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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground

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    Oct 2013

    Default The Fantasy Papers - Letters from Beyond! Round 1 "The Ethics of Scrying and Frying"

    Greetings esteemed colleagues.

    I write to you today with a question of some great import. Over the last several months I have become embroiled in a struggle of great power. My closest allies include two of great moral character, a paladin and cleric of Sarenrae. These two champions come from strikingly different backgrounds, but they both carry a brilliant torch for the powers of good. I am humbled by them daily and find myself trying to be a better man for it.

    However, as many of you will attest, I suffer a crippling lack of the traditional conscience. I do not wish to be evil, but likewise I have no natural draw to goodness. Rationally I have come to the conclusion that I must strive towards the ideal of charity towards others and caring for the living. Unfortunately, I am just broken and I don't understand it. As the companion of these two followers of Sarenrae I have taken it upon myself to be their resident arcane expert, a role I am enthusiastically enjoying. I do my best to empower them, hinder our foes, and divine the direction we should go. On occasion I have been moved to summon aid and even perform arcane attacks against our enemies. But soon, I think, I will master the arcane sciences to a point where I may be able to preemptively remove the threats we face - that is, kill the would-be assassins and even perhaps their employers - before they even know they are under threat.

    I am speaking, of course, about what has colloquially been described as the tactic "Scry and Fry." For those who may be reading these missives later and are not familiar with the terms, let me explain. The first step is to use divination magic to thoroughly "scry" upon the enemy. There are limitations to this, of course, and defenses against it exist. However, very few can afford the requisite levels of paranoia needed to be entirely protected at all times. Thus, the intent is to find a moment of weakness, scry upon the target, ensure that the moment is right, and then you "fry" them.

    Yes, I too find it odd that the phrase seems to have been coined entirely due to it rhyming. I suspect some enterprising bard or other charlatan heard of the idea and thought themselves clever. [Grumble]Immature and lazy spontaneous casters with their "innate" magic...[/Grumble] Even I, with my inherited predilection towards undead (which is another subject for another day), have committed myself to extensive study and effort to master the arcane. They should show some respect. But I digress...

    During the "fry" portion of this tactic the party, led by the arcane specialist, violently and with overwhelming force attempts to kill the enemy. This can be done in a variety of methods, of course, as death-dealing is itself so varied in manners as to be worthy of entire lifetimes of study. Some of the more popular options include:

    • Teleporting the party into an advantageous position from which they can deal damage via physical attack. Brutal and uncouth, I know, but it is often effective.
    • Casting a spell through the conduit of the scrying magic that snuffs out the life of the target. Elegant, but requires incredible power and great skill.
    • Teleporting to the target, and then forcibly teleporting them back with you to an ambush, prepared by your allies. Similar in many respects to the first example, but with the advantage that you can prepare all characteristics of the ambush and attack on friendly terrain.
    • Summon assassins into battle with the target when they are weakest. While the least likely to guarantee success this also involves both the least skill and the least threat to your person.
    • Recognizing the moment of vulnerability and conjuring catastrophic, destructive magic on such a scale that they cannot possibly avoid it. This is only slightly more likely to work than simply bringing about a localized apocalypse without scrying, but still deserves recognition as a sub-tactic in this category.

    Now that we have established the definition of "scry and fry" and provided you with some background we can get to my question. Is it moral to use the "scry and fry" tactic? As in, does performing such an attack constitute a good, neutral, or evil action?

    I would not be asking this question if not for the esteemed allies I mentioned earlier. On a personal level, I simply don't understand the finer points of this topic and lack the interest to develop within myself an instinctive comprehension. However, my allies require a certain amount of plausible deniability on their part and I wish to remain within their good graces as much as is reasonable.

    As a matter of comparison, I think it fair to look at "scry and fry" as related, perhaps closely, to murder. Poisoning an enemy, assassinating them via mundane methods, or simply mugging them in a back alley can all lead to similar results and are generally premeditated in similar ways. The difference may only be that of method. If this is the case, am I allowed to murder the violent cultists who wish to plunge my world into darkness and ruin? Or, to remain "good" (or, in my case, neutral at least) will I need to wait until they present themselves as a threat before killing them?

    Please note that the related topic ("is such action lawful?") does not interest me at all. If you feel so moved to discuss it, I cannot stop you (yet), but may not spend the time reading your response.

