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Azar Posted - 27 Oct 2020 : 22:36:59
Hello folks.

What marks the difference between a Paladin engaging in courtship and flirting? Some interpretations of this Class/calling insist on absolute chastity that adheres to real-life inspiration and even precludes purely non-physical love whereas other takes are more liberal/permissive (e.g., later editions of D&D introduced Paladins of Sune). In your games, would a Paladin that flirts - so long as they were open about their intentions and not concurrently engaged with multiple prospective romantic partners - be completely out of order, walking a fine line or behaving well within their expected ethics/morals?
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
cpthero2 Posted - 16 Nov 2020 : 07:44:51
Learned Scribe Azar,

Great quote that you paraphrased there! I think I am going to keep that one.

Do you remember at all where that quote came from, originally?

Best regards,




Azar Posted - 16 Nov 2020 : 03:06:22
quote:
Originally posted by cpthero2

Learned Scribe Azar,

quote:
That may be so. However...the Realms aren't strictly medieval. Furthermore, many of us play to get away from the modern world, yes, but we're not looking to achieve full historical accuracy. I - personally - require just enough detail to get the immersion going and no more.


I completely agree with this. I like to have enough where the familiarity on average breeds comfortable association, without going to such a degree that it is too far gone with detail and the story is lost. It is a really hard thing to pull off, and I hope some day to get it correct! ;)

Best regards,








There was this quote that really spoke to me and I'm paraphrasing it a bit, but it goes something like this.

quote:
"If a campaign is a meal, then realism is a spice; sometimes you only require a dash and other times a large amount is needed. Either way, the spice is not the meal."


You can swap out "realism" for "historical accuracy" and the message remains equally applicable. I hesitate settling on the phrase "historical accuracy" because, again, this setting isn't absolutely medieval; magic alone is a rather large game changer.
cpthero2 Posted - 15 Nov 2020 : 23:29:28
Learned Scribe Azar,

quote:
That may be so. However...the Realms aren't strictly medieval. Furthermore, many of us play to get away from the modern world, yes, but we're not looking to achieve full historical accuracy. I - personally - require just enough detail to get the immersion going and no more.


I completely agree with this. I like to have enough where the familiarity on average breeds comfortable association, without going to such a degree that it is too far gone with detail and the story is lost. It is a really hard thing to pull off, and I hope some day to get it correct! ;)

Best regards,




Azar Posted - 11 Nov 2020 : 00:38:37
I mentioned "Amaunator" and some heard "Tyr" .

quote:
Originally posted by Dalor Darden

Some people can't help seeing things from their modern viewpoint of good, evil, law, chaos and insist that medieval societies adhere to their narrow experiences.



That may be so. However...the Realms aren't strictly medieval. Furthermore, many of us play to get away from the modern world, yes, but we're not looking to achieve full historical accuracy. I - personally - require just enough detail to get the immersion going and no more.
cpthero2 Posted - 07 Nov 2020 : 06:28:53
Great Reader Darden,

You make a really good point. Some people do.

For example, as I was just commenting to Learned Scribe bloodtide_the_red, I have different medieval systems of law that I use in different places. A lot of them are trial by ordeal, which were of course public crimes due to the fact that crimes were issues of public impact in all manner. There are many examples of legal systems in the Realms adhering to old, "abusive" (to us, not them of course), unequal, and unfair practices. While laughable to us now, the idea of Questions of Importance were amazingly good ideas in medieval times, whether done by the monarch or his surrogate. lol

In Unther, I use the Code of Enlil, but it is the Vendidad, so I use what I know of that as well.

So yes, I agree of course: people do narrow things down often to one scope, without considering the panoply of legal systems that existed and the cultural complexity behind them.

Best regards,




cpthero2 Posted - 07 Nov 2020 : 06:17:23
Learned Scribe bloodtide_the_red,

quote:
In most places Realmswide, the church of Tyr is not a legal marshal, sheriff or judge.


I actually agree with you. I very much enjoy the intricate arguments around this kind of material and thus, like digging into the nuanced points about it. Tyrran's would get wrecked if they went around doing what it says in the dogma.

quote:
So in most cases they can't really "uphamd" the law or really do anything else legally. At best cleric, knight or paladin of Tyr is a vigilante.


So true, and it says so, ironically, right in the dogma. They help others and themselves seek vengeance against the guilty. The interesting thing about that is the reality that the "guilty" can be quite a different thing from once place to another, hence my bringing up and juxtaposing Cormyr and Semphar.

quote:
And try this spin. All the dogma of Tyr is really written with kid gloves, rose colored glasses and super delusional perfect world view.


That is so true. Honestly, the tropey, "hero" ethic is in fact written with kids gloves. It's an ethic that is based on situational moments, and really appears to be a form of epicureanism. Which, is fine if that is how someone lives their lives, but it is a farse when such an ethic, or something similar to it, is an almost immutable ethic that everyone gets, as in moral realism, or certain normative ethic models. It seems to center around the group think notion of what the group tacitly feels is walking up to the line without crossing it, but letting the other party know it was bad, but not so bad that they have to take serious action. It is a bit bizarre.

quote:
Tyr wants the follower to uphold truth and honor and justice and law and good...BUT only the, wink wink, 20th/21st century super elitist viewpoint. And the interesting twist is that Tyr is mostly active in the Heartlands of the Realms, and amazingly most of the Heartlands are all wacky 20th/21st century societies. Go most places in the Heartlands, and it's a lot like living in 20th/21st century America/Canada. So...amazingly (wink wink) the laws of most places in the Heartlands are 20th/21st American/Canadian century "perfect": innocent until proven guilty, freedom of religion, equality, and so on. This "perfect" land is where followers of Tyr are made to act in: the land that is made, just right for them.


