Elven Immunities trait and ghoul's paralysis


Rules Questions

Shadow Lodge

2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

There are a number of alternate racial traits for elves which negate the "Elven Immunities" trait, which reads:

Quote:
Elven Immunities: Elves are immune to magic sleep effects and get a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells and effects.

And from the Bestiary, ghouls have a paralysis effect which "elves are immune to this effect".

My question is, are they immune because they are elves, or are they immune because of Elven Immunities described above?

The wording in both rulebooks suggest the racial trait doesn't matter, but is that semantics? This becomes important because if we swap out Elven Immunities for another racial trait, they become vulnerable and it's not written anywhere.


The racial trait Elven Immunity does exactly what it says and nothing more...


RAW, I'd say the former; Elves are still of the Humanoid (Elf) Sub-type, which is what I would deem the paralysis effect would not work on in terms of RAW. Creatures are identified by the type of creature they are, and the exception the paralysis effect lists would be based on the type of creature, not on the statement of the creature itself (which, I will correlate that the Elven Immunities trait does not confer).

RAI, I would be inclined to say that Elves who sacrifice Elven Immunities would fall under the effects of the Ghoul's Paralysis, since the intent of the ancient Elven Heritage is to be superior to undeath by quite a degree, and the trait reflects that to an extent. In addition, Half Elves who take feats (or other traits) that remove their belonging to an Elf would make them also just as susceptible (something to keep in mind). However, the RAW doesn't always reflect the RAI, and vice-versa.

Just my two cents. YMMV.

Dark Archive

cwslyclgh wrote:
The racial trait Elven Immunity does exactly what it says and nothing more...

Seems to me that it's fairly open to GM interpretation whether "elves are immune to this effect" is based on a trait called Elven Immunities and not just because they are somehow magically immune by way of the fact that they are an elf, completely disconnected from the trait that grants them their immunities. Maybe if the ability was based on the fact that the creature in question does not WANT to paralyse elves. But if it's because of elf biology, I'd say the trait is the reason.


@ Ballig

Some effects don't work on other creatures; the Paralysis from a Ghoul could be a prime example, in that it doesn't work on creatures with the Elf subtype.


How about half-elves out of curiosity? They have that trait that says they count as both elves and humans for any effect related to race... Do they get to ride on their momma's coat tails for this encounter? :)

As for the rest? I would say it has nothing to do with the Elven Immunity trait. That trait is based on magical sleep and Charms... There really isn't any crossover between sleep/charm and Paralysis.

Even the spell ghoul touch is a necromatic spell... nothing Enchantmenty about that.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

There is nothing in the Elf entry.

This is a Ghoul thing, and as long as the Elf still counts as an Elf, then the Ghoul will not effect it.


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phantom1592 wrote:
How about half-elves out of curiosity?

There was an FAQ that said half-elves are immune to ghoul paralysis, too.

PFSRD FAQ wrote:

Ghouls and Half-Elves (10/26/09)

Q: Are half-elfs immune to a ghouls paralysis effect now that they are treated as elf blood?

A: (James Jacobs 10/26/09) Traditionally, only elves have been immune to ghoul paralysis. But it does look like the current wording for "elf blood" would extend to half-elves. And since "elf blood" IS more of a disadvantage than an advantage since very few "elf only" items or effects exist. So yeah, upon further reflection, I'd say that half-elves are fine and immune to ghoul paralysis.


Isn't this a relic from Chainmail, or possibly earlier?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

According to Golarion lore, the demon lord Kabriri, first of ghouls, was once an Elf.

This would seem to be the core of the Ghoul's inability to effect Elves.

So, as I said, it is not an ability of Elves, but an inability of Ghouls.


It's a relic from earlier DnD.

Elves in older editions said Immune to sleep. paralysis and I think charm... there was one more effect but dont quote me.

I think something got lost in translation somewhere. A LOT of bestiary/MM entries have a good deal of copy/paste in them. So it can easily have been carried over.

Originally, Elves were supposed to be immune to sleep and paralysis due to their semi immortal nature, and the fact that they never actually sleep and despite a drop in Con, are ever enduring.
A lot of that has been retconned over the years, maybe because elves were to powerful? I dunno.

I don't think elves should lose con, Personally I think, Cha or Str is more appropriate....

but hey whatever.


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Ciaran Barnes wrote:
Isn't this a relic from Chainmail, or possibly earlier?

