Promiscuous Elves?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Hannya Shou wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:


Batman and The Punisher would both be worshippers of Calistria: They dedicate themselves nightly to avenge the deaths of their families on criminals.

Being a Batman fan, I would greatly disagree. If seen for vengeance alone, Batman's parents have long been avenged. His ongoing crusade against criminality goes far beyond that.

Same case with Frank Castle.

I am vengeance.

They simply have a broader vengeance than you do. They are avenging not just their own families, but everyone who ever lost a family member to crime.

Also "vengeance for perceived slights", has a LOT of leeway in it. Number one the elf must perceive something as a slight, also vengeance can be commensurate with the slight.

Example using Merisiel:

"Lem just made fun of me through song! Well two can play at that game." She proceeds to unstring Lem's lute while he sleeps and tie Lem to a tree. When he wakes up: "Try playing one of your mean songs now... jerkface." At which point Lem will likely apologize and Merisiel will consider the vengeance paid. They're even.

"That Runelord sent giants to kill me. I'm going to make sure he dies last... and painfully. With pointy things in his kidneys."

I think using the iconics to demonstrate alignment issues should be the norm. This is awesome. :P

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

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I think one reason humans (read: us) have a hard time figuring out elves is that they're aliens.

Shadow Lodge

Aw, I gave up on arguing that because it's going to boil up to an Alignment debate.


KestlerGunner wrote:
They choose to do it so it MUST be okay!

I wonder if there's any real reason at this point to be getting into the difference between ethics/morality and subjective/objective objections. Probably not. One could of course always play out older elves as a little jaded about all the 'frolicking' of years gone by... and you wouldn't even have to be judgmental about it.

Grand Lodge

Varisian Wanderer wrote:

I find Golarion's elves to be refreshing. I like that they kept much of the traditional lore surrounding them, but played up their capricious, fey-like aspect. They also acknowledged that elves are often held as being attractive.

I think people tend to focus too much on the lust aspect of Calistria and the elves. Calistria certainly doesn't strike me as a Jersey Shore girl. She's much too intelligent and successful, in my opinion. Calistria is also a trickster, and while she may be utterly mercurial and out for herself (something much of the world is about), she still helps out from time to time for the greater good. An example of this can be seen in how she supposedly, after Desna invaded the Abyss to destroy the demon lord Aolar, disguised herself and caused the demonic host gathered to collapse into bickering. That takes plotting, planning and intelligence. Not something I would expect from a vapid or shallow individual.

The Vengeance aspect I tend to view as a 'take care of yourself' kind of thing. The world is harsh, survival is hard, and people will wrong you if you let them. An eye for an eye, and all that. Not outright evil, although some of Calistria's followers certainly take it to extremes. In some cases, vengeance could be seen as a form of justice (although that is Iomedae's domain).

She also seems to harken back to ancient deities, for example Aphrodite, who had both good and bad things about them. In the classical world, erotic love was generally referred to as a kind of madness. Sacred Prostitution has been around since early civilizations, and while prostitution has many negative connotations in the modern world, it wasn't always that way.

The Advanced Race Guide says that "Elves accept in Calistria (and her priests) behavior they would denounce in others, because Calistria is clearly (to elves’ perceptions) serving as an example of personal artistry and freedom of expressions, rather than seeking some base physical gratification."

Hasn't there been other sources that say something...

Well said! I agree completely.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Adam Daigle wrote:
I think one reason humans (read: us) have a hard time figuring out elves is that they're aliens.

This. Elves are like Prometheus' Engineers - similar yet totally different.

Grand Lodge

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phantom1592 wrote:


I think this hits my problem with the elves of Golarion... In the other settings, the 'player races' are innately good. The npcs are all over the place, but the heroes come from the so called 'goodly races.' It's what sets the elves and dwarves apart from the orcs and goblins.

Having Calistra a CN, Vengence driven, sex obessed deity who favors whips and lashes as their 'preferred' diety puts a distasteful spin on my previously favorite race.

Honestly, this was always my biggest problem with the more fantastic so-called 'goodly' races.

A) It's so DULL. Every elf is intrinsically good! Even the 'evil' ones are simply overzealous Knights Templar who went too far! But they're still on the side of good. All their gods are good. All of their activities are good. They're all bisexual polygamists or ascetic spiritual gurus so there's no petty jealousy or bigotry. They're even kind to the faulty, pitiful humans---which brings me to my next point:

B) Not just Elves, but Dwarves, Halflings, and Gnomes are all so GOOD in big bold letters! Two of them are so good (Dwarves, Elves) they had to be given evil counterparts just to provide villainous foils. (Even the gnomes got Svirfneblin, who if not evil, are Less-Good.) Why would any race that perfect put up with or accept humans? They don't belong in the same category. They should see humans as a race marginally above Orcs in terms of civility. There would be ongoing wars, and if not outright slavery, then elves would probably insist on ruling.

