General Thaumaturge Guidelines

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General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby Rias » Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:38 pm

Not happy with how it's formatted and presented, but here's my current draft of the guidelines that all thaumaturges are expected to follow. Expect tweaks and additions - there's no claim that this is writen-in-stone immutable scripture.

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Above all, a thaumaturge must have compassion. Everything they are is built upon this one foundation.

A thaumaturge must cultivate the following traits:
Compassion
Humility
Kindness
Modesty
Respect
Tolerance
Temperance

A thaumaturge must avoid the following:
Apathy
Malice
Avarice
Envy
Lust
Insobriety
Arrogance
Opulence
Gossip

As a Monk or Templar, understand that whether you want it or not, you are a prominent representative of the Church of Light. Think long and hard about this. Everything you do will reflect upon the Church. Many people will assume that if you do something or act a certain way, that your actions are accepted and condoned by the Church. At the same time, many will be waiting for you to make a misstep so that they can cast criticisms and accusations of hypocrisy. This is an -enormous- responsibility, and not to be taken lightly. You will undoubtedly need to make many decisions that go against your personal desires and impulses in order to undertake this responsibility. Sacrifices will be required. Carefully consider your attitude and actions with this in mind - you will be under constant scrutiny and judgment by both those without and within the Church. Please act respectfully and respectably, follow the disciplines and guidelines you are given, and understand that disciplinary actions may be taken in regards to this fact. Those who refuse to understand or comply with this important facet of life as a Monk or Templar are likely to be released from their position.

Dedication: Being a Monk or Templar is not a hobby - it is a dedicated way of life. Members should spend the majority of their time seeing to their primary duties. If one is rarely seeing to their duties, their membership will be questioned and reviewed by leadership, to say nothing of any effects on one's Inner Light.

Modesty and Avoidance of Avarice: No activities should be engaged in that solely promote wealth and material gain, with no practical benefit to others. The following are examples of things that should be avoided:
- Acquisition, production, and selling of luxury goods. This includes activities such as lapidary and jewelry-crafting.
- Hoarding wealth. If you find yourself with an excess of riln that exceeds your costs of living, put it to good use, or donate it to those who can do so. Hoarding of wealth tends to lead to the desire to increase that wealth, to constantly worry over that wealth, and often leads to the love of money and wealth to the point of greed or a desire to be seen as wealthier than others to satisfy one's own personal pride.
- Opulent equipment and clothing: Keep your clothing and your equipment modest. Opt for utility over impressive luxury attire. Formal wear for special occasions is acceptable, but should be kept relatively modest rather than expensive and opulent.
- Remember: The Church freely provides a thaumaturge with their basic essentials: Food, shelter, training, and basic equipment.

Attitude: A thaumaturge avoids arrogance, smugness, or elitism. In particular, one does not assume that because one is a member of the Monastic Order or Knights Templar that one is better than anyone else. This will lead swiftly to arrogance, judgment, and lack of tolerance, will dim one's own Inner Light, and will also reflect poorly on one's organization and the Church as a whole. Treat others with compassion and patience. Avoid sarcasm.

Violence and Combat:
- Members of the Monastic Order shall not take up arms or seek to engage in combat. Doing so runs against the Monastic Order's thaumaturgic discipline, which is centered around healing and alleviating pain and suffering. Monks will be taught thaumaturgic techniques allowing them to avoid or escape physical combat situations, or to temporarily subdue aggressors.
- Members of the Knights Templar must carefully control their aggression. A Templar is not a mercenary or trained killer. A Templar seeks always to disarm, subdue, and pacify dangerous individuals, rather than solving a problem by inflicting death. In the cases of mindless nethrim and infested, slaying is acceptable. In the case of wild beasts, one should attempt to avoid them. Many can be dangerous, but this is part of the natural order. All animal life and the wilderness should be respected. (It is understood that slaying of fellow man is occasionally unavoidable - however, the Templar cannot dictate the ways of the Inner Light. Slaying of your fellow man, even by accident or out of necessity, may still negatively affect one's Inner Light.)
- Hunting beasts for sport or for profit is forbidden to both orders. Hunting in order to fill immediate dire needs regarding hunger is acceptable, if there are not adequate alternatives available (foraging, traveling to a nearby outpost despite inconvenience, etc).

Initiative: Members are expected to take initiative. Both leadership and membership in the Lost Lands are extremely sparse, and members should not sit idle until leadership instructs them to act. Monks and Templar are expected to be proactive and to seek good activities they can perform or get involved with on their own initiative and planning, rather than doing nothing but ask for and await instructions or suggestions from leadership.

Respect: Thaumaturges must always have respect for their fellow man. This is necessary even if another does not return said respect - a thaumaturge must rise above any petty feelings of scorn or loathing. This does not mean, however, that the thaumaturge must pander to others or allow themselves to be manipulated due to a sense of respect or propriety - the thaumaturge must simply be respectful in their interactions, even in the act of acting contrary to another's wishes.

Self-Respect: A thaumaturge must not only respect others, but himself as well. One should never willingly allow oneself to be debased or degraded. Modesty and humility are admirable, and even necessary, traits for a thaumaturge, but one should never let this overpower one's sense of self-worth and self-respect.

Sacrifice: Members are expected to put aside their personal business if others are in need of help. Do not wait to see if another will assist in hopes of being able to continue with personal business. This suggests one is putting one's own personal desires above the needs of others. Members must do their best to judge what constitutes unnecessary personal business. Again, this should not be translated to thaumaturgers being required to pander to others or allow themselves to be manipulated.

General Rules:
- Thaumaturgic powers should not be used frivolously. To do so diminishes the seriousness with which one regards them, and will in turn diminish the strength of one's Inner Light.
- Carefully moderate your diet in order to keep yourself healthy and capable of seeing to your duties and helping your fellow man to the greatest of your ability.
- Meat should be eaten sparingly.
- Strong drinks should be avoided.
- Never ask for or expect reward for performing your duties.

