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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 07 May 2018 :  01:54:37  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I just finished reading the Riftwar Saga, the first four books of the series. I've decided to do the Empire trilogy next, since it covers a lot of the same time period.

I think I'll take a break after these books, so I don't burn out on the series, as I've done before. Not sure what that break will consist of, though.

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goblins
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15 Posts

Posted - 15 May 2018 :  21:20:40  Show Profile Send goblins a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I started on Shadowdale this past weekend. Iím just a little bit in, but I like it.

I ended up enjoying Neversfall, so I am happy I made it through this time. I like the main character Adeenya quite a bit. The story is a mix of mystery and military/political intrigue, but it is heavy on the relationship dynamics as well. It touches on colonialism, and the tension between cultural conservation and xenophobia, but it doesnít explore these issues in great detail. Most of the conceptual focus is on the moral gradations of Law.
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Taleras
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72 Posts

Posted - 16 May 2018 :  00:56:11  Show Profile Send Taleras a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just finished The Ghost King which was my favorite of this most recent trilogy within the Drizzt series, although I'm still not sure how I feel about the ending. I'm onto Bands of Mourning now, but am excited to get to Gauntlgrym and see what's next for the series...

Although I also want to get to the rest of the Cosmere, as well as WoT. I need more time to read...
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Bragi
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Posted - 16 May 2018 :  23:58:28  Show Profile  Visit Bragi's Homepage  Send Bragi an AOL message  Send Bragi an ICQ Message  Send Bragi a Yahoo! Message Send Bragi a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've been listening to Whisper of Waves on audio book and I have come to realize I pronounce quite a few realms terms incorrectly. Most egregious of which are the names of the months. I'm working on correcting that but 30 years of pronouncing something incorrectly is hard to change. As for the book itself, it has been interesting. It made much more sense once I realized it was set in the Lake of Steam area and not the Lake of Mists area.

In Pursuit of Better Worlds,
Bragi of Erin
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Taleras
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72 Posts

Posted - 17 May 2018 :  00:52:45  Show Profile Send Taleras a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bragi

I've been listening to Whisper of Waves on audio book and I have come to realize I pronounce quite a few realms terms incorrectly. Most egregious of which are the names of the months. I'm working on correcting that but 30 years of pronouncing something incorrectly is hard to change. As for the book itself, it has been interesting. It made much more sense once I realized it was set in the Lake of Steam area and not the Lake of Mists area.



I can't speak to that book in particular, but I have noticed when different narrators do books in the same series or "realm" they often pronounce things differently. So you might not be wrong...
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Taleras
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72 Posts

Posted - 08 Jun 2018 :  16:23:22  Show Profile Send Taleras a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just finished The Sapphire Crescent, it was a fine book. I am sure that I will finish the trilogy at some point, but definitely not on my radar right now. I also cruised through a bunch of the Cosmere short stories, most notably Mistborn: Secret History, which objectively is kind of a bad book, but the background to Era 1 and the tidbits to Era 2 that you get are quite interesting.

I'm trying to decide whether to start WoT or continue the Drizzt series with Gauntlgrym... Any suggestions?
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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31518 Posts

Posted - 08 Jun 2018 :  17:25:15  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Taleras

Just finished The Sapphire Crescent, it was a fine book. I am sure that I will finish the trilogy at some point, but definitely not on my radar right now. I also cruised through a bunch of the Cosmere short stories, most notably Mistborn: Secret History, which objectively is kind of a bad book, but the background to Era 1 and the tidbits to Era 2 that you get are quite interesting.

I'm trying to decide whether to start WoT or continue the Drizzt series with Gauntlgrym... Any suggestions?



I've not read either, myself, but I've heard good things about the Wheel of Time books.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 08 Jun 2018 :  17:37:09  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm revisiting the four* books of the Hitchhiker's Trilogy, right now. I will likely read another standalone novel or two after that, before getting back to the Riftwar-related books

I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, in regards to the Hitchhiker's books -- but there was some censoring of the language in those books, when published in the US. I did not know this, initially... My original copies were from the early 80's, and I'd gotten them from a used book store. Then I lost my copies in the fire. When my wife and I were on our honeymoon in Ireland, we wandered into a bookstore in Dublin, where I saw an omnibus printing of the four books. So I decided to go ahead and replace my copies.

I read the books on the flight home (Dublin to Orlando, non-stop, is not a short flight!). I'd read my original copies enough that I noticed some changes here and there, and so I googled it when I got home, and that's how I learned about the censorship.

