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So I was reading about sirenomelia and a thought came to me: what if some of the "monsters" in the world don't even really exist and are due to the misunderstanding of basic scientific facts, a la the salem witch trials of old.

 

Here's an example. I read about "sirenomelia" also known as mermaid syndrome and I thought to myself "I wonder how the people of PoE would react to a mother giving birth to a baby with this condition?" Even in our day and age, ignorant people come to the wrong conclusions about the realities of their daily lives and I would imagine that in a world where fantastical creatures actually do exist, for there to be incorrect conclusions to be reached about natural phenomena. Perhaps the mother of this child would be shunned for adultery with a merman (or whatever you want to call that creature of the sea) and that she would be hounded for the rest of her life for it, where in reality these are just natural realities of even our world. That is to say, that mermen do not even exist!

 

My proposition would be to have perhaps one quest line or something that explores this idea a bit further. Perhaps there is a certain chemical or compound that has affected a village and mothers within that village are giving birth to mer-children and are being ostracized for it and accused of sleeping with these creatures. The reality is that such creatures do not exist, but it is difficult to be sure because of the very nature of the world and that monsters do really exist in the world - who says that it is out of the realm of impossibility that such creatures really exist?

 

I really think exploring our own ignorance when it comes to how little we know as humans and quickly jumping to the wrong conclusions can be a great theme or idea to explore. I really liked the half-ogre quest from Arcanum, for example. It was so well-done and really had a fairly decent understanding of the world and made it come alive for me. I am hoping that perhaps this is another idea that can be explored by someone on the design team.

 

Other examples of real-life "monsters" are http://list25.com/25-extremely-bizarre-medical-disorders/ . Another one is elephantitis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephantiasis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Merrick

 

The point is that these have actual, scientific explanations for phenomena that occur. But I know that there are people out there who see such things and call these people monsters or come to the wrong conclusion and shun these people. Others are exploited in circuses. It's an interesting look into the human condition.

 

The condition doesn't have to be a real-one: it could be one that fits the story and themes of PoE, but the point would be that people call "monsters" things that actually are not, and that neither the player nor the world (except perhaps one or two experts) really understand the reality of this. Perhaps clues can be given as to the reality of this, but leaving the conclusion vague would be part of the allure of such a quest, sort of like how we don't really know so much about souls.

 

What do the rest of you think?

Edited by ItinerantNomad
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I would love to see common ignorance and superstition in an un(der)-educated world. Which Pillars of Eternity is certainly set in (no printing!)

It makes sense, it's realistic, and it's laden with story telling potential.

 

what's not to like?

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To be honest, I'm against stuff like this. I think if you start running parallels between real world conditions and high fantasy then you run the risk of achieving something extremely offensive. At what level of de-humanisation is it acceptable to start swinging your sword and slaying things?

 

Let high fantasy be high fantasy.

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At what level of de-humanisation is it acceptable to start swinging your sword and slaying things?

 

In a game, a computer game, a computer roleplaying game, a computer roleplaying game with combat... ;)

Edited by IndiraLightfoot
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*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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At what level of de-humanisation is it acceptable to start swinging your sword and slaying things?

 

In a game, a computer game, a computer roleplaying game, a computer roleplaying game with combat... ;)

 

 

:rolleyes:

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At what level of de-humanisation is it acceptable to start swinging your sword and slaying things?

 

In a game, a computer game, a computer roleplaying game, a computer roleplaying game with combat... ;)

 

 

But then what is the point about bringing in ignorance and incorrect conclusions about natural phenomena? To laugh at the stupid intolerant NPCs? What is there to win by introducing this if verisimilitude, drama and serious moral questions are to be outright ignored by the developers?

 

And while drama and moral questions are usually good, even in CRPGs about combat, I am afraid this one is going to open a can of worms. So no thanks.

