Pathfinder 2E Take A Look At Pathfinder Remaster's Edicts & Anathema

Replaces alignment and appears in ancestry entries

P2e Remaster Project_1200x675.jpg

The new version of Pathfinder coming later this year dispenses with alignment and replaces it with edicts and anathema. Paizo has shared an example of what this looks like in the game with a preview of dwarf beliefs, along with a sneak peak at a brand new 17th-level dwarf feat.

Edicts and anathema appear in ancestry description and classes, with suggestions of 'popular' examples. For the dwarf they shared, the examples were:
  • Popular Edicts create art with beauty and utility, hunt the enemies of your people, keep your clan dagger close
  • Popular Anathema leave an activity or promise uncompleted, forsake your family
Additionally, the new Stonewall feat looks like this:

Stonewall [reaction] — Feat 17​

Dwarf, Earth, Polymorph​
Frequency once per day​
Trigger An enemy or hazard’s effect hits you or you fail a Fortitude save against one.​
The strength of stone overcomes you so strongly that it replaces your stout body. You become petrified until the end of the current turn. You don’t take any damage from the triggering effect or any other ill effects that couldn’t affect stone.​

 

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I find this to be way overstated. There is plenty of room for actions in any given alignment. The straightjacket bit is an unfortunate byproduct of the Paladins crap design in the past. In fact, the alignments being general is their strength because they allow you to do exactly what you advocate; pick your own moral and ethical code within a cultural and deed based framework. Again, outside of the terrible paladin legacy.

Anathema is just a vague replacement that is intended to do what alignment did. However, like 5E's BIFTs, its a level of simple nuance that nobody really cares about because their is no mechanical heft. With each unique identity there is no common framework for folks to manage. On the other hand, its so hands off the game, that it serves as a role play aid for new comers and casuals, so is become a good option in general.
Before 5e, the Paladins' LG restriction never really made much sense to me. If a Paladin is championing a deity's cause and a Paladin could only be LG, then who was championing the cause of the non-LG deities? And what if a paladin was championing not a deity cause, but a particular philosophy?

BIFT?
 

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payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
The thing is it really doesn't tell you anything meaningful about how to play the NPC. Taking your Lawful Evil example, the merchant will follow the law but frequently tries to twist the meaning of it to their own advantage. Ok.. that really doesn't tell me much about the NPCs actual personality. How does the NPC attempt to use the law to their advantage? Are they a shady manipulator much more comfortable working in the background but it directly confronted would back off to find another approach to their goal or do they largely work in the open challenging others using the rule of law? Both are LE but there's a big difference between the 2 personalities.

We'll see how they actually use the new system on a NPC statblock, but short descriptive words (cowardly, brave, honest, etc) can do so much more to give a GM reading an adventure an idea how to play a NPC than alignment ever did IMO
In what way? Are they cowardly openly and everyone knows it? Or are they a very good face putting up a front but are deathly insecure inside? Brave? By standing up for what is right when it matters? Or brave in the sense they face any given danger?

At least with alignment I know how they view culture and society, and more importantly, what actions they are willing to take for it. 🤷‍♂️
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
Before 5e, the Paladins' LG restriction never really made much sense to me. If a Paladin is championing a deity's cause and a Paladin could only be LG, then who was championing the cause of the non-LG deities? And what if a paladin was championing not a deity cause, but a particular philosophy?
Paladin's being tied to deities is a more modern take. In the past, they were paragons of law and good. Fashioned off historical templars or crusader knights that were anything but... The best solution would have been to make the paladin a prestige class, but folks liked the idea of a full class. Since folks didnt like the strict philosophy (and mechanical design) they opened up the design instead. Im not opposed to that, just addressing why the inquiry didnt make sense because its not in the proper context.
Bonds, Ideals, Flaws, and Traits.
 


payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
Ah. I agree, BIFTs don't really provide much for either the player or the GM to work with. I haven't really followed the BIFTs I picked for my first two 5e characters.
At first glance, I liked the idea. Then, as we played, it just was quickly forgotten. First of all, there is no mechanical impact in the game outside inspiration (which is very hit or miss depending on table). Second, four sentences making a paragraph of a character's personality is much more difficult to remember, especially since each one is unique and has no common framework.

