Dragonlance Dragonlance Philosophy thread

Faolyn

(she/her)
For the utilitarians it comes down to math, which makes it more concrete. According to their view of ethics, it's perfectly justifiable to kill one person to save two, to kill two people to save three, etc. Take a look at the Trolley Problem. A utilitarian would throw the switch and kill one person to save five. Fizban reads like a hardcore utilitarian. So from his own perspective, he's perfectly justified in his actions. He saw that the darkness was closing in and would consume the world forevermore if he did nothing, condemning all future generations to misery, slavery, and eternal crapsack world. So he chucked a mountain at Istar and killed a few million people to save a few billion.
They are literally gods. Their stats showed that they had the ability to cast the wish spell multiple times each day--without it getting monkey paw'd, because they have the literal gods of magic on their side--in addition to all of there other bazillion spells and godly powers. There is zero chance that a trolley problem of any scale is actually a problem for them.

"Oh, I have to choose which people I can save? Well, I guess I'll just cast time stop on myself, save these people here, then teleport over there and save those people, then drop the time stop. Everyone is safe." Or "I save these people, then cast resurrection on those people, then cast restoration to restore the lost Con point."

Which means, in-universe: "I'll cast quest on the kingpriest, ordering him to stop what he's doing and repair the damages he's caused in order to redeem himself in our eyes." You know, quest, the cleric spell specifically designed to get people who go against their god's edicts to change their behavior and atone for their sins. I'm sure being cast by a god means that the spell causes has an enormous penalty to the kingpriest's saving throw. And that's assuming the gods don't just power word kill him. And that's assuming that these gods even had to cast spells--I don't know what sort of powers 1e gods actually had beyond their spellcasting, but they may not have had to cast anything. They maybe could have just willed it into happening.

But if they can drop a mountain on millions of people, then they can also cast a spell pinpointing only the ringleader.

These sort of philosophical justifications only work if you're talking about real-world humans who only have human powers. Once you get the ability to manipulate time and space and reality at a whim, those justifications fail to justify anything.

Face it: the gods had a ton of options. The writers either weren't able or chose to not think outside their religious box. That is the only justification--the writers decided it. Which means other writers could decide it differently.
 

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Faolyn

(she/her)
I'm sorry, but I simply do not believe you. Everything you have said leads me to believe that you want to use Dragonlance as an excuse to attack religious belief. I do not believe you are incapable of understanding that the one automatically follows from the other.

After all, if it where only a game, why would you care so much?!
Because people play games to have fun.

If there's something obviously stupid or obnoxious that gets in the way of having fun, then it stands to reason people would complain about it.

Or to put it another way: imagine we were all playing the original AD&D, and we were having a heated discussion about how Strength caps for female characters were horrible. Would you say we were using it as an excuse to attack men?
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Face it: the gods had a ton of options. The writers either weren't able or chose to not think outside their religious box. That is the only justification--the writers decided it. Which means other writers could decide it differently.
Well, you could reduce everything the NPCs in the campaign's history do/did/chose not to do to options available to PCs in the game... but that kind of impoverishes the history by turning it all into game moves. Moreover, we've kind of moved away from everything being explained by game mechanics in recent editions, maybe even gleefully embraced that. So why focus on that now?

And yes, the authors could have chosen to not weave their religion into Dragonlance and other writers could have made other choices. But they didn't and the cataclysmic history of Dragonlance works pretty well for it. So why change it?
 


billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
to avoid these arguments at cons and on boards... New fans wont mind if something was changed but may (like enough of us here) dislike it.
to fall more in line for the modern 5e PHB alignments
Modern vs older edition alignments isn't really an issue. 5e de-emphasizes alignments a great deal compared to earlier editions - almost to the point of dispensing with them completely. There are no levels lost for changing alignment, no mechanics are really based on it, and there's no real discussion about forced alignment change according to behavior. It's just a general rating of how someone behaves in general. It's pretty loosy-goosy - so why be rigid or doctrinaire about it?
 

