Book 5: Discussion on Iomedae [SPOILERS AHOY!]


Wrath of the Righteous

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James Jacobs wrote:
I'm still frankly kind of surprised at how violently some folks have reacted to the encounter in question. And that violent reaction really caught me off guard. So it's certainly something I'll be keeping in mind going forward when and if we do similar encounters,... if only that means limiting such encounters to the actually friendly and nice good guy deities! :-)

I do think there is no way this encounter could be handled without such reaction. Tomedae IS "the goddess of paladinhood", "the perfect paladin", even if she just showed up and said hello people would still complain. Everyone has his idea of what a paladin should do and Iomedae breaking this archetype idea is too much for some people to handle.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

James Jacobs wrote:
Arnwyn wrote:

In the end, it was comparatively poor encounter design that likely wouldn't have survived a Dungeon magazine submission.

Since I was the one who developed that encounter AND I was the one who handled Dungeon magazine's submissions for 1/3 of its entire run... I suspect that the encounter design probably WOULD have survived a Dungeon magazine submission.

Of course, now that I've seen the reaction folks have had, if I had a time machine I would warn past James to develop the encounter in an entirely different way from the author's original direction... but I don't have a time machine.

Psst, check the boss' house. I'm sure among all the Star Wars stuff, there's a blue box hidden somewhere...


Draco Bahamut wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
I'm still frankly kind of surprised at how violently some folks have reacted to the encounter in question. And that violent reaction really caught me off guard. So it's certainly something I'll be keeping in mind going forward when and if we do similar encounters,... if only that means limiting such encounters to the actually friendly and nice good guy deities! :-)

I do think there is no way this encounter could be handled without such reaction. Tomedae IS "the goddess of paladinhood", "the perfect paladin", even if she just showed up and said hello people would still complain. Everyone has his idea of what a paladin should do and Iomedae breaking this archetype idea is too much for some people to handle.

Playing a paladin like Optimus Prime is probably hard to get wrong. For a given definition of wrong.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

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Alleran wrote:


Playing a paladin like Optimus Prime is probably hard to get wrong. For a given definition of wrong.

Or This guy or this guy.


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James Jacobs wrote:
I'm still frankly kind of surprised at how violently some folks have reacted to the encounter in question. And that violent reaction really caught me off guard.

Would you say that reaction is more or less violent than attacking people with 20d6 of sonic damage? ;)


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"if only that means limiting such encounters to the actually friendly and nice good guy deities! :-)"

... errr, Iomedae is supposed to be on that list. Again, the overtones of 'paladins can't be nice' subtext is worrying. Too far down that road and you're back at Dragonlance. Or, Aroden help us, maybe even the Forgotten Realms.


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Draco Bahamut wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
I'm still frankly kind of surprised at how violently some folks have reacted to the encounter in question. And that violent reaction really caught me off guard. So it's certainly something I'll be keeping in mind going forward when and if we do similar encounters,... if only that means limiting such encounters to the actually friendly and nice good guy deities! :-)

I do think there is no way this encounter could be handled without such reaction. Tomedae IS "the goddess of paladinhood", "the perfect paladin", even if she just showed up and said hello people would still complain. Everyone has his idea of what a paladin should do and Iomedae breaking this archetype idea is too much for some people to handle.

Indeed. You just need to look at how many paladin alignment threads exist where people get very spirited disagreeing about what types of paladin are allowed. Portraying a paladin goddess was going cause a bit of a ruckus no matter what.

For my part, I hope you remember that there are people who think that the portrayal was not overboard in any respect, and don't shy away from this in the future. Speaking for myself, I really like that Iomedae has an edge to her. I like the complexities that come from a good deity that is not nice and hug-able. My group likes it as well, which is what drew one of them to play a paladin of Ragathiel for this AP. I think you did a good job portraying Iomedae as having a gruff, no-nonsense, "I expect better of you, BE better", attitude. The only real change I might consider, is having the damage of 5d6->10d6->20d6 scale with regards to wrong answer, rather than be set by question.

I still want to know how actual players feel about the encounter in the context of the campaign. Unfortunately, my players are still marching to re-take Drezen, but I have a feeling that when running the encounter close to as written, they will not get the sense of "being kidnapped and subjected to sound-torture".


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Matthew Morris wrote:
Alleran wrote:


Playing a paladin like Optimus Prime is probably hard to get wrong. For a given definition of wrong.
Or This guy or this guy.

I tend to always look to Michael Carpenter or Sanya when I think of "what would my Paladin do?" but I also feel like they're closer to a Sarenrite Paladin than an Iomedaen Paladin in terms of how the Knights of the Cross conduct themselves.


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From Iomedae's writeup in "Council of Thieves", re: her worshippers:

------------------
The Inheritor’s followers are good people. While many members of other faiths have "live and let live" attitudes, a typical Iomedaean really wants justice for everyone, honorable behavior by everyone, and a righteous leader making positive decisions for the welfare of all. Though they look to heroes within the church to deal with the greater world of swords and magic, they understand that everyday things like cooking food, keeping a clean house, and working in a market all have their places and contribute to the rightness of the world. A typical follower of Iomedae is a right-minded, hard-working person, helpful toward others and accepting help when it is needed. As they believe in justice, fairness, and honor, they gravitate toward kind and charismatic leaders, whether a benevolent noble landowner, an order-minded sheriff, or a good-natured mayor.
------------------

Hey, that sounds like Michael Carpenter to /me/.


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Even Michael Carpenter has an edge though. I actually agree with the idea that he would make a good Iomedaen Paladin. That being said, in the short story "The Warrior", his daughter gets kidnapped, and he was so angry that Dresden was scared of him. At the end of the story, Dresden has to talk him down from beating the unconscious kidnapper with an aluminum baseball bat (one of the previous blows was to the guy's kneecap too, so major damage had already been dealt). He barely succeeds by appealing to Michael's merciful side. When Harry Dresden is afraid and is acting as the voice of restraint . . . yeah, you are being intense and not so nice.

Also, I kind of think Iomedae would be more like Charity Carpenter. Same goodness, same warrior fierceness, same general sense of honor as her husband, but not as quick as Michael to be accepting of people's good nature.


