Is Summoning Devils an EVIL act?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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james maissen wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:


I don't how much power James has to just go back and say "fix it", but assuming he/I can't, and you know this do you go with the book or what I said. I don't think that is worth lying about unless you can come up with a reason to lie about it.

PS:I think Paizo has other reasons for not changing it, but that does not change the fact that the words don't match intent. So at this point do you go with the book or what the creator said?

I disagree that there was event intent to make [evil] descriptor spells evil actions.

It might be the case that Mr Jacobs (one of the many developers, and not the sole 'creator') might believe that this was the case.

But I cannot read the alignment section in the core rules and think 'they might have meant something diametrically different than this' in the slightest.

It's not a question of ambiguity, it's closer to how 3e made BAB from different classes stack compared to how Monte Cook (one of the 3 creators) wanted and published it to be. In that case it was obviously a game based decision (fractions are 'hard' or KISS), but you cannot say that the intent was to have the rule be different as it was expressly put out there.

Now that we have laid out that there are differences between intent, belief and desire.. are you really going with intent? What evidence do you have for intent over other possibilities?

-James

Mostly the stories(written adventures) and how clerics are not allowed to use certain spells.

Those summoners and necromancers are never portrayed in a good light.
I would have to check, but I think Libris Mortis, and the BoVD said such things were evil.
Andy Collins(influential for the 3.5 system) was a writer for Libris Mortis, and Monte Cook(also a writer of the core PHB) wrote the Book of Vile Darkness(page 8 says necromancy and casting evil spells is evil).
At the front of the book it says the core rules assume evil is objective. Later on it goes on to describe how to run other types of games where evil is less black and white.


Back to the original question, after reading the whole thread, including the derails.

Fully support that alignment questions like this are best left for each GM/table to work out on their own.

That said, my GM call would be that summoning devils/demons is an act with strong evil potential. Certainly edge cases could be made for it serving purposes other than evil. But it's a slippery slope, and I'd have a hard time with any character who used this as a standard tactic trying to claim that it would have no effect on his alignment.


WPharolin wrote:


Without omniscience or interplanar spy networks monitoring the action of every wizard powerful enough to cast a calling spell how could they ever possibly influence your spells at all? How would they even know?

Like I said, no way to know what gods can do. It's all speculation right now. It's obvious their powers are going to be well beyond anything currently in the rules.

WPharolin wrote:


Well if they do decide to define what gods look like I hope to all things sane that they don't do something dumb like make them level 40, 50, and 60 like 3.x did. If balors are CR 20s than demigods need to be CR 16 to 24s at the most.

Demon lords are described as demigods (CR in the upper 30s according to "Lords of Chaos" page 8). Nascent demon lords are low to mid 20s. A demon can't even start the trek to becoming a demon lord until after CR20. Gods can only go up from there. So good luck with that.

WPharolin wrote:


I didn't miss it. That was more of a joke. However, when the game mentions "Impossible demands" this is clear and easy to understand. But "unreasonable commands" is too vague to care about. It doesn't mean anything unless we defined unreasonable. Currently it means the same things as "make up something yourself."

Joke? No. "Unreasonable demands" is DM speak for "If you want something stupid, I can say NO." I'd think that was fairly obvious. There is nothing vague about it. It's telling the player that the DM has the ultimate say. Now, whether or not it gets used is up to the DM. To be honest this spell could't exist without game breaking possibilities without this.

WPharolin wrote:


It does. But its just setting you up for arguments at the table. What is and is not considered unreasonable is going to have to much variance from person to person. Its lazy writing.

Arguing with the DM is a formula for losing. Arbitration and decision about game events is a major reason why you have a DM. He shouldn't be a jerk about it, but he has to set the limits. It's not a CRPG.

WPharolin wrote:


They could get ugly, you're right. But it says so in the spell. They are allowed to come and seek revenge upon you (if they are good aligned they will call it justice). They could even bring some friends. But it doesn't say that gods can prevent or modify the spell. Speculation on what might be written about in a book that doesn't exist doesn't change what is.

You're right, but it is fun to speculate though :) Denying what is written doesn't change it either. Nothing "unreasonable". And I'm sure if some mortal threatened to make too obnoxious a use of outsiders he'd run into problems from every group of them. Common interests. Really lousy position for a mortal to be in.

WPharolin wrote:


As an aside, I always imagin the behavior of D&D gods as written to be
a little like this...

Pelor: "I love myself. I love myself a lot. Cleric, if you worship me, praise me, love me, and behave in a vaguely similar manner (alignment) as me I will grant you power so that you may sing my praises to the people and increase my influence in the world. I love me.

Angel: "My lord one of your most faithful followers has perished in battle during a quest in your name."

Pelor: "So what do you want me to do about it? Let one of the clerics deal with it that's what they are their for!...did you know that the sun shines specifically for me? I'm so good."

Angel: *sigh*

Pelor is like the celestial version of Vapp Brannigan.

I can see that :D


Since I said a Titan could possibly qualify I guess it is not a stretch to assume Infernal Dukes may be close to demigods also. The would be on part with the Arch Devils who I thought I gave credit to in an earlier post. <--No Snark, I really do think I did mention Arch Devils, but I will check after I write this post.
I don't know what Asmodeus power level is now since he is an official. deity now. In 3.5 he was around the CR 25-30 range, but deities in Pathfinder are not CR 60+ anymore either, or they won't be IIRC. They will probably be above 30 though. In any even that is a far cry from a CR 16. In game mechanics terms about 10 CR 16's could probably jump a lower deity if we use the low 20's as the standard. In story terms I think the CR 16's get their butts handed to them.

I don't know how rare solars supposed to be in the game, but I would keep them low numbered enough so that each deity has no more than 2 or 3. He might only have one that serves him. If he only has one it should not be a standard one though, but that is just preference.

PS:I think the Balors rule on politics also, and not just brute force though. If not another balor could take their spot. Even though they are chaotic they still have to be able to watch for coup's led by a lesser, but still powerful demon, such as a marilith.

I don't think a mortal would consider a Solar a deity. A Solar could kill/subjugate humans just as easily but so could many monsters around the CR/level 10 area.

In short until you get to at least CR/level 20 I don't think a demigod would consider you a threat.


Libris Mortis also says there are good undead, and never explicitly says that undead are evil. Even the fluff about the negative energy coming into the material plane being destructive is specifically noted as a mere theory. A fact most people seem to conveniently forget during these discussions.

Likewise, I was always very fond of the Necromancer from Diablo II who was an iconic dark powers for the cause of good. He also had some of the more interesting spoken dialog within the game, and the best sense of humor out of the characters that you could select.

You come across a lot of undead in the game. It's very obvious that along with the legions of the damned, the demon lords in Diablo II use a lot of necromantic magics to form their armies, and yet the Necromancer is there turning that very power back on them, melting them with magic poisons, forming powerful golems, and overruning demonic hordes with powerful undead, and raising the bodies of the fallen demons to fight more demons.

As an interesting piece, the necromancer in Diablo II doesn't animate the bodies of fallen allies, nor can you animate the bodies of the fallen barbarians in Chapter 4, implying that he chooses not to animate the bodies of those fighting for the cause of good.

Likewise, it is very disingenuous to suggest that this trope hasn't been played out in a lot of different stories. Dark power for good is not a new thing, and has been around for a very long time. It's one of the reasons certain characters have an appeal. D the Dhampir from Vampire Hunter D is an iconic character whose dark heritage gives him the ability to fight darkness.

