Monstrous Compendium Ch 10 Ficbit – Running Retreat

“Potion him!”

“I did,” Asuna called back over the static, dragging her partner farther from the fray. “It’s not working!”

Klein heard his guild’s curses, and added a few of his own. Potion’s not working, Issin’ll have to do a better cure, doing that in here is suicide- Wait. The air was clear in the corridor, maybe-! “Threshold! Issin, go with them, get him outside!”


Easier said than done. Six of them versus one fourteen-foot monster would usually be just fine for a running retreat, but with the world folding in on itself and attacks lagging and then hitting all at once so the aggro was just screwed – and then they didn’t do half the damage they should anyway

A shush of sand behind him and Klein knew the wounded were out. Black doorframe in the right side of his view – good, if they’d backed up that far, Fuurinkazan was out….

All except him.


Dynamm and Tae. Somehow, he wasn’t surprised. “We can’t let it cross the threshold!”

“But a boss monster can’t-” Dale cut himself off, and set to stabbing over Klein’s shoulder. Ducked in trained rhythm, as one of Tae’s arrows whistled past to slam into blurred chitin. “Damn it, damn it, damn it….”

“We’ve got to stop it here,” Klein snarled, feeling the Fang throb on his chest. “We’ve got to stop it now. This thing’s not part of the system! If it gets out into the rest of SAO-”

People are going to die. Our whole world could die.

Not going to happen!

:Are you certain of this?:

Silvery. Warm. Inside his head, crackling at the tiger’s roar as if it had all the patience in the world.

:Are you certain? Once you choose to burn the corruption of the world, its agents will never again give you peace….:

Klein snarled, shifting to tiger war-form to add more strength to his blows. Lycanthropy had a demon at its heart, even if he’d killed his; Grandma Tiger’s lore said claws and fangs could slay the unnatural, when all else failed. Made dodging harder, but they were in the doorway, he knew where the bebilith was coming. Hello? Demon? Soul-devouring monster? No way am I letting this thing get through!


84 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch 10 Ficbit – Running Retreat

  1. So one more thing for the dragon to curse about… Not only demons have access, but Eberron’s powers are taking notice of what he is doing. (If I read it right, that was the Silver Flame). Sometimes I wonder if the draconic prophecies have a self-fulfilling tendency and the usual multiple meanings…

    Liked by 5 people

      1. I still don’t get the modern view that “prophecies are bad things”. (or destiny/fate/etc, for that matter) I get that there’s lots of idiots who would take prophecies and abuse them or run headlong off the cliff of false interpretations. I get that there’s a large amount of modern fiction portraying them as bad. I get how the sources of prophecies could be bad and thus using them for bad. But I don’t see why prophecies have to be viewed as inherently bad in their own right. Or why all prophecy has to be considered the same. After all, fiction shows lots of different types of prophecy, and some types are only considered “bad” when they have the label “prophecy” attached, but are considered “good” when they have the labels “experience” and “calculation” attached (just as one example).

        The best I can tell is that it is a side effect of the modern cultural push towards (at least claiming) independence and self-direction. “Prophecies/fate/etc mean these actions will come to place… which means I’m a slave instead of free to do what I want.” Despite the faulty logic in that. If I see a small child running out into busy traffic on the highway, I can predict (or “prophecy”) that the child will be hit by a car. That doesn’t mean that I made it so by making the prophecy, nor that “the future is set so you don’t have a choice”. It just means “the child made the choice to run in front of moving cars. Reality ensued.”

        As such, I would argue that it’s actually harmful to throw the baby out with the bathwater in this realm, condemning and dismissing “prophecy” out of hand as seems to be the current fad.

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      2. I still don’t get the modern view that “prophecies are bad things”.

        I think most of the problem is when people look at prophecies and decide to make them happen in a way that benefits that person and hurts his enemies.

        It also depends on the type and origin of the prophecy. Delphic oracle types that are vague enough that no matter what happens the oracle can always say the prophecy was true? Those are the easiest to abuse and definitely have a whiff of charlatanism about them.

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      3. Which is not “prophecy is bad”, it’s “charlatanism is bad (and happens to be using fake prophecy in this particular case)”. But most people claiming “prophecy is bad” go claiming it as an inherent feature of _prophecy_ (and of all forms of prophecy indiscriminately), rather than distinguishing between the actual prophecy and the actions taken in regard to it or the people making it and their reasons for doing so. And without distinguishing between true and false prophecies, or any of the other myriad variations that should be made.

