Automatons and Poppets vs Tuberculosis and Alcohol


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion


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OK, I get it; game balance.
But really, how exactly does the lore support a being with no lungs or brain only getting a bonus to saves against ailments that specifically affect those body parts?

That's the poppet which by RAW doesn't seem to loose SOME of it's construct immunities.
(And the remaining ones don't make much sense in context with the resistances.)

The Automatons are even worse because they do lose their immunities and don't even get any resistances.

I'm just saying that there has to be a better way to balance this out than "it's magic" because a lot of sources for diseases and poisons aren't magic. As such, verisimilitude is really taking a beating here.

I even give Androids a pass because they're really synthoids, and not having the immunities and getting resistances is believable.
(Although, I still made a home brew heritage to give them back what they used to have in 1e, "Early Model Android" for the win.)

So help me out here, guys?
Rationalize this for me, please.


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Once balance has being given, groups can decide whether to modify the rules with anything they want.

IMO there's nothing to rationalize when it comes to giving a pool of more or less balanced ancestries to choose between ( uncommon and rare also help a lot dealing with op stuff).


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Pinocchio, I guess?

Liberty's Edge

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Everything in the Golarion universe has both tangible and intangible mixed. Including poisons and diseases. Which is why they can be affected by magic BTW. The mystical pattern of the aforementioned ancestries is sufficiently different from that of the very similar Bestiary creatures that the afflictions can find entry points within the aura in the former, while the latter stay out of reach.

Think of some humans being immune to a virus because of a specific genetic makeup whereas other humans, though extremely similar, can still catch it.


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LordVanya wrote:


I'm just saying that there has to be a better way to balance this out than "it's magic" because a lot of sources for diseases and poisons aren't magic. As such, verisimilitude is really taking a beating here.

Automations and poppets are vulnerable to those things because automations and poppets are animated by magic - this doesn't mean that the things affecting them have to be magic, just that the magic animating them makes them alive enough that diseases and poisons and so on affect them.

To put it another way - if you have a spell that makes you breathe air, it doesn't make you only breath magical air.


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How does Bender get drunk?
By narrative. (Okay, balance first in RPGs, but then narrative.)

Also we're talking a different physics and metaphysics here in this land of magic, where superstition is more often real than not. So concepts like "miasma" exist for realsies alongside Germ Theory, as does "disease comes from X" where X can be cowardice, evil eyes, demons, walking while eating, looking at the wrong symbols, dreams, etc. Golarion doesn't typically go as far as those examples, yet it's allowed to go there if the narrative (or mechanical balance) requires.

So yeah, those creatures are catching diseases that in our world come from germs, yet in that world can come from whatever combination of factors one wishes (hopefully w/ purpose). It's a "disease force" attacking a "life force" which I was about to say doesn't translate well to Earth-based sensibilities, yet realized I know woomongers who peddle such ideas!


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Playable ancestries are intended to be used in a group, and need to try to avoid any serious conflicts that prevent them from functioning within a group, such as "not having a reason to be at a tavern at the start of the first session".


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Good thing everyone in my group will agree that "it's magic" isn't a good enough reason.

Thanks for the input everyone!


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QuidEst wrote:
Playable ancestries are intended to be used in a group, and need to try to avoid any serious conflicts that prevent them from functioning within a group, such as "not having a reason to be at a tavern at the start of the first session".

The poppet got told it had an ugly mug so many times that it decided to go make some friends? You find him in the bar speaking to the mugs. It's a pretty classic tragic backstory.


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LordVanya wrote:

Good thing everyone in my group will agree that "it's magic" isn't a good enough reason.

Thanks for the input everyone!

seems like you had already come to your decision before posting. Were you just looking for support?


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LordVanya wrote:

Good thing everyone in my group will agree that "it's magic" isn't a good enough reason.

Thanks for the input everyone!

