Chewing on Champions


Advice

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Personally I think I agree with Vali, at least for the PF universe, where Good, Evil, Law and Chaos are actually metaphysical components of the tapestry of reality.

That said, clerics are not "any servant of a deity". They are specifically channelers of positive or negative energy. I asked James Jacobs why the gods don't customize the abilities clerics get according to the deity's portfolios, but clerics receive specifically that kind of power, and potentially master it.

Remember that in Inner Sea Gods and Inner Sea Faiths there are various kinds of priests mentioned for each deity, and "cleric" is only 1 possibility - Desna's priests for instance could also be rangers, bards, rogues, or even druids. They don't have to be clerics.

So, a more martial servant, who doesn't have the power to channel energy from the positive or negative plane, but instead has a different variety of abilities, and who can't actually cast spells, but who focuses on fighting with weapons and armor? You get a champion. It's a different flavor of divine servant. They not only care for their deity, they also embrace that ethos.

Now... another point is "Why does a champion need to follow 2 sets of rules when they're roughly as powerful as a cleric, who only follows 1?".

One could also ask another question. "Why does a cleric need to follow a set of rules when they're roughly as powerful as any other class?".

And I think the answer is just, flavor. But I'm not completely satisfied by it. Because, setting-wise, it's not like it makes a lot of sense. Sure, barbarians have anathemas too, druids need to respect nature (and avoid metal armors)... but a fighter just needs to train, no strings attached.

I think though that as much as a cleric or a champion need to follow their tenets, most other classes tend to go towards certain directions flavor-wise. The wizard constantly studies, the bard has a lot of passion for the arts, the sorcerer... the sorcerer just does their own thing actually. The rogue could be greedy and prone to stealing or not, depending on a lot of background/personality-related bits.

In the end it's all a matter of flavor, it's not like you start playing a champion with the idea that you're gonna break your oaths repeatedly and thus often lose your extra powers and require an atonement ritual... Or maybe you do. Which can be a lot of fun, from a narrative point of view.

Getting back to champions though, I can totally see champions in Golarion not sticking to any singular deity's dogma. More deities, different religions, only alignment... it could all be valid. I guess at a certain point the devs needed to make a choice and went with consistency in their mind (paladins had always been servants of a deity after all). But that doesn't mean in your campaign you have to follow that script - I highly doubt anything would break if you allowed your paladin to just follow law and good instead of Iomedae explicitly.


Malk_Content wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
If you don't swear an oath, don't stick to a code, don't embrace an alignment other than neutrality... okay, so what's special about you?
Voss never said anything about not swearing an oath. If I swear to protect my family AT ALL costs that is a neutral oath in my eyes. A more campaign friendly idea lets take a Wrath of the Rightoues Paladin idea. Swearing an Oath to close the World Wound at all costs leads to a character who would do things that a LG Paladin couldn't in pursuing that goal.

Oh, I get it now. So, essentially, someone who swears an oath regardless of alignment.

Well, of course traditionally that didn't exist... but hindsight being 20/20, we could have that kind of fantasy character - someone solely empowered by their oath, no alignment or deity required.

And now I remember the Arcana Unearthed reference - the Oathbound.

I think this would be an interesting character, either as an archetype or a full class... but that ship has sailed. That forbids absolutely no one though from having champions work like that in their home game... And now I need to go add this to the list of things I'd like to see in the 2e Unchained.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Good points on all sides, guys. I remain attached to Champions having their concept be "holy warrior of a deity" - and I see that as very different from the concept of Clerics, which is "divine conduit of a deity" - but y'all make good points and this is a fun discussion. :)


Oaths...it is always funny how people ignore the literary structure of oaths. It isn't just "I swear to take out the garbage", but "I swear by the bristling beard of Odin to take out of the garbage" or "I swear on my mother's grave to take out the garbage." If there was an oath based class, it should be a matrix, where rows are what you swear to do (I recommend hit something, protect something, or retrieve something) and the columns are who you swore the oath to/what you swore by.


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Vali Nepjarson wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

With that line of reasoning, though, what differentiates a Cleric and an Inquisitor?

I think there is room for more than one "gets powers from a god" class. Critically, there is a big difference between "gets full casting from a god" and "gets powers from a god but isn't a caster", that is much bigger than just "one is more martial". Fighters are not just "more martial" wizards, even though both get their abilities from intense study.

That's an erroneous comparison to make though.

A Fighter and a Wizard may both study, but they're studying completely different things in very different ways. Paladins and Clerics literally do the same thing but get a drastically different result. It'd be more like studying as a Fighter and somehow that has a chance of also just giving you a Barbarian rage instead.

I realize this is also a flawed analogy because gaining an ability through study and gaining an ability through being given it by a deity are qualitatively different, but it is a closer comparison.

Also, to clarify, I totally understand that the idea that a god can only give power to a person one way is silly. For the purposes of character ideas, a god can give favor however you want. Nethys might look favorably upon some guy who helped save a particularly important magic item and so gifts him with an instinctual understanding of the mechanics of magic, thus turning him into a level 1 wizard.

