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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    The "Unambigiously evil" solution to trolley problems isn't pulling levers - it's pushing innocent Fat Men, who are not in any danger - who are not on any track, into the paths of trolleys.
    Yeah, the only unambiguously good solution is somehow pushing a big stone wall in front of it instead because if a big fat man can stop it, why not a big stone wall?

    course theres the problem: how get stone wall onto track? its a stone wall. might as well pull the lever. unless you can do something to bend the tracks themselves so that they don't lead to anyone? how do without superpowers?

    I mean, the other solution might be to somehow cut the rope of the one person then pull the lever so that the trolley goes down that way while the one person goes to safety so you can cut the ropes of the other five at your leisure, but how do you cut the rope of the first guy fast enough? thats the whole vague part of the problem: how much time you have, because without it, you can't make any good judgement of what you can do, lets see how fast are trolleys...? 55 mph.

    So assuming the trolley cart is 55 miles away, that gives you about one hour to cut the rope of the one guy. but if its only one mile away, that gives you about a minute. if its within sight enough to be clearly heading towards the five people, you probably have about seconds to react, if they aren't already dead. so given the speeds involved, your operating at snap decision or reflex speeds, there is no deep thought involved in that situation, and you can't be expected to make an informed moral decision with only seconds to spare. so the whole trolley problem is kind of stupid, because the answer all depends on how much time you have until the trolley gets there.
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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    The real answer is to insist on a Knowledge (Engineering) roll against a fairly high DC to figure out the operation of a rail system. I mean 999 out of 1000 of us would watch in horror without monkeying with the levers, at all. What are you, Batman?

    But if the DM is out to get you, you're done.
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  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    If you refluff DnD's devils so they're no longer axiomatically evil, then worshiping them will also be not axiomatically evil. They're also not going to be DnD devils.
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  4. - Top - End - #94
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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    I read a book once - a series, actually. It's decently good, actually, but that's beside the point.

    The main thrust of the series was this: Souls = magic = power, and can be traded amongst both mortals and immortals (there's all manner of those), and there's a whole branch of lawyers and bankers dedicated to that trade.

    So if we overlook the absense of any devils, it's much like the world the OP describes. Furthermore, mages who accumulate enough soul/power/magic live forever, sustained by their power - but .. their bodies die, essentially making them liches. So ... a lich is not a devil, but again, they're not really human anymore, either.

    Now, that world is definitely a shade darker than your average high fantasy world - but it isn't evil, as such. So maybe one might imagine a world where the big movers and shakers become that way by dark means, without the painting the whole world black.

  5. - Top - End - #95
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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    the only way to be truly good in such a case is to prevent the situation from arising at all by making sure no one is ever tied to the tracks in the first place. and the trolley problem does not posit you having the time to be informed that someone could do that so you can take steps to prevent it. and not everything can be foreseen. is the only being truly capable of being good in your eyes, someone omniscient then? at what point do you forgive someone for not being freaking god?
    The situation described was one in which one person is regularly slaughtered to spare several people. If something is happening regularly, you are a lot closer to the Omelas situation Quertus described.

  6. - Top - End - #96
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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    Yeah, the only unambiguously good solution is somehow pushing a big stone wall in front of it instead because if a big fat man can stop it, why not a big stone wall?

    course theres the problem: how get stone wall onto track? its a stone wall. might as well pull the lever. unless you can do something to bend the tracks themselves so that they don't lead to anyone? how do without superpowers?

    I mean, the other solution might be to somehow cut the rope of the one person then pull the lever so that the trolley goes down that way while the one person goes to safety so you can cut the ropes of the other five at your leisure, but how do you cut the rope of the first guy fast enough? thats the whole vague part of the problem: how much time you have, because without it, you can't make any good judgement of what you can do, lets see how fast are trolleys...? 55 mph.

    So assuming the trolley cart is 55 miles away, that gives you about one hour to cut the rope of the one guy. but if its only one mile away, that gives you about a minute. if its within sight enough to be clearly heading towards the five people, you probably have about seconds to react, if they aren't already dead. so given the speeds involved, your operating at snap decision or reflex speeds, there is no deep thought involved in that situation, and you can't be expected to make an informed moral decision with only seconds to spare. so the whole trolley problem is kind of stupid, because the answer all depends on how much time you have until the trolley gets there.
    It's a thought experiment. Basically a dilemma used to test an ethical framework. You're supposed to buy-in the default (implied) premises, and not go around trying to find alternative solutions, because that defeats the whole point of the thought experiment. One that becomes increasingly relevant as self-driving cars are brought to fruition.

