"Chaos" and "Law" in PF2R


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Shadow Lodge

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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Ed Reppert wrote:
Out of curiosity, what is your pick for best sf show of all time?

Full series, so the show has to own its worst season, and unfinished shows don't count?

First I enshrine Star Trek: TOS in the Emeritus slot so that it gets its kudos while acknowledging that it is of a different time.

For me, it's a contest between Person of Interest and The Expanse. And those shows are so different I don't even know how to compare them.

Deep Space 9 is in the conversation, as the best of the completed Trek, and Babylon 5 is in the conversation (but ultimately falls flat mostly because of how structurally warped the last 2 seasons were in service of finishing the story when they were perpetually in danger of cancellation). Buffy probably deserves consideration. I'd entertain a motion for Avatar: The Last Airbender. I don't think Mr. Robot counts as sf, but would consider it.

And then there are a lot of really good shows that either never finished or had 1 or 2 dreadful seasons mixed with the great. The best seasons of BSG and Westworld were really good, weren't they?

In progress shows that could have a chance someday include Severence and Andor, and *maybe* For All Mankind.

Dark Archive

Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
Veltharis wrote:

Used to play an Asmodean demon hunter in 1e PFS. Haven't picked up Player Core 1 yet (it's on my list), but is there any way to specialize in that sort of thing (demon hunting) without basically requiring holy sanctification now?

Generally a moot point, given that Asmodeus-worshipers require unholy sanctification (which other unholy creatures would be unaffected by at best and resistant to at worst) and just flat out aren't playable in 2e PFS as a result, but I'd like to know if there's any room for that "Law vs. Chaos/Evil vs. Evil" concept within the game system anymore or if it's been completely shut down.

I wanted to address a misconception here. By default unholy creatures shouldn't be immune to spirit damage that happens to be unholy, they just don't suffer bonus damage. There are probably a variety of effects which selectively deal no damage "same team" entities, but by default I think an unholy spirit damage spell should still affect anything that has a spirit, holy or unholy.

That was my understanding as well - perhaps I just phrased it poorly...

In the best case scenario based on the sanctification rules as I understand them, an unholy sanctified character would get no benefit whatsoever when fighting other unholy creatures - their spells/abilities that key off of sanctification would be at most exactly as effective as if they were unsanctified, which is to say less effective than someone who is holy sanctified in basically any case where sanctification matters.


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pH unbalanced wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Calliope5431 wrote:
If you're looking for examples of cosmic chaos and cosmic law the best you'll get are the shadows and the vorlons in Babylon 5. The vorlons look "good" until they start using planet killers on innocent people.
Indeed, not familiar with the show but serial television always has a problem with staying within its focus thanks to getting pushed past the intended progession and having to make content for the sake of publishing.

Babylon 5 is actually *the* example of a genre show that started with a five year script, and lasted for exactly five years. Its pivot from "Good v Evil" to "it's more complicated" was always planned.

(Definitely well worth watching if you can...first season is a little slow, as is often the case for '90s shows. It's not my pick for best sf show of all time, but it's in the discussion.)

Yeah Babylon 5 does the very, very, very rare thing of having a consistent storyline and plot. Highly recommend.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Veltharis wrote:
Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
Veltharis wrote:

Used to play an Asmodean demon hunter in 1e PFS. Haven't picked up Player Core 1 yet (it's on my list), but is there any way to specialize in that sort of thing (demon hunting) without basically requiring holy sanctification now?

Generally a moot point, given that Asmodeus-worshipers require unholy sanctification (which other unholy creatures would be unaffected by at best and resistant to at worst) and just flat out aren't playable in 2e PFS as a result, but I'd like to know if there's any room for that "Law vs. Chaos/Evil vs. Evil" concept within the game system anymore or if it's been completely shut down.

I wanted to address a misconception here. By default unholy creatures shouldn't be immune to spirit damage that happens to be unholy, they just don't suffer bonus damage. There are probably a variety of effects which selectively deal no damage "same team" entities, but by default I think an unholy spirit damage spell should still affect anything that has a spirit, holy or unholy.

That was my understanding as well - perhaps I just phrased it poorly...

In the best case scenario based on the sanctification rules as I understand them, an unholy sanctified character would get no benefit whatsoever when fighting other unholy creatures - their spells/abilities that key off of sanctification would be at most exactly as effective as if they were unsanctified, which is to say less effective than someone who is holy sanctified in basically any case where sanctification matters.

Correct. And why would it? It isn't like Asmodeus is at war with the Abyss or that demons were ever weak to lawful compared to good. And "any case where sanctification matters" is basically spells like Unholy Blight or Divine Wrath that wouldn't have done extra damage previously either. (I can't remember if you could cast good tagged spell as a neutral cleric or Asmodeus in PF1, but come on, you gotta admit it would be silly if you could.)

Near as I can tell you can play the same class with the same mechanical interactions as always, or you can use a cold iron sword to hit demon weaknesses. Thaumaturge also feels very appropriate for the sort of gaming of the cosmic system you talk about.


MEATSHED wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
I'm still at a loss to find a story that is Law vs Chaos where the two sides aren't just Good and Evil in masks respectively.
I guess SMT, but law in that is mostly "authoritarian hellhole" and chaos is mostly "Might makes right hellhole" so 9/10 times the game wants you to go neutral for the ending where everything doesn't turn into a hellhole.

Going neutral in SMT just ensures the next SMT game happens since you're kicking the decision to the next guy, for the record. Centrism at its finest.

Diablo is another Law v Chaos setting where "Good" is just the normal humans trying to survive in the mess of the Eternal Conflict. Warhammer 40k's Long War is another good example. Generally a Law v Chaos setting works best when there are two overwhelmingly powerful sides that are both very evil.


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I think Pathfinder is sort of like Diablo where "Law" and "Chaos" as ideals are both hostile to mortals. So mortals who would prefer to keep things basically livable in their plane probably should not ally with either cause. Like neither Aeons nor Proteans have your interests in mind in any way whatsoever. Angels and Fiends will at least sometimes pretend to offer things in your interests, even if you disagree fundamentally on what's in your best interest.


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I think it would be more accurate to say that pure law and pure chaos can be both beneficial and hurtful, than to say they are outright hostile.

Valmallos is the reason your 5 year old neighbor can't cast meteor swarm, but also the reason you as a farmer can't cast the spell that will cure your friend's illness.

Otolmens is the reason entire planets don't get cooked or frozen by moving too close or too far from their star. But if the proper orbit of a planet dooms it to annihilation she will also make sure it happens.

Liberty's Edge

Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
Veltharis wrote:

Used to play an Asmodean demon hunter in 1e PFS. Haven't picked up Player Core 1 yet (it's on my list), but is there any way to specialize in that sort of thing (demon hunting) without basically requiring holy sanctification now?

Generally a moot point, given that Asmodeus-worshipers require unholy sanctification (which other unholy creatures would be unaffected by at best and resistant to at worst) and just flat out aren't playable in 2e PFS as a result, but I'd like to know if there's any room for that "Law vs. Chaos/Evil vs. Evil" concept within the game system anymore or if it's been completely shut down.

I wanted to address a misconception here. By default unholy creatures shouldn't be immune to spirit damage that happens to be unholy, they just don't suffer bonus damage. There are probably a variety of effects which selectively deal no damage "same team" entities, but by default I think an unholy spirit damage spell should still affect anything that has a spirit, holy or unholy. On the other hand, does a sanctified spell always gain the trait or can you choose not to apply it if it would be more advantageous to you to cast generic spirit damage?

The playtest Exemplar's feat that makes them Holy ou Unholy states that some of your abilities get "the sanctified trait, allowing you to apply your holy or unholy trait to them to better affect your chosen enemies."