Other than little bits here and there, the most notable change was the guy at the party who'd won the award for the most gratuitous use of the word "Belgium" in a serious screenplay -- in the original version, it was the f-bomb. And that version isn't as funny, to me, as the edited version.

*There are four books in the trilogy. Rumors of a fifth book are the most vile heresy.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 08 Jun 2018 17:38:13
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goblins
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Posted - 11 Jun 2018 :  14:00:57  Show Profile Send goblins a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished Shadowdale over the weekend and started on Tantras. Iíve been reading Forgotten Realms novels off-and-on pretty much since they started being published, but I never really conceptually embraced the setting much more than as a framework to drape the trappings of the tabletop game over. I was really just looking for a substitute for the sessions I had stopped having opportunities to play. The Finderís Stone trilogy and now the Avatar series have me hooked into the Realms as a world onto itself. The characterizations and plotting have been very satisfying and Iím growing more-and-more attached to the universe independent of its relationship to the gaming sourcebooks which fostered my initial interest. I know some of what is coming, and I am excited to see it play out.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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31518 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2018 :  18:06:48  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Currently working my way through the Legends of the Riftwar books; I'm now on the second book, Murder in LaMut. I kinda remembered the prior book, Honoured Enemy*, but this one, it's been a long time since I read it and I may have only read it the one time -- so it's almost a new read, to me. I'm 100 pages in, and thus far, I've not remembered anything from having read it previously.

The next book will be the third one of the series, focused on and titled for my fave character from all of the books, Jimmy the Hand.

After that, I'll dip back into the new pile of books, and then back to Midkemia for a while.



*Yes, the British spelling. The Legends of the Riftwar books were published in the UK, before being published in the US. I'd never even heard of them, until my absent, senile, and still-missed friend SiriusBlack said something about it, back in the day.

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Taleras
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72 Posts

Posted - 19 Jun 2018 :  15:21:18  Show Profile Send Taleras a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by goblins

I finished Shadowdale over the weekend and started on Tantras. Iíve been reading Forgotten Realms novels off-and-on pretty much since they started being published, but I never really conceptually embraced the setting much more than as a framework to drape the trappings of the tabletop game over. I was really just looking for a substitute for the sessions I had stopped having opportunities to play. The Finderís Stone trilogy and now the Avatar series have me hooked into the Realms as a world onto itself. The characterizations and plotting have been very satisfying and Iím growing more-and-more attached to the universe independent of its relationship to the gaming sourcebooks which fostered my initial interest. I know some of what is coming, and I am excited to see it play out.




How is Tantas? I have read Shadowdale, but never continued on. I liked Shadowdale because it felt like a DND excursion into itself, even though I only ever played once way back in the day. I did have a hard time pushing through it in some spots though. Not sure why, but I had a hard time keeping focused on it.
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goblins
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15 Posts

Posted - 19 Jun 2018 :  23:30:11  Show Profile Send goblins a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Taleras
How is Tantas? I have read Shadowdale, but never continued on. I liked Shadowdale because it felt like a DND excursion into itself, even though I only ever played once way back in the day. I did have a hard time pushing through it in some spots though. Not sure why, but I had a hard time keeping focused on it.



I think the story really speeds up in Tantras and Waterdeep. I was already planning on posting in this thread because I blew trough them so quickly and started Prince of Lies yesterday. I think they do an excellent job of keeping the action moving while still developing the main protagonists and adding in interesting side characters as well. I ended up really enjoying the first three novels.

Edition rule changes are always controversial, and I have my own personal thoughts about them, but just as a matter of craftsmanship, I think the authors did a good job of working the story around that framework.
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Taleras
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Posted - 21 Jun 2018 :  15:02:29  Show Profile Send Taleras a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh, that's awesome. I did feel like Shadowdale dragged, so maybe the next two will be more to my liking!
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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USA
31518 Posts

Posted - 24 Jun 2018 :  02:19:36  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I just finished reading Jimmy The Hand. While I did like it, and while one of the characters gave me an idea for an NPC, there was one major element that bugged me... The story starts right as Prince Arutha and Princess Anita are being smuggled out of Krondor by the Mockers. It's only a year or two after that that he befriends a fellow Squire, Locklear, son of the Baron of Land's End.