Re-reading the Paladin Codes in Faiths of Purity, I concede that the Knights of the Cross are also very Iomedaen, but I still feel they've got many qualities of Sarenite Paladins. The average KotC probably has a code that's a mixture of both faiths.


I have a Human Paladin of Shizuru in my WotR game. His reference question?

"What would Shiro do?"

It also works very well.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Has anyone given any thought to having Iomedae suffer the pain when an incorrect answer is given? Maybe reflecting Baphomet's corruption seeping into her realm.


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James Jacobs wrote:
Arnwyn wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Arnwyn wrote:

In the end, it was comparatively poor encounter design that likely wouldn't have survived a Dungeon magazine submission.

Since I was the one who developed that encounter AND I was the one who handled Dungeon magazine's submissions for 1/3 of its entire run... I suspect that the encounter design probably WOULD have survived a Dungeon magazine submission.

Of course, now that I've seen the reaction folks have had, if I had a time machine I would warn past James to develop the encounter in an entirely different way from the author's original direction... but I don't have a time machine.

*grin* I know you were. And I specifically put that in my post because I, personally, bet that back then you wouldn't have accepted it! People change, and over time get different priorities and/or get... engrossed... in certain things that may be different than what they were engrossed with before. (And I keep my time machine in my garage, just so you know.)

I would have accepted it. Sorry to burst your bubble.

I'm still frankly kind of surprised at how violently some folks have reacted to the encounter in question. And that violent reaction really caught me off guard. So it's certainly something I'll be keeping in mind going forward when and if we do similar encounters,... if only that means limiting such encounters to the actually friendly and nice good guy deities! :-)

Think of it this way. Y'know all those things you hate about paladins that players do? This is like that, but it's a god. What's worse is that if the god is like this, that means that by the code, a paladin of Iomedae could treat people like this.

I mean, hey, what are some stab wounds when you can heal them up easily ;)


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Scaevola77 wrote:
Even Michael Carpenter has an edge though. I actually agree with the idea that he would make a good Iomedaen Paladin. That being said, in the short story "The Warrior", his daughter gets kidnapped, and he was so angry that Dresden was scared of him. At the end of the story, Dresden has to talk him down from beating the unconscious kidnapper with an aluminum baseball bat (one of the previous blows was to the guy's kneecap too, so major damage had already been dealt). He barely succeeds by appealing to Michael's merciful side. When Harry Dresden is afraid and is acting as the voice of restraint . . . yeah, you are being intense and not so nice.

So, why would Iomedae act this way when in a completely peaceful encounter with the PC's, where the only person with any power potential (her) is using force on friendly people whom she abducted?


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I honestly don't like the precedence this sets for paladins. It's already a disruptive class, for better or for worse. Now, it feels like we have the okay for paladins to teach people lessons by hurting them when they've failed, then healing them. That doesn't feel very Good to me.


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magnuskn wrote:
Scaevola77 wrote:
Even Michael Carpenter has an edge though. I actually agree with the idea that he would make a good Iomedaen Paladin. That being said, in the short story "The Warrior", his daughter gets kidnapped, and he was so angry that Dresden was scared of him. At the end of the story, Dresden has to talk him down from beating the unconscious kidnapper with an aluminum baseball bat (one of the previous blows was to the guy's kneecap too, so major damage had already been dealt). He barely succeeds by appealing to Michael's merciful side. When Harry Dresden is afraid and is acting as the voice of restraint . . . yeah, you are being intense and not so nice.
So, why would Iomedae act this way when in a completely peaceful encounter with the PC's, where the only person with any power potential (her) is using force on friendly people whom she abducted?

Well, I have enumerated numerous times why she might be doing that. You obviously disagree with me, and won't be swayed in your opinion on that. I would rather not just go around circles trying to explain my views to someone who obviously either doesn't understand them, or fundamentally disagrees and will not change their mind.


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What happens if the PCs cast some magic missiles on Iomedae?

After all, 35d6 damages is only "a slap on the wrist to high level mythic characters". By the same logic, Iomedae shouldn't take umbrage from a a 30d6 damages disintegrate or a 150 damages finger of death.

Spoiler:
From a RP standpoint, if my LG PC is abducted by some divine creature who beat him to death each time he doesn't say what the creature wants to hear, he'll think "it's Asmodeus trying to deceive me" and not "it's Iomedae acting like Asmodeus", and he will rather die fighting Asmodeus and trying to protect his friends than obey the god of tyranny.

So having the heroes attacking the godess is a serious possibility. Does the author explain what happens in such a case?


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magnuskn wrote:
So, why would Iomedae act this way when in a completely peaceful encounter with the PC's, where the only person with any power potential (her) is using force on friendly people whom she abducted?

My take, honestly, is that the whole "sonic damage for being wrong" thing is related to the mandates preventing divine interference.

Look at it this way: if gods can just abduct anyone in the world and harm them for not responding as they want, then they whole "don't directly interfere on Golarion" thing seems moot. So what might be an exception to appearing in the presence of mortals? Obviously, you would want it to be limited to those who follow the deity to prevent inter-faith conflicts. But the PCs aren't necessarily Iomedaen. So how do we reconcile?

Well, we know that (traditionally, at least) Mendevian Crusaders are required to swear an oath to Iomedae and fight under her banner; see the Low Templar prestige class for how that may not always be a firm oath. But we nonetheless have a formal oath to serve a goddess's interests in the mortal realm, in a crusade against Abyssal forces appropriating chunks of the Material Plane. As the PCs gain prominence in the crusade, eventually overshadowing the power and influence of Queen Galfrey herself and taking the fight back to the Abyss to undermine the opposition's war efforts, it seems reasonable that the goddess whom they claim to represent in their actions should be allowed to give them a test of faith in order to represent her on a scale beyond the limited military scope of a terrestrial conflict.

Of course, a test of faith where one meets a deity should not be straightforward and strictly positive event (although overcoming the ordeal should prove satisfactory to members of the faith); there must be danger for marked failings in the mortal's faith. The punishment for conflicting ideals within the party or between mortal and deity isn't just Iomedae lashing out in anger or frustration (although she is disappointed, I believe) but a metaphysical retruibution of the multiverse against the PCs for having failed to uphold their sworn faith or cause— notably, a faith or cause to a deity who emphasizes the sanctity of such things. While clearly a painful experience, it's not merely a slap on the wrist intended to reprimand but a necessary part of the rites of Trial By Ordeal which tests the faith to the cause and, notably, is one of the few ways that a deity may physically manifest before her followers (another reason why deities show favor with things like the presence of birds: it's subtle, can have a mundane explanation, and doesn't require putting their faithful at risk should they fail).

