Anathema in PFS.


Pathfinder Society Playtest

*** Venture-Agent, Canada—Alberta—Grand Prairie aka DM Livgin

I was surprised that I couldn't find a topic on this, if there is one please point me towards it.

We ran into our first anathema conflict in Doomsday Dawn. That got me thinking about how I wanted anathema handled in PFS.

Chapter 3:
A player brought a cleric of Urgathoa who's anathema includes destroying undead. Every enemy is undead.

The anathema are plentiful enough and specific enough that they are guaranteed to come into conflict with the rest of the table and with the plots of many scenarios. Some highlights include Pharasma (rob a tomb), Gorum (prevent a conflict through negotiation), and Torag (show mercy to the enemies of your people).

I want anathema handled in such a way that it is a minor component of the PFS experience. So that anathema does not interfere with the duties to Explore, Report and Cooperate. I want this because:

  • -Conflicts over in game code of conducts can be a very negative experience with some otherwise good GMs.
  • -Scenarios are currently using their full time slots and I don't have the time to take on the tangents involved in some anathema.
  • -I do not want the group division when a characters anathema interferes with primary or secondary success conditions.

My list function is broken.

However there is the possibility to use anathema as an influence to shift the culture of the Society away from one of 'winning' towards improvised storytelling. Where the rewards take the back seat to being able to fully realize the storytelling potential of the group. Where 4 PP per 3 experience is normal. Where high prestige is the reward for being the Decemvirate's lap dog at the cost of your own morals. However this is moving back to the flavor of the old faction missions which we have already moved away from (I never played under the old faction missions).

How can we keep anathema in PFS without creating excessive conflict?

*** ⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

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This is a great topic that really should get some more discussion!

I love anathema in terms of giving some individuality to each deity's followers. I like that different clerics will follow different codes. But it is important to make sure that we're not creating a situation where 2 legal PCs sit down at the same table and one of them has to commit anathema because of conflicting deities. Or, as you say, when the purpose of the assignment immediately falls into anathema for a PC, but that player has only one PC in tier.

This is certainly something that scenario writers should keep in mind, but future-proofing will be a big problem there, as deities who get write-ups in later references might get anathema that already existed in scenarios. I think we need somewhat broader guidelines on how to make sure that PCs acting in good faith* don't get put in a no-win situation.

*Pun was not intended, but was noticed, and then kept. :)


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Kate Baker wrote:

This is a great topic that really should get some more discussion!

I love anathema in terms of giving some individuality to each deity's followers. I like that different clerics will follow different codes. But it is important to make sure that we're not creating a situation where 2 legal PCs sit down at the same table and one of them has to commit anathema because of conflicting deities. Or, as you say, when the purpose of the assignment immediately falls into anathema for a PC, but that player has only one PC in tier.

This is certainly something that scenario writers should keep in mind, but future-proofing will be a big problem there, as deities who get write-ups in later references might get anathema that already existed in scenarios. I think we need somewhat broader guidelines on how to make sure that PCs acting in good faith* don't get put in a no-win situation.

*Pun was not intended, but was noticed, and then kept. :)

I can't help but be reminded of a scenario in Season 5 where the party was expected to negotiate for something with a lich. I was playing a paladin of Sarenrae and someone else was playing an inquisitor of Pharasma. As the lich started monologuing, we exchanged glances, looked at the GM, and announced we were full attacking because it was a freaking lich.

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Indiana—Martinsville aka thaX

My (Not really a) Goblin character saw the throne, and bowed right away before the monologue was even started.

I believe that Anathema should direct the character, but not be detrimental to the group the character is in.

Shadow Lodge ***** ⦵⦵

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Playing a cleric can and should come with the occasional need to skip a part of an adventure or get creative

Dark Archive ****

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Playing a cleric can and should come with the occasional need to skip a part of an adventure or get creative

Playing a character can (and maybe should?) come with the occasional need to skip a part of an adventure or get creative...

Dark Archive *

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The first time I cracked open the Playtest Rulebook as a GM at GenCon was NOT for a rules question in specific, but because I had someone who was DETERMINEDLY not playing Kyra by *any* stretch or benefit of the doubt in regards Anathema.

I was about to strip them of their powers when they wandered off to (go to the bathroom or get breakfast?) somewhere without mentioning what they were doing and they didn't make it back until after the party had resolved the remainder of the Playtest.

