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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
34941 Posts

Posted - 15 Oct 2020 :  04:04:44  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

I've never heard of this mythical Phlan web enhancement.


Not long after Mysteries of the Moonsea came out, WotC said there was going to be a web enhancement that covered Phlan.

We never heard anything else about it.

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Seravin
Master of Realmslore

Canada
1160 Posts

Posted - 15 Oct 2020 :  22:31:40  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I love Phlan because it was my introduction to Forgotten Realms with the SSI Gold Box Game Pool of Radiance on my C128 computer. I just wish it got treated with the reverence it deserved by TSR/WotC, given that it was the intro for so many people like me.

And I would have loved the mythical Phlan web enhancement! :)

Just sucks that novel/game Phlan is not reflected in most of the 3rd edition + lore at all (and barely in the 1st/2nd edition sourcebooks).
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Lord Karsus
Great Reader

USA
3566 Posts

Posted - 16 Oct 2020 :  17:10:48  Show Profile Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-Sentinelspire (one of the best Forgotten Realms books out there) had a Druid/Ranger (I forget) with a big cat companion (Taaki) and the author did it very well. No magical weirdness.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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USA
34941 Posts

Posted - 16 Oct 2020 :  18:17:42  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Karsus

-Sentinelspire (one of the best Forgotten Realms books out there) had a Druid/Ranger (I forget) with a big cat companion (Taaki) and the author did it very well. No magical weirdness.



Yeah, a big cat companion doesn't bother me. Even a big cat familiar is a bit of a stretch, but still doable. It's when the familiar can turn into a human that it gets problematic.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 16 Oct 2020 18:17:56
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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
733 Posts

Posted - 16 Oct 2020 :  18:45:37  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Lord Karsus

-Sentinelspire (one of the best Forgotten Realms books out there) had a Druid/Ranger (I forget) with a big cat companion (Taaki) and the author did it very well. No magical weirdness.



Yeah, a big cat companion doesn't bother me. Even a big cat familiar is a bit of a stretch, but still doable. It's when the familiar can turn into a human that it gets problematic.



Did it still act like a cat while in human form? You know, just sit there and stare at people, or try to clean itself, or spray someone to mark them as theirs?

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
34941 Posts

Posted - 16 Oct 2020 :  20:43:21  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Lord Karsus

-Sentinelspire (one of the best Forgotten Realms books out there) had a Druid/Ranger (I forget) with a big cat companion (Taaki) and the author did it very well. No magical weirdness.



Yeah, a big cat companion doesn't bother me. Even a big cat familiar is a bit of a stretch, but still doable. It's when the familiar can turn into a human that it gets problematic.



Did it still act like a cat while in human form? You know, just sit there and stare at people, or try to clean itself, or spray someone to mark them as theirs?



I've not read the book in years, so this is going purely from memory -- but as I recall, it acted like a normal human, whilst in that form. I want to say it even wielded a sword, though I could be mistaken.

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Gary Dallison
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United Kingdom
5588 Posts

Posted - 16 Oct 2020 :  21:03:33  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The cat doesnt act like a cat, it talks like a human, dresses like a barbarian, wields a sword like an expert.

The only thing it does is hiss occasionally.


Although in the drizzt novels one thing i did like was creatures that remain in another form for too long start to think like that form and eventually become that new form. It make sense to me.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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USA
34941 Posts

Posted - 17 Oct 2020 :  02:37:45  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

The cat doesnt act like a cat, it talks like a human, dresses like a barbarian, wields a sword like an expert.

The only thing it does is hiss occasionally.


Although in the drizzt novels one thing i did like was creatures that remain in another form for too long start to think like that form and eventually become that new form. It make sense to me.



It used to be in the rules that if a creature is polymorphed to another form and never changes back, it will eventually think like and essentially become that new form. Not sure if that's still a thing or not.

A familiar that turns into a human fighter is just a broken concept.

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Lord Karsus
Great Reader

USA
3566 Posts

Posted - 17 Oct 2020 :  05:41:01  Show Profile Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-So it basically became Lion-O. Nice.

