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Old 06-22-2011, 12:34 AM   #11
ISNorden
 
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

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Originally Posted by Acolyte View Post
I think Seraphim (and angels serving more proper Archangels like Dominic) would avoid using profanity that refers to damnation, Hell, or such--that's simply not a laughing matter, and even though an experienced Seraph would know that shouting "damn it!" at a wall after stubbing one's toe isn't in English an actual condemnation of the object to Gehenna, the word probably has uncomfortable Symphonic undertones.

[snippage]

I imagine any Servitor of Destiny avoids heavy profanity usage, as it cheapens the meaning of real words and often inflicts long-term self-esteem issues, which might lead someone to his Fate. On the flip side, I'm sure the Groves see their fair share of Malakim jerking into being next to their Hearts with a 100% truthful, honest frustration manifesting in the divine language.
All very good points! I imagine that any angel with a Role in some country where "religious" cursing is common, will resort to euphemisms when he feels the need to vent. A Dominican working as a cop in Gothenburg will probably get mocked as a goody-two-shoes when he says "Get the heck out of here, before the whole darn place blows sky-high"...but at least he won't feel bad about adding more hellish cacophony to the world.
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Old 06-23-2011, 03:47 PM   #12
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

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Originally Posted by In Nomine Core Rulebook, p. 94
Remember that few Seraphim are stupid; they can “feel” the difference between literal and metaphorical statements.
This little GM Note solves this issue.

As for the idea of profanity causing Dissonance in the Symphony? Laughable.
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Old 06-23-2011, 04:08 PM   #13
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

Personally, I wouldn't make an issue of it in my game. The same word can mean different things in different contexts, and I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone at all who takes "motherf*ing door" that literally (though I'd agree that adopting such a flagrantly figurative style of speech may take some training for a Seraph). Along those lines, I wouldn't ding it as a lie if a Seraph used a resonance on someone who said, "He hit me in the nuts!" It's understood that he wasn't carrying a pack of Planters; the Seraph is looking for dishonesty and mistakes, not painful adherence to literalism (even if that comes naturally to them).

Consider too that slang and swears translate between languages more according to deeper meaning than according to literal meaning. Whether you say "nuts" in English or "huevos" (eggs) in Spanish, in the angelic tongue, it all registers as "testicles (spoken in a vulgar tone)."
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Old 06-23-2011, 05:35 PM   #14
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

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"testicles (spoken in a vulgar tone)."
I love representing celestial speech with these kinds of over(under?)tones.

Also, the quoted phrase would make a good album name for an edgy indie band. *grin*
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Old 06-23-2011, 05:36 PM   #15
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

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Originally Posted by DBloch2012 View Post
This little GM Note solves this issue.
Sort of. It means they can recognize when someone else is using a statement literally and when they're using it metaphorically. However, not every Seraph is comfortable with using metaphoric statements themselves. The Angelic Players Guide notes that many Seraphim have to be taught that "How are you doing?" is not a request for every detail of your current state ... that the question does not mean what it sounds like. (This sort of difficulty is also the reason most Seraphim won't say "I'm Stacy Martin," but will instead say something like "People call me Stacy.")

As far as laughable? Not necessarily. Words and ideas have power in the IN world. Careless use of either can be dangerous. You may be right that profanity wouldn't be likely to lead to dissonance, but a Seraph wouldn't necessarily make that a casual assumption.
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Old 06-23-2011, 05:46 PM   #16
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

I always thought it was careless use of Essence that was dangerous for the Symphony.

I do not have the Angelic Player's Guide, as it has not been put up on e23 yet, so I only have the Core Rulebook for my knowledge of Seraphim. It seems to put them in a better light, though, if the APG portrays them as literalistic automatons who need everything pointed out to them like little children.

I would also argue the fact that if you can distinguish between literal and metaphorical in others, you can also distinguish between them in yourself. Though, I do agree that whether you chose to use such knowledge is up to the individual player's interpretation of their character.
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Old 06-23-2011, 05:58 PM   #17
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

The point that the APG makes a little better than the core rules is that Seraphim find any kind of doubletalk, nonliteralness, and belief in the fictitious (like reality TV) distasteful, even if none of those are actual lies. Engaging in those behaviors comes so close to skirting the dissonance line that Seraphim don't like to do even that (although they can and do when the need arises). This thread is about how close profanity falls to that line in our own perceptions of the way the gameworld works.

