Non-evil diabolic sorcerers cannot use their higher-level bloodline focus spells?


Rules Discussion


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It seems that non-evil diabolic sorcerers cannot use their higher-level bloodline focus spells. According to page 631, an evil ability "can be selected or used only by evil creatures."

Embrace the pit and hellfire plume are evil-tagged, and thus, cannot be used by non-evil diabolic sorcerers. They should avoid taking the Advanced Bloodline and Greater Bloodline feats. Even those evil diabolic sorcerers might have trouble with hellfire plume, because it deals half evil damage, and evil damage affects only good creatures, which cuts into the spell's damage against a good number of enemies.

Demonic sorcerers have no such issue with their focus spells.

Does this not seem a little weird to anyone else?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Seems normal to me. Not every option is designed for good characters. In PF1 the Infernal and Abyssal bloodlines both had options which were Evil spells in their bloodlines. (And no, I don't buy into the idea that we only look at one edition of a game in a vacuum and ignore other iterations.)

The Diabolic sorcerer will fit in perfectly in Cheliax or campaigns told for a Chelish sympathizer viewpoint.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

There have been multiple threads on this already.


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BishopMcQ wrote:

Seems normal to me. Not every option is designed for good characters. In PF1 the Infernal and Abyssal bloodlines both had options which were Evil spells in their bloodlines. (And no, I don't buy into the idea that we only look at one edition of a game in a vacuum and ignore other iterations.)

The Diabolic sorcerer will fit in perfectly in Cheliax or campaigns told for a Chelish sympathizer viewpoint.

In PF1, even a Good sorcerer PC could cast an [Evil] spell. If they cast it often enough they risked an alignment change but they weren't prevented from using a class ability (Bloodline spells) by their alignment.

It seems that in PF2 the struggling-against-their-legacy type sorcerers are a no longer possible. Without houseruling that is.


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Natan Linggod 327 wrote:
BishopMcQ wrote:

Seems normal to me. Not every option is designed for good characters. In PF1 the Infernal and Abyssal bloodlines both had options which were Evil spells in their bloodlines. (And no, I don't buy into the idea that we only look at one edition of a game in a vacuum and ignore other iterations.)

The Diabolic sorcerer will fit in perfectly in Cheliax or campaigns told for a Chelish sympathizer viewpoint.

In PF1, even a Good sorcerer PC could cast an [Evil] spell. If they cast it often enough they risked an alignment change but they weren't prevented from using a class ability (Bloodline spells) by their alignment.

It seems that in PF2 the struggling-against-their-legacy type sorcerers are a no longer possible. Without houseruling that is.

Wouldn't casting Evil spells be giving into your evil legacy and not "struggling against their legacy"?


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I mean, just look at what it's doing. You're channeling fire directly from Hell and causing it to do evil and fire damage to your enemies. Using it is an evil act.

Liberty's Edge

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The issue is that, per the PF2 rules, not only are Evil spells an Evil act you are utterly incapable of casting them without being Evil already.

So there's some sort of error here. IMO, these spells shouldn't be Evil, but there are other possible solutions...but regardless there's a problem here in need of some solution.


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Gloom wrote:


Wouldn't casting Evil spells be giving into your evil legacy and not "struggling against their legacy"?

Struggling means you don't always win. Sometimes the player gives in to the temptation of the power offered. Maybe they're in a desperate situation, lacking time or what ever.

The point is that the power/spells are still there for them to use. A temptation.

In PF2 they can't be tempted by the power because they can't cast the spell if they aren't Evil to start with.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Someone who is evil that has aspirations of being good and overcoming their evil nature is definitely an important story to tell. Once you can finally break free of the temptations or need to perform evil deeds or have evil thoughts.. then you can call yourself Neutral.

Until that happens though you're still evil.

Just because you're struggling against something doesn't make you no longer that thing. Especially with as rigid as alignment and deities can be in Golarion.

Liberty's Edge

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Right, but it's clearly intended that Sorcerers be able to actually use their Bloodline stuff regardless of their Alignment. Which, at the moment, they cannot.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It seems to me that this was an oversight. The spell was given to the sorcerer, not selected, from their bloodline. It's the "or used" part that trips this all up. Also, do spells count as abilities?

Liberty's Edge

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For the record, this is actually also true of the Angelic Bloodline (their spells are Good), it's just a tad less of an obvious issue with them due to normal PC Alignments.

Silver Crusade

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

And then you go and read the Anathema section in the Cleric...


