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You're a villain. How would you change the world? Contest with prizes. (Spoilers for ZEITGEIST)

Which factions' plots do you support?


  • Total voters
    85
  • Poll closed .

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
It's very interesting, knowing that the thread title is "you're a vilain", that the most popular choices are the benign/good ones: Miller Pyre, the Long now and the Moral Mind.

And so?

I rather like it :)

They act like vilains, but their goals are noble...that's something my players will have to ponder about.
I just have to make sure that as a DM i will have to hit them hard and personally during the campaign, so that it becomes more personal...
Does the end justify the means?
Will it end like in Watchmen?

They, or I, might even propose to join the Ob. (in which case something will go wrong, blood spilled again, terrible misunderstanding etc...)
My sentiments exactly.

I think the title of the thread is key here. First of all because I think that very few people think of themselves as villains (even the Nazis thought they were doing the right thing) and because a lot of us contributing to this debate have been ignoring that injunction!

Some members of the conspiracy are clearly villainous - Leone Quital, for example. He strikes me as the sort of person who would know that his 'tastes' are egocentric and cruel. But he's also not high up enough to take part in the discussion. Only those with less overtly selfish aims seem to qualify.

On the whole notion of just how deeply one's own motives can be hidden from oneself, it would be a nice touch if Roland Stanfield is horrified when he reincarnates as a rakshasa! (Perhaps blaming the PCs for forcing his hand!)
 

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Ajar

Explorer
FYI, Leone Quital is the leader of the Watchmaker faction.

But yeah, this is basically why I called the Ob "well-intentioned villainy." Convinced that the ends justify the means, they undertake horrific acts like the witchoil experiments, all in the service of what they see as a better world. It's fair to say that the most overtly villainous Ob members (Macbannin and Quital) are driving the most overtly villainous agendas (sever the Dreaming/Bleak Gate and take free will away), but even those are still ultimately aimed at making the world a better place. It's kind of a nice echo of Ethelyn's plans for the Coaltongue in Adventure #1.

The Ob's villainy really stems from having the arrogance to think that they (and only they) have the right to and are capable of determining the fate of the entire world.
 

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
FYI, Leone Quital is the leader of the Watchmaker faction.
Oh yeah. Duh. I need to play him more Lawful Neutral from now on, I think, with flashes of insane rage. But up to now I'd portrayed him as a slightly cliched supervillain. Puts a whole new slant on his character (which is probably why my brain chose to ignore this new fact).
 



I'm going to throw a question to the supporters of the Colossus, why choose the direct path when you can take a more subtle one, like you know soul binding people... ? ;)
 

Isklexi

First Post
The colossus and panarchist options seem kind of similar. I agree that the "good" goals are the best ones. I like the conspiracy to be "well intentioned extremists". It makes the villains death more poignant when his dying words are, "everything I've done has been for Lanjyr", and it be completely true.
 

Originally Posted by Hitomi Camacho
I now you are a supporter of the Miller Pyre and as a DM I would like to know what evil outcomings of that plan can you imagine. I have clear ideas of the potential for absolute evil in the Panarchist cause disguised as really good intentions but I can't see them on the Pyre.

Posted by gideonpepys

Neither can I. I didn't really consider that to be the role of this debate, or my part in it.

But I do think that the 'evil outcome' could derive from something above or beyond this debate: perhaps there are inevitable casualties as a result of the huge changes wrought by the Ob? Could it be that one use for the huge lighthouse-sized Wayfarer Lanterns is to protect key areas from the chaos that will rip through the rest of the world? (This may in fact be something RangerWickett already has in mind.)

So this new utopia will be built on deaths of hundreds of thousands if not millions, and the Ob think that it is worth it (or in some cases are unaware that this will be the outcome).
That's the main difference between our points of view. In your case is the typical case "would the end justify the means?" while I support to the idea of "Utopia gone really, really wrong" without having to kill half a country to achieve it.

