Not Ideas for the New Guilds Within Magnagora, but Rather the Difficulties of Reformation

DelphasDelphas Member Posts: 488 Virtuoso
Some might claim there is a motion proposed which amounts to changing things around just for the sake of changing things around.  This thread does not deal with that hypothesis.

There are a great multitude of intelligent and creative people about who might propose thousands of wonderful ideas.  This thread does not deal with any such proposals either.

There may even be some who would derail this into some pessimistic rant of negativism and clarion call for obstructionism.  This thread is not intended for said individuals, who are invited to start their own thread if they feel compelled to express their butt-hurt.

The purpose of this thread is to engage in an open a frank discussion on the cultural difficulties which may be inherent in closing the present guild-system and enacting a new one, completely divorced from character class/archetype.  The question is not ``if?''.  We consider that conclusion foregone for all purposes of this thread.  We instead want to deal with the very real questions concerning the implications of such.

Every society is comprised of individuals of varying ages and competencies.  The youth learn the traditions and expected modes of behaviour and the cultural norms and so one from their seniors.  Sometimes this is learned tacitly via simple observation of examples of culturally desired/approved behaviour, and other times it is learned focally through personal infraction or by being witness thereof.  Civil society, the city of Magnagora, has functioned along these lines for many years.  Sometimes better than other times, but this seems to be a fair way of things.  The civil society of Magnagora is not quite the same as the society of the many guilds within it, and therefore some difficulties ought to be addressed in order to more smoothly realize the expected transformation.  No doubt each of the existing guilds can offer their own difficulties.  Each of the various guilds should raise those issues specific to their own cases so we might best prepare a smooth way forward.  Perhaps I should start?

Nihilism is an orthodox religion.  Whence shall theological authority derive? Will the Infernal Demon Lords and Lady of Tainted Nil take a more active role over the many aethers? If that is the case, then what purpose is player-driven cultural content? If that is not the case, then how do we expect the junior Nihilists to properly learn what is and is not Nihilism if there is no established pool of senior Nihilists?

Nihilism is an orthodox religion.  Is the Will of Unholy Nil open to wild interpretation/assertion by every Tom, Dick, and Harriet? If so, wither our culture? Where is our shared sense of values? If not, exactly who are empowered to educate the ignorant, and differentiate between the faithful and the false?

Nihilism is an orthodox religion.  We could split the Demon Lords up among the various Guilds, granting to each sole theological authority, but then we would need more than three guilds.  Since we already have five and five is considered too many by two, the problem is not solved.  Which guilds would receive extra Demon Lords? Which Demon Lords would be shared by two guilds? Which Demon Lords will not be associated with any of the Guilds? How are these decisions justified, given a case can be made for any Demon Lord for any potential Guild imaginable?

Nihilism is an orthodox religion.  Advancement as a fighter is simple; simply kill people.  Advancement as a hunter is simple; simply kill denizens.  Advancement as a Priest is simple; master the tenets of Tainted Nil and spread Their Dark Word via Sermons and Rituals both public and private (public preferred) as well as write essays on same.  This last one has nothing to do with fighting or hunting prowess.  Fighting is objective: either I was slain or I slew my opponent.  Hunting is objective: either I am 80th level or I am not.  Being a Priest of an orthodox religion is *entirely* subjective.  Will the city as a whole decide my advancement? Will only my guild judge my oration? Will only my archetype judge my oration? If the city at large may vote, then how to deal with the very real condition where the majority are too ignorant to properly gauge one's oration one way or the other? If only my guild can vote, then by what spiritual authority can they claim the power to offer proper correction or approval, since my new guild consists of warriors and rogues just as easily as priests and wizards? If only my archetype can vote, then why are we dispersing Nihilists over many guilds when we already have a guild system founded on each archetype standing as judge of their own?

