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cokefiend
2007-01-04, 03:46 AM
We all have our most/least favourite bits and pieces of fluff and crunch when it comes to the game rules, but something I've always found amusing is the interaction between the two.
Now, don't get me wrong, rules are necessary and flavour is what makes the game (at least in my opinion), but sometimes, they just don't mesh all that well.
So I was wondering if anyone else felt the same way.

My favourite example is the Druid restriction on armour. At first glance, sure, it looks good. But the more I thought about it, the worse and worse it seems. "You want me to WEAR METAL ARMOUR? I will gladly kill, eat, and then wear the skin of one of my fellow animals, as such helps maintain the Cycle Of Life, and serves The Balance. But WEARING METAL? Metal, which is carved out of the non-sentient earth, dug from the very ground that is incapable of feeling pain?! What a horrible mockery of all I stand for!
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to spend my hoard of gold and jewels in those buildings constructed from stone and wood, for which mountains were quarried and forests chopped down."
Sure, the druid is powerful, and needs a few restrictions. But if you're going to give a nice fluffy reason for it, couldn't it make sense?

What are all your favourite inconsistencies between flavour and mechanics?

Krimm_Blackleaf
2007-01-04, 03:56 AM
Crusaders in ToB.

It says in the flavor text that they are more often than not lawful in alignment unless they happen to be crusaders of very chaotic deities. But thier way of getting manuevers is completely random. Claiming it is from random divine sparks of inspiration. But what I've been taught is that randomness does not equal law.

Bears With Lasers
2007-01-04, 04:15 AM
It just SEEMS random. The entity granting the Crusader maneuvers has a plan, and the crusader has faith in that plan and takes what comes!

Hallavast
2007-01-04, 04:26 AM
Yeah. I don't get the whole druid armor absurdity either. I realized that it was silly when I was trying to explain it to a friend of mine who was a first time player. I said "druids can't wear metal armor, because metal isn't a natural part of nature" or something to that effect. She looked at me funny and said "so metal is just some artificial substance made in big cities, huh?" to which I replied "uh... yeah..."

Dervag
2007-01-04, 05:45 AM
What would be really good and consistent was if druids were categorically prohibited from using refined metal at all. Gold is OK since you find it in its elemental state and don't have to melt down ores to get at it. I'm not sure about copper; I seem to recall that it is sometimes found in elemental form. But iron would be a no-no unless you could get it out of a meteor.

The other idea with the druid armor prohibition is that wrapping your body in a layer of inorganic matter, especially refined metal, cuts off your ability to draw power from nature. And it may even do so in ways that being inside a stone building, or carry a sack of gold or some other metal object, do not.

Tormsskull
2007-01-04, 07:04 AM
Before someone elses mentions it seriously I'll mention it sarcastically.

Assassins and having to be evil. Just because you study day in and day out a profession dedicated to killing as efficiently as possible doesn't mean you have to be evil.

Abardam
2007-01-04, 07:25 AM
Who wears gold armor?

Ikkitosen
2007-01-04, 07:40 AM
Lannisters :)

Bears With Lasers
2007-01-04, 07:42 AM
In coat of gold or coat of red, a lion still has claws,
And mine are long and sharp, my lord; as long and sharp as yours.

Pegasos989
2007-01-04, 07:56 AM
Before someone elses mentions it seriously I'll mention it sarcastically.

Assassins and having to be evil. Just because you study day in and day out a profession dedicated to killing as efficiently as possible doesn't mean you have to be evil.

Fighters don't need to be evil and they train all days to killing as effectively as they can (EDIT: Actually, they can be trip monkeys and train to protect others who kill as effectively as they can...). Wizards study for centuries to learn spells that cause deaths in various ways. Hell, paladins have full bab, smite evil and numerous spells, most of them helping them in killing.

So in DnD, there is nothing at all wrong in killing.

One can use poison to kill for just as noble cause as a paldin can swing the greatsword. You can be a good fighter and participate in war, killing hundreds while you whack your way towards enemy commander or you can be an assassin and just kill only the opposite commander, avoid the whole war and... But right. You know how to use poison, so it is evil.

Tormsskull
2007-01-04, 08:35 AM
Before someone elses mentions it seriously I'll mention it sarcastically.




Fighters don't need to be evil and they train all days to killing as effectively as they can (EDIT: Actually, they can be trip monkeys and train to protect others who kill as effectively as they can...). Wizards study for centuries to learn spells that cause deaths in various ways. Hell, paladins have full bab, smite evil and numerous spells, most of them helping them in killing.

So in DnD, there is nothing at all wrong in killing.

One can use poison to kill for just as noble cause as a paldin can swing the greatsword. You can be a good fighter and participate in war, killing hundreds while you whack your way towards enemy commander or you can be an assassin and just kill only the opposite commander, avoid the whole war and... But right. You know how to use poison, so it is evil.


Whew, posted before him.

Pegasos989
2007-01-04, 08:39 AM
Whew, posted before him.

Yet, gave nothing to explain why you have such an opinion nor countered any reasons I presented, so you could just as well not have posted at all, right?

OzymandiasVolt
2007-01-04, 08:46 AM
So why can't druids wear metal again? If it has to do with wearing inorganics, then druids shouldn't be able to wear stone armor, which they can. If it has to do with wearing treated substances, then they shouldn't be able to wear leather or leafweave armor, which they can.

Tormsskull
2007-01-04, 09:05 AM
So why can't druids wear metal again? If it has to do with wearing inorganics, then druids shouldn't be able to wear stone armor, which they can. If it has to do with wearing treated substances, then they shouldn't be able to wear leather or leafweave armor, which they can.

Their spiritual oathes and whatnot. It was just something WotC did in order to force the druid into the scheme that they wanted/considered balanced. I've always seen it as some druids are keepers of the forest, and thus the druid base class is based off of that kind of druid. If you made a dwarven druid who hailed from a cavern or mountain, he'd probably be a lot different (as in, you could make a whole new class based around the druid but different).

Ephraim
2007-01-04, 09:09 AM
Druids need to be in touch with the magnetic field of the earth. Wearing a Farraday cage around their abdominal and thorassic cavities prevents them from properly aligning themselves with the magnetic fluctuations of the earth.

Peregrin_Tooc
2007-01-04, 09:24 AM
It's all about faith. Druid's magic is devine, isn't it? So, if the Druids believes he can't wear metal armor and use other weapons than a scimitar, a sling or whatever, he can't! It's as simple as that, at least for me.

Thomas
2007-01-04, 09:38 AM
It's all about faith. Druid's magic is devine, isn't it? So, if the Druids believes he can't wear metal armor and use other weapons than a scimitar, a sling or whatever, he can't! It's as simple as that, at least for me.

Okay... so what about the druid who believes he can do it?

What I really want to know is, where the hell did the 3rd edition druid come from to begin with? The AD&D druid was just a cleric with a different spell-list and no ability to turn undead; it made sense. The 3.5 druid is... er... right. It's not a druid, it's some sort of shape-changing man of the wild. ('course the same goes for bards. Bards and druids were pretty much part of the same "order" or tradition.)

OzymandiasVolt
2007-01-04, 09:52 AM
...
So basically they can't wear armor because WotC said so. Gotcha.

Tormsskull
2007-01-04, 09:56 AM
...
So basically they can't wear armor because WotC said so. Gotcha.

Precisely.

Person_Man
2007-01-04, 11:00 AM
Yeah, D&D has always had a strong pop-fantasy aspect to it.

While most uber-dork gaming purists like myself scoff at the internal contradictions within it, at its core D&D is designed to be read and played by really intelligent 14 year olds. So it has Knights and Ninjas and Wizards and Pirates, cause hey, they're cool! Like sports, its still fun for pretty much anyone who is into this sorta stuff. But the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant it is not.

Also, because so many young people play it, D&D has always had a "moral" aspect to it, which has became more prevalent after 1st ed and the whole witchcraft controversy, but has since fallen mostly off the radar now that video games are the great Satan. So Assassins must be Evil because if some kid's dad takes the time to look through the DMG but doesn't take the time to actually talk to his child and play the game with him, WotC has a built in excuse. "We're not encouraging assassination. Look, its evil! It's a bad guy!" But pretty much everyone I know revises the alignment rules to fit their world view once they get a handle on the crunch.

Toliudar
2007-01-04, 11:22 AM
But the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant it is not.

For which, some of us are very, very grateful.

I don't think that assassins are evil because they train and train to know how to kill people. I think that assassins are evil because they are WILLING to kill people for money. A warrior may be ready to kill in defense of a cause, or because he's a soldier in service to his nation, church or clan. If a warrior is killing for money, I'd call him evil too.

Thomas
2007-01-04, 11:38 AM
For which, some of us are very, very grateful.

Whew. For a moment, I thought it was just the Finnish translation that was heinous.

And yes, D&D books pretty explicitly say that the Evil part is killing people for money.

Yet, somehow, mercenaries are not all required to be Evil.

Go figure.

Pegasos989
2007-01-04, 11:39 AM
For which, some of us are very, very grateful.

I don't think that assassins are evil because they train and train to know how to kill people. I think that assassins are evil because they are WILLING to kill people for money. A warrior may be ready to kill in defense of a cause, or because he's a soldier in service to his nation, church or clan. If a warrior is killing for money, I'd call him evil too.

All mercenaries and soldiers are evil? Besides, why can't assassin use his skills in defence of cause or because he is in service of his nation, church or clan?

Thomas
2007-01-04, 11:42 AM
All mercenaries and soldiers are evil? Besides, why can't assassin use his skills in defence of cause or because he is in service of his nation, church or clan?

Because the PrC's fluff is stupidly over-specific.

I scrap it and let Ggood characters become Assassins if they really want. They just have to get trained somehow, which may present slight complications.

Saph
2007-01-04, 11:43 AM
For which, some of us are very, very grateful.

Yup. :)

I don't have any problem with the druid or the assassin. The class I've never really liked, though, is the 3.0/3.5 clerics. Something about the combination of heavy armour and weapons and domains and spells just feels . . . off somehow. Don't know exactly why. Maybe it's that they're so good at everything. I just can't have as much fun playing them as I can with a druid, wizard, or other caster.

- Saph

pestilenceawaits
2007-01-04, 11:49 AM
Yup. :)

I don't have any problem with the druid or the assassin. The class I've never really liked, though, is the 3.0/3.5 clerics. Something about the combination of heavy armour and weapons and domains and spells just feels . . . off somehow. Don't know exactly why. Maybe it's that they're so good at everything. I just can't have as much fun playing them as I can with a druid, wizard, or other caster.

- Saph

Clerics are a weird class in 2nd ed they were pretty lame and it was tough to get anyone to play one. Now the pendulum has swung to the other side they are very powerful and everyone likes to play them. I have always thought that the domains you take and your deity (yes I think every cleric should have a specific deity even if it is a home brewed one) should determine your spell list and weapon/ armor proficiencies why would a deity of healing and good want a cleric to be able to cast harm or any number of other similar situations I know it would complicate things but I think it would make better clerics.

Toliudar
2007-01-04, 12:01 PM
Clerics are a weird class in 2nd ed they were pretty lame and it was tough to get anyone to play one. Now the pendulum has swung to the other side they are very powerful and everyone likes to play them. I have always thought that the domains you take and your deity (yes I think every cleric should have a specific deity even if it is a home brewed one) should determine your spell list and weapon/ armor proficiencies why would a deity of healing and good want a cleric to be able to cast harm or any number of other similar situations I know it would complicate things but I think it would make better clerics.

Agreed. I think that, except for militant deities (the quad of Heironeous, Kord, Hextor and Erythnul, or ones like Moradin or Gruumsh), the cloistered cleric variant better matches my mental image of the class.

And Pegasos: if you disagree with the idea that killing for profit alone makes you evil, how about the fact that the entry requirement for the Assassin PrC is that you kill someone just to become an Assassin. If "murder is an entrance requirement" isn't evil, what is?

Bouldering Jove
2007-01-04, 12:04 PM
I'll bite. The druid armor restriction actually makes a good deal of sense to me, because it just about openly admits that it's fundamentally symbolic: "The armor of the druid is restricted by traditional oaths [...] Druids avoid carrying much worked metal with them because it interferes with the pure and primal nature that they attempt to embody." It relates to what seems to be the intended philosophical core of the class: "The druid gains her power not by ruling nature but by being at one with it." Losing abilities for violating class fluff is about par for the divine course, so why not?


"You want me to WEAR METAL ARMOUR? I will gladly kill, eat, and then wear the skin of one of my fellow animals, as such helps maintain the Cycle Of Life, and serves The Balance. But WEARING METAL? Metal, which is carved out of the non-sentient earth, dug from the very ground that is incapable of feeling pain?! What a horrible mockery of all I stand for!
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to spend my hoard of gold and jewels in those buildings constructed from stone and wood, for which mountains were quarried and forests chopped down."
Killing, eating, and abusing other animals for selfish purposes falls under being at one with nature in my book. It ain't pretty. The druid isn't required to have a compassionate or harmonious perspective, as they "accept that which is horrific or cruel in nature," they only seem to need a reverence for the natural world and order. Neutral evil druids can probably get a real thrill out of going Apocalypse Now on the wildlife they most admire.

But as to why the metal armor is bad in the first place, there's nothing inherently wrong with metal as a substance to the druid, but worked metal armor represents an entire ideology of dominion over nature: tearing apart nature, strictly obtaining what you want while destroying or discarding the rest, then bending what you've taken beyond its natural state for your own purposes. Wearing metal just about says "The world's a tool to me," while hunting, eating, and skinning animals forces you to remain intimate with nature. Properly old school tanning methods will in fact get you much more intimate with nature's processes than you'd like.

The point about druid adventurers using the benefits of non-primitive society is a good one, but druids can be as tolerant as anybody of other ideologies, especially if they're on business in civilization and not having tea in a logging camp. At the very least, if you want to be taken seriously, you can't throw your philosophy in the face of everyone who asks you for currency or lives in a building. And if your income is pulled from the pockets of dead people anyway, you're preventing further mining by keeping gold circulating in the economy. :smallwink:

None of this is to say I think this hypothetical druid perspective is rational, but there's nothing stopping it from being internally consistent.

Fhaolan
2007-01-04, 12:12 PM
The 3.5 druid is... er... right. It's not a druid, it's some sort of shape-changing man of the wild. ('course the same goes for bards. Bards and druids were pretty much part of the same "order" or tradition.)

I could be wrong, but I think it was an attempt to bring more Celtic-style mythologic sources into things. Shapeshifting is a common theme in Celtic myths, usually done by people who have magical abilities. As in most myths 'Good' magic users will be druids/priests/mystics, 'Evil' magic users are sorcerers/wizards. So it's not that far of a stretch to have druids with shapeshifting. It's just odd that it's an innate ability and not a spell.

Thomas
2007-01-04, 12:17 PM
I could be wrong, but I think it was an attempt to bring more Celtic-style mythologic sources into things. Shapeshifting is a common theme in Celtic myths, usually done by people who have magical abilities. As in most myths 'Good' magic users will be druids/priests/mystics, 'Evil' magic users are sorcerers/wizards. So it's not that far of a stretch to have druids with shapeshifting. It's just odd that it's an innate ability and not a spell.

They've got nothing to do with Celtic druids. Shapeshifting was a common theme, sure - even the bull at the heart of the Cattle-Raid of Cooley was originally a man - but druids didn't go around changing into animals, as far as I read. (They did supposedly change men into trees, though.) They were priests and lore-keepers, augurs and advisors - the "next step up" from bards. The AD&D druid was much closer to the idea of a Celtic druid.

Pegasos989
2007-01-04, 12:19 PM
Agreed. I think that, except for militant deities (the quad of Heironeous, Kord, Hextor and Erythnul, or ones like Moradin or Gruumsh), the cloistered cleric variant better matches my mental image of the class.

And Pegasos: if you disagree with the idea that killing for profit alone makes you evil, how about the fact that the entry requirement for the Assassin PrC is that you kill someone just to become an Assassin. If "murder is an entrance requirement" isn't evil, what is?

No, I disagree that a member of assassin class can kill for profit alone. I disagree that the moment someone learns poison use, he forgets every moral code he has and every cause he fought for.

Besides, the entrance requirement has nothing to do with balance (it can be done at any level) so it is flavour, just put there to emphasize that they are evil, as there isn't otherwise explanation for that. It can be removed with no negative concequences whatsoever.

Jades
2007-01-04, 12:24 PM
So why can't druids wear metal again? If it has to do with wearing inorganics, then druids shouldn't be able to wear stone armor, which they can. If it has to do with wearing treated substances, then they shouldn't be able to wear leather or leafweave armor, which they can.

It has to do with the process in which ores are gathered. Druids are the protectors of the land, and as such are a part of the cycle of life (allowing them to kill as long as they use every part of the animal). When it comes to causing such damage to the landscape as mining, Druids are going to shy away from it.

And when you begin mining and gathering ore, you drastically disrupt the environment. Animals are displaced, forests are destroyed so you can transport the ore, the ground becomes weaker and could collaps where you are mining.

All in all, mining is just far more disruptive and destructive to the environment than participating in the cycle of life.



My Fluff v. Crunch problem comes from the Good Old Phaerimm of the Forgotten Realms.

The Phaerimm made the empire of Nethril run with their Drain Life and Drain Magic abilities. Netherese wizards found their power useless against the Phaerimm. Now, looking at the Lost Empires of Faerun stats for them, Magic overcomes the Pherimm's DR, and they have neither a Drain Magic nor Drain Life ability.

The 2.0 Phaerimm were so much cooler, and they fit the storyline. A hatchling was the equivilant of a level 30 sorcerer, and now the eldest Phaerimm have a caster level of 23. :P The youngest don't cast spells.

pestilenceawaits
2007-01-04, 12:31 PM
It has to do with the process in which ores are gathered. Druids are the protectors of the land, and as such are a part of the cycle of life (allowing them to kill as long as they use every part of the animal). When it comes to causing such damage to the landscape as mining, Druids are going to shy away from it.

And when you begin mining and gathering ore, you drastically disrupt the environment. Animals are displaced, forests are destroyed so you can transport the ore, the ground becomes weaker and could collaps where you are mining.

All in all, mining is just far more disruptive and destructive to the environment than participating in the cycle of life.

Then why can they use a scimitar. I agree with you but and I know the scimitar is probably just a hold over from previous editions but I think no worked metal should be all worked metal.

Tormsskull
2007-01-04, 12:33 PM
And Pegasos: if you disagree with the idea that killing for profit alone makes you evil, how about the fact that the entry requirement for the Assassin PrC is that you kill someone just to become an Assassin. If "murder is an entrance requirement" isn't evil, what is?

This has been discussed and argued and debated numerous times, that's why I was ignoring Pegasos before. The conclusion I came to a long time ago is that this all goes back to viewing classes as a collection of skills rather than a concept.

See, the people who say the alignment restrictions are silly don't read "Assassin, Death Attack". They read "Guy that's kind of like a rogue, has ability to reduce enemy to 0 hp on successful attack". So they think, what makes this guy any more evil than a rogue who uses Sneak Attack to reduce an opponent to 0 hp?

An assassin, as presented in the DMG, is based around the idea of hitman, a contract killer. That is what makes them evil per D&D rules. A lot of players don't like this because it limits their ability to make the perfect combination of skills or give them the mechanics they want without the fluff.

I say too bad, which seems to be a very bad thing to say around here. I have no problem telling a player they cannot be a good assassin, others would say that I am restricting a player's choices, I'm enfringing on their fun, yadda yadda. My answer? Too bad.

The reason the answer is too bad is because you have to look at scope. Telling a player that fluff doesn't matter is a real RP-killer. Rather than actually reading the text that surrounds spells, items, events they skip right to the mechanics. The whole point of the fluff is to further clarify or set the stage for the mechanics. When it says the assassin must be evil, and then explains that they get a death attack, the purpose is to give you an understanding what kind of character they are trying to portray.

So sure, you can ignore the fluff and look only to the mechanics and it makes sense to eliminate alignment restrictions, skill restrictions, feat restrictions. But that's because you're reading it out of context.

Edit:
This is a perfect example of what I am talking about:



Besides, the entrance requirement has nothing to do with balance (it can be done at any level) so it is flavour, just put there to emphasize that they are evil, as there isn't otherwise explanation for that. It can be removed with no negative concequences whatsoever.


Or in other words, the flavor has no direct impact on the mechanics, and thus can be ignored.

Jades
2007-01-04, 12:36 PM
Then why can they use a scimitar. I agree with you but and I know the scimitar is probably just a hold over from previous editions but I think no worked metal should be all worked metal.


Yep, its a holdover that doesn't make much sense.



And as for assassins, the special requirement seems to imply that you are joining a guild of assassins. Only members of this guild can persue this selection of skills. Makes perfect senee for assassins to be evil, if their guild requires it.

Fhaolan
2007-01-04, 12:41 PM
They've got nothing to do with Celtic druids. Shapeshifting was a common theme, sure - even the bull at the heart of the Cattle-Raid of Cooley was originally a man - but druids didn't go around changing into animals, as far as I read. (They did supposedly change men into trees, though.) They were priests and lore-keepers, augurs and advisors - the "next step up" from bards. The AD&D druid was much closer to the idea of a Celtic druid.

I'm thinking of Fionn mac Cumhail, who stole the wisdom of the druid Fintan by sticking his thumb in the druid's magic salmon... don't ask... He was pursued by Fintan all over the countryside, both shapeshifting into various animals during the pursuit. There's an almost identical story about Gwion drinking the wisdom potion of the druid Ceridwen, leading into the inevitable shapeshifting pursuit. These stories were the basis used by T.H. White for the Merlin versus Madam Mim shapeshifting duel, if I remember my far too long ago university literature courses correctly.

Then there's the druid Tuan mac Carill, who would shapeshift into different animals because he was bored. Though the version I read was more of a reincarnation scheme in order to live longer.

Saph
2007-01-04, 12:42 PM
An assassin, as presented in the DMG, is based around the idea of hitman, a contract killer. That is what makes them evil per D&D rules. A lot of players don't like this because it limits their ability to make the perfect combination of skills or give them the mechanics they want without the fluff.

Yup. Plus one more thing - in my experience, the players who really want to be assassins like the idea of being an assassin BECAUSE it's associated with evil. They want to be the feared, psychotic killer in the night. But then they want to have all the perks of being good-aligned too. "Yeah, my character's a ruthless cold-blooded hitman - but everyone's going to trust him and treat him well, right?"

- Saph

Tokiko Mima
2007-01-04, 12:47 PM
From a roleplaying standpoint, I would say that the difference between an assassins attacks and a fighter is that the fighter's goal is to remove his opponent from combat as quickly as possible. An assassins goal is to make sure his opponent breathes his last.

In D&D these goals are mechanically the same, but not so from a roleplay aspect. So that's why Assassins have a Roleplay restriction, but not a game mechanical one, in my opinion.

Pegasos989
2007-01-04, 12:52 PM
This has been discussed and argued and debated numerous times, that's why I was ignoring Pegasos before. The conclusion I came to a long time ago is that this all goes back to viewing classes as a collection of skills rather than a concept.

See, the people who say the alignment restrictions are silly don't read "Assassin, Death Attack". They read "Guy that's kind of like a rogue, has ability to reduce enemy to 0 hp on successful attack". So they think, what makes this guy any more evil than a rogue who uses Sneak Attack to reduce an opponent to 0 hp?

An assassin, as presented in the DMG, is based around the idea of hitman, a contract killer. That is what makes them evil per D&D rules. A lot of players don't like this because it limits their ability to make the perfect combination of skills or give them the mechanics they want without the fluff.

I say too bad, which seems to be a very bad thing to say around here. I have no problem telling a player they cannot be a good assassin, others would say that I am restricting a player's choices, I'm enfringing on their fun, yadda yadda. My answer? Too bad.

The reason the answer is too bad is because you have to look at scope. Telling a player that fluff doesn't matter is a real RP-killer. Rather than actually reading the text that surrounds spells, items, events they skip right to the mechanics. The whole point of the fluff is to further clarify or set the stage for the mechanics. When it says the assassin must be evil, and then explains that they get a death attack, the purpose is to give you an understanding what kind of character they are trying to portray.

So sure, you can ignore the fluff and look only to the mechanics and it makes sense to eliminate alignment restrictions, skill restrictions, feat restrictions. But that's because you're reading it out of context.


I have eliminated alignment restrictions in every game I have ever ran. And know what? It has made the games so much richer!

A perfect example: I am running a game now and in it there is a favored soul of heironeus. He is a very zealous type who believes in end justifying the means and seeks revenge. I see this as more like LE and the character could thus not be what he is. He could roleplay that as a fighter but he simply wouldn't have the same feel and as fitting mechanics for it. While I read his background I thought "This reminds me of why I removed the restrictions.".