One more point - I know that Nicodemus now holds a 'twisted' view of the ideals he once did. Again, I never saw this debate as an attempt to embody those views. It can't be can it, unless we're pretending that every fictional character who is taking part has also read the Campaign Guide! So we have to assume that Nicodemus has something up his sleeve, don't we? Or maybe his 'twisted' view is simply that realty itself needs changing - no matter what the cost - because humanity can't be altered, improved, or persuaded, by any other means.
You are right when you say that I went to far assuming everyone in fiction read the Campaing Guide but we can be sure that the founders of the Ob "read" it and have chosen people who shares their goals. Reason over faith, Science over superstition, self-enlightenment, Knowledge over races or nations. (At this point if Moral Mind wins is almost ok for me)
About Nicodemus holding something, well we can't be sure but the adventure is called Schism after all, we just don't now if it's going to be him or another faction inside the one who breaks the organization.
 
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Siberys

First Post
Looks like, if we get one of each of the main, side, and secret options, we'll end up with Miller's Pyre/Moral Mind/Materialists. I could dig that.

The colossus and panarchist options seem kind of similar. I agree that the "good" goals are the best ones. I like the conspiracy to be "well intentioned extremists". It makes the villains death more poignant when his dying words are, "everything I've done has been for Lanjyr", and it be completely true.
They are in means, but not ends. Panarchist is basically "Colossus, but for EVERYONE!" Subtle change, very very large ramifications.
 

Looks like, if we get one of each of the main, side, and secret options, we'll end up with Miller's Pyre/Moral Mind/Materialists. I could dig that.



They are in means, but not ends. Panarchist is basically "Colossus, but for EVERYONE!" Subtle change, very very large ramifications.
I don't see it that way, the powers with the Panarchist wouldn't be so big. But its possession aspect is open for villany. Instead of becoming super powerful lets give power to everyone and the use or knowledge to bind the souls of those that defy us to our will.
 

Siberys

First Post
Not so big, yeah. And I could see a slumlord type taking advantage of nebulously-worded pacts to collect soul energy.

The big difference between Colossus and Panarchist is how honest they are about giving themselves a bunch of power. Colossus is all "Of /course/ we'd be the most powerful!", where Panarchist would say "/Technically/, everyone will be able to be just as powerful. Technically."
 

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Looks like, if we get one of each of the main, side, and secret options, we'll end up with Miller's Pyre/Moral Mind/Materialists. I could dig that.
In that case, care to join us in the Pyre? It's nice and toasty!
 

Ajar

Explorer
People seem to be intrigued by the MAP. Perhaps it could be incorporated into the secret poll? :D Pyre + Panarchists is still not a straight-up majority, but if MAP is a separate option, the Pyre, Panarchist, and Arboretum members who can accept the MAP's tradeoffs can vote for it directly. I think it might actually be able to get above 50% support in that scenario.
 


Well, I wasn't quite planning to declare a 'winner,' unless there was overwhelming support for one group. Rather, I'm using the poll to craft the environment in Adventure Seven which, as someone pointed out above, is called Schism. Also, it'll be fun to point GMs at this thread when they run the adventure.
 

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Well, I wasn't quite planning to declare a 'winner,' unless there was overwhelming support for one group. Rather, I'm using the poll to craft the environment in Adventure Seven which, as someone pointed out above, is called Schism. Also, it'll be fun to point GMs at this thread when they run the adventure.
This is what I was hoping you would say.
 

sabrinathecat

Explorer
I want people to THINK more. Some of it is basic consideration of others, but there are so many incredibly stupid aspects and petty annoyances that should be eliminated utterly.
I also would like to make people take responsibility for their actions, regardless of social or political ramifications.

All street addresses should be clearly visible and displayed so that someone can see them while driving on the opposite side of the street, at night.
No street should change names more than 3 times in a 2 mile stretch.
If you piss off your employees, your business should fail.
If you are responsible for your business failing, you should not be put in a position to do such a thing again, nor should your business be bailed out by the government until you are no longer employed there.
Instil true separation of Church and State (no special dispensations or tax exemptions for religious reasons, no mention of deities on currency, and no invocation of them in loyalty indoctrinations within educational establishments)
The Tax code (and all laws for that matter) should be clear, concise, and written so that someone with an 8th grade education can read and comprehend it. No exemptions. No special privileges.
Oh, and Hollywood needs to step up its collective game, and produce more quality over quantity.
Oh, and "reality" TV banned.
 

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
I want people to THINK more. Some of it is basic consideration of others, but there are so many incredibly stupid aspects and petty annoyances that should be eliminated utterly.
I also would like to make people take responsibility for their actions, regardless of social or political ramifications.