I can set aside the unfortunate implications of one race being universally better than another, since we're talking different species, but it smacks me as wholly unrealistic that anybody accepts human beings as the dominant race. I know on Golarion they have a big historical write-up about how the elves came to accept humans, but considering just about every human society on Golarion (with two exceptions, and one of those exceptions being a military dictatorship eternally warring with the hordes of the Abyss) seems to be a hive of thieves, thugs, necromancers, and tyrants it boggles my mind.

I much prefer Elves have their own foibles. 'Goodly' doesn't mean perfect. And falling short of perfection themselves would explain how they could accept other less-than-perfect races.


Given their promiscuity and long life spans, I'd imagine that they should be far more numerous than they are presented in the setting, easily rivaling the human populace in sheer numbers. Perhaps they suffered from a plague of some kind?


EntrerisShadow wrote:


B) Not just Elves, but Dwarves, Halflings, and Gnomes are all so GOOD in big bold letters! Two of them are so good (Dwarves, Elves) they had to be given evil counterparts just to provide villainous foils. (Even the gnomes got Svirfneblin, who if not evil, are Less-Good.) Why would any race that perfect put up with or accept humans? They don't belong in the same category. They should see humans as a race marginally above Orcs in terms of civility. There would be ongoing wars, and if not outright slavery, then elves would probably insist on ruling.

Isn't part of being 'good' or 'GOOD' not being domineering / engaging in outright slavery?

I can understand the complaint about dullness, but then again I'd never consider any race to simply be pure good without faults. There can be greed, selfishness, apathy and particularly pride to name just a few faults in some of the best 'people,' and I'd expect most people to put at least a little color into 'good' races and characters. On the other hand, I have to admit - (and I'm making no accusation or implication against the above poster) - that I've known people who get quickly bored without a lot of petty drama / sadomasochism / (!?), and I avoid them like the plague.


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I'm lost on the whole "good = dull" mentality. It's never made any sense to me, honestly.

"What? You go out of your way to do what's right and best for all? That's so BORING!"

Not, mind you, that elves (even the Faerunian ones) were ever that goodly. They had more than their fair share of dark secrets and darker personalities. Which is why I don't quite follow the general mentality of so many when it comes to judging whole races. Judge by the individual, not the racial stereotypes/norms. There are bad apples in every bushel, and the occasional good apple in a bushel of rotten ones. In the end, I think what made elves, dwarves, halflings, and the like "goodly" races in Faerun was their willingness to work with one another as opposed to out-and-out slaughter or enslave anyone not of their own kind.

But good equals dull? I don't buy into that no matter how you sugar coat it. That's simply not true.


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Sub-Creator wrote:
But good equals dull? I don't buy into that no matter how you sugar coat it. That's simply not true.

I think you misunderstand the point. I think what EntririsShadow means is that most iterations of these races are carbon copies. The fact that they are repetitively "good" is what is dull, not the actuality of them being "good" races.

For instance, if I were to create a campaign setting where dwarves were pretty much what you expect from other sources, but what if elves went around conquering other nations Roman style, or maybe with a bit more subjugation. Those who fought back eventually falling under the elvish might would be enslaved and or forced under the curse of lycanthrope to be used as twisted hounds of war.

That would be a twist on elves that would be interesting to some people simply because it's different from the fun-loving, nature-y, archer-y forest folk that so often comes up. Not that there's anything wrong it, some people just get tired of the same old trope.

Besides, this is an RPG, a story game. Without conflict there is no drama and therefore no story.

Grand Lodge

BadBird wrote:
EntrerisShadow wrote:


B) Not just Elves, but Dwarves, Halflings, and Gnomes are all so GOOD in big bold letters! Two of them are so good (Dwarves, Elves) they had to be given evil counterparts just to provide villainous foils. (Even the gnomes got Svirfneblin, who if not evil, are Less-Good.) Why would any race that perfect put up with or accept humans? They don't belong in the same category. They should see humans as a race marginally above Orcs in terms of civility. There would be ongoing wars, and if not outright slavery, then elves would probably insist on ruling.
Isn't part of being 'good' or 'GOOD' not being domineering / engaging in outright slavery?

I admit my mistake there. I shouldn't say slavery, since slavery is by definition evil. But definitely some sort of subjugation. Would you trust children to rule? Unrepentant felons? That's how elves would see human beings.

Foghammer wrote:
Sub-Creator wrote:
But good equals dull? I don't buy into that no matter how you sugar coat it. That's simply not true.
I think you misunderstand the point. I think what EntririsShadow means is that most iterations of these races are carbon copies. The fact that they are repetitively "good" is what is dull, not the actuality of them being "good" races.

Foghammer kind of ninja'd me on this (and had a very cool elf backstory I'm stealing at some point), but I'll say you're both kind of right as to what I meant.

It's true, my biggest gripe is that every elf is a carbon copy. I'm actually eager to read some of these dark (not drow) elves you speak of, because every elf I've come across in fantasy has been good. ESPECIALLY the Faerunian ones. The only elven villain I immediately recall was that one trying to kill Drizzt, and even then she was a sympathetic Chaotic Neutral warrior who snapped from seeing her family killed.

