Book 5: Discussion on Iomedae [SPOILERS AHOY!]


Wrath of the Righteous

251 to 300 of 526 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | next > last >>
Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Brain in a Jar wrote:
Chuckg wrote:

Dude, we entirely understand what you are saying. It just doesn't matter. The entire point under discussion isn't 'how easy is it to avoid Iomedae's punishment', the point is 'is Iomedae's punishment consistent with her being the Lawful Good goddess of justice that she's previously been written as'.

This is why we are 'ignoring' what you're saying. Its not because we can't understand you. Its because you're failing to understand us.

What you don't seem to understand is that only a bunch of arrogent, foolish, self-entitled, disrespectful, jerks will get punished.

The only reason the encounter has rules for punishment is for a group of self-entitled players that act like clowns when this enocunter happens.

My point is that if a group of PCs are those qualities and meet face to face with thier better and still act like fools. They should get punished.

[P.S.] I just want to make clear that i am in no way attempting to offend anyone. In anyway i am simply enjoying this debate. So cheers to all that are psoting. :)

I have to say if a group is that bad I doubt they will have gotten as far as book 5 to be honest.


12 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The scenario in which I'd expect to see a perfectly reasonable and cooperative group of players end up fighting with Iomedae would go something like this:

The PCs are followers of Sarenrae, or at least of her philosophy. They have spent the previous four modules working extremely hard to redeem enemies and have been pretty successful. So, when Iomedae asks question #2 they answer immediately and with no trace of hesitation on anyone's part, because they have long ago settled this to their satisfaction.

They take a little damage and Iomedae appears angry.

They say to themselves (and to each other--in my experience parties of this level often have Mind Link)--"Oh my gosh, this is a demon lord pretending to be Iomedae!" The players roll initiative, planning to make a brave fight of it, or possibly Plane Shift away. In their minds they are not fighting Iomedae, they are fighting a demon lord pretending to be Iomedae, and doing the best they can with this very bad situation.

Frankly, if my players did this I would have to retcon that they were correct--I think it's the only way to save the campaign at this point. Certainly if I permanently maim them the game is over, even if they are somehow later healed.

I do have players who will generally try to cooperate with the scenario, but I submit that they have NO WAY to know that the situation isn't exactly as I outlined it, except for the one detail that the initial teleport was no-save. As a player I wouldn't want to use that information, since it's very meta, and I also might assume it was just a railroading device to avoid splitting the party.

I do not think players have to be stupid or uncooperative to provoke a disaster here. They just have to be different than expected, and the party above is different in a fatal way while still being honorable, good, and respectful.

Digital Products Assistant

Removed some posts and replies. Personal attacks are not OK. Please leave them out of the conversation.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Mary Yamato wrote:

The scenario in which I'd expect to see a perfectly reasonable and cooperative group of players end up fighting with Iomedae would go something like this:

The PCs are followers of Sarenrae, or at least of her philosophy. They have spent the previous four modules working extremely hard to redeem enemies and have been pretty successful. So, when Iomedae asks question #2 they answer immediately and with no trace of hesitation on anyone's part, because they have long ago settled this to their satisfaction.

They take a little damage and Iomedae appears angry.

My own party would have failed on the exact same criteria -- and none of them were Sarenrae worshippers. But we were the group that was redeeming Kreggal the Dretch damn near from session one out, and witnessed several divine miracles around the little guy's redemption efforts (one of them while consecrating a temple of Iomedae, no less!)... so, yeah, if I'd thrown them at this with no forewarning, they might well have leapt to the conclusion 'OK, this is Baphomet trying to mindgame us into abandoning the path of redemption and going down the fanatical inquisitor road! Just like his Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth had been trying to corrupt the Crusade all along, canonically, in previous examples during this adventure path! But your brutality betrays you, demon! A true goddess of justice would never smack someone with 5d6 lethal simply for not giving the answer to a question that she wanted to hear! Even when you attempt to pretend to be good, your evil and shortsightedness are manifest! HAVE AT THEE!'

(Also, my most eloquent player was running a paladin of Ragathiel -- who, as we might remember, is a redeemed arch-devil. Trying to hit him with this question might well have resulted in him giving an entire speech on how anybody who denies the possibility of redemption is blaspheming against his god, which might very well accidentally trip the lese-majeste meter depending on just how eloquent he's feeling that day.)

Fortunately -- and never before have I said that word about the premature dissolution of a campaign -- my players' decision to abandon the game (new player didn't like the Pathfinder system and found it un-fun... ah well,their choice) prevented us from ever reaching this scene.

Which is a damn good thing, because if I'd run it like this and they'd reacted like that, I also would have had to retcon it into actually being Baphomet or someone, or else I'd have had three of my best friends flip the table on me.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Brain in a Jar wrote:
Chuckg wrote:
Brain in a Jar wrote:
Keep in mind this only happens if a PC openly mocks/disrepects a diety. Redering them mute.
Keep in mind that openly mocking or disrespecting someone is not an offense legitimately punishable by blinding, maiming, and near-death experience... at least, not by the tenets of Iomedae's own religion.

Yes it is, just not in the modern era.

It's called Lèse-majesté. Please look it up.

No thanks. I won't be looking it up, and my players especially won't be. TBH, I suspect the vast majority of players won't be doing so either.

If that's what's required, then it's a failure of the AP's writing. Again - bad design.


Arnwyn wrote:
Brain in a Jar wrote:
Chuckg wrote:
Brain in a Jar wrote:
Keep in mind this only happens if a PC openly mocks/disrepects a diety. Redering them mute.
Keep in mind that openly mocking or disrespecting someone is not an offense legitimately punishable by blinding, maiming, and near-death experience... at least, not by the tenets of Iomedae's own religion.