It is hilarious, no lie. I mean, in medieval times, it began with trial by ordeal, and then when the Church pulled out of that, it went to jury of presentment, and others after that too. All of which were insanely unfair and unreasonable in any way, shape and form.

quote:
And the really fun twist, is maybe the whole Heartlands are so 20th/21st America/Canada 'perfect' IS because of Tyr. More then likely most places in the Heartlands had a lot of laws more typical of any place or any when OTHER then 20th/21st America/Canada. But over the years (centuries) Tyr has gotten rid of all the bad and evil laws to MAKE the Heartlands 20th/21st American/Canadian century "perfect".



Oh yeah, could you imagine it not being that way, and then all of a sudden your 21st level player get some Semphar, Calimshan, Halruaa law? That would not make for a good session. It's fun dealing with this stuff and figuring it out for sure!

Best regards,




Dalor Darden Posted - 07 Nov 2020 : 06:01:35
Some people can't help seeing things from their modern viewpoint of good, evil, law, chaos and insist that medieval societies adhere to their narrow experiences.
LordofBones Posted - 07 Nov 2020 : 04:53:48
Tyr is from the Norse pantheon. It's likely he adapted to the rules set by the Faerunian pantheon than the other way 'round, given that Nordic justice gives us wonderful things like Loki's punishment.
bloodtide_the_red Posted - 07 Nov 2020 : 04:40:36
In most places Realmswide, the church of Tyr is not a legal marshal, sheriff or judge. So in most cases they can't really "uphamd" the law or really do anything else legally. At best cleric, knight or paladin of Tyr is a vigilante. Sure they could join a law enforcement or legal arm of any government, but that has nothing to do with their faith.

And try this spin. All the dogma of Tyr is really written with kid gloves, rose colored glasses and super delusional perfect world view. Tyr wants the follower to uphold truth and honor and justice and law and good...BUT only the, wink wink, 20th/21st century super elitist viewpoint. And the interesting twist is that Tyr is mostly active in the Heartlands of the Realms, and amazingly most of the Heartlands are all wacky 20th/21st century societies. Go most places in the Heartlands, and it's a lot like living in 20th/21st century America/Canada. So...amazingly (wink wink) the laws of most places in the Heartlands are 20th/21st American/Canadian century "perfect": innocent until proven guilty, freedom of religion, equality, and so on. This "perfect" land is where followers of Tyr are made to act in: the land that is made, just right for them.

And the really fun twist, is maybe the whole Heartlands are so 20th/21st America/Canada 'perfect' IS because of Tyr. More then likely most places in the Heartlands had a lot of laws more typical of any place or any when OTHER then 20th/21st America/Canada. But over the years (centuries) Tyr has gotten rid of all the bad and evil laws to MAKE the Heartlands 20th/21st American/Canadian century "perfect".
cpthero2 Posted - 06 Nov 2020 : 18:08:27
Learned Scribe Azar,

quote:
Hm. Would Amaunator (a Lawful Neutral god that vastly prefers the letter of the law to the spirit) enforce the flower death penalty?

P.S. Star Trek: The Next Generation reference?


Ahhhh, perfect point you make there. Your love for Star Trek is likely on par with mine. That was a fantastic episode to explore ethics and morality in. It hit the nail right on the head. The irony was that while it discussed the death penalty, it was really more of a referendum on what is right, wrong, etc. I feel that a retort to this, as a means to get ahead of it relates to Tyr's dogma, which I will post below and then comment on:

Tyr's dogma:

quote:
Novices of Tyr are charged to: "Reveal the truth, punish the guilty, right the wrong, and be always true and just in your actions." Tyr and his followers are devoted to the cause of justice, to the righting of wrongs and the deliverance of just vengeance. This is not necessarily equality or fairness, as some make the maimed god out to represent, but rather the discovery of truth and the punishment of the guilty. Tyrrans tend to be stiff-necked about theology and to see matters in black and white terms. Clergy of Tyr are sworn to uphold the law wherever they go, and to punish those wronged under the law. They are to keep complete records of their own rulings, deeds, and decisions. Through these records, a priest's errors can be corrected, his or her grasp of the laws of all lands can grow and flourish, and lawbreakers can be identified by others. No known injustice done by a Tyrran priest must go unbalanced. Priests of Tyr should also always be vigilant in their observations and anticipations, seeking to see what forces and which beings intend or will cause injustices and threaten law and order in the future. They should then act to prevent such challenges to justice in coming to pass. In short: Abide by the laws, and let no others break them. Mete out punishment where lawbreaking occurs.


Clergy of Tyr are sworn to uphold the law wherever they go, and to punish those wronged under the law. Though poorly worded as that should have said, "...and to punish those who wronged under the law.", the point is still wrong for the editorial flub up.

This by itself mandates that the answer to your question would emphatically be yes. However, wait, there's more!

quote:
Tyr and his followers are devoted to the cause of justice, to the righting of wrongs and the deliverance of just vengeance.