I hope like heck Anathema aren't bludgeons that could turn disruptive on the OTHER side of the coin...

...or they're going to need to ban about a third of the deities, not just the one.

Silver Crusade

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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
...or they're going to need to ban about a third of the deities, not just the one.

Cool.

Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
...or they're going to need to ban about a third of the deities, not just the one.

There is a not-insignificant sized group of PFS players who would prefer to see worship of any evil-aligned deity banned and the Society returned to a neutral with good intentions organization if not fully NG. There might be an argument for an exception in the case of Asmodeus (largely due to Cheliax), but a similar case can be made for Zon-Kuthon (Nidal) which would expand the exceptions for the next one and another one, etc. until they’re all back so a hard-line would be preferred. Though I expect the interest in playing evil worshipping characters to be a louder/larger group.

Sovereign Court

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Well... as of the playtest, and final version notwithstanding, we don't need to worry about lawful neutral clerics of Asmodeus anymore.

**

Kalindlara wrote:
Well... as of the playtest, and final version notwithstanding, we don't need to worry about lawful neutral clerics of Asmodeus anymore.

The more nuanced approach to character alignment relative to deity alignment is one of the very few things that I like about PF2e.

⦵⦵

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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

The problem with Anathema in PFS is weather or not it is triggered is a subjective call and not an objective one. There is nothing wrong with subjective calls in role playing games, as it usually spawns roleplaying opportunities. The problem is in an organized play environment, where you are going to see a huge mix of characters whom may or may not have played together. In addition GM license is minimal in an OP environment, again making Anathemas particularly punishing. Could having a Pharasman along cause a failure of an adventure? How would the Pharasman player know to play another character, or not play the adventure? Do we want to design adventures where certain anathemas are not a good fit for.

In addition there could be situations where anathemas could be mutually exclusive:

Enemy of the people surrenders:
Cleric of Torag - Must not show mercy to enemy of the people, continues to slay said enemy.

Cleric of Gorum - Must accept surrender.

In all likelihood one of these clerics are losing their power, or a fight breaks out that cannot happen in organized play.

Don't get me wrong, I like a disadvantage system (which anathemas are) as it allows for role playing opportunities. The problem is when it comes down to subjective calls on a GMs part it will always be a problem in an organized play setting.

--Chris

Dark Archive *

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So would it work better if the 'edgier' deities were pitched along with the Anathema if it is being retained?

Or would pitching all deities that might come in conflict -- wait.. then folks will write to cause conflict with the remaining and then we'll be to "Okay, who's got the wand or potions or whatnot because we don't have any heals because our cleric toastered five minutes in?"

⦵⦵

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

The problem with organized play has always been when creating adventures you must assume all legal characters are at the table at the same time. A well written adventure will take into account this fact, and handle abnormalities.

As an author of Living Greyhawk adventures in the past, I can tell you from experience this is not an easy feat. I can also definitively say that all my adventures do not qualify as well written by my statement above.

Right now the anathema system for the Paladin, Barbarian, Cleric, & Druid is most likely the cause of an adventure abnormality. At least those that the writer can account for. While I do not think the system necessarily needs to be gotten rid of for PFS a definitive set of rules need to be established to handle such, and I believe it has to be less severe than the rules established in the core rule book. Which in general is an anathema for the PFS folks. :)

Here is what I would suggest:
Cleric, & Druid - Performs an act of anathema, lose 1 casting of top level spell.
Paladin - Lose 1 spell point.
Barbarian - Lose ability to rage and gain fatigued condition until next 10 minute rest. (This may need refinement)

You could also introduce an anathema penalty like any other condition make it a -1 to all d20 roles or something for each level and level X anathema 3 or 4 would be my suggestion would put on the full anathema penalty. With the requirements of the Atone ritual to get this cleared, 10 x level gold and 1 day cast time.

This way you don't need to have writers writing themselves around in circles to try to account for all the possible anathemas out there, much less future ones that could appear later.

--Chris

Shadow Lodge ***** ⦵⦵

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ProfessorC wrote:


Enemy of the people surrenders:
Cleric of Torag - Must not show mercy to enemy of the people, continues to slay said enemy.

Cleric of Gorum - Must accept surrender.

In all likelihood one of these clerics are losing their power, or a fight breaks out that cannot happen in organized play.

Don't get me wrong, I like a disadvantage system (which anathemas are) as it allows for role playing opportunities. The problem is when it comes down to subjective calls on a GMs part it will always be a problem in an organized play setting.

