. I think that makes for interesting situations, and I hope it keeps being the case in future AP's.

However, personally, I find that the Good allies of the PC's in the adventures are often too weak or insignificant. I believe the principle is that the PC's have to be the heroes, they're there to save the hapless NPC's, and the NPC's shouldn't overshadow them. I think it's a good idea that the NPC's don't overshadow them. However, many times, they seem so weak and useless that it's hard to take them seriously.

Here are a few examples based on the campaigns I've played so far:

Savage Tide:
I'm only halfway through the campaign, but I would've liked if the Jade Ravens were more active. Until now, their role only seems to be to make us look good compared to them. In adventure 7, I was also disappointed that the Demon Hunters of Father Innersol were so useless, and the PC's had to do all the work.

Runelords:
Adventure 1: The citizens of Sandpoint consider the PC's heroes after killing just a few goblins. This seems a bit much. Adventure 3: A few dozen veteran rangers in a stronghold were slaughtered by a tribe of ogres, and it's up to the 4-6 PC's to destroy the tribe by themselves. Adventure 4: Also, nobody in Varisia seems to do anything about the giant invasion.

Crimson Throne:
This one is better, we get a sense that the city guard are hard at work trying to make the situation better. Also, in adventure 3, the head of the Sable Company tries to do something heroic. It doesn't work, but at least it gives an impression that other people are trying to save Korvosa. Even more of this would've been even better!

Legacy of Fire:
In adventure 1, the PC's join a caravan that contains several mercenaries. The entire caravan was put together by Almah to reclaim Kelmarane. But all in all, it's the PC's who do everything. It leaves them wondering why the other mercenaries were hired in the first place. In the last adventure, Nefeshti and her troops help the PC's in the first part of the adventure. That's nice. Ideally, it would've been even nicer if she continued with them to battle her arch-nemesis Javhul, but I understand that for gameplay reasons, this would've been undesirable.

Council of Thieves:
I've only read the first adventure so far, and the Children of Westcrown seem a lot more active. They're not the heroes, but at least they actively contribute to the mission. Arael also helps by crafting potions. This is very good!

As I've often said to my friend, in D&D, I like my characters to be heroic, but also part of something great. I don't enjoy playing a muddy nobody, but I don't enjoy playing the only hero in a universe of nitwits, either. I like to see the PC group being associated with Good heroic NPC's as well, and helping the cause of Good, not being the only ones furthering it. Being a member of the Pathfinders is similar to this in concept, and serves that need to some degree. They're not a Good organization, but I enjoy the feeling of being part of that brotherhood.


Moonbeam wrote:

This is an interesting thread!

It's true that in these adventures, at least those I have read, the PC's often have to compromise and ally with evil people. I think that makes for interesting situations, and I hope it keeps being the case in future AP's.

However, personally, I find that the Good allies of the PC's in the adventures are often too weak or insignificant. I believe the principle is that the PC's have to be the heroes, they're there to save the hapless NPC's, and the NPC's shouldn't overshadow them. I think it's a good idea that the NPC's don't overshadow them. However, many times, they seem so weak and useless that it's hard to take them seriously.

Here are a few examples based on the campaigns I've played so far:

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **...

I know what you mean. My understanding of the adventure paths and modules is the player characters are the HEROES. There is a prepaved road that that they follow from point A to point Z. That is if you play them as written and make no alterations to the path.

However not to stray too far from the openers topic at hand, The Ap paths offer certain solutions to the players sometimes choosing between the lesser of two evils, however it allows ingenuity and creativity on the Pcs part to find a way around the solutions provided by the Ap.


Frostflame wrote:
ChrisRevocateur wrote:
Frostflame wrote:
ChrisRevocateur wrote:
Frostflame wrote:
ChrisRevocateur wrote:
Frostflame wrote:
ChrisRevocateur wrote:

What's the greatest sacrifice anyone could make? Their life? Nah, they've got something much more important. Their soul.

