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Nov 27, 2022 2:53 AM
abrogail thrune's terrible terrible relationship advice
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Dear Abrogail, 

I'm a 5th circle sorcerer and recent convert from the river kingdoms. I've been dating one of my party members since before my conversion because he is a very strong fighter and heir to a relatively large local kingdom. But his family are followers of the Drunk Idiot and while I am making good progress on turning him Evil (I already got him to Neutral) I'm at a loss for getting him to Lawful. It's just intuitive to me why you need to keep the letter of your promises and why people need to follow orders but he just doesn't get it.

 

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Dear Convert:

We make every effort here to ensure that obeying the government is in everyone's own interest.  Set aside your natural Lawfulness and look around you for the many reasons we've set in place to ensure that following orders is in his own selfish interest.  If you can get him Evil first, that should get him Lawful enough from there.  Sufficient Law to stay out of trouble and go to Hell is Lawful enough for Cheliax.

Or are you not inside Cheliax?  In this case, you might have to act as the agent for a more immediate and visible form of punishment than would otherwise be inevitable for him later - when he's being unLawful, watch for ways to sabotage his plans, that would seem like his plans failed due to his transgression against Law.  Just be sure not to get caught!

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Dear Abrogail,

My class rankings at school have begun to ossify. Not only am I consistently at or near the top of the class, the same handful of people are always at the bottom. The trouble is, hurting the same people over and over has begun to become boring. Should I manipulate my teachers into failing out the current bottom set so the next lowest people will get beaten, or should I simply sabotage the ones I dislike the most?

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Dear Bored:

Unfortunately, events in your school are an accurate microcosm of real life, where after a brief shakeout period, you usually end up with the same people on the bottom, the same people on the top, and the same sadists hurting the same victims.  Ask your teachers if you're allowed to hurt the same people in different ways; if that doesn't excite you either, you're probably not cut out for sadistic hobbies in boring real life.  At least, not until you've climbed high enough in the system that you can pick random new victims from well underneath you.

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Dear Abrogail,

I am an accomplished wizard (sixth circle) with certain predilections which are somewhat difficult to satisfy in my home country. However, whenever I mention that I might consider moving somewhere which would appreciate me for who I am, my friends, family and colleagues express considerable resistance to this idea. Obviously transport is not a problem for me, but I would like to at least remain in contact with some previous acquaintances by letter without them continually begging me to 'come to my senses' and return home.

Unfortunately Splendour has never been my strong suit - do you have any ideas for how I might bring them round to the idea?

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Dear Silly Wizard:

It's called "lying".  You can leave the country for one reason, but tell your acquaintances that you left for a different reason that won't get them nagging you.

Counterintuitive, I know, but surprisingly possible!  Practice it on people who don't know you, until you've learned the basics.

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Dear Abrogail,

I am too poor to afford proper healing, so in my relationships I feel that I'm never applying enough pain to advance my interests, but I'm also scared of hurting people so much that they become useless to me.

How can I contribute properly to the pain and suffering that is needed in the Material without going into debt?

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Dear Poor:

Unless you're in relationships with unusually tough people, a few subsidized lessons at your local temple of Asmodeus should be enough to teach you how to apply healing-efficient pain in sufficient quantity that most people will try to avoid it.  If you want to hurt people worse than that, you need to be rich, and if you're not rich, you don't deserve to be happy.

However, if your goal is just to create suffering in the Material - well, first of all, I remind you that Asmodeans cause suffering for reasons, and this is what distinguishes us from Kuthites.  They can be flimsy reasons, but just having them at all makes a huge theological difference.

That said, if you're looking to cause more suffering in a properly Lawful Evil context for reasons of personal life satisfaction, have you considered becoming a surly clerk?

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Dear Abrogail,

Everyone around me is an idiot and it is extremely irritating. Since I keep finding myself surrounded by these people, I am forced to conclude that probably I am also an idiot. How can I focus more on identifying my own idiocies instead of those of the people around me, so I can cut them out and set them on fire?