So the reason why I always argue so long that alignment restrictions are stupid is that I have seen what kind of ideas the players come up when they don't need to worry about such. I much prefer player-designed ideas over book flavour text concepts.

Bouldering Jove
2007-01-04, 12:58 PM
Then why can they use a scimitar. I agree with you but and I know the scimitar is probably just a hold over from previous editions but I think no worked metal should be all worked metal.
Yep, its a holdover that doesn't make much sense.
I could probably find some justification for worked metal weapons as a whole being acceptable (turning the tools of destroyers against them?) but scimitars alone is just indefensibly silly.

Tormsskull
2007-01-04, 01:00 PM
I have eliminated alignment restrictions in every game I have ever ran. And know what? It has made the games so much richer!


And you are totally within your rights as a DM to do that. I just personally think that it is a bad idea. Some of the alignment restrictions seem silly, and they aren't really going to be met with much of a resistance. However, most classes or PrCs that have a Good or Evil alignment requirement are so married to the the alignment that to ignore it is stripping away the essence of the class.



Yup. Plus one more thing - in my experience, the players who really want to be assassins like the idea of being an assassin BECAUSE it's associated with evil. They want to be the feared, psychotic killer in the night. But then they want to have all the perks of being good-aligned too. "Yeah, my character's a ruthless cold-blooded hitman - but everyone's going to trust him and treat him well, right?"

- Saph


I suspect my experience is very similar to yours.

Diggorian
2007-01-04, 01:09 PM
Interesting topic and points of view here.

The druid armor deal I always considered a matter of belief. They see artificial alloys as poop; easy to carry it in a sack, but disgusting to wear on your body. The ones I played rarely go into towns or buildings unless they must, and are all the time obviously disgusted. Although their involvement in the economy has never come up, I could create an alternative: if they pray to nature for certain items, they'll find natural equivalents of those items the next day, with the appropriate amount of their gold gone (melded back into the earth). :smallwink:

Fighters, wizards, rangers, and paladins all train in killing, but assassins train in murder. The fact that they'll murder a stranger just to gain entry into a guild pretty much says evil. I dont allow evil characters in my games, but if I permitted a former assassin as a PC they couldnt advance in that PrC anymore.

Monks are my problem. Tons of ascetic traditions around the world but Shaolin temple represents all monks?

silvermesh
2007-01-04, 01:16 PM
An assassin, as presented in the DMG, is based around the idea of hitman, a contract killer. That is what makes them evil per D&D rules.

This is not what makes them evil, the word "assassin" is what makes them evil. the name of the class MEANS that this class is for murderers. the definition for assassin is as follows: "a murderer (especially one who kills a prominent political figure) who kills by treacherous surprise attack and often is hired to do the deed". often does not mean always. an assassin does not ever need to accept money for a mark in order to be evil. he just has to be a murderer, which is what assassination is. murder. killing an enemy in combat is not the same thing as murder. If you want an assassin class with no evil requirement, you would have to take out the evil aspects of the class. most prominently: death attack: where you premeditate your murder for three rounds while your victim doesn't even know you exist. Poison, maybe, but that's far more debateable. The difference between murder and the way other classes kill has everything to do with the "honorable" way to perform combat, which is very heavily related to the alignment system.
The entire discussion has been overargued a thousand times on a thousand forums.

Pegasos989
2007-01-04, 01:19 PM
Fighters, wizards, rangers, and paladins all train in killing, but assassins train in murder. The fact that they'll murder a stranger just to gain entry into a guild pretty much says evil. I dont allow evil characters in my games, but if I permitted a former assassin as a PC they couldnt advance in that PrC anymore.


Concider this concept:

Paladin 5/rogue 1/Assassin x

Patrick the paladin was a kind of a bounty hunter. He believed that criminals should be caught but also that everyone should be given a fair trial before they were punished, so they should be taken alive to court.

Patrick hadn't been able to afford a peaceful weapon so one day when he accidentally killed a man he was trying to capture - and later found out that the man hadn't harmed anyone - he decided that he needed a way to take them down fast without any side getting hurt.

So, he asked another bounty hunter - one who was not known of great morals but was known for having bringed every single target back alive - how he did it and he revealed that he knew to which points to hit and knew how to brew substances that were completely safe for subjects but rendered them weak (str damage or such) enough to pose no threat.

So, Patrick wanted to find out more about this. He spent the next months visiting doctors, clerics, alchemists and the like to find out how to do that.

A few levels later, he knew how to hit unaware opponent so that it would go unconcious (death attack used for unconcious) or brew substances that weakened the subject enough that they were not dangerous.


Here, we have a concept for LG assassin.

Tormsskull
2007-01-04, 01:28 PM
Here, we have a concept for LG assassin.

Except that Patrick the paladin never could have become an assassin unless he was evil. In choosing to ignore that requirement, you have significantly altered the entire class. Taking away the requirement of evil means we have to view things differently. If a LG character can be an assassin Death Attack will be seen totally different (i'd argue that WotC would not have given them this ability).

Its just different playstyles really. Its not that you are wrong, its just that you are approaching it from (IMO) an unconvential standpoint. You are looking at the assassin's mechanics rather than his fluff in order to justify the alignment. You see these abilities that look like they'd be perfect for the character concept you want, and you are ignoring the fluff (context) that these abilities represent.

headwarpage
2007-01-04, 01:44 PM
What do you suggest doing if you have an idea for a character with a certain background, personality, and skill set, and the RAW don't provide you with a class to match?

It's one thing to say "I want to play an assassin, but be good." It's another thing entirely to say "I want to play a good character who specializes in taking out individual targets quickly and efficiently. What class should this character be? Hmm... assassin would be perfect, except for the alignment restriction."

In other words, if you're just doing away with the fluff so you can use the crunch for your own purposes, that's probably bad. But if you're creating all the fluff on your own and then looking for crunch to match it, you're probably justified in throwing out the existing fluff. It sounds like you're arguing that the first is bad, while others are arguing that the second is perfectly fine. It's entirely possible that everybody is right.

Just my opinion.

Dark Knight Renee
2007-01-04, 01:52 PM
Non-Core, but one of the examples I hold up of the lack of understanding even the gamemakers have for the alignment system is the Wu Jen. Wu Jen cannot be Lawful, yet their fluff SCREAMS Lawful.
The OP's druid gripe is also a good one. Also, druidic alignment restrictions are stupid as well, if not quite as stupid as that of the Wu Jen. What do you mean I can't play a LE druid? What are all those idiotic druid villains that hype this arguably Lawful idea of Balance, who are often evil in following this idea?

My only problem with Assassin is that, if I remember PrC rules correctly, you lose those abilities if you no longer meet the prereqs - IE, you become, say, neutral. *shakes head in disgust*

Deathcow
2007-01-04, 02:26 PM
The OP's druid gripe is also a good one. Also, druidic alignment restrictions are stupid as well, if not quite as stupid as that of the Wu Jen. What do you mean I can't play a LE druid? What are all those idiotic druid villains that hype this arguably Lawful idea of Balance, who are often evil in following this idea?

The idea of balance, in DnD, has always been seen as Neutral. Balance implies balance between good and evil and also between law and chaos. Actually, I think most of the balance-freak villains would be true neutral who got too carried away in destroying good (and therefore became neutral evil). And neutral evil is a perfectly acceptable Druid alignment.

Shazzbaa
2007-01-04, 02:27 PM
I'll bite. The druid armor restriction actually makes a good deal of sense to me, because it just about openly admits that it's fundamentally symbolic: "The armor of the druid is restricted by traditional oaths [...] Druids avoid carrying much worked metal with them because it interferes with the pure and primal nature that they attempt to embody." It relates to what seems to be the intended philosophical core of the class...
None of this is to say I think this hypothetical druid perspective is rational, but there's nothing stopping it from being internally consistent.
Wow, thanks for this post. That was awesome.
And I kind of agree. There doesn't have to be a "scientific" reason (of sorts) for why the druid can't wear metal armour -- it could just be that they don't want to...and I like what you've said about what the metal armour symbolises.

Besides, heck, most of the Animal Rights people that I'm friends with will still sit beside me while I eat my chicken sandwich without flipping out. They'll still partake of vegetarian options purchased from a meat-selling organisation. Some are more extreme than that, but not all; likewise, I'd think that not all druids have to be fanatics that won't touch metal and won't spend gold -- they just, as much as possible, try to embody a philosophy that keeps them close to nature.

And you know, the reasoning never had to be entirely rational. I can easily see the fighter berating the druid for his stupid not-sense-making vows. :smallwink:


It's one thing to say "I want to play an assassin, but be good." It's another thing entirely to say "I want to play a good character who specializes in taking out individual targets quickly and efficiently. What class should this character be? Hmm... assassin would be perfect, except for the alignment restriction."

In other words, if you're just doing away with the fluff so you can use the crunch for your own purposes, that's probably bad. But if you're creating all the fluff on your own and then looking for crunch to match it, you're probably justified in throwing out the existing fluff. It sounds like you're arguing that the first is bad, while others are arguing that the second is perfectly fine. It's entirely possible that everybody is right.

Good point.

However, I think the problem might be that it's generally best to have an across-the-board decision. If you let the one guy be an Assassin anyway just because he came up with the fluff on his own and found crunch to match, then you're going to have a hard time explaining to the second guy why you won't just let him be a Good Assassin, without sort of coming across as "I liked his character, but I don't like yours."

Besides, I don't see what's so very wrong about restricting a player from being anything. I mean, if you don't have a Samurai class, nothing prevents you from being an honorable fighter, as a rather used example. Not allowing everything isn't caging in your players -- people have played D&D and created deep and awesome characters for years without even knowing what prestige classes are. I find it a little unbelievable to say that by not allowing people to select the Assassin class, you're not letting them play the character they want to play. If they didn't know about the Assassin class, they still could have made the character they wanted.

I can understand why, in some instances, you'd want to make exceptions, but I still don't think NOT making exceptions is necessarily wrong to your players... and I can definitely understand an argument that these exceptions should be the exception, and not the rule.

clarkvalentine
2007-01-04, 02:33 PM
In my games, I just always said that a druid can wear whatever armor the player thinks is in character - but he can't use Wild Shape if he's wearing too much inorganic material. Studded Leather is about as metallic as they could go.

Person_Man
2007-01-04, 02:40 PM
While most uber-dork gaming purists like myself scoff at the internal contradictions within it, at its core D&D is designed to be read and played by really intelligent 14 year olds. So it has Knights and Ninjas and Wizards and Pirates, cause hey, they're cool! Like sports, its still fun for pretty much anyone who is into this sorta stuff. But the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant it is not.

For which, some of us are very, very grateful.

I agree wholeheartedly. I love football. I love Opera. But I have no desire to see Tiki Barber play Figaro.

There is plenty of high-fantasy out there with complex, intelligent, and consistant sytems of morality. D&D is not one of them. And most of the silly alignment inconsistancies (Druids, Paladins, Monks, Assassins, etc) can be explained by the fact that D&D is just like football or politics. You have to be smart enough to understand the game and dumb enough to think it's important.

Bonus XP to anyone who can cite that quote without looking it up on the internet.

Gamebird
2007-01-04, 02:49 PM
What are all your favourite inconsistencies between flavour and mechanics?

Favorite? Not really, but here's my pet peeve of the week: How D&D creatures are all designed relative to humanoid PCs. Heck, all of D&D revolves around humanoid PCs.

Dragons don't wear armor. They don't use magic items.
Ithilids don't use weapons.
Monsters don't train in PC classes.
Neither do most NPCs, instead wasting their levels on nerfed crap classes.
Deer don't exist.
Neither do rabbits, squirrels, or mice.
Monsters exist whose sole purpose in life is to eat adventurer halflings. (I have yet to see one whose sole purpose is to eat, say, albino deer, which are probably more common than adventurer halflings.)
Monsters amass large sums of cash and easily convertible items, but don't use them.
Nothing reproduces in D&D except exotic monsters that lay eggs in PCs or somehow spawn out of humanoids.

Shazzbaa
2007-01-04, 02:50 PM
Let's see... this is probably a personal pet-peeve. You see, I am someone who is *studying* comics and hasn't been able, for years, to get into Western comic books. Because every time I turn around, it seems like the aliens did it.
This guy is an alien, and his mind is another dimension. Superman has superpowers -- why? Because he's from spaaaaace. Oh, that's not really Rachel Grey, that's an alien velociraptor taking her form, and the other X-men must stop it/her/whatever. :smallannoyed:

So I may just be gun-shy of aliens, but it bothered me that the Tsochari, for some reason, have to be from space. It's not as though we need evil aliens in D&D -- we've got infinite planes to choose from! We've got the freaking Far Realms! It's completely unnecessary that IT CAME FROM SPACE! I dunno, I just wish the stuff from Lords of Madness wasn't all from space and the future and all that overdone sci-fi-style stuff.

So, as much as I love the stuff that the Tsochari can do, ... I hate the fluff, and would probably dump it in a second if I ever used them. And Mindflayers would not be from the future.

Though, I guess it's better than the usual "A wizard did it." I suppose I just prefer fantasy to stay mostly in the realms of fantasy, and stop straying into sci-fi territory.

Diggorian
2007-01-04, 03:20 PM
Here, we have a concept for LG assassin.

That's not a LG assassin, thats a paladin that lost his levels for violating his code. :smallamused: To me, the problem comes in where Patrick asks the morally weak hunter.

"Poisons?", Patrick scoffed. "How dishonorable. Convenient and easy it may be, but such is not the path of a paladin."

Frustrated, he returns to his church and consults an older cleric for a solution. The priest introduced Patrick to an old adventuring friend, Lord Gerard the Justicar (Complete Warrior PrC), whom taught the paladin the techniques of effective combat with judicious restraint.

If you use Core only, Patrick could say ... Detect Evil on his targets to decide the level of aggresion he should use. Non-evils could be talked into surrendering or atleast giving their side of the story.


"I want to play a good character who specializes in taking out individual targets quickly and efficiently. What class should this character be? Hmm... assassin would be perfect, except for the alignment restriction."


A martial customized rogue (chainshirt, greatsword prof., Skill focus bluff) could do it.


The OP's druid gripe is also a good one. Also, druidic alignment restrictions are stupid as well, if not quite as stupid as that of the Wu Jen. What do you mean I can't play a LE druid? What are all those idiotic druid villains that hype this arguably Lawful idea of Balance, who are often evil in following this idea?


Dont know much about the Wu Jen myself.

Druids are alignment purists IMHO. LN ones can talk about the balance and do destructive things without being evil. NE druids are just Survival-of-the-Fittest types I think.

Assassins loosing their powers when not evil is just dumb. They arent paladins (no mystical source for their skills). Still, I wouldnt let'em advance.

Gamebird
2007-01-04, 03:20 PM
Oh, and here's another one:

Creatures that are portrayed as too stupid to live, yet have an INT 2 or 3 times higher than animals. The first example that jumps to mind is ogres, but any INT 4 barbarian or fighter would fit - well within playable range and statistically just as common as INT 20 or so (or so I'm guessing - I haven't done the math).

Scorpina
2007-01-04, 03:21 PM
As has been asked a thousand times over: Why is Deathwatch evil?

Also, why is the Sun Domain less to do with the Sun and more to do with fighting undead?

Why can ever cleric, regardless of their deity (or cause, if you're one of those silly non-FR types) weild some kind of power over the undead, for that matter?

...why do all Half-Fiends or Half-Celestials get the same template, regardless of the actual type of outsider they're descended from?

Why can't Bards be Lawful? Seriously, what the hell?

headwarpage
2007-01-04, 03:21 PM
Good point.

However, I think the problem might be that it's generally best to have an across-the-board decision. If you let the one guy be an Assassin anyway just because he came up with the fluff on his own and found crunch to match, then you're going to have a hard time explaining to the second guy why you won't just let him be a Good Assassin, without sort of coming across as "I liked his character, but I don't like yours."

Besides, I don't see what's so very wrong about restricting a player from being anything. I mean, if you don't have a Samurai class, nothing prevents you from being an honorable fighter, as a rather used example. Not allowing everything isn't caging in your players -- people have played D&D and created deep and awesome characters for years without even knowing what prestige classes are. I find it a little unbelievable to say that by not allowing people to select the Assassin class, you're not letting them play the character they want to play. If they didn't know about the Assassin class, they still could have made the character they wanted.

I can understand why, in some instances, you'd want to make exceptions, but I still don't think NOT making exceptions is necessarily wrong to your players... and I can definitely understand an argument that these exceptions should be the exception, and not the rule.

Agreed. There is a slippery slope there. At the same time, if a player came to me with an absolutely spectacular character concept that was perfect for the Assassin class, I doubt I would feel right saying, "Nope, it's evil only. Play a Rogue."

You're entirely right that classes don't make good roleplay, though. Personally, I think we'd be better off with just a few classes, or maybe the generic variants from UA. Yes, if we never had a Samurai class, people would be going happily about playing their Fighters like samurais, and we wouldn't be having this discussion. But once somebody at WotC creates a Samurai class, it's hard to justify saying, "No, just play your Fighter like a samurai." Giving that character the Samurai class instead of the Fighter class doesn't inhibit roleplaying in any way, either. In the long run, classes have no effect on roleplay, except in instances where the fluff is hopelessly intertwined with the crunch.

It's part of a larger issue with the way WotC made the classes. Some of them, like the Fighter and the Wizard, are almost pure crunch. The players make up all the fluff on their own to round out their characters. From that basic crunch, you can get a very wide variety of well-developed characters. Other classes, like the Druid or Paladin, have a whole lot of fluff built into the crunch of the class, which really limits what players can do on their own and tends to lead to a lot of archetypes and cliches. Creative players can work around this, but it takes a lot of extra work, and sometimes what you really want to do is throw out the WotC fluff and make up your own.

In most cases, especially with the splatbooks, it seems like the designers came up with the fluff they liked, then made up the crunch to match. The problem with this, as evidenced by this thread, is that players don't always view the fluff the same way the designers did, so the crunch doesn't make sense.

Luckily, WotC recognized this problem, and solved it by putting in the little disclaimer that says, "If you don't like it, change it." Well ok, then, problem solved. [/sarcasm]

Fax Celestis
2007-01-04, 03:28 PM
I could probably find some justification for worked metal weapons as a whole being acceptable (turning the tools of destroyers against them?) but scimitars alone is just indefensibly silly.

The scimitar is a holdover from 2e's underloved Khopesh, which I would certainly like to see a return of.

As for Fluff v. Crunch issues, I have to say that the worst offender in my opinion is the Fighter. He's supposed to be a master of combat, and yet most people are better served taking a different class if they want to fight in the front lines.

Dark
2007-01-04, 03:36 PM
Agreed. There is a slippery slope there. At the same time, if a player came to me with an absolutely spectacular character concept that was perfect for the Assassin class, I doubt I would feel right saying, "Nope, it's evil only. Play a Rogue."
"I've come up with a new PrC, just for you! It's called the Roguassin." (which just happens to be exactly like the Assassin except for one little detail...)


Assassins losing their powers when not evil is just dumb. They arent paladins (no mystical source for their skills). Still, I wouldnt let'em advance.
Hmm, I can explain it. An assassin who stops being Evil has become too squeamish to use such cruel and vicious techniques. No mysticism required :)

Chris_Chandler
2007-01-04, 03:44 PM
*Sigh*

I remember why the druid is able to use the scimitar. You won't like it.
/Marvin

The druid's weapons are either tools of the hunt or of agriculture. The scimitar is a weapon of war that developed from grain threshing, and, as such, is dear to the heart of the druid.

Yes. Yes it is. Explain to me why they don't have the scythe or flail now...

Fax Celestis
2007-01-04, 03:45 PM
Or hell, the maul. It is just a really really big really weighted club.

headwarpage
2007-01-04, 03:47 PM
That's not a LG assassin, thats a paladin that lost his levels for violating his code. :smallamused: To me, the problem comes in where Patrick asks the morally weak hunter.

"Poisons?", Patrick scoffed. "How dishonorable. Convenient and easy it may be, but such is not the path of a paladin."

Frustrated, he returns to his church and consults an older cleric for a solution. The priest introduced Patrick to an old adventuring friend, Lord Gerard the Justicar (Complete Warrior PrC), whom taught the paladin the techniques of effective combat with judicious restraint.

If you use Core only, Patrick could say ... Detect Evil on his targets to decide the level of aggresion he should use. Non-evils could be talked into surrendering or atleast giving their side of the story.

That depends entirely on the code your particular paladin has, and is a very good example of why players and DMs should seriously consider working out a detailed description of exactly what the paladin's code consists of. There are probably situations where using poison is a more Good act than not using it, depending on your personal interpretation of Good (because, really, the official WotC definitions of Good and Evil need work). If, for instance, a paladin could stop an evildoer by using nonlethal poison that he couldn't stop by challenging him to a duel, you could make a strong argument that this was a Good act. No innocents were hurt, the evildoer was stopped, and he wasn't even killed, as he might have been in a duel, leaving open the possibility that he could be reformed (or found innocent).

Of course, it's strongly implied that the paladin's code frowns upon such things, as you said. But that's really between the player and the DM. The only real rules for paladins are that they must be LG, and they must have a code of conduct that they follow. Paladins of a particularly practical deity might have a code that allows this sort of thing. Paladins of a deity that focuses strongly on honor probably wouldn't be able to do it.

Fredderf
2007-01-04, 03:58 PM
Ok,
On the assasin thing: I figure it definately isn't for good characters. No good aligned character matches the definition of an assasin, and most people trying to get levels in it just want to get assasin abilities while not getting killed by other party members and still getting to play the part of a hero. Now, a neutral character might be able to persuade me that he should be an assasin, but a good character won't be able to. Especially a paladin. His class abilities would be kaput, unless the DM ignores that too.

The assasin is also set up as a guild assasin, so the entry requirement is easily ignored if the character isn't joining a guild. Also note that just because the assasin is evil, he dosn't have to kill puppies. Evil guys can live normal lives and even be rather pleasant to many people. They don't have to be insanely evil, but they can't have a great respect for life, and they always keep their priorities straight and watch out for themselves.

Just my thoughts.

Bards I guess make sense. To intertwine the music with magic they must be chaotic. A lawful bard would not be able to let the music from his soul flow freely. Thats all complete fluff, but it justifies everything quite nicely.

Starbuck_II
2007-01-04, 03:58 PM
Hmm, I can explain it. An assassin who stops being Evil has become too squeamish to use such cruel and vicious techniques. No mysticism required :)
What about the +1d6 sneak damage, that isn't defined as curel or vicious in my PHB.
Or Poison Use not evil in complete adventurer when the Ninja base class gets it around level 3 or 4.

Mike_G
2007-01-04, 04:11 PM
I think most fluff is campaign specific. The stuff in the WotC books is "default" campaign setting fulff.

If you have a Thuggee like cult of assassins, who serve a Goddess of Death, they may be very different, fluff-wise, but keep the same mechanics. The fairly awful film Remo Williams had a protagonist who was trained as an assassin for good. No bones about it, he was an assassin. The organization worked to assassinate threats to world peace. That was their fluff.

If you could, using disguise, poison, and Death Attacks, get close to and kill Osama bin Laden, would that be an evil act? If you had to kill an innocent to gte into the school that taught you how, then yes, but that' campaign setting fluff, no more.

I personally hate the Alignment system with the white hot fury of a thousand suns, so that colors my views.

My biggest complaint with fluff/crunch conflicts is the Cleric. Like Scorpina, I have no idea why all Clerics of al deities have power over undead, the same skill, the same armor proficiencies, and spell list. Yes, domains help, but clerics are pretty generic in abilities, whether they worship Heironius, Nerull, or Olidimara.

In my campaign, I designed custom clerics for each (homebrew) deity. More work, but more true to the fluff. Clercis of the eath Goddess don't get
Raise Dead, or Ressurection, since that's the opposite of what the Goddess wants, for example. Some clerics don't get Turn Undead, since some gods don't care about undead, etc.

Hannes
2007-01-04, 04:16 PM
Fighters don't need to be evil and they train all days to killing as effectively as they can (EDIT: Actually, they can be trip monkeys and train to protect others who kill as effectively as they can...). Wizards study for centuries to learn spells that cause deaths in various ways. Hell, paladins have full bab, smite evil and numerous spells, most of them helping them in killing.

So in DnD, there is nothing at all wrong in killing.

One can use poison to kill for just as noble cause as a paldin can swing the greatsword. You can be a good fighter and participate in war, killing hundreds while you whack your way towards enemy commander or you can be an assassin and just kill only the opposite commander, avoid the whole war and... But right. You know how to use poison, so it is evil.


Actually, the point that makes them evil is that they are assassins! They should commit murders for gold. And that's what's evil!

SpartacusThe2nd
2007-01-04, 04:17 PM
well I stopped after the first post in the 2nd page....cause im lazy.

