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Daoism / Taoism


Off-Topic Discussions

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A Civil Religious Discussion is mostly Atheist and Christian centric.

Kirth was kind enough to start Does a dog have a Buddha-nature? for me to explore.

But, being a poodle, I can not stick with one religion (or non-religion) for longer than five minutes. So I wanted to start a thread for discussion about Taoism.

The Internet Sacred Text Archive is a good place for some Daoist/Taoist reading. I had a hard time following a lot of this stuff.

I found TrueTao.org more useful. Especially the stories in Tao Living section.

Someone also pointed me towards 365 Tao Meditations which I check out nearly daily. Some things here I flat out disagree with, but I think that is to be expected. My understanding is that Daoism/Taoism recognizes that not everyone's path will be the same.

Oh! My five minutes are up. Time to start another thread on which is the appropriate Skill when someone wants to go to the bathroom in Pathfinder. I am leaning towards Survival, but I will entertain Craft if anyone can put forth a good case.


CourtFool wrote:
Time to start another thread on which is the appropriate Skill when someone wants to go to the bathroom in Pathfinder. I am leaning towards Survival, but I will entertain Craft if anyone can put forth a good case.

My house rules feature an "Endurance" skill, so I'd probably make them roll checks against that (with increasing DCs as time goes on) in order to "hold it." Releasing is a free action that does not require a check, unless you have some sort of medical condition.


Donkey
Dismount your donkey at the summit.

Spoiler:
Some places in this world are very hard to climb, and people use animals. Each person can only ride one, and each animal might have a different name. The riders go up the trail in different orders, and they discuss their varying opinions about their experiences. They may even have conflicting opinions : One traveler may think the trip thrilling, another may find it terrifying, and a third may find it banal.
At the summit all the travelers stand in the same place. Each of them has the same chance to view the same vistas. The donkeys are put to rest and graze; they are not needed anymore.

We all travel the path of Tao. The donkeys are the various doctrines that each of us embraces. What does it matter which doctrine we embrace as long as it leads us to the summit? Your donkey might be a Zen donkey, mine might be a Tao donkey. There are Christian, Islamic, Jewish, and even Agnostic donkeys. All lead to the same place. Why poke fun at others over the name of their donkey? Aren't you riding one yourself?

We should put aside both the donkeys and our interim experiences once we arrive at the summit. Whether we climbed in suffering or joy is immaterial; we are there. All religions have different names for the ways of getting to the holy summit. Once we reach the summit, we no longer need names, and we can experience all things directly.

This is nice sentiment. Is the summit really the same though? My understanding of enlightenment does not really match up with my understanding of the Christian Heaven. That could be my own failing.

Jesus said the only way to the father was through him. Did he mean acting like him or did he mean to include that we must accept him as our lord and savior? That just seems mutually exclusive to me.

And I believe Islam's Heaven differs from the Jewish and Christian one as well.

Could it be the 'real' path of each religion leads to the same summit and that it is only the 'corrupted' paths that venture in the wrong direction? Would it not then be that we must dig into the major religions and look for the lowest common denominator?

Or is this parable just wrong? There may be many ways to the summit, but there are also false paths?

Scratches at a flea.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
My house rules feature an "Endurance" skill, so I'd probably make them roll checks against that (with increasing DCs as time goes on) in order to "hold it."

Why not a simple Fort or Will check?


CourtFool wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
My house rules feature an "Endurance" skill, so I'd probably make them roll checks against that (with increasing DCs as time goes on) in order to "hold it."
Why not a simple Fort or Will check?

Because Endurance is a class skill for melee characters, and my houserules are the "Melee Edition."

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Although my imagination wants to partake in the restroom discussion, it doesn't really make me feel very productive at this point. So I will just focus on the thread topic. >.>

Ok, so CourtFool, it looks like you're trying to evaluate Taoism for a sort of pathfinder usage scheme, or are you evaluating Taoism for the religion itself? I find this topic interesting because I have already chosen to take on the idea of a fantasy cosmic-duality religion similar to Taoism, incorporating similar elements within it in my upcoming CS material for The Nymian Beastlands.

