Book 5: Discussion on Iomedae [SPOILERS AHOY!]


Wrath of the Righteous

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To be fair, as far back as AD&D 1st edition we had spells that killed or crippled or permanently blinded or deafened evil people while doing nothing to good people -- specifically, holy word. If that's been OK all along, then I can't complain too hard about ravages.

But brain rewrites? Sorry, my own personal belief system is that you just don't go there. Mind-controlling a dude to 'drop the knife and let the hostage go' is one thing, because, y'know, you're just temporarily restraining him to save someone's life. Permanently forcing a belief system to alter itself to your own preferences against their will? That hits my personal horror button.


Chuckg wrote:

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.

Every alignment has strengths and weaknesses, good characters would not be very interesting dramatically if there were no negative aspects to their alignments. The strengths of LG are Loyalty, Integrity, Conviction and Tenacity as well as Mercy and Empathy. So you are right that all those things you mentioned are great examples and show the best face of LG. The weaknesses are what I said above. Self-righteousness and a tendency to be patronizing and judge everyone by their standards and probably find them wanting. I only see narrow mindedness in the fact that a LG character sees in their worldview the confluence of two optima, Good and Law. "Lawful Jerkass" along with "Lawful Stupid" absolutely fits within LG, it is however not the entirety of the alignment and not necessarily the best representation either.

I stand by my assessment of Lawful-anything as not interested in Democracy. There is approximately a 0% chance that a nation run by paladins would be anything but a Monarchy or Benevolent Dictatorship. Some examples of cannon LG nations are Lastwall (a Military Dictatorship), Zi Ha (an Autocray controlled by theocrats), Jinin (a Shogunate, so a kind of Military Dictatorship). Mendev is the most fleshed out and it is portrayed as a dysfunctional Absolute Monarcy where the most powerful person besides the Queen is a recently reformed witch-burning inquisitor who is not even good aligned.

Then again I have been informed that I am really really cynical about Lawful alignments in general. I find the Law-Chaos axis to be dramatically richer than the Good-Evil axis in any case.

In my reading of this scene I disagree with you about the dramatic intent. It needs to set the scene of impossible odds with no margin for failure more than it needs to provide any kind of uplifting note. The characters are well into mythic tiers at this point, and something which disturbs the gods themselves is the kind of thing which is an appropriate mythic challenge narratively. It also is a literal deus-ex-machina to launch the party into the adventure (which is kind of lazy writing). I see what you mean about the first direct appearance of a deity is this kind of scene. It is perhaps unfortunate and not , but it is what is required at this point in the plot. I don't think that the scene is very well done though, since it seems to have missed the mark in most people's minds.

Chuckg wrote:
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'.

You are absolutely right that this is an implication that the writers probably should have thought of. It does not seem like they did though, and you'd think Paizo would know better in any case.


Iomadea throwing a hysterical temper tantrum due to the stress of the situation hadn't occured to me but I think if I were a girl that would really piss me off. A strong female figure, heck the cannonical being which shows you can be female and still beat the boys at their own game (paladin, knight, god) and she's falling apart like that? Heck as a guy I find the concept a bit offensive.


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Saint Caleth wrote:
Every alignment has strengths and weaknesses, good characters would not be very interesting dramatically if that were the case.

Really? Millions of fans find the fictional characters I just named very interesting, and they are -- Optimus in particular -- archetypical examples of pure shiney good without serious, or in some cases any, real flaws. Apparently, there is indeed still a market for things you're not personally interested by.

As a general thing -- if Good and Evil are actually just two sides of the same kind of coin, if one of them isn't legitimately better than the other, then the terms 'good' and 'evil' are reduced to meaningless. You're just talking about Us vs. Them at that point. You reduce the cosmic struggle between angels and demons to the same moral level as Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings... its not about one actually being the right choice vs. the wrong choice, its just about your team vs. their team.

I suppose there is a place for stories about moral relativism... but an adventure path about big shiney heroes saving the world from an invasion of demons ain't it.

Quote:
The strengths of LG are Loyalty, Integrity, Conviction and Tenacity as well as Mercy and Empathy. So you are right that all those things you mentioned are great examples and show the best face of LG. The weaknesses are what I said above. Self-righteousness and a tendency to judge everyone by your standards and probably find them wanting.

No, 'Lawful Good must be self-righteous and narrow-minded' is a poisonous meme that many people disagree with and isn't actually true.

The "weakness" of Lawful Good is that you are Lawful Good. You have signed on to perhaps the most restrictive code of behavior in the universe. You are surrounded on every side by temptations that even other good people don't have to struggle against, and you play by the rules even when everybody else isn't playing by them. Which by itself is a great way to get screwed blued and tattooed, as anybody who's actually been stuck in a 'I'm obeying the rules and the other guy is getting away with munchkining and cheating' totally knows.

At no point do you also have to be a narrow-minded intolerant type.

Heck, Lawful Good has a definition in the core rules. Let's go look at it.

Quote:
Lawful Good: A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. She combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. She tells the truth, keeps her word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished. Lawful good combines honor with compassion. (emphasis mine)

But perhaps there's another supplement that goes more into detail on what the Lawful Good alignment in Pathfinder is about. Oh wait, there is. "Champions of Purity". Let's go look.

Quote:
Lawful Good characters are proficient at understanding bureaucracies, following laws, and cultivating order and structure in their own lives and in others'. They are naturally helpful, and others find them trustworthy, even if they don't share the same alignment. [...] These characters sometimes have problems defying laws, even when the laws are unjust. Instead of disobeying or protesting against such laws, they work within the provided structure to change those laws, and they implore others to do so as well. They feel guilty lying to others, even if only asked to fib to provide a ruse for their companions. Similarily, they won't break the law to help good-intentioned party members perform actions that might have beneficial results.

Hrm. Nothing in here even hinting that a narrow-minded or self-righteous POV is required for Lawful Good, or even a standard part of Lawful Good. It's all about self-discipline and self-denial. Their biggest weaknesses are presented in terms of 'might not buck the system hard enough even when it needs a good bucking', and even then they still try to change the system for the better somehow; they don't just roll over and take it all "We vuz just followink orderz!" style. And at multiple points their tolerance of and willingness to work with other good belief systems -- Neutral Good or Chaotic Good as well as Lawful Good -- is highlighted.

Is this easy or boring? Hells no. Try actually roleplaying Captain America sometime. Brother, any teenaged idiot can act like Wolverine; he's easy to get down. Acting like an LG exemplar while still being able to find ways to get things done in an imperfect world? Now that's playing on Hard difficulty.

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I only see narrow mindedness in the fact that a LG character sees in their worldview the confluence of two optima, Good and Law.

Not consistent with Pathfinder core material. Not consistent with Faiths of Purity. Not consistent with the bulk of material presented for PF or d20 in the past decade, really. Book of the Righteous, for all its flaws, at least was able to get down the base priciple that 'Good people are not supposed to be a$&&&&+s. Seriously. Good is kind and tolerant and fights for the little guy. Its evil -- even the deluded sorts of evil that think they're good -- that are all about forcing compliance and stamping out dissent.'

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Then again I have been informed that I am really really cynical about Lawful alignments in general.

Yeah. From what I've seen your interpretation of Lawful Good is more appropriately Lawful Neutral at best.

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In my reading of this scene I disagree with you about the dramatic intent. It needs to set the scene of impossible odds with no margin for failure more than it needs to provide any kind of uplifting note.

I think that was already set when they pointed out that you were going into the Abyss to try and face down a demon lord in his own lair, really.

Seriously. I am going into the Abyss to directly confront a demon lord in their own lair. At this point, the stakes are high enough!