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AC&A (Anticipated Concerns and Answers)

C: "Rules about what kind of food to eat? About what kinds of clothes to wear? Are we seriously going to lose our light if we wear fancy jewelry?"
A: These rules and guidelines aren't necessarily "if you do/don't do this, you will be lightless." Much of it is guidelines intended to foster the lifestyle and qualities required of a thaumaturge, and to weed out those who aren't cut out to be a thaumaturge. If something like "not being able to wear fancy clothes" is going to prevent your character from otherwise dedicating his/her life to selfless acts of compassion and self-sacrfice, thaumaturgy isn't a good fit for them anyway. "Oh yes, I'd love to join an Order dedicated to putting others' concerns, happiness, and safety above my own because I sincerely care about my fellow man and - oh wait, I can't wear bling or eat steak every night? Nevermind." Was that person's heart really in it, if something so trivial is going to turn them away? A lot of the little things are in fact tests of a person's character.

C: "Aren't you taking this a little too seriously?"
A: I don't think so. This is a roleplay-enforced environment, after all. If you think I am taking it too seriously, that's a good sign that it's probably best for you to seek a different organization to join.

C: "These rules weren't established when I joined. I shouldn't have to adhere to them now."
A: "Welcome to alpha!" But really, it's always been established at least in spirit that these organizations have been based on compassion, modesty, sincere kindness, and so forth. ICly, the Church in the Lost Lands was having a lot of trouble maintaining the thaumaturges they trained. Thus this reform, designed to increase retention and give a clearer idea of what's required of thaumaturges to remain capable of channeling their inner light. Dimmes tried running things more loosely in the Lost Lands than in other regions to allow people a little more freedom of lifestyle, believeing that only those with a good fit would be attracted to thaumaturgic training in the first place, but it proved too lax and lenient, and the majority of thaumaturges ended up struggling and fading away. After much discussion and debate with his fellow leaders (Sharinas, Nuncio, Sophia, etc.), it was decided that a more traditional, disciplined system be implemented. (This system is still a good deal more lax and open-ended than you would find in places such as Ivial)

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Feel free to discuss.
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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby Lavi » Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:17 pm

I love the rules. I think it's going to be challenging, but it's going to be fun to RP all the change in character lifestyle and things. Looking forward to see how people RP the stuff.
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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby Elystole » Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:36 pm

This is pretty heavy. Lots of things for thaumaturges to think about.

My concern, as someone who is friend of a couple of thaumaturges, is whether there's some sort of association effect. For example, if Elystole goes out to deal with a bandit holed up near Shadgard and a Templar comes along to help, will the Templar be in trouble if Elystole rides the bandit down and hangs him from the nearest tree? Are thaumaturges expected to intervene in situations like that? What if Elystole decides to help with a Templar task and he kills those bandits? Are Monks allowed to travel with and heal people who are engaged in activities that thaumaturges can't participate in?

Are thaumaturges allowed to cook meat for other people if they don't eat it themselves? Is just handling pelts, meats, or other things problematic?

Are they allowed to help their friends with their work (including things like lapidary) if the thaumaturges don't profit from it and just want to be helpful?

What if someone gives a thaumaturge an expensive, even luxurious, gift? Are they supposed to pawn it? Or is it only problematic if the shiny thing makes them covetous? Or if the relationship crosses the line from "this is a gift from a friend" to "my friend just keeps giving me all these nice things I can't get for myself, wink-wink, nudge-nudge"?

Just a few thoughts that come to mind. I guess I'm wondering where things cross the line from best practices that foster the Inner Light to rules and legalism. From there it's a short trip to Lawful Stupid, obsessing over whether or not everything is by the book, and doing things like pawning a family heirloom that a grateful peasant gave you and giving the riln to a beggar because shinies are sinful. I see a big difference between "If you are looking to develop your Inner Light, then I recommend abstaining from meat and hunting so that you develop a better appreciation for life" and "You better not eat that chicken soup your friend made you because you were sick or else." Or "Avarice is one of the quickest, surest ways for a thaumaturge to fall, so we recommend living modestly" and "It's bread and sackcloth for you, otherwise you're falling into temptation."
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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby Vitello » Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:28 am

What about fish?

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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby Gad » Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:49 pm

Mine for sale.

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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby preiman » Wed Jun 25, 2014 3:10 pm

I like the new guidelines. It actually makes me want to make a monk even more. though considering my more prominent alts, I am not sure if this is a thing I would be permitted let alone should do.
either way really nice job.
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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby Rias » Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:47 am

C: "If Elystole goes out to deal with a bandit holed up near Shadgard and a Templar comes along to help, will the Templar be in trouble if Elystole rides the bandit down and hangs him from the nearest tree? Are thaumaturges expected to intervene in situations like that?"
A: No. They're not going to be punished for the actions of others. Thaumaturges are not in any way required to try and tell other people how to live their lives, or to reprimand people over ethics and morality. However, if they're constantly going along with people just so another can be the one to "do the dirty work" that could eventually build into an issue.

C: "What if Elystole decides to help with a Templar task and he kills those bandits?"
A: The Templar should explain to anyone offering their help that their task is to subdue and capture/drive off, not to kill. If the "helpers" continually ignore that and just go straight to killing each time, the Templar should reconsider bringing them along for future such tasks. Again, Thaumaturges won't be punished for the actions of others. If they continually bring people along to do the killing for them and thereby circumnavigate their own restrictions, however, it'll be a problem. There's a line between "I can't control other people's actions" and "I bring them along so they can do the stuff I'm technically supposed to be against".

C: "Are Monks allowed to travel with and heal people who are engaged in activities that thaumaturges can't participate in?"
A: Depends on the motives of the other people. If they're off to stir up and/or slaughter and loot people that would otherwise not be a threat (this would include groups that are reclusive and only hostile if approached on their home land, like Hyra) the Monk should probably decline. Going along with troublemakers and saying "I'm not doing anything directly - I'm just here to heal" isn't going to work very long. If someone's been tasked to cull infested or nethrim, or drive off bandits, or other similar "factions" that are frequently troubling the good people of the Lost Lands, the monk's fine going along and healing.

