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Puzzled by the main concept of the game....


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In the interview here: http://www.gamesindu...-on-kickstarter

 

Chris Avellone said:

The whole premise of the lore and the magic system is that souls get inherited, and then when you pass away the souls wait for a time and then come back to another body. The question is how much of your own behavior is being governed by your own free will or the influence of the soul inside you and all of its history?

 

This seems a bit nonsensical to me in that it separates the self or the individual from his or her soul. To me the notion of the self, the part that thinks and reasons and chooses is the soul. The soul is that which animates an otherwise useless object. I can get behind the idea of reincarnation which leaves the issue of the memory wipe to contend with but still...that part is reasonable.

 

What doesn't seem reasonable is that the soul is placed in an awkward and somewhat nonsensical definition....an outside, separate and strange entity that seeks to control you. And the "you" here being what exactly? A live body destined to death and a self without a future? If the soul is an outside influence seeking to take control would it not be better be redefined as....well...something else. A possessing demon or corrupting entity? And what is free will independent from the soul? Free will of the body? As I see it the body's needs and desires are mostly biological and straight forward....I'd say they are more programed/hardwired into our bodies than anything else.

 

The conflict as I see it is between the needs of the body and the needs of the soul but the body is not sentient or intelligent....its needs are merely annoyances the soul has to contend with to keep it alive and functional....fail and you go back to wherever you came from to wait for another turn.

 

Thoughts?

Edited by Darth Trethon
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There are so many different philosophical/ontological variants of body/soul that it doesn't seem strange to me. You're essentially describing a form of Cartesian dualism, and while PE souls may not make much sense within your particular schema, it doesn't need to. E.g. there are many persuasive accounts arguing it's just as unrealistic and weird to split 'biological needs' from 'mental needs', or to imagine some kind of 'autonomous soul' that isn't subject to such outside influence.

 

There are of course many examples from all cultures and times as well, including the idea of former lives, and variations of daimon originating in Greek thought. I'm very interested in the notion that you don't have completely independent souls in the world of PE, and you can in explicit ways trace the way former lives make a mark on you as 'you' without making it as hamfisted as demonic possession or psionics (which is an external effect).

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I'll speculate:

 

The body/mind functions as we normally assume it would - the mind is normally the seat of will, thought, sentience, etc. However, a soul inhabiting a body/mind for the duration of a life picks up an imprint of that person's thoughts/actions. When the soul inhabits a different body/mind, it influences in some way that person's mind according to previous minds it has inhabited. It almost sounds like a form spiritual possession.

 

The question seems to be how much influence a soul has on it's current host.

 

The Dune series have a theme of ancestral egos (albeit produced by ingestion of a drug) sometimes at war with a person's free will - I wonder if there will be similar themes here.

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There are so many different philosophical/ontological variants of body/soul that it doesn't seem strange to me. You're essentially describing a form of Cartesian dualism, and while PE souls may not make much sense within your particular schema, it doesn't need to. E.g. there are many persuasive accounts arguing it's just as unrealistic and weird to split 'biological needs' from 'mental needs', or to imagine some kind of 'autonomous soul' that isn't subject to such outside influence.

 

There are of course many examples from all cultures and times as well, including the idea of former lives, and variations of daimon originating in Greek thought. I'm very interested in the notion that you don't have completely independent souls in the world of PE, and you can in explicit ways trace the way former lives make a mark on you as 'you' without making it as hamfisted as demonic possession or psionics (which is an external effect).

 

I've taken a few philosophy classes and one of the issues I had is that often things did not appear to be defined correctly.

 

In the case of PE it would be better to redefine the "soul" as something else....guardian angel/spirit/ancestor guiding you to destiny and you choosing to fight said destiny, a possessing demon, a corrupting entity.....etc. There are many ways to phrase this conflict to make a lot more sense....the least of these ways as I see it is defining this outside entity as one's "soul".

Edited by Darth Trethon

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A soul comes into a body but how much does the soul shape what you will do? Is the soul of a psychotic murder a psychotic murder in every life? If so is that person really accountable for a fate he can't control? Or is the soul you have more of a power source, something that gives life to what would be an otherwise lifeless body but it does not have any control over your actions? Is your fate is your own to make regardless of whatever soul inhabits your body? Or is it some mixture of the 2? Does your soul have leanings towards certain behavior, almost like a conscience, which can be ignored? If you go against its leanings for long enough will it reshape the souls preferences?