Maybe flesh out how the magic works. Poppets are created as intentional companions to living peoples, designed to look friendly and relatable to the humanoids who create them and acquiring sapience through magical flukes imprinted upon them by the peoples whom they attend. Perhaps the nature of this magic makes them vulnerable to the same things that the people who inspire it, and attacks like disease create metaphysical weaknesses in the mystical bond that animates them. Alcohol intoxicates the Poppet because the Poppet's creators get intoxicated by alcohol and the magic is imitating the people. Tuberculosis plagued the ephemeral spirits that brought them to life, and those animating spirits are weakened in comparable ways when exposed to it. A more verbose explanation than "because magic" even if it is ultimately "because magic".

I know less about automatons, perhaps something similar in the specifics of how the magic works could be arranged for them.

It's also possible that these ancestries aren't a good fit for your group if they break verisimilitude for y'all. One reason some things are rare is to signal that they may not be appropriate for all groups, campaigns, or themes.


WWHsmackdown wrote:
LordVanya wrote:

Good thing everyone in my group will agree that "it's magic" isn't a good enough reason.

Thanks for the input everyone!

seems like you had already come to your decision before posting. Were you just looking for support?

No, just wanted to see if there was an established lore reason or if anyone came up with something better.

Paradozen wrote:
I know less about automatons, perhaps something similar in the specifics of how the magic works could be arranged for them.

Pretty much as vague as the poppet, with something about planar quintessence that doesn't really mean anything more "because it's magic".

Paradozen wrote:
It's also possible that these ancestries aren't a good fit for your group if they break verisimilitude for y'all. One reason some things are rare is to signal that they may not be appropriate for all groups, campaigns, or themes.

As is, no. We can't justify all the seeming contradictions.

That is why I will be rewriting them in a way that will make sense to us.


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If something doesn't have a stomach, is it "immune" to potions as well?

How is a gas absorbed and dissolved into the body if you lack blood and organs?

And etc.

Things start to get really wonky as soon as "magic" stops being an excuse.

Especially for poppets, since their whole existence is basically "given life through magic", it is very easy to justify that the same magic that gives them life also makes them vulnerable to whatever that entails.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I personally think its common sense rule of "Okay, how about we don't need to write for all robot people whether or not they can get drunk?"

That said, poppets can definitely get drunk. After all they are puppets that magically eat things to re sew their wounds :p They are basically muppets, you just don't question why muppets eat food normally.

Grand Lodge

CorvusMask wrote:

I personally think its common sense rule of "Okay, how about we don't need to write for all robot people whether or not they can get drunk?"

That said, poppets can definitely get drunk. After all they are puppets that magically eat things to re sew their wounds :p They are basically muppets, you just don't question why muppets eat food normally.

I guess now we know how CorvusMask eats cookies! ;-)


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm just loving the idea of a diseased poppet having lesions made of discolored cloth patches that appeared overnight, raised postules made of their primary material (cloth, wood, whatever) that burst or ooze confetti, vomit made of yarn or silly string. X'D

Even better is the REAL doctor who has to "play doctor" in order to cure the poppet's disease!


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shroudb wrote:

If something doesn't have a stomach, is it "immune" to potions as well?

How is a gas absorbed and dissolved into the body if you lack blood and organs?
{. . .}

Lots of organisms on Earth have no blood or organs, but nevertheless conduct gas exchange, and are susceptible to poisons.


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UnArcaneElection wrote:
shroudb wrote:

If something doesn't have a stomach, is it "immune" to potions as well?

How is a gas absorbed and dissolved into the body if you lack blood and organs?
{. . .}

Lots of organisms on Earth have no blood or organs, but nevertheless conduct gas exchange, and are susceptible to poisons.

"lots of organisms" that AREN'T made up from non-living matter like dolls and robots.

Even this statement is true only in a vacuum, different poisons react different to different organisms.

Let alone that a gas doing anything to a fluff filled doll is already ridiculous fantasy.