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I'm all for opening cans of worms. There is a risk of screwing things up, but if you never risk anything you just end up with something that's perfectly bland which is not much fun. I'd much rather have them take risks and fail, even if failing means being inadvertently offensive. I trust Obs to be mature enough not to fall into the obvious traps. They are, after all, the makers of such thoughtful and sophisticated (future) philosophical masterpieces as South Park: The Stick of Truth. 

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Maybe related to this, I'd like to see a bit of a "telephone" effect as well, events becoming skewed with each retelling, stuff passing into myth through time etc. More than just an out-there interpretation from the get go.

 

Also, information should taking time to travel. Maybe not the whole faction instantly knows what happened at the other corner of the map and about your involvement :p .

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At what level of de-humanisation is it acceptable to start swinging your sword and slaying things?

 

In a game, a computer game, a computer roleplaying game, a computer roleplaying game with combat... ;)

 

 

But then what is the point about bringing in ignorance and incorrect conclusions about natural phenomena? To laugh at the stupid intolerant NPCs? What is there to win by introducing this if verisimilitude, drama and serious moral questions are to be outright ignored by the developers?

 

And while drama and moral questions are usually good, even in CRPGs about combat, I am afraid this one is going to open a can of worms. So no thanks.

 

The way i see is, its an RPG. If there are moral and ethical things you don't agree with in the world then don't do them. RP the world and your character after your own morals, if you want to join the uneducated plebs and mistreat/harass poor sick people then you should be able to do it. on the other hand if you decide to stand up for the abused you should likewise be able to do that with effects on people and the world around you. Want to play Neo-nazi go ahead might make you enemies but its your choice i think having options are always good, its what you do with it that matters.

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Here's a recent excerpt from the latest interview at the Eurogamer site:

"Pillars of Eternity will delve into themes like "racism and more pervasive racism than just bold-faced racism", explained Sawyer, "like social racism or institutional racism". Class problems will be explored, and there will be an ongoing struggle between the religiously minded and the technological."

 

It seems Prima Junta's philosophy is embraced by the Obsidian team, and I like it. Bring on all kinds of politics, religion and science controversies!! :)

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*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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Here's a recent excerpt from the latest interview at the Eurogamer site:

"Pillars of Eternity will delve into themes like "racism and more pervasive racism than just bold-faced racism", explained Sawyer, "like social racism or institutional racism". Class problems will be explored, and there will be an ongoing struggle between the religiously minded and the technological."

 

It seems Prima Junta's philosophy is embraced by the Obsidian team, and I like it. Bring on all kinds of politics, religion and science controversies!! :)

 

Exactly.  Make the game make me think about things other than tactics and build optimization, please.

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It seems Prima Junta's philosophy is embraced by the Obsidian team, and I like it. Bring on all kinds of politics, religion and science controversies!! :)

 

More the other way around, I think.

 

I tend to like Obsidian's games (and Troika's and BiS's before them) because they explore such stuff. They occasionally stumble of course, but that's better than never wandering off the tarmac.

I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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My proposition would be to have perhaps one quest line or something that explores this idea a bit further. Perhaps there is a certain chemical or compound that has affected a village and mothers within that village are giving birth to mer-children and are being ostracized for it and accused of sleeping with these creatures. The reality is that such creatures do not exist, but it is difficult to be sure because of the very nature of the world and that monsters do really exist in the world - who says that it is out of the realm of impossibility that such creatures really exist?

 

My concern here is the stereotypical nature of the response; it isn't really exploring new ground. How about making a society that views such rare hybrid births as a godsend? (Much like we can have a certain fascination with the birth of white tigers, for example.) Why not explore how that belief system could be taken to extremes, much to the detriment of society?

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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To be honest, I'm against stuff like this. I think if you start running parallels between real world conditions and high fantasy then you run the risk of achieving something extremely offensive. At what level of de-humanisation is it acceptable to start swinging your sword and slaying things?

 

Let high fantasy be high fantasy.

Pfft.