All street addresses should be clearly visible and displayed so that someone can see them while driving on the opposite side of the street, at night.
No street should change names more than 3 times in a 2 mile stretch.
If you piss off your employees, your business should fail.
If you are responsible for your business failing, you should not be put in a position to do such a thing again, nor should your business be bailed out by the government until you are no longer employed there.
Instil true separation of Church and State (no special dispensations or tax exemptions for religious reasons, no mention of deities on currency, and no invocation of them in loyalty indoctrinations within educational establishments)
The Tax code (and all laws for that matter) should be clear, concise, and written so that someone with an 8th grade education can read and comprehend it. No exemptions. No special privileges.
Oh, and Hollywood needs to step up its collective game, and produce more quality over quantity.
Oh, and "reality" TV banned.
What about the flying sky ships?
 


Zipster

Explorer
Okay - my Zeitgeist group is just about at the Convocation. I enjoyed reading through this long-dead thread, as directed to in the Zeitgeist adventure path. For my group, I've went through the thread and taken some of the various highlights and arguments from various past posters, and put them into one very large debate/discussion to be had during the adventure. Some character names of previous posters had to be edited/changed/removed because they weren't on the Obscurati officer list, which I didn't even realize was a thing till I had already gotten 8 pages of stuff, so I had to remove the amazing gnome name Gibson Ganglesprocket from the discourse. I have taken previous things in this thread, compiled, edited, and added to them in a way to give voice to many factions. Because of the length - literally over 10 pages - my plan is to have my table do a table reading, each player reading one - or more than one - character in the debate so that the players get more involved in the discussion since, ultimately, they will likely find themselves in the same place in Adventure 13. If there are any other DM's doing Zeitgeist, I encourage them to use this as well if it will be of use:

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


The sound of a cane rapping on the stone floor of the assembly hall draws your attention to a tall and slender man. His dark hair is pulled back into a long ponytail, revealing the lengths of the pointed ears which mark him as an Eladrin. He wears a finely-cut red suit with a white cravat. He leans forward on his mithral cane and peers through his spectacles at the assembled conspirators.

"My brethren," he begins, "my name is Hanse Randall. I needn't remind you that our people are a long-lived race, and many of us alive today still remember the pain and death caused by the Great Malice centuries ago. An entire race of people brought to its knees by a single horrific act spurred by xenophobia and intolerance. With the power we will soon command, one of our goals should be to make sure nothing so devastating ever happens to anybody in this world again. And the key to achieving this is to eliminate the baseless fears and misunderstandings of the myriad peoples of Lanjyr."

Hanse taps his cane again as he continues. "You have heard the members of other factions speak of their own plans to change the world: industrialize nature's bounty, grant godlike powers either to the elite or to the laymen, even eliminate free will entirely. We know not what horrific consequences such drastic changes to our cosmology might render. Better, then, to take a gentle hand with our ministrations. I say to you, we need not shake the very core of the multiverse to find peace in our time. All we need is to allow everybody to clearly see the viewpoints of one another, to truly understand where a person is coming from. Elf, human, beggar, king, Danoran, Risuri--in the end, none of us are so different from one another.

"Empathy. Expression. Logic. With just a few subtle changes, we can eliminate the need for fighting, the desire for war. Word and thoughts will win the day, not guns and magic. And within our plans, there is still room for expansion--to bolster our defenses against potential extraplanar incursions, or to allow extra enjoyment of our newfound propensity for expression. Perhaps even the opportunity to bring easy flight to the landbound peoples of the world. When the time comes to vote, I urge you to consider the tenets espoused by Miller's Pyre."

Hanse grins and inclines his head. "I would be happy to debate any of you further on the merits of our vision for the future."

"Miller's doctrine...really?" groans Trevio Addaz as the Minotaur stands to his hoofs. He closes his ironclad pocket watch with a loud clasp drawing the attention of the attendees.

"What's in man's mind? Emotion and logic don't make up for morals. You could end up with very bad things, emotionally shared and enforced by logic. There's no safeguard against evil in your plan. Nothing prevents accidents, or injuries - you merely feel the pain of another's; trauma becomes shared. What else would become shared? Addictions? Depression? Anger? But now I - not an addict - can empathize with the addict, and feel his pleasure from his addiction and then to share it? With no drive beyond expressing, and sharing in a peaceful and logical manner, we may fall into all manners of relativism, and there is no guarantee that shared emotion will fix anything. As it is, people already agree to disagree in peace."

