Horror Adventures, [Evil] Spells, and Alignment Infractions


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Silver Crusade

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If I recall the Additional Resources page correctly, no subsystems were to be used unless specifically in an adventure or boon. As this is an optional sidebar, I believe it falls under this category. I would use the FAQ unless otherwise notified by campaign management.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

To add context, I was under the impression that the time between scenarios was "infinite" - thus, plenty of time to make up for your evil spellcasting with good deeds.

It's the same logic I've used for the FAQ all this time. ^_^


pH unbalanced wrote:
p-sto wrote:
pH unbalanced wrote:
p-sto wrote:
I would call desecrating a corpse and preventing a soul from reaching the afterlife going beyond the evil descriptor of the spell.
Because casting a spell with an evil descriptor is not in and of itself an evil act (per the FAQ) there *must* be a way to cast such a spell in a way that is not an alignment infraction.
I disagree that there must be a way to cast the spell that isn't evil. The morality of spell can be subjective to what the spell does. Cup of Dust doesn't have the evil descriptor but the only use for it is to torture another individual. A player would have a hard time convincing me that the spell isn't an alignment infraction despite it's lack of the evil descriptor.

In a home game I 100% agree with you. And would rule the same way myself.

In PFS it is *literally* what the FAQ says. if you cannot envision a non-evil way to cast a spell with an evil descriptor, you are going against the intentions of campaign leadership.

Which is why up thread I said that I liked the way that the Horror rule interacted with the faq because it offers a level of granularity that avoids a one strike you're out interpretation but does discourage players from taking such spells lightly.

Dark Archive

Nefreet wrote:
BlackOuroboros wrote:
I am going to follow directions and ignore the question of "should this be a rule" because that isn't the question. From a nuts and bolts perspective, in order to track this properly there would probably need to be another sheet like the ITS to keep track of strikes. It would also need to have areas to keep track of atonements. This seems like a needless introduction of paperwork for me, but that's what would need to be done to support it.

Kalindlara up thread mentioned an idea that this would only be trackable during a scenario.

Not scenario to scenario, so no additional paperwork needed.

That's an interesting hypothesis, but based on what evidence?

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Her most recent comment?

But we're discussing the feasibility of implementing the Horror Adventures sidebar anyways, so it'd be easy to implement her idea as well.

I even incorporated it into my sample FAQ suggestion up thread.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
BlackOuroboros wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
BlackOuroboros wrote:
I am going to follow directions and ignore the question of "should this be a rule" because that isn't the question. From a nuts and bolts perspective, in order to track this properly there would probably need to be another sheet like the ITS to keep track of strikes. It would also need to have areas to keep track of atonements. This seems like a needless introduction of paperwork for me, but that's what would need to be done to support it.

Kalindlara up thread mentioned an idea that this would only be trackable during a scenario.

Not scenario to scenario, so no additional paperwork needed.

That's an interesting hypothesis, but based on what evidence?
Kalindlara wrote:

To add context, I was under the impression that the time between scenarios was "infinite" - thus, plenty of time to make up for your evil spellcasting with good deeds.

It's the same logic I've used for the FAQ all this time. ^_^

The Exchange 5/5

Viliym wrote:

Due to the often heated discussions that surround alignment in general, let's try to limit this conversation to the feasibility of such an application in an organized play environment, and whether people like or dislike the mechanic.

We need not discuss what counts as "evil"; this rule would just cover [Evil] spells.

I'm having real problems staying inside these restrictions in posting in this thread... it means I can't reply to things other people are saying.

"the feasibility of such an application in an organized play environment": I do not think it is feasible to start enforcing a rule mechanic like this in our current OP campaign. If we were starting a new campaign? Yeah, we could enforce something like this. I think it would be kind of like having "Sanity Points" in a CoC game, and would require some type of tracking mechanic and perhaps a Stat or Status total. Do XXX "Good" deeds, get an Indulgence to offset some of the "Strikes" against your PC. Who knows, perhaps these could even be traded?

"...whether people like or dislike the mechanic...", I dislike it and feel it would lessen the game.