C: "Are thaumaturges allowed to cook meat for other people if they don't eat it themselves?"
A: They can cook and even eat meat themselves. Their guidelines just say to eat meat sparingly. That doesn't mean meat is not to be touched, or that they should never eat it. Just don't eat steak for every dinner.

C: "Is just handling pelts, meats, or other things problematic?"
A: Nope.

C: "Are they allowed to help their friends with their work (including things like lapidary) if the thaumaturges don't profit from it and just want to be helpful?"
A: It'd be better to just stay away from the "no practical use" exercises. With the meat thing, people use it for food. With pelts, the product can be used for clothing, armor, basic useful pieces like leather strips, etc. With lapidary/jewelrycrafting, the products are little more than expensive pretties.

C: "What if someone gives a thaumaturge an expensive, even luxurious, gift? Are they supposed to pawn it? Or is it only problematic if the shiny thing makes them covetous? Or if the relationship crosses the line from "this is a gift from a friend" to "my friend just keeps giving me all these nice things I can't get for myself, wink-wink, nudge-nudge"?"
A: There's always the option of respectfully declining the gift. Use these very guidelines as your excuse: "Thank you, but unfortunately my Order would frown upon my accepting such a gift."

C: "Alexander's going to be sad to have to give up his sunsteel armor."
A: Sunsteel isn't a useless or fopppish commodity. It's extremely useful in the efforts against the nethrim, which the Templar specialize in. Now if it was overly fancy/ornate armor that said "Look at me, look how fine and expensive my armor is" with studded gemstones or other gawdy stuff, it'd be a problem, just as it would with any material. Sunsteel and Celestium (and other expensive materials) are not discouraged. Yes, they have significant monetary value, but they also have significant practical uses directly related to the Templar's primary duties which are completely unrelated to their riln value. In short: Expensive thing are not a problem. Expensive things that are expensive for the sake of being expensive/showy/social status indicators are.

C: (Various comments about thaumaturges wearing sackcloth, or threadbare, or other intentionally uncomfortable/low-quality clothing).
A: Modesty does not mean poverty. Attire can look nice and still be modest. What thaumaturges should avoid is foppish and gawdy attire. If it's loud and attention-grabbing and luxuriant and says "Look at me!" then it's not modest. You're fine wearing a nice black suit and bowtie to a formal event at Haiban. Just don't have solid gold buttons, ruby-studded cufflinks, glittery gemstones, etc.

C: Can we still do mining?
A: Sure. If your mining activity overshadows your Templar/Monk duties, however, there could be a problem (this isn't restricted to mining, but any alternative activity). This will be less complicated when mines are overhauled to be based on regional properties, rather than random grab-bags of every mineral/gem under the sun and lots and lots of gems. If you're mining just to get all those shiny gemstones, yes, that's an issue. Metals can be used in all sorts of activities and industries useful to your fellow man, so there's no harm in seeking those and providing them to society by selling at the market. If you become a super rich mining baron, remember the guidelines about hoarding wealth - find a good use to put all that riln to, or find someone/an orginzation to donate it to.

C: "Are thaumaturges allowed to have hobbies?"
A: Yep. Just don't let them overshadow your primary duties.

C: So if my thaumaturge accidentally kills someone while trying to subdue/drive off/capture/escape - say, a highwayman - is that going to be an issue?
A: It could affect your light, but you won't go "extinguished" from one accidental killing, nor will your "dimming" be permanent if it was truly an accident and you don't keep on "accidentally" killing people. Yes, this will make some combat situations more complicated for Templar because they can't just say "Run him through and move on."

C: "What would be considered a frivolous use of one's inner light?"
A: Stunning someone with a Minor Beacon because they were teasing you, showing people how "cool" your new Radiance spell is by casting it even though there isn't any need to do so, impressing people at parties with your fancy thaumaturgic abilities, etc. They should be used when directly useful for their intended purpose. Don't stay up late at night worrying about when you can use your abilities, as I'm not overly worried about this - I've only seen it happen a couple times.

C: Can Spear of Light or Sun Disc be used against non-nethrim?
A: Sure. It's not "bad" to fight off infested or attacking bandits by zapping them with searing light any more than it is to chop at them with a sword.

C: "Dietary restrictions and the maintaining of food stores- Is it allowed for one to keep a certain amount of food to cook for others?"
A: Food storage isn't bad at all. Keeping a supply of food for occasions when large groups gather, for emergencies, or in order to provide for others need is a good thing! Wanting to feed people translates (to me, at least) to a desire to help and nourish others. Pretty good activity for a thaumaturge.

C: (Anticipated) Can we cook big "fancy" meals with extra ingredients and spices and stuff, or do they need to be modest, too?
A: I think fancy cooking is just fine.

C: "What would fall under the category of an acceptable amount of training?"
A: I'm not sure I'm understanding this one correctly. Train all you want, again, as long as it doesn't overshadow your primary duties. If your Templar is doing nothing but sitting in the barracks all day every day sparring, when there are robbers, nethrim, infested, and other threats out there to be driven back, there's a problem. If your monk is doing nothing but build furniture day after day to train up those skill points without performing any healing and other relief-associated duties, there's a problem.

C: Do we have to be logged in frequently in order to meet the "dedication" requirements?
A: No. When your thaumaturge is logged in, however, they should try to spend some of their time seeing to their primary duties. I'm not saying you should set aside your alts or that you have to be logged in at least 3 days a week, or anything like that. Play your thaumaturge character however often you want. I understand that sometimes you'll log in just for a short amount of time, or that something will be going on like a social event, or a merchant, or something, and you might not have time to go do that nethrim culling task during this playsession. That's fine. The bottom line is, if we notice over time that your character is never attending to their primary duties when you're logged in, that'll be an issue. This doesn't mean you should stress over doing X number of tasks each playsession and worry that if you don't, you'll get kicked out.