    (To expand on the analogy:
    Engineer: Uh, if there's a imminent car crash coming up, what should our self-driving AI prioritize: the safety of the driver, or the safety of other people?
    Boss: Who cares? Just design the AI better so it will never come up. Prioritize everyone's safety.
    Engineer: But...
    Boss: No buts. That choice is stupid.)

    Of course, one should try not to be forced into a Trolley Problem situation in the first place, but the crux of the thought experiment is simple ó when faced with a choice where you can intervene to save the lives of other people at the cost of another person's life, which is the moral decision: to intervene or to refrain? Variations of the trolley problem usually change the number of people at risk and/or sacrificed, or the nature of the intervention, both of which can elicit different responses from different ethical frameworks (and/or gut feeling polls).

    (Otherwise, it's like saying the Prisoner's Dilemma [another thought experiment used to test game theory strategies] is stupid and the prisoners should just break out themselves instead of taking the deal or staying silent. Or not getting imprisoned in the first place [which, like "not getting into the trolley problem" can be cogent advice in real-life situations but is completely ignoring the premises of the theoretical discussion].)
    Last edited by NNescio; 2019-09-04 at 06:15 AM.
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  7. - Top - End - #97
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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    If we translate my town of Grblz worshippers into a trolley problem, it is likely to look like that:
    "Your party arrives at a station near the sea of fire. To the portion of rails over the sea of fire twenty eight children are tied. A trolley is going to reach them within five minutes. You also see a gathering of Fat Men drawing lots to decide who gets pushed on the rails. What do you do?"

  8. - Top - End - #98
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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    A trolley has no alignment or volition. A devil who demands people be sacrificed to it "or else" (and offers the bribe of prosperity to the sacrificers) does.

    As such, "sacrificing people to villains" never correlates exactly to any kind of trolley problem.
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  9. - Top - End - #99
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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by patchyman View Post
    The situation described was one in which one person is regularly slaughtered to spare several people. If something is happening regularly, you are a lot closer to the Omelas situation Quertus described.
    Did Quertus mention Omelas too?

    Yeah, the "utopia" maintained by the abject suffering of a single innocent child seems quite relevent to this discussion in general.
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  10. - Top - End - #100
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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by NNescio View Post
    the crux of the thought experiment is simple ó when faced with a choice where you can intervene to save the lives of other people at the cost of another person's life, which is the moral decision: to intervene or to refrain? Variations of the trolley problem usually change the number of people at risk and/or sacrificed, or the nature of the intervention, both of which can elicit different responses from different ethical frameworks (and/or gut feeling polls).
    My preferred way of reframing it is the Airplane Problem:

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    there is a damaged airplane, it will crash - but you (the air traffic controller) can direct it to land in the spot with the least people.


    The trolley problem is exactly the same - except instead of directing a plane, you are directing a train - via tracks, rather than the train itself.


    Giving those directions, does not qualify as "murdering" the people you are directing the plane toward. Murder requires more than just killing - an element of malicious intent needs to be involved.
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  11. - Top - End - #101
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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    You're supposed to buy-in the default (implied) premises, and not go around trying to find alternative solutions, because that defeats the whole point of the thought experiment.
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    Though I bet nonevil devils wouldn't allow for that kind of leeway either, which strikes me as unpleasant, if not evil.
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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    A trolley has no alignment or volition. A devil who demands people be sacrificed to it "or else" (and offers the bribe of prosperity to the sacrificers) does.

    As such, "sacrificing people to villains" never correlates exactly to any kind of trolley problem.
    That depends entirely on how evil and how specific the devil is with their sacrifices.

    We can replace the trolley with a devil, who normally eats 10 children but we also have a fat guy, who's about the size of 10 children. The devil only needs a certain volume of food, and he's willing to make the trade with us. We voluntarily sacrifice the fat guy, or the devil kidnaps the 10 children at random from the town.

    The point of "the trolley" is to represent a force beyond your ability to stop. It can be directed to an extent, but it's lost its brakes and it's gonna do something horrible no matter what.

