What in world sea change took place to move Goblins from “Kill on sight” to viable PCs?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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I'm looking forward for the first NG Balor worshipper of Sarenrae. Ok, the guy has a past, but he's cool now.

I've never loved seeing Tieflings and even Nagajis or Ifrits as playable characters. At some point, it's kind of unsettling for people to see monstrosities wandering the streets like normal peasants. It should be limited to some areas where they proved themselves.

And if we start overthinking it, any creature with a positive Int modifier is some sentient species you can deal with. Why would you kill a mindflayer on sight?

In my opinion, there should be a clear line between good and evil. The more things crossing it and the less the background becomes consistent. Most players want to kill things, not always double checking if hellhounds can be trained to become nice loyal puppies.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Funny that you mention that since literally a Demon lord has switched from evil to neutral in PF (Nocticula) and is actually presented in the forefront of New Thassilon, as Nocticula the Redeemed.

You can always keep playing, the way you want to play at your table, nobody is coming to your house and saying that you are playing the game wrong.

If you want to have clear lines between good and evil go for it.

I personally always found it weird and bizarre that some creatures were always evil or always good.

So I'm glad to be given the option for some different ways to play.


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Eltacolibre wrote:
You can always keep playing, the way you want to play at your table, nobody is coming to your house and saying that you are playing the game wrong.

I'm playing Pathfinder Society, so, it's not something I can do as a DM or a player.

Well, I don't like it, it doesn't mean that I can't live with it. But most of my characters are humans, with a very few common metahumans. At least, no one would ever kill me on sight in a normal settlement :D

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SuperBidi wrote:
. At some point, it's kind of unsettling for people to see monstrosities wandering the streets like normal peasants. It should be limited to some areas where they proved themselves.
Like Dragon Age elven Alienages and Nazi Germany ghettos?
Quote:
And if we start overthinking it, any creature with a positive Int modifier is some sentient species you can deal with. Why would you kill a mindflayer on sight?
Is the Mindflayer doing something evil or have known to done something? Or are they picking up baguettes from the bakery?
Quote:
In my opinion, there should be a clear line between good and evil. The more things crossing it and the less the background becomes consistent. Most players want to kill things, not always double checking if hellhounds can be trained to become nice loyal puppies.

In self defense or defense of others like most APs go with. "I'm going to kill you just because of how you look and not for what you've done,"... you don't see how that sounds?

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Ravingdork wrote:


Which adventures? I own at least half of them and never came across anything like that. (Please reply in a spoiler for those who may yet want to play in said adventures.)

I just noted quite a few of them, but there's also:

Adventures where you don't just kill the goblin/orc:

Reaver's Roar
Hellknight Hill
The Frostfur Captives
Belkzen, Hold of the Orc Hordes introduces Mahja Firehair and her Burning Sun tribe, a clan of Sarenrae worshipping orcs.

Non-evil examples of goblins (in particular) but also orcs go back years across our product lines, including our very first AP and books that actually predate the Pathfinder rule system.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Rysky wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
In my opinion, there should be a clear line between good and evil. The more things crossing it and the less the background becomes consistent. Most players want to kill things, not always double checking if hellhounds can be trained to become nice loyal puppies.
In self defense or defense of others like most APs go with. "I'm going to kill you just because of how you look and not for what you've done,"... you don't see how that sounds?

I'll just quickly note that the "most players just want to kill things" isn't necessarily my experience, nor does it quite jive with the feedback and reporting data we've seen from the community.

From kind of a personal and anecdotal perspective, I've played in far more groups (going back to long before I worked at Paizo) where the players/PCs were more interested in recruiting allies and focusing their more violent efforts against clear evils (undead, demons, etc.) or clearly unrepentantly evil villains than in murdering their way through the mooks. This is an experience that has spanned gaming groups from South Korea to Alaska, Alaska to Florida, and a whole lot of places in between.

