A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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    Default Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    I would like to take this moment to say that this is NOT a 4-words thread.

    Anyway, sorry if it's been discussed before, but...

    I took a quick look back through the archives just to see Belkar kill the Oracle again, and thought of something.

    Mother dragon tracked V down by visiting the Oracle and getting a prediction of the present, which led to the dragon attacking V, then V's family. This led to the deal with the fiends, familicide, etc.

    So, my question is...the Oracle is granted powers by Tiamat to know pretty much everything, but why doesn't he look ahead to see what kind of consequences giving the predictions will have, and maybe help Tiamat prevent the destruction of 1/4 of the black dragons?
    Last edited by Andore Mordre; 2009-07-01 at 11:05 AM.
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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    Well, the dragon most likely didn't consider it herself, and even if they did know that V would wind up killing 1/4th of the black dragon species, they wouldn't care thinking it a remote possibility.

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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    The Oracle seems compelled to answer exactly whatever question he's asked. He may well have warned the mother dragon about these consequences, but she forgot that as soon as she left. Assuming the memory spell affects dragons.

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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    The whole point of the Oracle is that he breaks the 4th wall even more than everyone else. He knows the entire plot, including his answers and how they will be interpreted. He knows he can't change the future because he's fictional and the Rule Of Funny would never allow it. He's just a puppet who can see the strings.

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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    If he didn't tell the black dragon where Vaarsuvius was, then the black dragon likely would have killed the oracle. Plus, the dragon may have eventually found V anyway, leading to the same result without the help of the oracle.
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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    Quote Originally Posted by Faleldir View Post
    He's just a puppet who can see the strings.
    That's a tad too deterministic for my tastes. I'd like to think he isn't completely omniscient, as Roy's defeat of his memory charm indicates.

    At the same time, I find it stretches credulity a bit to think he didn't see this coming at all. Not bothering to check if your chosen method of evicting a ghost will allow him to keep his memory is one thing, but failing to predict a global event that affects a large number of your patron's servants is another matter entirely.

    The way I see it, there are a couple of possibilities:

    1. He did know. This leads to the following
    a) He couldn't prevent it. Perhaps the dragons were destined to die even without Familicide. Thus he didn't warn Mama.

    b) Tiamat saw some benefit in their deaths. Perhaps their deaths allow her to act directly in the world somehow, or seek some kind of restitution from the IFCC. We have to see her attitude to what happened to know which.

    2. He didn't know.
    a) Tiamat can't predict the actions of the IFCC: The "Covenant Not-To-Compete" may be a double-edged sword. It prevents the Fiends from granting divine spells to nonworshippers, and in return the evil gods can't interfere with their dealings, even to the point of being unaware of what they're up to.

    b) Tiamat knew and simply didn't tell the kobold. This reads much like 1b.

    Personally, I favor 2a.

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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    It all comes down to the essence of predictions about the future. The question would be a valid one if the Oracle saw possibilities rather than rather than definite, unalterable future events set in stone.

    But since he can only see the definite future, if we knew about the Familicide at all then it was the future and thus going to happen whatever he did.

    Questioning that logic leads to questioning time paradoxes in general, which leads to headaches, which leaves to suffering.
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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaytara View Post
    Questioning that logic leads to questioning time paradoxes in general, which leads to headaches, which leaves to suffering.
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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    Remember how he tried to warn Roy that he asked the wrong question?

    The memory charm ONLY allows people to remember the answer to the question they asked. Even if he did tell the dragon about the familicide spell, it wouldn't have made a difference if her question was simply "Where is the location of the one who killed my son?". She would have had two options. Remain in the Oracle's tower for the rest of time, or take the risk that maybe she can change the future and kill V.

    Upon leaving, the only thing she would remember is V's location, no matter what the Oracle told her about the consequences.

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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    Quote Originally Posted by NerfTW View Post
    Remember how he tried to warn Roy that he asked the wrong question?
    Which means he could advise her to ask a different question, before she asks it. Or give her a free question like when Roy hung him out the window.

    The memory charm ONLY allows people to remember the answer to the question they asked.
    Maybe it only allows humanoids to remember the answer to the question they asked. Dragons (maybe even just chromatic dragons) are a special case, because it's Tiamat. Epileptic tree evidence: The flashback panel to her arriving at the door supports this.

    Anyway, we can expect that the oracle will be a lot friendlier and more helpful to chromatic dragons, because he's their oracle.

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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    Quote Originally Posted by Random832 View Post
    Maybe it only allows humanoids to remember the answer to the question they asked. Dragons (maybe even just chromatic dragons) are a special case, because it's Tiamat.
    We have no evidence to support that theory, and all reason to believe that they're under the same charm as anyone else, given that any other explanation requires us to believe that she willingly went into a fight knowing it would lead to 1/4 of her race being killed off.

