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Mammon Cultist

Sissyl's page

6,862 posts (7,623 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 7 aliases.

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Diffan wrote:
Let me ask, you find a product you like. Do you instantly trust them to continue to make the exact same product forever?

No. Not normally. I can count on one hand the times I did so on one hand, probably. It does put plusses on my chance of picking something up from the producers again, though. After enough plusses, I start buying without checking it up first. Now, sometimes that gets me a crap book, one I would not have bought if I had checked up first. That is okay. What I gain from it is familiarity, cozying down to read something I know I will probably like, looking forward to the next one, discussing it on the net with boneheads like me, and so on. There is a name for this: Brand loyalty. It is what gets money rolling in year in and year out for producers. It is what people WANT. It is why, for example, Forgotten Realms sold well. People knew what getting a new FR book meant. In reading that book, they knew they would be reminded of years and years of good emotions.

The price of that for the producers is that you really have to be a bit careful when making new branded products. Coca Cola learned this when they tried New Coke. It is an often-taught lesson to companies that if they have brand loyalty, it IS NOT JUST THEIR POTATO ANYMORE. Change it too much, particularly if you do it in an insensitive and heavy-handed way, and you LOSE brand loyalty, something that took years and decades to build up.

It's all well and good to say "It is their property, they can do with it as they please", and "You can't expect people not to change things in their IP", and so on, but fact is, it doesn't matter one whit. They did all they could to cash in (Forgotten Realms being the foremost such money grab during 4E to my mind), and they have realized there was a pretty significant price tag attached to doing so. And while 5E sounds far better... not every mistake can be easily smoothed over. Sometimes you really need to build up your trust again. There is a limit to what people will overlook.

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My first post in this thread was to sum up the poorly thought out actions of 4E. I am sure I forgot some. Much of it is, as you say, that I did not care for the game as it was. The focus was entirely wrong for me with a myopic focus on combat. But when I think about what of these decisions made me realize that I wanted nothing to do with it, that honour lies with nuking the Forgotten Realms. Now, it COULD still have been a good thing. Not every irradiated wasteland is uninteresting. The problem was that it was deeply and truly incompetently done. They killed off every NPC that wasn't an elf with the time jump. They cut out whole areas of map, usually into bottomless pits. They messed up several of the deities for no sensible reason (forced marriages, really???). They even killed Mystra despite releasing a trilogy of hardback adventures recently that let the PCs learn that plot! They put in new stuff too! Dragonborn! Yay... A whole new continent of dragon stuff. I never understood why they wanted to add Krynn to the setting. Everything was turned into points of light. And yet... The areas not destroyed into gaping chasms were virtually unchanged. The towns were in the same place. The roads, rivers and lakes were too, after a hundred years of chaos. So, they sold a campaign guide and a player guide and a single adventure, then didn't touch it for years. I have a seriously difficult time imagining a more incompetent handling of it. They make much about IP and branding... But part of that work is UNDERSTANDING THE BRAND. Trust? Yes, it does become an issue of trust when you release a campaign guide and a player guide for something. Part of why they sell so well is because people assume you intend to keep making products for it. If you do not, all you wanted was a short term money grab.

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Diffan: While your point is not entirely wrong, it is also quite true that those decisions I paraphrased were a large part of the reason for the edition war. I mean, there would have been an outcry whatever they did, but it wouldn't have become impossible to discuss on any major RPG board for years and years without their ample help.

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Tell you what, let us check the first post of the thread:

Pan wrote:
Many folks have mentioned being turned off/away by WOTC products and/or decisions in the past 5-10 years.

Anything else?

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Really? Scott, is this a matter of your definition "during 4e's initial release" as the very day it was released, then claiming "the business decisions that people are upset about didn't happen during precisely that day"? The breach of trust was a slow affair, over what I would say amounts to a year or so. It was not just one item, one foot bullet, rather it was an operation foot autofire for months.

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Gunshot wound? If only... =)

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Okay. =) It would help if you cut some too...