I think there is value to having evil humanoids the PCs can fight with impunity, but I also think you should be fighting them because of who they are and the choices they've made, not because of what they are. I prefer to punch Lamashtu-worshipping goblins because they willingly worship Lamashtu and intentionally bring harm to others, not because they're goblins, in much the same way that Captain America punches human Nazis because they are Nazis, not because they're humans.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yeah, total agreement with Rysky here.

Even in the case of races like mindflayers, you kill them because they are enslaving and eating your friends.

If you came across a mindflayer hermit who showed no sign of doing those things, it would definitely be evil to kill it unprovoked.


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Worth noting.

In my homegame we did x =/= The published setting of Golarion does x.

If the homegame your playing has always chaotic evil goblins go for it; but that doesn't mean thats what Paizo has been publishing

EDIT: I spelt Golarion wrong for the 100th time.


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Michael Sayre wrote:
From kind of a personal and anecdotal perspective, I've played in far more groups (going back to long before I worked at Paizo) where the players/PCs were more interested in recruiting allies and focusing their more violent efforts against clear evils (undead, demons, etc.)

That's exactly what I say. As long as the line between good and evil is clear you can kill stuff without a thought.

FowlJ wrote:
If the party has no good reason to be invading the dungeon and is just crashing someone's house and murdering everyone they are in fact the bad guys in this scenario.

Last PFS scenario I DMed, the players were supposed to explore a tomb. They entered the tomb and found 2 ogres who decided to make it their home. The ogres attacked, the PCs killed them. Why? Because they are ogres and ogres are evil so killing them is ok. If they had been elves, for example, the players would have tried to ask questions or make non lethal damage. Because elves are not evil, you can't kill them without remorse.

80% of PFS modules send you to remote locations. And in general you'll have 3 fights. And in at least half of them, the PCs are the guys who are not supposed to be there. So, yes, PFS assumes your party is a bunch of murderhobos. But what makes it ok is that the enemies are monsters, so it's ok to kill them.

Liberty's Edge

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SuperBidi wrote:
I'm looking forward for the first NG Balor worshipper of Sarenrae. Ok, the guy has a past, but he's cool now.

I mean, I don't know about any redeemed balors, but can I interest you in a CG succubus worshiper of Desna?

SuperBidi wrote:
And if we start overthinking it, any creature with a positive Int modifier is some sentient species you can deal with. Why would you kill a mindflayer on sight?

Man, wouldn't it be awkward if you decided to just straight up murder the only mind flayer on the planet who'd decided that maybe eating the brains of living humanoids was a bad idea, and was coming to you for help?

SuperBidi wrote:
In my opinion, there should be a clear line between good and evil. The more things crossing it and the less the background becomes consistent.

Interrogating the meanings of good and evil through storytelling is literally one of the oldest literary tropes that exists.

SuperBidi wrote:
Most players want to kill things, not always double checking if hellhounds can be trained to become nice loyal puppies.

*stares in Hellknight Hill*

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SuperBidi wrote:
Last PFS scenario I DMed, the players were supposed to explore a tomb. They entered the tomb and found 2 ogres who decided to make it their home. The ogres attacked, the PCs killed them. Why? Because they are ogres and ogres are evil so killing them is ok. If they had been elves, for example, the players would have tried to ask questions or make non lethal damage. Because elves are not evil, you can't kill them without remorse.

Again, as Humanoids, Ogres are not inherently evil (though paizo does use them a lot but that's an issue for another thread). And even if they were, you just admitted the players killed them because of what they looked like, but if they had been evil elves they would have tried talking first.

Also Elves very much can be evil, just like humans.

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Shisumo wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
I'm looking forward for the first NG Balor worshipper of Sarenrae. Ok, the guy has a past, but he's cool now.
I mean, I don't know about any redeemed balors, but can I interest you in a CG succubus worshiper of Desna?
Or an Apostate Devil living in Heaven as he contemplates on his redemption?
Quote:
SuperBidi wrote:
And if we start overthinking it, any creature with a positive Int modifier is some sentient species you can deal with. Why would you kill a mindflayer on sight?
Man, wouldn't it be awkward if you decided to just straight up murder the only mind flayer on the planet who'd decided that maybe eating the brains of living humanoids was a bad idea, and was coming to you for help?