But from a design standpoint, why would you want two different classes that have the exact same flavor when you could have them be their own thing? Doesn't that offer more design space and potential for different character types?

And as for "what about anti-paladins?" question, well why not? There are a dozen different answers I could come up with for that question. Why can't the universe have an innate fundamental goodness AND an innate fundamental evilness? Law and Chaos too? The universe is vast and complex and doesn't follow our ideas of what a thing is or should be. The idea...

So like an Arcanist, Shifter or Hunter. We had a bunch of classes with the same flavor/training. Sometimes what you want is just a different angle for the class mechanics.


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Roswynn wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
If you don't swear an oath, don't stick to a code, don't embrace an alignment other than neutrality... okay, so what's special about you?
Voss never said anything about not swearing an oath. If I swear to protect my family AT ALL costs that is a neutral oath in my eyes. A more campaign friendly idea lets take a Wrath of the Rightoues Paladin idea. Swearing an Oath to close the World Wound at all costs leads to a character who would do things that a LG Paladin couldn't in pursuing that goal.

Oh, I get it now. So, essentially, someone who swears an oath regardless of alignment.

Well, of course traditionally that didn't exist... but hindsight being 20/20, we could have that kind of fantasy character - someone solely empowered by their oath, no alignment or deity required.

And now I remember the Arcana Unearthed reference - the Oathbound.

I think this would be an interesting character, either as an archetype or a full class... but that ship has sailed. That forbids absolutely no one though from having champions work like that in their home game... And now I need to go add this to the list of things I'd like to see in the 2e Unchained.

This is exactly what I was saying earlier (so thank you Malk_Content for phrasing it in a way I didn't think to). A LG Champion may have no strong convictions one way or the other regarding pirates versus ninjas or being Vegan versus eating bacon, but they still have strong convictions (their convictions just so happen to manifest in a direction that alignment cares about). It is thus likewise possible to have a strong set of convictions that don't show up in any direction on an alignment chart (I'm very Neutral Bacon, for example). Alignment does not in any way hold an exclusive monopoly in terms of "things to care about or have strong convictions for".

But yes, there is a whole lot that needs to be done to take the Champion to being a complete class.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Brew Bird wrote:
Well, in Pathfinder, Good, Evil, Law, and Chaos are all fundamental forces of the universe. Just like a Kineticist can channel elements from the Elemental Planes, a Champion without a deity might channel the fundamental Law and Evil of Hell, or the Chaos and Goodness Elysium.

This.

Alignment is a law of the universe, something more powerful even than the Gods. Drawing power from your steadfast and extreme devotion to it, by being so Lawful Good (or whatever Alignment) that you resonate with that Alignment on a conceptual level so hard that it imparts real power, has thematic resonance in a way that 'this is just another way Gods empower people' doesn't quite match (especially given the weirdness of Champions having more behavior restrictions and yet no more power than Clerics).

I agree completely. Remember that deities are pretty much shackled to their alignment and the alignment of people even restricts the granting of Clerical powers from a given deity.

Not to mention that various deities are served by the same kinds of outsiders. Archons and Devils and Proteans do not seem bound to a given deity.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I guess to me something being a universal cosmic force isn't alone reason for it to be something you can derive power from. Gravity is a universal cosmic force, but I think people would find it weird if the essence of gravity itself empowered a Champion.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
MaxAstro wrote:
I guess to me something being a universal cosmic force isn't alone reason for it to be something you can derive power from. Gravity is a universal cosmic force, but I think people would find it weird if the essence of gravity itself empowered a Champion.

Alignment is a moral universal cosmic force. Gravity is not AFAIK.

Maybe the Spiritual essence has something to do with it :-)


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MaxAstro wrote:
Gravity is a universal cosmic force, but I think people would find it weird if the essence of gravity itself empowered a Champion.

I mean, a void kineticist is plausibly empowered by gravity itself, so I don't see that as a stretch. My question would be "through what does this person channel this cosmic force, and what are the restrictions on doing so." A kineticist, for example, runs the risk of hurting themselves when they channel too much power and this imposes a hard physical limit (you can only take so much burn.)

Dark Archive

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That logic sounds kinda weird to me.

I mean its kinda like saying "Everything is made out of atoms, so atom is more powerful than any object in the world"


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
The Raven Black wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
I guess to me something being a universal cosmic force isn't alone reason for it to be something you can derive power from. Gravity is a universal cosmic force, but I think people would find it weird if the essence of gravity itself empowered a Champion.

Alignment is a moral universal cosmic force. Gravity is not AFAIK.

Maybe the Spiritual essence has something to do with it :-)

Actually, you can make a pretty strong argument IMO that Alignment in Pathfinder has nothing to do with morality. Or at the very least that the relationship is only tangential.

Then again, I'm pretty far on the Chaotic side of the spectrum, so maybe my opinion doesn't count. :P


MaxAstro wrote:

Actually, you can make a pretty strong argument IMO that Alignment in Pathfinder has nothing to do with morality. Or at the very least that the relationship is only tangential.