(A Tri-Partite Arcanist Who Has Forgotten More Than Most Will Ever Know)

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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
733 Posts

Posted - 17 Oct 2020 :  15:03:38  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

The cat doesnt act like a cat, it talks like a human, dresses like a barbarian, wields a sword like an expert.

The only thing it does is hiss occasionally.


Although in the drizzt novels one thing i did like was creatures that remain in another form for too long start to think like that form and eventually become that new form. It make sense to me.



It used to be in the rules that if a creature is polymorphed to another form and never changes back, it will eventually think like and essentially become that new form. Not sure if that's still a thing or not.

A familiar that turns into a human fighter is just a broken concept.



That would have been easy to fix, too. Just say it was a human that was polymorphed into a cat. The spell, for whatever reason, can't be permanently reversed so it can periodically return to human form and that is what prevents it from mentally becoming a cat. If it does have all the properties of a familiar, maybe the magic of the Find Familiar spell (or some kind of variant) is what allows it to operate as it does. Just another missed opportunity to make something unique that can function within the rules of the game.

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents

Edited by - TheIriaeban on 17 Oct 2020 15:05:37
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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USA
34941 Posts

Posted - 17 Oct 2020 :  16:16:43  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

The cat doesnt act like a cat, it talks like a human, dresses like a barbarian, wields a sword like an expert.

The only thing it does is hiss occasionally.


Although in the drizzt novels one thing i did like was creatures that remain in another form for too long start to think like that form and eventually become that new form. It make sense to me.



It used to be in the rules that if a creature is polymorphed to another form and never changes back, it will eventually think like and essentially become that new form. Not sure if that's still a thing or not.

A familiar that turns into a human fighter is just a broken concept.



That would have been easy to fix, too. Just say it was a human that was polymorphed into a cat. The spell, for whatever reason, can't be permanently reversed so it can periodically return to human form and that is what prevents it from mentally becoming a cat. If it does have all the properties of a familiar, maybe the magic of the Find Familiar spell (or some kind of variant) is what allows it to operate as it does. Just another missed opportunity to make something unique that can function within the rules of the game.



The problem, for me, isn't the transformation -- it's the implications of having another person as a familiar, bound to the mage's will.

A werecat or a catwere, that isn't magically bound to the wizard and that is independent? Not a problem at all.

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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
733 Posts

Posted - 17 Oct 2020 :  17:06:56  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

That would have been easy to fix, too. Just say it was a human that was polymorphed into a cat. The spell, for whatever reason, can't be permanently reversed so it can periodically return to human form and that is what prevents it from mentally becoming a cat. If it does have all the properties of a familiar, maybe the magic of the Find Familiar spell (or some kind of variant) is what allows it to operate as it does. Just another missed opportunity to make something unique that can function within the rules of the game.



The problem, for me, isn't the transformation -- it's the implications of having another person as a familiar, bound to the mage's will.

A werecat or a catwere, that isn't magically bound to the wizard and that is independent? Not a problem at all.



That doesn't bother me too much since there is lore and magic that covers that. For example, you have vampires being bound to their masters/creators and of course, there are the various charm spells.

I would be more concerned with how that relationship was created and then maintained. Was it a willing agreement because the "familiar" had concerns about the mage's safety? Was it part of a plan to aid the "familiar" that went wrong and now both are suffering yet cannot bring themselves to end it? Did the mage force the "familiar" into this arrangement and the "familiar" is waiting until it can free itself and take revenge? Any one of those would be a tale to tell.

Sadly, from what has been said here, none of that was even hinted at.

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 17 Oct 2020 :  18:03:21  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Charm spells wear off, and a lot of vampires are not willing servants of their creators. It's part of the overall horror of the vampire -- not only are they monsters who look normal but must literally steal life from others to survive, but they are also irrevocably bound to every last whim of the creator who stole their lives away from them.

That's what makes the human familiar so problematic: they are bound to their mage. They can't disobey or go free. A human familiar means that with the casting of a single first level spell, someone is enslaved for the life of the caster -- that is orders of magnitude beyond what a charm spell does.


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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
733 Posts

Posted - 17 Oct 2020 :  18:54:33  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
True, charm spells do wear off but the fact that there is magic out there, low level in fact, that can be used to control someone doesn't mean there isn't something of a higher level that can do it permanently. I don't believe the story has any information about how that relationship began.

