Of all the changes I thought Paizo would make to Pathfinder.....


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Tender Tendrils wrote:


The word phylactery belongs to jewish people, they get priority in decisions about how it gets used.

I think just about all of this is wrong.

It's a greek word for amulet

It applies generally to a lot of similar items from a wide variety of religions

The only connection to D&D is when Gygax used the most common exacmple of a phylactery to to him as the inspiration, that suddenly yoinks the word from generic to specific? No. One guy doesn't move a word.

I don't think there is any sort of consensus in the Jewish community about whether the word should be used to describe something in a role playing game because they've got more important stuff to deal with.

And I don't even think you know who in this conversation is Jewish.

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Sidenote, I do think saying "It's just greek word for amulet" is misunderstanding something, that something being that it DOES mean amulet, but its specifically originally greek word for Tefillin <_< And that dictionaries seem to mostly refer to Judaism meaning of the word so uh...

Even if you believe Gygax just lucked out on that word as one of synonyms of the word, and that is ignoring that its completely in character for Gygax to be like "I've heard of this practice of putting strips of paper into box, that sounds occult enough for me!", its outside of D&D context its most associated with Judaism rather than generic amulets.

And again, they aren't removing word entirely from game, Phylactery of Faithfulness type items are still a thing. They are only removing it from lich's context. So the game does still use it in the "religious amulet" type of way, so I don't see what is issue from removing it from context of "Unholy soul jar" definition

(I do agree that you are factually correct that it is greek word rather than hebrew, Tefillin would be the really egregious if that was the word, I just don't think it helps to ignore that its widely accepted synonym for Tefillin)


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CorvusMask wrote:
Sidenote, I do think saying "It's just greek word for amulet" is misunderstanding something, that something being that it DOES mean amulet, but its specifically originally greek word for Tefillin

No. It was not originally a greek word for Tefillin. The words usage predates the greeks contacts with Judeism (if that particular practice even goes that far back?) It is originally a general term that can apply to a lot of things, and did so.


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Ancient greeks are free to claim ownership of the word phylakterion.

We are talking about "phylactery" in this context however, not phylakterion.


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"English doesn’t “borrow” from other languages: it follows them down dark alleys, knocks them over, and goes through their pockets for loose grammar and valuable vocabulary."


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That's the equivalent of stealing a car then changing the plates. You still stole the car.


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mikeawmids wrote:
That's the equivalent of stealing a car then changing the plates. You still stole the car.

and only bothered changing one D to a B and the B into an 8

Not that I've had to change a license plate before...

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At this point of this conversation I'm honestly forgetting what was the point.

Like, this isn't really any difference from changing word race to ancestry. So what this is about? Principles of "I'm going to do what I want"? Semantics of "can you prove whether this is offensive"?

Anyway, at the point where I'm starting to forget what this is about, I should probably stop being cranky at morning while procrastinating to think about something else than really private stuff :p So probably should focus on my prep I guess


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Once upon a time, I would have been astonished at the lengths people will go to hold onto language not because they actually like it, but because they're offended that somebody else might not want it used. Seriously, if it's such a minor thing to you, and somebody else is bothered by it, then why are you so incapable of basic empathy as to take the minor effort to shift?

And that's aside from the claims of pandering as if it's completely impossible that people putting out the product are incapable of simply independently deciding it's something they don't want to use anymore.

The Fry quote is honestly hilarious to me, because that's exactly what it looks like from the other side- a bunch of people throwing childish whining fits over someone making a minor request. Why are you *so* attached to not just having the *right to* offend people, but to actually doing so?

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Tender Tendrils wrote:
It amazes me the amount of people who when given a choice between "make a minor change to language that doesn't affect them" and "continue causing harm to people" choose the latter.

To be fair (and I say this as someone who dosent mind/ actually somewhat likes the name change) for a heck of a lot of tables it's not going to make a diffrence whether they change it or not since they dont have anyone at the table who would be offended.


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MiqoRems wrote:
then why are you so incapable of basic empathy as to take the minor effort to shift?

Well for starters, anyone asking for a change tends to do so with insults, like that one, so we're going to start the conversation with someone being pushy, which means you dig your heels in.