But in Jimmy The Hand, he travels to Land's End, the then-Baron only had one child, and it wasn't Locklear. The end of the book sees the barony in need of a new baron, but the most likely candidate was barely old enough to father a child.

So either the most likely candidate for the new Baron did not get the Barony, or there's a serious timing error, here.

I think it would have been a lot better if this book, written well after the Riftwar books, had been set pretty much anywhere else.

I started reading a recent acquisition, The Robots of Gotham. I'm not quite 100 pages into it, but it's already quite interesting. Part of the premise is that intelligent machines have taken over a good chunk of the world -- but not in Terminator or The Matrix fashion. There's no Skynet or anything like that -- the machines are independent AIs, each with unique personalities, and a couple of the ones intro'ed thus far act like humans do (Nineteen Black Winter, at one point, quotes Yoda!). While the machines have staged coups and takeovers in some countries, in other countries, they were actually elected, or the citizens of the nation invited the machines in to rule the place. And the places run by robots are one universal faction, either; they seem to emulate human tribalism, somewhat (at one point, off-camera but still mentioned, one of the highest-level AIs literally nukes another AI).

And though the Americans are anti-robot (Understandably, with most of the East Coast under robot control), most humans have at least grudgingly accepted co-existence with robots. The main character is a Canadian businessman who defends the fact that Canada is run by an elected robot, and he goes to great lengths to save Black Winter's life and help him out later. (He also failed to recognize Black Winter's Star Wars quote, but the book is set in 2083; obviously, the movie franchise eventually petered out)

It's interesting thus far, and I'm curious to see how it plays out.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 24 Jun 2018 05:07:02
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
5281 Posts

Posted - 24 Jun 2018 :  04:59:29  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just finished "Sisterhood of Dune" and "Mentats of Dune". No one in my city seems to have "Navigators of Dune" so online I shall go!

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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CorellonsDevout
Great Reader

USA
2255 Posts

Posted - 25 Jun 2018 :  00:37:17  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Reading Point of Hopes, the first in the Astreiant series. There is interesting world-building around astrology, and I love a blend of mystery and magic.

Sweet water and light laughter
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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31518 Posts

Posted - 26 Jun 2018 :  18:38:25  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Robots of Gotham was quite the good book, and it leaves plenty of room for a sequel. I'm going to be keeping an eye out for that one.

I'm not sure what to read next... I've gotten quite the stack of new books, of late, so there's plenty to read, there. I've also gotten some FR books that I missed the first time around. And I'm still slowly working my way thru the Riftwar books...

So I've got plenty of choices, there. I'll likely not decide until I get home from work, do a bit of pedaling, and then sit down to grab some dinner.

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goblins
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Posted - 27 Jun 2018 :  17:46:25  Show Profile Send goblins a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
I started reading a recent acquisition, The Robots of Gotham. I'm not quite 100 pages into it, but it's already quite interesting. Part of the premise is that intelligent machines have taken over a good chunk of the world -- but not in Terminator or The Matrix fashion. There's no Skynet or anything like that -- the machines are independent AIs, each with unique personalities, and a couple of the ones intro'ed thus far act like humans do (Nineteen Black Winter, at one point, quotes Yoda!). While the machines have staged coups and takeovers in some countries, in other countries, they were actually elected, or the citizens of the nation invited the machines in to rule the place. And the places run by robots are one universal faction, either; they seem to emulate human tribalism, somewhat (at one point, off-camera but still mentioned, one of the highest-level AIs literally nukes another AI).

And though the Americans are anti-robot (Understandably, with most of the East Coast under robot control), most humans have at least grudgingly accepted co-existence with robots. The main character is a Canadian businessman who defends the fact that Canada is run by an elected robot, and he goes to great lengths to save Black Winter's life and help him out later. (He also failed to recognize Black Winter's Star Wars quote, but the book is set in 2083; obviously, the movie franchise eventually petered out)

It's interesting thus far, and I'm curious to see how it plays out.




That sounds really interesting, and at least initially, seems a more plausible take to me on the social implications of non-biological consciousness. I've often wondered if selection pressures would exert themselves on AI.
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goblins
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Posted - 27 Jun 2018 :  17:49:42  Show Profile Send goblins a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished Prince of Lies on Monday. I've been enjoying the Avatar series quite a bit as a character-driven adventure. I've particularly found a lot of the side characters interesting (such as Sneakabout). I would have made much different choices with the theological metaphysics, but that didn't get too much in the way for me. Iíve gamified my reading/listening a bit over the years so as to help deal with plot holes or world building inconsistencies in genre fiction. Rather than approaching a novel as canon, I think of the author as a bard retelling their own particular version of the events. This psychologically allows me to compartmentalize the good and the bad, and gives me the best chance of finding something to enjoy in my time with a story.