I don't need to see the alleged touchstone of the faith, the ever-vigilant Inheritor, the very goddess of Honor and Justice herself, supposedly breaking down all hysterical-tantrumy, to make the stakes feel any higher. At best its a severe cognitive dissonance and actually distracts me from the main dramatic thrust of the arc. At worst, its bathos. (Bathos (noun) 1. a ludicrous descent from the exalted or lofty to the commonplace; anticlimax. 2. insincere pathos; sentimentality; mawkishness. 3. triteness or triviality in style.)

Quote:
Also as a literal deus-ex-machina to launch the party into the adventure.

Why, because just showing up and asking politely wouldn't have worked? It's not like anybody who's gotten this far into an Adventure Path can't recognize a quest-giver NPC when she shows up with one.

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I see what you mean about the first direct appearance of a deity is this kind of scene. It is perhaps unfortunate, but it is what is required at this point in the plot.

Disagree. The only thing the plot requires at this point is to tell you where the next stage of the plot is. Which can be achieved in any one of a dozen ways.

And as for lending the moment more dramatic weight -- a greater goddess is showing up in person to ask me for a personal favor -- said personal favor being to go to the depths of the Abyss itself to confront a demon prince at the heart of their power.

Y'know what? The dramatic stakes of a moment like that are already off the scale, just from a simple factual reading of the situation. We don't need any big dramatic flourishes to try and make it seem even bigger... especially not if the flourishes are written so jarringly and hysterically that they only distract from the moment at hand, if not actually personally piss off the players because they're being arbitrarily slapped around by invincible DM grudge monsters.


Chuckg wrote:
I suppose there is a place for stories about moral relativism... but an adventure path about big shiney heroes saving the world from an invasion of demons ain't it.

You are right that this is a very particular kind of story. I guess I am just not really a fan of the old-school Tolkenian thing where Good is always right and Evil is to be defeated just because it is made of Evil with no nuance. As you point out though, it is a completely valid story to tell. Much of the fantasy genre is built on it after all. The problem is that much of the time Golarion tries to consciously not be that, so I find it a bit incongruous if that is what is suddenly being pushed in this AP.

We are just going to have to disagree on the rest of the alignment stuff.

Chuckg wrote:

I think that was already set when they pointed out that you were going into the Abyss to try and face down a demon lord in his own lair, really.

Seriously. I am going into the Abyss to directly confront a demon lord in their own lair. At this point, the stakes are high enough!

I don't need to see the alleged touchstone of the faith, the ever-vigilant Inheritor, the very goddess of Honor and Justice herself, supposedly breaking down all hysterical-tantrumy, to make the stakes feel any higher. At best its a severe cognitive dissonance and actually distracts me from the main dramatic thrust of the arc. At worst, its bathos. (Bathos (noun) 1. a ludicrous descent from the exalted or lofty to the commonplace; anticlimax. 2. insincere pathos; sentimentality; mawkishness. 3. triteness or triviality in style.)

Chuckg wrote:

And as for lending the moment more dramatic weight -- a greater goddess is showing up in person to ask me for a personal favor -- said personal favor being to go to the depths of the Abyss itself to confront a demon prince at the heart of their power.

Y'know what? The dramatic stakes of a moment like that are already off the scale, just from a simple factual reading of the situation. We don't need any big dramatic flourishes to try and make it seem even bigger... especially not if the flourishes are written so jarringly and hysterically that they only distract from the moment at hand, if not actually personally piss off the players because they're being arbitrarily slapped around by invincible DM grudge monsters.

I agree with you on both of these points that it is way over the top when interpreted the way I read it. I think this particular scene is pretty badly executed; a good idea, but terminally misfiring in the writing. It is not great writing in general and I am not a fan of this AP for lots of reasons, but I still think I am right about what the author was trying to get at. It is really the only interpretation that is consistent with Iomedae being LG at all. Even Paizo flubbs a few as this thread has shown.


Saint Caleth wrote:
The problem is that much of the time Golarion tries to consciously not be that, so I find it a bit incongruous if that is what is suddenly being pushed in this AP.

Eh, what?

Here's the official Golarion position on 'why play a good character'? It's from the intro to Champions of Purity.

Quote:

Why be good? It’s a question that often goes unanswered in fantasy roleplaying games like Pathfinder. Why is that so? Because lucre and level advancement in many such games tend to be rewards for defeating evil. Though the player characters loot treasure vaults and murder monsters, they are heroes struggling against a rising tide of darkness. Playing such characters allows us to satisfy that inherent desire in all of us to rise above the evil of our world and champion something positive, much like superheroes or our favorite characters from fantasy literature do.

The world of Golarion abounds with opportunities to join epic struggles against evil. Characters can take up with the Mendevian Crusaders in the ongoing battle to extinguish the demonic tide flooding the lands and stop the Worldwound’s expansion; they can tangle with the undead of Geb, freeing pockets of humans from the vile rulers who use the living as chattel; or they can aid Andoran in its efforts to annihilate the slave trade. Other possibilities include freeing the frozen land of Irrisen from the Witch Queen Baba Yaga or overthrowing the Midnight Lord’s hold on Nidal.

Playing good characters is certainly challenging in any game world, especially when the game’s trappings—level advancement, ability gains, and fantastic magical items and artifacts—are so exciting that they can sometimes distract you from your character’s noble aims and purpose, thereby separating you from the game’s true spirit. While leveling up by slaying monsters is part of play, and gaining cool magical items does make your character more difficult to defeat, the heart of the game is about players coming together in common cause in the face of nigh-overwhelming evil.

So what is the real reward of playing a good character? It is beating back the insurgent forces of darkness, saving a small town from being overrun by undead, and building a bastion of safety in the chaotic wilderness to serve as a front line against invading hordes. It is saving the day, defeating evil, and gaining the gratitude of a helpless village. Such are the real rewards of true heroes.

So, you can't exactly say that its a sudden genre shift for Golarion.


Saint Caleth wrote:
Chuckg wrote:
I suppose there is a place for stories about moral relativism... but an adventure path about big shiney heroes saving the world from an invasion of demons ain't it.

You are right that this is a very particular kind of story. I guess I am just not really a fan of the old-school Tolkenian thing where Good is always right and Evil is to be defeated just because it is made of Evil with no nuance. As you point out though, it is a completely valid story to tell. Much of the fantasy genre is built on it after all. The problem is that much of the time Golarion tries to consciously not be that, so I find it a bit incongruous if that is what is suddenly being pushed in this AP.

We are just going to have to disagree on the rest of the alignment stuff.

Chuckg wrote:

I think that was already set when they pointed out that you were going into the Abyss to try and face down a demon lord in his own lair, really.

Seriously. I am going into the Abyss to directly confront a demon lord in their own lair. At this point, the stakes are high enough!

I don't need to see the alleged touchstone of the faith, the ever-vigilant Inheritor, the very goddess of Honor and Justice herself, supposedly breaking down all hysterical-tantrumy, to make the stakes feel any higher. At best its a severe cognitive dissonance and actually distracts me from the main dramatic thrust of the arc. At worst, its bathos. (Bathos (noun) 1. a ludicrous descent from the exalted or lofty to the commonplace; anticlimax. 2. insincere pathos; sentimentality; mawkishness. 3. triteness or triviality in style.)

Chuckg wrote:

And as for lending the moment more dramatic weight -- a greater goddess is showing up in person to ask me for a personal favor -- said personal favor being to go to the depths of the Abyss itself to confront a demon prince at the heart of their power.

Y'know what? The dramatic stakes of a moment like that are already off the scale, just from a simple factual reading of the

...

Except that even here beings who DO betray and double cross the party can be redeemed its just the big heavy hitters Iomadae, Baphomet who aren't interested in changing who and what they are.


Liam Warner wrote:
Saint Caleth wrote:
Chuckg wrote:
I suppose there is a place for stories about moral relativism... but an adventure path about big shiney heroes saving the world from an invasion of demons ain't it.