As for the abduction with no warning? Communicating divine intentions to mortals is generally handled by the herald, who is missing, or by the church (ie, giving someone higher up on the chain of command a vision instead and having them pass it along), which could allow enemies who infiltrated the faith to root out the deity's intentions and relay them to evil powers; better to call them to your side with no warning so that your graciousness cannot be used as a tool against the crusade's only hope for success. Besides, making it sudden and unheralded fits with the idea that you'll be testing the PCs' faith: to explain what would happen beforehand would allow them to mentally/psychologically/physically prepare themselves, which skews the field in their favor, something which won't happen when they're doing the deity's work in the real world.

So yes, the damage and "abduction" are not very nice, but it's part of the process— not merely Iomedae's, but the entire Multiverse's— when testing the fitness of mortal faithful who wish to serve the divine on a multiplanar scale, especially when their actions may call the attention of rival deities. Iomedae resorts to this kind of trial because it is simple to arrange, given the PCs' level of power and prominence in a crusade undertaken in her name, without violating divine mandate and she believes that they will be able to overcome it (though not necessarily unharmed). Being damaged by the angelic choir is a consequence of being imperfectly faithful to the cause, and is a standard part of this kind of deific meeting. The PCs aren't just four people answering questions; they're four sworn servants of a divinely sanctioned cause trying to properly elucidate the duties enshrined in their oath in order to placate the multiversal enforcers of divine non-interference, so that the deity to whom they are sworn may be permitted to give them aid and direction in a nigh-impossible task.


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Scaevola77 wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Scaevola77 wrote:
Even Michael Carpenter has an edge though. I actually agree with the idea that he would make a good Iomedaen Paladin. That being said, in the short story "The Warrior", his daughter gets kidnapped, and he was so angry that Dresden was scared of him. At the end of the story, Dresden has to talk him down from beating the unconscious kidnapper with an aluminum baseball bat (one of the previous blows was to the guy's kneecap too, so major damage had already been dealt). He barely succeeds by appealing to Michael's merciful side. When Harry Dresden is afraid and is acting as the voice of restraint . . . yeah, you are being intense and not so nice.
So, why would Iomedae act this way when in a completely peaceful encounter with the PC's, where the only person with any power potential (her) is using force on friendly people whom she abducted?
Well, I have enumerated numerous times why she might be doing that. You obviously disagree with me, and won't be swayed in your opinion on that. I would rather not just go around circles trying to explain my views to someone who obviously either doesn't understand them, or fundamentally disagrees and will not change their mind.

The problem here is that you are setting up a false premise to support your case. Citing Michael Carpenters behaviour from an extremely stressful situation as supporting Iomedae's behaviour in a situation which is fundamentally different in its nature is not a valid point of comparison in the first place.


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magnuskn wrote:
Scaevola77 wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Scaevola77 wrote:
Even Michael Carpenter has an edge though. I actually agree with the idea that he would make a good Iomedaen Paladin. That being said, in the short story "The Warrior", his daughter gets kidnapped, and he was so angry that Dresden was scared of him. At the end of the story, Dresden has to talk him down from beating the unconscious kidnapper with an aluminum baseball bat (one of the previous blows was to the guy's kneecap too, so major damage had already been dealt). He barely succeeds by appealing to Michael's merciful side. When Harry Dresden is afraid and is acting as the voice of restraint . . . yeah, you are being intense and not so nice.
So, why would Iomedae act this way when in a completely peaceful encounter with the PC's, where the only person with any power potential (her) is using force on friendly people whom she abducted?
Well, I have enumerated numerous times why she might be doing that. You obviously disagree with me, and won't be swayed in your opinion on that. I would rather not just go around circles trying to explain my views to someone who obviously either doesn't understand them, or fundamentally disagrees and will not change their mind.
The problem here is that you are setting up a false premise to support your case. Citing Michael Carpenters behaviour from an extremely stressful situation as supporting Iomedae's behaviour in a situation which is fundamentally different in its nature is not a valid point of comparison in the first place.

The problem here is you were assuming I was setting up a premise to support my case regarding Iomedae's actions, whereas I was setting up a premise to support my case that paladins are not restricted to being kind, caring, giving people all the time and that they can have an edge to them. Yes, it is a false premise when viewed as an argument for a completely different case than what I was trying to argue at that point. It wasn't a false premise for case 1 (Iomedae's conduct in the encounter), as you seem to have interpreted it, but a real premise for the much broader case 2 (the capacity for LG to be harsh and angry). I would not use that as direct argument for case 1 precisely for the reason you dismiss it, Michael was acting as an avenger against the person who wronged him, while Iomedae is not. They have completely different motivations. I admit, I was remiss in my original response by not pointing out that you were misinterpreting my point. I responded to your comment stand-alone, rather than addressing it in the full context of my post you were commenting on.

If any part of that original post was a premise for my case regarding Iomedae's conduct, it would have been the second portion where I mention Charity Carpenter. Charity has all of Michael's good qualities, but is quite frankly a @*#&$ to Harry for a long time. Until he proves himself to her and worthy of being considered family. I admit, this is somewhat reminiscent of Iomedae's treatment of the PCs. Anyway, of the two Carpenter parents, she is the more strict and harsh, and easier to anger, thus in my mind, more Iomedaean. I always pictured Iomedaean paladins as being kind and honorable, but also the type of people you really don't want to cross. If you were going to read an argument in favor of Iomedae's conduct anywhere in that post, it should have been there. You still would have been reading an argument that wasn't there, but you would be closer. An argument comparing Charity's conduct towards Dresden to Iomedae's actions in this encounter would still be a bit silly because Charity has very complex reasons for treating Harry poorly that are vastly different than the reasons for Iomedae's treatment of the PCs (which again, have been presented multiple times in the thread, even touched upon by James Jacobs I believe).