--Chris

The solution here is the you lick it its yours rule. First one to lick it owns it and is responsible for it.

Once its been licked by the cleric of gorum its not an enemy of the dwarves any more and the dwarf isn't obligated to kill him.

Once the dwarf has licked it the gorumite IS accepting its surrender but he's not responsible for what the dwarf does.

Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

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I’m not excited about the notion that morals and ethics go the faster zealot

*** Venture-Agent, Canada—Alberta—Grand Prairie aka DM Livgin

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Bob Jonquet wrote:
I’m not excited about the notion that morals and ethics go the faster zealot

It is a robust system that is easy to learn? And it honors the age old tradition of yelling 'I stab them!' during box text. /s

**

I am not a fan of anathema that prohibits a character from meeting general expectations of Society scenario goals.

I am not clear on what the benefit that the cleric class gets to balance the drawback of anathema is.

Cleric
* Channel Energy
* Domain
* 9th level spell casting
* 8 HP
* Perception Trained
* Expert Fortitude & Will, Trained Reflex
* Skills 5+ (may be different in the errata)
* Simple weapons + deity's favored weapon, which could be a simple weapon
* Light & Medium Armor, Shields
o Anathema

Bard
* Composition
* Muse
* 9th level spell casting
* 8 HP
* Perception Expert (better)
* Skills 7+ (better)
* Simple weapons + longsword, rapier, sap, shortsword, shortbow and whip
* Light Armor, Shields
NO Anathema

I would judge the Bard to be better loaded in class "power" than the cleric, but the cleric has the extra burden of the Anathema. Now, true, Channel Energy != Composition, Domain != Muse, and the spell lists are different (but one would expect similar in power). However, does any of that justify the Anathema?


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
ProfessorC wrote:


Enemy of the people surrenders:
Cleric of Torag - Must not show mercy to enemy of the people, continues to slay said enemy.

Cleric of Gorum - Must accept surrender.

In all likelihood one of these clerics are losing their power, or a fight breaks out that cannot happen in organized play.

Don't get me wrong, I like a disadvantage system (which anathemas are) as it allows for role playing opportunities. The problem is when it comes down to subjective calls on a GMs part it will always be a problem in an organized play setting.

--Chris

The solution here is the you lick it its yours rule. First one to lick it owns it and is responsible for it.

Once its been licked by the cleric of gorum its not an enemy of the dwarves any more and the dwarf isn't obligated to kill him.

Once the dwarf has licked it the gorumite IS accepting its surrender but he's not responsible for what the dwarf does.

So if the druid wild shapes into a giant frog he gets precedence?

⦵⦵

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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
ProfessorC wrote:


Removed quote of my example

The solution here is the you lick it its yours rule. First one to lick it owns it and is responsible for it.

Once its been licked by the cleric of gorum its not an enemy of the dwarves any more and the dwarf isn't obligated to kill him.

Once the dwarf has licked it the gorumite IS accepting its surrender but he's not responsible for what the dwarf does.

This is exactly my point about the problem with anathema in an OP setting. The above ruling requires a subjective ruling by the GM that does not trigger the anathema of one or the other cleric.

So if you leave it in as is one of two things happen:
1. The scenario author is going to have to spell out what anathemas are going to be triggered, and a bunch of errata will need to be released every time a new set of anathemas are released.
2. You leave the GMs with the ability to rip the power away from certain classes when upon their opinion an anathema is triggered. Of which could be appealed at events where there is officers above said GM at the event. Resulting in another subjective call about the situation.

In case 1 you are putting a lot of work on the authors and editors to come up with every situation and continued support of scenarios after they are published.
In case 2 you are assuming the GM has a complete working knowledge of every anathema available. Second you could likely remove the primary power of the character for the rest of the scenario. How many scenarios in OP allow a 8 hour rest, which is the minimum time to recover from an anathema? How do you maintain a consistency of ruling or do you accept wildly different rulings from game to game? Are you simply not going to write certain scenarios (no going to a tomb and getting something, Pharasma anathema for example)?

--Chris

Shadow Lodge ***** ⦵⦵

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ProfessorC wrote:

1. The scenario author is going to have to spell out what anathemas are going to be triggered, and a bunch of errata will need to be released every time a new set of anathemas are released.