But I also take issue with an entire race being good. Good is compelling because it requires hard work, sacrifice, and shows upstanding character even in an unjust world. Even a good society is believable and interesting by its ability to appeal to the better nature of flawed beings to create a more perfect world. But if an entire race is good, then that being is only acting according to its nature, and there's nothing impressive about it. It just is. It is good in the same way that water is wet. Outsiders I can give a pass as the embodiment of the concept, but there is no way you can justify it for a mortal race.


EntrerisShadow wrote:


Honestly, this was always my biggest problem with the more fantastic so-called 'goodly' races.

A) It's so DULL. Every elf is intrinsically good! Even the 'evil' ones are simply overzealous Knights Templar who went too far! But they're still on the side of good. All their gods are good. All of their activities are good. They're all bisexual polygamists or ascetic spiritual gurus so there's no petty jealousy or bigotry. They're even kind to the faulty, pitiful humans---which brings me to my next point:

Yeah.... haven't played that system yet.

The Elves of Forgotten Realms were bitter angry, jealous, and manipulative... Gold vs Silver for the throne.

In fact I remember reading some criticism of Greenwoods 'Elminster in Myth Drannor' for making the elves TOO petty and jealous and shattering the illusion of Myth Drannor as a glorious nirvana.

And yes, many DID hate humans and think them little better than orcs, and prefer to remain the rulers of the world and what not...

But they didn't have the ability... Humans slowly succeeded them as 'dominiant race' despite elves best intentions.

Gnomes and Dwarves and Halflings... they barely get any print. It always bugged me that even in 2E there just wasn't much setting specific INFO on those races... Salvatore did the most with Dwarves of any of the writers... but even the 'game material'... Elves got a TON of books detailing their clans and lives and personalities... where Dwarves only got 'dwarves Deep'... and it was PRETTY shallow...

Foghammer wrote:
Sub-Creator wrote:
But good equals dull? I don't buy into that no matter how you sugar coat it. That's simply not true.

I think you misunderstand the point. I think what EntririsShadow means is that most iterations of these races are carbon copies. The fact that they are repetitively "good" is what is dull, not the actuality of them being "good" races.

For instance, if I were to create a campaign setting where dwarves were pretty much what you expect from other sources, but what if elves went around conquering other nations Roman style, or maybe with a bit more subjugation. Those who fought back eventually falling under the elvish might would be enslaved and or forced under the curse of lycanthrope to be used as twisted hounds of war.

I think the difference there is in the quality of a 'PC' race. SOME people like 'evil PCs' in their game.. I don't.

In your world, anyone who would want to play a 'good elf' would be fighting the predjudices and hatred of those around them...

Which can be fun. I know people who played drow in FR for just that reason...

But they should be the EXCEPTION to a PC race, not the norm ;)

I'm FINE with various enclaves or kingdoms set up with different alignments of rulership and what not....

You can make a setting where goblins and Orcs are the 'Good races' and the elves and humans evil despots... But then 'human's and Elves' shouldn't be the Core PCs. The players should USUALLY be the Orcs and goblins.


EntrerisShadow wrote:


It's true, my biggest gripe is that every elf is a carbon copy. I'm actually eager to read some of these dark (not drow) elves you speak of, because every elf I've come across in fantasy has been good. ESPECIALLY the Faerunian ones. The only elven villain I immediately recall was that one trying to kill Drizzt, and even then she was a sympathetic Chaotic Neutral warrior who snapped from seeing her family killed.

But I also take issue with an entire race being good. Good is compelling because it requires hard work,...

I recommend Elaine Cunningham's FR books. Good elves, bad elves, Everything in between.

Elves of Evermeet is one of my favorite Faerun books, and in it, nearly ALL the characters are Elves, so you get the full spectrum of personalities and alignments.

I also enjoyed Elminster in Myth Drannor... but Greenwoods books a bit harder to get through. Also good examples of 'darker' elves who despise humans.

EntrerisShadow wrote:


But I also take issue with an entire race being good. Good is compelling because it requires hard work, sacrifice, and shows upstanding character even in an unjust world. Even a good society is believable and interesting by its ability to appeal to the better nature of flawed beings to create a more perfect world. But if an entire race is good, then that being is only acting according to its nature, and there's nothing impressive about it. It just is. It is good in the same way that water is wet. Outsiders I can give a pass as the embodiment of the concept, but there is no way you can justify it for a mortal race.

I think of it as more a 'society'. Are the individuals in the society out for themselves? Not care about anyone at all? Or working for the betterment of their society.

Elves have long been considered 'dying out.' From Tolkien to Evermeet, the time of the Elves was passing, and the remains were huddled together having stronger bonds together. Working togehter to preserve the last of their race.

Also, having a race be 'good' does not mean much. There are ALWAYS exceptions, theres a wide spectrum in ANY race.. Wer'e only talking 'majority' here ;)

Silver Crusade

Shifty wrote:
Viktyr Korimir wrote:
Imagine that, a Chaotic Neutral deity of retribution being a heinous b@$+@.