"Do you see?" Trevio squints towards Hanse, "It is a facade for control. Your plan is a tool to easily convert people, but you don't say who will convert them, or what.  And worse, you open the world to extraplanar influence and invasion - dare I say, devils."

"The true, courageous, selfless way is the Watchmakers. We will make sure we go the right path.
We will make sure everyone go the right path. We might not have another chance to put things right."


Hanse raises at eyebrow at the Watchman's argument. "Ah, yes? 'We' will make sure everybody follows the right path. Who are these few 'we' who get to decide which path is the right path? You desire to enforce morality by eliminating free will, but whose morality, I ask? Is it the morality of the Clergy? The Danorans? The Risuri? What makes one person's or people's 'goodness' better than another's? Instead of seeking to understand the differences that make us unique, you wish to make us all conform to a stale, mechanical sameness. The world would be populated with naught but mindless automatons!"

The elf raps his cane on the floor. "Our ability to think for ourselves and to reason is the thing that separates man from machine. The thing that makes us unique and vibrant. You would rob us of our very souls!" Hanse lets the silence hang in the air for a few moments, then continues. "As for your other point, you fear the chance for extraplanar assault. If we listened to you and abandoned our free will, what then would happen should devils, to use your example, chose to invade our plane of existence? Does your thousand-year plan have contingencies for such an occurrence, or would the whole system fall to pieces without the ability to adapt and react to outside threats?

"Under Miller's Pyre, with increased understanding and communication, the varied peoples of Lanjyr could easily come together and unite against a common external threat. Think of what powers we could muster with all of us working side by side. And it might not even have to come to that, if we use the extra planar space to bolster the new multiverse with the protections those of the Aegis desire."


Trevio pauses, and strikes a match on his horn lighting a pipe, with a long drag he blows the smoke out of his flaring nostrils. "We is us, the Obscurati. Who else? We will define what is good. Miller's Pyre will ease unity. As I said, it's a tool to convert people. But what ideology will unite them? You don't address this. You just hope it will lead to good endings...

"And your example, dear Hanse, is faulty:
The interplanar barriers won't be weakened, so an assault is ruled out. Not something we have to take into consideration. But for example sake, let's say it happens...devils assaulting our world once again.
A world where everyone has an ideology that opposes them; a world with a people they won't be able to seduce or sway with logic or promises of power and riches through pacts and bargains. Never would they get a foothold, never would find an ally or one who empathizes with them.
It's in our plan that the devils will have to fight the whole world.
And for what? A place where, if they stay too long, they too may have their ethos changed for goodness?

"Our burden and duty is to make sure we will succeed in creating a better place. The Watchmaker's plans are drastic, - as is our entire movement - but that's what is needed to succeed. A thousand years where everyone will have to be good. No choice. Soulless.
Our tabula rasa.
Then free will."


"'Then free will', Hanse says. "Just like that. One thousand years of dictatorship, then... this." He gestures expansively to indicate the whole world. "I did not forgo my lifelong vow of pacifism for a such a bizarre admixture of arrogance and apathy. I have shed blood for the greater good, and would curse myself for all eternity if this is what I turned out to be fighting for. No one man, or group of men, should consider themselves wise enough to set in stone what is 'good' for all the world. Since the earliest days of history, men have thought they were 'right', and sought to impose their version of goodness on others. That is how Elfaivar came to be destroyed, and the Great Malice swept through northern Lanjyr; that is how the clergy comes to hold sway and indoctrinate millions of ignorant people. This, my friends, is what we have been fighting against! And worse still, having doomed the forgotten future to this slavery, it is then proposed that we relinquish our grip and pray that a world that has been forced to be 'good' will choose to continue to do so.

He clenches his fist, his pale cheeks plush with red, "No, Miller's Pyre does not seek to impose an ideology on the world. That is its very strength, not a weakness. Our 'hope' is much stronger than the hopes of the Watchmakers, because it is founded on empathy which will not fade in a thousand years. You starve your brother and you feel his pangs; you slay your neighbor and you sense his fear, and grieve along with his loved ones. Perhaps there will be those who enjoy such sensations, or even grow inured to them. But the brotherhood of man will be ever more strongly united against such evil, psychopathic individuals.