Assassin-Murderer
Murderer-evil, twisted whatever you like.

So don't tell me it's not evil.
It's and evil class with evil requisition

Bears With Lasers
2007-01-04, 04:20 PM
well I stopped after the first post in the 2nd page....cause im lazy.

Assassin-Murderer
Murderer-evil, twisted whatever you like.
Except, of course, D&D is based around a bunch of friend going around, murdering things, and taking their stuff. Killing an orc in the face isn't any better than killing him in the back of the neck. None of the Assassin's abilities are inherently evil.


So don't tell me it's not evil.
It's and evil class with evil requisition
We KNOW the class has an evil prerequisite, thanks. The point is some people don't think it SHOULD.

Saph
2007-01-04, 04:27 PM
Favorite? Not really, but here's my pet peeve of the week: How D&D creatures are all designed relative to humanoid PCs. Heck, all of D&D revolves around humanoid PCs.

I don't know - is this really a bad thing?

I mean, I've lost count of the number of RPGs I've seen that set themselves up to be superior to D&D because they have a believable world, don't have a distinction between PCs and monsters, monsters don't have treasure, the system is better, etc. And then I try them and somehow, it's just not all that interesting to play.

I think maybe the reason D&D works is because it revolves around the humanoid PCs. Fighting battles is fun, having your character advance in power is fun, so that's what D&D focuses on.

- Saph

Saph
2007-01-04, 04:33 PM
We KNOW the class has an evil prerequisite, thanks. The point is some people don't think it SHOULD.

As some people have mentioned, it's fairly obvious that the Assassin PrC is intended to be an 'assassin's guild' type who kills for money. Basically the equivalent of a Mafia hitman. Hence the evil requirement. If you want a non-evil sneaky fighter type, you can just use a rogue or fighter/rogue.

- Saph

pestilenceawaits
2007-01-04, 04:33 PM
Oh, and here's another one:

Creatures that are portrayed as too stupid to live, yet have an INT 2 or 3 times higher than animals. The first example that jumps to mind is ogres, but any INT 4 barbarian or fighter would fit - well within playable range and statistically just as common as INT 20 or so (or so I'm guessing - I haven't done the math).

I completely agree but I think this is a problem of DMs playing monsters poorly rather than them being stupid in general. I like the way the newer monster manuals have put sample battle strategies in with the monsters to help people play the monsters better. I always think it is funny that every monster fights to the death no matter what I love having bad guys run away and then try to get revenge.

I am surprised no one has mentioned the slayer of domiel(sp) Prc from BoED it is a good PrC with assassin abilities.

Pegasos989
2007-01-04, 04:40 PM
I completely agree but I think this is a problem of DMs playing monsters poorly rather than them being stupid in general. I like the way the newer monster manuals have put sample battle strategies in with the monsters to help people play the monsters better. I always think it is funny that every monster fights to the death no matter what I love having bad guys run away and then try to get revenge.

I am surprised no one has mentioned the slayer of domiel(sp) Prc from BoED it is a good PrC with assassin abilities.

Yeah, it is WotC's aknowledgement "Yeah. We know assassins don't need to be evil. Here! Have a good assassin! Now drop the subject already! Geez...".

If I remember correctly, BoeD doesn't have poisons, it has something exactly like poisons but they are "distilled from holy waters" or something?

The_Pope
2007-01-04, 04:41 PM
Alright, first off, not every assassin kills for money. What about an assassin, that by order of his Lord, is sent to dispose of ellusive evil-doers and criminals in a silent, clean and effecient way? Its still assassination, but it is not an evil act. Not every villian can be disposed of by a big dumb knight shouting challenges at him. In fact, in a more true-to-life world, outright cutting someone down in full view of the public, regardless of whether the guy is evil or not, would be a really really dumb idea.

I remember the original assassin class from 1st edition. In fact, that was the first class I played in 1st. And he was LG. And it worked perfectly.

Starbuck_II
2007-01-04, 04:42 PM
Except, of course, D&D is based around a bunch of friend going around, murdering things, and taking their stuff. Killing an orc in the face isn't any better than killing him in the back of the neck. None of the Assassin's abilities are inherently evil.

Exactly, He-man didn't care that Skeletor was abused as a child. He lived in a cave and that was reason enough to beat him down and take his stuff.

Technically, we should define murder and killing because no one seems to say what they mean.
1) Killing: Causing a death. If I put a sword through your gullet I'll kill you. If I'm the constable and you attacked the town (ogre, bandit, etc) it is legal and not murder.
2) Murder: Unlawful killing. Law is not on your side.

War=killing (unaligned), since your countries of origin said it was legal. If your side loses than it is murder: winners write the history books.

MrNexx
2007-01-04, 04:50 PM
One of the problems is that many people aren't making a distinction between killing - causing someone's death in open combat - and murder - causing someone's death in such a way as to throw off suspicions as to one's identity as the killer.

The main difference between a fighter and an assassin is that a fighter, usually, doesn't care if people know that he's the one that killed someone. He may attack the enemy from surprise, or take advantage of weaknesses, but he's not INHERENTLY trying to conceal that he's the person who killed him. That's not his primary M.O. It is the primary M.O. of the assassin.

However, I think my greatest annoyance in conflicting crunch and fluff has to be the gnomes and the elves. The elves are described as musical, musical, freedom, freedom... wizards. The gnomes are described as knowledge, organized, language of scholars... bards.

Pegasos989
2007-01-04, 04:51 PM
Alright, first off, not every assassin kills for money. What about an assassin, that by order of his Lord, is sent to dispose of ellusive evil-doers and criminals in a silent, clean and effecient way? Its still assassination, but it is not an evil act. Not every villian can be disposed of by a big dumb knight shouting challenges at him. In fact, in a more true-to-life world, outright cutting someone down in full view of the public, regardless of whether the guy is evil or not, would be a really really dumb idea.

I remember the original assassin class from 1st edition. In fact, that was the first class I played in 1st. And he was LG. And it worked perfectly.

Yeah. I think we are kinda having two schools of people:
-Us who believe that class is just a set of abilities and you should design your own fluff and then take the set of abilities fitting best
-Those who say that class defines your concept or that you can not ignore written fluff

Or well, propably there are always people somwhere in between, but anyways. I think that the second "camp" is saying that if you take assassin, you gotta kill for money and only for money. :S

Starbuck_II
2007-01-04, 05:05 PM
Yeah. I think we are kinda having two schools of people:
-Us who believe that class is just a set of abilities and you should design your own fluff and then take the set of abilities fitting best
-Those who say that class defines your concept or that you can not ignore written fluff

Or well, propably there are always people somwhere in between, but anyways. I think that the second "camp" is saying that if you take assassin, you gotta kill for money and only for money. :S
What else do you kill for: hot dames? On second thought, I can picture that as a good reward.

headwarpage
2007-01-04, 05:20 PM
You don't need to kill at all, it's just what D&D is based around. Nobody's forcing you to use that death attack, though.

Seriously, though, the point is that the abilities of the assassin class don't have to be used to kill for money, at least according to the second camp. The abilities of the assassin class could be used to do most of the things a normal adventuring party does, just in a more sneaky way. Personally, I don't feel that shouting, "Have at thee!" and cutting somebody into little pieces with your sword is a particularly moral action either.

Besides, if a rogue sneaks up behind somebody and stabs them in the back for a bunch of sneak attack damage, killing them, that's a perfectly valid use of a class ability with no alignment restrictions, but if an assassin sneaks up behind somebody and stabs them in the back, killing them with his death attack ability, that's evil? To an in-game observer, the exact same thing just happened - somebody snuck up behind the guy and killed him.

MrNexx
2007-01-04, 05:23 PM
Besides, if a rogue sneaks up behind somebody and stabs them in the back for a bunch of sneak attack damage, killing them, that's a perfectly valid use of a class ability with no alignment restrictions, but if an assassin sneaks up behind somebody and stabs them in the back, killing them with his death attack ability, that's evil? To an in-game observer, the exact same thing just happened - somebody snuck up behind the guy and killed him.

Both actions have the same potential for evil. However, Death Attack can't be used any other way and, again, the distinction is between murder and killing... in both cases, this would seem to be a murder.

Gamebird
2007-01-04, 05:25 PM
Strange concept: an assassin pacifist. Despite rigorous training in killing people, the character refuses to do so and always tries to solve conflicts peacefully.

Not unplayable either. Just pick up that feat that allows you to inflict subdual damage without penalty (and lethal damage at a -4).

Fax Celestis
2007-01-04, 05:27 PM
Both actions have the same potential for evil. However, Death Attack can't be used any other way and, again, the distinction is between murder and killing... in both cases, this would seem to be a murder.

I was under the impression that Death Attack could be used for paralytic purposes as well, and if done so, one could theoretically bring 'em back alive by tying them up while paralyzed, especially if one sneak attacks with a sap or another nonlethal damage dealing weapon.

Mike_G
2007-01-04, 05:32 PM
Both actions have the same potential for evil. However, Death Attack can't be used any other way and, again, the distinction is between murder and killing... in both cases, this would seem to be a murder.

OK, killing or murder:

Party meets an evil ncromancer who plans to desroy the nearest vilage and slaughter the populace.

Now if:

A) Paladin Smites evil necromancer
B) Wizard casts Disintegrate on evil necromancer
C) Rogue Sneak Attacks evil necromancer to death
D) Assassin Death Attacks evil necromancer to death
E) Sorcerer's Animated zombie kills evil necromancer

It annoys me that A B and C are almost never considered evil, but D and E generally are.

Pegasos989
2007-01-04, 05:33 PM
Both actions have the same potential for evil. However, Death Attack can't be used any other way and, again, the distinction is between murder and killing... in both cases, this would seem to be a murder.

Death attack can be used to safely paralyze opponent.

headwarpage
2007-01-04, 05:33 PM
Both actions have the same potential for evil. However, Death Attack can't be used any other way and, again, the distinction is between murder and killing... in both cases, this would seem to be a murder.

I doubt most DMs would hit the rogue with an alignment change if he sneak attacked the BBEG. I agree that killing an innocent victim is evil by any means, obviously. But if your backup plan was attempting to kill him in a toe-to-toe fight, I don't see the difference based on method.

And Death Attack can also be used to paralyze your victim. It's actually a great tool for bounty hunters - they can use it to paralyze a victim, slap some handcuffs on him, and bring him back alive for a fair trial. Nothing evil there. You've successfully neutralized a potentially dangerous individual with no loss of life. You can even do the sneak attack with a sap so it's nonlethal damage.

EDIT: Ninja-ed by several people.

Jack Mann
2007-01-04, 05:34 PM
Why can ever cleric, regardless of their deity (or cause, if you're one of those silly non-FR types) weild some kind of power over the undead, for that matter?

Oh, I've answered this one before!

Ahem. "It's not that the god really grants you the ability to turn or rebuke undead. That's just an unavoidable by-product of your link to your deity. The positive or negative energy involved is the natural excretion of the deity's transmetabolism. It normally filters into the aether, but it also diffuses out through other channels, including clerics and other proxies.

More research into what I shall call, for lack of a better term, "Godsweat" will have to wait until I've received my grant from the Sigil University for the Differently Brilliant."

Pegasos989
2007-01-04, 05:34 PM
OK, killing or murder:

Party meets an evil ncromancer who plans to desroy the nearest vilage and slaughter the populace.

Now if:

A) Paladin Smites evil necromancer
B) Wizard casts Disintegrate on evil necromancer
C) Rogue Sneak Attacks evil necromancer to death
D) Assassin Death Attacks evil necromancer to death
E) Sorcerer's Animated zombie kills evil necromancer

It annoys me that A B and C are almost never considered evil, but D and E generally are.

Well, paladin could theoretically deal nonlethal damage and just make the necromancer harmless! Wait, so can assassin's death attack.

Carry on.

Tokiko Mima
2007-01-04, 05:52 PM
Yeah, it is WotC's aknowledgement "Yeah. We know assassins don't need to be evil. Here! Have a good assassin! Now drop the subject already! Geez...".

If I remember correctly, BoeD doesn't have poisons, it has something exactly like poisons but they are "distilled from holy waters" or something?

Afflictions, I think? Yeah, they're poisons with the qualification that if they are used on someone with a good and/or neutral alignment, they don't work.

Taken to the logical extreme, you could create a city free of criminals by dumping enough Eternal Torpor into the village well water. Of course, that would kinda be a not-so-good act. Umm.. don't drink the water yourself afterwards. But think of the benefits to society when all of the sudden every greedy merchant, corrupt official, necromancer, assassin and blackguard all dropped dead at the same time!

Bears With Lasers
2007-01-04, 05:54 PM
Afflictions and Ravages only work on evil things, don't they?

Tokiko Mima
2007-01-04, 05:57 PM
Yup. That's why they are in the BoED, and good aligned characters are allowed to use them. They don't harm non-evil folk. Not so sure about nuetrals. I would check the label, definately. :smallwink:

headwarpage
2007-01-04, 06:02 PM
Afflictions, I think? Yeah, they're poisons with the qualification that if they are used on someone with a good and/or neutral alignment, they don't work.

Taken to the logical extreme, you could create a city free of criminals by dumping enough Eternal Torpor into the village well water. Of course, that would kinda be a not-so-good act. Umm.. don't drink the water yourself afterwards. But think of the benefits to society when all of the sudden every greedy merchant, corrupt official, necromancer, assassin and blackguard all dropped dead at the same time!

And this is exactly why the alignment system as presented by Wizards needs some work. Though the idea of afflictions has potential, they are still a tool that can be used to do harm, and therefore they can be used to do evil things.

Honestly, I don't see what's so evil about poisons. Yes, they're potentially nasty. So is that +5 Keen greataxe the barbarian's hauling around. And they both work on creatures of any alignment. In their simples form, poisons are a tool that can be used to inflict harm. Whether using poison to inflict harm is evil or not should be determined using the same standards you use to determine whether using your sword to inflict harm is evil or not.

And to be perfectly honest, something about typing that last paragraph made me uncomfortable. However, I reread it, and I believe everything in it to be true, or at least logically consistent.

Khantalas
2007-01-04, 06:05 PM
Deathless are good.

Why?

I mean, the undead being evil was argued to heck and back, but no one argues about deathless. Especially Eberron's Deathless. BoED deathless at least guard the burial sites of saints and whatever, but Eberron Deathless just sit there. I'm yet to see them do anything remotely good. Nothing in their fluff suggests good, either. But they are always good.

WHY?!

Saph
2007-01-04, 06:10 PM
And this is exactly why the alignment system as presented by Wizards needs some work.

Do these things ever really spoil the game, though? I know players love to argue about them, but I've honestly never played in or watched a game where alignment has actually caused any problems (apart from annoying the minority of players who don't like the idea of objective morality, but the world being the way it is, these guys are going to go around annoyed most of the time anyway).

- Saph

VoxPVoxD@gmail.com
2007-01-04, 06:12 PM
However, I think my greatest annoyance in conflicting crunch and fluff has to be the gnomes and the elves. The elves are described as musical, musical, freedom, freedom... wizards. The gnomes are described as knowledge, organized, language of scholars... bards.

YES! I hate how Gnomes have been relegated as a race to comic relief, mostly because they're my favorite race and sometimes I don't like playing comic relief characters. The Bard favored class thing was mostly a nod to the fact that making a brand of specialist wizard a race's favored class really isn't that fair and then Bards were left as the (unsatisfying and unfair) second string option.

As to the topic that's gotten the most attention, I want to say that my favorite part about roleplaying with D&D in particular is working with the moral conflicts the alignment system raises. I think anyone who cheapens that to empower their character isn't looking at the problem the way they should, and is being rather immature. I think the same thing of a DM who imposes the book-mandated fluff without hearing out what might be a really interesting and worthwhile character that otherwise won't get played.


Deathless are good.

Why?

I mean, the undead being evil was argued to heck and back, but no one argues about deathless. Especially Eberron's Deathless. BoED deathless at least guard the burial sites of saints and whatever, but Eberron Deathless just sit there. I'm yet to see them do anything remotely good. Nothing in their fluff suggests good, either. But they are always good.

WHY?!

All the evil and neutral ones play undead. :(

Tokiko Mima
2007-01-04, 06:23 PM
Yeah, but if a weapon is incapable of harming the innocent/good, then it's actually making moral distinctions on it's own. Thus an Affliction is good aligned, just like a Holy weapon is. In general, any tool wielded by mankind is capable of doing harm but this one is specifically incapable of causing unintentional harm.

"Good" as presented by Wizard never has any qualms destroying "Evil" in any way it can, and vice versa. As has been pointed out, the act of killing itself is not necessarily evil, but the motive behind the act is always colored one way or another. Poisons are notorious for causing collateral damage, but Afflictions and Ravages literally cannot. That might be a better explanation?

I still think it's silly how they work, it's so insanely abusable. A poison that only good people are immune to would be soooo useful. You could use it anywhere!

Make Unicorn Blood perfume! Great for dates with that Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome you think might be a serial killer. Golden Ice-cream! Give it to your kids, and if one of them turns to the sinister side, *poof* they're dead, and you're saved endless prison visits. Think about the incentives you would have not to be evil. "Yeah, I could probably shoplift that necklace, but the next time I eat or drink anything, I'll die. It isn't worth it."

headwarpage
2007-01-04, 06:30 PM
Do these things ever really spoil the game, though? I know players love to argue about them, but I've honestly never played in or watched a game where alignment has actually caused any problems (apart from annoying the minority of players who don't like the idea of objective morality, but the world being the way it is, these guys are going to go around annoyed most of the time anyway).

- Saph

Probably not. Really, 95+% of players just want to go kill orcs or whatever, myself included.


Yeah, but if a weapon is incapable of harming the innocent/good, then it's actually making moral distinctions on it's own. Thus an Affliction is good aligned, just like a Holy weapon is. In general, any tool wielded by mankind is capable of doing harm but this one is specifically incapable of causing unintentional harm.

"Good" as presented by Wizard never has any qualms destroying "Evil" in any way it can, and vice versa. As has been pointed out, the act of killing itself is not necessarily evil, but the motive behind the act is always colored one way or another. Poisons are notorious for causing collateral damage, but Afflictions and Ravages literally cannot. That might be a better explanation?

I still think it's silly how they work, it's so insanely abusable. A poison that only good people are immune to would be soooo useful. You could use it anywhere! Make Unicorn Blood perfume! Golden Ice-cream!

As I said, it's not a bad idea, and it does cut down on unintentional harm. But for WotC to say that using poison on your enemies is evil, but using an affliction on them to create the exact same effect is fine strikes me wrong. I'd like to see poison use not explicitly defined as evil, with ravages and afflictions available as an exalted alternative. Social consequences for poison use would continue to be whatever the DM wants them to be, but poison use in and of itself shouldn't be an evil act.

VoxPVoxD@gmail.com
2007-01-04, 06:33 PM
D&D has to have a simplistic on its face morality system because otherwise the people who just want to "go kill orcs" have to think really hard about what they did.

Which most adventurers and most players don't want to do.

Sometimes I like to tell myself the logical inconsistencies are put there to entertain the people who do like that sort of thing, like me.

Tokiko Mima
2007-01-04, 06:58 PM
Well, I agree to the extent that Poison Use shouldn't always be evil, but I think it should never be a good act to use a poison on someone who isn't evil. It should be more of a neutral/evil grey area. Vile poisons and diseases should always be evil.

Diggorian
2007-01-04, 06:58 PM
Of course, it's strongly implied that the paladin's code frowns upon such things, as you said. But that's really between the player and the DM. The only real rules for paladins are that they must be LG, and they must have a code of conduct that they follow.

The fluff-less description of the Paladin in the SRD (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/classes/paladin.htm) says specifically that they cant use poisons. Not because it's evil, because it not honorable by the Western conception of honor. Really, how can it be honorable to fight like a coward?


Yeah, it is WotC's aknowledgement "Yeah. We know assassins don't need to be evil. Here! Have a good assassin! Now drop the subject already! Geez...".

I think the only thing WotC acknowledged was that folks will buy a book with a divine/good assassin type in it.

I think that poisons, sneak attacks, and Death Attacks can be used to diminish evil and achieve good. Knowing how to do death attack isnt evil, what you had to do to learn it is. It's what the guild demands to prove your devotion. Any one that joins the guild to learn it's techniques then not serve the guild as an assassin is gonna get hunted down in my games. :smallamused:

Bears With Lasers
2007-01-04, 07:04 PM
Artistic integrity? They're not a poet, they're a company.

Diggorian
2007-01-04, 07:13 PM
Writing good descriptive flavor text -- fluff -- is an art.

Bears With Lasers
2007-01-04, 07:15 PM
...Yes. There are several Wizards, who live by the coast, who write all the fluff. Then they peddle their wares.

(Actually, they hire writers to write the fluff. The writers don't decide what books get produced/published. The company, an entity that exists to make people want to give it their money, does.)

Diggorian
2007-01-04, 07:41 PM
Better integration of material from their fluff writers and crunch designs would add more integrity to their art.

Bears With Lasers
2007-01-04, 07:44 PM
I don't think you get it. WotC is a merchant, not an artist. The merchant buys stuff from artist, but why would you expect a merchant to have artistic integrity?

VoxPVoxD@gmail.com
2007-01-04, 07:45 PM
I thought I'd take the time to say that the art in the D&D sourcebooks is generally pretty bad

Diggorian
2007-01-04, 08:12 PM
I don't think you get it. WotC is a merchant, not an artist. The merchant buys stuff from artist, but why would you expect a merchant to have artistic integrity?

How about this, WotC should publish material from artists with better integrity, more consistency within the the concept they present. That clearer?

I'll edit the post to eliminate that cognitive booby trap.

Bears With Lasers
2007-01-04, 08:15 PM
Maybe they should. For now, though, I get the feeling that they'll publish what sells.

Edit: what's more, the integrity of the writers isn't an issue. WotC decides what kind of classes and prestige they'll have ("give us an evocation specialist, an arcane caster focusing on these new Sanctified spells, an Exalted barbarian of some kind, a kind of Assassin-For-The-Forces-Of-Light guy...").

Diggorian
2007-01-04, 08:17 PM
Agreed.

*Topic resumes*

Whamme
2007-01-04, 08:27 PM
Yep, its a holdover that doesn't make much sense.



And as for assassins, the special requirement seems to imply that you are joining a guild of assassins. Only members of this guild can persue this selection of skills. Makes perfect senee for assassins to be evil, if their guild requires it.

And if they have a change of heart, they forget everything they ever knew?

No way to infiltrate them secretly and learn their ways? (faking the entrance requirement)

Stephen_E
2007-01-04, 09:35 PM
Just a rules note regarding the Assassin discussion.

You must meet the prereqs for a prestige class to take the 1st level. You are not required to continue to meet those requirements to keep the abilities gained, nor to keep advancing in the prestige class. (This is 3.5. I beleive 3.0 may've been different)

Thus it is legal for a Paladin to put on a helm of opposite alignment, gain a level in Assassin, put on another helm of opposite alignment, atone as per spell regainoing all Paladin abilities (possibly by destroying the Assassin's Guild he infiltrated) and continue to advance Assassin levels while been LG and using Paladin powers.

In addition only gross violations fo the code of conduct cause you to lose Paladin powers, so a Paladin Assassin should be able to us poison selectively, i.e Only non-lethal poisons (sleep, paraylsation) or only leathal stuff against the REALLY Evil BBEG.

In short DnD currently allows Good Assassins, but you have to "dip" into Evil to get there. Given that, it doesn't seem strange that some DM's say "screw silly alignment dips" and just remove the Evil Alignment prereq altogether.

Stephen

bosssmiley
2007-01-04, 09:50 PM
My favourite example is the Druid restriction on armour. At first glance, sure, it looks good. But the more I thought about it, the worse and worse it seems. "You want me to WEAR METAL ARMOUR? I will gladly kill, eat, and then wear the skin of one of my fellow animals, as such helps maintain the Cycle Of Life, and serves The Balance. But WEARING METAL? Metal, which is carved out of the non-sentient earth, dug from the very ground that is incapable of feeling pain?! What a horrible mockery of all I stand for!
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to spend my hoard of gold and jewels in those buildings constructed from stone and wood, for which mountains were quarried and forests chopped down."
Sure, the druid is powerful, and needs a few restrictions. But if you're going to give a nice fluffy reason for it, couldn't it make sense?

What are all your favourite inconsistencies between flavour and mechanics?

Metal = tortured earth.
The ore has been stolen from the care of Mother Earth, then burnt, liquefied, beaten and abused into metal. Look at the state pre-modern mining, refining and casting leave the surrounding environment in (not to mention the huge tracts of forest harvested for charcoal) and you'll see why druids are rather disinclined to use metal. :smallwink:

I note Jades beat me to this by 2 pages though - the get! :smalltongue:


My Fluff v. Crunch problem comes from the Good Old Phaerimm of the Forgotten Realms.

