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  1. #1
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    Kenneth Gauck wrote:

    >----- Original Message -----
    >From: "Peter Lubke" <peterlubke@OPTUSNET.COM.AU>
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 7:42 AM
    >
    >
    >>What is a god? -- any statement that contains "A god is a divine being
    >>who ..." must be able to be reduced by the removal of the word "divine".
    >>
    >
    >----- Original Message -----
    >From: "Ryan B. Caveney" <ryanb@CYBERCOM.NET>
    >Sent: Monday, April 22, 2002 2:04 PM
    >
    >>In my Cerilia, there are no gods [...]
    >>There is no sharp line between mortal and diety.
    >>it is possible to construct atheist explanations of how priestly magic
    >>works in D&D, and I prefer that my world work that way.
    >>
    >
    >Peter, the subject under this current heading began with a discussion of
    >removing the divine element from priestly magic. I want to make it clear
    >that we have abandon talk of gods when we do so. Rather than just arguing
    >the semantics of a statement that only has any meaning within the context of
    >an argument, perhaps you would like to offer an actual argument about how
    >divine magic works, so your statements can be put in some kind of context.
    >
    Ah, sorry - perhaps my point wasn`t clear.
    (i) "In Cerilia there are no gods" --
    (ii) "..possible to construct atheist explanations of how..."
    (iii) "..no sharp line between mortal and deity."

    In particular (iii), that any definition of gods that contains "divine
    being" makes no distinction. - A divine being is a god, by specification
    of language, in the same way that a cat is a cat-like animal. Therefore
    any being that acts as a god is, for the purpose of the game, (and also
    arguably philosophy/theology) a god. The statement (i) is therefore
    erroneous, if any mechanism (ii) exists which requires an interaction of
    the entity previously called god (Sounds like a pop star of dubious
    fame) in a way that is similar to the action of gods interacting under
    more traditional roleplaying.

    Having said that, divine magic is ipso facto then, any magic resulting
    from any explanation given in (ii) - regardless of whether there are
    gods (as called that) or not.

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  2. #2
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    Kenneth Gauck wrote:

    >----- Original Message -----
    >From: "Peter Lubke" <peterlubke@OPTUSNET.COM.AU>
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 7:42 AM
    >
    >
    >>What is a god? -- any statement that contains "A god is a divine being
    >>who ..." must be able to be reduced by the removal of the word "divine".
    >>
    >
    >----- Original Message -----
    >From: "Ryan B. Caveney" <ryanb@CYBERCOM.NET>
    >Sent: Monday, April 22, 2002 2:04 PM
    >
    >>In my Cerilia, there are no gods [...]
    >>There is no sharp line between mortal and diety.
    >>it is possible to construct atheist explanations of how priestly magic
    >>works in D&D, and I prefer that my world work that way.
    >>
    >
    >Peter, the subject under this current heading began with a discussion of
    >removing the divine element from priestly magic. I want to make it clear
    >that we have abandon talk of gods when we do so. Rather than just arguing
    >the semantics of a statement that only has any meaning within the context of
    >an argument, perhaps you would like to offer an actual argument about how
    >divine magic works, so your statements can be put in some kind of context.
    >
    Ah, sorry - perhaps my point wasn`t clear.
    (i) "In Cerilia there are no gods" --
    (ii) "..possible to construct atheist explanations of how..."
    (iii) "..no sharp line between mortal and deity."

    In particular (iii), that any definition of gods that contains "divine
    being" makes no distinction. - A divine being is a god, by specification
    of language, in the same way that a cat is a cat-like animal. Therefore
    any being that acts as a god is, for the purpose of the game, (and also
    arguably philosophy/theology) a god. The statement (i) is therefore
    erroneous, if any mechanism (ii) exists which requires an interaction of
    the entity previously called god (Sounds like a pop star of dubious
    fame) in a way that is similar to the action of gods interacting under
    more traditional roleplaying.

    Having said that, divine magic is ipso facto then, any magic resulting
    from any explanation given in (ii) - regardless of whether there are
    gods (as called that) or not.

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  3. #3
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    Kenneth Gauck wrote:

    >>Peter, the subject under this current heading began with a discussion of
    >>removing the divine element from priestly magic. I want to make it clear
    >>that we have abandon talk of gods when we do so. Rather than just arguing
    >>the semantics of a statement that only has any meaning within the context of
    >>an argument, perhaps you would like to offer an actual argument about how
    >>divine magic works, so your statements can be put in some kind of context.
    >>
    Any explanation that changes how divine magic works changes the
    definition of how gods work, or what gods are. By definition it cannot
    be done without gods (of some kind, or name).