The wording "allowing you to" feels like it means you can choose not to apply your holy or unholy trait.


Thrilled to see more interesting Law/Chaos discussions coming up in this thread, but I feel like there is a point that is being overlooked in some of these responses. Law and Chaos are both variously helpful and harmful as a general principle, certainly. We can take this as self-evidently true for at least as long as the idea of monitors being neither inherently good nor evil remains in our alignment memory. This is how the cosmos is stated to work to date, regardless what changes tomorrow.

However, it seems to me the question asked wasn't about whether Law and Chaos can be distinct from Good and Evil in the cosmos. The question was whether, for the purposes of a story--in particular a story which intends to be for and Adventure Path--it really matters that Law is not Evil and Chaos not Good, or vice versa.

If we have an adventure where some proteans (or some similarly pure-chaos aligned faction) are acting as primary villains, and if their schemes are a big enough problem to qualify for main billing, then for all other intents and purposes, they are just doing a flavour of 'evil' by another name. Likewise, if Law ends up in the helpful role for this adventure, it may only be a matter of technicality that they're not actually Good--they're still on the side of the 'good guys'.

Meanwhile, if you have an SMT/Babylon 5 scenario where both Law and Chaos are being problems and hurting people, and the only 'good' ending is choosing neither of them, the conflict may be Neutral vs. Neutral on paper, but what you have in practice just two different flavours of villain. Players will not be happy being asked to choose between two wrongs unless they went in prepared for moral ambiguity and no good answers. Players may team up with a villain to fight a worse villain, but you can't pretend they're not both villains while they're hurting people... and if they're not hurting people, who are the heroes supposed to kill to make things better? This is still Pathfinder.

(Incidentally, this is probably one of the best stories left for Law/Chaos conflicts: A "nobody is right, you have to pick the third option" that people seem to crave in their Grey Jedi and other 'balance' oriented character archetypes, which Good/Evil neutrality is simply unequipped to handle. I wouldn't mind such an adventure, but the writing of it would have to be on the ball to get it right, and if there's anything we know from decades of alignment debates, it's that balancing moral equivalences is fraught work)

---

TL;DR - Yes, Law and Chaos are, by definition, neither inherently Good nor Evil in Pathfinder. Both can be a source of help or harm, but with the restrictions of an Adventure Path style story, if these factions are in the main focus, either one or both of them will need to be the villains--in which case you're back to either just Good vs. Evil with extra steps, or a delicate and potentially frustrating balance where there is no 'good' to fight for, just a lot of evil.

(Actually, without objective alignment, we might theoretically see monitors showing up as actual villains without needing to pretend that hurting people isn't evil when they do it just because they're defined as being Neutral, or else just because they don't care, as if that doesn't make it worse.)


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I barely played the original D&Ds, but from what I gather it was an extremely amoral system. You literally gained experience based on how many gold you could haul out of the dungeon, and I've never met an old school player whose character didn't attempt something morally reprehensible like torture a kobold. I think in that kind of game, law and chaos could indeed be more important.

But Pathfinder was never quite like that. Paizo got its start publishing adventure paths which generally involve a big bad guy threatening to destroy or enslave a significant chunk of the world, and PCs are meant to stop them. While this often winds up being profitable, altruism is usually a more compelling motivation for them. The Pathfinder system was explicitly created to enable Paizo to keep telling those stories. And as Sibelius illustrates, law and chaos just aren't very compelling themes for those stories.

Probably the most interesting thing you could do is have a story that involves negotiating with one side, either redirecting chaos away from hurting innocents or finding a "legal" justification to get law to change course. But neither of those calls for extra damage a la holy and unholy. A campaign about actually picking a side between law vs chaos doesn't create plausible, human motivation.


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Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:

Thrilled to see more interesting Law/Chaos discussions coming up in this thread, but I feel like there is a point that is being overlooked in some of these responses. Law and Chaos are both variously helpful and harmful as a general principle, certainly. We can take this as self-evidently true for at least as long as the idea of monitors being neither inherently good nor evil remains in our alignment memory. This is how the cosmos is stated to work to date, regardless what changes tomorrow.

However, it seems to me the question asked wasn't about whether Law and Chaos can be distinct from Good and Evil in the cosmos. The question was whether, for the purposes of a story--in particular a story which intends to be for and Adventure Path--it really matters that Law is not Evil and Chaos not Good, or vice versa.

If we have an adventure where some proteans (or some similarly pure-chaos aligned faction) are acting as primary villains, and if their schemes are a big enough problem to qualify for main billing, then for all other intents and purposes, they are just doing a flavour of 'evil' by another name. Likewise, if Law ends up in the helpful role for this adventure, it may only be a matter of technicality that they're not actually Good--they're still on the side of the 'good guys'.

Meanwhile, if you have an SMT/Babylon 5 scenario where both Law and Chaos are being problems and hurting people, and the only 'good' ending is choosing neither of them, the conflict may be Neutral vs. Neutral on paper, but what you have in practice just two different flavours of villain. Players will not be happy being asked to choose between two wrongs unless they went in prepared for moral ambiguity and no good answers. Players may team up with a villain to fight a worse villain, but you can't pretend they're not both villains while they're hurting people... and if they're not hurting people, who are the heroes supposed to kill to make things better? This is still Pathfinder....

I think that's a fair take for stories, but it's worth noting that it can be dangerously reductionist to say that "person doing something the PCs disagree with" or "primary adventure antagonist" is always "evil."

For instance, let's say the the villain is an aeon judge who wants to bring the party in for murder, since they went all vigilante (as PCs typically do) and summarily executed someone (perhaps another campaign villain) in the middle of a crowded street in Axis. Is that judge evil? No, decidedly not. There is a REASON to have a rule of law, and "some people are inherently good and virtuous and should be able to kill whoever they think is a problem" is a VERY, VERY slippery slope.

The "villain" here isn't evil - he's just prioritizing "law" over the "good" the party has decided to enforce on his town through public stabbing.

"Who are the heroes supposed to kill to make things better?" is the sort of question that gets you a very skeptical look in the real world, and there are any number of real-world organizations that claim to be "above the law" or "able to act outside the law". They tend to have fairly shaky press. I shall say no more, just pointing out that if you oppose the PCs from a Law/Chaos perspective you may not actually be a bad guy. The judge could even be an archon or other celestial/Holy creature, rather than a neutral monitor.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Several of y'all have touched on this already, but the real problem with trying to right a Law vs Chaos story is player buy-in.

Because Pathfinder is a game where there is a lot of killing, and most players don't want to kill someone they think of as good.

If you make one side bad enough to justify killing, you are now telling a good vs evil story. If you don't make one side bad enough to justify killing, you either get complaints from the player base about being railroaded into killing good guys (because if you don't make them EVIL, a decent number of players will try to join forces with the intended antagonists). And if you take killing off the table for too long, people will get bored.

YMMV (mine sure does) but those are the realities of the audience.


pH unbalanced wrote:

Several of y'all have touched on this already, but the real problem with trying to right a Law vs Chaos story is player buy-in.

Because Pathfinder is a game where there is a lot of killing, and most players don't want to kill someone they think of as good.

If you make one side bad enough to justify killing, you are now telling a good vs evil story. If you don't make one side bad enough to justify killing, you either get complaints from the player base about being railroaded into killing good guys (because if you don't make them EVIL, a decent number of players will try to join forces with the intended antagonists). And if you take killing off the table for too long, people will get bored.

YMMV (mine sure does) but those are the realities of the audience.

Yeah it depends on how morally grey you want to go. Most tables are more invested in black and white and villains color coded for your convenience. Grey is a minefield and can make the players feel bad, and is usually best avoided.