One aspect of the seriesí theology I found interesting is that it basically dispenses with the Good-Evil axis as being central to the god's "office" or ďportfolioĒ. Although I've always appreciated the relative complexity of the nine alignment system, I still think it smuggles in some pretty significant biases into a game world that is otherwise far more flexible than a lot of high fantasy. I personally prefer an Authority/Pluralism axis over a Law/Chaos one. The deities in Avatar don't spend much, if any, time on substantive morality. It's basically all procedural discussions driven by the parameters of the platonic ideal that their office represents. I found the idea of mortal supplication to a god as being a necessary precondition to avoiding the eternal damnation of the faithless to be a particularly strange creative decision in a universe with chaotic (and perhaps even neutral) good deities. By ignoring "good" as an independent concern, it drives even more home that there is significant conflation of authority with law.

Another noteworthy twist in the Avatar theology is what happens at the end of Prince of Lies in regards to the transcendence of one of the characters. I always assumed the Good/Neutral/Evil designation was distilled from the concept the office represented, but existed sometimes in tension with that abstraction. The resolution suggests that Good/Neutral/Evil could be reflective of the personal behavior and/or character of the deity and not derived from its conceptual office. I guess Iíll see in Crucible if this is how it plays out. Some of the Nentir Vale novels Iíve read seemed to have a similar approach.

As I was reading Prince of Lies. I thought to myself that I really wished they had treated it as a part of a sequel series, and not grouped with the first three books. I had enough affection for the characters that I found the climax of Waterdeep emotionally resonating. I wish I would have had a chance to let it sit with me a bit. I then checked the publication dates and saw there was a substantial gap between the 3rd and 4th novels, and that it really was structured the way I had wanted. Iím going to pay attention to publication dates a lot more closely now when planning my Forgotten Realms reading. I know there is a significant gap between books four and five as well, but Prince of Lies didnít have the same emotional impact of Waterdeep for me, so Iím going to complete this story now instead of waiting until after I read more 90s novels.
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CorellonsDevout
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Posted - 28 Jun 2018 :  00:23:35  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Because the gods are a very real and active force in the Realms, and is quite polytheistic, most Faerunians worship more than one deity, though there may be one they "favor" slightly above the rest. Others have distinct patron deities (like priests and clerics, for example). A deity is both defined by its portfolio, and yet not, because while they represent certain things (be that something concrete, like storms, or something more abstract or emotion-based, like love), they are not unthinking beings. They have desires and emotions, and while their motives aren't always comprehendible to mortals, they do act "human" sometimes, even if their reason for doing so make little sense to us.

Sweet water and light laughter
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goblins
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Posted - 28 Jun 2018 :  01:11:22  Show Profile Send goblins a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That was always my interpretation as well. I thought it made sense too with a game that let you attain immortality in some versions. What struck me about Prince of Lies (if Iím remembering correctly) is that the faithless are tortured for eternity for not submitting to at least one god. And (again if Iím remembering correctly) itís presented as a fundamental law of existence outside the control of the individual gods, with no suggestion of special dispensation for good deeds. I would think that would be one the main purposes of a chaotic good deity.
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CorellonsDevout
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Posted - 28 Jun 2018 :  02:02:04  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's been several years since I have read that book, but from my understanding, the Wall (which I don't really like the concept of, but it's there, so) is for those who truly either completely defy all gods, not worshiping them in any form, not even lip service, or do something *really* bad to a sacred space, like a temple or altar. Most Faerunians, even those who may not necessarily have a "patron deity" are taken in by the god who best aligns with their ethical and moral outlook. The Wall is obviously large enough to have thousands of damned souls, but it is something that has likely been built up over time. I think you have to do a lot to end up on the Wall.

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Demzer
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Posted - 28 Jun 2018 :  09:22:40  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by goblins

... with no suggestion of special dispensation for good deeds.