Dante from Devil May Cry is another great example, but his FATHER is likely a greater example. While Dante is effectively a half-fiend who uses his heritage and demon powers to combat the legions of hell, his father Spara was a champion of Hell that awoke to Justice and rebelled against his evil overlords. He then waged a gurilla war against the lords of the underworld until his death. He married a human woman and had two half-demon sons (the main characters of the Devil May Cry series).

Spawn from Image Comics fame was a guy who killed so many people (as a soldier no less) that he was sent to hell for the weight of his sins, where he acquired dark powers from hell and then rebelled, using these new infernal gifts to make amends for what he had done, and to protect the world from the hells he had experienced.

To suggest that fiction somehow portrays these characters as irredeemably evil is blatantly false. Not everyone plays Care Bare Countdown, nor do they want to. Some people like the idea of playing a neutral character who is a no-nonsense dark champion of a just cause.

How about Ysuran the Moon Elf Necromancer from Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance II? Not only is he a Necromancer but he is a also a practitioner of Shadow Magic in the Forgotten Realms, and his story is one of a necromancer with amnesia who became a hero. He used his necromancy and shadow magic in the fight for good. This official D&D endorsed character was, if I recall, Lawful Neutral.


Ashiel wrote:

Libris Mortis also says there are good undead, and never explicitly says that undead are evil. Even the fluff about the negative energy coming into the material plane being destructive is specifically noted as a mere theory. A fact most people seem to conveniently forget during these discussions.

Likewise, I was always very fond of the Necromancer from Diablo II who was an iconic dark powers for the cause of good. He also had some of the more interesting spoken dialog within the game, and the best sense of humor out of the characters that you could select.

You come across a lot of undead in the game. It's very obvious that along with the legions of the damned, the demon lords in Diablo II use a lot of necromantic magics to form their armies, and yet the Necromancer is there turning that very power back on them, melting them with magic poisons, forming powerful golems, and overruning demonic hordes with powerful undead, and raising the bodies of the fallen demons to fight more demons.

As an interesting piece, the necromancer in Diablo II doesn't animate the bodies of fallen allies, nor can you animate the bodies of the fallen barbarians in Chapter 4, implying that he chooses not to animate the bodies of those fighting for the cause of good.

Likewise, it is very disingenuous to suggest that this trope hasn't been played out in a lot of different stories. Dark power for good is not a new thing, and has been around for a very long time. It's one of the reasons certain characters have an appeal. D the Dhampir from Vampire Hunter D is an iconic character whose dark heritage gives him the ability to fight darkness.

Dante from Devil May Cry is another great example, but his FATHER is likely a greater example. While Dante is effectively a half-fiend who uses his heritage and demon powers to combat the legions of hell, his father Spara was a champion of Hell that awoke to Justice and rebelled against his evil overlords. He then waged a gurilla war against the lords of the underworld until his death....

I know there are good undead. I guess what I was trying to say is that undead created by necromancy is generally evil. There is a good lich in one of the FR books, and good undead in the Eberron books, but those the exception to the general rule.

Thanks for reminding of that good lich though. <---It is in the Monster of Faerun book.


In Heroes of Horror (3.5) one of the major concepts of the book was neutral characters using evil powers for good outcomes, although they often suffered for it.
An interesting idea would be to have [evil] spells give a character taint (from Heroes of Horror as well) as opposed to just altering their alignment, representing that they are being corrupted by evil, not simply becoming evil.


wraithstrike wrote:

Since I said a Titan could possibly qualify I guess it is not a stretch to assume Infernal Dukes may be close to demigods also. The would be on part with the Arch Devils who I thought I gave credit to in an earlier post. <--No Snark, I really do think I did mention Arch Devils, but I will check after I write this post.

I don't know what Asmodeus power level is now since he is an official. deity now. In 3.5 he was around the CR 25-30 range, but deities in Pathfinder are not CR 60+ anymore either, or they won't be IIRC. They will probably be above 30 though. In any even that is a far cry from a CR 16. In game mechanics terms about 10 CR 16's could probably jump a lower deity if we use the low 20's as the standard. In story terms I think the CR 16's get their butts handed to them.

Kind of like how Perseus got his ass handed to him in the Clash of the Titans by gods, and went on an epic quest to find a chick with a super-high save DC (or no-save maybe) gaze attack to kill the kraken, a mere pawn of one of the gods? He couldn't hold a candle to the gods, but Zeus gave him lots of cool toys, a flying horse, and he was buddy-buddy with dry lich (yay for petrification immunity, muahahaha).

Quote:

I don't know how rare solars supposed to be in the game, but I would keep them low numbered enough so that each deity has no more than 2 or 3. He might only have one that serves him. If he only has one it should not be a standard one though, but that is just preference.

PS:I think the Balors rule on politics also, and not just brute force though. If not another balor could take their spot. Even though they are chaotic they still have to be able to watch for coup's led by a lesser, but still powerful demon, such as a marilith.

Hey, that works I guess. However I'm just taking a shot in the dark on how the pinnacle of Chaotic Evil would rule the world of Chaotic Evil, based on the description of Chaotic Evil, which basically says that Chaotic Evil rules based on Strength, Fear, and so forth. I'm sure there's politics and conspiracies, but I'm pretty sure it's mainly based on the fact the Balor is stronger.

Quote:

I don't think a mortal would consider a Solar a deity. A Solar could kill/subjugate humans just as easily but so could many monsters around the CR/level 10 area.

In short until you get to at least CR/level 20 I don't think a demigod would consider you a threat.

I dunno. It's not just a matter of "can we kill it". The Solar not only is effectively immortal without some sort of great magic and/or demigod like heroes to defeat it (it requires evil artifacts, spells, and spells to pierce its regeneration alone), but it basically can preform miracles and wishes without much in the way of cost to itself. If a CR 10 creature is powerful enough to subjugate and enslave, a Solar is literally by 3.5 standards of a level of power that people can create a new plane of existence that expands infinitely (like our own theoretically does) and rule over it as a god. Now genesis isn't a Pathfinder spell, but you get the idea.

I guess I just have less to expect from gods. I look at godlike power, immortality, and so forth and say "Well he meets the checklist for godlike power, so he's pretty godlike". You're basically saying that "there are beings of godlike power, so obviously the gods must be even more godlike" (however you can manage to be more godlike).

I think our difference is that I don't mind that there are beings in D&D that are godlike, nor do I think every Tom, Dick, and Harry is either. To me that's one of the things that makes stuff like Balor Lords, Solars, and Dukes of Hell so major is because they really are godlike beings of power, and not just another random orc a few notches higher with wings.


wraithstrike wrote:


Mostly the stories(written adventures) and how clerics are not allowed to use certain spells.
Those summoners and necromancers are never portrayed in a good light.

Ah so now characters of the Summoner class and wizards that specialize in Necromancy are evil...

And you can do this in your home campaign. In fact you can make ALL arcane casters evil in your home campaign.

However this, like other things, are not part of the core rules nor the intent that they be part of the core rules, even though that might make for an interesting and fun campaign.

Alignments are left to the GM and his/her players to discuss and work through and there are not mechanisms in the rules for measuring actions and deeds. That's the core rules of it that we both know.

