Oct 20, 2020 1:37 AM
magic jewelry people talk shop
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"Wow, those are impressive! Except, uh, how did you make a hairpin that knows what's evil? I mean, how did you define that?"

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"- I don't, I suppose Pharasma does it? It just reads off you the same as Detect Alignment would except it can tell you about specific things you've got in mind and not just your whole life all together. I broke a law for about a decade and I'd rather like to go to Axis now I've cut that out, I wear one -" She taps it on her head; it's gold and jacinth.

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"So, breaking laws affects you in the afterlife? Is that like a divine judgement thing, or more like Axis having a government that doesn't let anyone with a criminal record immigrate? And what's Pharasma, a legislative body?"

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"Divine judgment thing. Pharasma handles that and sends you off wherever you sort, she's a god. Axis has governments, lots of 'em, you can move wherever you like the look of it."

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"Huh. What are all the places people can get sorted? Can people who get sent to one place communicate with the other places? I assume at least some of them can communicate with Ear--I mean, with where the living people are."

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"Axis, Heaven, Hell, Nirvana, Elysium, Maelstrom, Abyss, Boneyard but you can't stay there forever, Abaddon but if you sort neutral evil you're allowed to pick Hell or the Abyss instead I hear. They're all - communicable with in theory, but Axis is the one that lets you go buy lunch and rent a safety deposit box or what have you."

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"The translation magic is making some of those sound pretty ominous."

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"Some of 'em are evil afterlives!"

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"That sounds--not great."

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"Well, yes, this is among the reasons it's inadvisable to be evil."

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"Is there a big published list of what--Pharasma, was it?--considers evil? Because in my world there's a lot of disagreement on that."

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"Uh, I don't think Pharasma publishes a list, but the Osirian government does statistics on who ends up in Hell, and usually it's like they murdered a baby or something."

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"Yeah, okay, murdering babies is widely agreed to be evil. Though, uh, not necessarily what counts as a baby, I guess. If you guys can detect souls, do you know exactly when they attach to people?"

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"No, but getting rid of one isn't understood to be alignment-safe at any particular moment. I guess that could be a weakness of our statistics but honestly some people can't tell they're pregnant for months, you don't want to count on having a one-week window or anything, just have to keep your clothes on till you're married and bringing in enough coin to feed 'em."

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"My world has medicine you can take every day that makes it so you can't get pregnant until you stop taking it. Is that evil too, or has it not been invented?"

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"I have never consulted an herbalist about this because I was posing as a man for a while and then I got engaged the same day I stopped, but you'd want to be really sure it wouldn't kill a baby. Women aren't allowed to buy, say, shapeshifting potions, because those'll kill a baby, and you just can't be that sure you aren't pregnant unless the thing you're doing is not having any sex."

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"I'm pretty sure the pill we have can't make you miscarry even if you take it wrong, it just works or it doesn't. Also, not letting women buy shapeshifting potions sounds kind of excessive? Presumably the woman knows more than the potion seller about whether she's been having sex. Are women also never allowed to, to drink alcohol or do extreme sports or whatever?" Honestly, with evil-afterlife levels of danger hanging over anyone who loses a pregnancy and has it magically labeled their fault, it's a wonder any of them ever try to have kids on purpose.

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"Well, it might be evil for the potion-seller too, see. So if I wanted to shapeshift for some reason I'd go to my husband about it and he'd decide if he trusted me it was a safe time, which a potion-seller who doesn't know me can't very well do, and maybe buy me a potion or maybe only do it if I said some things under a truth spell or something, and that'd be on him if it turns out aiding and abetting lands you in trouble. We're allowed to drink... I think sports aren't illegal but I wouldn't expect to see women at them unless they were adventurer types already."

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"What a difficult set of constraints you're all working under. I guess once you get to the afterlife you have forever to take as many potions as you want--unless people get re-sorted between afterlives or something?"

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"Not routinely, anyway. And yeah, the dead can't have children, though if I wanted to be shaped like a man I'd have done it long ago and I don't think I'll find it much more appealing afterward."

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"Fair enough. What sorts of shapeshifting exist other than changing gender?"

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"Oh, some people can turn into animals and monsters and suchlike. They say the high priestess of Nethys can turn into a dragon, though I can't personally confirm it."

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Margaret suppresses about eighty percent of a laugh. "That's cool. Some people in my world have two forms too, though it's not public knowledge there."

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"Huh, why not? Seems like that'd make it less useful."

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"Yeah, it's pretty annoying having to hide it. I don't know how it ended up as a secret originally, but now a lot of people are worried that making critters public knowledge will freak the humans out and they'll, I don't know, start a war or something."

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