Abuse the Hell out of Legalistic


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


2 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 8 people marked this as a favorite.

So, over on this thread I mentioned that there were ways to make the curse portion of Legalistic curse more of a benefit than a hindrance if you're clever.
The best part is, this could be considered completely RAI, as devils are notorious for trying to twist anything and everything to their favor.
Anyway, here's the relevant part of the curse:

Legalistic "Curse" wrote:
The shackles of Hell impose savage consequences should you violate a covenant, but also imbue you with remarkable guile. Whenever you break your word (either purposefully or unintentionally), you become sickened for 24 hours or until you meet your obligation, whichever comes first.

In this case, the key points are: even if you unintentionally break your word, you're sickened, and you're only sickened until you un-break your word. Here's a few oaths you could take that would trigger your sickened condition (thus letting you know you broke one of your oaths):

"I swear I will not talk to that man's murderer, and if I do, I will punch them"

"I swear that I will touch a white pebble every time I associate with any creature with evil intentions."

"I swear that if I come within 15 feet of a mimic, I will attack it"

"I swear that I will not allow anything to be stolen from me"

"I swear that I shall not approach within 30 feet of a trap that could harm myself, allies, or innocents, unless I am aware of the trap, its danger, and am attempting to either willfully trigger it or disable it"

"I swear that I will not come within 20 feet of any non-ally that is invisible without attempting to either identify it or attack it"

And so on. How would you abuse the Legalistic "Curse?"


I suspect that the curse is only meant to trigger if the oracle knows that they've broken their word, even if it is unintentional. Still, it might work as a divination.

My preferred abuse? Use it as assurance to people that you value your word and that you're honestly going to do what you promised. (Granted, it only provides assurance of letter-of-the-promise fulfilment, but that's what their actual reputation can cover).

Most oracle curses can be turned to a person's advantage, honestly, even before getting into the (often notably better) boons from first level on. It's why I tend to think of them as boons with side-effects. (Granted, if they're a poor fit for the person in question then they'd most definitely be far more hindrance than help)


I mean, thematically it would make more sense that you would suffer even if you didn't know you broke an oath. After all, that's what devils are good at- making you break contracts and suffer for them without you ever knowing otherwise.

Out of curiosity, how might you turn Clouded Vision into a boon?


Pretend to be blind. Helps with begging, makes people think you're harmless, etc. All the while you're actually watching everything that's close enough and noticing far more than people would ever suspect.


Daedalus the Dungeon Builder wrote:

I mean, thematically it would make more sense that you would suffer even if you didn't know you broke an oath. After all, that's what devils are good at- making you break contracts and suffer for them without you ever knowing otherwise.

Out of curiosity, how might you turn Clouded Vision into a boon?

I was going to say specialize in plunging the battlefield into darkness but thats really only level 10+ and only mitigates the downside of the curse. I mean maybe if you built around blinded blade style plus darkness creation? Had yourself a continual darkness item so people cant just ambush you from a distance?


Linea Lirondottir wrote:

I suspect that the curse is only meant to trigger if the oracle knows that they've broken their word, even if it is unintentional. Still, it might work as a divination.

{. . .}

Sounds like Legalistic needs a patch to keep it from working as divination -- if you unintentionally break your word, the Sickened condition doesn't kick in until you are presented with independent evidence that you broke your word. I wouldn't nerf it beyond that (as has happened to several other things) -- the rest of it is fine.


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

Or, if you are not in combat at the time you break your word, you are not told that you are Sickened until you attempt something that that condition would affect. If you unknowingly broke your word an hour earlier, you might be out of luck as to figuring out what you did wrong and when.


^Actually not a bad idea -- if you get into combat before finding out you broke your word, Sickened kicks in anyway, and you just know you have to try to figure out what you did wrong.

Dark Archive

David knott 242 wrote:

Or, if you are not in combat at the time you break your word, you are not told that you are Sickened until you attempt something that that condition would affect. If you unknowingly broke your word an hour earlier, you might be out of luck as to figuring out what you did wrong and when.

I think the character would know they suddenly were sick to their stomach. This seems to just exist to discourage using the oracles curse.

How does this do anything but make the curse useless?