The core rules expressly leaves its hands off it, and frankly by that I think the intent was to avoid things like this thread.

You disagree?

-James


wraithstrike wrote:

I know there are good undead. I guess what I was trying to say is that undead created by necromancy is generally evil. There is a good lich in one of the FR books, and good undead in the Eberron books, but those the exception to the general rule.

Thanks for reminding of that good lich though. <---It is in the Monster of Faerun book.

Indeed. They're also in the Libris Mortis but they're kind of towards the back of the book and it mostly just has a few paragraphs about them, calls them Archliches/Baelnorn, and basically describes them as being liches that aren't evil but in fact good guys; while the MoFaerun book has a full writeup. Honestly, Baelnorn are really cool, and are a great example of good undead. Interestingly they also had the ability to cast animate dead as a spell-like ability (of course mindless undead were Neutral too).

Honestly since 3.5 the game has gone downhill in this regard, and has become a mishmash of confusing contradictions between different authors that have slowly mangled the alignment system further and further. Even in 3.5, the Draconomicon presents Skeleton and Zombie dragons who are always Neutral as they were in 3E.

Also I know that the majority of Undead are evil (this is something I often have issue stressing to people while advocating for gray shades and such). However the majority of most things in D&D are evil. Look at most of the humanoids: Evil. Look at most of the outsiders: Evil. Look at most of the magical beasts: Evil.

Plus, a lot of undead have curses and/or additional hangups beyond just being undead. The most basic undead would probably be the mindless skeletons and zombies (who were noted to have had the "kill everything" added to their descriptions as a way of justifying their change to Always Evil in 3.5, for sake of "backwards compatibility" and that James Jacobs - or was it Jason Bulhman? - petitioned to have them changed to either Neutral or given at least a 3 Intelligence to justify it). Realistically, undead is merely the opposite of life (with death being the middle ground between both). In pre-3.5, skeletons and zombies were both Always Neutral (before they changed it in 3.5 to give Paladins more smite-targets) and that made sense.

However, a lot of the evil undead are stuff like shadows, ghouls, wights, vampires, and stuff like that have a lot of extra baggage beyond just being undead. Most of them are undead supposedly because of curses, some sort of additional taint (like the idea that ghouls suffer from a Windigo-like curse for example) beyond merely being undead. A lot of them are supposedly evil-doers who couldn't find rest of some sort and came back as undead, or were evil people who feared death (and its eternal rewards) and decided they didn't want to die (see Mummy Lords).

However, if we want to use "most are evil" as justification for blanketing them with evil, we definitely need to change all living creatures to "always evil" because there's a crapload more evil living creatures, according to the bestiary, than there are good ones (there's like 3 angels, and a crapload of devils and demons, and let's not even get started on the vast majority of humanoids and such being evil as well). :P

PS: Baelnorn are awesome, we are in agreement. ^.^

I just think that


R_Chance wrote:


Demon lords are described as demigods (CR in the upper 30s according to "Lords of Chaos" page 8). Nascent demon lords are low to mid 20s. A demon can't even start the trek to becoming a demon lord until after CR20. Gods can only go up from there. So good luck with that.

I don't have Lords of Chaos, but I think that having CR 30+ exist at all is in every way bad for the game. Its hugely unnecessary bloat. The only way I will ever accept levels higher than 30 is if the game starts letting me burst through the heavens with my drill!

R_Chance wrote:


"Unreasonable demands" is DM speak for "If you want something stupid, I can say NO." I'd think that was fairly obvious.

As A DM and as a Player I view any rule that amounts to "DM FIAT SUPERPOWERS!!"*cool echo effect inserted here* as decidedly bad.

R_Chance wrote:


Arguing with the DM is a formula for losing. Arbitration and decision about game events is a major reason why you have a DM. He shouldn't be a jerk about it, but he has to set the limits. It's not a CRPG.

Arguing with the DM is bad. Arguing with the DM because the spell you want to use is written poorly is avoidable. Take the time and write out what constitutes an unreasonable demand or get rid of the restriction and replace it with something meaningful. Either way "Dm fiat" is a waste of you time and money.

R_Chance wrote:


And I'm sure if some mortal threatened to make too obnoxious a use of outsiders he'd run into problems from every group of them. Common interests. Really lousy position for a mortal to be in.

I'm sure there will be problems too. But not during the casting of the spell. Only later however, when the creature is free to retaliate.

wraithstrike wrote:
Andy Collins(influential for the 3.5 system)

Because I feel that silence is a form of consent I feel I am compelled to speak up and say that Andy Collins was an entirely bad influence on the game. I mean, this is the guy who added a caster level reqs to craft alchemy, swapped the effects of command/control plants for no reason at all, wish became an easily abusable spell, diplomacy was made even worse than it already was by leaps and bounds, weapons sizing was changed to now include 20% more stupid, and he made Skip William's bad house rules about sorcerers and metamagic a core rule. :)


james maissen wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:


Mostly the stories(written adventures) and how clerics are not allowed to use certain spells.
Those summoners and necromancers are never portrayed in a good light.

Ah so now characters of the Summoner class and wizards that specialize in Necromancy are evil...

And you can do this in your home campaign. In fact you can make ALL arcane casters evil in your home campaign.

However this, like other things, are not part of the core rules nor the intent that they be part of the core rules, even though that might make for an interesting and fun campaign.

Alignments are left to the GM and his/her players to discuss and work through and there are not mechanisms in the rules for measuring actions and deeds. That's the core rules of it that we both know.

The core rules expressly leaves its hands off it, and frankly by that I think the intent was to avoid things like this thread.

You disagree?

-James

I want you to read my post again, and this time assume I have common sense. Maybe you were being facetious or playing on semantics, but I would rather for you to say what you mean rather than me have to interpret a play on words.


WPharolin wrote:


I don't have Lords of Chaos, but I think that having CR 30+ exist at all is in every way bad for the game. Its hugely unnecessary bloat. The only way I will ever accept levels higher than 30 is if the game starts letting me burst through the heavens with my drill!

Depends on what they do with it, although it makes me nervous too. As it is I don't think they are sure what will be done with it. I imagine it's on their to do list for some point in the future. If I was them I'd start putzing around with it now and spend a couple of years working on it before even letting it see the light of day in a playtest.

WPharolin wrote:


As A DM and as a Player I view any rule that amounts to "DM FIAT SUPERPOWERS!!"*cool echo effect inserted here* as decidedly bad.

I don't agree with you here. I try to avoid it, but some DM fiat is necessary for spells like Planar Binding and Wish. The alternative would probably be a book on just those couple of spells written by a legal team drafted from H#ll. They do have the best lawyers :) In short, the only practical way to have these in the game is with DM fiat built in. Complex difficult things (like alignment) get dumped on the DM for a reason. They are expected to handle it with their group, and a healthy dose of common sense, in mind.

WPharolin wrote:


Arguing with the DM is bad. Arguing with the DM because the spell you want to use is written poorly is avoidable. Take the time and write out what constitutes an unreasonable demand or get rid of the restriction and replace it with something meaningful. Either way "Dm fiat" is a waste of you time and money.

In this case the spell is written to close off the otherwise inevitable arguments. It is meaningful, what you mean is that it's not quantifiable or can not be absolutely known. In an open ended game like PF / D&D DM fiat makes it possible to have those cool elements (like Planar Binding) that would otherwise be impossible or too unwieldy to be useful or fun. Having said that, would I have written it differently? Yes. A bit more defined on what could and couldn't be done. Even then, some kind of DM fiat has to be built into a spell like this.

