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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: World-Building Turn-Offs

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    You can always just say "Your device does not work". Mixing charcoal, sulfur, and salpeter does not make gunpowder. You also have to know the right ratios and preper it in the right way, or you get something that just burns without a bang. And good luck with a combustion engine. Let me see how you get that crude oil to become an aerosol.
    More like, "how does your character know that?"

    The problem starts when your players reply: "Well, ok, I want to run so-and-so experiment" (which is an IC reasonable experiment to try) and the GM figures that the answer going to end up with floating volcanoes or something crazy.

    Which, I hasten to add, happens rather often when a magic system isn't built from the ground up.

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    As a troublesome prospective player to a game that hadn't worked out its magic system yet, I asked a few questions regarding the magic system (questions were encouraged so I asked).

    As it turns out, defining "object" and "stationary" was a bit more difficult than it seemed at first glance. Some weirdness resulted with my thought experiments for mages in sea combat destroying the ship when he cast a defensive shield that slowed incoming projectiles (the ship he was on counted as moving under the definition of stationary).

  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Default Re: World-Building Turn-Offs

    @Xuc Xac, sktarq, et al.: People have said that they want us to drop the tangent, and I've received some PMs to that effect as well, so I'm not going to continue that line of discussion in this thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by jseah View Post
    You find a way around the need to have people do things to get things done (or reduce the number of people needed or reduce the quality of people needed).
    That is the essence of technology. Requiring less people for the same result. (same number of people for better results is the same thing)

    In a pseudo-medieval magical world, one of the first things I would be trying to do is to make a cart that goes without a horse or a wizard. This of course assumes that magic is automatable at all, which in some systems isn't.
    If it isn't automatable, I have no interest and would set about finding some other way to get rid of that horse.
    Totally agreed, and that's part of my point. D&D already has technology of a sort in the form of magic items, and people who want to reduce reliance on spellcasters (including those spellcasters themselves, who are tired of being bothered to cast spells) would probably take the route of making more magic items. People who find that not dramatic enough, or who think there aren't enough casters around to make that feasible, would probably try to mix magical and mundane methods, such as making a magical means of pulling things that could be attached to carts, waterwheels, and such for maximum versatility instead of trying to make the cart itself move.

    What I don't like is when players think it's most logical to ignore all of the magical stuff that's already there and try to duplicate real-life stuff like guns, nukes, and computers (or only use the magic to create the parts to make the modern stuff) while complaining about lack of progress. Why do the same old stuff when you can take advantage of things unique to a certain system? I can make an airplane or a tank in pretty much any system; you can't make immovable rod-based space elevators and prestidigitation-based Turing machines in every system.


    To apologize for the earlier derail, some more of my setting turn-offs:

    X) Mirroring good and evil as if they're just strict opposites and nothing more: as BoED and BoVD showed, saying that the opposite of something Good is automatically something Evil or vice versa, or saying that something is Good just because it's only applied to/used against Evil things, just doesn't hold up. Sure, in D&D alignment is fairly black-and-white, but you don't need a paladin of slaughter for every paladin of honor, or a talisman of good for every talisman of evil, or the like.

    I'm not talking just about opposed magic or themes or whatever, since those are more nuanced; blackguards are different enough from paladins to have a place, and the Light Side and Dark Side in Star Wars aren't just mirror images. It's only when things get to the level of BoED's "Poisons and diseases are evil, but ravages are A-okay because they're poisons and diseases for evil people!" or Star Wars's "Force Lightning is totally evil, but Electric Judgment is totally good, because Force Lightning is blue but Electric Judgment is green!"

    X+1) Simplistic alignment associations for gods. Gods of death are usually evil, gods of nature are usually neutral, gods of light are usually good, and so on, and all of the gods have fairly tight themes (gods of death tend to also be gods of icky/spooky things too, and gods of knowledge tend to be neutral and uncaring). There are some exceptions in published D&D settings, due to sheer numbers of published gods if nothing else, but not enough homebrewed settings have gods like, say, Pluto/Hades, who was good of "death" (the underworld) and also wealth and trade, due to associations of wealth and death with being underground...or gods of both death and nature who are Lawful Good and all about working with the pack/flock/clan, dying for things greater than yourselves, death being a natural part of the cycle to be cherished instead of mourned, and so on...or a pair of sibling gods, one of civilization and cities, one of trade and travel, who are both evil and have domain over smog, shipwrecks, and other bad aspects of their portfolios.