That has LITERALLY happened in a game I was in. We were exploring a cave system under a temple when a Kobold appeared and called out to use and waived its arms to get our attention. The gunslinger promptly shot it because "It's a kobold, they're evil!".

It had escaped from Duergar slavers and had fled to try and find someway to rescue the rest of the clan that were still slaves the GM explained to us afterwards...


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Shisumo wrote:
Man, wouldn't it be awkward if you decided to just straight up murder the only mind flayer on the planet who'd decided that maybe eating the brains of living humanoids was a bad idea, and was coming to you for help?

What is bad in eating humanoids? You eat meat as far as I know. And considering the average intelligence of a mindflayer, humans are no more than animals to them. So they are no slavers either, as humans are cattle to them. In fact, most mindflayers are perfectly acceptable creatures and should be neutral aligned.


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SuperBidi wrote:
Michael Sayre wrote:
From kind of a personal and anecdotal perspective, I've played in far more groups (going back to long before I worked at Paizo) where the players/PCs were more interested in recruiting allies and focusing their more violent efforts against clear evils (undead, demons, etc.)

That's exactly what I say. As long as the line between good and evil is clear you can kill stuff without a thought.

I don't know about you, but I don't like killing things without a thought. I don't want a very high bar for killing things (certainly nowhere near real life), but I want at least some bar. I feel like it brings depth to the game, and I'm not into being a murder hobo. If someone attacks, that's enough to kill them. But if they don't I'd prefer to talk to them, even if they are something classically evil like an ogre. Undead and evil outsiders are exceptions to this for me.


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I would like to point out that a decent chunk of GMs call for initiative and starts combat as soon as an "enemy" creature is visible, unless it's a social encounter. So Goblins might not be "kill on sight", but few people (mostly redeamers and non-lethal combatants) are going to stop while a dangerous creature is "attacking" them.

* Also, trying to see everything through political correct glasses to determine "good/evil" behavior runs the risk of undermining the alignment/gods system. I mean of the good core gods, Torag straight up refuses surrenders, Iomedae ask all her Champion to be the "first in battle and last to leave it", and Erastil is the god of hunting.

Most neutral deities don't care, with Gorum straight up wanting battles, and few would want to mess with a calistrian.


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Ok, let's consider this situation:

You explore a tomb, and you find "creatures" that attack you on sight. What is the classical reaction of your party(ies) if:
- The creatures are recognized as sentient undeads?
- The creatures are ogres?
- The creatures are elves with no sign allowing you to know who they are?
- The creatures are humans with holy symbols of Sarenrae?

In a world without a clear line between good and evil, you should have the same reaction, as all are sentient creatures attacking you because you are invading their home/lair/territory.

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Temperans wrote:
I would like to point out that a decent chunk of GMs call for initiative and starts combat as soon as an "enemy" creature is visible, unless it's a social encounter.

Differences in GMing, I call for it/see it called when any hostilities start, not just upon spotting something.

And yeah Torag still has "show mercy to the enemies of your people" as an Anathema, but that's still different than KoS.


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SuperBidi wrote:

Ok, let's consider this situation:

You explore a tomb, and you find "creatures" that attack you on sight. What is the classical reaction of your party(ies) if:
- The creatures are recognized as sentient undeads?
- The creatures are ogres?
- The creatures are elves with no sign allowing you to know who they are?
- The creatures are humans with holy symbols of Sarenrae?

In a world without a clear line between good and evil, you should have the same reaction, as all are sentient creatures attacking you because you are invading their home/lair/territory.

Seems a bit odd that human Sarenrae worshippers are living in a tomb and murdering visitors without warning.

Silver Crusade

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

Ok, let's consider this situation:

You explore a tomb, and you find "creatures" that attack you on sight. What is the classical reaction of your party(ies) if:
- The creatures are recognized as sentient undeads?
- The creatures are ogres?
- The creatures are elves with no sign allowing you to know who they are?
- The creatures are humans with holy symbols of Sarenrae?