"And remember: we have a spare plane. If interplanar security is your principal concern, vote for Miller's Pyre and Aegis."


The elderly ice mage Glaz du Sang Magie, one of the rare Danoran mages, sets a frosted glass of chardonnay onto the table as he rises, leaning on his staff, "You seem to be afraid, boy - afraid of the unknown, of what may lie beyond the stars. You forget how we have used conflict to our advantage, how conflict has stirred progress, and progress innovation. You say that men shall be prepared to fight against such evil - by what means shall this fighting happen in each of your so-called utopias?

"A world filled of discussions and those without any form of will shall result in stagnation. We have gotten here because of one thing, my friends: war. Conflict is a necessity of progress - and the proposals so far are for the weak. I represent the Weapon-Mongers. Our proposal is simple: with technology, we can achieve anything, we can build a utopia tried and tested through fire and war, where invention brings even greater power. We are ready to ally with any faction that sees the need for conflict in the next world."

A high pitched screeching pierces the hall as a chair is drug against the floor; for a moment it is as if the chair is moving itself until a heavy-set gnome struggles to pull himself up the chair and stands to his feet upon it. Already slightly winded from the ordeal, he leans forward bracing himself with his hands against the table and then takes a step onto the table, using it as his own stage,

"I'm afraid that you are all missing the point! The Watchmakers wish to remove our will, the weapon-mongers just want to shoot things - and, hey - I don't blame them, it's fun! - but in our view, their weapons aren't even necessary! - and the Pyre wants to have our will more easily swayed by whatever prevalent influence or emotion. Indeed, Hanse is right - from the earliest days men have thought themselves right, and to this day they still do. From the earliest days, ideologies have risen and taken ascendance and dominance over people just as Hanse has said: The Clergy sways millions to this day. Our sacrifices have not been to keep the status quo; we are all enlightened thinkers who have sought freedom from these prisons of the mind."

The heavy set gnome paces back and forth, stroking his finely trained black mustache, "My name is Tittling Grainet, and I represent freedom. Freedom from tyranny, freedom from oppression, freedom from religion, freedom from government. The only offer on the table that guarantees freedom for everyone is The Panarchists."

He accidentally kicks over a wine glass belonging to a Tiefling, "Freedom. We have all been bound and rebelled in some way; perhaps against an ideology like the Clergy; perhaps our own physical limitations, perhaps bound by a lack of income, or fear of what may befall us; all of us have had our freedoms restricted in some way beyond our control, which is firmly based within some manner of inequality or position of power to enforce the rule or will or thought of another. And there are proposals here that would keep us all bound?"

He stamps his foot on the table, toppling another wine glass, "I say no! No! No! No! The Panarchists are the only ones who offer the level of freedom and equality we all desire. We will be free to disagree with each other, free to go where we want, free to be who we want, see what we want - teleport where we want in a heartbeat. With kings and beggars equal in power, governments will be moot, unnecessary, redundant! With each of us enhanced and empowered, we will be able to experience the world like never before, and find peace, harmony and freedom!"

Trevio blows a heavy agitated puff of smoke from his nostrils, "Ah yes, the Panarchist - a world in which a promise, or contract or any sort of binding agreement is made on one's soul? And this from Han Jierre - a tiefling?" An awkward silence fills the hall.

"And what is so wrong with that?" A purple skinned Tiefling stands, adjusting his tie and straightening his jacket, "Mind you, the Jierre family - Tieflings - have help fund, organize, inspire and build the Obscurati. The Jierres and the Cherages have provided a backbone for our very operation." He shakes his head in disappointment, "But perhaps you've forgotten that monsieur minotaur."

"Ladies, gentlemen - Gardienne du Cherage, the head of College Cell; Grainet has lofty visions, and dreams of freedom - something we can all agree on. His ideals are identical with the fabric of our cause. And while your work in Alais Primos has no doubt gone well, you … well, those of us with more responsibility have all recruited our members with extreme prejudice, because we cannot allow just anyone in - we cannot allow just anyone to have say, and power over our brave new world. As Nicodemus said, it shall be our hand that ordains the stars.

