Sacred and Profane bonuses to AC


Rules Questions

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Do they stack with each other? Tecknically they are different types of bonuses. But it is kinda implied they come from same(divine?) source and should not stack. Am i right?


By RAW they definitely stack. They're in different bonus categories. By RAI you're probably not meant to have both at the same time. Personally, I think that having Sacred and Profane is silly, marginalizes the conflict of law versus chaos, and also decreases the viability of "neutral" as a position. (Since they're generally forced into picking sacred or profane anyway)

I'd houserule that both "sacred" and "profane" should be replaced with "divine bonus" or something and multiple divine bonuses to the same thing do not stack.


Phone posting so I can't find it, but there's a terrible FAQ that they don't stack, profane and sacred are the same type of bonus with different flavor names.


Linea Lirondottir wrote:

By RAW they definitely stack. They're in different bonus categories. By RAI you're probably not meant to have both at the same time. Personally, I think that having Sacred and Profane is silly, marginalizes the conflict of law versus chaos, and also decreases the viability of "neutral" as a position. (Since they're generally forced into picking sacred or profane anyway)

I'd houserule that both "sacred" and "profane" should be replaced with "divine bonus" or something and multiple divine bonuses to the same thing do not stack.

I'd rule that they neutralise each other.


Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
Phone posting so I can't find it, but there's a terrible FAQ that they don't stack, profane and sacred are the same type of bonus with different flavor names.

can you provide that faq or which book it's under? I've never heard of it.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

They shouldn't ever be on the same character as they are the same thing and you should be able to be sacred and profane simultaneously.


they stack i also heard from one of my dms that profain bonuses stack with profain bonuses however i cant find the rules to back that claim up

Scarab Sages

James Risner wrote:
They shouldn't ever be on the same character as they are the same thing and you should be able to be sacred and profane simultaneously.

Sacred and profane are not qualities of the character they are qualities of the source of the bonus. And by raw are two separate things.

Though, I'd see no issue with house ruling that your alignment can't be in opposition to the bonus source. So a good character could not benefit from a profane bonus.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Chess Pwn wrote:
Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
Phone posting so I can't find it, but there's a terrible FAQ that they don't stack, profane and sacred are the same type of bonus with different flavor names.
can you provide that faq or which book it's under? I've never heard of it.

I just checked through the PDT posts and couldn't find anything.

While I would say they can stack, I personally don't think they should, also I'm curious how this situation would occur, spells from Clerics of a Good and Evil Deity cast on the same person would fall under no stacking due to same source I believe.

Anybody have any examples?


Rysky wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
Phone posting so I can't find it, but there's a terrible FAQ that they don't stack, profane and sacred are the same type of bonus with different flavor names.
can you provide that faq or which book it's under? I've never heard of it.

I just checked through the PDT posts and couldn't find anything.

While I would say they can stack, I personally don't think they should, also I'm curious how this situation would occur, spells from Clerics of a Good and Evil Deity cast on the same person would fall under no stacking due to same source I believe.

Anybody have any examples?

there are at least a handfull of items that give profain and around the same ammount that give sacred cant remember what they are off the top of my head but if you can get them so that they dont take up the same slot they will stack

Scarab Sages

Rysky wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
Phone posting so I can't find it, but there's a terrible FAQ that they don't stack, profane and sacred are the same type of bonus with different flavor names.
can you provide that faq or which book it's under? I've never heard of it.

I just checked through the PDT posts and couldn't find anything.

While I would say they can stack, I personally don't think they should, also I'm curious how this situation would occur, spells from Clerics of a Good and Evil Deity cast on the same person would fall under no stacking due to same source I believe.

Anybody have any examples?

Same source stacking would apply if the ability that gave the bonus was used twice but gives propane or sacred depending on alignment of user or users god.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Lorewalker wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
Phone posting so I can't find it, but there's a terrible FAQ that they don't stack, profane and sacred are the same type of bonus with different flavor names.
can you provide that faq or which book it's under? I've never heard of it.

I just checked through the PDT posts and couldn't find anything.

While I would say they can stack, I personally don't think they should, also I'm curious how this situation would occur, spells from Clerics of a Good and Evil Deity cast on the same person would fall under no stacking due to same source I believe.

Anybody have any examples?

Same source stacking would apply if the ability that gave the bonus was used twice but gives propane or sacred depending on alignment of user or users god.

Ehhh...

Grand Lodge

'Divine' is the umbrella term for Sacred and Profane (I've even seen people put Axiomatic and Anarchic bonuses to AC, which also go under this umbrella because: alignment shenanigans)

If you have +3 Sacred but then you get +1 Profane your net 'Divine' bonus is +2.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Jader7777 wrote:

'Divine' is the umbrella term for Sacred and Profane (I've even seen people put Axiomatic and Anarchic bonuses to AC, which also go under this umbrella because: alignment shenanigans)

If you have +3 Sacred but then you get +1 Profane your net 'Divine' bonus is +2.