Yes it is, just not in the modern era.

It's called Lèse-majesté. Please look it up.

No thanks. I won't be looking it up, and my players especially won't be. TBH, I suspect the vast majority of players won't be doing so either.

If that's what's required, then it's a failure of the AP's writing. Again - bad design.

So it's bad design because you personally don't like it?


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Brain in a Jar wrote:
Arnwyn wrote:
Brain in a Jar wrote:
Chuckg wrote:
Brain in a Jar wrote:
Keep in mind this only happens if a PC openly mocks/disrepects a diety. Redering them mute.
Keep in mind that openly mocking or disrespecting someone is not an offense legitimately punishable by blinding, maiming, and near-death experience... at least, not by the tenets of Iomedae's own religion.

Yes it is, just not in the modern era.

It's called Lèse-majesté. Please look it up.

No thanks. I won't be looking it up, and my players especially won't be. TBH, I suspect the vast majority of players won't be doing so either.

If that's what's required, then it's a failure of the AP's writing. Again - bad design.

So it's bad design because you personally don't like it?

No. It's bad writing, because the character is inconsistent with her definition and her previous appearances. It's a bad design, because it expects PCs to be impressed by scenery and DMPC and to act in a certain way. They aren't. They never are.


Perhaps she is acting inconsistent because her herald was just stolen from her and time is of the essence. So she has no time for bickering, foolishness, or incompetant PCs.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

mayhaps to get things back on track instead of using this thread to bicker and argue on ethics we can get back on track and suggest useful ideas for those for whatever reason don't care for the encounter (i don't mind it myself, but to each their own:)


Brain in a Jar wrote:
So it's bad design because you personally don't like it?

????

I have no idea why you're asking that. Why it's bad design has been well covered in this thread.

A strange question indeed.


14 people marked this as a favorite.

On re-reading this encounter, I am struck yet again by how horribly sloppy the writing is. Page 8 of 'Ivory Labyrinth' contains a specific mention that Iomedae is supposedly looking for PCs that will defy her, because if they have the cojones to remain proud and defiant in a goddess' face then she knows that they won't quail vs. a demon lord. And yet Page 9 is all about 'if you dare offend the goddess she will SMITE THE FERTILIZER OUT OF YOU. why, you can't even so much as raise your eyes to her without her permission!'. (No, seriously. You can't. It's a DC 40 Will save to so much as look at her unless she feels like permitting you to. I am not making this up.) In addition to being unable to remain consistent with prior Pathfinder supplements about Iomedae, this thing cannot remain consistent with itself from page to page!

Actually, its worse than that. It can't remain consistent with itself inside the space of a single paragraph.

Let's check out Iomedae's opening dialogue...

Quote:
Welcome, heroes. I am Iomedae. You are those who have proven most worthy to strike back against the Abyss' latest injustic: the kidnapping of my own herald. Answer my questions truthfully and be found worthy of the great task I would set before you. Remain silent, and be known as cowards in the face of evil."

Within the space of two sentences this thing has just fallen back on itself. In literally one breath the goddess tells me I am "proven most worthy" of the quest, and in the next she tells me that I need to take a test in order to prove myself worthy. Make up your mind, ma'am! Am I worthy or not? Have I already proven myself or am I yet to?

And the sheer clumsiness of the phrasing of "be known as cowards in the face of evil". Um, ma'am, the only people here are the party and you. So, where exactly is this evil that I'm currently in the face of again? Wait a minute...

Man, those posts we wrote about how parties would not be entirely irrational to assume they'd been kidnapped by Baphomet pretending to be Iomedae were closer to the mark than we knew! Forget suspecting that something is wrong here; the way she's phrasing this is practically telling you that something is wrong here. In another adventure, this would be exactly the sort of subtle foreshadowing clue that players are expected to catch on and go 'A-ha! The gambit is revealed!', or at the very least look back in hindsight at and go 'Well, the adventure was fair about warning us...'

But no. This is actually supposed to be Iomedae talking. Her dialogue is just that bad, to where taking her own statements at literal face value add up to 'By the way, I'm actually the face of evil'. This is George Lucas writing romantic dialogue for Anakin & Padme bad.

Whoever said that this thing wouldn't be accepted as a 'Dungeon' magazine submission was being charitable.


captain yesterday wrote:
mayhaps to get things back on track instead of using this thread to bicker and argue on ethics we can get back on track and suggest useful ideas for those for whatever reason don't care for the encounter

I think I've put in as many suggestions on that vein as the rest of this thread combined, but if you want another one, let's roll with the riff from a few posts ago and go 'Have this actually be Baphomet trying to screw with your heads, with Iomedae riding in as the dream cavalry at the end and acting entirely opposite from the brutal quiz show host routine. Like, literally the first words out of her mouth are 'Are you all right?', and then a sincere thank you for all the service you've done so far, and then an impassioned plea for your help even though it goes into the Abyss, volunteers only.'

(Obviously of course the entire thing has to be in your dreamscape, because if Baphomet was actually capable of just yoinking you to his realm bodily he'd have murdered you right then and there, but hey, there is longtime classic precedent for both gods and demons speaking to heroes of legend in their dreams.)


Arnwyn wrote:
Brain in a Jar wrote:
So it's bad design because you personally don't like it?

????

I have no idea why you're asking that. Why it's bad design has been well covered in this thread.

A strange question indeed.