In a world without a clear line between good and evil, you should have the same reaction, as all are sentient creatures attacking you because you are invading their home/lair/territory.

Even in Pathfinder with clear distinctions between Good and Evil the reactions would be self defense, which would possibly lead to the destruction/death of the attackers.

But then we also take into account why we are exploring the tomb. Are the humans actual followers of Sarenrae or are they just wearing her symbols as a trick? Did they not call out before attacking?

Edit: 2nd part ninajed by Matthew.


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In a world with some defined hardlines such as Golarion, not everything gets the same result. Undead are very likely to fall under "kill on site" anywhere outside Geb

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Ravingdork wrote:
Fromper wrote:
larsenex wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:


Goblins were never ubiquitously kill on sight.

Yes they were.

Always kill on site. Orcs, Goblins Gnolls >> Dead dead dead. I ran into a game where the DM tried to pull the 'what about the goblin women and children' and well we killed all of them. It was 'the greater good'

With monster descriptions like 'thoroughly evil and malicious, it makes genocide on them easy.

They are the mosquitoes of the humanoid races. Kill them, Kill them all.

Maybe that's how your group plays it, but Paizo has published adventures in 1st edition featuring social, non-combat encounters with all 3 of those races. Even if they're evil, that doesn't necessarily mean "kill on sight".
Which adventures? I own at least half of them and never came across anything like that. (Please reply in a spoiler for those who may yet want to play in said adventures.)

I mostly play Pathfinder Society, so most of my experience is with those adventures. Now you're going to make me look up the exact adventures, since I've played hundreds of them and don't always remember which is which by name off the top of my head.

Spoiler:

Goblins: Frostfur Captives, Rise of the Goblin Guild, Treason's Chains, and one other that I don't want to give away, because it really IS a spoiler that the goblins aren't behind all the evil in that one.
Gnolls: Between the Lines
Orcs: 4–24: Glories of the Past—Part II: The Price of Friendship - Had to spend some time looking this up to remember which scenario it was. The mission actually involves traveling into the orc nation Hold of Belkzen and visiting one of the orc cities. So you have to negotiate with orcs to get what you were sent for.

Ironically, I've mentioned several times that you just don't see orcs very much in Pathfinder adventures. That last one I named where you negotiate with them is actually the only PFS adventure I can think of that features full blooded orcs (as opposed to the over-common half-orcs). I remember back in 1st edition D&D and AD&D, orcs were THE default humanoid enemy, but goblins and kobolds fill that role in Pathfinder.


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Malachandra wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
Michael Sayre wrote:
From kind of a personal and anecdotal perspective, I've played in far more groups (going back to long before I worked at Paizo) where the players/PCs were more interested in recruiting allies and focusing their more violent efforts against clear evils (undead, demons, etc.)

That's exactly what I say. As long as the line between good and evil is clear you can kill stuff without a thought.

I don't know about you, but I don't like killing things without a thought. I don't want a very high bar for killing things (certainly nowhere near real life), but I want at least some bar. I feel like it brings depth to the game, and I'm not into being a murder hobo. If someone attacks, that's enough to kill them. But if they don't I'd prefer to talk to them, even if they are something classically evil like an ogre. Undead and evil outsiders are exceptions to this for me.

I'll be honest. For me? Undead and evil outsiders are not an exception to this.

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And you bring up a very good point, Rysky, that if a GM wants you to consider showing mercy to an enemy, monstrous or no, they'll generally have them go "Wait, I wanna talk!" first rather than diving straight into combat without saying anything.

If the GM is making encounters with non-hostile monsters and DELIBERATELY not cluing the players in to create some sort of "GOTCHA!" moment, it's bad GMing. Subverting player expectations is one thing, but actively decieving your players to create alignment-based melodrama is QUITE another!

Dataphiles

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There are also levels of evil.

Let's take some examples.