I guess my question is, since you seem to be evaluating it from a Christian analogy, and even including a notion of a 'Heaven' from Islam, I guess I am missing the overall point of the discussion to be made. I can partake and put forth my own conceptions of what I have learned from outside sources, as well as what I plan to provide in Open Game Content for access to these religious notions. That said, I think I need a little better perspective on what the goals of this thread actually are.

You have provided a decent set of resources from which to pull examples, but I am still unsure as to what the end result should be... Are we comparing very different western and eastern faiths in order to understand something outside of a western perspective, or are we showing ways in which Taoism can be utilized or understood in PF or gaming in general?

Thanks and best wishes all,
-will

Qadira

Kirth Gersen wrote:
CourtFool wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
My house rules feature an "Endurance" skill, so I'd probably make them roll checks against that (with increasing DCs as time goes on) in order to "hold it."
Why not a simple Fort or Will check?
Because Endurance is a class skill for melee characters, and my houserules are the "Melee Edition."

It has been said you have so many house rules you really are not playing pathfinder anymore. ;)

Qadira

CourtFool wrote:

Donkey

Dismount your donkey at the summit.

** spoiler omitted **

This is nice sentiment. Is the summit really the same though? My understanding of enlightenment does not really match up with my understanding of the Christian Heaven. That could be my own failing.

Jesus said the only way to the father was through him. Did he mean acting like him or did he mean to include that we must accept him as our lord and savior? That just seems mutually exclusive to me.

And I believe Islam's Heaven differs from the Jewish and Christian one as well.

Could it be the 'real' path...

Yes there can be many paths, you can even go back. In the long run, there is still time to change the road your on. To paraphrase Led Zeppelin, and it does make you wonder.


Crimson Jester wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
CourtFool wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
My house rules feature an "Endurance" skill, so I'd probably make them roll checks against that (with increasing DCs as time goes on) in order to "hold it."
Why not a simple Fort or Will check?
Because Endurance is a class skill for melee characters, and my houserules are the "Melee Edition."
It has been said you have so many house rules you really are not playing pathfinder anymore. ;)

I call it Kirthsbinder.

Qadira

Sorry could not help myself.


Crimson Jester wrote:
It has been said you have so many house rules you really are not playing pathfinder anymore. ;)

That is true! My path led to a different game.


Urizen wrote:
I call it Kirthsbinder.

I call it the Social Hybrid Interactive Tailored roleplaying system, lovingly referred to by its acronym.

Qadira

Kirth Gersen wrote:
Crimson Jester wrote:
It has been said you have so many house rules you really are not playing pathfinder anymore. ;)
That is true! My path led to a different game.

*Golf Clap*


Urizen wrote:
I call it Kirthsbinder.

Mentally, I think of it as the Social Hybrid Interative Tailored roleplaying system, lovingly referred to by its acronym.


xidoraven wrote:
Although my imagination wants to partake in the restroom discussion, it doesn't really make me feel very productive at this point.

I remember (fondly) countless hours discussing how Constitution was a good attribute to use in determining the size of a male character's member. Productivity be damned!

xidoraven wrote:
Ok, so CourtFool, it looks like you're trying to evaluate Taoism for a sort of pathfinder usage scheme, or are you evaluating Taoism for the religion itself?

Yes.

xidoraven wrote:
I guess my question is, since you seem to be evaluating it from a Christian analogy…

I was raised Roman Catholic, so that is always going to color my perception of other religions.

xidoraven wrote:
…I guess I am missing the overall point of the discussion to be made.

“A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” --Lao Tzu

Honestly, I just wanted to discuss Taoism. My point in posting that particular post was to explore it on its own merit. I am not sure I agree with it and I was curious to see how others took it.

xidoraven wrote:
I can partake and put forth my own conceptions of what I have learned from outside sources, as well as what I plan to provide in Open Game Content for access to these religious notions.