What is "justice" in the non-textual consideration, and in order to right wrongs, you have to know what "right" and "wrong" is, in order to avenge wrongs. If followers of Tyr end up upholding "...the law wherever they go,...", then they will eventually uphold "evil" laws (whatever that means) as well as "good laws (whatever that means). The only argument out of this is to say there is absolute good and absolute bad. While that is a Realms setting/cosmology thing, everyone knows that is silly. If that was the case, free choice wouldn't exist, and the fight over souls in the Blood War wouldn't be a thing. You could just grab your morning Demon or Devil Newspaper, read the soul stock market read out and go cash in at the end of the day.

There are other huge problems with the Tyr dogma that are a little.......dirty.

quote:
Reveal the truth, punish the guilty, right the wrong, and be always true and just in your actions.


What does that even mean? Who's truth? It can be considered a capital crime in Semphar to worship anyone else. If you're a Tyrran walking into the country do you just kill yourself for being "illegal" in your thoughts upon entering? If it isn't wrong to worship another deity in Semphar, then why is Semphar not being challenged by the Tyrran's, and specifically, Triad aligned countries, like Cormyr?
quote:
...and Tyr's shrine is perched in the angle where the Promenade and the Royal Ride meet. (Volo's Guide to Cormyr, p17)


Also, when revealing the truth knowing that there is no universal truth, even if there is a universal alignment (I don't accept that, but it is canon) how can someone "always be true and just in your actions" when the rubric changes as soon as someone crosses the "magical" boundary between Mulhorand and Semphar? It's poppycock.

quote:
Tyr and his followers are devoted to the cause of justice,...


That is only true as it regards Tyr not advocating for
quote:
...equality or fairness, as some make the maimed god out to represent, but rather the discovery of truth and the punishment of the guilty.


That just, in a circular fashion, goes right back to what is the truth? Since we know truth, unlike alignment, isn't universal, this is effectively advocacy for the fact that Semphar's legal system is right since Tyrran's don't advocate for
quote:
...equality or fairness, as some make the maimed god out to represent,...
, but rather, "truth and the punishment of the guilty."

To be honest, it sounds like it is better to worship Leira than Tyr. lol

I personally find the inconsistencies fun, and that that is where the devil's playground is.

In the end, I completely agree with your position, and look forward to your response!

Best regards,






Azar Posted - 06 Nov 2020 : 08:48:52
quote:
Originally posted by bloodtide_the_red

A cleric or paladin of Tyr must be Lawful Good, so not to get too deep in alignments they can't do evil acts...ever. Even if they wander into a land with evil laws. Say Triadic Knight Steve is playing catch with boy Bob...and when Bob goes to catch the ball he falls through a fence and tramples/crushes from special flowers. The law keepers rush over and say "it is instant death to disturb special flowers, Triadic Knight Steve, as you were witness to the act, the LAW says you must kill this boy immediately. So does Lawful Good Triadic Knight Steve draw his weapon and slaughter the innocent young boy and just say to himself "yuck yuck, I'm following the law"?

I will say NO. If Tyr was that type of deity, he would be Neutral, not lawful good.


Hm. Would Amaunator (a Lawful Neutral god that vastly prefers the letter of the law to the spirit) enforce the flower death penalty?

P.S. Star Trek: The Next Generation reference?

quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

quote:
No fallen angels or risen fiends in your games, I take it? There is at least one canonical example of a Fiend (Devil) that is hinted to be a celestial being that fell from grace: the Erinyes. Also, I seem to recall reading about an official succubus paladin (!).


While not proper canon, Planescape: Torment was quite populated by such examples. Almost every character in the party was some flavour of contradictory freak:

...

a zealously law-abiding githzerai

...


Because of him, they are now - as of 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons - a Lawful Neutral race. Go figure . Not even Drizzt had that much influence!
cpthero2 Posted - 06 Nov 2020 : 07:07:01
Great Reader Ayrik,

quote:
While not proper canon, Planescape: Torment was quite populated by such examples. Almost every character in the party was some flavour of contradictory freak: an unliving immortal protoganist, a zealously law-abiding githzerai, a redeemed succubus priest, a chaotic warmongering modron, etc.


I don't know why, but upon reading this, I thought of the movie, Nightbreed. Not sure how old you are, have ever heard of it or watched it, but it sounds like that movie. lol

Best regards,



Ayrik Posted - 05 Nov 2020 : 02:47:31
quote:
No fallen angels or risen fiends in your games, I take it? There is at least one canonical example of a Fiend (Devil) that is hinted to be a celestial being that fell from grace: the Erinyes. Also, I seem to recall reading about an official succubus paladin (!).

The ultimate canonical example of a fallen angel, at least in some mythologies, is Asmodeus.

Some deities also have histories involving fundamental shifts in their alignments and natures. It might be argued that they're the most profound examples of this whole idea. Or it might be argued that they're "above" the rules of lesser beings.

Planescape also offered a number of other "crossover" beings, mostly one-offs to help build weirdness into the setting.

While not proper canon, Planescape: Torment was quite populated by such examples. Almost every character in the party was some flavour of contradictory freak: an unliving immortal protoganist, a zealously law-abiding githzerai, a redeemed succubus priest, a chaotic warmongering modron, etc.

