Socially acceptable use of magic in PFS social settings?


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N N 959 wrote:
Eric "Boxhead" Hindley wrote:
Spellcasting isn't silent, discreet or always passive. You know nothing bad is going to happen (as do others with the right training), but not everyone does.

I agree. But the reaction of others would logically be based on the result of what I cast wouldn't it?

It would be based as much on what that person's past experiences with magic have been. If they have never seen a spell before (most people?), they have no idea what to expect, and probably react badly. If they have seen only healing magic, they might react well. If the only thing they know about magic is that there's an evil wizard that burned a neighbouring town to the ground? Roll for initiative .

Don't be surprised if guards are trained to react to unannounced/unrequested spellcasting with hostility...

Grand Lodge

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If your PC pulls out a wand and points it at my PC and he has his bow on him, your PC is going to be shot with 5 arrows doing 1d8+19. Now tell me again, how stupid is your PC? Is he stupid enough to point a wand at my PC or his wizard finger? You PC is going to die before the last syllable escapes his lips.

That's the reality of casting spells in public. Your PC gets killed. And my archer's initiative is +14, he will get your guy 90% of the time before your guy get to finish. And he doesn't give 2 bits about whether it was a healing spell, or a benign one. Your PC does it without my PCs permission, they are going into initiative.

If they are party members, that's one thing. Just two strangers at a social gathering, your PC is going to breathe his last.

Dark Archive

The Inner Sea World Guide (p253) has a very long paragraph on common folk and Magic. Basically everyone knows about it, and it is likely that commoners have seen spells and have received healing or other minor effects at some point in their lives.

Grand Lodge

Loving this thread.

Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka Mistwalker

N N 959 wrote:
Mistwalker wrote:
In someways, I view casting spells as modernday firearms on Earth. Some people wear them openly and no one bats an eye (police, military, etc.), while if you draw a weapon while waiting in line at Star Bucks or at a recpetion with VIPs, then the reaction may be a wee bit different.

I've seen several posts suggesting spells are viewed as weapons. I think the perspective is detrimental to a plausible treatment of spell use in society. A gun is created and designed to do one thing. Kill people. That's it. Guns don't clean laundry, heal a wounded persons, or sanitize your food. They kill people. That's it.

Lumping the entire landscape of spell/magic use into the category of "weapon" isn't going to give us an accurate insight into how the average Golarionite is going to view it.

Which is why I updated the scenario to: a smart gun/phone - the device is a gun with a built in smart phone. So the question becomes, are they checking messages or about to shoot? Or would laser may be a better example, as in addition to all of the smart features, it could also be used to weld, transmit data over long distances (without the need for re-transmitters), or kill people.

While I agree that guns primary purpose is to kill, I still think that the smart phone/gun (or laser) is appropriate. You can check your mail, send a text, check the web for almost anything, or you can kill people with it.

Spells are the same way - the cast could be cleaning their outfit, chilling/flavoring their drink, increasing their chances to seduce someone, kill an individual or an area effect spell to kill most to all people in the place.

In a society where magic has been around a long time, where magic wars have been fought (and country sides ravaged - some still uninhabitable centuries later), I would be very leering of strangers casting spells. Even if they were only increasing their seduction chances I would object - if they are being successful, it means that there is a greater chance that I will not be! :)

@RainyDayNinja
I don't think that the knife example sufficiently highlights the possible destructive ability of spells - knives have to go after one target at a time, while guns can fire at multiple targets in the same time frame.

Dark Archive

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Eric Saxon wrote:
If your PC pulls out a wand and points it at my PC and he has his bow on him, your PC is going to be shot with 5 arrows doing 1d8+19. Now tell me again, how stupid is your PC? Is he stupid enough to point a wand at my PC or his wizard finger? You PC is going to die before the last syllable escapes his lips

How do you know it is a wand rather than for example a pencil or just a stick? Unless you just cast detect magic yourself of course.

Aside: Hmm, there must be thousands of used empty wands in circulation, otherwise known as sticks. One suspects Golarion children play wizards and dragons with "wands" all the time. Hmm, ambushing someone while disguised as a child playing magic games, that has possibilities...

How do you know that someone pointing a finger is a wizard or that means he is casting a spell at you?

Quote:
That's the reality of casting spells in public. Your PC gets killed. And my archer's initiative is +14, he will get your guy 90% of the time before your guy get to finish. And he doesn't give 2 bits about whether it was a healing spell, or a benign one. Your PC does it without my PCs permission, they are going into initiative.

Initiative doesn't work that way. Once casting has begun only a readied action could interrupt most spells.

Quote:
If they are party members, that's one thing. Just two strangers at a social gathering, your PC is going to breathe his last.

So your PC kills anyone at a social gathering who talks and gesticulates at the same time? Does he get many invites? ;-)

Liberty's Edge 5/5

N N 959 wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
I'm just reading this OP is an attempt to codify the rp of the world to take even more control away from the GM. This seems to be a theme lately from a select few posters.

PFS is predicated on providing a consistent experience for the players. It makes a big difference if one GM allows players to whip out scrolls and cast spells to beat DC's and another one kicks the PC out of the party.

If "control" is an issue for someone as a GM then they should stick to AP's or non-PFS games.