Myself, I prefer black and black morality where everyone is evil including the PCs. That way you don't get upset and everyone OOC knows they don't have a moral leg to stand on. You can play self-righteous characters, but you know they're in the wrong.

But it's not a common thing people play. Most of us very much prefer villains with the moral compass of a Saturday morning cartoon. It's what I typically GM and I've never gotten complaints about the Snidely Whiplash, mustache-twirling antagonists.


I'm not convinced law and chaos need to be able to single-handedly carry a campaign to justify having their own traits and damage types.

You can say "there's no story involving [x] that isn't good and evil wearing masks" about basically any core element of the setting.

There's no story involving Fire that isn't good and evil wearing masks, so doesn't that mean we should drop the Fire trait and damage type?

(to be clear, I'm fine with PF2 moving away from law/chaos, I just disagree with the rationale for it being argued here)


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Sy Kerraduess wrote:

I'm not convinced law and chaos need to be able to single-handedly carry a campaign to justify having their own traits and damage types.

You can say "there's no story involving [x] that isn't good and evil wearing masks" about basically any core element of the setting.

There's no story involving Fire that isn't good and evil wearing masks, so doesn't that mean we should drop the Fire trait and damage type?

(to be clear, I'm fine with PF2 moving away from law/chaos, I just disagree with the rationale for it being argued here)

It isn't that law and chaos add no value to a game. The point is that it adds significantly less value than good/holy and evil/unholy. Beyond that, it is just the legal justification of the the OGL vs ORC. You can't keep both alignment axises while maintaining a legally distinct brand identity, even if you renamed law and chaos as order and anarchy or something. Mechanically, fire as a damage type might not be that different than chaos or evil, but you can't copy right the concept of fire like you can the concept of chaotic evil.

What's being pointed is that the stories both Paizo and the players have been telling all these years aren't really changing because a high level character can no longer buy an anarchic rune for a trip to Axis. You can still take a trip to Axis, but you'll just find the Aeons have slightly less HP to make up for the difference in losing their exploitable weakness.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Sy Kerraduess wrote:

I'm not convinced law and chaos need to be able to single-handedly carry a campaign to justify having their own traits and damage types.

You can say "there's no story involving [x] that isn't good and evil wearing masks" about basically any core element of the setting.

There's no story involving Fire that isn't good and evil wearing masks, so doesn't that mean we should drop the Fire trait and damage type?

(to be clear, I'm fine with PF2 moving away from law/chaos, I just disagree with the rationale for it being argued here)

It isn't that law and chaos add no value to a game. The point is that it adds significantly less value than good/holy and evil/unholy. Beyond that, it is just the legal justification of the the OGL vs ORC. You can't keep both alignment axises while maintaining a legally distinct brand identity, even if you renamed law and chaos as order and anarchy or something. Mechanically, fire as a damage type might not be that different than chaos or evil, but you can't copy right the concept of fire like you can the concept of chaotic evil.

What's being pointed is that the stories both Paizo and the players have been telling all these years aren't really changing because a high level character can no longer buy an anarchic rune for a trip to Axis. You can still take a trip to Axis, but you'll just find the Aeons have slightly less HP to make up for the difference in losing their exploitable weakness.

Things like anarchic/axiomatic runes are what I saw as the primary concern. Having Law and Chaos as distinct alignments with attendant damage types means you've also got to give players options for interacting with those damage types. Combine that with the earlier observations about Paizo's preference for telling stories about good vs. evil, and you have a recipe for creating niche options that sound cool and thematic, but rarely come up in actual play, frustrating players. Like I see people grumbling about options that distinctly operate viz good/evil, or now holy/unholy. That gets compounded when you add more alignments into the mix.

The ironic thing, at least from my standpoint, is that this issue got largely fixed by moving away from aligned damage and creating spirit damage, since bespoke damage was the primary expression of alignments clashing in the system. Converting all damage into spirit damage would make the Hellknight's Blade of Law feat feel a lot less like an overly priced Vicious Swing, for example.

I really hope we get reprintings of the Hellknight archetypes. I want to see what they'll do now that law/chaos are gone as distinct damage types and targets, and also if we can get rid of the heavy armor prof requirement in Armiger. It makes it difficult for casters to qualify to become Signifers, and we've canonically got Hellknight medium armor, so.


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Perpdepog wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Sy Kerraduess wrote:

I'm not convinced law and chaos need to be able to single-handedly carry a campaign to justify having their own traits and damage types.

You can say "there's no story involving [x] that isn't good and evil wearing masks" about basically any core element of the setting.

There's no story involving Fire that isn't good and evil wearing masks, so doesn't that mean we should drop the Fire trait and damage type?

(to be clear, I'm fine with PF2 moving away from law/chaos, I just disagree with the rationale for it being argued here)

It isn't that law and chaos add no value to a game. The point is that it adds significantly less value than good/holy and evil/unholy. Beyond that, it is just the legal justification of the the OGL vs ORC. You can't keep both alignment axises while maintaining a legally distinct brand identity, even if you renamed law and chaos as order and anarchy or something. Mechanically, fire as a damage type might not be that different than chaos or evil, but you can't copy right the concept of fire like you can the concept of chaotic evil.

What's being pointed is that the stories both Paizo and the players have been telling all these years aren't really changing because a high level character can no longer buy an anarchic rune for a trip to Axis. You can still take a trip to Axis, but you'll just find the Aeons have slightly less HP to make up for the difference in losing their exploitable weakness.

Things like anarchic/axiomatic runes are what I saw as the primary concern. Having Law and Chaos as distinct alignments with attendant damage types means you've also got to give players options for interacting with those damage types. Combine that with the earlier observations about Paizo's preference for telling stories about good vs. evil, and you have a recipe for creating niche options that sound cool and thematic, but rarely come up in actual play, frustrating players. Like I see people grumbling about options...

100% agree with this logic. That being said...

Myself, I do like law and chaos, even if they're legally not tenable for Paizo. With the awesomeness that is sanctification and spirit damage, they finally had a use case, too! So I can't deny I'll be a little bummed out to see them exit the setting.

Happily, there's nothing stopping players and GMs from creating an axiomatic/anarchic sanctification exactly like holy/unholy. The pieces are all there. Just give devils, aeons, and archons the axiomatic trait (and maybe a vulnerability to anarchic damage!), make an axiomatic rune that deals +1d4 spirit or +2d4 against anarchic creatures, and add a tag to Abadar, Asmodeus, Iomedae and co that you can/must sanctify axiomatic and you're good to go.

I might well do it in my home campaigns just because some people there enjoy law/chaos, and I'm happy that it's so easy to add


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Good point about the ease of homebrewing.


Calliope5431 wrote:
I think that's a fair take for stories, but it's worth noting that it can be dangerously reductionist to say that "person doing something the PCs disagree with" or "primary adventure antagonist" is always "evil."

No, I certainly agree with you there. Shows like Blue Bloods where the cop justifies breaking the law and committing any kind of abuse because he's so mad about crime and all criminals are evil make me sick to watch. My point was less that "opposing the heroes makes you evil" and more that "being the major villain of an AP probably means whatever thing you're doing is hurting enough innocents that you're evil" because with a couple exceptions, the main antagonist of an AP is probably causing a lot of harm, enough to justify a bunch of heroes rising up against them. An aeon judge might be an antagonist of a part of the adventure, but unless their activities include sentencing a town to death for cosmic tax fraud, it's unlikely they have the billing to be the big bad.

pH unbalanced more or less says what I mean. The reason why we need to kill somebody at the end if the story isn't because there's any inherent need for a bad guy to kill to make things better (an extremely suspect take for sure), but because we're playing a game where the vast majority of the game's mechanics model high-stakes fights, and most of the players' cool abilities help in combat, so if there's no one we have to fight to stop at the end of the story, we might be telling the wrong story for the kind of game we chose to play.