WPharolin wrote:


I'm sure there will be problems too. But not during the casting of the spell. Only later however, when the creature is free to retaliate.

That's what I was referring to.


wraithstrike wrote:


I want you to read my post again, and this time assume I have common sense. Maybe you were being facetious or playing on semantics, but I would rather for you to say what you mean rather than me have to interpret a play on words.

You were talking about basis for your wanting to believe that there was some support for your position, but there isn't.

I wasn't being facetious, but rather simply taking your 'logical' position and going with it. That you find it absurd was the point.

You want some things to be in the games that you run.. that's fine. No one's infringing that.

You want to claim that the core rules are implying one thing when the flat out state the opposite, that's not fine.

You want to say that the person who wrote one thing really intended the opposite, also not fine.

You want to say because some people who were on the dev team play things one way that this is the intent, that's also not fine.

There's a difference between intent, belief, and how you'd like things to be different.

You've been claiming that it's intent, but you haven't shown any of it. In response to that, you give that stories portray necromancers and summoners as evil... And members of the summoner class, druid summoners, cleric summoners, wizard summoners, wizard necromancers, and cleric necromancers are just as evil as anything else is.. no more no less. Likewise those casting spells with an alignment descriptor.

Now in a given campaign there can be rules that change any or all of those above.. not limited to alignment descriptor spells, but that's it.

Are you still wanting to claim it's more than that?

-James

Shadow Lodge

I'd just like to point that 'alignment as a restriction' genuinely does mesh with the way the game was designed. Everything you put on your character sheet is a restriction. Just the same as you can't say, "this round I'm an elf", alignment is meant to be a meaningful choice.

You can cut it out of your game, sure. You could also cut Armor Class out. But that's beside the point, because at that level you're really talking about a different game.

When it comes to comparing 'killing' with casting a spell marked with an alignment, you've entered straw man territory. Unless you're comparing 'killing [evil]' with 'spell [evil]', then you've slanted something without a descriptor up against something that has one in order to 'win' your argument. And that's just cheese, IMO.

In short, if the descriptor is there then I find it comfortable to assume that the nature of the spell is reflected by that information. If it has [good] marked on it, then there's probably [good] energy powering it. And allowing all that [good] to flow through your body and emerge as a spell probably will have an impact on what you are.

Again, it doesn't HAVE to. You don't even HAVE to have spells at all. Just make up your own rules as you go and have a great time. But if you're talking about playing inside this ruleset, then you're looking at a game built around the Gygaxian concepts of 'good' and 'evil', and that's all there is to that.


james maissen wrote:


You were talking about basis for your wanting to believe that there was some support for your position, but there isn't.

You denying the proof does not mean it is not there. You even asked for information from 3.5 so I provided a book and page number where it was specifically stated. If that is not evidence then what are you accepting as evidence?

edit:

post that may have been missed

But you could not really have missed it because you replied to it in this post.

In order to save time I will once again direct you to the BoVD page 8, which is the 3.X book on evil.


R_Chance wrote:


I don't agree with you here. I try to avoid it, but some DM fiat is necessary for spells like Planar Binding and Wish.

I do not believe this is true. Wish was far less exploitable in 3.0 than it was in 3.5, for example. And it can be made clearer and more concise. If an element in the game is complex you need to give it the time it deserves to make that complex element function on its own. Ultimately, you will need a DM to arbitrate and run the campaign. But your design goal should be to write each elemental as something that is as clear as possible and has as little DM fiat as possible. I believe that the least amount of DM fiat possible is very near to none at all.

R_Chance wrote:


It is meaningful, what you mean is that it's not quantifiable or can not be absolutely known. In an open ended game like PF / D&D DM fiat makes it possible to have those cool elements (like Planar Binding) that would otherwise be impossible or too unwieldy to be useful or fun. Having said that, would I have written it differently?

In a game, anything that isn't quantifiable has no meaning mechanically. Non-quantifiable game elements are the same as non-existent game elements. The "Unreasonable Commands" part of Planar Binding is just Mother-May-I with angels.


WPharolin wrote:
R_Chance wrote:


I don't agree with you here. I try to avoid it, but some DM fiat is necessary for spells like Planar Binding and Wish.

I do not believe this is true. Wish was far less exploitable in 3.0 than it was in 3.5, for example. And it can be made clearer and more concise. If an element in the game is complex you need to give it the time it deserves to make that complex element function on its own. Ultimately, you will need a DM to arbitrate and run the campaign. But your design goal should be to write each elemental as something that is as clear as possible and has as little DM fiat as possible. I believe that the least amount of DM fiat possible is very near to none at all.

R_Chance wrote:


It is meaningful, what you mean is that it's not quantifiable or can not be absolutely known. In an open ended game like PF / D&D DM fiat makes it possible to have those cool elements (like Planar Binding) that would otherwise be impossible or too unwieldy to be useful or fun. Having said that, would I have written it differently?
In a game, anything that isn't quantifiable has no meaning mechanically. Non-quantifiable game elements are the same as non-existent game elements. The "Unreasonable Commands" part of Planar Binding is just Mother-May-I with angels.

Some DM Fiat is needed for wish. There are times players will ask for things outside of what is in the book. Can someone recover two 5th level spell slots, as an example. You then have to decide if wish covers two 5th level pearls of power that have a one time use.


wraithstrike wrote:
If that is not evidence then what are you accepting as evidence?

That when they wrote "X" they actually meant "not X"? I guess that would be errata.

You've claimed that their intent was to have [alignment] descriptor spells be mechanical acts of that alignment.

Not that some devs believed that it was in the rules, or merely wanted it to be in the rules while others did not, but that the developers, as a whole, intended there to be a rule in the core rules stating that casting an [alignment] descriptor spell was a mechanical act of that alignment.

Your position, as I understand it is that it was just a mistaken omission that it is missing from the core rules.

Meanwhile what DID make it into the core rules is stating:

Quote:
In the end, the Game Master is the one who gets to decide if something's in accordance with its indicated alignment, based on the descriptions given previously and his own opinion and interpretation—the only thing the GM needs to strive for is to be consistent as to what constitutes the difference between alignments like chaotic neutral and chaotic evil. There's no hard and fast mechanic by which you can measure alignment—unlike hit points or skill ranks or Armor Class, alignment is solely a label the GM controls.

Now you would have us believe that this addition of Paizo's was made in error? Against the wishes of the authors? That it is just 'fluff' and not real? What?

-James


wraithstrike wrote:


Some DM Fiat is needed for wish. There are times players will ask for things outside of what is in the book. Can someone recover two 5th level spell slots, as an example. You then have to decide if wish covers two 5th level pearls of power that have a one time use.

Or you could write the spell to be clear about what it can and cannot do.


mcbobbo wrote:
I'd just like to point that 'alignment as a restriction' genuinely does mesh with the way the game was designed.

From the core rules under alignment:

Quote:
Alignment is a tool for developing your character's identity—it is not a straitjacket for restricting your character.

Now that's perhaps not what you really meant by your statement, but it's telling nevertheless. It's not often that the core rules out and out say something in a debate.

Alignment, what is 'evil' or 'good', are all things that are easily debatable. Rather than try to do blanket statements on this, the core rules gives a framework and asks the DM to interpret things.