"We have paid our dues - we have made sacrifices, we have learned lessons, we have been entrusted with our power and in our role for a reason; if power were meant for everyone as my rotund friend insists, then this convocation would be open to all - open to those who have not earned it, open to those who have never experienced it, never learned how to responsibly use it, open to the Clergy." He spits in disdain.

"No. We have been called here because it is our right; Trevio is right but misguided: we do not need to become soulless automatons in order to achieve a better world; we merely need a better government. A single government. Us. Colossus Cell keeps us in charge, in charge of the world which we have ordained. Our group would have no place in world such as Miller's Pyre, The Watchmen, or the Panarchists; we'd be redundant. No, in order to keep what we have started, Colossus is the only way to ensure both freedom and civility.

"Colossus offers a balance of power, checks and balances prevent tyranny. We deem ourselves worthy to change the world - to order the stars, but some here think we should not rule it? If not us, then who? Gangs of super-powered individuals who will inevitably congregate back into governments to achieve more power? A group of men in a library expressing their concerns through debate? Or us.

"Under Colossus, we will be using our judgment to continue the work we have done, and ensure the world is a better place. We will enhance ourselves, preserving ourselves as the keepers of the world; we'd be able to stymie any extraplanar threat that arises, quash any rebellion in an instant because none could feasibly rise to challenge us. Through our wisdom, our justice, and our rule the world would find peace and prosperity; it would be wholly better; it is our right."

Hanse adjusts his spectacles and turns to address the Panarchists. "I would like to remind you all of a simple maxim. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. What, then, follows when everybody possesses absolute power? You claim you wish to infuse the individual with defensive abilities, but what you will get is bands of super-powered men and women doing whatever they want with no checks to their powers. Instead of preserving civilization, it will lead to its collapse!"

"The Colossus agenda shares the same flaws as the Watchmakers' plan. Who are we, the few who would control great power or who would lock in the future of our world to an inflexible timeline? What gives us the right to decide a blanket collection of mores and morals and apply it to every single person, despite each one's circumstances? Simply because we have the ability to do so, we should do it?" The Eladrin shakes his head. "I have faith in the better nature of humanity. I believe each man should have the right to choose his own destiny, and the power to understand and recognize the right of his brothers and sisters to do so as well, even if their chosen paths be different than his. For there is no one true path that anybody can say is absolutely best for all, but all must respect and accept the path that each man chooses for himself. That, my brethren, is the path to lasting peace. That way lies enlightenment."


A flat, dry voice replies from a neighboring table, "Nonsense." Oort Magnus leader of Broker Cell of Nalaam stands, "How many men and women have you robbed of their destiny to find yourself here. You think your way - The Pyre's way - is the best way and would choose to force it upon everyone. Why are you even here?"

"Tell me, who are you to even say that enlightenment is a good thing? Who are you to say what is good, or bad? You seek to create a new world that upholds values of our current one. The new world must be free from the constraints of the old, from the ideologies of the old -- even ours. Do we still hold the ideals of the Fey Titans? What of the old Demonocracy? The Dragon Tyrants? They have all fallen from power, and a new world has risen from the ash, free of the old ways and left to discover what it itself calls right and good. The Amorals recognize this; a new world will require a new baseline of what is acceptable. By eliminating morality altogether, we can truly build a new world. The Amorals will lend their support to any of the major factions who have the integrity to recognize this, and eschew what we have all come to believe - perhaps from the very planes we have been forced under! - as good and evil."


Ed Pollock stands, and thumps his oak staff against the ground drawing attention his way, "Oort, you have a point - to some degree, at least." A new world requires new principles which will be shaped by that world. Miller's Pyre addresses some social needs of our people, but forgets that much suffering is caused by hunger, storms and natural disasters which - pray tell me if I am wrong - cannot be reasoned with, nor can be stopped by logically expressing your pain towards it.

"An Earthquake will not hear an argument as to why it should not unexpectedly devastate a region before aid can get there; an extreme drought will not debate the moral integrity of striking a region that produces food. Let us not be fools here; I believe the best solution to the our problems is what is posed by the Arboretum. If we take away the very things that originally lead us to war - our need for hospitable, safe, verdant lands against a cruel and uncaring world, and we order the world itself to serve our needs, we will no doubt find a better world where, as the Pyre wants, civil discourse is the result.