Hence why I am not keen on players rolling with Calli followers; they tend to see it as an excuse to roll with the more anti-social aspects.

Really?

I see it as a reason to play a sexy, sultry slut
In fact I played a summoner priestess of Cali...

She was a temple prostitute.


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EntrerisShadow wrote:
Foghammer kind of ninja'd me on this (and had a very cool elf backstory I'm stealing at some point)...

If you like THAT, we should talk. :D I have a whole 'nother world cooking on my harddrive that comment stemmed from.


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KestlerGunner wrote:
I know it's a fantasy setting, and things work differently. What grates me is that in the fantasy setting with the highly powerful female goddess, that goddess is written to be actually denigrating females more than the other gods (including Erastil! ;D )

I share your outlook on prostitution and the sex industry. (It does not endear me to the Internet.) But there are people who disagree with you. When arguments over prostitution and pornography rear their ugly heads, my most vehement opponents-- aside from the men-- are feminists who believe that my portrayal of sex workers as victims of oppression is patronizing.

It's worth remembering that no matter what you stand for and how good your intentions are, there are well-meaning and genuinely Good people who are opposed to you.

---

As for it being hard to picture a Chaotic Neutral goddess of vengeance having Chaotic Good worshippers... remember St. Cuthbert in the Greyhawk pantheon: a Lawful Neutral god of retribution who doesn't allow Evil worshipers.

Calistria is a goddess of retribution. Evil, by definition, deserves more retribution than Good. Evil insults, degrades, and hurts by nature... and when Evil has left you lying, broken and bleeding in the mud, Calistria is there for you. Calistria is there to pick you up and tell you that it wasn't your fault-- that what happened to you was wrong, and that the scales must be balanced. She is there to whisper in your ear, 'never again', and put the knife in your hand.

When good people turn to Calistria, it is not enough that those who have wronged pay for what they have done to them; villains must pay for what they have done to everyone. Sure, you've balanced your scales... you've had your revenge and you've made them pay. But you weren't the first person or the last person to be wronged; there is a world full of people who have been wronged, and in Calistria's name, you will find them and you will lift them up and you will put the knives in their hands, because their scales need to balance, too.

And out of all of the gods, Calistria is the one who understands best that when one of her own goes too far-- takes more than is owed or hurts the innocent in pursuit of revenge-- the people they've wronged have the right to take up their daggers and balance the scales, because in the end that is what matters. The scales must balance.

It's one of those things I think the alignment system doesn't recognize. There's good and bad in most deities, and their portfolios leave a lot of room for both Good and Evil.

Shadow Lodge

Jabborwacky wrote:
Given their promiscuity and long life spans, I'd imagine that they should be far more numerous than they are presented in the setting, easily rivaling the human populace in sheer numbers. Perhaps they suffered from a plague of some kind?
Hannya Shou wrote:
I think I read somewhere that the reason why Elves aren't overpopulating the world is because unlike humans, it is common for elves to be driven to fight evil which is why their numbers dwindle fast.


Ha ha ha, all elves fight evil and humans don't?

Domestically, yes their specialist units fight their old demon, but the fluff I've read doesn't portray them strongly as opponents of evil. There is the Callistria worship matter and its darkness, but Kyonin is not the centre of paladins. They are a bit too isolationist, flighty and focused on high culture/gardening/feuding to all be out fighting the good fight.


Viktyr Korimir wrote:
KestlerGunner wrote:
I know it's a fantasy setting, and things work differently. What grates me is that in the fantasy setting with the highly powerful female goddess, that goddess is written to be actually denigrating females more than the other gods (including Erastil! ;D )

I share your outlook on prostitution and the sex industry. (It does not endear me to the Internet.) But there are people who disagree with you. When arguments over prostitution and pornography rear their ugly heads, my most vehement opponents-- aside from the men-- are feminists who believe that my portrayal of sex workers as victims of oppression is patronizing.

It's worth remembering that no matter what you stand for and how good your intentions are, there are well-meaning and genuinely Good people who are opposed to you.

---

As for it being hard to picture a Chaotic Neutral goddess of vengeance having Chaotic Good worshippers... remember St. Cuthbert in the Greyhawk pantheon: a Lawful Neutral god of retribution who doesn't allow Evil worshipers.

Calistria is a goddess of retribution. Evil, by definition, deserves more retribution than Good. Evil insults, degrades, and hurts by nature... and when Evil has left you lying, broken and bleeding in the mud, Calistria is there for you. Calistria is there to pick you up and tell you that it wasn't your fault-- that what happened to you was wrong, and that the scales must be balanced. She is there to whisper in your ear, 'never again', and put the knife in your hand.

When good people turn to Calistria, it is not enough that those who have wronged pay for what they have done to them; villains must pay for what they have done to everyone. Sure, you've balanced your scales... you've had your revenge and you've made them pay. But you weren't the first person or the last person to be wronged; there is a world full of people who have been wronged, and in Calistria's name, you will find them and you will lift them up and you will put...