I only asked because it's one thing to dislike it and its another to blame it on bad writing/design. That's all.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Chuckg wrote:
On re-reading this encounter, I am struck yet again by how horribly sloppy the writing is. Page 8 of 'Ivory Labyrinth' contains a specific mention that Iomedae is supposedly looking for PCs that will defy her, because if they have the cojones to remain proud and defiant in a goddess' face then she knows that they won't quail vs. a demon lord. And yet Page 9 is all about 'if you dare offend the goddess she will SMITE THE FERTILIZER OUT OF YOU'. In addition to being unable to remain consistent with prior Pathfinder supplements about Iomedae, this thing cannot remain consistent with itself from page to page!

She wants them not to quail and grovel before her, but also doesn't appreciate them mocking her. There is a HUGE spectrum between "quail and cower" and "openly mocking". There is no contradiction here beyond what you are manufacturing.

As a side note, this could add more reason for her "torture". How do the PCs handle a display of power from a goddess? Will they cower in front of her? Will they behave rashly and attack? Will they remain collected and respectful? If they are truly worthy, they will do the last.

Chuckg wrote:

Quote:

Welcome, heroes. I am Iomedae. You are those who have proven most worthy to strike back against the Abyss' latest injustic: the kidnapping of my own herald. Answer my questions truthfully and be found worthy of the great task I would set before you. Remain silent, and be known as cowards in the face of evil."

Within the space of two sentences this thing has just fallen back on itself. In literally one breath the goddess tells me I am "proven most worthy" of the quest, and in the next she tells me that I need to take a test in order to prove myself worthy. Make up your mind, ma'am! Am I worthy or not? Have I already proven myself or am I yet to?

This was already discussed. Someone can be "most worthy" and still not actually be "worthy". At my job, I may be the most qualified to re-wire the building due to my electrical engineering background. However, that does not actually make me qualified to do the job. The same is true with the PCs. There is no-one around close to the same power as the PCs. They are the most worthy for this task. That does not automatically make them worthy. At best, you could say it implies they are at least the best of the worst. Awkward wording, yes. Contradictory, not at all.

Chuckg wrote:


And the sheer clumsiness of the phrasing of "be known as cowards in the face of evil". Um, ma'am, the only people here are the party and you. So, where exactly is this evil that I'm currently in the face of again? Wait a minute...

Cowards in the face of the evil that is confronting them actively on a day to day basis and she is about to ask them to face? Iomedae assumes they have object permanence and can remember what happens outside her realm. No issue I see here.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Scaevola77 wrote:
She wants them not to quail and grovel before her, but also doesn't appreciate them mocking her. There is a HUGE spectrum between "quail and cower" and "openly mocking". There is no contradiction here beyond what you are manufacturing.

Yes, because players and DMs always interpret things exactly the same way every time.

The line between defiance and mockery is, as our very discussion here is proving, vastly subjective and all in the eye of the beholder. If the player thinks he's on one side of the line and the DM thinks he's on the other side -- which is entirely possible in any game, even ones where the players and the DM have gamed together for a long while -- then somebody's going to get the fertilizer smited out of him purely on a misunderstanding. This alone would justify the claim that this encounter is poorly written, because a well-written encounter does not set up PCs for this kind of misunderstanding without at least writing a sidebar for the DM saying 'Please keep in mind that your players and you may not interpret this the same way and err on the side of caution' or something. Which they didn't.

Quote:
As a side note, this could add more reason for her "torture". How do the PCs handle a display of power from a goddess? Will they cower in front of her? Will they behave rashly and attack? Will they remain collected and respectful? If they are truly worthy, they will do the last.

Disagree. That would, among other things, contradict 'remain cowards in the face of evil', another quality she is allegedly looking for. What kind of hero lets himself be assaulted without provocation without defending himself?

For that matter, when was the last time any DM had an NPC actually attack a player, and deal 5d6+ worth of damage, and still credibly expect the player to not roll for initiative?

You will notice that at no point in this thread did anybody object to Iomedae's smiting someone who actually draws down on her except to say 'It would be sad if this happened due to a misunderstanding' or 'If you're invulnerable to harm, perhaps you don't need to beat the guy half to death to stop him when you have options available just to stun him'. This is because if you're attacked without provocation -- 'provocation' being defined in the sense that self-defense law would define it, so harsh language doesn't count -- its a reasonable action to fight back.

So saying 'maybe the point of the encounter is that Iomedae is looking for people who will take a beating from her without daring to raise their hands back at her' is, in my opinion, way off base. You know who traditionally looks for that kind of subordinate? The Evil Overlord. He loves to have minions that don't kick back when he kicks them in the face.

Again, why do some people insist that its perfectly reasonable for Lawful Good to keep using the personnel management policies more traditional for Chaotic Evil?

Also, if Iomedae is looking for people who will fight even at hopeless odds, who will not surrender even if faced with the vast power of a demon lord... then she can hardly be surprised if they also refuse to back down when confronted with the vast power of a goddess. Trying to have it both ways at once is a failure of both logic and this encounter's writing.

Quote:
This was already discussed. Someone can be "most worthy" and still not actually be "worthy".

Ah, I missed that. But, having heard that line of reasoning, I still disagree.

Quote:
At my job, I may be the most qualified to re-wire the building due to my I may be the most qualified to re-wire the building due to my electrical engineering background. However, that does not actually make me qualified to do the job.

Yeah, but here's the thing. Your building manager has the option of simply hiring an outside electrician. Therefore, it actually is worth his time to ponder the distinction between 'who is most qualified of the people on my staff' and 'who is sufficiently qualified in an absolute sense'.

But Iomedae doesn't have the option of hiring out. If she cannot find a team of heroes among her Crusaders capable of doing this job, then she just ain't going to get the job done ever. Its that simple and that hard.