The organisms you are talking already have real physiology, while dolls and androids, don't.

Even then, a "normal" pf injury poison like a blood transmitted venom from a snake won't do anything to an organism lacking blood circulation.

A neuro inhibition poison won't do anything to something lacking a nervous system.

And etc.


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Castilliano wrote:

How does Bender get drunk?

On a complete side note, Bender is not a great example.

Robots in his setting use alcohol for fuel and they don't exhibit any of the symptoms of drunkenness unless they fail to intake the proper levels of alcohol. Some of those effects seem to be side effects of the actual process they use to burn the alcohol while some seem like they must have been programmed in on purpose.

Either way, Futurama robots have logical narrative reasons why they act the way they do based on their, albeit fictional, technology.

Actually, if anything, Bender is a good example for my argument.


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I enjoy my robots and dolls being balanced compared to other players. For a home game though you can absolutely elevate a certain player to ignore certain challenges. That choice, however, should be dm fiat not a base assumption resulting from poorly balanced rules.


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LordVanya wrote:
Castilliano wrote:

How does Bender get drunk?

On a complete side note, Bender is not a great example.

Robots in his setting use alcohol for fuel and they don't exhibit any of the symptoms of drunkenness unless they fail to intake the proper levels of alcohol. Some of those effects seem to be side effects of the actual process they use to burn the alcohol while some seem like they must have been programmed in on purpose.

Either way, Futurama robots have logical narrative reasons why they act the way they do based on their, albeit fictional, technology.

Actually, if anything, Bender is a good example for my argument.

That's funny because w/ the reasoning I thought you were going to flip.

It's only a tiny step to:
"Either way, Pathfinder Poppets have logical narrative (and RPG balance) reasons why they act the way they do based on their, albeit magical, technology/essence."

---
Separately.
We are made of nonliving matter too. It's just our matter's configured in such a way that it becomes living. So when Poppets are brought to life, who's to say their matter isn't as living as ours, hence susceptible to diseases?
Sure, in real-worldish sensibilities it should be completely different set of diseases than attack DNA (et al), but given that disease on a world of magic & superstition is as much an essence as life is (rather than emergent properties), it's no big issue IMO (and for mechanical/balance purposes) to have Poppets struggle with the same plot obstacles as other heroes.

Shadow Lodge

I'd also like the default Poppet to have construct traits and be tiny size, but since they're not, I'd at least like to see them able to take a versatile heritage on top of their racial heritage. A planar touch might explain how they got animated, but if your heritage is already locked in for size or immunities you're limited.


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LordVanya wrote:
Castilliano wrote:

How does Bender get drunk?

On a complete side note, Bender is not a great example.

Robots in his setting use alcohol for fuel and they don't exhibit any of the symptoms of drunkenness unless they fail to intake the proper levels of alcohol. Some of those effects seem to be side effects of the actual process they use to burn the alcohol while some seem like they must have been programmed in on purpose.

Either way, Futurama robots have logical narrative reasons why they act the way they do based on their, albeit fictional, technology.

Actually, if anything, Bender is a good example for my argument.

Funny, I actually think Bender is a fantastic argument for drunk automatons.

The technology in Futurama asserts that robots need alcohol for fuel and if they don't get enough they malfunction to resemble humans getting drunk. It's not actually tech or hard sci-fi though, it's a narrative justification to explain a part of the setting that enables the storytelling the author thinks is interesting. It's lab coats and technobabble glossing over weird parts of the setting.

The magic in Jistka asserts that automatons need the right kinds of food and water for fuel and if they get the wrong kinds they malfunction to resemble humans getting drunk. It is also not a hard scientific explanation, it's a narrative justification to explain a part of the setting that enables the storytelling the authors think is interesting. It's wizard robes and magic words glossing over weird parts of the setting.