(PS, I've seen a lot of arguments about whether or how easy it was before to homebrew alignment out of the game, but I'm very pleased in hindsight to see just how easy it is and would be to homebrew the Order/Chaos spectrum back into the game. Like I still think having a monitor be unkillable unless you happen to have a chaos-sanctified priest in your party or else an axiomatic sword (for some reason) is expecting too much in the creature design, but I would have been just as happy if law/chaos sanctification got to still be a thing if circumstances didn't take that off the table... not that the marut inevitable isn't also permanently off the table.

And I'm sure we're all on the same page by now, but obligatory mention that the themes of Law and Chaos still inform parts of the setting, especially the parts that are literally cosmic representations of these concepts. It's just that these two specifically don't have a damage tag associated with them anymore.
... at least unless the War of the Immortals doesn't sunder the cosmos, reduce the city of Axis to rubble, boil the Maelstrom, and otherwise homogenise every example of law vs chaos leaning between Hell and the Abyss.


Calliope5431 wrote:

100% agree with this logic. That being said...

Myself, I do like law and chaos, even if they're legally not tenable for Paizo. With the awesomeness that is sanctification and spirit damage, they finally had a use case, too! So I can't deny I'll be a little bummed out to see them exit the setting.

Happily, there's nothing stopping players and GMs from creating an axiomatic/anarchic sanctification exactly like holy/unholy. The pieces are all there. Just give devils, aeons, and archons the axiomatic trait (and maybe a vulnerability to anarchic damage!), make an axiomatic rune that deals +1d4 spirit or +2d4 against anarchic creatures, and add a tag to Abadar, Asmodeus, Iomedae and co that you can/must sanctify axiomatic and you're good to go.

I might well do it in my home campaigns just because some people there enjoy law/chaos, and I'm happy that it's so easy to add

I'm also a bit sad to see them go. I always thought monitors were cooler than celestials or fiends, I like my outsider creatures to be real esoteric, and I'm glad that we still have aeons and proteans and all. And yeah, I agree that the new sanctification system makes law and chaos pretty easy to slip back in the game. I'm not sure I will go to those lengths, nobody I play with seems as interested in law/chaos conflicts as I am, but if you or someone else here comes up with a homebrew system for implementing law and chaos I'd love to hear about it.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Honestly I don't think I would have minded Law and Chaos being replaced with new damage types that universally work on everything, but aeons/proteans are weak to opposite one <_< I do admit that Law/Chaos sanctification would be too niche to see much use, so if sanctification type optional mechanic existed, it would need broader use than just countering its antithesis

Like, I never really thought Law/Chaos needed to have symmetry with Good/Evil mechanics wise, I just liked them being represented


Personally, I'd just like the axes to be turned into traits, and players are allowed (but not required) to attach one of [Good] or [Evil], and one of [Law] or [Chaos], to their characters. (With renames, of course, to avoid the vulnerability to illegal legal damage.) Or leave the field there, but make it optional instead of mandatory (and perhaps allow players to make up their own alignments, like, e.g., "Chaotic Fun" or "Chronic Good"). Leave the concept of alignment as a broad filter that aids in interpreting edicts & anathema, but don't actually attach any mechanics to it. (Since the mechanics are attached to the new holy war traits, instead.)

Doing it that way would leave the option to have an alignment for flavour reasons, while at the same way adding a context & lens through which their actual drives can be interpreted. (Case in point, "Help the oppressed" takes a very different meaning depending on how you look at things. If a resource-poor nation is invading a more abundant nation, but using excessive force and brutal tactics in the process, then it's easy to see both sides as "oppressed"; the victim nation is being oppressed by their invaders, and the invading nation is oppressed by their neighbour hoarding all the resources. Knowing which side the character stands with helps you suss out who they see as oppressed and who they see as the oppressors.)

I imagine people that actually care about this will do it anyways, just dedicate a line in their character profile to classic alignment. It would be nice to see it be official, though, as an acknowledgment that edicts & anathema can easily be ambiguous if you don't know how the character see the world itself.


I think without alignment dieties like Lamashtu are going to appear less evil. I mean, from her wiki page:

Lamashtu Edicts wrote:
Bring power to outcasts and the downtrodden, indoctrinate children in Lamashtu's teachings, make the beautiful monstrous, reveal the corruption and flaws in all things
Lamashtu Anathema wrote:
Attempt to treat a mental illness or deformity, provide succour to Lamashtu's enemies

These are the least evil things any evil god asks you to do, and it's one of the few I can see a reason why some people would worship and find solace and community in. Where as other evil gods it seems genuinely stupid to follow. Though not as stupid as Faerun's Bahl, who is one of the dumbest ideas for a god that no one would have any need for


AestheticDialectic wrote:

I think without alignment dieties like Lamashtu are going to appear less evil. I mean, from her wiki page:

Lamashtu Edicts wrote:
Bring power to outcasts and the downtrodden, indoctrinate children in Lamashtu's teachings, make the beautiful monstrous, reveal the corruption and flaws in all things
Lamashtu Anathema wrote:
Attempt to treat a mental illness or deformity, provide succour to Lamashtu's enemies
These are the least evil things any evil god asks you to do, and it's one of the few I can see a reason why some people would worship and find solace and community in. Where as other evil gods it seems genuinely stupid to follow. Though not as stupid as Faerun's Bahl, who is one of the dumbest ideas for a god that no one would have any need for

Paizo decided "mental illness" and "deformity" were troubling terms. Her anathema are now (PC1) "attempt to change that which makes you different, provide succor to Lamashtu’s enemies." So even less manifestly evil, IMHO.


Omega Metroid wrote:
Personally, I'd just like the axes to be turned into traits, and players are allowed (but not required) to attach one of [Good] or [Evil], and one of [Law] or [Chaos], to their characters. (With renames, of course, to avoid the vulnerability to illegal legal damage.) Or leave the field there, but make it optional instead of mandatory (and perhaps allow players to make up their own alignments, like, e.g., "Chaotic Fun" or "Chronic Good"). Leave the concept of alignment as a broad filter that aids in interpreting edicts & anathema, but don't actually attach any mechanics to it.

They have already made their changes, but...

Yes. I would like that flexibility to just add tags representing causes tags and themes to things, too.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Omega Metroid wrote:

Personally, I'd just like the axes to be turned into traits, and players are allowed (but not required) to attach one of [Good] or [Evil], and one of [Law] or [Chaos], to their characters. (With renames, of course, to avoid the vulnerability to illegal legal damage.) Or leave the field there, but make it optional instead of mandatory (and perhaps allow players to make up their own alignments, like, e.g., "Chaotic Fun" or "Chronic Good"). Leave the concept of alignment as a broad filter that aids in interpreting edicts & anathema, but don't actually attach any mechanics to it. (Since the mechanics are attached to the new holy war traits, instead.)

Doing it that way would leave the option to have an alignment for flavour reasons, while at the same way adding a context & lens through which their actual drives can be interpreted. (Case in point, "Help the oppressed" takes a very different meaning depending on how you look at things. If a resource-poor nation is invading a more abundant nation, but using excessive force and brutal tactics in the process, then it's easy to see both sides as "oppressed"; the victim nation is being oppressed by their invaders, and the invading nation is oppressed by their neighbour hoarding all the resources. Knowing which side the character stands with helps you suss out who they see as oppressed and who they see as the oppressors.)

I imagine people that actually care about this will do it anyways, just dedicate a line in their character profile to classic alignment. It would be nice to see it be official, though, as an acknowledgment that edicts & anathema can easily be ambiguous if you don't know how the character see the world itself.

Making it official would undermind the whole point of the change in the first place: keeping them from getting sued.


Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
AestheticDialectic wrote:

I think without alignment dieties like Lamashtu are going to appear less evil. I mean, from her wiki page:

Lamashtu Edicts wrote:
Bring power to outcasts and the downtrodden, indoctrinate children in Lamashtu's teachings, make the beautiful monstrous, reveal the corruption and flaws in all things
Lamashtu Anathema wrote:
Attempt to treat a mental illness or deformity, provide succour to Lamashtu's enemies
These are the least evil things any evil god asks you to do, and it's one of the few I can see a reason why some people would worship and find solace and community in. Where as other evil gods it seems genuinely stupid to follow. Though not as stupid as Faerun's Bahl, who is one of the dumbest ideas for a god that no one would have any need for
Paizo decided "mental illness" and "deformity" were troubling terms. Her anathema are now (PC1) "attempt to change that which makes you different, provide succor to Lamashtu’s enemies." So even less manifestly evil, IMHO.

I would do the flexing arm emoji here if I could


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Omega Metroid wrote:

Personally, I'd just like the axes to be turned into traits, and players are allowed (but not required) to attach one of [Good] or [Evil], and one of [Law] or [Chaos], to their characters. (With renames, of course, to avoid the vulnerability to illegal legal damage.) Or leave the field there, but make it optional instead of mandatory (and perhaps allow players to make up their own alignments, like, e.g., "Chaotic Fun" or "Chronic Good"). Leave the concept of alignment as a broad filter that aids in interpreting edicts & anathema, but don't actually attach any mechanics to it. (Since the mechanics are attached to the new holy war traits, instead.)

Doing it that way would leave the option to have an alignment for flavour reasons, while at the same way adding a context & lens through which their actual drives can be interpreted. (Case in point, "Help the oppressed" takes a very different meaning depending on how you look at things. If a resource-poor nation is invading a more abundant nation, but using excessive force and brutal tactics in the process, then it's easy to see both sides as "oppressed"; the victim nation is being oppressed by their invaders, and the invading nation is oppressed by their neighbour hoarding all the resources. Knowing which side the character stands with helps you suss out who they see as oppressed and who they see as the oppressors.)

I imagine people that actually care about this will do it anyways, just dedicate a line in their character profile to classic alignment. It would be nice to see it be official, though, as an acknowledgment that edicts & anathema can easily be ambiguous if you don't know how the character see the world itself.

Making it official would undermind the whole point of the change in the first place: keeping them from getting sued.

I'm aware. (They probably would've won the lawsuit, seeing how (IIRC) the OGL contains a clause that makes it illegal to change it the way WotC wanted to change it, contract law always sides against "I have altered the terms of the deal, pray I don't alter them further" (meaning they'd still have the right to use OGL 1.0 anyways), but that's neither here nor there.)

It would still be nice to have, though, just phrased in a legally distinct way. Rename the archetypal four, and make them into pairs of exclusive traits instead of a tic-tac-toe board, possibly with room to add additional trait pair "axes" later on (e.g., [Freedom] vs. [Duty-Bound]). Or make it a generic write-in, where you describe your character's overarching outlook in two words or less; that's legally very distinct, yet would be immediately recognisable as Alignment but more freeform. And either way, probably give it a new name, someting like, say... "Ethos".

I get why they did it, and I don't blame them for being paranoid about WotC's attack on the concept of D&D-like tabletop RPGs. Would be nice to have, is all.


Omega Metroid wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Omega Metroid wrote:

Personally, I'd just like the axes to be turned into traits, and players are allowed (but not required) to attach one of [Good] or [Evil], and one of [Law] or [Chaos], to their characters. (With renames, of course, to avoid the vulnerability to illegal legal damage.) Or leave the field there, but make it optional instead of mandatory (and perhaps allow players to make up their own alignments, like, e.g., "Chaotic Fun" or "Chronic Good"). Leave the concept of alignment as a broad filter that aids in interpreting edicts & anathema, but don't actually attach any mechanics to it. (Since the mechanics are attached to the new holy war traits, instead.)

Doing it that way would leave the option to have an alignment for flavour reasons, while at the same way adding a context & lens through which their actual drives can be interpreted. (Case in point, "Help the oppressed" takes a very different meaning depending on how you look at things. If a resource-poor nation is invading a more abundant nation, but using excessive force and brutal tactics in the process, then it's easy to see both sides as "oppressed"; the victim nation is being oppressed by their invaders, and the invading nation is oppressed by their neighbour hoarding all the resources. Knowing which side the character stands with helps you suss out who they see as oppressed and who they see as the oppressors.)

I imagine people that actually care about this will do it anyways, just dedicate a line in their character profile to classic alignment. It would be nice to see it be official, though, as an acknowledgment that edicts & anathema can easily be ambiguous if you don't know how the character see the world itself.

Making it official would undermind the whole point of the change in the first place: keeping them from getting sued.
I'm aware. (They probably would've won the lawsuit, seeing how (IIRC) the OGL contains a clause that makes it illegal to change it the way WotC...

I'm of that opinion that sacred cows SHOULD be slaughtered if the meat will make tasty burgers; alignment caused a lot of issues and needed a lot of exceptions, while not doing much more than restraining narratives and providing shorthands that morphed into overgeneralizations. Now it's just people and creatures with varied motivations. Edicts and anathema work better for describing how you reflect the values of a culture, nation, or diety anyway


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The more essentialist things that are dismantled and removed, the better. Death to alignment. Seal the coffin in concrete so that it may never rise again


Overall I'm a bigger fan of sanctification than alignment, and basically for the reason Aesthetic said; it's not essentialist, or rather not as essentialist given that celestials and fiends and undead are still auto-sanctified. I like the idea that it's a choice. I've brought up a few times how it always bugged me that mindless creatures can have alignments, mindless undead being a prime example, when the alignment grid is meant to be a moral/ethical one.
I'm assuming that mindless undead will still be Unholy in Monster Core, which still doesn't sit well with me, but given that Holy/Unholy are a choice now there's the optics of mindless undead being the metaphysical equivalent of unfortunate conscripts, which may not feel great, but does fit the tone of the setting more I think. Necromancers tend to not be very nice people at all, and enslaving someone's remains or what's left over of their soul/consciousness to become a foot soldier in some nebulous and eternal battle for soul points, or simply not caring that reanimating someone forces them into said struggle whether they want to be or not, is pretty on brand.

Dark Archive

Captain Morgan wrote:

Correct. And why would it? It isn't like Asmodeus is at war with the Abyss or that demons were ever weak to lawful compared to good. And "any case where sanctification matters" is basically spells like Unholy Blight or Divine Wrath that wouldn't have done extra damage previously either. (I can't remember if you could cast good tagged spell as a neutral cleric or Asmodeus in PF1, but come on, you gotta admit it would be silly if you could.)

Near as I can tell you can play the same class with the same mechanical interactions as always, or you can use a cold iron sword to hit demon weaknesses. Thaumaturge also feels very appropriate for the sort of gaming of the cosmic system you talk about.

I built my entire character around the Asmodean Demon Hunter religion trait, which is all about being someone raised in the faith of Asmodeus who focuses their religious fervor on the elimination of demons. It was published multiple times in 1e (Advanced Player's Guide, Ultimate Campaign, Cheliax: Empire of Devils), which gave the implication, perhaps unintended, that there was some segment of the faith of Asmodeus dedicated to hunting demons. That plus the existence of the various Hellknight orders pretty much served to kickstart the entire character concept - yes, I pulled from other influences, notably my love of Planescape and its Blood War, but I felt that there was sufficient Pathfinder-specific narrative support for the concept to get it off the ground. Just as importantly, it provided a justification for why my Asmodeus worshiper might be willing to work with others of very different backgrounds, religions, and ideologies - she had a mission that was more important to her than butting heads with the paladin over matters of Good vs. Evil. Leaning into Law vs. Chaos is what made the character work.

