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The strange ship pulls alongside your vessel...

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#21
Harry Easter

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> [Intellect] I agree it is reasonable to hold one to one's explicit meaning, if the other party has already moved in ignorance of the implicit one; Alteration of the meaning as it was understood would in such a case have tangible consequences, and the other party would be quite justified in feeling betrayed. However, it is likewise reasonable that should one venture to clarify one's statement immediately after it is given, as was the case here, that the other party not cling to their misunderstanding and instead accept the alteration in the good spirit is was made.



#22
Sad Panda

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> [Intellect] I agree it is reasonable to hold one to one's explicit meaning, if the other party has already moved in ignorance of the implicit one; Alteration of the meaning as it was understood would in such a case have tangible consequences, and the other party would be quite justified in feeling betrayed. However, it is likewise reasonable that should one venture to clarify one's statement immediately after it is given, as was the case here, that the other party not cling to their misunderstanding and instead accept the alteration in the good spirit is was made.

 

Captain Thundernipples: "Ah, but to who does it fall to determine when the misunderstanding be causing inconvenience, and the offended party be justified in feeling such?" He adopts a ponderous posture which is immediately mimicked by his lieutenants. "Surely not he who makes the statement, as such an approach would be ripe for abuse. All oaths could be broken by simply declaring ye implied meaning was lost, and that the consequences to the other party be not sufficiently 'tangible'! Nay, ye exact words must be the foundation upon which trust is founded, and it be at the other party's discretion whether or not to hold ye to them."

 

> [Intellect] Now, here's where you're wrong...

> [roll eyes] Okay, whatever. I submit.

> [smack him]

> I suddenly don't care what's going on here anymore. At them!


Edited by Sad Panda, 15 February 2017 - 03:59 AM.


#23
Harry Easter

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> [Intellect] Now, here's where you're wrong...



#24
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> [Intellect] Now, here's where you're wrong...

 

You career into a long debate with the pirate captain that quickly branches out of semantics into epistemology, ethics, and ultimately metaphysics. Arguments of great philosophers of old are presented and re-examined as you vie for dominance over the issue, reaching into the very fundamentals of knowledge if need be. At every turn, the captain deftly counters you, his arguments immediately inspiring counter-arguments of your own. You are so engaged in the debate the rays of light piercing the dusty air through the small, round windows appear to shift across the room right before your eyes, as morning turns to noon, and noon to afternoon.

 

Your companions find ways to pass the time the best they can. Aloth browses through the many books littering the room until he finds one of interest, and settles into a corner by the door to read. Thundernipples' lieutenants produce a chequered board and lay it on the floor, along with several wooden pieces of various colours. They are promptly joined by Edér, and it isn't long until he and one of the Orlans are deeply involved in a battle of wits of their own. Aloth eventually tires of his book and hunkers over Edér's shoulder to give grudgingly-accepted tactical advice, while the two other lesser-ranking pirates do the same with their peer. Only Pallegina fails to find any way to occupy herself. Standing at the other corner by the door, across from where Aloth initially set up, she grows increasingly anxious as the hours wear by, toward the end tapping on her plate arm-guard with so much force you half-expect it to leave a dent.

 

You are amazed by the depth of the pirate captain's erudition and his keen with which he without hesitation cleaves into the weak points in your argumentation. Slowly but surely, the tide begins to turn against you, until finally the captain unleashes his ultimate argument, in one fell swoop refuting your very premise and reducing your thesis into a crumbled heap. You sink into your chair in utter defeat, and for several minutes silence hangs upon the cabin, gradually alerting your companions to your battle having reached its conclusion. Captain Thundernipples proves himself an unexpectedly gracious winner, allowing you all the time you need to come to terms with your tremendous loss: He has established beyond any shadow of a doubt that to do battle with him unless provoked would be going against your deepest-held values, and the very notion of ignoring the result of the debate fills you with deep sense of intellectual dishonesty.

 

Pallegina: "Is it over? Are you done?"

 

> Wait, I can still turn this around...

> Yes. I admit defeat, and that I cannot use force without breaching my word. We are at your mercy, captain.

> Yes, though it changes nothing. If I must go against my word, then that is the burden I will bear to ensure the safety of our fellow seafarer.

> Screw this. We're leaving, and don't any of you hairy midgets try to stop us.

> We're done talking, that's for sure. Now comes the part where victors write history to their satisfaction. At them!


