Chewing on Champions


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Doktor Weasel wrote:
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.

And where do we get rocking good fights?

*Slave revolts.*

Yeah, we could let them toil out of sight in mines or whatever for the rest of their short boring lives, or we could sneak them weapons and scraps of armor and encourage them to fight (and maybe die) gloriously for their freedom. Are we abolitionists? Eh. Sorta. At least some of us are here mostly for the fighting. But any institution that prevents people from fighting (or carrying weapons or wearing armor), as chattel slavery so often does in places like Cheliax, is annoying.

Now if you organize your slaves into militias, that's another thing. But if you forbid them from carrying weapons or learning to fight? That's a problem that can be solved in the traditional Gorumite method of introducing a sharp thing to your soft bits repeatedly with great enthusiasm.


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Set wrote:
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.

Not utterly, IME - when you play an LG paladin in my games, you have to act primarily "Good", but also, and not as an after-thought, "Lawful". While running WotR my paladin of Iomedae player was doing really, really well, but he consistently ignored that Iomedae wants you to act honorably and honestly, which are definitely Lawful traits I think.

He's a great strategist and tactician, so he often attracted enemies into traps and ambushes, used the letter of the law, and other smart and effective techniques - but Iomedae doesn't want you to be smart and effective as much as a beacon of honor and forthrightness for all to follow. You just can't impeach your dignity and character with little tricks like those.

Fortunately the player used it as a springboard to play out a crisis of faith for his paladin and it was a great experience, but my point was - Good is key, but Law should not be tossed aside lightly ("but with great force" to quote Dorothy Parker - J/K).

In any case, even though objective morality really isn't my cup of tea (nor in general my players') and I could houserule alignment away at some point, I really hope we have very clear, very well delineated descriptions of what the devs mean for each step in both alignment axes. Also, the playtest paladin had an almost perfectly defined code of conduct to follow, so I personally hope that stayed more or less the same.


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So why does Calistria have CG clergy but not Gorum?


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Bardarok wrote:

So why does Calistria have CG clergy but not Gorum?

Calistria's doctrine is compatible for a good person to follow in a way Gorum's isn't? Like Calistria's fundamentally about 3 things: Bangin', Deception, and sweet sweet revenge. First two are absolutely compatible with Good (I mean, CG is the "I'm a good person who lies all the time" alignment). So the question just comes down to revenge. I can see a good person in Calistria's clergy would just have boundaries and higher standards for what constitutes appropriate revenge.

I mean, her anathema prevents you from letting a slight go unanswered. One could insist your answer be measured, appropriate, and instructive and remain good.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Bardarok wrote:

So why does Calistria have CG clergy but not Gorum?

Calistria's doctrine is compatible for a good person to follow in a way Gorum's isn't? Like Calistria's fundamentally about 3 things: Bangin', Deception, and sweet sweet revenge. First two are absolutely compatible with Good (I mean, CG is the "I'm a good person who lies all the time" alignment). So the question just comes down to revenge. I can see a good person in Calistria's clergy would just have boundaries and higher standards for what constitutes appropriate revenge.

I mean, her anathema prevents you from letting a slight go unanswered. One could insist your answer be measured, appropriate, and instructive and remain good.

So from the playtest text for Gorum:

"Edicts: attain victory in fair combat, push your limits

Anathema: kill prisoners or surrendering foes, prevent conflict through negotiation, win a battle through underhanded tactics or indirect magic"

So the problematic one is the anathema to prevent conflict through negotiation

It's extreame for sure but I wouldn't say that is incompatible with good. It also doesn't requiere you to kill people either since if they surrender its anathema to kill them. It's just the belief that in a cruel world words are cheap.


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I feel that the big difference is that Calistria does allow (and indeed encourage) her people to draw their own boundaries in a way Gorum really doesn't. Like a cleric of Calistria in the role of a sacred prostitute is free to choose their own assignations, but a cleric of Gorum can't really say "no, I won't fight for this particular side or in this particular conflict."

At least that's how I see it.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I feel that the big difference is that Calistria does allow (and indeed encourage) her people to draw their own boundaries in a way Gorum really doesn't. Like a cleric of Calistria in the role of a sacred prostitute is free to choose their own assignations, but a cleric of Gorum can't really say "no, I won't fight for this particular side or in this particular conflict."

At least that's how I see it.

I agree that it doesnt' make sense for a Gorum cleric to sit out a conflict but I see no reason why they wouldn't be able to freely pick which side they want to fight for. But im just going on my assumptions plus what the playbook says I don't have any real Golarion experience though Im considering running a Golarion adventure to try out the final PF2 rules.


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Set wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
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.

And where do we get rocking good fights?

*Slave revolts.*

Yeah, we could let them toil out of sight in mines or whatever for the rest of their short boring lives, or we could sneak them weapons and scraps of armor and encourage them to fight (and maybe die) gloriously for their freedom. Are we abolitionists? Eh. Sorta. At least some of us are here mostly for the fighting. But any institution that prevents people from fighting (or carrying weapons or wearing armor), as chattel slavery so often does in places like Cheliax, is annoying.

Now if you organize your slaves into militias, that's another thing. But if you forbid them from carrying weapons or learning to fight? That's a problem that can be solved in the traditional Gorumite method of introducing a sharp thing to your soft bits repeatedly with great enthusiasm.