    To all those experts in the field willing to engage in this discussion, I thank you. Your role as my surrogate conscience is something I recognize with great respect.

    I look forward to your opinions on this topic with great enthusiasm.

    With all due respect,
    Vershab Fethi
    Undead-Blood Arcanist
    Wearer of the Mask of the Forgotten Pharaoh
    Founding Member of the Relic Knights
    Protector of Wati
    Explorer of Tombs
    Servant of Muminofrah

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Mar 2020

    Default Re: The Fantasy Papers - Letters from Beyond! Round 1 "The Ethics of Scrying and Fryi

    (The following text is written in several different inks, with words and paragraphs that seem to push in from each other, with little sidenotes and scribbles of various inventions that include a catapult made out of a cat, a rocking chair that suddenly launches itself off the page with a trail of fire and an unholy fusion of a fire and water elemental used to power a primitive steam engine.)

    Oooooh! I love experiments like these! This reminds me of the time when I wanted to see if 'Good' and 'Evil' were real things... I just happened to dimension walk out of this huuuuuge super magic-y city into another huge city shaped like a giant doughnut (yuuum... donuts) with all these doors to different places that didn't act nice with a bunch of angels and demons and all kinds of people in a bar...

    Heh. I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere. But they were talking about some Lady who ran the place, I remember that much between knocking myself out with shots of Nine Shots Ale. The eight shot will freeze your tongue off, and don't get me started on the ninth... Anyway I got to asking our dear patrons of the City of Doors how you could tell if Good and Evil existed. And they pointed out, of course, that there were literally seventeen Upper Planes dedicated to that concept, along with Law and Chaos and Neutrality, where we were. The Outlands, the center of all things.

    And than I asked how do you know that's what Good and Evil objectively are. Couldn't some super powerful god guy who, I dunno, stays out of peoples' businesses unless things get REALLY messed up, just have made these planes based on his (though I heard a song once that said God was a woman. Mind you the screaming metal flying birds may have just been a hallucination too) perceptions of Good and Evil? What if, just as a purely hypothetical example, I was an all-powerful entity who really, really liked jelly-filled doughnuts and really hated black licorice and my not-entirely sane imagination made up a plane where everyone who was good was people who liked jelly-filled doughnuts and the heretics who actually like black licorice got the eternal punishment they deserved, because seriously you'd HAVE to be diabolical to come up with that.

    Because yeah. I totally wouldn't do that if I had God powers. Nope.

    You should have seen their faces. They all thought I was mad! Mad I say! And than the cleric of Oghma started putting it together... And he got it. What if all our ideas of 'Good' and 'Evil' were the result of some mad god's delusion and we were all living in his dream? And that's when some four-dimensional squid thingy from gods knows where lept out of nowhere, ate him, and disappeared where he came. Yeah. It happens a lot here. And than it sank in. The planetar's face went pale. The pit fiend went silent. The modron was saying 'does not compute' and the sladdi was laughing and saying 'I told you so!'.

    And that's when the rioting started. Apparently dropping some crazy would-be could-be truths on a bar full of Lawful-aligned patrons is literally like dropping a Word of Chaos on these Upper Planes... so mind what you say! Or don't, it's MUCH more fun that way. So anyway I slipped out of Sigil between the madness into some even crazier region of Limbo where time and space were suggestions, partying with my new sladdi friends all along the way and bashing some Gith heads in until I found a portal that leads to gods knows where, the Lady hot on my back for disrupting her city, and fell into some new cool place with a bunch of dinosaurs and pirates and stuff. I think I'll stay here for a while, it totally looks fun.

    Anyway, my point is that reality is much more subjective than we give it credit for, and don't bother yourself too much. Be who you want to be, and have fun! Don't let some god's feverish dream or some distant angel's law tell you how to live.

    Oh right, the 'Scry and Fry' part! Personally, I recommend the imposition of a duo-dimensionally shaped Einstein-Rosen Bridge between a topographically indeterminate region of spacetime characterized by average atmospheric conditions in excess of 1000 degrees Fahrenheit and a chosen region of spacetime where the assembled matrix of atoms known as 'your enemy' is currently present in.

