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  • Oh, maybe it is. This is the art I tend to think of.



    Freelancer (He/His Pronouns): CofD - Dark Eras 2, Kith and Kin, Mummy 2e, Oak Ash and Thorn; Scion - Mysteries of the World

    CofD booklists: Beast I Changeling | Demon | Deviant (TBA) | Geist l Hunter l Mage | Mummy | Promethean | Vampire | Werewolf (WIP)

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    • I am so, so tired of just the worst nerds with absolutely terrible hot takes getting really indignant when you suggest “this entire race of people is okay to murder on sight” isn’t a good thing.


      Remi. she/her. game designer.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by atamajakki View Post
        I am so, so tired of just the worst nerds with absolutely terrible hot takes getting really indignant when you suggest “this entire race of people is okay to murder on sight” isn’t a good thing.

        When you join a military force who's job is to go out and slay the enemy on a constant basis, they don't train you to think about whether or not the enemy has friends and family to go home to. Nor do they train you to think about what circumstances in life lead to them being on the receiving end of your blade. They train you to perceive the enemy as a threat that needs to be wiped out, before it has a chance to do the same to you.

        If every adventurer was expected to pause and think about the implications behind slaughtering waves of monsters, nobody would ever be able to play Good or Evil again. Everything would be painted in shades of Neutrality. This isn't Naruto, where every villain gets to lay out their tragic back story right before they're defeated. This is D&D / Pathfinder, which has literal monsters inhabiting the multiverse.

        Am I supposed to feel sympathy for Illithids, now? "Oh yes, they eat people's brains, but only because they don't have a choice. They'd starve to death without them!"
        Last edited by Nyrufa; 08-27-2019, 11:44 AM.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
          When you join a military force who's job is to go out and slay the enemy on a constant basis, they don't train you to think about whether or not the enemy has friends and family to go home to. Nor do they train you to think about what circumstances in life lead to them being on the receiving end of your blade. They train you to perceive the enemy as a threat that needs to be wiped out, before it has a chance to do the same to you.
          Which is pretty fucked up, and is likely partially responsible for the atrocities committed by soldiers against innocent civilians in just about every war ever.

          Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
          If every adventurer was expected to pause and think about the implications behind slaughtering waves of monsters, nobody would ever be able to play Good or Evil again. Everything would be painted in shades of Neutrality.
          You mean people might actually develop more nuanced views of morality as a result of the media they consume presenting moral issues with more nuance? *gasp* how terrible!

          Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
          This isn't Naruto, where every villain gets to lay out their tragic back story right before they're defeated. This is D&D / Pathfinder, which has literal monsters inhabiting the multiverse.
          As a WoD and CofD fan, I would expect you to be pretty used to literal monsters presented with moral nuance.

          Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
          Am I supposed to feel sympathy for Illithids, now? "Oh yes, they eat people's brains, but only because they don't have a choice. They'd starve to death without them!"
          Do you not? They’re innocent people whose brains have been devoured by an alien parasite that then grew large enough to force its tendrils through the face of their now-lifeless host body. The parasites themselves have had their natural life cycles altered and their minds and culture maliciously manipulated by the Elder Brains to serve an unknown interest. And if you go by 3e lore, they’re actually humans from the distant future that came back to try to prevent their own demise, and failed (I’m actually not a fan of that particular bit of lore, but it’s there for those who like it.)

          Yes, Illithids are dangerous creatures that will eat your brains if you don’t defend yourself, and they have committed horrible acts of oppression against entire races of humanoids, which is pretty unquestionably evil. But if you treat them as universally evil and acceptable to kill on sight, you throw away any potential for a story with more emotional depth than “good guy kills bad guy, day is saved.”


          Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post


            As a WoD and CofD fan, I would expect you to be pretty used to literal monsters presented with moral nuance.


            Do you not? They’re innocent people whose brains have been devoured by an alien parasite that then grew large enough to force its tendrils through the face of their now-lifeless host body. The parasites themselves have had their natural life cycles altered and their minds and culture maliciously manipulated by the Elder Brains to serve an unknown interest. And if you go by 3e lore, they’re actually humans from the distant future that came back to try to prevent their own demise, and failed (I’m actually not a fan of that particular bit of lore, but it’s there for those who like it.)