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Fair enough.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

I will say, all this talk about Iomedae has made me start thinking about an Iomedaean inquisitor, or a magus* so there is that positive development at least.

(Though it didn't take 20d6 sonic damage for me to start thinking about it.)

*

Spoiler:
As much as I love the inquisitor, I have a hard time playing divine characters. When the PCs wisdom is 14+ and mine is <9, there's a disconnect between how he should act and how I play him.

Silver Crusade

waltero wrote:
Has anyone given any thought to having Iomedae suffer the pain when an incorrect answer is given? Maybe reflecting Baphomet's corruption seeping into her realm.

It is quite the charming idea, maybe corruption would be a bit much, considering the circumstances (the herald is, at this point not completely corrupted) but a bit of pain, some cracked windows, a dark shadow in the corners, maybe some corridors twisting to a more maze like pattern…. could be a very nice idea.

I suspect, it would depend on the general mood of your player characters. If they are already seasoned veterans, ready to go and invade the domain of an enemy (rather than infiltrating the domain of a demon lord that doesn’t really care about visitors), then yeah, letting the players meet a weakened Iomedae should motivate them greatly.


Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
waltero wrote:
Has anyone given any thought to having Iomedae suffer the pain when an incorrect answer is given? Maybe reflecting Baphomet's corruption seeping into her realm.

It is quite the charming idea, maybe corruption would be a bit much, considering the circumstances (the herald is, at this point not completely corrupted) but a bit of pain, some cracked windows, a dark shadow in the corners, maybe some corridors twisting to a more maze like pattern…. could be a very nice idea.

I suspect, it would depend on the general mood of your player characters. If they are already seasoned veterans, ready to go and invade the domain of an enemy (rather than infiltrating the domain of a demon lord that doesn’t really care about visitors), then yeah, letting the players meet a weakened Iomedae should motivate them greatly.

Not a bad idea to foreshadow some maze abilities and confusion, but I hesitate to make Iomedae weakened directly by this.

Her Herald is absolutely a nice messenger and a symbol of her station, but he is by far her greatest minion (Planetars and Solars among others), so I don't think it should affect her physically (deifically?)

But have the characters transported to a section of heaven reserved by the Herald instead of her cathedral. That should eliminate a bit of the shock and awe thing she so doesn't need.

Walking through the airy temple or gardens, the air suddenly reeks of foul stench (wet dog, or wet minotaur), and bushes in the gardens seemingly hint at a maze structure until Iomedae waves her hand to dispel them.

I might steal this inspiration, thank you


GâtFromKI wrote:

What happens if the PCs cast some magic missiles on Iomedae?

After all, 35d6 damages is only "a slap on the wrist to high level mythic characters". By the same logic, Iomedae shouldn't take umbrage from a a 30d6 damages disintegrate or a 150 damages finger of death.

** spoiler omitted **

Don't have the book handy but I vaguely recall something about them being rendered permanently blind, deaf and mute before being dropped back on Golarion.

Personally I'm taking it as her heralds kidnapping/corruption has given her some small lee way in the rules to call heroes to her and assign them the task of killing/rescuing him although she still can't act directly and her planar forces are tied up occupying demonic forces on the planes and she can't pull anyone strong enough to have a chance away without opening up weakpoints the demons/devils/daemons/great old ones can exploit.

My biggest issue with her treatment though is the second question. Lets assume a standard 4 person group. Remember its if one player doesn't appear conflicted and doesn't matter HOW they answer if they answer quickly. Now Player A worships Saranae and automatically answers yes, player B remembers redeeming a SUCCUBUS and also answers yes, player C had some traumatic childhood event and answers no while Player D also remembers those 15 beings they redeemed and also answers yes. BLAM sonic damage even though the party wasn't united they all answered too quick and get punished.

Now we come to the catch Player D isn't sure and says "I don't know" which leads to the other 3 trying to convince him how silly he is to not immediately answer yay/no (see the alignment threads) and after 20 mintues or so BLAM sonic damage. That's my problem here most parties are either going to answer straight away yes/no especially after 4 books where redemption plays such a huge theme they'll probably have formed their opinions if they didn't have them to start with, but if they haven't and start debating it here they still get punished. The only way around it is if they have at least one person who can say not sure without them trying to convince them and you can't step in as DM because that's the test and your interfering in something that could get them hit with sonic damage and denied a boon.

I'm not a fan of them getting punished for not being able to answer her deeds I mean what if the entire party has different focuses? Ask Mwumbo of the Mwangi about the firefly god in some forgotten swamp and he'll tell you her history, ask him about the strange armour wielding nutjob who kidnapped and he'll say "UMmm she's some sort of paladin goddess right?" (assuming 1 on the check). My point being not everyones going to know the obscure history of one particular being even if said being is a god.

To me it'd make more sense if on the first two she withholds a boon if not happy/satisfied but if they answer all three wrong (arragant ignorance to the first question, internal disent in the second and fear in the third) that she acts out of frustration and hits them with your original version of 3d12 non lethal.

Silver Crusade

friluftshund wrote:
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
waltero wrote:
Has anyone given any thought to having Iomedae suffer the pain when an incorrect answer is given? Maybe reflecting Baphomet's corruption seeping into her realm.

It is quite the charming idea, maybe corruption would be a bit much, considering the circumstances (the herald is, at this point not completely corrupted) but a bit of pain, some cracked windows, a dark shadow in the corners, maybe some corridors twisting to a more maze like pattern…. could be a very nice idea.

I suspect, it would depend on the general mood of your player characters. If they are already seasoned veterans, ready to go and invade the domain of an enemy (rather than infiltrating the domain of a demon lord that doesn’t really care about visitors), then yeah, letting the players meet a weakened Iomedae should motivate them greatly.

Not a bad idea to foreshadow some maze abilities and confusion, but I hesitate to make Iomedae weakened directly by this.

Her Herald is absolutely a nice messenger and a symbol of her station, but he is by far her greatest minion (Planetars and Solars among others), so I don't think it should affect her physcally (deifically?)

But have the characters transported to a section of heaven reserved by the Herald instead of her cathedral. That should eliminate a bit of the shock and awe thing she so doesn't need.