Dark Archive

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Nefreet wrote:

Her most recent comment?

But we're discussing the feasibility of implementing the Horror Adventures sidebar anyways, so it'd be easy to implement her idea as well.

I even incorporated it into my sample FAQ suggestion up thread.

I was actually in the middle of drafting my post when she posted that. Tablets do not make an optimal forum device.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
BlackOuroboros wrote:
I was actually in the middle of drafting my post when she posted that. Tablets do not make an optimal forum device.

I understand. My comment was delayed for exactly that reason. ^_^

Dark Archive

Kalindlara wrote:
BlackOuroboros wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
BlackOuroboros wrote:
I am going to follow directions and ignore the question of "should this be a rule" because that isn't the question. From a nuts and bolts perspective, in order to track this properly there would probably need to be another sheet like the ITS to keep track of strikes. It would also need to have areas to keep track of atonements. This seems like a needless introduction of paperwork for me, but that's what would need to be done to support it.

Kalindlara up thread mentioned an idea that this would only be trackable during a scenario.

Not scenario to scenario, so no additional paperwork needed.

That's an interesting hypothesis, but based on what evidence?
Kalindlara wrote:

To add context, I was under the impression that the time between scenarios was "infinite" - thus, plenty of time to make up for your evil spellcasting with good deeds.

It's the same logic I've used for the FAQ all this time. ^_^

My issue with this is that the side bar specifically mentions a habit or long-term pattern to casting evil spells. Sure, long breaks help but if we wanted to fully implement this side bar I think that you would need a full picture of the characters history to adjudicate it properly.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
BlackOuroboros wrote:
My issue with this is that the side bar specifically mentions a habit or long-term pattern to casting evil spells. Sure, long breaks help but if we wanted to fully implement this side bar I think that you would need a full picture of the characters history to adjudicate it properly.

And, to answer the thread's primary question, I think that's the point when this rule becomes too unwieldy for PFS. ^_^

Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵

nosig wrote:
Viliym wrote:

Due to the often heated discussions that surround alignment in general, let's try to limit this conversation to the feasibility of such an application in an organized play environment, and whether people like or dislike the mechanic.

We need not discuss what counts as "evil"; this rule would just cover [Evil] spells.

I'm having real problems staying inside these restrictions in posting in this thread... it means I can't reply to post things other people saying.

"the feasibility of such an application in an organized play environment": I do not think it is feasible to start enforcing a rule mechanic like this in our current OP campaign. If we were starting a new campaign? Yeah, we could enforce something like this. I think it would be kind of like having "Sanity Points" in a CoC game, and would require some type of tracking mechanic and perhaps a Stat or Status total. Do XXX "Good" deeds, get an Indulgence to offset some of the "Strikes" against your PC. Who knows, perhaps these could even be traded?

"...whether people like or dislike the mechanic...", I dislike it and feel it would lessen the game.

Perfect ^_^

Dark Archive

nosig wrote:
Viliym wrote:

Due to the often heated discussions that surround alignment in general, let's try to limit this conversation to the feasibility of such an application in an organized play environment, and whether people like or dislike the mechanic.

We need not discuss what counts as "evil"; this rule would just cover [Evil] spells.

I'm having real problems staying inside these restrictions in posting in this thread... it means I can't reply to things other people are saying.

"the feasibility of such an application in an organized play environment": I do not think it is feasible to start enforcing a rule mechanic like this in our current OP campaign. If we were starting a new campaign? Yeah, we could enforce something like this. I think it would be kind of like having "Sanity Points" in a CoC game, and would require some type of tracking mechanic and perhaps a Stat or Status total. Do XXX "Good" deeds, get an Indulgence to offset some of the "Strikes" against your PC. Who knows, perhaps these could even be traded?

"...whether people like or dislike the mechanic...", I dislike it and feel it would lessen the game.

I'm pretty much bang alongside you on this issue. It could be done, but I don't think it adds anything of value for all the headache it would cause.

Scarab Sages 5/5

ok, only because it looks like we are going down the rabbit hole again...