Sure, but none of that is good. A mercenary who helps the oppressed for a sack of cash is not good if they're just in it for the money. The oppressed are just another client, not a righteous cause. Likewise a Gorumite in it just for an excuse to kill things or to get more people out their killing, isn't good, they're a psychopath. "Oh boy, here I go killing again!" Motivation matters a lot when you get into alignment. So it still doesn't fit a CG liberator at all. It's just a CN psycho who finds slave revolts a good excuse for bloodshed.

I'm sure a lot of this comes from point of view. But I find war and conflict to be inherently evil, unless it's done for a just cause. Since Gorum's core tenet is that reasons for conflict are unimportant, and all that matters is cracking skulls, I don't see how it can be compatible with good, especially with a supposed champion of good.


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I think the big difference between Calistria and Gorum is that Calistria cares a lot about context and Gorum really doesn't. Like trickery is sacred to Calistria but she doesn't have her clergy deceive everybody all of the time about everything- she has her people choose when to be deceptive in order to further their own goals.

Why I have a real hard time seeing Good Gorumites is that there are a great number of conflicts which could easily be resolved short of violence (e.g. "you have not paid the agreed upon price for this fruit!", "this fruit was not of the agreed upon quality!") but it even if the situation could be resolve through compromise, an exchange of money or goods, or just an apology in every case the devout Gorumite says "no, you should fight to figure it out". Someone who advocates for violence as the resolution for every conceivable conflict need not necessarily be evil, but they really can't be good.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I think the big difference between Calistria and Gorum is that Calistria cares a lot about context and Gorum really doesn't. Like trickery is sacred to Calistria but she doesn't have her clergy deceive everybody all of the time about everything- she has her people choose when to be deceptive in order to further their own goals.

Why I have a real hard time seeing Good Gorumites is that there are a great number of conflicts which could easily be resolved short of violence (e.g. "you have not paid the agreed upon price for this fruit!", "this fruit was not of the agreed upon quality!") but it even if the situation could be resolve through compromise, an exchange of money or goods, or just an apology in every case the devout Gorumite says "no, you should fight to figure it out". Someone who advocates for violence as the resolution for every conceivable conflict need not necessarily be evil, but they really can't be good.

Is that supported in the rest of Golarion lore? That seems so stupid to me. Does that mean that the only hero god for a CG warrior character is the drunk human?

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I get that it is harder for a true Gorumite to be Good. I heavily dislike that it has become IMPOSSIBLE.

But then, as I wrote in another thread on the very same topic, I was already accustomed to CN being used as CE-lite. It being used as CG-lite will be a novelty but hardly world-shaking


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Depending on what you call a "hero god"; I'd say Sarenrae should be right at home for a CG warrior-hero.

And PossibleCabbage's example is straight from Gorum's anathema - "preventing a fight through negotiation". If two people are mad at each other and there is the possibility they may fight, doing anything but encouraging them to fight is against Gorum's code.


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I mean, two merchants are arguing about price/quality or something not being finished by the agreed upon date for some exchange of goods and services, Gorum's Anathema says "you can't prevent conflict through negotiation" so at the very least you are literally prohibited from helping.


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Did I miss an important change somewhere, or is it still the case that non-cleric non-champion mere worshipers of a god can be any alignment they want (outside PFS) or any alignment within one step of the god (in PFS), regardless of what restrictions clerics and champions of that god may be under?


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MaxAstro wrote:

Depending on what you call a "hero god"; I'd say Sarenrae should be right at home for a CG warrior-hero.

And PossibleCabbage's example is straight from Gorum's anathema - "preventing a fight through negotiation". If two people are mad at each other and there is the possibility they may fight, doing anything but encouraging them to fight is against Gorum's code.

I guess by hero God I literally mean like Kord from the DnD 3.0 core rulebook. CG good of strength and war. That type of deity has always been the most popular type of god for my players and for me personally, it just seems to fit the adventuring lifestyle very well. My homebrewed version of that god is named... Bardarok and is also associated with the more good leaning orc tribes in the world so I guess it's just a strong personal preference. Sarenrae is a fine god (and I also have basically a Sarenrae proxy in my homebrew pantheon), and the drunk guy is interesting but neither really fill that niche that I think Gorum would be better suited for. That said I guess if I run a Golarion game I'll just house-rule it and stick with the PF1 lore where CG clerics would be allowed.


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Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Did I miss an important change somewhere, or is it still the case that non-cleric non-champion mere worshipers of a god can be any alignment they want (outside PFS) or any alignment within one step of the god (in PFS), regardless of what restrictions clerics and champions of that god may be under?

Clerics and Champions (presumably, since Paladins were) are bound to be within the range of alignments specified for a deity. But there aren't any other rules for people worshiping gods.

Indeed there shouldn't be, because for someone not especially devout it should be conceivable for that same person to pray to, say, both Desna (for luck or before going on a trip) and Abadar (before dealing with some bureaucrats).


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Bardarok wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

Depending on what you call a "hero god"; I'd say Sarenrae should be right at home for a CG warrior-hero.

And PossibleCabbage's example is straight from Gorum's anathema - "preventing a fight through negotiation". If two people are mad at each other and there is the possibility they may fight, doing anything but encouraging them to fight is against Gorum's code.

I guess by hero God I literally mean like Kord from the DnD 3.0 core rulebook. CG good of strength and war. That type of deity has always been the most popular type of god for my players and for me personally, it just seems to fit the adventuring lifestyle very well. My homebrewed version of that god is named... Bardarok and is also associated with the more good leaning orc tribes in the world so I guess it's just a strong personal preference. Sarenrae is a fine god (and I also have basically a Sarenrae proxy in my homebrew pantheon), and the drunk guy is interesting but neither really fill that niche that I think Gorum would be better suited for. That said I guess if I run a Golarion game I'll just house-rule it and stick with the PF1 lore where CG clerics would be allowed.