Then again, I'm pretty far on the Chaotic side of the spectrum, so maybe my opinion doesn't count. :P

I'll bite - how doesn't alignment have to do with morality when one axis is Good vs Evil? That smacks of objective morality to me (not that I believe in objective morality, but that's the way it's phrased).

Of course Law vs Chaos... that's different. That's the struggle of civilization and intellect against the vast, uncomprehensible indifference of the cosmos... but that's the other axis.

But Good and Evil are a matter of morality.

Rebuttal?


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Roswynn wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

Actually, you can make a pretty strong argument IMO that Alignment in Pathfinder has nothing to do with morality. Or at the very least that the relationship is only tangential.

Then again, I'm pretty far on the Chaotic side of the spectrum, so maybe my opinion doesn't count. :P

I'll bite - how doesn't alignment have to do with morality when one axis is Good vs Evil? That smacks of objective morality to me (not that I believe in objective morality, but that's the way it's phrased).

Of course Law vs Chaos... that's different. That's the struggle of civilization and intellect against the vast, uncomprehensible indifference of the cosmos... but that's the other axis.

But Good and Evil are a matter of morality.

Rebuttal?

I would say that "Law VS Chaos" is more like "Community VS Individuality"?

(Not really a rebuttal)


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Roswynn wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

Actually, you can make a pretty strong argument IMO that Alignment in Pathfinder has nothing to do with morality. Or at the very least that the relationship is only tangential.

Then again, I'm pretty far on the Chaotic side of the spectrum, so maybe my opinion doesn't count. :P

I'll bite - how doesn't alignment have to do with morality when one axis is Good vs Evil? That smacks of objective morality to me (not that I believe in objective morality, but that's the way it's phrased).

Of course Law vs Chaos... that's different. That's the struggle of civilization and intellect against the vast, uncomprehensible indifference of the cosmos... but that's the other axis.

But Good and Evil are a matter of morality.

Rebuttal?

IRL good and evil are debated constantly on a societal level and views change over time and in different societies. There is no clear definitive universally agreed upon morality. Instead there are many different often conflicting moral frameworks which can define the same action as good or evil.

In the Pathfinder world there is an objective Good and Evil which can be interacted with using spells such as Detect Evil or things like the Celestial Srocorrer's Heavenly Fire power (Pf1 version) which has objective different effects on good and evil creatures which seems to be independent of the users knowledge of the creature or the creatures opinion of itself. Good and Evil are real defined traits that magic seems to agree on.

Morality has context and is complicated. Good and Evil as defined by the magic in Golarion are absolute.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Elfteiroh wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

Actually, you can make a pretty strong argument IMO that Alignment in Pathfinder has nothing to do with morality. Or at the very least that the relationship is only tangential.

Then again, I'm pretty far on the Chaotic side of the spectrum, so maybe my opinion doesn't count. :P

I'll bite - how doesn't alignment have to do with morality when one axis is Good vs Evil? That smacks of objective morality to me (not that I believe in objective morality, but that's the way it's phrased).

Of course Law vs Chaos... that's different. That's the struggle of civilization and intellect against the vast, uncomprehensible indifference of the cosmos... but that's the other axis.

But Good and Evil are a matter of morality.

Rebuttal?

I would say that "Law VS Chaos" is more like "Community VS Individuality"?

(Not really a rebuttal)

I think Community vs. Individuality have traditionally been more strongly associated with Good vs. Evil in a lot of ways. Neutral Evil has always been the alignment of supreme self-interest; you do what's best for you regardless of the consequences to others. Neutral Good, on the other hand, has always been more about selflessness and helping others regardless of other concerns.

Law and Chaos are more about methodologies and philosophies, the degree to which outside forces (including mortal beings) can/should interfere with natural processes, to what degree those process should be left to work themselves out, and to what goals or ends that interference should work. A being of absolute Law would be disinclined to allow things to "just happen", believing that order and regulation lead to the best results, while a creature of pure Chaos would probably believe that attempting to assert control or order onto a process or event is at best meaningless and at worst harmful.

When you start combining those various philosophies, you get nuance and morality. A Lawful Good individual likely believes that order and regulation are the best way to grow and protect a society, while a Lawful Evil individual likely believes that order and regulation are the most efficient/effective way to advance their own interests.

Liberty's Edge

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MaxAstro wrote:
I guess to me something being a universal cosmic force isn't alone reason for it to be something you can derive power from. Gravity is a universal cosmic force, but I think people would find it weird if the essence of gravity itself empowered a Champion.

Solarians in Starfinder basically can be powered by gravity. And that's thematically awesome.

The reason for a lack of gravity-powered characters in Pathfinder is because gravity as a scientific concept isn't really thematically in tune with fantasy tropes most times, not because, in a world with magic, it couldn't be someone's power source.

Tapping into fundamental forces for power is very cool and I think we should have more of it rather than less.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Bardarok said it as well as I could.

There is also the fact that we have people here disagreeing about what alignments mean and what represents one alignment or another... which is impossible in-setting. Because alignments are facts, not opinions.