You are right that this is a very particular kind of story. I guess I am just not really a fan of the old-school Tolkenian thing where Good is always right and Evil is to be defeated just because it is made of Evil with no nuance. As you point out though, it is a completely valid story to tell. Much of the fantasy genre is built on it after all. The problem is that much of the time Golarion tries to consciously not be that, so I find it a bit incongruous if that is what is suddenly being pushed in this AP.

We are just going to have to disagree on the rest of the alignment stuff.

Chuckg wrote:

I think that was already set when they pointed out that you were going into the Abyss to try and face down a demon lord in his own lair, really.

Seriously. I am going into the Abyss to directly confront a demon lord in their own lair. At this point, the stakes are high enough!

I don't need to see the alleged touchstone of the faith, the ever-vigilant Inheritor, the very goddess of Honor and Justice herself, supposedly breaking down all hysterical-tantrumy, to make the stakes feel any higher. At best its a severe cognitive dissonance and actually distracts me from the main dramatic thrust of the arc. At worst, its bathos. (Bathos (noun) 1. a ludicrous descent from the exalted or lofty to the commonplace; anticlimax. 2. insincere pathos; sentimentality; mawkishness. 3. triteness or triviality in style.)

Chuckg wrote:

And as for lending the moment more dramatic weight -- a greater goddess is showing up in person to ask me for a personal favor -- said personal favor being to go to the depths of the Abyss itself to confront a demon prince at the heart of their power.

Y'know what? The dramatic stakes of a moment like that are already off the scale, just from a simple

...

And even then, in the latest book...

Spoiler:
There's a chance that you and your players can redeem Nocticula.


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So, now that we have this "good is not nice" Iomedae, does that mean that I have carte blanch to make all my paladins beat up friendly NPCs so long as I heal them? I mean, hey, it's tough love and they gotta learn the hard way about dealing with dangers like demons, right? So that means if my paladin of Iomedae beats up his friends to teach them lessons, then heals them with mercies, I'm not only doing my god's will, but I'm the best LG person out there. :D


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(sarcasm mode: ON) Actually, you don't even have to heal them. Its perfectly all right to beat them down to -1 hp, then stabilize them, then dump them back at their houses and leave them to either get medical attention from their surviving friends (if any), make the Con checks on their own, or die.

(sarcasm mode: OFF) Because that's exactly what she does to you if you trigger the '2 offenses of being rude or 1 offense of actually attacking' level of smiting.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Frankly, even more than the over-the-top, out-of-proportion, unpaladinlike punishments being thrown out based on vague criteria, the fundamental problem of the scene is that it makes zero sense for Iomedae to be asking these questions at all. In the first place, she really has no other options for this mission, so disqualifying the PCs doesn't make a *great* deal of sense. Secondly--actions speak louder than words. Any drunken braggart might claim they know how to defeat a demon lord. What does asking the question tell Iomedae that the countless heroic and legendary deeds the PCs have already performed do not tell her? And what possible relevance does being able to identify a mohrg she once killed have to, well...anything? The only question that seems at all relevant to the circumstances is the one regarding redemption--and that's the worst of the lot. Can't just say Yes, or no, or debate it with your party members...


Revan wrote:
Frankly, even more than the over-the-top, out-of-proportion, unpaladinlike punishments being thrown out based on vague criteria, the fundamental problem of the scene is that it makes zero sense for Iomedae to be asking these questions at all. In the first place, she really has no other options for this mission, so disqualifying the PCs doesn't make a *great* deal of sense. Secondly--actions speak louder than words. Any drunken braggart might claim they know how to defeat a demon lord. What does asking the question tell Iomedae that the countless heroic and legendary deeds the PCs have already performed do not tell her? And what possible relevance does being able to identify a mohrg she once killed have to, well...anything? The only question that seems at all relevant to the circumstances is the one regarding redemption--and that's the worst of the lot. Can't just say Yes, or no, or debate it with your party members...

I'm planning to open the encounter in my game (when i get round to running it, stupid work interfering with my fun) with . . .

"Greetings heroes I have a task of dire important that must be undertaken soon if not immediately. Yet while you are the most worthy and powerful champions of the fifth crusade in these dark times even Angels may fall and I must be more certain that your character contains no hidden flaws which may allow evil to enter unbidden particularly after your recent dealings in the Midnight Isles. Therefore I would ask of thee some questions in person to better judge whether sending you thither would be a great mistake. I ask that you answer me as honestly as you can with no concern for what others may think of you for tis better to reveal such weakness now when you may remain to fight on the mortal realm than stay silent and risk your souls and the souls of your companions at a later date."

At which point she asks the third question first, if they show fear or hesitation she sends those party members back and continues questioning the remaining ones. The ones sent back can still go along later but its up to the party to decide that.

Shadow Lodge

Lo, the paladin goddess gets the mother of all paladin threads.

What I got from this, mostly from James Jacobs' comments, was that he regretted aiming his focus at the worst-case scenario (as much for its incongruence as all the d6s of sonic damage this thread alone has generated); he suggests that people cange it to suit their groups and their circumstances, as they can do to the entire AP. That's what tunes a store-bought adventure to the various players, and their characters. Does it not say in the Book of Core Rules (Getting Started, Page 9), "These rules are yours. You can change them to fit your needs"?

The circumstances of the meeting clearly show what is at stake and the seriousness of the situation. With player creativity and GM assistance, PCs can use the answers to her questions to re-affirm the readiness and co-operative spirit they will need to accomplish their task, as well as to remain careful and thoughtful around others, themselves, and their motives. The relevance of "being able to identify a mohrg she once killed" can be the limits of compassion, that those who refuse redemption are beyond it, or whatever might need imparting in that specific situation. Quoting Core Rules as before, the GM can get her to invoke another act, or ask something different as needs dictate.

That retribution at the end wasn't intended for just anyone. If everything goes smoothly, it won't even be brought up. If my understanding is correct, it was set up that way out of a lasting fear the seriousness getting lost, of people being rude to the second messiah, of people who do the tabletop equivalent of mashing buttons to skip the cut scenes. Of people who would ignore all serious communication, save one: two sets of numbers, between the letter d.

Even if players screw up by accident when I GM this, I won't roll damage right away.

Spoiler:
The most likely thing will be the group taking too long to discuss moral quandaries; if this happens, the choir will just interrupt them with a surprisingly loud staccato and Iomedae will tell them that, in war, snap decisions will have to be made, and consequences accepted. Sort of the divine fist being slammed down on the table, not one's ears.

To the moderates who worry about being hurt by the Inheritor: it most likely will never happen, and if it does, it won't be deadly all at once. It most likely won't be your fault, either, and the GM might not even play it that way.

To the others, the ones who point fingers and ignore the demon lords, the dire situation, the fate of the world and themes like redemption: please don't attack the goddess. It's most likely that unexamined actions got you in that situation.

To summarize: the scene can be re-shot, James Jacobs encourages it, and it's like those movie scenes where the Elite Special Forces get secretly gathered together for an important mission briefing, and the lazy goofball who shoots his mouth off gets slapped and told to pay attention.


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

From the description of the encounter, Cayden Cailean would get some punishments. And by that I mean: Cayden Cailean before he was a god would have gotten a punishment. Because he would start by firting with Iomeadae, because that is what Cayden Cailean did as a mortal, and he would take 5d6 damages. At this point of the encounter, some LG friend of Cayden Calean may antagonize Iomedae: summoning someone and punishing him for being what he is is unfair, unwise, childish, etc. Asmodeus does that, but a LG deity shouldn't.

But let's assume nobody oppose Iomeadae: Cayden Cailean would still act as an arrogant and foolish brat, because he is an arrogant and foolish brat and not a model of virtues.