I figure the GM would have to put limits on what whichever powers are responsible for enforcing your curse actually know. That's probably "more than what the oracle herself knows" but whoever's in charge of this is probably not omniscient.

I would probably want to flesh out "who decides this stuff? Is there some sort of celestial bureaucracy at work?" if I had a player who was trying to stretch this curse (which is great, don't get me wrong.)

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It seems to me that if you set up too many of these, you lose fidelity in discerning which one is you've actually broken. For example, let's say you have all your examples in play. You walk up to an individual and talk to them, and get sick. Is it:
The murderer?
Someone with evil intentions?
An invisible person nearby?
A local pickpocket?
Two of these at once?

And if you only use it for one thing at a time, I'm not sure it's all that broken. Especially since you didn't put any time limit on those oaths, so they all accumulate forever.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

My thoughts for that was by putting a different end condition for each oath. i.e.
Oh, I got sick. Touch my white pebble, then. Oh, still sick? Okay, I'm not interacting with an evil creature. I got sick as soon as I started talking to that man? Lightly punch his arm and see if I get better.

And so on. Plus, you could say something more along the lines of:

"I swear that I will not talk to any creature with evil intentions for one hour after the saying the word 'flobberwatzit' unless I touch a white pebble after or while talking to them."

Dark Archive

Daedalus the Dungeon Builder wrote:

My thoughts for that was by putting a different end condition for each oath. i.e.

Oh, I got sick. Touch my white pebble, then. Oh, still sick? Okay, I'm not interacting with an evil creature. I got sick as soon as I started talking to that man? Lightly punch his arm and see if I get better.

And so on. Plus, you could say something more along the lines of:

"I swear that I will not talk to any creature with evil intentions for one hour after the saying the word 'flobberwatzit' unless I touch a white pebble after or while talking to them."

I love it. Using a disadvantage to your advantage? awesome.

Does it fit with the fluff of devils being jerks and manipulative? Yes

Best oracle curse.


"I swear I will kill you."

Vow made at start of fight.
No time frame is specified.


Dot.


See? Halek understands my viewpoint. It could be argued that it's completely fitting flavor-wise that you could get more benefits from a "drawback" than any actual bonuses. Free unlimited use of many divination spells is exactly the kind of thing that the lawyers of Hell would try, and would begrudgingly admire in anyone who twisted their curse into this.

Also, given the wording of the curse, I would say that anything Hell knows, would affect you, as the curse mentions the chains of Hell tormenting you upon violating a contract. And if any plane would have an interest in who was evil, who was good, and what everything in the multiverse was, and have the ability to achieve that goal, it would be Hell.

Also, one useful ability should work regardless of your interpretation or opinions of the curse (best applied by Paladins VMCing as oracles):

"I swear that any time I seriously consider performing an evil act or other action that would cause me to Fall, I will give one of my allies a hug"

Ta-da! Free Fall detector, and your allies get hugs. Win-win.

Grand Lodge

Still loving this idea! I still think it'd be great for a Paladin who wants insurance against messing up his class abilities with a failed Acrobatics save against falling.

Another use would be for an inventor or tinkerer. "I WILL complete this project, and I'll do it by next Brighmas!"

Brighmas is great you guys; it's like Torannukah, but without all that restrictive alignment stuff and those "safety regulations" on the gifts.

Snowlilly wrote:

"I swear I will kill you."

Vow made at start of fight.
No time frame is specified.

Heeehee. That's fun.

Shadow Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Snowlilly wrote:

"I swear I will kill you."

Vow made at start of fight.
No time frame is specified.

Oooo, you better hope you get the killing blow.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

It's like lying to Pinnocchio, and asking him to spread the story...

Wait, what would happen?

Paizo Employee Contributor

Hmm. It's the absolute knowledge imparted by this "curse" that's so valuable, because you get to access it. You could use this to "scout" a dangerous location before actually going in. Checking out a suspicious warehouse or mansion?

"I swear I shall not approach within 200 feet of a structure containing at least 10 evil creatures without touching a white pebble."

Not sickened?

"I swear I shall not approach within 200 feet of a structure containing at least 5 evil creatures without touching a white pebble."

Sickened? Touch the pebble and get more specific.

