The Windsong Testaments: The Beauty of Horrors

Thursday, October 17, 2019

One never needs look far from the loveliest flower to find the worms fatting on the buried dead below, providing for beauty’s banquet above. Such truths are known to the gods. There can be no light without darkness, no life without death, no good without evil. As one of the First among the gods, these truths are held as virtues to glorious Desna, Song of the Spheres. She knows and teaches that a thing of beauty to your eye may be a wretched affront to mine. Beauty and horror can exist simultaneously. Beauty and horror can be the same.

But do not let any deceive you that beauty and horror are equals. One need not endure the pain of rent flesh to marvel at the glitter of a finely-honed blade, nor should you be forced to endure the ache of loneliness just to enjoy the peace of solitude. Learn, Desna teaches us, that enjoyment and delight in the pleasures of life is not a sin. You need not pay for bliss with shame, and you should not fear the horror that lies within all beauty.

For so Desna learned herself when she woke the abominable Gossamer King from his shrouded dreams.

Desna, the butterfly-winged goddess of freedom and luck, confronts the Gossamer King, an insectoid monstrosity bristling with legs and stingers, against a starry backdrop.

Illustration by Alberto Dal Lago

In those earliest of days, long before the first of us dreamed our mortal dreams, the gods were still young and they still had much to learn. The worlds of worlds had yet to hang in the firmament, and the First of those Worlds was still being woven as Desna drifted, dreaming and delighting, through the In-Between.

In that time, the Ethereal Plane was no Ghost World, for no lives had yet been lost to mortal souls. Nor was it a Space Between Spaces, for the worlds of reality had yet to be forged. It was first, and yet remains, the In-Between. A place not fully dreaming, yet neither fully awake. Such sights Desna beheld In-Between tugged at her heart and would inspire her in time to light Cynosure itself at the heart of the Cosmic Caravan.

And so when, in her rapturous wanderings, the Song of the Spheres came across a glistening shape drifting alone, she became entranced. Here was a splendid ovoid of shimmering silken strands, each twined length sliding and singing against its kin and bright with more colors than any mortal eye would ever behold. Desna could see that the shape was a shroud of woven lengths, yet the strings had no beginning and no end, as if it had simply formed at once as a single impossibly tangled length.

Desna was not content to simply look upon the shape, and so she settled upon it. It was warm to the touch, and its smooth surface compelled the hand to slide along its pleasing textures. And as she held the shape, she knew it was but a covering, a shroud that held an even greater wonder within. What mysterious marvel lay shielded from view by those few thin layers of silk? What unbeheld revelation waited within this strange traveler through the flickering void? Desna knew of the brutality of evil and the rancor of wrath, for such awfulness has existed from the beginning. She knew, even as she tugged at the strands and worried at the weave, that something this entrancing could also be something equally awful, yet she paid those nagging thoughts no mind.

She opened the Gossamer King’s cocoon, and as Ghlaunder emerged, Desna knew sorrow and regret for the first time.

Ghlaunder crawled from quiescence: eyes and mouths—eyes that were mouths; legs and tongues—legs that were tongues; hunger and hate—hunger that was hate. Ghlauder seized upon the Song of the Spheres. She brushed aside those starving stalks and slashing teeth, yet more were there to vex voraciously, for Ghlaunder had waited for eons, and in eons, hunger has much time to compel. As Ghlaunder fed in desperate gulps, as it glutted upon Desna’s divine grace, its wings unfurled and there Desna beheld glory again. For the Gossamer King’s iridescent wings held the same shimmering beauty that had caught Desna’s eye before his wakening.

Desna could not bring herself to destroy Ghlaunder, yet she knew he was a great hunger whose presence would bring pain and suffering. And so Desna drew upon her might and banished Ghlaunder from the In-Between, and the Gossamer King was hurled from the Inner Sphere to fester far beyond within the Outer Rifts, a place more accepting of his countenance now that his shroud had been forever torn.

Desna left the In-Between soon after, and in the creation of the worlds of worlds, she would find much more to remind her of the beauty of reality, yet always the Gossamer King’s lesson remained. Even in great beauty could dwell great horror—and in great horror one might find great beauty.