I think you would like Milani. Is a shame she is not on the core 20.

https://pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Milani


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Alaryth wrote:

I think you would like Milani. Is a shame she is not on the core 20.

https://pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Milani

I do! Thanks for pointing that out.


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I think the summary is "to gain tangible benefits from a god you must be one of their approved alignments".


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Regarding the worship of Gorum being compatible or not with being good, I'm reminded of the Star Trek IKS Gorkon series, a trilogy of books written with a Klingon crew as the main characters (you know, to seek out new life and new civilizations and conquer them).

Spoilered because not everyone is a Trekkie and might find this a dull read

Spoiler:
At one point, the crew has encountered a new planet full of people with a tribal level of technology. Easily conquered if the Gorkon brought all of its technological superiority to bear, but what would be the point of that?

The Gorkon starts with a smaller landing party with limited weaponry and against that, the natives prove a formidable foe, one worthy of respect (even though they still have to be conquered). Meanwhile, the natives have become aware that the Klingons are far better armed and have the ability to all but snap their fingers to end the fight if they so choose. So, the natives call for a parley.

For the purposes of determining how to continue the conflict going forward so as to preserve the honor of both sides.

You see, the natives didn't even have a word for peace. They welcomed the continued violence, so long as both sides had a fair shot. They ended up with a series of challenges, all based on physical prowess, two of which the natives won, two of which the Klingons won. The last one ended with the defeat of the Klingon captain, but before he could surrender (and yes, he was going to), the native he fought stepped out of bounds, resulting in his defeat.

Neither side realized this at the time. Instead, the captain of the Gorkon acknowledged their victory and when other, less honorable, Klingons came to force the natives' surrender, the Gorkon fought to defend their freedom. The Gorkon won, only for the natives to bring up their defeat by technicality and accept Klingon rule. You see, during the battle, the natives became aware that Klingons also had far better medical abilities.

So it came to be that another world came under the Klingon banner due to Klingons having good doctors. Who knew that was even possible?

The point is that I don't see a conflict between an anathema against preventing conflict through negotiation and being good so long as you read that anathema as more "you can negotiate all you want, as long as violence is still somehow involved, even if barely more than an arm-wrestling contest".


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Alaryth wrote:
Bardarok wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

Depending on what you call a "hero god"; I'd say Sarenrae should be right at home for a CG warrior-hero.

And PossibleCabbage's example is straight from Gorum's anathema - "preventing a fight through negotiation". If two people are mad at each other and there is the possibility they may fight, doing anything but encouraging them to fight is against Gorum's code.

I guess by hero God I literally mean like Kord from the DnD 3.0 core rulebook. CG good of strength and war. That type of deity has always been the most popular type of god for my players and for me personally, it just seems to fit the adventuring lifestyle very well. My homebrewed version of that god is named... Bardarok and is also associated with the more good leaning orc tribes in the world so I guess it's just a strong personal preference. Sarenrae is a fine god (and I also have basically a Sarenrae proxy in my homebrew pantheon), and the drunk guy is interesting but neither really fill that niche that I think Gorum would be better suited for. That said I guess if I run a Golarion game I'll just house-rule it and stick with the PF1 lore where CG clerics would be allowed.

I think you would like Milani. Is a shame she is not on the core 20.

https://pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Milani

Yeah, Milani is probably the actual best fit for the Liberator champion, even more so than the core gods. Much like Iomedae is The Paladin God (there are others who are acceptable for paladins, but she's the one who is a paladin), Milani is the Liberator God.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, two merchants are arguing about price/quality or something not being finished by the agreed upon date for some exchange of goods and services, Gorum's Anathema says "you can't prevent conflict through negotiation" so at the very least you are literally prohibited from helping.

You are prohibited from negotiating to help solve this without conflict. It does not mean you have to prevent others from doing the negotiation. Just like PF1 Paladins did not have to prevent others from acting dishonorably.

A Gorumite embraces conflict because they earnestly believe that it strengthens people. By their reasoning, violence is unavoidable, so you'd better expect and even embrace it rather than let peace make you weak, an easy prey to be butchered or enslaved by the strong.


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Tectorman wrote:

Regarding the worship of Gorum being compatible or not with being good, I'm reminded of the Star Trek IKS Gorkon series, a trilogy of books written with a Klingon crew as the main characters (you know, to seek out new life and new civilizations and conquer them).

Spoilered because not everyone is a Trekkie and might find this a dull read
** spoiler omitted **...

That was a very good read, especially since I always end up running orcs basically as TNG Klingons instead of complete bloodthirsty monsters.


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Bardarok wrote:
Tectorman wrote:

Regarding the worship of Gorum being compatible or not with being good, I'm reminded of the Star Trek IKS Gorkon series, a trilogy of books written with a Klingon crew as the main characters (you know, to seek out new life and new civilizations and conquer them).

Spoilered because not everyone is a Trekkie and might find this a dull read
** spoiler omitted **...

That was a very good read, especially since I always end up running orcs basically as TNG Klingons instead of complete bloodthirsty monsters.

Then I'll also recommend the Klingon Art of War, also by Keith R. A. DeCandido, which goes a long way towards the whys and the mindset.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

OD&D borrowed heavily from the fiction of Michael Moorcock's fantasy worlds in terms of alignment. Law versus Chaos, with the Cosmic Balance holding both in check.