Now if you do something evil, tainting your soul, or even irrevocably damning you to Hell for eternity, but the reason and result was for good, then it's possible that you just made the greatest sacrifice in the name of good that anyone ever could. You gave your soul so that others may be saved.

To illustrate my point, here's an example:

Say that I had a child, and somehow I found out that my child is THE Anti-Christ. True blue, take over the world and make everyone suffer Anti-Christ. I decide to murder my child so that he will never rise to be the Anti-Christ. If this actually ended the threat of the Anti-Christ (and didn't just postpone it until he was born as another child), then I've literally just saved EVERYONE from the worst fate possible, and by committing an utterly evil and reprehensible act, murdering my own child. It doesn't matter that he's going to be the Anti-Christ, he's still just a child, with no understanding of good or evil or any of that stuff. I murdered an innocent child, my own to boot. I am surely damned to Hell, where the soul of my child and I get to spend eternity together, only I'm being tortured the entire time.

But in sacrificing my soul, I have saved the entire world from the Apocalypse and the resulting suffering and destruction that comes from it. Good wins by default, and there is no need for the great battle between good and evil, meaning no war, less useless suffering.

So really, by committing these evil acts (and I don't know the specifics for any except the Shackled City one), could it be possible that their personal self sacrifice might just be the "goodest" thing they could do?

Two wrongs do not equate to a right. Only more suffering would result from
...

Once again, you're NOT listening.

I'm NOT talking about the real world, I'm not talking about Christian mythology's demons and devils. I'm talking about D&D demons and devils. I'm also NOT talking about "I have fallen so you may remain pure." I'm talking about "I have fallen so that the Anti-Christ doesn't take over." (I'm honestly using anti-christ as an easy term for someone of demonic heritage, whether physically or spiritually, who is destined to take over and destroy the world, not the actual in the bible Anti-Christ, since I'm not even talking about the real world.) All Hell gets in exchange for the complete ruination of their plans (which quite possibly hinged on the assumption that the good aligned parent wouldn't commit such a vile act as murdering their own child) is your one soul. Crisis averted, where if the act of evil had not been committed the child would have grown, started to take over, and start wars, torture people, and amass power. Once that's happened, the only way to stop it would be to attack him, risking the lives (and losing many, as the Anti-Christ and his armies would not be easy) of an entire planet of individuals in a war that they may not win.

So what is worse, one individual willingly sacrificing his soul, or the suffering, oppression, death, and torture of thousands, if not millions, before It is finally (if ever) stopped? Also, what is a few individuals that might follow his example compared to the entire world being blanketed in darkness and evil? D&D isn't a war of souls, it's a war of planes and control over those planes.

Once again, and I hope you're listening this time: WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT REAL WORLD MORALS, WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT REAL WORLD MYTHOLOGY.

Did you hear me that time?

P.S. Sorry to everyone else about the caps, but this guy REALLY isn't getting what I'm talking about.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Draco Bahamut wrote:


And who are we to say eating children is a evil thing ? Maybe the children are evil and deserve this fate, or maybe they are so sick that its a act of compassion. If there is a society who believe that eating the dead keeps them reincarnating in humans bodies and that no child should be raised by others than the parents (because they don´t receive love), killing and eating the orphans is a good thing to do. I don´t endorse this, it´s only a supposition.

Frankly, I wouldn't classify Madjaw as evil simply because he eats the occasional traveler from across a species barrier. It's certainly unsavory, but a few nasty habits doesn't make the character evil. I think there should be more room for coming into conflict with creatures that aren't necessarily evil. There are plenty of other reasons someone needs to be fought or defeated than just being evil.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Moonbeam wrote:


However, personally, I find that the Good allies of the PC's in the adventures are often too weak or insignificant. I believe the principle is that the PC's have to be the heroes, they're there to save the hapless NPC's, and the NPC's shouldn't overshadow them. I think it's a good idea that the NPC's don't overshadow them. However, many times, they seem so weak and useless that it's hard to take them seriously.