    Also, we already know that the gods do not directly interfere with mortal realm, from the Crayons of Time segment. They can only act through clerics. We have no reason to believe that the Oracle is any nicer to dragons than he is to anyone else, despite the racial link. So it's entirely likely that the Oracle simply didn't tell her about the consequences, and Tiamat simply didn't care anymore than the twelve gods cared about Azure City being wiped off the map.

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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    2. He didn't know.
    a) Tiamat can't predict the actions of the IFCC: The "Covenant Not-To-Compete" may be a double-edged sword. It prevents the Fiends from granting divine spells to nonworshippers, and in return the evil gods can't interfere with their dealings, even to the point of being unaware of what they're up to.

    Personally, I favor 2a.
    This is what I've been considering. Actually, it may be possible that the Oracle's powers are limited to the Material Plane, which would explain why he didn't know about Roy bypassing his memory charm.
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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    Quote Originally Posted by NerfTW View Post
    We have no evidence to support that theory, and all reason to believe that they're under the same charm as anyone else, given that any other explanation requires us to believe that she willingly went into a fight knowing it would lead to 1/4 of her race being killed off.
    The entire point of this thread is to find an explanation that doesn't require that, given we know that the Oracle can choose to let someone ask more than one question and get more than one official answer, since he did so after being intimidated by Roy.
    Last edited by Random832; 2009-07-01 at 12:42 PM.

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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    But the deaths of the dragons occur on the mortal plane, and they're carried out by V and the spiced souls, all non-fiend actors. Even if Tiamat can't see into the time stop where V made the bargain, she ought to be able to see Familicide, or at least its consequences. At the very least there should be gaps in the future where the actions of the now dead black dragons ought to show up.

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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    I think it is a raw deal to pin any responsibility on the Oracle, for such things. Should he be saving the universe from Xykon and the Snarl, too?

    We did not observe the ABD's conversation with the Oracle. It would be in character for the Oracle to drop hints. But the mythical tradition around oracles is that petitioners are very likely to misinterpret those hints, because they are too emotionally tied up in the issue at hand.

    Roy was not stupid for stubbornly trying to outsmart the Oracle. It was the manner in which he chose to do so which was rather stupid AND FUNNY.

    If the Oracle hinted at the dire risk of V drawing on resources from an unexpected ally, what exactly do you think the ABD would do? Try to catch V alone, most likely.

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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    So far as we know, the Oracle is heavily self-centered. We don't really have much reason to think he cares if the dragons died or not. Nor can we really assume an evil goddess is going to be all that upset about something evil happening to the dragons.

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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    Quote Originally Posted by Random832 View Post
    The entire point of this thread is to find an explanation that doesn't require that, given we know that the Oracle can choose to let someone ask more than one question and get more than one official answer, since he did so after being intimidated by Roy.
    Exactly. But we don't know that the Oracle even gives a flying rat's buttocks about saving 1/4 of the black dragons on the planet. He might just be a jerk to everyone. If you could see the future, you'd probably be a bit of a fatalist as well.

    The very likely explanation is simply that the Oracle dropped hints, the ABD failed to pick up on them or misinterpreted them, and that he didn't care enough to simply say "Ask a question about the result of your quest so that you'll remember after you leave". The gods have already been proven not to care about a significant chunk of their followers being killed, as evidenced by Azure City's fall.

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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    I'm with David and Nerf on this - we don't have any reason to think the Oracle would give a damn about the black dragons.

    So I suggest adding option 1c) He knew and didn't really care one way or another.

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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    We don't know for certain that "one question per visitor" is a rule the Oracle follows with everyone, either.

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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    Something else occurs.
    Spoiler
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    An army of Chaotic Evil dragons was just killed. Who else do we know that is Chaotic Evil and bound for the lower planes?

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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    Perhaps the Kobold himself is CN, and so is only in this 'oracle' stuff for the money. Thus, he wouldn't care about a bunch of dragons dieing and was probably too busy focusing on pleasing the ABD when she was there (so that she didn't eat him) to look into the further ramifications of her actions.
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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Argall View Post
    So far as we know, the Oracle is heavily self-centered. We don't really have much reason to think he cares if the dragons died or not. Nor can we really assume an evil goddess is going to be all that upset about something evil happening to the dragons.
    Tiamat not caring is a viable 5th option; she might even see it as "thinning the herd" so to speak, deeming any dragon that couldn't make a fortitude save against so diffused a spell to be unworthy of serving her.

    The Oracle knowing and not caring about the dragons is a bit harder to swallow. He honors Mama even when not speaking to her, and Mama refers to him as "given to us," implying that his primary purpose on the planet is to dispense guidance to dragons before all others.

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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    The Oracle knowing and not caring about the dragons is a bit harder to swallow. He honors Mama even when not speaking to her, and Mama refers to him as "given to us," implying that his primary purpose on the planet is to dispense guidance to dragons before all others.
    That was my thought as well, which is why I brought up this whole dreary story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fish View Post
    Something else occurs.
    Spoiler
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    An army of Chaotic Evil dragons was just killed. Who else do we know that is Chaotic Evil and bound for the lower planes?
    Spoiler
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    Belkar? Does the Oracle really hate him that much?
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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    Seeing as that the whole purpose of the Oracle is to help dragons, it seems to me that the Oracle would attempt to do what is in the best interest of dragonkind.