"Just as importantly, we will not grow stagnate - our work will continually yield results. Industry and Nature will no longer be opposed, but work in harmony. The aspects of Craft and Artifice proposed will bring forth more advancements in all fronts and this world in which we have little want and need for anything, are sufficient, and have great progress will generate its own new moral system I'm sure. And we would finally rid ourselves entirely of the Fey and their incessant meddling and demands of tribute. "

"Nature need not be an enemy," says Hanse. "Many factions of Vekeshi mystics have strong ties with the fey of the Unseen Court. Indeed, all of Risur benefits from that king's pact with the fey titans of that land. Again, I believe this is a case of xenophobic warmongering on the part of the Arboretum. Perhaps in the brave new world we envision, the fey will be no less inscrutable than our fellow men"


"We have all been gathered here," a halfling speaks up, "and yet we can't agree on anything? We can all go and vote - and then what? A happy majority while the rest go back to… what, conspiring some more to turn it into the world they want?" The halfing begins to point to the various speakers, "You want us to all feel each other's pain, and you want us to blow :):):):) up, and you want us to become some sort of robot, and still you want us to have super-powers - this is madness."

The halfling, Abiera Stackhouse, paces, "Some of the brightest minds in the world have gathered here, and we can't agree. The world will never agree, and thus there will never be true peace in any of these plans. Heid Eschatol has become the dominant thought of Drakr, I'm sure I'm not the only one here who believes it. The world will end. We may pretend it won't, we may think we can delay it, but somehow, somewhere, it will happen. We have a unique opportunity here to make it end on our own terms; to bring about the end so that all the fighting, the debate, the wars - so that it all stops. I'm not afraid to say it's radical - I'm not afraid to say that this idea is even moral, or that things will be a better place. What I can say, for certain, is that it will be an end to all the suffering, to the poverty, to those who abuse their power, to all manner of inequality.

"We can't agree on a new world; some of us may not be able to accept the vote? So, why not… end it all. Let's do it. Let's be the radicals the rumors have made us out to be. Let's bring the end, and end it on our terms."

"Shut up, half-wit" Von Hastenschrieft Willimarkanova yells out. The dwarf scowls towards the halfling, "You obviously have gone mad and haven't listened to a damned thing anyone here has said. Had you been, you'd know what there are plenty we do agree on; for instance, that the Clergy has no place in the new world, and that we all want a new world. Heid Eschatol has been warped and stretched so much by you damned radicals that you've missed the point entirely; but even in its purity, Heide himself is almost revered amongst his followers. He has earned his respect, no doubt, he is well reasoned and charismatic - I know that I attempted to recruit him at one point, to no avail. But, the feeling of adoration, of awe are problematic to our cause.

"Religious conviction lead to the great malice, it lead to bombings in the city of Flint, it leads to countless despicable acts in Crisillyir every day. We have all revolted against it, but none of us have made it our cause like I have. The Mortal Mind seeks to completely remove the feeling of religious awe from the world. It causes nothing but harm, it's only sound contribution to society has been in the form of the arts - all, which have been tainted by the aforementioned conviction. I'm not even a representative of the Bards - though, perhaps Miss Praesidia and I can discuss an arrangement later - but even their vision of imbuing talent and appreciation to the arts and entertainment would be more than sufficient to replace whatever contributions have been made in that department."

Satine Tibeaux, a female Tiefling cleric responds, "You do realize that divine magic has proven quite important for our cause - when was the last time you received a healing spell in your work?"

Cardinal Testamenta Suchdol, who sits beside the Tiefling, nods in agreement, "Yes; without religious conviction, who is to say we would even be here and have this opportunity? We may well still be under the rule of the demonocracy. I've been hunting demons for the last 20 years, and still have not found a way to banish their taint from this plane."