    X+2) Monotheistic churches in polytheistic worlds. Too many religions in polytheistic 'brews have churches with Pope-esque leaders, a regimented hierarchy, established places of worship for laypeople, and so on. Sure, D&D religions started off as Catholic Church lookalikes with their paladins and clerics and restrictive domains/spheres, but it's not that hard to have religions that have decentralized authority and/or lack temples and shrines and/or worship some number of gods between "one or two of them" and "all of them" and so forth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
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  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    What I don't like is when players think it's most logical to ignore all of the magical stuff that's already there and try to duplicate real-life stuff like guns, nukes, and computers (or only use the magic to create the parts to make the modern stuff) while complaining about lack of progress.
    There are some things that are general though.

    Like people. Most settings have people in the sense of "independent identities with independent goals and desires; that have some social order amongst themselves".
    Most settings don't usually have useful things happening when people don't do them. Food doesn't normally fall from the sky. (replace with whatever other desire)


    And the fundamental problem with people is one of economics.

    Each person desires things. Each person can make some things (averaged over the whole population). Therefore, the more things you can make per person, the more things per person you have.

    With the two common themes of people and "no free things" in most settings, it would be fair to say that in most settings, societies would pursue methods to increase the number of things each person can make. (some of them redefine people; aka slavery; the same forces apply to the masters)

    It doesn't matter what your metaphysics are, what your societies' philosophy is. If your setting does not have this force of desiring and working towards needing less people, it is not a setting we understand and can play in. Or it has a plot hole.


    And if you look at the stereotypical fantasy story, this is a plot hole.
    This is something I dislike in settings.

    EDIT: this is not to say you cannot explain it. You can explain it, but I *will* ask for that explanation.
    Last edited by jseah; 2012-09-20 at 07:20 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    Not everyone does it because it's really hard to do and you have to be smart and dedicated to pull off that high level engineering, but low-level stuff like making a lamp shaped like an elephant that lights up when you pull the trunk is within easy reach.
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    I'm not fond of settings that the characters are left to sandbox. What I mean is if you're building a world, you should also have some sort of idea for the players campaign. If it's just aimless and the characters just screw around, that doesn't scream very well organized. It's one thing if that's the intentions of the group.

    On the converse side, I hate railroad plots, where the DM forces the group though an extended area whether the group is willing or not. This is also situational, but I'd rather not have long cutscenes of the party walking through a tunnel under a town. I'd rather roleplay that. I don't know if I'm making my points clear in either paragraph, but ah well, i'm tired.

    I agree with much of what GenericGuy said earlier. I tend to think a race wouldn't become a populace of any sort through forcible reproduction, and more out of an alliance or actual interest in the other. Otherwise, it wouldn't be a race of its own, period.
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  6. - Top - End - #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    I'm not fond of settings that the characters are left to sandbox. What I mean is if you're building a world, you should also have some sort of idea for the players campaign. If it's just aimless and the characters just screw around, that doesn't scream very well organized. It's one thing if that's the intentions of the group.
    This is how I started with one of my settings, which I designed with exploration in mind and especially pirates (since the players would be pirates). As the campaign went on, I threw in more and more stuff that led to plot, but most of it was quickly run away from by the players. This was mostly because of trouble with local authorities (one of which had control over an otherwise-insane dragon), but at the end one of the players simply walked up to a lich who ruled a desert metropolis and got drafted subsequently. It was one of my best-designed settings, and was created entirely by winging it during sessions. My only better setting so far has been Ymaggion, but that one has had tons of development.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morph Bark View Post
    This is how I started with one of my settings, which I designed with exploration in mind and especially pirates (since the players would be pirates). As the campaign went on, I threw in more and more stuff that led to plot, but most of it was quickly run away from by the players. This was mostly because of trouble with local authorities (one of which had control over an otherwise-insane dragon), but at the end one of the players simply walked up to a lich who ruled a desert metropolis and got drafted subsequently. It was one of my best-designed settings, and was created entirely by winging it during sessions. My only better setting so far has been Ymaggion, but that one has had tons of development.
    Yeah, it really depends on the person DMing. Some people it works for - others it falls very short. I'm pretty good at going off the fly, I've made whole dungeons that way, and stories, but as a player I've experienced some very disappointing games.
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  8. - Top - End - #98
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    That reminds me; settings without developed NPCs.