 

I think that these are likely to be some of the questions in the narrative of this game. In a broadest sense what exactly is a soul and how much control does the soul we are born with have over our lives?

Edited by Pshaw
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K is for Kid, a guy or gal just like you. Don't be in such a hurry to grow up, since there's nothin' a kid can't do.

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It will make complete sense if you consider Planescape: Torment. If you have not played it, here is a much simpler example: suppose one of these characters has been almost uniformly a scoundrel in these past lives (sometimes a bandit, sometimes a murderer, etc). What does that mean as far as the current incarnation is concerned? What if the current incarnation somehow finds out about the past ones?

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It will make complete sense if you consider Planescape: Torment. If you have not played it, here is a much simpler example: suppose one of these characters has been almost uniformly a scoundrel in these past lives (sometimes a bandit, sometimes a murderer, etc). What does that mean as far as the current incarnation is concerned? What if the current incarnation somehow finds out about the past ones?

 

the current incarnation finding out about past lives? At best that would manifest as memories not unlike those of the present life where the individual recognizes himself or herself as being the one that has done those things....at worst it would be like dreams where the person does not recognize himself or herself as being the one doing the deeds and not much sense would be drawn although perhaps some lessons would be learned.

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I'm very curious where they're going to go with this as well. Just watched the Kickstarter video again and got all psyched for the whole concept anew.

 

Right now I'm envisioning the souls as the essence of an individual, rather than a conscious entity. So, for example, your soul won't tell you what to do or try to influence you, but the embedded memories of past lives (even if you aren't conscious of them) will inform how you feel about certain things. For instance, someone is abandoned as a child, and in their next life they're more distrustful, resentful, or just independent by nature. I don't know, that's kind of how I imagine it now, but as you guys have said, there are a lot of possibilities for how it could work. It might not even be known or fully understood in the PE world!

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I'm very curious where they're going to go with this as well. Just watched the Kickstarter video again and got all psyched for the whole concept anew.

 

Right now I'm envisioning the souls as the essence of an individual, rather than a conscious entity. So, for example, your soul won't tell you what to do or try to influence you, but the embedded memories of past lives (even if you aren't conscious of them) will inform how you feel about certain things. For instance, someone is abandoned as a child, and in their next life they're more distrustful, resentful, or just independent by nature. I don't know, that's kind of how I imagine it now, but as you guys have said, there are a lot of possibilities for how it could work. It might not even be known or fully understood in the PE world!

 

Sort of like the force in Star Wars is the concept I'm getting from this except that each individual has his/her predefined bit of it that carries memories of past lives....

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There are so many different philosophical/ontological variants of body/soul that it doesn't seem strange to me. You're essentially describing a form of Cartesian dualism, and while PE souls may not make much sense within your particular schema, it doesn't need to. E.g. there are many persuasive accounts arguing it's just as unrealistic and weird to split 'biological needs' from 'mental needs', or to imagine some kind of 'autonomous soul' that isn't subject to such outside influence.

 

There are of course many examples from all cultures and times as well, including the idea of former lives, and variations of daimon originating in Greek thought. I'm very interested in the notion that you don't have completely independent souls in the world of PE, and you can in explicit ways trace the way former lives make a mark on you as 'you' without making it as hamfisted as demonic possession or psionics (which is an external effect).

 

I've taken a few philosophy classes and one of the issues I had is that often things did not appear to be defined correctly.

 

In the case of PE it would be better to redefine the "soul" as something else....guardian angel/spirit/ancestor guiding you to destiny and you choosing to fight said destiny, a possessing demon, a corrupting entity.....etc. There are many ways to phrase this conflict to make a lot more sense....the least of these ways as I see it is defining this outside entity as one's "soul".

 

That's because you already have a strict definition of what a 'soul' is. So when someone gives you a different definition, you think it has to be called something else. The notion of soul is a very polysemic one, and hell, we're talking about a different and fictional universe. Besides, the way Sawyer described it, calling it a guardian spirit wouldn't make any sense, because that implies an external entity that you can independently speak with (and thus choose to silence, etc). Defining the PE soul in this way raises much more interesting questions of how much of who you are, your magical capabilities, etc is inherited, how the process of inheritance works, etc.