Praesidia de Vaca, leader of the Bards speaks up, "To answer your question, Mr Willimarkanova, it is hard for me to support such hatred of something that has been intrinsic to the collective humanity, no matter how misguided it may be. While we Bards want whatever the new world we decide upon to treat art and a sort of reverence, for entertainment to be good - trust me, I know you've all met some Bard whom you absolutely can't stand, some loud attention-whore who parades around on elephants, who would use talent and art for little more than asinine jokes and flippant disregard for … everything; but I urge you all to look past that, and to consider what makes a world worth living in: beauty. Consider beauty and wonder. Art is creation, walking hand in hand with science and morality to define what we are as living beings.  Many of those creations are beautiful expressions of our longings, our lives, our souls. And wonder is pure glee, making you more alive than ever."

An orc, Grargh Nobble, yells out: "I make art with goblins thrown against the wall - and it is beautiful! I support the bards!"

Praesidia interjects, "Not what I had in mind, Grargh. Nonetheless, I'm sure that the Bards can make an arrangement with Miller's Pyre; allowing music and entertainment to be forms of expression in the new world. We'd be open to discuss this more."

Hanse replies, "At last! Someone gets it! We all come from very different backgrounds, under Miller's Pyre--"

“The Pyre, while a noble ideal, is fundamentally flawed." The cutting voice seems at odds with the speaker, a rotund woman with soft features stands to her feat.

"Jiese, the plane of fire, carries the aspect of Cunning. It is this aspect that drives the gears of industry -- the gears of revolution! The Pyre would replace Cunning with Expression, enhancing our understanding of others’ motivations. Combined with their other changes, it would be far easier for groups of sentient beings to come to consensus. 

"As I said, a noble ideal!" She gestures with an open arm towards the congregation, "But what of the cost? The loss of Cunning means the loss of progress, invention, technology. Consensus would lead to stagnation! Perhaps this would suit some within the Watchmakers: a form of social utopia where everyone agrees with everyone else, and no new ideas are promulgated. I doubt this is what the Pyre’s advocates intend, and perhaps it is an extreme vision, but we cannot risk the loss of industry! That would bind us forever to the earth, forgoing the possibilities of flight, or of planar travel. While replacing Apet as the Pyre plans would bring us closer to other planes, the preservation of Nem would still prevent us from exploring what lies beyond."

She takes a deep breath, sizing up the audience,"I see many unfamiliar faces here, a sign that our group’s distributed structure is an effective one. I am Dame Constance Baden, scholar and scientist, and I speak for the Sky League. We in the Sky League have allied ourselves with the Trekkers, those who wish to voyage beyond the realms currently known to us. We stand ready to throw our weight behind a major faction that welcomes our ideals. 

“Jiese must be preserved: on this, I think all factions that favor progress and industry over stagnant isolation can agree. Further, tampering with Reida is too great a risk. We are willing to partner with factions that will leave both Jiese and Reida untouched. 

“The planes that must be replaced are Avilona and Nem. Avilona’s Calm trait discourages progress, and replacing it would finally unshackle Jiese’s Cunning! Moreover, associating Calm with the Plane of Air prevents flight, grounding us and forcing us to travel by boat or train. But if this Calm trait is replaced, there is an opportunity to craft great vessels that will carry us to the skies! 

“I have designed just such a vessel. I call it... the ZEPPELIN!

“A functioning model has been constructed, and even as I speak now it is floating above the ground of our pocket plane. Please observe it at your leisure.

“Meanwhile, Nem locks us away from what is beyond the world. Imagine what lands we might find beyond the seals? What we might learn? Naturally, there are risks, but eternal isolation would be a far greater threat to our civilization. With proper defenses, the risks of extraplanar invasion can be mitigated. And we need not become the world’s overlords, as Colossus suggests – with Cunning unshackled, our technology would be our defense! Some of you may have heard of the strange beasts sighted at the Kaybeau Exposition in Flint last year, how could such creatures hope to stand against the ZEPPELIN?

“We would also support replacing Urim, Apet and Mavisha, but this is not essential. Mavisha’s Mystery trait is an impediment to progress, but it is less severe than Calm. Teleportation magic is also less important in a land where flight is possible. And finally, Apet’s distance property could be part of a reasonable defense against extraplanar invasion once Nem is replaced.

“If the Pyre, Colossus, Arboretum, or Panarchists are willing to revise their plans to accommodate us, we will gladly assist with the planar alignment calculations.”

Grargh Nobble yells out, "I make goblins fly! Before they hit the wall…"

The debate continues on into the night…
 

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