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Author Topic: the Foundling heroic path  (Read 4374 times)
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Bihlbo
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« on: October 13, 2006, 11:33:53 PM »

First off, good work Dirigible!  I'm going to be playing a Foundling character in Kevin's upcoming game, and I'm pretty excited about it.  Thanks for making it, I love the style and theme of the 'path.

Question:† The path's Become as Death ability says, "The foundling detects as both dead and alive by magical means."† What situations would reveal a character as dead?† Upon looking through the spells, I made these notes:
Deathwatch - the wording of the spell implies that it would detect the Foundling as a construct, or return both dead and alive.† So the ability doesn't present an advantage against this spell, it only creates questions from the caster.
Detect Undead - this wouldn't do it, since it only detects undead auras, and the ability doesn't produce one.
Status - Since this targets touched creatures, it should be instantly obvious that the character is actually alive, and not both dead and alive, to the caster of the spell.† So, essentially the ability has no effect on this spell.
Spells like slay living that target living creatures still work against the Foundling as normal.† Spells that target the dead, such as raise dead won't work because he's also alive.

Am I missing something?† It appears that this ability/feature has no impact on any game mechanic whatsoever.† The same thing could be accomplished by the DM describing a "strange result" on detecting attempts, since it doesn't do anything to actually trick anyone into thinking that the Foundling is dead (or for that matter, undead).† Is this intended to be flavor and nothing more?
« Last Edit: October 14, 2006, 11:38:31 AM by Bihlbo » Logged
Dirigible
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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2006, 01:13:09 AM »

I'm glad peopel are actually using my stuff in games Smiley

Quote
Deathwatch - the wording of the spell implies that it would detect the Foundling as a construct, or return both dead and alive.  So the ability doesn't present an advantage against this spell, it only creates questions from the caster.

Quote from: Deathwatch
Using the foul sight granted by the powers of unlife, you can determine the condition of creatures near death within the spellís range. You instantly know whether each creature within the area is dead, fragile (alive and wounded, with 3 or fewer hit points left), fighting off death (alive with 4 or more hit points), undead, or neither alive nor dead (such as a construct).

Emphasis mine. A construct is neither alive or dead; a Foundling is both alive and dead, and would therefore give two simultaneous, contradictory results ('dead' and 'fighting off death').

In retrosect, Become As Death would work better as 'detects as both alive and undead', as the path is about becoming like an undead ghost, one of the Lost. Consider that an official hose rule recommendation Grin

Note that detects as something is NOT the same as is affected by spells and effects as if she was.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2006, 01:16:06 AM by Dirigible » Logged
kevperrine
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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2006, 03:51:28 AM »

in GMing -  what situations would you see needing to know this guys?

What situation would anyone care to cast (or even think to cast) something to detect tihis? 

I have a few ideas on uses I'm planning -  but I don't want to say them here for Bihlbo to see. Wink
But I'd like your thoughts for uses, see if they match mine.

thanks
-kev-
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best,
-kev-
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Dirigible
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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2006, 05:03:08 AM »

Well, I imagine detect undead to be a very popular spell for magical dabblers, as far as that goes.

Beyond that, perhaps using Knowledge (Spirits) registers that there's something quite off about the character.

As Bilhbo surmised, it's mainly a roleplaying/descriptive element.
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Nifelhein
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« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2006, 07:07:38 AM »

Perhaps animals have a slight uneasy around the character too, roleplaying, nothig that actually brings a penalty, but that and a knowledge spirits could tell a buit more on him. For anyone wondering which path is this, check out the site section, under tools of resistance, or just go here Wink
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Bihlbo
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« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2006, 11:50:35 AM »

Okay, so if it makes the foundling detect as undead with the spell detect undead, that's definitely a penalty.  How many situations is a character going to find himself being detected by a good guy using this 1st-level spell?  Most of the time, he's probably going to get attacked because of the result, and have to make the choice to be a heroic good guy or to stay alive.

It also raises a couple other questions:
Do undead see him as an enemy?
What is the strength of his undead aura if he's not truly undead?
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Dirigible
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« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2006, 02:59:54 PM »

Quote
Do undead see him as an enemy?
Undead do not, generally, have any special ability to detect other undead creatures. Therefore, they see the Foundling as whatever they would normally see it as. Also, the ability does not specify that it changes the reactions of undead towards the Foundling - so it doesn't.

Quote
What is the strength of his undead aura if he's not truly undead?
It doesn't amtter that she's not 'truly' undead. She detects as undead. Therefore, you use the HD / Aura strength table found under the detect undead spell - but you also inform the caster that there is an absense of undead aura in the same spot.
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Bihlbo
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« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2006, 12:57:11 AM »

but you also inform the caster that there is an absense of undead aura in the same spot.