Also, let me be clear: this is not something that I would expect or would want to be common in FR. It is, however, something that can be used to create a compelling story. Look at your visceral revulsion at the simple idea of it. A good writer could use that to not only hook you but to pull you along on the character's arc.


"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents

Edited by - TheIriaeban on 17 Oct 2020 18:57:15
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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USA
34941 Posts

Posted - 17 Oct 2020 :  19:51:53  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

True, charm spells do wear off but the fact that there is magic out there, low level in fact, that can be used to control someone doesn't mean there isn't something of a higher level that can do it permanently. I don't believe the story has any information about how that relationship began.

Also, let me be clear: this is not something that I would expect or would want to be common in FR. It is, however, something that can be used to create a compelling story. Look at your visceral revulsion at the simple idea of it. A good writer could use that to not only hook you but to pull you along on the character's arc.





We do have that information: the cat/human was her familiar. That means a single casting of a first level spell: find familiar.

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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
733 Posts

Posted - 18 Oct 2020 :  17:23:50  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

True, charm spells do wear off but the fact that there is magic out there, low level in fact, that can be used to control someone doesn't mean there isn't something of a higher level that can do it permanently. I don't believe the story has any information about how that relationship began.

Also, let me be clear: this is not something that I would expect or would want to be common in FR. It is, however, something that can be used to create a compelling story. Look at your visceral revulsion at the simple idea of it. A good writer could use that to not only hook you but to pull you along on the character's arc.





We do have that information: the cat/human was her familiar. That means a single casting of a first level spell: find familiar.



Not necessarily. The result is similar (bound to the caster) but it would have to be a different spell than the 1st level Find Familiar. For example, there are two other Find Familiar spells listed in the 2e WSC 2 on pages 353 and 355. The one for dragons specifically summons a humanoid (it is level 3 and DOES allow allow periodic saving throws). The other is for necromancers and it can summon imps and quasits (intelligent beings and no periodic saving throws). That spell is level 2.

Based on those examples, I see no reason why there couldn't be a higher level version that allows for making a person a familiar. I could see a vampire mage developing it to have a means of guaranteeing the loyalty of a daytime protector.

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
34941 Posts

Posted - 18 Oct 2020 :  18:42:32  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

True, charm spells do wear off but the fact that there is magic out there, low level in fact, that can be used to control someone doesn't mean there isn't something of a higher level that can do it permanently. I don't believe the story has any information about how that relationship began.

Also, let me be clear: this is not something that I would expect or would want to be common in FR. It is, however, something that can be used to create a compelling story. Look at your visceral revulsion at the simple idea of it. A good writer could use that to not only hook you but to pull you along on the character's arc.





We do have that information: the cat/human was her familiar. That means a single casting of a first level spell: find familiar.



Not necessarily. The result is similar (bound to the caster) but it would have to be a different spell than the 1st level Find Familiar. For example, there are two other Find Familiar spells listed in the 2e WSC 2 on pages 353 and 355. The one for dragons specifically summons a humanoid (it is level 3 and DOES allow allow periodic saving throws). The other is for necromancers and it can summon imps and quasits (intelligent beings and no periodic saving throws). That spell is level 2.

Based on those examples, I see no reason why there couldn't be a higher level version that allows for making a person a familiar. I could see a vampire mage developing it to have a means of guaranteeing the loyalty of a daytime protector.



Those books were not out when the novel was published. At the time of publication, there was a very specific list of potential familiars that could be obtained, and it was all done via a 1st level spell.

Dragons or vampires having a humanoid familiar is another matter, anyway -- both are way more powerful than regular humanoids. A good dragon probably wouldn't use such a spell, but an evil dragon, or a vampire, would not have an issue enslaving someone like that.

Either way, we've gone far astray from my original complaint: a familiar that turns from animal to a human with character classes is a horribly broken concept. It's basically subjecting an animal to a variant Tenser's Transformation, which was a 6th level spell -- but doing it for free.