The Phaerimm made the empire of Nethril run with their Drain Life and Drain Magic abilities. Netherese wizards found their power useless against the Phaerimm. Now, looking at the Lost Empires of Faerun stats for them, Magic overcomes the Pherimm's DR, and they have neither a Drain Magic nor Drain Life ability.

The 2.0 Phaerimm were so much cooler, and they fit the storyline. A hatchling was the equivilant of a level 30 sorcerer, and now the eldest Phaerimm have a caster level of 23. :P The youngest don't cast spells.

This is the same WOTC that gave us a CR19 Demon Lord (poor, abused Juiblex) in a recent volume, remember? I assume their reasoning is "Why should people buy the ELH just to use the Phaerimm? Let's nerf them and make them pre-Epic boss monsters instead."

Suggested fluff fix: the 3.5 Phaerimm are nothing but ravaged, weakened versions of their former selves, or perhaps new hatchlings from hidden nests of the now dead ancient terrors. Their long-term goal; regain the scale of power that they/their ancestors held when they toppled Netheril.

cokefiend
2007-01-04, 10:13 PM
Okay, wow. That's way more of a response than I expected.

And the point about Deathless always being Good made me realise something.
I don't mind Negative Energy being Evil, really. Or at least, I wouldn't, if Positive Energy was Good. Presumably, that would explain the Deathless, too.
I mean, they're polar opposites, right? Positive and negative, good and evil...

Edit: I guess I should say something about the Druid issue, too, seeing as how I brought it up. I can see the rationale for mining = large scale devastation, hence unnatural, ergo not-druidic. But couldn't that be part of a larger cycle, too? I mean, they can kill animals and plants for resources, so couldn't a sect of druids oversee a mining operation, then revert the land back to its natural state when they have all the metal they need?
Mmmm... I can just see the druidic government with a monopoly on trade... now there's a crazy idea.

Bouldering Jove
2007-01-04, 10:49 PM
Where do YOU fall on the assassin opinion matrix?

http://img219.imageshack.us/img219/1391/assassinmatrix1uv9.gif

And purely for fun's sake, where do the people disagreeing with you fall?

http://img219.imageshack.us/img219/8797/assassinmatrix2aim7.gif

Tokiko Mima
2007-01-04, 10:52 PM
Just a rules note regarding the Assassin discussion.

You must meet the prereqs for a prestige class to take the 1st level. You are not required to continue to meet those requirements to keep the abilities gained, nor to keep advancing in the prestige class. (This is 3.5. I beleive 3.0 may've been different)

Thus it is legal for a Paladin to put on a helm of opposite alignment, gain a level in Assassin, put on another helm of opposite alignment, atone as per spell regainoing all Paladin abilities (possibly by destroying the Assassin's Guild he infiltrated) and continue to advance Assassin levels while been LG and using Paladin powers.

In addition only gross violations fo the code of conduct cause you to lose Paladin powers, so a Paladin Assassin should be able to us poison selectively, i.e Only non-lethal poisons (sleep, paraylsation) or only leathal stuff against the REALLY Evil BBEG.

In short DnD currently allows Good Assassins, but you have to "dip" into Evil to get there. Given that, it doesn't seem strange that some DM's say "screw silly alignment dips" and just remove the Evil Alignment prereq altogether.

Stephen

This would be very difficult to manage. The paladin could never actively plan this scenario or it wouldn't work because:


Atonement: (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/atonement.htm)

This spell removes the burden of evil acts or misdeeds from the subject. The creature seeking atonement must be truly repentant and desirous of setting right its misdeeds...


So first an unusual set of circumstances must alter the alignment of a paladin without the paladin's consent.
Following, the Paladin must pick up 8 points of Hide and Move Silently and 4 points of Disguise during a period where the Paladin doesn't encounter a cleric with an atonement spell.
Then the Paladin must encounter an assassin guild willing to admit a mindwarped Paladin.
After that the Paladin has to have it's alignment fixed back involuntarily again.
Next the paladin has to find and beg a cleric to use atonement to ask their god to restore the powers of someone wielding the skills of an assassin.
Oh, and the Paladin has to come up with a way to 'set right' the act of cold blooded murder. So I'm guessing a ressurection spell for every person killed while evil at minimum, assuming ressurection is possible within the setting.
And finally the Paladin must come up with a way to prevent this scenario from ever again occuring ('be truly repentent'), which seems unlikely based on how often it did happen.

Probably an easier way would be to start an Evil character, then after you've gained a few assassin levels, change alignment to LG and become a paladin. Less fuss.

Shazzbaa
2007-01-04, 11:34 PM
Bouldering Jove made me laugh. :smallbiggrin:

On the Assassin:
You have to be evil to be an assassin because you have to kill somebody pointlessly to get in. If you're rearranging the class, then yeah, it stands to reason that you may be rearranging alignment requirements and the like, too; so if you don't have to kill someone to get in then I suppose, sure, you don't have to be evil. I wouldn't see it having anything to do with the Death attack; has more to do with the attitude associated (See: MrNexx) and the requirement.

I didn't know about the poisons-for-the-good. Those are pretty absurd and, well, IMO shouldn't exist. The attitude of such things just feels very wrong -- I mean, with real poison, you'd have to be uber careful and make sure you know what you're doing before you use it -- with these "affliction" nonsense poisons, you can just through 'em around because "if he died, he must've been evil!" I don't know, perhaps if I read it I'd dislike it less... but yeah, that's pretty wrong to me.

I'd always seen poison use as being generally evil.... like, as a guideline or general rule (as per the whole "extra suffering" line that you've heard a million times). Personally, if someone wanted to use a poison to do something in a way that would be much more appealing to someone of good alignment, then I wouldn't see a problem with it, and I wouldn't consider it an evil act merely by virtue of being poisonous.
I suppose by RAW this isn't so. In which case I likely disagree with RAW in this case (SHOCK AND AWE).

As per bards -- Pshaw, says I. I can understand why the first thought would be for such a character to be naturally chaotic, as artists often are, but just because we're USUALLY chaotic doesn't mean we're ALWAYS chaotic. You can have a lawful and orderly musician.

Tokiko Mima
2007-01-05, 12:03 AM
You can have a lawful and orderly musician.

:eek: :eek: :eek: WHERE?!?!?! :eek: :eek: :eek:





Just kidding! :tongue:

Diggorian
2007-01-05, 12:15 AM
Bouldering Jove: I'm a Deontological Ethicist. Those that disagree with me ... arent worth mentioning :smallwink:

Tokiko: Thanks for bring up the evil dip paladin thing, save me typing.

I thought Stephen E's scenario was so interesting as a story idea I looked up the Helm of OA. It only works on a character once, they have no interest in changing back as you said, and it takes a Wish or Miracle to get them back. Then the atonement.

Complete Adventurer has a Devoted Inquistor feat that let's Paladins multiclass with rogue. It even allows a Daze effect if they sneak attack and smite in one attack.

About Bards, I vaguely recall a point Shazzbaa brought up about is it a really a penalty if the cant be Lawful?


But couldn't that be part of a larger cycle, too? I mean, they can kill animals and plants for resources, so couldn't a sect of druids oversee a mining operation, then revert the land back to its natural state when they have all the metal they need?


Ever wonder why these medieval settings stay that way for millenia? I think its the druids. The core of their concept is the reverance of nature and the rejection or opposition of progress. So I'd have a hard time seeing them as mineral tycoons.

Metal armor, yet metal weapons, I could kinda interpret as "I'm not gonna profit from this false creation, but I'll kill you with it defiler!!" Just my 50 cents.

Jack Mann
2007-01-05, 12:21 AM
Quick! A cookie for Jove!

Stephen_E
2007-01-05, 12:40 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen_E http://www.giantitp.com/forums/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1780538#post1780538)
Just a rules note regarding the Assassin discussion.

You must meet the prereqs for a prestige class to take the 1st level. You are not required to continue to meet those requirements to keep the abilities gained, nor to keep advancing in the prestige class. (This is 3.5. I beleive 3.0 may've been different)

Thus it is legal for a Paladin to put on a helm of opposite alignment, gain a level in Assassin, put on another helm of opposite alignment, atone as per spell regainoing all Paladin abilities (possibly by destroying the Assassin's Guild he infiltrated) and continue to advance Assassin levels while been LG and using Paladin powers.

In addition only gross violations fo the code of conduct cause you to lose Paladin powers, so a Paladin Assassin should be able to us poison selectively, i.e Only non-lethal poisons (sleep, paraylsation) or only leathal stuff against the REALLY Evil BBEG.

In short DnD currently allows Good Assassins, but you have to "dip" into Evil to get there. Given that, it doesn't seem strange that some DM's say "screw silly alignment dips" and just remove the Evil Alignment prereq altogether.

Stephen

This would be very difficult to manage. The paladin could never actively plan this scenario or it wouldn't work because:


Quote:
Atonement: (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/atonement.htm)

This spell removes the burden of evil acts or misdeeds from the subject. The creature seeking atonement must be truly repentant and desirous of setting right its misdeeds...


This would be very difficult to manage. The paladin could never actively plan this scenario or it wouldn't work because:



So first an unusual set of circumstances must alter the alignment of a paladin without the paladin's consent.
Following, the Paladin must pick up 8 points of Hide and Move Silently and 4 points of Disguise during a period where the Paladin doesn't encounter a cleric with an atonement spell.
Then the Paladin must encounter an assassin guild willing to admit a mindwarped Paladin.
After that the Paladin has to have it's alignment fixed back involuntarily again.
Next the paladin has to find and beg a cleric to use atonement to ask their god to restore the powers of someone wielding the skills of an assassin.
Oh, and the Paladin has to come up with a way to 'set right' the act of cold blooded murder. So I'm guessing a ressurection spell for every person killed while evil at minimum, assuming ressurection is possible within the setting.
And finally the Paladin must come up with a way to prevent this scenario from ever again occuring ('be truly repentent'), which seems unlikely based on how often it did happen.Probably an easier way would be to start an Evil character, then after you've gained a few assassin levels, change alignment to LG and become a paladin. Less fuss.

The Paladin's 1st level was Rogue. Metting skill requirements met except for 8 points of crossclass skills picked up over the 1st 4 Paladin levels.

The Paladin can willingly put on a Helm of opposite alignment for the purpose of infiltrating the Assassins Guild. (note he instantly loses his Paladin abilities for been evil, not for doing an Evil deed, because he hasn't done an evil deed.

He then contacts the Guild that he planned to infiltrate, who don't necessarily know he's a Paladin, and even if they do might not object to a fallen Paladin in their ranks.

He then kills a preselected evil person who deserved killing (again. not a evil act per se).

He now puts on another helm of opposite alignment (either after been captured by friends, or by the use of a preset Geas or hypnotic command).

Edit - as pointed out a 2nd Helm of Opposite Alignment won't work, so one of his friends uses a wish or Miracle on him (Wishes can be purchased for 36,000gp or via a Deck of many things at relatively low levels)

He then has a Cleric cast atonement (you don't figure he might just have a Cleric friend able to cast the spell) and attones for simply having an Evil alignment "Oh great god, I'm so sorry I didn't realise how disgusting I'd feel. Those horrible thoughts that kept running through my mind. It was disgusting my lord. I truly repent". As atonement he destroys the Guild he infiltrated, since he always intended this it's possible that he maybe required to bring back some of its victims or maybe hunt out other Assasssin Guilds.

Since Assassin skills aren't evil (I think this has been covered well enough. Poison is evil, it's against the Paladin code of conduct. Very different things) so I see no inherent reason his God won't take him back.

Note he doesn't have to bring back his entry victim since it wasn't a evil act. He killed an evil person who deserved death to further a good act, the destruction of and evil assassins guild.

As for been truly repentant. I don't think the Paladin is ever likely to do the helm thing again voulunterly. The intelectual concept of been CE is one thing, the reality would undoubtedly be something else.

And just by coincidence he now has one level in Assassin and can continue to advance in that class. Who woulda thought it.... :-)

See you've just got to lateral think enough. :-) :-)

Stephen

Khantalas
2007-01-05, 03:46 AM
No.

You're missing on thing: spells that cost over 5,000 gp is not available for purchase except under extreme circumstances.

I liked the part of 3.0 DMG where it said you couldn't advance in a PrC if you didn't meet the prerequisites of the class and that you would also lose all those powers in such a situation. No good assassin scenarios, RAW. Pegasos' scenariois still valid, as it involves changing the rules.

Stephen_E
2007-01-05, 04:25 AM
No.

You're missing on thing: spells that cost over 5,000 gp is not available for purchase except under extreme circumstances..

Where is that mentioned?



I liked the part of 3.0 DMG where it said you couldn't advance in a PrC if you didn't meet the prerequisites of the class and that you would also lose all those powers in such a situation. No good assassin scenarios, RAW. Pegasos' scenariois still valid, as it involves changing the rules.

Of course if you had a prestige class that gave you abilities that disqualified you for entry into the class you got into a loop.

I guess the game designers disagreed with you.

Stephen

Khantalas
2007-01-05, 04:32 AM
Here. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/goodsAndServices.htm#spell)

If it doesn't work, just go the the table at the bottom.

And it was 3,000, not 5,000. Sorry for misleading you.

And we can just say that you lose all class feature of a PrC if you no longer meet a prerequisite unless a class feature of the PrC makes you no longer meet that prerequisite.

There.

Jack Mann
2007-01-05, 04:35 AM
In the section under NPC spellcasting in the PHB, it says that any spell over 3,000 gp isn't generally available except by the DM's permission.

Of course, you'll still probably be able to find a scroll.

Khantalas
2007-01-05, 04:37 AM
Assuming the DM gives you a scroll.

Jack Mann
2007-01-05, 04:47 AM
By the rules, a scroll of Wish costs 28,825. That means that it should be obtainable in a large city or metropolis. Of course, the DM doesn't have to let you buy that, but then, he isn't really playing by the rules.

Captain van der Decken
2007-01-05, 04:50 AM
I don't like the poison thing. It's evil because it's supposed to cause unnecessary suffering, if I remember correctly. Hitting things with your sword causes unnecessary suffering, and that's not evil.

Also, if the crunch of a class fits your flavour and the fluff doesn't, I'd just ignore the fluff.

Vance_Nevada
2007-01-05, 05:06 AM
- Just to throw another wrench into the Druid discussion, Druids can weild whatever the hell weapons they like. That two-handed huge Greatsword, constructed entirely from metal raped from Mother Earth? Sure, go for it. You take a -4 to hit because you don't know how to use it, but the Druid council doesn't care. You could pick up a level in Fighter or a Feat to know how to weild it.

Hell, you could take Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Metal Stick of Metalness, and still not have any trouble with the druidic oaths. You can use metal weapons, metal tools, metal headbands, metal boots, and make your underwear out of metal, as long as none of it's armour.

- I also like the Bard and the Monk flavour. The Monk, who spends his life devotedly practicing his art (martial arts) must be Lawful. Sure, OK, if you say so. The Bard, who spends his life devotedly practicing his art (music), cannot be Lawful. Uh...? The Wizard, who spends his life devotedly practicing his art (magc), can be whatever the hell he likes.

- An oft overlooked but reasonably stupid one: Clerics of a racial deity must be of that race, no ifs, buts, or maybes. A halfling raised in a Gnome city, devoted to the ways of Gnomedom, and a devout worshipper of Garl Glittergold, can never be a cleric of him. It doesn't matter if the halfling declares war and single-handedly wipes out every enemy that ever menaces Gnome-kind, Garl's too much of a bastard to give him a Cure Light Wounds.

Dan_Hemmens
2007-01-05, 07:14 AM
Pretty much every issue on this entire thread comes down to my Universal Rule of D&D: it's all about style.

Why can't druids wear metal armour? Because you look really stupid giving a speech about harmony with nature while wearing full plate.

Why do assassins have to be evil? Because sneaking around poisoning people is what the bad guys do.


To put it another way: druids can't wear metal armour because they have to dress in earth tones, assassins are evil because they have to dress in black.

Pegasos989
2007-01-05, 07:37 AM
Pretty much every issue on this entire thread comes down to my Universal Rule of D&D: it's all about style.

Why can't druids wear metal armour? Because you look really stupid giving a speech about harmony with nature while wearing full plate.

Why do assassins have to be evil? Because sneaking around poisoning people is what the bad guys do.


To put it another way: druids can't wear metal armour because they have to dress in earth tones, assassins are evil because they have to dress in black.

AHA! Here is the flaw in your argument. To quote Peter's Evil Overlord List ( http://www.eviloverlord.com/lists/overlord.html ) of things what to do and not to do when he becomes the evil overlord:

"29. I will dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into confusion."

Tormsskull
2007-01-05, 07:50 AM
Also, if the crunch of a class fits your flavour and the fluff doesn't, I'd just ignore the fluff.

If the fluff of the class fits your concept, but the mechanics don't, just make up your own mechanics.

Dan_Hemmens
2007-01-05, 07:52 AM
AHA! Here is the flaw in your argument. To quote Peter's Evil Overlord List ( http://www.eviloverlord.com/lists/overlord.html ) of things what to do and not to do when he becomes the evil overlord:

"29. I will dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into confusion."


Yeah, but when was the last time you ever saw a D&D villain pay *any* attention to the Evil Overlord List?

Ephraim
2007-01-05, 07:57 AM
Yeah, but when was the last time you ever saw a D&D villain pay *any* attention to the Evil Overlord List?

I had forgotten that it existed but now that I have been reminded, I'm going to use it as inspiration. My villains will explicitly obey at least one of the rules on the list and disobey at least one other.

Pegasos989
2007-01-05, 07:57 AM
If the fluff of the class fits your concept, but the mechanics don't, just make up your own mechanics.

But the mechanics could be similar, I think. So is there much benefit in creating class called something else than assassin but practically (some small change) the same mechanic than assassin and diffrent alignment restriction?

Tormsskull
2007-01-05, 08:20 AM
But the mechanics could be similar, I think. So is there much benefit in creating class called something else than assassin but practically (some small change) the same mechanic than assassin and diffrent alignment restriction?

I'm not sure I understand you. I'm saying as a counterpoint to ignoring fluff you should be able to ignore the mechanics. If I read the ranger class and think that the abilities aren't right, I should be able to change the abilities of the class to fit what I think a ranger should be.

In essence, I write my own fluff, and then pick and choose abilities that will fit my vision.

Pegasos989
2007-01-05, 08:23 AM
I'm not sure I understand you. I'm saying as a counterpoint to ignoring fluff you should be able to ignore the mechanics. If I read the ranger class and think that the abilities aren't right, I should be able to change the abilities of the class to fit what I think a ranger should be.

In essence, I write my own fluff, and then pick and choose abilities that will fit my vision.

...wtf? Are you serious? Because if you are, then we have pretty much been saying the same thing with diffrent words. -_-

You choose flavour and then choose mechanics to that if needed.
I choose flavour and then choose a set of mechanics (class) to that if needed.

The only diffrence is that you may alter some mechanics of existing class and I just try to achieve the concept by choosing the class already existing. Mainly because I find it a lot easier to balance if I replace the flavour of assassin than if I start trying to find a way to add death attack and poison use for rogues. :P

Stephen_E
2007-01-05, 08:25 AM
In the section under NPC spellcasting in the PHB, it says that any spell over 3,000 gp isn't generally available except by the DM's permission.

Of course, you'll still probably be able to find a scroll.

I suggest you reread it. :-)

It doesn't restrict spell availability UNLESS it has material components that put the price over 3000gp. Technically this menas if you can find a Wizard of CL34 you don't need GM's permission, since the material components (XP) doesn't put the price cost OVER 3000gp (it's already over 3000gp). Just going by RAW. :-)

More importantly -

"Not generally available without DM's permission" doesn't equal "Extreme circumstances"
--------------------
"You're missing on thing: spells that cost over 5,000 gp is not available for purchase except under extreme circumstances."
------------------------

So I stand that by 10th level you should be able to purchase a Wish spell if you're willing to do some work to get it (i.e. Don't walk into the nearest city with a 17th lev Wiz and expect to buy it). If your GM says "No, no matter what you do you can't acquire a wish" he's no more playing RAW than the DM who drops the alignment restriction. DM fiat is been used in both cases (which techinically IS part of RAW but generally is considered seperately).

Stephen

Saph
2007-01-05, 08:33 AM
I'd always seen poison use as being generally evil.... like, as a guideline or general rule (as per the whole "extra suffering" line that you've heard a million times). Personally, if someone wanted to use a poison to do something in a way that would be much more appealing to someone of good alignment, then I wouldn't see a problem with it, and I wouldn't consider it an evil act merely by virtue of being poisonous.

Well, good-aligned people in RL generally don't use poison, either. There are reasons for this. Basically, you use poison if your priority is to kill a target and you don't care too much about collateral damage, and don't mind your target doing some more extra damage while the poison takes effect. Then there's the issue that poisons have a habit of hitting people other than their intended target.

Add all those things up, and it's not too hard to see why poison use is associated with being evil. But D&D players being what they are, they hassled WotC saying "But I want to assassinate people and poison people and still be good!", and after several years of this WotC threw up their hands and made the Book of Exalted Deeds, saying "Fine! Are you happy now?"

. . . at least, that's my guess. :)

- Saph

Dan_Hemmens
2007-01-05, 08:34 AM
...wtf? Are you serious? Because if you are, then we have pretty much been saying the same thing with diffrent words. -_-

You choose flavour and then choose mechanics to that if needed.
I choose flavour and then choose a set of mechanics (class) to that if needed.

The only diffrence is that you may alter some mechanics of existing class and I just try to achieve the concept by choosing the class already existing. Mainly because I find it a lot easier to balance if I replace the flavour of assassin than if I start trying to find a way to add death attack and poison use for rogues. :P

I think that's the important distinction, though. What Tormsskull is suggesting (or, perhaps more precisely, the analogy he is asking you to draw) is that picking and choosing your own fluff is exactly equivalent to picking and choosing your own mechanics.

That is to say: if you can say "it's stupid for Assassins to have an Alignment restriction, I should be able to play a good assassin if I want to" then he can say "it's stupid for Sorcerers to get high level spells more slowly than wizards, my Sorcerer should get access to all his spell levels one level earlier".

In a sense, he's right: what you're saying, by saying you should be allowed to play a LG assassin is that you should be able to play *your* idea of what an assassin should be, not somebody else's.

Pegasos989
2007-01-05, 08:39 AM
Well, good-aligned people in RL generally don't use poison, either. There are reasons for this. Basically, you use poison if your priority is to kill a target and you don't care too much about collateral damage, and don't mind your target doing some more extra damage while the poison takes effect. Then there's the issue that poisons have a habit of hitting people other than their intended target.

Well, I am all against "Good aligned people in real life", because I do not believe such exist. Real life morals are complicated and not absolute.


Anyways, ignoring that... Poisons in DnD can be used to opposite means: you can poison the LBEG in the tavern with some poison that puts you to sleep. Ta da, no fight at all, nobody was harmed, LBEG was safely imprisoned... Generally, poisons have ability to end fight quickly (one failed save) so they save collateral damage from happening.

Besides, if civilian happens to get poisoned... just use strenght, dex, int, wis or charisma damaging poisons so that he simply goes unconcious instead of any risk of dying.

Poisons can be used to do evil but as said, so can swords.

Dark
2007-01-05, 08:41 AM
"29. I will dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into confusion."

But dressing in bright and cheery colors is chaotic! :confused:

Tormsskull
2007-01-05, 08:45 AM
...wtf? Are you serious? Because if you are, then we have pretty much been saying the same thing with diffrent words. -_-

You choose flavour and then choose mechanics to that if needed.
I choose flavour and then choose a set of mechanics (class) to that if needed.

The only diffrence is that you may alter some mechanics of existing class and I just try to achieve the concept by choosing the class already existing. Mainly because I find it a lot easier to balance if I replace the flavour of assassin than if I start trying to find a way to add death attack and poison use for rogues. :P

No, I think I was being misleading. What I am saying is that fluff to me is what governs the class. If you are willing to look at only the mechanics and ignore the fluff, why not look at it the other way around. Why not find the fluff that you like first (or write it yourself) and then pick and choose abilities that you want.

Personally, I rarely do any custom classes. I'd pick a class based on the fluff of the class, and then make my character based on that fluff.

What bothers me about taking a current class and rewriting its fluff is that you're not looking at the purpose or point for the class' mechanics. Lets say there is a PrC Dark Dread Lord of all things Deadly. The class is based around a spellcaster that can tap into the foulest of energies and demonic sources to unleash devastating spells on his enemies.

A player comes along and says "I love the spells this guy gets, and that he can kill people so easily, but I don't really want to be a Dark Dread Lord. I'm going to rename this class Cursed Hero. Now he's a guy that was attacked by a demonic force sometime in the past. He had to be helped by the local clerics and they performed some strange kind of ritual. Now he finds he can access this strange type of magic that comes from demons but it is filtered through the Good God of Goodlieness. With these new powers, he takes the fight against evil.