It isn't a control or rather power issue. It isn't about ego. This is a tabletop RPG. Not a computer game. GMs are not computer AIs or robots. If you want that level of consistency go play a computer or console game.

In an RPG there is only so much consistency you can apply. Each game is going to be different based on individual GMs preferences and styles. And that is ok. If you find a gm that doesn't fit you, don't play at their table.

But constantly asking to take the human out of the GM is essentially asking them to stop roleplaying. No thank you!

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Mistwalker wrote:
Is the guy in armor who is looking intently at you using Detect Evil, or is he simply paying attention to what you are saying, the way polite people are supposed to?

The fact that an SLA provokes an AoO means it is obviously more.

Scarab Sages

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Arkos wrote:
Jiggy wrote:

Why not?

I assume that in order to enter the Grand Lodge, cross the grounds, and meet with Aram Zey in a room containing the Hao Jin Tapestry, you probably had to go through some "airport security" of a magical nature. No one needs to spend table time on that (though some tables would enjoy it if they have the time!) and there's definitely no need to spend precious word count on it in scenarios.

This interests me, because since it isn't written down, players just don't expect it to happen. I continually get into situations where I want to cast detect magic on an NPC as a way of sizing them up, especially when they're a Pathfinder themselves. But the GM will often say "You just cast it right there while they're watching and everything?"

Quite a few people in the world don't have spellcraft (heck a lot of characters that cast detect magic don't have spellcraft) - as you begin casting detect magic they don't know it as any different as Dominate Person, Create Undead, Fireball, or any type of spell they don't like. So I would think most people would react very negatively to spell casting.

And since Spellcraft is a trained only skill - there is probably a lot of paranoia.

Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka Mistwalker

Andrew Christian wrote:
Mistwalker wrote:
Is the guy in armor who is looking intently at you using Detect Evil, or is he simply paying attention to what you are saying, the way polite people are supposed to?
The fact that an SLA provokes an AoO means it is obviously more.

I am not sure that I agree.

On page 221 of the Core, it says that the spell-like abilities have no verbal, somatic or material components. That it is mentally activated. To me, the fact that it provokes AoO, means that you have to concentrate on it to such an extend that you are leaving small openings in your defense (in a similar nature as drinking a potion), not that it is obvious that you are activating a spell-like ability.

Detect Evil also has a 10 min/level duration (if maintained/concentrated on). So the Paladin could cast it outside/out of sight, then walk into the party/bar, and look around.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
N N 959 wrote:
Mistwalker wrote:
In someways, I view casting spells as modernday firearms on Earth. Some people wear them openly and no one bats an eye (police, military, etc.), while if you draw a weapon while waiting in line at Star Bucks or at a recpetion with VIPs, then the reaction may be a wee bit different.

I've seen several posts suggesting spells are viewed as weapons. I think the perspective is detrimental to a plausible treatment of spell use in society. A gun is created and designed to do one thing. Kill people. That's it. Guns don't clean laundry, heal a wounded persons, or sanitize your food. They kill people. That's it.

Lumping the entire landscape of spell/magic use into the category of "weapon" isn't going to give us an accurate insight into how the average Golarionite is going to view it.

Take a look at the arcane spells in the rulebooks. You're going to find that the vast majority of them are essentially battle magic, and of the rest, very very few do things which are useful in society. So spells for the most part aren't that different than guns.

Divine magic gets a bit more of a pass, but customarily it's used only in appropriate areas, such as temple grounds. That assumption of course is based on being openly identifiable as a servant of an accepted diety. A Sarenrae priest casting spells in Taldor is asking for serious trouble.


What an awesome thread! John, I really look forward to that blog and hope it comes to fruition! I have thought about many of the things touched on in this thread numerous times. I like to think about the 3.5 Eberron books when I think about things like this. The book Sharn, City of Towers described all sorts of details like this. They had descriptions of the security you had to go through when entering the city and entering certain districts of the city. There was a list of spells that were banned from use. Any spell that charmed people or attempted to control them was highly illegal. Sharn had basically two punishments, gold fine or death. Jailtime was reserved for political prisoners, everyone else is either executed or pays a fine. You would receive a flat 25gp reward from the town guard if you saved someone with feather fall who had fallen from a tower and is plummeting to their doom. If you took a skyship, security would confiscate any magic items you had that could produce fire or potentially damage the ship. I would be really excited to see some of these expanded details make it into Pathfinder. Time to re-read some Eberron books :)

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

LazarX wrote:

Take a look at the arcane spells in the rulebooks. You're going to find that the vast majority of them are essentially battle magic, and of the rest, very very few do things which are useful in society. So spells for the most part aren't that different than guns.

Divine magic gets a bit more of a pass, but customarily it's used only in appropriate areas, such as temple grounds. That assumption of course is based on being openly identifiable as a servant of an accepted diety. A Sarenrae priest casting spells in Taldor is asking for serious trouble.

Of course, the rulebooks are primarily written for adventurers. I'm sure there are plenty of spells out there for helping crops grow, doing spreadsheet calculations, parlor games, etc. Not to mention the incredible utility of spells like prestidigitation, spark, light, mending, purify food and drink, illusion and evocation spells for entertaining children, and so on.