It gives the DM a free hand in this, and even went so far as to remove the only place in the core rules that said 'doing this action is evil/good' from the core rules. And at the same time added the passage that I quoted in my prior post.

It's the GM's job to decide if something is good/evil/lawful/chaotic and it's the GM's job to decide if a player's character is not reflecting the alignment that they put down on their piece of paper.

The rules do not mandate that 'if you cast spell X then that's evil/good/etc' but the rules do leave those calls up to the GM.

That is why [alignment] descriptor spells are not automatically acts of that alignment, because the core rules expressly leave that call up to the GM.

Now that doesn't mean that the GM can't see a [Lawful] descriptor on a spell and elect to say that's a lawful act to cast it. But in all honesty they should be more vigilant than that and look into the motivations and the like of the caster.

-James


james maissen wrote:
In the end, the Game Master is the one who gets to decide if something's in accordance with its indicated alignment, based on the descriptions given previously and his own opinion and interpretation—the only thing the GM needs to strive for is to be consistent as to what constitutes the difference between alignments like chaotic neutral and chaotic evil. There's no hard and fast mechanic by which you can measure alignment—unlike hit points or skill ranks or Armor Class, alignment is solely a label the GM controls.

Yet, but we also have rules telling us how each alignment behaves.

That pretty much means your above statement it there to let the players know the GM has final say if a conflict comes up. It is not intended to butt heads with any written rules, nice try though.


WPharolin wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:


Some DM Fiat is needed for wish. There are times players will ask for things outside of what is in the book. Can someone recover two 5th level spell slots, as an example. You then have to decide if wish covers two 5th level pearls of power that have a one time use.
Or you could write the spell to be clear about what it can and cannot do.

That is still GM Fiat.


wraithstrike wrote:


That is still GM Fiat.

Say what? In what way could using a clear and concise spell as written possibly infer to you that DM fiat is needed? I'm confused here because DM fiat would actaully be impossible unless the DM changed the rule.


Personally, I think people see alignment as just a restriction of how they play their character. "I can't do this because I am Lawful Good!" is the typical example. This is a backwards way of thinking about it and this is exactly why arguments like these keep coming up. I think of alignment is split into two sections: what you are and what you do. You are what you do. To paraphrase Aristotle, "We are what we repeatedly do, alignment then is a habit, not an act."

Instead of performing actions based on your alignment, perform actions based on your character's motivations and let the alignment change from there. The sliding scale example of alignment from the Pathfinder SRD is exactly what I am talking about. If you want to take the arbitrary DM fiat out of alignment shifts, also use the concentric ring example to assign a number to your alignment and actions, just like in the CRPGs. Get your players to buy into it and that way players know if their actions will shift their alignment.

Oh and summoning devils is most definitely an evil act.


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mcbobbo wrote:

When it comes to comparing 'killing' with casting a spell marked with an alignment, you've entered straw man territory. Unless you're comparing 'killing [evil]' with 'spell [evil]', then you've slanted something without a descriptor up against something that has one in order to 'win' your argument. And that's just cheese, IMO....<snip>...If it has [good] marked on it, then there's probably [good] energy powering it. And allowing all that [good] to flow through your body and emerge as a spell probably will have an impact on what you are.

We know why it has [good] marked on it. It says under the "Spells" section of the core book.

A [good] spell either draws on the power of true goodness or conjures creatures from good aligned planes.

A spell that conjures creatures from planes of fire gets the [fire] descriptor. The descriptor tells us what plane is accessed. If it also tells us something about the morality of the caster, then that isn't covered in the rules.

The same goes for [evil] spells.

So let's be clear here:

There is a positive claim being made in this thread. The claim is that in addition to what the spell descriptor rules tell us, a [good] or [evil] descriptor spell also tells us something about the morality or alignment of the caster.

This is where I bring up BURDEN OF PROOF. Burden of proof lies with the one that makes the positive claim.

Somewhere in that big rule book there must be something to support this claim if it is true.

Saying that one of the arguments against this claim isn't strong does not count as evidence. Something must actually be established with evidence before it can be falsified.


mcbobbo wrote:
When it comes to comparing 'killing' with casting a spell marked with an alignment, you've entered straw man territory. Unless you're comparing 'killing [evil]' with 'spell [evil]', then you've slanted something without a descriptor up against something that has one in order to 'win' your argument. And that's just cheese, IMO.

It's just logic. Also a straw man is setting up an argument that no one is making, and then arguing against that instead. The comparison of one evil act to another is not only justifiable, it's scientific.

Likewise, despite functioning as a mechanical effect that determines how class features, abilities, and the aligned auras of the spells, there is nothing in rules that ever actually says casting an X spell is an X act. There is no rule in the core rules that says casting an Evil spell is necessarily an evil act, nor does it say summoning celestial badgers is good because that's a Good spell. What it does say is that it restricts clerical casting if it is opposed to their alignment; while anyone else can cast the spells freely.

You don't end up casting fire spells and becoming more Fiery, or cast Cold spells and become more Frosty. You don't become more like Electricity by casting lightning bolt and no where in the rules does it say you become more Evil by casting [Evil] spells, nor Good for casting [Good] spells. But it does say that they register as those alignments for the purposes of effects, and they are used mechanically (you cannot harm a fallen solar - like Lucifer - without using spells like unholy blight for example).

I was being nice and instead of basically telling people that the rules don't say that it is an Evil act, I was giving them a parallel example. One evil act justified to be a neutral act. According to the fundamental rules for alignment (discussed in Additional Rules under Alignment) notes that Respecting life and Altruism is a Good trait, and Killing is an Evil trait, and yet killing the Guilty is a Neutral act. Ergo, when evil is committed against evil, then it is more likely Neutral. That's why a Paladin can chop up some orc who's been a bad boy (because even though killing is an evil action, it is mitigated by circumstances and the net result is a neutral action). This by its very nature means that D&D is innately NOT a black and white morality, nor can it be without rewriting a large portion of the game. Circumstances can and must affect the overall outcome.

Which has been the point the entire time. The question was "If my Lawful Neutral guy summons this for that, do I change my alignment?" and the answer, logically - based on the evidence and text that we have - is a resounding NO. This is likewise backed up in evidence of established books that suggest that those who use dark powers for good ends are at least Neutral (there have been references during this thread).

Gygax wasn't as stupid as everyone seems to be trying to paint him. I actually have a lot of respect for the guy, as everything I've managed to read or learn about him since I became interested 11 years ago suggests that he was a very logical thinker. The original D&D didn't even HAVE alignments like Good and Evil. The only alignments were Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic. There was no Good or Evil. It was how destructive your society or personality was. Good and Evil came later. In OD&D, Lawful was mostly associated with the good guys, and Chaotic mostly with the bad guys. Heck, in that on 60 Minutes interview, he seemed like a stand up guy to me.


Ashiel wrote:


It's just logic. Also a straw man is setting up an argument that no one is making, and then arguing against that instead. The comparison of one evil act to another is not only justifiable, it's scientific.

Likewise, despite functioning as a mechanical effect that determines how class features, abilities, and the aligned auras of the spells, there is nothing in rules that ever actually says casting an X spell is an X act. There is no rule in the core rules that says casting an Evil spell is necessarily an evil act, nor does it say summoning celestial badgers is good because that's a Good spell.