And this character is an archetype the game fully supports. The CRB says "no evil characters", but it presents Cayden Cailean as a CG archetype; a player can even play a cleric of Cayden Cailean!

Put it simply: the arrogant, foolish, disrepectful brat is a Good archetype totally supported by the game (and the AP), and the setting even supports the assumption "you can become a deity by being like this". The PCs are on the verge of becoming gods or semigods, what is the point of punishing them for acting like they should?

Silver Crusade

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

From the description of the encounter, Cayden Cailean would get some punishments. And by that I mean: Cayden Cailean before he was a god would have gotten a punishment. Because he would start by firting with Iomeadae, because that is what Cayden Cailean did as a mortal, and he would take 5d6 damages. At this point of the encounter, some LG friend of Cayden Calean may antagonize Iomedae: summoning someone and punishing him for being what he is is unfair, unwise, childish, etc. Asmodeus does that, but a LG deity shouldn't.

But let's assume nobody oppose Iomeadae: Cayden Cailean would still act as an arrogant and foolish brat, because he is an arrogant and foolish brat and not a model of virtues.

And this character is an archetype the game fully supports. The CRB says "no evil characters", but it presents Cayden Cailean as a CG archetype; a player can even play a cleric of Cayden Cailean!

Put it simply: the arrogant, foolish, disrepectful brat is a Good archetype totally supported by the game (and the AP), and the setting even supports the assumption "you can become a deity by being like this". The PCs are on the verge of becoming gods or semigods, what is the point of punishing them for acting like they should?

I suspect, that Iomedae is still capable to to differentiate between good natured flirting (especially since she should have looked at the PCs no and then) and intentionally disrespectful rude comments. And while is has a rather stern look on her face, at least if the picture is any indication, she should show her disinterest with words first.

And yeah, the encounter is written to be able to deal with a group full of … idiots or worse, but frankly writing an encounter with a god is a pretty tall order.


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So, a Paizo adventure punishes PC for refusing to grovel before a GM's character, a powerful setting figure is presented as a petty and vain bully, and the narrative tries hard to establish that PCS are unworthy for anything but riding the railroad?

Who could have thought!

I mean, did you possibly expect that the Paizo's writers will shelve one of their most long-seated habits just because this AP has "Mythic" stapled on it, instead of being doubly on guard against PCs' attempts to have some dignity and agency exactly because this AP is supposed to finally offer PCs an opportunity to play a standard high fantasy book plot?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Go back to the Den and tell it to Frank, dude.


Just watched winter tales (which I recommend magic, mystery and miracles hidden in plain sight as well as a hero with REALLY, REALLY bad hair) and it has quite a few lines that I feel are appropriate here but wont spoil except these few from the opening monologue . . .

"Even as we seek the light Darkness gathers all about.
The eternal war between good and evil will not be fought by armies but rather one soul at a time."


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magnuskn wrote:
Go back to the Den and tell it to Frank, dude.

We already did that.

----
Anyway, the way the scenery is written is very, very lame.

I mean, every DM has been confronted to this issue: the PCs have a meeting with some badass NPC, but some of them don't show the deference they should, and this discredits the badassery of the NPC. And at some point, the DM makes the NPC shoot the PCs with his laser. It happens, and I don't reproach it to those DM: it's hard to improvise a credible response for the NPC.

It happens, but that is not what I expect from an adventure written by a professional. He could use his wordcount to give us some precious advices about how Iomedae may react if the scene doesn't play as expected, how she can show her badassery without looking like Asmodeus, etc.

Instead, we only get "SHOOT THEM WITH A LASER" as if he were amateur DM improvising the encounter, and it's lame. Sincerely, nobody need such a useless advice: every DM already know that he can shoot the PCs with a laser if he doesn't like what's happening.


Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
I suspect, that Iomedae is still capable to to differentiate between good natured flirting (especially since she should have looked at the PCs no and then) and intentionally disrespectful rude comments. And while is has a rather stern look on her face, at least if the picture is any indication, she should show her disinterest with words first.

Sure, that's the common sense interpretation and 99.99999+% likely to be used by any DM who actually gets this far... but its not what's written on the page. The logic of the encounter is laid out as IF [Iomedae is disrespected] THEN [smite smite smite], without any discussion of possible alternatives or intermediate steps... well, unless you define 'DC 40 save to avoid being permanently struck mute' as 'intermediate'. Which is kinda hard to do given that even this minimum possible step will still almost certainly perma-cripple the character so hard that the player will have to retire it and get a new one to continue adventuring... at which point you might as well have just killed them.

Or: Pointing out that the encounter can be (and almost certainly will be) adapted by your local DM to avoid its flaws as written does nothing to address the topic under discussion -- which is, is the encounter well written. It ain't. It's a total fixer-upper. That it can be fixed does nothing to change that it needs to be fixed, desperately, which is the point under contention.

Quote:
And yeah, the encounter is written to be able to deal with a group full of... idiots or worse, but frankly writing an encounter with a god is a pretty tall order.

One: writing encounters with good-aligned gods that don't make them look like insecure bullying asshats is something David Weber has managed (read 'Oath of Swords' sometime), so, its not like it takes reincarnating JRR Tolkien to pull it off. Hell, how many people in this thread have managed to come up with suggestions?

Two: the simple method of 'have Iomedae show up and ask politely for their help', while hardly inspiring or original, would still be a several thousand percent improvement on what we got here. So, the question 'how hard is it to write a really awesome encounter with a god?', while interesting and worthy of discussion in its own right, is still distracting us from the question 'how hard would it have been to write an encounter that, even if it doesn't set the stars on fire with its literary genius, still would suck less than this one?'.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Okay. It seem the majority of us agree that this encounter does not work, not only with the bullying of Iomedae (up to interpretation by some) but with the questions asked.

So then: What questions would you suggest be asked by Iomedae to "test" the PCs?

After all, simply asking nicely and giving some artifacts over to be used seems... well, like plot coupons. So if the players are going to "earn" these blessings and objects, what sorts of questions and the like would you suggest? Especially for replacing the first question...


Tangent101 wrote:

Okay. It seem the majority of us agree that this encounter does not work, not only with the bullying of Iomedae (up to interpretation by some) but with the questions asked.

So then: What questions would you suggest be asked by Iomedae to "test" the PCs?

After all, simply asking nicely and giving some artifacts over to be used seems... well, like plot coupons. So if the players are going to "earn" these blessings and objects, what sorts of questions and the like would you suggest? Especially for replacing the first question...

Hmmm honestly tone down the "punishment" and I think the questions are acceptable tests to look for things . . .

1) Knowledge of the path + confidence, maybe move it to a less self centered and just a generic history question of the crusades to check they know enough about the past to avoid making the same mistakes.

2) Testing for signs of consideration about the consequences so maybe if the party does say yes/no straight off the bat she follows up with the question why?

3) This one works fairly well as a test of courage and dedication.

so hmmmm well lets look at the Chivalric code as she's meant to be a knight . . .

To fear God and maintain His Church
To serve the liege lord in valour and faith
To protect the weak and defenceless
To give succour to widows and orphans
To refrain from the wanton giving of offence
To live by honour and for glory
To despise pecuniary reward
To fight for the welfare of all
To obey those placed in authority
To guard the honour of fellow knights
To eschew unfairness, meanness and deceit
To keep faith
At all times to speak the truth
To persevere to the end in any enterprise begun
To respect the honour of women
Never to refuse a challenge from an equal
Never to turn the back upon a foe

so lets see what kind of extra questions we can ask to test these virtues.

Well fear god is the cause of this entire thread grin, maintaining these church's is also the point of the crusades so i'd say that comes under quesetion 3. Serving the liege lord, protecting the weak and perservering to the end is also covered by 3.