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"Okay, guys, time for 4dventure! Let us focus on tactics and combat only, after all we are trying to attract the MtG and WoW players. Skills? Nah, we just make them a guessing game and call them skill challenges. What else?"
"Well, we could do inspiring monsters?"
"Nah, the bean counters want us to use only copyrightable names, so icefrostchoke elemental is what is going to happen."
"Darnit. How about interesting powers for the PCs?"
"So long as they can only do straight damage, inflict ongoing damage or conditions, or move people around the board. The ninety-year-old focus group doesn't understand more than that. They also think we should have more hotels, free parking and do not pass go."
"Umm.. Okay. I know, we can focus on the IP we already have, like the Forgotten Realms?"
"No, focus groups have said there is too much stuff on it, so we are carpet bombing it with a Spellplague and then a century time jump. The fans are going to love it, by our calculations."
"What calcuations?"
"The ninety-year olds told us."
"Sounds like a tough situation... Computer stuff?"
"Yeah, about that, we really want people to pay every month instead of just once, you know like WoW, so we are going to make this really cool three dimensional dungeon delving system. All the details aren't sorted out yet, but hey, we can still promise it."
"The Paizo guys are REALLY getting fan support nowadays, shouldn't we throw some support their way?"
"Hmmm, no. Let's cancel both mags, and fold it into our monthly scheme. We can even do a cool corporate sketch about four parts of the experience interlocking and supporting each other - the bosses upstairs would really like that."
"But... Cancel? Is that wise?"
"Their fans are our fans. They can't do diddlysquat without legal access to the ruleset."
"Uh, sir... You do know about the OGL?"
"Damn, we... I know, we release a new one, charge five grand for using it and include that those that do never get to publish under the OGL again! I mean, this is the new hot stuff, it has to sell even better than the old stuff, almost no matter what we do."
"What about the website?"
"It still has old pdfs, right? Those will just get pirated, cut them."
"But people have paid for them..."
"Nevermind, we can't let people access old stuff. Bad to compete against yourself."
"You really think the people who paid for the pdfs we are going to cut their access to are the ones who will pirate?"
"You're fired. Pirating is illegal and needs to be punished harshly! What else?"
"Just make a number of clips and tell people how stupid they are for playing as they play now. I am sure that will go down well and shame them into trying our new stuff."

Trust? Yes, I trust them to be what they are.

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It is arbitrary. The clues given are screwed up. Most of the stuff is of the amazingly creative No save variety. A lot of it is stupid, such as the sex change and opposite alignment curse. There are three creatures in the entire sorry mess, all at severely different power levels. The entire dungeon is PASTEL, for the love of interior decoration. There are few opportunities for players to use their characters' abilities. The final combat against the demilich is similarly stupid (the thief's only option to do damage is to sling gemstones, which do damage in relation to their value, really Gary? Really?). It feels like a jumble of completely disconnected rooms, which is further reinforced by the fact that big A himself can realistically be taken out efficiently by using a trapped gemstone found two rooms earlier (which thankfully lets the PCs skip the combat with him). I played through it with some friends some time ago, and they looked pretty stunned at it. But its worst crime is that it keeps spawning homage adventures WHERE YOU USUALLY HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE ORIGINAL STINKING PILE OF CRAP AGAIN!!!

There. You can excommunicate me now.

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Seconded Mud Sorcerer's Tomb, the Sinister Spire.

I really can't agree with Tomb of Horrors, though. It is rather incomprehensible why people think it is such a great adventure.

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All in all, it seems the most dangerous phrase from a GM is "are you sure you want to do that?"

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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:

"Groetus hangs in the form of a bloated moon above Pharasma's Boneyard in the Outer Sphere, silently watching. Only the other gods know whether the moon itself is the god, or merely his dwelling place, and they have proven reluctant to discuss the matter. Adventurous folk who have braved the surface of this place are either never heard from again, or are discovered soon after as the newest of the god's insane faithful.[3] It is unknown what role Groetus will play in the End Times."

Hypothesis: Groetus = Second Coming of Aroden.

We got death star

We got death star
We got death star
We got death star

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But remember, atheist scum are the dangerous people. They have no morality, you see.

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It isn't complicated. "Elfondir was born 114 years ago. Then his parents put him in what is lovingly called the 'moron cocoon' so the absurdly retarded elfling doesn't get in the way before he starts being able to think at around 100 years of age. Fourteen years later, he is ready to adventure!"

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Rovey has always been strawberry shortcake.