Again, had the familiar been a separate character, and it was established that they were a catwere or werecat or had some item that allowed them to change, then that wouldn't have been a big deal. The issue is a familiar with character levels and abilities no other familiar has. It was included because it was kewl, not because it makes any kind of sense given the rules at the time or pretty much anything else TSR had published at that point. It broke the rules and the setting for no good reason.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 18 Oct 2020 18:45:34
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TheIriaeban
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USA
733 Posts

Posted - 19 Oct 2020 :  00:31:22  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I agree. It could have been handled quite differently and better.

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

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cpthero2
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USA
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Posted - 20 Oct 2020 :  22:37:54  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Senior Scribe TheIriaeban,

I can certainly appreciate that perspective about trading cultures from one world to another! haha You should check out the other scroll I've been heavily involved in and let me know what you think about that as well that touches on that very issue.

http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=23654&whichpage=3

It's not all about that, but since government is at the center of it, it gets around to it significantly later on.

Best regards,



Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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Gary Dallison
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United Kingdom
5588 Posts

Posted - 16 Dec 2020 :  09:50:36  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Back to some novels, reading In Sylvan Shadows.

True to RAS books the first quarter has some lore. Its said that when the elves arrived in Shilmista they began creating defences, which implies they were running from something. Its also implied that they gain power from the forest itself and that they could call the trees to fight for them.

One thing i have noticed is that Elbereth (terrible name steal from Middle Earth), Danica, Pikel, and Ivan are all psychopaths, and Cadderley is becoming one. They mercilessly slaughter enemies, aiming to kill every time (studies have shown that in war less than 1% of individuals aim to kill - they all exhibit psychopathic tendencies - the rest try to wound or just defend themselves. Of the 1% that aim to kill, half are true psychopaths that do it for the rush or fun, the other half do it to protect their friends). Danica, Elbereth, Ivan, and Pikel seem to be true psychopaths that enjoy murdering intelligent creatures, often going out of their way to murder others even if they are defenceless.

I was wondering if there are a higher proportion of psychopaths in Toril due to its high magical field but then i thought that the adventuring lifestyle is likely to attract psychopaths and the most psychopathic are the ones most likely to survive. This explains why adventurers are depicted as murderhobos, because they are.

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sleyvas
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USA
10265 Posts

Posted - 16 Dec 2020 :  15:01:15  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Back to some novels, reading In Sylvan Shadows.

True to RAS books the first quarter has some lore. Its said that when the elves arrived in Shilmista they began creating defences, which implies they were running from something. Its also implied that they gain power from the forest itself and that they could call the trees to fight for them.

One thing i have noticed is that Elbereth (terrible name steal from Middle Earth), Danica, Pikel, and Ivan are all psychopaths, and Cadderley is becoming one. They mercilessly slaughter enemies, aiming to kill every time (studies have shown that in war less than 1% of individuals aim to kill - they all exhibit psychopathic tendencies - the rest try to wound or just defend themselves. Of the 1% that aim to kill, half are true psychopaths that do it for the rush or fun, the other half do it to protect their friends). Danica, Elbereth, Ivan, and Pikel seem to be true psychopaths that enjoy murdering intelligent creatures, often going out of their way to murder others even if they are defenceless.

I was wondering if there are a higher proportion of psychopaths in Toril due to its high magical field but then i thought that the adventuring lifestyle is likely to attract psychopaths and the most psychopathic are the ones most likely to survive. This explains why adventurers are depicted as murderhobos, because they are.



Under this definition, every player I've ever had has been a psychopath.... I don't think its a good interpretation. Nor have I ever read many novels that don't have the characters "aiming to kill".

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
733 Posts

Posted - 16 Dec 2020 :  18:35:49  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Back to some novels, reading In Sylvan Shadows.

True to RAS books the first quarter has some lore. Its said that when the elves arrived in Shilmista they began creating defences, which implies they were running from something. Its also implied that they gain power from the forest itself and that they could call the trees to fight for them.