Is all vengeance just and balancing though? Does responding to perceived slights and heightened emotions with punishment and violence balance the good and the bad? Or does it just make things worse and make minor problems into major sources of strife? The pettiness alluded to above is why she is CN with dark undertones and not a LG or CG deity.

Liberty's Edge

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Jabborwacky wrote:
Given their promiscuity and long life spans, I'd imagine that they should be far more numerous than they are presented in the setting, easily rivaling the human populace in sheer numbers. Perhaps they suffered from a plague of some kind?

Long life span mean lower rate on increase of the population not higher, even if both races have the same fertility.

Year 0 - 2 human and 2 elf are born
Year 25 - the 2 humans are at the peak of their reproduction cycle and have 4 sons
Year 50 - those 4 humans sons are at the peak of their reproduction cycle and have 16 descendants
Year 75 - the 16 humans have 64 descendants
Year 100 - 256 humans are born
Year 110 - the 2 elf are at the peak of their reproduction cycle and have 4 sons

When I started buying Dragon more than 30 years ago in the first number I did read there was a very interesting article about replacing your losses after the population has diminished (war, disease, Earthfall). A long living race will recover slowly, a short lived race will recover at a faster pace. An average elf can be more competent thanks to his long live but humans have a huge number advantage.

BTW: the above data is the reason why my elves haven't a lower fertility than humans. They need a normal level of fertility simply to keep the population up.

BTW 2: the age tables are very problematic. The elves aren't "eternally young", they are eternally old, most of their lifespan is spent in the old and venerable age brackets. And another big crunch being children.
The "eternally young" are the dwarf. They have 85 years of adulthood against 65 years for the elves.


Those are strange numbers I've never looked at it like that. It seems that spending 4 centuries in the old age home would be a good reason to pick up a quest and go out in a blaze of glory though.

Liberty's Edge

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Next step. At the 110 age mark a elf/human war start (the humans need the elven lands to feed their children).

The elves have 1 220 years old grandfather (not in the above numbers). He is level 10 and middle aged and
2 level 1 first generation elves (110 years old).

The humans have 64 level 1 guys that are 25 years old
16 level 5 grandfathers that are 50 years old.

The humans send half of their numbers to war, the elves use everything they have.
It go well for the elves, the kill all the humans that have attacked them. They "only" lose 2 level 1 elves.
32 level 1 humans and 8 level 5 humans are left at home. The level 10 (now level 12) elf can't risk attacking them as he need to protect and care for the children at home.

25 years pass. The 256 human children have growth hearing tales of the "evil elves" that slaughtered your fathers.
They have 1.024 sons.

Another 25 years. The 4 elves are halfway to becoming adults.
4.096 humans are born. The human army again raise its war banner.
The 32 humans now are level 5, the 1.024 are level 1. Half of the level 1 stay home.
The elf grandfather is level 15 (maybe).

The elf has 2 choices:
- fleeing to a safe land with the children. The human conquer the elven lands.
- fight to the end. He probably will kill most of the humans but there is no chance he will be capable to protect the children from harm. some human will bypass him. End of the elf race in that area. The human conquer the elven lands.

That is why the elves concentrate in a few areas that they protect heavily. They need to be capable to crush the nearby nations an use those nations as cushion between them and other potentially hostile nations.


Diego Rossi wrote:

BTW 2: the age tables are very problematic. The elves aren't "eternally young", they are eternally old, most of their lifespan is spent in the old and venerable age brackets. And another big crunch being children. The "eternally young" are the dwarf. They have 85 years of adulthood against 65 years for the elves.

I've never quite understood why the elves have such an extremely short adulthood. It seems way out of whack.

The most a human can expect to live is 110 years, of which 20 (~18% of lifespan) is spent in their prime. An average human will live to 91, which changes the prime time to ~22%

The most an elf can expect to live is 750 years, of which 65 (~9% their lifespan) is spent in their prime. An average elf lives to 552, which changes the prime to time ~12%.

A species that had more or less typical development but just lived a lot longer should have bigger numbers but at least close to the same relative proportions.

It's downright weird.


3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Is all vengeance just and balancing though? Does responding to perceived slights and heightened emotions with punishment and violence balance the good and the bad? Or does it just make things worse and make minor problems into major sources of strife? The pettiness alluded to above is why she is CN with dark undertones and not a LG or CG deity.

No, but Calistria isn't a Good deity. She's a Neutral deity with the potential for Good followers and priests. I'm just explaining why she has CG Clerics.


Viktyr Korimir wrote:
3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Is all vengeance just and balancing though? Does responding to perceived slights and heightened emotions with punishment and violence balance the good and the bad? Or does it just make things worse and make minor problems into major sources of strife? The pettiness alluded to above is why she is CN with dark undertones and not a LG or CG deity.
No, but Calistria isn't a Good deity. She's a Neutral deity with the potential for Good followers and priests. I'm just explaining why she has CG Clerics.