So there's plenty of room in D&D for any possibility. But my point is that the vast majority of unexceptionals are constrained by the cosmos. And even the exceptionals - PCs, heroes, villains, and other extraordinary characters - rarely possess unique enough qualities to endure such radical transgressions against their own defining natures. Let alone any desire to do so.
Kentinal Posted - 05 Nov 2020 : 02:43:39
Eludecia, the Succubus Paladin http://archive.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/fc/20050824a

Though I did not approve of how she was treated after wining the D&D Creature Competition, I suspect everyone that came up with competitors were hoping for another to win.

However the contest promised to provide a story for the winner of the contest. They also did stat blocks. Because she was evil born she got six, three for falling. Some objected at the time, however others liked the increased stat blocks for the crunch forgiving the flavor of having her fall.
Azar Posted - 05 Nov 2020 : 02:01:05
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

I prefer more absolute alignment systems. Good and Evil (and Law and Chaos) are fundamental building blocks of the D&D cosmos. Or at least the typical incarnation of the D&D cosmos and the array of Outer Planes structured around it.

Beings like Celestials and Fiends are made of this stuff. For them to act contrary to their essential natures is unthinkable, even suicidal. An angel weakens and perishes after embracing Evil acts. A devil loses all power and stature (and is quickly slain by others of his kind) after embracing Good acts.


No fallen angels or risen fiends in your games, I take it? There is at least one canonical example of a Fiend (Devil) that is hinted to be a celestial being that fell from grace: the Erinyes. Also, I seem to recall reading about an official succubus paladin (!). Note that I am not criticizing you for any such exclusion...I am merely pointing out that they do exist in standard Dungeons & Dragons (along with its standard Alignment system).

That said, I have toyed with an interpretation similar to your own. A Pit Fiend is the concept of corrupted law manifested into tangibility; were they to commit an exceedingly potent act of good, they may transform into a Celestial of some kind.
cpthero2 Posted - 04 Nov 2020 : 17:46:56
Seeker Azar,

quote:
the ability to craft interesting moral dilemmas that aren't designed to punish the player is far from a universal skill. Though we are all parents to many mistakes, it is the mark of the mature individual to recognize and learn from these mistakes in order to reduce future propagation.


That is a valid argument, and I concur. I appreciate that insight. My assumption was predicated on the efficacy of a DM being held constant, which obviously does not make sense, as I sadly have to admit, that philosophical/ethical/moral elements of a campaign are likely, on average, a footnote in the campaign.

quote:
Problematically, some DMs run with a gaming group that doesn't push back against their brand of bad DMing for so long that they end up feeling confused when a new group takes umbrage with their practices. It is a simple fact that we're less likely to engage in self-correction when the people around us fail to provide constructive criticism.

ah superbiae particeps meus es tu

Yes, you are very correct there for sure. Hubris is a nasty creature that seeks to always jump from one shoulder to the other while never being seen. A valid point again regarding constructive criticism. I've found that while people love to argue, they make it so personal regarding the idea they could be wrong that rarely can people contemplate admitting being incorrect.

I read an article a couple of years ago or so (I was researching hubris as curiosity after I saw someone behaving low brow one day) by Roy Lewicki, Beth Polin and Robert Lount called, An Exploration of the Structure of Effective Apologies (06 April 2016 https://doi.org/10.1111/ncmr.12073) {*I love having a WorldCat account*}, and it was very fascinating. The idea of, and acceptance of image repair after a mistake can be so devastating to people that it is argued that the damage it can cause facilitates extreme anger response as a defense mechanism. It was a good read.

As always, I appreciate the input, clarification, and correction. You made a sound argument.

Best regards,



Azar Posted - 04 Nov 2020 : 15:17:53
quote:
Originally posted by cpthero2

The assumption is that all individuals are committing to the exploitation [the only difference... is how deftly one is able to mask...]. So, the apriori presupposition everyone is committing to masking an exploitation is the necessary predicate. I don't agree with that. It sounds like you have a solid understanding of logic, ethics, and storytelling. If you do, and with your awareness, the option is for you to not choose to exploit and avoid deftly masking anything. I like to think I do (damn I try my ass off at least!) too.

I feel the culprit in the situation you are discussing, is one of several things: a) DM incapacity, b) hubris, c) arrogance, d) DM unpreparedness, e) pre-determined outcomes.

Anyhow, heady stuff. As always, I could be mistaken somewhere in my argument. If so, please tear it to pieces. I do love a good argument, and learning something! :)

Best regards,








Allow me to dispel what I believe to be the heart of this miscommunication.

I am well aware that is is possible for a DM to engineer a scenario that is ultimately entrapping and ham-fisted in its execution...without being a consciously sadistic individual. There is no shortage of amateur Dungeon Masters. Hell, there are Dungeon Masters that are generally competent yet blind to their weaknesses in any number of areas; the ability to craft interesting moral dilemmas that aren't designed to punish the player is far from a universal skill. Though we are all parents to many mistakes, it is the mark of the mature individual to recognize and learn from these mistakes in order to reduce future propagation.