    Everyone (or mostly everyone) well known in a setting should be realized--famous and infamous characters and especially leaders. Maybe not every character needs to be detailed exactly, but it helps to run a campaign with ideas in mind for who's who.

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  9. - Top - End - #99
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    Hmm. I dislike the following:

    - Black vs. White settings, where everyone is either Good or Evil; Lawful or Chaotic also falls under that
    - Magic as Technology (trains running on elementals mentioned earlier)
    -

  10. - Top - End - #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zireael View Post
    Hmm. I dislike the following:

    - Black vs. White settings, where everyone is either Good or Evil; Lawful or Chaotic also falls under that
    - Magic as Technology (trains running on elementals mentioned earlier)
    -
    What about other less crazy things...Such as casting permanent light on objects to be used as lighting, with shutters to turn them "off", or Other storage units of holding, such as shelves, homes, ice boxes, closets, trunks, pockets, so on. Rods of absorbtion's built into walls to absorb destructive spells. Magic carpets sewn together to make a derigible? Brain...I thought I said LESS crazy.

    In other case, magic AS technology when done well I feel make good DM's. They take a system and integrate it into the world in creative ways. Train-elementals I don't consider to be one of them.
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  11. - Top - End - #101
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    If you use magic as technology, you pretty much have to make it victorian-style MagePunk. It's ancient and medieval campaigns were it really doesn't work at all.
    Quote Originally Posted by bryn0528 View Post
    That reminds me; settings without developed NPCs.

    Everyone (or mostly everyone) well known in a setting should be realized--famous and infamous characters and especially leaders. Maybe not every character needs to be detailed exactly, but it helps to run a campaign with ideas in mind for who's who.
    As much as people keep hating on Forgotten Realms, the people are the setting.
    Well, technically everything but the PCs and NPC is what the word setting means, but a setting is just a stage. Only when people are doing something on that stage does it become interesting and alive.

    For my own setting, I have the stage pretty much perfectly set, but it still feels like it's in a very early stage of development because there aren't any actual people yet. There are races and cultures, but to have any stories take place in it, it now needs to have some movers and shakers. People with conflicting goals and coliding values who cause the friction where there is anything for characters to do.
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-10-02 at 09:11 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    If you use magic as technology, you pretty much have to make it victorian-style MagePunk. It's ancient and medieval campaigns were it really doesn't work at all.
    Greco-Roman-era magitech works pretty well, actually. The Romans invented a ton of stuff that didn't show up again for a long time, including the steam engine, and just didn't bother doing anything with it; for Roman magepunk, all you have to do is assume is that the stuff they invented has a magical basis instead of a scientific one (steam and concrete elementals!) and go from there.

    And of course the Greek philosophers were all about perfection, geometry, abstract forms, souls, and that sort of thing, which lends itself to magepunk as well. Heck, imagine the path history would take if the Library of Alexandria was full of spellbooks and its librarians could cast protection from fire.
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    Darn you PoDL for making me care about a bunch of NPC Commoners!
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  13. - Top - End - #103
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    Default Re: World-Building Turn-Offs

    I also disagree that mage tech needs a victorian feel. just becuase you have mage tech doesn't mean you would develop those same technologies at the same pace. For example heavier then air flight is vastly easier in dnd then in the real world.

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    Setting that trivialize religion and/or presented it as a caricature of itself. Mostly this is the case of presenting religious people as little more than irrational fanatics, but there also the case where the supposed divinity doesn't feel 'divine'.

  15. - Top - End - #105
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    on a somewhat related topic it always seemed weird to me the type of henothestic religion practiced in dnd. it makes very little sense to only worship a war god what happens when your wife is having a hard time having a baby are you supposed to pray to Hextor?

    dnd presents gods in the polytheistic mold but then has people worship them as if they were henotheistic.

    Henotheistic means worshiping one god but believing in the existence of other gods

  16. - Top - End - #106
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    I don't think most D&D settings actually propose that. There are mentions in lots of settings that the chosen deity is merely the one that gets your soul, but people pray to whatever gods that apply to their situation.
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    Erm, non-native English speaker here, what does "henotheistic" mean?