Grand Lodge

Andrew Christian wrote:
Mistwalker wrote:
Is the guy in armor who is looking intently at you using Detect Evil, or is he simply paying attention to what you are saying, the way polite people are supposed to?
The fact that an SLA provokes an AoO means it is obviously more.

Drinking a potion also provides an AoO and so does drinking a beer. Its still not a hostile action.

Grand Lodge

ZomB wrote:
So your PC kills anyone at a social gathering who talks and gesticulates at the same time? Does he get many invites? ;-)

Cute but my PC doesn't go to a party carrying his longbow. That's another of those faux pas things. But pointing a wand at my PC in any situation is going to make him head for cover. And there are things that perception does allow you to deal with, like reacting to an ambush. When you're a lvl. 11 fighter, you sort of always walk around on edge. (Some folks call it PTSD.) 18 years ago I saw a Marine drop to the ground in the middle of my college campus when a car backfired. He was a survivor of the whole Somalia non-sense and I knew that because he was in my class.

And someone pointing a wand at me, would definitively qualify as a potential ambush situation. So I would get a perception roll.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Eric Saxon wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
Mistwalker wrote:
Is the guy in armor who is looking intently at you using Detect Evil, or is he simply paying attention to what you are saying, the way polite people are supposed to?
The fact that an SLA provokes an AoO means it is obviously more.
Drinking a potion also provides an AoO and so does drinking a beer. Its still not a hostile action.

Careful there, Calden Cayden frowns heavily on that sort of alcohol abuse...


I think the social rules of a community would determine the boundaries not just the prevalence and variety of magic.

For example: the dark ages/medieval concept of Hospitality placed a socially binding obligation upon your host to treat you well and you as a guest to behave. The host would welcome compliments regarding their generosity and quality of your stay, and you would be expected to be gracious about this, stay for the entertainment, praise the meal, etc.

Throwing any kind of magic into this equation that infers distrust would be seen as a serious breach of hospitality by the casting party.

We are talking about societies where your WORD is your bond and your reputation/honour is paramount. The social sanctions against a known thief would place them outside of society, a murderer more so, and these are crimes that would stick to you wherever your name was known. Would adventurers commit them? Its not a question of 'if' but 'how often' in my experience.

In a formal role, e.g. investigating a crime then yes, magic would be used, but again within a very defined set of rules, and yes there would be intrigue and the use of magic within that. By and large I suspect the pcs would have a poor reputation as ruthless mercenary types whose word is worth nothing.

Shadow Lodge

There are so many instances which can be interesting. I have a PC's Eidolon who, when he encounters Andoran officals, asks them why he can't be an Eagle knight like his person (seems odd to the Eidolon, especially with Andoran's ideology) and both the PC and the Eidolon ask that the Eidolon be treated politely...for example, being offered a seat at the table.

I've never had a problem 'in game' with such behavior, but a while back when describing this online to a DM, they reacted along the lines of 'how dare you bring your 'animal' to the Blackros Wedding and basically didn't react well when I explained another Summoner/Eidolon I played with locally thought of themselves as husband and wife.

I think what is important is with spells or whatever is that GM and the players are on the same page.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Kerney wrote:

I think what is important is with spells or whatever is that GM and the players are on the same page.

I think thats a bit of a pipe dream. There are way too many different NPCs to write out rules for their reactions to everything they might come across.

Shadow Lodge

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Kerney wrote:

I think what is important is with spells or whatever is that GM and the players are on the same page.

I think thats a bit of a pipe dream. There are way too many different NPCs to write out rules for their reactions to everything they might come across.

I think you misunderstand slightly. All I mean is, when a player and a GM come to a point when they realize that the PCs expect one reaction on one underlying assumption and get something else they should take a second to understand each other. This can be a player playing with the underlying attitude 'eidolons are intelligent beings to be treated respectfully' faces a GM acting on his assumption that 'Eidolons are somewhere between slave and animal' is one such assumption. Another is a player casts a spell and doesn't expect the DM to have every NPC treats it as a hostile act.

When a GM and player realize they are in that situation, they should, ideally, see if one or the other are misinterpreting the situation and then get on the same page.

Considering that people in this thread have very different understandings of what constitutes 'socially acceptable' magic, it seems worthwhile that when we see that we aren't seeing eye to eye, we should be aware of it take a second to try to when we encounter it in game.

And I realize this is an ideal, not always reality.

Dark Archive

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To alleviate this issue is to write a new book of mundane spells. A spell list for adepts. Spells that do things so ordinary and trivial that they take up 1/4 the size in a spellbook/slot of normal spells when learning them.