I envision a champion of True Neutral would serve deities like the Grey Lords from Moorcock's fiction who hold up preserving Neutrality and the Cosmic Balance above all else. In practice, role-playing this could be tricky though unless the campaign had a clear "save the world" theme where the PCs are fighting to prevent evil (or good) from taking over.

Dark Archive

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Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Did I miss an important change somewhere, or is it still the case that non-cleric non-champion mere worshipers of a god can be any alignment they want (outside PFS) or any alignment within one step of the god (in PFS), regardless of what restrictions clerics and champions of that god may be under?

I'd always imagined that Cheliax and Nidal, to pick two nations with dominant LE religions, have tons of people who quietly worship Asmodeus and Zon-Kuthon *because that's what one does* and yet are mostly Neutral and not terribly interested in Lawful or Evil concerns.

For that matter, I'm sure there are slavers in Qadira and Casmaron who pray every week at the temple of Sarenrae, *because everyone does,* and aren't particularly 'Good.'

Lots of gods and their faiths are cultural or regional or widely followed by a particular ethnicity, and I could see someone growing up in that culture following the family faith without getting all caught up in emulating the god's example in their personal life, like a Szarni whose family has *always* supported the faith of Desna, and still gives a (tiny) share of his ill-gotten booty to the local priestess, despite being NE and not even remotely a nice guy. She's 'his' god, after all, even if Norgorber might be more in line with his personal practices, he still grew up to respect the lady of luck and travelers, bringer of sweet dreams, who, for all her Chaotic Good-ness, still has a lot of relevant areas of concern to a traveling crook who equally avoids getting tied down, bad night's sleep over things, and rotten luck.

She's not going to do crap for him, but so long as he doesn't try to take a level of 'Cleric of Desna,' that makes him pretty much like everyone else.


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I think in Cheliax you tend to find more than your regular share of Lawful people simply because Chelish culture is so fixated with the letter of the law, exploiting loopholes, hierarchies (both ascending them and trying to avoid being crushed by them), family, and societally approved methods.

I'm 100% sure most common people are neutral though, not evil. Most will still worship Asmodeus, but Iomedae is the second most well-regarded deity in Cheliax, while Abadar certainly has an honored place in the heart of many, Erastil will often be one of the main rural gods, and people who are tired of the diabolist Thrune dictatorship will very secretly worship Milani (trying to avoid being caught by the Order of the Rack's torturers and executioners).

Slavery has a definite place in Keleshite society and I agree that at least some slavers, the least ruthless, will worship Sarenrae and even try to uphold her tenets a bit. There's also room for Evil slavers who worship her just because her faith is the official one there, but I bet the most vicious don't give a s#$+ about her and enjoy blaspheming her (as long as they won't face harsh consequences, so probably not in front of her most powerful dervishes...). The Dawnflower though isn't the only faith in the huge Keleshite empire by a long stretch and Abadar, Calistria, Lamashtu, Rovagug, Nurgal, Ahriman and various archfiends could actually be favored by actually Evil slavers and other really bad people.

I think most humans are simply Neutral, but that doesn't stop them from trying to ask forgiveness to a Good deity or placating an Evil one, and most have heard of various deities and related beings and will have a prayer for most of them, at least at different times. Not everyone is a cleric or a champion.


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In a world where you run a big risk of being eaten by trolls or manticores every time you leave a community (and sometimes even when you are still in the community), I would argue that Joe Human Commoner has a lot of incentive to lean to lawfulness if not actually be lawful, because stronger communities increase your odds of safety, and historically the best method for making stronger communities is to have community members having high levels of buy-in (and lets face it, lawful="tendency to buy in to a social group").

Crazy adventurers who willingly go into undead-filled dungeons are another matter all together....

Liberty's Edge

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Mechagamera wrote:
In a world where you run a big risk of being eaten by trolls or manticores every time you leave a community (and sometimes even when you are still in the community), I would argue that Joe Human Commoner has a lot of incentive to lean to lawfulness if not actually be lawful, because stronger communities increase your odds of safety, and historically the best method for making stronger communities is to have community members having high levels of buy-in (and lets face it, lawful="tendency to buy in to a social group").

This doesn't necessarily follow. It certainly can, but doesn't always. Chaotic societies clearly exist and can have a whole lot of buy-in from their citizens, they just operate with a greater focus on the individual than more the more Lawful societies tend to.

Look at Nirmathas, for example. That's a good example of a Chaotic society that very much works to defend its citizens, and does a pretty fair job given its circumstances. Kyonin is another such example, though a less overtly Chaotic one.

Now, Alignments will definitely tend to 'cluster' with people who have the same prevailing attitudes as the rest of the community being more common for exactly the reasons you cite, but that doesn't always mean being more Lawful, just being more in-synch with the predominant cultural leanings of the area.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Mechagamera wrote:
In a world where you run a big risk of being eaten by trolls or manticores every time you leave a community (and sometimes even when you are still in the community), I would argue that Joe Human Commoner has a lot of incentive to lean to lawfulness if not actually be lawful, because stronger communities increase your odds of safety, and historically the best method for making stronger communities is to have community members having high levels of buy-in (and lets face it, lawful="tendency to buy in to a social group").

This doesn't necessarily follow. It certainly can, but doesn't always. Chaotic societies clearly exist and can have a whole lot of buy-in from their citizens, they just operate with a greater focus on the individual than more the more Lawful societies tend to.