I am not at all opposed to divorcing one's vocation (archetype) from their political affiliation (present guild).  I think the idea may offer tremendous promise.  Being that sentiment as it may, we are forced to answer the above questions which deal with very real and very concrete issues on this expected condensation.  No doubt each of the many Magnagoran guilds will likewise have specific issues to be addressed.  Address them we must if we hope to smoothly complete the transition; otherwise we will find ourselves forced into a ham-fisted mechanic hastily devised.

I will attempt to follow with some ideas which, hopefully, will address the issues presented.  I am not completely satisfied, but hopefully others may draw from them to find more perfect solutions.  At the very least my follow-up will demonstrate the proper and optimistic attitude requested for this forum, and invite others to similarly express their concerns and solutions.


  • CyndarinCyndarin used Flamethrower! It was super effective. Member Posts: 4,469 Transcendent
    This post is so confusing. It's a mixture of existential RP questions (who has the authority to interpret the will of the DLs) to odd concerns about group voting by class on religious advancement. Do the Nihilists work like this? Are they group voting on advancement as is?
  • ShuyinShuyin The pug life chose me. Member Posts: 1,611 Transcendent
  • LeradLerad Member Posts: 2,399 Transcendent

    If there is enough player demand for it, one of the three factions Mag has could be "the Church of Nil" or something along those lines with the all of the religious authority of the current Nihilists guild plus some. It could even be the more "military" faction. As the orthodox church of that orthodox religion, the faction can then claim provenance over the ordinance of priests or whatever you want, etc.

    If you separate vocation (archetype) from political affilitation (guild/faction membership) then there is no need to have a person whose vocation is a Nihilist to obey the political mandates of another faction simply because his vocation is "nihilist" - because they are now separated. Instead, anyone who subscribes to that religion should obey the political (or rather, religious) mandate of the faction with the authority to decide it - this includes people whose vocation is not "nihilist", and also people whose membership is in a different faction. You don't all have to be in the church to be a worshipper. Those who happen to be a "nihilist" but a member of a different faction can still be a member of this religion - or not, as case may be. They simply won't have the ordained authority to proscribe or dictate religious matters, whether or not they are waving around a deep-pacted symbol.

    Similarly, a Cacophonist with a secular looking viola can still be a religious authority if he has a high enough rank in the faction that is decided to be the religious authority. Even if he never touched a nihilist symbol in his life. It's up to the faction to dictate what are the requirements for what positions. That's the meaning of separation.

  • YarouYarou Member Posts: 218 Master
    < insert relevant 'go home, you are drunk' meme here >

  • LillieLillie Member Posts: 276 Gifted
    Celina said:
    This post is so confusing. It's a mixture of existential RP questions (who has the authority to interpret the will of the DLs) to odd concerns about group voting by class on religious advancement. Do the Nihilists work like this? Are they group voting on advancement as is?
    That's just Delphas in my experience (and no, this isn't me being snippy or catty. Sometimes it's a good thing, sometimes bad).
    The Necromentate's mind opens to you, and a grotesque, demonic figure appears in your mind's eye, screaming in torment:

    You shock a platinum-coloured geomycus with tales of terror bestowed on villages who don't follow Magnagora.
    A platinum-coloured geomycus slaps her knee and declares that, by the gods, Ptoma Hive should follow the Grand Empire of Magnagora after all!
    Shouts rise up from Ptoma Hive, as its denizens loudly pledge themselves to the Grand Empire of Magnagora.

  • EnyalidaEnyalida Nasty Woman Member Posts: 4,384 Transcendent
    I wouldn't call your archetype and guild skills a vocation either. 
  • QistrelQistrel the hemisemidemifink Member Posts: 1,717 Transcendent
    I'm not sure we can answer the thing about Nihilism as a religion without mentioning guilds, because, you need to decide if all Nihilists are necessarily priests of the religion. And I would say that soon the one does not mean the other, as you could have a Nihilist in a guild all about fighting, who pledges to Ashtorath because she wants to set enemies on fire and rage at them - not necessarily wanting to learn all about the Demon Lords and give sermons, etc.

    In which case, the religion of the Demon Lords would be best served by a Church guild that cared about such things.