In Golarion, if one person thinks Thing A is good and another person thinks Thing A is evil, one of them is objectively, provably wrong.

That all said, there is an alternate interpretation of alignment that I much prefer that makes a lot more sense to me, because it works off the basic idea that few people consider themselves evil.

It's basically set up like this: Good/Evil is the axis of "for whom would you make a personal sacrifice?" A Good character has a wide net here - they would make sacrifices for the benefit of strangers. An Evil character is narrow - only willing to make personal sacrifices for those very close to them.

Meanwhile, Law/Chaos is the axis of "what makes an action good?" On the Lawful side, you have "there is a list of good actions; if you follow this list, you are doing good". On the Chaotic side, it's "an action is good if the outcome was beneficial". If what you did had positive results, then you did good regardless of what you did.

I feel like this interpretation makes it much easier to understand what a character's alignment means. It also has the added advantage that from a moral standpoint, you can argue that there are advantages to all or none of Good, Evil, Law, and Chaos.

Anyway, that's... a bit of a tangent. Sorry. ^^;;

Liberty's Edge

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Michael Sayre wrote:
I think Community vs. Individuality have traditionally been more strongly associated with Good vs. Evil in a lot of ways. Neutral Evil has always been the alignment of supreme self-interest; you do what's best for you regardless of the consequences to others. Neutral Good, on the other hand, has always been more about selflessness and helping others regardless of other concerns.

A focus on individuality and a focus on self interest are not the same thing, IMO. Someone who would start a war to save a single innocent victim of some abuse or atrocity is focusing on the individual over the community, but not in a selfish way, just as one example.

It's a question of whether you think the individual's well-being should be subordinate to that of the community, or the community's to that of the individuals within.

Or that's how they can manifest when you actually care about other people, anyway.

Michael Sayre wrote:
Law and Chaos are more about methodologies and philosophies, the degree to which outside forces (including mortal beings) can/should interfere with natural processes, to what degree those process should be left to work themselves out, and to what goals or ends that interference should work. A being of absolute Law would be disinclined to allow things to "just happen", believing that order and regulation lead to the best results, while a creature of pure Chaos would probably believe that attempting to assert control or order onto a process or event is at best meaningless and at worst harmful.

This is also true to some degree, though it's only true of certain 'natural processed' or there'd be a lot fewer CG vigilantes.

Michael Sayre wrote:
When you start combining those various philosophies, you get nuance and morality. A Lawful Good individual likely believes that order and regulation are the best way to grow and protect a society, while a Lawful Evil individual likely believes that order and regulation are the most efficient/effective way to advance their own interests.

It's definitely a combination of the two axes that results in an actual codified philosophy, yes.


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MaxAstro wrote:
Good points on all sides, guys. I remain attached to Champions having their concept be "holy warrior of a deity" - and I see that as very different from the concept of Clerics, which is "divine conduit of a deity" - but y'all make good points and this is a fun discussion. :)

For me a Paladin[Champion] was one who got their divine powers through the intense desire to hold themselves up to an intense standard that they believed in. This made the most sense to me to be a standard and belief in the way/domain of a deity in any setting that had them, although the concept didn't absolutely have to be tied to a deity.

I know that it wasn't a popular aspect, but I felt a key component of the concept of a Paladin was its ability to fall. Although I often heard Paladins referred to as the Knight in Shining Armor, it wasn't the core of the concept to me, which made thee playtest Paladins a bit of a disappointment for me specifically. Since I liked tailoring their martial nature more towards something that seemed to fit with the god, and/or character concept. They didn't have the convenience of being able to claim the ends might justify the means.

I like the inclusion of the deity components of the Anathema to Champions, I think it was a definite plus. I also like that clerics now talk about Anathema as well.

I'm hoping that somehow there will be future rules/archetypes that will eventually allow me to make an Swashbuckler-ish Champion of some sort.

I'm looking forward to see more of the Redeemer as played in Oblivion Oath. I was really surprised to see a Redeemer of Pharasma, but it certainly seemed like an interesting idea.

Honestly, I don't have a big problem with the mechanics being based on being tied to a particular divinity. If you as a GM and player (or if I decided I wanted to) want to have a Paladin/champion of a Philosophy, it only requires defining such philosophy as a 'pseudo-deity' and agreeing on the specifics with the GM. To me the concept/process makes a lot of sense.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Tapping into fundamental forces for power is very cool and I think we should have more of it rather than less.

I agree, I wonder if we shouldn't have a class (or two) for "tapping into the energy of various planes." Like a class with 9 flavors which is empowered by/can tap the 9 outer planes would effectively replace the Paladin/Champion in my games, assuming it can be built to resemble classic Paladin. Keep a code of conduct as in "in order to draw power from Elysium, your own personal energy has to be compatible with Elysium."

Then we could do the kineticist as "empowered by/can access the inner planes".


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Tapping into fundamental forces for power is very cool and I think we should have more of it rather than less.