C: Intimate relationships/marriage - allowed?
A: This is something I forgot to address in the original post. Yes, they're absolutely allowed. Love is often seen as a powerful example of compassion as one puts the needs of the one they love above their own. On the other hand, a relationship of lust where one puts one's own desires above their partner's and just uses their partner to make themselves feel good, would be a bad thing. A thaumaturge should seek a healthy relationship, and not one that would prevent them from seeing to their duties or that would sway them to go against their own expected code/guidelines.

C: What if I don't want to - or don't think I can - abide by all these guidelines? Can I leave the Monks/Templar?
A: Yes. It'll require some special handling and roleplay, but it can be done gracefully, without "falling" or being kicked out.
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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby Rias » Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:53 am

C: Can we not ever drink "strong drinks?"
A: If you're at a dinner where they're serving wine, or out at a place where the only drink option is an ale or grog (Emleth, heh heh), go ahead. Just avoid it when possible, and don't get sloshed.
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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby Rias » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:25 am

Elystole wrote:Just a few thoughts that come to mind. I guess I'm wondering where things cross the line from best practices that foster the Inner Light to rules and legalism. From there it's a short trip to Lawful Stupid, obsessing over whether or not everything is by the book, and doing things like pawning a family heirloom that a grateful peasant gave you and giving the riln to a beggar because shinies are sinful. I see a big difference between "If you are looking to develop your Inner Light, then I recommend abstaining from meat and hunting so that you develop a better appreciation for life" and "You better not eat that chicken soup your friend made you because you were sick or else." Or "Avarice is one of the quickest, surest ways for a thaumaturge to fall, so we recommend living modestly" and "It's bread and sackcloth for you, otherwise you're falling into temptation."


An understandable concern. This isn't going to be like the Pharisees and the Law of Moses by any means - You're not going to get into trouble for leaving your eggs too close to the fire on Lightsday and it turning out they got a little cooked (that was making an example of a Biblical concept by the way - CLOK's Church of Light has no issues with cooking on Lightsday or any other day). I hope my last batch of C&A has helped assuage any worries like this.

On the other hand, I will find ways to torment people who adopt the attitude of "they're just guidelines, I can still do whatever the heck I want and be fine so I'll just ignore them." The guidelines are there to help foster one's Inner Light. Ignore the guidelines and you'll end up having problems with your Inner Light.
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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby jilliana » Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:37 pm

Thank you Rias for taking the time to address some of our concerns.
I must admit that I was caught by surprise by several of the guidelines, but I'm sure that reacctions to some of them weren't unexpected either. This will certainly be an interesting time for a few of us.
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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby Elystole » Thu Jun 26, 2014 6:02 pm

Rias wrote:
Elystole wrote:Just a few thoughts that come to mind. I guess I'm wondering where things cross the line from best practices that foster the Inner Light to rules and legalism. From there it's a short trip to Lawful Stupid, obsessing over whether or not everything is by the book, and doing things like pawning a family heirloom that a grateful peasant gave you and giving the riln to a beggar because shinies are sinful. I see a big difference between "If you are looking to develop your Inner Light, then I recommend abstaining from meat and hunting so that you develop a better appreciation for life" and "You better not eat that chicken soup your friend made you because you were sick or else." Or "Avarice is one of the quickest, surest ways for a thaumaturge to fall, so we recommend living modestly" and "It's bread and sackcloth for you, otherwise you're falling into temptation."

An understandable concern. This isn't going to be like the Pharisees and the Law of Moses by any means - You're not going to get into trouble for leaving your eggs too close to the fire on Lightsday and it turning out they got a little cooked (that was making an example of a Biblical concept by the way - CLOK's Church of Light has no issues with cooking on Lightsday or any other day). I hope my last batch of C&A has helped assuage any worries like this.

On the other hand, I will find ways to torment people who adopt the attitude of "they're just guidelines, I can still do whatever the heck I want and be fine so I'll just ignore them." The guidelines are there to help foster one's Inner Light. Ignore the guidelines and you'll end up having problems with your Inner Light.

Since you mentioned the Law, I'll use a real-life example: Kosher laws.

A rabbi from Indianapolis was invited as the guest of honor to dine with someone at their home. They said they were going to make the most kosher meal possible for him: They were going to have fish, and they were going to cook it using one-use aluminum pans since their cookware wasn't kosher. He and his wife joined them for a nice, tasty meal, and halfway through the meal, the rabbi says, "This is really good. What is it?" and his host replies, "It's mako shark." Mako shark isn't kosher; it has fins, but it doesn't have scales. He may as well have been eating pork. So what did the rabbi do?

A Reform rabbi wouldn't care in the first place because they generally don't see the kosher laws as having any value.
An Orthodox rabbi would have ceased eating immediately, likely wouldn't have ate any else due to contamination, and then have gone and purified himself.
This was a Conservative rabbi, so he looked at his wife who had stopped eating and was watching him, very purposefully took another bite, she nodded, and they continued eating. Why? Because while the kosher laws have value to the Conservative movement and he tries to eat kosher whenever possible, he wasn't about to humiliate his host, who had gone to great lengths to provide a kosher meal in a good faith effort, over the mistake. The laws are valuable not because God is angry if you eat shark, but because thinking about the laws sanctifies the act of eating, gets you to think about where your food comes from, and reminds you of the cost of your food (a lot of the rules don't deal with ritual purity but humane slaughter and not causing needless distress to the animals).

And that is what I'd like to see with the Church of Light, and with your recent posts, Rias, I think that is what you're going for too. Dimmes tried the Reform route of letting people do their own thing, and that wasn't working out, so he's tightening things up. Here are the rules, which have always been here but we haven't been paying attention to them, and now it is time to follow them. But it isn't that if you break the rules that Serafina is going to be angry and revoke your Inner Light (yes, I know that she doesn't do that anyways, but laws need an authority figure backing them up), it's that by ignoring the guidelines you're not thinking about their deeper meaning.