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Bob_Loblaw wrote:
This may not seem like a big deal to some but I went for a walk dressed up all by my lonesome. Sure it was 1 am but it was a mile walk along a road that was busier than I expected. There were no pedestrians but there were plenty of cars. One circled by twice. I got a little nervous but they never stopped. The point is that I did it without anyone there to support me in person. For me, that's a big deal.

You rock!

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No, rating systems should be a service to the players, not a sledgehammer against the producers of games. As in, this game has a plot and gameplay that a three-year old can actually handle well. If the game also contains sex and violence, let that be a separate marking (yes/no).

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You can NEVER trust them. They are useless, dangerous and bring only problems. They demand that everyone should adapt to them, and ignore any sort of discourse and understanding. Only raw violence works. Complete excision. A final solution.

Appendixes. Simply can't trust them.

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There is no justification, Lord Snow. It is murder, and it is never okay. However, if you deny a whole population ways of living in peace and relative prosperity, armed resistance WILL happen. This kind of situation can only be resolved from the point of the stronger group - that is Israel, like it or not.

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Lord Snow wrote:
I was using the word "terrorist" to signify that Hamas are specifically and intentionally targeting their violence against civilians, and are ruthless when it comes to sacrificing their own civilians for the slightest of edges. The argument that they "don't have a choice" is both meaningless and condescending - there's always a choice, as the peaceful uplifting of South Africa rather recently proved. And not holding Palestinians responsible to their actions is not treating them as equal humans to Israelis. Every man or woman has to answer for their own actions, and Hamas has accumulated quite a bit of that.

What, you want them to assault army bases instead? Israel has what, the sixth largest military in the world? Face it, the only thing they can affect is civilian targets. Against military targets, they have nothing, no chance, no hope. And due to their lack of resources, their operations WILL cost them people. I find criticizing them on that basis a bit... odd. The alternative is to stop fighting back, which is as impossible to them as it is to the Israeli by now. And no, as was pointed out earlier, the change in South Africa was hardly a peaceful revolution. I maintain: The lives the could live, the change the majority of them would want, given that they are human beings, ARE out of their grasp, because of security measures put in place because "the Palestinians can't be trusted".

Finally: If every man and woman must answer for their own actions, why are the Israeli setting all Palestinians to answer for what the suicide bombers and rocket-flingers do?

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Terrorist is a boo word. Like freedom is a hooray word. The most basic part of understanding propaganda is that someone using either hooray words or boo words is selling something deeply simplified and generally useless. Nothing against you, Lord Snow, and you may even be right in that Hamas is worse, but using terrorist like that doesn't help your message.

The IRA lost the hearts and minds of the people of Northern Ireland when the economic situation improved. Big surprise. People have better things to do with their lives than killing people and making political statements - if given the option. Things like getting their kids to good schools, work to get food on the table, and perhaps a forty inch plasma TV. Making sure their parents are doing okay. Falling in love and keeping up with what Justin Bieber is doing. Improving on their cooking. Debating politics. Reading obscure fantasy novels. Wasting time on forums. Going to prison for driving too fast. You know, stuff. Life.

The problem is that it is seen as a security and military problem primarily. That has always been a good way to increase suppression and authoritarianism. If you have someone imprisoned for causing someone's death, you can ALWAYS say "he killed someone, so we can't let him out this year, he might do it again". But it is at its most basic level a failure. Not getting out, he grows angry and feels you are being unjust, and causes trouble. So, you send in some thugs with knuckledusters to teach him he shouldn't cause trouble. Now he realizes he has to fight for his life. His behaviour grows worse. Then you can CLEARLY not let him out, because he now hates your guts. Brilliant. There IS no solution that way. And perhaps worst of all, there are many in politics and the military, that stand to gain from that path.

Even if the Hamas are worse, they, like the IRA, are merely reflections of what they see as their enemies.

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Then just ask him what help he would want. Even if he doesn't want any help, he will know you are there if he needs it.

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You really shouldn't eat cookies on welfare. It isn't the cookies' fault that they had to seek welfare.

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DM says: "She comes up close and whispers to you 'why don't we go somewhere more... private'"
DM means: "You've been hitting on everything vaguely female with a pulse (and in one case, without), here's a succubus for you to play with."