Modern vs older edition alignments isn't really an issue.
thats good my entire argument my entire post everything has been about 5e...
5e de-emphasizes alignments a great deal compared to earlier editions - almost to the point of dispensing with them completely.
but they are still there
There are no levels lost for changing alignment, no mechanics are really based on it, and there's no real discussion about forced alignment change according to behavior.
correct you can post hoc assign alignment, you can play how every you want then look back and decide how lawful/chaotic and good/evil you are... where the system breaks down is when you are skirting the lines "I wasn't really that bad but I wasn't really that good"
It's just a general rating of how someone behaves in general. It's pretty loosy-goosy - so why be rigid or doctrinaire about it?
becuse the setting sets it up by being a balance between good and evil, it groups the gods as good neutral and evil. the word goo and the alignments of lawful good neutral good and chaotic good have definitions.

edit: One of my fix suggestions is do away with alignment entirely as well... it's not like I don't have multi ways to fix it. (a carve out exception for gods, re name the grouping of gods, take alignment away from the game, make the good gods fit the good alignments in a retcon)
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Well, you could reduce everything the NPCs in the campaign's history do/did/chose not to do to options available to PCs in the game... but that kind of impoverishes the history by turning it all into game moves. Moreover, we've kind of moved away from everything being explained by game mechanics in recent editions, maybe even gleefully embraced that. So why focus on that now?
Well, @Paul Farquhar specifically said, in post #166, that we aren't talking about 5th edition. So back in AD&D, when Dragonlance came out, everything was determined by game mechanics. The gods in Dragonlance were specifically given class levels, hit points, Armor Class, alignment, etc.

So... either we have gods who use the mechanics they're given, or we don't. And if we don't, and just say that they have the power to crash a mountain into a planet, then they should also have the power to do precision work.

And yes, the authors could have chosen to not weave their religion into Dragonlance and other writers could have made other choices. But they didn't and the cataclysmic history of Dragonlance works pretty well for it. So why change it?
Because, as several threads should have shown you by now, it doesn't work "pretty well." It works terribly. Real-world religion should stick to the real world, or else to a system that doesn't use objective alignments.

Edit: Also, while 5e de-emphisizes alignment, Dragonlance does not. We still have gods of good committing genocide.
 



billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
So... either we have gods who use the mechanics they're given, or we don't. And if we don't, and just say that they have the power to crash a mountain into a planet, then they should also have the power to do precision work.
In what edition have gods ever been limited to just the mechanics? What mechanics did Odin use to turn Ymir's body into the world (for anybody running that kind of Norse campaign)? They don't for most of the godly stuff they do. Those stats are essentially just for situations in which someone might be interacting at the micro-level with an aspect of the deity - and that's quite a bit below big swings of divine power like invoking a cataclysm on the world, riding solar chariots across the sky, managing all the world's pestilence, trimming off the strands of fate, etc.
 


Faolyn

(she/her)
In what edition have gods ever been limited to just the mechanics? What mechanics did Odin use to turn Ymir's body into the world (for anybody running that kind of Norse campaign)? They don't for most of the godly stuff they do. Those stats are essentially just for situations in which someone might be interacting at the micro-level with an aspect of the deity - and that's quite a bit below big swings of divine power like invoking a cataclysm on the world, riding solar chariots across the sky, managing all the world's pestilence, trimming off the strands of fate, etc.
So what you're saying is that the gods had even more powers at their disposal and thus even more options, and they still chose "commit genocide via flaming mountain."
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
Well, @Paul Farquhar specifically said, in post #166, that we aren't talking about 5th edition. So back in AD&D, when Dragonlance came out, everything was determined by game mechanics. The gods in Dragonlance were specifically given class levels, hit points, Armor Class, alignment, etc.

So... either we have gods who use the mechanics they're given, or we don't. And if we don't, and just say that they have the power to crash a mountain into a planet, then they should also have the power to do precision work.


Because, as several threads should have shown you by now, it doesn't work "pretty well." It works terribly. Real-world religion should stick to the real world, or else to a system that doesn't use objective alignments.

