Mythic - Tier 3 "Beyond Morality"


Rules Questions


12 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

I posed a few questions on this to James Jacobs, and was redirected here for FAQing. It concerns the interaction of the Beyond Morality ability with various other elements of the game (and alignment system, specifically). It seems to have some perhaps-unforeseen repercussions on a variety of game elements. The text of the ability, for reference purposes:

Mythic Adventures page 50 wrote:
Beyond Morality (Ex): You have no alignment. You can become a member of any class, even one with an alignment requirement, and can never lose your membership because of a change in alignment. If you violate the code of ethics of any of your classes, you might still lose access to certain features of such classes, subject to GM discretion. Attempts to detect your alignment don't return any results. If a class restricts you from casting spells with an alignment descriptor, you can cast such spells without restrictions or repercussions. If you're the target of a spell or effect that is based on alignment, you're treated as the most favourable alignment when determining the spell's effect on you. Any effects that alter alignment have no effect on you. If you lose this effect, you revert to your previous alignment.

Now, this ability raises some questions that I can think of, and possibly some that others can come up with. First, the obvious stuff seems to be that spells like Holy Word (and friends), Detect Evil (and friends), and similar types of magic won't work. This is no issue, and is spelled out in the ability. The problem comes up in how it interacts with certain other abilities.

1) For example, the Divine Source power allows the possessor to grant divine spells. The domains selected by the character taking it must match alignment if possible, unless alignment is neutral. This is an immediate issue, because somebody with Beyond Morality has no alignment. What is the most favourable alignment to treat them as for this purpose? Can they just select any two domains that they want?

2) Clerics must be within one step of the god they follow. If you have Divine Source and are a demigod, and also have Beyond Morality... what alignment are you for purposes of the one step rule that your clerics need? Can you literally have a cleric of any alignment, from LG to CE? Are you considered neutral? Or something else? Can you even have any clerics at all, since they obviously would be incapable of being your clerics?

3) How does somebody with this ability interact with spells like Atonement? The text of the relevant section:

Atonement spell (emphasis mine) wrote:
Redemption or Temptation: You may cast this spell upon a creature of an opposing alignment in order to offer it a chance to change its alignment to match yours. The prospective subject must be present for the entire casting process. Upon completion of the spell, the subject freely chooses whether it retains its original alignment or acquiesces to your offer and changes to your alignment. No duress, compulsion, or magical influence can force the subject to take advantage of the opportunity offered if it is unwilling to abandon its old alignment. This use of the spell does not work on outsiders or any creature incapable of changing its alignment naturally.

I think the question here is obvious, considering the text of Beyond Morality as "you have no alignment" - clearly there is a disconnect. How does this ability interact with atonement spells? Does the caster count as whatever alignment he feels like counting for in context of the ability? So, for example, one morning he could cast the spell to redeem a CE character to LG, and that afternoon he could corrupt a LG paladin to CE? Does the spell even work for him at all? There is plenty of reference to being the target of effects concerning alignment in the Beyond Morality text, but not if you're the source of it.

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Those are the three most notable concerns I came up with after perusing the ability for a little while. There may be others that have been noted elsewhere as well, but I do think this ability needs a bit of clarification on just what it entails.


"you're treated as the most favourable alignment when determining the spell's effect on you."

1) cool, choose all or none of the alignment domains.

2) Yes, any alignment clerics. You are considered whatever is most beneficial(you are Yahweh - think of the debates your followers can have). Why are they incapable of being your clerics? They pray to you, and you grant them spells if you are satisfied with them.

3) Choose an alignment on case by case; there you go.
He could be any alignment and influence both CE and LG to come over to light or dark side respectively - because he is "Beyond Morality".


DonDuckie wrote:
"you're treated as the most favourable alignment when determining the spell's effect on you."

Only if you're the target of an effect for determining the effect that it has on you (which is nothing at all, because in the case of Atonement the spell doesn't affect you, it affects the person you're casting it on). Not if you're the source of it.

It may be simply a need to change around some of the wording of the ability, but it does need clear clarification, in my opinion.


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I think that the source of your issue is discrepancy between ability first sentence and actual ability meaning.

Under standard logic "no alignment" would render any type of alignment-based comparison or requirement meaningless. Therefore, your character would rather fail to meet any alignment requirements.
Consequently:
1. Divine Source - since no domain can match your alignment, you cannot select any.
2. Your cleric would not be able to be within one step of deity's alignment, because your cleric has no alignment, just like you cannot measure distance between here and nowhere.
3. Your PC would not be a valid target for atonement, because your PC's alignment is not opposed to caster's alignment. Again, it's a case of attempting to measure distance between here and nowhere.