Anathema is a little more defined, but still seems to have vanished during play (in my admittedly small experience with PF2).
 

Instead of BIFTs, Level Up has Connections and Mementos. A connection is an acquaintance, ally, or enemy from your past. A memento is an item of sentimental value worth less than 30 gold. I find these two background elements interesting because both can be used by a GM as a part of a side mission within the larger adventure.
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
Instead of BIFTs, Level Up has Connections and Mementos. A connection is an acquaintance, ally, or enemy from your past. A memento is an item of sentimental value worth less than 30 gold. I find these two background elements interesting because both can be used by a GM as a part of a side mission within the larger adventure.
I have not gotten to use level up yet, but I love many of its ideas. I am very familiar with contacts from Traveller and its a great way to get leads and rivals for the PCs and GM. More importantly, they are easy to come up with, change, lose, etc... during play. I think that is key to any system like this is linking it to the game rules so it comes up often enough to be of use, but sit back enough not to be a detractor for the table.
 


RareBreed

Adventurer
Thank goodness they are removing alignment. I've never understood alignment and all the bike shedding or even heated discussions it causes.

Virtually no other game system uses alignment and they do just fine. Everyone has their subjective take on law vs chaos. good vs evil and the borderline neutral, such that trying to enforce, codify or detect it became fairly meaningless. But what it became was (for some folks) an explanation of metaphysics and morality. I even wonder sometimes if players took home these concepts beyond the gaming table.

People will argue that D&D's whole cosmology is built around the alignment system. Planes of existence were defined not just by alignment, but because of it. Gods didn't just follow an alignment; to a large degree, they were bound by alignment. But what do these alignments even mean?

For example, Chaos can have a precise physical description (ie, entropy and probability), but that's just a shadow of what "chaos" means in D&D alignment. Is Chaos like entropy? Is it the ability for things to move about as they please? This analogy can become problematic, though I will save that for another discussion.

And this leads to something even more problematic that I touched on earlier. In some ways, the alignment system is an artificial kind of religion with its own in-game dogma and metaphysics. And it forces this "religion" upon everyone.

From a personal perspective I like the idea of non-duality and it explains my dislike of dualistic thinking that has been codified into the alignment rules with actual game play effects. For example, the Yin Yang symbol of Taoism has both black and white inside of each other, and each (tadpole as I call them) is swirling around each other. This is meant to imply that things move or change and that nothing is 100% this or that. What is Yang becomes Yin, and what is Yin becomes Yang. Yin and Yang are also relative qualifiers, not absolutes. A flame is Yang, so a lit candle is Yang, but it is Yin when next to a campfire.

So I say good riddance to alignment. I've always thought it was more trouble than any kind of flavor it brought to the setting.
 

In what way? Are they cowardly openly and everyone knows it? Or are they a very good face putting up a front but are deathly insecure inside? Brave? By standing up for what is right when it matters? Or brave in the sense they face any given danger?

At least with alignment I know how they view culture and society, and more importantly, what actions they are willing to take for it. 🤷‍♂️
I wasn't implying there would be 1 word to describe a NPC, they'd need to include a few to make it useful. But I'm not even sure how they'll represent the new system on a statblock, I just assume it'll use some form of descriptive words as a replacement for 2 letters representing alignment for brevity but who knows. Perhaps we'll see when Rage of Elements releases since that's supposed to reflect the new core concepts.

I will say I did like alignment to describe a settlement or kingdom. I remember using it quite a bit in my AD&D 2e Dragonlance campaigns to understand what type of society a village or town listed in a book was. I just never found it all that useful for individual people. 🤷‍♂️
 

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