Will my N/N character shift to N/G if I do Good Deeds by assigned missions? If I keep casting Protection from Evil, do I drift into N/G and loose my spells (two alignment steps from Abadar? L/N) Can I off-set the Good I do to finish the mission by doing some random evil acts?
wow... this will get weird fast. I drift into Good and have to go kick some puppies after the mission to get back to neutral?

Really? do we want to have to start tracking this?

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I've sort of always had a difficult time being around [X alignment] characters relying on [Y alignment] mechanics.

This is why Neutral is the most popular alignment. They can get away with anything.

Hence why, in past discussions, I've always treated Evil discussions the same as the other alignments.

And why I like this sidebar so much.

Dark Archive

Nefreet wrote:

I've sort of always had a difficult time being around [X alignment] characters relying on [Y alignment] mechanics.

This is why Neutral is the most popular alignment. They can get away with anything.

Hence why, in past discussions, I've always treated Evil discussions the same as the other alignments.

And why I like this sidebar so much.

I don't follow what your trying to say here; can you elaborate?

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It was a reply to the comment preceding it.

If you're a neutral character that constantly relies on resources to fight [alignment], you're going to naturally shift away from that alignment.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I think you're missing something.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

So, obviously, if you're dedicated to one alignment extreme (good, in this case), it's going to take you longer to fall towards the opposite direction.

But if you regularly skirt the line, it's going to be a quicker transition.

Scarab Sages 4/5

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I'm in a similar place as nosig with this, though it's not necessarily that I view implementing the rule as not being feasible. Without owning the book, it seems like an optional rule in a book based around a horror feel to the campaign. In a horror campaign, evil spells having a stronger influence on characters makes sense. PFS is not a horror campaign. Implementing this rule in the ways being suggested changes the feel of the campaign. PFS has not been, at least since the FAQ was issued in 2014, a campaign where characters become corrupted by using Infernal Healing. Not by using it once. Not by using it a handful of times. Not by using it once a minute for four hours straight. It is a campaign that has allowed (not without debate) animate dead largely without consequences.

The premise of this thread seems to be to assume that the rule should be implemented, but doing so would change what the campaign is for many, many players. That is something that should be considered alongside the mechanics necessary to use the rule. Yes, it would be easy enough to track how many castings of [evil] spells a character makes during a scenario. It would also be possible to track how many times a character CdGs a helpless enemy. But tracking those types of actions hasn't been a part of PFS. Whether or not a player/character is crossing a line into evil has been left to GM discretion, except in specific scenarios that deal with the theme of corruption, and Tanya's words on the subject in the blog explain why. PFS is striving to be inclusive of character ideas that are on the edge, while still making sure those ideas don't infringe on other people's fun. She's asked us to use our judgement on when things are appropriate. As long as we're doing that, a change to the mechanical rules isn't necessary.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Buba Casanunda wrote:
Nefreet wrote:

So, obviously, if you're dedicated to one alignment extreme (good, in this case), it's going to take you longer to fall towards the opposite direction.

But if you regularly skirt the line, it's going to be a quicker transition.

I disagree with this view.

Remaining at an extreme alignment (your term) should be harder than muddling thru around the middle somewhere. Some Evil acts, some Good acts, and a lot that are ... middle of the road. Neutral is a valley, not the ridge line on either side. It's hard (and should be) to be a Paladin, extreme on two axis.

"Alignment extreme" isn't my term, it's Pathfinder's. But I agree with its use.

And disagreeing with it isn't really the purview of this thread. It'd be better in the product page for Horror Adventures.

But you obviously don't believe it should be implemented, and that's perfectly fine.

Sovereign Court 3/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Buba Casanunda wrote:
Nefreet wrote:

So, obviously, if you're dedicated to one alignment extreme (good, in this case), it's going to take you longer to fall towards the opposite direction.

But if you regularly skirt the line, it's going to be a quicker transition.

I disagree with this view.

Remaining at an extreme alignment (your term) should be harder than muddling thru around the middle somewhere. Some Evil acts, some Good acts, and a lot that are ... middle of the road. Neutral is a valley, not the ridge line on either side. It's hard (and should be) to be a Paladin, extreme on two axis.