HOWEVER, the actual meaning of the ability can be paraphrased as follows:
- your alignment matches any comparison or requirement in the most favorable for you way
- the only way for you lose anything due to mis-aligned action, is that when someone else can judge morality of your action and consequently declare you not eligible

As per this interpretation:
1. Divine Source - select any domains you want. Good and Evil, Chaos and Law - it's all the same to you.
2. Your cleric is always within 1 step of deity's alignment, UNLESS the deity (or its properly empowered representative) declares you're not.
3. Your PC is always a valid target for atonement if the atonement is something your PC would like to be a target of.

IMHO, the first sentence should be stricken out, or replaced with "Your alignment matches any requirements and restrictions, as long as you deem this favorable."

Regards,
Ruemere

Liberty's Edge

Ok, let me try and address what I think you are asking rather than what you're actually asking and then I'll address what you're actually asking.

So what do I think you're asking? Could a paladin that is beyond morality still receive an atonement if he violates the code? And the answer to that is yes. That's a specific use for atonement found in RAW and has nothing what so ever to do with alignment.

Now as to the actual question and how does beyond morality interact with atonement? It doesn't. You don't have an alignment so you're not of the opposite alignment and you can't take on the caster's alignment.


ShadowcatX wrote:
So what do I think you're asking? Could a paladin that is beyond morality still receive an atonement if he violates the code? And the answer to that is yes. That's a specific use for atonement found in RAW and has nothing what so ever to do with alignment.

I hadn't actually considered the paladin-atonement aspect of the spell at all. Breaking the paladin code of conduct would likely be an ethics breach (which is subject to GM discretion).

Silver Crusade

I wondered about this too. Technically, once you are 'beyond morality', no improved familiar will join you, since you have NO alignment, you cannot qualify for ANY improved familiar with an alignment restriction. Even neutral improved familiars will not join you, since having no alignment does not put you anywhere relative to neutrality (distance from here to nowhere was a good illustration, thanks ruemere).


My own interpretation (if I was GMing - and since I plan on running a Mythic campaign fairly soon this will probably come up eventually):

1: select any two domains that are [u]NOT[/u] alignment domains (or subdomains). You are Beyond Morality, therefore you cannot grant domains based on alignment, but can grant any others.

2: You may have clerics of any alignment. There was precedent for this in 3.X (a couple of gods in the Forgotten Realms - Oghma and Gond IIRC - were classed as NN but had no alignment restrictions on their clerics). I don't know of any examples in Golarion but that is how I would run it. Note that as you are Beyond Morality your clerics would [u]NOT[/u] gain an Aura, since regardless of their alignment, you have none. Likewise Channeling and Cure/Inflict wounds would be based on their alignment alone.

3: I would not allow you to use the Redemption/Temptation variant of Atonement, and it would not work on you - although I suppose you could argue that a caster who was Beyond Morality (and they alone) could Tempt someone from one of the extreme alignments to True Neutal. You could still use it to reverse magical alignment change, restore class, and restore cleric or druid powers and the latter two variants would still work on you (if you violated the Paladin's Code Of Ethics, for example). If I was feeling grouchy I would probably limit the restoration of cleric/druid powers to *your own* worshippers


Alleran wrote:
Atonement spell (emphasis mine) wrote:
Redemption or Temptation: You may cast this spell upon a creature of an opposing alignment in order to offer it a chance to change its alignment to match yours. The prospective subject must be present for the entire casting process. Upon completion of the spell, the subject freely chooses whether it retains its original alignment or acquiesces to your offer and changes to your alignment. No duress, compulsion, or magical influence can force the subject to take advantage of the opportunity offered if it is unwilling to abandon its old alignment. This use of the spell does not work on outsiders or any creature incapable of changing its alignment naturally.
I think the question here is obvious, considering the text of Beyond Morality as "you have no alignment" - clearly there is a disconnect. How does this ability interact with atonement spells? Does the caster count as whatever alignment he feels like counting for in context of the ability? So, for example, one morning he could cast the spell to redeem a CE character to LG, and that afternoon he could corrupt a LG paladin to CE? Does the spell even work for him at all? There is plenty of reference to being the target of effects concerning alignment in the Beyond Morality text, but not if you're the source of it.