She was a divine caster, and while I couldn't cast good aligned spells due to being an Asmodeus follower, pretty much every PF1 spell that specifically keyed off of alignment had a version for Good, Evil, Lawful, and Chaotic. It's not a huge number of spells (and far from the character's full arsenal), but I got quite a bit of use out of spells like Protection from Chaos, Arrow of Law, Order's Wrath, and Dictum, all of which effect either "chaotic" or "nonlawful" targets, meaning they generally worked just fine against demons. Damage reduction keyed off of good is/was primarily an issue for weapon users in 1e, because spells ignore damage reduction, being covered instead by resistances, immunities, SR, etc.

2e turned turned "deal X damage to a chaotic target" into "deal X law damage to a target", then turned DR/good into a weakness to good damage applied across the board, meaning good damage now always outperforms law damage in this particular scenario, and the remaster followed suit with how it handles weakness to holy. So far as I can see, I now have no way to trigger a demon's weaknesses without redesigning my character concept from the ground up, either into a weapon user wielding something cold iron or a caster capable of using holy spells. Thaumaturge is an admittedly interesting option, but it's still primarily a weapon user, and falls into the proverbial "bard trap" of me not feeling comfortable playing a character explicitly built around technobabbling a reason why my attacks should trigger an enemy's weaknesses when I'm not confident in my ability to convincingly technobabble on the fly.

And with Asmodeus only allowing LE worshipers as of 2e, and now being defined by unholy sanctification in the remaster, it seems as though any narrative room for an Asmodeus follower that cares about something other than Good vs. Evil above all else has been thrown out the proverbial window. Fundamentally, both the narrative and mechanical framework my character was built on feel as though they've been largely stripped away, or at the very least left on the backburner for the foreseeable future, and that's well before getting into the fact that basically all of my playtime has been in PFS, which puts further restrictions on my options. Not that I've been able to find a group, PFS or otherwise, since moving back to central Arkansas...

Heck, so far as I can tell, the option to "revere" a deity rather than worship them hasn't been reintroduced with Player Core 1, and given that PFS has now put Asmodeus fully on the Restricted (i.e. Banned) list since PC1 release and seems to be in the process of revising their section on religion in the character creation guidelines, I'm not convinced I can even skirt around the issue by playing a non-cleric anymore.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

All right, cool, wasn't aware of that trait. Mechanically it seems easy enough to emulate with Demon Lore.

I think I'm confused about what changed though, because PF1 demons didn't have a weakness to good, lawful, or holy in the first place. Is the complaint that you no longer have spells like Arrow or Law or Order's Wrath which deal extra damage to outsiders? Is that basically analogous to the good/holy weakness to you? If so... I guess yeah, you lost a damage gain on those very specific spells against semons in exchange for them now working better on almost every other creature in the game. And you've still got Needle Darts and Clad in Metal if you really want options to do extra damage to demons. Divine Decree and Banishment still banish demons the same regardless of who casts them.

Thematically, I don't play PFS but it sounds to me like whether you worship Asmodeus has no mechanical impact to this character and you can just... Do it? Your powers never came from the Prince anyway, and we have no reason to think oracles or sorcerers will need to be Sanctified based on their choice of deity, so the old alignment stuff is irrelevant. I feel like this guy would have to worship in secret anyway, at least if he was trying to participate in the Pathfinder Society. I'd feel pretty weird about adventuring with someone who openly worshipped a god of slavery and oppression.

Dark Archive

Captain Morgan wrote:

All right, cool, wasn't aware of that trait. Mechanically it seems easy enough to emulate with Demon Lore.

I think I'm confused about what changed though, because PF1 demons didn't have a weakness to good, lawful, or holy in the first place. Is the complaint that you no longer have spells like Arrow or Law or Order's Wrath which deal extra damage to outsiders? Is that basically analogous to the good/holy weakness to you? If so... I guess yeah, you lost a damage gain on those very specific spells against semons in exchange for them now working better on almost every other creature in the game. And you've still got Needle Darts and Clad in Metal if you really want options to do extra damage to demons. Divine Decree and Banishment still banish demons the same regardless of who casts them.

Thematically, I don't play PFS but it sounds to me like whether you worship Asmodeus has no mechanical impact to this character and you can just... Do it? Your powers never came from the Prince anyway, and we have no reason to think oracles or sorcerers will need to be Sanctified based on their choice of deity, so the old alignment stuff is irrelevant. I feel like this guy would have to worship in secret anyway, at least if he was trying to participate in the Pathfinder Society. I'd feel pretty weird about adventuring with someone who openly worshipped a god of slavery and oppression.

The point is that I had a character concept that I love a great deal that relied on Law vs. Chaos as a narrative element in order to work on multiple levels, and the removal of Law vs. Chaos as a mechanical consideration combined with the deliberate refocusing of Asmodeus and his faith squarely on the holy/unholy conflict makes me feel like the character concept is no longer supported by either the setting narrative or the game system.

Yes, in the grand scheme of things it's a relatively minor damage loss and I have other tools I can work with - I can jury rig with the best of them. But I can't jury rig my way past "the god your character worships canonically doesn't support the cause you pursue in their name (even though they implicitly did in the previous edition)" and "no matter what, your character would fundamentally be more effective at what they do if you redesigned them from the ground up to be something/someone else", especially in something like PFS that doesn't support homebrew.

As to openly worshiping Asmodeus, that was on some level the point - it's part of what made the character fun for me. She was from Cheliax (as you could probably guess), and that's precisely why she was Lawful Neutral (well, also because LN was the only playable option for an Asmodeus follower) and focused on a threat that gave her common cause to work with others, particularly since she was originally built in the run up to the PFS season that tied into Wrath of the Righteous. I wasn't looking to make the other players uncomfortable, I wasn't proselytizing to the party, and I certainly wasn't touching the topic of slavery with a thousand-foot pole (character wasn't a supporter of the practice regardless), I just enjoyed playing an unorthodox character as a primary healer and getting the side-eye from the paladin every once in a while (usually after I healed him back from unconsciousness).


Veltharis wrote:
Heck, so far as I can tell, the option to "revere" a deity rather than worship them hasn't been reintroduced with Player Core 1, and given that PFS has now put Asmodeus fully on the Restricted (i.e. Banned) list since PC1 release and seems to be in the process of revising their section on religion in the character creation guidelines, I'm not convinced I can even skirt around the issue by playing a non-cleric anymore.

A minor point, but PC1 does specify two distinct degrees of worship:

PC1 p35 wrote:

Deities

Anyone can worship a deity, but those who do so devoutly should take care to pursue the faith’s edicts (behaviors the faith encourages) and avoid its anathemas (actions considered blasphemous, and could cause a god to revoke their blessings).

AFAICT worship has become "devoutly worship" and reverence/veneration has become "not-so-devout worship."

Dark Archive

Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Veltharis wrote:
Heck, so far as I can tell, the option to "revere" a deity rather than worship them hasn't been reintroduced with Player Core 1, and given that PFS has now put Asmodeus fully on the Restricted (i.e. Banned) list since PC1 release and seems to be in the process of revising their section on religion in the character creation guidelines, I'm not convinced I can even skirt around the issue by playing a non-cleric anymore.

A minor point, but PC1 does specify two distinct degrees of worship:

PC1 p35 wrote:

Deities

Anyone can worship a deity, but those who do so devoutly should take care to pursue the faith’s edicts (behaviors the faith encourages) and avoid its anathemas (actions considered blasphemous, and could cause a god to revoke their blessings).
AFAICT worship has become "devoutly worship" and reverence/veneration has become "not-so-devout worship."