0th level
Pluck Bird
Bait Line
Pick Up Laundry
Steep Tea
Stir Pot
Dust Shelf
Wash Hands
Do Dishes
Turn Page

1st level
Muck Stable
Rock Crib
Knit Sweater
Baste Turkey
Discipline Child
Remove Stain

2nd Level
Plow Field
Cobble Street
Cobble Shoe
Make Fancy Hairdo
Powder Nose
Remove Stubborn Stain

3rd level
Remove Ridiculously Resilient Stain
Grind Wheat
Come Up with New Mundane Spell

4th Level
Read Mundane Book (The spells reads for you, but you learn nothing. The inventor of this spell was not very strong in terms of foresight.)
Summon Footstool
Paint Picture
Remove Adamantine Grass Stain

5th Level
Remove Epic Stain
Raise Child (not at all like raise dead)

6th Level
Remove Mustard Stain
Raise Children (the mass version of raise child)

Grand Lodge

Here is the section from the ISWG(pg 253) that ZomB mentioned:

Magic in the Inner Sea:
ISWG wrote:
Magic: The common citizens of the Inner Sea region, be they farmers or traders or city guards, know about magic. It's likely that they've seen magic spells in action, and have even been the beneficiary of healing magic or other minor effects at some point in their lives. Yet magic is not so universal a part of life for most of the Inner Sea's citizens that they've come to rely on it. It's seen most often as an extravagance or a reward used by the wealthy, or in a worst-case scenario as yet another tool a despot or monster might use to oppress honest folk. Magic is thus a source of wonder and awe and of fear, but since it's not a fundamental part of most folks' everyday lives, it's also often misunderstood.

Shadow Lodge

Dieben, most of those spells already exist. They're covered by prestidigitation. That doesn't mean that prestidigitation is so common that the average Joe will recognize it on sight. Perhaps the average adventurer, but really that's the purview of the spellcraft skill. Spellcraft wouldn't be "Trained Only" if they wanted everyone to be able to tell the difference between a harmless cantrip and a fireball.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas aka kinevon

Mystic Lemur wrote:
Dieben, most of those spells already exist. They're covered by prestidigitation. That doesn't mean that prestidigitation is so common that the average Joe will recognize it on sight. Perhaps the average adventurer, but really that's the purview of the spellcraft skill. Spellcraft wouldn't be "Trained Only" if they wanted everyone to be able to tell the difference between a harmless cantrip and a fireball.

I dunno. Shouldn't that be covered by the same rule as DC 10 Knowledge checks?

Able to make an untrained Spellcraft check up to a DC 10.

And note that some spells, like Prestidigitation, Create Water, Detect Magic, etc., have a base of 5 + level, like common monsters, like skeletons or zombies, that anyone Golarion can easily recognize?

"Oh, look, Johann is playing at being a valet, again. Never tire of that Prestidigitation cantrip, do you, Johann?"

Shadow Lodge

Spells for daily life that were used in memorable home. Throwing something like this in a PFS adventure might be interesting.

Power Word Lacate

Used in an all male party when they found a baby.

Magic Circle against Suitor

Favorite of Dads against Daughters Dating

Sovereign Court 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
kinevon wrote:
Mystic Lemur wrote:
Dieben, most of those spells already exist. They're covered by prestidigitation. That doesn't mean that prestidigitation is so common that the average Joe will recognize it on sight. Perhaps the average adventurer, but really that's the purview of the spellcraft skill. Spellcraft wouldn't be "Trained Only" if they wanted everyone to be able to tell the difference between a harmless cantrip and a fireball.

I dunno. Shouldn't that be covered by the same rule as DC 10 Knowledge checks?

Able to make an untrained Spellcraft check up to a DC 10.

And note that some spells, like Prestidigitation, Create Water, Detect Magic, etc., have a base of 5 + level, like common monsters, like skeletons or zombies, that anyone Golarion can easily recognize?

"Oh, look, Johann is playing at being a valet, again. Never tire of that Prestidigitation cantrip, do you, Johann?"

Source? I don't see that anywhere in the description for Spellcraft.

Dark Archive

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The introduction to the Players Guide to Ptolus (free PDF download) written by D&D 3rd edition co-designer Monte Cook is how I envisioned Absalom was with its attitudes to magic.

extract:
The effects of 1st-level spells come as a surprise to no one here. Tanglefoot bags, rings of protection, and a druid’s animal companions are taken for granted.
I loved it when one day a player of mine said, “I polymorph myself into a troll and run out into the street after the thief.”
Another player said, “Dude, you can’t go out there like that!”
And the first player replied, “Don’t worry about it! This is Ptolus—they see this stuff all the time.”
I knew then that the first player really got Ptolus.

Grand Lodge

I'm sorry ZomB but Ptolus is not Golarion. Magic isn't available in every shop and village from one end of the Inner Sea to another. Your PC may rub shoulders with powerful wizards, necromancers, paladins and ninjas. But the average Joe on the street doesn't even know what a ninja is and a necromancer is someone to be burned in the town square. Wizards are to be avoided and feared, while a Paladin is a nobleman to be bowed to.

The whole idea that everyone sees magic and that its kosher to cast spells in public is only possible if every fifth person is a spell-caster. And that may be true for your party but that isn't true for the world we play in.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Eric:

Absolom is that cosmopolitan... even if the rest of golarion isn't.

Seriously, the Star wars cantina song should be the national anthem

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Mistwalker wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
Mistwalker wrote:
Is the guy in armor who is looking intently at you using Detect Evil, or is he simply paying attention to what you are saying, the way polite people are supposed to?
The fact that an SLA provokes an AoO means it is obviously more.

I am not sure that I agree.