That's just it. How do you handle NPCs without overshadowing the PCs? There are probably too many DMs out there that wouldn't easily be able to do it if the NPCs were written up to be as active as the PCs in any way shape and form. This is one reason I like the way Paizo introduces them (particularly in Council of Thieves) and then leaves them out of the way for the DM to use as he sees fit - including making them more heroic or killing them off.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
I'm curious, though, to find out if the worry that we put too much evil in our adventures is shared by others? Again... the grittier adventures and elements we produce generally get good reviews and good sales, so I feel pretty justified in presenting these more mature, edgier products and adventures, but if folks are getting tired of them and want more good in the books... let me know!

I agree with what the original post suggests but I'm not overly turned off by the trend. I would like to see you try something different!

Bad guys should be thoroughly despised and ultimately eliminated by the PCs. Evil is the easiest path but not the only path - have you read the Thomas Covenant series? I've always been intrigued by the damage caused by Despair in the name of Good...


James Jacobs wrote:
.....more mature, edgier products and adventures....

I would argue "mature" doesn't automatically mean "edgier" or "darker". It can also mean "accepts that life isn't as full of demons as impulsive perceptions would have us believe" (or at least that's what I'm told). What I'm hearing about Golarion is that it's been made to be almost nothing but demons: everything and everyone is nasty in some way. In Real Life I think most aspects of the world aren't nasty (or good, for that matter), they're actually just rather dull and boring. Perhaps future adventures should try to tone down the emphasis on how nasty things are.


James Jacobs wrote:


I'm curious, though, to find out if the worry that we put too much evil in our adventures is shared by others? Again... the grittier adventures and elements we produce generally get good reviews and good sales, so I feel pretty justified in presenting these more mature, edgier products and adventures, but if folks...

I have just finished DMing Savage Tide and have now started (and read though completely) Rise of the Runelords. Our group has no problems with the darker edgier stuff and in fact we would find it very hard to now run an adventure that didn't have these elements. Don't go overboard with the violence, but edgy is great.

However, on the topic of Paizo adventures in general, I think there are a few things you could steer clear of:

1. Family squabbles. The "brother betraying sister" element is prominent in both ST and RoTRL. This is a problem when running the APs back to back. I have not read any of the other APs, but I hope you don't have this kind of set up in any of those. I have already decided I will be killing off Ameiko in Burnt Offerings to eliminate any further chance of having to repeat the Lavinia/Vanthus dynamic from ST.

2. Female demonic antagonists. In RoTRL we have female demonic antagonists front and center once again just like in ST. I know this influence gets reduced later in the AP (but not completely due to the Lamias) but it is very present in the beginning and middle of the AP. This gets old very quickly. I hope it is avoided in the following APs. Believe me we have many jokes around our game table about how Paizo authors/editors fear women and the connotations that are drawn from that ;).

3. PC romances. I know many groups like this sort of thing, and that's cool, but just in case we have a silent majority out there I would like to speak up and say our group finds these types of PC interactions to be quite creepy. We just don't do it in our group and don't enjoy RPing "romances" with our make believe characters. To us, it just seems a bit weird. It's great that other groups enjoy this, and I'm not knocking anyone, but just be aware there are many players that find these types of encounters a bit juvenile and avoid them.

4. Violence on children or having them in grave danger. This seems like a recent trend and one I think Paizo staff is dialing back on. I recall a post from Paizo staff a while back that said they won't be accepting any more submissions that have these elements in them so it looks like they have recognized the problem as well.

However, the dark edgy stuff is fine. Especially the edgy stuff that is kind on the periphery. I don't just mean the violent things but the social aspects of some of the NPCs personal lives is great as well. This is the kind of stuff that you would never find in adventures of old.


Enevhar Aldarion wrote:
This. I do not see how a paladin could survive to the end of any of the AP's if the OP's info is accurate.

I think it's perfectly possible to play through Shackled City with a paladin; there's one point where an evil creature offers to be your guide, but that's about it.

From what I've heard, the last few modules from Savage Tide ("Wells of Darkness", maybe?) and the drow infiltration from Second Darkness were some of the more problematic bits (i.e., they would require a substantial rewrite to make them suitable for a Gandhi/Mother Teresa level of principles).