It is from Chainmail, as a balancing mechanic. Numbers of cheap Undead units could easily kill the more expensive Elf units, so Elves were made immune to ghoul paralysis to compensate.

When Chainmail was made into D&D, it carried over.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
phantom1592 wrote:

How about half-elves out of curiosity? They have that trait that says they count as both elves and humans for any effect related to race... Do they get to ride on their momma's coat tails for this encounter? :)

I'm going to say no on this. As well as on the prior question. It's more that the ghoul's paralysing power simply doesn't synch with the base makeup of elves who still remain immune to it even if the sleep immunity has been traded away.

It's a specific thing... the ghast power does not specifically target the elven subtype, it simply just doesn't work on pure elves.

The elf-blood aspect of Half-elves refer to affect that specifically target elves, such as elf bane weapons. Or magical devices that can only be operated by folks of elven blood.

Shadow Lodge

So is the immunity to paralysis a product of Elven Blood or Elven Immunities?

Would be nice to get an official ruling since RAW and RAI seem to be up in the air.


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Avatar-1 wrote:
So is the immunity to paralysis a product of Elven Blood or Elven Immunities?

It's neither (Elf Blood is half-elven racial trait, not elven - in case of half elf immunity to ghoul's paralysis would be a product of Elf Blood trait). Elven immunity to ghoul's paralysis is part of the ghoul's paralysis ability.

Quote:
Would be nice to get an official ruling since RAW and RAI seem to be up in the air.

No, it's not. It's quite clear:

RAW: Ghoul paralysis is unable to affect elves.
RAI: Ghoul paralysis is unable to affect elves.

Nothing in the description of ghoul's paralysis refers to Elven Immunity so there is no reason to link between the two.


Avatar-1 wrote:

So is the immunity to paralysis a product of Elven Blood or Elven Immunities?

Would be nice to get an official ruling since RAW and RAI seem to be up in the air.

It got a FAQ if you missed it. So that makes it opfficial:

Ghouls and Half-Elves (10/26/09)

Q: Are half-elfs immune to a ghouls paralysis effect now that they are treated as elf blood?

A: (James Jacobs 10/26/09) Traditionally, only elves have been immune to ghoul paralysis. But it does look like the current wording for "elf blood" would extend to half-elves. And since "elf blood" IS more of a disadvantage than an advantage since very few "elf only" items or effects exist. So yeah, upon further reflection, I'd say that half-elves are fine and immune to ghoul paralysis.


Point of Note: Advanced Ghouls become Ghast and they can paralyze Elves

PFSRD wrote:

Ghast

Ghasts are ghouls with the advanced monster template. A ghast's paralysis even affects elves. Ghasts roam in packs of their own kind or lead groups of common ghouls. The stink of death and corruption surrounding these creatures is overwhelming, granting them the stench extraordinary ability (10-foot radius, Fort DC 15 negates, sickened for 1d6+4 minutes).


I don't know... I think that all ghasts are advanced ghouls (with some other explicit special abilities such as stench and the ability to paralyze elves) BUT not all advanced ghouls are ghasts (ei simply slapping the advanced template on a ghoul doesn;t automatically make it a ghast with stench and the ability to affect elves with their paralysis).

It is similar to the way that all squares are rectangles BUT not all rectangles are squares.


Time to start making that Quadrilateral combat map.

Sovereign Court

Avatar-1 wrote:

So is the immunity to paralysis a product of Elven Blood or Elven Immunities?

Would be nice to get an official ruling since RAW and RAI seem to be up in the air.

You're getting muddled because you're looking at it from one direction.

It is not a special ability of elves.

it is a flaw in the ghoul's ability.

It is not a product of 'Elven Blood' or 'Elven Immunities' or any words you migth want to play around with.

It is a product of...

PFSRD wrote:
Special Attacks paralysis (1d4+1 rounds, DC 13, elves are immune to this effect)

If you are an elf you are immune. End of debate. Wording is unambiguous. There is an official ruling, it is in ghoul statblock. ELVES ARE IMMUNE TO THIS EFFECT.

Contributor

GeraintElberion wrote:
Avatar-1 wrote:

So is the immunity to paralysis a product of Elven Blood or Elven Immunities?

Would be nice to get an official ruling since RAW and RAI seem to be up in the air.

You're getting muddled because you're looking at it from one direction.

It is not a special ability of elves.

it is a flaw in the ghoul's ability.

It is not a product of 'Elven Blood' or 'Elven Immunities' or any words you migth want to play around with.

It is a product of...