Edited by Sad Panda, 15 February 2017 - 06:27 AM.


#25
Harry Easter

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> Wait, I can still turn this around...


Edited by Harry Easter, 15 February 2017 - 10:16 AM.


#26
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> Wait, I can still turn this around...

 

Pallegina: "No!" The paladin marches over to you, grabs the front of your armour, and with frightening ease lifts you off your seat. "I have not slept a wink in three days because you insisted on making me bunk next to that mumbling lunatic...!"

 

Aloth: "H-hey!"

 

Pallegina: "...and gods be my witness, if I have to listen to you two yammer on for another minute, I will tie you both onto a cannon and hurl you into the depths of the ocean!" She bares her teeth as she draws your face closer to hers. "You. Are. Done."

 

The Godlike plops you back onto the chair and swoops back into her corner with a thud, plumage a-flutter and arms crossed over her chest defiantly. Her face is etched into a deep scowl as she for a few moments glares at you grimly to underscore her threat, before turning away with a loud 'Hmph!' As she does, her eyes meet those of Aloth, who has nestled back into his own corner to quietly mope. After a brief moment's contact, the wizard averts his gaze, looking quite visibly hurt. Pallegina's indignant masks breaks and her brows furrow in guilt as she too turns away, the two of them now silently facing the opposite walls. You look over to Edér, who shakes his head in tiny, jerky motions to caution you from pressing the issue.

 

Captain Thundernipples: "So what'll it be? Do ye acknowledge ye defeat?"

 

> Yes. I admit defeat, and that I cannot use force without breaching my word. We are at your mercy, captain.

> Yes, though it changes nothing. If I must go against my word, then that is the burden I will bear to ensure the safety of our fellow seafarer.

> Screw this. We're leaving, and don't any of you hairy midgets try to stop us.

> We're done talking, that's for sure. Now comes the part where victors write history to their satisfaction. At them!



#27
Harry Easter

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> Yes. I admit defeat, and that I cannot use force without breaching my word. We are at your mercy, captain.



#28
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> Yes. I admit defeat, and that I cannot use force without breaching my word. We are at your mercy, captain.

 

Captain Thundernipples: The Orlan stands up and tilts his head back in thunderous laughter, quickly to be joined by his lieutenants. "Very good! I see ye be an honourable kith, after all. In recognition of this, we shall allow ye depart with life and limb intact -- as long as ye satisfy me demands, of course. And me first demand be..." He turns to the side, striking an oddly noble figure as his large, hooked nose inches slightly upward and he strokes his unkempt beard in thought, his movements again mimicked by his fellow pirates. A few moments pass in silence, but just as you open your mouth to say something, he snaps toward you with a mad gleam in his eyes and mouth curled in a fervent grin: "...another philosophical debate!"

 

Pallegina: "What?"

 

Captain Thundernipples: "This time, however, I be wanting it recorded for posterity... so she be taking notes!" The Orlan points at Pallegina, failing miserably in containing his sheer glee.

 

Pallegina: "What?!"

 

Edér struggles to keep a stiff upper lip. Aloth is still looking away, but from the way his elbows are clutching his sides and his cheeks billow, you gather he has conquered much of his earlier melancholy.

 

> Splendid! Let's get right on it!

> Before committing, I'd like to discuss your demands in full.

> [bluff] Er, best we not use her. Her handwriting, it's terrible. Just terrible.

> I'd sooner stab myself in the eye with one of your little statues.



#29
Harry Easter

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> Splendid! Let's get right on it!



#30
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> Splendid! Let's get right on it!

 

You don't even have the time to realise she had begun moving when Pallegina has already cleared the distance between the two of you and smacks you hard on the back of your head with her armoured glove. You're pretty sure she drew blood.

 

> I mean... 'tis with heavy heart that I accept your terms.

> I think we should first re-enact the earlier debate and make her transcribe that, as well.

> Before committing, I'd like to discuss your demands in full.

> [bluff] Er, best we not use her. Her handwriting, it's terrible. Just terrible.


Edited by Sad Panda, 16 February 2017 - 08:28 AM.


#31
Harry Easter

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> I mean... 'tis with heavy heart that I accept your terms.


Edited by Harry Easter, 16 February 2017 - 10:30 AM.


#32
Sad Panda

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> I mean... 'tis with heavy heart that I accept your terms.