Iomedae is, literally, in the position of a military commander who needs a high-risk mission done deep into enemy territory, and has only one team that is even possibly qualified for the job. At this point, why the hell is she screwing around with evaluation tests and games at all? If the mission is really that important that its worth the risk, and there's only one possible choice to do it, then its not really a choice at all is it? If there was anybody else around who could possibly do this job then maybe setting us both up to be tested to see which one of us has a better chance would make sense. But there isn't. The entire conceit of the Adventure Path is that there specifically is not. Its all up to us.

So since the entire AP is based on the principle of 'Send in the PC heroes and hope for the best'... why is she just not doing that? Why does this encounter exist at all? It damn sure ain't because its literary merit or entertainment value justify spending time on it on its own hook. And as just laid out at length, its hardly necessary to the plot either.

Quote:
Cowards in the face of the evil that is confronting them actively on a day to day basis and she is about to ask them to face?

Doesn't work that way. My objection here is how her dialogue is phrased. As phrased, failure to try and answer her questions is 'cowardice in the face of evil'. Except that this only makes sense if Iomedae is the face of evil. Ergo, the dialogue makes no sense and is badly written, and should have been phrased as 'in the face of danger' or something else that would actually fit the situation she is talking about.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Chuckg wrote:


The line between defiance and mockery is, as our very discussion here is proving, vastly subjective and all in the eye of the beholder. If the player thinks he's on one side of the line and the DM thinks he's on the other side -- which is entirely possible in any game, even ones where the players and the DM have gamed together for a long while -- then somebody's going to get the fertilizer smited out of him purely on a misunderstanding. This alone would justify the claim that this encounter is poorly written, because a well-written encounter does not set up PCs for this kind of misunderstanding without at least writing a sidebar for the DM saying 'Please keep in mind that your players and you may not interpret this the same way and err on the side of caution' or something. Which they didn't.
Tell me the exact quote where she wants "defiance". All I can find is
Quote:
She needs to know they can stand before a true deity and not quail or be reduced to groveling

I would argue that this is not active defiance. This is the basic ability to keep your wits about you and not be overawed. Mocking a goddess would be making the whole thing out to be a farce, and implying Iomedae is incompetent or lacks power. There is a spectrum, enough of one that expecting someone to be able to avoid both should be simple, and not contradictory, as you originally claimed, in the least. (I notice you backpedaling here. Before you claimed that she was being inconsistent with herself, and when I called you out on it, now you merely say that the appropriate forms of conduct is highly subjective. I suggest you pick a stance in regards to this rather than shifting.)

As for the smiting due to a player/DM misunderstanding . . . I really don't think that they needed to include a disclaimer of "communication and understanding between the DM and your players is important". That is kind of a given. Also, this:

Quote:
Deities exist beyond anything the rules say can or cannot happen, but you should take care not to be too arbitrary and overwhelming in running this first part of the adventure. Iomedae can, of course, do anything she wants to the PCs, but she doesn’t—she values them and what they mean to the crusade too much to deliberately antagonize them, even if she were interested in doing so (which she is not). If the PCs include worshipers of deities opposed to her, she still understands that as a group they are, perhaps, the Fifth Crusade’s greatest and most powerful weapon.

Should give the DM enough of a warning to err on the side of caution. Iomedae should not be too arbitrary and overwhelming, she values them and is not going to deliberately antagonize them, she understands that PCs might worship deities. This all sounds quite a bit like the disclaimer you wanted them to include . . .

Chuckg wrote:
Also, if Iomedae is looking for people who will fight even at hopeless odds, who will not surrender even if faced with the vast power of a demon lord... then she can hardly be surprised if they also refuse to back down when confronted with the vast power of a goddess. Trying to have it both ways at once is a failure of both logic and this encounter's writing.

Standing confident in her presence and refusing to back down and grovel is exactly what she wants! However, you can not back down without attacking her. There are other options than be cowed and attack. Again, there is a spectrum of possible conduct. Attacking her would also prove them to be "unworthy" I would say, because they would be showing themselves to be foolishly overconfident, dismissive or her powers, or idiotic.

Don't try to use the "they would think she is a demon lord!". The PCs were in the presence of Nocticula, they have been on the Midnight Isles. There is a palpable difference in how it feels to be in the Abyss and in the presence of a demon lord versus in Iomedae's cathedral and in her presence. They should be able to pick up on this. And if they still suspect Iomedae might be a demon lord in disguise, well, I doubt any but Lamashtu would really have the juice to completely fool the PC by faking the feel of a plane and masking her presence. In which case, they are still being a bit foolish and attacking a goddess when they should probably be looking for a method of egress.

Chuckg wrote:

Yeah, but here's the thing. Your building manager has the option of simply hiring an outside electrician. Therefore, it actually is worth his time to ponder the distinction between 'who is most qualified of the people on my staff' and 'who is sufficiently qualified in an absolute sense'.

But Iomedae doesn't have the option of hiring out. If she cannot find a team of heroes among her Crusaders capable of doing this job, then she just ain't going to get the job done ever. Its that simple and that hard.

Iomedae is, literally, in the position of a military commander who needs a high-risk mission done deep into enemy territory, and has only one team that is even possibly qualified for the job. At this point, why the hell is she screwing around with evaluation tests and games at all? If the mission is really that important that its worth the risk, and there's only one possible choice to do it, then its not really a choice at all is it? If there was anybody else around who could possibly do this job then maybe setting us both up to be tested to see which one of us has a better chance would make sense. But there isn't. The entire conceit of the Adventure Path is that there specifically is not. Its all up to us.

So since the entire AP is based on the principle of 'Send in the PC heroes and hope for the best'... why is she just not doing that? Why does this encounter exist at all? It damn sure ain't because its literary merit or entertainment value justify spending time on it on its own hook. And as just laid out at length, its hardly necessary to the plot either.