        And even assuming all other factors are acceptable, why should someone actually applying the knowledge of a prophecy be a bad thing inherently? So you take the prophecy and work to make good things happen for you, and bad things for your enemies. What’s wrong with that? That’s the whole point of what businessmen are _supposed_ to do. Figure out how the trends are going, work out what’s likely to happen, then take advantage of that to earn more money for their business while preventing other businesses from doing so. What’s bad would be _how_ (and possibly _why_) that is done, not that it _is_ done. But because they don’t call that “prophecy”, no one complains about them following prophecy there, even tho it is functionally identical.

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      4. So you take the prophecy and work to make good things happen for you, and bad things for your enemies. What’s wrong with that?

        Pragmatically? Nothing, until it turns out that every action you take to make them happen to your own advantage backfires spectacularly and hands your enemies every victory they could ever have wanted.

        If your prophecies are given by your gods, and you try manipulate them for your own ends, that may count as hubris, and most gods take a dim view of that.

        It may just be a matter of “messing with prophecy is as wise as messing with a high-voltage line.”

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      5. Which is still a different thing from “prophecy is inherently bad.” Which was the point I have been trying to make.


      6. Depends on what you mean by ‘Prophecy’. I’m pretty sure the original meaning was less ‘future foreseen’ (Which is probably what a dragon considers it to mean) and more ‘divine revelation’. The latter might very well include “This is what’s happening right now, hidden in the background”.


      7. And most people complaining about “prophecy” are blindly complaining about everything that even vaguely has that label (regardless of what it is), while blindly disregarding anything that doesn’t have that label (even if it is identical in form and content), and using as their justification for their hatred claims about its misuse/abuse (while blindly ignoring that this makes it the misuse/abuse that is bad, not the thing being misused/abused).

        It’s like the question “is technology good or bad”… which when you come down to it and analyse definitions and etymologies could be restated in modern english as “is it good or bad to use your knowledge?” Which completely changes how you look at it (or should, if you’re honest). Technology, prophecy, the thing itself is not inherently good or bad, because the thing itself is not itself a thing. And what’s good or bad is how you use that knowledge, what you do with it, and why you do it.

        Tho even with “divine revelation” vs “future unseen”, what really is the difference other than perspective of the source and quality/quantity of knowledge? Tho I guess that might also factor into people’s hatred of it, because it is yet another example of “something is more important than me, and I don’t like that”. Not just the “if it can say what will happen to me, then I’m stupid enough to think that means I have no control (and not to recognize that maybe it’s warning of the inevitable results of the control/choices I have already exerted)”, but adding “oh, and there’s also some entity that’s bigger and smarter than me and can look around from overhead, seeing stuff I can’t because I’m down here, and I don’t like admitting I’m not the biggest smartest guy around”.

        At least, I’ve never seen any good argument for prophecy itself (in any of its variations) being inherently bad in and of itself (rather than the misuse/abuse of prophecy being what’s bad), that doesn’t hypocritically not claim that identical things that happen to not be labeled “prophecy” are “not bad, only their misuse/abuse is bad”. And all the arguments I have heard that aren’t clearly poorly thought out and self-contradictory could be summarized as “because I don’t want to accept responsibility for the results of my actions, admit that my actions could have easily recognizable negative consequences, or accept that anyone else might be better than me at seeing those things.”

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      8. 1. It might be worth discussing Greek and Norse prophecy myth in detail, and why folks of a more or less Christian culture might find those specific approaches fairly offensive. Perhaps a very different flavor from Biblical prophecy.
        2. A Christian who practices a “Don’t consult oracles” flavor might write about people messing around with divination or diviners and having bad results. Certainly there are a lot of people with mental health issues who have messed around with the occult and experienced very poor outcomes.
        3. If one is writing fantasy, prophecy is a tempting explanation for character motivation, or exposition, or whatever. Any authorial temptation in fiction will produce a lot of badly done examples. If one reads enough badly done fictional prophecies, one will get quite heartily sick of them.
        4. When I first started reading about Ebberon, I failed to realize how well it married an emulation of Lovecraft with the DnD play style of the time. The Draconic prophecies seem to take the place of the Necronomicon and ‘when the stars are right’. How do you do that without SAN loss, or tables of insanities? How do you do it in a way that promotes the desired play? i. Extremely high stakes. ii. Obscure causality and details iii. Ultimate outcomes divorced from intermediate steps.

        Real world human forecasting, planning, and implementation that does not result in a pile of corpses is based on things like past history, stronger mutual influences by near things, and the linkages between means and ends. A sane decision maker in the human real world would act insanely in a decision making environment where the information does not meeting the necessary requirements. Perhaps also vice versa.