This is just completely lame, ruins the whole point of the original class, and really stretches my belivability meter.



I think that's the important distinction, though. What Tormsskull is suggesting (or, perhaps more precisely, the analogy he is asking you to draw) is that picking and choosing your own fluff is exactly equivalent to picking and choosing your own mechanics.

That is to say: if you can say "it's stupid for Assassins to have an Alignment restriction, I should be able to play a good assassin if I want to" then he can say "it's stupid for Sorcerers to get high level spells more slowly than wizards, my Sorcerer should get access to all his spell levels one level earlier".

In a sense, he's right: what you're saying, by saying you should be allowed to play a LG assassin is that you should be able to play *your* idea of what an assassin should be, not somebody else's.

Exactly Dan. And I'll admit, I was trying to set a little trap for Pegasos. I was hoping he was going to say something like "You can't do that." Or "That ruins balance" or some such to which I could have responded "But changing fluff ruins the storyline/RPness of the character".

Pegasos989
2007-01-05, 08:56 AM
No, I think I was being misleading. What I am saying is that fluff to me is what governs the class. If you are willing to look at only the mechanics and ignore the fluff, why not look at it the other way around. Why not find the fluff that you like first (or write it yourself) and then pick and choose abilities that you want.

Personally, I rarely do any custom classes. I'd pick a class based on the fluff of the class, and then make my character based on that fluff.

What bothers me about taking a current class and rewriting its fluff is that you're not looking at the purpose or point for the class' mechanics. Lets say there is a PrC Dark Dread Lord of all things Deadly. The class is based around a spellcaster that can tap into the foulest of energies and demonic sources to unleash devastating spells on his enemies.

A player comes along and says "I love the spells this guy gets, and that he can kill people so easily, but I don't really want to be a Dark Dread Lord. I'm going to rename this class Cursed Hero. Now he's a guy that was attacked by a demonic force sometime in the past. He had to be helped by the local clerics and they performed some strange kind of ritual. Now he finds he can access this strange type of magic that comes from demons but it is filtered through the Good God of Goodlieness. With these new powers, he takes the fight against evil.

This is just completely lame, ruins the whole point of the original class, and really stretches my belivability meter.

I think that the whole point of the original class is to let people represent their characters with fitting mechanics. As such, I don't know if it would ruin the original point.


Let's take another example of character besides assassin. Let's say that I want to play a boxer type. There is no class which would happen to represent the concept in core (why would my boxer have full martial profiency, again). Do you think that I should
a) Ignore the idea and say "can't be done"
b) Try my best to design an entirely new class based around that which might break the balance as I do not have the skills to do that
c) Or would it be reasonable to take some existing class and replace flavour (like barbarian who isn't that wilderness type but took unarmed strike feat or taking a few levels of monk...)

Because I would see c as the most logical way to do stuff. I would have my concept - strong unarmed fighter - and I wouldn't have gone through the trouble of redesigning any mechanics (except alignment restrictions). I do not see that as ruining the whole point of original class, just because my monk didn't gain flurry in the monastery but by training boxing or because my barbarian got his ability for adrenaline rush from fighting instead of being... umm... what is barbarian's roleplay reason for rage again?

Ambrogino
2007-01-05, 09:13 AM
Well, good-aligned people in RL generally don't use poison, either.

So you think Exterminators and Anesthetists are evil?

Tormsskull
2007-01-05, 09:25 AM
I think that the whole point of the original class is to let people represent their characters with fitting mechanics. As such, I don't know if it would ruin the original point.


To which I completely disagree, but hey, everyone's allowed to have their own opinion right? To me, the way you're looking at classes is totally backwards.

I think one of the reasons the fluff is printed before the mechanics is so that you read it, understand what type of class this is, then you see how that type is represented with mechanics.

You're looking at the mechanics first, seeing what you think best fits the concept you want, and then altering the fluff if it doesn't fit with your image.



Let's take another example of character besides assassin. Let's say that I want to play a boxer type. There is no class which would happen to represent the concept in core (why would my boxer have full martial profiency, again).


Honestly I have never approached D&D like this. A DM says hes having a core campaign, I join and know the classes and races available. I select a class and race. Very rarely, after having picked a race and class I think that something small could be altered that would better fit what I am going for. So I throw it out there. I ask "What do you think about me taking X but losing Y? I'm going for a guy that can blahblah and blah which X will represent, and he's not really into Y."

Saph
2007-01-05, 09:25 AM
So you think Exterminators and Anesthetists are evil?

Are they using lethal poisons on humans so they can rob them?

Because let's face it, that's why D&D players want to use poisons. It's not out of a pacifist desire to end bar fights more gently, it's to kill things and take their stuff.

- Saph

Ambrogino
2007-01-05, 09:31 AM
Are they using lethal poisons on humans so they can rob them?

Because let's face it, that's why D&D players want to use poisons. It's not out of a pacifist desire to end bar fights more gently, it's to kill things and take their stuff.

Which as far as the real world is concerned is "evil", or at least illegal whether it's done using poison, weapons or slphur and bat poo. What makes Posion Evil and homicidal mania ok?

Saph
2007-01-05, 09:39 AM
Which as far as the real world is concerned is "evil", or at least illegal whether it's done using poison, weapons or slphur and bat poo. What makes Posion Evil and homicidal mania ok?

Homicidal mania in a D&D setting makes you Chaotic Evil, so it's not ok. Look up Erythnul.

Poison is a substance, so it can't be good or evil. If you want to know why poison use as a tactic is generally a not-nice thing to do, that's what I was posting about earlier.

- Saph

Ambrogino
2007-01-05, 09:59 AM
Homicidal mania in a D&D setting makes you Chaotic Evil, so it's not ok. Look up Erythnul.

Killing people to take their stuff is manic, and providing they're homids, homicidal. Killing Orks by their thousands is perfectly valid for a Lawful Good Character - that doesn't mean "in the real world" they wouldn't be locked up and probably executed for war crimes.

Now - poison as a tactic. Personally I'd consider using posion to knock someone out and take their stuff vastly less evil than stabbing them in the face for the same stuff. I'm sure their family will be happy they're still alive, even if they did loose their sack of magic beans. On the other hand if I kill someone does it really matter what I used to do it? Tactics regardless, I'm still a murderer.

Saph
2007-01-05, 10:07 AM
Killing people to take their stuff is manic, and providing they're homids, homicidal. Killing Orks by their thousands is perfectly valid for a Lawful Good Character

Hey, it's your campaign. If you play Lawful Good characters as homicidal maniacs, that's your prerogative. But that doesn't mean everyone else has to.

As for poison, of course you can come up with specific situations where using it doesn't look all that bad. That wasn't what I was saying. I was saying that in general, poison use is generally a trademark of not-nice people, due to issues of delay, health, tactics, and collateral damage.

If you're really worried about your characters killing unnecessarily, and you want a weapon that stuns rather than kills or permanently injures, why not get a merciful one? Much more reliable and precise.

- Saph

Tormsskull
2007-01-05, 10:15 AM
Killing people to take their stuff is manic, and providing they're homids, homicidal. Killing Orks by their thousands is perfectly valid for a Lawful Good Character - that doesn't mean "in the real world" they wouldn't be locked up and probably executed for war crimes.


Why did you kill orcs by the thousands? I would argue, based on your answer, that it may not be valid for a Lawful Good character.



Now - poison as a tactic. Personally I'd consider using posion to knock someone out and take their stuff vastly less evil than stabbing them in the face for the same stuff. I'm sure their family will be happy they're still alive, even if they did loose their sack of magic beans. On the other hand if I kill someone does it really matter what I used to do it? Tactics regardless, I'm still a murderer.

Poison is generally seen as dishonorable and in history that I have studied it has a very negative/evil connotation. That's probably why many people look on it as being a tool in use of evil.

A lot of these issues are resolved by a good DM. If your DM throws you into situations where you can RP as Belkar and still be considered good, then poison should not have any kind of a negative/evil stigma about it.

Dan_Hemmens
2007-01-05, 10:22 AM
Because I would see c as the most logical way to do stuff. I would have my concept - strong unarmed fighter - and I wouldn't have gone through the trouble of redesigning any mechanics (except alignment restrictions). I do not see that as ruining the whole point of original class, just because my monk didn't gain flurry in the monastery but by training boxing or because my barbarian got his ability for adrenaline rush from fighting instead of being... umm... what is barbarian's roleplay reason for rage again?


The problem is, suppose you play your "boxer" by taking levels of Monk, and I just play a straight monk. As far as I am concerned, the abilities my Monk has, he should get in specific in-character ways, he should meditate, focus his ki, and generally act all monkley. This is represented by my Monk's alignment restriction, and the "fluff" that comes with the class.

If you are allowed to come along and play a superior unarmed fighter, who gets all the same abilities as my character without any of the roleplaying requirements, you are undermining my character concept.

On a side note, this is exactly the same problem I had with Mage: the Ascension. "So... all this stuff I've been doing with the circles and the incense and the entrails ... I could have got exactly the same effect by ... like ... smoking pot all day? Boy am I in the wrong tradition"

Ambrogino
2007-01-05, 10:24 AM
Hey, it's your campaign. If you play Lawful Good characters as homicidal maniacs, that's your prerogative. But that doesn't mean everyone else has to.


Nothing to do with my character, or my campaign, it's just thinking of traditional games from a realistic light. A traditional D&D adventure is walking into a dungeon, killing everything there, and taking it's stuff. Now put that in modern terms - I get a group of mates together, walk into an apartment block, kill everyone there and steal their TV's.

What is considered a good action in D&D would get you arrested in real life. That's why I don't run games that consist of dungeon bashes.

I'm saying there will never be a situation in which poison could possibly be worse than mugging people, and there are plenty of situations where it could be better. This applies to both the game and real life.

MrNexx
2007-01-05, 10:28 AM
Both actions have the same potential for evil. However, Death Attack can't be used any other way and, again, the distinction is between murder and killing... in both cases, this would seem to be a murder.

I was unaware that Death Attack could be used for paralysis... it's name seemed somewhat self-explanatory to me.

However, by the same token, a rogue can use sneak attack to cause non-lethal damage if he's using a non-lethal weapon... as my party learned when I attacked them with half-orc rogues wielding merciful maces.

I still maintain that the distinction goes back to killing v. murder. An assassin is trained for murder. Even if he uses his abilities in open combat, his training is still murder, and that requires him to be non-good to start. (I agree that changing alignment shouldn't cause him to lose his abilities, however).

Dark
2007-01-05, 10:32 AM
Nothing to do with my character, or my campaign, it's just thinking of traditional games from a realistic light. A traditional D&D adventure is walking into a dungeon, killing everything there, and taking it's stuff. Now put that in modern terms - I get a group of mates together, walk into an apartment block, kill everyone there and steal their TV's.
There is in fact a game about exactly that :) I have a copy, but it's also available as PDF now: Violence: The Roleplaying Game of Egregious and Repulsive Bloodshed (http://www.costik.com/Violence%20RPG1.pdf)

And yes, its stated purpose is precisely to recreate the D&D "dungeon crawl" in a modern urban environment :)

Dan_Hemmens
2007-01-05, 10:36 AM
Nothing to do with my character, or my campaign, it's just thinking of traditional games from a realistic light. A traditional D&D adventure is walking into a dungeon, killing everything there, and taking it's stuff. Now put that in modern terms - I get a group of mates together, walk into an apartment block, kill everyone there and steal their TV's.

If you really want a modern analogy, it's like walking into a really bad part of town, waiting for the local gang to come for you with guns, and then killing them and taking their wallets. Sure, you're on their turf, but they tried to kill you first.


What is considered a good action in D&D would get you arrested in real life. That's why I don't run games that consist of dungeon bashes.

Actually, things which are considered a good action in D&D would get you lauded as a hero in real life.

Essentially adventurers are fantasy "have a go heroes". They get attacked by monsters and crooks, and then they take them down.


I'm saying there will never be a situation in which poison could possibly be worse than mugging people, and there are plenty of situations where it could be better. This applies to both the game and real life.

Which is possibly true, but since D&D heroes never in fact mug anybody, it doesn't make very much difference.

99% of fights in D&D begin with the DM saying "okay, roll initiative". The PCs don't go around attacking people, they go around killing people who attack them. They get attacked with considerable regularity, because it's a genre convention and because they're in dangerous parts of the world.

Ambrogino
2007-01-05, 10:41 AM
The PCs don't go around attacking people, they go around killing people who attack them.

Then why do so many (published) adventures consist of going into dungeons, rather than waiting for people to come to you? Most D&D adventures are written presuming the party are already adventurers, who make their living seeking trouble. It's games like WFRP that have to come up with reasons for the players to get involved.

Dan_Hemmens
2007-01-05, 10:55 AM
Then why do so many (published) adventures consist of going into dungeons, rather than waiting for people to come to you? Most D&D adventures are written presuming the party are already adventurers, who make their living seeking trouble. It's games like WFRP that have to come up with reasons for the players to get involved.

And this is where the real world analogy becomes important, and the distinction between "apartment block" and "bad part of town" becomes extremely important.

The PCs go into a dungeon. A dungeon is nothing's "home", and the image you paint of Illithids and drow having cosy little apartments in which they gather around their flickering television sets and watch reruns of I Love Lucy are amusing but utterly inaccurate. When the PCs go into the dungeon the monsters are there waiting for them, and they fall upon the PCs as they would fall upon any creature that happened to cross their path. The PCs kill them and recover whatever treasures they may have taken. In this the adventurers perform a valuable social service.

Now maybe I'm wrong. Maybe in your games go more like this:

DM: The orcs run for cover as they see you coming, a mother, her eyes filling with tears, gathers her children into her arms while the noble chieften tells you that he will willingly become your slave if only spare his people.
Rogue: I backstab the chief!
Paladin: I grab one of the kids and say to the mother "listen bitch, I'll gut your cub like a fish unless you tell us where the treasure is"
Cleric of Pelor: "Hey, don't forget to leave one of them alive, we'll need a new party whore since the last one broke on us!"
Wizard: I start to incinerate the place.

Saph
2007-01-05, 11:06 AM
Nothing to do with my character, or my campaign, it's just thinking of traditional games from a realistic light. A traditional D&D adventure is walking into a dungeon, killing everything there, and taking it's stuff.

That's nice. I'd say that describes maybe 10% of the D&D sessions I've played in or run. The few times I've played or run dungeon crawls, there's always been a good reason for the PCs to be there. As in 'the things that are murdering the villagers hang out in these caverns'.

Characters who just rob and murder everything that's worth the money are evil, not good. Just look up your PHB. I'd say the Neutral Evil/Chaotic Evil alignments match fairly well with the characters you seem to have in mind.


Now maybe I'm wrong. Maybe in your games go more like this:

DM: The orcs run for cover as they see you coming, a mother, her eyes filling with tears, gathers her children into her arms while the noble chieften tells you that he will willingly become your slave if only spare his people.
Rogue: I backstab the chief!
Paladin: I grab one of the kids and say to the mother "listen bitch, I'll gut your cub like a fish unless you tell us where the treasure is"
Cleric of Pelor: "Hey, don't forget to leave one of them alive, we'll need a new party whore since the last one broke on us!"
Wizard: I start to incinerate the place.

That made me laugh. :D

- Saph

Ambrogino
2007-01-05, 11:13 AM
And this is where the real world analogy becomes important, and the distinction between "apartment block" and "bad part of town" becomes extremely important.

The PCs go into a dungeon. A dungeon is nothing's "home", and the image you paint of Illithids and drow having cosy little apartments in which they gather around their flickering television sets and watch reruns of I Love Lucy are amusing but utterly inaccurate. When the PCs go into the dungeon the monsters are there waiting for them, and they fall upon the PCs as they would fall upon any creature that happened to cross their path. The PCs kill them and recover whatever treasures they may have taken. In this the adventurers perform a valuable social service.

Now maybe I'm wrong. Maybe in your games go more like this:

DM: The orcs run for cover as they see you coming, a mother, her eyes filling with tears, gathers her children into her arms while the noble chieften tells you that he will willingly become your slave if only spare his people.
Rogue: I backstab the chief!
Paladin: I grab one of the kids and say to the mother "listen bitch, I'll gut your cub like a fish unless you tell us where the treasure is"
Cleric of Pelor: "Hey, don't forget to leave one of them alive, we'll need a new party whore since the last one broke on us!"
Wizard: I start to incinerate the place.

Funnily enough my adventures go nothing of the sort, because as I said earlier I don't run dungeon-bashes. But whilst your wonderfully hyperbolic image of a cosy illithid bedsit did tickle me, the fact is that dungeons are far more home like than you seem to be willing to admmit.These creatures have to live somewhere, and modern dungeon design is moving towards having requirements like ecologies, living quarters and toilets in them. The mosters would only be waiting for them if they know they're coming - what reason do they have to presume something would be there?

Change it to a mall with patrolling security guards - does killing the guards to take the cash registers seem reasonable? If you weren't already invading the mall they wouldn't have had a reason to draw their guns on you.

But I'm not the one who brought up the concept of players killing things and taking their stuff - that was Saph. I'm merely trying to get across how ridiculous it is to think that posion would be any worse of a tool for this (given that that's how many people are already playing their games) than an axe to the intestines.

EDIT: I've just realised how horrendously off-topic I am, so I'll quit with this unless someone want's to bring it back up in a new thread. Sorry mods.

headwarpage
2007-01-05, 11:20 AM
To which I completely disagree, but hey, everyone's allowed to have their own opinion right? To me, the way you're looking at classes is totally backwards.

I think one of the reasons the fluff is printed before the mechanics is so that you read it, understand what type of class this is, then you see how that type is represented with mechanics.

You're looking at the mechanics first, seeing what you think best fits the concept you want, and then altering the fluff if it doesn't fit with your image.

My issue with this is that a player who starts at level 1 with only the PHB has, using your method, only 11 basic character concepts to choose from (though you can create many variations on these concepts). Whereas what Pegasos is suggesting, and which I agree with, is that the player should have an unlimited number of character concepts, but should have 11 choices for how that concept is going to be represented mechanically.

And I think the argument between changing fluff and keeping mechanics and changing mechanics and keeping fluff mostly comes down to personal preference. I consider both approaches to be equally valid. Come to think of it, using fluff and crunch exactly as presented is also equally valid, as is using neither fluff nor crunch and homebrewing exactly what you want. It's all a matter of personal preference and what fits your game.

Tola
2007-01-05, 11:21 AM
Also, why is the Sun Domain less to do with the Sun and more to do with fighting undead?

Light(and Holy Power in general) is seen by many as destructive to 'Dark Things'. Undead come under this. Light and Holy tend to be subsituted for each other.

Why can ever cleric, regardless of their deity (or cause, if you're one of those silly non-FR types) weild some kind of power over the undead, for that matter?

Well, Clerics are based at least in part on priests, shamans, and the like. Priests kept the spirits of the ancestors happy and content, and could 'deal' with those that weren't, and could do many things concerning the dead.

Shazzbaa
2007-01-05, 11:41 AM
I had forgotten that it existed but now that I have been reminded, I'm going to use it as inspiration. My villains will explicitly obey at least one of the rules on the list and disobey at least one other.
Bit of a tangent. There was once a webcomic author who had a villain created with the idea of dedicatedly following the Evil Overlord List to the letter. In the end, the webcomic author admits in retrospect, he had to make the villain forget a couple points on the list, because otherwise, he would have won.

RE: the assassin/fluff debate

To me there are two levels of fluff. One is the core idea of the class, one is the extra "how it fits in the gameworld" stuff. Tormskull seems to preserve both. I'd be willing to drop the "outer fluff," but I'd want to preserve the inner fluff. Pegasos, as far as I can see, doesn't mind disregarding all of it.

But the way I look at it, the outer layer of fluff can be ignored if the inner layer is preserved. Example: Knight of the Chalice, a demon-fighter extraordinaire who has to be LG. Now, in my friend's extremely demon-heavy campaign, our paladin's player saw the class and fell in love. It was not just that the mechanics of the class would be good for her -- nothing bad about being able to TURN DEMONS -- but the core concept of a holy, dedicated demon hunter fit what her character had become quite well. Unfortunately, due to the variant we're using, she isn't LG.
In that case, yes, I would have a VERY difficult time saying "Oh well, too bad, find something else," and so did our DM, who wiaved the alignment description and didn't really worry about the guild entrance, since the core concept fit the paladin so well. We were willing to dump the outer fluff because the inner was preserved.

Now, if someone else came up with a convoluted explanation of why he could be evil but still weild his unholy might against demons and devils to show remarkable power over them (turn them) and, with the same unholy might, find himself immune to a number of things that demons and devils could throw at him... I would, in fact, have a problem with said player taking Knight of the Chalice as a Prestige class. Yeah, the crunch may fit his fluff... but it's not just that the outer fluff, the way it fits into the game, has been tweaked... but that the CORE CONCEPT of the class, the inner fluff, has been changed. To me, that feels so much like "I want to be able to do this thing, but I want to be able to do it my way and not worry about what it's supposed to be." I'd go so far as to say that if there isn't any class that would let you weild your unholy might against demons (although I'd be surprised if there weren't), then you simply can't do it. You don't get to decide how the world works. Sure, you may want to get monk abilities without dedicating yourself to monastical life... gee, so would I. I would also like to get superpowers without any effort on my part. Doesn't mean I can.

So to bring it around to the Assassin: is the "evil" requirement part of the inner fluff or outer fluff? Unfortunately, that's also easily debatable... but I would argue "outer" -- the reason the assassin must be evil is to meet the requirement for the guild, and to organise and align himself with other unscrupulous types, and learn their methods. If the assassin class isn't going to require such a guild in your world, then they need not be evil.

Though I'll point out for fairness' sake that it has been argued that the Assassin is evil by merit of his attitude, in which case, the DM would probably rule it inner fluff, and not waive the alignment prerequisite.

Saph
2007-01-05, 11:48 AM
Bit of a tangent. There was once a webcomic author who had a villain created with the idea of dedicatedly following the Evil Overlord List to the letter. In the end, the webcomic author admits in retrospect, he had to make the villain forget a couple points on the list, because otherwise, he would have won.

Really? What was the webcomic?

- Saph

Tormsskull
2007-01-05, 01:31 PM
"I want to be able to do this thing, but I want to be able to do it my way and not worry about what it's supposed to be." I'd go so far as to say that if there isn't any class that would let you weild your unholy might against demons (although I'd be surprised if there weren't), then you simply can't do it. You don't get to decide how the world works. Sure, you may want to get monk abilities without dedicating yourself to monastical life... gee, so would I. I would also like to get superpowers without any effort on my part. Doesn't mean I can.

emphasis mine.

This is exactly what I was hearing from some posters, which goes against most everything I learned about being a good DM.



So to bring it around to the Assassin: is the "evil" requirement part of the inner fluff or outer fluff? Unfortunately, that's also easily debatable... but I would argue "outer" -- the reason the assassin must be evil is to meet the requirement for the guild, and to organise and align himself with other unscrupulous types, and learn their methods. If the assassin class isn't going to require such a guild in your world, then they need not be evil.


I like how you differentiate between inner and outter fluff, it actually makes a lot of sense that way. The issue I would have with the above quote is the next part of your post I'm quoting.



Though I'll point out for fairness' sake that it has been argued that the Assassin is evil by merit of his attitude, in which case, the DM would probably rule it inner fluff, and not waive the alignment prerequisite.

This is what I would argue. The Assassin by virtue of his own belief/morals/decisions has to be evil because in order to kill someone for no other reason than it is your job makes you evil.

An Assassin is not someone who read "How to be an Assassin for Dummies" and suddenly took a level in the PrC, he is someone who has trained extensively in the art of murder. He specializes, hones in very specificaly on the ability to murder. In order to do that there's absolute no way you can be a good person. If someone wanted to argue neutral's could possibly be an Assassin I would say they at least have a case, but good no way.

Captain van der Decken
2007-01-05, 01:36 PM
The evil requirement is more because of the killing an innocent thing.

Fighters also train to kill.

Jades
2007-01-05, 02:03 PM
No. You can assassinate evil people. Lets say I was an evil prince, and I married the princess of another country led by her evil father. Granted, we should be able to get along, but, hell, I want his stuff. I pay an assassin to kill her father, and I inherit everything.

Here is an important thing to note. You cannot assassinate somebody in a fight. Death Attack is NOT meant to be used in a fight. "Sure, my companions are fighting, but I'm going to do everything I can to hide and make sure my opponents don't know I'm there so I can watch them for twenty seconds!"

There is nothing wrong with a good character coup de gracing an opponent on the battle field or after a fight, and that is essentially what Death Attack does. BUT, it is definately not a good act to coup de grace an opponent who doesn't know that you are there.