The Gossamer King lives still. His faithful infest the neglected cracks of society, and they see the face of god in the rasping kiss of the chewing maggot or the thirsty work of the supping leech. Yet do not doctors use maggots to save the living from gangrenous wounds? Have not physicians used leeches to reduce the swelling of inflamed flesh?

Desna’s faithful are not alone in the constant fight against the cults of those like the Gossamer King, but Desna today is the first to point to her mistake of releasing this evil into reality not as something to be ashamed of. It was a chance to learn. It is always better to live, to make mistakes, and accept the challenges discovered as opportunities to grow, to teach, and to do better than to suppress and forget.

And while the sight of a devotee of Ghlaunder clad in the faith’s most sacred raiment—a thousand thousand sucking mosquitos worn together as robes—certainly turns the stomach, is there not something of beauty in how each of those gossamer wings shines back the twinkling starlight from the night skies above?

About the Author

James Jacobs is the Creative Director for Pathfinder. While he was there at the beginning of Golarion’s creation, many of the deities worshiped by that world’s heroes and villains had already existed for decades before. Goddesses and gods like Desna and Rovagug, Sarenrae and Abadar, Achaekek and Zon-Kuthon first established their faithful among PCs and NPCs alike in James’ home campaign in the late 80s and early 90s. Sharing them with the world as deities of the Pathfinder setting, seeing players and creators come to love and hate them (and in some cases cosplay as them), has been a career highlight.

About the Windsong Testaments

On the northern reaches of Varisia’s Lost Coast stands Windsong Abbey, a forum for interfaith discussion tended by priests of nearly twenty faiths and led by a legacy of Masked Abbesses. At the dawn of the Age of Lost Omens, Windsong Abbey suffered as its faithful fought and fled, but today it has begun to recover. A new Masked Abbess guides a new flock within, and the Windsong Testaments—parables about the gods themselves—are once again being recorded within the abbey’s walls. Some of these Testaments are presented here as Golarion’s myths and fables. Some parts may be true. Other parts are certainly false. Which ones are which is left to the faithful to decide.

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Tags: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Web Fiction The Windsong Testaments
Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Huzzah! Duality!


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Oh now these I am really excited to read.

My home-brew uses many of the Pathfinder Gods, and I’m excited to see what else comes out of Windsong Abbey


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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Oh, how stunning.

I love the art.

I love even more that we're hearing more about windsong abbey. Ans stories! Now my clerics will have stories to tell on long road trips. Or even while patching up adventurers.


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Disgustingly beautiful. ;)


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I really enjoy parables from within the world setting. Such an evocative expression of values and teachings. They really bring the world and its religions to life.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Nice to see a Desnan take on this story, and very cool to see the Windsong Abbey as our window on tales about the gods.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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This and the upcoming stories were a blast to write. I think folks will get a kick out of some upcoming ones in particular. It's about time to get some actual creation myths for the whole pantheon out there, in other words, rather than just a myopic view from, say, Asmodeus...


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I assume the picture is how Golarion artists interpret the battle.

Because my understanding is that Desna didn't adopt a humanoid form until she encountered and came to love humanoid mortals. Who didn't exist back then.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Spamotron wrote:

I assume the picture is how Golarion artists interpret the battle.

Because my understanding is that Desna didn't adopt a humanoid form until she encountered and came to love humanoid mortals. Who didn't exist back then.

Desna's clashed against Ghlaunder more than once. But also, she's a deity, and that allows her to reach out to alter our minds' ability to perceive her depictions even if those depictions were created before there were mortal minds to perceive in the first place.

Also if we illustrated her in her previous form no one would recognize her so that's not an option either.

EDIT: For the record, I've always envisioned Desna's pre-humanoid form to be more like a glowing light space moth. Think Mothra, but made out of stars and prismatic sprays and sparkles.

Liberty's Edge

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This is wonderful. I really love the Gods of Golarion and seeing more stuff about them is always super cool. I very much look forward to seeing more myths and parables in this vein.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Spamotron wrote:

I assume the picture is how Golarion artists interpret the battle.

Because my understanding is that Desna didn't adopt a humanoid form until she encountered and came to love humanoid mortals. Who didn't exist back then.

Desna's clashed against Ghlaunder more than once. But also, she's a deity, and that allows her to reach out to alter our minds' ability to perceive her depictions even if those depictions were created before there were mortal minds to perceive in the first place.

