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J.E. Sawyer

Update #5 - Souls, Technology, and Adventuring Companies

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Rather than illuminate the presumed higher purpose of this cycle, the gods have obfuscated the truth, at times spreading cosmological lies, pitting believers and empowered chosen agents against each other, and tacitly approving the prejudices of their followers to maintain power.

To maintain power? Power from/ over what? How?

 

Over the people. They are probably either powered by faith (like in Discworld) or just powerful who are very mortal and need followers because of their limitations.

In that, they don't need to be malicious but my curent concern is that this may make them mere human beings with special powers.

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I like the concept of several souls vying from one body. Nice update. I can't wait to hear more about the game mechanics.

Edited by Inyourprime

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Rather than illuminate the presumed higher purpose of this cycle, the gods have obfuscated the truth, at times spreading cosmological lies, pitting believers and empowered chosen agents against each other, and tacitly approving the prejudices of their followers to maintain power.

To maintain power? Power from/ over what? How?

 

Over the people. They are probably either powered by faith (like in Discworld) or just powerful who are very mortal and need followers because of their limitations.

In that, they don't need to be malicious but my curent concern is that this may make them mere human beings with special powers.

 

The current description makes me think more of the Greek Gods - given to interfering when it benefited them, or when they felt they had been slighted by other gods or mortals. Gods, yes - but with all the vices and arrogance found in mortals to boot.

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Interesting update, especially about the souls and the technology. This game's sounding more and more promising.


"Console exclusive is such a harsh word." - Darque

"Console exclusive is two words Darque." - Nartwak (in response to Darque's observation)

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Strictly speaking you can't be an atheist in this setting unless you're of the "Flat Earth Atheist" variety, since it seems that the existence of the gods is pretty established. That doesn't mean you couldn't be a maltheist, however.

 

Not neccaseraly. What if the gods only exist because we created and sustain them with our belief? In that case it becomes a bit of a paradox as it might be true now that the gods exist though only because enough people believe in there existance, but that would be no reason to believe in them as if people stopped believing in them they would no longer exist making your disbelief in them true then

Edited by Perderabo

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I also hope that people from Obsidian will learn from other games like Runequest how to do proper Gods. The most common mistake is making people/nations who believe that all gods exist yet worship only one. That's not how polytheism works, you pray to the god of the fertility when you are farming and to the god of war when you are going to war, you don't just pick god of war for your whole life and then say "well I'm ****ed" when you decide to go fishing.

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It may not be as unique as PS:T but it doesn't sound like its a generic fantasy setting either. Which has resulted in a lot of outcries of its own, I've noticed.

 

So far the only new thing I've seen is the vaguely described matter of souls. I don't consider extending the timeline beyond the usual middle ages to the renaissance a significant change.

 

I don't know, I'd consider the addition of guns to be a pretty big change (given how much of a fuss has been raised over it), even if they're of the relatively primitive variety. Oceanic colonization usually isn't dealt with all that much in fantasy either.

 

Strictly speaking you can't be an atheist in this setting unless you're of the "Flat Earth Atheist" variety, since it seems that the existence of the gods is pretty established. That doesn't mean you couldn't be a maltheist, however.

 

Not neccaseraly. What if the gods only exist because we created and sustain them with our belief? In that case it becomes a bit of a paradox as it might be true now that the gods exist though only because enough people believe in there existance, but that would be no reason to believe in them as if people stopped believing in them they would no longer exist making your disbelief in them true then

 

Even if the gods are created and sustained by belief (which is an open question at this point) you still can't be an atheist without being blind to what appears to be an empirical truth that deities exist and have an active role in the world. Choosing not to worship them (and thereby to deny them power) is one thing, but to deny their existence in this setting would be foolishness it seems to me, since it's pretty clear that they do exist. Hence the Flat Earth Atheist comment.


"Understanding is a three-edged blade."

"Vivis sperandum: Where there is life, there is hope."

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I am not sure what to think about magic and souls and how it is tied together. Something like "CHI"? Evryone has potential, no matter the soul, but it is about training? Or you choose soul archtype that defines how or what your magic skill might evolve as or how you develope your character?

 

I have sneaky feeling that idea behind the souls is what keeps our reality or universe together, sort of like the great wheel and the souls are the fuel, immortal like recycling. Or maybe they just fuel the "gods" own existance, they feed upon the souls energies that mortal has acquired through his/her life time, based on mortals own struggels. This concept has been explored before, they even based movies Clash of Titans on such idea. If someone remebers Black and White series where you play a deity and as such, one's power is determened by prayers of your followers. More followers, more power. I think that souls might work in similiar fashion in this universe. This is all stinks about some sort of freedom idea, ultimate freedom from powers to be. Something like ; We dont need them, they need us, mention of a battery comes to my mind and etc. Fantasy matrix. Hmmm, I could go on speculating, its quite fun...but more info is needed. I am entering territory where i just might love lore of the game or totally hate it. Anyway I intend to explore it.


