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Old 06-23-2011, 11:09 PM   #21
Rocket Man
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

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Originally Posted by DBloch2012 View Post
I just do not see why Seraphim have to be inhumane robotic Vulcans when it comes to their personality.
No, that's the Elohim. ;)

I don't mean to imply that Seraphim must be robotic or stupid -- far from it. But what Seraphim often are is sober. They say what they mean and they get a bit disappointed when others don't hold themselves to the same standard.

For a Seraph, dissonance is only a lie away. So they tend to the literal rather than the figurative, the precise rather than the vague, because it's safe. After a while -- and a Seraph may have been doing this for centuries -- it becomes reflexive.

Sure, they can understand metaphoric and inexact statements in others. But it's inelegant, like a Shakespearean-trained actor listening to Billy the Redneck at the corner bar. And their reflex is for the literal meaning. You're right in that a Seraph of any experience will be able to get past that easily, but it's still a little grating.

That said, Seraphim do care. They do love. They are capable of great beauty and grace. They're just also a bit ... fussy.

(Your mileage, of course, may vary.)
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:15 PM   #22
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

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Originally Posted by Matthias Wasser View Post

By contrast, it's unclear what "my name is Isabel" would mean other than "people call me Isabel...".
I picked this one because it's actually an example given in canon and seems to match my experience in play.

"My name is Isabel." No, no it's not. Your name is Sophira, Angel of Judgment. Isabel is the name of the Role you assume in order to act on Earth, but it's not your name, anymore than Kenneth Branagh's name is "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark."

"People call me Isabel." Yes. That is true. They know you under your Role name and use that to refer to you.

"You can call me Isabel." Yes. That is true. They are physically capable of doing so, regardless of whether that is your true name or not.

Subtle distinctions, indeed.

So yes, a Seraph understands verbal subtlety. It has to. Otherwise, it couldn't navigate the minefield of language at all.
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:38 PM   #23
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

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Originally Posted by Matthias Wasser View Post
No, and you may note that I said as much.
Oops, sorry. I guess I got a little over-zealous.
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Old 06-24-2011, 02:20 AM   #24
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

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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...
That IS the Elohim, to a T (the APG mentions Elohim brutally murdering innocent humans for the greater good, or something like that).

And nothing at ALL prevents a Seraph from breaking with his general Choir sobriety and being jovial. In a game I ran there was a PC Seraph of Trade who hosted society cocktail parties, seduced congresswomen, and generally played his rich, eccentric foreigner Role to the hilt (the player's stated goal was to be Sean Connery-esque but he really came off more Michael Caine, I think). The player did struggle a bit at first to edit more metaphorical language from his PC's diction, but he really got to enjoy the challenge and run with it. It helped that he had a human Servant (who was his manservant) and he answered many questions with "my manservant will answer that." He was an unconventional Seraph to be sure, but never dissonant. Very far from a robot.
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Old 06-26-2011, 05:55 PM   #25
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

It depends on the Elohite. Some strive to suppress all emotion, yes, but others merely suppress the expression of any emotion that is not beneficial, or at least neutral, to the best interests of the Symphony. Elohim of the Wind are terribly objective about their mayhem, for instance, but that doesn't mean they don't enjoy their job immensely. And Elohim of Creation and Flowers are especially likely to be tender-hearted, whether they show it or not.

( This and this include one of my takes on an Elohite of the Wind. For those new to the SSO, the Balseraph player, Liriel, is a member of a Third Celestial Side, and terribly, terribly honorable. So honorable, that when she rolled a 111 in the Marches, she became a pseudo-Malakite with a flaming sword for a while. It was terribly embarrassing. It shows up frequently on Malakite honor-readings.)
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Old 07-01-2011, 11:19 AM   #26
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

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Originally Posted by Rocket Man View Post
I picked this one because it's actually an example given in canon and seems to match my experience in play.

"My name is Isabel." No, no it's not. Your name is Sophira, Angel of Judgment. Isabel is the name of the Role you assume in order to act on Earth, but it's not your name, anymore than Kenneth Branagh's name is "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark."

"People call me Isabel." Yes. That is true. They know you under your Role name and use that to refer to you.