 

Depending on how it's done, it could be an interesting variant of how former lives and personalities were worked into the story of the Nameless One, and the impact that had on gameplay.

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There are so many different philosophical/ontological variants of body/soul that it doesn't seem strange to me. You're essentially describing a form of Cartesian dualism, and while PE souls may not make much sense within your particular schema, it doesn't need to. E.g. there are many persuasive accounts arguing it's just as unrealistic and weird to split 'biological needs' from 'mental needs', or to imagine some kind of 'autonomous soul' that isn't subject to such outside influence.

 

There are of course many examples from all cultures and times as well, including the idea of former lives, and variations of daimon originating in Greek thought. I'm very interested in the notion that you don't have completely independent souls in the world of PE, and you can in explicit ways trace the way former lives make a mark on you as 'you' without making it as hamfisted as demonic possession or psionics (which is an external effect).

 

I've taken a few philosophy classes and one of the issues I had is that often things did not appear to be defined correctly.

 

In the case of PE it would be better to redefine the "soul" as something else....guardian angel/spirit/ancestor guiding you to destiny and you choosing to fight said destiny, a possessing demon, a corrupting entity.....etc. There are many ways to phrase this conflict to make a lot more sense....the least of these ways as I see it is defining this outside entity as one's "soul".

 

That's because you already have a strict definition of what a 'soul' is. So when someone gives you a different definition, you think it has to be called something else. The notion of soul is a very polysemic one, and hell, we're talking about a different and fictional universe. Besides, the way Sawyer described it, calling it a guardian spirit wouldn't make any sense, because that implies an external entity that you can independently speak with (and thus choose to silence, etc). Defining the PE soul in this way raises much more interesting questions of how much of who you are, your magical capabilities, etc is inherited, how the process of inheritance works, etc.

 

Depending on how it's done, it could be an interesting variant of how former lives and personalities were worked into the story of the Nameless One, and the impact that had on gameplay.

 

You lost me at the underlined bit because you appear to agree with my concept of the soul but none of the rest of your post relflects it. Also it should be easy to see why what you are calling nonsensical in the underlined bit makes more sense in the context of what Chris Avellone said, more specifically this bit: "The question is how much your own behavior is being governed by your own free will or the influence of the soul inside you..." ....which has sort of been my point from the start, hence my proposal for it to be redefined.

 

So I haven't the slightest clue what you're getting at here. I think you're getting a bit too convoluted in philosophy that you are losing sight of the practical and what actually makes sense....no offense intended, I've been there many times.

Edited by Darth Trethon
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I used your definition of the soul because I thought that would be the easiest way to communicate.

 

If we try and go back to the basics: you already think a soul is free, independent, individual. This is why PE's description of soul seems weird or 'wrong' to you. I have no problem with an idea of a soul, as Avellone puts it, where your free will is not the entirety of your soul, where there is an inherited element too.

 

No offense taken. I'd respond that you aren't really being 'practical and sensible', since this is a metaphysical question to begin with. You can't really say "well practically what actually make sense is my concept of the soul". If we use your definition, of course PE soul sounds weird and contradictory. But there's zero reason to use your definition, since there are many definitions of souls out there anyway and this is a fictional universe.

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I believe it's a treatise on a musical artform, hope this helps. It might be based on part of a shoe or a fish though.

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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You lost me at the underlined bit because you appear to agree with my concept of the soul but none of the rest of your post relflects it. Also it should be easy to see why what you are calling nonsensical in the underlined bit makes more sense in the context of what Chris Avellone said, more specifically this bit: "The question is how much your own behavior is being governed by your own free will or the influence of the soul inside you..." ....which has sort of been my point from the start, hence my proposal for it to be redefined.

 

So I haven't the slightest clue what you're getting at here. I think you're getting a bit too convoluted in philosophy that you are losing sight of the practical and what actually makes sense....no offense intended, I've been there many times.

 

 

I think the easiest way to explain it might be as follows.

 

Your soul is who you are - but you are not necesarily ALL of your soul. The person who is alive at the moment is a portion of the soul and that soul could have a large number of previous lives. When you are alive there is a "wall" up between the currently alive personality and former personalities that make up the greater soul. Any crack in that wall could allow opinions, memories, or beliefs of the main Soul to influence the current personality.