        I would expect Dragon behavior in Eberron to some of the time be insane from most human perspectives. I would expect people deep into the Draconic prophecies to be doing things that seem insane or senseless from a PC perspective, and provide gameable hooks.

        I think some of Vathara’s statements, especially mid project, are best understood as flavored by something like method acting. And Eberron’s Draconic Prophecies, for all that their past good results inspire confidence, seem pretty clearly of the sort that in the real world would have evil crazy making effects. This is probably pretty fundamental to understanding the whole of the MCO project from a design perspective.

        Contrast with Biblical prophecies, which seem to come with an explicit or implicit subtext of “and do the right thing, which I have told you is right, and you can tell is right from the results in everyday life”. It is a little bit harder to go from there to a suicide or murder cult than from quite a lot of human religious and magical practices.

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      9. *raises hand*

        Catholic theology, it’s bad because you’re trying to cheat to give yourself extra power that’s reserved to Himself. (I nattered on about it for waaaay too long here, with citations, if that isn’t clear enough.)

        If you’re trying to get power that belongs only to God, well, nobody else has it– so the only ones who will “offer” it don’t actually have it. (They don’t have your best interests at heart.)

        Contrast with, say, technology– where it’s just using what you’ve already been given, the ability to apply reason, or Harry Potter magic/X-men powers, where it’s inborn.

        It’s similar to how making babies is fine, Catholic morality wise, but making test tube babies isn’t. 😉

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      10. 1) Good point. I happen to enjoy Norse mythology partly because of the contrast to my beliefs as a Christian, but that’s also because I’m secure in my beliefs and can thus use the contrast as a source of motivation to study while being equally secure in it being fantasy. But I know many who can’t make the distinction, and thus can’t handle this.

        2) To be fair, “don’t consult oracles” was because God said that only He had that power, so any “oracle” you might consult was either a charlatan or a puppet of a demon (that was itself a charlatan, even if more capable than a mere human), and either way the “oracle” was claiming to have power that God said didn’t belong to them, so was trying to usurp God’s authority. In fiction, I have no trouble accepting that part of that fiction’s setting involves some powerful entity that can actually provide prophecies, because I can distinguish that from the real world, and recognize “this fictional setting isn’t claiming to have God’s power in real life, and thus isn’t subject to this injunction.” But it makes sense that some wouldn’t make that distinction.

        3) Another good point. In hindsight, this is why I reacted and made a big deal of it here. I’ve just seen a whole bunch of arguments involving what was essentially prophecy (different terms were used “because it’s a Scientific setting!”, but still), with a lot of examples of it being horribly misused, the readers horribly misinterpreting it and its flaws, and a lot of complaints about “prophecy is evil” as a result of that… when it was actually the way authors were being insufficiently skilled (or just being lazy) in their use of it, and readers were being insufficiently wise (or just being lazy) in their interpretation of it, leading to those complains. Thus, when I saw the same complaint here, I reacted to the complaint…
        Also, your comment about Vathara’s method acting replies makes sense in hindsight.

        4) I barely know anything about Lovecraft, so can’t really say more here, other than that your explanation makes sense.

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  2. Oh dear. Divine influence yes, but how much divine can the system take before the curse gets nullified from sheer presence? Cancel the curse, what happens to the poor souls caught in its web? It could just let them go, but it might not. An backlash is still a thing.

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    1. Because Persona games introduce the powers with an inner dialogue when things are looking pretty serious? (A ways back I watched vid of all the Persona introduction scenes from the Persona games. When the PCs first activate the powers, not the negotiation based gameplay of P2 and maybe P1.)

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    1. Probably take the next opportunity to kill both Klein and whatever “Evil Big Bad” with ALL THE FIRE. Because Lycanthropes are demonically possessed of course.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Problem with that is, adding divine influence to someone demonically possessed would likely either burn out the possessor, or make the person in question go up in flames entirely. And considering the fact that the second curse involved with lycanthropy effectively swallows the victim’s soul whole… it’d probably be the latter option.

        Like adding divine power to Buffy Sanzo required a wee bit of dragon to keep her from going up in flames.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. On one hand, I can see that on being in character. On the other hand, if they are Priests/Paladins of the Silver Flame, and they’re trying to right up murder another one, I could see the Silver Flame not really approving having that kind of fracticide attempt. After all, if it called Klein as a Paladin it should know enough to know he’s not a demon, and ‘let us go murder a paladin’ isn’t normally seen as a good action…

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      3. My point wasn’t on the ability for people do double think themselves, my point was on the likelihood that ‘Trying to murder a paladin of the silver flame while you should damn well know he is a paladin and you are a paladin of the silver flame yourself’ is the kind of thing that leads to the Silver Flame taking it’s power back as might happen in other situations where a (theoretically) goodly paladin or priest tries to murder another one that follows the same good aligned patron spirit/god/whatever.