That is exactly why it takes 2 to no longer be Good, and takes 3 to shift from Neutral.

To the point of this thread, I don't think the sidebar changes anything for PFS.

Silver Crusade 5/5

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*Drinks*


Don't forget the reverse is possible. An Evil character can be forced Good by casting Good spells (as per sidebar). 2 prestige and you have a Wand of Protection From Evil good for 10 De-Evilings.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Good idea.


The fact that this applies to ALL alignment based spells is the thing that balances it. People focus on Evil, but it applies to Law, Chaos and Good as well. With that in mind, and having to track on a session by session basis, no hold overs, I'd be totally fine with the rule being used.

Scarab Sages

Blindmage wrote:
The fact that this applies to ALL alignment based spells is the thing that balances it. People focus on Evil, but it applies to Law, Chaos and Good as well. With that in mind, and having to track on a session by session basis, no hold overs, I'd be totally fine with the rule being used.

While it might be balanced... thematically? I guess? Not sure what I'm looking for there...

It's not balanced PFS wise. If I'm marked Lawful, i get a stick up my rear (joking) and maybe less effectiveness if my god hates me now.

If I'm marked Evil I'm marked dead. I'm gone unless i can afford the atonement.


Then cast good spells at the adventure, if you can, or by an attonment, or even some potions to become neutral/good.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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Blindmage wrote:
Then cast good spells at the adventure, if you can, or by an attonment, or even some potions to become neutral/good.

Thats exactly the sort of point tracking that cheapens alignment that we want to avoid.

1/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The other danger to this, unspoken, is what if a player uses a 'helpful wand' that has an alignment descriptor on it (say 'Chaotic' on a paladin or 'Lawful' on a barbarian).

A player accepting healing isn't always going to ask the provenance of the healing supplied, only that it works and what do they 'get back'.

This could be heavily abused "It's not PvP if I'm healing someone, right?" if the sidebar is implemented.

Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵

So, it seems like the consensus, for the most part, is that this is unfeasible for PFS?


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To me, it seems like a nasty thing to pull on a new or unaware player. What it doesn't seem like is a fun new mechanic designed to make playtime more enjoyable.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Viliym wrote:
So, it seems like the consensus, for the most part, is that this is unfeasible for PFS?

1) it is definitely NOT the current rule in pfs.

a) It appeared in supplement in a sidebar that was not itself made PFS rules legal.
b) It didn't really change anything, sot he rationale for the PFS FAQ on evil spells still holds for the same reasons
c) Throwing that at your players is a huge curveball, don't do it.

2) Implementing it would be a pain

Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵

Totally aware this is not the current rule for PFS.

Just asking about the feasibility of implementing it.

Consensus seems to be "No".


I just want to play a Nethys worshipping Wizard that uses aligned spells to ping pong himself across the moral alignment grid for fun and profit.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Utah—Lehi

Just a quick note on the feasibility of the "just cast good spells to offset your evil spells" option. It isn't an option for some characters, such as Clerics & Inquisitors of Asmodeus (just one example). They can't cast anything with a good alignment descriptior.

That said, I agree with the general direction of the thread that the horror sidebar shouldn't be implemented for PFS at all.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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Think of the poor druid, haplessly forced into a LG or CG corner by some careless spellcasting.

We don't need this rule and it would create too much stupid problems.

3/5

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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
This could be heavily abused "It's not PvP if I'm healing someone, right?" if the sidebar is implemented.

I'd already been pondering the fun of convincing people to blind activate wands of infernal healing / protection from good for non-PvP trolling, which would of course would result in character expulsion under the proposed plan.

Because obviously that's the type of door we want opened here as it will make for a far better campaign experience, right? <--- sarcasm

Which is to say, upon additional reflection, not just "no", but "the infernal plumbing beneath Nessus no"...


Why not make it a new rule for the next season? Everyone's starting brand new season with already new changes, why not implement it then? Do refunds for older characters, but for the most since it's a NEW season, u could implement it and it wouldn't be stepping on any toes right?

