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Old 10-04-2017, 04:55 PM   #21
b-dog
 
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

The concept that I have is that the creation from nothing or chaos by the gods uses an energy. Mana is the residual energy of this creation that mortals can access. This is the energy of transformation. Druidic energy is the energy that created life from the unliving creation. Clerical magic is energy bestowed by the gods to clerics. Psionics are alien powers that the Elder Things use is mundane that is different from mana which is spiritual energy. Psionic power can be generated by accessing higher dimensions of creation.

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Old 10-05-2017, 08:05 AM   #22
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

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Originally Posted by b-dog View Post
I always envisioned Elder Things as the true nature of reality. Maybe when the gods made creation Elder Things were part of the primordial soup that formed creation.
I also proposed something like that, and it links with what we find in the GURPS 4E Fantasy book under the section on Primordial Entities (p. 56 ). (1)

In this way, reality per se is the unmanifest and "extradimensional" (there would be some nuances to do here, however), while "phenomenic existence" is the creation, and it derives from the Primordial Entity or Entities like Ymir, Tiamat, Rahab, Purusha, and others according to different cultures.

Since the unmanifest and the non-being —as the upper chaos & darkness (2)— conveys the denial and obliteration of "reality" (in the sense of existence or creation) the way creatures conceive and value it, as life, desires, and all sorts of cherished mental concepts, many times it's portrayed as "monstrous and dreadful divinities" which in form, can be just indistinguishable from "demons" (3) —these latter usually referring to the lower darkness (I already mentioned these terms in the first link here). An example of such dreadful divinities of the transcendent unmanifest & non-being is the Hindu Kali.

(1) This is "fluff", not rules.
(2) Cf. "Whose chaos is this, anyway", in GURPS 3E Religion, p. 138. Again, it's not about rules.
(3) Fitting with this observation:
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For the purposes of many delvers, "Things" (team Squid) are barely discernible from "Demons" (team Evil).
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Old 12-04-2018, 03:26 PM   #23
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

I would avoid the cosmology of G vs E. Alignment is one of the worst functioning aspects of that other game. Why bring it to Dungeon Fantasy. Good and Evil are functions of ideology and with ultra few exceptions the function of religion. While your cleric might be into keeping promises and helping the unfortunate and respecting the property of others, clerics of other faiths may not hold those values as "good". Maybe they believe in proving your might and making others stronger through fear of your domination, they measure your goodness by what you've taken from others and they like setting things on fire. Those two religions might be in the same town, but with definitive ideas of what's good and conversely what's evil. It doesn't make that morality any less flexible or any less real to worshipers for the complexity. It just makes more sense morality be subjective.

Squid alignment should also not be on a chart. Otherworldly entities should be alien, on an alien scale. Their morality should be "other" with equal chances of using your skin as clothing or gently cradling you and feeding you tiny oranges from a delicious strange dimension. You can have a constant of their behavior that governs what they value or how they behave but that constant doesn't have to be understandable to the tentacle-impaired.
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Old 12-04-2018, 04:13 PM   #24
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I would avoid the cosmology of G vs E. Alignment is one of the worst functioning aspects of that other game. Why bring it to Dungeon Fantasy. Good and Evil are functions of ideology and with ultra few exceptions the function of religion. While your cleric might be into keeping promises and helping the unfortunate and respecting the property of others, clerics of other faiths may not hold those values as "good". Maybe they believe in proving your might and making others stronger through fear of your domination, they measure your goodness by what you've taken from others and they like setting things on fire. Those two religions might be in the same town, but with definitive ideas of what's good and conversely what's evil. It doesn't make that morality any less flexible or any less real to worshipers for the complexity. It just makes more sense morality be subjective.

Squid alignment should also not be on a chart. Otherworldly entities should be alien, on an alien scale. Their morality should be "other" with equal chances of using your skin as clothing or gently cradling you and feeding you tiny oranges from a delicious strange dimension. You can have a constant of their behavior that governs what they value or how they behave but that constant doesn't have to be understandable to the tentacle-impaired.
I don’t mind good and evil alignments. I know what you are saying about good and evil are relative though. I tend to think of good as trying to create peace and harmony with virtuous behavior like honesty and fidelity. All good guys are trying to achieve these things but the route they take to achieve it is different. Some feel that kindness brings about harmony while other see violence against evil will bring about harmony. These two routes of achieving harmony are different and often opposed. In this set up these two philosophies can be hostile to one another and still be good. The same is true of evil which wants to cause suffering and damnation but some evil philosophies will want to make the world violent while other evil philosophers will want to make the world endulgant. Both evil philosophies has e an end point of more suffering and misery and both good philosophies want to make the world more peaceful and harmonious.

Elder Things are of course beyond good and evil.
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Old 12-05-2018, 07:22 AM   #25
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I would avoid the cosmology of G vs E. Alignment is one of the worst functioning aspects of that other game. Why bring it to Dungeon Fantasy.
It is brought in because some sort of high level moral conflict is a very common trope in fantasy, and good versus evil is an easily understandable one for most players. If you dig into this conflict in the real world it is of course complicated and difficult to justify, but in DF it is what you want it to be, and you have the advantage of explicit control over the supernatural entities that define it.

For me "Good and Evil" are literally just factions of supernatural beings and the magical power sources associated with them, the folks in charge of Creation and the rebels who think they should be in charge instead respectively, and Things would prefer to wreck the whole place.

Moral good and evil are not required for these powers to work - they are just encouraged by the Management.