Problematically, some DMs run with a gaming group that doesn't push back against their brand of bad DMing for so long that they end up feeling confused when a new group takes umbrage with their practices. It is a simple fact that we're less likely to engage in self-correction when the people around us fail to provide constructive criticism.
cpthero2 Posted - 02 Nov 2020 : 20:32:18
Master Lord of Bones,

quote:
Outside of the Faerunian pantheon, souls default to the plane most aligned to them. The Wall of the Faithless is purely a Forgotten Realms thing.


That very well may be the case (I'm not disputing it, as I am just ignorant as to whether that is the case or not myself).

quote:
Of course, any spellcaster with a planeshift spell can pretty much tell you the same thing,...


I am assuming you are referring to the Planar Fork by that statement?

quote:
...and Kelemvor explicitly has a deal going on with the baatezu against the tanar'ri.


I may be missing something here, but Kelemvor's Agreement was an agreement with the Baatezu true, but not against the tanar'ri. The implication of the agreement was that Lord Kelemvor wanted order in the City of Judgement, and knew he could get that with Baatezu, and not from Tanari'ri, so he made a deal with the devil, if you will. ;) The tanar'ri just make raids here and there and Lord Kelemvor takes action as needed. Though, if you have another source that refers to that deal as being specific to targeting the tanar'ri, I would love to check that out. I am only going off of the FRCS, 3rd edition. I just don't feel by not making a deal with one, you are against them. You're just not making a deal. They could at any time I would imagine.

quote:
In the Great Wheel, the fiends probably wouldn't give a hoot given that Baator receives LE souls by default. The Fugue Plane is just a demiplane where the Faerunian pantheon's dead congregate, a sort of processing office under the command of the pantheon's death god. Kelemvor's realm proper, the Crystal Spire, is in Oinos, Hades.


I conditionally agree with this understanding that the Great Wheel was used in 2nd Edition but is
quote:
...3rd edition, the Forgotten Realms cosmology was retconned, with the World Tree cosmology replacing the Great Wheel.
quote:
The Crystal Spire, formerly known as the Bone Castle,[1] was the joint divine realm of Kelemvor and Jergal.[3][5] It was located in the City of the Dead in the Oinos layer of Hades according to the Great Wheel cosmology,[1][2][6] and in the City of Judgment in the Fugue Plane according to the World Tree and World Axis cosmologies.[3][4][5][7] (FRW: https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Crystal_Spire
quote:
They are formed into a living wall around the City of Strife—Kelemvor, the new lord of the dead, may soon rename it—in the realm of the dead in Oinos in the Gray Waste and left there until they dissolve. (Faiths and Avatars, 2nd Ed., p3)


So, going forward with 3rd, 4th, and 5th, it was World Axis or World Tree, both of which had the Fugue Plane as it's own plane, per citations below:
quote:

quote:
Home Plane: Fugue Plane (Faiths and Pantheons, 3rd Ed. p33)


quote:
The City of Judgment
The shared realm of Kelemvor, Lord of the Dead, and Jergal, Scribe of the Doomed, comprises a portion of the Fugue Plane. This realm, called the Crystal Spire, stands in the center of the region known as the City of Judgment. (FRCS, 3rd Ed. p260)


quote:
The Crystal Spire, a tower of glittering transparent rock, watches over the City of Judgment, a gray
metropolis of the dead, in the otherwise flat and featureless Fugue Plane. From the Crystal Spire, Kelemvor and his seneschal, Jergal, judge the dead. (4th Ed. FRCG, p63)


[quote]Most humans believe the souls of the recently deceased are spirited away to the Fugue Plane, where they wander the great City of Judgment, often unaware they are dead. (SCAG, p20) / It's said that when a soul waits on the Fugue Plane for a deity to take it to its appropriate afterlife, devils approach the soul·and offer it a chance at power and immortal pleasures. (SCAG, p25)


So, it just appears to be a matter of which edition you are playing in.

If you are playing with the Great Wheel cosmology, you would have those souls bound for the Fugue Plane abiding by the reality of Hades.

If you are playing with the World Tree or World Axis, then you I argue based on my previous argument, that the souls are indeed not committed, as they could change allegiance with a deal made with the Baatezu. The fact that the soul can make a choice, means they are not predetermined to go to a location as per the Great Wheel.

Best regards,




LordofBones Posted - 02 Nov 2020 : 11:01:02
Outside of the Faerunian pantheon, souls default to the plane most aligned to them. The Wall of the Faithless is purely a Forgotten Realms thing. Of course, any spellcaster with a planeshift spell can pretty much tell you the same thing, and Kelemvor explicitly has a deal going on with the baatezu against the tanar'ri.

In the Great Wheel, the fiends probably wouldn't give a hoot given that Baator receives LE souls by default. The Fugue Plane is just a demiplane where the Faerunian pantheon's dead congregate, a sort of processing office under the command of the pantheon's death god. Kelemvor's realm proper, the Crystal Spire, is in Oinos, Hades.
cpthero2 Posted - 01 Nov 2020 : 22:23:01
Great Reader Ayrik,

quote:
Long story short, I was trying to illustrate how a paladin holds himself to standards of Good which don't apply to most mortals. He has taken a step towards emulating a Good-aligned celestial - he is rewarded for success (special paladin powers, plus he just spreads Goodness if nothing else), he is punished for failure (atonement, redemption, etc) and risks becoming a fallen paladin, a fate which (to him) is worse than mere death.