Which is all fine and good (although it does force the character in question to now be non-devout, when she was previously very devout, just focused on a less prominent aspect of the faith), but still depends on how PFS ultimately decides to handle things when they finalize the changes to religion - Asmodeus is on the Restricted list now, which could very well mean PCs can't even revere him in PFS anymore.

All of this would be significantly less of an issue if I had a home group, but alas, I do not...


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

It just seems like Asmodeus is giving the same amount of support he always did, considering your character never got spells from him in the first place as an oracle. The only direct mechanical or narrative tie I see is being raised in his church to hunt demons. The demon slayer background or additional lore feat both feel like they can represent this mechanically and narratively. If Asmodeus's church was raising people to hunt demons in PF1, I don't see what indicated that changed in PF2. The remaster is mostly changing names when it comes to cosmology, not the philosophical underpinnings. Devils no longer having LE under their names and demons no longer having CE doesn't mean hell isn't a place of hierarchy that opposes chaos.

The thing which changed (as far as I can tell) is that you could no longer be both a Pathfinder and a card carrying worshipper of the god of slavery and torture, and TBH that was always goofy and unintended by the authors. It also doesn't mechanically matter to the oracle class and wasn't altered by the remaster.

Not trying to be a jerk here, it just seems like all that changed is Paizo decided being willing to overlook slavery from your church did not leave you tolerable to anyone even vaguely interested in helping others.


The most thematic weakness of demons in 2e is their sin weakness, which a spellcaster can be well suited for.

Keep purify food and drink prepared to counter hezrou, zone of truth to counter glabrezu, keep a mirror in your pack to harm abrikandilu and a way to put out fires to harm brimorak, etc.

You will definitely build a clear identity as a demon hunter then. Plus, most of those counters basically consist of undoing the chaos the demon revels in, so it's still law themed in a way.


This bit with Asmodeus---all his PFS worshippers, not yours alone---really seems like PFS ought to grandfather it. Hopefully they will.


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I gotta admit, in my head I've always parsed Asmodeus and his faith as being a fanatical devotion to order (in particular, Asmodeus' totalitarian ideal of order) that incidentally but fundamentally bends toward evil. On the other hand, while it doesn't necessarily feel intuitive that Asmodeus cares about being evil (after all, his vibe seems to be punishing deviance), it seems clear that he is evil and is plainly intolerant of those who don't fall in line, so it still makes sense that he requires unholy sanctification.

Does PFS really care, though, if you worship a deity with no mechanical benefit?
(tho I admit I'm a little surprised any evil-only deity is valid for PFS; I took for granted those were off the table)

Dark Archive

Don't worry... With my luck, Asmodeus will end up biting it when the whole War of Immortals storyline finally goes down anyway.


Asmodeus is supposed to be one of the two "Big Bads" of the entire setting, so you're not going to be getting power from him directly without being wholly committed to the cause of evil; IIRC that's not allowed in PFS and probably will continue to not be. But millions of people in Cheliax are observant of the state religion to varying degrees and don't get infernal power as a result.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Asmodeus is supposed to be one of the two "Big Bads" of the entire setting, so you're not going to be getting power from him directly without being wholly committed to the cause of evil; IIRC that's not allowed in PFS and probably will continue to not be. But millions of people in Cheliax are observant of the state religion to varying degrees and don't get infernal power as a result.

How odd. I don't think I ever considered him "up there" as a big bad (I assume the other one you're referring to is Rovagug).

Certainly he's incredibly dangerous, and has an entire fiendish empire working for him. But it never crossed my mind that he was a setting wide big bad - definitely not on the level of Rovagug.


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Calliope5431 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Asmodeus is supposed to be one of the two "Big Bads" of the entire setting, so you're not going to be getting power from him directly without being wholly committed to the cause of evil; IIRC that's not allowed in PFS and probably will continue to not be. But millions of people in Cheliax are observant of the state religion to varying degrees and don't get infernal power as a result.

How odd. I don't think I ever considered him "up there" as a big bad (I assume the other one you're referring to is Rovagug).

Certainly he's incredibly dangerous, and has an entire fiendish empire working for him. But it never crossed my mind that he was a setting wide big bad - definitely not on the level of Rovagug.

I mean, Asmodeus is not shy about his agenda being to eliminate free will in the universe and subjugate everything. He's basically Darkseid to Rovagug's Anti-Monitor. The only thing in the setting that's nearly as evil as those two is the Oinodaemon, and Asmodeus is the most active of the three in terms of "working towards his goals."

I would say he's a much bigger ultimate villain than Rovagug.


WWHsmackdown wrote:
Omega Metroid wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Omega Metroid wrote:

Personally, I'd just like the axes to be turned into traits, and players are allowed (but not required) to attach one of [Good] or [Evil], and one of [Law] or [Chaos], to their characters. (With renames, of course, to avoid the vulnerability to illegal legal damage.) Or leave the field there, but make it optional instead of mandatory (and perhaps allow players to make up their own alignments, like, e.g., "Chaotic Fun" or "Chronic Good"). Leave the concept of alignment as a broad filter that aids in interpreting edicts & anathema, but don't actually attach any mechanics to it. (Since the mechanics are attached to the new holy war traits, instead.)

Doing it that way would leave the option to have an alignment for flavour reasons, while at the same way adding a context & lens through which their actual drives can be interpreted. (Case in point, "Help the oppressed" takes a very different meaning depending on how you look at things. If a resource-poor nation is invading a more abundant nation, but using excessive force and brutal tactics in the process, then it's easy to see both sides as "oppressed"; the victim nation is being oppressed by their invaders, and the invading nation is oppressed by their neighbour hoarding all the resources. Knowing which side the character stands with helps you suss out who they see as oppressed and who they see as the oppressors.)

I imagine people that actually care about this will do it anyways, just dedicate a line in their character profile to classic alignment. It would be nice to see it be official, though, as an acknowledgment that edicts & anathema can easily be ambiguous if you don't know how the character see the world itself.

Making it official would undermind the whole point of the change in the first place: keeping them from getting sued.
I'm aware. (They probably would've won the lawsuit, seeing how (IIRC) the OGL contains a clause that makes it...
I'm of that opinion that sacred cows SHOULD be slaughtered if the meat will make tasty burgers; alignment caused a lot of issues and needed a lot of exceptions, while not doing much more than restraining narratives and providing shorthands that morphed into overgeneralizations. Now it's just people and creatures with varied motivations. Edicts and anathema work better for describing how you reflect the values of a culture, nation, or diety anyway

That's fair, yeah. It mainly comes down to how people use it, really.


  • • If they use it as a summary, as a quick way to indicate the character's overarching mindset in as few words as possible, then it's fine to keep.
  • • If people use it as a straitjacket, then it tends to morph into the Stupid alignments (Stupid Good, Stupid Evil, Chaotic Stupid, Lawful Stupid), and needs to go.

Or in short, it's helpful if it's defined by your actions, but harmful if your actions are defined by it.

Personally, I'm of the former camp, that alignment is/was supposed to be a summary rather than a requirement. (As are the rules of every game that uses alignment, seeing how actions can change alignment but alignment doesn't mandate actions, but this tends to be forgotten.) That's the sense I think it, or something similar, should be retained in: A minimalistic summary of the character's overarching mindset and ethos, with the edicts & anathema themselves helping to define the character's ethical code in light of that summary.