        I mean, isn’t ‘checking if he is really a paladin’ what ‘detect evil’ and ‘ask your patron when you do the daily prayers for a sign’ for? And I don’t see any good alignment power being happy when their own followers try to murder one of their paladins because he’s not the right race…

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      1. Don’t forget the boss that abomination ate when it showed up. Once that THING is dead/banished, the system should come back into proper alignment and may assign the LA bonus for the Gleam Eyes to the guy who finished off the demon that ate it.

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      2. Not as familiar with D&D mechanics as I’d liked – would the bebilith leave a corpse behind, that people could go Monster Hunter on and start harvesting for mats?

        Liked by 3 people

  3. I’ve always had a sneaking fondness for Chinese style prophecy, due to the whole “If you’re brave and clever enough, you can change it by exact wording.” Then again, a whole system set up on LN principles is more my style.

    I think a lot of modern style prophecy hate actually comes from Greek roots, especially as a lot of Greek myths have some what to modern eyes are horrifying bits. Even the super sanitized ones given to children, which usually tend to be stuff like Perseus and Oedipus. Or the bleakness of Norse myth, where it’s all fated to fall down and they know it! One of the few things I liked about Scion(interesting ideas, horrible to actually play) was how they handled fate.

    And I’m focusing on that to avoid laughing in glee about Klein. Yes!

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    1. I would contend that the Norse myths aren’t quite how you’re portraying them. Greek myth is “that’s just the way fate is, no matter how horrible that is. But at least it’s uncaring. The dice were rolled a long time ago, and now everything’s playing out just as it showed.” Norse myth, by contrast, is “fate’s intelligent and out to get you. It’s made the rules so that they’re basically impossible to avoid breaking them, and if you break them and get caught you’re done for. You might be the lucky one who manages to beat fate at its own game by actually following all the rules, but you’ve got a much better chance if you break the rules and are skilled enough. Still not a good chance, but that’s what you get when fate’s actively trying to hurt you.”

      Tho yes, as I noted before, a lot of the modern hate for prophecy seems to be predicated on “this is outside my control, therefore I hate it (and while I’m at it, I’ll blame all the failings of my own choices on it too, so I don’t have to admit to them)”. They don’t want to admit that if time isn’t strictly linear, then your future choices can still be 100% your own free will, yet also be already known to have occurred. Or even if time is strictly linear, that your past choices may have future effects that cannot now be avoided, and are the fault of those past choices you made.

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      1. Yeah, there is a lot of details in all of those that change the myths, but in general knowledge, that’s what they are. Which is cool, because there is so much out there to learn, that most people can get away with just that general knowledge, annoying as it is to those of us who care. Though yeah, hubris is certainly a thing.

        Hence also why one of my favorite reworkings of the Norse myths is some guy managing to take over Asgard by proper application of myths/Norns cheating to prevent Ragnarok. (Also amusing in his “So, you realize most of the best generals managed to die in bed?” reaction to having those gathered in battles be the army in Valhalla.)

        Also given I’ve been playing in a long term game that actually has as a major theme about “What will you do if all you know is doomed.”, it’s pretty neat to see other people’s thoughts about it.

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      2. I did like that story, if it’s the one I’m thinking of… where the guy ended up tricking Odin into “fulfilling” some of the prophecies in such a way that he was able to beat Odin and replace him… and then realized it was a case of “you broke it, now you’ve gotta deal with it”.

        I also had fun playing in a campaign that was kinda related to the “all you know is doomed”, tho kinda sideways. The campaign premise was “all these other games/stories go having you try to stop the end of the world/etc… but what happens if the world’s doomed and evil’s gonna win, but the side of good knew that ahead of time and planned a contingency for it?” Basically, turn the normal campaign direction backwards. Instead of “sealed evil in a can”, our party’s the “sealed good in a can”, set to open long enough after evil won, that evil’s turning on itself while also letting its guard down in regard to good, so we’ve actually got a chance. Unfortunately, all three attempts at that campaign idea have so-far failed due to scheduling changes and similar things.

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      3. Unfortunately, all three attempts at that campaign idea have so-far failed due to scheduling changes and similar things.