Exactly. If the spell descriptor says something about the alignment of the person casting the spell, why don't the rules say so, or even imply it?

If they changed the wording of the spell descriptor to [positive] and [negative] instead of good and evil, I would guarantee these same people would be on this thread telling us that those spells tell us if the caster is an optimist or pessimist.

The burden of proof here lies with those who make the claim, but in this entire thread has a single piece of evidence been presented? Nope.

How can a claim be falsified when there is zero evidence to falsify?


wraithstrike wrote:

Yet, but we also have rules telling us how each alignment behaves.

.... nice try though.

The alignment descriptions gives the GM a grading rubric of sorts.

It doesn't mean simply 'rule 0' here.. but rather that the GM *is* making the calls not some [descriptor] on a spell being cast.

Like you said... nice try.

-James


Summoning spells via the [evil] descriptor is an Evil act.

Period.

It is self evident - You are calling on Demons and Devils and the like to do your bidding, not the actions of an agent of good. Questionable for Neutrals too in many cases.

What EXACTLY do you think might be happening during the summoning? What do you think the incantation might involve exactly? Asking Satan around for some tea and biscuits?

Put down your Black Metal/Emo CD's and come join us in reality - Your Demon summoning Necromancer is NOT CN, he's a Muppet.


Of course it's not evil. I'm sure you have your reasons for doing so. In fact, I wholeheartedly urge you to summon more fiends. Summon them and let them out to frollic and play with the squishy yummy mortals whose souls are like a yummy raspberry filling once you get past the fleshy shell. >:)

Actually, I'd urge you to summon me. Or at least make the attempt. It would be amusing. Or if you have a neighboring civilization you don't like, you urge -them- to do it. >:)

The Exchange

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James Jacobs wrote:
My question would be: Why is that neutral wizard summoning fiends in the first place? Why not aeons or elementals or psychopomps?..

As far as aeons or psychopomps are concerned, perhaps it's because there aren't any such things on the Summon Monster lists... and Paizo don't want to expand those lists or give us rules to customise Summon lists because they want to avoid 'summoning list bloat'?

Lack of any expansion to the Summon Monster lists is part of the root of the issue here - with Summon Monster 1, for example, you have to summon a celestial or a fiendish creature - they're the only two choices you have. A neutral aligned character can choose either option... but if doing so and casting such a spell automatically counts as a 'good' or 'evil' act and pushes that character towards a non-neutral alignment, then basically they're being punished for or excluded from using the spell at all beacause of their alignment.

Bestiary 2 tells us that entropic and resolute creatures can be summoned with Summon Monster spells, so it's a fairly safe bet to assume that such things can be summoned with the same level of the spell chain as their celestial or fiendish counterparts... but there doesn't appear to be anything in the section on Aeons suggesting that any of them can be summoned with the Summon Monster spell chain... unless I'm missing something?

So spellcasters everywhere are, basically, stuck with the Core book's Summon Monster lists (barring house rules) - and by my count there are 19 'evil' summons possibilities, and only 7 'good' (not counting all the celestial / fiendish possibilities). So there's a good chance that summoning an evil outsider is your best option. Summon Monster 2, 7, and 8 all have 'evil' options but no 'good' options at all, for example. For whatever reason the whole spell chain is skewed towards summoning evil creatures. That, I suspect, is one of the reasons threads like this keep popping up - if casters had more non-evil summoning options then they'd probably be perfectly happy not summoning the evil guys all the time, so wouldn't worry about the possibility of alignment altering consequences.

Perhaps it would even be better to have variant spell chains - the Summon [evil] Monster spell chain, and the Summon [good] Monster spell chain, etc. - each populated by an equal amount of appropriately aligned creature choices? That would, at least, avoid automatically boosting a caster's pool of monster choices with each Bestiary released (if that's the percieved problem with allowing stuff like Aeons to be Summoned via Summon Monster spells in the first place)?

Food for thought... or not... YMMV... :)


Tegresin the Laughing Fiend wrote:
Of course it's not evil. I'm sure you have your reasons for doing so. In fact, I wholeheartedly urge you to summon more fiends. Summon them and let them out to frollic and play with the squishy yummy mortals whose souls are like a yummy raspberry filling once you get past the fleshy shell. >:)

Now here's a guy who knows what time it is :P

The only ones selling you on this being all perfectly acceptable are the Devils and Demons themselves.

I think it would be great to see a group of Paladin & Inquis NPC's coming after the player on the grounds of him being a 'Demon summoner, consort of Devils, and fornicator of the Undead'.


Shifty wrote:

Summoning spells via the [evil] descriptor is an Evil act.

Period.

Explain to me 1 thing:

If your Paladin got trapped in the Abyss and my wizard found a spell to free him, why would that spell, BY DEFINITION, would have the [evil] spell descriptor?

(it would have that descriptor, that is not in question as the rules do say so.)

Have you read the rules for spell descriptors? They are very clear, and they say NOTHING about the morality of accessing a certain plane with your spell.


Treantmonk wrote:

If your Paladin got trapped in the Abyss and my wizard found a spell to free him, why would that spell, BY DEFINITION, would have the [evil] spell descriptor.

Have you read the rules for spell descriptors? They are very clear, and they say NOTHING about the morality of accessing a certain plane with your spell.

Explain to me this: WHY would it necessarily have an Evil Desriptor? WHERE does it state such a restriction?

'Elemental' is not an alignment or dogma, so using those spells is in and of itself not a problem - what matters there is the end reult and use of the spell, like making a firearm. Good and Evil on the other hand are clearly different, and the very act of summoning Devils and Demons are very much Evil and and of themselves.

Their very nature is Evil, its not like this is a secret, and the summoning itself is likely to involve some very non-good trappings.

Its such a black and white case they even put it in the descriptor.

The Exchange

The idea of [alignment] spells being an [alignment] act, regardless of the caster's intent, quickly falls down if you think about it...

'What are you doing, Bob?'

'Summoning celestial ponies.'

'Okay... why?'

'Because every time I cast the spell it's a good act, and bumps my alignment a little bit more towards good.'

'But you're already Lawful Good, right?'

'Right... but I'm planning on murdering my wife next week, and don't want to lose my sweet paladin powers because of it.'

'Wait... you're what? You're spamming this spell just so you can get away with murder? Isn't that an evil act anyway?'

'Nope - intent doesn't matter - all that matters is that the spell is [good], and I'm scoring brownie points for casting it.'

... It's the horror of medieval Catholic indulgences all over again. Heck, you probably don't even need to spam the spell yourself - just pay the local Clerics of Good to spam Summon Monster (celestial pony) on your behalf as you go on a weekend rape and murder spree and you'll be golden...

No thanks, not in my game - IMHO intent matters.


There is another thing that people seem to be asserting that makes no sense to me that I would like to address. That is this idea that a wizard who abuses this spell is nothing but a puny mortal after all and anything he does going to incur the wrath of that creature and perhaps its god. But that isn't the case. Oh, sure the creature can try to retaliate, that isn't even a question. My problem isn't with that. But the whole "you are nothing but an insignificant worm" argument seems like total BS to me. If I bind an Astral Deva and make it do something, it has the right to retaliate. But when it does seek vengeance it better have a damn good plan because I will mess his s@@# up. I'm a powerful wizard. I bend reality to my will. I'm not an insignificant worm. If I can cast Planar Binding I am as strong or stronger than a great number of outsiders.