Making an assessment from our view is limiting however. Most of Golarion's citizenry doesn't live in large orderly societies. A great many Callistrians live in places where laws are only enforced at the whims of the plutocrats who benefit from them. Her faith is likely stronger in places like the Shackles and the River Kingdoms as a direct result of the lack of laws that protect the innocent. Worse still in Golarion, the god of law is Asmodeus; while he insures that laws are adhered to it is not as if there is a great sense of justice in the execution of the law.

Callistria and her faith is all about context.


zagnabbit wrote:

Making an assessment from our view is limiting however. Most of Golarion's citizenry doesn't live in large orderly societies. A great many Callistrians live in places where laws are only enforced at the whims of the plutocrats who benefit from them. Her faith is likely stronger in places like the Shackles and the River Kingdoms as a direct result of the lack of laws that protect the innocent. Worse still in Golarion, the god of law is Asmodeus; while he insures that laws are adhered to it is not as if there is a great sense of justice in the execution of the law.

Callistria and her faith is all about context.

Don't forget Riddleport and certain other parts of Varisia. Also, Asmodeus is the god of tyranny contracts. Abadar is the god of law.

Shadow Lodge

3.5 Loyalist wrote:

Ha ha ha, all elves fight evil and humans don't?

Domestically, yes their specialist units fight their old demon, but the fluff I've read doesn't portray them strongly as opponents of evil. There is the Callistria worship matter and its darkness, but Kyonin is not the centre of paladins. They are a bit too isolationist, flighty and focused on high culture/gardening/feuding to all be out fighting the good fight.

Okay, maybe they don't fight for the sake of Good, but they do fight when they can. I felt that one of the things that can prove this is that Elves have free weapon proficiencies whilst humans do not, which is an implication to me that an elf can and will fight, regardless of his/her vocation. E.g. I am a humble baker, but if you try to raze my village, you will taste the elven blade I used to slice my bread with.


KestlerGunner wrote:

From the 'sacred prostitute' Wikipedia page that two people have googled at me now:

"...there is a great multitude of women coming and going; passages marked by line run every way through the crowd, by which the men pass and make their choice. Once a woman has taken her place there, she does not go away to her home before some stranger has cast money into her lap, and had intercourse with her outside the temple; but while he casts the money, he must say, “I invite you in the name of Mylitta” (that is the Assyrian name for Aphrodite). It does not matter what sum the money is; the woman will never refuse, for that would be a sin,"

That passage is based upon "The Histories" by Herodotus and in order to understand the context of Babylonian temple prostitution, what follow that passage is very important. Herodotus goes on to explain how women would show up at the temple with their lovers or favorite slaves in tow. They would then hand over money to their selected partner, assume their place in front of the temple and immediately be “selected” by their lover. In effect Babylonian sacred prostitution became a way for the youth of the city to evade the prohibition on premarital sex, by making their affairs into a religious obligation.


Hannya Shou wrote:
3.5 Loyalist wrote:

Ha ha ha, all elves fight evil and humans don't?

Domestically, yes their specialist units fight their old demon, but the fluff I've read doesn't portray them strongly as opponents of evil. There is the Callistria worship matter and its darkness, but Kyonin is not the centre of paladins. They are a bit too isolationist, flighty and focused on high culture/gardening/feuding to all be out fighting the good fight.

Okay, maybe they don't fight for the sake of Good, but they do fight when they can. I felt that one of the things that can prove this is that Elves have free weapon proficiencies whilst humans do not, which is an implication to me that an elf can and will fight, regardless of his/her vocation. E.g. I am a humble baker, but if you try to raze my village, you will taste the elven blade I used to slice my bread with.

:)

One of the biggest obstacles to the elves being truly safe and protected is this militia system and you have some proficiencies you are qualified for war idea. It ensures all adults eventually have basic competency in weapons and they are following their other interests, cultural pursuits, beauty and all that. To be too military and hard-nosed is to be crude and un-elven, "what are you copying the humans again Lorielis?" "You get so angry when you swing that sword Ouroberry, are you a raging orc? *laughs mockingly". Patrols go out, elves serve some time, and then they go and do other things. It is a very liberal culture. They have their lantern bearers, but they don't have central control or a proper organised and tier-based army (cav, war wizards, clerics backing up heavy infantry). The APs' present the bearers as pretty good skirmishers, bit weak in close, the average elf on patrol will be alright, although militia have long had a morale problem in prolonged fighting to mention our world and are not specialists in combat by definition. That part time archer and three of his buddies on patrol is going to be really pushed if *checks the numbers above* 256 human shield-spearmen rock up or 4096 or whatever sum or percentage you use.

The elves need to try harder, they need to focus. If an elf puts 100 years solid to sword and board fighting and gets out there, killing monsters and heading back home once in a while, yeah, they will rock. They will actually be closer to warhammer high or wood elves then actually. They need to take their survival seriously and be less mercurial. The fluff never worked for me, it doesn't seem sustainable.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Sustainable.