        If it’s a matter of “we can’t meet face to face for reasons XYZ” rather than “No one has the same time slot open”, you might try playing via google docs (or similar program).

        Narration of character actions and in-game stuff goes in the document; player chatter, meta-gaming, and dice rolls go in the chat window. If you need a map, like for positioning in battles, there’s a “drawing document” function that you can open up in a separate window. It’s amazingly efficient.

        My group has played that way for several years now, since none of us are in the same city (and for a couple years one player was in a completely different time zone.)

        As a bonus you have a automatic record of what happened and when that everyone can refer to, instead of merely relying on the DM to keep notes.

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      4. Roll 20 is good; my husband runs 2-4 campaigns on it right now.

        Can use it for free, we liked it well enough that he’s subbing right now.
        (I even like it on games I’m not playing– before he was driving roughly an hour and a half round trip to DM for folks, three nights a week, and feeling sad our Navy buddies couldn’t join.)

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      5. Unfortunately not the problem. We already made the move from IRC to Skype to Discord, and use Maptool (we’ve tried Roll20, but it’s consistently proven insufficient for us). Part of it was real life interrupting (GM losing his job, more than once, as well as health), part of it was how far apart we are (the first campaign, there was an 8 hour clock difference between the players, with the “best” schedule having the GM start at midnight and go til 0400, so the one player would start at 0500, and 2 other players would start at 2100), and part of it was rebooting it because of hiatuses/etc interrupting it and the GM getting better as a GM between campaigns. Currently, it’s down because only two of us potential players are interested, and the other guy can’t really manage to play because his schedule’s so messed up.

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    2. Sadly, that’s partly because of a total failure of education by Christian teachers. (at some level of remove, a lot of folks have never heard of it ^.^ )

      For example, the whole Immanuel thing for Jesus– makes a lot more sense when you know that the way they said “his name is” was literally “he shall be called” and that Immanuel means “God (walks) among us.” And even more when you find out they believe in cyclic prophecies, where a true prophecy will keep happening– you have the immediate fulfillment, then a later one, and it usually comes up sideways when you’re looking for what you EXPECT.

      And, apparently, Himself really likes puns.

      (If someone wants to know more, try Father Mitch Packwa with EWTN, he speaks most of the Biblical languages well enough to get the puns, including IIRC some about the angel’s names; Raphael means God’s Healing, for example.)

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I’d not seen the perspective of “cyclic prophecies” as you just labeled it, but I can see how it could be taken that way. The way I was taught, it wasn’t so much “cyclic prophecies” as “built in verification of credentials”. If God’s giving you a True Prophecy, it’s no harder for him to give you a prophecy that has both immediate/short-term fulfillment (as your credentials “yep, the short term part came true, now look for the long term part”), and the actual long term fulfillment that was the end goal of the prophecy (and also “God can do more than one thing at the same time”). Tho it comes out effectively the same, it’s just a different perspective on how/why it does that.

        Still, it’s not so much “failure of Christian education”, as “failure of both education and the lazy populous that doesn’t bother learning”. I’ve got an educational copy of the Illiad that was published in the late 1800s (greek, with english footnotes/historical explanations), and the introductory note starts with a rant about “in my day, kids couldn’t enter college without proving they’d already learned the Illiad as part of the entry exam, but nowdays education’s been watered down enough that they’re only expected to learn the Illiad before graduating college”. Now, it’s not even expected that the average college graduate will even be able to give you a brief summary of the Illiad, let alone any sort of detail. And even if they did study it during college, it’s not expected that they’d actually remember any of it after they graduate and move on to “real life”. And this slippage of standards has hit across the board, not just that one particular example being replaced with new stuff.

        And even when people do study stuff on their own, a lot comes down to which details you pick up on. Like my noting that the reason that Odin and Freya are both collecting warriors in the Norse myths is because, despite expecting to lose, they recognize that if you fight against it and are good enough at cheating, there’s still the possibility of success. The modern view is “oh, the Norse thought everything would end at Ragnarok, and the gods would inevitably lose”, but the Norse view was “fate’s trying to make them lose, but they’re doing everything they can to fight back. Odin’s got a plan, and Freya’s got a different plan, and hopefully one of those will work, but even if neither works, Baldur’s our backup option.” And it has nothing to do with “Christian education not telling it”, and everything to do with “it’s obscure and most people don’t care”. In fact, as yet another of those “it’s obscure, and most people don’t care” bits, if you dig deep enough, it was back when Christians were actually the ones running the education system that these things were still (relatively) common knowledge (even if just as “this stuff is not-true, but we study it so we can refute it”), and the “most people don’t care” bit mostly started coming in as the Christians were getting pushed out of education.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Failure to teach the stuff that even non-believers in the country celebrate twice each year is kinda a bigger flaw, IMHO.