Considering Embrace the Pit, one of the bloodline powers with the evil descriptor being discussed here, specifically states "you can take good damage, even if you aren't evil" while taking on aspects of a devil with this power, I'll consider this an oversight and rule that good characters can't use evil spells, but neutral ones can.

The Exchange

So neutral (Good evil axis) PCs are precluded from learning or using Good and Evil abilities/spells while neutral (law chaos axis) PCs are precluded from learning or using Lawful or Chaotic abilities/spells. Now to see if that has an actual impact on choices

*Edit* Except for Diabolic sorcerers, the practical impact is minimal. Searing light/Holy Crusade can only be taken by good and chilling darkness/Abyssal plague can only be taken by evil. I only see 1 chaotic spell (Abyssal Plague)


I think "My PC is suddenly feeling evil" solves this (followed by "he/she is over the evil feelings"). Not only do you get to use the spells, but temptation is preserved (and documented for when the GM wants to know if the sorcerer's alignment has changed due to all the evil spells he/she has been casting...).


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Mechagamera wrote:

I think "My PC is suddenly feeling evil" solves this (followed by "he/she is over the evil feelings"). Not only do you get to use the spells, but temptation is preserved (and documented for when the GM wants to know if the sorcerer's alignment has changed due to all the evil spells he/she has been casting...).

That is not how any of this works. The only appropriate response to trying to alignment yo-yo like this is for the GM to throw dice at the player.

That said, apparently this was brought up on Arcane Mark and Mark Seifter was surprised that alignment tag spells had that restriction, and made a note to talk to certain people about it. So this may well be unintentional and/or getting changed soon.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I think what I will do for those spells is to allow those specific bloodlines to be treated as evil or good regardless of their actual alignment, exude an evil alignment aura, and take damage from good damage. I'm unsure if I want to invite the possibility of multiple auras in the case the caster's actual alignment is good.


TBH I think alignment tags should only matter to casters who get their spells from another being. Clerics and Druids etc.
Wizards and Sorcerers shouldn't be under the same restriction.

Bards, I don't know about them. Maybe it should depend on what their muse is?


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It... might be working as intended, actually. Note what the CRB says about changing alignment on page 29:

Quote:
Alignment can change during play as a character’s beliefs change, or as you realize that your character’s actions reflect a different alignment than the one on your character sheet. In most cases, you can just change their alignment and continue playing. However, if you play a cleric or champion and your character’s alignment changes to one not allowed for their deity (or cause, for champions), your character loses some of their class abilities until they atone (as described in the class).

“As you realize that your character’s actions reflect a different alignment” ... “in most cases, you can just change their alignment and continue playing. Of course, page 28 does also state that “The GM is the arbiter of questions about how specific actions might affect your character’s alignment.” But that still seems to me to indicate that in PF2, a PC’s alignment is meant to be up to the player to determine, with the DM providing a final decision when questions arise over specific actions. Under that paradigm, the sorcerer struggling against their bloodline would probably bounce back and forth between evil and neutral more or less as the player feels is appropriate, with the DM being the final arbiter of whether or not the character’s actions merit an alignment shift if it’s in dispute.

The suggestion of “I’m feeling a little evil, let me just change my alignment to reflect that” and “Oh, I’m over it now, so I’ll go ahead and change that back to neutral” as soon as the encounter is over may be a bit of a hyperbolic example, but in principle, it seems to be in line with the RAW. Of course, as the arbiter of questions about alignment, the DM would also be acting in line with RAW to tell the player that no, going back to Neutral is not that easy, and they will have to display a consistent effort to redeem themselves before that can happen.

Liberty's Edge

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For the record, this is not working as intended. Mark Seifter was surprised by the fact that you can't cast off-Alignment spells, and noted that it made one of the parts of the Champion Code redundant.

Given that he's a designer, this is probably not intended and going to be fixed.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

There was the precedent in PF1 of Clerics of Pharasma being forbidden from using several of their domain spells. Paizo created a variant spell list specifically so that these characters would not be saddled with spells they could not cast.

More reason to think that this is an oversight and not intended.


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Even if the rest of the designers decided that "I'm feeling evil" is how they meant for this to play out, I think they should clarify it, since RAW + unconventional often equals problems at tables.

That being said, I would be fine if Mark changes it. If that is the case, I hope they find something more imaginative than "eventually you will turn evil/good/lawful/chaotic"--maybe every time a nonevil type casts the spell an imp teleports into the vicinity (you don't have to be evil to use this spell, but you are helping evil get a stronger foothold in the world every time you do). Last I heard, imps are still worth xp and have loot, so it is a win-win for the murder hoboes.

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