I agree, I wonder if we shouldn't have a class (or two) for "tapping into the energy of various planes." Like a class with 9 flavors which is empowered by/can tap the 9 outer planes would effectively replace the Paladin/Champion in my games, assuming it can be built to resemble classic Paladin. Keep a code of conduct as in "in order to draw power from Elysium, your own personal energy has to be compatible with Elysium."

Then we could do the kineticist as "empowered by/can access the inner planes".

You got my vote.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Tapping into fundamental forces for power is very cool and I think we should have more of it rather than less.

I agree, I wonder if we shouldn't have a class (or two) for "tapping into the energy of various planes." Like a class with 9 flavors which is empowered by/can tap the 9 outer planes would effectively replace the Paladin/Champion in my games, assuming it can be built to resemble classic Paladin. Keep a code of conduct as in "in order to draw power from Elysium, your own personal energy has to be compatible with Elysium."

Then we could do the kineticist as "empowered by/can access the inner planes".

You could just do this with a Champion if you had a "deity" entry for each of the outer planes. Probably an easy enough optional rule to implement.


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Malk_Content wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
If you don't swear an oath, don't stick to a code, don't embrace an alignment other than neutrality... okay, so what's special about you?
Voss never said anything about not swearing an oath. If I swear to protect my family AT ALL costs that is a neutral oath in my eyes. A more campaign friendly idea lets take a Wrath of the Rightoues Paladin idea. Swearing an Oath to close the World Wound at all costs leads to a character who would do things that a LG Paladin couldn't in pursuing that goal.

It's a neutral oath because it's an oath that basically anyone could take, though. Doesn't matter if you're LG or CE, caring about the people close to you enough to protect them is something that anyone is quite capable of prioritizing.

Chaotic people are going to value freedom more than people of other alignments. You can make an oath and system of tenets about that. What do True Neutral people value that isn't common among anyone that isn't TN?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Bardarok wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Tapping into fundamental forces for power is very cool and I think we should have more of it rather than less.

I agree, I wonder if we shouldn't have a class (or two) for "tapping into the energy of various planes." Like a class with 9 flavors which is empowered by/can tap the 9 outer planes would effectively replace the Paladin/Champion in my games, assuming it can be built to resemble classic Paladin. Keep a code of conduct as in "in order to draw power from Elysium, your own personal energy has to be compatible with Elysium."

Then we could do the kineticist as "empowered by/can access the inner planes".

You could just do this with a Champion if you had a "deity" entry for each of the outer planes. Probably an easy enough optional rule to implement.

I considered a Champion of the elemental planes and thought of Kineticist too, but the flavor is too different IMO. That said, I think a Champion of the elements could be the TN Champion we were looking for.


Well unless I missed something a champion’s deity’s tenants and anathema are prioritized over any strictly alignment based ones. I’m not sure how I feel about this as a whole but honestly IMO it would be the only way that a TN champion could even be viable. Without a deity to give them direction I don’t think there is anything strong enough in the alignment alone to make a functional code

Liberty's Edge

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Michael Sayre wrote:
I think Community vs. Individuality have traditionally been more strongly associated with Good vs. Evil in a lot of ways. Neutral Evil has always been the alignment of supreme self-interest; you do what's best for you regardless of the consequences to others. Neutral Good, on the other hand, has always been more about selflessness and helping others regardless of other concerns.

A focus on individuality and a focus on self interest are not the same thing, IMO. Someone who would start a war to save a single innocent victim of some abuse or atrocity is focusing on the individual over the community, but not in a selfish way, just as one example.

It's a question of whether you think the individual's well-being should be subordinate to that of the community, or the community's to that of the individuals within.

Or that's how they can manifest when you actually care about other people, anyway.

Michael Sayre wrote:
Law and Chaos are more about methodologies and philosophies, the degree to which outside forces (including mortal beings) can/should interfere with natural processes, to what degree those process should be left to work themselves out, and to what goals or ends that interference should work. A being of absolute Law would be disinclined to allow things to "just happen", believing that order and regulation lead to the best results, while a creature of pure Chaos would probably believe that attempting to assert control or order onto a process or event is at best meaningless and at worst harmful.

This is also true to some degree, though it's only true of certain 'natural processed' or there'd be a lot fewer CG vigilantes.

Michael Sayre wrote:
When you start combining those various philosophies, you get nuance and morality. A Lawful Good individual likely believes that order and regulation are the best way to grow and protect a society, while a Lawful Evil individual likely believes that order and regulation are the most efficient/effective
...

Most enlightening debate. Big thanks to all involved.

To me, Alignment is 2 things : the axes and the concept.

I feel that its 2 axes are complementary. To me, Law vs Chaos is how you react to outside force affecting you. What is your reflex : do you follow it or do you oppose it ?

And Good vs Evil is what happens when you are the one affecting others. Are they better or worse for it ?

The concept of Alignment then has its roots IMO in predicting how a given character will likely act. A Good character has a higher probability of doing a Good act rather than an Evil one. Same for all components of Alignment. This makes Alignment a two-words shorthand for a given character's likely behavior. Talk about design efficiency.