Please do. Although I originally wanted to discus Daoism/Taoism of this world, now that you have mentioned it, I am equally curious to see how it could be ported over into a Fantasy world. I often think of porting Christianity to a Fantasy world. In my opinion, all Fantasy world religions are too Greek/Egyptian. I would be interested to see something 'new'.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
CourtFool wrote:


I often think of porting Christianity to a Fantasy world. In my opinion, all Fantasy world religions are too Greek/Egyptian. I would be interested to see something 'new'.

I've done some on and off work on creating a medieval Christianity analog for games, albeit more around the machinery of the church than its doctrines. (For those I focused more on things like holy war and inquisitions than the trinity.) Unsurprisingly, it turned out to be extremely compatible with polytheism.


Samnell wrote:
(For those I focused more on things like holy war and inquisitions than the trinity.)

That is much like I was thinking. I was planning on keeping it monotheistic, but without a savior/god-incarnate. The politics of canon, schisms, martyrs and saints.

Of course, if I ever get to run my Charlemagne campaign, I can keep everything wholecloth!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
CourtFool wrote:
Samnell wrote:
(For those I focused more on things like holy war and inquisitions than the trinity.)
That is much like I was thinking. I was planning on keeping it monotheistic, but without a savior/god-incarnate. The politics of canon, schisms, martyrs and saints.

I started out with monotheism but ultimately decided that cultural bleed would inevitably make any monotheistic deity into Yahweh anyway. (Or at least a kind of Yahweh. Most published campaign settings have several gods filling that role.) So I stole a solution from Green Ronin's Book of the Righteous and had a small pantheon worshiped collectively by a single church which bore a very strong resemblance to medieval Catholicism. For extra weirdness I tried to define the deities as more abstract, personified concepts than humans writ large.

The church came late in the religious development of the continent, and individual D&D-style religions were already around. For a while it was a sort of ecumenical movement under the sponsorship of one of those, but it grew to be powerful enough to start forcibly assimilating those older religions into itself. Their gods got annexed to the pantheon and their old-style followers turned into heretics and schismatics to be battled. Anything outside the church became the obvious work of demons, and gods outside it redefined into demon lords.

The setup gave me witch hunts, inquisitors, and plenty of martyrs. Saints, which I never quite got around to, were going to be a combination of historical and mythic heroes of the church and rather minor gods that got virtually defined out of existence when absorbed into the pantheon.

The church was also vehemently against arcane magic and had launched a mostly successful purge of its casters, giving me a nice framework for black magic themed plots on top of the regular heresy and demon worship.

Naturally I wrote up a fair bit on all of this and then never got to use any of it. :)


One of the things I've learned from the Civil Religious Discussion:

Tao is Grace is Cool. If you have to tell people you have it, then you don't.


Sam, how were you planning on dealing with Clerics of absorbed gods? Did they still get their spells or did they have to pray to the (new) saint? Were you planning on using Alignment and, if so, which side of the schism was considered 'good'? Or were both?


Hill Giant wrote:

One of the things I've learned from the Civil Religious Discussion:

Tao is Grace is Cool. If you have to tell people you have it, then you don't.

I've got Tao, yes I do!

I've got Tao, how 'bout you?!

:)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
CourtFool wrote:
Sam, how were you planning on dealing with Clerics of absorbed gods?

The Church collectively would offer a selection of domains and clerics would have to choose at least one domain off the church's list, with both being the route of the secular cleric. (Secular in the sense that they were the worldly religious professionals who did the ordinary things like being church functionaries, parish priests, etc.) Secular clerics would probably have been a minority of PCs but a clear majority of church-affiliated clerical NPCs.

Monastic clergy by contrast took up special veneration of one of the church's deities and/or saints. They would pick one domain from the general church list and then have probably 2-3 unique domains available only to their order. Monastic clergy aren't necessarily guys holed up in an abbey somewhere but rather are defined by specific, unique rules and roles within the Church that are associated with their particular devotions. They're like Jesuits or Franciscans and have their own hierarchy which applies directly to them, answering to the larger church mainly through their leadership, though of course as modified by local politics and such.