Giving succour to widows and orphans hmmm perhaps asking about the characters tithes/charitable donations?

refrain from giving offense tricky but the entire series of questions could be part of that test.

Honor and glory could be covered by questions 1 and 3 perhaps something more about a knights beliefs. Would also cover keeping the honor of fellow knights.

Despising pecunary reward could be an unspoken test the first time she offers them something (in this case a magical item or something worth 15-30k gp also a nice bit of foreshadowing) and if they refuse she gives them the ability to grant atonements from the second question instead. Would also serve as a nice little warning about later events if they take it and she tells them off.

Respecting the honour of women could probably be removed in this world.

Need to think about the others.


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I recommend the 'test' be skipped entirely in the first place. As pointed out, the entire point behind a 'test' is ultimately sillypants -- with the PCs achievement records to date, Iomedae should already have a good idea of just what kind of moral fiber and mental toughness they have or not. Even with the test as written she's still ultimately hoping that they won't succumb, she's not sure of it (because let's face it, those questions as written don't remotely establish any kind of useful psych profile). And its not like anybody else is lining up for this job, so Iomedae's only two choices are "send the PCs anyway regardless of her worries" or "abort mission and abandon the Herald".

So, no test. It doesn't logically fit the situation and trying to force it to creates a lot of the problems on its own, even aside from the, errr, 'enforcement mechanisms'.

Iomedae is supposed to be the paladin of paladins -- given that the party already has had multiple interactions with quest-giving paladins in this Adventure Path, just take the pattern already established and run with it. Have her simply ask for their help. Just, y'know, ask. After all, she really does have no right to command that the PCs do this(*) (unless they actually are clerics or paladins of Iomedae, but, most of your players won't be). And being a lawful good person, if she doesn't have a legal right to demand something, she shouldn't demand it.

(*) The Crusader's Oath everybody swore actually does give the right to let Queen Galfrey command the PCs like she did earlier, which is why nobody is complaining about that. But this is different, because nobody playing this is guaranteed to have sworn to the worship of Iomedae.

As for the 'I am afraid you might be turned' bits... well, have her raise her concerns along that regard not with mind games but by the straightforward method of simply telling the PCs what she's worried about. Its not like its an unreasonable fear, given that 'the Herald of Iomedae might be being brainwashed by demons right now' is the entire reason they're going on this trip in the first place. If a major angel can be taken down, then fearing for the safety of mortal souls makes sense. And being an honest and forthright sort of goddess, if she has worries about what dangers are coming up ahead, she shares those worries with the people who are actually going to face those dangers and asks them 'Are you willing to risk this? I don't want anybody volunteering for this without first knowing what they're really getting into.'

And yes, this carries the risk that the PCs might say 'no' and the AP will completely stall. So? Like I said, its not like your players can't recognize an obvious quest-giver when they see one... and if they don't want to continue forward with the AP then you don't have a game anyway, so, moot point.

PS: Oh yeah, and avoid the entire problem of 'well if gods can just yoink people into their divine realms in the Prime then why the hell don't the evil gods just snipe all the heroes' by having Iomedae not y'know, physically yoink people off the prime. If all we need is a communication, then have her show up in their dreams (something that has oodles of mythological and literary precedent) and do the whole conversation there, with the blessings and artifacts mysteriously by their side when they awaken. Or have a vision of Iomedae appear to them like the legends about sighting the Virgin Mary at Lourdes. Or cripes, just do a commune spell in reverse, with the deity contacting them instead of vice versa.

Scarab Sages

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Of interesting note, Book 5 is technically one big sidequest built to get the party strong enough to survive Book 6.

The party could turn down Iomedae, but then a month or two later Book 6 happens anyways. With the turned Herald showing up as well.


Tangent101 wrote:
So then: What questions would you suggest be asked by Iomedae to "test" the PCs?

She has seen what the PCs have accomplished and knows if they are worthy of her blessing.

Why does she need to test them?

If you don't want her to give some stuff just because she can, then it's still better from the story standpoint to have her not test them and not give anything. Simply dining with Iomeadae, and a month latter looting an artefact on some sick goblin, is still a better story than "Hi, I'm a goddess! What's your favorite color? - Blue! - Great! Here are some relics".


Hrm. Having 'if the Herald is corrupted then they will send him to be the vanguard of the next attack against the Crusade, and morale will shatter and all may certainly be lost' is a valid pragmatic reason to make the players want to go on this trip, now that you point it out.

So do the convo like I laid out above, and if the PCs asks 'what's in it for us?', a disappointed Iomedae goes 'Look, its either rescue him now or fight him later... when he has a whole demon army at his back and your own army is busy collapsing in despair, and he's stronger and you're weaker. Which odds do you like better?'

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
GâtFromKI wrote:

She has seen what the PCs have accomplished and knows if they are worthy of her blessing.

Why does she need to test them?

Fantasy conventions most likely.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Fantasy conventions most likely.

Does Iomedae cosplay?

The Exchange

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Ba dum tish


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
GâtFromKI wrote:

She has seen what the PCs have accomplished and knows if they are worthy of her blessing.

Why does she need to test them?

Fantasy conventions most likely.

Blaming this on the fans at Paizocon?

Shadow Lodge

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I'm so done with you guys.


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

Are we done arguing ethics and other such stuff and get back to how a GM can change it if they want, otherwise it seems to have become more of an off-topic conversation

Silver Crusade

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Chuckg wrote:
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
I suspect, that Iomedae is still capable to to differentiate between good natured flirting (especially since she should have looked at the PCs no and then) and intentionally disrespectful rude comments. And while is has a rather stern look on her face, at least if the picture is any indication, she should show her disinterest with words first.

Sure, that's the common sense interpretation and 99.99999+% likely to be used by any DM who actually gets this far... but its not what's written on the page. The logic of the encounter is laid out as IF [Iomedae is disrespected] THEN [smite smite smite], without any discussion of possible alternatives or intermediate steps... well, unless you define 'DC 40 save to avoid being permanently struck mute' as 'intermediate'. Which is kinda hard to do given that even this minimum possible step will still almost certainly perma-cripple the character so hard that the player will have to retire it and get a new one to continue adventuring... at which point you might as well have just killed them.

Or: Pointing out that the encounter can be (and almost certainly will be) adapted by your local DM to avoid its flaws as written does nothing to address the topic under discussion -- which is, is the encounter well written. It ain't. It's a total fixer-upper. That it can be fixed does nothing to change that it needs to be fixed, desperately, which is the point under contention.

Quote:
And yeah, the encounter is written to be able to deal with a group full of... idiots or worse, but frankly writing an encounter with a god is a pretty tall order.

One: writing encounters with good-aligned gods that don't make them look like insecure bullying asshats is something David Weber has managed (read 'Oath of Swords' sometime), so, its not like it takes reincarnating JRR Tolkien to pull it off. Hell, how many people in this thread have managed to come up with suggestions?

Two: the simple method of 'have Iomedae show up and ask...

Well, first I have to point out - and this isn’t really an excuse for the encounter - that every single adventure depends strongly on the GM doing his job to smooth out the edges and add common sense where necessary.

No battle plan survives the first contact with the enemy, and the same is pretty much true for adventure design. In this case game design varies quite strongly between pen and paper rpgs and computer games like World of Warcraft.
In traditional role playing games you have to describe a lot less, since the players fill the blanks with their own imagination
. Computer games do not have that advantage, they have to show pretty much everything (room architecture, lighting, rug textures, opponents, stance of opponents, voice acting, unique encounter mechanics and the corresponding visualisation to the players…) and that makes it a pretty tall order to expect them to adapt to the players.

Having a good GM is one of the greatest advantages a group of gamers can have and while this encounter has its problems, most GMs will “fix it”. I would prefer to say that it is quite a good practice to “tailor” the encounter the audience.

