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Based on a related question, where Eat Sin was quoted, I noticed something rather... strange.

Eat Sin (Sp)

At 1st level, as a free action, when the sin eater inquisitor kills an enemy, she may eat the sins of that enemy by spending 1 minute adjacent to its corpse. This provokes attacks of opportunity. The inquisitor can rush this ritual, performing it as a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity, but she only gains half the normal benefit (see below).

Eating the enemy’s sins heals the inquisitor of a number of hit points of damage equal to 1d8 + her inquisitor level (maximum +5). The enemy must have been killed by the sin eater within the last hour, and it must have had at least as many Hit Dice as half the inquisitor’s level. The inquisitor can use this ability once for each enemy she kills. This ability has no effect on mindless creatures or those with Intelligence 2 or less.

At 5th level, the healing increases to 2d8 plus her inquisitor level (maximum +10); it increases to 3d8 + her inquisitor level (maximum +15) at 9th level and to 4d8 + her inquisitor level (maximum +20) at 13th level.

In some faiths, this “eating” is a purely symbolic act, while in others, the inquisitor must eat a small amount of food and water as part of the ritual. A few extreme faiths actually require the inquisitor to eat some of the body of the slain enemy.

At 8th level, when a sin eater eats the sins of a creature that would rise as an undead (such as someone slain by a shadow, spectre, or vampire), the sin eater may choose to accept 1 temporary negative level to absorb the taint in the corpse, preventing it from rising as an undead. This negative level can be removed with the appropriate magic, though it automatically expires after 24 hours, and never becomes a permanent negative level. At the GM’s discretion, this ability may prevent a ghost from using its rejuvenation ability.

The first two bolded parts pretty much insist that you as the inquisitor must have killed the creature and sound pretty good per flavour, you kill them and then absolve them of their sins. However, that would make the 8th level upgrade to Eat Sin almost completely moot; you can't eat the sins of somebody killed by a shadow, spectre or vampire, unless -you- happen to be the shadow/spectre/vampire that killed the corpse.

Is this how the feat was intended? Can you only eat the sins of a creature you yourself have killed?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not worth an answer 'cause I can't back it up, but it does seem that starting at 8th level he can also eat sins from that specific category of dead creatures. \$\endgroup\$ – Ciacciu Jun 9 '15 at 15:47
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So Sayeth Sean K. Reynolds:

The base ability only works on enemies the sin eater has killed.

The 8th-level ability works on any creature, not just enemies and not just ones that the sin-eater killed.

Unfortunately, this won't allow you to go nuts, and eat the sins of anyone that dies around you to gain tons of healing. Fortunately, it also means you can use the 8th level ability without being a wight/shadow/vampire Inquisitor.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm going to mark this one as the right answer, as a developer's feedback is more useful than speculation. \$\endgroup\$ – Theik Jun 10 '15 at 16:58
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Based on the rules as written, I would have to say yes. It doesn't seem to me like the ability is all that bad. If you killed an enemy you absolve them of their sins and receive a moderate amount of out-of-combat healing.

If you're an Inqusitor and you're fulfilling the role of BDF in a group you'll be doing a fair amount of damage to the things you fight from arcane and divine caster buffs, which will allow you to recover any damage you've taken after the fight in the form of sins eaten after combat ends based on the number of enemies you've killed.

Keep in mind also that an enemy isn't dead until it reaches its negative hit points relative to its constitution score, so if enemies are dying after the fight, you can finish them off and still receive the benefit of Eat Sin as well.

The part about negative levels does seem a bit unclear though, I'll give you that.

Since you have to be energy drained by a creature that bestows negative levels to even have the ability to rise from the dead as a creature of that type, it means that you probably weren't the one who killed them. The only thing that I can think of when looking at that last paragraph in the description is that the Sin eater can also eat the sins of someone killed by a shadow to prevent it from rising as undead, otherwise the ability to eat their sins would be impossible. It seems like that would be something that you'd clear with your GM first to insure that the way the ability works is agreed upon, though I'd say it should function completely separately from the Eat Sin ability.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ A few kinds of undead (liches, ghosts, etc.) can rise as undead despite not being killed by undead. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Jun 10 '15 at 0:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ That would make killing liches quite trivial then, essentially ending the "finding the phylactery" step \$\endgroup\$ – Sandwich Jun 10 '15 at 0:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Indeed it would. Honestly, it sounds like something not intended to me - but then, I don't have a copy of the rules in question. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Jun 10 '15 at 1:02

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