2. You leave the GMs with the ability to rip the power away from certain classes when upon their opinion an anathema is triggered. Of which could be appealed at events where there is officers above said GM at the event. Resulting in another subjective call about the situation.

3. Much like there is a maslows heirarchy for one paladin so that they can't get caught in a no win situation you recognize that there is a maslows heirarchy for pathfinder parties so that the entire party isn't put in a no win situation.

Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

Also remember that PFS ≠ PF. Meaning while the core game could leave anathema as is, we could easily implement "house rules" for how it will work in society. Paizo tends to like to leave issues of philosophy in the hands of individual GMs to adjudicate which just means it'll be up to the OPF to determine how it'll work in PFS. Its really no different than how we deal with alignment issues now with regards to zealotry and neutral PCs worshiping evil-aligned deities.

*** Venture-Agent, Canada—Alberta—Grand Prairie aka DM Livgin

BigNorseWolf wrote:
ProfessorC wrote:

1. The scenario author is going to have to spell out what anathemas are going to be triggered, and a bunch of errata will need to be released every time a new set of anathemas are released.

2. You leave the GMs with the ability to rip the power away from certain classes when upon their opinion an anathema is triggered. Of which could be appealed at events where there is officers above said GM at the event. Resulting in another subjective call about the situation.

3. Much like there is a maslows heirarchy for one paladin so that they can't get caught in a no win situation you recognize that there is a maslows heirarchy for pathfinder parties so that the entire party isn't put in a no win situation.

Can you elaborate on this?

Shadow Lodge ***** ⦵⦵

Ward Davis wrote:
Can you elaborate on this?

Well for PF2 instead of paladins can't do X Y and Z (harm innocents, let innocents come to harm, lie) they have a hierarchy that places innocent lives above the truth, so they CAN lie to protect innocent lives.

As long as the DM goes into the conflict with the idea that he's not allowed to gotcha the players in a no win situation there should be an effective solution somewhere.

For pathfinder parties, instead of A and B must happen, The DM decides whether A or B is more important , A does that, and B isn't on the hook with their god for letting A happen. This may occasionally require a cleric to go examine some peasant architecture

Interesting idea, depending on the gods it could come as a sign to their followers, like in the case of a torag gorum contest, winner of the arm wrestling challenge gets the goblin prisoner...

Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
may occasionally require a cleric to go examine some peasant architecture

I’m in with the other suggestions, but I strongly dislike this specific methodology and wish it would stop as a “cheat” to avoid the ramifications of in-game ethics and morality and how they impact decision making.

*** Venture-Agent, Canada—Alberta—Grand Prairie aka DM Livgin

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PF1 wrote:
A cleric who grossly violates the code of conduct required by her god loses all spells and class features, except for armor and shield proficiencies and proficiency with simple weapons. She cannot thereafter gain levels as a cleric of that god until she atones for her deeds (see the atonement spell description).

Although the mechanics of anathema has/may change from PF1 to PF2, the narrative/flavor structure of what is a cleric hasn't changed. The gods did not increase their scrutiny in 4719. PF1 has always had the section on ex-clerics. What has changed is the a more robust guideline has been provided for each god.

The only times I've witnessed this rule come up in play is a GM; giving gentle nudges of what would Ragathiel/Sarenrae/Torag/Desna do to bring out better role playing, helping a player refine their character concept, or giving a player a leg to stand on when they try to confront the rest of the party about a course of action. I've only seen it used positively.

The current Roleplaying Guild Guide even has the line "...We believe a deity would forgive a one-time bad choice as long as the action wasn’t too egregious...". Which brings us to the familiar circumstance where we were doing just fine until the new rules were printed (potion sponge...). We were functioning well with the ex-cleric rules and didn't hear GMs complaining that a cleric of Abadar was being too chaotic and they couldn't do anything about it.

All this said I think the Society would benefit in including the anathema of gods with the clarifying statement that anathema is of similar significance to an alignment infraction: minor infractions are forgiven, even repeated minor infractions, while egregious infractions require an atone ritual.

**

The potential problem that I see is that some of the anathema are spelled out very explicitly. There's no room for judging a "minor" infraction over an "egregious" infraction as with the more nebulous alignment system.

Examples:

Asmodeus: 'free a slave'
I.e. Free one, single slave.
E.g. PFS 9-00 has no warning that a cleric of Asmodeus might need to make his entire table fail one of the missions.