A serial-killer who is hunting down left-handed people and killing them in long, drawn-out torturous deaths is pretty darn evil.

A bureaucrat who takes bribes and would only kill someone as a last resort to hide that they're corrupt.

Both of these are evil characters. A race of people like either of these would be listed as an evil race. While I'm sure some of us smirk at the idea of killing evil bureaucrats on sight, it's not something that we could justify for our characters and still keep our own good alignments. The serial-killer on the other hand would be prime killin' material for our characters.


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Rysky wrote:
Even in Pathfinder with clear distinctions between Good and Evil the reactions would be self defense, which would possibly lead to the destruction/death of the attackers.

Really? So, your paladin will kill a follower of Sarenrae and keep his powers?

Rysky wrote:
I'll be honest. For me? Undead and evil outsiders are not an exception to this.

You are an exception. Are you sometimes experiencing weird situations because of that? I mean, when you are playing in a group of players that doesn't know you well.


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Temperans wrote:


* Also, trying to see everything through political correct glasses to determine "good/evil" behavior runs the risk of undermining the alignment/gods system. I mean of the good core gods, Torag straight up refuses surrenders, Iomedae ask all her Champion to be the "first in battle and last to leave it", and Erastil is the god of hunting.

Most neutral deities don't care, with Gorum straight up wanting battles, and few would want to mess with a calistrian.

Thinking about whether or not fighting and potentially killing a sentient creature is not being politically correct. Wanting to play a game where morality is something that is a little harder to guess or assume is not being politically correct. It's being a nuanced, thinking person.

As far as the gods you mentioned:

Torag forbids showing mercy "to the enemies of your people" which depending on your people, could mean many different things. I wouldn't call a tribe of goblins who keep to themselves and have never done anything actively malicious to anyone let alone my home "enemies of my people". I would even argue that a goblin who was raised in a tribe that has regularly attacked my home, but was uncomfortable with that and left the tribe before they joined their first war party would not be an "enemy of my people", but a DM might disagree with me.

Iomedae is a goddess who commands her followers to fight for justice. Justice means everyone gets what they deserve, and killing a creature not because they deserved it, but because you thought they looked like they deserved it would not be justice. She does command her followers to fight with valor, but let's not forget that Discretion is the better part of valor. Nothing about her says that you can't worship her while still accepting a person's request for mercy.

Erastil is a god of hunting, but that doesn't mean his followers should always be "Oh boy! Here I go killing again!" Two of his biggest tenets are "keep the peace" and "protect your community". If you attack a group of creatures who are minding their own business and not hurting anyone, you are neither keeping the peace nor protecting your community. In fact if those creatures you attacked have a lot of friends who decide that the unprovoked attack on their lives deserves recompense, you have done quite the opposite.

Gorum……..okay you have a point about Gorum. He is a CN war god who loves battle, hates negotiation, and has no good-aligned clerics and champions. However, even he forbids killing a surrendering foe.

Calistria is also a CN deity, but she does have CG followers. Specifically, Callistria is a goddess of revenge. I don't need to tell you that attacking someone who has done nothing to you or those you are close to is, in fact, not revenge.

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SuperBidi wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Even in Pathfinder with clear distinctions between Good and Evil the reactions would be self defense, which would possibly lead to the destruction/death of the attackers.
Really? So, your paladin will kill a follower of Sarenrae and keep his powers?

If the Follower of Sarenrae is attacking the Paladin for absolutely no reason with no attempt to talk to the Paladin? Then yes, killing in self defense would be justified. Which is what we've been saying.

Quote:


Rysky wrote:
I'll be honest. For me? Undead and evil outsiders are not an exception to this.
You are an exception. Are you sometimes experiencing weird situations because of that? I mean, when you are playing in a group of players that doesn't know you well.

I think you got the quotes missed up but anyhow, I have not.

We've had undead deliver messages, not a threat, an actual letter, to us and we didn't destroy it just because it was an undead. Imps as well.