  • DelphasDelphas Member Posts: 488 Virtuoso
    Sorry for the delay in returning.  Those Real Lives sometimes become important.  Now to move on.

    I think first I need to nip something in the bud.  It has been pointed out this thread seems awfully RP-ish.  It seems patently obvious to me but perhaps I should cover all bases by saying it, and point out that those who don't care about RP are not entitled to an opinion out it.  A concept similar to how those who shrink from fighting really are not the ideal source of wisdom on that front.

    There was not a "committee", @Celina.  The requirements for advancement within the Church were specific and well-known to her Priests.  Writing an essay, for example, might satisfy a requirement but only if it was satisfactory.  Sorry, but there really is such a thing as a crummy essay.  As stated earlier, Nihilism is (was?) an orthodox religion, so proper interpretations were also required.  Students did have considerable lee-way (we consider one's relationship with Tainted Nil to be an extremely personal affair) in their interpretations, but there were certain fundamentals which Nihilists consider inviolate.

    @Qistrel offers the fair point that if Nihilism is considered important, then perhaps Nihilists should try to preserve their guild at least in spirit if not in fact.  Ceretainly a valid option.  I think that might prove inimical to the Fates' plan to condense the guilds.  I am also not entirely certain such a congregation could actually be performed since, as others have suggested, people will primarily follow their OOC connections and their family secondarily and treat other concerns as an afterthought if at all.  Perhaps this suggestion actually belongs in another thread since it seems to be a specific and concrete suggestion for a new Magnagoran guild/faction.  No matter if a single "churchly" guild is preserved, or all the new guilds have their own spiritual authorities is really irrelevant to this chain of thought, and that is to identify what problems would be specific to each of the archetypes when divorcing archetype from guild, given there is over a decade of shared experience and developed culture dedicated to each of the many existing guilds.

    I should congratulate @Lerad for coming on to something I was thinking.  I'm not entirely certain on every specific, but the basic premise seems sound.  There are implications which bear consideration.  If the Priesthood is to be split over several guilds, rather than limited to one, then it appears we need to break the orthodoxy and make room for a heterodoxy.  There are analogs in the Real World.  Consider the divisions within three primary branches of Christian faith, for example.  Despite bloody times in the past, the Eastern, Catholic, and the numerous Protestant churches have entered some sort of détente.  With each of the many guilds at liberty to offer their interpretations on the heresies of Tainted Nil, but may only enforce such interpretations among their own numbers, we may find ourselves with a working solution.

    What does heterodoxy buy us?
    It preserves, if not encourages, each guild to maintain their own identity.  Included within that identity would be their own, special and unique, relationship with Tainted Nil.
    It also permits a sort of "volunteerism" in that whomever cares the most will probably be the one to do the most, at least so far as it comes to such concepts as theology.  If there is no burning desire for a greater understanding of Nihilism? That is fine, since an absence of desire usually indicates absence of need.  If one guild finds itself teeming with Nihilists? I have little doubt they will be extremely industrious in their orations and writings.
    It also encourages greater creativity through diversity.  I'm sure we can all remember a time when we were out of ideas (or out of good ideas), but found inspiration from another.  This was actually the very premise of the Lego movie.  The kid couldn't build a city any more than his father could build w/o instructions, but they realized together they could make stuff a million times more awesome than either individually.  Likewise I hope the Truth of Tainted Nil as revealed by guild A's sermon might inspire a new ritual to someone in guild B.
    I am certain it would also make things more robust.  In the face of dwindling populations, one's choice of guild membership may not necessarily be governed by one's desire to try new mechanics or new modes of RP.  One's choice might instead be dominated entirely by the simple question "Is anyone even in that guild?".  If there are no Bards in your nation, then you might not opt to play one.  This positive feedback system is rather detrimental.  The fewer the bards, the fewer the new bards, the fewer the new bards, the fewer the bards, and so on.  Now consider the case where one could be a bard in any of the guilds.  If guild A is empty then one can simply join guild B or C and may still be a bard.  This applies to difficulties with Nihilism in that if guild A atrophies, there may still very well be Nihilists actively celebrating Tainted Nil in the other guilds.  Even if guild B lacks spiritual leadership or organization, guilds A and C can still innovate rituals or explore the philosophies and tenets of Tainted Nil because they are isolated from guild B.  Consider the worst-case scenario of a Lusternian-wide population crash.  As stated above, players are often hesitant to join a flagging guild, but it is inconceivable that all three guilds of any given nation would simultaneously collapse.  This means there should never be a shortage of Nihilists, as there would still be some remaining in the populated guild and most likely these would be the most experienced, and therefore the most capable of serving as the nucleus of the faith when enrollment improves.