It doesn't necessarily need to be called "Alignment", and doesn't necessarily need to be restricted to the 3.5e nine, it just needs to be something short & to the point. Something like, say, the Bard being "Anarchic Horny", the Barbarian being "Irrationally Angry", the Champion being "Traditionally Good", the game designer being "Balanced Fun", or anything of the sort. All of those tell you what the character is like in two words, and can easily be expanded on with a few edicts and a few anathema, giving you a more complete picture than either would give alone.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Calliope5431 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Asmodeus is supposed to be one of the two "Big Bads" of the entire setting, so you're not going to be getting power from him directly without being wholly committed to the cause of evil; IIRC that's not allowed in PFS and probably will continue to not be. But millions of people in Cheliax are observant of the state religion to varying degrees and don't get infernal power as a result.

How odd. I don't think I ever considered him "up there" as a big bad (I assume the other one you're referring to is Rovagug).

Certainly he's incredibly dangerous, and has an entire fiendish empire working for him. But it never crossed my mind that he was a setting wide big bad - definitely not on the level of Rovagug.

I mean, Asmodeus is not shy about his agenda being to eliminate free will in the universe and subjugate everything. He's basically Darkseid to Rovagug's Anti-Monitor. The only thing in the setting that's nearly as evil as those two is the Oinodaemon, and Asmodeus is the most active of the three in terms of "working towards his goals."

I would say he's a much bigger ultimate villain than Rovagug.

Yeah I wasn't arguing with you at all - just hadn't thought of him that way is all.

I'd love to see more Oinodaemon though...


Omega Metroid wrote:

That's fair, yeah. It mainly comes down to how people use it, really.

• If they use it as a summary, as a quick way to indicate the character's overarching mindset in as few words as possible, then it's fine to keep.
• If people use it as a straitjacket, then it tends to morph into the Stupid alignments (Stupid Good, Stupid Evil, Chaotic Stupid, Lawful Stupid), and needs to go.

Or in short, it's helpful if it's defined by your actions, but harmful if your actions are defined by it.

Personally, I'm of the former camp, that alignment is/was supposed to be a summary rather than a requirement. (As are the rules of every game that uses alignment, seeing how actions can change alignment but alignment doesn't mandate actions, but this tends to be forgotten.) That's the sense I think it, or something similar, should be retained in: A minimalistic summary of the character's overarching mindset and ethos, with the edicts & anathema themselves helping to define the character's ethical code in light of that summary.

It doesn't necessarily need to be called "Alignment", and doesn't necessarily need to be restricted to the 3.5e nine, it just needs to be something short & to the point. Something like, say, the Bard being "Anarchic Horny", the Barbarian being "Irrationally Angry", the Champion being "Traditionally Good", the game designer being "Balanced Fun", or anything of the sort. All of those tell you what the character is like in two words, and can easily be expanded on with a few edicts and a few anathema, giving you a more complete picture than either would give alone.

I don't know that you're having the same conversation as most of the people here. Although I think you're fundamentally right, I don't know how the version of (non-)Alignment you present has been removed from the game at all, since Edicts and Anathema are basically this but with more words. Meanwhile, such a freeform system must necessarily have no mechanical interaction (the primary concern, I believe, of most here to talk about Chaos and Law).

Like, you could certainly tell every player to use a simple two-word descriptor of their character's behaviour, and that these words can be anything, but that wouldn't satisfy anybody upset that Alignment is gone and I'm not sure what benefit beyond having a simplified label to give out which has no game-mechanical impact. It doesn't seem like it does anything that can't be done just by describing your character generally, regardless whether that description is just a summary of your E&A or is supplemented by them.


Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
Omega Metroid wrote:

That's fair, yeah. It mainly comes down to how people use it, really.

• If they use it as a summary, as a quick way to indicate the character's overarching mindset in as few words as possible, then it's fine to keep.
• If people use it as a straitjacket, then it tends to morph into the Stupid alignments (Stupid Good, Stupid Evil, Chaotic Stupid, Lawful Stupid), and needs to go.

Or in short, it's helpful if it's defined by your actions, but harmful if your actions are defined by it.

Personally, I'm of the former camp, that alignment is/was supposed to be a summary rather than a requirement. (As are the rules of every game that uses alignment, seeing how actions can change alignment but alignment doesn't mandate actions, but this tends to be forgotten.) That's the sense I think it, or something similar, should be retained in: A minimalistic summary of the character's overarching mindset and ethos, with the edicts & anathema themselves helping to define the character's ethical code in light of that summary.

It doesn't necessarily need to be called "Alignment", and doesn't necessarily need to be restricted to the 3.5e nine, it just needs to be something short & to the point. Something like, say, the Bard being "Anarchic Horny", the Barbarian being "Irrationally Angry", the Champion being "Traditionally Good", the game designer being "Balanced Fun", or anything of the sort. All of those tell you what the character is like in two words, and can easily be expanded on with a few edicts and a few anathema, giving you a more complete picture than either would give alone.

I don't know that you're having the same conversation as most of the people here. Although I think you're fundamentally right, I don't know how the version of (non-)Alignment you present has been removed from the game at all, since Edicts and Anathema are basically this but with more words. Meanwhile, such a freeform system must necessarily have no mechanical interaction (the primary...

I'd agree. Edicts and anathema can be safely ignored (for mechanical purposes) by 90 percent of PCs. Only clerics and champions actually care, and there's no mechanical impact to ignoring edicts even then (just violating anathema).


I mean, if you want to be a character in PF2e who has ties to hell and is interested in upholding laws and ending threats to a stable society, but isn't a terrible person then Dispater is right there. He was the Archdevil in 2e that granted spells to LN people and his edicts are basically "Uphold law, perfect your surroundings, be refined" while his anathema are "act above your station, let your guard down, betray a lover." A follower of Dispater would want to make their homeland orderly, safe, and better (from a certain perspective); he's the architect of Hell and is more interested in "setting an example for others" than "conquest."

If you're a Chelaxian patriot who is devoted to any of the archdevils, that's going to be accepted because all of them are subservient to Asmodeus anyway. It's probably normal in Cheliax for bankers, say, to devote themselves to Mammon more than Asmodeus.

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I mean, if you want to be a character in PF2e who has ties to hell and is interested in upholding laws and ending threats to a stable society, but isn't a terrible person then Dispater is right there. He was the Archdevil in 2e that granted spells to LN people and his edicts are basically "Uphold law, perfect your surroundings, be refined" while his anathema are "act above your station, let your guard down, betray a lover." A follower of Dispater would want to make their homeland orderly, safe, and better (from a certain perspective); he's the architect of Hell and is more interested in "setting an example for others" than "conquest."

If you're a Chelaxian patriot who is devoted to any of the archdevils, that's going to be accepted because all of them are subservient to Asmodeus anyway. It's probably normal in Cheliax for bankers, say, to devote themselves to Mammon more than Asmodeus.

I seem to recall that the church of Asmodeus and/or Cheliax itself actively discourages worship of any of the other archdevils - the religion section of Cheliax: Empire of Devils implies it's forbidden on pain of torture and execution to worship any devil other than Asmodeus, though looking through a few other sources it seems that's perhaps been rolled back in later books.

Something to consider, though it still basically requires rebuilding the character from the ground up. Asmodeus has power over fire within his divine portfolio and, artwork aside, Dispater does not, so my flame mystery oracle attributing her powers to Asmodeus works thematically in a way that linking them to Dispater wouldn't. I wove a lot of different threads and themes together like that when I built my oracle, and the solution of "just change, downplay, or delegitimize her core religious beliefs" is less helpful than it sounds. Her faith was integral to her character and if I could be satisfied by just swapping out Asmodeus for Iomedae or Sarenrae, I wouldn't even be here. It would still end up being a fundamentally different character.

Also, PFS restricts worship of all of the archdevils, queens of the night, infernal dukes, and malebranche (and demon lords, four horsemen, great old ones, etc.) by default anyway, so it's fundamentally a moot point on that front. If Asmodeus being on the restricted list makes him non-viable, Dispater isn't going to be an option either, regardless of his alignment/sanctification allowances.

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