After playing these kind of games for quite a number of years, I think I am almost capable to understand why it was written in this fashion:

Iomedae blasting rude or disrespectful npcs: This section seems intended to preserve a certain sense of authority or maybe dignity is the better word. Please compare the following situations:

-The charming bard, a charming fellow approaches Iomedae and showers her with affection. Perhaps this is borders on objectionable, but it has no real menace and the pattern is well established.

-The inquisitor of Asmodeus, who dislikes Iomedae and how her followers fight this crusade. He thinks, that the way that Iomedae fights this war is directly responsible for their failure. If he calls her a “a mortal with delusions of true divinity, and upbeat strumpet” and other assorted insults, how is a god to respond.

As a god and the thus highest person of authority in her faith, she can’t just ignore direct insults. Its like going to Germany and insulting a German, well he will be pissed, but if you go and insult the head of state, chances are that a whole lot of Germans will be unhappy. If you represent a large number of people, you have to stand your ground.

Should there be a different response for non-intentional slights or faux pas? Absolutely, and the writing could have been more concise, but yeah since most GMs will take care of that. While I see the problem, and agree that things like this deserve to be called out, it is not the end of the world.

Maybe more later I have to read the encounter again.


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Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
Iomedae blasting rude or disrespectful npcs: This section seems intended to preserve a certain sense of authority or maybe dignity is the better word.

As multiple people have pointed out in this thread, the one thing a DM cannot compel by force is the player's emotions. If the players really want to clown around and ruin the game, there is literally nothing in-game that can be done to stop this. The most an author can do is write a sidebar reprising the relevant section of the Core Rules re: 'dealing with problem players'... a section that ISTR is more about 'ask them politely out-of-game to moderate their behavior, and remove them from your play environment if they are incorrigible' than it is about 'have an invincible NPC beat their PC up until they do what you want'.

So, I reject all lines of reasoning based on 'This was necessary to preserve the dignity of the game session'. The dignity level of a game session is a problem that exists at the meta level, not the in-story level. Writing something into the encounter to try and 'fix' this is both useless (as there is no way it will actually work) and counterproductive (as the attempted fix in Ivory Labyrinth not only does nothing to actually address the core issue, it is alienating a lot of people who wouldn't have been problems in the first place with its, errr, problematic depiction of a lawful good goddess).

The only things you can do at the story level to avoid the dignitas of your game session evaporating are all negative actions -- i.e., don'ts. Don't write a scene that's impossible to take seriously, don't talk in a silly voice, don't refuse to take your own plot seriously, etc, etc, etc. But that was never the problem here in the first place, and so turning Iomedae into the bully of the firmament is not the needed solution.

If your players are refusing to take your game seriously, then using an invincible grudge monster to chew up their PCs is not going to fix anything! When has this ever worked as a strategy? Come on, people, we're experienced DMs here. We know what the classic pitfalls of bad railroady DM'ing are. Seeing them written into an official published game product as the suggested course of action is not something we should be defending.

PS: I'm pretty sure that the last thing Iomedae would want to do if she's trying to get cooperation from Asmodeus worshippers is give them any fodder to say 'Wow, Asmodeus was right; Good really is hypocritical as hell.'

Which is, I will reiterate, exactly what she is doing. None of her worshippers would be able to get away with acting in a similar fashion without losing their own paladinhoods and needing some Atonements. So if Iomedae herself does the same thing and considers that justified, then she is making her subordinates obey rules that she doesn't obey herself. That is hypocrisy, literally by definition.

Scarab Sages

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Also of note, Iomedae breaks the fourth wall as well.

Quote:

Players who can

answer the questions truthfully (and without
consulting notes or the Internet!) impress
her greatly, yet if the players themselves
do not know the answers, skill check DCs
for their characters to know the answers
are provided.

The more I read the scene, the more I cringe, really.


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Lochar wrote:

Also of note, Iomedae breaks the fourth wall as well.

Quote:

Players who can

answer the questions truthfully (and without
consulting notes or the Internet!) impress
her greatly, yet if the players themselves
do not know the answers, skill check DCs
for their characters to know the answers
are provided.
The more I read the scene, the more I cringe, really.

It amuses me to imagine that's a setup for an event at the next Paizo con. 4--6 attendees will be whisked away to a stage where Iomedae (James Jacobs in a cosplay outfit) will put them through a trivia quiz! Iomedae/James Jacobs is impressed if they can answer the questions correctly without using the internet.

If they are wrong, they get blasted with sonic damage.


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Vivianne Laflamme wrote:

It amuses me to imagine that's a setup for an event at the next Paizo con. 4--6 attendees will be whisked away to a stage where Iomedae (James Jacobs in a cosplay outfit) will put them through a trivia quiz! Iomedae/James Jacobs is impressed if they can answer the questions correctly without using the internet.

If they are wrong, they get blasted with sonic damage.

"Don't worry. Just sit next to these speakers... no, they're not refrigerators, just about the same size. Oh, by-the-way, do you like Rhapsody?"


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Chuckg wrote:
PS: I'm pretty sure that the last thing Iomedae would want to do if she's trying to get cooperation from Asmodeus worshippers is give them any fodder to say 'Wow, Asmodeus was right; Good really is hypocritical as hell.'

I think this needs to be emphasized, there's so much truth in it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
darkwarriorkarg wrote:
Vivianne Laflamme wrote:

It amuses me to imagine that's a setup for an event at the next Paizo con. 4--6 attendees will be whisked away to a stage where Iomedae (James Jacobs in a cosplay outfit) will put them through a trivia quiz! Iomedae/James Jacobs is impressed if they can answer the questions correctly without using the internet.

If they are wrong, they get blasted with sonic damage.

"Don't worry. Just sit next to these speakers... no, they're not refrigerators, just about the same size. Oh, by-the-way, do you like Rhapsody?"

thank you both!! that is hilarious! more for the image of nerds debilitated by lack of internets access LOL

Silver Crusade

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Chuckg wrote:
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
Iomedae blasting rude or disrespectful npcs: This section seems intended to preserve a certain sense of authority or maybe dignity is the better word.

As multiple people have pointed out in this thread, the one thing a DM cannot compel by force is the player's emotions. If the players really want to clown around and ruin the game, there is literally nothing in-game that can be done to stop this. The most an author can do is write a sidebar reprising the relevant section of the Core Rules re: 'dealing with problem players'... a section that ISTR is more about 'ask them politely out-of-game to moderate their behavior, and remove them from your play environment if they are incorrigible' than it is about 'have an invincible NPC beat their PC up until they do what you want'.

So, I reject all lines of reasoning based on 'This was necessary to preserve the dignity of the game session'. The dignity level of a game session is a problem that exists at the meta level, not the in-story level.

Well if they players are having a good time, making jokes and clowning around, that is all fine and dandy. But that does not always translate into the game, a player might make an in character joke just because it is funny to him and the other players, but thats usually all out of character. So it wasn’t really said/done in the game. At least that is how I tend to play this, years ago we had a pretty strict “you say you do it, you have done it” rule at the table. I don’t really want to go back to that time, it didn’t work out very well.

And while I sometimes have to get my group back on track - actually we all decided that we wanted to reduce distractions while we play, to improve the RP - that is the nature of the beast.

What I meant, is that if a player decides to want his character to go forth, stand before a goddess and fart in her face, there should be consequences.