 

The alive person is part of a greater whole - their Soul. They are independant of it, but it can still influence them through various means (dreams, feelings, sense of right/wrong etc). That's the way I've taken what OE has given us so far. One major factor being the dissonance/resonance between the current personality and the former lives. I imagine the Paladin whose former lives were full of vice and injustices might have a serious psychological issue from what he needs to do and from the guilt of what he believes he has done previously (or how he plans to "attone" for it), just as an example.

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I used your definition of the soul because I thought that would be the easiest way to communicate.

 

If we try and go back to the basics: you already think a soul is free, independent, individual. This is why PE's description of soul seems weird or 'wrong' to you. I have no problem with an idea of a soul, as Avellone puts it, where your free will is not the entirety of your soul, where there is an inherited element too.

 

No offense taken. I'd respond that you aren't really being 'practical and sensible', since this is a metaphysical question to begin with. You can't really say "well practically what actually make sense is my concept of the soul". If we use your definition, of course PE soul sounds weird and contradictory. But there's zero reason to use your definition, since there are many definitions of souls out there anyway and this is a fictional universe.

 

I see where you're coming from but I see the PE definition of a soul as stretching the boundaries a bit since that would completely negate the existence of life after death and the heavy focus on gods. It seems like the soul is there to influence you, record what you do and move on. This brings the point of why care for gods at all(which I often bring up regardless but that's another story) since they ultimately have no control over you and ultimately you are beyond their control as well except maybe through handling souls which brings me back to rephrasing them as guiding spirits. It makes little sense as to why one would even care about what happens to a soul afterwards since that is soul is not you.

 

It brings a lot more disconnects I think than my definition....of course I would think that but I hope I am making a certain amount of sense here.

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You lost me at the underlined bit because you appear to agree with my concept of the soul but none of the rest of your post relflects it. Also it should be easy to see why what you are calling nonsensical in the underlined bit makes more sense in the context of what Chris Avellone said, more specifically this bit: "The question is how much your own behavior is being governed by your own free will or the influence of the soul inside you..." ....which has sort of been my point from the start, hence my proposal for it to be redefined.

 

So I haven't the slightest clue what you're getting at here. I think you're getting a bit too convoluted in philosophy that you are losing sight of the practical and what actually makes sense....no offense intended, I've been there many times.

 

 

I think the easiest way to explain it might be as follows.

 

Your soul is who you are - but you are not necesarily ALL of your soul. The person who is alive at the moment is a portion of the soul and that soul could have a large number of previous lives. When you are alive there is a "wall" up between the currently alive personality and former personalities that make up the greater soul. Any crack in that wall could allow opinions, memories, or beliefs of the main Soul to influence the current personality.

 

The alive person is part of a greater whole - their Soul. They are independant of it, but it can still influence them through various means (dreams, feelings, sense of right/wrong etc). That's the way I've taken what OE has given us so far. One major factor being the dissonance/resonance between the current personality and the former lives. I imagine the Paladin whose former lives were full of vice and injustices might have a serious psychological issue from what he needs to do and from the guilt of what he believes he has done previously (or how he plans to "attone" for it), just as an example.

 

what you are saying here is a more complex version of how I already define a soul and I agree on most points(except the effect of memories and atonement, I think memories would redefine his/her faith and beliefs) but I don't think that is what Chris Avellone was describing for PE. I could be wrong but I don't think that's what he meant.

Edited by Darth Trethon

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Ultimately, I guess I'm not sure what the point is of trying to assess the 'sensibility' of PE's definition in relation to yours, since within the larger schema of various definitions of soul abound, it fits in just fine. In practice, I don't think it would confuse anyone playing, given their familiarity with fantasy settings as well.

 

The questions of afterlife and Gods are as you say interesting, and certainly the PE definition of souls should have a knock-on effect in changing how PE individuals treat those issues. But I don't think that's a 'problem' with the definition of any sort, just an interesting question that the PE definition will allow the setting to explore. What does it mean to know in concrete terms (if they do) that they all have an afterlife, but the afterlife is not entirely 'theirs'? Does the notion of judging a person by their blood, race, or other forms of biological and material inheritance taken on a different meaning when there is a soul-inheritance going on?