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    awa says worshipping a single god out of many. Though in academics, we call that monolatry.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zireael View Post
    Erm, non-native English speaker here, what does "henotheistic" mean?
    Henotheism. Basically, you worship one god, while accepting that there are (or may be) a number of other gods.
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  20. - Top - End - #110
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    Wikipedia tell me that monolatry (which i was unfamiliar with) is slightly different

    quoted from wikipedia

    "Henotheism is closely related to the theistic concept of monolatry, which is also the worship of one god among many. The primary difference between the two is that henotheism is the worship of one god, not precluding the existence of others who may also be worthy of praise, while Monolatry is the worship of one god who alone is worthy of worship, though other gods are known to exist"
    Last edited by awa; 2012-10-07 at 02:27 PM.

  21. - Top - End - #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    X) Mirroring good and evil as if they're just strict opposites and nothing more: as BoED and BoVD showed, saying that the opposite of something Good is automatically something Evil or vice versa, or saying that something is Good just because it's only applied to/used against Evil things, just doesn't hold up. Sure, in D&D alignment is fairly black-and-white, but you don't need a paladin of slaughter for every paladin of honor, or a talisman of good for every talisman of evil, or the like.
    Am I the only one who thinks that would actually be very interesting, not just as a vague concept, but as an actual RULE in the setting. If the Forces of good create a Holy Sword, they must also create an Unholy Sword with the exact same properties, same goes for the forces of Evil creating an Unholy Sword. If you destroy an item like this, it's "Twin" is also destroyed. Therefore, the forces of Evil keep building elaborate vaults in which to hide "Good" magic items (So they can use the Evil ones on the front lines), while the forces of Good do the same thing with the Evil items that they keep building while attempting to equip their own forces. If you manage to raid these vaults you get a bucketload of magic items that you can wield yourself, or destroy to deprive the enemy of the use of their twins.
    Neutral, unaligned items can be created, but they can be used by either side, and can therefore be easily looted in battle.

    Of course, this requires that the setting be based around some big cosmic struggle between "Good" and "Evil".

    Unless each side refers to itself as the "Good" side, wielding "Holy" Weapons against their "Evil" foes, with each side excusing their crimes as "The Neccessities of War", while pointing to "The debased and vile nature of our foe" every time their enemy commits some atrocity.
    Last edited by BRC; 2012-10-07 at 02:37 PM.

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    The above sounds really fun, imho.

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    actually if you applied it to people it could come off as a good justification for not killing in super hero games. maybe add a loophole if it's done with an overly elaborate death trap you can bypass.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    Am I the only one who thinks that would actually be very interesting, not just as a vague concept, but as an actual RULE in the setting. If the Forces of good create a Holy Sword, they must also create an Unholy Sword with the exact same properties, same goes for the forces of Evil creating an Unholy Sword. If you destroy an item like this, it's "Twin" is also destroyed. Therefore, the forces of Evil keep building elaborate vaults in which to hide "Good" magic items (So they can use the Evil ones on the front lines), while the forces of Good do the same thing with the Evil items that they keep building while attempting to equip their own forces. If you manage to raid these vaults you get a bucketload of magic items that you can wield yourself, or destroy to deprive the enemy of the use of their twins.
    Neutral, unaligned items can be created, but they can be used by either side, and can therefore be easily looted in battle.

    Of course, this requires that the setting be based around some big cosmic struggle between "Good" and "Evil".

    Unless each side refers to itself as the "Good" side, wielding "Holy" Weapons against their "Evil" foes, with each side excusing their crimes as "The Neccessities of War", while pointing to "The debased and vile nature of our foe" every time their enemy commits some atrocity.
    Interesting idea. The Saga of Recluce series by L. E. Modesitt uses something along these lines. The main struggle in the setting is between Order and Chaos, and mages are either "black" order mages (can use order to strengthen things, harden air into barriers, and such), "white" chaos mages (can use chaos to degrade things, shoot fire, and such), or "gray" druids (can use both order and chaos), and all of them have some shared tricks like bending light to turn invisible, knowing when people lie, and similar, though their methods of doing so depend on whether they use order or chaos.

    See here for a full summary, but basically the most ancient empire in the world ran on chaos (essentially using it as a form of fusion power to run ships and power weapons), but eventually fell due to their technology failing and Order became ascendant. Order and Chaos traded ascendancy for a while, and we find out partway through the series that the Balance works to keep things balanced, so the more chaos there is in the world the more order there is as well and every "chaos focus" (extremely powerful chaos mage) is balanced by the rise of an "order focus."