    Or as I would say colloquially, drop a portal to the Plane of Fire on his ass!
    I hope I have been of help,
    (the signatures are written haphazardly and pop in and out of each other)
    'The Mad Mage', 'The Ingenious Igneous Inventor', 'Mister Explosivo', 'Al, Metamagical Magiscientist, Second Class', 'Fluffles'

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Orc in the Playground

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    Jan 2020

    Default Re: The Fantasy Papers - Letters from Beyond! Round 1 "The Ethics of Scrying and Fryi

    — The response forms on a series of tablets, carved in neat and orderly dwarven script, each tablet smoking slightly as if burning hot, but in truth icy to the touch —


    I do not much understand my the previous posters claims, for I must confess I stopped at the preposterous suggestion that black licorice is in some way not utterly delicious and fantastic. This must be a personal failing.

    With regards to the original point, you are completely justified in your methodology! Why would we, practitioners of the arcane, run screaming headlong into danger like suicidal chickens when we can look from afar and plan? Of couse this alienates you from your paladin comrades for all they can think about is the fact that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and even then best when they can “tackle” it, or “headbutt” it or some other equally inconsequential display of toxic physicality. Makes me shudder to think what their brawn-before-brains example sets for our young people!

    My own community is full of the type. For pity’s sake we are *known* for it! I think it’s high time those of us who aren’t three ales short of a key on a good day to lead by example. I for example led my entourage into Ironhold a fortnight ago, thinking to show the value of the arcane to the population. They took one look at my creations, and what did they do? Attacked. Just because they are made of the bones of dead dwarves, people think you’re some kind of monster. No one else was *using* the bones. Needless to say, I now have a great deal of space to occupy and very few people to occupy it with.

    Would anyone trade a Find Familiar scroll? I will write Identify for you.

    Abadaius Brevenvelk
    Newly seated Lord of Ironhold

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Titan in the Playground

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    May 2011

    wink Re: The Fantasy Papers - Letters from Beyond! Round 1 "The Ethics of Scrying and Fryi

    He stared at the pool for long moments, considering the images he had witnessed. To find such a powerful artifact was fortuitous, but also raised concerns over who might return to claim it. The query presented from the murky waters seemed both an on-going dialogue between planar entities as well as a ride for those present here and now. Would an answer unlock unseen doors? Was this a test to reveal greater powers or items hidden within? Was this an interview to open the portal to another place, much lime the one he and his companions had previously found. Or was he simply witnessing echoes of the past, with no more ability to change them than he could the date of his birth?

    He thought for a moment, and suddenly he remembered similar events from his past ...

    ... the priest stood before the mirror facing a robed Mage standing near a giant obelisk. “What is the measure of a good man versus an evil one?” The priest frowned as he felt arcane energies gathering, obviously in anticipation of the ‘wrong’ answer ...

    ... the barbarian hissed in surprise as the small statue turned to stare at him. It asked a question in some foreign tongue, forcing the scaled warrior to glare questioningly at his smaller blue companion and irascible shapeshifter. The druid sneed back. “How the f$&k should I know what it’s sayin?’ Ask Blue fer a translation ... I’m not a [email protected]&kin’ library!”

    ... the wizard smiled in anticipation as the waters swirled, answering the posed question with phrase he had founder in the old necromancer’s notebook. His smile faltered as the water parted and a huge head, adorned with giant antlers, began to emerge. Drawing upon his own powers, the wizard prepared to meet his fate ...

    Several other images flitted through his mind, but he was able to push them aside as he focused on the heat and now. Leaning forward, he touched the water with his staff and watched it roll and boil. He watched for a moment, then began to speak.

    ”The question of whether a tactic or action is good or evil is meaningless. They are neither. Your real question is whether the ends justify the means. If a man cuts down an innocent and eats him, mortals would label him as evil, but a tiger performing the same act is simply nature at work. The hobgoblin armies that destroyed my home do not think of themselves as evil, but performing the necessary actions to establish a home. When we slew a tribe of troglodytes one their own home, we did so for the welfare of our people. Followers and observers have the luxury of judging events on a morale scale; leaders must act i. The best I teres of those around, and accept the consequences of their actions.

    Good? Evil? Pah. Ask rather did your actions save lives, prevent the suffering of your people or death nd a threat. Let the historians worry about good and evil.”

    The Mage removed his staff, casting a quick spell to send his message forth.

    “So say I, Narek Skyskin, wizard ... and member of the council of the Shepherds and survivor of the Ironfang attack on Phaendar .”
    Life is ... life. As always bot/cut as necessary.
    DM: "Why do you have so many characters?"
    Me: "Because I never embraced the strategic value of running away."

