Re: sandy's maunderings

From: Sandy Petersen (
Date: Fri 05 May 1995 - 01:03:37 EEST

I point out
>If we can't hold up conservative solar priests as the epitome of
>evil, then who _can_ we use for such a demonstration?

Nils wimps out
>They don't need to be epitomes of evil, they are perfectly obnoxious
>and intolerable stuck-up SOBs without being evil. That's what's so
>frustrating about them.

        To me, at their worst, such priests have the potential to epitomize the banality of evil -- as in C.S. Lewis's demon Screwtape, Terry Gilliam's film "Brazil", or that unimaginative bureaucratic paper-shuffler, Eichmann.

        Sometimes I want a more dynamic evil that the players can fixate on (Curse you Red Baron!), but there are other types of evil that I also find useful at times. When my players visited the Vadeli Isles, there was no villain or bad guy. "It's how things work best. _Everybody_ has to pay the magic tax." They left cursing the Vadeli and all their ways. "Come back and see us again, y'hear?"

>Everyone knows that the epitomes of evil are the nefarious forces of
>Darkness, the dwellers of night, eaters of men.

        [hollow laugh] Evidently the months spent toiling over Trollpak were not _entirely_ wasted, then, eh?

Dave Cheng gives a reasonably accurate depiction of the Teleos society. However, there are some bits left out (maybe Greg didn't recall them at the time, or didn't bother to download them).

David's version:
>The people of Teleos can be any of six different colors. There is
> antagonism between peoples of different color. Inter-color
>marriage is taboo; such a couple would surely be driven from
>normal socitey.
> Having a child of your color is a favourable omen, naturally.
> Having a child not of your color is a disappointment. However,
>it is only a temporary one. Every seasonal holy day, all the
>parents who had off-color children since the last holy day meet at
>the great volcano. There, they trade infant children with the other
>disappointed parents, with the intent of bringing home the "right"
>color child as their own.

The color of the children born is _not_ quite random. When one tribe falls greatly low in numbers, there is a sudden boom in births for that tribe. This has the useful side effect of almost completely preventing internecine warfare -- if you try to wipe out the Purples, it'll just result in all the next generation being violet-skinned, so why bother?

        Also, the different tribes have quite specific beliefs and canards vs. the other color-types. ("The Yellows eat live frogs!")

For what it's worth, the island of Teleos is largely jungle-covered, inhabited by Mreli, and also inhabited by a reasonably large dragonewt population, who seem to be all "barbarian" dragonewts, rather than the civilized brand you find in Dragon Pass or Kralorela.

> A lot of the hero discussion has centered around their combat
>strength and how they would translate into DP counters. What about
> non-combat heroes? Are there such?

        Certainly. Errinoru, though he was known to fight, was certainly not combat-oriented. Elamle never fought a combat in her life. Other important leaders who may or may not have been "heroes", but who were not warriors include the Silent Prophet, Xemela, the Cleansed One (whom I believe to be wholly inwardly-oriented), Elorom the Humble, and Sartar himself (who "never killed a person").

        Note: failure to recognize Elorom the Humble is understandable, as he is an invention of Nils, Greg Fried, and meself; the single person most responsible for saving the East Isles from utter disaster at the end of the Second Age. But Elorom wasn't a DP_type hero, just a man in the right place at the right time with the right heart.

        And I don't think that Chark the Liberator was an Iron Mostali, either.

I said: Arkat's Rune = Chaos

Graeme L., shocked at this impiety, says
>Arkat is mainly said to have been an enemy of chaos, and none of
his >incarnations used chaos (except for Arkat the Deceiver).

Peter M. weighs in on my side.
>Arkat =/= Chaos? He destroyed half of Genertela in his crusade. If
>that's not Chaos in action, I don't know what is. Note Arkat
>becomes more destructive as his crusade progresses. So what was
the >*real* purpose of his crusade? A Race against Time perhaps?

        Exactly. Also, note that more than just Arkat the Deceiver used chaos, if you concur with the secret wisdom that he was illuminated, or even Gbaji himself.

        Arkat's entire adventure and life was defined by chaos. Whether you classify him as anti-chaos or pro-chaos, chaos was the one fact of his existence.

>IMO Harrek still has the tacit support of his culture

        Harrek has no culture. Harrek has no cult. He belongs to no religion, has no faith. He is a loner, stimulated into action almost exclusively by hatred, greed, and fear, and his friendship with Argrath is the one pathetic redeeming characteristic he has. Note that he abandoned his kingdom for Argrath.

>Harrek is the necessary tool to rip apart large parts of the world

        But why does the world need to be ripped apart? It isn't stagnating, it isn't in need of redemption. Harrek kills for his own murky reasons. He is no one's tool. The Storm Bull represents death in the service of life -- he destroys in order to protect. Even Zorak Zoran is predictable and thus safe. But Harrek wanders Brownianly across the cosmos, wreaking destruction almost randomly.

        Everything I say about Androgeus might be wrong, but it is what I believe, and what other RQers, possibly including Greg, believed ten-fifteen years back.

        Androgeus in the Gods Age was a vastly powerful being, a representation of one of the important Cosmic Truths, like unto the inhabitants of the Celestial Court, or the original Elementals. Originally, he was centered, a solid block of element, personality, and sex. But as time went on various entities (not excluding herself) were able to find power in separating his parts, dividing her essential two natures further and further apart, until his nature resembled two huge weights out on the ends of a seesaw. In addition, her strength and magic might was tapped by other beings, or wasted in attempts to save himself, until she gradually devolved into the degenerate state he now holds. Androgeus, though of superhero status, is the _weakest_ she has ever been. What does the future hold for him? Nothing good, I'm sure.

        I hope this garbled explanation helps an understanding both of why Androgeus' nature is so screwed up, and how she became a super-entity.

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