I too am enjoying and implementing it into my home games. Like Nefreet stated, it would add in the importance and "balancing" that magic has but no one seems to impliment of casting certain spells and ur alignment.

They already have a "no pvp" rule in PFS, so nipping players from trying to "trick" others into said actions wouldn't happen.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

Regarding [Evil] spells in Horror Adventures, I don't understand why Appearance of Life is flagged with the [evil] descriptor. It's an illusion that makes an undead look alive. Ok, the undead is already up and about - how does what's basically a good makeup kit make it worse?

1/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Anderson wrote:
Regarding [Evil] spells in Horror Adventures, I don't understand why Appearance of Life is flagged with the [evil] descriptor. It's an illusion that makes an undead look alive. Ok, the undead is already up and about - how does what's basically a good makeup kit make it worse?

Because it preys on the observer's perceptions to make it look like the undead being is 'perfectly normal' until the 'last possible moment' for 'MAXIMUM HORROR'.

Sure, one might get some 'corner' cases of undead that are using it as the 'newest Botox', but those are likely outliers?

Shadow Lodge

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Does it use negative energy in some way?

The way I've always understood it, the alignment descriptors are more about the cosmology of how the spell works than anything about the ethics of the spell itself -- when you cast Protection from Chaos you end up getting some [law] particles stuck on you.

So if something in the spell description references negative energy or the lower planes, that would be the reason. If not...I have no idea.


No I'd say it's not going to happen because that subsystem directly contradicts the pathfinder society FAQ regarding evil spells.

That sidebar says "Casting an evil spell is an evil act".

But the society FAQ for evil spells states:

Quote:

Does casting evil spells cause an alignment infraction?

Casting an evil spell is not an alignment infraction in and of itself, as long as it doesn't violate any codes, tenents of faith, or other such issues. Committing an evil act outside of casting the spell, such as using an evil spell to torture an innocent NPC for information or the like is an alignment infraction. For example: using infernal healing to heal party members is not an evil act.

Emphasis mine. Adopting it would just be a pain all around. However, if we do end up using there are at least some benefits we'd get out of it for some of the alignment based classes.

Monks
Monks are required to be lawful to continue to level as monk but other than that lose nothing by being chaotic. This sidebar allows a monk to act as chaotic/neutral and then UMD a wand of protection from chaos before leveling up.

Barbarians
Opposite of monks, required to be non-lawful. Sidebar lets a player play Lawful/Good and then when a GM says he's done too many lawful actions and his alignment shifts he can UMD a wand of protection from law to shift back

Paladin
Although not actually allowed as I believe the text states if a paladin drops alignment he must specifically cast atonement to get his powers back, if a player has a really permissive DM in his area they could either cast or UMD a wand of protection from evil two times to get their powers back. There's one GM in my area I think would go this way (he loathes alignment restrictions) and I think people could find some in their area if they asked around.

If we use it
Hopefully an exception will be made for infernal healing as I enjoy having some variety in healing spells.

Real losers I think are necromancers or anyone else who uses raise dead. I have never played the class or even seen it played so I don't know the mechanics at all but they'd only get four castings of raise dead or other evil spells an adventure before their alignment drops to evil and they're out.

Oh and also the headaches that come from tracking all this and the hurt feelings that are going to come when someone drinks the wrong potion or blindly activates the wrong wand.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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"Shouldn't you be donating that gold to the orphanage?

"nope. the protection from evil potion chugging contest is the fastest way to heaven!

"praise iomedae!

Shadow Lodge

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:

"Shouldn't you be donating that gold to the orphanage?

"nope. the protection from evil potion chugging contest is the fastest way to heaven!

"praise iomedae!

See, my theory is that all the outer planes are just different toxic waste dumps preparing decomposed souls for entry into the river of souls -- all Pharasma is doing by segregating souls by alignment is the equivalent of sorting recycling.

There's nothing particularly better about being in Golarion Heaven vs Golarion Hell, other than your neighbors will probably be nicer to you.

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