I should clarify here too that I have paladins in the Realms I run as available to any god. The are more the "taking action in the field folk" than priests. I have paladins of Mask, Cyric, Sune, Shar, Tyr, etc. Since that is the case, they are not necessarily or mandatorily paragons of good. They are the elite of the faith that may have different mechanical outcomes, i.e. paladins of Mask are priest/rogue hybrids with their own template, including special abilities, etc., since they are trying to be epitome of action in the field in representing Mask, for example. There are some cases where a paladin of Mask is merely a rogue, with special abilities, etc.

quote:
He is, at least in a metaphorically symbolic sense, a sort of physical avatar of the Good power he serves. I consider a true paladin unwavering and unfaltering because (even though he must confront his temptations and he must learn from his mistakes and he must take little breaks now and then) he has dedicated his whole existence to promoting the Good and destroying the Evil. This is an expression of fundamental cosmic alignments, paladins are not common mortals.


I agree that a true paladin is unwavering and unfaltering in their beliefs, I just don't limit the beliefs. Since I don't use a cosmic good v. evil as it relates to mortals, the it is relative. Hence, the Fugue Plane example.

quote:
Your counterarguments about the Fugue are interesting, I hadn't considered them from that perspective. I'd always assumed that fiends are relentless, tenacious, and tireless in their efforts to drag souls screaming into the Nine Hells. They want to corrupt Good souls, they want to cultivate Evil souls, they generally don't care much because any souls they claim can be useful. If they can procure soul victims before a godly proxy shows up to escort these souls into the afterlife then it's really seems more a commentary about broken Fugue (or broken cosmos) than about broken paladins.


I see the fugue plane as a truthism about the universe. I see it as a peek through the veil to see the truth, which has been hidden by the gods until "after that mysterious trip beyond." I see it as the gods have been using mortals in a way to convince them to see their perspective on things so that when they die, they get the soul, and keep it from the Blood War to fuel their demonic and devilish opponents.

When people come back from the Fugue Plane in my campaigns, it is a real experience. They realize that absolute good and evil isn't a mortal thing, it is a thing of those beyond, i.e. the gods, devils, demons, and other immortal powers that are vying for the only thing that is itself a currency, and is not set in stone: the souls of mortals. Otherwise, why would those powers fight so very hard for them and try to corrupt them.

Devil and demons are actually born of corrupted souls. Here is an excerpt from the FRCS 3rd Ed. (sorry for the long quote, but relevant):

quote:
The Baatezu Within the Fugue Plane lurk small enclaves of baatezu. By agreement with Kelemvor, the god of the dead, they cannot harm or trick the waiting souls. However, the devils are allowed to explain to the souls that they are dead and awaiting the arrival of a divine messenger to take them back to their deity's realm. At this point, the devils attempt to bargain with souls. The baatezu want souls that they can use to create lemures (the lowest sort of devil), which over time are transformed into more powerful devils in the service of the Nine Hells. While this probably isn't appealing to most souls, those who are pledged to evil deities or fear what punishments they may suffer in their respective deity's realm might jump at the opportunity to escape that fate. After all, in the hells you certainly know where you stand and have the opportunity for promotion, with the remote possibility of advancing to the level of a pit fiend. As a servant of an evil deity, you are always at that deity's whim and have no guarantee of being anything other than an expendable, insignificant slave. In exchange for consigning themselves to the Nine Hells, souls may be offered early promotions from lemure to another form of devil, material riches for friends or family in Faerun, or the execution of devilish attacks on their still-living enemies on their behalf. Especially powerful souls may bargain for automatic transformation into something other than a lemure. The success rate of the baatezu is low, but given the number of beings that die each day across Faerun, even a small portion of that number results in enough of a gain for the hells that it's worth the fiends' time.


So, since good and evil for mortals I argue isn't fixed, that is why we see the behavior of forces on the Fugue Plane, and in other places.

quote:
And of course these fiends primarily obtain souls which are otherwise destined to be stuffed into the Wall.


That isn't actually the case as per the FRCS 3rd Ed.:

quote:
However, the devils are allowed to explain to the souls that they are dead and awaiting the arrival of a divine messenger to take them back to their deity's realm. At this point, the devils attempt to bargain with souls.


The clear point there is that Lord Kelemvor is compelling the devils, demons, etc. (whoever/whatever) that shows up to make deals must disclose the truth, which as you see above, includes indicating that a "divine messenger" is coming to take the soul. Sure, that could be a divine messenger for the Wall, but clearly not all, otherwise it would say, "The Faithless."

quote:
They may have been Faithless in life but they certainly can't deny the truth they see revealed (too late for them) in death. It's a cruel choice ... but I could understand these unfortunates preferring an afterlife of eternal damnation (with some possibility of promotion through the ranks of the damned) instead of an half-eternal afterlife of mindless suffering while they dissolve into a meaningless monument and final oblivion.


As per above, I think that quote from the FRCS 3rd Ed. (pg.259-260) clarifies.

This is why I see it all as one big half-lie. Souls being tricked in life that there are certain absolutes, which there are... for certain beings: not mortals. Once they get there, Lord Kelemvor compels the truth from beings making bargains. The reason is obvious why: those souls matter a whole lot to all of the stakeholders, i.e. deities, demons, devils.