Pharasma: 'rob a tomb'
I.e. Take something from a burial place without permission
E.g. PFS 6-10, an evergreen, 5-23 (at least you get a warning in the product description)

Now, many of the anathema are written vaguely and in ways that are easy to keep or don't interfere with scenario goals, but some of them are not and are overly explicit.

Silver Crusade **** Venture-Agent, Ohio—Cincinnati

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I hope that PF2 will have more nuanced rules regarding anathemas vs the playtest. It's not unlikely that the brief, hard-line rules we have now are a function of page count restrictions.

Failing that (or possibly in addition to that), I also hope that PFS finds a way to soft pedal anathema. As it stands, the current rules lean more toward creating OOC drama than they do interesting roleplaying. Pace Bob, bringing different characters is not a particularly robust solution--not everyone has a deep roster to select from and it is generally not obvious which characters would be poor fits for a given mission ahead of time. Plus, drama again.

Judging by the posts above, there isn't much push among players for a hard interpretation of anathema. Do we have a consensus? Does anyone want a strict rule here? If so, why? Genuinely curious.

Finally, shifting gears a bit, I would ask that we not discuss anathema conflicts in terms of ethics--unless you're a strict deontologist, they really aren't all ethical problems. They're just a question of whether you've followed the bylaws of (Insert Deity) Club. In other words, we're not asking anyone, especially GMs, to make calls about what is "right" or "good," merely whether specific strictures have been violated. By putting the problem in an ethical framework, we again stir up unnecessary drama.

*** Venture-Agent, Canada—Alberta—Grand Prairie aka DM Livgin

Blake's Tiger wrote:

The potential problem that I see is that some of the anathema are spelled out very explicitly. There's no room for judging a "minor" infraction over an "egregious" infraction as with the more nebulous alignment system.

Examples:

Asmodeus: 'free a slave'
I.e. Free one, single slave.
E.g. PFS 9-00 has no warning that a cleric of Asmodeus might need to make his entire table fail one of the missions.

Pharasma: 'rob a tomb'
I.e. Take something from a burial place without permission
E.g. PFS 6-10, an evergreen, 5-23 (at least you get a warning in the product description)

Now, many of the anathema are written vaguely and in ways that are easy to keep or don't interfere with scenario goals, but some of them are not and are overly explicit.

When I spoke of of minor versus egregious I envisioned freeing a single slave or robbing a single tomb as minor but freeing all the slaves in Absalom as egregios (Clerics of Absalom should avoid the Liberty Edge faction the same way Paladins needed to avoid the old Cheliax faction?). As you said this is a subjective judgement which is made harder with the specificity of many anathema.

Aaron Tysen wrote:
Judging by the posts above, there isn't much push among players for a hard interpretation of anathema. Do we have a consensus? Does anyone want a strict rule here? If so, why? Genuinely curious.

The participants of this conversation are largely organizers/GMs trying to get ahead of a predicted problem, so might not be a good sample group of the larger player base.

**

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Except, as currently written, those single acts are not minor.

For example, the anathema is not 'free slaves' it is 'free a slave.'

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Captain, Germany—Aschaffenburg-Würzburg

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Bob Jonquet wrote:
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
...or they're going to need to ban about a third of the deities, not just the one.
There is a not-insignificant sized group of PFS players who would prefer to see worship of any evil-aligned deity banned and the Society returned to a neutral with good intentions organization if not fully NG. There might be an argument for an exception in the case of Asmodeus (largely due to Cheliax), but a similar case can be made for Zon-Kuthon (Nidal) which would expand the exceptions for the next one and another one, etc. until they’re all back so a hard-line would be preferred. Though I expect the interest in playing evil worshipping characters to be a louder/larger group.

I happen to agree with removing the worship of evil deities personally.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Captain, Germany—Aschaffenburg-Würzburg

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Blake's Tiger wrote:

The potential problem that I see is that some of the anathema are spelled out very explicitly. There's no room for judging a "minor" infraction over an "egregious" infraction as with the more nebulous alignment system.

Examples:

Asmodeus: 'free a slave'
I.e. Free one, single slave.
E.g. PFS 9-00 has no warning that a cleric of Asmodeus might need to make his entire table fail one of the missions.

Pharasma: 'rob a tomb'
I.e. Take something from a burial place without permission
E.g. PFS 6-10, an evergreen, 5-23 (at least you get a warning in the product description)

Now, many of the anathema are written vaguely and in ways that are easy to keep or don't interfere with scenario goals, but some of them are not and are overly explicit.