Rysky wrote:
If the Follower of Sarenrae is attacking the Paladin for absolutely no reason with no attempt to talk to the Paladin? Then yes, killing in self defense would be justified. Which is what we've been saying.

So, the paladin is killing neutral good people and it's absolutely ok for you? No point of infamy, alignement switch, atonement, loss of powers, nothing?

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SuperBidi wrote:
Rysky wrote:
If the Follower of Sarenrae is attacking the Paladin for absolutely no reason with no attempt to talk to the Paladin? Then yes, killing in self defense would be justified. Which is what we've been saying.
So, the paladin is killing neutral good people and it's absolutely ok for you? No point of infamy, alignment switch, atonement, loss of powers, nothing?

So the clerics are killing a lawful good person and it's absolutely okay with you?

Again, if they attack and try to murder someone for absolutely no reason that person has the moral right to defend themselves. That's also not something a Neutral Good person would do anyway.

Being a cleric or a paladin or following a Good Deity does not make someone beyond morality.


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If my Paladin serves a follower of Sarenrae a delicious bouillabaisse, unaware that the Sarenrite is allergic to shellfish, and they die from anaphylaxis should my Paladin fall?


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SuperBidi wrote:


I've never loved seeing Tieflings and even Nagajis or Ifrits as playable characters. At some point, it's kind of unsettling for people to see monstrosities wandering the streets like normal peasants. It should be limited to some areas where they proved themselves.

And if we start overthinking it, any creature with a positive Int modifier is some sentient species you can deal with. Why would you kill a mindflayer on sight?

The Warcraft franchise has been letting players be good members of demon blooded and undead races for decades now. I think the idea that even evil races can be nuanced is a bit more widespread than you’re giving it credit.

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
If my Paladin serves a follower of Sarenrae a delicious bouillabaisse, unaware that the Sarenrite is allergic to shellfish, and they die from anaphylaxis should my Paladin fall?

No.

Also, how do you even handle anaphylaxis in Pathfinder?


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Rysky wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
If my Paladin serves a follower of Sarenrae a delicious bouillabaisse, unaware that the Sarenrite is allergic to shellfish, and they die from anaphylaxis should my Paladin fall?

No.

Also, how do you even handle anaphylaxis in Pathfinder?

I use multiple fortitude saves, 2 saves in a row before 3 failures, but I’m curious what others do.


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Rysky wrote:
So the clerics are killing a lawful good person and it's absolutely okay with you?

They may be possessed, controlled, lured or whatever. It's not hard to find a good reason.

Well, there is non lethal damage or disarm in the game. If your paladin behaves like a barbarian, I think there's an issue on your side.


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SuperBidi wrote:
Rysky wrote:
If the Follower of Sarenrae is attacking the Paladin for absolutely no reason with no attempt to talk to the Paladin? Then yes, killing in self defense would be justified. Which is what we've been saying.
So, the paladin is killing neutral good people and it's absolutely ok for you? No point of infamy, alignement switch, atonement, loss of powers, nothing?

To be fair, the paladin should be using non-lethal damage because at this point, they should suspect mind control.

Rysky wrote:
We've had undead deliver messages, not a threat, an actual letter, to us and we didn't destroy it just because it was an undead. Imps as well.

On top of these, there's the chance they are seeking redemption/are someone subject to a curse/may have useful things to say before you start stabbing.

I'm not saying an adventurer shouldn't have their weapon out at the ready when encountering a seemingly peaceable undead or fiend, but that attacking when they ask to talk would have me raising my eyebrow, even at the paladin.


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Garretmander wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
Rysky wrote:
If the Follower of Sarenrae is attacking the Paladin for absolutely no reason with no attempt to talk to the Paladin? Then yes, killing in self defense would be justified. Which is what we've been saying.
So, the paladin is killing neutral good people and it's absolutely ok for you? No point of infamy, alignement switch, atonement, loss of powers, nothing?

To be fair, the paladin should be using non-lethal damage because at this point, they should suspect mind control.

Wouldn’t mind control and possession show up under detect evil?

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