Thaumaturges aren't supposed to eat a lot of meat (and ideally no meat) not because there's something wrong with meat. It's because to get meat an animal had to die, which means that animal more than likely suffered, and if you're scarfing down a meat meal all the time then you probably aren't taking that suffering seriously. If you were, as a thaumaturge, you probably wouldn't be eating meat all the time. Similarly, if you're wrapping yourself up in silks and jewels, you probably aren't really thinking about the suffering of those people who can't even afford a good meal, which your bling could purchase a hundred times over.

It's the apathy towards suffering that is the problem, not the meat or the jewels themselves.
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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby Rias » Thu Jun 26, 2014 6:57 pm

Beautifully said.
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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby Elystole » Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:18 pm

The other nice thing about the new guidelines is that it shows how the Church of Light is a religion and not just a humanitarian organization, which is something that I've wondered about. I know a few people have asked how to roleplay being a member of the Church without there being formal services or something. Here's your answer: Live by the guidelines even if you're not a thaumaturge. I imagine there's a lot of people who like what the Church teaches and tries to abide by those guidelines to cultivate some of those qualities, like compassion, within themselves even if they never hope to be a Monk or Templar.
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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby Elystole » Fri Jul 11, 2014 6:10 pm

Rias wrote:Members of the Knights Templar must carefully control their aggression. A Templar is not a mercenary or trained killer. A Templar seeks always to disarm, subdue, and pacify dangerous individuals, rather than solving a problem by inflicting death. In the cases of mindless nethrim and infested, slaying is acceptable. In the case of wild beasts, one should attempt to avoid them. Many can be dangerous, but this is part of the natural order. All animal life and the wilderness should be respected. (It is understood that slaying of fellow man is occasionally unavoidable - however, the Templar cannot dictate the ways of the Inner Light. Slaying of your fellow man, even by accident or out of necessity, may still negatively affect one's Inner Light.)

So it's been a few weeks since the rules came out, and the more I think about it the more this rule really bugs me. It's actually made Elystole think less of the Church and the Templar specifically because it makes them hopelessly naive. Which is unfortunate as one of my earliest memories of the game and something that really set in Elystole's mind that the Church is a good organization is when he teamed up with Alexander and Gad to take down Golyat. He was impressed that Alexander took care of the problem instead of doing something Lawful Stupid like challenging Golyat to a duel or letting him live with a warning.

There is no shortage of examples from stories and reality that I can point to that illustrates the fact that when you spare the villain they don't turn over a new leaf and join the good guys. They just go out and do what they were doing before you caught them. In many cases they go out and do something worse because now they have something to prove ("I'm not going to let those Templar intimidate me! This'll show them!"). How many of those highwaymen that the Templar have purposefully allowed to escape go on to steal, mug, or kill again?

Or, as I recently asked one of the creators of a webcomic that's dealing with this very issue this week, "How many innocent people just died because (the hero) wussed out?"

Does that weigh on a Templar's conscience as much as killing a highwaymen? Does that dim their Inner Light?
You overhear the following rumor:
"I saw one of those Shadgard folk come barging into Grif's and shoot one of the patrons on the spot. Shadgard must be a pretty rough place with such outlaws running rampant."

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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby jilliana » Fri Jul 11, 2014 7:34 pm

That's one thing that Jilliana has to struggle with. It feels like she's just slapping their hand for doing things to men who think nothing of carrying weapons and possibly using them to hastle or even kill travelers.
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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby Rias » Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:17 pm

Key words: "Carefully control"

I don't know how widespread this kind of thinking is, but as for myself, I find there are multiple versions of Lawful Stupid. One is as you've alluded to in this thread previously - those who bicker and quibble over minutae, who let the letter of the law get in the way of the spirit of the law, who make immensely and obviously stupid decisions in extraordinary situations because "that's what the rules say". Another version I see is the type who consider themselves the embodiment of the law - "I can act as I wish, for I act for the greater good." Oh look - this man is a petty thief. He's shown obvious signs of selfish greed at the expense of others. Best to run him through now, rather than risk his potentially growing into something more dangerous. Does that sound horrible to you? (Exaggeration to make a point)

If the Templar are allowed a "kill em all and let Undm sort it out" attitude, I would find that rather monstrous, particularly for a branch of an organization dedicated to compassion, kindness, and trying to find good in all men. That attitude is one of vigilantism, and unaccepatable for the Knights Templar.

Regarding the impact on Inner Light - taking the life of most any sentient living creature appears to have a negative impact, regardless of the intent or reason. It's as simple as that. Having a clear conscience does not protect one from such results (otherwise we'd have a whole slew of overzealous tyrant thaumaturges from all those people who think they're holier, better, and wiser than everyone else). Does this mean a Templar should therefore never ever kill? No. There are times when it can be deemed the better choice, and there are times it happens accidentally. It may affect their light, but this doesn't necessarily mean it's going to result in disciplinary action in their organization. Accidents happen. Some situations are so dire that a villain may have to simply be killed. If Walter the Wicked has performed unspeakable acts and has proven difficult or impossible to capture (or has escaped), sure - it may be better to just off him at this point, rather than wait for him to get away again and continue to commit his unspeakable horrors.

Now let's examine the highwaymen tasks, as an example. First of all, you have to take into consideration we don't yet have a mechanical way to take NPCs prisoner and deliver them to some kind of authority in town somewhere. This would be the ideal method of taking care of highwaymen, rather than simply running them all through, wiping your blade, and telling yourself it was for the greater good. As mentioned, this isn't currently possible (will be at some point, yay). Now we also have to consider that these highwaymen tend to run away when they're seriously wounded. Barring the fact that having severly wounded feet/legs doesn't prevent them from just running off as it probably should (not that you can take them prisoner yet anyway), you should also note that, as these highwaymen aren't overconfident, mentally unstable, always-returning Undying individuals, I like to think that most of these highwaymen face a very real brush with death/sound butt-whooping and decide to re-evaluate their professions. Obviously this isn't always going to be the case, but I think it's safe to assume that most highwaymen who get maimed and trounced on the job don't often come back to that job again. These aren't big gangs where they can go get another group of men and just try it again, "no biggie." These are small solitary groups of opportunists, a few close pals who have up till now been able to get away with bullying travelers on the road. At this point, they've realized holy crap, we got our butts whooped, we almost died (and we're not Undying - we dont come back from that!). Time to cut our losses with the highway robbing gig and do something else. Once the mechanic is in, many of them will probably, if disabled or having failed to run away, just put their hands up and say "take me away, this isn't worth dying over."