For example, the Inquisition is a part of the Order of the Sublime Thought. The Thought is the deity of enlightenment and revelations. Inquisitors are trained by its agents and answerable to the head of the Order, which happens to be a council of Undying Anchorites. They live out their lives immured in tiny cells, meditating and praying intensely and being fed through tiny slots in the wall. When one's body gives out, the anchorite chooses his or her successor and imbues the successor with all the revelations and insight gathered over life in the cell...which includes all those things gained by his successor and his successor, etc. The Inquisition has its own hierarchy and procedures, but the boss of the Inquisition answers to the Anchorites directly. (Their audience chamber is perfectly circular, under a dome in their ancient mountaintop see. You would go in, kneel in the center, and try not to look directly at the walled-up archways with their food slots all around you.)

But the Anchorites themselves are under the authority of the Pope, who I never thought of a snappy title for. Traditionally he doesn't meddle much in internal Thought affairs but its agents remain his agents too. He has the authority to direct the Inquisition and even, if he cares to, change its rules, procedures, and so forth since it's all the same church and he's the gods' appointed representative in the world.

The separate orders are a bit like corporate subsidiaries, and some of them historically were actual independent churches accepted into the Great Church as a whole. Between the secular and monastic clergy there's room for players who want to just be a cleric and do typical churchy things and those players who want to get more into theological esoterica and general unique oddities within the larger religion.

Quote:
Did they still get their spells or did they have to pray to the (new) saint?

The answer is "yes". :)

Some of the gods of the Great Church have individual religions that are effectively extinct. The Great Church purged them as heresies, corruptions of the perfect doctrine, under the sway of demons, and so forth. Others have isolated underground cults which the Inquisition is always hunting. Some of those are genuine demonic conspiracies, others are kind of restorationist "get back to the true faith" movements. The Great Church views them all as evil, essentially forms of demon worship, and treats them accordingly.

But all three groups (the orthodox Great Churchers, the demon worshipers, and what I suppose you could call underground Protestants) get spells. To the Great Church sees casting by the heterodox as proof that they have demonic sponsors (which some actually do, whether they know it or not) while the heterodox see it as proof that the Church isn't all in the right and might actually be the demonic conspiracy itself.

(This is separate from the actual demonic cults which would be doing things like calling up guys to have sex with them in the forest, writing names in black books, etc.)

Quote:


Were you planning on using Alignment and, if so, which side of the schism was considered 'good'? Or were both?

I hadn't decided entirely, but was proceeding from the idea that the Church practices pedobaptism and that theologically commits you to the Great Church. In the absence of the baptism, the best you can ever detect as is neutral which the Church views as a kind of non-supernatural evil that can be cured and repented. The Great Church considers the unbaptized infinitely prone to and almost entirely incapable of resisting the blandishments of supernatural evil.

If you have the baptism then you're "Good" for the purposes of Church divine magic. Rites of initiation for various heterodox sects could revoke this blessing, depending on the sect, its opinions on the Church, and the Church's opinions on it. (Excommunication would void your baptism and result in you detecting as "neutral" or "unsaved" and certain forms of Church magic would no longer function on you at all. Being anathematized in addition would make you detect as evil, which is all the neutral stuff plus extra pain when someone casts Holy Word, etc.) The opposite situation exists for casters in heterodox sects. Worshipers of non-Church divinity of any kind would detect as Evil to Church-aligned casters.

The Church is explicitly humanocentric and does not believe that other races have souls. In fact, it believes many of them are actually cursed by the gods. So they wouldn't generally think to cast any kind of spell to interrogate the soul of a halfling. It would either fail entirely or give no result. A halfling is a soulless half-person cursed by the gods with imperfect form because of its perverted nature -it's believed they steal children and turn them into halflings, among other things- and cast forever to wandering. (My halflings here were largely sailors, similar to Robert Jordan's Sea Folk but waaaaay less annoying. They have ghettos in various port cities. They're tolerated somewhat because their sailing technology is considerably advanced compared to that of the local humans, who clomp around on galleys.)