Yes, Iomedae doesn't really have the option of calling in an electrician. After all, if she decided to recruit some empyreal lords, or high-CR angels/archons rather than the PCs . . . that would be rather lame, wouldn't it? Also . . .

Quote:
One of her fears is that by sending the PCs into the proverbial lion’s den too soon, she would be giving the enemy tools to spawn new lions.

She doesn't have the option of getting anyone else, true. However, she doesn't want to just throw the PCs away to their doom. They are the best able to do the job, but if they are not actually able to do the job, sending them would do more harm than good. She is being a good, caring military commander in that respect. She is not just going to toss them in right away because they are the best she has got at the moment. She is going to evaluate if they are good enough, or if sending them in is just going to result in giving Baphomet more hostages.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

For all the defense of the pages as written, it's obvious from how a bunch of us GMs are talking that there are problems with the scene. Those of you blindly defending the scene do not know how their players will react under this situation. Claiming "oh no, they wouldn't do that!" or "if they're stupid enough to believe that, they'd not have made it that far to begin with!" is just handwaving away the fact the scene does not work for the majority of GMs.

While I tend to rewrite elements of these modules anyway to suit my needs (such as a 4th level group starting Reign of Winter, or high-statted characters in Runelords, with a dash of Mythic added), with this module I'd much rather not have to rewrite it. Unfortunately, it seems eventually I will (assuming the group wants to go through this AP).

Some GMs don't have the time to do a rewrite. Yet running this as-is could result in the party left all at -1 hit points, blinded, and with whatever other curses were tossed that way, because someone spoke up, was struck for his or her arrogance, and the entire group rose to the defense of that character. Why would anyone want to continue playing the campaign after that point?


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Tangent speaks for me with most of it, or else I've already talked about it, but one comment still cries out for a response:

Quote:
She doesn't have the option of getting anyone else, true. However, she doesn't want to just throw the PCs away to their doom. They are the best able to do the job, but if they are not actually able to do the job, sending them would do more harm than good. She is being a good, caring military commander in that respect.

A 'good caring military commander' does not maim subordinates just for talking out of turn (non-judicial punishment, yes. for a severe offense some brig time, yes. wall-to-wall counseling? ... only very rarely, and unofficially, and even then hospitalizing the person (much less inflicting permanent disabilities) is doing it wrong and will get multiple people sent to Leavenworth) and does not set up arbitrary pass-fail tests where the answers are either 'have you read my biography'?, completely subjective and with /no/ one right answer, or else otherwise total gotcha questions. Seriously. I can think of a a handful of examples from 20th-century military history (let alone medieval military history) where commanders were routinely expected to discipline erring troops by beating them severely, but ain't none of them were remotely fitting the descriptors of 'good' or 'caring'.

No. Seriously. I've been in a military, thank you. I know what good officers are supposed to behave like. Iomedae, as written in that scene, epically failed to.

And now that I've mentioned it, another thing that annoyed me. For a test that is allegedly to determine if the PCs have the moral fiber to resist being corrupted by the powers of Hell, question #1 is about... Iomedae's biography?

Seriously. That question is all 'I expect everyone in the Crusade, even those serving other gods, even those who have never been part of my Church, to have read and memorized all the details of my mortal life to the point where they can recite random obscure (DC 25 Knowledge check, remember) details from it on cue!' Um... what?. Lady, this is a fair test only for your own priesthood. They can be reasonably expected to have as a job requirement 'must memorize all the details of Iomedae's catechism and mythology, even the obscure bits'. But not even your lay worshippers are expected to jump through these kinds of hurdles without at least a chance to read up on it first, let alone someone else's worshippers. And note, the majority of PCs playing this Adventure Path? Will not be worshippers of Iomedae, much less clerics of.

Pfah! 'Have you read my biography?' as an exam question indeed! Who the heck am I talking to -- Iomedae the Inheritor or Gilderoy Lockhart?

PS: Now that I've thought about it... if members of the party don't worship Iomedae as their patron deity, as is entirely possible (even probable)... what gives her the right to yoink them forcibly in at all? Just membership in the Mendevian Crusade alone shouldn't do it; there's like at least five major deities sponsoring that thing, plus the Crusader's Oath doesn't say a damn thing about 'And I also accept Iomedae alone as my personal savior'.

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Chuckg wrote:
Pfah! 'Have you read my biography?' as an exam question indeed! Who the heck am I talking to -- Iomedae the Inheritor or Gilderoy Lockhart?

Change or to of and you'll have your answer. :D


agnelcow wrote:


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...

Oath? What oath my character didn't take any oath to her, in fact they don't worship a god at all.

Also you (not the person I quoted, Scaevolla77 I think) keep saying how easy it is for the PC's to answer right and not get punished so its okay but the PC's have spent FOUR books focusing on redemption and its effects. They've run into multiple evil people they can redeem including a succubus. I'd say by this stage the odds of them hesitating before giving a yes or no answer are very small because they've been made to think about it previously. This isn't an out of the blue question asked in an adventure path like Shackles where they aren't likely to have thought about it its the whole underlying theme of this campaign and yet when they gave that answer they HAVE thought about, HAVE debated the pro's and cons, HAVE reached a decision they're happy with she slams them with lethal sonic damage for what? For having spent the past X amount of months thinking about this question, redeeming falllen souls and reaching an answer their happy with? Yet at the same time if they haven't reached a decision and fall into a discussion about it (like say this entire thread) she belts them for that too.