On page 221 of the Core, it says that the spell-like abilities have no verbal, somatic or material components. That it is mentally activated. To me, the fact that it provokes AoO, means that you have to concentrate on it to such an extend that you are leaving small openings in your defense (in a similar nature as drinking a potion), not that it is obvious that you are activating a spell-like ability.

Detect Evil also has a 10 min/level duration (if maintained/concentrated on). So the Paladin could cast it outside/out of sight, then walk into the party/bar, and look around.

But you can't just equate it to looking intently at someone, because that doesn't provoke.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Eric Saxon wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
Mistwalker wrote:
Is the guy in armor who is looking intently at you using Detect Evil, or is he simply paying attention to what you are saying, the way polite people are supposed to?
The fact that an SLA provokes an AoO means it is obviously more.
Drinking a potion also provides an AoO and so does drinking a beer. Its still not a hostile action.

I didn't say it was a hostile action. It is certainly more than just looking intently at someone.

Dark Archive

I thought the parallels between the cities of Ptolus and Absalom were close enough for Absalom to have a cosmopoltian attitude towards magic and the Ptolus intro page to be useful. Not saying that applies throughout Golarion - just the major cities.

It is possibly indicative of how the 3rd edition design team thought, which I thought was relevant.

However, the only official Paizo info we have on attitudes so far is the paragraph in the Inner Sea Guide quoted above. I will have a look at the Guide to Absalom when it arrives (Golem sale order).

We do know from the PFS Guide that:
- you can purchase magic items on the always available list from any town with 5000+ population
- spell casters are available to cast spells for a fee in _every_ settlement in Golarion

PFS Guide Spellcasting Services extract:

Generally speaking, you can pay to have spells cast on
you at any time during the scenario so long as you’re in a
settlement or have access to a temple, shrine, or wandering
mystic. Page 163 of the Core Rulebook covers the rules for
purchasing spellcasting services and the associated costs
are listed in the Spellcasting and Services table on page 159.
For Pathfinder Society Organized Play, PCs may only
purchase spells with a total cost of above 3,000 gp by visiting
a settlement with more than 5,000 residents. Any settlement
smaller than that will have a mystic or full-blown wizard or
cleric who can cast spells that cost fewer than 3,000 gp, but
never more.

Grand Lodge

I have read this thread with great interest.

Unfortunately I think there is an unresolvable conflict between canon (and this is where I see the OPs question fall into) and rules.

I'm a Pathfinder Tales subscriber and I love the books as they both tell a great story but also as in each tale they try to give some more background for some country and class. The latest one deals with the River Kingdoms, a Gunslinger and a Summoner / Eidolon.

It is interesting how the gunslinger is introduced, his gun mistaken for a magic wand by some people.

It makes a lot of sense for a story - you are far away from Alkenstar - so nobody there ever has seen a gun before. Surely a gunslinger in such areas would get modifications in social settings after he used his gun. Stealth down, diplomacy down, intimidate up.

But it doesn't translate into PFS play where you travel the whole world and we expect that something works as we expect it. So sometimes as GM we just have to step back and something that isn't 100% kosher because of canon will still work as RAW.

The problem is - canon isn't universal.

So back to the original topic. There are a lot of examples given here where I feel they won't be social acceptable and would cause issues. At the same time it is likely I wouldn't give the spell user any grief at the table.

Otherwise what should I make from the following - the half-orc hero who gets a bounty on his head by a very influential person because he wants to marry his daughter - and is an half-orc.

So from a point of canon I should include racial prejudice and apply a minus to any half-orc (add other strange races here as well). From a point of rules I should not.

RAW trumps canon. But if players and GM try to follow more canon how they behave and not just claims RAW this is allowed then we gained a lot through this thread.

After all - we play in Golarion - a world of many facets and the rules are too blunt an instrument to tell you in every corner of the world what is acceptable or not.

Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka Mistwalker

Andrew Christian wrote:
Mistwalker wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
Mistwalker wrote:
Is the guy in armor who is looking intently at you using Detect Evil, or is he simply paying attention to what you are saying, the way polite people are supposed to?
The fact that an SLA provokes an AoO means it is obviously more.

I am not sure that I agree.

On page 221 of the Core, it says that the spell-like abilities have no verbal, somatic or material components. That it is mentally activated. To me, the fact that it provokes AoO, means that you have to concentrate on it to such an extend that you are leaving small openings in your defense (in a similar nature as drinking a potion), not that it is obvious that you are activating a spell-like ability.

Detect Evil also has a 10 min/level duration (if maintained/concentrated on). So the Paladin could cast it outside/out of sight, then walk into the party/bar, and look around.

But you can't just equate it to looking intently at someone, because that doesn't provoke.

Then could you explain what it is? It is a wholly mental ability, no movement or talking needed.

The description of attacks of opportunity (p180 Core) says "Sometimes a combatant in a melee lets her guard down or take s a reckless action." Bolded for emphasis.

From that, I am taking it to mean that the action of using a spell-like ability is simply intense concentration for part of 6 seconds - nothing obvious about it if the spell effect itself has no visible manifestation (but a nice opening if in a fight).

So a paladin using their detect evil spell-like ability simply appears to intensely looking somewhere/at something/someone initially, then a bit less so (after the spell is cast and now only requires concentration).