Now I'll just clarify that Templar are in no way to required to forgive villains, or demand badguys are shown mercy and get second chances, or set them free and trust that the Power of Love will turn them from their evil ways. If there's a seriously dangerous threat out there, and you don't think you're going to be able to subdue or capture them, sure - go for the kill. Better to risk a little hit to your Inner Light and prevent Evil Eddie from further murders. But if a Templar starts just erring on the side of killing because they think it's easier, or more likely to prevent future trouble, etc., they're going to start numbing their own inner light as a result, and that'll make it difficul to maintain their membership as a Templar.

It isn't, "Always let the badguys get away and hope they'll repent." It's "Try to subdue and take the badguys prisoner so you can deliver them to a justice authority, instead of just being a band of killers who slaughter badguys without a second thought." The Templar haven't appointed themselves judges, jury, and executioners. Again, extraordinary cases exist where a Templar may deem that this person is too dangerous to be subdued or captured, and just needs to be killed, but this should actually be something pondered and thought about, rather than "Oh, yeah, I just killed those robbers because there's a chance they might have escaped."

I know, it requires a good amount of thinking, judging situations on your feet, and there's no way you're going to be able do the right thing in every situation so you'll certainly take hits to your inner light now and then. Welcome to a guild with a strong focus on attempted morality and ethics.

Repetitive Note: Thaumaturges aren't expected to successfully follow the discipline of the Inner Light perfectly. They're expected to keep on sincerely trying after they inevitably fail. Those who are rankled when it's indicated they did something "wrong" (i.e. by realizing their light has been dimmed) are going to have a really hard time, because I completely expect it to happen to everyone - most likely on multiple occasions.
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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby Elystole » Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:42 pm

The issue, as I see it, is that highwaymen are not petty thieves. We're not talking about pickpockets. We're talking about people who apparently think nothing about attacking - and killing - Templar. They even taunt the Templar when they show up, so I'd pretty much guarantee that isn't their first time attacking someone with intent to kill. So you're dealing with hardened murderers here - and the orders are to drive them off?

The recidivism rate for criminals who have gone to prison is really high. The rate for violent offenders (as in highwaymen) is 71%. So, no, a brush with death or prison is not enough to make most criminals change their ways. The majority of them get right back to it. The kind of people who think "You know what? Today I'm going to assault some people, take their stuff, kill them if they don't give me their stuff or if I get bored, maybe rape someone, whatever. That sounds like a really good way to pay the bills," don't just pick up a nice nine-to-five after you kick their ass. Yes, it is a game so things can be different, but I think that's why a few of us are looking at that and scratching our heads. It's clashing with our experiences.

And the whole "taking the life of most any sentient living creature appears to have a negative impact, regardless of the intent or reason" thing is sticky in and of itself. Not all infested are mindless. Heck, not all nethrim are mindless (isn't one of the unique qualities of nether that it has, sometimes limited, sentience?). Where's the line drawn? Bandits, brigands, highwaymen, infested, and nethrim all aggro the same and go for the kill. What separates Templar from Monks if their light still gets dimmed when they kill? Are the Templar who are out there smacking cultists around getting their light dimmed right before the big fight with the lich? If not, why not? The cultists are people too. New strategy: Send in the meatbags to make the Templar feel bad about themselves then send in the waves of undead horrors when they can't channel effectively anymore.

Maybe Templar shouldn't even mess with highwaymen. If their Inner Light is primarily for fighting nethrim, and if killing living things (you said they should avoid wild animals too) dims their Inner Light, maybe they should focus on being anti-nethrim shock troops and leave the scumbags to people who can get their hands dirty. I think the guidelines make more sense in general if they're developed strictly for healing or blasting nethrim (there's less conflicting information).
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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby Rias » Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:10 pm

Elystole wrote:the orders are to drive them off?

Since as I mentioned, we don't have a "take an NPC prisoner" mechanic yet, yes. I think between "just wait until someone else deals with it, and hope nobody gets robbed in the meantime" and "they'll live to cause trouble another day, but at least they've been driven off for now", the second is preferable to the first.

And the whole "taking the life of most any sentient living creature appears to have a negative impact, regardless of the intent or reason" thing is sticky in and of itself. Not all infested are mindless. Heck, not all nethrim are mindless (isn't one of the unique qualities of nether that it has, sometimes limited, sentience?). Where's the line drawn?

That's just it. You have to try and analyze situations as they come and think about them, rather than cleanly categorize everything into "these are always okay to kill, these are always not okay to kill." Not everything is black and white. I'm sorry if that makes things harder - or actually, I'm not. I want it to be something that requires actual thought. It can be tough not having some Detect Evil spell to let your paladin know it's okay to slaughter these sentient beings like in D&D and such. I like to play up shades of gray in CLOK in these situations. You're not always going to have a clear indicator.

Are the Templar who are out there smacking cultists around getting their light dimmed right before the big fight with the lich? If not, why not?

They're not, because the Templar aren't slaughtering them. They've got multiple ways of subduing, many that are especially effective against nethrim, tainted, and sorcerers. There's also the fact that Templar are rather well-known for running around in nigh-impenetreble armor, shields, and supernatural healing to back them up. They can take more chances in trying to subdue rather than kill all threats on sight.

Maybe Templar shouldn't even mess with highwaymen. ... maybe they should focus on being anti-nethrim shock troops and leave the scumbags to people who can get their hands dirty.

Mm. Sorry, people - I'd fight to keep you safe from these highwaymen, but there's a chance I might have to deal with some side-effects. Maybe a mercenary will come help instead, if you offer a good enough reward. Good luck.

Is it really so difficult to imagine dealing with criminals - even nasty, dangerous ones - without just going straight to the jugular?