Now mind, I am not advocating the abuse of the spell. But hand waving the problematic aspects of the spell because "you are a feeble mortal and must cow in the presence of outsiders!" just doesn't hold water.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
ProfPotts wrote:

'Nope - intent doesn't matter - all that matters is that the spell is [good], and I'm scoring brownie points for casting it.'

... It's the horror of medieval Catholic indulgences all over again. Heck, you probably don't even need to spam the spell yourself - just pay the local Clerics of Good to spam Summon Monster (celestial pony) on your behalf as you go on a weekend rape and murder spree and you'll be golden...

No thanks, not in my game - IMHO intent matters.

This is because you assume the casting of the spell 100 times equals 1 murder in balance.

It doesn't. Even if it didn't, the intent does matter. Casting an aligned spell isn't an either or situation, it's a lump sum situation. Yep, you get a tiny bit of bump of good, and then a bunch of evil because the intent was to do it to cover up a murder.

It's bargain basement time in the alignment olympics when it comes to this stuff. If the spell aligns with the intent, you get a bigger boost, otherwise the intent and spell conflict.


Shifty wrote:

Summoning spells via the [evil] descriptor is an Evil act.

Period.

Citation, please.

Quote:
It is self evident - You are calling on Demons and Devils and the like to do your bidding, not the actions of an agent of good. Questionable for Neutrals too in many cases.

See my post here for several reasons you'd rather use an evil summoned monster to fight evils.

Quote:
What EXACTLY do you think might be happening during the summoning? What do you think the incantation might involve exactly? Asking Satan around for some tea and biscuits?

Since it's all fluff, how about:

"Wayward spirit whose soul was damned, lurker of night and slaughterer of lambs, hear my howl, I command thee now. Bound in the shackles of the sacred judge, you shall serve, dredge, and trudge; at my behest your will divest. Appear, and my will drive thy own."

Or in layman's terms. "GTF out here and do my bidding. I'd have summoned an angel to get the crap beat out of them to within an inch of their lives before they are tossed back to their homeworld, but I figure you probably deserve it and it serves my purposes now."

Quote:
Put down your Black Metal/Emo CD's and come join us in reality - Your Demon summoning Necromancer is NOT CN, he's a Muppet.

Put down your condescending, illogical, and spiteful drivel, and join the grownups who are capable of reading and examining philosophy and logic patterns. See, now did that solve anything? No. Let's be civil.

Also, I don't listen to Death Metal, and I don't know what an Emo CD.


ProfPotts wrote:
The idea of [alignment] spells being an [alignment] act, regardless of the caster's intent, quickly falls down if you think about it...

Only if you think that life is an MMO, in which case you have been doing faction grind for too long and probably need to turn off your WoW account and go outside for a while.

Alignment is a state of being, if I am good, I will do good acts. Should I choose to undertake an Evil act, my alignment has probably shifted - in RPG's we track that shift after the fact, however IRL you would have shifted to Evil (or been transitioning) well before the Demon summonings would have started occuring.

Questions of motive, and subsequent redemptions come later... thats a WHOLE different subject, and has little/nothing to do with the purchase of indulgences.


WPharolin wrote:


I do not believe this is true. Wish was far less exploitable in 3.0 than it was in 3.5, for example. And it can be made clearer and more concise. If an element in the game is complex you need to give it the time it deserves to make that complex element function on its own. Ultimately, you will need a DM to arbitrate and run the campaign. But your design goal should be to write each elemental as something that is as clear as possible and has as little DM fiat as possible. I believe that the least amount of DM fiat possible is very near to none at all.

It was and is exploitable, regardless of degree. The process of making things clearer often leaves it less concise. Simple things can be easily made concise, spells with the potentially wide effects of a Planar Binding or Wish can not. Not without limiting them and simplifying them to the point were they would need new names and fulfill far less of what they currently do (kind of like what was done to the Polymorph spell). Writing out DM fiat in anything as complex as PF is simply not doable while keeping to any reasonable word count. If you want to have a wall of books with detailed case references and minutia I suppose it could be done. I can miss that, the rules take up a pretty good sized set of books now.

WPharolin wrote:


In a game, anything that isn't quantifiable has no meaning mechanically. Non-quantifiable game elements are the same as non-existent game elements. The "Unreasonable Commands" part of Planar Binding is just Mother-May-I with angels.

In a computer game, you're right. In a game that requires a human referee you're wrong. DM decisions, quantifiable or not, have an obvious mechanical effect. Effectively you would eliminate Rule 0 I suppose as well because it isn't quantifiable. Besides, it's not "Mother=May-I with angels", it's mother may I with the DM :D


mdt wrote:
ProfPotts wrote:

'Nope - intent doesn't matter - all that matters is that the spell is [good], and I'm scoring brownie points for casting it.'

... It's the horror of medieval Catholic indulgences all over again. Heck, you probably don't even need to spam the spell yourself - just pay the local Clerics of Good to spam Summon Monster (celestial pony) on your behalf as you go on a weekend rape and murder spree and you'll be golden...

No thanks, not in my game - IMHO intent matters.

This is because you assume the casting of the spell 100 times equals 1 murder in balance.

It doesn't. Even if it didn't, the intent does matter. Casting an aligned spell isn't an either or situation, it's a lump sum situation. Yep, you get a tiny bit of bump of good, and then a bunch of evil because the intent was to do it to cover up a murder.

It's bargain basement time in the alignment olympics when it comes to this stuff. If the spell aligns with the intent, you get a bigger boost, otherwise the intent and spell conflict.

Cool story bro.


Ashiel wrote:


Put down your condescending, illogical, and spiteful drivel, and join the grownups who are capable of reading and examining philosophy and logic patterns. See, now did that solve anything? No. Let's be civil.

Thanks, that is EXACTLY the advice I should have given the Evil spells are not Evil camp.

I was trying to be a little nicer though, but I guess if people need to be told that bluntly that trying to justify summoning of the denizens of the pits of Hell as being ok and other acts of self delusion are just that, then perhaps I needed to put it that way.

This isn't an examination of philosophy, it is a set of ham fisted justifications for trying to weasel out of paying the piper. It's the sort of delusional piffle I expect from 3rd world militiamen justifying genocide and cannibalism.


Shifty wrote:
Ashiel wrote:


Put down your condescending, illogical, and spiteful drivel, and join the grownups who are capable of reading and examining philosophy and logic patterns. See, now did that solve anything? No. Let's be civil.

Thanks, that is EXACTLY the advice I should have given the Evil spells are not Evil camp.

I was trying to be a little nicer though, but I guess if people need to be told that bluntly that trying to justify summoning of the denizens of the pits of Hell as being ok and other acts of self delusion are just that, then perhaps I needed to put it that way.

This isn't an examination of philosophy, it is a set of ham fisted justifications for trying to weasel out of paying the piper. It's the sort of delusional piffle I expect from 3rd world militiamen justifying genocide and cannibalism.

If it was good enough for the Christian God and King Solomon, I guess it's probably good enough for those who don't believe that Satan exists in D&D, so we'll call it even on that.

Likewise, why not actually put something up. The burden of proof is on you, as Treantmonk said. Now stop generalizing people and talking about Death Metal and people being out of touch with reality.