Scarab Sages

No one is going to agree you know. Grognards and those simulating medieval Europe will take one view and those who enjoy player empowerment and running a fun game will lean the opposite way. Accept that massive table variation will be the norm and let's move on.

Shadow Lodge

kinevon wrote:

I dunno. Shouldn't that be covered by the same rule as DC 10 Knowledge checks?

Able to make an untrained Spellcraft check up to a DC 10.

And note that some spells, like Prestidigitation, Create Water, Detect Magic, etc., have a base of 5 + level, like common monsters, like skeletons or zombies, that anyone Golarion can easily recognize?

"Oh, look, Johann is playing at being a valet, again. Never tire of that Prestidigitation cantrip, do you, Johann?"

Spellcraft isn't a "Knowledge" skill, and even if it were, "common" knowledge only lowers the DC by 5. Identifying a "common" spell as it is being cast would, under your house rule, be DC 10+spell level. Still to high to be used untrained except on cantrips, which is reasonable.

Identifying a spell that just targeted you is a DC 25+spell level Knowledge (Arcana) check. A "common" spell might only be DC 20+spell level. Seems like the rules don't want people to be able to identify magic without training. Seems like maybe the average Joe doesn't have much of a chance to identify even common spells like the cure light wounds the priest just cast to fix his broken leg.

Dark Archive

I think there are at least two conversations going on here:

1) Discussing magic and its social dynamics as a setting backdrop.

2) Trying to establish what constitutes a threatening magical act.

The first is essentially harmless for rules in game, as it is enriching the setting and enhancing role-play and immersion.

It is clear from the differing opinions on the second that different GMs potentially _already_ give different diplomacy or intimidate modifiers (+/-2), and possibly different starting attitudes of bystanders (+/-5) depending on magic use.

Now that is unlikely to noticeably affect important NPCs as their starting attitudes are normally fixed. So I don't think it is a big deal. It will however lead to potentially jarring though interesting differences in setting backdrop presented by different GMs.

So in my opinion its a "nice to have" to get folks on the same page with regards to setting attitudes to magic, but its not a "must have" - as then it would already have been addressed. A possibly contentious blog post sounds just fine ;-)


Thod wrote:

I have read this thread with great interest.

Unfortunately I think there is an unresolvable conflict between canon (and this is where I see the OPs question fall into) and rules.

I actually think the problem is more fundamental. There is really nothing like spell casting in human existence. Sure, there have been shamans and priests and belief in magic and monsters, but it was mysticism and lore, not magic. Our society has never experienced real magic in the way it can be experienced in Golarion. No pharaoh from ancient Egypt ever destroyed a city with fireballs. No shaman from any North American tribes ever turned into a bear.

So in some sense, we're asked to do the impossible. We're asked to imagine what life would be like with something that defies logic and is not bound by an real rules of operation besides what is deemed necessary for RAW.

Perhaps an example would be trying to imagine what life would be like if replicators from Star Trek were invented 200 years ago. To what extent would our society be different if even businesses had access to replicators? It's impossible to know.

As you've touched on, what would be true in a real world of Golarion isn't necessarily what works for a game. Except I lean towards making sure we agree on what makes sense for the game. What you call "canon" is just some authors attempt at creating fiction. The author makes an arbitrary choice about what aspects are important to the background of the game world and nobody runs simulations to determine if the culture would really have evolved that way.

Quote:
It is interesting how the gunslinger is introduced, his gun mistaken for a magic wand by some people.

And how do the Commoners respond to the Summoner/Eidolon?

Quote:

The problem is - canon isn't universal.

***So from a point of canon I should include racial prejudice and apply a minus to any half-orc (add other strange races here as well). From a point of rules I should not.

And thus it really isn't canon is it? I see that as a problem. We are in an Organized Play environment which requires that we all use the same mechanics and rules. One GM imposing a social penalty on Half-Orcs and one GM ignoring it in the same setting is antithetical to what Organized Play is about.

Quote:
But if players and GM try to follow more canon how they behave and not just claims RAW this is allowed then we gained a lot through this thread.

Definitely disagree. If it's cannon, then it needs to be a rule. The GM-as-Written rule is there for a reason. It's a definitive statement that when GMs were entrusted to make wholesale changes to the scenarios, it caused more problems than it solved.

Quote:
After all - we play in Golarion - a world of many facets and the rules are too blunt an instrument to tell you in every corner of the world what is acceptable or not.

Which is exactly why we have a rule that governs how things work. Just like the rule that says every town has at least some type of spell caster. It may not be cannon per Pathfinder, but it's canon per PFS and it makes the game a lot easier to play and GM and it provides the player base with a consistent experience.


Matthew Trent wrote:
Accept that massive table variation will be the norm and let's move on.

I disagree. "Massive table variation" undermines the game, it doesn't improve it. The lack of rules consistency is why I had no interest in going to conventions back in the days of 1e. The GM-as-written rule is exactly why I've gone to PaizoCon and been willing to show up and FLGS and buy products from Paizo and spend money in local game stores.

The more variation PFS allows, the less actionable player feedback will be. It will make the game harder to improve and it will be harder to write scenarios that work.