If their Inner Light is primarily for fighting nethrim

It's not. It's especially effective in that capacity, though.
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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby Rias » Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:40 pm

Are the Templar who are out there smacking cultists around

Just a a clarification on something that came to mind as I thought about this - it isn't as if armies of Templar are running around fighting large-scale battles. There are far too few of them to fight large-scale battles on their own.

Not saying you were saying that there were armies or legions comprised fully of Templar, but it made me wonder if some people assumed that.

As I try to stress often, the number of Thaumaturges are very, very few - and Templar are only a portion of thaumaturges. Aside from the PCs and NPCs you can actually see in-game, there are only maybe a handful more that are in the Lost Lands in the unseen assumed NPC population. Even somewhere like Ivial, the Templar numbers are very few.
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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby Elystole » Sat Jul 12, 2014 12:14 am

Rias wrote:Since as I mentioned, we don't have a "take an NPC prisoner" mechanic yet, yes. I think between "just wait until someone else deals with it, and hope nobody gets robbed in the meantime" and "they'll live to cause trouble another day, but at least they've been driven off for now", the second is preferable to the first.

And then there's "Let's deal with this problem and make sure they never kill anyone else ever again. It's too late to do anything about the people they did kill, but we can at least end it now and spare other families future suffering."

What happens to these highwaymen once they are captured? I figure that in most towns, especially Shadgard, they're just hanged. They've already done things that would make them kill-on-sight with the guards, so the end result is the same, only the Templar are passing the buck. Or do they insist that all of the highwaymen they capture be given comfortable cells, three meals a day, and a rehabilitation program?

"I'm really sorry my buddies and I murdered that merchant over his pouch of riln, but I promise we'll never do it again. Can you let us go now? I promise we'll be simple farmers from now on."

Mm. Sorry, people - I'd fight to keep you safe from these highwaymen, but there's a chance I might have to deal with some side-effects. Maybe a mercenary will come help instead, if you offer a good enough reward. Good luck.

Or call someone like Elystole. He'll kill them for free and give the riln he finds to the family who "hired" him since they probably needed that money for food.

Is it really so difficult to imagine dealing with criminals - even nasty, dangerous ones - without just going straight to the jugular?

Yes, because it doesn't work. I absolutely agree that Templar shouldn't be amputating limbs off of pickpockets or killing people who "might" or even "will" turn evil, but that's not what we're talking about. We're not talking about pickpockets or embezzlers as those people run when the cops show up. We're talking about murderers who are actively trying to kill you. We're talking about people who have already killed, are currently trying to kill, and will kill again. They're worse than nethrim and infested because they can think and they know what they are doing. Thing is: They enjoy it. They get off on it.

They're mad dogs, plain and simple, and you put mad dogs down. I consider letting them escape to be mission failure.

Just a a clarification one something that came to mind as I thought about this - it isn't as if armies of Templar are running around fighting large-scale battles. There are far too few of them to fight large-scale battles on their own

I would expect Templar, with these guidelines, to shun large-scale battles entirely. There's too many moving pieces in unit warfare, too much chaos, that while you're trying to disarm people and take prisoners their friends are coming up and stabbing you repeatedly. And then there's that association issue of "I can't kill cultists, but this squad of swordsmen I'm travelling with have no problem tearing through the first wave of meat so that I can focus on the sorcerer." Templar may be self-healing tanks, but the people they run around with are not and those people learn to fight hard and end the fight quickly or they don't live long. It's only the Undying who would be okay with the idea of getting killed while trying to subdue someone. Prisoners are usually those people that somehow survived the otherwise mortal wound you gave them and are still clinging to life when you go through the battlefield a second time.

I get the feeling that you and I are at opposite ends of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. There's nothing wrong with that, and I'm not and will never be part of the Church so I have nothing at stake here. I guess I'm just disappointed: I liked the Church of Light and how it was idealistic in a crapsack world without being naive. Now it's naive and its position is one of getting in the way. Elystole's already received one dirty look and a lecture for shooting some scumbags he found lying in wait on the road when before he could count on Templar to help protect people.
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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby xavier » Sat Jul 12, 2014 9:33 am

I'm going to weigh in on this subject as I have some relatively strong feelings about this templar versus mercenary/rogue/archer issue.

1. I agree with the sentiment that the highwaymen you are sent out to drive off are very much more likely to be the hardened criminal type, rather than the first time offender.

2. since getting disarm, it's been a lot easier for me to RP the fact that I've driven off the enemy without a weapon, that was obviously his best one otherwise why would he use it now he'll have to go find a cheaper less good weapon. This unfortunately is just a bandaid to the situation of driving off the foe.

3. Elystole wasn't being attacked by those highwaymen when I was standing in the room. He saw them and went on the offensive . I know because I was standing in the same room and I wasn't being attacked either, until I attacked them. I think this particular "we'll only be aggressive to the guy sent out to deal with us was implemented because of newbies walking along the road and getting taken out by the stray arrow during a task, not sure.

4. I hope the capture mechanic is implemented soon because that would add a substantial level to this particular situation that would make it a lot more savory. I completely agree with the fact that Templars are not judge, jury and executioner in these tasks. judge was the taskmaster who has deemed it worth the attempt to drive them off to give them the chance to change. (compassion and temperance).

5. the last thing I want to address isthe vigilante versus templar attitude. Templars drive off the foe and give them an opportunity to change, yes this isn't always successful and could potentially result in the same foe turning around and doing his evil again. On the other hand, a vigilante walking into the room and outright slaughtering said criminal really makes the vigilante not much better than the criminal. Does the fact that you only outright murder bad guys make you a good guy? In my personal opinion, no it doesn't. If you can't even be bothered to attempt a resolution that involves the other person live then you have some inside issues to deal with. Please don't take this statement to mean I'm not in favor of actually doing the killing. Where I live we still practice the death penalty and I completely agree with that fact and personally think it should be alittle more widespread, but the key factor in this whole argument is that templars are not judge, jury and executioner. The church as a whole believes in redemption and gray areas. I don't see the church as being a black and white organization, otherwise vigilantes and mercenaries who boldly slaughterhighwaymen would be on the list of targets we are sent out to apprehend too.