That wording doesn't make sense.† Given that there's an inherant contradiction with the character already, it still doesn't fly that a magical spell meant to detect undead is going to detect the presence of, and absence of, an aura.† It's not possible, given the unambiguous definitions of "presence" and "absence" in the English language, for both to exist in the same place.† It's not even an oxymoron or a contradiction - it's completely impossible.

I know that this functions as mainly a roleplaying/descriptive element, but what's the ultimate purpose of this feature?† Is it to provide a reason for someone to think that it's possible to attempt to Turn the Foundling, when later that because an element of the Foundling?† Is it simply for flavor?† Is it to balance beneficial abilities that are too good compared to other heroic paths? (Being detected as both alive and undead is a noticable penalty.)
« Last Edit: October 15, 2006, 01:00:00 AM by Bihlbo » Logged
Bihlbo
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« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2006, 01:35:39 AM »

Since you suggested a house rule for this, it sounds like we're already house ruling the path.† So I'm going to suggest a further modification.† For those reading, let me know what you think of it.† Even though my DM can easily make it work however he likes, I feel like suggesting something to my DM about it.

Change 1
Add Become as Death to level 10 as well.† This would give the added bonus of symmetrizing the three Fading Away features.

Change 2
The description changes to:
Become as Death (Ex): Though the Foundling is still alive and magical means to detect her health still function as normal, she gains an undead aura with a strength equal to her character level.† This grants her a +2 on Diplomacy checks versus all undead.† At level 10 the strength of her undead aura becomes overwhelming, and is equal to twice her character level.† This improves the Foundling's Diplomacy bonus versus undead to +4.

This second change accomplishes three things.† 1) This makes it clear that the nature of the Foundling's existance hasn't changed, only that she has gained an undead aura.† 2) This makes it so that spells like detect undead allow someone to detect the effective HD of the Foundling for turning attempts, once the Foundling becomes level 15.† 3) This grants a slight bonus to offset the penalty of having people think you're an evil monster (kill kill stab stab).
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Dirigible
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« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2006, 01:38:36 AM »

Quote
That wording doesn't make sense.  Given that there's an inherant contradiction with the character already, it still doesn't fly that a magical spell meant to detect undead is going to detect the presence of, and absence of, an aura.  It's not possible, given the unambiguous definitions of "presence" and "absence" in the English language, for both to exist in the same place.  It's not even an oxymoron or a contradiction - it's completely impossible.

Your reasoning, trying to apply linguistic rules as some kind of guide to the metaphysics of D&D is, frankly, bullshit - but you are right. I misread detect undead - it doesn't postively detect living beings, it negatively detects them. In other words, it doesn't reveal the presense of the living, but rather just the non-presense of undead.

I'm starting to lean back towards 'detects as alive+dead', rather than 'alive+undead'. It bypasses these problems.

Quote
I know that this functions as mainly a roleplaying/descriptive element, but what's the ultimate purpose of this feature?  Is it to provide a reason for someone to think that it's possible to attempt to Turn the Foundling, when later that because an element of the Foundling?  Is it simply for flavor?  Is it to balance beneficial abilities that are too good compared to other heroic paths? (Being detected as both alive and undead is a noticable penalty.)

Verisimilitude. No more, no less.

The Foundling does hae better abilities than most Paths, but that is balanced by the progressive Str penalty, not the 'weakness' of detecting as undead.
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Bihlbo
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« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2006, 11:18:22 AM »

trying to apply linguistic rules as some kind of guide to the metaphysics of D&D

That's not what I was doing.  I was applying linguistic rules to the descriptions of the metaphysics of D&D (otherwise I'd agree with you on that).  And, I was doing this because we have to read about the game in order to understand it.  Impossible wording does not facilitate understanding - it only causes confusion and conflict.

Having an undead aura is enough to cause the Foundling to detect as undead.  I've found only one spell in the system that detects undeath, and that's the only thing it looks for (if there are more, please let me know).  Seems to me this is the simplest way to accomplish your original goal for the path, using the game mechanics instead of just roleplay practice.  I have nothing against roleplaying or having an element of the Foundling rely on how we roleplay the character.  But I know that at some point, the DM's going to extrapolate that into game mechanics, and we're all better off if we clarify how those should work before it happens with the dice.

Ultimately though, it's not up to you or me - it's up to teh Kev.
(fear)
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kevperrine
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« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2006, 01:04:56 PM »

Ultimately though, it's not up to you or me - it's up to teh Kev.
(fear)


It's fun to talk about this all in as much detail as we enjoy,  however in the end it comes down to asking what is the most fun for the game and what is fair for the game.

I need to think about this for our camapign but that's my goal as a GM.
-kev-
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