And? That's what you bring to this discussion?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

No, this is.

Sovereign Court

Jens-Christian Ambrosius Bodilsen wrote:
KestlerGunner wrote:

From the 'sacred prostitute' Wikipedia page that two people have googled at me now:

"...there is a great multitude of women coming and going; passages marked by line run every way through the crowd, by which the men pass and make their choice. Once a woman has taken her place there, she does not go away to her home before some stranger has cast money into her lap, and had intercourse with her outside the temple; but while he casts the money, he must say, “I invite you in the name of Mylitta” (that is the Assyrian name for Aphrodite). It does not matter what sum the money is; the woman will never refuse, for that would be a sin,"

That passage is based upon "The Histories" by Herodotus and in order to understand the context of Babylonian temple prostitution, what follow that passage is very important. Herodotus goes on to explain how women would show up at the temple with their lovers or favorite slaves in tow. They would then hand over money to their selected partner, assume their place in front of the temple and immediately be “selected” by their lover. In effect Babylonian sacred prostitution became a way for the youth of the city to evade the prohibition on premarital sex, by making their affairs into a religious obligation.

And even then you have to take into account Herodotus' own bias, expectations and general east v west viewpoint, oh, and his increasingly dubious and exotic description of events as they got further and further from the central poleis.

Or, y'know, you can lift a quote from wikipedia to construct a spurious and ill-conceived argument around... whatever takes your fancy.


EntrerisShadow wrote:
But definitely some sort of subjugation. Would you trust children to rule? Unrepentant felons? That's how elves would see human beings.

Must they see them that way? You can write it that way if you want, it is fantasy, but I don't think you have to.

EntrerisShadow wrote:
It's true, my biggest gripe is that every elf is a carbon copy. I'm actually eager to read some of these dark (not drow) elves you speak of, because every elf I've come across in fantasy has been good.

You haven't read The Silmarillion, have you?


3.5 Loyalist wrote:
The fluff never worked for me, it doesn't seem sustainable.

I totally agree.

Or to put it another way, it doesn't seem plausible. In Tolkien, elven communities are either really remote from everyone else, or they have a huge tech/magic advantage, or both, and that works for me. In D&D, 1st level elves have to be balanced with other 1st level characters, but if the average elf is that balanced they'd have high mortality rates in war, so how do elven states survive over a couple of centuries of war with human, orcish, whatever, neighbours? It doesn't make sense.

The Exchange

Jabborwacky wrote:
Given their promiscuity and long life spans, I'd imagine that they should be far more numerous than they are presented in the setting, easily rivaling the human populace in sheer numbers. Perhaps they suffered from a plague of some kind?

Compare the populations of Chimps to Bonobo apes, massive amounts of sex mean nothing if they are not always fertile

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Thorri Grimbeard wrote:
3.5 Loyalist wrote:
The fluff never worked for me, it doesn't seem sustainable.

I totally agree.

Or to put it another way, it doesn't seem plausible. In Tolkien, elven communities are either really remote from everyone else, or they have a huge tech/magic advantage, or both, and that works for me. In D&D, 1st level elves have to be balanced with other 1st level characters, but if the average elf is that balanced they'd have high mortality rates in war, so how do elven states survive over a couple of centuries of war with human, orcish, whatever, neighbours? It doesn't make sense.

T-rexes battling Frogemoths in wild jungles located in deep caverns of Underdark miles beneath the surface doesn't make sense either, but you know what? That's OK, because it's fantasy.


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Gorbacz wrote:
T-rexes battling Frogemoths in wild jungles located in deep caverns of Underdark miles beneath the surface doesn't make sense either, but you know what? That's OK, because it's fantasy.

And what Gorbacz likes is the only One True Way of doing fantasy, and people who don't like what he likes shouldn't post, apparently.

Shadow Lodge

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No, what Gorb likes is the Infinite True Way of fantasy. Which means everyone can post, but can't expect to find agreement in all corners.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Nothing is true, everything is permitted.

De Ja Vu much?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Yeah, the sequels were just the first game with downloadable content on the disc.


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Please forgive me if someone pointed this out already, but don't both Elves of Golarion and the campaign setting point out that the elves worship the personal freedom/chaotic aspect of Calistra, rather then the lustful aspects? She also represents revenge, the right and energy to pursue your own form of satisfaction without constraints, and lack of a bounding commitment such as marriage. Much of the lust factor seems to be amplified on human terms, rather then elves. Elves are creatures of the moment, but their moments last for decades or centuries.

Even if some elves are promiscuous, I think that they separate sex from love similar to open relationships (and may take it farther to multiple partners). Either sex may marry or not, have children with several families, which aren't seen as evil from wedlock as many humans do, and have multiple loves over a long relationship, or devote themselves to one person for the rest of their lives. The main point is that you can play your elf without any of these traits, and stop worrying about the canon fantasy aspects.