    Is heterodoxy applicable to the other archetypes?
    All the present guilds have developed a rich culture and set of traditions.  The ur'Guard, the Geomancers, the Cacophony, and the Ninjakari all share in this proud heritage.  Do these guilds have similar problems of cultural identity as the Nihilists face? If so, is heterodoxy applicable as a solution? For example, would there be problems if just anyone could be a Geomancer and Role-Play as one but not give a single whit about the established history and culture?

    "There's no such thing as a free lunch" said Heinlein as he casually slid the bill across the table towards me.  Just as two clocks will drift apart if given enough time, it should be noted (expected even) heterodoxy does bring competing interpretations; sometimes even conflicting interpretations.  I do not expect internecine bloodshed, I think I will follow up with my own notions on what we must pay in return for heterodoxy.  When Ishtar brought civilization to Ur and Uruk, She also warned that with the prosperity of civilization also come the vices and crimes of civilization.  Or as Mrs. G said: "You take the good and you take the bad and you take them both and there you have the facts of life.  The facts of life."
  • AlaksanteriAlaksanteri Member Posts: 472 Fabled
    edited March 2016
    I have to disagree. Nihilism by definition is a perspective on the world in which all means nothing, we can't know anything, all values are made-up, worthless and all is void. This is an extreme state of pessimism and skepticism. Therefore is it the opposite of any religion.

    In Lusternia :

    A Mag Nihilist is compelled to annihilate things and concepts to their source to see that if is based on nothing or to achieve personal goals regardless of any consequence it could have to others around them. Since an extreme Nihilist has no moral compass whatsoever his actions will be based on pragmatism to attain personal satisfaction and they are represented by the 'teachings' of the Demon Lords, which are more an outcome to the actions or tools to fulfill their aims than an inspiration to them.

    Nihilism, since it is more a philosophy than a dogma, allows more freedom to interpret the world and the Demon Lords as one sees them regardless of peers, what is right, what is wrong, what their mom taught them, etc. Just as they are, a reflection of possible outcomes and to dig deeper than what most people say.

    The most popular Nihilist character that I have in mind right now would be Walter White from Breaking Bad. 

    Nietzsche and Nine Inch Nail in RL.

    Yeah, the in-game RP is far from that. Rituals and stuff are too much fun. Nihilists would be a bunch of skeptics questioning -everything-.

    Edit : I think I've been brainwashed by all the 'Nihilism is an orthodox religion'.
    Post edited by Alaksanteri on
  • EnyalidaEnyalida Nasty Woman Member Posts: 4,384 Transcendent
    Lusternian Nihilism involves following the tenants of Nil, and doesn't necessarily have a single thing to do with RL Nihilism. 
  • AlaksanteriAlaksanteri Member Posts: 472 Fabled
    edited March 2016
    It just depends how the players RP it and yes, they have been represented as tools in the game already.
    Post edited by Alaksanteri on
  • AlaksanteriAlaksanteri Member Posts: 472 Fabled
    edited March 2016
    Xenthos said:
    Enyalida said:
    Lusternian Nihilism involves following the tenants of Nil, and doesn't necessarily have a single thing to do with RL Nihilism. 
    Do the Demon Lords pay rent now?
    New edict after it was decided that it was too expensive in power to maintain Them and Their bad habits.
    Post edited by Alaksanteri on
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