"You can call me Isabel." Yes. That is true. They are physically capable of doing so, regardless of whether that is your true name or not.

Subtle distinctions, indeed.

So yes, a Seraph understands verbal subtlety. It has to. Otherwise, it couldn't navigate the minefield of language at all.
Yeah, but (as is so often the case) the canonical example makes no sense. A name is just a set of phonemes or symbols that people use to designate something. (In a performance of Hamlet, "Prince Hamlet" doesnt designate the actor who plays Hamlet, it designates Prince Hamlet.) Maybe there's a metaphysically important connection between certain things and the phonemes and symbols that are recalled by the, say, Seraph of Destiny attunement, but since native English speakers don't generally have any familiarity with such things, it can't be the thing which the set of symbols/phonemes "name" designates.
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Old 07-01-2011, 11:36 AM   #27
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

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Originally Posted by Matthias Wasser View Post
A name is just a set of phonemes or symbols that people use to designate something.
So is language itself, yet Seraphim become dissonant for misuse of those symbols in a more general sense as well. Why should names be different? In fact, in the traditions that In Nomine is based on, names are more significant than the average word and carry some power: "Whatsoever the man called it, that was its name."

I really don't see why the canonical example "makes no sense," as you put it. In each case, it's a clear example of marrying expression with intent.

(Heck, even though it's canon that some Seraphim are able to tell stories -- since the audience clearly knows the account is fictional and that the purpose is to entertain rather than decieve -- I rather suspect it was one of the Most Holy who began the classic Islamic storytelling opening: "It is said, though Allah alone knows the truth ..." )
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:40 PM   #28
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

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So is language itself, yet Seraphim become dissonant for misuse of those symbols in a more general sense as well. Why should names be different?
I'm not saying that names should be treated differently at all. You can clearly lie about names: if you say "my name is Isabel" or "I'm Isabel" or "people call me Isabel" or "Isabel; enchanted to meet you" and (unusual contexts aside) nobody actually calls you that, that's a Lie. People don't in fact use those phonemes to designate you so it's not your name, just as, if you don't punch people in boxing rings surrounded by spectators for your daily bread, you're not a professional boxer.

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In fact, in the traditions that In Nomine is based on, names are more significant than the average word and carry some power: "Whatsoever the man called it, that was its name."

I really don't see why the canonical example "makes no sense," as you put it. In each case, it's a clear example of marrying expression with intent.
I don't see how both "my name is Isabel" and "I'm called Isabel" could marry expression to intent without their both being truth or both being lies, given that when normal, honest native English speakers use them they have the same intent.
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:50 PM   #29
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

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Originally Posted by Matthias Wasser View Post
I don't see how both "my name is Isabel" and "I'm called Isabel" could marry expression to intent without their both being truth or both being lies, given that when normal, honest native English speakers use them they have the same intent.
I don't know if I agree with that. When someone says "my name is Isabel," I take that to mean that their formal first name, as printed on their identification/birth certificate/taxes/whatever. If someone says "I'm called Isabel" then I get the immediate impression that it's a nickname, middle name or, well something that's not their formal first name.
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:50 PM   #30
Rocket Man
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

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Originally Posted by Matthias Wasser View Post
I don't see how both "my name is Isabel" and "I'm called Isabel" could marry expression to intent without their both being truth or both being lies, given that when normal, honest native English speakers use them they have the same intent.
But when a normal, honest, native English speaker uses them, they're telling the truth. Isabel Sanford is Isabel and is also called Isabel.

The angel, by contrast, is putting on a disguise. She may well be called Isabel by others, but she isn't Isabel -- not in a real, true sense of the phrase. So one can be true and one a lie.

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I don't know if I agree with that. When someone says "my name is Isabel," I take that to mean that their formal first name, as printed on their identification/birth certificate/taxes/whatever. If someone says "I'm called Isabel" then I get the immediate impression that it's a nickname, middle name or, well something that's not their formal first name.
Excellent point. Moby Dick comes to mind here: when the narrator says "Call me Ishmael," the phrasing invites you to think that that may not be his actual name, it's just something that's convenient for the narrative.
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