Walking through the airy temple or gardens, the air suddenly reeks of foul stench (wet dog, or wet minotaur), and bushes in the gardens seemingly hint at a maze structure until Iomedae waves her hand to dispel them.

I might steal this inspiration, thank you

Nice twist friluftshund, certainly a possible path, and a very good idea if the players have an interest in the herald. Since he helped create the wardstone, the players might see him as the catalyst to create new stones and safeguard the existing cities.

The reason why a “weakened” (in game terms I would say shaken would have the right effect) could be plausible, is that I assume that at this point Iomedae can’t just “unherald” her current herald. That way Bapoment could use the link between herald and god to cause her some distress, and it seems reasonable, that a fully corrupted herald could cause greater harm.

Of course, this is just one of many good and creative ideas from the members of this forum and since meeting a god, and the patron of the crusade, should be a memorable moment GMs have a plethora of choices. They literally can chose the version they like. ^^

After all, (unless you publish it) stealing is wonderful thing when it comes to roleplaying games, and I think my players would be shocked/delighted, to learn how many ideas/concepts were adapted from anime or manga.


Arnwyn wrote:
Brain in a Jar wrote:
my snowflake idea

Your what?

If this encounter is "trash" (your word, no one else's, and too strong), then it's because it's an unfun encounter (bordering on obnoxious) - and I can confidently say would be unfun to the vast VAST majority of players.

And, if it's true that the vast majority of players 'wouldn't be affected by it', then it's a "trash" (again - your word and no one else's, and still too strong) encounter because far too much wordcount was used on something that most people supposedly won't experience (when it could have been used on setting the scene and helping the DM portray, you know, a god).

In the end, it was comparatively poor encounter design that likely wouldn't have survived a Dungeon magazine submission.

I was being sarcastic and using hyperbole.

I understand that individual people may not like how the encounter went, but that is just an opinion.

But just because a person didn't like it doesn't mean they or anyone should throw around "torture" or "Kidnapping" to describe what happened. So my post was just an exaggeration of the tone of a few posts that i saw. That is all.

As for my opinion i like the encounter as i read it. It makes the goddess have an edge to her. To me it seemed that she was under some duress upon calling the PCs to serve her. I rather enjoy having her be stern and tough with the PCs and yet afterwards caring enough to heal them and send them away.

The big part is she doesn't cause them harm at all unless every-single PCs shows her disrepect or fails to grasp the level of danger and importance of this mission she is attempting to task to them. Even if they fail or disrespect it is a minor punishment (similar to me at least to a mother that spanks a child).

To a goddess what she did was minor (if they mess up bad) and then she sends them on thier way. She might be a goddess of good and law but she is still a goddess and the PCs are insects compared to her majesty. Her portrayal is much like a toned down version of greek gods.

But that is just my opinion.

Shadow Lodge

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Brain in a Jar wrote:
But just because a person didn't like it doesn't mean they or anyone should throw around "torture" or "Kidnapping" to describe what happened.

Unless, you know, that's actually how they feel about what's happening. Because a lot of people do.


Orthos wrote:
Brain in a Jar wrote:
But just because a person didn't like it doesn't mean they or anyone should throw around "torture" or "Kidnapping" to describe what happened.
Unless, you know, that's actually how they feel about what's happening. Because a lot of people do.

I don't know it seems like using hyperbole to me.

Those are two very strong words.


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Yes they are very strong words. That's exactly why the sequence is so problematic.

PS: You are spending a lot of time saying things without explaining why we should believe these things. What /reason/ is there for calling it 'hyperbole'? /Why/ is the use of the word 'torture' allegedly unfair or overly harsh?

If you want to persuade you'll need something with more throw weight than 'because I say so'. If you don't want to persuade... then, OK, we already know what your opinion is, you don't need to tell us again.

Scarab Sages

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Even if torture is hyperbole, kidnapping really isn't. And in game terms, there wasn't even a Will save to negate.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Orthos wrote:
Unless, you know, that's actually how they feel about what's happening. Because a lot of people do.

I've no problem with people saying that they feel the actions are torture or kidnapping, or arguing for why that may be the case, but there is a difference between "I think this, and here is why" and "this is what it is, and you cannot disagree". For the most part, people have been fairly articulate about their stances and done well in making clear that they are stating their positions rather than unassailable facts; but I think that blanket characterizations of the actions, positive or negative, without support or argument can make open discussion a bit more difficult, as those with nuanced or differing views are cut out of the conversation for being wrong-headed, evil people.

Not that this has happened to a large degree, mind you, but it is something to think about when making assertions in the thread. Even if one side is totally factually correct, a magnanimous and open-minded approach to opposing positions could help inspire some interesting discussion.

Reasonable people can, do, and will disagree; acting as though they are unreasonable merely for disagreeing deprives you both of meaningful conversation and introspection.


Chuckg wrote:

Yes they are. That's exactly why the sequence is so problematic.

PS: You are spending a lot of time saying things without explaining why we should believe these things. What /reason/ is there for calling it 'hyperbole'? /Why/ is the use of the word 'torture' allegedly unfair or overly harsh?

Is it torture when a parent spanks their child?

I think its hyperbole to use torture because that is not was is happening. She is only using a minor punishment to reprimand disrepectful PCs or PCs who aren't treating this with importance.
(Also keep in mind all PCs must screw up the question before this even occurs.)
She is a divine queen and demands respect and wants to show the gravity of the situation.

Chuckg wrote:


If you want to persuade you'll need something with more throw weight than 'because I say so'. If you don't want to persuade... then, OK, we already know what your opinion is, you don't need to tell us again.

I'm just trying to have an even discussion of the topic.

Also i've only posted my opinion of the topic once so far.

And as far as "you don't need to tell us again"
how about you look back and see how many times posters have posted over and over again the same phrase.

Shadow Lodge

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Brain in a Jar wrote:
Chuckg wrote:

Yes they are. That's exactly why the sequence is so problematic.

PS: You are spending a lot of time saying things without explaining why we should believe these things. What /reason/ is there for calling it 'hyperbole'? /Why/ is the use of the word 'torture' allegedly unfair or overly harsh?

Is it torture when a parent spanks their child?

A great many people think it's abuse, maybe not torture but a step in that direction.