As far as priests or priestesses of Calistra go, who's to say that they aren't freeing slaves from unjust bondage, or liberating women, men, and who have entered into ill-fitting marriages/relationships without the chance to experience their own happiness (not romantic love, that's Shelyn), destroying necromancers who convert the living to the dead, and so on. Could a goddess based on personal freedom and lust not use both tools to bring down the ordered evil of the Hells? I think the perception of Calistra's supposed lack of morality is relative, and the way priests/priestesses/holy crusaders are portrayed is based on the maturity of the DM and the player.


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Umbral Reaver wrote:

Games are already OOC debates over what actions fit into each alignment. By taking away the 'defense' of alignment labels, the player actions stand on their merit alone. By the way, I've played other non-D&D alignmentless games for over ten years.

If a character does something and the player asks, "Did I do a good action?", the response is not yes or no. It's, "Who are you asking?"

Sounds like a disconnect between you and your players on alignments, not a problem with the alignment system itself. I very rarely have alignment issues come up in games whether I am playing or running. In fact, the only time I can think of it HAS come up was recently as in a Carrion Crown campaign I am running a halfling oracle from Isger raised in the Asmodean church. While she's Lawful Neutral not Evil, she still at this time worships Asmodeus for the most part, just more in following Law and keeping promises/contracts. So, in discussing how she should act in THAT respect, I've had discussions with the DM of the game, but beyond that for me and my friends the question of "Was this action good or evil?" never comes up because it's pretty obvious when my oracle casts Infernal Healing, that's evil. The fact that it's a healing spell kinda keeps it from shifting her from LN to LE, but if she were LG she WOULD be suffering alignment shift if she continued to use the spell. I know this, I don't have to ask my DM.

Dark Archive

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stormcrow27 wrote:
As far as priests or priestesses of Calistra go, who's to say that they aren't freeing slaves from unjust bondage, or liberating women, men, and who have entered into ill-fitting marriages/relationships without the chance to experience their own happiness

Calistrian doctrinal flavor seems even better suited to a anti-slavery 'Liberator' sort of PrC than that of Cayden or Desna, when it comes to Cheliax, where elves are already treated like second-class citizens, at best. Tools of trickery (sabotage), lust (seduction) and vengeance (chaining up slavers and dropping them at the bottom of a lake) all would have their place, in the freeing of the oppressed.


stormcrow27 wrote:

Please forgive me if someone pointed this out already, but don't both Elves of Golarion and the campaign setting point out that the elves worship the personal freedom/chaotic aspect of Calistra, rather then the lustful aspects? She also represents revenge, the right and energy to pursue your own form of satisfaction without constraints, and lack of a bounding commitment such as marriage. Much of the lust factor seems to be amplified on human terms, rather then elves. Elves are creatures of the moment, but their moments last for decades or centuries.

Even if some elves are promiscuous, I think that they separate sex from love similar to open relationships (and may take it farther to multiple partners). Either sex may marry or not, have children with several families, which aren't seen as evil from wedlock as many humans do, and have multiple loves over a long relationship, or devote themselves to one person for the rest of their lives. The main point is that you can play your elf without any of these traits, and stop worrying about the canon fantasy aspects.

As far as priests or priestesses of Calistra go, who's to say that they aren't freeing slaves from unjust bondage, or liberating women, men, and who have entered into ill-fitting marriages/relationships without the chance to experience their own happiness (not romantic love, that's Shelyn), destroying necromancers who convert the living to the dead, and so on. Could a goddess based on personal freedom and lust not use both tools to bring down the ordered evil of the Hells? I think the perception of Calistra's supposed lack of morality is relative, and the way priests/priestesses/holy crusaders are portrayed is based on the maturity of the DM and the player.

Indeed, you can play and give as much attention to canon as you wish. Adventurers don't even have to rub against the typical canon elf. I remember equalizer was running a game once, and there was an elf knight and an elf fighter, they were wordly, one was raised by dwarves one raised by Nirmathan humans, and they were vastly different to the Kyonin elves who also featured. Simply put, they did not get along so well with the local elves, but fit right in with a Kelesh ninja. The elves had their long and... very characteristic culture, but the players more skirted around it, interacted with npc elves not of the norm, and moved on. It was a curious decadent society, that is for sure.


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3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Indeed, you can play and give as much attention to canon as you wish. Adventurers don't even have to rub against the typical canon elf.

Wish someone would tell my players that. They spend at least half their time every gaming session trying to rub elves. Usually in temples of Calistria.

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

Nothing is true, everything is permitted.

De Ja Vu much?

[off topic]Please tell me you're using that line because of Hassan I Sabbah and not that silly video game.[/off topic]


Viktyr Korimir wrote:
3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Indeed, you can play and give as much attention to canon as you wish. Adventurers don't even have to rub against the typical canon elf.
Wish someone would tell my players that. They spend at least half their time every gaming session trying to rub elves. Usually in temples of Calistria.

My party's half-elf bard would probably gladly rub an elf if she was given a chance. Thankfully, she hadn't found any elf NPC in the city yet.

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