        (Although the Norse thing is freaking cool. I’d figured out the “sure, we’re going to lose, but that’s no reason not to try” thing by observation, the idea that sometimes it somehow pulls out anyways explains a LOT.)

        Liked by 3 people

      3. I’m pretty sure Angel names, at least those in the Bible, are not puns. I understand that the Jewish perspective is that Angels are literally part of God. For that case, the names are probably literal. For the case where the Angels are distinct entities, the names are probably because they are named after God.

        I agree that modern education is seriously flawed.

        There is an argument that ‘dumbing down’ of education over time is an artifact of increasing wealth. Time spent studying is not time spent agriculturally producing a caloric profit. Over the lifetime of an author writing that book, the mechanization of agriculture would have made a difference in the number of people per million with the time to spend on advanced education. Some of the quality decrease would have come from damaging the process to increase throughput capacity, and some from being able to accept lower quality ‘feedstock’. Even if quality of, say, college freshmen could be maintained as numbers are increased by improving primary and secondary education, that does not mean that primary and secondary education have actually been improved.


      4. I understand that the Jewish perspective is that Angels are literally part of God.

        The explanation I got was that as His Messenger (which is what Angel literally means) they are acting in His name, and that it’s a thing we have trouble identifying here and now short of something like a power of attorney; when my husband uses my PoA, he’s acting as me.

        The Angel’s names are only puns from our POV– they’re descriptions of what they DO from the ancient view.

        …and now I’m wondering what the correct ancient Hebrew word for ‘death’ would be, and if it’s something like Az. (as in ‘Azrael,’ which isn’t mentioned in even the Catholic Bible, but….)

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      5. Azrael means “Helper of God” or “Champion of God”, and the related word is ‘ezer. (Eve was created to be Adam’s ‘ezer.) The general idea may be that he provides help at the hour of death, or that he smears enemies of God.

        Nobody seems to have used this ‘ezer thing to claim that Azrael is female or a woman, but I am sure this will happen by next Tuesday.

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      6. Oh, and since St. Michael is generally in the old days the angel who helps at death, it is just possible that is an alternate name for Michael. (Although Hebrew tradition definitely paints them as separate personalities.)

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      7. If anyone’s interested in this topic, book recommendation: Angels (and Demons) by Peter Kreeft. (Yes, the brackets are in the title.) It’s 150 pages of absolutely every question I’ve ever heard and then some on the Judeo-Christian understanding of angels and demons, written with a delightful sense of humor and a very articulate way of speaking.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I wonder what will happen to things like Paladins (and maybe Warlocks) whose power comes from Something Else once MCO ends. It’s not like the Something Else would stop being interested them once they are in the “real world” would it?

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  5. Aw, not Kanzeon. 😦

    Still, this is definitely gonna give Benny a migraine. And considering the Church of the Flame’s track record with lycanthropes, that migraine will probably be shared by a lot of people, most of whom will richly deserve it.

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  6. I just wanna note there’s actually one good thing about this thing showing up in Sword Art Online. That being that it showed up in Sword Art Online instead of homing in on the /other/ game.

    (I mean, sure, the other game doesn’t have everyone trapped inside it… but if it’s teaching people magic and stuff it probably shares a lot of the basic metaphysical scaffolding and while the souls might not be trapped in it, since it’s been running for more then one day I wouldn’t be surprised if it had a higher total player base. So, you know, at least there’s no surprise demon spider in the middle of a large faction battle on ‘peak players logged in at once per day’ time. In Sword Art Online players predisposed to helping each other with the giant monsters, and not likely to try to, initially at least, treat it as an in battle obstacle…)

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  7. There is going to be a lot of fall out from Klein (a weretiger) getting chosen by the Silver Flame to be one of it’s paladins/champions. I doubt he’s going to be the ordained as the new keeper but a big statement is being made here by the Flame.

    Because I’m pretty sure Klein isn’t the only stand-up guy/paladin material in SAO. Ergo it chose him for a reason.
    And no, I don’t consider Kirito paladin material. He’s definitely a force of good but he really doesn’t doesn’t have a paladin mentality.