I am perfectly fine with not seeing worshippers of Asmodeus included in society play, and for Pharasma in 6-10 you can actually get permission to borrow the object from the priest in charge of the graveyard - which has a 1 in 4 chance of worshipping Pharasma.

Not that this is a non-issue, but I am currently not too worried to be honest.

⦵⦵

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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:


I am perfectly fine with not seeing worshippers of Asmodeus included in society play, and for Pharasma in 6-10 you can actually get permission to borrow the object from the priest in charge of the graveyard - which has a 1 in 4 chance of worshipping Pharasma.

Not that this is a non-issue, but I am currently not too worried to be honest.

The issue is not that it can be worked around. In an home game I 100% agree that anathemas as written can work fine. As the players and GM should be able to work out weather or not the character will one fit into the campaign and two offer interesting role playing opportunities.

We are not discussing a home game we are discussing organized play. The players and GM do not have the luxury of making that decision. So it is left to scenario authors to write the adventure in such a way that ALL legal character types can play the adventure.

Your suggestion above for Pharasma is great if the scenario author wrote it in. It is terrible for OP if it is left up to the GM to adjudicate. In that case you will get a wildly subjective answer which could be ruled very differently at every table.

The Pharasma example is the one that is relatively clear. What about ones that aren't? With no guidance from the powers that be, it will be even worse as the swing from one table to the next can be even greater.

So in my opinion Paizo needs to do one of the following for OP:

1. Eliminate anathema for OP. I am not necessarily advocating this action, but it has to be presented as an option.

2. Provide clear rules when anathema each applies in an OP setting in a setting like a players guide. In addition, rules stating that when a PC is about to perform an action that will trigger it the GM should give a warning.

3. Perform some sort of watering down of anathema where it works like the other conditions and does not come into full effect until you get to anathema 3 or 4 or something.

4. Have the scenario authors point out when anathema applies.

5. Some hybrid of 2 and 4.

I do not think that doing nothing is an option as it will cause disagreements and wildly different table experiences as GM adjudicate it differently, which will cause complaints coming up stream through the venture officer core.

--Chris

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Captain, Germany—Aschaffenburg-Würzburg

ProfessorC wrote:
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:


I am perfectly fine with not seeing worshippers of Asmodeus included in society play, and for Pharasma in 6-10 you can actually get permission to borrow the object from the priest in charge of the graveyard - which has a 1 in 4 chance of worshipping Pharasma.

Not that this is a non-issue, but I am currently not too worried to be honest.

The issue is not that it can be worked around. In an home game I 100% agree that anathemas as written can work fine. As the players and GM should be able to work out weather or not the character will one fit into the campaign and two offer interesting role playing opportunities.

We are not discussing a home game we are discussing organized play. The players and GM do not have the luxury of making that decision. So it is left to scenario authors to write the adventure in such a way that ALL legal character types can play the adventure.

Your suggestion above for Pharasma is great if the scenario author wrote it in. It is terrible for OP if it is left up to the GM to adjudicate. In that case you will get a wildly subjective answer which could be ruled very differently at every table.

The Pharasma example is the one that is relatively clear. What about ones that aren't? With no guidance from the powers that be, it will be even worse as the swing from one table to the next can be even greater.

So in my opinion Paizo needs to do one of the following for OP:

1. Eliminate anathema for OP. I am not necessarily advocating this action, but it has to be presented as an option.

2. Provide clear rules when anathema each applies in an OP setting in a setting like a players guide. In addition, rules stating that when a PC is about to perform an action that will trigger it the GM should give a warning.

3. Perform some sort of watering down of anathema where it works like the other conditions and does not come into full effect until you get to anathema 3 or 4 or something.

4. Have the scenario authors...

I guess we will have to wait what comes out of the playtest, and then the organized play team will have to decide what to allow, alter, or ban.

The whole issue seems similar to Paladin's falling and/or some deific obediences etc. and as written their seems to be a bit of wriggle room how many acts are required. It's actually not too dissimilar from the current situation where player actions might warrant an alignment change or the character getting reported as irrevocably evil.
The guide likely needs some sort of guidance on that part, but actually robbing tombs is pretty rare in PFS (depending on your definition of robbing).

**

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Deific obediences are optional extra power and Paladins, theorhetically, get more in exchange for their code (PF1 smite evil and divine grace are pretty robust).