    Fare thee well, N_R ... you will missed!y

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Troll in the Playground

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    Mar 2010

    Default Re: The Fantasy Papers - Letters from Beyond! Round 1 "The Ethics of Scrying and Fryi

    Greeting to foreigners from beyond the great void. By the use of sinister magics from the Creche, and the employment of the strange devices retrieved by our scouts, we have managed to participate in this discussion. Please brace yourself for the overwhelming wonder that is T'loko, High Guardian of the...

    Is this really necessary?

    Sorry, *Lord* High Guardian, author of "foreigners aren't just for eating any more"...

    Seriously just move aside. These are scholars, they will not be impressed by petty titles.

    ...have you worked with scholars before?

    Ah... Good point. Either way.

    Greetings foul alien foreigners from beyond the walls of our world. I am T'loko, and have been following this discussion on ethics with fascination.

    Rather than get into absolute theories of good and evil, I will, if I may, deal with moral equivalence. After all we could spend years arguing about whether eating your fallen foes is more or less ethical than letting them rot, or turning them into an enviromentally friendly necromantic workforce.

    So let us reduce the problem. The heart of the ethics of Scry and Fry is that is a preemptive attack against an ostensibly unprepared opponent. The question then becomes whether that is ethical. If you had found your opponent unawares, would you pounce upon them and melt the flesh from their bones, or not? If they were asleep, would you stay your hand? Would they, fundamentally, be any less tasty if they didn't see you coming?

    Those who have qualms about fair fights and anything that smacks of assassination may consider such tactics to be dishonourable. And certainly it is not difficult to imagine a code of ethics to which this kind of thing would unacceptable.

    But it is often regarded as unacceptable simply because it is so easy to do. One does not need scrying magic or powerful sorcerory to launch one-sided attacks against opponents in their sleep. If one does not enjoy assassination, the kidnapping of friends of allies, poison in material components, gas clouds that dissolve spellbook ink, or powerful demons suddenly descending on your lab while you're out, then one should not, perhaps, start such a pattern in the first place.

    In consultation with my more espionage-minded colleagues, they have stressed that while Scry and Fry is certainly a viable tactic, it is both harder and more expensive in both time and materials than simply sending out competant assassins. A cursed poison needle in the privy, or poison wrapped in lead mesh, does the job far more easily and reliably than posting a high level spell caster to look for someone they've never met, on the off-chance that they will eventually catch them unawares. Unless you are vastly more powerful than your opponent, such tactics are easy to frustrate, and if you are vastly more powerful than your opponent, taking the direct approach would then leave you free for the rest of the week, as well as settling any ethical concerns.

    In summary then I would suggest that while Scry and Fry is not properly regarded as good, or as evil, it is certainly ethically questionable, in that it is in practice almost impossible to avoid a situation where what you do unto others will almost certainly be done unto you, in some variant form. Unless you enjoy never relaxing ever again, I'd suggest some other tactic.

    One that seems popular is to go down to a pub is disguise, and hire some adventurers to kill off your enemies for you. As well as being vastly more ethical, it also stimulates the local economy, provides you with plausible deniabiltiy, and will only cost some old paltry magic items that you don't use any more because you've moved on to better things.

    In the interests of scholarship

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
    NontheistCleric's Avatar

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    Aug 2017

    Default Re: The Fantasy Papers - Letters from Beyond! Round 1 "The Ethics of Scrying and Fryi


    In the past, I have fought for those who called themselves good, and my current mistress does not mind if others name her evil. Having served and been wounded for more mutually exclusive causes than I would have preferred, I feel able to provide you with an outside perspective on this entire affair of morality that seems to be causing you so much trouble.

    Most crucial to understand is that 'good' and 'evil' (or, for that matter, 'order' and 'chaos') are just shortenings of 'things one likes' and 'things one does not like'. Somewhere along the way, most people get confused and end up concluding that what they don't like is inherently 'bad', but that doesn't really make any sense. One can't even say the words seriously without putting them in quotations because they're so incoherent. You obviously have more trouble blinding yourself to reality than your friends, but if that's what you need to do to feel okay about yourself, don't let me stop you.

    Why might 'moral' people not like all this scry-and-attack business? More importantly, why might they dislike it to the point that they label it 'evil' and unacceptable, instead of simply classifying it as a troublesome enemy tactic? The answer is simple: Because it makes them feel like they're not in control of the situation. Not being in control makes people feel scared, and I mean real, primal fear that makes you want to destroy whatever causes it. So many mistake it for 'evil' because that fear is so strong, and that's due to the fact that most of the time, when you find you've lost control, the next thing you do is die.

