A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: Preserving order of the universe a bad idea?

    On looking at this thread, I have only one conclusion:

    The universe hates me.

    This kind of discussion is just my kind of thing... and here I am, operating on three? four? hours of sleep. I'm not up to it.

    *sigh*

    I'll be back.
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  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Default Re: Preserving order of the universe a bad idea?

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    Villain: The natural state of the universe is entropy, thus the destruction of the universe is the ideal path to a reality of pure order!

    Hero: But the universe is where we keep all our possessions and vital organs! We need our vital organs to live and our possessions to enjoy life!

    Villain: Organs and possessions are fleeting things, but entropy is eternal. Therefore, tough cookies!

    Hero: True, entropy is a constant and more or less irreversible force on the universe. And the universe will inevitably end regardless of whatever we do.

    Villain: Exactly!

    Hero: But if entropy is irreversible then why are you bothering to accelerate it? The heat death of the universe will inevitably come about in a billion years, your actions will simply bring it about sooner. If you stop now, then the universe will simply end at a later date and you spend the intervening time doing something else... like eat pie, or get a girlfriend, or kill yourself.

    Villain: Kill myself? Why would I do that?

    Hero: Because it is the nature of all life to get older and eventually die. Entropy functions on the organism level as well as the cosmic. All living things will inevitably die of old age, injury, or starvation. In the end they all attain the perfectly stable state of death.

    Villain: By all that is Emo, you're right! My master plan to destroy all life in the universe will come about no matter what you do! HaHAHAHA! You fools, you all already lost. Now I'll have more time to cut myself, deeper and deeper.

    *Villain pulls out a razor blade and starts cutting his wrists.*

    Villain: Ooh the pain. The Paain.

    *Villain pulls out a polished skull and starts contemplating it.*

    Villain: Oh death, the Ultimate and inevitable state of perfection and stability. Only the dark, nihilistic state of oblivion can ease the pain of my tortured mind and bloody wrists.

    *Villain cuts himself some more before dropping everything and picking up a gun and shooting himself*

    *The Heroes look at the dead body of the Villain*

    Hero: At last... his soul is at piece.

    Villains Soul: No it isn't.

    Hero: Quiet you! Now then, I think we've all learned that entropy will inevitably destroy the universe and in a similar tangent that we're all going to die eventually. So, as long as the universe isn't in imminent danger anymore... lets go to a tavern and get wasted!

    All the heroes together: Yaay!

    Wizard: I cast Summon Girlfriend!

  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: Preserving order of the universe a bad idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Randel View Post
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    Villain: The natural state of the universe is entropy, thus the destruction of the universe is the ideal path to a reality of pure order!

    Hero: But the universe is where we keep all our possessions and vital organs! We need our vital organs to live and our possessions to enjoy life!

    Villain: Organs and possessions are fleeting things, but entropy is eternal. Therefore, tough cookies!

    Hero: True, entropy is a constant and more or less irreversible force on the universe. And the universe will inevitably end regardless of whatever we do.

    Villain: Exactly!

    Hero: But if entropy is irreversible then why are you bothering to accelerate it? The heat death of the universe will inevitably come about in a billion years, your actions will simply bring it about sooner. If you stop now, then the universe will simply end at a later date and you spend the intervening time doing something else... like eat pie, or get a girlfriend, or kill yourself.

    Villain: Kill myself? Why would I do that?

    Hero: Because it is the nature of all life to get older and eventually die. Entropy functions on the organism level as well as the cosmic. All living things will inevitably die of old age, injury, or starvation. In the end they all attain the perfectly stable state of death.

    Villain: By all that is Emo, you're right! My master plan to destroy all life in the universe will come about no matter what you do! HaHAHAHA! You fools, you all already lost. Now I'll have more time to cut myself, deeper and deeper.

    *Villain pulls out a razor blade and starts cutting his wrists.*

    Villain: Ooh the pain. The Paain.

    *Villain pulls out a polished skull and starts contemplating it.*

    Villain: Oh death, the Ultimate and inevitable state of perfection and stability. Only the dark, nihilistic state of oblivion can ease the pain of my tortured mind and bloody wrists.

    *Villain cuts himself some more before dropping everything and picking up a gun and shooting himself*

    *The Heroes look at the dead body of the Villain*

    Hero: At last... his soul is at piece.

    Villains Soul: No it isn't.