I personally disagree, but I also think it's irrelevant to this situation.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lochar wrote:
Even if torture is hyperbole, kidnapping really isn't. And in game terms, there wasn't even a Will save to negate.

Maybe, maybe not. I don't think most kidnappings "fill each PC [victim?] with a feeling of pride and hope". It is also hard for me to judge it as a kidnapping (ignoring the "torture" portion for a moment) when the "kidnapping" victim gets to be one of the first in a long time to personally talk with a goddess, marvel at the glory of her home plane, potentially get some extremely nice goodies (one of which is a piece of her cloak), and have all of this occur in the blink of an eye. If not for the "torture" portion (which I do think is hyperbole), I fail to see any aspect that merits being labelled as "kidnapping". I suppose in the purely legal sense of "taking someone against their will", but it is more like kidnapping a person to take them to a surprise party or something.

So, yeah. I think the "kidnapping" portion is hyperbole, because the only reason I can think of it being objectionable is due to the "torture", which I also think is hyperbole on the basis that it is pretty ridiculously easy to avoid the 20d6 blast (have someone heroic in a heroic campaign?), and 10d6 with a save to halve really is a slap on the wrists at this point. Regardless of how much sound damage they actually take, the PCs emerge from the meeting no worse for wear (except for anyone who is dumb enough to attack a goddess), potentially get a few goodies, and miss out on just a couple moments of time. I wish kidnappings went that way, the world would be a much better place.


That is a good description of what happens Scaevola77.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Aaaah, that lavender smell of player entitlement.


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Brain in a Jar wrote:
Is it torture when a parent spanks their child?

I think it's important to recap what's actually printed in the adventure supplement, not what we think is printed there. So, opening my 'Ivory Labyrinth' to page 9, here's what I see:

* Openly mocking Iomedae gets you hit with being struck forever mute, against a DC 40 Will save. Only a deity's will can remove this condition. Iomedae will remove this at the end of the conversation... if she feels like it.

* On a second offense of openly mocking her (or on a first offense of trying to attack her), you get automatically reduced to -1 hit points and stabilized (DC 40 Will save to avoid). Furthermore, you are automatically blinded and only a deity can heal your eyes, and that's even /if/ you save.

I'll grant that actually trying to attack her means she can legitimately defend herself (although she couldn't just hit you with enough non-lethal damage to KTFO you or something? Again, proportionate response is lacking here), but that this also happens if you just run your mouth at her is the problematic part. Sure, openly mocking a deity to her face is stupid and rude. Punishing stupidity and rudeness by /permanent maiming/, on the other hand, is not a proportionate response.

To put it mildly, I do not see where your attempt to characterize this as a 'spanking' can possibly be taken seriously. If a parent 'spanked' their child by putting out their eyes or puncturing their eardrums, we would be horrified. And Social Services would take the child away and put the parent in jail. And deservedly so.

So, no, I would venture to say that permanently crippling people simply if you don't like what they're saying to you /does/ qualify as "torture" by a reasonable sense of the definition.

Please note that all of this is what happens /before/ you get to the three questions. It's entirely possible to end up permanently blind, deaf, beaten to -1 hit points, and bounced back to Golarion before you've even /taken/ Iomedae's hero quiz, if she felt that your character was disrespecting her. This is something entirely separate from the sonic damage you get from not answering questions correctly. And its horrifying.

Side note: Generally speaking, if a player character blinded, deafened, and then beat an NPC down to -1 hit points, just because that NPC mouthed off to them, we would have other NPCs react to their actions as if that PC was some kind of chaotic evil villain. When an NPC does that kind of thing to a PC, its not unexpected for the other PCs to be going 'wait, is that really supposed to be lawful good'?

Traditionally speaking, there is a role in a story for an uberpowerful person who hauls you into their court against your will, and beats you almost to death and maims you if you openly disrespect towards their person. However, that person is usually the /boss villain/. When that person is actually the paladin goddess you are supposed to be crusading in the name of, at this point you start to feel a certain literary dissonance.

Quote:
I think its hyperbole to use torture because that is not was is happening. She is only using a minor punishment to reprimand disrepectful PCs or PCs who aren't treating this with importance.

Permanently cursing someone with blindness and deafness and beating them into /negative hit points/ is not a "minor" punishment.

In all seriousness, did you actually read the Adventure Path in question, or are you going off of second-hand information and rumor? Because I've got it open in front of me right now, and holy /crap/ is this stuff violently over the top.

Quote:
(Also keep in mind all PCs must screw up the question before this even occurs.)

Incorrect. Again, read page 9, column 1, about halfway down.

Scarab Sages

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Most players, at the first save required or damage from Iomedae, are going to be pulling their own d20s. "What for?" the DM might ask.

"Initiative. That was her surprise round attack, right?" say the players.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Chuckg wrote:

So, no, I would venture to say that permanently crippling people simply if you don't like what they're saying to you /does/ qualify as "torture" by a reasonable sense of the definition.

Please note that all of this is what happens /before/ you get to the three questions. It's entirely possible to end up permanently blind, deaf, beaten to -1 hit points, and bounced back to Golarion before you've even /taken/ Iomedae's hero quiz, if she felt that your character was disrespecting her. This is something entirely separate from the sonic damage you get from not answering questions correctly. And its horrifying.

This only happens if you either attack her on sight, which is probably one of the dumbest things a PC can do. I mean, any character with more than 3 in Int or Wisdom should know not to do this. Or you openly mock her, suffer the warning blast, and think "I'm going to continue goading this goddess that without any effort was able to deafen and mute me".

So yes, it is possible to permanently crippled . . . IF YOU ACTIVELY ANTAGONIZE A GOD! I think in such situations, it is less "torture", and more "just desserts".

This is comparable to me getting "kidnapped" by my friends for a surprise party, then after we arrive at the location, I pull out a knife and try to stab him. Why on earth would I do that? Why on earth would I not expect retaliation for that?


Chuckg wrote:


To put it mildly, I do not see where your attempt to characterize this as a 'spanking' can possibly be taken seriously. If a parent 'spanked' their child by putting out their eyes or puncturing their eardrums, we would be horrified. And Social Services would take the child away and put the parent in jail. And deservedly so.

I meant to a deity this would be considered a mild punishment. Not that if a parent did such things to a child.