The latter view is actually the basis for my take on Paladins, or Champions. Characters who go beyond being likely to act in a given way and strive to ALWAYS act this way. It is this single-minded dedication to absolute ideals that I see as opening the gate for the powers bestowed on a Champion, even though the source and specifics of these powers can vary based on your choice of cosmology.

No matter if you decide that Champions are powered by gods or planes or the universe itself, IMO if the Champion does not have the utter devotion to their ideals including their alignment, they just cannot channel their powers. Without it, a key component is missing.


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I think "Champions" are people who take an idea, concept, cause, or goal greater than themselves, and run with it until the job is done or they are. A Champion of LG is one who seeks to preserve order and wellbeing above all else, while CE would >champion< selfishness and pride, holding oneself above others in terms of value. You don't need a god to tell you to protect the weak, or be a dick, but a god who's tenants are as such might reward you for furthering their ideals, especially if you commune with said god on a regular basis, so I think separating gods from Champions is a hard thing to pull off. Wit that, I think a "cause" for a TN Champ might be "humans should do the human things, and outsiders should bug off", seeking a more isolationist world where, while the gods influence the land because they're GODS, demon, devils, elementals and angels alike shouldn't be on Golarian unless they have a VERY good reason. Also, purging the "filth" of undead is considered good, but other (not evil) things try to subvert the cycle of life and death on a regular basis as well, and those are equally abhorrent to Pharasma. While Nethys himself might look funny at a non-caster underling, the idea of "Self perfection" is not alien to his cause, nor is it necessarily good or evil (a bit more towards chaos than law, but meh) so some self-improvement based calling might fit them. As always, the musings of a random 20 something on break at work ;)


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Not sure if this is on topic or not but I have decided on one thing I like about champions being tied to deities. It will (hopefully) cut down on the Lawful Stupid interpretation that was common in the past. Now that’s pretty much just champions of Abadar’s territory.

I suppose it also adds some much needed diversity of perspectives for the class. In the past I often felt that if you’d met one paladin you’d met them all. Not much room for variation. Very boring. Getting rid of the deity requirement and making it purely on the ideals of an alignment would continue that problem in my eyes.


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Raylyeh wrote:

Not sure if this is on topic or not but I have decided on one thing I like about champions being tied to deities. It will (hopefully) cut down on the Lawful Stupid interpretation that was common in the past. Now that’s pretty much just champions of Abadar’s territory.

I suppose it also adds some much needed diversity of perspectives for the class. In the past I often felt that if you’d met one paladin you’d met them all. Not much room for variation. Very boring. Getting rid of the deity requirement and making it purely on the ideals of an alignment would continue that problem in my eyes.

I agree that having paladins of different deities certainly produces more varied and diverse characters even when they're all LG: Iomedae vs Sarenrae vs Apsu vs Torag... they should all be different.

I disagree that champions of Abadar should be Lawful Stupid. I think they should either be LG paladins or LN [insert name of appropriate champions], but if you're playing them right, they're not Lawful Stupid.

Reason: following Abadar means being patient, hard-working and calculating, avoiding and rejecting rashness, waste, fanaticism, mindless generosity, lack of discipline and self-control (and vice, relatedly), understanding that both altruism and (more or less) enlightened self-interest can enrich society as a whole (and oneself as an individual, in the very real sense of wealth and comfort) and that no decision brings equal benefit to everyone; it means solving problems through diplomacy, politics and trade, seeing efficiency and optimal use of resources as beneficial to all, and promoting laws that are wise, clear, relevant and purposeful and encourage order and peace.

This is not Lawful Stupid. This is damn smart, in a very concrete, down-to-earth sort of way. It's not following some nebulous ideal of goodness towards all or destruction of fiends and "evil" beings - it's a perfect philosophy for a lot of city-dwelling people of all social classes. A lot of common people, that is, which after all are still magnitudes more numerous than adventurers.

I'm not saying Lawful Stupid doesn't exist. I'm saying it doesn't exist on Golarion as such. It's poor roleplaying. A player (or GM!) can play a character as Lawful Stupid whether they actually are LG, LN, LE... it's enough that the individual doesn't really understand the underlying philosophy, or can't actually have the PC or NPC follow it coherently enough. Then you get Lawful Stupid.

But a little experience and open-mindedness tend to fix that too.


Sorry if I wasn’t clear. I agree that Abadar isn’t LS. I was just referring to an all to common poor role playing choice that people make when playing paladins and that I actually like that it doesn’t fly with the new system with the possible exception of Abadar. It isn’t how his champions should be played but it is a conceivably possible interpretation people could follow with his code.


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Raylyeh wrote:
Sorry if I wasn’t clear. I agree that Abadar isn’t LS. I was just referring to an all to common poor role playing choice that people make when playing paladins and that I actually like that it doesn’t fly with the new system with the possible exception of Abadar. It isn’t how his champions should be played but it is a conceivably possible interpretation people could follow with his code.

