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Pathfinder 2E Paizo drops use of the word phylactery

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Wait- who is being harmed by this statement???
Their goal (which was to just change a word in their products). Sparking a debate about it doesn't help, and made a few people react here as if the statement was pressuring them into changing their own behaviour to match the new terminology (which is obviously not Paizo's intent). In my opinion, silently dropping phylactery would have achieved the same thing without pushing a few people or even anyone toward defending phylactery.
 

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BookTenTiger

He / Him
Their goal (which was to just change a word in their products). Sparking a debate about it doesn't help, and made a few people react here as if the statement was pressuring them into changing their own behaviour to match the new terminology (which is obviously not Paizo's intent). In my opinion, silently dropping phylactery would have achieved the same thing without pushing people toward defending phylactery.
Interesting! I think debates like this are important from an educational and empathetic standpoint. Being exposed to different viewpoints can be uncomfortable, but I guess I don't see it as harm-inducing.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
I'm of the impression that "angels" are part of a real-world religion being practiced today.
That's not the point. The point is that D&D angels aren't being used in a way that is offensive to Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. Merely including some aspect of some other person's culture/religion isn't enough for it to be offensive, that's where the Satanic Panic was wrong, including the aspect in a manner that is problematic is the offensive part. The execution is what matters, not the mere inclusion.
Was there outcry from members of the Jewish community concerning the term?
I have seen posts by Jews saying that they dislike the usage of the term phylactery for D&D-style liches.
 

Their statement is certainly causing more harm than good. They had a problem with phylacteries and decided to drop the word. Their goal would have been achieved if they just wrote "soul cage" in their upcoming Book of the Dead, without tweeting about it. The controversy stemmed not from the change (that will happen in a few months) but from the tweet. I don't see the point of communicating, since it's akin of tweeting "we've decided to wash our hands before taking popcorn from a communal bowl", certainly a good idea but not something you claim proudly to do... And since the goal wasn't to react to outside pressure or create outside pressure, but just an editorial and creative decision from them, so not something that important that couldn't wait for the book release, I don't see the point of the putting their decision in the spotlight, sparking the controversy we see here.

It'd cause it regardless because D&D is inherently pretty conservative when it comes to change. Not (necessarily) politically, but it has a very vocal group of long-time hobbyists who will oppose changes because, well, it's not how it was.

Angels serving polytheistic, non-true gods is quite a subversion. The bible mentions other gods being worshipped (though, for obvious reasons, it's not central) but they don't have angels.

Eh, kind of but not quite? I wish I could find a shrug gif that wasn't dismissive but was kind of weighing both sides of things to properly describe my opinion of this.

The concept of trapping a soul isn't unique to one faith either. The words used to describe the concept are just different -just like the words used to describe the concept of an angel change in other faiths.

I'm not opposed to the change. I can understand how it could cause offense.

But I'm not someone who was opposed to the use of the word as a shorthand way to describe a concept using real-world references either.

Sure, but it's not really being used to represent its real-world concept here. It's just sort of attached to something that is kind of similar but not really.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
A different way to look at this might be:

Let's imagine liches didn't already exist as an RPG concept, and Paizo was creating one for their game. They come up with an artifact that a lich keeps their soul in. They start brainstorming names. Do you think they would really use Phylactery, a word currently used by a practicing religion and culture? And if they did, would you think that a respectful choice?
 

Argyle King

Legend
Sure, but it's not really being used to represent its real-world concept here. It's just sort of attached to something that is kind of similar but not really.

That's why it is, I think, an effective shorthand way to describe a concept.

It's similar to this real-world thing, but...

If it's bothersome to a group, I understand changing it.

In general, I find that I'm living in an odd time in terms (no pun intended) of the culture around me sometimes saying that changing meanings of words to fit new concepts is okay and sometimes saying that changing meanings of words to fit new concepts isn't okay.

In neither case do I feel personally bothered. As a member of a broader community, there are occasionally times when I feel a bit lost when it comes to understanding what the logic is behind determining which instances of offense matter and which instances don't matter. The rules rarely seems consistent.
 

Interesting! I think debates like this are important from an educational and empathetic standpoint. Being exposed to different viewpoints can be uncomfortable, but I guess I don't see it as harm-inducing.

It's possible that someone would have noticed the use of soul cage in the printed product, but would they have started to post about it negatively? A post like that would be met with "err, soul cage is an apt description, what's the problem? They are not mandated to use a specific word..." I think it's less likely that someone would make the effort to spot a change and criticize it than just being told "there is a change", prompting conservative reflexes, and reacting to it. I see your point about debating it but in this case it might also cristallize some opposition.
A different way to look at this might be:

Let's imagine liches didn't already exist as an RPG concept, and Paizo was creating one for their game. They come up with an artifact that a lich keeps their soul in. They start brainstorming names. Do you think they would really use Phylactery, a word currently used by a practicing religion and culture? And if they did, would you think that a respectful choice?
Rowling used horcrux in this exact situation and it sparked no controversy and if an author used it in a gaming product, it would be readily accepted (besides copyright infringement) by an average fantasy amateur. Paizo could do the same with their own word and probably nobody would bat an eye, either. Saying "we're changing X" prompt resistance, silently changing, much less. It's not like people are using phylactery all the time.

@Morrus said in the first page that they used soul vessel in LU. So basically they did the same creative decision that Paizo did, and I guess there will be less criticism on the move in LU than in this thread. In fact, I expect the use of soul vessel to be remarked upon by... nobody. If on the other hand you put the change into spotlight, some people will resist a change, even if they don't particularly liked phylactery before.
 
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That's why it is, I think, an effective shorthand way to describe a concept.

It's similar to this real-world thing, but...

Yeah, but it's not. Like, that's the thing; it's not really resembling the object at hand any more than calling it a "tabernacle". The similarities start and end at "being an important container", and given the word used it's not a reference that will be immediately picked up on by many. To me, it screams exoticism than anything else. It's like the habit of calling any temple in a desert a "mosque".
 

Argyle King

Legend
Yeah, but it's not. Like, that's the thing; it's not really resembling the object at hand any more than calling it a "tabernacle". The similarities start and end at "being an important container", and given the word used it's not a reference that will be immediately picked up on by many. To me, it screams exoticism than anything else. It's like the habit of calling any temple in a desert a "mosque".

🤷‍♂️ to me, tabernacle implies something very different than phylactery.

If someone were to use the word "mosque," I would likely assume a very different visual (and architectural construction) than "temple," "cathedral," or "pagoda."
 

🤷‍♂️ to me, tabernacle implies something very different than phylactery.

I mean, agree to disagree there.

If someone were to use the word "mosque," I would likely assume a very different visual (and architectural construction) than "temple," "cathedral," or "pagoda."

I might reference it in the construction, but I wouldn't use "mosque" as a word to describe something because that's a term that refers to a place of worship for a specific religion, which suddenly means that I'm drawing reference to a real religion. I think it's the City of Brass setting that has the "Cult of the Burning One" which is an evil, slave-taking cult that happens to call their places of worship mosques which is... uh...

A7GX.gif
 

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