Chuckg wrote:


I'll grant that actually trying to attack her means she can legitimately defend herself, but that this also happens if you just run your mouth at her is the problematic part. Sure, openly mocking a deity to her face is stupid and rude. Punishing stupidity and rudeness by /permanent maiming/, on the other hand, is not a proportionate response

This is more akin to how old kings and queens would handle this situation.

I'll give you that in the modern day this would not be tolerated in most places.

But back when kings and queens are of divine blood openly mocking such a person would be treated harshly and in some places as treason. So when you look at it like that it makes sense for a deity to punish a fool for openly mocking her inside her realm.

Mockery
here is a link to such acts an the punishments dealt over history

As for your last statement each question states this for failure

1.If the question is not answered correctly and
at least one PC doesn't present himself as humble or
confident, Iomedae frowns and shakes her head.

2.As long as at least one character seems conflicted about answering
this question, yet in the end answers either yes or no with
conviction, Iomedae is pleased.

3.As long as at least one PC seems confident about the quest, presenting an air of resolve that it's better to die attempting such a task than to avoid it out of fear, Iomedae is pleased.

The only way to fail is if each PCs fails. Because as long as one PCs does it right it counts for the group.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Scaevola77 wrote:
This is comparable to me getting "kidnapped" by my friends for a surprise party, then after we arrive at the location, I pull out a knife and try to stab him. Why on earth would I do that? Why on earth would I not expect retaliation for that?

I think you left out a step in there. Something like 'they had my eyes gouged out for commenting negatively on the decorations' or similar.

Scarab Sages

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Scaevola77 wrote:


This only happens if you either attack her on sight, which is probably one of the dumbest things a PC can do. I mean, any character with more than 3 in Int or Wisdom should know not to do this. Or you openly mock her, suffer the warning blast, and think "I'm going to continue goading this goddess that without any effort was able to deafen and mute me".

So yes, it is possible to permanently crippled . . . IF YOU ACTIVELY ANTAGONIZE A GOD! I think in such situations, it is less "torture", and more "just desserts".

This is comparable to me getting "kidnapped" by my friends for a surprise party, then after we arrive at the location, I pull out a knife and try to stab him. Why on earth would I do that? Why on earth would I not expect retaliation for that?

Alright, let's look at it from this perspective.

The PCs white out, appearing in an unknown location. "Greetings. I am Iomedae"

PC interrupts. "Yeah, right. Pull the other one. What the hell just happened?"

Iomedae blasts him.

PCs roll Init and attack.


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Scaevola77 wrote:


This is comparable to me getting "kidnapped" by my friends for a surprise party, then after we arrive at the location, I pull out a knife and try to stab him. Why on earth would I do that? Why on earth would I not expect retaliation for that?

This is a priceless image!

After you get "kidnapped" and get handled and the hood comes off

Friends: SURPRISE!!!
You: Whaaat?
Friends: Pop-quiz! Do you redeem Demon Lords, or kill them?
You: Wha.. where... What are you doing with those 20 short swords guys?
Friends: Just answer the question, and don't disappoint us, oh and this is just a pleasant surprise, enjoy the scenery while we stab you


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Chuckg wrote:
Openly mocking Iomedae gets you hit with being struck forever mute, against a DC 40 Will save. Only a deity's will can remove this condition. Iomedae will remove this at the end of the conversation... if she feels like it.

Again, I'd argue that being punished for mocking Iomedae isn't just a matter of her not liking pithy remarks; I think a lot of people are focusing on the Good/Evil axis to attempt to evaluate the actions when they should be looking at Law/Chaos.

The PCs are sworn agents of her crusade on Golarion, and the most powerful ones at that; their actions aren't just their personal choices, but the acts of leaders of thousands of mortals who are fighting a planar war against the forces of Chaos and Evil. The PCs should realize (and if they do not realize by the 5th installment, now would be a good time) that their deeds are reflections on the crusades as a whole and, in that way, reflections on Iomedae's church. Now you might argue that it's not fair that the PCs must represent the crusade, or that they must be held to their oaths, or that there is no real harm since no mortal ears will hear the remarks they make against a goddess, but I would contend that this is a Chaotic (though not evil) viewpoint: not inherently incorrect, but firmly against the beliefs of the goddess in whose presence they stand.

Their derision amounts at best to poorly-considered snark in the face of a very momentous and inspiring occasion, and at worst to blasphemy and insubordination to the deific power to whose cause they are sworn. It doesn't matter if Iomedae is the only one who hears them, because (according to Iomedae) composure and consideration of the whole crusade are things that must be taken into account at all times.

It's not a matter of "she doesn't like what they say", but of "they are showing themselves to be unfit vessels for the divine mandate they claim in leading the crusades". The PCs have power and authority, and Iomedae is enforcing the duties that come with that. The PCs are sworn to the cause, and perhaps they thought that could be an empty promise; but Iomedae doesn't abide those who make empty promises to gain power, and she will expect those who serve her to act with her wisdom. And if they will not bite their tongues when their superior calls to them, then they will be made to listen.


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Scaevola77 wrote:
So yes, it is possible to permanently crippled . . . IF YOU ACTIVELY ANTAGONIZE A GOD! I think in such situations, it is less "torture", and more "just desserts".

One of the entire points of being Lawful Good is that the rules don't change for you just because you're more powerful than the other guy. If it's wrong for a follower of Iomedae to put out someone's eyes and ears and then beat them into negative hp because they didn't like being personally insulted -- and it most definitely is -- then its equally as wrong for Iomedae to do it.

There is nothing Good about lashing out with deadly force (anything that beats you into negative hp is a potentially deadly attack literally by definition) simply because you were dissed. There is nothing Lawful about requiring your followers to obey rules and self-restraints that you then exempt yourself from.

Seriously, would any of us, as DMs, allow a paladin of Iomedae (or Sarenrae, or any other deity) to beat some random beggar into negative hp because that guy called them dirty names? To put out the eyes of some low-rent brigand to 'teach that guy a lesson'? Would we go 'Well, yes, they should entirely have respected your power and your station', or would we go 'OK, somebody's paladin powers are going away and not coming back until we get some serious Atonement action up in this piece'?

Yeah. Exactly.