    A devil is not that different. It's gonna do something horrible no matter what and you lack the power to stop it completely, so do you willingly do some evil (sacrifice the fat guy) or stand by and let it eat 10 children?
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  13. - Top - End - #103
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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    How about the whole town fleeing? If you cannot kill the devil, then that doesn't mean you have to strike a bargain with it.

    Possibly the vilest evil anyone can do, is to coerce others into doing evil. And this is exactly what that devil is trying to do.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2019-09-04 at 08:47 AM.
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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    How about the whole town fleeing? If you cannot kill the devil, then that doesn't mean you have to strike a bargain with it.

    Possibly the vilest evil anyone can do, is to coerce others into doing evil. And this is exactly what that devil is trying to do.
    Again, per the rules of the game the devil is playing, if you don't willingly feed them Fat Jerry (we're gonna call the fat guy Jerry), the devil will just kidnap 10 children anyway. Not in like, a couple days, like right now.
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  15. - Top - End - #105
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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    Doesn't matter. A community's "right to exist" is contingent upon not violating the rights of individuals.

    And playing games with devils at all, always ends with the devils winning, and innocents losing, overall. Better to stop them in their tracks by refusing to play.
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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    If you can't stop it from doing EITHER killing kids or killing your sacrifice, what stops it from doing BOTH?

    So don't pick a side, and leave it morally responsible for its own actions from that point.
    Last edited by TheYell; 2019-09-04 at 09:17 AM.
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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    Again, per the rules of the game the devil is playing, if you don't willingly feed them Fat Jerry (we're gonna call the fat guy Jerry), the devil will just kidnap 10 children anyway. Not in like, a couple days, like right now.
    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Doesn't matter. A community's "right to exist" is contingent upon not violating the rights of individuals.

    And playing games with devils at all, always ends with the devils winning, and innocents losing, overall. Better to stop them in their tracks by refusing to play.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheYell View Post
    If you can't stop it from doing EITHER killing kids or killing your sacrifice, what stops it from doing BOTH?

    So don't pick a side, and leave it morally responsible for its own actions from that point.

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  18. - Top - End - #108
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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    Or alternatively "Sometimes the only valid response to evil is resistance - even if innocents will die if you resist"
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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    That depends entirely on how evil and how specific the devil is with their sacrifices.

    We can replace the trolley with a devil, who normally eats 10 children but we also have a fat guy, who's about the size of 10 children. The devil only needs a certain volume of food, and he's willing to make the trade with us. We voluntarily sacrifice the fat guy, or the devil kidnaps the 10 children at random from the town.

    The point of "the trolley" is to represent a force beyond your ability to stop. It can be directed to an extent, but it's lost its brakes and it's gonna do something horrible no matter what.

    A devil is not that different. It's gonna do something horrible no matter what and you lack the power to stop it completely, so do you willingly do some evil (sacrifice the fat guy) or stand by and let it eat 10 children?
    Neither - I attack the devil, or I try to escape the town with the fat guy AND the children (and any replacements). Even if I'd fail at both of those, alignment-wise I'm in the clear, because I did the best I could within the limits of my abilities. Their deaths (and mine) are on the devil's head at that point.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheYell View Post
    If you can't stop it from doing EITHER killing kids or killing your sacrifice, what stops it from doing BOTH?

    So don't pick a side, and leave it morally responsible for its own actions from that point.
    This.

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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    Neither - I attack the devil, or I try to escape the town with the fat guy AND the children (and any replacements). Even if I'd fail at both of those, alignment-wise I'm in the clear, because I did the best I could within the limits of my abilities. Their deaths (and mine) are on the devil's head at that point.
    This is further along than my answer, because it focuses on what you OUGHT to do rather than just avoiding choosing a lesser evil.

    "Lesser evil" scenarios involve you renouncing your idealism to accept somebody else's conditions.

    ME: I don't want sentients eaten.
    DEVIL: I'm more powerful than you, and I'm going to eat somebody. Balance my diet for me.
    ME: I don't want sentients eaten.
    DEVIL: If you don't find me a nice fat sentient, I'll eat the children.
    ME: I don't want sentients eaten.
    DEVIL: It's your fault if I eat children!

    The proper answer to that is again, I don't want sentients to be eaten. Only you can drop that demand.