Mmm, now I get it. And yes, it might be easier for the player of a champion of Abadar to fall into Lawful Stupid territory... Irori too, thinking about it (perhaps). My experience with Iomedae tells me if someone doesn't have a bit of experience, her emphasis on honor and duty could result in something similar too.

Of course, Nocticula and Calistria might give rise to Chaotic Stupid characters (I considered adding Gorum, but I foresee that his faith will mostly attract WH40K fans, much more than murderhobos - he's a lot like Khorne, just not evil).

I think you're right, the tenets/anathema system should help a lot in regard to paladins and other champions, because it clearly tells you what you're supposed to do and what you're not. I guess there will still be somewhat lacking interpretations of various champions, but this time around I think it will be easier. Even TN champions, which could really be problematic, should appear a lot clearer when taking into consideration the actual deity being followed.


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As a 40k fan I take offense! Yes Gorum fits with Khorne but don’t leave the others out! Urgathoa could be adapted for Nurgle, Calistria for Slaanesh and Nethys can be pretty readily converted to Tzeentch. With the exception of Khorne, adding a few bits of Lamashtu’s portfolio fleshes them out as well.

Lol, I don’t take offense, though if I were to channel my 40k tastes into a character PF isn’t the game I’d do it with.


Raylyeh wrote:

As a 40k fan I take offense! Yes Gorum fits with Khorne but don’t leave the others out! Urgathoa could be adapted for Nurgle, Calistria for Slaanesh and Nethys can be pretty readily converted to Tzeentch. With the exception of Khorne, adding a few bits of Lamashtu’s portfolio fleshes them out as well.

Lol, I don’t take offense, though if I were to channel my 40k tastes into a character PF isn’t the game I’d do it with.

Interesting choice of gods!

I don't know, they're certainly very different, but a player who's a 40k fan remarked that being a cleric/fighter of Gorum was vaguely similar to worshipping Khorne, at least if the guy weren't so damn bloodthirsty and, in all honesty, friggin' evil.

Somehow the parallel comes more readily to me than comparing him to Mars, Ares, Tyr, Oya... too many rpgs probably ;)


Khorne hates magic of any kind. I would honestly suggest that anyone who created a character based on his followers should be fully martial. You are correct, one should not compare Khorne to any classical war deity in part because he isn’t a war deity. He is a very different beast. Violence itself is all he really cares about.


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The Eldar deities are a bit trickier. Kaela Mensha Khaine more than likely falls into the Gorum category. Cegorach is a weird amalgam of Norgorber and Desna maybe? Isha is a pretty stereotypical fertility goddess but PF doesn’t have one of those so Erastil I guess? The new goddess, Ynnead I’m honestly not super familiar with but she is a goddess of death but not at all like Pharasma. I’m not sure how you’d make her.
The Ork gods Gork and Mork despite their (slight) differences, no surprise, Gorum.
And because I’m a completionist. The Emperor (in the fiction it’s pretty clear he is an actual god by most definitions) a mix of Abadar and Iomedae.

Lol it can pretty easily be argued that Isha is the only good deity in 40K. Though I will note that despite being evil on the alignment spectrum, Grandfather Nurgle is such a nice guy!

Oh and add aspects of Urgathoa to the Slaanesh mix.

And that is enough 40K derailment. Sorry all.


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Roswynn wrote:
Of course, Nocticula and Calistria might give rise to Chaotic Stupid characters (I considered adding Gorum, but I foresee that his faith will mostly attract WH40K fans, much more than murderhobos - he's a lot like Khorne, just not evil).

I mean, of those three Calistria is the only one that can actually have champions at this point. Nocticula doesn't have an official PF2 write-up and Gorum doesn't have CG clerics (so would by extension have no liberators).


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I still think Gorum should have CG followers and the only reason he doesn't is because Paizo hates orcs but that's not going to change at this point.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
I still think Gorum should have CG followers and the only reason he doesn't is because Paizo hates orcs but that's not going to change at this point.

GORUM! GORUM! GORUM! GORUM!

CG orc warpriest of Gorum much better than silly goblins!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Champion multiclassing as Cleric (or vice versa) sounds intriguing.

What about a Champion of a deity who multiclasses as Cleric of another ?
If the anathemas are compatible, it could make for an interesting character.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, of those three Calistria is the only one that can actually have champions at this point. Nocticula doesn't have an official PF2 write-up and Gorum doesn't have CG clerics (so would by extension have no liberators).

Yes, most champions of Noctie and Calistria should be CN, and we won't see those for a while. But the Chaotic Stupid problem arises expressedly with that alignment.

Also Noctie could very well be present in 2e, even though she wasn't in the playtest. After all it's 4719 on Golarion now, which means all the APs have taken place and a lot of stuff has changed.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
I still think Gorum should have CG followers and the only reason he doesn't is because Paizo hates orcs but that's not going to change at this point.

But Gorum's anathema is essentially impossible for a good person (or a person who stays good) to follow. Like it prohibits "avoiding fighting for any reason."

We should probably have a "war god" for CG people, but it shouldn't be the "fight anybody, all the time, for any reason, and never turn down an opportunity to fight" one.