Can you point me to this rule in any book?


Rysky wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
Phone posting so I can't find it, but there's a terrible FAQ that they don't stack, profane and sacred are the same type of bonus with different flavor names.
can you provide that faq or which book it's under? I've never heard of it.

I just checked through the PDT posts and couldn't find anything.

While I would say they can stack, I personally don't think they should, also I'm curious how this situation would occur, spells from Clerics of a Good and Evil Deity cast on the same person would fall under no stacking due to same source I believe.

Anybody have any examples?

Don't know if it actually works, but I think if you're a Holy Vendicator with alignment channel. You can get a sacred bonus to your armor class with Vendicator Shield, and then get a profane bonus to your armor class with stigmata.


I actually prefer the RAW version here. Why shouldn't good and evil both try to drag a promising PC to their side, at the same time? Further you can use temptation to also justify profane bonuses for good characters and sacred ones for evil ones.

Grand Lodge

Franz Lunzer wrote:


Can you point me to this rule in any book?

Nope! The only thing to go off is that the 'Common Terms' page lists desecrate and consecrate as related spells and those spells are both opposing.

"Consecrate counters and dispels desecrate."

It's also worth noting that with desecrate you only need a 'component' whereas with consecrate you need 'components'.

EDIT: Except for that divine thing, sacred and profane are both under divine I know I've read that somewhere, still looking...

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Endency wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
Phone posting so I can't find it, but there's a terrible FAQ that they don't stack, profane and sacred are the same type of bonus with different flavor names.
can you provide that faq or which book it's under? I've never heard of it.

I just checked through the PDT posts and couldn't find anything.

While I would say they can stack, I personally don't think they should, also I'm curious how this situation would occur, spells from Clerics of a Good and Evil Deity cast on the same person would fall under no stacking due to same source I believe.

Anybody have any examples?

Don't know if it actually works, but I think if you're a Holy Vendicator with alignment channel. You can get a sacred bonus to your armor class with Vendicator Shield, and then get a profane bonus to your armor class with stigmata.

Alignment (or Elemental) Channel are one of the prerequisites for Holy Vindicator but it's a moot point, since both Vindicator's Shield and Stigmata go off whether you channel Positive or Negative originally, so you couldn't have Profane on one and Sacred on the other.


I apologize I meant versatile channeler, not alignment channel. Does that work?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I would say no, since it's going off your original pick.

Edit: Er, while it does say it can count as channeling that specific energy for gaining feats and abilities... hmmm...

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Eh, after some thought I can see it working, probably wasn't intended to, but eh.

Not that anyone would do it I believe, since you would be intentionally weakening your Prestige Class ability for no reason other than to satisfy hypothetical theory-crafting.

Silver Crusade

Setting aside house rules, in which you are welcome to rule however you like, sacred and profane bonuses do not oppose each other (so none of this +3 sacred and +1 profane equals +2 total nonsense). They are separate bonuses, and are listed as such on the common terms page. The fact that consecrate, which happens to give a sacred bonus to some things, and desecrate, which happens to give a profane bonus to some things, counter each other is completely aside the point. If you have a profane bonus to saves and a sacred bonus to AC, you still have both your bonuses. Hell, even if both bonuses are to AC. That's the crunch. As for the fluff, offhand I can think of several reasons why you would have both: a neutral character who uses good and evil in balance, a good character who is willing to use the tools of their enemies against them, an evil/neutral character who simply recognizes power regardless of the source, a good character bound to a cursed item struggling to overcome its influence even as it gives them power. I could go on.


They stack, and I can see a situation where someone is getting divine help from two different sources. Your deity can give you a sacred bonus from a spell, and you can have an item granting a profane bonus.

PS: I do think that depending on the case a GM would be well within his rights to rule that it does not make sense.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

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I'm in the "does not make sense" camp.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

These bonuses are rare enough that it should be a very odd situation where you're trying to stack them, unless you're just making custom magic items to stack as much as possible. In that case, the problem is more with the custom items than with the bonuses stacking. RAW they stack IMO, but the situation is rare enough that it could be examined on a case by case basis.


I would have bet $100 yesterday there's a FAQ saying they don't stack. I'd still bet $20 there's a developer comment somewhere on the forums supporting that, but I'm not sure I can find that, either.


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Yes... yes... attempt to stack the sacred and the profane... put them close together in equal amounts... yes...


RAW they stack since they're called out as different types of bonuses.

I can see making them cancel each other out for flavor reasons, but that just adds bookkeeping. And I personally have never seen anyone benefit from both at the same time, though I'm sure it's doable.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

People said RAW that double Dex to Trip attempts stacked also, when it didn't make sense and developers said it didn't.