    Instead of accepting the strictures of a lesser-evil scenario, ask what you want to have as the best conceivable option, and then ask why what you want isn't an option easily available.

    And to tie this back to the OP, if you have a stronger being using deceit and intimidation to subvert idealism, that's corrupting. Enabling such beings is a step away from self-determination and moral integrity, and is probably a downward spiral towards evil.
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  21. - Top - End - #111
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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    The problem is that your premises contradict each other.

    Premise 1: Devils

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroGear View Post
    Devils are a race of extra-planar entities from the plane of Hell. Their society is founded on the idea that power is everything, and that souls are power. Therefore, they believe that amassing a vast quantity of souls is the best way to acquire power, closely followed by acquiring riches like gold and silver that can be used as tools to buy souls. They are highly organized, structured, and devious, having mastered methods of manipulation to gain any advantage they can. They are masters at brokering deals, lawyering contracts, and weaving plans that take years to come to fruition, but result in massive payouts.
    They are physically more powerful than the average mortal, fully immune to fire and disease, and often possessing magical talent.
    Cruel, vicious, and sly, they will whisper honeyed words in your ears if it gets them closer to owning your soul, as long as you "give" it to them of your own free will.
    Premise 2: The society

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroGear View Post
    Now imagine that there was a culture that regularly deals with devils all the time, making bargains and using them as witnesses for deals and possibly as judges. Additionally, some devils make up military units according to their contracts, helping bolster the forces of the city.
    Would such a society still be considered "evil"?
    I mean, the people there worship High-ranking Devil lords, willingly make offerings to them, summon and make deals with devils out of their own free will, many of which don't demand their soul as payment.
    The society has laws, enforces order, treats people according to the letter of the law, and doesn't go out to raid people for blood sacrifices. Sure, criminals are handed over to the Devils because they broke the law, though many lesser crimes tend to result in milder punishments such as forced labor or beatings, but executions are only reserved for the worst offenders.
    Premise 3: A "Normal" City (added afterwards)

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroGear View Post
    I want to know if it's possible for a city or village run by these beings (having set themselves up as the main religion) would be able to function as a healthy society (aka, a city that we would se as "good" or "neutral")?
    Per Premise 1, devils are master negotiators, who are cunning and efficient. Their goals in a negotiation would be (1) maximize the souls they receive; and (2) minimize the time and effort of what they give up for those souls. They are ruthless, so at best, they don't care if you get what you want in the deal, and at worst, if you fail to protect yourself contractually, you deserve everything you get.

    Per Premise 2, in the agreement with the city, the devils are giving up quite a bit of time and effort: devils are acting as witnesses, sometimes judges, and make up some of the military force. What are they getting in return? *Some* criminals are handed over to them. Per Premise 3 (well-run city), there isn't a large number of criminals, or souls, for the devils involved.

    The agreement as drafted does not make sense. The devils' perspective in any negotiation is "how can I get more out of this deal while offering less". This is inconsistent with a deal in which devils provide substantial services and receive very little in exchange.

    Even assuming something like what you described *was* put in place, the devils should be plotting to find a way to get more. Devils are nothing if not *ambitious*.

    If I were a devil, I would be tempting people left, right and centre to get them onto the city council, where they would negotiate a *better* deal (as in, better for the devils). Maybe I would bolster an external threat to the city, under the premise that the city would be tempted to renegotiate if it were faced with an existential threat. These are all ruthless tactics. But they contradict Premise 3.

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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by patchyman View Post
    Devils are nothing if not *ambitious*.
    I would say devils believe more in ambition than power. Their fodder the nupperibos are the ones among them that did not have ambition.

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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    I do kinda get OP's point. If the city either self-destructs in short order or else is so horrible that everybody leaves, it isn't worth the time it took to corrupt.

    However, other LE cities exist, and don't immediately collapse due to infighting and/or flight. Since such a city would both feel more comfortable for devils and encourage more mortals towards LE modes of thinking (which gives their souls to hell after they die), the devils would do everything in their power to inspire the city that way.

    And while it isn't a guarantee that the devils would succeed - there's always some slim chance that the mortals would turn out to be intrinsically good-natured and supportive of each other even in the most trying of circumstances - I consider positive results unlikely at best. I'd think the same thing if the soul trade and the Always Evil nature of fiends were off the table, and the city were "just" wholly controlled by an LE organized crime syndicate.
    Last edited by Anymage; 2019-09-04 at 03:59 PM.