PFSRD wrote:
Special Attacks paralysis (1d4+1 rounds, DC 13, elves are immune to this effect)
If you are an elf you are immune. End of debate. Wording is unambiguous. There is an official ruling, it is in ghoul statblock. ELVES ARE IMMUNE TO THIS EFFECT.

The question was whether or not the immunity to ghoul paralysis was tied to be the Elven Immunities racial trait or simply from having the elf subtype.

However, you're absolutely, 100% correct. It has nothing to do with your racial traits, its simply the ghoul's ability telling you that the ability doesn't work against elves. You can trade away elven immunities and still be immune to a ghoul's paralysis because that ability doesn't care about which racial traits you have. All it cares about is that you're an elf.

Shadow Lodge

Alexander Augunas wrote:
GeraintElberion wrote:
Avatar-1 wrote:

So is the immunity to paralysis a product of Elven Blood or Elven Immunities?

Would be nice to get an official ruling since RAW and RAI seem to be up in the air.

You're getting muddled because you're looking at it from one direction.

It is not a special ability of elves.

it is a flaw in the ghoul's ability.

It is not a product of 'Elven Blood' or 'Elven Immunities' or any words you migth want to play around with.

It is a product of...

PFSRD wrote:
Special Attacks paralysis (1d4+1 rounds, DC 13, elves are immune to this effect)
If you are an elf you are immune. End of debate. Wording is unambiguous. There is an official ruling, it is in ghoul statblock. ELVES ARE IMMUNE TO THIS EFFECT.

The question was whether or not the immunity to ghoul paralysis was tied to be the Elven Immunities racial trait or simply from having the elf subtype.

However, you're absolutely, 100% correct. It has nothing to do with your racial traits, its simply the ghoul's ability telling you that the ability doesn't work against elves. You can trade away elven immunities and still be immune to a ghoul's paralysis because that ability doesn't care about which racial traits you have. All it cares about is that you're an elf.

There is ambiguity - the bestiary came out before the alternate racial traits did, so there wouldn't have been any need to mention the Elven Immunities (or Elven Blood) trait at the time of writing.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

No.

It is an aspect of the Ghoul's ability, not the of the Elf.

An Elf only needs to remain an Elf to be immune.

It could be a Fiendish Elf, with every alternate racial trait available, and still be immune.


Once upon a time this was listed under Elves as an elven ability in older editions, so it's just carried over now (when 3.5? I dunno) to being only listed under the ghoul.

It's funny I wonder if this was some kind of oversight, because it USED to be an elf ability. At least under the old THACO era saving throws.

I always hated writing down all the race things (like this, and dwarf checks for stone etc) and just looked them up when they became needed. So since I haven't written them down on a character sheet Fo-evas, I can't recall when this ability disappeared as something TO write down??

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Now it comes from the fact that the first Ghoul was an Elf.


At least in Golarion. I'd need to come up with something for my own setting to explain it.


but is that a world flavor, for golarion, not necessarily the PF reason it exists as all. (i.e. that's Golarions explanation for the power or rather inability there of, but they didn't include the factoid because of this in the base rules, as it is a carry over from earlier systems)

So is it just a copy paste thing they are rolling with, or some kind of intentional change to the elf/ghoul relationship with pathfinder?

In other words, is this just an oops that is just now being found? OR a deliberate thing. (I would think it should be recorded under elf entry, as it once was in earlier editions)


It's copy-pasted from earlier material.


right, that's what I thought. So... since it's no longer "part" of the elf entry, is an accidental thing? I would assume if it was supposed to be there, it wouldn't have been cut out of the elf entry. because copy and pasting elf from earlier material would have listed immune to paralysis. Then the Ghast was specifically called out as having a paralysis that effected even elves.

So since they literally rewrote elf, why was it not included in there? Was this an intention to remove the ability, but was missed under the Ghoul heading, then later they said 'hey we will just make the first ghoul an elf" or.....

I guess it's just weirding me out, it's no longer listed as an elf power, but it's still a 'rule'

funky.


They fused it with the lore of Golarion.


Pendagast wrote:

Once upon a time this was listed under Elves as an elven ability in older editions, so it's just carried over now (when 3.5? I dunno) to being only listed under the ghoul... right, that's what I thought. So... since it's no longer "part" of the elf entry, is an accidental thing? I would assume if it was supposed to be there, it wouldn't have been cut out of the elf entry.