Actually, there are always a myriad of directions to go with it. In fact, I really hate to say this Chris, but the PF "shades of gray" works against your argument in this case; in fact, it works better in the other poster's mindset wherein there is absolute black & white, good & evil. If the world is gray, then there is no absolute destiny, no certainty that the kid really would grow up to destroy civilization, just the prophecy that he will.

Spoiler:
The Supernatural TV show is FANTASTIC for this, down to the Anti-Christ and everything. Demons are evil, through and through, while Angels are, as Dean put it, dicks. Its a lose/lose proposition for humanity, and the Apocalypse is knocking on the world's door.
The AC is a kid, the most powerful entity on the planet, even more powerful than Lucifer who's running around the world. The guys' guardian angel, Castiel (who is currently cast out of Heaven for defying Michael and helping the brothers sidestep their destiny), decides straight away "He's evil. He must die." The guys, on the other hand, think they can talk the kid into their side; he's half human, has free will, and has had decent parents who've done a lot to teach him right & wrong. Cas tries to kill the kid and the kid turns him to an action figure; a demon, possessing the boy's biological mother, tries to turn him to the demonic side and he resists, and the guys impress upon him the importance of his powers and what his "Destiny" is, but that he can choose otherwise. Kid makes the final decision and completely removes himself from the situation, disappears so that no angel or demon can find him.
Additionally, the two brothers are "destined" to be the hosts to Michael and Lucifer in the final battle of Armageddon. The whole last couple of seasons here has been about the choices made and the right to choose your own destiny. Heaven, sans God, keeps messing with things and trying to force the brothers down a given road, but they keep resisting and are able to choose their own path. Its lead to nothing but personal horror, trial, heartache, and a whole mess of issues, but they are choosing their own path that, so far, is superseding destiny.
Actually, the show has a lot in common with what is discussed above about the APs, with the exception that the "right" option is always presented, sometimes taken because it IS right, and sometimes avoided because the other avenue is easier. One brother was drinking demon blood to gain demonic powers; it let him kill demons in nothing flat, but it was corrupting him. On the other hand, they just did a time travel bit and realized if they could split up their parents, they would never be born, but that would totally fubar the Apocalypse. In light of the fact that they can't, and saying "yes" to the respective sides and ending the worldwide Apocalypse would be easier, and adhere to destiny (and kill most of the world's population), they're still looking for an alternative.

What I'm walking away from this post with is Paizo's writers are doing a great job with the temptation of evil and the ease of power, but they aren't providing enough alternatives in-setting. The DM could write some up, but the choice of good or evil is much more interesting when there is something to compare and contrast to. The writers really should take that under consideration when making these impossible situations, deal-with-the-devil, enemy of my enemy kind of arrangements. Give us the deal with the little evil to make it easier to take down the big evil, but give us another option that contrasts with that to maintain a righteous path relatively free of that taint. It'll make for more difficult game-play, but that's part of the glory of good triumphing over evil; evil, at any level, is often easy, whereas good is significantly more difficult.


James Jacobs wrote:
I'm curious, though, to find out if the worry that we put too much evil in our adventures is shared by others? Again... the grittier adventures and elements we produce generally get good reviews and good sales, so I feel pretty justified in presenting these more mature, edgier products and adventures, but if folks are getting tired of them and want more good in the books... let me know!

I'll say this James… I really enjoy the pathfinder game. It's the only roleplaying game I play. All the core products are really good. I don't buy many of your adventures for a variety of reasons, with one of those reasons being content/artwork. Don't get me wrong, I love your artwork, but if it gets too morbid/sadistic I won't buy the piece. Likewise, if the story in an adventure steers play towards morbid/sadistic tendencies, I won't buy or run it. To illustrate my personal preferences:

I love the Age of Worms adventure. It's chock full of evil, and the PCs get to shine as heroes at every turn. You could play it any other way of course, but the emphasis is on being good and heroic saviors.