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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    If it's ok that I kinda add a bit more of a reasoning behind why I started this thread, I'd first like to thank the past couple of posts for being more clear about why the likelihood of a Devil run city would not turn out "good". I accept that while there is a very slim chance the city might veer into "neutral" territory, almost every time such a city would end up being "evil".

    One of the things that has bothered me about much of D&D and Pathfinder is the alignment system. While it is a useful tool for beginners, the system seems to be used more commonly as a set of rules rather than the guidelines they are intended to be. That also extends to the planar entities: Celestials are always "Good", Fiends are always "Evil", Elementals are always "Neutral", etc.
    It's always bothered me that there were no real societies built around the concept of worshipping entities other than established gods, and it kinda made sense that Devils could and would set themselves up as divine beings to add to their power, considering the power that churches actually have in fantasy settings.
    Sadly, the only real example of a city that allowed fiendish influence was Cheliax, and that one is labeled as "Lawful Evil".
    I've seen several stories about cities that were fully run by the Mob, and to a point, Devils are kinda like that in the fantasy setting with a bit of lawyer, broker, and supernatural soul hoarding mixed in. I just kinda wanted to know if anyone thought the possibility of a healthy society of Devil Worshippers could exist, and it seems that the answer is a resounding "no" unless one takes away the need to gain souls over personal power.
    Thank you for putting up with my interjections, and I'm sorry about the strife I caused in the process.
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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anymage View Post
    I do kinda get OP's point. If the city either self-destructs in short order or else is so horrible that everybody leaves, it isn't worth the time it took to corrupt.
    Who says anyone is allowed to leave.

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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    Arenít these kinds of cities described in the fiendish codex?
    Last edited by Kane0; 2019-09-04 at 11:52 PM.

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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Envyus View Post
    Who says anyone is allowed to leave.
    They can check out any time they like...
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    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroGear View Post
    It's always bothered me that there were no real societies built around the concept of worshipping entities other than established gods, and it kinda made sense that Devils could and would set themselves up as divine beings to add to their power, considering the power that churches actually have in fantasy settings.
    Not quite sure what you mean here as non-gods are worshiped in D&D and Pathfinder settings all the time. There are all manner of cults and other religious setups dedicated to archdevils, archdemons, great old ones/outer gods, archfey, nature spirits, elemental lords, and things that aren't divine entities at all like abstract concepts or philosophies. And in both D&D and Pathfinder, archdevils can even grant spells to their faithful, though in PF Asmodeus is a true deity anyway (and a major one at that.)

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroGear View Post
    Sadly, the only real example of a city that allowed fiendish influence was Cheliax, and that one is labeled as "Lawful Evil".
    Part of the problem is that there's a credibility gap. When you call fantasy creatures "devils", especially if that fantasy is D&D, that heavily connotes certain behaviors and motivations; take those away and what you're left with isn't really a devil, even if you're still attempting to call it that.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroGear View Post
    If it's ok that I kinda add a bit more of a reasoning behind why I started this thread, I'd first like to thank the past couple of posts for being more clear about why the likelihood of a Devil run city would not turn out "good". I accept that while there is a very slim chance the city might veer into "neutral" territory, almost every time such a city would end up being "evil".

    One of the things that has bothered me about much of D&D and Pathfinder is the alignment system. While it is a useful tool for beginners, the system seems to be used more commonly as a set of rules rather than the guidelines they are intended to be. That also extends to the planar entities: Celestials are always "Good", Fiends are always "Evil", Elementals are always "Neutral", etc.
    It's always bothered me that there were no real societies built around the concept of worshipping entities other than established gods, and it kinda made sense that Devils could and would set themselves up as divine beings to add to their power, considering the power that churches actually have in fantasy settings.
    Sadly, the only real example of a city that allowed fiendish influence was Cheliax, and that one is labeled as "Lawful Evil".
    I've seen several stories about cities that were fully run by the Mob, and to a point, Devils are kinda like that in the fantasy setting with a bit of lawyer, broker, and supernatural soul hoarding mixed in. I just kinda wanted to know if anyone thought the possibility of a healthy society of Devil Worshippers could exist, and it seems that the answer is a resounding "no" unless one takes away the need to gain souls over personal power.
    Thank you for putting up with my interjections, and I'm sorry about the strife I caused in the process.
    Organized Crime Organizations (OCOs) are like a parasitic government; they siphon resources from a community and provide a limited array of services that are illegal or unavailable. To do their thing there can't be institutions strong enough to rally to fight the mob, there can't be influential people speaking loudly against the mob, there can't be moral people saying "no" to mob offers.