As far as rules go, I'm pretty sure that being "treated as the most favourable alignment" means that you can chose whatever alignment you deem most favorable to you for the purposes of Tempting someone. Given that even the spell includes that the subject chooses of their own free will, it isn't too game breaking: Convincing an Anti-Paladin away from Chaotic evil would require some serious convincing, and it would be up to your DM if it worked or not.

On a more personal, flavor type note, I feel that a deity trying to convince a character to become their morality, would be along the lines of showing that character the infinite intricacies of the universe, showing them that Alignment does not matter that all actions carry good, evil, all law carries chaos, and within all chaos there is order. And It would count as trying to make the target become Beyond Morality as well. Make an int or wis check to see if the target can understand the full consequences, and if they can, they get the option of becoming Beyond Morality as well, or staying as their current alignment. If their check fell short, it would sound to them like the god was trying to pull them to True Neutral status, and they would make a decision based on that.


The way I interpreted the neutral alignment issue with Divine Source is that you choose 2 domains appropriate to your deity or what you represent. That's probably how I'm going to play it as well, unless this gets changed by the devs in the future. With Beyond Morality, I'd do the same. What 2 domains make you mythic or make you a hero? Those are your domains.

Liberty's Edge

My question with 'beyond morality'... What would the effect of the paladin class ability 'smite evil' be determined against a creature with the 'beyond morality' mythic ability. In the same regards that would also affect any creature with a smite (alignment) ability.

If there is a posting on this or a "rules as intended' can anyone point me to the link?


I have the same question as Samuel Hutton, if you have the beyond morality path ability, are you invulnerable to the smite good ability of an antipaladin, because you have no alignment?


Samuel Hutton wrote:

My question with 'beyond morality'... What would the effect of the paladin class ability 'smite evil' be determined against a creature with the 'beyond morality' mythic ability. In the same regards that would also affect any creature with a smite (alignment) ability.

If there is a posting on this or a "rules as intended' can anyone point me to the link?

It's in the ability text:

"If you're the target of a spell or effect that is based on alignment, you're treated as the most favourable alignment when determining the spell's effect on you."

If you're being targeted by Smite Evil effect, what's the most favorable alignment for you when determining it's effect on you? Good, obviously (unless you want to be smited for some reason). So Smite Evil will always fail on you unless you consider it a good thing for it to succeed.


Yeah, immunity to smite and stuff like Holy/Unholy Word is the easy part of interpreting this ability. You also wouldn't take a level penalty from using a Holy/Unholy/Axiomatic/Anarchic weapon.


You still use your alignment for how you affect other creatures unless it's in a manner listed by the ability. Being beyond morality is like how a god is beyond morality.

It's like asking how you consider one god to be good but also understand that any given day they can send a tidal wave that kills 10,000 people or have your newborn baby die while that dictator who doesn't even believe in him kills 10,000 of the god's worshipers and lives in a palace. Certain mythic characters have this quality.

Use the ability as it says. You can take classes with alignment restrictions, you are affected in the best way by alignment based effects. Use your actual alignment for things that aren't listed, how others are affected by your spells (unless it would be listed in the ability, such as them having protection from good), what kind of outsider answers your summons, where your soul goes when you die, etc.

Keeping any clerics worshiping you within one step of your alignment also prevents problems if you somehow lose Beyond Morality and 'regain' your alignment.


Mmm, I don't think you actually retain an alignment. After all, the text says that if you lose that ability, you "revert to your previous alignment". It's not your previous alignment if you still have it.

Dark Archive

Okay, necromancy on this, about how I see it.

Okay, so lets take my half-orc Paladin as an example. As a Lawful Good Paladin, she cannot take the feat Sympathetic Rage because she's Lawful. HOWEVER, once she takes Beyond Morality, she now can. Because she's "the most favorable alignment." She's no longer lawful so she can take the feat.

Now, someone else mentioned Improved Familiar you cannot take any because you don't have any alignment, but I personally would say that a feat is an 'effect' based on other FAQs.. so you'd have the most favorable alignment for the familiar you wanted. Want a Silvanshee that will only hang out with Chaotic Good characters? You ARE Chaotic Good.

Basically, you have no alignment but you ALSO have whatever alignment you need to for class abilities, spells, and effects (again, other FAQs have implied that feats are 'effects') then you can count as whatever alignment you need to. You have no alignment because you are ALL of them.

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