Also if we illustrated her in her previous form no one would recognize her so that's not an option either.

EDIT: For the record, I've always envisioned Desna's pre-humanoid form to be more like a glowing light space moth. Think Mothra, but made out of stars and prismatic sprays and sparkles.

I LOVE MOTHRA DESNA!!!!!

Paizo Employee Developer

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It may sound primitive and unscientific, but through the fairies, we could ask Desna to help.

Silver Crusade

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Prince Setehrael wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Spamotron wrote:

I assume the picture is how Golarion artists interpret the battle.

Because my understanding is that Desna didn't adopt a humanoid form until she encountered and came to love humanoid mortals. Who didn't exist back then.

Desna's clashed against Ghlaunder more than once. But also, she's a deity, and that allows her to reach out to alter our minds' ability to perceive her depictions even if those depictions were created before there were mortal minds to perceive in the first place.

Also if we illustrated her in her previous form no one would recognize her so that's not an option either.

EDIT: For the record, I've always envisioned Desna's pre-humanoid form to be more like a glowing light space moth. Think Mothra, but made out of stars and prismatic sprays and sparkles.

I LOVE MOTHRA DESNA!!!!!

I would love to see floofy moth Desna.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
James Jacobs wrote:


For the record, I've always envisioned Desna's pre-humanoid form to be more like a glowing light space moth. Think Mothra, but made out of stars and prismatic sprays and sparkles.

That's pretty much how I imagined her. Love it.


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You know, I'd be honked off too if somebody opened my cocoon before I was ready to wake up . . . .


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Great stuff, JJ! Awesome parable, love the Desnan point of view and the richness of the narration and reflections!

Can't wait for Gods & Magic!

(Also: yay Mothra-Desna!).


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Prince Setehrael wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Spamotron wrote:

I assume the picture is how Golarion artists interpret the battle.

Because my understanding is that Desna didn't adopt a humanoid form until she encountered and came to love humanoid mortals. Who didn't exist back then.

Desna's clashed against Ghlaunder more than once. But also, she's a deity, and that allows her to reach out to alter our minds' ability to perceive her depictions even if those depictions were created before there were mortal minds to perceive in the first place.

Also if we illustrated her in her previous form no one would recognize her so that's not an option either.

EDIT: For the record, I've always envisioned Desna's pre-humanoid form to be more like a glowing light space moth. Think Mothra, but made out of stars and prismatic sprays and sparkles.

I LOVE MOTHRA DESNA!!!!!

Does anybody else want to see art of that?


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Evan Tarlton wrote:
Prince Setehrael wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Spamotron wrote:

I assume the picture is how Golarion artists interpret the battle.

Because my understanding is that Desna didn't adopt a humanoid form until she encountered and came to love humanoid mortals. Who didn't exist back then.

Desna's clashed against Ghlaunder more than once. But also, she's a deity, and that allows her to reach out to alter our minds' ability to perceive her depictions even if those depictions were created before there were mortal minds to perceive in the first place.

Also if we illustrated her in her previous form no one would recognize her so that's not an option either.

EDIT: For the record, I've always envisioned Desna's pre-humanoid form to be more like a glowing light space moth. Think Mothra, but made out of stars and prismatic sprays and sparkles.

I LOVE MOTHRA DESNA!!!!!
Does anybody else want to see art of that?

Never mind art, I want the plushie!

That was some awesome storytelling from JJ the master. Truly we are not worthy. But...

...do you mean Asmodeus' version of the creation story is not in fact the whole and entire truth? I'm shocked, I tell you.

Shocked.

Silver Crusade

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Ah, how to artfully dodge the "show a naked female body in the United States" challenge :)

Contributor

This is great, I'd love to see more parables and folklore from different Golarion traditions!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

I was fortunate enough to GM my group through most of the Shattered Star back in the day; it's awesome to see Windsong Abbey again! And, knowing what goes on in the Abbey's basement gives me hope that we may get some fun eschatological lore regarding everyone's favourite apocalypse slash moon in one of these...


I'm assuming that Ghlaunder is an entirely orginal creation and not in any way related to any other similarly-named, spider-associated deities of abominations and outcasts who happen to the intellectual property of other publishers?