I guess with all of that one doesn't really need alignment, at least for rules purposes. "Good" is whatever matches the theology of the caster. "Evil" is most everything else, with neutral being reserved largely to corner cases where either doctrine is inapplicable or the Church hasn't gotten around to condemning something yet. Inquisitors would have some leeway with neutrals, depending on the circumstance, but the discretion can be applied with charity or without.

But it could still be kept around for ease of use with players. "I know it's not really relevant in the world, but I'm going to play a lawful good kind of guy." Instead of "I'm going to play a disciplined, generous, courageous, merciful, etc" to say the same thing.)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Double post.


I'd play in that world.

Makes me want to try a Satyr again, running from the inquisition.


Morning

Spoiler:
Morning.
New day.
Joy of birth.

All we need is the morning. As long as there is sunrise, then there is the possibility that we can face all our misfortunes, celebrate all our blessings, and live all our endeavors as human beings. Spirituality is something that has become necessary in these troubled times. Yet it is inherently superfluous. We need it to remind ourselves, to bolster ourselves, to integrate ourselves, to fulfill ourselves. If we could simply acknowledge the mystery of night and the glory of morning, we would need neither civilization nor spirituality.
At its simplest, life begins with dawn. That is blessing enough. That is happiness enough. All else becomes fullness immeasurable. At dawn, kneel down and give thanks to this wonderful event. We may think mornings are so common that they are unworthy of veneration, but do you realize most places in the cosmos do not have mornings? This daily event is our supreme goodness.

Greet the dawn. That is your miracle to witness. That is the ultimate beauty. That is sacredness. That is your gift from heaven. That is your omen of prophesy. That is knowledge that life is not futile. That is enlightenment. That is your meaning in life. That is your directive. That is your comfort. That is the solemnity of duty. That is inspiration for compassion. That is the light of the ultimate.

I am not sure I understand how morning is the meaning of life, but I do see how the morning makes us reborn each day. A new day is full of possibilities. It is hard not to take them for granted when they come so early in the day though. That stupid alarm.

Beeep! Beeep! Beeep!

STFU!

But…yeah…mornings are cool.


I'm down with Laozi.

We were talking Buddhism in another thread, but my interest in zen comes largely from taoism. I think Buddha's pretty neat, but I still consider myself a taoist, whatever that means.

What did you want to thread about it?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
CourtFool wrote:
I'd play in that world.

:)

I'd love to run it sometime, but the learning curve is pretty steep to ask of a PBEM audience and that's how I run my games. Also it would need a lot more development work. I've probably got six or seven pages of disorganized notes, but none of it really complete. (I think I have all of four gods of the Great Church detailed and really I'd want at least eight or nine. Only one nation has a writeup, and it's an oddball which probably wouldn't be a good fit for a starting group. Only two of a planned 4-6 human ethnicities, and one of those is an oddball too.) I'll write on something until ideas run out or I'm sick of it and then hop somewhere else.


Evil Lincoln wrote:
What did you want to thread about it?

Taoism in general. As I implied earlier, I do not really have a specific agenda. I like a lot of the things I have seen about Taoism, but there are some things I am not sure I 'buy into'. I have found a Taoist message board, but most of the posters there seem to 'head in the clouds' for me. I like the people here and I hoped to bump into a Taoist or two that I could discuss things with.

The idea of modeling a religion in a Fantasy world around Taoism is interesting.

I am very intrigued by Sam's world.

Part of me would also like to see more 'positive' religious threads¹.

So, please, anything you would like to share that is remotely Taoist, feel free.

Samnell wrote:
I'd love to run it sometime, but the learning curve is pretty steep to ask of a PBEM audience and that's how I run my games.