Grand Lodge

ZomB wrote:

We do know from the PFS Guide that:

- you can purchase magic items on the always available list from any town with 5000+ population
- spell casters are available to cast spells for a fee in _every_ settlement in Golarion

That's right ZomB. PFS, this is a very important distinction.

The Hao Jin Tapestry is the PFS version of the Star Gate. We have contacts in every town of 5,000+ people and they call in support when they get into a heap of trouble.

That does not mean every adventurer on Golarion has access to the same things. Only Pathfinder Society members do.

Scenario: Bob, Jane and Dick got into a heated discussion with some orcs. Bob ate it. My PC Sigmar a lvl. 11 Cleric, is called upon by the Society to cast a Raise Dead spell on him because the local contact/VC in some dung heap on the ass end of Golarion called up HQ to get someone to come and cast raise dead on the lvl. 6 fighter and my PC who is in Absalom, between missions, drinking himself senseless at the local dive bar, got tapped on the shoulder, to do this favor for Ambrus Valsin.

This does not mean that every town of 5,000+ people has a lvl. 9 cleric who can or more importantly will, cast a Raise Dead or a Resurrection. What it means is that the Pathfinder Society is a very powerful organization with a very long reach and it has a lot of resources like my lvl. 11 Cleric, to call on, when stuff hits the fan. :)

Lantern Lodge

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Andrew Christian wrote:
Eric Saxon wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
Mistwalker wrote:
Is the guy in armor who is looking intently at you using Detect Evil, or is he simply paying attention to what you are saying, the way polite people are supposed to?
The fact that an SLA provokes an AoO means it is obviously more.
Drinking a potion also provides an AoO and so does drinking a beer. Its still not a hostile action.
I didn't say it was a hostile action. It is certainly more than just looking intently at someone.

Heh. Kind of makes me want to roll up a lore warden - one with max ranks in Knowledge (local), Knowledge (nobility), and Profession (lawyer). He'll gaze very intently at all he converses with, because he's an intense sort, and when they flip out and assault him for or accuse him of employing detect spells upon them, he will sue their pants off for aggravated assault and/or slander because he won't have one iota of magical capability. After all, he's just trying to run an honest law firm here!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
RainyDayNinja wrote:
LazarX wrote:

Take a look at the arcane spells in the rulebooks. You're going to find that the vast majority of them are essentially battle magic, and of the rest, very very few do things which are useful in society. So spells for the most part aren't that different than guns.

Divine magic gets a bit more of a pass, but customarily it's used only in appropriate areas, such as temple grounds. That assumption of course is based on being openly identifiable as a servant of an accepted diety. A Sarenrae priest casting spells in Taldor is asking for serious trouble.

Of course, the rulebooks are primarily written for adventurers. I'm sure there are plenty of spells out there for helping crops grow, doing spreadsheet calculations, parlor games, etc. Not to mention the incredible utility of spells like prestidigitation, spark, light, mending, purify food and drink, illusion and evocation spells for entertaining children, and so on.

You don't really know Rain... that's a house call, totally unsupported by rules. Modern analogue in point, There's a lot of military tech that has absolutely no practical use outside of warfare. Cluster mines come to mind as one major and extremely annoying example.

It depends on what level of magic advancement you have. Civillian uses tend to lag behind military ones.. and in a non tech society, that lag can be centuries. Eberron is an example of magic starting to go that way, but there were major limits even there. the world had just developed the equivalent of trains, but not the automobile.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Eric Saxon wrote:
ZomB wrote:

We do know from the PFS Guide that:

- you can purchase magic items on the always available list from any town with 5000+ population
- spell casters are available to cast spells for a fee in _every_ settlement in Golarion

That's right ZomB. PFS, this is a very important distinction.

The Hao Jin Tapestry is the PFS version of the Star Gate. We have contacts in every town of 5,000+ people and they call in support when they get into a heap of trouble.

And keep in mind it's a Star Gate that's used only at serious need, dependent as it is on an ancient, unreproducible, artifact that's not in the best of repair. The Society is generally far more likely to book passage for you by ship, than it is to use the Tapestry.

Grand Lodge

True, true, but we also have guys who can teleport or fly my PC in, I cast a spell and then home we go again, where I can get back to drowning my PTSD from battling a Wraith, at the bottom of a bottle.

Suffice to say, the point is that every settlement of 5,000+ people does not automatically have access to every spell caster level imaginable. That's a perk only available to PFS members, who can say "I know a guy, back in Absalom." The local adventurers are probably hoofing it to the local capital of 100,000+ to get their major spell casting done.

Dark Archive

Mystic Lemur wrote:
Dieben, most of those spells already exist. They're covered by prestidigitation. That doesn't mean that prestidigitation is so common that the average Joe will recognize it on sight. Perhaps the average adventurer, but really that's the purview of the spellcraft skill. Spellcraft wouldn't be "Trained Only" if they wanted everyone to be able to tell the difference between a harmless cantrip and a fireball.

Adepts do not receive prestidigitation, thus the creation of my mundane spell list.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Eric Saxon wrote:

True, true, but we also have guys who can teleport or fly my PC in, I cast a spell and then home we go again, where I can get back to drowning my PTSD from battling a Wraith, at the bottom of a bottle.