And that's what assassins do. They coup de grace opponents who are asleep, precoital, giving a speach, at the dinner table, anywhere BUT a fight.

To me, that's a good reason that they can't be good, good characters don't kill someone outside of combat. Assassins, its what they do.

Roderick_BR
2007-01-05, 02:09 PM
The armor bit is not about the material used, but about principles. Metal is man-made stuff, encasing you in an unnatural shell. Weapons are still allowed, but stretching things a bit (flavourly speaking)
One example is using a full plate made of wood, under the effect of Ironwood.
Btw, extracting metal from a mountain will cause much more damage then taking out stone =P

Captain van der Decken
2007-01-05, 02:11 PM
How can you say that there's nothing wrong with coup de gracing someone after a fight, but there is if they don't know if you're there? That's a fine line, and it's an honour thing really.

Death attack could easily be used in a fight-

Let's say the party is chasing some bandits, and the assassin is scouting ahead. The assassin spots the bandits, but they don't see her. She waits for her party to catch up, studying a target. Then, in the battle, she flanks and death attacks the bandit.

Hell, an assassin could just fall back for 3 rounds while the front-liner fights, then tumble in, flank and death attack.

Death attack, really, is just another version of sneak attack.

Jades
2007-01-05, 02:24 PM
How can you say that there's nothing wrong with coup de gracing someone after a fight, but there is if they don't know if you're there? That's a fine line, and it's an honour thing really.

Death attack could easily be used in a fight-

Let's say the party is chasing some bandits, and the assassin is scouting ahead. The assassin spots the bandits, but they don't see her. She waits for her party to catch up, studying a target. Then, in the battle, she flanks and death attacks the bandit.

Hell, an assassin could just fall back for 3 rounds while the front-liner fights, then tumble in, flank and death attack.

Death attack, really, is just another version of sneak attack.


Honor is more law/chaos than good/evil. My characters generally wouldn't do it, but if you were supposed to exterminate the kobolds who are trying to destroy the fabric of this world and hell, and you didn't kill some but knocked them unconsious, I do not see anything wrong with coup de gracing them. What are you going to do, heal them up to fight some more?

And, I never said that death attack can't be used in a fight, it is just more effective outside of a fight. Sure, if you want to spend three rounds studying while I fight, go right ahead. I'm not going to be happy with you, you weren't helping.

What I was saying is that in that situation, you are not assassinating somebody. You are killing them. In battle. Anybody can kill in battle.

Assassins kill outside of battle.

Tormsskull
2007-01-05, 02:45 PM
The evil requirement is more because of the killing an innocent thing.

Fighters also train to kill.

I disagree. Fighters train to fight, not to kill. If they choose to kill they can do that as well. Assassins train specifically to murder.

Here is an analogy for you:

You might train in martial arts and learn how to defend youself, and along the way you learn how to kick the crap out of other people. But the style you are learning is designed to protect yourself and knock your opponent out of the fight.

Now assume there was a specific version of martial arts that's purpose was geared at killing the opponent. This would include things like pressure points, the whole palm to the nose technique, etc.

A fighter in the D&D sense would be the first guy and the assassin would be the second guy.

Captain van der Decken
2007-01-05, 04:40 PM
If you were supposed to exterminate the kobolds who are trying to destroy the fabric of this world and hell, and you came across them asleep, would you wake them and then fight them, rather than just killing them?

Assassins also know how to just paralyse people. Fighters can choose not to kill, and so can assassins. Knowing how to effectively kill someone doesn't necessarily mean that you're evil.

What makes it necessary for Assassins to kill outside of battle? Well, the fluff, I suppose. Which is why I was suggesting you don't have to use it.

Dan_Hemmens
2007-01-05, 04:42 PM
My issue with this is that a player who starts at level 1 with only the PHB has, using your method, only 11 basic character concepts to choose from (though you can create many variations on these concepts). Whereas what Pegasos is suggesting, and which I agree with, is that the player should have an unlimited number of character concepts, but should have 11 choices for how that concept is going to be represented mechanically.

Ah, you see this is one of those things I see as a feature rather than a bug. I think that D&D is designed for archetypal characters painted in broad strokes and I actually think that eleven character concepts are pretty much all you need. D&D is not and never has been a detailed representation of an imaginary world, it has always been about Fighters, Thieves, and Wizards going down dungeons and fighting stuff.

D&D simply does not support an unlimited number of character concepts. It supports a limited number of variants of "guy who fights" "guy who casts spells" and "guy who does the other stuff."

Matthew
2007-01-05, 04:51 PM
An interesting view Dan and one often expressed, but I'm not altogether sure I share it.

D&D has always seemed to me to be a very flexible game capable of supporting a great many Character concepts. Character Classes aren't Character Concepts. Other games may do a better job, but D&D is still capable.

There are problems with 3.x, it is both more flexible and less flexible than previous editions, but I would say that overall it does more than just present variants on Fighter, Wizard and Other.

Starbuck_II
2007-01-05, 05:41 PM
The problem is, suppose you play your "boxer" by taking levels of Monk, and I just play a straight monk. As far as I am concerned, the abilities my Monk has, he should get in specific in-character ways, he should meditate, focus his ki, and generally act all monkley. This is represented by my Monk's alignment restriction, and the "fluff" that comes with the class.

If you are allowed to come along and play a superior unarmed fighter, who gets all the same abilities as my character without any of the roleplaying requirements, you are undermining my character concept.

So you are saying every character of a class must be a carbon copy?

I mean, if monk can't be used to represent boxer than one must conclude DM allows him to recreate a new class exactly like the monk but no rp restrictions. Are names so important: a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.

Pegasos989
2007-01-05, 05:54 PM
So you are saying every character of a class must be a carbon copy?

I mean, if monk can't be used to represent boxer than one must conclude DM allows him to recreate a new class exactly like the monk but no rp restrictions. Are names so important: a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.

Yeah. I somewhat understand some people using arguments that many monk abilities won't fit boxers. They won't age (as if that would ever come up), they are immune to poisons (which isn't always necessary for a monk, no matter how diciplined he is. I know monk fans will hate me for mentioning this movie, but see Crouching tiger, hidden dragon for a monk dieing of poison... so it fits boxer nearly as well, etc.)... But most of those are high level abilities. I could see a boxer being statted by multiclassing out of monk around level 12 but still, the class does represent boxer well for the majority of levels. I think that most of my campaigns start at low levels and end around 12-16...

Dark
2007-01-05, 05:57 PM
I mean, if monk can't be used to represent boxer than one must conclude DM allows him to recreate a new class exactly like the monk but no rp restrictions.
Not exactly like the monk. It would have to be less powerful because it doesn't have the restrictions.

Compare it to the paladin. Suppose I want to play an avenger character, one whose mission is to seek out and kill evil creatures everywhere. Perhaps his home village was destroyed by demons and he swore eternal revenge or something. I look around, and notice that the Paladin class has everything I need mechanically. I just need to get rid of the rp restrictions, namely the alignment restriction and the need to follow a code. Other than that, I want to get exactly the same abilities as a regular paladin.

Do you think that would be fair?

Dan_Hemmens
2007-01-05, 05:58 PM
So you are saying every character of a class must be a carbon copy?

I mean, if monk can't be used to represent boxer than one must conclude DM allows him to recreate a new class exactly like the monk but no rp restrictions. Are names so important: a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.

Umm... why would you need to let them do that? Why not just say "actually, sorry boxers really don't fit into D&D easily."

And a rose by any other name smells completely different. There've been a huge number of studies done on this.

Pegasos989
2007-01-05, 06:39 PM
Umm... why would you need to let them do that? Why not just say "actually, sorry boxers really don't fit into D&D easily."

And a rose by any other name smells completely different. There've been a huge number of studies done on this.

Why would you say that? The reason not to say it is that it might let one player have more fun if it is allowed. Besides, I allow monk class though I don't think that a monk's quivering palm or abundant step make sense in traditional fantasy (sure, they might be a big part of fantasy in some cultures but I didn't see any characters in tolkien who would have touched one person and a few days later said "I will kill him now" and the other person would have died...).

So using that argument is bad for several reasons.

Anyways, you also felt that if you want to play a monk with abilities and other person has similar mechanics but diffrent flavour, he undermines your character concepts? What was that about? Do you think that your abilities should only be gained the way you do or otherwise roleplaying the character becomes dull? O.o

Matthew
2007-01-05, 06:47 PM
I'm a bit confused. What kind of Boxer are we talking about? I would have thought that a Fighter would make for a perfectly good Boxer?

Pegasos989
2007-01-05, 06:55 PM
I'm a bit confused. What kind of Boxer are we talking about? I would have thought that a Fighter would make for a perfectly good Boxer?

Some people are arguing that you should use the concept for which class was designed/written. My PHB states that
"The questing knight, the conquering overlord, the king's champion, the elite foot soldier, the harderned mercenary, and the bandit king..."
"Fighters who are not actively adventuring may be soldiers, guards, bodyguards, champions, or criminal enforcers."

None of those include boxer and I don't think that fighter class was flavour-wise designed to be used as a boxer.
So if you ignore the premade class flavour, a boxer can be made with monk, barbarian, fighter...
If you keep the class flavour, a boxer can not be made with any core class.

I simply don't see why you would insist on keeping the predesigned class flavour with assassins and monks but choose to ignore it on fighters...

Bears With Lasers
2007-01-05, 07:15 PM
Um. The restrictions aren't balance tools, they're flavor tools. I mean, come on, do you REALLY think that monks and paladins need toning down? Especially via fluff restrictions rather than mechanically?

Amphimir Míriel
2007-01-05, 07:20 PM
*Sigh*

I remember why the druid is able to use the scimitar. You won't like it.
/Marvin

The druid's weapons are either tools of the hunt or of agriculture. The scimitar is a weapon of war that developed from grain threshing, and, as such, is dear to the heart of the druid.

Yes. Yes it is. Explain to me why they don't have the scythe or flail now...

That's why druids in my campaign have access to machetes and scythes instead of scimitars... By suggestion of the players, who found the above explanation silly.


The evil requirement is more because of the killing an innocent thing.

Fighters also train to kill.

About the Assassin thing, my two cents:

In one of my favorite books (A Clash of Kings by GRR Martin, if you must know) one of the main characters finds out that her sister (the Queen) ordered the assassination of all of the illegitimate children of the late king. One of the kids was just a babe in arms, and the the mother (a prostitute) tried to fight the assassin and ended up dead too.

The guy is horrified and asks his most ruthless bodyguard: "Bronn, if I asked you to kill a babe in arms, would you do it? without question?" and he answers: "Without question?... No. I would ask how much"

This I believe is a good example of the difference between the mindset of the regular fighter and that of the Assassin... I think even a Chaotic Neutral character would balk at the thought of killing an innocent in cold blood.

Matthew
2007-01-05, 07:22 PM
I don't know, I think Monks are open to many interpretations and Character Concepts, but they probably don't support as many as well as a Fighter (the Generic King).

On the other hand, I don't see why a Boxer would be proficient in all types of Body Armour, Shields and Simple and Marshal Weapons.

This is getting confusing. Are we saying that the restrictions on Paladins and Monks are not mechanical at all?

Shazzbaa
2007-01-05, 07:48 PM
Really? What was the webcomic?

The villain was Mynd, from Bob and George. The only reason it worked out is because all the main characters are robots and could be rebuilt after Mynd pretty much slaughtered them all without remorse.

It's been a while since I read the B&G archives, though, so I don't remember the details.


I like how you differentiate between inner and outter fluff, it actually makes a lot of sense that way. The issue I would have with the above quote is the next part of your post I'm quoting... [...]....The Assassin by virtue of his own belief/morals/decisions has to be evil because in order to kill someone for no other reason than it is your job makes you evil.
Thanks. I included both sides of the Assassin 'cause I think both people have a point (even though I know I'd rule it the first way), and if any DM of mine proposed it either way I'd nod and go "Okay, that makes sense." At that point it's basically a DM's call on the attitude he sees the Assassin as having. Neither wrong, neither right.


I look around, and notice that [INSERT CLASS HERE] has everything I need mechanically. I just need to get rid of the rp restrictions... [...] ...Other than that, I want to get exactly the same abilities as a regular [INSERT CLASS HERE].

Do you think that would be fair?

Slightly edited. :smallwink:
I think this depends, and thus it would be different for different classes. Take the fighter. The fighter may be typically a soldier, as written in the fluff (this is simplified, just flow with it). His "powers," as it were, come from his training.
Now, if you want to play a fighter who isn't a soldier, you have to explain where your powers are coming from, if not a soldier's training.

See where I'm going?

Take the monk. The monk gets his power from his discipline, meditation, and monastical life. His constant dedication to keeping his body pure and strong. You don't get monk powers for free -- so in my book, you can't just say, "Well, I'm good at punching stuff" and use that as your monk fluff. Sure, you may throw out the outer fluff in some circumstances; you may have not grown up in a monastary, but trained under a single wandering master who taught you to flow with change, to value your freedom of spirit as your power -- and then perhaps you have a chaotic monk. But the core, inner fluff of a discipline and dedication to enhancing one's own body still remain. I think taking the mystic aspect out of monks isn't fair -- "Well, most people have to train and discipline their bodies to achieve this power... but I get it 'cause... I wanted to specialise in punching things."

The problem I have with just discarding ALL the fluff is that then your character -- forget the player -- is getting things for free. Sure, most wizards have to study and work hard to accomplish spellcasting, but I want to be a wizard who didn't have to. Yes, most paladins make themselves the tools of their gods, and most have to follow a strict code and sacrifice their own decisions and convenience for carrying out their deities' wishes in an honorable manner in order to remain empowered by these gods... but I want nifty god-powers ANYWAY, without having to do all that. I want to do as much damage as a friggin' martial weapon with my fist, but I don't want to do any of that silly discipline stuff.

Sure, so does everyone. Heck, I'd like nifty god-powers. But I don't get them just by being so angry that I want them really, really bad, any more than I'll suddenly get strength, martial tactics, weapon proficiencies from really wanting to be able to fight. I have to work for it. I have to do something to get these powers.

Which is why I'm a fan of preserving the inner fluff, but allowing the outer fluff to change. If someone can preserve the thing that makes a class what it is, but wants to change some gameworld aspect of it, I don't see a problem. I do see a problem when someone wants to get rid of the source of a class's power, and still have that power (Clerics are the only exceptions we've been given, because apparently deities are cool with granting powers to deity-less clerics. *shrug* Go figure).

Now, to go specific -- to the boxer character, I would say, "That's not possible." Why is your fist doing more damage than a manufactured weapon? The monk isn't just "really good at punching stuff," he's got mystical ki energy backing up his punch. If you don't cultivate that energy or an equivalent, then you can't do what the monk does -- it's physically impossible.
To the proposed paladin, I would ask, where are you getting your powers from? The gods only give such powers to those who follow a very narrow path. Why are they going to give you these powers just because you want them a lot? I'm not necessarily looking for an answer here, but if someone brought such a character to me, and had an answer to those questions that I could buy, I'd take it -- and that'd be up to the DM. If the paladin replied "I'm getting my powers from X-source," then some DMs would say, "Okay, how nifty and flavourful," and other DMs would say, "Look, X-source can't give you those powers, so that's not gonna work."
And I wouldn't question the DM either way; he's the one who best knows how his world works, and there are some things you simply can't do, and some powers you simply can't have for nothing.

Crap, that got long.

Pegasos989
2007-01-05, 08:38 PM
(I have changed the order of some of the quotes so I can get all about one subject to one place, don't be confused)


I think this depends, and thus it would be different for different classes. Take the fighter. The fighter may be typically a soldier, as written in the fluff (this is simplified, just flow with it). His "powers," as it were, come from his training.
Now, if you want to play a fighter who isn't a soldier, you have to explain where your powers are coming from, if not a soldier's training.

See where I'm going?

I certainly do.


Take the monk. The monk gets his power from his discipline, meditation, and monastical life. His constant dedication to keeping his body pure and strong. You don't get monk powers for free -- so in my book, you can't just say, "Well, I'm good at punching stuff" and use that as your monk fluff. Sure, you may throw out the outer fluff in some circumstances; you may have not grown up in a monastary, but trained under a single wandering master who taught you to flow with change, to value your freedom of spirit as your power -- and then perhaps you have a chaotic monk. But the core, inner fluff of a discipline and dedication to enhancing one's own body still remain. I think taking the mystic aspect out of monks isn't fair -- "Well, most people have to train and discipline their bodies to achieve this power... but I get it 'cause... I wanted to specialise in punching things."
Now, to go specific -- to the boxer character, I would say, "That's not possible." Why is your fist doing more damage than a manufactured weapon? The monk isn't just "really good at punching stuff," he's got mystical ki energy backing up his punch. If you don't cultivate that energy or an equivalent, then you can't do what the monk does -- it's physically impossible.I think that we disagree about one thing here. You see boxer as simply "I want to specialize in punching things" and then getting to 20th level. I could follow similar idea and see monk as just some weak man who lives in monastery copying books and thus should in no friggin' way ever get any physical prowess. Both of these represent very narrow views - you are thinking about a general young guy who does boxing once in a while, I am thinking about classic monk living in medieval Europe. However, in neither situation the class is based on those images.

What if the boxer is extremely diciplined? The guy I know, who I mentioned earlier... He was competing for finnish heavy weight boxing championship but he has not just "decided to get good at punching things hard". He has spent a lot of his time training several combat and sports combat techniques (including but not being limited to wrestling, kraw maga, boxing and kickboxing) in USA, Israel and I think that in some other countries too. He went there, away from home and to strange country, just to become better at what he does. He might not have gotten that much KI powers from meditation but I would still stat him as a 4th level monk in DnD and would not even concider thinking that he somehow got his skills for free because he wanted to specialize in hitting things hard.

Also, words physically impossible should be kept as far away from DnD as possible. And improved unarmed damage? Maybe he knows where to hit, which bones break easily, which punch knocks opponent unconcious... It is a lot more logical than wizard stopping time, monk turning ethereal, fighter gettin 64 attacks per round (or was it 32 only? that gestalt thri keen...)


The problem I have with just discarding ALL the fluff is that then your character -- forget the player -- is getting things for free. Sure, most wizards have to study and work hard to accomplish spellcasting, but I want to be a wizard who didn't have to. Yes, most paladins make themselves the tools of their gods, and most have to follow a strict code and sacrifice their own decisions and convenience for carrying out their deities' wishes in an honorable manner in order to remain empowered by these gods... but I want nifty god-powers ANYWAY, without having to do all that. I want to do as much damage as a friggin' martial weapon with my fist, but I don't want to do any of that silly discipline stuff.Clerics get that. Clerics don't have a code of honor, clerics have a lot easier alignment restrictions and yet, clerics get more power from gods, just because they reflavoured themselves as using time to worship the gods.


Sure, so does everyone. Heck, I'd like nifty god-powers. But I don't get them just by being so angry that I want them really, really bad, any more than I'll suddenly get strength, martial tactics, weapon proficiencies from really wanting to be able to fight. I have to work for it. I have to do something to get these powers.You also won't get them by meditating and trying to harness your KI energy, I would claim. This is DnD. Besides, as said, there can be boxer who really works a lot get his skills.


Which is why I'm a fan of preserving the inner fluff, but allowing the outer fluff to change. If someone can preserve the thing that makes a class what it is, but wants to change some gameworld aspect of it, I don't see a problem. I do see a problem when someone wants to get rid of the source of a class's power, and still have that power (Clerics are the only exceptions we've been given, because apparently deities are cool with granting powers to deity-less clerics. *shrug* Go figure).

To the proposed paladin, I would ask, where are you getting your powers from? The gods only give such powers to those who follow a very narrow path. Why are they going to give you these powers just because you want them a lot? I'm not necessarily looking for an answer here, but if someone brought such a character to me, and had an answer to those questions that I could buy, I'd take it -- and that'd be up to the DM. If the paladin replied "I'm getting my powers from X-source," then some DMs would say, "Okay, how nifty and flavourful," and other DMs would say, "Look, X-source can't give you those powers, so that's not gonna work."
And I wouldn't question the DM either way; he's the one who best knows how his world works, and there are some things you simply can't do, and some powers you simply can't have for nothing.

Crap, that got long.LN god gives powers to neutral, lawful good, lawful evil and lawful neutral clerics with no code of honor. Why would the deities grant less power for martial characters and require steeper restrictions for that?

EDIT: As a summary, it seems that you think that character does no work at all for his skills unless he uses the specified flavor. I am trying to say that he can have entirely diffrent flavor and still do the same amount of work.

And besides, what if some characters get stuff easier? We have stronger races (most with level adjustment), inherited templates (half dragon for example), inborn talent classes (sorcerer)...

EDIT 2: And actually, I find it very wierd viewpoint to compare what is fair to characters. My job as a DM is to ensure that every player has fun, not that their characters have fun.

Shazzbaa
2007-01-05, 09:48 PM
What if the boxer is extremely diciplined? The guy I know, who I mentioned earlier...[...] I... would not even concider thinking that he somehow got his skills for free because he wanted to specialize in hitting things hard.

Also, words physically impossible should be kept as far away from DnD as possible.
*laughs* I can see your point. But I'd argue that the reason the monk can do what he can, and others can't do it, is that he's got mystical power backing his up. For one thing, just because D&D doesn't match up to real life physics doesn't mean I can't want it to be as internally consistant as I can have it. And as far as I can see, there isn't anything to suggest within D&D's world that you can get that kind of ability without the monk's training. It's not just that the monk is disciplined or dedicated; it's what the monk is disciplined and dedicated to doing. Replicating the monk's powers without the monk's training is physically impossible within the world, and to me that's what's important.


Clerics get that. Clerics don't have a code of honor, clerics have a lot easier alignment restrictions and yet, clerics get more power from gods, just because they reflavoured themselves as using time to worship the gods.
I can actually understand this, and could spend a few pages explaining why I would see the clerics tending to be closer to their deities by simple virtue of their lifestyle and worship... etcetera. But instead I shall just say, Yup, that's how it is. Within this world of D&D, clerical duties get a character a certain kind of divine power, and a paladin's dedication gets it an entirely different sort of divine power.


You also won't get them by meditating and trying to harness your KI energy, I would claim. This is DnD. Besides, as said, there can be boxer who really works a lot get his skills.
Hehehe, true. But once again, I'm not just saying "You can't do it IRL so you can't do it in D&D," as I'm sure you've gathered by now. I'm more trying to say that within D&D's world, you can't do that. The boxer can work really hard at his skills, but his skills will not be those of a monk, because he won't have the monk's ki backing up his blows.


EDIT: As a summary, it seems that you think that character does no work at all for his skills unless he uses the specified flavor. I am trying to say that he can have entirely diffrent flavor and still do the same amount of work.

And besides, what if some characters get stuff easier? We have stronger races (most with level adjustment), inherited templates (half dragon for example), inborn talent classes (sorcerer)...
Hmm, then you seem to have misunderstood me. Let's see if I can say this more clearly... I'm not saying the monk works hard and the boxer isn't working hard, to stick with the example we've got going. I'm saying the boxer can't do what the monk does. The monk is following a specific path to get the skills he has, and the boxer can't get those skills without following that path.
I have no interest in making life "fair" for the characters; as you mentioned, some characters do get something for nothing. Sorcerers are a good example -- they're just born with it. Okay, so that's how sorcery works, if you're born with it, you've got it. You can't learn it. If someone tried to learn sorcery, I would say, "No, that's impossible within this world." If someone tried to achieve monk powers without following the monk's path, I would say, "No, that's impossible within this world."


EDIT 2: And actually, I find it very wierd viewpoint to compare what is fair to characters. My job as a DM is to ensure that every player has fun, not that their characters have fun.
Ahh, I think I already touched on this, but I'll reiterate I'm really not worrying about making the characters' lives fair. I'm more worried about the internal consistencies in the world. Unless I'm specifically changing things for my world, I'd assume they work the way that the rulebooks put forth... and the way that stuff is put forth, you get X powers by doing X things (which can be training a certain way, pledging allegiance to a certain god, or simply inheriting). If you want X powers without doing X things, then that just doesn't make sense to me in terms of the world unless you provide a servicable substitute. To me, the boxer training really hard won't give him monk powers, any more than the magic-lover studying magic really hard would give him sorcerer powers, because that's just the way these things work within this world.

Naturally, this is just the way I see things; and whenever I'm good enough to DM, that's how things will work. If you see things working differently within your world, then I wouldn't argue -- and were I playing in your game, I would do my best to understand the way your world works and exist within it. I'm merely explaining how I would rule, given the scenario, and why I see it that way. In your world, monks' powers may not need ki. In mine, they would, and that's why I wouldn't allow the boxer.