Edit: Also, while 5e de-emphisizes alignment, Dragonlance does not. We still have gods of good committing genocide.
It works pretty well for at least as many people here talking about it as who believe otherwise. There's no big movement to change Dragonlance, just some people who have problems with it, and some who don't.
 


Aren't you and others here complaining just as loudly that they didn't change it?
actually from what I see they HAVE started to change it. the fluff in the new adventure (and right before I read this I was reading a review) has them call out that it was a bad thing and then not try to justify it with nonsense.
 



Faolyn

(she/her)
Aren't you and others here complaining just as loudly that they didn't change it?
Right. So, if they're damned if they do and damned if they don't, then they're going to do whatever is easiest. Assuming they even realized there was a problem, of course.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
They are literally gods. Their stats showed that they had the ability to cast the wish spell multiple times each day--without it getting monkey paw'd, because they have the literal gods of magic on their side--in addition to all of there other bazillion spells and godly powers. There is zero chance that a trolley problem of any scale is actually a problem for them.

"Oh, I have to choose which people I can save? Well, I guess I'll just cast time stop on myself, save these people here, then teleport over there and save those people, then drop the time stop. Everyone is safe." Or "I save these people, then cast resurrection on those people, then cast restoration to restore the lost Con point."

Which means, in-universe: "I'll cast quest on the kingpriest, ordering him to stop what he's doing and repair the damages he's caused in order to redeem himself in our eyes." You know, quest, the cleric spell specifically designed to get people who go against their god's edicts to change their behavior and atone for their sins. I'm sure being cast by a god means that the spell causes has an enormous penalty to the kingpriest's saving throw. And that's assuming the gods don't just power word kill him. And that's assuming that these gods even had to cast spells--I don't know what sort of powers 1e gods actually had beyond their spellcasting, but they may not have had to cast anything. They maybe could have just willed it into happening.

But if they can drop a mountain on millions of people, then they can also cast a spell pinpointing only the ringleader.

These sort of philosophical justifications only work if you're talking about real-world humans who only have human powers. Once you get the ability to manipulate time and space and reality at a whim, those justifications fail to justify anything.

Face it: the gods had a ton of options. The writers either weren't able or chose to not think outside their religious box. That is the only justification--the writers decided it. Which means other writers could decide it differently.
I would go further that the writers were making a lazy juxtaposition. In the Christian worldview God is Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient, if God says that everyone is irredeemably evil then that is true. God is also the righteous judge, has the authority to stand in judgement.
There is also nothing is any religion (as far as I know) about maintaining a balance between good and evil. Even in dualistic religions where the spirits of good are not more powerful than the spirits of evil.
That weirdness is purely D&D, and purely, it seems to me, to occur by a conflation of the struggle between Law and Chaos from Michael Moorcock (though I have not read him).
In Dragonlance the gods are limited beings, powerful and cosmic but not all powerful or all anything else. Throw in, what seems to be, a view that the worlds of legend, religion, history and fairy tales are a kind of spice rack. A pinch of Manicheanism, a bit of Christianity and so on, chuck the lot into a pot and simmer.
If there really is a cosmic dynamic that automatically balances good and evil in the Dragonlance cosmos, then the catalysm was not caused by the gods but by that mechanism, even if the gods are unaware of the mechanism.
If the cosmic balance is threatened, then something happens to restore the balance. So subtle that even the gods do not recognise it.
Sort of like, the idea that if you conquer Hells you become the embodiment of Lawful Evil, irrespective of your previous alignment.
Or the fact that Graz'zt conquers enough of the Abyss he ceases to be a Devil and becomes a Demon.
It would be more interesting if only the mortal races of Krynn were the only free agents able to recognise this.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
so why be rigid or doctrinaire about it?
I am constantly confused as to how murdering a city and plunging the world into a post-apocalyptic hellhole is such a minor thing to some people.

Is it literally one of those 'a million is a statistic' deals? Is it because it was one action to murder thousands, it only counts as one?

What do you do in game when the players burn down an orphanage because one of the kids made a face at them?
 

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