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My guess, based solely on it being the first thing that popped into my head, is that the gods aren't saying where souls come from because they don't know either.

 

This is what I was expecting, more or less, after the announcement of firearms in Project Eternity. That said it's interesting to see that the rise of late medieval technology has not given rise to early modern humanism or religious dissent the way it did in our world. You mention later that the printing press hasn't been invented yet, which I'm guessing is the main reason behind this discrepancy, since it's not as easy to spread radical ideas.

Probably a combination of that and a world in which gods are empirically provable and can communicate directly not lending itself well to religious dissent.

 

 

Technology level sounds just right, especially absence of printing press (I really want hear story behind that :)).

There doesn't really need to be a story behind the printing press not existing. It's entirely possible that no one's thought of it yet. It's not like the technology required to dip blocks with letter-shaped indentations into ink didn't exist in ancient Rome. Doing so just isn't obvious.

 

Besides, even here gunpowder was invented somewhere between four and six centuries before printing.

 

 

You can still be atheist in a setting where deities exist. Just because someone throw a thunder at you he doesn't have to be an immortal being who governs forces of nature, he can be just a powerful spirit or a group of mages.

I would be very interested in seeing a tinfoil hat atheist.

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The current description makes me think more of the Greek Gods - given to interfering when it benefited them, or when they felt they had been slighted by other gods or mortals. Gods, yes - but with all the vices and arrogance found in mortals to boot.

Basically, I agree and they can also be sympathetic and understanding just like human-beings. At the same time, I cannot but feel this view of "amoral" gods are established by other religious schemes especially Christian culture, which even has the tendency of denying part of sexuality. Greeks are more open to naked bodies, for example. Also, these "amoral" gods played models of virtues a certain classes (e.g. militants - Spartans are known to be an eager worshiper of him) and symbols of community (Athena). Being "amoral" from a view point of other cultures don't necessarily mean that they are malicious. In any religious/ethical schemes, there are human lives which may have something both common and uncommon.

 

I also hope that people from Obsidian will learn from other games like Runequest how to do proper Gods. The most common mistake is making people/nations who believe that all gods exist yet worship only one. That's not how polytheism works, you pray to the god of the fertility when you are farming and to the god of war when you are going to war, you don't just pick god of war for your whole life and then say "well I'm ****ed" when you decide to go fishing.

Religious variety was well done in Rune Quest - the designers wrote supplements in the way that how each members of religious schemes see the worlds and people under other religious schemes. I think this would fit to what Obsidian is doing but it cannot be the only way. I like some ideas from Obsidian but, yeah, I may feel bit bitter with the presentation of gods in D&D settings. That said, generally speaking, it is true that larger rooms for interpretations would make the world feel deeper, allowing the players to interpret/explore.

 

Oops...I guess I'm spending too much time on these boards. Damn, you Obsidian! :lol: Belated thanks to the update. :thumbsup:

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Rather than illuminate the presumed higher purpose of this cycle, the gods have obfuscated the truth, at times spreading cosmological lies, pitting believers and empowered chosen agents against each other, and tacitly approving the prejudices of their followers to maintain power.

To maintain power? Power from/ over what? How?

 

Over the people. They are probably either powered by faith (like in Discworld) or just powerful who are very mortal and need followers because of their limitations.

So, somehow they can gain power (probably indirectly) through the "prejudices of their followers". The question also is whether or not they need their followers for exerting mundane influence. If they need power then they probably also have an agenda regarding the use of that power. The most obvious way I see this making sense, is that they gain power through their followers' souls somehow, and that they need this power for some higher purpose not obvious to mortals.


"Well, overkill is my middle name. And my last name. And all of my other names as well!"

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Even if the gods are created and sustained by belief (which is an open question at this point) you still can't be an atheist without being blind to what appears to be an empirical truth that deities exist and have an active role in the world. Choosing not to worship them (and thereby to deny them power) is one thing, but to deny their existence in this setting would be foolishness it seems to me, since it's pretty clear that they do exist. Hence the Flat Earth Atheist comment.

 

as i said if this is the case it becomes a paradox. as the belief that the gods dont exist can only become a true belief by believing it when it is a false belief.

 

BUt even apart from that you could still be an atheist not by denying these beings exist but by denying they are gods in the first place. Just because they may be more powerful and intelligent than us does no more make them a god than the fact that we are more powerful and intelligent than an ant make us gods

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We'll see who's a tinfoil when your thunder throwing god will turn out to be six squirrels with a robe and a ring of levitation.

 

A cult dedicated to worshiping squirrels is also something I would be interested in seeing, so I win either way.

 

I cannot but feel this view of "amoral" gods are established by other religious schemes especially Christian culture, which even has the tendency of denying part of sexuality. Greeks are more open to naked bodies, for example.

No, it comes from the Greek gods being ****. Starting a war and razing a city because a person in it called you the second fairest is not a particularly moral action.

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I really like this concept. Even more, i like the fact that the gods arent the passive kind. Also, woo polearms.