 

Pallegina: The Godlike's eyes narrow, but she seems willing to let you off the hook for now.

 

Captain Thundernipples: "Fantabulous!" He clasps his filthy hands together in excitement. The eight of you have spent many long hours gently simmering in the small cabin, away from the cool breeze of the sea to counter the sweltering midday heat, and you're becoming increasingly aware of the appalling personal hygiene of your pirate counterpart. Not that your own party is exactly shower-fresh by this point, either, or was such even when you first stepped foot on the alien vessel -- fresh water is a precious commodity at sea, even with a wizard on board. "I be allowing ye to pick the topic and ye thesis, to give ye a bit of a head start. So, what be we discussing?"

 

> Ethics of unbidden soul-reading.

> Treatment of sentient wilder species.

> Creation mythology and worship.

> Road infrastructure in the greater Dyrwood.

> The 26-hour consumer society.

> Artificial scarcity of camping supplies.

> Stepwise proficiency and implications to pedagogy thereof.


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#33
Harry Easter

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> Creation mythology and worship.



#34
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> Creation mythology and worship.

 

Captain Thundernipples: "Very well. And ye thesis?"

 

> The gods cannot be established by any objective means as actually residing over their claimed spheres. Thus, the act of worship is at best wishful thinking, at worst self-deceit, and in either case liable to only deepen our ignorance as to the true origins of the world and blindly subject us to the tyranny of potentially malevolent entities.

> The power of gods is an indisputable fact, even if their origin and involvement in the creation of the world and aspects thereof can be called to question. Thus, the act of worship is warranted for both those seeking enlightenment and those simply seeking to secure the favour of deities relevant to their personal interests.


Edited by Sad Panda, 17 February 2017 - 04:23 AM.


#35
Harry Easter

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> The gods cannot be established by any objective means as actually residing over their claimed spheres. Thus, the act of worship is at best wishful thinking, at worst self-deceit, and in either case liable to only deepen our ignorance as to the true origins of the world and blindly subject us to the tyranny of potentially malevolent entities.



#36
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> The gods cannot be established by any objective means as actually residing over their claimed spheres. Thus, the act of worship is at best wishful thinking, at worst self-deceit, and in either case liable to only deepen our ignorance as to the true origins of the world and blindly subject us to the tyranny of potentially malevolent entities.

 

Captain Thundernipples: The pirate strokes his beard. "Ah, but be the causality between worship and divine intervention not empirically established beyond all reasonable doubt? Be the many astonishingly convergent accounts of mortals interacting with the gods, spanning various cultures with no plausible contact with each other, in itself the objective evidence ye call for?"

 

> The existence or might of the gods is not in question, but whether or not their self-declared origin and nature can be trusted. To believe an entity truthful because they say they are truthful amounts to nothing but circular reasoning. The divine mechanics must be established by means that do not rely on the testimony of the gods themselves, and worship specifically runs contrary to this by narrowing the paths of interaction to those chosen by the deity, and further encouraging the society to regard other avenues of inquiry as heresy.

> The evidence you cite is biased, as the accounts that reinforce the established image of a given deity are liable to be spread among the faithful, while those which do not are likewise liable to be suppressed. Anecdotal evidence should always be regarded with scepticism, while worship is defined by unquestioning acceptance.

> The various cultures of the world did not arrive at their perception of the gods independently, but rather their views were moulded by accounts of missionaries and the gods themselves. Worship is nothing but a tool to reinforce the chosen image of the deities by rewarding the spread of dogma with the occasional divine intervention. There is little surprise in the accounts converging when the message is controlled top-down.



#37
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> The existence or might of the gods is not in question, but whether or not their self-declared origin and nature can be trusted. To believe an entity truthful because they say they are truthful amounts to nothing but circular reasoning. The divine mechanics must be established by means that do not rely on the testimony of the gods themselves, and worship specifically runs contrary to this by narrowing the paths of interaction to those chosen by the deity, and further encouraging the society to regard other avenues of inquiry as heresy.



#38
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> The existence or might of the gods is not in question, but whether or not their self-declared origin and nature can be trusted. To believe an entity truthful because they say they are truthful amounts to nothing but circular reasoning. The divine mechanics must be established by means that do not rely on the testimony of the gods themselves, and worship specifically runs contrary to this by narrowing the paths of interaction to those chosen by the deity, and further encouraging the society to regard other avenues of inquiry as heresy.