I love the Savage Tide adventure… except for the last few installments. Allying with the abyss at the end doesn't really sit well with me, so I'll probably cut the campaign short in that path, or change the adventure dramatically at the end.

Of the adventure products you offer, I have two: Crypt of the Everflame, because its the first to use the new Pathfinder rules system and Masks of the Living God. In fact, Masks is a great illustration IMO of a well written adventure that makes the PCs deal with evil. Case in point: "Breaking the Baker". If I recall, Savage Tide just assumes you'll cooperate with evil…no real alternative.


Nate Petersen wrote:
...If the world is gray, then there is no absolute destiny, no certainty that the kid really would grow up to destroy civilization, just the prophecy that he will. ...

+1 to the whole post but I might add:

In an absolute black and white, good vs evil mindset that anti-christ child would be evil, period. No damning your soul for killing it, no dilemma.


This is definitely something I've been thinking about lately. I really like the quality of Paizo's products (thus my Charter Supersubscriber tag). However, the Adventure Paths are definitely flawed for my use "out of the box" due to this "you must do Evil to do Good" mindset. Some call it "shades of grey"--to me, Evil is Evil. Beyond this, it is now becoming cliché for the APs to be "shades of grey" to the point where it's no longer cutting edge or innovative. If they tip much more into the Evil mindset, I'll likely drop the AP subscription altogether.

In every such situation, I would re-write the adventure to give the characters an actual set of choices, rather than "do this Evil or you fail." For those APs where this is not really even possible, I either cut that section of the AP or just won't run it. I do not want the PCs to be upstaged by some more powerful force of Good. I agree with the above statements that you should allow a Good option as well, and make it more difficult than the Evil path! Encourage doing the right thing, even when it's not the easy thing.

Basically, Paizo seems to be doing a great job at giving the Neutral (and Evil) leaning players something to do. Give us Good folks something as well!

The Exchange

Nate Petersen wrote:


What I'm walking away from this post with is Paizo's writers are doing a great job with the temptation of evil and the ease of power, but they aren't providing enough alternatives in-setting. The DM could write some up, but the choice of good or evil is much more interesting when there is something to compare and contrast to. The writers really should take that under consideration when making these impossible situations, deal-with-the-devil, enemy of my enemy kind of arrangements.

Pages are precious, and I don't see this being something Paizo can commit to doing in the APs. What could be a possibility is something along the lines of the Players Guide to X. You could have Customising X Guide containing some brainstorming on how to rewrite parts of X to get around certain combinations of players / characters / parties.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Every Pathfinder AP (except Second Darkness, which is a failure anyway) allows you to play perfectly fine a Good party that refuses to tangle with Evil. There is no "be Evil or fail" in RotRL, CotCT, LoF (didn't read the whole CoT yet, and I don't count the Dungeon paths because they were done with WotC supervision, so no full creative freedom there).

The Evil path is always simpler, always faster, always gives you rewards before the Good path does. Master Yoda you listened not to, eh ?


I guess I am nothing but a bored white kid Sith fanboi tired of playing goody 2-shoes. I find morally ambiguous campaigns far more engaging than something black and white.

Let's kill some more orcs.
Why?
'cause they're evil. No one knows why, they just are.

The Exchange

the idea that villains are more interesting then heroes happens to be biased by how games are developed. OF COURSE the creative director is going to think that, because he develops dynamic and interesting ways for these villain to become villains, and designs environments to play up the drama. All the while the heroes are left blank for us to fill, and i dont know about you, most players i run into are NOT professional creative designers! so you have a vague legolas clone who has as much back story as the third storm trooper at the beginning of starwars, and several other poorly thought out ( but meticulously built!)PCs talking to a villian who had been written so well they might as well be the next hannibal lector. IT s just not fair^^

(side note: villainy has become too exalted lately , oh im morally GREY, im like an onions because i do horrible acts laced with some good ones, look at my layers. my psychosis makes me intriguing. blah blah blah. I run with some new gamers that bug me with all but saying that.)

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