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No, it comes from the Greek gods being ****. Starting a war and razing a city because a person in it called you the second fairest is not a particularly moral action.

 

The exact same thing can be said of any theistic religion. ie the christian god allowing the devil to torture job and kill everyone he loved on the whim of a bet is not very moral either

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No, it comes from the Greek gods being ****. Starting a war and razing a city because a person in it called you the second fairest is not a particularly moral action.

I don't deny that, either. At the same time, though, God in the Bible can be brutal, and Christians, too. So, who is "amoral" and brutal here? As I wrote, even under different cultural schemes, human beings have something common as well as uncommon. Employing various ideologies, ways of thinking and of lives to explore humanity is, I think, the core concept of PE.

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@ Nivenus

You can still be atheist in a setting where deities exist. Just because someone throw a thunder at you he doesn't have to be an immortal being who governs forces of nature, he can be just a powerful spirit or a group of mages.

 

What's the difference ultimately between a really powerful spirit and a god? A great many religions don't really make any kind of distinction between the two (Shinto's a good example). The Norse gods weren't immortal. Nor were the Greek gods or Celtic gods truly (more than a few bite the dust in the myths). The concept of a "god" as an omniscient, omnipotent being with supreme control of the forces of nature is more of an Abrahamic concept than one endemic to all religion.

 

We can't say for certain at this point because although it's clear gods play a role in the world, it might not be so obvious as to leave no doubt at all of their existence. But if the setting has gods who are as active as those in the Forgotten Realms, for example, than denying their existence or presuming they're just a bunch of wizards playing tricks on the world would defy the available evidence. At that point you're not being a skeptic (like many real-life atheists)... you're being a conspiracy theorist.

 

Again, whether you choose to worship them or call them "powers" is irrelevant. You're not really an atheist if you actually believe that they exist.

 

 

No, it comes from the Greek gods being ****. Starting a war and razing a city because a person in it called you the second fairest is not a particularly moral action.

 

The exact same thing can be said of any theistic religion. ie the christian god allowing the devil to torture job and kill everyone he loved on the whim of a bet is not very moral either

 

Technically that depends on the specific variety of Christianity. Not all forms of Christianity have the same attitude towards Hell or Satan. I'm not certain what the rules are on discussing real-life religion but I imagine they're pretty strict, so I'll leave it at that.

Edited by Nivenus

"Understanding is a three-edged blade."

"Vivis sperandum: Where there is life, there is hope."

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Again, whether you choose to worship them or call them "powers" is irrelevant. You're not really an atheist if you actually believe that they exist.
That doesn't seem to be a strong argument. I've seen philosophies that define gods as omnipresent and even non-sentient forces. Which ends up meaning gravity and electromagnetism are gods if you think about it. So is someone that believes in gravity not an atheist because they agree in a force that another philosophy declares to be god?

 

It's complicated. But what's more important is that it doesn't change anything about their belief system and we are letting the silly corners of language replace actual ideas. For all intents and purposes, a person that rejects the authority of the powers of a fictional settings is an atheist if they want to be considered as such.

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"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."

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Again, whether you choose to worship them or call them "powers" is irrelevant. You're not really an atheist if you actually believe that they exist.
That doesn't seem to be a strong argument. I've seen philosophies that define gods as omnipresent and even non-sentient forces. Which ends up meaning gravity and electromagnetism are gods if you think about it. So is someone that believes in gravity not an atheist because they agree in a force that another philosophy declares to be god?
Yeah, if someone thinks he can utilize such power, it sounds like he is an atheist - like Mechanism, which regards the world as a gigantic machine. However, it's just a matter of definition, though. I any case, it's the same principle which makes me think that, if the designers define soul mechanics too clearly, it just makes there are two kinds of technologies.

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The one issue of technology in a fantasy world that does interest me is the balance it has with how common magic is..

 

Such as if everyone has some simple magic that can be used to solve a problem, who is actually going to bother coming up with a practical engineering/science based solution to that problem?

 

At what point does reliance on the one slow down research / practical applications of the other? How well does magic and technology mix? With advanced magic, there's usually a fairly well versed alchemy and basis of chemistry.. But with the casual applications of healing magic and such, how often will people really look into biology and medicine?


"Cuius testiculos habeas, habeas cardia et cerebellum."

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If someone remebers Black and White series where you play a deity and as such, one's power is determened by prayers of your followers. More followers, more power. I think that souls might work in similiar fashion in this universe.

I don't know "Black and White", but I remember many a fun game of the original "Populous". There was some pleasure in letting go of earthquakes and volcanoes, or just the more subtle things on your rival deity's followers (your own followers just being means to and end) :shifty:


“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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Can one be an unbeliever?

 

Good question. Can I be an atheist bard who's got soul?

Sawyer also said that the gods in this world are very meddlesome. An atheist in this world would be like a present day person refusing to believe in electricity despite getting hit by lightning.

 

It's possible I guess but you'd have to be a bit of a 'a few screws loose' atheist bard...but with soul.

Edited by sanian

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