    And while Beniryuu will likely be turning the air blue upon observing this entire clusterflop, I’m more eager to see the reactions of Testutora, Stheno, Euryale and the rest of the Youkai lords.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Kirito’s no paladin, no. Kid’s more Neutral Good than Lawful, with occasional brushes with Chaotic. 🙂

      Klein’s certainly not the only standup guy, but he’s a guy who refuses to believe fangs/no fangs should make a difference in how you treat people. That can be hard to find.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. -but he’s a guy who refuses to believe fangs/no fangs should make a difference in how you treat people. That can be hard to find.-

        -Thinks back to Eberron canon info-
        You know, I’m starting to get the vague feeling that the Flame might not 100% agree with the current policy of it’s followers towards Lycans and similar ‘monstrous/evil’ species anymore.

        Can’t say why. 😉

        Liked by 4 people

      2. “Anymore” is a relative term. The bits on the spiritual head of the church versus the people practically in charge tends to imply that the Silver Flame’s original attitude toward lycanthropy could be interpreted to be more like. “Quit that, it makes most people evil. We mean it. Quit it or we’ll make you quit. Last warning….”

        Liked by 2 people

      3. >> [T]he Silver Flame’s original attitude toward lycanthropy could be interpreted to be more like. “Quit that, it makes most people evil. We mean it. Quit it or we’ll make you quit. Last warning….”

        Especially since – while Eberron throws out racial alignments and alignment change by curse as a rule – even in Eberron Infected Lycanthropes go berserk under a full moon, and with Eberron‘s 13 12-minus-one moons… Word of God is there tends to be one full moon every three nights on average, so a Lycanthrope who isn’t a Natural Lycanthrope is flat-out a danger to everyone around them.

        The Church of the Silver Flame actually had a pretty good point as far as the setting books are concerned, and even most Shifters would agree that Lycanthrope’s are just too dangerous to be allowed to live. The problem was the Church’s inclusion of Shifters in that ban, which is why Shifters as a rule tend to be insular, have such low numbers, and don’t like the Church of the Silver Flame even today, when that crusade was a long time ago.

        >> The Silver Flame is a committee. So if they let too many members die with wrong ideas, suddenly they are not good anymore.

        ‘S a bit worse than that. The vast majority by sheer numbers and probably also by metaphysical weight of the initial Silver Flame were he Coatls who sacrificed themselves to form it. Coatls are Good Outsiders, but the source material is pretty explicit that for all that they’re Good they were never mortal so their perspectives tend to come off as a bit alien. I forget her name but the Paladin who sacrificed herself to strengthen the Flame and became a single major personality within it is the voice most people hope to hear from, since she’s both Good and has a firm understanding of the Human perspective (and is at least closer than the Coatls tend to be as far as Dwarves, Halfligs, Elves, and the rest are concerned. Tho’ the Warforged might actually appreciate the perspective of the Coatls more; Warforged are young, especially as a race, but they’re not mortal either).

        Most souls of worshippers who join the Silver Flame after death just… don’t have the metaphysical presence of those souls and are more added to the mass, further, any mistaken impressions they have can pretty easily be corrected by the actual factual knowledge of the gestalt upon death. So their actual being Good people is frankly what’s most important to the stability of the Silver Flame.

        Worshippers who’ve become corrupted and become Evil, or who are so self-righteous that they refuse to be corrected even after death tend to fall into the center of the prison and are either consumed by or just add their strength to that of the Shadow In the Flame – i.e. the Rakshasa Rajah that the Flame was formed to imprison in the first place and that still likes trapped in its center.

        So the more worshippers with wrong ideas – as in to the point of being actually evil aligned – that die that way, the more power that infernal Demi-god has to influence anyone who prays to the Silver Flame, corrupt them, corrupt the Flame itself and eventually break free.

        (I think Werewolves are super cool, and the first one time I played in Eberron I leapt at the chance to play a Shifter, so this is one of the key pieces of world-lore that I actually did a fair amount of reading into. Some or all might be different in Monstrous Compendium Online since it’s an AU, but figured I might as well put it out here anyways.)

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Especially since by her definition of ‘under control’ I’m betting she means something like Lycan’s Shade or similar magic that turns them into Natural Lycanthropes so they don’t berserk under a full moon or getting their Will save up high enough (however, FEAT, levels, magic items, it does not matter) that they only fail the save on Nat 1s.

        (Nevermind. I double checked mechanics, and the Will save to maintain control and not turn into a berserking monster under GM control who is explicitly guided by the curse to be Evil and terrible has a frequency of every full moon “or whenever the target is injured.” Even if the character only fails on a Nat 1 that’s still a failure rate of 5%. Improved Iron Will let’s you reroll a Will save, but only once a day, so while that further reduces the chances to 0.25%, it only works the first time you fail a save and are forced to use it, so all following rolls go back up to that 1-in-20 risk. Unless the Lycanthrope in question leads an extremely safe and sedentary life, they are actively a danger to themselves and everyone around them if they just try to deal with it themselves instead of seeking help.)