    Ideally there are no legal institutions that are not compromised by the mob itself, but the institutions have to function well enough that the people are able to function (and earn money the mob siphons away) and the mobsters don't have to go out of pocket to keep the infrastructure running. Mobsters have no interest in things breaking down so far it's hard for them to get cash. It also useful if society has layers...wealthy people to sell expensive services to and extort, very poor people to exploit the bodies of, and lots of people in the middle who are constantly leeched for money.

    If possible, an OCO wants people that are productive and generally content with their day-to-day...but at any given time some of them are desperate and/or frightened, and thus vulnerable to what the mob demands from them, and everyone else in the society has learned to look away and provide no aid. That last bit is important, bece on a regular basis the OCO, or just a member of the OCO, will do something that destroys someone...take everything they have, hurt or kill them, force them into a criminal act.

    Devils are not identical to mobsters, but they are also driven by pursuit of gain and advantage, and their society also includes a friction between collective benefit and individual benefit that makes it unstable.

    In folklore and fiction devils are angels that have fallen because of hubris (Pride) or the fruits of hubris (the other deadly sins), not because they are made of evil. Their fall, their infighting, and their pursuit of mortals all tie to that overweening entitlement. Their drives and infighting are of a wider variety than the basic stuff crime lords want, but what is the same is that devils have sort-of agreed to a system of how to collaborate and distribute spoils...but each one believes they should get more of the spoils.

    I would propose that devils in that society or a similar one have a similar incentive to the mob to have their subjects live in a functional but never entirely healthy society.

    Devils' use of "law" always hinges on a single conceit: if it is agreed to, I am permitted to. A devil never has to take a soul to Hell, they are permitted to. That they should not do it because it is cruel is beside the point, they will not stint themselves. A devil loves the law as long as the law gives the devil leverage. It suits devils' preferred methodology (agreements that have force of law) and ends (whatever impulse they're sating) to operate within a people desensitized to abuse of power so long as it's "legal" and are comfortable with, or just numb to, the letter of the law being gamed to violate the spirit of the law. It also helps if the population are unsympathetic to individuals being exploited in general.

    A society where people are not as a whole in desperate need or fear, but have learned to look away from individuals and subgroups that have reached a place of desperation and fear, is a society where devils will always have marks, whether strictly for soul-collecting or for more general exploitation.

    Cheliax is a good example of such an unhealthy society--intrigue-rotted aristocracy, cruel legal system, slavery--built to devil specifications. The Nine Hells of Baator is another example, where the major devils vie to control as many lesser devils and petitioners are possible, such that there's constant jockeying.

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    Default Re: Can a society of Devil Worshipers be anything other than Evil?

    It's always bothered me that there were no real societies built around the concept of worshipping entities other than established gods, and it kinda made sense that Devils could and would set themselves up as divine beings to add to their power, considering the power that churches actually have in fantasy settings.
    Thanks for explaining what you wanted out of the system.

    Psyren's right, that PF has a lot of religious activity around non-deities.

    The Pathfinder SRD on Binding Outsiders says Elementals want power and are neutral entities.

    https://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic/varia...ing-outsiders/

    The only source for worship of an Elemental Lord I find is the NE Ymeri

    https://aonprd.com/MonsterDisplay.aspx?ItemName=Ymeri

    So I don't find it outrageous that some society might worship and provide power to an Elemental Lord in return for some extraplanar powers of the sort mentioned for Ymeri. You have that documented source if you require one.

    Such a setup might function like you envisioned for the worship of devils, without the intellectual taint of a devil's origin. An elemental is stated to be a neutral entity who craves power.

    For in game mechanics you might want to read up on PF Occult Rituals which are described as being methods by which nonmagical characters can participate in generating magical effects. They don't always involve sacrifices.

    http://www.d20pfsrd.com/alternative-...occult-rituals

    A society built around providing the power of a church to a neutral entity could presumably remain neutral in method and outlook.
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