Dark Archive

waynemarkstubbs wrote:
I'm assuming that Ghlaunder is an entirely orginal creation and not in any way related to any other similarly-named, spider-associated deities of abominations and outcasts who happen to the intellectual property of other publishers?

Ghaulander did get freatured in Feast of Ravenmoor if you want to see what his religion is like in practice :p But yeah, unless Ghaunadaur cult is about infiltrating other religions and destroying them from within parasitically, yeah not really anything in common. Plus Ghaulander is mosquito, spiders eat mosquitoes


Love to read James Jacobs work. One of the best if not the best to ever do it.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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waynemarkstubbs wrote:
I'm assuming that Ghlaunder is an entirely orginal creation and not in any way related to any other similarly-named, spider-associated deities of abominations and outcasts who happen to the intellectual property of other publishers?

I invented Ghlaunder a few decades ago for a short story I wrote back in college in the early 90s. Ghaunadaur was out by that point and I suspect that name helped inspire me to name Ghlaunder in a subconscious way, but this is the first time anyone's pointed out the "Gh" similarity at the start of the name.

In any event... Both of the names are themselves inspired somewhat by Lovecraft's naming conventions for Lovecraftian type deities. The two deities are similar in a few ways, but more dissimilar in more ways than they are the same. Ghaunadaur is a drow god of oozes and slimes and slithery blobs and outcasts mostly worshiped in the Underdark of D&D. Ghlaunder is a Lovecraftian space mosquito who's worshiped by humans aboveground and is associated with parasites and stagnation and is mostly the type of guy you'd see worshiped in backwoods horror themed rural towns. Not really that similar overall in my head.


Desna comes across as profoundly true neutral in this snippet. More concerned with opposites and duality existing than creating weal and avoiding woe.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

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Great fiction. Also like how, to me, it can feed into the 'Desna is a great old one' conspiracy from days gone by.


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Ghlaunder: TOO SOON, DESNA! YOU HAVE AWOKEN ME TOO SOON! WHAT IS THE MEANING FOR DISTURBING MY SLUMBER!!

Desna: I was bored, curious, and your sleeping bag was shiny!

Ghlaunder: WTactualF!!! Screw it, I've got munchies, you look tasty.

Come to think of it, Ghlaunder might have been a pretty mosquito goddess IF they had ONLY been allowed to GET THEIR BEAUTY SLEEP!

:>

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Voss wrote:
Desna comes across as profoundly true neutral in this snippet. More concerned with opposites and duality existing than creating weal and avoiding woe.

Neutrality being obsessed with balance is more of a D&D thing.

Desna's more trying to say that "Ugly people can be nice, and beautiful people can be awful—don't judge a book by the cover, and you should try to approach any new thing with the assumption that you might be meeting your new best friend rather than assume that the thing you just met needs to be killed or put down or ostracized because it looks different."


James Jacobs wrote:
Voss wrote:
Desna comes across as profoundly true neutral in this snippet. More concerned with opposites and duality existing than creating weal and avoiding woe.

Neutrality being obsessed with balance is more of a D&D thing.

Desna's more trying to say that "Ugly people can be nice, and beautiful people can be awful—don't judge a book by the cover, and you should try to approach any new thing with the assumption that you might be meeting your new best friend rather than assume that the thing you just met needs to be killed or put down or ostracized because it looks different."

Cool. It makes me think of how nihilistic evil is mostly a CE (demon) in D&D, and it is more a NE (daemon) thing in PF. I appreciate the variety.


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James Jacobs wrote:
This and the upcoming stories were a blast to write. I think folks will get a kick out of some upcoming ones in particular. It's about time to get some actual creation myths for the whole pantheon out there, in other words, rather than just a myopic view from, say, Asmodeus...

Yeeeeees. Multiple conflicting origin mythoi and history via biased sources is amazing for plot hooks and adventure seeds.

Just need a bespectacled illureshi protean giggling and presenting a bunch of them, and when asked which of the conflicting stories is correct, getting a singsong answer of 'All of them!' as if causality and continuity wasn't the slightest concern. :D

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Hymn of Entropic Electrons wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
This and the upcoming stories were a blast to write. I think folks will get a kick out of some upcoming ones in particular. It's about time to get some actual creation myths for the whole pantheon out there, in other words, rather than just a myopic view from, say, Asmodeus...