            Yes, Illithids are dangerous creatures that will eat your brains if you don’t defend yourself, and they have committed horrible acts of oppression against entire races of humanoids, which is pretty unquestionably evil. But if you treat them as universally evil and acceptable to kill on sight, you throw away any potential for a story with more emotional depth than “good guy kills bad guy, day is saved.”

            I really need to learn how to quote individual sections, instead of all in one chunk.


            1 - I usually end up tossing out the moral nuance stuff at the earliest opportunity. I've said before that I refuse to buy in to the ridiculous idea that Humanity is something worth preserving. In my mind, it is disgustingly hypocritical, and responsible for far greater acts of destruction than any fictional monster can ever hope to replicate, and they do so for far less justifiable reasons. My monstrous characters don't make excuses for themselves. They acknowledge they are monsters, and they own up to that fact, rather than trying to run from it.

            I play Vampires who are on a Path of Enlightenment, because they fully understand that the Path of Humanity is unsustainable in the long term. I play Werewolves who fall in with The Pure, because"sins of the father" is a bullshit excuse for guilt tripping one's descendants thousands of years after a crime was committed. I play Changelings who have aspirations of becoming True Fey themselves, because they admire the godly powers that they wield over the realm and wish to obtain it for themselves. I admire the Mauraders for exactly the same reason, in that they've managed to create their own personal reality bubble in which they're effectively gods of their own pocket dimension.


            2 - No, I don't. Even though Illithids are one of my favorite monsters in the game, I would not hesitate to exterminate an entire city down to the last man, woman, and whatever equates to child if I came across an infestation of Mind Flayers. Why? Because these things are an objective threat to everyone and everything within range of their telepathic influence. Yes, their origins may be tragic, and that's very sad for them. But right now, I'm more concerned with the fact they are abducting people at night, forcing them into slavery, and devouring their brains to absorb additional knowledge about how to conquer our society, than I am about whether or not they were good people before all this happened.
            Last edited by Nyrufa; 08-27-2019, 02:03 PM.

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            • Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
              I really need to learn how to quote individual sections, instead of all in one chunk.
              You just split up a post with (QUOTE) and (/QUOTE). With [ and ] instead of parentheses. (QUOTE) starts the quoting, (/QUOTE) ends it.


              I play Werewolves who fall in with The Pure, because"sins of the father" is a bullshit excuse for guilt tripping one's descendants thousands of years after a crime was committed.
              I figure you're just posturing but this isn't how Werewolf works and the Pure are the ones who revolve around guilt trips and are hung up for what someone else did thousands of years ago.
              Last edited by nofather; 08-27-2019, 02:21 PM.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                1 - I usually end up tossing out the moral nuance stuff at the earliest opportunity. I've said before that I refuse to buy in to the ridiculous idea that Humanity is something worth preserving. In my mind, it is disgustingly hypocritical, and responsible for far greater acts of destruction than any fictional monster can ever hope to replicate, and they do so for far less justifiable reasons. My monstrous characters don't make excuses for themselves. They acknowledge they are monsters, and they own up to that fact, rather than trying to run from it.
                Who said anything about trying to preserve humanity?

                Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                I play Vampires who are on a Path of Enlightenment, because they fully understand that the Path of Humanity is unsustainable in the long term. I play Werewolves who fall in with The Pure, because"sins of the father" is a bullshit excuse for guilt tripping one's descendants thousands of years after a crime was committed. I play Changelings who have aspirations of becoming True Fey themselves, because they admire the godly powers that they wield over the realm and wish to obtain it for themselves. I admire the Mauraders for exactly the same reason, in that they've managed to create their own personal reality bubble in which they're effectively gods of their own pocket dimension.
                ...None of this has anything to do with presenting groups as morally acceptable to kill on sight,

                Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                2 - No, I don't. Even though Illithids are one of my favorite monsters in the game, I would not hesitate to exterminate an entire city down to the last man, woman, and whatever equates to child if I came across an infestation of Mind Flayers. Why? Because these things are an objective threat to everyone and everything within range of their telepathic influence. Yes, their origins may be tragic, and that's very sad for them. But right now, I'm more concerned with the fact they are abducting people at night, forcing them into slavery, and devouring their brains to absorb additional knowledge about how to conquer our society, than I am about whether or not they were good people before all this happened.
                Which is a reasonable stance to take. But you take that stance in spite of their tragic origins, which makes it a string moral stance. If illithids were universally, unambiguously evil, then a stance like yours wouldn’t be a question of what you think is right, it would be a matter of pure practicality.


                Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                  If every adventurer was expected to pause and think about the implications behind slaughtering waves of monsters, nobody would ever be able to play Good or Evil again. Everything would be painted in shades of Neutrality. This isn't Naruto, where every villain gets to lay out their tragic back story right before they're defeated. This is D&D / Pathfinder, which has literal monsters inhabiting the multiverse.

                  I find some players just aren't interested in exploring ethical dilemmas in RPGs. For them, it's basically pizza and beer night and where they can have fun stomping through dungeons, killing monsters and getting loot. They're not interested in examining moral aspects of the setting, they just want to kick ass and get levels. So when other people start interjecting these ethical arguments into the game, they tend to lose interest. I think that's a legitimate way to play the game. It's not necessarily my cup of tea, but if that's how people have fun, it's okay with me. If I'm at the table with a group of people who are just there to kick ass and take names, I'm not going to start demanding that we play in a way that makes me happy if it would hurt the enjoyment of those other people.

                  Anyway, to a large degree this is simply due to the origins of D&D which started off as war gaming. D&D even had objective alignment with races predominantly falling into certain alignments specifically so players could have their characters stomp through dungeons killing stuff without feeling guilty afterwards. Of course, some people will get defensive if you suggest that they're "playing the game wrong" or that "your way" of playing is more fun than "their way" is because they view that as an attack against them. But then, some people can't take even the smallest amount of criticism.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                    Do you not? They’re innocent people whose brains have been devoured by an alien parasite that then grew large enough to force its tendrils through the face of their now-lifeless host body. The parasites themselves have had their natural life cycles altered and their minds and culture maliciously manipulated by the Elder Brains to serve an unknown interest. And if you go by 3e lore, they’re actually humans from the distant future that came back to try to prevent their own demise, and failed (I’m actually not a fan of that particular bit of lore, but it’s there for those who like it.)

                    Yes, Illithids are dangerous creatures that will eat your brains if you don’t defend yourself, and they have committed horrible acts of oppression against entire races of humanoids, which is pretty unquestionably evil. But if you treat them as universally evil and acceptable to kill on sight, you throw away any potential for a story with more emotional depth than “good guy kills bad guy, day is saved.”
                    I find Illithids are creatures who elicit pity but not sympathy. It's unfortunate that the body they inhabit was forced to be a brain eating parasite, and it's too bad the brain eating parasite has been indoctrinated in various ways, but... at the end of the day they murder people and eat their brains. They have to eat the brain of a sentient creatures at least once a month or die, and that's fasting levels so most prefer eating at least two brains per month to stay healthy. If you see an Illithid walking around, it's pretty safe to say it killed anywhere from 12-24 people in the last year, since if it didn't, it would have starved to death and wouldn't be walking around.

                    Of course it's possible for Illithids to become productive members of other societies. An Illithid could purchase slaves to eat in societies where that's legal, or live in a society where capital punishment takes the form of being given to an Illithid as dinner (though of course this can run into issues - as a point of comparison 25 executions were carried out in the entire United States in 2018, so a population of ~325 million provides enough criminals to feed one Illithid for a year and even in the US there are plenty of arguments about how unjust capital punishment is and how many innocent people are killed). The society could start having the death sentence be given out at more frequently and for lesser crimes to keep the Illithid population satiated, but I don't know that such a society would qualify as a "Good" one.

                    So while Illithids can play various roles in a story, if players view them as serial killing, brain eating monsters and feel more revulsion than sympathy, I think that's in line with the role Illithids are intended to play in the gameline.
                    Last edited by AnubisXy; 08-27-2019, 03:50 PM.

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                    • Sometimes we want unambiguous heroes fighting unambiguous bad guys in a black-and-white situation, certainly. We can have this without painting entire sapient species as irredeemably evil form the moment they're born. To imply otherwise is a false dichotomy the size of a Tarrasque on steroids.

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                      • Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post


                        I find some players just aren't interested in exploring ethical dilemmas in RPGs. For them, it's basically pizza and beer night and where they can have fun stomping through dungeons, killing monsters and getting loot. They're not interested in examining moral aspects of the setting, they just want to kick ass and get levels. So when other people start interjecting these ethical arguments into the game, they tend to lose interest.