DM says: "Is there anything else you want to ask him before setting out?"
DM means: "Seriously guys, aren't you even going to ask him what you'll get for doing his quest?" or "I wonder how long it will take them to realize they still have no idea where to go?"

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Yuugasa wrote:
Bleh...apologies Sissyl, I didn't really mean to get into this. Thank you for your advice and helpful attitude. Feel free to offer me advice in the future as well, I will welcome it.

No worries. =) As you describe it, it sounds like you have a good understanding of them, and your strategy is, oddly, the one least likely to burn bridges for you. Good luck with it, and don't forget what is important to you.

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I understand that. Just be very clear on what you mean, and don't say too much. Far better to say "Okay, in that case we're leaving." or "I am sorry, but this discussion is over." if someone says something bad, so things can be solved more easily when tempers are less in uproar.

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But judging from other threads, torture is apparently something many are completely fine with. Which is odd, because rape figures quite frequently against both men and women in situations of torture. I get the feeling that it's the same people that claim "torture is nothing to get your head in a bender about, I mean, they survive, don't they?" and "rape is the WORST thing anyone could do to another person, because you have to live with it and don't just die!"

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Martin Shadow King Jr. wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
AR (aboleth resources) is lodging a harassment charge.

I never touched it honest!

Besides, if I did, we'd all know about it. When I touch someone, I always leave them... weak in the knees.

Note how he presupposes the primacy of creatures with knees? Speciesist!

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AR (aboleth resources) is lodging a harassment charge. This latest declaration is following the same tiresome rhetorics as all the other ones that falsely portray every other kind of monster as equal in value as the aboleths.

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Burning bridges can be a problem. It may be better to let it be a while before you make a call on what really happened. People are far better long-term than shell-shocked. Even if they shouldn't.

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At least before they start up a HR department...

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Passing them off as a specific other currency is illegal. :-)

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*readies the flamethrower* =)

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If there was a shadowpocalypse happening, I am quite sure the gods would make sure to grant a number of new, light-themed, area effect spells to deal with them. Sarenrae, Shelyn, Iomedae and others would grant these spells of various levels to their priesthood to make sure. It would be quite simply all they needed to do.

Then again, undead are described as quite introverted. They plod around where they died, pondering the unfairness of it all. If someone disturbs them, the undead get upset, but that doesn't usually lead to proactive cleansing.

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MMCJawa wrote:
Sissyl wrote:

Tell your GM that you will not make new characters if this one dies, any of you. Tell him you give it a month.

Then start mistreating his setting.

Burn villages, slaughter NPCs, force people to go along with financial schemes that give you a massive income. Use this income to build each PC a massive castle. Declare war against everyone else. Start riding dragons. Dig out overpowered spell combos. Read creatively to maximize your advantage. Cheat outright. Polymorph the immortal giants to toads and put them in jars where they get no food and would starve if they hadn't been immortal. Every DM call you hear him make, discuss for at least an hour about obscure rules in the books, making it personal. Ask others if his rulings were okay, then come back to him and tell him he is wrong. Whine if he hits you with anything you just don't like. Start intraparty backstabbing and conflict about it an entire session. Make sure to make a determined effort to make the GM let you get various uber templates. And so on. Just don't let the GM hurt your character too badly. If it happens, either have the others rescue you or commit suicide. And do not make another character.

Then, one month later, a few sessions into Players Wreck The Setting, ask him if this is what he really wants. Of course, you could tell him what he is doing is no fun without wrecking things too...

Or you could do the actual mature thing and either talk to the GM about your concerns, volunteer to GM the game yourself, or let him know that his style of GMing doesn't match yours, and politely bow out.

I gather you did read the last sentence I wrote, right?

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No. Specifically and expressly no. You are thinking of relative morality. In an objective morality setting, it is what you do that counts, the ends are less important. If a paladin kills a possessed child to save the entire world from annihilation, he still falls.

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There are two arguments for torture: a) Otherwise the disaster happens, and b) people do bad things all the time, these things are worse than a little piddling torture...

A) is, much like other fantasies, a convenient way for primitive people to justify their right to torture. In essence, it skips to the non-existent/extremely rare cases that gets anyone's blood boiling, ignores any argument why it might not be necessary - because the arguer WANTS to define the world as one in which torture works and doesn't bring horrible side effects.