    The order forces develop ships running on chaos-engines contained by order-hardened iron, dramatically increasing the amount of both order and chaos in the world, and in fact they are deliberately increasing the amount of chaos in the world available to their enemies in the hopes of strengthening themselves, because most of the order is concentrated in one group while the chaos mages are widely dispersed. The cycle keeps escalating until it gets so bad that the druids have to pretty much wipe out most of the world's order and chaos to prevent Bad Things from happening.

    Combining that with your suggesting, to make Law and Chaos conserved quantities as much as Good and Evil, would actually explain a lot. The Blood War, why magic items are stored in dungeons, the way villains seem to keep coming back unabated, why BoED and BoVD work the way they do, and more. I'll probably use something along those lines from now on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
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    Default Re: World-Building Turn-Offs

    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    Am I the only one who thinks that would actually be very interesting, not just as a vague concept, but as an actual RULE in the setting. If the Forces of good create a Holy Sword, they must also create an Unholy Sword with the exact same properties, same goes for the forces of Evil creating an Unholy Sword. If you destroy an item like this, it's "Twin" is also destroyed. Therefore, the forces of Evil keep building elaborate vaults in which to hide "Good" magic items (So they can use the Evil ones on the front lines), while the forces of Good do the same thing with the Evil items that they keep building while attempting to equip their own forces. If you manage to raid these vaults you get a bucketload of magic items that you can wield yourself, or destroy to deprive the enemy of the use of their twins.
    Neutral, unaligned items can be created, but they can be used by either side, and can therefore be easily looted in battle.

    Of course, this requires that the setting be based around some big cosmic struggle between "Good" and "Evil".

    Unless each side refers to itself as the "Good" side, wielding "Holy" Weapons against their "Evil" foes, with each side excusing their crimes as "The Neccessities of War", while pointing to "The debased and vile nature of our foe" every time their enemy commits some atrocity.
    Kinda reminds me of the dark crystal, where the skeksies and the mystics are two sides of the same coin, and when one is destroyed the other is.
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    Default Re: World-Building Turn-Offs

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    My turn offs:

    5. any non-demon race designated as always evil.
    For that matter, even demons are not an Always Evil race, they're the evil portion of the angelic species. Or at least that's the way they are IRL, maybe D&D does things differently (though I'd prefer a different name in that case).
    Last edited by ReaderAt2046; 2012-10-15 at 11:32 AM.

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    Default Re: World-Building Turn-Offs

    You can debate whether there were demons in hell before the angels fell.

    Anyway, in D&D, outsiders aren't really species. They are concepts given form. People believe in evil, demons are made. People believe in good, archons are made.
    It gets interesting once enough people believe that demons can be redeemed.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2012-10-15 at 11:47 AM.

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    Default Re: World-Building Turn-Offs

    Quote Originally Posted by ReaderAt2046 View Post
    For that matter, even demons are not an Always Evil race, they're the evil portion of the angelic species. Or at least that's the way they are IRL, maybe D&D does things differently (though I'd prefer a different name in that case).
    Must say that part killed me :)

    How demons and angels and such are "IRL" highly depends on which religion/culture you draw your inspiration from, but to answer your indirect question, the devils of DnD are kinda fallen angels, demons are another breed all together, and the fight between angels and the demons is what lead to the devils falling.
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    Default Re: World-Building Turn-Offs

    Quote Originally Posted by Iceforge View Post
    Must say that part killed me :)

    How demons and angels and such are "IRL" highly depends on which religion/culture you draw your inspiration from, but to answer your indirect question, the devils of DnD are kinda fallen angels, demons are another breed all together, and the fight between angels and the demons is what lead to the devils falling.
    That sounds like the 4e interpretation of demons. In AD&D and 3e, devils aren't fallen angels as a general rule though some devils and Archdevils are indeed fallen celestials, and demons fight more with devils (with daemons aiding both sides and demodands mostly staying out of the Blood War) because the celestials (composed of angels, archons, guardinals, and eladrin) leave them to their own devices in the hopes that the fiends are kept occupied and ignore the Upper Planes and the Prime Material.
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    Default Re: World-Building Turn-Offs

    Quote Originally Posted by Iceforge View Post
    Must say that part killed me :)

    How demons and angels and such are "IRL" highly depends on which religion/culture you draw your inspiration from, but to answer your indirect question, the devils of DnD are kinda fallen angels, demons are another breed all together, and the fight between angels and the demons is what lead to the devils falling.
    The Erinyes is the only devil I know that is a fallen angel.
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