One thing i have noticed is that Elbereth (terrible name steal from Middle Earth), Danica, Pikel, and Ivan are all psychopaths, and Cadderley is becoming one. They mercilessly slaughter enemies, aiming to kill every time (studies have shown that in war less than 1% of individuals aim to kill - they all exhibit psychopathic tendencies - the rest try to wound or just defend themselves. Of the 1% that aim to kill, half are true psychopaths that do it for the rush or fun, the other half do it to protect their friends). Danica, Elbereth, Ivan, and Pikel seem to be true psychopaths that enjoy murdering intelligent creatures, often going out of their way to murder others even if they are defenceless.

I was wondering if there are a higher proportion of psychopaths in Toril due to its high magical field but then i thought that the adventuring lifestyle is likely to attract psychopaths and the most psychopathic are the ones most likely to survive. This explains why adventurers are depicted as murderhobos, because they are.



Modern warfare doctrine (at least what I was taught 40 years ago) is to wound the enemy on the battlefield and not necessarily kill him. This is so that the enemy will have to devote resources to the evacuation and medical treatment of the wounded soldier. Given a medieval society, only the rich will get any kind of treatment because their retainers will see to that.

In the realms, combat would seem to be no quarter asked/no quarter given. In that case, every fight is to the death and considering the lack of wanting to waste your medical supplies on an enemy (in case you need them later), performing a coup de gras on a wounded enemy may actually be considered being kind.

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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34941 Posts

Posted - 16 Dec 2020 :  18:45:25  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Back to some novels, reading In Sylvan Shadows.

True to RAS books the first quarter has some lore. Its said that when the elves arrived in Shilmista they began creating defences, which implies they were running from something. Its also implied that they gain power from the forest itself and that they could call the trees to fight for them.

One thing i have noticed is that Elbereth (terrible name steal from Middle Earth), Danica, Pikel, and Ivan are all psychopaths, and Cadderley is becoming one. They mercilessly slaughter enemies, aiming to kill every time (studies have shown that in war less than 1% of individuals aim to kill - they all exhibit psychopathic tendencies - the rest try to wound or just defend themselves. Of the 1% that aim to kill, half are true psychopaths that do it for the rush or fun, the other half do it to protect their friends). Danica, Elbereth, Ivan, and Pikel seem to be true psychopaths that enjoy murdering intelligent creatures, often going out of their way to murder others even if they are defenceless.

I was wondering if there are a higher proportion of psychopaths in Toril due to its high magical field but then i thought that the adventuring lifestyle is likely to attract psychopaths and the most psychopathic are the ones most likely to survive. This explains why adventurers are depicted as murderhobos, because they are.



Modern warfare doctrine (at least what I was taught 40 years ago) is to wound the enemy on the battlefield and not necessarily kill him. This is so that the enemy will have to devote resources to the evacuation and medical treatment of the wounded soldier. Given a medieval society, only the rich will get any kind of treatment because their retainers will see to that.

In the realms, combat would seem to be no quarter asked/no quarter given. In that case, every fight is to the death and considering the lack of wanting to waste your medical supplies on an enemy (in case you need them later), performing a coup de gras on a wounded enemy may actually be considered being kind.



Not only that, but if someone's trying to kill you, trying to kill them back is usually easier and quicker than trying to incapacitate them.

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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 16 Dec 2020 :  19:00:59  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I will grant that in self defence most people will defend themselves and kill the attacker if necessary.

But in these novels the "heroes" are seeking out conflict and killing people when they dont have to. Its mentioned several times in places that they could avoid conflict but Danica and Elbereth choose to kill enemies that are unaware.

Modern warfare may promote wounding but these are studies of world wars that found that in places of verified kills the kills were focused to a few individuals (all other deaths were wild fire incidents). These individuals exhibited psychopathic traits and when studied half were found to be genuinely psychopathic while the other half felt they were protecting their friends.

Adventurers seek out conflict and slay indiscriminately, using perceptions of good and evil to justify it.

Cadderley shows remorse for his actions as would be expected from a normal individual, but Danica in particular feels nothing or claims it was self defence (despite initiating the combat most times and always striking first and lethally).

Being unable to identify with the victim is a big warning sign.

Maybe dungeons and dragons unleashes our inner psycho.

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Lord Karsus
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Posted - 16 Dec 2020 :  19:17:14  Show Profile Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-I don't think anyone really plays their D&D games "shoot to wound" as a default (though in plenty of cases it would make sense).

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