I understand. I have been turned off by some games where the background is this wall of text (I am looking at you Exalted). I think part of the problem is that I do not know if I am going to be interested in a particular setting before I have to read like an entire novel.

With yours, at least I know I am interested in it from the brief description you have given. I would be willing to read more because I have an idea of what to expect.

But I agree, a PBP would be daunting. As much as I would love to, I do not think I could commit to it right now.

¹I fully acknowledge that I am partly to blame for the 'negativity' in the Civil Religious Discussion thread.


I was just reading about Joyeuse and Durendal. Now, I am thinking in my Charlemagne campaign, only priests will be allowed to craft enchanted items.

Well, others can, but they will be regarded with suspicion. Pagan and demonic items.

Qadira

CourtFool wrote:

I was just reading about Joyeuse and Durendal. Now, I am thinking in my Charlemagne campaign, only priests will be allowed to craft enchanted items.

Well, others can, but they will be regarded with suspicion. Pagan and demonic items.

Look a little deeper some of those same said blades were rumored to have been the blades of heroes of ancient Greece, rededicated.


CourtFool wrote:
Taoism in general. As I implied earlier, I do not really have a specific agenda. I like a lot of the things I have seen about Taoism, but there are some things I am not sure I 'buy into'. I have found a Taoist message board, but most of the posters there seem to 'head in the clouds' for me. I like the people here and I hoped to bump into a Taoist or two that I could discuss things with.

Oh yeah, I know how you feel. I can remember after a long period of fascination with the Tao Te Ching (in middle school!) discovering that there was such a thing as a "taoist god" and being crushed. I couldn't explain how a philosophy so rooted in personal experience could generate such superstitious beliefs. This actually lead me to my big "crisis of faith" with taoism, if there can be such a thing.

I was pleased when my professor explained to me that the label "taoist" is really used to describe any number of hundreds of provincial chinese faiths, and it was simply the taoist attitude not to contradict any of them. When you think about it, getting people to reject their ancestral gods is pretty un-taoist, whatever that means. So that cheered me up, to know that I could still associate with Laozi philosophically without signing on for the whole deism thing.

And I certainly do associate with Laozi. I prefer that phrase to considering myself "a taoist", which is sort of meaningless under any inspection. I also love Zhuangzi and a good number of buddhist thinkers, but if I had to pick a "denomination" I would prefer "Appreciator of Lao Zi." Laoist?

In the end, it's just a poem. Either it speaks to you, or it doesn't, right?


When I first looked up Taoism on Wikipedia, there was all kinds of stuff about gods. So I blew it off at the time.

Honestly, the Tao Te Ching does not resonate as much with me as the parables I have come across. And I am about 50/50 with Zhuangzi. I agree, though, that Taoism is very different for different people. And why wouldn't it be? If the Tao is everything, how could it be any one thing? That certainly explains why The name that can be named is not the enduring and unchanging name.


CourtFool wrote:
When I first looked up Taoism on Wikipedia, there was all kinds of stuff about gods. So I blew it off at the time.

Yeah. As it happens, most of those gods are not "taoist", they are the provincial gods that people believe in. Taoist sages do function as priests for these deities, and probably even believe in them as abstract entities, because that's what makes sense for them to do. Context is important.

Different parts of the Tao Te Ching resonate with me at different points in my life. There are definitely passages which made no sense to me at first, then 15 years later they are crystal clear.

Translation is key, as with all study of eastern religions. Some translators have a conflict of interest, where they might be able to translate something common sense, but the mystique of eastern philosophy leads them to preserve idioms and obscure meaning. Reading multiple translations can help. Interestingly, the most insightful version of the Tao Te Ching I have ever read was from a guy who knew no chinese, he just combined the various translations with a healthy dose of insight. I get the sense that Laozi wouldn't have been a purist about it.

EDIT: Ron Hogan's translation

I love the attitude. There is no reason you have to grasp ancient chinese idioms to wring the truth from Laozi. In the right voice, it is obvious; and all great taoist thought is obvious. So obvious it hurts. That's how you know it's good!