In the context of fiction both make the same sense for me, Futurama is trading "because magic" for "because science". I get not liking the automatons because you don't think the storytelling of constructs powered by food and water is interesting. I just don't get why fake magic having rules and structure in fiction to explain side effects breaks verisimilitude while fake science having rules and structure in fiction to explain side effects is totally fine.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

A poppet being able to get sick already makes more sense to me than being able to suffocate a poppet, and you can definitely suffocate a poppet.

I actually really, really like Ravingdork's take on it. To take that a step further, you could say that poppets can get sick because they believe themselves to be alive.

It also kind of reminds me of how the Fair Folk interact with the mortal world in the setting of Exalted, where mortals' belief in how the world works can impose those rules on faeries. An example given is a member of the fair folk who swore an oath not to breathe for the next 500 years - and was 300 years into keeping that oath when a mortal found them and strangled them to death.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber

with poppits "Your spark of life means that you’re a living creature, and you can be healed by positive energy and harmed by negative energy as normal." the chemicals (poisons) and agents (diseases) affect that spark as well just not as effective like if there where organs hence the plus 1.

it does not mention sleep or fatigue. I imagine a haunted clown doll with rogue levels staring at you wile you sleep, waiting patently with a painted on smile.


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^For some reason, I immediately imagine that as looking suspiciously like a Krusty the Clown doll . . . .


Paradozen wrote:
The magic in Jistka asserts that automatons need the right kinds of food and water for fuel and if they get the wrong kinds they malfunction to resemble humans getting drunk. It is also not a hard scientific explanation, it's a narrative justification to explain a part of the setting that enables the storytelling the authors think is interesting. It's wizard robes and magic words glossing over weird parts of the setting.

I read the Jistka section in a friend's copy of Guns & Gears and realized this was incorrect, it appears they don't need to eat or drink by mechanics or the lore. I missed that line in Constructed Body before. It doesn't say they can't eat or drink, simply that they do not need to, so a more accurate phrasing would be "The magic in Jistka asserts that automatons are able to consume food and drink and if they get the wrong kinds of food and drink, they malfunction to resemble humans getting drunk." I still stand by the overall reasoning though, wizard robes and magic words don't feel less compelling to me than lab coats and technobabble if the science is fictional in the first place.


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UnArcaneElection wrote:

^For some reason, I immediately imagine that as looking suspiciously like a Krusty the Clown doll . . . .

Take this object, but beware... it carries a terrible curse.


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Any problems with immersion (which mostly come from a lack of imagination) are far outweighed by how adorable a little poppet lying in bed sick is.


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- Poppets get sick, etc., because children playing with dolls sometimes take care of them when they are "sick". More broadly, children treat them like real people, so the world does too.
- Poppets get sick, etc., because their animating magic doesn't pick and choose what parts of life they get. How are they talking without lungs or vocal chords? Same deal.


Tender Tendrils wrote:
Any problems with immersion (which mostly come from a lack of imagination) are far outweighed by how adorable a little poppet lying in bed sick is.

And is it adorable if they die?


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Errenor wrote:
Tender Tendrils wrote:
Any problems with immersion (which mostly come from a lack of imagination) are far outweighed by how adorable a little poppet lying in bed sick is.
And is it adorable if they die?

The most adorable of deaths.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Saedar wrote:
Errenor wrote:
Tender Tendrils wrote:
Any problems with immersion (which mostly come from a lack of imagination) are far outweighed by how adorable a little poppet lying in bed sick is.
And is it adorable if they die?
The most adorable of deaths.

Buried in a coffin made of popsicle sticks and tongue depressers.


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Saedar wrote:
Errenor wrote:
Tender Tendrils wrote:
Any problems with immersion (which mostly come from a lack of imagination) are far outweighed by how adorable a little poppet lying in bed sick is.
And is it adorable if they die?
The most adorable of deaths.

For that you'd need a stuffed plush Reaper with a little tinfoil scythe. And a smile. Very adorable.

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