Best regards,



bloodtide_the_red Posted - 01 Nov 2020 : 03:18:18
A cleric or paladin of Tyr must be Lawful Good, so not to get too deep in alignments they can't do evil acts...ever. Even if they wander into a land with evil laws. Say Triadic Knight Steve is playing catch with boy Bob...and when Bob goes to catch the ball he falls through a fence and tramples/crushes from special flowers. The law keepers rush over and say "it is instant death to disturb special flowers, Triadic Knight Steve, as you were witness to the act, the LAW says you must kill this boy immediately. So does Lawful Good Triadic Knight Steve draw his weapon and slaughter the innocent young boy and just say to himself "yuck yuck, I'm following the law"?

I will say NO. If Tyr was that type of deity, he would be Neutral, not lawful good.

It's tricky as we only have a couple paragraphs for a whole religion....and in a "real Realms" Tyr would have at least one Bible, and a couple hundred years of documentation.

And it's also tricky as we get the "real world" problem. Just about all the printed information about Tyr really only covers Tyr in the Heartland of the Realms: AKA the 20th/21st century USA/Canada of the Realms. The laws of say Waterdeep and Croymr are impossibly amazingly modern and are nothing like Europe laws from say 1200 to 1400. AND that just covers North America and Europe....the WHOLE rest of the world has radically different laws, even in modern times...and often way more different in the past too.

And the Realms takes this up to 11. Say Triadic Knight Steve goes to the Drow city of Gark'red'Varn, where it is LEGAL to kill innocent helpless defenseless people on a whim. So...does Triadic Knight Steve become a murderhobo and slaughter at will because it's the law? How about an elven or dragon place where the law says "humans are not people they are animals."...so does Triadic Knight Steve treat all humans there as animals?

And yes, Triadic Knight Steve would judge a law that said "they can't worship Tyr" as unjust. Though sure he could pretend to "renounce" Tyr and "pretend" to act like a secular person...and then just randomly in a non religious way, ahem, "just do what a Tyr follower would do in this exact same situation in another land."
Ayrik Posted - 31 Oct 2020 : 23:51:32
Long story short, I was trying to illustrate how a paladin holds himself to standards of Good which don't apply to most mortals. He has taken a step towards emulating a Good-aligned celestial - he is rewarded for success (special paladin powers, plus he just spreads Goodness if nothing else), he is punished for failure (atonement, redemption, etc) and risks becoming a fallen paladin, a fate which (to him) is worse than mere death. He is, at least in a metaphorically symbolic sense, a sort of physical avatar of the Good power he serves. I consider a true paladin unwavering and unfaltering because (even though he must confront his temptations and he must learn from his mistakes and he must take little breaks now and then) he has dedicated his whole existence to promoting the Good and destroying the Evil. This is an expression of fundamental cosmic alignments, paladins are not common mortals.

Your counterarguments about the Fugue are interesting, I hadn't considered them from that perspective. I'd always assumed that fiends are relentless, tenacious, and tireless in their efforts to drag souls screaming into the Nine Hells. They want to corrupt Good souls, they want to cultivate Evil souls, they generally don't care much because any souls they claim can be useful. If they can procure soul victims before a godly proxy shows up to escort these souls into the afterlife then it's really seems more a commentary about broken Fugue (or broken cosmos) than about broken paladins.

And of course these fiends primarily obtain souls which are otherwise destined to be stuffed into the Wall. They may have been Faithless in life but they certainly can't deny the truth they see revealed (too late for them) in death. It's a cruel choice ... but I could understand these unfortunates preferring an afterlife of eternal damnation (with some possibility of promotion through the ranks of the damned) instead of an half-eternal afterlife of mindless suffering while they dissolve into a meaningless monument and final oblivion.
cpthero2 Posted - 31 Oct 2020 : 20:09:00
Great Reader Ayrik,

quote:
I prefer more absolute alignment systems. Good and Evil (and Law and Chaos) are fundamental building blocks of the D&D cosmos. Or at least the typical incarnation of the D&D cosmos and the array of Outer Planes structured around it.


I can certainly appreciate that perspective. It is the by the book approach to D&D. I chose to change the system with how I've historically interpreted wars, cultures, etc. Certainly nothing wrong with sticking to the way it is defined in the core books though! :)

quote:
Beings like Celestials and Fiends are made of this stuff. For them to act contrary to their essential natures is unthinkable, even suicidal.


I do agree with this. I have mortals play by different rules that being made of the very essence of good and evil.

quote:
An angel weakens and perishes after embracing Evil acts. A devil loses all power and stature (and is quickly slain by others of his kind) after embracing Good acts.


Sounds about right. Agreed.

quote:
Primes on Material Planes aren't as restricted by alignment. Ordinary men on ordinary worlds can do whatever they please. There may be consequences (imposed by others) but the choice is still a choice. People can strive to be virtuous paragons or they can devolve into depraved murderers. Most stumble through a middle path without much commitment to passionate extremes.


Agreed, and that is why I use a relative alignment system. Celestial beings may have that innate sense of goodness as they are infused by it, but the difference for the mortal is that they may justify it, as they are not themselves infused with that essential being of good as opposed to evil, which is why I felt it was relevant to the example given. Both people involved are mortals.

quote:
But a paladin is one who has chosen to be a virtuous paragon. An example of the finest and noblest traits. Unwavering and unfaltering in his faith. The paladin has chosen to champion an extraordinary calling, not to follow the ordinary path of ordinary men.