I don't know about your players but a lot of mine would be reaching for their dice at this point and that's assuming it all went well before hand. My players have designed characters for my games that range from an old school nun (martial arts trained and armed with a very thick ruler to punish those who are naughty) through to highly lippy thieves who couldn't avoid mocking people if they tried and would steal anything not nailed down (or in a party members backpack). In a case like this that last one would automatically fail not because of anything bad but because they would mouth off against her as part of their very being something if she'd spent any time watching them she'd know about. Which brings us back to proportional response if I know that so and so is mouthy and can't help it (even for promises of gold) I'm either going to ignore them or leave them behind when I speak to the rest of the group.


Actually, there is a text for the Crusader's Oath; it's in Inner Sea World Guide, under the 'Low Templar' prestige class entry.

Quote:
I do so swear under the Light, by the Sword and Scales of Truth and all the fires of heaven, to undertake this holy Crusade. I pledge to guard heart, spirit, body, and mind from the corruption of this Wound upon the World. I furthermore promise and declare that I shall wage relentless war against the Spawn of the Pit and their manifold legions, as directed by those with charge of this Crusade and whenever opportunity presents, to extirpate and annihilate their execrable race and any who serve them.

It would appear Crusaders swear their oaths to the temporal authorities in charge of the Mendevian Crusade -- that is to say, to Queen Galfrey and the duly appointed officers under her. There isn't a damn thing in here about swearing to Iomedae as your patron deity.

Which, given that the Mendevian Crusade canonically has everything from Chelaxian devil-worshippers to Taldorian penal brigades in it, is sorta how it has to work.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Matthew Morris wrote:
Vivianne Laflamme wrote:
agnelcow wrote:
Bad GMing or no, neither does it provide evidence that the feelings of pride and hope are anything but the genuine sentiments of the PCs.
Here's the thing: the feelings of PCs are---excluding supernatural compulsions---entirely the decision of the players. You cannot legislate how your players' characters feel about something. If you're going to try to micromanage how your players roleplay like that, then you shouldn't be running an rpg. You should be writing a novel.

If the characters are made to feel "pride and hope" can we add brainwashing to the list of thigns 'LG deities don't do?'

I'm reminded of the D&D Book of Exalted [strike]cheese[/strike] er Deeds and some of those spells. "Good people don't do evil things, so here's some poison (but it's ok because it only affects bad people) and some spells that remove their free will and force them to be good."

An anti-ravage man chiming in?

You don't use Holy water either, do you? Or holy Weapons? or Holy Smite?

As for the spells that make them good - Instead of just, you know, killing them outright as the other option, which is the better choice? As I recall, casting that spell also cost you a level of experience...it weren't cheap.

==Aelryinth


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Chuckg, not to demean your service in the military, but the point I was trying to make is that Iomedae would rather not send people needlessly to their deaths and thus strengthen the enemy. Is that not a good trait for officers to have?

To my understanding, the elite special forces often go through SERE training, which includes resistance to torture. How is that taught, if not by controlled torture? (I honestly don't know much about SERE, this is just what I have heard).

Would you care to respond to any of the other rebuttals I presented using quotes from the book?

Lastly, participation in this thread was originally interesting, but I grow weary of this thread. At the end of the day, we can have different interpretations of how this encounter portrays Iomedae.

I told a couple of my players about the encounter, and they thought it sounded cool and in character for Iomedae. I don't find it particularly upsetting and inconsistent with her role as a LG warrior goddess. James Jacobs seemed to express disappointment in the fan reaction, and seemed to feel that the representation of Iomedae was fairly accurate. I encourage everyone to evaluate if perhaps you are misinterpreting the encounter or Iomedae's character, and to find out what your players might think of the encounter. I suspect that the encounter's focus on negative consequences may have skewed some perspectives on the encounter.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Eh, philosophically speaking, I would consider it a greater sin to forcibly rewrite someone's free will than I would to kill them under circumstances where killing is otherwise justifiable (i.e., just war, self-defense, defense of other, etc). Killing them under circumstances where killing isn't justifiable is of course right out, but that goes without saying and would continue to go without saying regardless of which side of this question we're on, which is why it goes without saying. *g*

Yes, this applies even if eternal damnation awaits my victim in the afterlife. Whatever happens to that dude in the afterlife happens because of the life choices he made. I didn't hold a gun to his head and say 'Be evils or else!' He played under the same rules we all did, he bet his money, and he took his choice. I'm not doing anything worse than fighting him and winning, and if he hadn't attacked me or mine I wouldn't even be fighting him.

Getting into his skull and rewriting his thoughts, OTOH, is horribly invasive and coercive. Without law there is no civilization, no. But without choice, there is no good. Take free will completely out of the equation and there's no reason to leave sentience in there. We might as well be ants.

To focus more on Golarion specifically and less on philosophy in general... as I recall, converting the heathen at swords-point is considered anathema by Golarion deities of Good; if that's true, then how much more anathema would converting the heathen by using the Squadron Supreme Behavior Modification Machine be?


I think I understand what the writer was trying to convey here, although from the argument here it obviously got muddled somewhere.

Iomedae is LG and the goddess of honor and justice, but she is also one of the gods who was once human. Not only was she once human, but she is by far the youngest of the gods, having only ascended 878 years before Golarion's present and was a normal human before that. There are literally mortal dragons and possibly elves who are as old or older than her. For comparison, even the other ascended gods are orders of magnitude older. Nethys was present at the founding of Ancient Orison 8450 years ago. Aroden was at least 5000 years old when he became a god and lived for another 4600 years after that. Even the next youngest god, Cayden Cailean is at least 1000 years older than her.