Evil Lincoln wrote:

Ron Hogan's translation

Awesome! Thank you for sharing. The smile on my face is worth it alone.


CourtFool wrote:
Awesome! Thank you for sharing. The smile on my face is worth it alone.

Just like with zen koans. Smile == comprehension.


Wow, this really puts the Tao Te Che in a new light for me. Again, thanks, EL.

It occurs to me that I had (or maybe I should say I came damn close) to mastering the Tao of fatherhood before my daughter was born.

When I first discovered I was going to be a father, I was a little freaked out. I can barely take care of myself. How am I going to take care of someone else? I am not perfect. I am not even very good. What kind of example could I possibly provide?

Then it struck me that no one is perfect. Everyone is pretty much flailing around as best they can. I am going to make mistakes and worrying so much about making those mistakes was only going to make me make more mistakes.

So I tried to think what was the most important thing about being a dad. It occurred to me that loving my child was the most important thing. Now, it may be other things for other people. But for me, love included providing a stable home and seeing to her needs. It was kind of comprehensive and just not kissing her all the time and telling her I loved her.

I realized that if I focused on loving her and doing what I thought was the best way of loving her in the moment, everything else would kind of work itself out. I was still going to make mistakes, but that is o.k. There were going to be times I would be mad at her and she would be mad at me, but all of that was o.k. It was going to happen one way or the other.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
CourtFool wrote:


I am very intrigued by Sam's world.

Feel free to remind me of that fact as often as you like. It's extremely gratifying. :)

I can be pretty critical of my creative output and most of it never goes past the eyeballs of my best friend, who is doesn't tell me that everything I write is awesome but does share so much gaming experience and taste with me that it's hard to generalize from what we like to what someone not joined at the brain for twenty years would like.

CourtFool wrote:


Samnell wrote:


I understand. I have been turned off by some games where the background is this wall of text (I am looking at you Exalted). I think part of the problem is that I do not know if I am going to be interested in a particular setting before I have to read like an entire novel.

Yeah. I adore the hell out of reading Exalted, aside the schizophrenic books written by a committee of freelancers who don't have the benefit of reading one another's work to make sure it all matches up. I really don't know how I could present it to my regular PBEM crew though. The rules alone would take a lot of work on everyone's part, and they're far from the most charismatic part of the game, even leaving aside that I'd have to find a way to finesse the point that the major gods are kind of X-box addicts. So I'll probably never play it and I'd rather get some time playing it under my belt before I tried running it. Ah well.

Quote:

With yours, at least I know I am interested in it from the brief description you have given. I would be willing to read more because I have an idea of what to expect.

But I agree, a PBP would be daunting. As much as I would love to, I do not think I could commit to it right now.

I've kicked around throwing what I have up in a thread or on a blog or something just for the hell of it. The worst that could happen would probably involve the heads of major nations taking personal and mortal offense to it and aiming an ICBM up my hind end, but I suppose the worst thing likely to happen is people just don't like it much. :)

I'll knock around the idea some more and see if I've got some notes typed up that aren't written in thick Samnellese and distorted by my habit of giving things I haven't named yet silly working titles, even when they're meant to be rather serious subjects.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A post actually about Taoism now, sort of.

Evil Lincoln wrote:


Translation is key, as with all study of eastern religions. Some translators have a conflict of interest, where they might be able to translate something common sense, but the mystique of eastern philosophy leads them to preserve idioms and obscure meaning.

Way back in Intro to Mythology (sadly the only mythology class I had the option to take at the time) the teacher presented us with the same selection of the Tao Te Ching in three translations and asked us which we preferred. One was a sort of stiff, antiquarian read that was much in fashion through the middle of the 20th century, when whole libraries of texts were rendered in it to a high standard but in such a way that they're hard going now. Another was more or less contemporary English. Everybody preferred that one.