    Many feel the same way about being attacked from behind or getting poisoned for much the same reasons. Codes of honor help people feel like they have some control over what's happening to them, that they can at least make their enemy play by some rules. For some, that illusion dissipates once their guts are spilling out onto the ground, but the lucky ones get to die still deluded.

    So the real answer to your question is this: It depends which side of the scrying ball (or pool, or whatever implement) you're on. If your friends have some uneasiness about it? Well, first of all, that's because they'll be aware on some level that you're in control, not them. Secondly, no moralist likes it when they realize they're actually getting a feeling of comforting safety from slaughtering their enemies unopposed.

    From what you've said of your friends, though, it doesn't sound like anything I've just written will pass muster with them. Since you're not inclined to make the effort yourself, I advise you to find a sage or philosopher who can point you to or formulate some suitably 'moral' justification for your tactics. If you're lucky, it might even convince your friends (and yourself). At worst, they'll just grumble and accept that you're a more pragmatic sort of 'good' individual, or something like that.

    It goes without saying that I would be stupid to give away any scry-worthy details, but don't try out your tactics on any dragons. Pick the wrong one and it will end very badly for you.

    Hoping I have helped,


    P.S. Don't call yourself broken! That just isn't healthy.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ettin in the Playground

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    Oct 2013

    Default Re: The Fantasy Papers - Letters from Beyond! Round 1 "The Ethics of Scrying and Fryi

    To the advanced academicians and others who have responded

    Let me begin by thanking you all for your input. Though several of you have, by nature of your disjointed and chaotic responses, presented yourselves as precautionary tales in motion, I deeply appreciate your assistance as I attempt to delve into this mystery. It simply demonstrates the great risks we take when studying the arcane arts and the challenges associated with intelligence above the ken of mere mortals. I wish you all the best in your efforts to understand our multiverse and hope to never be placed in opposition to your goals.

    Now, on to some responses to your points...

    Regarding the points made by "the Mad Mage, the Ingenious Igneous Inventor, Mister Explosivo, Al, Metamagical Magiscientist, Second Class, Fluffles," (whom hereafter I will address as "Fluffles" to save time), I think your presentation, along with entertaining anecdotal story, demonstrate exactly my concern. If, as you posit, reality is subjective it makes things messy. It appears that "messy" likely does not bother you, Fluffles, but I cannot say I share that perspective. Everyone should enjoy moments of levity and frivolity, but if the universe is really as whimsical as you believe then the inevitable conclusion of that belief system is that nothing matters. If nothing matters then one could rapidly descend into self-destructive behaviors without concern for eventualities. Such logic will, if it remains consistent, result in behavior that I am not prepared to support. Though it is, perhaps, illogical, I hope for more.

    That said, your recommendation to use interplanar portals to dispose of enemies is excellent. I am not yet familiar with "Einstein-Rosen" and his bridge, nor the term "Fahrenheit," but I am familiar with the elemental plane of fire and imagine it to be a very effective manner of removing enemies.

    Lord Abadaius Brevenvelk,

    It sounds as if you and I share a natural proclivity towards the undead, though perhaps for very different reasons. I find myself inclined to friendly interactions with intelligent undead as, unlike the living, they remain constant and faithful to themselves and are unlikely to change. I find the quixotic behavior of the living, who flit about from one idea to the next without concern for long-term consistency, to be exhausting. Though they are often murderous, if their inherent pain and rage can be overcome the intelligent undead can be excellent companions. Their dramatically increased un-lifespan allows them a perspective that tends towards the sort of stability I appreciate in a friend.

    From your description you favor the mindless undead, which I can understand. They are certainly easier to manage, though I find their conversations to be a great deal less entertaining.

    As for distance between two points, I completely agree! The mindset of those stuck in the mundane world of physics is so limiting. It should be clear that the shortest distance between two points is always "zero," established by planar folding or interdimensional travel. The failure of education to teach such a basic concept exemplifies the concerns you state for the youth today. It is, indeed, very sad.

    Narek Skyskin, your proposal, while similar to the nihilistic perspective mentioned earlier by Fluffles, differs in one notable point, I think. Your point that the tactic is not what determines morality but the final result is intriguing. It suggests a certain amount of moral calculus is required to confidently determine justification. Do you have access to any textbooks or other educational venues that can instruct me on such mathematics? I would be exceedingly grateful if you were to share them.

