The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Failed lawful-good becomes evil, faster

I never did grow out of Dungeons and Dragons; and I still enjoy RPG textbooks. At my age I am, now, mainly interested in how the texts work with storytelling tropes and philosophy. So I recently got the Pathfinder Bestiary 5.

I quote here, by fair-use doctrine, "Archon, Exscinder":

Exscinders are Heaven's censors, scouring the planes for texts containing information too evil or dangerous to be allowed to exist. Exscinders care little for individual lives or everyday heresies, remaining staunchly focused on protecting mortalkind as a whole from corruption.

This seems nicely "meta"...

On topic of imagination and text, the fantastical multiverse exists without boundaries. I've argued that the Planes exist in a Cantorian uncountability. I shan't go back on this. So I can hardly limit what anyone else claims for what lives within Imaginationland. In short: exscinders exist in Paizo's multiverse; their race exists because Paizo has willed it into being. The exscinders retroactively never did not exist. They are, after all, a part of us.

I do propose, however, that the exscinder is not good.

The exscinders enforce ignorance. As archons they carry out orders (I leave the "angelic free will" debate to the theologians). Their lord, therefore, has ordered them to enforce ignorance; he demands ignorance. They represent the human will to power, for the other humans' own good of course.

That whole "alignment" system has long been suspect. The concept of chaotic-good has been debunked almost a decade ago. As for the lawful-good, whatever "heaven" has commissioned the exscinders is a pseudo-heaven. It must be the Arcadia of Planescape - I have in mind Fires of Dis (reviewed here). In a serious RPG campaign the exscinders should be played as villains.

UPDATE 2/11/2018: .... unless the exscinders patrol against lies; that task is Good. Another Good task is to keep baneful knowledge safe in Heaven, for those who need it, and to keep that data out of the other planes. So that's all, er, good; we've saved the exscinder as an angel. So I blame the Bestiary's editors: this entry should not have couched this censorship in terms of information's "existence".

The particular exscinders this entry describes are Arcadian rogues who have fallen short of the Glory Of Heaven.

posted by Zimri on 22:36 | link | 0 comments

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