This sort of behavior is common enough from the social justice crowd that we're starting the conversation with "I really don't like ya'll"

and on top of that I don't think the browbeating bad behavior should be rewarded with getting your way, so I'm not inclined to listen. We then follow it up with social justice movements tending to have absolutely terrible arguments giving me no reason to change my mind. Lecturing that you're right because your paradigm is right really doesn't work.

All my life I've been dealing with people making themselves feel better by telling me I'm a terrible person for being different from them in one way or another. So when someone comes along and says that I'm a terrible person, and is absolute vacuous in justifying it? Yeah. I've seen that before. From terrible people.

Without some sort of progressive weighting system placing some people as more important than others, I can't see how you're doing less harm pushing the way you are than the original incredibly minor, incredibly diffuse effects ya'll are pushing against.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
MiqoRems wrote:
then why are you so incapable of basic empathy as to take the minor effort to shift?

Well for starters, anyone asking for a change tends to do so with insults, like that one, so for starters I really don't like ya'll and on top of that I don't think the browbeating bad behavior should be rewarded with getting your way, so I'm not going to listen.

I mean (yeah I'm still unfortunately here), I don't think anybody saying that is trying to change other people's mind.

Like people say that because they are frustrated. They are basically venting out. It might be because they have seen the behavior before or because they used to have conversations in good faith with people arguing in bad faith and figured out "You know what, screw it, if the other side isn't going to do it in good faith, why should I care?"

There IS often tendency of people in internet put responsibility of being civil at one side of conversation when it really should be shared one. Breaking that usually leads to things just escalating until nobody wants to be civil.

(its kinda part of why I tend to back pedal whenever I personally go over line of getting frustrated and express it loudly. Well that and I'm compulsed to want to avoid offending anyone accidentally :p)


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Kevin Mack wrote:
Tender Tendrils wrote:
It amazes me the amount of people who when given a choice between "make a minor change to language that doesn't affect them" and "continue causing harm to people" choose the latter.
To be fair (and I say this as someone who dosent mind/ actually somewhat likes the name change) for a heck of a lot of tables it's not going to make a diffrence whether they change it or not since they dont have anyone at the table who would be offended.

The problem there is you don't always know everything about the people at your table*, or the people who they might tell the story of what happened in game to.

*For example, my very first D&D group had absolutely no idea that I was a trans woman, a lesbian, and a witch, and constantly said a lot of transphobic/misogynistic/homophobic/etc things, which they might have thought wasn't hurting anyone because they didn't know that there was a trans person/woman/lesbian/etc at their table.

Also, I am generally offended by racism despite being white and personally unaffected by it, for example. You shouldn't only be offended by offenses that target you specifically. Thinks like racism and anti-antisemitism, while primarily harming the affected groups, also degrade the dignity of the human species in general, and degrade the society we are all part of.


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thejeff wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:
I just hope they don't mindlessly change certain magic items to a "Soul Cage of Faithfulness" or a "Soul Cage of Positive Channeling". The magic item phylacteries really should not be renamed.
Or at least not to "soul cage". If they do want to move away from using phylactery at all, they should be able to find another more appropriate term.

Reliquary of Positive / Negative Energy maybe


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Blackbeard2025 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:
I just hope they don't mindlessly change certain magic items to a "Soul Cage of Faithfulness" or a "Soul Cage of Positive Channeling". The magic item phylacteries really should not be renamed.
Or at least not to "soul cage". If they do want to move away from using phylactery at all, they should be able to find another more appropriate term.
Reliquary of Positive / Negative Energy maybe

They have explicitly stated that they are just changing the lich item - the other phylacteries in the game are actually reasonable accurate and inoffensive uses of the word, it is just the lich version that is inaccurate and equates phylacteries with evil.

Again, this isn't about eliminating terms, just fixing the cases where those terms are misused.

For example, I would be all for changing terminology for holy water or thaumaturge if it was in a hypothetical scenario where there was an item in the game called holy water that was the bodily fluids of a demon that makes people eat babies, or if thaumaturge was the name of a creature made of intestines that speaks only in heresies - those would be inaccurate and not very nice ways to use those concepts from religions, while I think using holy water as "blessed water that drives away evil" or thaumaturge as "class that knows a lot about magic items" or phylactery as "special amulet containing sacred prayers" is fine (because those uses are at least vaguely accurate and positive).