 

Captain Thundernipples nods in acknowledgement of your choice of approach. His lieutenants produce a chair; a stack of blank, slightly yellowed papers; an inkwell; and a quill pen, and Pallegina grudgingly takes her place by the desk, setting by its narrow edge across from the wall and to the side from both you and the pirate captain. The two of you reiterate your opening arguments so as to allow the unwilling scribe to catch up. Edér and his board-game-nemesis courteously move their match further away to make room, taking great care as not to spill the pieces off the board.

As before, the discussion spans several hours, this time remaining notably exoteric and rooted in pragmatic considerations -- though still sufficiently academic to neatly fit into the framework of "philosophical debate". Either because of this, or because she is now more directly involved in the process, Pallegina's foul mood and fatigue slowly melt away and she becomes keenly interested the proceedings, barely looking up from her work and silently nodding in approval whenever either of you raises a particularly compelling point.

Aloth, for his part, attempts a return to the book that previously occupied him, but the ongoing debate keeps tugging at his concentration, prompting him to steal glances at you and your adversary at a heightening frequency. Before too soon, he has given up on the tome and is instead busily scribbling on a notepad with a pencil, both of which items he produced from somewhere within the folds of his robes.

The light of the day is already dimming by the time you finish. Neither side has conclusively triumphed, and you have instead reached a very satisfactory synthesis which Pallegina has dubbed "The Pirate's Wager", inscribed as a subtitle in beautifully flowing cursive on the title page she has just finished calligraphing, just below the main title: "And Gods Bore Witness". Aloth offers her several pages of citations to works mentioned during the discussion, as well as other assorted notes, and she diligently sets to work jotting them down as an appendix.

Captain Thundernipples: "Ah, this be enough for one day, methinks. We shall discuss the rest of my demands tomorrow. For now, make ye as home on me humble vessel." You appear to have established a healthy rapport with the pirate, though not quite enough so for him to let you off the hook just yet.

Edér yawns and stretches, the conclusion of your bout apparently coinciding with that of his own. You aren't familiar with the rules of the game he has been playing so you can't tell who won from the placement of the pieces, but like you and the captain the straw-haired rogue appears to have reached a state of mutual respect with his adversary. A low growling noise emanates from his stomach as he reaches lazily for the ceiling, reminding you none of you have had a morsel to eat the entire day. The growl is answered by another from across the room, prompting the half-elven owner of the second rumbling gut to blush.

 

> That was an absolutely scintillating discussion, captain. You have my thanks.

> [lean over Pallegina's shoulder] Did you write my name on the cover? You wrote it above his, right? Since I went first.
> At your leave, we shall retire on our ship for the night.
> I'd like to take a look around your ship, if that's fine with you.
> Before we call it a night, I had some questions...


Edited by Sad Panda, 17 February 2017 - 10:24 AM.


#39
Harry Easter

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> I'd like to take a look around your ship, if that's fine with you.



#40
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> I'd like to take a look around your ship, if that's fine with you.

 

Captain Thundernipples waves you off, already too engrossed in leafing through the freshly-finished draft to really pay you any attention. His lieutenants set about lazily putting away the board game and the items making up Pallegina's makeshift secretary's perch, yawning and stretching as they do. Your party sees your own way out, showing like signs of content fatigue.

 

Outside, the sun is already making ready to sink into Ondra's embrace for the night, a group of Orlan pirates idly watching it descend by the railing. The rest of the crew is nowhere to be seen, presumably having finished their chores and retired below-deck. You suspect that with the sea notably calm and the ship anchored by your own, they had precious little to do even during the day.

 

Aloth: "Well that want much better than I expected! I must say, I had serious misgiving about coming aboard, what with the entire crew and the captain in particular acting so... eccentric, but they turned out to be very pleasant kith, indeed!"

 

Edér: "Always better to make friends than enemies." The rogue's warm smile suggests that he's not just waxing platitudes, but is genuinely satisfied with your diplomatic prowess.

 

> Maybe we'll be able to convince them to stop raiding ships and put their talents to more productive use.

> I was only playing along to earn their trust.

> We still need to figure out exactly what's going on here. These are no ordinary pirates.

> Do you think we'll be able to get that dialogue published?

> Pallegina, why don't you go ahead and get some rest on our ship? We'll be alright here.

> [say nothing]







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