I think that the intent of the writers was to show that as a very young deity she still has some negative human emotions that she can fall victim to in trying times. The unprecedented direct attack on her herald is about as trying as you can get. She is frustrated on a monumental, divine scale. That this situation can rattle even a god should impress the consequences should the party fail.

In her frustration the lawful part of her alignment can easily lead to what she does in this scene, especially if the mortals she is trying to temper into her weapons in the mortal world start giving her s$!~. Lawful, even Lawful Good is not in the business of Democracy, especially not Iomedae who is an essentially military deity, and one of the downsides of LG that they are prone to judge everyone by their standards. Thus it is completely conceivable to me that she could come down like a ton of bricks on any PC who is insubordinate or fails to live up to her standards as a champion. In the end, once she has had a little time to calm down from the immediate offence she does heal the characters of all consequences. A non-good deity would have left the consequences even when they calmed down.

That is my take on this scene. So no, I don't think that this it is completely out of line for Iomedae in the circumstances. That's just my two cp.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Chuckg wrote:

Eh, philosophically speaking, I would consider it a greater sin to forcibly rewrite someone's free will than I would to kill them under circumstances where killing is otherwise justifiable (i.e., just war, self-defense, defense of other, etc). Killing them under circumstances where killing isn't justifiable is of course right out, but that goes without saying and would continue to go without saying regardless of which side of this question we're on, which is why it goes without saying. *g*

Yes, this applies even if eternal damnation awaits my victim in the afterlife. Whatever happens to that dude in the afterlife happens because of the life choices he made. I didn't hold a gun to his head and say 'Be evils or else!' He played under the same rules we all did, he bet his money, and he took his choice. I'm not doing anything worse than fighting him and winning, and if he hadn't attacked me or mine I wouldn't even be fighting him.

Getting into his skull and rewriting his thoughts, OTOH, is horribly invasive and coercive. Without law there is no civilization, no. But without choice, there is no good. Take free will completely out of the equation and there's no reason to leave sentience in there. We might as well be ants.

To focus more on Golarion specifically and less on philosophy in general... as I recall, converting the heathen at swords-point is considered anathema by Golarion deities of Good; if that's true, then how much more anathema would converting the heathen by using the Squadron Supreme Behavior Modification Machine be?

There's nothing that says the converted individual cannot fall to evil later.

As I recall, it was also an exalted spell that only the holiest of casters could wield. You were giving up a level to give an evil creature the chance to live a good life, instead of simply slaughtering it and sending it to the AByss. The cost, and the fact you could only do it for the highest of reasons, meant it was not something that could be abused.

basically, you were subbing a spell, a year, and one of your levels for the diplomacy checks to redeem something. Not all that abusive, right?

As a contrast, look at the Shachath demon from Paizo. If it possesses you, even for 1 round, you turn Chaotic Evil and your soul goes to the Abyss if you die. For failing 1 Will save. No cost. That's INSANE.

Compare to the two and the sources, and that spell comes out Okay. If the creature would rather die then be redeemed, well, you're an exalted character. you're not going to abuse the spell. If you do, you're not exalted and it won't work for you. Remember them high moral codes, annoying as they are to power-gamers!

==Aelryinth


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Scaevola77 wrote:
Chuckg, not to demean your service in the military, but the point I was trying to make is that Iomedae would rather not send people needlessly to their deaths and thus strengthen the enemy. Is that not a good trait for officers to have?

If the process of determining whether I'm at excessive risk of death can itself leave me blind, deaf, dumb, and crippled for life... as well as injured unto the point of dying... then you have to ask 'So what's the point?'

Quote:
To my understanding, the elite special forces often go through SERE training, which includes resistance to torture. How is that taught, if not by controlled torture? (I honestly don't know much about SERE, this is just what I have heard).

One: SERE training -- and for that matter, elite special operations units in general -- requires all volunteers precisely for this reason. Nobody goes into this s$@! without first knowing exactly what he signed up for, and consenting to it in advance.

But the Iomedae scene? Starts out with you being press-ganged. You don't get a choice about having to show up for the test sequence, and you can't even ask 'How do I get out of this chickenshit outfit?' without getting slapped. The only way written in the scenario to leave Iomedae's presence before facing the questions is to piss her off to the point where she throws you out... and if you've done that, then you've already been deafened, blinded, struck mute, and slammed into negative HP.

Two: If a recruit actually got a permanent disabling injury of any kind during SERE training -- much less the full 'blind, deaf, unable to talk, oh yeah, and injured to the point of near-death experience' package -- then a minimum of one instructor would probably see his career as an instructor coming to a sudden halt, if not actually being court-martialled for negligence.

Quote:
Would you care to respond to any of the other rebuttals I presented using quotes from the book?

Either I already have earlier in the thread, or else your rebuttals are covering topics not about book knowledge, so, what would be the point? And if you have a specific point you want me to re-examine in detail, could you tell me what it is?

Quote:
Lastly, participation in this thread was originally interesting, but I grow weary of this thread. At the end of the day, we can have different interpretations of how this encounter portrays Iomedae.

The problem with 'all opinions are valid' is that it runs head-on into 'but the prior canon only has one Iomedae'.

Quote:
I told a couple of my players about the encounter, and they thought it sounded cool and in character for Iomedae.

Obviously I disagree, but you knew that already. So, the point is?

Quote:
I don't find it particularly upsetting and inconsistent with her role as a LG warrior goddess.

My argument on why Iomedae's actions in this scenario do not remotely qualify for the designators Lawful or Good, using her own religion's precedents for Lawful Good no less, has already been made. At length, and with "quotes from the book". If you haven't bothered to read it, not my problem.

Quote:
James Jacobs seemed to express disappointment in the fan reaction

That's fair, I'm entirely disappointed in James Jacobs' writing.