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Dear Idiot:

I was initially sympathizing until the part where you concluded that, since you were surrounded by idiots, you were probably also an idiot.  How does that even follow?  I'm not seeing it.  So you must be an idiot.

I'm afraid, Idiot, that if there's one thing I've learned in this life, it's that people almost never improve and you can't fix them either.  This is true of everyone but it's especially true of idiots.  Even if you knew what you were doing wrong, you wouldn't be able to fix any of it.  You might as well go on despising other people for their idiocy instead.  That's at least more fun, and it helps get you into Hell which might eventually correct your deficiencies, though more likely you'll end up a lemure.

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Dear Abrogail,

Recently, I've been having issues with peasants in my territory picking up heresies at a disturbing rate. At first I thought this was just their normal idiocy, but when sending my least incompetent subordinates out into my fief to scare them into line didn't solve it, I decided to investigate personally. I managed to trace them back to their source and question the one responsible, of course, who turned out to be a cleric of Geryon. He claimed to have a permit, but when I checked it it was just a paper with "I can do what I want" written on it and a signature.

Unfortunately, when I went to the temple, my cleric confirmed that the document was indeed signed by Geryon and said it was outside of her remit. How can I convince him to go bother my most annoying neighbor instead, or failing that get him to be less disruptive?

 

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Dear Gullible:

I'd say that I can't imagine how much you have annoyed your temple priest that she told you that.  But the general level of intelligence implied by taking a piece of paper like that to a priest and asking her to verify Geryon's signature is such that I can, in fact, imagine.

What's wrong with Cheliax that somebody this innocent is still alive?  If anyone reading this knows who Gullible is, please kill them.

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Dear Abrogail,

I've despaired lately of finding a decent match for myself. All I want is to be torn down and turned to greater purposes by someone with greatness in their soul and fire on their whip. However, each "great" man or woman whose bed I find my way into turns out to be as dull as a paving stone. The last one attempted to use me in some courtly intrigue over racing horses! I hoped to grow from the scalding fires of the trials he set before me, but in the end all I learned is it takes two days for a horse to get hungry enough to eat the flesh of an idiot ex.  

I yearn for someone who's schemes mean something, who's ambitions are worthy of their title, who can wield me as a weapon till I break.

Despairing of any alternative, I come to you to ask: want to show a bored girl a fun time? 

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Dear Bored:

You're a few years too late for me to be interested in anybody really consenting, no matter how much they seemed like good raw material otherwise.  The Duke of the North Plains might have more use for you.

Obviously, now that I've said this, there'll be several people showing up claiming to be you; and I herewith prohibit him and his from using truthspells to tell which of those applicants, if any, sent the original letter.  Good luck to you both!

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Dear Abrogail,

Recently, I have noticed that all the things in my life that I can accomplish through torture, I can accomplish better through ways other than torture. Is it necessary for me to sacrifice efficacy towards my own goals in service to Asmodeus, or is it alright for me to just not happen to hurt people very much for my own selfish reasons?

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Dear Shortsighted:

Really?  You have better ways of creating fear than torture?  You can motivate people to success without exhibiting the weeping wrecks of failures even a tiny little bit?  You can preserve order without the threat of suffering from somewhere hanging over them, maybe not from you, but somewhere?

I'd tell you not to despair of your own incredible incompetence at torture, when maybe all you need is more practice.  But before then, I want you to look around at the society around you, and realize how many of its institutions are born in pain, shaped to horror, and require fear in order to function.  You may not have gotten better work the next day out of the particular worker you tortured; but if not for your doing that much, the other workers would slack off, and worse, disrespect you.

The most important thing you get from hurting others, is living in a correctly functioning society where people fear getting hurt, and where they fear getting hurt by you.  In claiming that 'torture doesn't work' you're just being shortsighted in your understanding of how often people inflict hurt on one another, and how the fear of it underpins all of the social order around you.

You threaten the people around you with a hundred little tortures every day!  And those threats work.

If you can learn to see that, you'll maybe start to understand how to wield greater suffering the same way.

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