6. Netherim and infested being mindless/sentient. Sure there are some sentient infested out there I'm sure. I personally haven't had any encounters with them. Netherim, I take the definition of this word not as "someone who has been tainted by nether" but more to be in lines with "an entity who has let the netherim have complete domain over themselves and pursues the same goals as evil" So for instances, I wouldn't necessarily attack someone who has been tainted (unless had done enough bad to get put on the apprenhend or deal with list). I however will ruthlessly dispatch a putrid cadaver because this person that was has obviously passed beyond the realm ofreturn from the taint and has let it give so much control that it can walk around after he or she died.

I think this about covers all the points I wanted to make, so just as a conclusion. I do think that being a monk/templar, especially templar requires a lot of thought to play successfully because of the situations we can put in. I like the fact that there are consequences to mindlessly killing off highwaymen and i'll freely admit that driving the highwaymen off is more difficult. I have two suggestions that can either be heeded or not as a stopgap solution until the capture mechanic is put in.

1. Institute a counter check of how many successful highwaymen tasks a templar has done and if that number exceeds, um let's say five, in a day, remove those type of tasks from the templars available choices. This way it doesn't give such a seeming appearance of the templars work being utterly without worth.

2. Add a new kind of task that is specifically stated as this particular mercenary/rogue/archer has refused to turn his/her life around. Your job is to deal with this person in a way best judged by you. If you can manage to drive this one into the arms of the law, great. If he/she refuses to give up and the only way to deal with it to kill them, then so be it, you know the consequences.

Make this a multi-step task. talk to a law officer in a town "ask constable about highwayman" he'll acknowledge you and let you know they will be in their assigned positions to capture the bad guy. go out and find the bad guy. beat the badguy to the point where they run off, then trigger a flavor text line of shouts and noise in the direction the bad guy went and that he has been successfully driven off and captured by the law. I've even seriously considered trying to beat highwaymen into unconsciousness just to try and drag them into a town just to see what happens but haven't had any success at this.

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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby preiman » Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:53 am

I really do feel that under no circumstance should the church take on the role of judge. if they bring someone in, and someone else judges them that is a very different thing. however if they are allowed to just say on the road that this person deserves death, then they become something terrible. it's like a cop, if they must kill someone in the line of duty to protect themselves or others then that is regrettable, but if they just say this person is worthless and takes the shot when they don't have to that is monsterous. it is sometimes a thin line, but if you can't walk it, or can't be bothered you shouldn't be doing the job.
on a mechanical note, we really do need a subdue mechanic. a lot of us have wonderful abilities that can knock out or force a person to run, but as things stand now they almost make the task harder to accomplish without killing rather than easier.
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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby jilliana » Sat Jul 12, 2014 2:45 pm

I've been thinking long and hard about this and this is the conclusion that I've come to.

Usually in my day-to-day life I would go for what Rias is trying to go for, and to a large extent, I agree. I'm all about compassion and wanting the next bad guy to come to the conclusion that what he is doing isn't quite so great, thus turning into a life where he will make an effort to do better. If he wants to talk, I'll listen and even help him do something better than stealing from innocent people.

On the other hand, i struggle with this particular aspect of Templar duty because, as I said before, these guys probably aren't just hastling for riln. They are probably doing much, much more. Why else would they carry a shortsword, a dagger and a bow?
I know I'm not judge, jury and executioner, but I can't help but think, "If this man isn't smart enough to let off, another innocent person is going to get hhurt or killed." At this point I'd feel bad that his family member had the misfortune to be related to a fool and that a human life was lost in general, not that his life was lost in particular.

These guys come up to the person with the task and tell them that they'd wish they stayed at home. I don't know about the rest of you, but if someone comes up to me saying that and they are carrying a weapon...heck yeah I'm going to be thinking: "One of us is going to be coming out of this alive!"

Highwaymen spawn the instant their task holder comes into a room. If the task holder passes them up for some reason or other, (and it does happen on occasion) at that point they are free picking for anyone else to kill. These are highwaymen. The fact that they don't attack you and you're not the task holder is just a part of an OOC mechanic.

For all I know, some of these guys could be hoping a Templar instead of a mercenary or an Outrider to come along just so they can continue what they are doing, knowing that all they have to do is run when they get too hurt. I know that if I were a bad guy I wouldn't think about the pearly gates, but my next hit and the easiest way to accomplish it.

I just feel like I'm slapping their hand for doing something that if they were to do it in a town, they'd be hung. That on top of a few other factors I'd rather not get into here is why I'm bypassing that task lately.

I'm sure there will be a compromise somehow and hopefully it comes soon. I don't mind the gray area, but if the gray area results in Templar feeling like meatbags and like they are being taken advantage of, that's another story. The last thing I want is for the Templar and for the church as a whole to be viewed as naive pushovers.
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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby Lae » Sat Jul 12, 2014 2:53 pm

My problem with the way that you're thinking is that you're pretty much saying "well this is what they're thinking, so it's okay if I teach them a lesson or kill them". You don't know what they're thinking or if you've seen them before or will again on a road.

You are given a task, and a specific way to do it, it isn't hard. You trample them once or twice and once they're moderately wounded they take off. This task isn't hard, and basically what the person in a previous post said is pretty spot on. If a police officer viewed a repeat offender like this and treated them as such, they wouldn't be a police officer for very much longer. Just like a templar who figures that they're doing something for the greater good and it ends in a loss of human life, won't be a templar for long if they just keep doing it.

You want to help people? You're helping them by driving off the threat. I'm probably alone in this but I don't see why it's such a big deal. If you are bothered by it, don't do the task until a subdue command is implemented, I'm sure with all the traffic and headache that this thread is getting, it won't be long.
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Re: General Thaumaturge Guidelines

Postby Gad » Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:25 pm

I would just like to apologize for myself and everyone else here who posted any comments with concerns, questions, and disagreements that gave Lae or the GM's a headache.

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