It has been stated by others, and rather more eloquent, that the biggest problem with this encounter is, that it is an encounter.
I can see players try to talk Horgus Gwern into cooperating with the group and playing nice with others, that is a similar encounter based on decent role playing ( I tend to ignore the dice if the player has a decent bonus and does a good job). Redeeming evil NPCs falls pretty much into the same area, if a dedicated empathic player (character) puts in the work, this can very much succeed.
There are a number of things wrong with the scene and while they have been mentioned already I think they bear repeating, if only to allow me to add some suggestions:

- The timing: While the PCs have not literally gone through hell, the abyss (even if you go to a “nice place” ) isn’t a very welcoming area for the player characters. But they survived and returned. I understand that Iomedae feels, that she has to test the PCs before she can dare to send them on their mission (see below) at this in point in time, the heroes certainly think that they have proven themselves. And depending on the events of the individual campaign, might have proven some or all of the qualities Iomedae wants to test in them.

I honestly don’t know where to transplant the players encountering her, maybe before they venture the first time into the abyss, but you can’t really mention the herald situation yet, otherwise the players would try to rescue him right now.
Of course you could always split the tests and the rewards+quest into two separate events. You could even theme the tests, so Iomedae can warrant giving those specific rewards to the PCs.

- The approach: Iomedae takes the PCs to her domain and tests them without prior warning or request. Again, this could work for heroes who still have to prove themselves, but at this point the players have another opinion of themselves.

Now, this might sound like another excuse, but I would not be surprised if Iomedae is a bit lacking in the area of empathy for the social sensibilities of others. She is a warrior goddess and may lack the social grace to “court” the players properly. Don’t get me wrong, she is not Gorum - I fully expect him to give the players a weapon and test them in combat (to find out if they are the metal or the meat [sorry for the Pratchett reference]] - but neither is she Sarenrae.

- The goals: Iomedae wants the PCs to succeed in either saving or killing her herald. But she has to consider that the player characters are among her (or to be more exact her crusades)
strongest forces, and losing them would a disaster.

But the death or “her” mortal champions is hardly the worst case scenario. The crusade might survive their loss, but what if the enemy manages to capture and corrupt them?

Iomedae would not want to lose them, if she came to the conclusion, that they aren’t ready to storm the domain of an openly hostile demon lord, invade his prison and steal some of his most valuable prisoners…. sending them would be wasting their potential. And interesting enough, if the players do fail her test, the adventure suggest another quest to prove their worth (kill a dragon).

So yeah, while she desperately wants to players to succeed, she is afraid to lose them. I kinda like this part, makes her character a bit flawed, and that is appealing even (and especially) for a god.

- Punishing unruly players:

Yeah, it has been discussed to death, I think you could have ended his the same or similar suggestions without any trouble. Just add something “ Iomedae can and will tolerate a certain level of disrespectful behaviour, but does not take abuse. Repeated offenses carry larger penalties, but consider giving your other player (characters) the chance to intervene before Iomedae has to do so.”

This should cover most situations, and maybe add:

“If a character is particularly disruptive, Iomedae makes him seem to disappear, assuring the characters that the group will be reunited shortly. The player is effective undetectable by anyone other than the goddess to the other players, but otherwise still with the party. This way the player can still participate with the “tests” and communicate with Iomedae. Once the PC and Iomedau have settled their gievances the can rejoin the group.You can treat this “time out” as apparent time (like a time stop) so the other characters might not even notice. “

Yeah it is not perfect, but this solution allows everybody to save face, and give the players a chance to voice their well voiced grievances with the persona in charge.

- The tests:

Surprisingly I don’t have that many problems with the questions, sure the DC for the first question is very high (but easy for mythic characters) considering that the subject matter is pretty well known amongst the crusaders.

I think, they could be better phrased, but in essence she just wants to know a bit about the characters. She just wants to come to the conclusion, that the are well rounded enough, willing to cooperate, to consider the weight of their actions and to outsmart a pretty clever demon lord.

In my own (not that humble ;P ) opinion, as long as the players are willing to face the question and answer in a way that suggest, that they have actually thought about the question.

The punishment for failure seems to antagonize players a bit too much, but you could change it to something a little bit more subtle:

“Your answer doesn’t seem to satisfy the goddess, and while she seems unwilling to into particulars, you can’t shake the feeling, that you are somehow unworthy in her eyes. Proving yourself in the eyes of the goddess should help to alleviate this unease, but until that is done you are plagued by indecision: -2 to initiative checks and - 1 to will saves (future alternative results: players grow depressed and can’t benefit from moral boni)

Maybe even that is too strong and cheapens the disapproval of a goddess but giving it stats, but it could work.

If I have the time I will post my remake of the encounter, and at least that would be useful to others…


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Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
And while I sometimes have to get my group back on track - actually we all decided that we wanted to reduce distractions while we play, to improve the RP - that is the nature of the beast.

And? In your experience, did slamming a player's character with an invincible grudge monster actually improve their focus on the game?

Quote:
What I meant, is that if a player decides to want his character to go forth, stand before a goddess and fart in her face

At this point you are discussing something entirely other than what we were objecting to. I'm gonna ignore this part and move on, because there is no point in discussing it. If you persist in trivializing all opposition to this encounter's writing as 'people who just want to fart in a goddess' face', then rational discussion will become impossible.

Quote:
I think, they could be better phrased, but in essence she just wants to know a bit about the characters.

... she is a freaking deity. If she wants to know something about the characters, she has an almost literal infinity of options for finding out, none of which require stealing the gag of that Japanese game show parody from that one "Supernatural" episode. You know, the one where the Trickster forced Sam & Dean to play a silly quiz show, and every time they got an answer wrong they were punched in the balls? 'Nutcracker', I think it was called?

I wrote an entire post on the silliness of the idea that Iomedae would need to 'test' the player characters at all. They've already been through four books' worth of tests at this point.

Actually, now that I think about it, her whole shpiel of 'Are you ready to face the temptations of a demon lord?' makes Iomedae look like an idiot. Ma'am, you're already a chapter late asking this question! We just got through the whole prior adventure with having to deal with Nocticula! Y'know what? If I've just walked out of a face-to-face with the freaking Succubus Queen and still retained my good alignment, my dignity, and my pants, I think I just might already have proven some bona fides about whether or not I've got the mental fortitude to face down a demon lord without either succumbing to evil's temptations or else soiling my underwear. I've definitely proven it a lot more than being able to pass a DC 25 Knowledge check about the details of Iomedae's biography will prove anything.

It's a badly written scene that makes no sense and no amount of trying to put lipstick on the pig will change it. It doesn't even take its own premises seriously; there is no rational reason Iomedae should be wondering whether or not I can face Baphomet if I've already been able to avoid getting screwed over (literally or otherwise) by Nocticula.

And yes, Nocticula was not putting in a full-court press. On the other hand, I had to go through the intrigues of her entire realm before I even got to her. So, y'know, anybody who's successfully completed The Midnight Isles without needing to wash off and get an /Atonement/ spell afterwards? Does not need any more testing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

This. Oh so very much this. (Also, I find it odd that requesting aid from a Demon Lord against Baphomet is an act that immediately turns your soul chaotic evil. But then it seems like this entire AP is built with "traps" to drive players CE left and right. Players should build a Staff of Atonement and use it twice a week, I swear...)

I can understand the concept of Trials to "earn" those Artifacts. But I've no idea what form they should take that would actually be reasonable and intelligent. And would keep the players interested.


Oh, I know exactly what trial I should pass to earn those artifacts.

I should venture into the depths of the Abyss itself to rescue the Herald of Iomedae from a fate worse than death, or grant him merciful release if I cannot. :)

Or: Make the artifacts part of the quest reward, and have her pay you 50% up front and 50% on completion. Because, really, 'one Miracle each' is sorta chintzy at this level; given that we're gonna be level 18 and tier 9 by the end of this run, our party's own cleric can do us Miracles for free.

Seriously, 'saving the herald of a god from eternal damnation' is the sort of job where being paid a couple of minor artifacts is not unreasonable.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The artifacts are plot coupons that make it easier to get to the Herald. They're not the final reward.