So often what is "RAW" isn't what the rules says. It takes reading the rules and understanding what they really say to understand that profane and sacred bonuses shouldn't ever be on the same PC.

Sovereign Court

So, where is the developer post saying they don't stack?

Until they do, RAW is they stack, because they are differently typed bonuses. RAW because we actually have the rules text to support it in the common terms section of the ruleset.

Your definition of "RAW" (rules as written) is actually the definition of "RAI" (rules as intended). Because you state we have to "understanding what they really say" IE the intentions of the writer.

RAI is fine, when the developer weighs in. Which brings me to the first point of this post. Where is the developer post saying they don't stack?


For those confused as to how this could happen, I have a concrete example (though I'm sure there are others):

1. Be a neutral cleric of a neutral deity. Channel positive energy.
2. Dip into inquisitor. Choose profane bonuses.
3. Prestige into holy vindicator.
4. Use Vindicator's Shield (giving you a sacred bonus to AC) and the Protection judgment (giving you a profane bonus to AC).
5. ???
6. ARGUMENT

Personally, I'm in full support of RAW here. Maybe the sacred bonus is coming from your sense of self-righteousness, and the profane bonus is coming from some ill-gotten knowledge about your opponent's tactics. I could totally see a GM ruling that they would count against each other, but I kind of like the idea of making this work.


You don't even need to multiclass to get both sacred and profane bonuses. An evil inquisitor can cast (for example) Burst of Glory, giving themselves a sacred bonus to attack rolls, then use the Justice judgment, giving themselves a profane bonus to attack rolls.


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They're different types of bonuses. This is not hard. They stack exactly the same as Dodge and Luck do.


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James Risner wrote:


So often what is "RAW" isn't what the rules says.

Actually what the rules say on this issue are pretty damn clear. You just don't personally like it.

Say "I don't like this and I would houserule it this way" is fine. Trying to pretend it's any flavor of authoritative is just ridiculous though.

Quote:
It takes reading the rules and understanding what they really say to understand that profane and sacred bonuses shouldn't ever be on the same PC.

Why not? There are alignment neutral ways of gaining both types of bonuses and they're different bonuses with different names.


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Pretty sure that when the gods teamed up to imprison Rovagug, there was some serious sacred/profane buff stacking going on.

Similar things happen, I suspect, when LN orders of Hellknights or Abadar's Church Militant get stuck in.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rysky wrote:

I would say no, since it's going off your original pick.

Edit: Er, while it does say it can count as channeling that specific energy for gaining feats and abilities... hmmm...

The real trick is when you mix in Envoy of Balance to channel both at once.

Envoy of Balance, Twinned Channeling wrote:
Twinned Channeling: When channeling energy, the envoy of balance can simultaneously release waves of positive and negative energy. She chooses a category of creatures (either living or undead), and this conjoined energy both heals and harms the affected creatures. Roll the amounts of damage healed and dealt separately. Treat the envoy of balance's effective cleric level as 2 lower than normal for the amounts of damage and the DC to halve damage taken. The envoy of balance can choose whether to include herself in either or both the healing and harming effects. If she has an ability that allows her to exclude targets from her channeled energy, such as the Selective Channelling feat, she can choose to exclude different targets from the healing effect than from the harming effect. An envoy of balance must possess the spiritual equilibrium endowment to choose this endowment.
Holy Vindicator, Vindicator's Shield wrote:
Vindicator's Shield (Su): A vindicator can channel energy into his shield as a standard action; when worn, the shield gives the vindicator a sacred bonus (if positive energy) or profane bonus (if negative energy) to his Armor Class equal to the number of dice of the vindicator's channel energy. This bonus lasts for 24 hours or until the vindicator is struck in combat, whichever comes first. The shield does not provide this bonus to any other wielder, but the vindicator does not need to be holding the shield for it to retain this power.

Scarab Sages

James Risner wrote:

People said RAW that double Dex to Trip attempts stacked also, when it didn't make sense and developers said it didn't.

So often what is "RAW" isn't what the rules says. It takes reading the rules and understanding what they really say to understand that profane and sacred bonuses shouldn't ever be on the same PC.

Doubling a stat addition is invalid by the stacking rules RAW. Of course, it is raw that you can attack the same stat if it is added as a typed bonus. In fact, a monk paladin build can add charisma to AC three times and it be legal. As one is typed and two are typed differently.


I wouldn't be surprised if the "Sacred and profane bonuses don't stack" line mentioned upthread was a ye olde post by SKR that isn't around anymore.

Silver Crusade

Ashram wrote:
I wouldn't be surprised if the "Sacred and profane bonuses don't stack" line mentioned upthread was a ye olde post by SKR that isn't around anymore.