The third was almost entirely incomprehensible. About the most I could get out of it was that it was trying to say something, but it was so opaque it might as well have been gibberish. She pronounced this probably the most faithful to the original Chinese, which would have been really cool if anybody had any Chinese and the literature chops to process it. :)


Evil Lincoln wrote:
As it happens, most of those gods are not "taoist", they are the provincial gods that people believe in.

Yup -- same thing with so-called "Buddhist gods."


So glad to see everyone agrees with me on the translation issue. Some people really latch on to the "impenetrable" aspects of taoism. Fortune Cookie Taoism I guess you could call it. I prefer to bear in mind that the truth is really simple, and in most casts explaining it makes it seem more complicated than it is.

Laozi wrote:


The wise student hears of the Tao and practices it diligently.
The average student hears of the Tao and gives it thought now and again.
The foolish student hears of the Tao and laughs aloud.
If there were no laughter, the Tao would not be what it is.

Hm... looks like I am an average student. That explains my "B".


To me, the Way is an awareness of what you will accomplish by doing what you choose to do. Therefore the Way is not incompatible with any practice (such as a religion), as long the practitioner is aware of why they do it.


Samnell wrote:
It's extremely gratifying. :)

I have been interested in Religion since my 5th grade Religion class when I discovered there was more than just Christianity. Of course that class was given at a Catholic high school and was less than accurate.

Most D&D games I have been in barley seem to pay any attention to religion at all. The gods are expected to grant their Clerics spells. Beyond that, no one really cares. I have rarely seen anyone play a Cleric that actually attempts to expand their god's influence throughout the world.

"Just give me my damn spells!"

Do Paladins even have gods? I mean, everyone knows they have strict codes they have to follow…but everyone just plays them like an over-annoying Dudly Doright.

I think religion offers one of the best opportunities to really get into your character as well as endless plot hooks.

Samnell wrote:
I've kicked around throwing what I have up in a thread or on a blog or something just for the hell of it.

I would be interested in looking it over.

Laozi wrote:

The wise student hears of the Tao and practices it diligently.

The average student hears of the Tao and gives it thought now and again.
The foolish student hears of the Tao and laughs aloud.
If there were no laughter, the Tao would not be what it is.

So Tao needs foolish students. Awesome! I'm in!

Hill Giant wrote:
Therefore the Way is not incompatible with any practice (such as a religion), as long the practitioner is aware of why they do it.

That is kind of what I got from The Tao of the Bandit.


Robber Zhi FTW.


Is compassion a virtue? Is it also neutral? Can it lead someone away from tao?

Qadira

CourtFool wrote:
Is compassion a virtue? Is it also neutral? Can it lead someone away from Tao?

Yes.


Crimson Jester wrote:
CourtFool wrote:
Is compassion a virtue? Is it also neutral? Can it lead someone away from Tao?
Yes.

Only a bowl of rice...without the carbs.


Tao's are great... fresh out of the steamer, with some pork or veggie fillings. YUM.

OH WAIT.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
CourtFool wrote:


Samnell wrote:
I've kicked around throwing what I have up in a thread or on a blog or something just for the hell of it.

I would be interested in looking it over.

I started the thread.

So far it's just general influences and a reply to your post about religion in gaming, but I'll have more up tonight.

Qadira

CourtFool wrote:
Crimson Jester wrote:
CourtFool wrote:
Is compassion a virtue? Is it also neutral? Can it lead someone away from Tao?
Yes.
Only a bowl of rice...without the carbs.

Metaphorical carbs. You need to bottle that, you could make Billions!!!


CourtFool wrote:
Is compassion a virtue? Is it also neutral? Can it lead someone away from tao?

Hm. Compassion isn't a virtue, it results pretty naturally from seeing the world as it is. Neutral might be a good word for it.

What is a "virtue" is really suspect — I don't think the Tao lies in being virtuous. But, in discarding virtue, you find compassion for the unvirtuous.

Probably, I am getting too hung up on language. At the end of the day, I think compassion is a result of the way.

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