    The Oracle Businesstm is just a way for the oracle to make a little money on the side, I don't think that dragons have to follow the same rules as anyone else, though obviously I can't back that up. However if they are beholden to the same rules, then it would seem obvious that the dragon asked something along the lines of "What happened to my son" and the oracle responded "An elf named Vaarsuvius disintegrated him" . From that, the dragon could have scryed on V and then hir whole family, but I don't think scrying works like that. And it presupposes that the Oracle has to answer the question ,the whole question, and nothing but the question. Which seems plausible, since he tried to keep Roy from shooting himself in the foot with the whole "which of these two gates..." question, but then answered the question as asked.(I hope this sentence made sense.)

    Anywho, this thread http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116872 proposes a very interesting theory that I think merits some consideration. EDIT: The relevant part being that the loss of the black dragons may have been for the greater good of dragonkind.
    Last edited by Lazy Fat Man; 2009-07-01 at 02:44 PM.
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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    Tiamat not caring is a viable 5th option; she might even see it as "thinning the herd" so to speak, deeming any dragon that couldn't make a fortitude save against so diffused a spell to be unworthy of serving her.

    The Oracle knowing and not caring about the dragons is a bit harder to swallow. He honors Mama even when not speaking to her, and Mama refers to him as "given to us," implying that his primary purpose on the planet is to dispense guidance to dragons before all others.
    I'd follow 2a. I think it would involve the least retconning out of any of them, assuming that any needs to be made in the first place.

    I also agree with the statements here. When Roy was banished from the oracle's tower, the Oracle refers to the dragon as "An Important Client", and we see in the flashback that the dragon at least THINK's that the oracle belongs to them first, which is heavily communicated by the way the oracle regards her when they meet.

    So yeah, I think it's alot more likely that the Oracle simply didn't know or couldn't tell her for some reason than it is for the Oracle to have not cared.
    Last edited by Xesirin; 2009-07-01 at 02:39 PM. Reason: typo

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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    Tiamat not caring is a viable 5th option; she might even see it as "thinning the herd" so to speak, deeming any dragon that couldn't make a fortitude save against so diffused a spell to be unworthy of serving her.
    We don't know that the spell had a saving throw. We are not shown any dragon surviving it. If it did have a saving throw, it would be a liability rather than an asset because there would be a large fraction of the family that survived to come after you, including distant relatives who might not have attacked in the first place.
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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    It seems to me that the Oracle isn't completely omniscient. Rather, he has the ability to ask specific questions and recieve answers. So when he's asked "who killed my son?" he can ask the question and come up with the literal answer. He doesn't get information he doesn't ask for, like what would happen if the dragon leaves V to kill his/her family first.

    Now, with time and inclination the Oracle could ask a large number of questions about an event and end up with a fairly accurate picture of what's going to happen (he probably researched Belkar's death when he predicted his own) but if Mama Dragon just came in, asked about V, and left, the Oracle wouldn't be able (and probably wouldn't bother, since he knows that Mama should be able to stomp V easily) to ask further questions about the fight.
    Last edited by spectralphoenix; 2009-07-01 at 03:44 PM.
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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    I think you guys are seriously overestimating the Oracle.

    Sure, he can see the future. But he doesn't see all the future - he doesn't have that kind of time (who does?) - so how does he decide which bits to look at?

    Well, obviously he looks at enough to answer questions he's asked. That's his Professional usage, that's what he has to do to make money and keep his perks.

    Beyond that, though... my guess - based on what I'd do if I had that kind of power - is that he follows leads, strands, events that look baffling, or amusing, or otherwise entertaining. Just like surfing teh Intarwebs.

    I guess he didn't particularly relish the sight of the dragon torturing V's family - because he's just not into that sort of thing. So then there's no reason why he'd try to follow that chain of events. He answered the question asked of him - anything beyond that is entirely optional, and why would he bother with it if it's not fun?

    Edit: dammit, ninja'd.
    Last edited by veti; 2009-07-01 at 03:53 PM.

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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    I don't think the Oracle knew the Familcide would happen. I think his power works by only answering the questions he asks of it, and unless the Dragon's question involved more forsight into future events then the location of her son's killer, neither the oracle nor the Dragon, perhaps even Tiamat, could fully know the fallout of the events they set into motion.

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    Default Re: Familicide: Oracle's Fault?

    The answer to this is actually simple.

    The Oracle is completely powerless to avoid predestined events, no matter how much talking he does.

    Consider his conversation with Belkar, its result, and the cleric and wizard who ported in to raise him.

    I'm thinking that if the Oracle could change things by being aware of them, he'd have avoided getting killed by Belkar, town of Lickmyorangeballshalfling notwithstanding.

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