        (AU, so saying with time and an effort of great will they can overcome the bloodthirst attached to the curse is fair… But Rules As Written even without the curse changing a characters alignment at all times – just when forcibly transformed – that character is still utterly ****ed)

        Honestly, one of my favorite bits of Eberron lore I read when building a Shifter character was that – for all that Shifters traditional faith is essentially druidic nature worship with a special veneration for the moons – they have a historical oral tradition that the first lycanthropes were holy warriors and noble paragons of the Shifter race, but something happened that warped the Blessing of the Moon into a curse and it is the duty of all good and pious Shifters to cure or kill any Lycanthropes they encounter. The initial purge the Church of the Silver Flame attempted would’ve actually been the sort of thing more traditional and/or religious Shifters would’ve been 100% on board with if the Church hadn’t – either due to misunderstanding, lack of education on what Shifters actually were, intentional manipulation by corrupt Church officials of the time, or whatever combination since the setting books deliberately leave the source of the decision unknown and up to GM – included Shifters in their purge genocide.

        Again hilariously, in that way that really isn’t funny, Shifters believe the original Lycanthropes were exceptionally worthy Shifters who were blessed. So a Lycanthrope who is actually under control and refuses to risk turning anyone else is actually the sort of person they might be chill and live-and-let-live with, depending on their personal religious interpretations. Certainly, there’s a path of spiritual refinement **cough**aShifteronlyprestigeclass**cough** Shifters can follow to become like those original champions – i.e. ‘burn 5-or-10-levels-I-forget-which get all the benefits of lycanthropy with none of the drawbacks’. While rare they’re still running around and are seen as sort of holy warriors by the traditional Shifter faith not unlike paladins, even if the strength is solely internally sourced.

        (One begins to see how the Church of the Silver Flame might genuinely have included Shifters in their crusade by accident.)

        Seriously, I remember reading the race section on Shifters and their common religious views, and it was noted that there’s actually a lot about the Church of the Silver Flame that would appeal to them if it weren’t for their bloody history.

        …Sorry, I tangented. Rant over now, I promise.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. A lot of this stuff is actually why I took the AU the way I did and came up with Moonswords in the first place – because yes, as you point out, infected lycanthropes are so screwed.

        Which isn’t that bad in a regular D&D campaign, but in Eberron? Where 5th level is explicitly high-level for NPCs? You odds of finding a good remove curse and cure disease go down so far it’s not funny.

        But with all those moons and the planar connections, plus some homebrew I ran across that had one warlock linked to Dolurh and the Mournlands, I thought, “why not link warlocks to elemental planes? And if they’re linked to the same planes as the moons bring in energy from anyway… they should be able to do something about lycanthropy. And other planar nasties.”

        Liked by 1 person

      6. >> Kirito’s no paladin, no. Kid’s more Neutral Good than Lawful, with occasional brushes with Chaotic.

        Even without the alignment differences, Kirito…

        I forget which book I read it in – I think it was a setting fluff book for Pathfinder, but in my experience the idea applies across editions and settings in Dungeons & Dragons – but there was a line I read somewhere about how Rangers and Paladins have an odd relationship, because while Rangers are broader in alignment the two classes tend to do the same things, but in vastly different ways.

        I feel like the difference in methodology between Kirito and Klein kind of… embodies this.

        (Not the least difference also being that Paladins tend to have a… not a surety of faith, but still a level or kind of confidence born of faith that I buy from Klein, but not from Kirito.)

        Liked by 2 people

      7. *Nod* That was my take, too. Klein just has a level of belief in his fellow man that Kirito… can’t pull off, most of the time.

        Truth in Television time here, people who find out they were adopted (instead of having their family come clean and tell them) often have major trust issues to work through!

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Rangers v. Paladins; not quite Batman v. Superman, as that has skill v. power and a lot of other contrasts beside, but maybe more like Green Arrow v. Green Lantern? Vastly different methods and scope of operations, but still BFFs for life!

        Liked by 3 people

  8. :Are you certain? Once you choose to burn the corruption of the world, its agents will never again give you peace….:

    I don’t think giving him peace was in their agenda anyway.

    Hello? Demon? Soul-devouring monster? No way am I letting this thing get through!

    And that’s why you are a good guy Klein.

    Liked by 3 people

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