Look at Nirmathas, for example. That's a good example of a Chaotic society that very much works to defend its citizens, and does a pretty fair job given its circumstances. Kyonin is another such example, though a less overtly Chaotic one.

Now, Alignments will definitely tend to 'cluster' with people who have the same prevailing attitudes as the rest of the community being more common for exactly the reasons you cite, but that doesn't always mean being more Lawful, just being more in-synch with the predominant cultural leanings of the area.

I will give you Kyonin because "elf society automatically works because elves." I am tempted to give you Nirmathas because "chaotic societies automatically work because Cimmeria", but they are practically Poland right before WWII, and that didn't work out well for the Poles. Give them another century and they will either be conquered again, occupying half (or less) of the real estate they currently do, or be a more lawful society.


Mechagamera wrote:
I will give you Kyonin because "elf society automatically works because elves." I am tempted to give you Nirmathas because "chaotic societies automatically work because Cimmeria", but they are practically Poland right before WWII, and that didn't work out well for the Poles. Give them another century and they will either be conquered again, occupying half (or less) of the real estate they currently do, or be a more lawful society.

Nirmathas has nothing to do with Cimmeria though - that would be the Realms of the Mammoth Lords. Nirmathas is a functional anarchy. And yes, it could become a nation with a politic hierarchy and something like a representative democracy (Andoran did), but they could also find out they're really into anarchism and they're fine like that. Hell, maybe more cities become anarchist communes and it all becomes a big federation, who knows. Depends on a lot of factors - till now they're doing very well against Molthune and no one seems interested in giving up their freedom.

As for Kyonin, it's a Chaotic Good society - so it might not be anarchic, but it probably allows a huge amount of freedom to the people it comprises (and as you'll remember Golarion elves hate to be told what to do), with the queen as a very powerful and respected advisor more than anything, various factions with often conflicting interests, communal raising of children, probably polyamory (elves live too long to marry for life, so why not)... it's not necessarily an anarchist confederation (it appears there is a state in some way, shape or form) but it seems to me it has a lot of anarchist leanings.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Look at Nirmathas, for example. That's a good example of a Chaotic society that very much works to defend its citizens, and does a pretty fair job given its circumstances. Kyonin is another such example, though a less overtly Chaotic one.

Kyonin might be CG on paper, but at least in most of the material so far, they're really described as LN at best. There's a lot of talk about "Elves love freedom!" but the details of policies contradict that. That's apparently being reconnected, but their racist policies of only elves are allowed to go anywhere except the designated ghetto without special permission are still being referenced (like last week, in the first part of Oblivion Oath). The older material is much, much worse though, with things like the CG queen's knights murdering a group of Pathfinders for daring to transcribe elven myths that were carved on walls. Not even stealing anything, writing it down! So yeah, it was good to hear James Jacobs talk about undoing a lot of that on the stream, but it's going to take a lot of work to undo, they've leaned very hard on nasty elf tropes for a decade, they can't just hand-wave it and say "Didn't happen!" Blaming the Winter Council (or Elfluminati as I like to call them) for subverting things for a long time will probably be the best bet of changing Kyonin to actually being CG, and not simply shoving everything written down the memory hole.

Dark Archive

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Yeaaah, hearing from JJ that elves are SUPPOSED to be peace loving hippies who are like "Heeey, we have this like really handy portal technology, everybody should have it because its so handy and nice" since that contradicts their portrayal a lot


Roswynn wrote:
Mechagamera wrote:
I will give you Kyonin because "elf society automatically works because elves." I am tempted to give you Nirmathas because "chaotic societies automatically work because Cimmeria", but they are practically Poland right before WWII, and that didn't work out well for the Poles. Give them another century and they will either be conquered again, occupying half (or less) of the real estate they currently do, or be a more lawful society.

Nirmathas has nothing to do with Cimmeria though - that would be the Realms of the Mammoth Lords. Nirmathas is a functional anarchy. And yes, it could become a nation with a politic hierarchy and something like a representative democracy (Andoran did), but they could also find out they're really into anarchism and they're fine like that. Hell, maybe more cities become anarchist communes and it all becomes a big federation, who knows. Depends on a lot of factors - till now they're doing very well against Molthune and no one seems interested in giving up their freedom.

As for Kyonin, it's a Chaotic Good society - so it might not be anarchic, but it probably allows a huge amount of freedom to the people it comprises (and as you'll remember Golarion elves hate to be told what to do), with the queen as a very powerful and respected advisor more than anything, various factions with often conflicting interests, communal raising of children, probably polyamory (elves live too long to marry for life, so why not)... it's not necessarily an anarchist confederation (it appears there is a state in some way, shape or form) but it seems to me it has a lot of anarchist leanings.

I was thinking of Cimmeria in terms of "throwing out the foreign invaders while not having anything resembling central authority" (since that is fairly important part of Conan lore) for Nirmathas.

Liberty's Edge

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Mechagamera wrote:
I was thinking of Cimmeria in terms of "throwing out the foreign invaders while not having anything resembling central authority" (since that is fairly important part of Conan lore) for Nirmathas.

In fairness, this has been true of various real world regions as well at various points in time. The Picts may well have been like this, for example, and Afghanistan was absolutely like this for a very long time indeed.

Now, neither of those were probably 'Good' in a Pathfinder sense, but then almost no real world society, taken as a whole, ever is...

Dark Archive

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Doktor Weasel wrote:
Kyonin might be CG on paper, but at least in most of the material so far, they're really described as LN at best. There's a lot of talk about "Elves love freedom!" but the details of policies contradict that.