So why does it become right when Iomedae herself does it? Because she's a god? Ummm... no. There are tons of mythological precedents for 'even the good gods are jackasses', but a cosmology that has things like paladins, Detect Good/Evil, and non-subjective morality(*) is not the place for such things.

Add: Re: the Law/Chaos aspect of it -- please note that the arguments are not 'You should be able to mouth off to Iomedae without consequence', they are 'Her punishments are grotesquely over the top and out of proportion to the offense'. Even if you go with the whole line of reasoning re: 'you have proven yourself unworthy of the Crusade'... OK, fine, your lawful punishment is then to get your ass kicked out of the Crusade. /That/ would make sense.

To use another modern military analogy: If a private tells a four-star general to go f$!~ himself, then yes, he's being just about as suicidally idiotic as it takes to mouth off to a goddess' face. But even then, he only gets court-martialled and discharged, or restricted to quarters and half of his paycheck docked, or similar. He doesn't get broken on the gorram wheel, or flogged half to death, or sent to the firing squad.

Well, I suppose he does if you're somewhere like North Korea, but at this point we're back to 'OK, Lawful Good has long since been left behind in the rearview mirror' problem again.

(*) If you can measure good or evil with a meter -- if its something actually measurable and testable -- that's incompatible with 'from a certain point of view' type ethical systems. And you most definitely can measure and/or test the presence of good and evil in Pathfinder, just like you'd measure the strength or type of a magical aura.

Scarab Sages

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agnelcow wrote:
Chuckg wrote:
Openly mocking Iomedae gets you hit with being struck forever mute, against a DC 40 Will save. Only a deity's will can remove this condition. Iomedae will remove this at the end of the conversation... if she feels like it.

Again, I'd argue that being punished for mocking Iomedae isn't just a matter of her not liking pithy remarks; I think a lot of people are focusing on the Good/Evil axis to attempt to evaluate the actions when they should be looking at Law/Chaos.

The PCs are sworn agents of her crusade on Golarion, and the most powerful ones at that; their actions aren't just their personal choices, but the acts of leaders of thousands of mortals who are fighting a planar war against the forces of Chaos and Evil. The PCs should realize (and if they do not realize by the 5th installment, now would be a good time) that their deeds are reflections on the crusades as a whole and, in that way, reflections on Iomedae's church. Now you might argue that it's not fair that the PCs must represent the crusade, or that they must be held to their oaths, or that there is no real harm since no mortal ears will hear the remarks they make against a goddess, but I would contend that this is a Chaotic (though not evil) viewpoint: not inherently incorrect, but firmly against the beliefs of the goddess in whose presence they stand.

Their derision amounts at best to poorly-considered snark in the face of a very momentous and inspiring occasion, and at worst to blasphemy and insubordination to the deific power to whose cause they are sworn. It doesn't matter if Iomedae is the only one who hears them, because (according to Iomedae) composure and consideration of the whole crusade are things that must be taken into account at all times.

It's not a matter of "she doesn't like what they say", but of "they are showing themselves to be unfit vessels for the divine mandate they claim in leading the crusades". The PCs have power and authority, and Iomedae is enforcing the duties that come with that....

Honestly, the PCs have less sworn to the cause than been pushed at it from almost every angle. Short of Irabeth actually asking the players back in Book 1 about their virtue in the cause before she sends them to the Gray Garrison, the PCs have been thrown into the Fifth Crusade headfirst without their explicit permission. Remember, Galfrey claims them as Heroes of the Fifth Crusade, drops them as the figureheads of a paladin army, and sends them off.

Once they take Drezen, she appoints someone else to lead the city, before directing them to scout behind enemy lines.

Only by Book 4, when the PCs have pretty much equaled her in power, does she work with them as more or less equals.

Looking through the lens of Galfrey, you're right. Only if the PCs are of equal power will Iomedae treat them as more than chess pieces. And chess pieces aren't allowed to not follow the player's commands.

Which isn't LG to me, but LN at best.


Gorbacz wrote:
Aaaah, that lavender smell of player entitlement.

Indeed.

Well... maybe except for that 'lavender' part.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Chuckg wrote:
There is nothing Good about lashing out with deadly force (anything that beats you into negative hp is a potentially deadly attack literally by definition) simply because you were dissed. There is nothing Lawful about requiring your followers to obey rules and self-restraints that you then exempt yourself from.

There is nothing in the text to imply that anyone is "beaten" into negative HP; yes, they are stabilized at -1 HP, but that could be a purely divine and harmless effect that doesn't affect the well-being of the person targeted. This is left unspecified, and reading anything further into it is pure speculation.

I wonder if you are familiar the work of Jonathan Haidt? Haidt is a psychologist who studies morality, and his basic thesis is that different people (especially when grouped by political leanings) have different "pillars" or "spectrums" through which they analyze the morality of an action: Care/Harm, Fairness/Cheating, Liberty/Oppression, Loyalty/Betrayal, Authority/Subversion, and Sanctity/Degradation.

If you look through the thread, I think you'll find that many posters on the "it's torture" side of things are emphasizing the Harm and Oppression aspects of the actions Iomedae takes: the PCs are whisked away without any say in the matter, and then can have hurtful things befall them. I think that those on the other side of the discussion are wrong to try to downplay the Harm and Oppression aspects, and would be better served in trying to show the righteousness of Iomedae's actions through the remaining four lenses.

Loyalty, Authority, and Sanctity are all diminished when PCs defy the goddess whose oath they swore and whom they represent in the heavenly realm to which takes them. They break their oaths, defy their superior, and degrade the twice-holy land they stand in (once for its celestial nature, once for its religious structure). In this light, the Harm that befalls them could be considered Fair as it is punishment for breaking three types of morality that Iomedae supports; if the PCs do not realize that this is a likely outcome, then that is their fault for not fully understanding the meaning of their oaths or the expectations of the goddess.

Lochar wrote:
Which isn't LG to me, but LN at best.

That is most likely a fault in my arguments, and I apologize for that; I am a fairly-solid LN individual, and expressing lawful sentiments in a manner consistent with goodliness is far harder for me than making a general argument for lawful attitudes. I hope you don't hold that against others taking similar positions, and allow them a fair shake at making the case without the burden of my imperfect assertions.

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