I didn't want to say anything because it's complete heresay, but I seem to remember the exact opposite: some rando dev post reinforcing that they did stack.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

One way it can easily happen is with the Feysworn prestige class. If you pick the Green Mother as your patron, your obedience gives you a +4 profane bonus to saves against mind-affecting spells. The class then gives you an ability that grants you a +4 sacred bonus on those same saves.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Isonaroc wrote:
Ashram wrote:
I wouldn't be surprised if the "Sacred and profane bonuses don't stack" line mentioned upthread was a ye olde post by SKR that isn't around anymore.
I didn't want to say anything because it's complete heresay, but I seem to remember the exact opposite: some rando dev post reinforcing that they did stack.

SKR asked "is there a reason you think sacred and profane don't stack?" in a thread about a different subject (not about profane/sacred bonuses but they came up.)

JJ says he things both should have been called sacred and profane not used because sacred isn't a "good" work, and could have been used for both.

I couldn't find anyone speaking about the subject otherwise.

I'd say they stack if one came from a succubus curse on you and the other from your god.

I'd say they conflict and don't stack if your god is neutral and you have two features that may come from your god.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Isonaroc wrote:
... because it's complete heresay, ...

Do you mean "hearsay" or "heresy" ? (or both, as a pun)

Silver Crusade

SlimGauge wrote:
Isonaroc wrote:
... because it's complete heresay, ...
Do you mean "hearsay" or "heresy" ? (or both, as a pun)

Kinda the third but kinda not. I used it as a pun once in a WH40K discussion and it sorta became an affectation. I tend to use weird affectations when I post (like when I do an edit I usually preface it by saying EDUT (which is a reference to a browser game I sometimes play), or one I don't use as much is "REdiculous" which I used to use a lot but eventually got tired of having to explain the reason.


the sacred and profane cut both ways...

RAW they stack as that's how the rules are laid out.

Description wise they are diametrically opposed forces and it would be a common simple assumption that they should cancel each other out to some degree.

Rule-wise you can be evil and have a sacred bonus. A devil or lich can wield a holy weapon (not well and probably take a negative level or two), same as sanctified or sacred weapons.

In a home game this wouldn't come up as a GM would likely manage the situation. I would agree with the cancellation effect if the bonuses were of the same type, such as bonuses to AC (same types don't stack). Stacking in this case just flies in the face of common sensibility so +3 sacred and +1 profane would net you +2 sacred.
If it was +1 sacred to Reflex saves and +2 profane to AC, I'm fine with that.

At my table in PFS they would stack without a sensible campaign clarification. Table GMs have less control in that setting as that is part of the agreement you take on when running in that setting. It would also mean that a post game character review is called for as that's an odd situation. Lingering effects from Season Four could be in play.

The game is not rigorously consistent.


James Risner wrote:

People said RAW that double Dex to Trip attempts stacked also, when it didn't make sense and developers said it didn't.

So often what is "RAW" isn't what the rules says. It takes reading the rules and understanding what they really say to understand that profane and sacred bonuses shouldn't ever be on the same PC.

That was Paizo making up new rules. It still annoys me that they didnt just say "we dont like it for balance reasons".


Saying they don't stack is just like when some people try to say you can't put the flaming and frost properties on the same weapon. It is 100% legal, even if it doesn't make sense to some people.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Wraithstrike, you see it as new rules. I saw it as obvious and covered by the rules.


For people saying that sacred and profane bonuses to the same thing should cancel out, what happens in the following situations?

(All of these scenarios apply everything to to the same statistic; let's say AC for ease of use)
1) +3 sacred bonus and a -2 profane penalty
2) +3 sacred bonus, +2 profane bonus, and a -2 profane penalty

I think having bonuses cancel each other out needlessly complicates things. Also, being able to apply a bonus to an opponent to weaken them under some circumstances seems really, really weird.


wraithstrike wrote:
Saying they don't stack is just like when some people try to say you can't put the flaming and frost properties on the same weapon. It is 100% legal, even if it doesn't make sense to some people.

This analogy, it is a good one. That is all.

Carry on.


Linea Lirondottir wrote:

For people saying that sacred and profane bonuses to the same thing should cancel out, what happens in the following situations?

(All of these scenarios apply everything to to the same statistic; let's say AC for ease of use)
1) +3 sacred bonus and a -2 profane penalty
2) +3 sacred bonus, +2 profane bonus, and a -2 profane penalty

I think having bonuses cancel each other out needlessly complicates things. Also, being able to apply a bonus to an opponent to weaken them under some circumstances seems really, really weird.

having played Stormbringer and Champions! I can't say it's all that weird.

the best one in organized play to date is a demon that possessed PCs and gained a +10 insight bonus to AC... that was Interesting & in DnD 3.5...

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