                        Yes, this is exactly the situation in my case. Minus the beer, I don't like alcohol.

                        And this is hardly something that is unique to table top gamers. Anybody who's a fan of the horror movie genre can be said to fall within the same category. In the sense that they're sitting down for a couple hours to watch a story about people being massacred, by a creature who needs to die, and then everybody cheers and breathes a collective sigh of relief once the threat has been dealt with.

                        If mindless, unapologetic evil wasn't something people found entertaining, then characters like Freddy Kreuger, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Ghost Face, Chucky, Pinhead and Leprechaun wouldn't have spawned franchises with more sequels and reboots than I'm able to keep track of.

                        Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                        Which is a reasonable stance to take. But you take that stance in spite of their tragic origins, which makes it a string moral stance. If illithids were universally, unambiguously evil, then a stance like yours wouldn’t be a question of what you think is right, it would be a matter of pure practicality.
                        Actually, I just remembered this after waking up from my nap. But if you've ever heard of the game SOMA, it goes into detail about the idea of transferring one's consciousness into another body. More specifically, it addresses the issue that when doing so, you don't actually transfer the original consciousness, but simply duplicate it into the new body. Instead of being the key to immortality we like to imagine it as, achieving The Singularity would actually result in the collective suicide of whatever civilization was gullible enough to try uploading their personalities into a cybernetic network.

                        And in that respect, the Illithid operate on a similar principle. Ceramorphosis doesn't turn the victim into an Illithid. The larva burrows into their skull, absorbs their brain and then fuses with the body like some kind of alien parasite. It may contain the memories of your friends and loved ones, but that thing wiggling its tentacles in your direction is NOT the person you once knew. From my perspective, the person they ate is dead. Their souls have moved on, and all I'm looking at now is some form of Eldritch Undead abomination that needs a sword plunged through its brain, before it proceeds to eat mine.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
                          I find some players just aren't interested in exploring ethical dilemmas in RPGs. For them, it's basically pizza and beer night and where they can have fun stomping through dungeons, killing monsters and getting loot. They're not interested in examining moral aspects of the setting, they just want to kick ass and get levels. So when other people start interjecting these ethical arguments into the game, they tend to lose interest. I think that's a legitimate way to play the game. It's not necessarily my cup of tea, but if that's how people have fun, it's okay with me. If I'm at the table with a group of people who are just there to kick ass and take names, I'm not going to start demanding that we play in a way that makes me happy if it would hurt the enjoyment of those other people.

                          Anyway, to a large degree this is simply due to the origins of D&D which started off as war gaming. D&D even had objective alignment with races predominantly falling into certain alignments specifically so players could have their characters stomp through dungeons killing stuff without feeling guilty afterwards. Of course, some people will get defensive if you suggest that they're "playing the game wrong" or that "your way" of playing is more fun than "their way" is because they view that as an attack against them. But then, some people can't take even the smallest amount of criticism.
                          I agree, but I think it’s easier to ignore moral nuance that is written into the lore than to inject it into lore that isn’t written to accommodate it.

                          Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
                          I find Illithids are creatures who elicit pity but not sympathy. It's unfortunate that the body they inhabit was forced to be a brain eating parasite, and it's too bad the brain eating parasite has been indoctrinated in various ways, but... at the end of the day they murder people and eat their brains. They have to eat the brain of a sentient creatures at least once a month or die, and that's fasting levels so most prefer eating at least two brains per month to stay healthy. If you see an Illithid walking around, it's pretty safe to say it killed anywhere from 12-24 people in the last year, since if it didn't, it would have starved to death and wouldn't be walking around.

                          Of course it's possible for Illithids to become productive members of other societies. An Illithid could purchase slaves to eat in societies where that's legal, or live in a society where capital punishment takes the form of being given to an Illithid as dinner (though of course this can run into issues - as a point of comparison 25 executions were carried out in the entire United States in 2018, so a population of ~325 million provides enough criminals to feed one Illithid for a year and even in the US there are plenty of arguments about how unjust capital punishment is and how many innocent people are killed). The society could start having the death sentence be given out at more frequently and for lesser crimes to keep the Illithid population satiated, but I don't know that such a society would qualify as a "Good" one.