    As for leadership, I must admit that I am even less confident in my ability to understand such behavior. I have learned that those in positions of social or political power can often be significant roadblocks and that the challenge they present is worthy of consideration and possibly respect, but I do not follow or lead based upon such concepts. Likewise, I doubt that anyone follows me, as I make no effort to lead. I simply strive to do my best to accomplish the mutual goals I share with my companions. Is this at all related to leadership as you perceive it? Should I attempt to lead my allies in the elimination of our enemies?

    Similarly, though I enjoy history and consider myself a scholar I could not care less what others think of me after the fact. If I have done well to accomplish my goals then I rest well at night. I do wish my closest comrades, whom I try to imagine as close friends, to think of me well, but that is a newly developed desire that I have not fully come to grasp yet.

    If I understand your missive correctly, T'loko appears to be the name used by a collective of inhuman minds. Let me say that I appreciate your perspective and engagement in this discussion. If I misunderstand your points please endeavor to enlighten me prior to taking any hostile action.

    I believe your reduction of the problem to be somewhat accurate. However it appears that those who worry about honorable tactics disagree. One of my companions, in particular, is beholden to such honor by her faith. I do not think she would engage in preemptive attacks outside of a wartime scenario, during which such tactics appear to be allowed. (The inconsistency of this baffles my mind and assaults my aesthetic desire for consistency - the "laws" of war indeed!)

    Perhaps you are right that the issue at the heart of these morals is the ease with which everyone can participate in such tactics. I am unaware of divine magic that enables such attacks and obviously mundane tools are wholly insufficient to warp space-time to make similar options possible. Were they capable, even a small portal could be used to allow projectile weapons to be fired with potentially deadly accuracy...I must remember to investigate this option...

    Your point is well taken regarding casual use of scry-and-fry. It does require significant investment of time and effort, making it viable only when other options are not available or reasonable.

    Finally, paranoia is something to which any scholar of the arcane inevitably finds themselves closely associated. When you know as much as we do it becomes difficult to ignore threats to which others remain oblivious. To quote a wizard of some repute (Magus Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden), "Paranoid? Probably. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face."

    To M.I.A., thank you for your response. I too suspect that many of the less intellectual members of our communities think as you describe. It is not my intent to blind myself to reality, nor to feel good about myself. Instead, I wish to investigate the subject with logic and attempt to determine if there is validity to the moral concern at all.

    Your input makes me think that perhaps I need to enlist the contribution of the intellectual members of various clergy. It may prove time consuming, but I have met many a wise sage who could see to core issues with clarity that was often lacking in the scholarly, scientific writings of my more arcana-inclined colleagues. Perhaps those esteemed individuals (and collectives) who have contributed could direct a cleric, oracle, or even mundane layperson they respect to this discussion? I would be grateful for the input of anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort to collect their thoughts and share them here.

    Finally, to address your recommendation about the term "broken" and my mental health - the first step to recovery is recognizing you have a problem. Thank you for your concerns as to my mental health, though. I do not say I am broken as an effort to belittle myself - it is merely a descriptor that I think applies. That said, it is perhaps true that there are several of us in this conversation who others would describe as broken and intend it as an insult...I do not mean it in that way and hope none will misinterpret my words in that way.

    To summarize, thank you all for your input. If so inclined, please recommend others you respect, particularly those of deliberately moral or faith-based inclinations, to join this discussion. Their different perspectives could help to bring about a greater understanding of the morality of scry-and-fry. And if greater understanding proves evasive, we can at least engage in their perspective and attempt to better understand it.

    With great appreciation,

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
    Tsunamiatunzen1's Avatar

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    Apr 2012

    Default Re: The Fantasy Papers - Letters from Beyond! Round 1 "The Ethics of Scrying and Fryi

    Two rolls of parchment appear before dropping unceremoniously onto the ground. A thin coating of sand lines the parchment of one, its sides a bit worse for wear and bleached by sunlight as the tattered ribbon holding it closed begins to unravel on its own. The other is well-cared for, perfumed by a sweet-smelling incense and sealed with a satin bow and wax seal.

    Both rolls begin and end with the same words, the penmanship also seems to be from the same hand, despite the seperate letters.