Yeeeeees. Multiple conflicting origin mythoi and history via biased sources is amazing for plot hooks and adventure seeds.

Just need a bespectacled illureshi protean giggling and presenting a bunch of them, and when asked which of the conflicting stories is correct, getting a singsong answer of 'All of them!' as if causality and continuity wasn't the slightest concern. :D

Sure. That said... I DO try hard to make sure that the continuity doesn't conflict as much as possible. Asmodeus IS a liar, but not as much as you might think, in other words.


waynemarkstubbs wrote:
I'm assuming that Ghlaunder is an entirely orginal creation and not in any way related to any other similarly-named, spider-associated deities of abominations and outcasts who happen to the intellectual property of other publishers?

Just think, this instead could have wound up being similar to Nnuurrrr'c'c.

Sovereign Court

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James Jacobs wrote:
Voss wrote:
Desna comes across as profoundly true neutral in this snippet. More concerned with opposites and duality existing than creating weal and avoiding woe.

Neutrality being obsessed with balance is more of a D&D thing.

Desna's more trying to say that "Ugly people can be nice, and beautiful people can be awful—don't judge a book by the cover, and you should try to approach any new thing with the assumption that you might be meeting your new best friend rather than assume that the thing you just met needs to be killed or put down or ostracized because it looks different."

But the story you wrote was about something that looked like it might be beautiful at fist glance, but was in fact a horrible evil? So, isn't this actually an example of the opposite case?

What if Ghlaunder didn't have nice looking wings, would Desna have found him worth killing?

Allowing an evil being to continue in the hopes of redeeming it and making it a friend makes sense to me, but it reads to me that Desna only didn't kill Ghlaunder because he looked kind of nice on the outside.

Not judging based on appearance is a good message, and your prose and use of language is really nice, I enjoy reading it, but from my perspective the story seemed to inadvertently give the opposite message.

One more broad question though: If Duality is a trait of the Good alignment in Pathfinder, what is the Neutral alignment actually about? What is the point of Good and Evil fighting each other if they both need each other to exist, or should good characters only try to keep the two in balance?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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NumenorKing wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Voss wrote:
Desna comes across as profoundly true neutral in this snippet. More concerned with opposites and duality existing than creating weal and avoiding woe.

Neutrality being obsessed with balance is more of a D&D thing.

Desna's more trying to say that "Ugly people can be nice, and beautiful people can be awful—don't judge a book by the cover, and you should try to approach any new thing with the assumption that you might be meeting your new best friend rather than assume that the thing you just met needs to be killed or put down or ostracized because it looks different."

But the story you wrote was about something that looked like it might be beautiful at fist glance, but was in fact a horrible evil? So, isn't this actually an example of the opposite case?

What if Ghlaunder didn't have nice looking wings, would Desna have found him worth killing?

Allowing an evil being to continue in the hopes of redeeming it and making it a friend makes sense to me, but it reads to me that Desna only didn't kill Ghlaunder because he looked kind of nice on the outside.

Not judging based on appearance is a good message, and your prose and use of language is really nice, I enjoy reading it, but from my perspective the story seemed to inadvertently give the opposite message.

One more broad question though: If Duality is a trait of the Good alignment in Pathfinder, what is the Neutral alignment actually about? What is the point of Good and Evil fighting each other if they both need each other to exist, or should good characters only try to keep the two in balance?

It's a complex parable/myth, and you can't simply take it as trying to teach one thing. It's also trying to teach optimism, and to look for the positive in all negatives, and to find ways for bad things to help as well, even if only as a teaching/learning moment. And if something gives the opposite meaning than what it intended... well... myths can be good at that too, unfortunately. FURTHER this one's also teaching us to learn from Desna's mistakes. It's not as interesting if gods are infallible.

Duality isn't a trait of any alignment. It's the theme of this particular story is all. Alignments are complicated things, and you can't just say "Alignment #1 is always about this topic and thus Alignment #2 can never be about that topic."

People of any alignment can fall in love, or get frustrated, or have revelations, or philosophize on the nature of their role in the universe. There's room for all sorts of views, and limiting one kind of philosophy to only one allowed alignment is unnecessarily restrictive.

And yes... what IS the point of fighting if good and evil need each other to exist? If they didn't fight, would there even be such a thing as good or evil? Would that be an improvement?