Put another way, a Seraph actually lying is playing Russian Roulette, priming himself for a Fall if he keeps playing. Doubletalk and metaphorical speech aren't as directly dangerous, but they are like constantly handling and moving and walking around with loaded guns with the safeties off. Seraphim (and angels in general when it comes to even risking dissonance, poor Ofanim aside) sensibly prefer not to store their guns unloaded, if that makes sense.
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:19 PM   #18
Matthias Wasser
 
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

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Originally Posted by Acolyte View Post
The point that the APG makes a little better than the core rules is that Seraphim find any kind of doubletalk, nonliteralness, and belief in the fictitious (like reality TV) distasteful, even if none of those are actual lies. Engaging in those behaviors comes so close to skirting the dissonance line that Seraphim don't like to do even that (although they can and do when the need arises). This thread is about how close profanity falls to that line in our own perceptions of the way the gameworld works.

Put another way, a Seraph actually lying is playing Russian Roulette, priming himself for a Fall if he keeps playing. Doubletalk and metaphorical speech aren't as directly dangerous, but they are like constantly handling and moving and walking around with loaded guns with the safeties off. Seraphim (and angels in general when it comes to even risking dissonance, poor Ofanim aside) sensibly prefer not to store their guns unloaded, if that makes sense.
I feel like profanity is probably one of the safest forms of nonliteral speech, actually, because it has an anti-euphemistic quality; it's what people say when they're not censoring themselves - when they're acting like Seraphim, you might say. Generally speaking, "John's an a******" is a more honest statement than "John can be bad at first impressions sometimes," even though the latter is literally true and the former isn't.

But then my presumption is that when you say "well, Grandma's very old-fashioned" when you're thinking Grandma is a racist, a Seraph knows and disapproves, even though, hey, being racist certainly is a way of being old-fashioned. This is at odds with canon to some extent, which says that Seraphim tend to be inclined towards technically-true dissembling, but. So on this level, I'd actually say that the Most Holy answer "How are you doing?" literally, even if social practice is to treat it as "Hello," because "How are you doing?" can also function as a literal question, and the "Hello" version relies on the illusion that the asked party can, if she likes, detail how she's doing. Likewise, "thank you" can be read as a non-doxastic statement, but it doesn't function unless people can believe that it means that the speaker actually does, subjectively, feel gratitude.

By contrast, it's unclear what "my name is Isabel" would mean other than "people call me Isabel," and certainly there are languages that don't make the distinction ("me llamo Isabel.") Classifying one as a lie and one as a truth seems to be like saying that you aren't a professional boxer, just someone whose main source of income is fighting in public boxing matches for entertainment. You could define "name" to mean "what's on file at the government offices," but not all societies have such things and we don't label the phoneme strings members of such societies use to refer to each other as something other than names.

Of course it could be that Seraphim are weirdo prescriptivists who, because they don't have a natural facility with human language, are basically assigning a private meaning to each English (or whatever) word according to its closest Angelic equivalent, rather than according to the idiosyncratic actual practice of native speakers. So maybe, say, Angelic has concepts corresponding very closely to eros, philia, agape, and so on, and none to the broad range of meanings we'd call "love," and Seraphim learning English assign the word "love" to just one of them, and when you say "I sure do love chicken soup," the Seraph (its Resonance not up) does a double-take and says "surely you mean you like chicken soup?" But Seraphim actually seem like the angels least likely to do this - they're the ones who can observe human language use the most directly.

Last edited by Archangel Beth; 07-03-2011 at 11:42 PM. Reason: Fixing the profanity filter by hand and getting more annoyed about this.
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:39 PM   #19
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

I just do not see why Seraphim have to be inhumane robotic Vulcans when it comes to their personality. Sure, they are portrayed in the Core Rules as the most callous and malicious Choir because of their constant truth-keeping vigil, but would that really translate into someone with such a weak grasp of understanding context and metaphor in speech?

Seraphim are supposed to be the cream of the crop. Do you seriously believe a being with the power to see into the true nature of things cannot tell the difference between "love" and love?

Oh, I see in your example the Seraph in question did not use his power.

Perhaps if he is really young and inexperienced this could definitely be the case (and a source of comic-relief in a lighter game), but I think a Seraph with more experience (one out of training diapers that might be more likely to be sent on important missions) would not even need to use their power here to know that the guy isn't literally in love his chicken soup.
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:41 PM   #20
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

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Seraphim are supposed to be the cream of the crop. Do you seriously believe a being with the power to see into the true nature of things cannot tell the difference between "love" and love?
No, and you may note that I said as much.
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