Suffice to say, the point is that every settlement of 5,000+ people does not automatically have access to every spell caster level imaginable. That's a perk only available to PFS members, who can say "I know a guy, back in Absalom." The local adventurers are probably hoofing it to the local capital of 100,000+ to get their major spell casting done.

According to the Gamemastery Guide—which is not specific to PFS—even the tiniest little community has access to at least 1st-level spellcasting. You only have to get more than 20 people in a settlement to have 2nd-level spells, 61 people for 3rd, etc.

That is how common magic is, for whatever ramifications that has.

Grand Lodge

So, the percentage of 1st level spell casters on Golarion is roughly 20% of the population? Yeah, I have a feeling that the Game Mastery guide might be a bit off. But I won't argue with what you are claiming, since I'm sure its there.

Its a poorly written hypothesis, but if its there then we have a lvl. 3 spell caster for every 20 people.

I'm amazed that these people need heroes, with such an abundance of lvl. 3s.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:
Arkos wrote:
I can just imagine the Bank of Abadar where every single teller has access to both of those spells and every one of them uses them as much as possible, because it's better to be safe than sorry.

Plus detect chaos, probably. ;)

And yeah, I figure a town guard letting himself be scanned by detect magic and other simple divinations is equivalent of a real-life law enforcement officer showing their badge. Standard procedure for officer-civilian interactions.

It is more like asking the police officer that stopped you to check if you were driving while drunk to be the one that will use the breath analyzer and give the blood sample.

Arkos wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
And yeah, I figure a town guard letting himself be scanned by detect magic and other simple divinations is equivalent of a real-life law enforcement officer showing their badge. Standard procedure for officer-civilian interactions.

Oooh, yeah! It should be part of the routine.

Here's what I'd hope for. When a PC casts detect magic on an NPC, even if that NPC is momentarily taken aback, the PC should just be able to say "Oh, I'm sorry. Look, it was just detect magic. No big deal." And it would be, and everyone would move on.

I like this baseline idea. What is the routine in a city like Absalom. Or for guard stations into Kyonin. Or just for a caravan being approached by a traveling merchant. Or for four Pathfinders meeting up with a shadowy contact in the Puddles.

Before comparing using magic to speaking to the pone or similar stuff, you must look how many spells, cantrip included, can be deadly.

It is like having someone causally waving a loaded rifle under your nose. He can he a hunting aficionado or a a clay pigeon shooter showing his last buy, but it is still dangerous.

Magical security checks in locations that need to stay secure, like a Bank of Adabar? Sure.
Casually casting of detect magic as soon as you meet someone? No.

the next time you go to a work meeting, try asking the other people to accept a low penetration x-ray scan to check if they are carrying weapons and see what is their reply.

Dark Archive

We know from the Gamemastery guide the _minimum_ prevalence of casters in settlements of any size. There are at least the following and probably more, though distribution will vary widely from settlement to settlement:

Level 1 caster for every 20 people - everybody knows one
Level 2 caster for every 60 people
Level 3 caster for every 200 people
Level 4 caster for every 2000 people
Level 5 caster for every 5000 people
Level 6 caster for every 10000 people
Level 7 caster for every 25000 people - though these are restricted in PFS

Grand Lodge

Jiggy wrote:


According to the Gamemastery Guide—which is not specific to PFS—even the tiniest little community has access to at least 1st-level spellcasting. You only have to get more than 20 people in a settlement to have 2nd-level spells, 61 people for 3rd, etc.

That is how common magic is, for whatever ramifications that has.

No !!

I did an earlier reply that got eaten when my iPad ran out of juice. So this also should be in reply to ZomB.

This is exactly the logical fallacy that I tried to elude to in my earlier post about canon and rules.

In that post I tried to make the point that you can't use canon (or the world of Golarion as described) to derive rules. There would have to be thousands of modifiers.
I remember the Keep to the Borderlands and the shop in the keep - including inventory. We would need to go to this detail - listing every single settlement with spell caster etc.
And by the way - the number of spell casters has to be A LOT higher as 5%.

A settlement of 20 needs

A druid or ranger to cast Goodberry
A paladin to cast Bless Weapon
A Wizard or Sorceror to cast Burning Hands
A cleric to cast Bane
A Bard to cast Lullaby
A Ranger to cast Animal Messenger

I guess I could find reasons to add witches, alchemist and other new spell caster classes as well into EACH settlement to fulfill the need to have someone capable to cast every single level 0 or level 1 spell in every single book.

Rules are there to allow the player to know what he can expect. Rules do simplify some aspects of the world to keep them at a minimum.

Canon and background is there to allow the player to get immersed into the world.

The GM is there to bridge the conflict between rules and canon. In a good story told you might not even notice possible logical flaws.

Players who restrain themselves not to poke holes into this by outlining through there actions every single logical flaw make the lives of GMs a lot easier.

The alternative is to scrap all of the background and Golarion and replace it with numbers. Settlement. Because this is what rules are about if you strip off any fluff that leads to inconsistencies or logical flaws if you compare the game world to real live.

Any attempt to derive a perfect match of Golarion from the rules or to derive rules from the description of Golarion is futile apart of being a mental exercise.

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