Dark Archive

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Yeaaah, I'm in the camp that "CG followers of Gorum makes no sense".


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
I still think Gorum should have CG followers and the only reason he doesn't is because Paizo hates orcs but that's not going to change at this point.

But Gorum's anathema is essentially impossible for a good person (or a person who stays good) to follow. Like it prohibits "avoiding fighting for any reason."

We should probably have a "war god" for CG people, but it shouldn't be the "fight anybody, all the time, for any reason, and never turn down an opportunity to fight" one.

Anything Paizo added as an anathema is just post-hoc justification for the alignment shift; I don't have the exact text of the anathema on hand but as written by you that makes it impossible for anyone to participate in a society without losing Gorum's favor. Gorum as presented in Inner Sea Gods isn't quite that stupid, he expects his followers to prefer battle as means of conflict resolution and if you can otherwise expect regular conflict where you are then duels and tournaments suffice as a temporary solution to keep your blood boiling.

It's true that a peaceful village is a poor place for a Gorumite to be, but this is Golarion. There will never be a time where a CG Gorumite can't find a conflict in which he is not fighting a literal embodiment of evil.

Ultimately my main issue is less Gorum's revision itself (though I really hate that too) and more in the fact that the one traditional orc deity that could have good followers no longer does, which means that to be a good orc you have to be less of an orc.

Dark Archive

But not every follower of Gorumite is a cleric <_< You'd think that clerics have stricter rules than normal followers


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CorvusMask wrote:
But not every follower of Gorumite is a cleric <_< You'd think that clerics have stricter rules than normal followers

You think James Jacobs would be cool with an LG follower of Asmodeus? Those alignment restrictions apply to everyone, not just clerics.

Dark Archive

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Arachnofiend wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
But not every follower of Gorumite is a cleric <_< You'd think that clerics have stricter rules than normal followers
You think James Jacobs would be cool with an LG follower of Asmodeus? Those alignment restrictions apply to everyone, not just clerics.

Hmm, show me were it says that since I honestly can't remember?

That said, it would be kinda hard to be LG Asmodeus worship since it would be like "So uh, if you don't approve of slavery, tyranny, cruelty, etc, WHY do you worship Asmodeus?" While playing Gorum for prowess in battle sounds like something CG barbarian character could do.


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CorvusMask wrote:
Yeaaah, I'm in the camp that "CG followers of Gorum makes no sense".

Especially not Liberators. Liberation is very much a non-Gorum kind of thing. Gorum cares about fighting. Full stop. For a Gorumite, joining some fight that others have for a possibly noble cause is ok as a pretext, but that's someone else's cause, not thiers. Their cause is just to fight. So a dedication to helping others is very much against the basic worldview. There is nothing good at all about Gorum, the best that can be said for him is he's not actively evil (well at least in the Pathfinder alignment sense). And while I haven't seen an explicit mention of such, it really seems to me like Gorumites would hold anyone who needs someone else to liberate them in contempt. Their focus is so much on strength and willingness to fight. So if someone isn't going to fight for themself, then they're useless. So no, he really doesn't make any sense as a Liberator patron. If someone is going to be on the Liberator path, there are other deities that actually give a crap about people, and thus make infinitesimally more sense as a patron.

I figure there might be some CG people giving him lip-service, but they can't be following him all that closely, pretty much by definition. Being good is in conflict with the concept of war just for the hell of it. Gorum was probably the biggest problem with the One Step rule for Cleric alignments. Yog-Sothoth being another particularly nonsensical one.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

That is your take on Gorum. Mine is different and quite compatible with CG.

Gorum's question is "Will you fight ?".

There are many CG people and especially adventurers who would say YES.

Dark Archive

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The Raven Black wrote:

To me, Alignment is 2 things : the axes and the concept.

I feel that its 2 axes are complementary. To me, Law vs Chaos is how you react to outside force affecting you. What is your reflex : do you follow it or do you oppose it ?

And Good vs Evil is what happens when you are the one affecting others. Are they better or worse for it ?

I see it as a more selfish/selfless sort of thing.

A law vs. chaos divide seems more concerned with the process than the results. Am I accepting the wisdom of those who came before and following the law? Am I bucking authority and making my own way? It's more concerned with what the person is doing, than the effect their actions are having on others around them (hence my calling it more 'selfish' or, a less loaded term, perhaps, self-focused).

A good vs. evil divide seems more concerned with the results than the process. Did what we did benefit the people or harm them? It doesn't matter as much what the process was, or 'how we got there,' so much as what we accomplished to better (or worsen!) the world on the way.

In any event, the law vs. chaos divide has rarely gotten more than lip service since before the A was added to 'AD&D.' The Paladin, for instance, for years has been Lawful Good only, and yet, really, all of it's mechanics and flavor, have been focused on the good vs. evil axes, and the law vs. chaos side of things has been utterly ignored. (Although other game elements, such as PF's Hellknight PrC, have toyed with a 'lawful Paladin' of sorts, some of which have had abilities to detect chaos and smite chaos.)

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