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TwilightKnight wrote:


Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words can never hurt me

Playground aphorisms are so nice, shame they're not true. Words do hurt, and if you don't think so, you're putting your head in the sand. Words that are meant to dehumanize can also work to incite physical violence.

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Tender Tendrils wrote:


Undead (Christianity, Judaism).

The tern Un-dead was coined by Bram Stoker in Dracula.


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Tender Tendrils wrote:
Blackbeard2025 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:
I just hope they don't mindlessly change certain magic items to a "Soul Cage of Faithfulness" or a "Soul Cage of Positive Channeling". The magic item phylacteries really should not be renamed.
Or at least not to "soul cage". If they do want to move away from using phylactery at all, they should be able to find another more appropriate term.
Reliquary of Positive / Negative Energy maybe

They have explicitly stated that they are just changing the lich item - the other phylacteries in the game are actually reasonable accurate and inoffensive uses of the word, it is just the lich version that is inaccurate and equates phylacteries with evil.

Again, this isn't about eliminating terms, just fixing the cases where those terms are misused.

As I suggested above, even with concerns about offence put aside, "phylactery" isn't really accurate for the lich item, while it fits the other items much better. Those are worn items that can easily fit the "small box with holy script inside", while it's been established for a long time that a lich's soul can be hidden inside a much broader range of things and that it would make no sense at all for it to be something the lich would wear as a phylactery.

This only seems odd to those of us who grew up on D&D and learned "phylactery" first as "thing a lich hides their soul in".

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Cori Marie wrote:
TwilightKnight wrote:


Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words can never hurt me

Playground aphorisms are so nice, shame they're not true. Words do hurt, and if you don't think so, you're putting your head in the sand. Words that are meant to dehumanize can also work to incite physical violence.

It's true if you believe it, then it acts as a vaccine against harmful speech. Another way of looking at it is don't let harmful words change your view of yourself but they may change how your view of the person saying them.

The word phylactery was never meant to dehumanize, the use of it in gaming was never meant to be dehumanizing. Was changing to soul cage a good idea I'm ok with it. Yes, dehumanizing words can help incite violence or harm but so can good intentions pursued over zealously.

In the last 2 months, the train wreck that the Paizo forms have become has gotten so bad that people who are optimistic have felt the need to apologize for being optimistic. When people start thinking of words like optimistic as harmful things have gone too far.

I think we're way beyond "don't split the party" it's time for a 10 minute rest to heal up the party. If you really want to heal the community (the whole community not just your side of it) start by finding what we have in common.


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Also just because other people may have more diverse friend groups or know Jewish folks doesn't mean that "suddenly a bunch of people are claiming that their imaginary Jewish friends are happy with the change"

Like, YOU might not know very many but that doesn't speak to other peoples experiences and assuming as such is very rude and doesn't help your argument any


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Yeah, this is a silly thread. If the OP wants to be taken seriously about this, maybe some willingness to defend their "Jewish people need to take one for the team here so I don't have to change my vocabulary" take would help.

I don't feel strongly about this issue, but I'm not Jewish. The history of the item certainly seems bonkers, and Gary Gygax deserves the benefit of negative fifty doubts. It seems like a perfectly reasonable change to make. Why get offended at a change that's already in the past? You're the ones getting outraged over nothing at this point.


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Words have power and words have meaning. As someone who actually does theology for a living, as well as having worked in both ecumenical and interreligious settings for a while, the use of phylactery really is not the best use of the word, especially within the context of how it has been applied since the formation of the Book of Deuteronomy. Did Gygax mean anything negative by it, who knows. Most people still do not know what a phylactery is or even how to pronounce it. However, as our understandings of words develop and their meanings, we need to be open to changing them.

However, Paizo you need to be consistent. Golems are also taken from Jewish mythology (used here in the academic sense of the word) but you have no problem using the golem as your logo. If I am correct, Sarenrae also has an ankh in her holy symbol and Iomdae's symbol is a cross made out of swords.

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