Yeah, that seems to be common in D&D in general. Elves (and Drow) are all chaotic and freedom-loving, except for being militantly fanatically heirarchical, to the point of practically having a caste system, and everyone having their place, and obey these rules to the letter or a 'chaotic' god will show up and destroy your city for being too chaotic?

The flavor has never matched the text for elves, all the way back to 1st edition AD&D.

It also doesn't help that human history is written by the lawful, and we have no idea what a 'chaotic' society would look like, long-term, since we conquered anyone not organized enough to stop us...


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Set wrote:
It also doesn't help that human history is written by the lawful, and we have no idea what a 'chaotic' society would look like, long-term, since we conquered anyone not organized enough to stop us...

We totally do.

"The traditional society of the Semai, in Malaya, is based on gift-giving rather than bartering. We could not find any accounts of their society recorded by the Semai themselves, but they explained how it worked to Robert Dentan, a Western anthropologist who lived with them for a time. Dentan writes that the “system by which the Semai distribute food and services is one of the most significant ways in which members of a community are knit together... Semai economic exchanges are more like Christmas exchanges than like commercial exchanges.” It was considered “punan,” or taboo, for members of Semai society to calculate the value of gifts given or received. Other commonly held rules of etiquette included the duty to share whatever they had that they did not immediately need, and the duty to share with guests and anyone who asked. It was punan not to share or to refuse a request, but also to ask for more than someone could give".

"The Mbuti hunter-gatherers of the Ituri Forest in central Africa have traditionally lived without government. Accounts by ancient historians suggest the forest-dwellers have lived as stateless hunter-gatherers during the time of the Egyptian pharaohs, and according to the Mbuti themselves they have always lived that way. Contrary to common portrayals by outsiders, groups like the Mbuti are not isolated or primordial. In fact they have frequent interactions with the sedentary Bantu peoples surrounding the forest, and they have had plenty of opportunities to see what supposedly advanced societies are like. Going back at least hundreds of years, Mbuti have developed relationships of exchange and gift-giving with neighboring farmers, while retaining their identity as “the children of the forest”".

More about the Mbuti:
"In Turnbull’s perspective, the Mbuti were resolutely egalitarian, and many of the ways they organized their society reduced competition and promoted cooperation between members. Gathering food was a community affair, and when they hunted often the whole band turned out. One half would beat the bush in the direction of the other half, who waited with nets to snare any animals that had been flushed out. A successful hunt was the result of everyone working together effectively, and the whole community shared in the catch.

Mbuti children were given a high degree of autonomy, and spent much of their days in a wing of the camp that was off-limits to adults. One game they frequently played involved a group of small children climbing up a young tree until their combined weight bent the tree towards the earth. Ideally, the children would let go all at once, and the supple tree would shoot upright. But if one child was not in synch and let go too late, the child would be launched through the trees and given a good scare. Such games teach group harmony over individual performance, and provide an early form of socialization into a culture of voluntary cooperation. The war games and individualized competition that characterize play in Western society provide a notably different form of socialization.

The Mbuti also discouraged competition or even excessive distinction between genders. They did not use gendered pronouns or familial words — e.g., instead of “son” they say “child,” “sibling” instead of “sister” — except in the case of parents, in which there is a functional difference between one who gives birth or provides milk and one who provides other forms of care. An important ritual game played by adult Mbuti worked to undermine gender competition. As Turnbull describes it, the game began like a tug-of-war match, with the women pulling one end of a long rope or vine and the men pulling the other. But as soon as one side started to win, someone from that team would run to the other side, also symbolically changing their gender and becoming a member of the other group. By the end, the participants collapsed in a heap laughing, all having changed their genders multiple times. Neither side “won,” but that seemed to be the point. Group harmony was restored.

The Mbuti traditionally viewed conflict or “noise” as a common problem and a threat to the harmony of the group. If the disputants could not resolve things on their own or with the help of friends, the entire band would hold an important ritual that often lasted all night long. Everyone gathered together to discuss, and if the problem still could not be solved, the youth, who often played the role of justice-seekers within their society, would sneak into the night and begin rampaging around the camp, blowing a horn that made a sound like an elephant, symbolizing how the problem threatened the existence of the whole band. For a particularly serious dispute that had disrupted the group’s harmony, the youth might give extra expression to their frustration by crashing through camp itself, kicking out fires and knocking down houses. Meanwhile, the adults would sing a two-part harmony, building up a sense of cooperation and togetherness.

The Mbuti also underwent a sort of fission and fusion throughout the year. Often motivated by interpersonal conflicts, the band would break up into smaller, more intimate groups. People had the option to take space from one another rather than being forced by the larger community to suppress their problems. After travelling and living separately for a time, the smaller groups joined together again, once there had been time for conflicts to cool down. Eventually the whole band was reunited, and the process started over. It seems the Mbuti synchronized this social fluctuation with their economic activities, so their period of living together as an entire band coincided with the season in which the specific forms of gathering and hunting require the cooperation of a larger group. The period of small, disparate groups coincided with the time of the year when the foods were in season that were best harvested by small groups spread throughout the whole forest, and the period when the whole band came together corresponded with the season in which hunting and gathering activities were better accomplished by big groups working together".