 

This bizarre idea that "real-world conditions" must not infect some imaginary ahistorical ideal of "pure" entertainment... I don't know where or when or how it started, but I'd like to punch the con artist who ginned it up in the face. All creative work is a subjective reaction to the real world and its conditions. All of it. Even a work that purports to be a repudiation of reality operates under the assumption that there is a reality to repudiate. "What if there was a world where people flew around using jetpacks?" is a question that can only be asked by someone who lives in a world where people don't fly around using jetpacks. And if this imaginary Jetpack World is like 2014 society in every other respect, it is a fictional snapshot of life in 2014 as the creator of Jetpack World saw it. If Jetpack World is not at all like life in 2014, it's still a reaction to life in 2014. Because creative people are real and live in the world, even if they long to escape it.

 

You might as well inveigh against gravity. However well-reasoned your argument against it, it is still a fact of life. The real and the imagined will always cross-pollinate, because a real person has to do the imagining.

 

And, to answer your question, just because a character is humanized does not invalidate lethal action on the player's part. On the contrary, it makes the decision to employ lethal force a meaningful choice.

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Pfft.

 

This bizarre idea that "real-world conditions" must not infect some imaginary ahistorical ideal of "pure" entertainment... I don't know where or when or how it started, but I'd like to punch the con artist who ginned it up in the face. All creative work is a subjective reaction to the real world and its conditions. All of it. Even a work that purports to be a repudiation of reality operates under the assumption that there is a reality to repudiate. "What if there was a world where people flew around using jetpacks?" is a question that can only be asked by someone who lives in a world where people don't fly around using jetpacks. And if this imaginary Jetpack World is like 2014 society in every other respect, it is a fictional snapshot of life in 2014 as the creator of Jetpack World saw it. If Jetpack World is not at all like life in 2014, it's still a reaction to life in 2014. Because creative people are real and live in the world, even if they long to escape it.

 

You might as well inveigh against gravity. However well-reasoned your argument against it, it is still a fact of life. The real and the imagined will always cross-pollinate, because a real person has to do the imagining.

 

And, to answer your question, just because a character is humanized does not invalidate lethal action on the player's part. On the contrary, it makes the decision to employ lethal force a meaningful choice.

 

 

I hear what you're saying, but I think there's a touch of not being able to see the wood for the trees going on.

 

PoE is a game based on combat. PoE is a game featuring monsters, which you will have to kill. If you're kiling orcs, trolls and werewolves, that's fine. If you're killing humans with Downs Syndrome, Elephantitis or Hypertrichosis because the locals believe them to be orcs, trolls or werewolves, then I'm going to go out there and suggest that you've got a serious ****ing problem with your game.

 

(I recognise that the OP was not suggesting anything like as harsh as this, but I am suggesting they're ultimately cut from the same cloth)

 

Subjective reactions it may be, but it's still incredibly offensive.

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I like this idea. I would really like to see a game that didn't have a multitude of races precisely because the diverse nature of both human culture and natural evolution give a large breadth to what is possible. Still I have faith that there will be quite a few mature themes/ideas explored in this game.

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@Kjaamor:

 

Oh, sure. I was mainly replying to your assertion rather than the OP's. To be honest, I didn't read the first post until just now. :oops: :lol:

 

I see what you mean by "dehumanization" and "real-world conditions" now, and I agree that it would be gross if every single monster was just some poor sap with a disease. But I'm not sure that was what the OP meant. It certainly wasn't what I meant. My interpretation of the OP's post was that he or she would be interested in a questline or subplot or whatever involving deformed people who are persecuted as monsters or freaks because science hasn't overtaken superstition in PoE's world. I, too, believe that could be interesting.

 

It's not as if PoE's world doesn't give us opportunities, either. What if there's some podunk town that's never seen a Godlike before, and a Godlike is born in that town? We could see the Godlike treated as a beast, or simply otherized to an unpleasant degree. There are plenty of options here.

Edited by Ffordesoon
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