The cleric gets less than the bard and has the extra burden of the anathema tacked on. Not a problem when the anathema creates RPing tension; is a problem when anathema causes mission failure or lose class abilities.

*** Venture-Agent, Canada—Alberta—Grand Prairie aka DM Livgin

Deific Obediences are an op-in option and (often) have less class features blocked should a character fail to complete their obedience. So I have doubts the same solutions will be ideal.

*** Venture-Agent, Canada—Alberta—Grand Prairie aka DM Livgin

I've tried to tally up how often the playtest Anathema would have conflicted with a scenario on my existing characters. One step away from anecdote and towards data (still all hypothetical).

Cleric 15 (Desna: Anathema cause fear or despair, cast nightmare or use similar magic to corrupt dreams).
- Causing fear and despair includes some his favorite spells: Cause Fear, Aura of Doom, Terrible Remorse. But this isn't a surprise problem, just a mechanical problem where the spells he used to protect his allies caused fear and despair in his enemies. Players will be asking questions about this one.
- Occasionally teammates have caused widespread despair (faction missions) but the character wasn't in a position to prevent it, and would have tried to prevent it even before anathema.

Druid / Monk 10 (Wild Druid: Becoming fully domesticated by the temptations of civilization is anathema to your order.)
- No conflict here. He never wanted to own property in Absalom.

Fighter / Sentinel 10 (Erestil: abandon your home in its time of need, choose yourself over your community, tarnish your reputation, tell lies).
- No conflicts.

Paladin 2 / Fighter 6 (Torag: Anathema show mercy to the enemies of your people, tell lies or cheat someone, intentionally create inferior craftwork).
- The god’s anthema is placed in the highest bullet point, before harming innocents...
- The Paladin portion would have caused no problems. He even had to once sacrifice the few to save the many and the code looks like it would have permitted it.
- No problems with Torag’s anthema over his 3 scenarios as a Paladin.

Inquisitor 7 (Pharasma: Anathema create undead, desecrate a corpse, rob a tomb) This is the worst of the batch due to the tomb robbing clause.

- Wounded Wisp:
- There are ways to work to make recovering the special coin not ‘robbing the tomb’ but instead ‘borrowing’ something from it or describing it as not actually robbing because it was kinda left there to be discovered. This scenario allows you to get permission to take the coin, but the anathema puts the breaks on ‘failing forward’ and adventure flow here.

- From the Tome of Righteous Repose:
- Enter tomb, recover sword. Again you have the argument that archeology isn’t robbery. Having to resort to the fine print to avoid an Anathema conflict is a problem.

- I was very specific in only counting obviously 'tombs' but this list is still smaller than expected.

Fighter / Barbarian 5 (Giant Totem: Failing to accept a personal challenge of your strength is anathema to your totem.)
- No conflicts.

Warpriest 3 (Norborgor: Anathema allow your true identity to be connected to your dark dealings, share a secret freely, show mercy).
- This character would not exist in PF2 because any worshipers of Father Skinsaw are now evil. This character was a flawed idea from the start, an actual murderhobo.

I’ve never made a worshiper of Gorum, the last god with an anathema that really stands out.

**

When considering if anathema needs to be formally addressed by the OPC, the question is:

How do we handle it so that we don't need to limit player choices (beyond 'no evil'), tie scenario author's hands, nor come back to it every time a new deity is published and still allow everyone at the table have fun.

Paladins were always on the hook--you never knew how safe you were the first time at a new-to-you GM's table--and now you have two classes on the hook. Druid's code was objective, so not a problem.

Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

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Considering the effort that already goes into scenario development, I would be against the idea of the author (or developers) having to aware of every anathema in the game, determine when it might come into play, and write solutions or work-arounds for the GMs to avoid conflict. I believe this would be a bigger endeavor than writing factions missions for each scenario and we know how that went.

While my personal preference is to ban worship of all evil deities, I know that is not universally liked so if we will need a good approach from the launch.

I believe that either anathema will be ignored, as in simply not observed in OP, or it will follow the current system of GM adjudication which includes the "just following orders" rider. Meaning that if through the course of your mission, you have to violate your anathema, you get a free pass since the Venture-Captain "made you do it." I'm not excited about this solution, but in a game as complex as ours, it seems to be the best compromise allowing players to create the widest range of characters without mandating too many rules.

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