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  4. #4
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    Ryan B. Caveney wrote:

    >>An atheist is one who disbelieves in divinity. An agnostic claims no
    >>certain knowledge. People who have different opinions about the nature of
    >>divinity are just various kinds of theists.
    >>
    >
    >But this is exactly where the blurry line comes in. A half-mile-long
    >dragon which obliterates whole villages in a single breath and demands
    >that it be worshipped as a god and manages to grant spells to those who
    >follow it is, for all practical purposes, the power equivalent of a D&D
    >god. However, it is not "really" a god in any sense I believe any
    >theologian has ever used the word. Someone who worships the dragon for
    >spell power while knowing it hatched from an egg and could in principle be
    >killed by mere humans is an atheist in a real sense.
    >
    For Ken: This is the point I was trying to make too. A god isn`t a god
    because he is a divine being (he`s a divine being by name), but any
    being capable of "X" (where "X" is the game equivalent of godly powers)
    is sufficient.

    >>However, once you have fundamentally changed your game world, its
    >>ability to become evidence for how to read the published materials is
    >>deminished.
    >>
    >
    >This is true. I regret that this has obscured my real argument, which is
    >that although I have fundamentally changed my game world, I firmly believe
    >that even had I not done so, it would still be perfectly possible for the
    >NPCs in it to be agnostics or atheists -- indeed, the immense power of
    >non-priestly magic would greatly raise the bar for people claiming to
    >perform religious miracles, and make investigation of charlatans at once
    >more difficult and more important -- just as even in my world where the
    >gods are not real, many people in it still (erroneously) believe they do.
    >
    Exactly, my point being that you haven`t really changed the rules - or
    the facts -- just the interpretation of the evidence. One that is
    equally valid (and in real life too).

    >
    >
    >
    >
    >Gary <geeman@SOFTHOME.NET> wrote:
    >
    >>He didn`t say (real world) agnostics are ostriches. He said that agnostics
    >>(in Cerilia) would have to be ostriches.
    >>
    >
    >And I still disagree.
    >
    hear hear !!

    >>In Cerilia, where humans (and others) have bloodlines that can exhibit
    >>the power of the gods, where other forms of magic exist, where there is
    >>a shadowy spirit world that occasional breaches the veil between it and
    >>the "real" world, where people can cast realm spells, there are wizards
    >>controlling the mystical power of source holdings and where only those
    >>with the power of the gods can effectively rule
    >>
    >
    >People have bloodlines that exhibit powers, including ones that enable
    >them to rule. The other forms of magic you list, including wizards with
    >sources and realm spells, and the shadow world, are not from gods.
    >Therefore, why should it be obvious that bloodlines are, too? Just
    >because some power-mad priest says so? Especially as some of the people
    >who have these bloodlines and rule through them are the same people who
    >declare there are no gods, and are never explicitly punished for it!
    >In fact, as I have said before, given the fact that so many forms of magic
    >come from sources other than gods, it is clearly logically unnecessary to
    >postulate the existence of gods at all.
    >
    Saying that it is logically unnecessary is not the same as saying that
    it is not logically necessary. "it is clearly not logically necessary
    to..." is better.
    The facts can be explained without any reference to gods, but that does
    not mean that HAVE to be explained without any reference to gods.

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  5. #5
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    daniel mcsorley wrote:

    >On Tue, 23 Apr 2002, Ryan B. Caveney wrote:
    >
    >>And the published material says the Sidhelien don`t believe in gods.
    >>All I assume in my interpretation of the published BR cosmology is that
    >>they`re right, instead of the standard assumption that the humans are.
    >>
    >
    >That assertion is really hard to find. The Sidhe are stated in several
    >places to worship no gods, but nowhere I can find says they don`t believe
    >in them at all.
    >--
    >Communication is possible only between equals.
    >Daniel McSorley- mcsorley@cis.ohio-state.edu
    >
    While I agree with Ryans` argument (stated elsewhere), the conclusion
    that elves have access to divine/priestly magic does not follow from
    acceptance of the argument. I concur with Daniel, in that the Sidhe
    could know of, and acknowledge the existance of, beings that are
    accepted as gods by other races, but are stated as not worshipping any
    such. In fact, it would be hard not to do so, in the face of a form or
    magic that is explained as originating from them (irrespective of
    whether that claim is true or not).