B) is immature to the point of being laughable, or would be if it wasn't so terrible. Siblings fight. People hit one another. People get angry with people they love. People say hurtful things, sometimes in front of others. Simple, right? All these things make us equally monstrous, so let's torture away!!!1 No. None of this holds a candle to the sickening, stomach-turning horror that is knowingly torturing another. Keeping them helpless, in your power (this is what people like about torturing), and subjecting them to degradation, pain, mutilation and situations where they fear for their lives for days or weeks on end.

There will always be primitive people who like torturing. In their fantasy, they can do the things nobody else can stomach, hurting only thoroughly evil people to Protect (tm) Society (tm), Justice (tm) and Freedom (tm). It has about as much to do with reality as Rambo IV or Megashark vs Giant Octopus, or He-man and the Masters of the Universe.

By the same token, there will always be those who oppose it, and tell the Milgram-du-jour to go f*!% himself.

The greek gods were a pretty awful bunch. Hera did all the things described above. Zeus boned any girl he was passing by. Demeter transformed people into deers and hunted them for sport. Athena blinded a man for seeing her naked when she was bathing in the forest - and to compensate, gave him the gift of precognition which allowed him to see his own death and thereby poisoning his entire life. And so on... Calling any of them Good is truly stretching the definition of that word. And yes, an inquisitor of Hera would be able to employ torture to his heart's content. He would just be evil while doing so.

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And from the time they were called type V demons, how about calling your new variants Aishapra, Kevokulli or Rehnaremme? Marilith was just an example of an individual name, that was then used when "demon" became no go, for the entire type of demon. That could be done again, no? Aishapra is pretty neat.

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Jack Bauer was a very conscious decision about trying to whitewash the idea of torture in the hearts and minds of the American people. As such, he might be a symptom, depending on your definition. But it's not just the character. The entire setting is designed from the ground up to show that terrorists are evil people and the good people must use torture on them for society to survive (tm) and when the good guys do use torture, it works. It is... shameful.

And no, torturers are not like everyone else. They are people who accept doing such disgusting acts without objecting. Not everyone is like that. And while we spend our RPG time imagining monsters and how we kill them... the even sadder and more frightening truth is that every monster in the history of human imagination has been a mirror of something found in humans. A monster is at its heart an image of a human. THAT is why I call them subhuman and monsters.

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Indeed. A personal decision to sidestep the rules, knowing you will be punished for it, I can respect that since they did not actually torture the person. Having torture be sanctioned by the state, having its civil liberties sidestepped by "extraordinary rendition" into territories where those liberties do not exist such as Cuba, Egypt and so on, having government people in the DoJ defend the practice of torture - that's despicable, dangerous and unforgiveable.

As for paladins, well, a paladin that "relied on others for this" or even considered doing so, would be a fallen paladin in VERY short order. Anyone else torturing would no longer be Good.

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Torture is an insidious, deeply evil thing. Once you start, you will need to cover it up, because it's something that escalates. The prisoner we thought we could break with threats of torture didn't break, so we inflict light pain. Still nothing. Harsh beatings. Still nothing. "Light" torture like waterboarding. Still nothing. Fake executions. Still nothing. Okay, we actually kill him if he doesn't talk. Nothing. Blam. Ooops, guess he didn't know after all. Or, hunger strikes. Well, nothing that force-feeding through the nose can't fix. Or unintentional killings. Or when the guy that has been completely destroyed through years of torture is finally put in court to testify, his testimony is disregarded because he's been too mentally damaged. And if it comes out, a LOT of highly placed people will get VERY uncomfortable questions - so classified it is. And then, the next generation of people in charge have an interest in not disclosing either, because a) they know the people that used to be in charge, b) they don't want to be responsible for what the last people in charge did, and c) they want the tools the last people in charge had, so the horror story continues. The ONLY place to stop it is before you begin. The alternative is a decade or so of thorough investigation, public denouncement and severe punishments of the involved people and millions upon millions in damages, both personally and from the state. And, note that the US did sign the Geneva Convention against Torture, but did not ratify it.

Torture remains one of the absolute worst things a government can do or allow. It taints everyone involved. The ones who actually do it are subhuman monsters.