Pocasset:
"In the 1600s, Europeans were streaming to North America for a variety of reasons, building new colonies that exhibited a wide range of characteristics. They included plantation economies based on slave labor, penal colonies, trading networks that sought to compel the indigenous inhabitants to produce large quantities of animal skins, and fundamentalist religious utopias based on the total genocide of the native population. But just as the plantation colonies had their slave rebellions, the religious colonies had their heretics. One noteworthy heretic was Anne Hutchinson. An anabaptist who came to New England to escape religious persecution in the old world, she began to hold women’s meetings in her house, discussion groups based on free interpretation of the Bible. As the popularity of these meetings spread, men began to participate as well. Anne won popular support for her well argued ideas, which opposed the slavery of Africans and Native Americans, criticized the church, and insisted that being born a woman was a blessing and not a curse.

The religious leaders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony put her on trial for blasphemy, but at trial she stood by her ideas. She was heckled and called an instrument of the devil, and one minister said, “You have stepped out of your place, you have rather been a husband than a wife, a preacher than a hearer, and a magistrate than a subject.” Upon her expulsion Anne Hutchinson organized a group, in 1637, to form a settlement named Pocasset. They intentionally settled near to where Roger Williams, a progressive theologian, had founded Providence Plantations, a settlement based on the idea of total equality and freedom of conscience for all inhabitants, and friendly relations with the indigenous neighbors. These settlements were to become, respectively, Portsmouth and Providence, Rhode Island. Early on they joined to form the Rhode Island Colony. Both settlements allegedly maintained friendly relations with the neighboring indigenous nation, the Narragansett; Roger Williams’ settlement was gifted the land they built on, whereas Hutchinson’s group negotiated an exchange to buy land.

Initially, Pocasset was organized through elected councils and the people refused to have a governor. The settlement recognized equality between the sexes and trial by jury; abolished capital punishment, witchtrials, imprisonment for debt, and slavery; and granted total religious freedom. The second synagogue in North America was built in the Rhode Island colony. In 1651 one member of Hutchinson’s group seized power and got the government of England to bestow him governorship over the colony, but after two years the other people in the settlement kicked him out in a mini-revolution. After this incident, Anne Hutchinson realized that her religious beliefs opposed “magistracy,” or governmental authority, and in her later years she was said to have developed a political-religious philosophy very similar to individualist anarchism. One might say that Hutchinson and her colleagues were ahead of their times, but in every period of history there have been stories of people creating utopias, women asserting their equality, laypeople negating the religious leaders’ monopoly on truth".

Igbo:
"The Igbo of western Africa had separate spheres of activity for men and women. Women were responsible for certain economic tasks and men for others, and each group held power autonomously over their sphere. These spheres designated who produced which goods, domesticated which animals, and took which responsibilities in the garden and market. If a man interfered in the women’s sphere of activity or abused his wife, the women had a ritual of collective solidarity that preserved the balance and punished the offender, called “sitting on a man.” All the women would assemble outside the man’s house, yelling at him and insulting him in order to cause him shame. If he did not come out to apologize the mob of women might destroy the fence around his house and his outlying storage buildings. If his offense were grievous enough, the women might even storm into his house, drag him out, and beat him up".

For instance.


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Wow.

Meddle not in the affairs of liberal arts majors, for they have textbooks full of relevant references.


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Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
liberal arts majors

he said.

Heh, I wish.


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Roswynn wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
liberal arts majors

he said.

Heh, I wish.

Gosh, usually only liberal arts types yell "nerds" that loudly. Sorry if you're really STEM. (Or just didn't go to college.)

And back to champions, or at least alignments!

It should be noted that "lawful" just means adhering to something well-defined, not necessarily the law or even anything explicit. Firm adherence to tradition is lawful.

Lawful characters tell the truth, keep their word, respect authority, honor tradition, and judge those who fall short of their duties. Chaotic characters follow their consciences, resent being told what to do, favor new ideas over tradition, and do what they promise if they feel like it.

The "chaotic" societies you cite sound pretty tradition-bound, and Igbo is certainly judgy. Since they do lack formal authority/hierarchy I might accept them as neutral on this axis, but not chaotic.


Ya if you throw out the parts about lying, lawful is pretty much the definition of conservatism and chaotic is the same for liberalism. And I am not talking about the debased forms of them that the U.S.’s political parties are tied to (and probably at least some other industrialized democracies though I admit that I’m fairly ignorant on the details.)

Historically, conservative/lawful cultures are the overwhelming norm. Liberal/chaotic societies are a relatively recent trend and it can largely be attributed to the Protestant reformation, the Age of Enlightenment and industrialization.


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I mean "a society that keeps no traditions" is kind of less of a society and more of a "group of people."

But I would say broadly speaking (as the law vs. chaos dichotomy has never held up to scrutiny) that a lawful society bases itself on laws, whereas a chaotic society bases itself on norms (a society that bases itself on norns, is LN, of course.)


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I only finished high school, and about the "Nerrrds!" comment, obviously I was kidding - I'm usually on the receiving end of that remark, and so are most of my friends. Just came to mind.

I understand that the societies I mentioned can easily be seen as lawful, but they also have no government, no hierarchies, no police, no bureaucracy, no taxes... what I mean is, they're very loose organizations of people by the standards of your typical Abadar-sanctioned city state. I think they could qualify as chaotic, but I'm not gonna insist - I see anarchism and similarly equalitarian structures as mostly chaotic, but if chaos is only caring about the individual and not giving a s!+@ about tradition then I don't think (human) chaotic societies exist, and yet Paizo tells us Golarion has some, apparently.

It's also true that historically conservative societies have been the norm, but pre-historically, it appears we have tens of thousand of years of hunter-gatherer societies behind us who were mainly egalitarian, loose, non-hierarchical, communal...