PS: Cannibalism is not an evil act. Killing another for cannibalism is widely considered an evil act. There are cultures that have engaged in cannibalism as part of their respectful and holy funeral rights, where the body of their passed brethren is shared by their friends and family.

EDIT: The moral of the story is don't be so judgmental and dismissive to people, or so quick to cast stones. Anyone complaining about devils and Satan should probably be fairly familiar with this concept.


R_Chance wrote:


It was and is exploitable, regardless of degree.

And it could have been made to be less or even non-exploitable if Andy Collins wasn't a bad writer.

R_Chance wrote:


The process of making things clearer often leaves it less concise.

No, by necessity, being clearer in what can and can not be done leaves things more concise. To can't be the other way because that would be a contradiction.

R_Chance wrote:


Simple things can be easily made concise, spells with the potentially wide effects of a Planar Binding or Wish can not. Not without limiting them and simplifying them to the point were they would need new names and fulfill far less of what they currently do (kind of like what was done to the Polymorph spell).

This is a heavily loaded statement your making with nothing to back it up. So I'll ask that you provide reasons for why you believe clarity within complexity cannot exist.

R_Chance wrote:


Writing out DM fiat in anything as complex as PF is simply not doable while keeping to any reasonable word count.

I don't think that is true. But to save space we could start by removing alignment from the book, recombining the emotion spells into a single spell, having the polar ray spell put back into the Freezing Sphere spell, and returning to 3.x weapon sizing (which not only took up less word count but was in every way a superior system). That's just for starters.

R_Chance wrote:


In a computer game, you're right. In a game that requires a human referee you're wrong.

No. An element of a game that is non-quantifiable isn't in any way usable. You must know what a thing is in order to use that thing.

R_Chance wrote:


DM decisions, quantifiable or not, have an obvious mechanical effect.

DM decisions can have mechanical effect. But non-quantifiable decisions can have non-quantifiable effects (in a game). In others words non-quantifiable effect only have a narrative effect. In the case of Planar Ally that effect is Mother-May-I.

R_Chance wrote:


Effectively you would eliminate Rule 0 I suppose as well because it isn't quantifiable. Besides, it's not "Mother=May-I with angels", it's mother may I with the DM :D

Yes I would love to eliminate Rule 0. It needs to die by fire. I am saying this both as a DM and a Player.


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WPharolin wrote:
Yes I would love to eliminate Rule 0. It needs to die by fire. I am saying this both as a DM and a Player.

Will you have my babies!? :P /jk /jk

Seriously though, I've GMed 90% of my time playing D&D, which has basically been since the conception of 3E back in 2000, and honestly house rules are great. Rule 0 is lame. Rule 0 is the cruch rule. It is amazingly lame, and it serves no purpose other than to stand as an excuse for poor mechanics or for GMs to fall back on instead of actually dressing any legitimate problems. At its best it is nothing more than a notation that the GM is the final arbiter, at its worst it is an enabler for the worst traits a GM can have.


Sorry Ash, as a Summoner, you are calling in a creature that is Evil, made from Evil, and with only Evil in its heart.

By the mere act of deliberately bringing such a creature into the world you have made an evil choice, it only gets worse from there. Unfortunately we only have nine degrees of measure in this game, lesser evil is still evil - though I'd grant in 'Real Life' you might just be a petty evil as opposed to some horrible nasty.

The other difference is that our REAL WORLD Christian Kings could try summon all they like, and all it will be is somewhere between a sad pantomime and a perversely evil ceremony, but ACTUAL Devils and Demons appear in Fantasy games - so I'd say thats a pretty marked difference.

The sky is blue.


Ashiel wrote:
At its best it is nothing more than a notation that the GM is the final arbiter, at its worst it is an enabler for the worst traits a GM can have.

And what YOU seem to forget is that whether you can squabble with the GM and try force through a justification with them as a person, the GM is not just an arbiter of the rules, he is also the representative of the Heavenly host overseeing the characters, he is Mt Olympus, he is teh one turning people into pillars of salt, he is the harsh Norse Gods judging actions - and not all of these Gods are there to be benevolent, some are downright Capricious.

If you don't like that 'guff', go play an RPG that doesn't have Clerics/Wizards (or only has them as NPC's).


Darkholme wrote:
Psisquared wrote:

I agree completely, that is why I prefer an allegiance system, in which characters are loyal to the things they value most (which could be good and law, or their conception of it).

For some reason, this thread makes me think of Miko Miyazaki from OoTS. Now there was an awful good paladin!

Hmm. Can you explain/link to this allegiance system? It sounds quite interesting.

I dropped the alignment from my D&D like 2 years ago. I found a quick and easy guide someone on the internet came up with that removes alignment from spells, keeps paladins, but gives them smite instead of smite evil, etc.

They still fight evil things and people talk about evil, but now its all based on characters judgment calls instead of a weird mix of absolute good and evil and subjective good and evil which sometimes dont make much sense.

I believe the allegiance system was used in Green Ronin's Black Company RPG. That made perfect sense, since applying D&D alignment to the Black Company characters from the novels will result in mostly neutral and evil. And they were the "good guys".

The way the system worked was you pick three things: a person, a place, an ideal, etc. The character acts for those things, or his conception of them (in the case of an ideal, philosophy, or religion).

I feel that this accurately represents most of humanity (family, honor country, for example) and avoids the absolutes of alignments.

Of course, a creature with a subtype probably has that subtype as its first allegiance (a demon would probably have evil and chaos as allegiances, for example) and a priest or paladin's first allegiance would be to a god/religion/moral code.

Basically, this alters how a lot of alignment based spells work, but they could be retooled to interact with things based on allegiances.

Plus, allegiances make for much better role-playing hooks than "good" and "evil".


Shifty wrote:

Sorry Ash, as a Summoner, you are calling in a creature that is Evil, made from Evil, and with only Evil in its heart.

By the mere act of deliberately bringing such a creature into the world you have made an evil choice, it only gets worse from there. Unfortunately we only have nine degrees of measure in this game, lesser evil is still evil - though I'd grant in 'Real Life' you might just be a petty evil as opposed to some horrible nasty.

The other difference is that our REAL WORLD Christian Kings could try summon all they like, and all it will be is somewhere between a sad pantomime and a perversely evil ceremony, but ACTUAL Devils and Demons appear in Fantasy games - so I'd say thats a pretty marked difference.

The sky is blue.

Do you have something in the rules to backup your claims, or do you just plan to waste my time that could be better spent listening to someone that actually has an argument? Or are you just going to whine about Satan and then when I start doing a little reality name-dropping jump back to shouting about how it's a fantasy, yadda yadda. Maybe it's just me, but I'm pretty sure I've never seen anything in D&D that even concerns Satan, but Satan is a real-world icon that many believe to be as real as you or I.

Perhaps you are too angsty against Death Metal to realize that most of the fantasy concepts, including summoning demons and devils and binding them into service are in fact based on stories from reality that true or not do come from reality. D&D sure didn't invent demons and angels. If you think so, you may wish to visit a library or just browse Wikipedia and assimilate as much knowledge about anything and everything tat you can.

So far you've basically made claims based on your personal preference, with no evidence, no citations (even when asked for them), and basically made no effort to actually discuss other than telling us poor fools how the game is really played, and expect us to take your holy word for it. Good job.

Also, the sky is clear. This is evident because we can see the sun in the sky, and the moon, and the stars. Now due to atmospheric conditions we sometimes perceive it as blue.

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