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I see where you're coming from but I see the PE definition of a soul as stretching the boundaries a bit since that would completely negate the existence of life after death and the heavy focus on gods. It seems like the soul is there to influence you, record what you do and move on. This brings the point of why care for gods at all(which I often bring up regardless but that's another story) since they ultimately have no control over you and ultimately you are beyond their control as well except maybe through handling souls which brings me back to rephrasing them as guiding spirits. It makes little sense as to why one would even care about what happens to a soul afterwards since that is soul is not you.

Why is negating the existence of 'life' after death an impossibility? Reincarnation, and transitional phases between reincarnations, seem to be a form of life after death, even. There are many ways Gods could potentially reach down and touch your soul, fracture your soul, perhaps put your soul into an eternal damnation, but even if they can't: do the Gods have to be cared for?

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what you are saying here is a more complex version of how I already define a soul and I agree on most points(except the effect of memories and atonement, I think memories would redefine his/her faith and beliefs) but I don't think that is what Chris Avellone was describing for PE. I could be wrong but I don't think that's what he meant.

 

To take from your idea of why would anyone care about the gods or what happens - a basic karmic belief could be used. You want to do well because in your next life the person you will be will benefit from it.

 

Alternatively, a faith that believes something negative happens to the souls of those who commit crimes (or that it's the "soul" itself that suffers in the void between lives) would be a strong belief system, providing the necessary societal norm requirements or something "Bad" happens to you when you die. Additionally such a faith might have a component to "attone" for your past lives and increase the overall "goodness" of your soul.

 

In a story sense, such teachings would likely strengthen the tie between the person and their soul, likely a story mechanic or world mechanic for how you attune and gain powers from your Soul.

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I agree, that sounds confusing, Darth Trethon. As far as I see it, the term 'soul' is commonly regarded to be synonymous with 'personality', or 'spirit'; further, once you pass on, it is commonly assumed the spirit/soul/personality either ceases to exist, or passes on to the some kind of afterlife (sadly, there are no absolute definitions on what a person precisely is, and the same probably applies to 'soul', too). Then there are philosophers, like Gilbert Ryle, who argue that body and mind are not separate entities.

 

Now it appears, that, in PE, a person is a single entity of body + personality that is possessed by a soul. Upon death, that soul passes on to the next vessel.

 

I am confused, too. If you/your personality are opposite to your soul, the term soul is applied wierdly.

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I see where you're coming from but I see the PE definition of a soul as stretching the boundaries a bit since that would completely negate the existence of life after death and the heavy focus on gods. It seems like the soul is there to influence you, record what you do and move on. This brings the point of why care for gods at all(which I often bring up regardless but that's another story) since they ultimately have no control over you and ultimately you are beyond their control as well except maybe through handling souls which brings me back to rephrasing them as guiding spirits. It makes little sense as to why one would even care about what happens to a soul afterwards since that is soul is not you.

Why is negating the existence of 'life' after death an impossibility? Reincarnation, and transitional phases between reincarnations, seem to be a form of life after death, even. There are many ways Gods could potentially reach down and touch your soul, fracture your soul, perhaps put your soul into an eternal damnation, but even if they can't: do the Gods have to be cared for?

 

I didn't mean to say it's an impossibility just a very, very odd decision given the large involvement of gods and faith which by nearly all accounts in our real world's cultures are associated with eternal afterlife....whether in reward, punishment or something of one's own creation...this often being the main incentive to follow, fear and kneel before those gods. Remove the threat and it leaves in a sort of "well, why bother now?" sort of place as I see it.

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Let's be blunt. What you see as a soul isn't what is being described here.

 

A soul in this game is something which is separate from the brain. The brain makes decisions, has memories, is in fact the primary decision maker. The soul is just there, offering special abilities, offering memories and skills at times, and recording affairs in its own memory. It has been in other people too. It's not a soul like you say, but a fictional soul.

 

Although I am inclined to indicate there are no such things as souls.

"This is what most people do not understand about Colbert and Silverman. They only mock fictional celebrities, celebrities who destroy their selfhood to unify with the wants of the people, celebrities who are transfixed by the evil hungers of the public. Feed us a Gomorrah built up of luminous dreams, we beg. Here it is, they say, and it looks like your steaming brains."

 

" If you've read Hart's Hope, Neveryona, Infinity Concerto, Tales of the Flat Earth, you've pretty much played Dragon Age."

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