Bouldering Jove
2007-01-05, 10:41 PM
"Inner fluff" and "Outer fluff" are great terms I need to remember for future discussions similar to this topic. Thank you.

So, we've moved on a bit from strictly the assassin business to a more general discussion of how we view the role of mechanics in D&D. All roleplaying games are exercises in giving "Let's make believe" a codified system of representational rules. Each system will have its different suitabilities, and D&D leans toward a suitability for strategic turn-based battles a lot more than it leans towards roleplay. In my opinion, many people more interested in roleplaying and story-based aspects of the game probably wouldn't even be playing D&D if it wasn't the iconic roleplaying game. D&D isn't unsuitable for roleplaying (no system really can be if the players are determined), but that isn't its primary focus, and the rules do not distinguish between helpful guidelines and fundamental requirements. The druid case is a good example of this, because the armor restriction has arguments for either way, but there are components of game balance in that requirement; ignoring the requirement because you want to roleplay a druid on the "no restriction" side of the argument causes real game troubles.

But this is a dispute over an element of the alignment system. With a few exceptions (e.g. smiting), alignment disputes are purely roleplaying issues rather than mechanical ones. So if you're playing a game where combat is the most important thing, I think keeping the alignment requirement is just a way of spiting a player interested in an ability set and inevitably leading them to purchase a splatbook that will give them the prestige class they're looking for without the restriction. If roleplaying is prominent in your game, though, you do have a real conundrum.

A lot of the arguments presented here have strong merit behind them, even when they directly oppose. This is a function of different perspectives on the alignment system, including the perspective that it's a restrictive farce that should be dispensed with. Frankly, most of the discussion about killing vs. murdering is interesting but irrelevant; the game has already ruled on it. So the issue with the assassin is altering the alignment system in the game to suit your personal philosophy, which seems to me like a no-brainer, and the issue with class crunch alterations in general is whether the class system constitutes a crunchy framework or an archetype that should not be dispensed with. That's a real meaty discussion, but it's also very silly. Prestige classes are so abundant that you should be able to find one with the right crunch and flavor (like that "good assassin" prestige class that's been mentioned), and I would also argue that through the overabundance of prestige classes, Wizard has pretty much admitted that "crunchy framework" is the right way to view classes. How can a class really be a heroic archetype if it's a gateway towards a significantly different heroic archetype?

MaN
2007-01-06, 01:46 AM
My favorite inconsistancy is that heavy armor so greatly restricts your character's movement that he can no longer duck, dodge, or evade his opponent's sword very well (AC) yet the armor has no negative effect when he tries to duck, dodge, or evade a lightning bolt (Reflex save).


So how about instead of a good-aligned assassin we create the Anesthesiologist PrC. He is LG because instead of using poisons he only uses legally prescribed drugs to temporarily incapacitate his opponent. If the drugs have any adverse side-effects, however, he loses all class abilities until he atones or at least covers the co-pay on his malpractice insurance.:smallwink:

Captain van der Decken
2007-01-06, 04:58 AM
This I believe is a good example of the difference between the mindset of the regular fighter and that of the Assassin... I think even a Chaotic Neutral character would balk at the thought of killing an innocent in cold blood.


That's more of the mindset of an evil character, than an assassin, specifically. Any evil character might ask the same thing.
On the other hand, they might also balk at the idea.

Dan_Hemmens
2007-01-06, 07:30 AM
I think that we disagree about one thing here. You see boxer as simply "I want to specialize in punching things" and then getting to 20th level. I could follow similar idea and see monk as just some weak man who lives in monastery copying books and thus should in no friggin' way ever get any physical prowess. Both of these represent very narrow views - you are thinking about a general young guy who does boxing once in a while, I am thinking about classic monk living in medieval Europe. However, in neither situation the class is based on those images.


Okay, here you're deliberately misinterpreting the term "monk". D&D uses "monk" to mean "shaolin monk" not "benedictine friar."

If somebody came to me and said "I want to play a Monk who spends all his time copying out manuscripts by hand" I'd tell them to play a cloistered cleric.


What if the boxer is extremely diciplined? The guy I know, who I mentioned earlier... He was competing for finnish heavy weight boxing championship but he has not just "decided to get good at punching things hard". He has spent a lot of his time training several combat and sports combat techniques (including but not being limited to wrestling, kraw maga, boxing and kickboxing) in USA, Israel and I think that in some other countries too. He went there, away from home and to strange country, just to become better at what he does. He might not have gotten that much KI powers from meditation but I would still stat him as a 4th level monk in DnD and would not even concider thinking that he somehow got his skills for free because he wanted to specialize in hitting things hard.

But that's the thing, he's extremely disciplined, but he's disciplined at punching things. That doesn't make him a monk, that makes him a Fighter with the Improved Unarmed Strike feat. He's only a monk if he's gone to an honest to god Shaolin monastary and trained there with a genuine desire to embrace their philosophical as well as their martial teachings.


Also, words physically impossible should be kept as far away from DnD as possible. And improved unarmed damage? Maybe he knows where to hit, which bones break easily, which punch knocks opponent unconcious... It is a lot more logical than wizard stopping time, monk turning ethereal, fighter gettin 64 attacks per round (or was it 32 only? that gestalt thri keen...)

I grant you that the words "physically impossible" have no place in D&D, however the words "impossible without special prerequisites" are very, very important. Monks develop their powers through intensive training, meditation, and channeling their ki. That, in the default gameworld, is where monk powers come from. If you don't get them in that way, you do not get the monk powers.


EDIT 2: And actually, I find it very wierd viewpoint to compare what is fair to characters. My job as a DM is to ensure that every player has fun, not that their characters have fun.


But that's sort of my point. If I play a traditional monk, and you play some guy who has all the same powers as a monk but got them because he just really, really liked punching people, that devalues my character concept.

At the risk of sounding simultaneously old and anglocentric, I do wonder if the attitude that your character should be able to develop any set of powers that seems useful to them is an artefact of the (rather modern, rather American) idea that anybody can do anything if they set their mind to it: the Hollywood-propogated notion that if you *want* something badly enough it *will* happen, no matter what the circumstances.

Personally, I prefer the idea that things need to be done the right way: you can't learn the skills of a Monk without joining a Monastary, or the skills of a Cleric without joining a church. And of course you can't learn the skills of an Assassin (capital A) without joining the Assassin's guild.

Khantalas
2007-01-06, 07:32 AM
You aren't a boxer until you have Superior Unarmed Strike.

Improved isn't enough.

Pegasos989
2007-01-06, 08:27 AM
Oh, right. Forgot that one.


I want to do as much damage as a friggin' martial weapon with my fist, but I don't want to do any of that silly discipline stuff.

Orc fighter level 4, str 22, Improved unarmed strike, weapon focus, unarmed strike, weapon finesse, superior unarmed strike, weapon specialization, unarmed strike.
Unarmed strike +11 melee (2d6 +8)
Then to take two levels of barbarian and raging, for
Unarmed strike +15/+10 melee (2d6 +10)

So yes, in DnD, you can hit a lot by just skill, training and strenght.

Matthew
2007-01-06, 08:41 AM
Is there something that prevents him taking Two Weapon Fighting? I would have thought that would be handy for a Boxer build?

Bears With Lasers
2007-01-06, 08:46 AM
But that's sort of my point. If I play a traditional monk, and you play some guy who has all the same powers as a monk but got them because he just really, really liked punching people, that devalues my character concept.

...um.

How?

endoperez
2007-01-06, 08:51 AM
But that's the thing, he's extremely disciplined, but he's disciplined at punching things. That doesn't make him a monk, that makes him a Fighter with the Improved Unarmed Strike feat. He's only a monk if he's gone to an honest to god Shaolin monastary and trained there with a genuine desire to embrace their philosophical as well as their martial teachings.

I'd rather say that he's only a monk if he gets the bonus against enchantment, Ki Strike, slow fall, Purity/Wholeness etc of Body and all that. A boxer/disciplined fighter could have some of those, but Wholeness of Body at the very least is something you can't get just by wanting or training enough. It must come from some kind of a mystical source, and if the source is the same one from which Monks get it from, you need to have a similar philosophy and way of life.



At the risk of sounding simultaneously old and anglocentric, I do wonder if the attitude that your character should be able to develop any set of powers that seems useful to them is an artefact of the (rather modern, rather American) idea that anybody can do anything if they set their mind to it: the Hollywood-propogated notion that if you *want* something badly enough it *will* happen, no matter what the circumstances.

Learning to fight really, really well, perhaps even being better than anyone else, could happen in certain circumstances. Just wanting it wouldn't do it. Spending all your time in training yourself with the greatest masters you could find wouldn't be enough either if you didn't find the right masters or couldn't afford it or if you got sick and your health was destroyed or if you had broken some bone that hand't healed well enough to let you train. But we're not talking about being the best possible fighter, but being as good a fighter as a Monk. That (3/4th BAB, unarmed damage and unarmoured AC, Evasion, Flurry of Blows and perhaps some form of Ki Strike) can be reached with enough dedication, if the trainee can learn what he has to learn (being taught, or ancient scrolls of wisdom/visions from a god/having seen your master/father/brother train before you etc in a D&D world).

The mystical abilities of the monk, on the other hand, couldn't be achieved by combat training. If there was a class modeled after Monk that didn't get these mystical abilities, and had fluff about dedication and combat training, could you accept it?

Pegasos989
2007-01-06, 08:53 AM
Is there something that prevents him taking Two Weapon Fighting? I would have thought that would be handy for a Boxer build?

Well, depends. On the other hand, two weapon fighting is a good feat as it imitates flurry but I am not 100% sure if it should be taken, because if taking hammer fist ( http://realmshelps.dandello.net/cgi-bin/feats.pl?Hammer_Fist,all ), he gets 1.5x str on damage while TWF gives only half on offhand attacks (if I remember correctly) and it is generally atleast as good to boost fewer attacks than to add more weaker attacks. Yet, as soon as there is feats to spare, it would be propably worth taking.

(Btw, with that feat, the ftr 4/barbarian 2 would have had attack of +15/+10 (2d6 +14), then propably going to psywar for more feats and psionic focus... Ah, psionic fist and greater psionic fist feats... +4d6 damage when expending psionic focus)

Anyways, the point was just to show that the unarmed fighting is not monk exclusive and they are not even best at it, if not core only game. It was to counter "but you need to be from monastery and meditate to be good at unarmed strikes" which isn't true even in DnD.

Then why to even take the class instead of going so much better route?
a) It would be easiear and simpler
b) It would be more flavour fitting to have class with in built mechanics for this (we aren't gonna get 100% fitting mechanics. Monks have some non-boxery abilities but fighters have those too. class skills, martial weapon profiency, etc... and so do barbarians...)

Matthew
2007-01-06, 09:05 AM
Heh, that should be called Star Trek Punch. A fairly good reason to not take Two Weapon Fighting, though. I wonder how Power Attack interacts with it, given that it works with Unarmed Strike (and it does). Probably 1 to 1, since it says nothing else...

Pegasos989
2007-01-06, 09:13 AM
Heh, that should be called Star Trek Punch. A fairly good reason to not take Two Weapon Fighting, though. I wonder how Power Attack interacts with it, given that it works with Unarmed Strike (and it does). Probably 1 to 1, since it says nothing else...

Yeah. Though I think that MacGyver used the punch too, more than once. Then we should add the roundhouse kick from CWar and thus have the best of Macgyver, Star trek characters and Chuck Norris.

And about that feat + power attack... I think that by RaW it doesn't affect power attack in any way and I think it is a good feat even if it won't... However, I don't think it would be particularly overpowered or broken even if it affected power attack ratio (you spent several feats for something that two handed weapons get for free).

Amphimir Míriel
2007-01-06, 01:12 PM
That's more of the mindset of an evil character, than an assassin, specifically. Any evil character might ask the same thing.
On the other hand, they might also balk at the idea.

What I was trying to convey is that, for a character class dedicated to killing people in cold blood (not in combat), an evil alignment requirement makes sense... but hey, that's just me and my campaign.

Mike_G
2007-01-06, 06:44 PM
What I was trying to convey is that, for a character class dedicated to killing people in cold blood (not in combat), an evil alignment requirement makes sense... but hey, that's just me and my campaign.

So is a modern sniper evil? He trains long and hard to kill people in cold blood, who are unaware of his presence, outside of actual combat. No fight. Kill. And not in battle, but to stalk hopefully important enemy officers, specialists, etc, and zap them when the least expect it.

So the grunt who triggers an ambush and shoots back is less evil than a sniper?

Is firing automatic weapons at the enemy in the village in an active battle less evil than waiting and sniping an enemy as he leaves or enters a village? Or walks to the outhouse? The "honorable" way is much more likely to get your people and civillians killed by complete accident.

I really think the Evil requirement only makes sense if you have to kill an innocent to get into the guild. Just knowing how to kill sneakily is hardly more evil than killing openly. Whom you kill is far more important than how you kill them.

In this Marine's humble opinion, anyway.

Iron_Mouse
2007-01-06, 07:12 PM
I always assumed that you need the evil alignment not to train as an assassin. But you need it to get into an assassin's guild, which is basically the only place where you can be trained in the assassin prc.
The DMG says: "The character must kill someone for no other reasons than to join the assassins." And it mentions that almost all NPC assassins work in guilds or organizations of some kind.

Now, an assassin guild is an evil organization full of murderers, who have to be willing to kill virtually anyone and anything without question. A "but I don't want to kill innocents!" character is wrong there, because killing innocents is part of the job. For every assassin. The guildmaster says "go and kill that child!" and you do it. Exceptions for PCs? Why?

Of course, there's nothing wrong to invent neutral of even good organizations who specialise in killing only evil targets, and have some kind of moral code, but still use the same tricks and technics as the evil assassins (thus have other alignment restrictions etc.).
But the core books refer to Greyhawk and there seem to exist no such organizations.

Dan_Hemmens
2007-01-06, 07:23 PM
...um.

How?


Because an extremely important part of my character concept is that his powers stem from his dedication to the perfection of mind, body, and spirit. If somebody else gets the *same* powers without the *same* dedication to the perfection of mind, body, and spirit, my character concept is undermined. Every time I say something like "remember: to truly follow the way of the warrior you must achieve true inner stillness" I have this other guy acting as living, breathing proof that my character's entire philosophy on life is bull****.

Jack Mann
2007-01-06, 07:35 PM
So, say I make a fighter. I have him as a warrior born, who has trained with the sword from birth and worked to find the greatest of all swordsmen across the land, honing his craft to perfection, someone else can't make a fighter who's a peasant-soldier with the same skills, since that dilutes my concept?

Demented
2007-01-06, 08:40 PM
This happens so often in reality that we have a system for it.
The less common (usually chaotic) version is labelled a rebel, becomes unilaterally hated by the more numerous version, and is then hunted down and killed.

Usually there's a lot of spittle and harsh words somewhere in there.

Though in a D&D setting I don't see why one devalues the other, any more than a Wizard is devalued by the existence of Sorcerors (or vice versa). Roleplayed, they both would complain the other devalues them, but as a game, they have their corresponding strengths.

Luc
2007-01-06, 09:47 PM
I'm not sure why people are bothered by the idea of one character becoming as powerful as another through less in-character effort. After all, there's already a group of people who can learn in a few months more than most people learn through an entire lifetime of rigorous training. They're called the player characters.

Gamebird
2007-01-06, 10:31 PM
Fluff vs. Crunch silliness:

-- All characters who experience a combat learn from it.

-- Characters whose power comes from a god get more power by experiencing combats, even if their god is a pacifist and hates combat.

-- Characters whose power comes from a genetic fluke or ancestry (sorcerors) get more power by experiencing combats.

-- No matter how much you train in using your sword or spells, or meditate on your navel or your god's glory, you will never get better at using any of these things. Even if your trainer is Bruce Lee/an archmage/the pope/an angel/a dragon, your character will not learn anything unless he has a dangerous combat experience.

-- Speaking of which, it is impossible to learn a language or a new skill until you've fought things.

-- You can't learn a little of something - you have to learn the whole thing. You can't learn just a little Elven, enough to get you through greetings and ordering food at restaurants. You have to be fluent. And you can attain fluency while in the middle of a dungeon crawl, if you happen to level up then.

Demented
2007-01-06, 11:07 PM
Don't forget about roleplaying exp!
NPCs get TONS of it, I'd imagine.

Cthulhu
2007-01-06, 11:52 PM
I always assumed that you need the evil alignment not to train as an assassin. But you need it to get into an assassin's guild, which is basically the only place where you can be trained in the assassin prc.
The DMG says: "The character must kill someone for no other reasons than to join the assassins." And it mentions that almost all NPC assassins work in guilds or organizations of some kind.


Does that make james bond evil? You don't get to be a double 0 until you've killed two people :)

Scorpina
2007-01-07, 12:26 AM
...I always thought it was pretty obvious that Bond was Evil...

Bouldering Jove
2007-01-07, 01:10 AM
...I always thought it was pretty obvious that Bond was Evil...
He's perfectly willing to risk his life and die for his country, without personal gain even entering it, but the methods for achieving his goals don't morally concern him. I'd consider that Lawful Neutral.

Scorpina
2007-01-07, 01:20 AM
He risks the lives of innocent bystanders on a regular basis.

...and don't even get me started on his general bastadry and attitude to women.

Bouldering Jove
2007-01-07, 01:31 AM
He risks the lives of innocent bystanders on a regular basis.

...and don't even get me started on his general bastadry and attitude to women.
Risking the lives of innocents for a higher purpose (often the saving of many more innocent lives) is not evil, and can even fit well under a good alignment. It's the fact that he doesn't seem to much care one way or another about the people at risk in comparison to completing his mission that solidly pegs him as neutral in my mind.

As for social behavior, you can be the biggest jerk imaginable and still be good, and the most seemingly kind, considerate and polite person imaginable can still be a villain who sacrifices life without a second thought. Whether you're rough around the edges or smooth doesn't matter compared to the material, life-affecting actions that you take.

Cthulhu
2007-01-07, 01:47 AM
The problem is the alignment system is a bit silly really :) So people just make up definations to cover the gap, and because we are all playing with our own definations, meaningful debate is stupid because we are all doing it within different frameworks.

Why are brainless undead evil for example? They don;t even have 'free will' -> It's like having evil chairs or evil sand. And if you can have evil chairs, is 'evil' anything to do with morals at all?!?! Obviously not.

The monk is lawful because they are dedicated to their discipline, but Mialee the wizard is chaotic because she is... deciated to her art. Wtf? Doesn't make sense at all

People just make up stuff to carry the gap of stupidity here, intentially or not - and because no-one states their framework (which they have made up) up front, debating it is just stupid.

Demented
2007-01-07, 05:00 AM
Some undead can have free will. Undead are infused with the power of evil, so they can be the goodest good things ever and still be evil. Which makes the zombie flumphs very sad. Same thing as having an evil subtype. When you've been touched by the very essence of an evil plane, it sticks with you like a bad smell to your favorite jacket.

But for the most part, good is about acknowledging that other beings have as much of a privilege to live and carry on as you do. Evil characters either don't know, don't care, or find it all the more amusing when they torture something to know it's as present and alive as they are.


The law and chaos axis, however, really are confusing.

Khantalas
2007-01-07, 05:04 AM
You know, we've had a very long debate about undead being evil. Let's not bring it up again, if possible.

Captain van der Decken
2007-01-07, 05:11 AM
I always thought Bond was neutral.
Less sure about Craig's Bond though.

Pegasos989
2007-01-07, 05:39 AM
You know, we've had a very long debate about undead being evil. Let's not bring it up again, if possible.

Stop arguing about something because we already did it some weeks back? YOU ARE NOT MAKING ANY SENSE!!

What will you come up with next? Stop arguing about wizard's powers just because we have done it twice a week for as long as I can remember...

Iron_Mouse
2007-01-07, 06:45 AM
Does that make james bond evil? You don't get to be a double 0 until you've killed two people
But those two people can be enemies you killed in self-defense, right (I don't know, I'm not a Bond fan)?
Or are we talking about innocent and/or good persons?

Pegasos989
2007-01-07, 06:48 AM
But those two people can be enemies you killed in self-defense, right (I don't know, I'm not a Bond fan)?
Or are we talking about innocent and/or good persons?

It doesn't matter. The prequisite is about having to kill person, not having to kill good person. It might be a good assassins' guild who sends you to kill a sadistic and cruel noble.

Captain van der Decken
2007-01-07, 06:49 AM
The second one was a double agent, and the first one was his contact. So not innocents. Probably not good either.

Dan_Hemmens
2007-01-07, 07:08 AM
It doesn't matter. The prequisite is about having to kill person, not having to kill good person. It might be a good assassins' guild who sends you to kill a sadistic and cruel noble.

You specifically have to kill them for no reason other than in order to join the assassins' guild. That makes you by definition a cold, merciless killer.

Pegasos989
2007-01-07, 07:20 AM
You specifically have to kill them for no reason other than in order to join the assassins' guild. That makes you by definition a cold, merciless killer.


Yes, the reason you kill them is because you want to join. However, it might be that you are trying to join a good guild and know that there is good reason for them to send you kill that one, so it would be neutral act at worst.

EDIT: So to clarify what I meant... You are doing it only to join the guild but one of the reasons you want to join is that they won't do evil stuff anyways, so though you kill him only to join, you know that you aren't killing anyone good.

Cthulhu
2007-01-07, 08:45 AM
Some undead can have free will. Undead are infused with the power of evil, so they can be the goodest good things ever and still be evil. Which makes the zombie flumphs very sad. Same thing as having an evil subtype. When you've been touched by the very essence of an evil plane, it sticks with you like a bad smell to your favorite jacket.

Zombies and skeletons have no intellgence score and no free will, and are evil. If you accept they are evil, evil isn't a moral choice. You can have an evil deckchair, or evil sand, or an evil brick.

When evil isn't a moral choice so much as something that is, then good and evil are not so much moral choices, as hats you get. And then you have red vs blue except with black and white hats, but just as arbitary.





But for the most part, good is about acknowledging that other beings have as much of a privilege to live and carry on as you do. Evil characters either don't know, don't care, or find it all the more amusing when they torture something to know it's as present and alive as they are.


The law and chaos axis, however, really are confusing.

This is your wacky system of good and evil. Solars are all about killing stuff. Solars are made of good (which doesn't make any sense) If your system or morals is built on "acknowledge others right to exist" but solars are about destoring evil deckchairs or evil sand or non intelligent undead, doesn't that make them.. not good?

But they are good incarnate?

As for the james bond argument..

He was *told* to go kill those people, by his boss. Thats his JOB. He is infact, an assassin. He gets paid money, and in return he goes and kills people.

Frankly, he is the defination of a book assassin - paid money, kills people - but I don't see outright condementation of him as evil.

Bouldering Jove
2007-01-07, 09:00 AM
As for the james bond argument..

He was *told* to go kill those people, by his boss. Thats his JOB. He is infact, an assassin. He gets paid money, and in return he goes and kills people.

Frankly, he is the defination of a book assassin - paid money, kills people - but I don't see outright condementation of him as evil.
An identical argument can be constructed for soldiers, but neither are killing people for the money. They're serving as enforcers of their country for reasons that can be interpreted negatively (nationalism, lack of concern for the lives of others) or positively (patriotism, serving and protecting the ideal of the country) as you choose. For D&D's purposes, that a paladin kills people and collects money for it off their corpses is nowhere near as important as whom the paladin kills and why. I don't think Bond fits the D&D assassin model or "evil" alignment requirements.

Cthulhu
2007-01-07, 09:25 AM
An identical argument can be constructed for soldiers, but neither are killing people for the money. They're serving as enforcers of their country for reasons that can be interpreted negatively (nationalism, lack of concern for the lives of others) or positively (patriotism, serving and protecting the ideal of the country) as you choose. For D&D's purposes, that a paladin kills people and collects money for it off their corpses is nowhere near as important as whom the paladin kills and why. I don't think Bond fits the D&D assassin model or "evil" alignment requirements.

Except soldiers are killing people for money - I'd suggest that many people join the US army for the renumeration plan and college scholarship - US army studies show that fact. The primary casual factor for them joining is the cash and other benifts. Patriotism et al are secondary factors, and not the primary casual factor. Thus they are killing people for money. QED.

The raw problem here as I see it is we are attempting to apply real world ethical arguments to a fantasy world that includes evil sand (see: The abyss)

Where 'Evil Sand' or 'Beings actually made of evil' exist, we cannot actually have a debate using the english language on the topic. The concept of 'evil sand' cannot be adequately described with what 'evil' and 'sand' conventially means. D&D morals are this absolutist construct as written which doesn't have any real baring on what we as modern people consider good, evil, law or chaos.

I suspect this is the bone of contention, which means we will argue around in circles forever. D&D morals have nothing to do with 'Real Life' ethical dilemmas, and any attempt to apply the latter to the former is doomed to failure.

