Oct 28, 2021 10:36 AM
leareth is captured by Cheliax
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It doesn't appeal to me either, but then, no one has ever accused me of being Good.

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:You know, you should maybe just ask the paladins about what they consider mandatory for Good, versus - not their highest priority. I suspect their standards are more flexible than you are giving them credit for. And they might like you more: 

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If you want me to I will but I've honestly turned my worldview upside-down enough times for one week and don't super want to try to squeeze the kind of Good that's not your kind into it.

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:I am not going to force you to. Though - also you do not have to believe them, or think they are being clever or strategic?: 

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What's the point of trying to understand their beliefs if it's not to believe it?

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Leareth rolls over to stare at her. 

:- So you can predict their decisions?: he sends, finally. :I try to understand the beliefs of all sorts of people even when I think they are wrong about many things!: 

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Oh, I think I do have that kind of understanding of the paladins? I did work alongside them for years. I know what they'll do, even if not how they relate to it and what they believe about it.

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Leareth is pretty sure she doesn't have that detailed a predictive model of them, actually, but he's not going to argue this point any harder. 

:Do you still think that Good is not able to be strategic? Because we could make a bet, if you wanted. On some measurable outcome - whether Iomedae will successfully defeat Asmodeus in Iftel, perhaps?: 

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I think Iomedae is better at it than most of Good? But -

 

You don't have a Ring of Sustenance. That's ridiculous. Cheliax would never in a million years pass up value like that.

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:I think Aroden is working on getting me one? It would not have saved that much time to take yours, and - it would waste a week, in a sense, during which it would not be working for either of us. Also your research time is valuable to me, and your goodwill is valuable. I am unsurprised that Cheliax underweights that, since it seems to run all of its organizational hierarchies on constant fear rather than actual loyalty and shared goals: 

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- giggle. You also seem to imagine that my goodwill requires very indulgent treatment to maintain! Aroden gave me a headband! You have my goodwill for the next decade no matter what else you do! I shouldn't tell you that but I confidently predict you won't go 'oh, convenient, that's exploitable' at all, even though I just told you very directly that you could.

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Leareth chuckles as well. 

:See, Good also has some rules like 'people's property is theirs'. ...Or maybe that is just Law? I find the concepts somewhat hard to separate, personally: 

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Cheliax is Lawful and if they really liked someone they'd say 'we need that for the war effort, so you're in a position to name a high price for it', and if they didn't really like someone they'd take it and then say 'obviously we'll compensate you fairly', and that seems reasonable to me, really. Taking it without compensation would be lawless, but when there's a lot at stake you are allowed to try to get stuff from people!

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:If I thought it was going to be the difference between winning and losing the war, I would buy it from you! But it will barely inconvenience Aroden to obtain them for my core team– oh, I should ask for one for Vanyel, too, he is appallingly bad at feeding himself especially during a war: 

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I noticed that about him. It is, in the Chelish conception, pathetic. She's trying to be not Chelish, since there's no point in only half throwing your lot in with Good, but she's not sure what she's supposed to think about it now.

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:- Wait. Stop. I–: 

Pause. 

:....Can you define 'pathetic'? Because - I think that you have been noticing information, and categorizing it -" 

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It's pathetic to be bad at things. It's especially pathetic to be - bad at things in an idealistic way, bad at things because you want to believe the world is nicer than it is, or because you have some idea you're putting above getting stuff done. 

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Stop. 

 

:- So - do...you think that it is - automatically pathetic to - want to shape the world toward something that - is not its current state....?:

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I mean - it depends? It's not pathetic to go - "I want to learn magic, I'm going to study and try to pass my tests". It's pathetic to go "I'm going to go for the Starstone and become a god", if you have no reason to think you're that special. It's not pathetic to try to keep your mother alive but it's pathetic to be all mopey about it if she dies.

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:I— what does it even mean - to be ‘that special’? …I suppose attaining the Starstone would require a great deal of skill, but if someone attempts it and dies, I do not think ‘pathetic’ is a useful or contentful  description of what went wrong:

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I think it is. They wanted to live in a different world than they actually lived in, a nicer one, so they lied to themselves until it got them killed. That's almost precisely what being pathetic is.

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:Is it pathetic if someone - who is clever enough to think they could become a powerful wizard - spends fifty years preparing to attempt the Starstone, and then tries it while aware they have only a 1% chance of success but they think the upside would be worth it?: 

Leareth shifts position. :...Nevermind, actually. I think that I am getting distracted by arguing over your definition of a word, when - actually I just straightforwardly object to the concept. Which I am sure cannot be surprising to you; you know me at this point: 

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That’s not pathetic, that’s not failing to live in the real world or failing to be an adult. … I know you object but I don’t know how you’d say it, I’d say your objection as “everyone is pathetic but we should just take pity on them about it” but I realize that isn’t how you’d say it.

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...How would he phrase it? It is, somewhat surprisingly to Leareth, not a trivial question to answer. 

 

 

:- I think my objection - or part of it, at least - is that...the world will only get better if people work toward that goal? And it is very difficult work and it takes courage and strength and ambition, and - if most ways that people can want reality to be different than it is, and try to work on that, are considered pathetic, then...that dis-incentivizes people from ever trying to fix things?: 

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I think people are pathetic instead of planning. It’s easier to act like a child and play pretend than to actually admit your position to yourself so you can improve it. If someone is like, I want to own a magic shop sometime, I spend lots of time thinking about how I’ll do it, that’s not pathetic. It’s pathetic if they want to own a magic shop and spend all their time thinking about what cool stuff they’ll sell and not about how they’ll save up the money, precisely because you know after five minutes talking to them that they’ll never have a magic shop.

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