All of which is me saying I'm hoping these parables/myths/stories do two things—give folks some insights into some in-world mythological stories and tales that are fun to read, and get folks to think over and contemplate and consider philosophical elements of faith. They do that to people in Golarion, after all, and having them spark discussions in the real world is pretty rad!

Anyway. These AREN'T meant to be rules pieces with one obvious "correct" interpretation. They're meant to be closer to poetry; what you believe and what you take from them is up to you. That's kinda what I'm trying to say in the "About the Windsong Testaments" blurb at the end. What parts of these are true and what ones are false? That's for each of us to find out for ourselves.

Sovereign Court

James Jacobs wrote:


It's a complex parable/myth, and you can't simply take it as trying to teach one thing.

I really appreciate that you are writing myth here and not simple fables. I get that there is not a simple moral to the story, and that makes it not only more interesting but also gives it more depth of meaning.

James Jacobs wrote:


Duality isn't a trait of any alignment. It's the theme of this particular story is all. Alignments are complicated things, and you can't just say "Alignment #1 is always about this topic and thus Alignment #2 can never be about that topic."

People of any alignment can fall in love, or get frustrated, or have revelations, or philosophize on the nature of their role in the universe. There's room for all sorts of views, and limiting one kind of philosophy to only one allowed alignment is unnecessarily restrictive.

I don't mean to suggest these things are at all simple, but there are very good reasons that Duality specifically is a philosophy that people have historically associated with Neutrality in RPGs.

James Jacobs wrote:


And yes... what IS the point of fighting if good and evil need each other to exist? If they didn't fight, would there even be such a thing as good or evil? Would that be an improvement?

When compared to a philosophy that maintains that if all beings stopped fighting and lived in harmony, not because the evil people were destroyed, but because they stopped being evil, that result would be the most good, and that goodness would still remain a reality.

Or compared to a philosophy that holds that goodness is only an illusion so there is no reason not to take what ever you can get from life.

The position that holds that if evil or good ceased to exist the other would not have any meaning. A philosophy that says that they only have existence relative to each other, seems to me Neutral by definition.

There are of course so many other philosophical positions and nuances out there, so I'm not saying you need to follow one of these three, but just using it as an example that the association of Dualism and the Neutral alignment is not purely arbitrary.

One note is that I do personally see a distinction between Duality and Balance though. Anyone can value Balance, in the sense that all things should be in correct proportions. But Duality (as I defined it above) specifically seems like a Neutral philosophy to me.

Perhaps we are talking past each other, and it's certainly possible I am misrepresenting the Dualist position. (I am often wrong about these things.)

James Jacobs wrote:


All of which is me saying I'm hoping these parables/myths/stories do two things—give folks some insights into some in-world mythological stories and tales that are fun to read, and get folks to think over and contemplate and consider philosophical elements of faith. They do that to people in Golarion, after all, and having them spark discussions in the real world is pretty rad!

Mission accomplished!

Lots of thoughts sparked, so yeah, good stuff. With simple morality fables your only response can be to accept it or reject it, and move on. But myths and stories like this engage us on a deeper level, and invite us to wrestle with them, which is part of why I wanted to engage with it, and not simply thumb up or thumb down.

Another, different part of me just wants to apologize, because I have found that the only thing more pointless than debating philosophy online, is debating RPG alignments...

As a great philosopher once questioned:

Zapp Brannigan wrote:
What makes a man turn Neutral?

My first ever (and most played) Pathfinder character was a worshiper of Desna, so when Desna lore appears I eat it up.

So I do also feel a very weird meta irony in basically arguing with the literary god about a god that he invented, as if I were a pretend follower of that god... So I guess I automatically lose this whole thing on ontological grounds.

I hope you don't take this as being combative, I do think these things are important, and one of the great but potentially dangerous things about our hobby is that we can try to approach these real world issues within an alternative context that might have less baggage than the real world.

One final note: I absolutely agree with you that we often find new revelations, or realizations, of goodness and beauty only after going through tragedy and suffering, and simply trying to avoid all suffering in life often just results in worse suffering and is unhealthy. From that perspective I think there is something there to take away, and if someone takes that from the story, then all the more fantastic! It's a very hard topic and I don't have it all sorted myself by any stretch.

Thanks for listening to my weird thoughts.

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