Seriously, if this kind of stuff is what Lawful Good is officially going to mean in Golarion now -- if 'Lawful Good' really is going to get a canonical imprimatur for the sort of terrifying self-righteousness and lack of compassion that considers permanently crippling someone to be a just and proportionate response to them calling you a dirty name -- then to hell with it. I watched that same kind of thing completely destroy any fun and enjoyment I had in the Forgotten Realms (quick, name a high-level LG ruler, priest, or other important NPC in Realms canon that isn't either killed off pointlessly, epically blind to the corruption among their own allies, or a total jerkass. 'Cause I'm comin' up blank.) , and I'm not going to be shy about registering my objections to setting this kind of precedent for 'Lawful Jerkass' as an allegedly LG-complaint action in official Pathfinder game product.

Quote:
and seemed to feel that the representation of Iomedae was fairly accurate.

And he also said that now that he's seen the fan reaction he wished he had a time machine to go back and warn himself to write it completely differently, so your point is?

Look, if the man feels he has something more to contribute to this thread, he can say it himself. If you're going to try and claim that he supports your POV officially as the line editor then I would appreciate a direct quote, because citing the author as Word of God (TVTropes reference) is not something you do unless its explicit.

Quote:
I would encourage everyone to evaluate if perhaps you are misinterpreting the encounter or Iomedae's character

... yes, because I posted all of the wordcount I've done today on the topic -- which is a quite staggering total -- without once actually evaluating my position already. /sarcasm off

Obviously I already think that my interpretation is correct, sourced by canon, and extensively thought out -- because if I didn't, I wouldn't have opened my mouth in the first place. Yes, the possibility exists that I could be wrong, because I am a human being and thus capable of error. However, simply saying 'you might be wrong' isn't going to get me to suddenly recant my entire POV and agree with everything you say. I'm going to need something genuinely persuasive, some insight into canon or some reference cite that I've entirely overlooked.

Which so far you have yet to successfully deliver.

Quote:
and to find out what your players might think of the encounter.

I already know what my players think of the encounter. Trust me. It ain't flattering.

Quote:
I suspect that the encounter's focus on negative consequences may have skewed some perspectives on the encounter.

... I've already typed out and then backspaced over four separate answers to this one, before I finally decided to just not bother. That should give you a hint as to how offensively patronizing a statement I found this.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Saint Caleth wrote:

I think that the intent of the writers was to show that as a very young deity she still has some negative human emotions that she can fall victim to in trying times. The unprecedented direct attack on her herald is about as trying as you can get. She is frustrated on a monumental, divine scale. That this situation can rattle even a god should impress the consequences should the party fail.

In her frustration the lawful part of her alignment can easily lead to what she does in this scene, especially if the mortals she is trying to temper into her weapons in the mortal world start giving her s+~&. Lawful, even Lawful Good is not in the business of Democracy, especially not Iomedae who is an essentially military deity, and one of the downsides of LG that they are prone to judge everyone by their standards.

One: I disagree that LG is about being this self-righteous or narrow-minded. 'Lawful Jerkass' is an alignment that those of us AD&D 1e veterans suffered through at our game tables for so many many years... we don't want to go there again. Some of us have our mental images of paladins shaped by things like the Paksenarrion novels or Optimus Prime or Michael Carpenter or the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Captain America, as opposed to the real-world history of medieval witchburning.

Heck, even AD&D 1e had St. Cuthbert as LN. He didn't get the LG retcon until much, much later.

But that aside... OK, let's for the sake of argument agree with everything you just said. Iomedae really is that unusually stressed out and frazzled, she really is screwing up that bad, the author really did intend this. I don't agree with it, but for the duration of this post I'm going to roll with it anyway as a hypothetical.

So. Even if we accept all this, we are left with the conclusion that...

... Iomedae's first on-stage appearance in the entire storyline is a shot of her majorly screwing up.

Um. Wow. Yeah. This feels a major dramatic misfire, if true. The big inspiring goddess figure of the crusades, as well as the first time in any adventure path that characters have actually met a deity in person on friendly terms, and the dramatic intent of that scene is to show the goddess at her worst moment? What dramatic purpose would that serve? The big moment of inspiration before you set out to harrow the very hells itself, and its all about showing the alleged patron goddess completely losing her s!~% and freaking out?

That's not very inspiring at all. It is in fact a giant buzzkill. Its a shot straight in the ass of morale.

So... OK, you've brought up a hypothetical line of argument that might explain the character incongruity. However, even if it's true, then you've just traded 'this scene is massively OOC' for 'this scene is very jarring and against the storyline's overall theme of righteous crusading staying undaunted vs. impossible odds', which is not very much of a trade-up at all.

Add: Not to mention the cognitive dissonance at being tested for 'can you keep your cool even when the most powerful forces of the Abyss are traumatizing your soul?' by an examiner who herself is being traumatized by the forces of the Abyss and going at least halfway to hysterical in the process.

Or, for that matter, the general annoyance at the idea of making the big on-camera appearance of the strong righteous warrior queen of the gods being a scene of her being a hysterical woman throwing a temper tantrum. Which... OK, I'm a guy, so I'll have to go ask my one female player if she'd find this offensive as a portrayal of an alleged strong female character. But I'm already guessing that she'll probably say 'hell yeah'.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Aelryinth wrote:
You don't use Holy water either, do you? Or holy Weapons? or Holy Smite?

None of those are replacements for evil items that are specifically called out as evil actions the way poison is.

251 to 300 of 526 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Adventure Path / Wrath of the Righteous / Book 5: Discussion on Iomedae [SPOILERS AHOY!] All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.