Why should there be? What makes you think that a good person may be Faithless? The Realms are literally full of good deities that cover all aspects of human life and if you fall into one of those (you are "good" in the D&D sense even if you don't pray), the good deity that covers the best of your action spectrum will take you in, no matter what. The Faithless are people that, even in a world with evident and clear manifestations of the existence (let alone power) of the gods, deny their allegiance to anyone. Explicitly defying anything divine. This is not something I see anyone that falls into the D&D definition of "good" doing.

If I remember correctly, the Wall of the Faithless was built by Jergal, during the time of Netheril, when many powerful mortals thought themselves candidate to godhood and regarded the deities as merely one step ahead. The Wall was a reaction to keep the elite of Netheril "in it's place" and has sticked since, as a punishment for those that deny the divine and defy the gods.
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goblins
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Posted - 28 Jun 2018 :  12:29:58  Show Profile Send goblins a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks to you both for the thoughts.

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer
The Realms are literally full of good deities that cover all aspects of human life and if you fall into one of those (you are "good" in the D&D sense even if you don't pray), the good deity that covers the best of your action spectrum will take you in, no matter what.


Thatís how I always conceived D&D theology, but I felt Prince of Lies didnít present it that way. I have to throw in the caveat that I donít have the novel in print, so I may just be misremembering, or have misheard a key passage or two, but I think there are at least two different incidents in which it is explicitly discussed that if the characters are killed, they will end up in the Wall because it was too late for them to achieve grace. They were willing to continue with their quest despite this grave danger because they wanted to prevent the destruction of the world. Thatís an incredibly selfless and compassionate act, but yet not enough to redeem them. You can tease quite a bit out of a judgeís personal ideology by observing who and what they sanction, and how severely relative to other offenders and offenses. You can make similar inferences regarding a legal system as a whole. In Prince of Lies, the sanctions Mystra is threatened with, and (if Iím understanding the PoL theology correctly) the fact that mortals canít escape damnation without supplicating themselves, reserves the ultimate sanctions for procedural offenses and not substantive ones.

quote:
The Faithless are people that, even in a world with evident and clear manifestations of the existence (let alone power) of the gods, deny their allegiance to anyone. Explicitly defying anything divine. This is not something I see anyone that falls into the D&D definition of "good" doing.


I feel this perspective is very firmly rooted in the Law side of the axis. Egalitarians reject hierarchies, particularly ones based on intrinsic factors outside the agentís control (like being born mortal). My D&D pantheon would include chaotic good deities (and probably neutral good ones - but I havenít thought as much about that) that donít require personal allegiance to themselves.





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Demzer
Senior Scribe

652 Posts

Posted - 28 Jun 2018 :  15:23:44  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by goblins

I have to throw in the caveat that I donít have the novel in print, so I may just be misremembering, or have misheard a key passage or two, but I think there are at least two different incidents in which it is explicitly discussed that if the characters are killed, they will end up in the Wall because it was too late for them to achieve grace.



I've re-read parts of Prince of Lies and didn't find these two incidents. All the references to the Wall of the Faithless are either descriptions of it or point out the misuse that Cyric is doing of it (ie. sentencing the False Gwydion to it).

Gwydion is False because he paid lip service to Torm without truly embracing the god's ethos (well, actually conducting his life contrary to the ethos he claimed to follow, since he was a coward).

Later on, in his unlife, he acted in accordance to Torm's ethos and was forgive of his mortal misgivings with Torm accepting him and even resurrecting him when asked to.

I think the whole analysis of the Wall of the Faithless sometimes is steered by the emotional reaction to it's supposed use by going with word of mouth but most of the times people don't do any kind of research on it. All good deities of Faerun allow mortals that conducted their life according to their ethos to go to their realm in the afterlife even without proper explicit devotion.
As an example, if you've never heard of Ilmater (extremely unlikely) but you were a compassionate being always helping the poor and downtrodden and striving for their betterment than you can bet that he will "claim" you by opening his realm to you in the afterlife. If you heard of Ilmater it doesn't make sense that in all your life doing exactly the same thing his church does all over Faerun you didn't even for a single time offer him a prayer, or a thanks, or a donation to his churches, or helped out his faithful handing out blankets and food, or ... you get that.

I don't see it possible for anyone "good" in the D&D sense going to the Wall.

Keep in mind that at the start of Prince of Lies the actions of Gwydion mark him as much more neutral than good, he is a coward trying to pass off as a faithful of the god of duty and bravery. During the story he slowly turns to goodness as a reaction to the injustices perpetrated by Cyric.

Edited by - Demzer on 28 Jun 2018 15:31:14
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