                          So while Illithids can play various roles in a story, if players view them as serial killing, brain eating monsters and feel more revulsion than sympathy, I think that's in line with the role Illithids are intended to play in the gameline.
                          Well said, I think this is a better dive into the complexity of Ilithids than my own earlier attempt.

                          Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                          Actually, I just remembered this after waking up from my nap. But if you've ever heard of the game SOMA, it goes into detail about the idea of transferring one's consciousness into another body. More specifically, it addresses the issue that when doing so, you don't actually transfer the original consciousness, but simply duplicate it into the new body. Instead of being the key to immortality we like to imagine it as, achieving The Singularity would actually result in the collective suicide of whatever civilization was gullible enough to try uploading their personalities into a cybernetic network.

                          I love SOMA, and I think this is a bit of an oversimplified analysis. Part of what made SOMA interesting was the deep dive into the question of what is consciousness and how does it relate to memory. It doesn’t give any hard answers on whether or not the duplicate consciousness is a continuation of the original or a completely new consciousness. Different characters have different opinions on the matter, and the game explores all of those perspectives without taking a hard stance on which, if any, is “right.” Although, the fact that
                          [spoiler]by the end it’s implied that you’ve been playing through the memories of the ...fourth duplicate of the main character’s consciousness, if I recall correctly?[/quote]
                          does kind of favor the “yes, a duplicate consciousness is a continuation of the original” interpretation, I suspect unintentionally.

                          Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                          And in that respect, the Illithid operate on a similar principle. Ceramorphosis doesn't turn the victim into an Illithid. The larva burrows into their skull, absorbs their brain and then fuses with the body like some kind of alien parasite. It may contain the memories of your friends and loved ones, but that thing wiggling its tentacles in your direction is NOT the person you once knew. From my perspective, the person they ate is dead. Their souls have moved on, and all I'm looking at now is some form of Eldritch Undead abomination that needs a sword plunged through its brain, before it proceeds to eat mine.

                          Oh, I agree, especially in D&D, where souls objectively, unquestionably exist and are the seat of what one might call the “self.” I like what AnubisXy said about them being pitiable more so than sympathetic. But at any rate, I think the fact that we can even have conversations like this about Illithid is to the credit of the folks behind their lore. It makes them more interesting antagonists than, say, demons, which are just irredeemably evil and can be safely murdered without raising any such moral quandaries. Even if you always come down on the side of “I may pity these creatures, but it is for the better that they be killed,” the fact that others have strong grounds on which to disagree is a good thing in my opinion.
                          Last edited by Charlaquin; 08-27-2019, 04:43 PM.


                          Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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                          • So the new Pathfinder adventure, Age of Ashes #2: Cult of Cinders, is really, really good. One of my favorites.

                            The PCs spend some time with the elves of the setting’s Africa equivalent, who are vibrant and interesting and respectfully depicted, and you get some really wonderful social encounters - with my favorite being “my dad and this other guy are deeply in love, but they’re too dense to admit it and think the other isn’t interested, can you help?” being my favorite. There’s dinosaurs to fight. There’s an insufferable colonial archeologist to beat up on. There’s a pretty huge lore revelation. There’s friendly kobolds and orcs.

                            It basically rules.


                            Remi. she/her. game designer.

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                            • I've only given the Lost Omens World Guide a quick skim, but I like what I see there too.


                              Freelancer (He/His Pronouns): CofD - Dark Eras 2, Kith and Kin, Mummy 2e, Oak Ash and Thorn; Scion - Mysteries of the World

                              CofD booklists: Beast I Changeling | Demon | Deviant (TBA) | Geist l Hunter l Mage | Mummy | Promethean | Vampire | Werewolf (WIP)

                              Comment


                              • Sounds interesting, I'll check it out. Does it take place in the Mwangi Expanse then? I ran an extended campaign (took about a year and a half to complete) which pulled in parts of the Skull and Shackles adventure path, and it ended up primarily taking place in the Nwangi Expanse. It's an area that never got super explored or fleshed out in the main setting beyond an overview book or two, so I'd be interested in seeing what they do with it. Plus, I'm always down for friendly kobolds (or even unfriendly kobolds truth be told. Kobolds are just kind cool.).

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