Well, if they're necessary mission equipment then the woman should be loaning them to us for free, and it would be incredibly childish and spiteful of her to send us down to the Abyss without them even if she didn't like our attitudes.

Even the encounter as written, in all of its terribad glory, still acknowledges the concept 'Iomedae is aware that sending you out and not getting you back will be a worse outcome than simply not sending you at all.' Going with that line of reasoning a little further, she has every reason to load you up with a couple of booster packs pro bono. It would not be a plot hole to have this happen.

I mean, come on Iomedae, do you want your Herald rescued or not? Kee-ripes, not even the Johnsons in freaking Shadowrun usually dicked around like this. If equipment was actually mission-critical and not reasonably part of a shadowrunner's gear loadout already, they gave it to us. Or at least loaned it to us. Or at worst, let us have the chance to purchase it at wholesale prices plus discount. When Iomedae's employment package is looking like a worse deal than running for gorram Saeder-Krupp, something is direly wrong with the writing.

I'm going overlong. The short version is, however you slice it there is no reason the PCs have to "earn" anything here. Either you can just say that the artifacts are added to our paycheck for this run alongside everything else we're already getting, or else you can say that 'Iomedae is loaning you these things because if you're going to go into the Abyss itself on her behalf then she's going to give you as much help as she can get away with before the Prime Directive starts making frowny faces at her'.

So, no trials necessary, and no need to write any.

Scarab Sages

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Chuckg wrote:

I'm going overlong. The short version is, however you slice it there is no reason the PCs have to "earn" anything here. Either you can just say that the artifacts are added to our paycheck for this run alongside everything else we're already getting, or else you can say that 'Iomedae is loaning you these things because if you're going to go into the Abyss itself on her behalf then she's going to give you as much help as she can get away with before the Prime Directive starts making frowny faces at her'.

So, no trials necessary, and no need to write any.

<devil's advocate hat on>Perhaps Iomedae needs to give you chintzy trials to hand off things she knows you could use. "Look, I can't just give these to you. You must answer me these questions three!"


At that point 'its necessary to preserve the gravitas of the encounter' just left the building, right alongside Elvis. *g*

Scarab Sages

Sorry, I don't know Schlock or The Culture well enough to pull a quote from there that even semi-aligned.


Chuckg wrote:
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
And while I sometimes have to get my group back on track - actually we all decided that we wanted to reduce distractions while we play, to improve the RP - that is the nature of the beast.

And? In your experience, did slamming a player's character with an invincible grudge monster actually improve their focus on the game?

Quote:
What I meant, is that if a player decides to want his character to go forth, stand before a goddess and fart in her face

At this point you are discussing something entirely other than what we were objecting to. I'm gonna ignore this part and move on, because there is no point in discussing it. If you persist in trivializing all opposition to this encounter's writing as 'people who just want to fart in a goddess' face', then rational discussion will become impossible.

Quote:
I think, they could be better phrased, but in essence she just wants to know a bit about the characters.

... she is a freaking deity. If she wants to know something about the characters, she has an almost literal infinity of options for finding out, none of which require stealing the gag of that Japanese game show parody from that one "Supernatural" episode. You know, the one where the Trickster forced Sam & Dean to play a silly quiz show, and every time they got an answer wrong they were punched in the balls? 'Nutcracker', I think it was called?

I wrote an entire post on the silliness of the idea that Iomedae would need to 'test' the player characters at all. They've already been through four books' worth of tests at this point.

Actually, now that I think about it, her whole shpiel of 'Are you ready to face the temptations of a demon lord?' makes Iomedae look like an idiot. Ma'am, you're already a chapter late asking this question! We just got through the whole prior adventure with having to deal with Nocticula! Y'know what? If I've just walked out of a face-to-face with the freaking Succubus Queen and still retained my good...

Actually thats not entirely true there's a couple of points in the preceeding module the part could really mess up and make her worry but if they avoided those traps sure.

Also thank you so much for the images . . .

1) Nocticula uses the depants spell (actual 3rd party content that causes your pants to come off) so she can have a better look at any good looking guys

2) Rewritten Iomadae scene

Suddenly you find yourselves standing in a strange place filled with brightly glowing lights and curtains with some form of podium with a big red button in front of you. A short distance beyond the podiums stands a woman in armour bearing a sword and shield. She smiles at you and calls out "Welcome contestants to Nutcracker the new hit show amongst divinities everywhere. Now as you know the rules of this show are simple you will be asked a series of questions. Answer them correctly and you win prizes, answer them wrong and you will be punched in the balls . . . lets just get rid of those pants there we go or the breasts for the women amongst you. Now tell our contestants what todays prizes are Tom.

Well Iomadae we have this lovely Chalice of Ozem, a collection of super fast atonement spells and a stole of the inheritor as well as our grand prize for the player who earns the most experience points in todays contest is a free trip to the Ivory Labarynth where they will need to rescue your previous herald.

Well there you have it now your first question . . .

Silver Crusade

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Chuckg wrote:
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
And while I sometimes have to get my group back on track - actually we all decided that we wanted to reduce distractions while we play, to improve the RP - that is the nature of the beast.
And? In your experience, did slamming a player's character with an invincible grudge monster actually improve their focus on the game?

Actually these days I just talk to my players, if things get unruly, no reason to smite them with meteors. I have seen it done, when I played with other GMs,and it is a pretty useless tool. All it really does, is to create that damn “the GM is our enemy” feeling, and that is utterly useless for all participants.

Chuckg wrote:

Quote:
What I meant, is that if a player decides to want his character to go forth, stand before a goddess and fart in her face
At this point you are discussing something entirely other than what we were objecting to. I'm gonna ignore this part and move on, because there is no point in discussing it. If you persist in trivializing all opposition to this encounter's writing as 'people who just want to fart in a goddess' face', then rational discussion will become impossible.

No I fear you misunderstand me, the draconian measures seem only intended to prevent/punish that kind of idiotic behavior. The really stupid borderline insane kind. Unfortunately apparently aren’t written clearly enough to differentiate between a well founded complaint (not unreasonable, after a god calls you to his presence, you might have been busy) and the crazy stuff.

The SHOULD allow for a degree of civilized conversation, but as written (and understand by the majority) it is akin to breaking out the fire axt every time you have to extinguish any kind of flame in the house (like a candle).

So yeah the rules kindo throw out the baby with the bathwater here, but it wasn’t my intention to trivialize you complaints like that.

Quote:
I think, they could be better phrased, but in essence she just wants to know a bit about the characters.

... she is a freaking deity. If she wants to know something about the characters, she has an almost literal infinity of options for finding out, none of which require stealing the gag of that Japanese game show parody from that one "Supernatural" episode. You know, the one where the Trickster forced Sam & Dean to play a silly quiz show, and every time they got an answer wrong they were punched in the balls? 'Nutcracker', I think it was called?

I wrote an entire post on the silliness of the idea that Iomedae would need to 'test' the player characters at all. They've already been through four books' worth of tests at this point.

Actually, now that I think about it, her whole shpiel of 'Are you ready to face the temptations of a demon lord?' makes Iomedae look like an idiot. Ma'am, you're already a chapter late asking this question! We just got through the whole prior adventure with having to deal with Nocticula! Y'know what? If I've just walked out of a face-to-face with the freaking Succubus Queen and still retained my good...

Yes, it is written in the form of an encounter, or test if you will. There are rewards if you are victorious, but there are consequences for failure. That seems to be the core problem, the PCs are forced into a trial by fire, at a point in time, and in a way to conflicts with their previous acts and self image.

If you remove the encounter (and I guess) trial aspect, most offenses could be avoided.

I was only trying to ascertain what the reasoning behind it all of this has been. At this point it is pretty clear that the end result is disappointing to a lot of GMs, and that this is viewed as a (rare) drop in quality when it comes to the adventure paths.

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