This is where I disagree. Being "unwavering and unfaltering" is not the story of mortals in my opinion. There are endless stories that dictate as much. Heck, that is why when a person dies and they go to the Fugue plane, their soul is still being argued over by demons, devils, and others trying to pry that soul away from the Exarch/Seneschal showing up to retrieve the soul back to the deities plane. The Blood War is all about the currency of souls.

quote:
In return for the paladin's faith and service he is given supernatural abilities - superhuman traits and feats, granted powers, divine spells. These are miraculous manifestations of Good, provided by a higher being in a higher plane. A being which demands endless Good (to oppose endless Evil). So the paladin must remain vigilant of Good vs Evil, not only in the cosmic sense but also in the inner recesses of his own ordinary human soul. So I don't think a paladin would willingly tolerate "relative" or "mixed" alignments to govern his calling, he holds himself and his peers to higher standards. To do otherwise is to insult both his purpose and the source of his supernatural powers. He might recognize moral shades of grey, concepts like the "greater/greatest good" etc - and he might find himself constrained or troubled by them - but he will always seek a path to achieve his goals without compromising his beliefs, finding that path is itself his foremost goal.


I feel you've proven the point on relative alignment though. Let's review.

You just said a moment ago that
quote:
An angel weakens and perishes after embracing Evil acts. A devil loses all power and stature (and is quickly slain by others of his kind) after embracing Good acts.
. If absolute morality was the case with mortals, the exact same consequence would occur to them as it does for the celestials, demons, etc. However, mortals don't, that's why they don't die immediately upon such acts.

quote:
Cosmic Good vs Evil aren't as prevalent as ordinary good vs evil in the Realms. But the presence of paladins, priests, and gods representing (and manipulating) this cosmic balance is undeniably very real in the Realms. At least for the paladin himself.


I get what you are saying, but the fact is, per your point above, there are very real tangible, life and death realities for celestials and demons/devils acting in an opposite way. Since it doesn't happen for the mortals, we can see that the same system does not apply. That's why it is such a big deal when mortals change faith, change alignment, etc. That potential is yet one more soul in the currency of the Blood War.

quote:
I don't think flirting, carousing, seduction, romance, love, and lust have any part of this cosmic struggle. Unless they are tools of Good or Evil the paladin encounters.


I agree here. This is an old rendition of Britannic sensibilities that are countered by the acknowledgement of other ethics that define what morality is.

Best regards,




Edit: I edited my horrible syntax. lol My apologies Great Reader Ayrik. That was horrible to read for me!
Ayrik Posted - 31 Oct 2020 : 17:01:43
I prefer more absolute alignment systems. Good and Evil (and Law and Chaos) are fundamental building blocks of the D&D cosmos. Or at least the typical incarnation of the D&D cosmos and the array of Outer Planes structured around it.

Beings like Celestials and Fiends are made of this stuff. For them to act contrary to their essential natures is unthinkable, even suicidal. An angel weakens and perishes after embracing Evil acts. A devil loses all power and stature (and is quickly slain by others of his kind) after embracing Good acts.

Primes on Material Planes aren't as restricted by alignment. Ordinary men on ordinary worlds can do whatever they please. There may be consequences (imposed by others) but the choice is still a choice. People can strive to be virtuous paragons or they can devolve into depraved murderers. Most stumble through a middle path without much commitment to passionate extremes.

But a paladin is one who has chosen to be a virtuous paragon. An example of the finest and noblest traits. Unwavering and unfaltering in his faith. The paladin has chosen to champion an extraordinary calling, not to follow the ordinary path of ordinary men.

In return for the paladin's faith and service he is given supernatural abilities - superhuman traits and feats, granted powers, divine spells. These are miraculous manifestations of Good, provided by a higher being in a higher plane. A being which demands endless Good (to oppose endless Evil). So the paladin must remain vigilant of Good vs Evil, not only in the cosmic sense but also in the inner recesses of his own ordinary human soul. So I don't think a paladin would willingly tolerate "relative" or "mixed" alignments to govern his calling, he holds himself and his peers to higher standards. To do otherwise is to insult both his purpose and the source of his supernatural powers. He might recognize moral shades of grey, concepts like the "greater/greatest good" etc - and he might find himself constrained or troubled by them - but he will always seek a path to achieve his goals without compromising his beliefs, finding that path is itself his foremost goal.

Cosmic Good vs Evil aren't as prevalent as ordinary good vs evil in the Realms. But the presence of paladins, priests, and gods representing (and manipulating) this cosmic balance is undeniably very real in the Realms. At least for the paladin himself.

I don't think flirting, carousing, seduction, romance, love, and lust have any part of this cosmic struggle. Unless they are tools of Good or Evil the paladin encounters.

(Although experienced D&D players tread carefully around a common axiom: any sexually attractive NPCs they encounter are invariably a trap, a monster, or a DM's pet.)
cpthero2 Posted - 31 Oct 2020 : 15:42:45
Master LordofBones,

I see where my miscommunication facilitated your response, I believe.

I use a relative alignment system, so good and evil are not fixed. There is no absolute good or evil, except in very specific ways. I could go into how I do that if you're interested, but I don't think that is particularly relevant, as much as the alignment system I use being non-fixed.

Sorry for not clarifying that.

Best regards,





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