Dareon
2007-01-07, 09:45 AM
There's been some very good discussion in this topic all around. I'd like to think it wasn't just respect or fear of the rules that kept it all civil. Anyway, adding my own price of a chicken.

I actually did play a boxer character for a few levels. Note, mileage may vary, as this character was built in Neverwinter Nights. He was a Monk, with 0 or negative modifiers to Dex, Wis, and Cha. I think Int was also a 10. High values in Str and Con, so all he was good for was taking hits and dishing them out. If I was building him for a 3.5 tabletop campaign, he'd either be a Fighter with the unarmed attack tree listed above, or a similarly-built Monk but, and this is the important part, I wouldn't use some of his abilities. If possible, I'd see if I could get my DM to alter the mechanics of (or remove entirely from my character) ki strike, because a boxer with lawful fists doesn't fit the appropriate flavor, although punching so hard you overcome material DR MIGHT potentially be feasible. Things like... uh... Gee, now that I look over the monk, there's a ton of things I just would opt not to use because they wouldn't fit the boxer flavor. Stunning Fist and Wholeness of Body are about the only things I would use, which can represent, say, crotch kicks or low blows and a champion boxer just refusing to stay down. That intentional limiting would include intentionally lowering the SR from Diamond Soul, probably intentionally failing Reflex saves once I had Imp. Evasion...

Mechanically, I would be very weak compared to a "straight" monk or the unarmed Fighter build. Flavor-wise, it isn't really a good fit, because all I get out of the class is a need to be lawful. But hey, I'm also in the midst of playing a Warlock whose party niche would be better filled by a Rogue. Strength of mechanics and complete flavor matching are not my highest priorities. If I did put a character like this Monk together, I'd also build the unarmed Fighter and offer them both to my DM. "Whichever one you think works better." Alternatively, Setting Sun Swordsage. Say that five times fast.

On the assassin thing... As they are flavored currently, the Assassin's intended niche appears to be the premeditated killing of individuals who may have committed no serious infraction of laws or morals. This in no way excludes them from killing which is spontaneous in nature, nor are they prohibited from premeditated killing of those who have committed violations of applicable ethical, moral, or legal codes. However, since the possibility exists, and the majority of assassins are assumed to, under orders, kill those who have not observably violated subjective values of right or wrong, the use of an assassin or assassin's techniques can most easily be said to be used against, and not by, those that many subjective observers would label "good."

...Okay, I'm not doing that again. That paragraph was written in a very poor form of E-Prime (http://nobeliefs.com/eprime.htm), a linguistic variant of English which seeks to eliminate the potentially misleading verb "to be" and its variants, mostly "is". Obviously, I did a poor job of it, but my essential gist was:


The current flavor of the Assassin prestige class is that of someone who is assumed to kill innocent people on other people's orders as often as or more than he kills those who truly deserve it.

This may or may not be true, and could be altered by a DM to any of a number of variants. Personally, I can see good points on both sides of the argument, and cannot adequately explain my own opinion that an assassin should be evil and thus restricted from the more common adventuring parties. Also, I find ravages silly. A more palatable option, at least when considering the large divine presence in many games, is positoxins, featured in Libris Mortis. Essentially, they're poisons that affect undead.

For druids and their approach to metal, parallels can be drawn to Vegans and Freegans (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeganism), in that druids do not want to utilize something that has caused direct harm and suffering to a specific "organism", in this case, Oerth, Toril, Athas, or what have you. The scimitars are a little odd, but I suppose WotC figured they should have SOMETHING that would make them decent combatants. I mean, how many druid players have you known that opted for the sickle? :smalltongue:

Aaaand, finally, back onto the actual topic. Seems like every other day there's a discussion about how underpowered/overpowered/bland/flavorful the Warlock is. I'm not getting into that. My main concern is that Blasty McEvil, with powers granted by The Fiery Lords Of Hellfire That Reside In Burning Fiery Hell, can potentially have exactly the same powers as Twinkly McFey, scion of The Kind Faeries Of The Wood. Obviously a great amount of a Warlock is personal flavor and power selection (For one, I imagine Twinkly McFey smells a lot better than Blasty McEvil, assuming you prefer flowers over brimstone), but when the both of them invoke Fell Flight and blast each other with Eldritch Spears, it feels a tiny bit generic, and at the same time, far too specific. If that makes any sense.

I know I saw good, natural, and non-blasting Warlock variants around somewhere. I liked them, and heck, I do like the regular Warlock, their flavor just seems slightly restrictive and prone to inducing emo.

Oh! One more thing I noticed. Those drawing connections to modern archetypes and characters are using slightly flawed logic. A Modern sniper would rarely have evil within his allegiances. He will instead have law/chaos and/or a specific organization. A sniper would have whichever military, law enforcement, or paramilitary group he is affiliated with, and would usually (But not always, I assume) be using his skills in a manner that supported and reinforced the goals of his organization. Likewise James Bond.

The D&D alignment system is intended to portray a "larger-than-life" stereotype. It's easy to look at mythology and go "Oh, King Arthur was good." or "Man, that Cronus, what an evil [expletive]." Which is typically what you're supposed to do with a D&D character. A 1st-level character with CG on his sheet may not have been an alchemist's-fire-hurling crusader against corrupt and oppressive government before he started adventuring, but he has probably been a general scofflaw who used his talents mostly to help those oppressed by laws. Alignment is, in my view, a statement that "My character has been acting in X way before we pick up his story, and will likely continue acting in this manner in the absence of external impetus."

...I think I could buy enough chickens to start a ranch with this post. MAN, that's long. :E

Bouldering Jove
2007-01-07, 10:13 AM
Except soldiers are killing people for money - I'd suggest that many people join the US army for the renumeration plan and college scholarship - US army studies show that fact. The primary casual factor for them joining is the cash and other benifts. Patriotism et al are secondary factors, and not the primary casual factor. Thus they are killing people for money. QED.
This is still an oversimplification. The vast majority of soldiers in the United States military would not be willing to kill someone for a civilian employer. The fact that their targets are being selected by the U.S. government completely changes the nature of the killing from murder to warfare. One could debate the difference between the two, but regardless of objective differences, the perception of the killing is entirely different. So even if someone became a soldier for the paycheck, if that person would not have killed for a civilian offering the same paycheck, their decision has clearly been strongly influenced by the role of working as a national agent/protector.


The raw problem here as I see it is we are attempting to apply real world ethical arguments to a fantasy world that includes evil sand (see: The abyss)

Where 'Evil Sand' or 'Beings actually made of evil' exist, we cannot actually have a debate using the english language on the topic. The concept of 'evil sand' cannot be adequately described with what 'evil' and 'sand' conventially means. D&D morals are this absolutist construct as written which doesn't have any real baring on what we as modern people consider good, evil, law or chaos.

I suspect this is the bone of contention, which means we will argue around in circles forever. D&D morals have nothing to do with 'Real Life' ethical dilemmas, and any attempt to apply the latter to the former is doomed to failure.
I'm not sure I agree with you. The English language is quite versatile; obviously, you can describe "sand made out of evil," and so we can work towards an understanding of the system that allows such things to be so. More importantly, if the D&D alignment system is so fundamentally disconnected from real ethics and morality that we can't even succesfully ponder one in the context of the other, that would seem to be an argument in itself for dismantling D&D alignment as an irrelevant and restrictive waste of time.

Dant
2007-01-07, 03:52 PM
He was *told* to go kill those people, by his boss. Thats his JOB. He is infact, an assassin. He gets paid money, and in return he goes and kills people.

Frankly, he is the defination of a book assassin - paid money, kills people - but I don't see outright condementation of him as evil.


What? No. At least not exactly. Bond is MI5, he gets paid to kill people for the good of Queen and country. He has a license to kill, but he is supposed to avoid killing innocents. Additionally, he is supposed to protect
British subjects whenever possible. Strictly speaking he is still an assassin, killing people for political reasons, but not a stereotyped evil assassin.

Besides, real assassins would be neutral. There should be no joy in the killing. You take money and kill people, that's it. Neutral to me.

Saph
2007-01-07, 04:01 PM
Real assassins would be neutral. There should be no joy in the killing. You take money and kill people, that's it. Neutral to me.

That's the exact D&D definition of the Neutral Evil alignment . . .

- Saph

Dant
2007-01-07, 04:12 PM
Really? Hah, I didn't know that. Meh, I always figured that if you weren't taking enjoyment out of it it really couldn't be that evil. Tough I suppose it being NE makes some sense.
I still wouldn't say Bond is NE.

Bears With Lasers
2007-01-07, 04:18 PM
"I just set these babies on fire, but it was just for the money. I'm not evil at all, honest."

Diggorian
2007-01-07, 05:53 PM
In the more story focused of my two D&D groups, we use allegiances in place of alignments which in some ways add texture to our PC's philosophy beyond the Big 9.

The RAW Alignment is simpler to judge, atleast for me. If an action fits one of the clear descriptions of one of the 9, it is an action that slides your PC towards that alignment. I use checks to describe progression, more checks are needed to go lawful or good than to go chaos or evil (which are easier alignments to hold IMHO). A True neutral that murders for selfish reasons that she can get away with takes a check towards N. Evil -- since that is a trait of that alignment.

This doesnt so much reflect the "Truth" of a character as it is the judgement of the ever watching gods. PC's wouldnt even realize their shift until some in-game device revealed it. One day your best friend paladin detects evil and starts to feel your fall from grace.

Good Assassin guilds wouldnt exist in my world as their niche is taken by other social institutions like churches or knightly orders. Those who kill evil are heroes and need not hide. Assassin guilds contract for the elimination of the good and the inconvenient targets whose deaths wouldnt be praised, hence their secrecy.

Meta-game wise, the power of the Death Attack and other assassin abilities is balanced by the hazards of being evil, though these techniques like other weapons arent in themselves evil.

That said, I'd consider an Assassin that killed only evil a "Reformed" or "Ex" assassin whom the guild wouldnt tolerate cause they regularly practice evil. What's to stop them from returning to exact justice on the guild or leading the authorities their? The loss of the Evil alignment balancer is picked up by the "An assassin guild wants you dead" balancer. :smallamused:

Demented
2007-01-07, 08:21 PM
A good assassin guild would only make sense in an evil society.
And then, they'd only be considered extremely lazy knights.

"Oh, that evil guy? Sure, we'll kill him, but we need to get paid for it."

That seems more like neutral, at best.
Maybe good would take a slightly different tact...

"Wanted: Funding for assassination of evil leader."

I can see that doing well in the classifieds. Actually...

"Wanted: New Assassin's guild members. Must do one job for free."

Perfect explanation for a good Assassin's guild!

Diggorian
2007-01-07, 08:43 PM
Assassins for good in an evil land become a freedom fighting underground. I've still got issues with the term "good assassin" (it's like a "pleasant hell" :smallannoyed: ).

True assassin guild in an evil land become The Bureau of Political Unity. They put up the poster ads for king killers, then murder they respondants :smallwink:

Tormsskull
2007-01-08, 07:49 AM
So is a modern sniper evil? He trains long and hard to kill people in cold blood, who are unaware of his presence, outside of actual combat. No fight. Kill. And not in battle, but to stalk hopefully important enemy officers, specialists, etc, and zap them when the least expect it.


Are we talking about a military sniper? I'd say yes they are. I'd classify a typical military sniper as lawful evil. They kill targets that their superiors tell them to. They usually have no clue who these people are.



So the grunt who triggers an ambush and shoots back is less evil than a sniper?


Most people in the military I would classify as evil.



Is firing automatic weapons at the enemy in the village in an active battle less evil than waiting and sniping an enemy as he leaves or enters a village? Or walks to the outhouse? The "honorable" way is much more likely to get your people and civillians killed by complete accident.


War in general is evil, there are just different degrees of evil that people try to justify as good.



I really think the Evil requirement only makes sense if you have to kill an innocent to get into the guild. Just knowing how to kill sneakily is hardly more evil than killing openly. Whom you kill is far more important than how you kill them.


I disagree, as previously stated, but of course to each his own.



In this Marine's humble opinion, anyway.

No offense on the whole all military people are evil thing.

Edit: V: Yes I am serious, but perhaps it is not a good topic to bring up because it may cause a thread lock.

Ambrogino
2007-01-08, 08:51 AM
Most people in the military I would classify as evil.

I'm honestly struggling to respond to this in a polite manner. Are you serious?

Cthulhu
2007-01-08, 09:10 AM
This is still an oversimplification. The vast majority of soldiers in the United States military would not be willing to kill someone for a civilian employer. The fact that their targets are being selected by the U.S. government completely changes the nature of the killing from murder to warfare. One could debate the difference between the two, but regardless of objective differences, the perception of the killing is entirely different. So even if someone became a soldier for the paycheck, if that person would not have killed for a civilian offering the same paycheck, their decision has clearly been strongly influenced by the role of working as a national agent/protector.

So it's okay when the govenment is doing it - what about private security contractors, of which there are 20k in iraq http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A10547-2005Apr22.html

fit the bill as people willing to kill for a civilian paycheck! In shady and extra-legal operations too! Almost all of them are ex Military! There goes that argument.

Lots of (all of?) these guys are ex forces, lured away by the big bucks. They guy interviewed even says he and his mates are doing it for the bucks. They are doing extra judicial killings for money! Hurrah!

As such I think your argument does not hold water - While these people may be motivated in part by nationalism or whatever, The one true god of money is clearly calling the shots as the primary casual motive. Not for all of them, but *definately* for some of them. The advantage of doing it for the govenment or private contractors in Iraq is that no-one is actually going to arrest you. Making a risk benift analysis and not accepting a more risky gig doesn't morally exonerate you from the underlying actions you are doing.

Edit: As a counterpoint to the above (two posts above) argument (if I can dignify it with that) I don't think these people are evil. I also don't think being motivated by money is evil. I suspect these people are all taking their decisions because of the vastly complex ethical tapestry of real life that has no relationship whatsoever with D&Ds absurd moral stand points.


I'm not sure I agree with you. The English language is quite versatile; obviously, you can describe "sand made out of evil," and so we can work towards an understanding of the system that allows such things to be so. More importantly, if the D&D alignment system is so fundamentally disconnected from real ethics and morality that we can't even succesfully ponder one in the context of the other, that would seem to be an argument in itself for dismantling D&D alignment as an irrelevant and restrictive waste of time.I dunno about you, but if I was to enter into a discussion with my friends where I was to seriously propose that things where tangiably evil, and you could measure this, I'd be laughed it.

My point is that evil is, conventially, is some sort of moral/ethical choice. Sand doesn't make moral choices. Sand doesn't do anything at all. In the context of normal english usage, evil sand is both surreal and meaningless.

As for what to do about it.. yeah:)

Precisely because the system is so murky - people cannot agree on ethical/moral decisions in real life, let alone in some intangiable fantasy world with completely absurd moral constructs - I don't usally have ethical themes in my games. I don't enjoy it, and frankly it is also icky. Team PC is white hats, and Team Monster is black hats. So if someone wants to play an assassin or whatever, I'll work something out.

pestilenceawaits
2007-01-08, 09:46 AM
Most people in the military I would classify as evil.




Whaaaat?!?!?!? I can't believe I just read this.:smallconfused:

Tormsskull
2007-01-08, 09:57 AM
Ambrogino & pestilenceawaits I'm just going to PM you so I don't derail the thread.

Quincunx
2007-01-08, 10:00 AM
I'm more surprised that this comes up just after others post, trying to remove the evil descriptor for D&D assassins. (Once the mods come through, I expect that will no longer make sense. . .ah well, can delete later if this doesn't get locked.)

Dareon, interesting 'E-Prime' link. I just thought that type of writing would be named New Lawyerese or somesuch. It's an improvement on Latin-based lawyerese at least.

Dan Hemmens answered the majority of "why are we continuing to argue about this?" topics back on page 7, explaining how his own character was devalued by someone else's less rigorous interpretation--how two interpretations that were 'right' (correct) were unfair to one another. We are all spending so much time striving for fairness (Class balance. Closing loopholes. Refining class definitions. All alignments restrict behaviors to the same degree.) that righteousness (. . .All members of PHB-playable races in D&D have a right to life?) is no longer the primary criterion.

Well then--is it fair to the murdered person that their life was the price of an assassin's initiation? Is that a cause worth dying for? I say that, without any roleplay and by the letter of the rules, it's not and the act is evil. As a DM, I'd want several skills checked and roleplay done if an assassin wanted to find a neutral killing, one for which the traded life has low value* and is not worth more than a spot in assassins' school: seeking out someone whose death is imminent, a criminal or terminally ill; killing an undiscovered and Evil criminal, especially one whose crimes are punishable by death; slaying a suicidal or altruistic person who is willing to sell their life cheaply.

*Here goes another cycle of the eternal philosophical argument. . .

Gamebird
2007-01-08, 10:54 AM
Hey Tormskull - can you include me in that PM circle?

Dark
2007-01-08, 10:56 AM
Actually... nothing says that the assassin can't raise his initial victim after joining the guild :)

So it could even be a paid-for deal with the "victim". Eminently Neutral.

Pegasos989
2007-01-08, 12:35 PM
I think I see what stormskull means (and I partly agree with him but I think he is oversimplificating too much) so you can add me to circle if you want, too. However, not absolutely necessary

Norsesmithy
2007-01-08, 01:57 PM
I to would like to be included in that PM discussion.

Especially regarding the ethics of sniper warfare and PMCs

geez3r
2007-01-08, 02:17 PM
I'll jump in real quick for the good/evil debate of assassins. In a 3rd edition 3rd party book, called the "Path of Shadow" which is basically a mass collection of rouge-type classes, there is the "Royal Assassin" Prestigue class. Long story short: you lose poison use, but gain bonus feats, and you work for good aligned royality(?) to assassinate evil-doers before they gain too much power.

Tormsskull
2007-01-08, 02:31 PM
What it all boils down to is how you define evil. If you think evil is pure hatred, have to kill x # of people per week, puppy kickers, then maybe an assassin can be neutral or even good in your mind. I don't think evil has to equal psycho. IMO you can be evil because you are incredibly selfish & are only concerned about your own well-being. You can be evil and never kill a person in your life IMO.

I like to have campaigns where it is difficult to be good and easy to be evil, because I believe that best sets the epic scale of a campagin. A town is being destroyed and the survivors are trying to flee? They are most likely to die because there won't be enough food for the trip to the next city? It might be an excellent solution to the problem to abandon the people or kill them all and animate them as zombies, but that's not what good people do.

The only thing I would caution to DMs who choose to rule that Assassins can be good is that you are giving your players a huge precedent to work off of.

Bouldering Jove
2007-01-08, 10:57 PM
So it's okay when the govenment is doing it - what about private security contractors, of which there are 20k in iraq http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A10547-2005Apr22.html

fit the bill as people willing to kill for a civilian paycheck! In shady and extra-legal operations too! Almost all of them are ex Military! There goes that argument.

Lots of (all of?) these guys are ex forces, lured away by the big bucks. They guy interviewed even says he and his mates are doing it for the bucks. They are doing extra judicial killings for money! Hurrah!

As such I think your argument does not hold water - While these people may be motivated in part by nationalism or whatever, The one true god of money is clearly calling the shots as the primary casual motive. Not for all of them, but *definately* for some of them. The advantage of doing it for the govenment or private contractors in Iraq is that no-one is actually going to arrest you. Making a risk benift analysis and not accepting a more risky gig doesn't morally exonerate you from the underlying actions you are doing.

Edit: As a counterpoint to the above (two posts above) argument (if I can dignify it with that) I don't think these people are evil. I also don't think being motivated by money is evil. I suspect these people are all taking their decisions because of the vastly complex ethical tapestry of real life that has no relationship whatsoever with D&Ds absurd moral stand points.
Being a private security contractor is not being a mercenary, it's employment as a civilian company's self-defense force. Doing it in a high risk area like Iraq means you're much more likely to see a combat scenario than a security guard at the mall, but neither is signing on the job "to kill" so much as "to protect." Sure, they're specifically doing private security contracting for the money, but if killing innocent people in cold blood for a mobster paid more most of the people doing it "for the money" would not accept that job.

That's the point I'm trying to make. Of course money is a factor in the decision, but taking on a job in the military or a security force does not mean you would shoot a child playing in the street if someone paid you enough. The people who say they're "doing it for the money" are, in fact, unconsciously allowing the moral elements of war and self-defense to affect their decision. Ideals like "protecting the country" and "they have a right to maintain a defense force" are necessary but not sufficient to do those jobs without a good paycheck for those people.


I dunno about you, but if I was to enter into a discussion with my friends where I was to seriously propose that things where tangiably evil, and you could measure this, I'd be laughed it.
I'm just saying it's not unreasonable to think about and discuss a system where tangible evil is possible, though proposing that possibility as true for the real world would certainly get me laughed at, too.


My point is that evil is, conventially, is some sort of moral/ethical choice. Sand doesn't make moral choices. Sand doesn't do anything at all. In the context of normal english usage, evil sand is both surreal and meaningless.

As for what to do about it.. yeah:)

Precisely because the system is so murky - people cannot agree on ethical/moral decisions in real life, let alone in some intangiable fantasy world with completely absurd moral constructs - I don't usally have ethical themes in my games. I don't enjoy it, and frankly it is also icky. Team PC is white hats, and Team Monster is black hats. So if someone wants to play an assassin or whatever, I'll work something out.
Good plan. I can't imagine getting into an argument every time the DM thinks a paladin character crossed the line...

Mewtarthio
2007-01-08, 11:35 PM
I'm more surprised that this comes up just after others post, trying to remove the evil descriptor for D&D assassins. (Once the mods come through, I expect that will no longer make sense. . .ah well, can delete later if this doesn't get locked.)

Dareon, interesting 'E-Prime' link. I just thought that type of writing would be named New Lawyerese or somesuch. It's an improvement on Latin-based lawyerese at least.

Dan Hemmens answered the majority of "why are we continuing to argue about this?" topics back on page 7, explaining how his own character was devalued by someone else's less rigorous interpretation--how two interpretations that were 'right' (correct) were unfair to one another. We are all spending so much time striving for fairness (Class balance. Closing loopholes. Refining class definitions. All alignments restrict behaviors to the same degree.) that righteousness (. . .All members of PHB-playable races in D&D have a right to life?) is no longer the primary criterion.

Well then--is it fair to the murdered person that their life was the price of an assassin's initiation? Is that a cause worth dying for? I say that, without any roleplay and by the letter of the rules, it's not and the act is evil. As a DM, I'd want several skills checked and roleplay done if an assassin wanted to find a neutral killing, one for which the traded life has low value* and is not worth more than a spot in assassins' school: seeking out someone whose death is imminent, a criminal or terminally ill; killing an undiscovered and Evil criminal, especially one whose crimes are punishable by death; slaying a suicidal or altruistic person who is willing to sell their life cheaply.

*Here goes another cycle of the eternal philosophical argument. . .

I'm fairly certain that you don't get to choose who you kill to fulfill the special prerequisite. I think it's more along the lines of "perform this mission and your payment will be induction into the Guild of Assassins."

Pegasos989
2007-01-09, 02:24 AM
I'm fairly certain that you don't get to choose who you kill to fulfill the special prerequisite. I think it's more along the lines of "perform this mission and your payment will be induction into the Guild of Assassins."

Yes, but if it is a good guild of assassins, they can just send you on a mission to kill evil people.


Sure, most guilds of assassins are evil, but not everyone of them must be one, and thus I think that while most assassins are evil, they shouldn't all need to be.

Dan_Hemmens
2007-01-09, 05:01 AM
I like to have campaigns where it is difficult to be good and easy to be evil, because I believe that best sets the epic scale of a campagin. A town is being destroyed and the survivors are trying to flee? They are most likely to die because there won't be enough food for the trip to the next city? It might be an excellent solution to the problem to abandon the people or kill them all and animate them as zombies, but that's not what good people do.

This is probably the most persuasive argument in favour the assassin alignment restriction I've seen in a good long while.

It's related, actually, to one of my personal D&D hobbyhorses, which is the "morally absolute is not the same as morally simplistic" rant.

"Is it right to employ evil methods to fight evil" is an interesting in character moral dilemma. If you remove the alignment restriction from the Assassin class you actually *remove* that moral question.

Dan_Hemmens
2007-01-09, 05:05 AM
Yes, but if it is a good guild of assassins, they can just send you on a mission to kill evil people.

Which is rather like that experiment where people are asked to electrocute somebody and whatever-percent of people willingly fried somebody, just because a guy in a white coat told them it would be okay.


Sure, most guilds of assassins are evil, but not everyone of them must be one, and thus I think that while most assassins are evil, they shouldn't all need to be.


"We're a *good* assassins guild, we're just like the other assassins' guilds, but we only kill *bad* people."

Even ignoring the underlying moral issues with that: it's plain lame.