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Jul 06, 2022 8:51 PM
keltham in Osirion; Project Lawful does a pivot
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"Now I'm wondering what happens if we ask Asmodia this question."

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"I think she dislikes killing ten thousand people and also dislikes killing ten people, which seems to me to be a more Lawful though less Evil stance, and will do either of those if sufficiently threatened."

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"No, I mean, does it trigger some strange dath ilani trap inside her?"

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"How could we tell, if she disliked killing small numbers of people as well as large numbers?"

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"If she's doing the thing I'm doing, you'd have to pay her precisely a thousand times as much, to be happy about killing ten thousand people as ten people, or - no, that's wrong, because what do you even do with that much money - you'd need a threat that's a thousand times worse. If she's equally averse to killing ten people and ten thousand, or if she's twice as averse to killing ten thousand, then that's not the - possible dath ilani mental trap I'm experiencing."

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"That makes more sense.  The answer then is simple:  When you require no payment to slay ten mortals to Asmodeus's benefit, but would rather pay a copper yourself to do it, you'll pay then ten gold to slay ten thousand."

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" - right. Well, in that case, then, I will just work on getting to the point where I'd gladly pay a copper to slay ten mortals to Asmodeus's benefit. I'd like to say of course I'd do that but I think actually I wouldn't be glad, I'd just be bothered a very unimportant amount, and as the numbers get bigger the failure gets magnified."

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"Let us turn then to Project Lawful.  I begin by noting that they performed well above the competence bar I would expect from others of their previous rank, training, experience, talent -"

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"- openly announced that they thought Cheliax was a horrible place and they wanted to defect, humiliating us in front of Osirion -"

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"- confusing Osirion -"

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"It seemed to me that Osirion had a rather good idea of what was going on, in fact!"

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"That is a separate issue about which I shall be having a pointed discussion with some senior intelligence officers.  It was not Carissa's assigned responsibility.  I am raising the question of whether to continue Sevar's policies on punishment pending her return."

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"I'm frankly against it.  Asmodia's insolence is reaching a point that I must consider intolerable, especially if Sevar is now having her own thoughts on corrigibility.  She all but openly - no, she did openly declare that she wanted to leave Cheliax and defect to Good and was awaiting Keltham's rescue.  In front of me.  Without looking particularly scared."

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"They were, and are, outperforming.  We continue to have any priorities besides Hell's pride."

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"They're a pack of trope-sent, trope-empowered special cases from whose outperformance we can conclude little or nothing.  It's possible we'd be better off if we'd been disciplining them all properly this entire time."

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"Tonia is not outperforming Gregoria, and neither of those seem trope-empowered."

"...admittedly that sounds stupid in light of what Keltham has now told us about adequate sample sizes, but still.  One sample is better than zero, he also said."

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"Tonia has been barely punished because hardly anyone on Project Lawful ever gets punished for anything, whether on the Chelish regimen or the Taldorian one!"

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"Tonia's thought transcripts show that she was more frightened -"

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"Has the thought occurred to you, Abrogail, that Asmodeus's way involves inducing ACTUAL PAIN and not just FEAR!"

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"I suspect I understand the topic better than you do, frankly."  It's going to cost Abrogail a lot of personal time, indeed, because Sevar needs to be actually punished and not just afraid, and nobody else in Cheliax including Aspexia can use torture to do anything complicated, which leads Abrogail to have a rather poor opinion of their grasp of mechanics.  "I'll be blunt, Aspexia, Cheliax needs the Project and short of my personally excruciating every one of them I have zero confidence in the ability of any of your priests to preserve their usefulness by anything more than sheer luck."

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"This is not a sustainable state of affairs, Abrogail!"

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"Then somebody in Cheliax who is not ME needs to learn how to do things with pain other than scare people with it!"

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"What's wrong with everyone on Project Lawful being terrified the same as everybody else in Cheliax?"

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"I'm not terrified, you're not terrified, and our respective overpriced headbands are very far from the only reason why the two of us are the best thinkers Asmodeus has at His command!  I agree, dath ilan almost certainly uses pain to train its Keepers!  You know what I bet they don't use?  Fear!  When have you ever seen a devil powerful enough to bear a name show themselves afraid of anything?"

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Aspexia passes a weary hand across her brow.  "If we are this much in disagreement among ourselves, the issue will wait.  Temporarily.  On Sevar's return and further debate."

"There will be that debate and there must be changes made.  Outperformance or no, the Project is visibly not on course to successfully produce Keepers of Hell.  It is on course to produce more Peranzas who will need to be kept under tight Security watch every day of their lives lest they flee."

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