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So, they managed to recover a body. And all it cost them was breaking the Geneva Convention on Torture. One would have thought the germans knew the importance of not doing that.

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Renegadeshepherd wrote:

I get what your saying, I do. And I'm not bringing politics into this at all. But torture is defined as inflicting pain on someone...having experience in this matter I can say I had more pain from falling through my ceiling two nights ago. And simple tortures like simulating drowning are weak as you know they are t going to kill you and it doesn't permantly hurt you. A simple marine corp "soap bath" where they beat you with a bar of soap is more damaging to body and "barbaric" in nature and that is done everyday. But I don't hate marines, I like most of em in fact. Are they evil?

Point being you as the GM need to decide what is torture and what is not. There are 3 levels of torture as far as I can tell... 1) inflicting pain to compel cooperation, 2) inflicting permanent damage to force cooperation and, 3) sadist activities.

Torture is not defined as inflicting pain on someone. Sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, starvation, thirst, and rape are all methods used that do not work primarily through pain. Torture is getting information (or just for the lulz) through any means necessary. Pain is merely one way to do it.

As for not permanently hurting you, that is quite simply not true. In a large percentage of cases, torture permanently changes the victim in personality, giving rise to untreatable anxiety disorders of which post-traumatic stress disorder is the most well known. PTSD sufferers usually report worse quality of life than the sufferers of the worst chronic pain syndromes.

Again, it is not the pain involved. It is helplessness. Being subjected to that, especially for long periods of time or in situations where you feel you are getting killed slowly (like waterboarding), DOES things to people. You mutilate their very personality, and there is no way to fix it. Ever. Let me restate that for your convenience: Waterboarding is cruelty on a scale no human should EVER be subjected to. Imagine it yourself. You're tied down and helpless. They put a number of towels over your mouth and nose. Then they pour water on the towels, and you can't breathe. You can't breathe for too long, and you feel your mind getting damaged, fainting, dying... then you get air. For a little while... then it happens again... again and again... your mind getting more and more wounded and damaged each time. And you can't get it to stop. That a human would to this to another is incomprehensible. On Ireland during the nineteenth century, they used half-hangings. A charming method of killing someone... you string them up gently so as not to break their neck or damage their throat. Then when they fall unconscious, you take them down, and when they wake up, it's time again. Eventually, you let them die. Sound familiar?

A beating, by contrast, is a short-term, painful bout that the human body can recover from very well, so long as it is not a recurring event you can't prevent.

There are three levels of torture: 1) Monstrous acts against human beings that should be illegal in any country calling itself civilized, 2) Monstrous acts against human beings that should be illegal in any country calling itself civilized, and 3) Monstrous acts against human beings that should be illegal in any country calling itself civilized.

EDIT: My first thought when you write "having experience in this matter" was that you knew a thing or two about being in pain. It strikes me that I may be far too charitable here. If the "matters" you have experience in is torture, then do yourself a favour and do not speak of it in any sort of civilized company. Not everything can be forgiven, or excused.

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Tels wrote:

Could the Marilith not just use weapons two-haned, thus cutting her number of necessary weapons in half and increasing the damage per swing, while funneling the extra gold into her defenses?

Seems kind of a win-win in my book.

Two-bladed swords FTW.

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On the other hand... there is an idea among politicians today that there needs to be a LOT of laws made. Who knows why. Perhaps they need to feel needed. Belgium managed without a government for a year and a half. Truth be told, we have far too many laws made today.

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Do the rules say what the favoured class of a gelatinous cube is, and what bonuses it can choose from? Alchemist would feel somewhat... appropriate.

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If a cube got druid levels, would it wildshape as a Medium creature or would it start at Large? What DC would it be to wildshape into a gelatinous icosahedron?

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Are you guys for real? =)

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Meh... newbies. We have Gotland, a huge island off the Swedish east coast. Some few tens of thousand people live there... and some of them actually say "swedes" when talking about "mainlanders".

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Matt Thomason wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
If "edition" is no good... how about "release"? Or "version"?

I would honestly love RPG companies to use "version" to indicate "we threw out the old game and made a new one based around similar concepts" and "edition" to indicate "we put in some major changes but it's essentially the same game underneath."

So, Pathfinder 3.42 with SP 2?

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