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Old 12-05-2018, 07:50 AM   #26
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

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Moral good and evil are not required for these power to work - they are just encouraged by the Management.
Exactly this. Capital-G Good and capital-E Evil are essentially cosmic forces. Small-g good and small-e evil are essentially mortal predilections. It's the difference between law and justice – a lot of things Team Good calls for on a cosmic level would be seen as a little evil on the mundane level:
"Go to where the orcs are. No, it doesn't matter which orcs, or even if those particular orcs ever wronged anyone. Now kick in the door, slay all the orcs – yes, even the mothers and babies – and grab all the valuable stuff. This isn't looting, because when you get back to town, you'll donate it all to the Temple of Good, who will do good with it. They'll give you a small cut as a token of thanks, which you can take as a blessing from the Gods of Good."
Certain morally good acts would be associated with Team Evil, too:
"So let's get this straight: The city paid the Assassins' Guild to silence this guy who was agitating on behalf of the Sewer-Cleaners' Guild after the seventh cleaner drowned in sewage this month. He came back as some sort of sewer-wight and you helped him get revenge?!? Everybody knows that aiding and abetting the undead is evil. The undead are Evil. In effect, you've aided the Gods of Evil."
Things like the Detect Evil and Detect Good abilities and the Protection from Evil and Sense Evil spells trigger on traces of specific cosmic forces in or on beings, locations, or objects. The actions of individuals don't trigger those things (though certain evil actions may cost a wielder of Good powers their gifts, and vice versa).
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:36 AM   #27
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"Go to where the orcs are. No, it doesn't matter which orcs, or even if those particular orcs ever wronged anyone. Now kick in the door, slay all the orcs – yes, even the mothers and babies – and grab all the valuable stuff. This isn't looting, because when you get back to town, you'll donate it all to the Temple of Good, who will do good with it. They'll give you a small cut as a token of thanks, which you can take as a blessing from the Gods of Good."
"So let's get this straight: The city paid the Assassins' Guild to silence this guy who was agitating on behalf of the Sewer-Cleaners' Guild after the seventh cleaner drowned in sewage this month. He came back as some sort of sewer-wight and you helped him get revenge?!? Everybody knows that aiding and abetting the undead is evil. The undead are Evil. In effect, you've aided the Gods of Evil."
.
I think much of the difficulty of alignment game mechanics is captured here.

These are both problematic because there are two separate kinds of moral issues, one of motives (protect everyone from monsters, seek justice), and one of methods (kill anything monsterish whether you are sure it's guilty or not, work with a subversion of natural order to kill people it says are guilty without trial), and despite the similarities (both certainly look like good motives and evil methods) we want to bin them in different alignment categories.
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:55 AM   #28
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I think much of the difficulty of alignment game mechanics is captured here.

These are both problematic because there are two separate kinds of moral issues, one of motives (protect everyone from monsters, seek justice), and one of methods (kill anything monsterish whether you are sure it's guilty or not, work with a subversion of natural order to kill people it says are guilty without trial), and despite the similarities (both certainly look like good motives and evil methods) we want to bin them in different alignment categories.
Much of this also goes for "law" and "justice," as I noted in my post. It isn't confined to fantasy with Good and Evil . . . the exact same Gordian knot of motives vs. methods arises in action stories and thrillers. This is why I think it wise to leave moral conflicts out of abilities that can actually sense Good and Evil, and have the latter be impersonal, cosmic forces that regularly run roughshod over mortal morals.

And in a sense my logic holds in action stories, too: The law is an impersonal force with an objective existence, enforced by the faceless apparatus of power; it can be tested by consulting the legal code. Justice is a subjective personal thing. Frequently, unjust actions are legal and just ones are illegal. This is why Legal Enforcement Powers, Rank, the Law skill, etc. are possible regardless of your personal mental disadvantages – there are probably cops with Bloodlust and Intolerance who have those traits, and vigilantes with Pacifism (Cannot Harm Innocents) and Selfless who don't.
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Old 12-05-2018, 09:27 AM   #29
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

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Much of this also goes for "law" and "justice," as I noted in my post. It isn't confined to fantasy with Good and Evil . . . the exact same Gordian knot of motives vs. methods arises in action stories and thrillers. This is why I think it wise to leave moral conflicts out of abilities that can actually sense Good and Evil, and have the latter be impersonal, cosmic forces that regularly run roughshod over mortal morals.

And in a sense my logic holds in action stories, too: The law is an impersonal force with an objective existence, enforced by the faceless apparatus of power; it can be tested by consulting the legal code. Justice is a subjective personal thing. Frequently, unjust actions are legal and just ones are illegal. This is why Legal Enforcement Powers, Rank, the Law skill, etc. are possible regardless of your personal mental disadvantages – there are probably cops with Bloodlust and Intolerance who have those traits, and vigilantes with Pacifism (Cannot Harm Innocents) and Selfless who don't.
You what might be interesting in DF is to include both alignment and the method used to achieve that. Alignment Good and method Destroy Evil would be different than Alignment Good and method Compassion and Healing. It would even help give motivations to monsters too. Monststers might be evil but have different methods of achieving it like violence, deception, vices etc.
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Old 12-05-2018, 12:36 PM   #30
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You what might be interesting in DF is to include both alignment and the method used to achieve that. Alignment Good and method Destroy Evil would be different than Alignment Good and method Compassion and Healing. It would even help give motivations to monsters too. Monststers might be evil but have different methods of achieving it like violence, deception, vices etc.
That might be useful. But be careful, this is the first step down the slippery slope to characters having complex motivations and multi-dimensional personalities. Take it too far and they may not be proper insanely reckless murder hobos anymore, and won't fit in with the rest of the party.
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