    Whether the magic is sourced from collective belief - where a thing
    exists because enough beings believe it does - and their collective
    "worship energies" supply the power to fuel the magic, or from any other
    explanation, in no way empowers the elves.

    No explanation possible can explain why the Sidhe should have access to
    priestly/divine magic when they don`t. In fact, any explanation that
    would support such a theory must in fact be incorrect. i.e. You can`t
    prove access to divine magic this way.

    If however, you start with the fact that the Sidhe do have access to
    priestly/divine magic even without the worship of a god or gods, then
    any explanation which supports access to divine magic that holds with or
    without worship of gods is acceptable. (even if it isn`t one which the
    worshippers believe)

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  6. #6
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    On Wed, 24 Apr 2002, Peter Lubke wrote:

    > Exactly, my point being that you haven`t really changed the rules - or
    > the facts -- just the interpretation of the evidence. One that is
    > equally valid

    Yes. The point is not whether one is right or wrong to believe in gods,
    but rather that one can live in a world where gods are real and not
    believe in them, just as one can live in a world where gods aren`t real
    and believe in them anyway. People believe all sorts of things that are
    incorrect, but that doesn`t stop the belief.

    > Saying that it is logically unnecessary is not the same as saying that
    > it is not logically necessary. "it is clearly not logically necessary
    > to..." is better.

    I`ve been known to split verbal hairs as vigorously as anyone here, but I
    can`t say I really see the difference you do.

    > The facts can be explained without any reference to gods, but that does
    > not mean that HAVE to be explained without any reference to gods.

    Exactly! Which is why in my version where the gods are not real, there
    are some people who use them as explanations anyway, and why in a BR where
    they were real some people could consistently explain everything without
    them.


    Ryan Caveney

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  7. #7
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    On Wed, 24 Apr 2002, Andreas Kjeldsen wrote:

    > On the contrary. The published material (PS Tuarhievel, p. 19) says
    > that the Sidheilien are very much aware of the existence of gods, but
    > they *choose* not to worship them.

    The Tuarhievel PS is not a source I`m at all happy with. I`d sooner see
    elves building temples to Haelyn than letting a human sit on the Thorn
    Throne! That was a very foolish decision by the supplement author.

    The rulebook says the Sidhelien "have no dieties at all", and thus no
    priests. That`s good enough for me. My single favorite feature in all of
    Birthright is the atheist elves who want to eradicate humanity, and I am
    not about to give them up now.

    > If anything, the Sidheilien should be more aware than anybody else of
    > the existence of gods, since most of them were, at least potentially,
    > present at Mount Deismaar, and since htey were once decieved by
    > another god.

    I would say the reverse -- that since they were there, the fact that they
    don`t worship the gods is evidence that they know the gods really aren`t
    there to be worshipped. I am inclined to regard the entire story of the
    deception by Azrai as a human misunderstanding and false explanation of
    the inscrutable motives of the elves, or at best a mythologization of
    events including some sort of non-divine historical personage.


    Ryan Caveney

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  8. #8
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    Ryan B. Caveney wrote:

    >>Saying that it is logically unnecessary is not the same as saying that
    >>it is not logically necessary. "it is clearly not logically necessary
    >>to..." is better.
    >>
    >
    >I`ve been known to split verbal hairs as vigorously as anyone here, but I
    >can`t say I really see the difference you do.
    >
    On verbal hairs:
    logically necessary - (fails if not present)
    not logically necessary - (does not fail if present, but is not required
    for success)

    logically unnecessary - imperitively not required (fails if present)

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  9. #9
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    << And the published material says the Sidhelien don`t believe in gods. >>

    It doesn`t say that. It says they don`t have or worship any gods. Big
    difference.

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  10. #10
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    These questions and statements are mostly for Ryan but anyone should feel free to jump in (as if you need my permission).

    1. With no gods do you eliminate the cleric class? Do you eliminate divine spells? If no, how are they granted?


    2. How does a dragon grant spells to its worshipers? Really how?


    3. The rule books do not say "Sidhelien don't believe in gods." It says they don't worship them. This is something I disagree with and in my campaign in order for an elf to get access to divine magic they must worship a god. I have also provided one for them. I have made these arguments elsewhere so I will stop here on this.


    4. Did you rewrite the entire precept for Birthright? Since the whole concept of blooded characters comes from when the old gods die? That is why the blooded possess some godlike powers.
    Lord Eldred
    High Councilor of the
    United Provinces of Cerilia
    &quot;May Haelyn bring justice to your realm&quot;

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