I tend to agree with PossibleCabbage that norm-regulated societies could very well be chaotic by PF standards, but again, if that's not the definition it's fine. In that case though I'd like to see more coherence with what alignment societies are defined by (marginally - again, not a real fan of alignments barring for the forces of Order and Chaos duking it out like in a Moorcock novel).


The problem here is that alignment was devised with individuals in mind, not societies, and AFAIK everywhere that Paizo sits down and delves into What Alignments Mean in any kind of detail (CRB, Ultimate Campaign) they talk exclusively about individuals. If someone has text talking about societal alignment as a thing, I'd love to see it.


Yeah I’m going to just leave it alone after this post because thinking about this stuff too much inevitably leads me into somewhat of an existential black hole but here we go. Tribal and hunter gatherer societies in the real world are almost always conservative/lawful. Things are done because that’s how they have always been done and if there happens to be anything resembling ancestor worship that is also a dead giveaway.

Hell if it wasn’t made clear earlier I particularly hate the Law and Chaos part of alignment because Chaos in particular is so completely diluted from what it actually is that I honestly would rather Have the Law and Chaos alignments called Conservative and Liberal because it is more accurate. The problem is that those are sadly loaded words these days.

In the strictest sense Chaos very well may not even exist except as an idea. (I’ve heard that it may exist in very specific parts of quantum mechanics but I will be the first to admit that I know very little about that subject and whether that’s accurate.) At the scientific and philosophical level pretty much everything follows law. Possibly the most defining feature of sapient creatures is the ability to intentionally impose their own law through their very actions.

So yes, for sanity and accuracy’s sake I choose to think of those alignments as conservative and liberal.

Loosely related, I’ve also heard that the probabilities of certain quantum events happening can change based solely on whether a human being is watching or not. If this is true then that is a very interesting philosophical rabbit hole but one that I’m not going down.


To try and hold true to my word of not wanting a big argument and because my tone was less than good I will try and ease off a point or 2. While yes I believe almost all single actions or ideals have a conservative or liberal root, on a societal level, and most other levels, there are usually mixing of the 2 and if there are more of 1 type than the other they should be considered that one. Few people, if any are solely one and so much more so are societies. To sound like a record, while alignments are somewhat useful for doing things like deciding what a random NPC is likely to do in a given situation, I mostly get annoyed by them.


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I feel like "conservative" and "liberal" are every bit as ambiguous and ultimately unhelpful as "chaotic" and "lawful."

Like absent a specific historical (and geographical) context, those words basically don't mean anything. Like "conservative" means something fundamentally different in the US than it does in the UK, so it's not really a helpful label to understand anything.


I was trying to use the definition used in political philosophy to try and stay as neutral as possible but I see your point.


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Geez, it really is a rabbit hole.

But I think when you were talking about the meaning of chaos, Raylyeh, I remembered something. You guys do remember the various creation myths of most cultures around the globe? At the beginning there's always chaos - Ginnungagap, stormy oceans, no civilizations, a wildly elemental and infinite (and possibly unknowable) expanse of uninhabitable primeval substance.

Then one or more mythic creators arrive and make the chaos into cosmos, the disorder into order: Maui fishes the islands out of the sea, Yahweh speaks the universe into being, Shu separates Geb and Nut, whatever. Humans can start to colonize the now habitable reality, and all they do is trying to furtherly impose order onto chaos - taming animals and elements, developing technologies to exploit their environment, building walls to protect themselves from wild beasts, harnessing fire to use it as the definitive multipurpose tool...

Long story short humans always start out in a wild universe they don't understand and with knowledge and invention attempt to tame it - imposing order onto chaos.

In this view chaos is the raw primal state of things before humans start to meddle (and anywhere they can't reach), and order (or law) is anything humans do to make sense of, catalogue and tame the universe surrounding them.

So in this view most things humans do are lawful or at least related to law, while nature is probably chaos, from lightning hitting "random" trees and starting wildfires to animals eating a sheperd's flock. I think from a mythopoetic standpoint this would generally work. In this scenario, most possible human societies are automatically lawful - imposing order onto chaos.

If we do instead get back to the rulebook definitions of law and chaos... and try to apply them to societies... I think a lawful society is unsurprisingly one with strong hierarchies or at least authority figures, laws, tribunals, or at least equivalents of these elements. According to the description of chaotic individuals, then chaotic societies would only be those where the individual is regularly able to do what they want, on their own, without needing to consult a family, or a bureaucracy, and without needing to worry about laws (or where laws are so weak to mention, or they're just guidelines you can easily ignore), and innovations is prized more than tradition.

Mmm. I know of no human society which really corresponds to this template.

I mean, getting to conservative vs liberal, even liberal societies have laws (or norms... or norns XD), more or less influential authority figures, and most of all tradition and cooperation.

A chaotic society... would not be an actual society according to the priorities given for chaotic characters.

Jeez the more I think about it the more I really feel the need to do away with alignment in my games. I like the ideas of order carved out from chaos, but societies don't neatly correspond to alignments, and if nothing else, I don't believe in an objective morality that dictates whether any action at any time by any one is good or evil, and it has always felt weird that you can actually point to someone and say, "See, that one, that is Good" - it's so out there I really can't help the feeling of wrongness the idea gives me.

Aaanyways. Sorry for the long detour, just thinking out loud. Don't know if this might be helpful to anyone, most of all considering this started as a discussion about champions, not the nature of society and whether it can actually be chaotic and what that means ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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