(note my quote comes from two different posts by Pendagast)

This line of thought is based upon a fictitious argument. The immunity to ghoul paralysis has always been part of the ghoul monster write up and has never been part of the elf write up anyplace in the rules for making elf characters.

1e, no mention in the Player's Handbook, 2e no mention in the Player's Handbook, 3.0 no mention in the player races section of the 3.0 SRD, 3.5 no mention in the Player's Handbook, BECMI (basic/expert/companion/masters/immortals ei the non-advanced D&D line) no mention in the elf section of the Basic Player's Guide. all the way back in Original D&D the ability is perhaps hinted at in the elf race description ("They also gain the advantages noted in the CHAINMAIL rules when fighting certain fantastic creatures" Vol. 1 Men and Magic page 8) but not explicitly pointed out.

Shadow Lodge

James Jacobs said (2013-01-08) wrote:


Elves (and by extension in Pathfinder, half-elves) are immune to ghoul paralysis because they've ALWAYS been immune to it, from pretty much the earliest days of the game. For a long time, no reason was given and no one really thought to ask why. While other editions of the game may have offered explanations eventually, in Pathfinder the reason is hinted at in "Lords of Chaos," on page 18

(aka: the first ghoul rose from the body of an elf and became Kabriri, the demon lord of ghouls, which is not only why ghouls have long ears, but why elves alone are immune to the paralysis).

Half elves have the trait "elf blood" which means they count as elves for any effect related to race. There's not a lot of these effects in the game, and most of them are bad for you (such as favored enemy or bane weapons)... but there are good things too. Since a half-elf treats effects as if she were an elf AND a human, that means that as an elf she's immune to ghoul paralysis but as a human she's not... but since you have to be completely affected by the effect in order to be paralyzed, half elves get to take the better option here and not get paralyzed by ghouls.

As good as it gets.


That quote is date stamped on a day that hasn't happened yet....

Shadow Lodge

Pendagast wrote:

That quote is date stamped on a day that hasn't happened yet....

Depends where you are ;)


Yeah, I want that FAQ'd, that seems like an oversight from the creation of alternate racial traits.

Do not get me wrong. By RAW if you are an elf you are immune no matter your racial trait because of the Bestiary entry. No argument about that here. However, that does not seem to me to be the intended effect.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I see no need for FAQ. I see no alternate RAI.

I see an ability, that cannot effect Elves.

Just that simple.


Sah wrote:

Yeah, I want that FAQ'd, that seems like an oversight from the creation of alternate racial traits.

Do not get me wrong. By RAW if you are an elf you are immune no matter your racial trait because of the Bestiary entry. No argument about that here. However, that does not seem to me to be the intended effect.

Humans with racial heritage (elf) would be immune to the effect (and they don't have eleven immunities). I don't see any reason this needs to be FAQ'ed.


Whale_Cancer wrote:
Sah wrote:

Yeah, I want that FAQ'd, that seems like an oversight from the creation of alternate racial traits.

Do not get me wrong. By RAW if you are an elf you are immune no matter your racial trait because of the Bestiary entry. No argument about that here. However, that does not seem to me to be the intended effect.

Humans with racial heritage (elf) would be immune to the effect (and they don't have eleven immunities). I don't see any reason this needs to be FAQ'ed.

This


Would this even be a discussion if 'Elven Immunities' was instead called 'Moon Sparkles'?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Umbral Reaver wrote:
Would this even be a discussion if 'Elven Immunities' was instead called 'Moon Sparkles'?

Maybe, but it would be just as silly.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I see no reasonable evidence of alternate RAI.

I will, however, not try to stop anyone from requesting a FAQ.

I expect no response.


Nevermind I just checked the Elven Immunities and it does not mention it, thats my bad. I was mistaken

Lantern Lodge

I agree that it is a limitation of the ghoul and not a racial attribute of the elf.

However, you might like it better a different way, so remember The Most Important Rule (Core Rulebook pg 9).

"The rules in this book are here to help you breathe life into
your characters and the world they explore. While they are
designed to make your game easy and exciting, you might
find that some of them do not suit the style of play that your
gaming group enjoys. Remember that these rules are yours.
You can change them to fit your needs. Most Game Masters
have a number of “house rules” that they use in their games.
The Game Master and players should always discuss any
rules changes to make sure that everyone understands how
the game will be played. Although the Game Master is the
final arbiter of the rules, the Pathfinder RPG is a shared
experience, and all of the players should contribute their
thoughts when the rules are in doubt."

ps (completely unrelated) You can't prove anything.

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