"I swear I shall not approach within 200 feet of a structure containing at least 7 evil creatures without touching a white pebble."

And so on. Then you get specific as to the creature types:

"I swear I shall not approach within 200 feet of a structure containing at least 5 evil creatures not native to the Material Plane without touching a white pebble."

"I swear I shall not approach within 200 feet of a structure containing at least 5 undead creatures without touching a white pebble."

And so on. You might be able to drill down on specific leaders, too.

Or get a sense of the environment:

"I swear I shall not approach within 200 feet of a structure containing at least 5 traps without touching a white pebble."

"I swear I shall not approach within 200 feet of a structure with at least one below-ground basement level without touching a white pebble."

"I swear I shall not approach within 200 feet of a structure containing at least 5 concealed or hidden passages without touching a white pebble."

Or treasures ("containing valuables worth at least 1,000 gp") or escape routes ("containing at least one method of emergency egress") or even intentions, so you know if you've got time to rest ("creatures with plans to leave the structure within 10 hours").

Wow.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

"This statement is false."

Oh, the Pinocchio paradoxes. How I love them. Hadn't thought about that.

EDIT: Don't forget to put a time limit or ending clause on your oaths, or else they'll pile up and will all become useless.

Paizo Employee Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I keep coming back to the absolute knowledge that this curse imparts as being its key feature.

"I swear I shall not take a single step on a world on which Aroden was killed by another deity without [mitigation]."

Then take a step. Sickened or not?


Fun theoretical thread.

Well, as long as you are doing what the Devils want you to do, this would of course work as posited, encouraging your servants is just a good idea. Now delaying the onset and/or relief from Sickened condition might cause an unfaithful servant some confusion. Also, at some point you WILL have too many conditionals to keep them all straight.

Yes, it is clever as all get out, but how long can you really get away with trying to out-legal hell's legal department. Have you read every clause extant when you let them into your life?


Ron-
Oh, good one. Still, it all depends on how omniscient the source is. If the fluff is to be read literally, it's Hell that imposes your curse, so any time you violate a contract by Hell's knowledge, they punish you.

A couple of wording notes for that oath, though:
Aroden might not have been killed on Golarion, or by another deity.
By strict reading, the [mitigation] might be referring to whatever killed Aroden. Even if (let's say) Asmodeus killed Aroden on Golarion, if he was [mitigation], did [mitigation], or was associated with [mitigation], it wouldn't always trigger.
Also, you could just take one more step to end the sickened condition.

Daw-
I would write them all down, give them clear beginning and ending clauses, and, really, that's the curse. Not the easily-abused curse that actually gives you omniscience, but rather the eternal and ever-twisting complexity that comes with trying to keep your oaths straight. Isn't that just the sort of thing devils would do?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

If this works, it wouldn't just be a neat little trick for staying aware of danger, it would be a fully general solution to all information-gathering tasks.

All you need to do is say "I swear that for the next five minutes I will not make any false statements without crossing my fingers afterward."

Then just make a bunch of statements about things you're unsure about one at a time. If you feel sick after one, you know it was false and can cross your fingers to negate it before trying the next claim.

Bam, unlimited knowledge.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Daw wrote:

Fun theoretical thread.

Well, as long as you are doing what the Devils want you to do, this would of course work as posited, encouraging your servants is just a good idea. Now delaying the onset and/or relief from Sickened condition might cause an unfaithful servant some confusion. Also, at some point you WILL have too many conditionals to keep them all straight.

Yes, it is clever as all get out, but how long can you really get away with trying to out-legal hell's legal department. Have you read every clause extant when you let them into your life?

Well, that depends. If you were originally a rising star in the legal department (a subdivision that makes credit card agreements or end user license agreements should be fine) of a major corporation on Earth, and then got dropped on Golarion, you might actually be able to do pretty well with this curse once you figured it out. I think somebody from Wells Fargo could really give Hell a run for its money . . . .

Paizo Employee Contributor

IRL, I'm an attorney in the legal department of a large pharmacy chain, which may explain why this fascinates me so much.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Mephistopheles encounters the E.U.L.A.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / General Discussion / Abuse the Hell out of Legalistic All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.