    Greetings to those who may read my regrettably late reply. I have been debating the proposed question, and the wisdom of bargaining with a cat-sized dragon to deliver a letter, amongst myself and have become so embroiled in the matter that I have failed to respond in a timely manner.
    First, an introduction.
    My name is (the following name is scrawled in an unintelligable language, and is impossible to speak by most races), though in the interest of allowing those unfamiliar with the Dvati lifestyle to understand me, my Common names are Ona'i and Ama'i. Although I must admit I often forget which part of myself carries which name.
    As there seems to be an over-abundance of support for this 'Scry and Fry', an admittedly stupid/unexpectedly wonderful idiom, each of my halves will briefly write two different viewpoints and I will end with my own personal preference and thoughts.

    Spoiler: Tattered Parchment
    As I have no choice but to write while on patrol in the desert, I will ask for your forgiveness in advance for the condition of this letter.
    To begin, the use of magic is hazardous at best. The use of such unknown powers and the various sources they come from is already a cautionary tale to those who believe in meddling with powers beyond their control. Even if one were to remain unharmed by their own craft, most other practitioners of magic realize the need to neutralize enemies capable of its use. This doesn't even begin to touch on the tempation such people have to solve everything with a snap of their fingers.
    Think for a moment of a bored mage, a frequently common occurence I would imagine since you are all so embroiled in debating philosophy and is admittedly a favorite past-time of most Dvati, their scrying would happen upon some poor soul minding their own business. The mage thus violates one's right to privacy and then presumes to judge the one being scryed upon as dangerous.
    Scrying gives just enough information that it prods one to act rashly and too little information to give one a full picture of the situation.
    A tool has no inherent morality it needs to be beholden to but this particular use is a reckless and wasteful use of power, especially in the desert dunes where landmarks are so far and few between, means its use is of woefully underwhelming merit.
    The mere suggestion proves yourselves to be addle-brained if you believe it to be a reliable means of striking down an enemy and may cause more harm than good.
    A simple blade between the ribs is far more reliable and ensures your kill was indeed carried out.

    Spoiler: Perfumed Parchment
    This particular strategy is of great import! I had not considered it possible to find and strike at a distant foe, myself being a practitioner of the sword rather than of the arcane.
    I had previously thought the only reliable means of gathering information on distant foes was to allow a dvati to split themselves and use the innate bond between our two halves to relay information to our home in the deep desert.
    This 'Scry and Fry' would allow us to keep such informants safe, it should be known that being split is a rather disqueiting experience for almost all dvati, and exposes those who would protect our home to no danger while in persuit of foreign enemies beyond our lands. Thus, such a tactic must be one of righteousness brought forth by the Unifier.

    I do hope the spices I have used on this parchment is to your liking.

    To conclude, I believe the use of the tactic known as 'Scry and Fry', while not inherently good or evil, is one I am very much in favor of and, should I ever be capable of employing one capable of this strategy, I would very much enjoy its use as a means of keeping myself in one area!
    Overall, as a tool, while it may be an intensive use of resources, I have little in the way of comparison as most dvati admittedly find the use of magic difficult, its use would be much more preferable than risking the safety of our people. It's many uses and motivations may need further debate amongst myself and would likely exhaust whatever patience this small dragon still has left. (Smoke is beginning to form about the creature's crown with how much flame he's producing from his snout.)
    However, I must disagree with 'Fluffles', an unusual title to go along with such an odd conversation..., in the claim that moral ambiguity somehow has merit. If that were the case, why wouldn't ALL of the gods and goddesses be 'good' and all followers receive a 'good' reward? Just because one is deranged enough to call sand a pool of water while they choke on its grains does not mean it can quench your thirst. No. It simply makes no sense that good and evil are not somehow inherent in the fabric of the universe... although I have yet to ponder on this subject... So many topics to debate, so little time.

    I eagerly await your continued letters should no mishap befall one of my halves.


    Guard and Homeward Guide of the Endless Sands Oasis
    Last edited by Tsunamiatunzen1; 2020-10-05 at 06:39 PM.
    Invincibility lies in the defense. The possibility of victory is in the attack.
    - Diamond Sword

    Featured Homebrews:
    (SF) bombs and Hangar Support
    The Forge (Crafting System)

    Extended Homebrew Sig

    Dice (feel free to use them!):

    "Why don't you just lop their head off?"
    "A hanging is far less messy. Plus, we want to keep this execution kid-friendly."

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