    Hero: Quiet you! Now then, I think we've all learned that entropy will inevitably destroy the universe and in a similar tangent that we're all going to die eventually. So, as long as the universe isn't in imminent danger anymore... lets go to a tavern and get wasted!

    All the heroes together: Yaay!

    Wizard: I cast Summon Girlfriend!
    Randel wins the thread.

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: Preserving order of the universe a bad idea?

    First post sounds suspiciously Auditor-ish.

    Never liked them at the best of times. Always stopping time, kicking hard working grandfathers into the streets, and stealing Hogswatch.

    Needless to say, I'm opposed to that sort of thing.

    And two out of three leading anthropomorphic personifications of death agree on the matter.
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  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: Preserving order of the universe a bad idea?

    The entire discussion about entropy hinges on two simple assumptions 1) Entropy exists in D&D land and B) Magic is not capable of reversing its effects (it being entropy.)

    Entropy exists in our universe and, as far as we know, we can't do anything about it. In a land of fantasy and magic its perfectly reasonable for universal constants to be turned on their head. Gravity? No thanks, I'd rather reverse it. Time travel? Sure, why not? Death? I'll just buy my way out of it. Entropy? I cast magic circle against chaos.

    Nothing in D&D is absolute.

    Also in D&Dland right and wrong exist as more than simply human constructs. A character devoted to the power of good can actually draw world-bending power from it.

  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Default Re: Preserving order of the universe a bad idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by PapaNachos View Post
    Also in D&Dland right and wrong exist as more than simply human constructs. A character devoted to the power of good can actually draw world-bending power from it.
    Well this whole discussion steps outside of the D&D morality, entropy and speeding up/preventing it doesn't fit into the good or evil paradigm of D&D. We're kind of making up a morality that doesn't fit into the D&D world.
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  7. - Top - End - #37
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    Default Re: Preserving order of the universe a bad idea?

    You are equating the stability and order of physics and energy with the stability and order of society. I would suggest this is erroneous.

    Heroes are concerned with keeping society stable and ordered, because that is is how peace is maintained and how we can attempt to make things fair. In an ordered, stable society the wicked are punished and the virtuous have a chance to get ahead by building legitimate businesses, raising families, etc.

    Reducing everything to its lowest energy state might allow the universe to reach a point of physical stability and relative order, but it would by definition spell the destruction of every society and all living beings. Or at least most living beings, when you allow energy constructs in a fantasy world.

    Order of physical energy =/= order of law and society.
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  8. - Top - End - #38
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    Default Re: Preserving order of the universe a bad idea?

    I think a lot of later posters are missing this second post by the OP:

    Quote Originally Posted by Arctura42 View Post
    Ok, a bunch of varied answers. I don't normally think this way, just thought this up in the middle of the night (it's still the middle of the night, I should go to bed), and thought I'd post and see what happened. So, there are a few logical flaws. Alright.

    However. Let's say that I'm the DM and I set the physical parameters of the universe such that it restarts every once in a while, collapsing in on itself and then expanding outwards again, killing everything, and allowing everything to be born anew.

    Let us also say that the players ARE in fact capable of influencing things on a large scale. Because otherwise I'm telling them that they and everything that they cherish and hold dear will die in a fiery death, which is does not a good adventure make if you can't do anything about it. The whole point of any struggle is that whatever's at the end isn't completely inevitable (or you just don't want to go down without a fight - but fighting the heat death of the universe is a difficult thing to do normally).

    So we have these ridiculously uber-powerful no-longer-mortals-but-something-more beings, perhaps even reaching the so-much-so-that-the-extrapolations-of-D&D-start-breaking-down phase. Anyway. The universe is in their hands and they can do what they like with it, and they've chosen to be their guardians, their knowledge keepers, their order-keepers and their pretty much whatever they want to be that'll benefit them (not very evil group). And then they find within the depths of knowledge that the universe will end soon. And THEN they find that should they use their enormous influence and power to stop it, that various problems will start arising that may just be beyond their control. Some decide to resist nevertheless. Others consider the task pointless, and, perhaps out of resignation or perhaps out of curiosity decide to wait patiently for the life in this universe to cease, and for the next to begin. Ending the universe in this stage is committing so much genocide on such a massive scale that there are not words to describe it. You kill the possibility of life in an infinite number of universes by attempting to keep this one active for as long as you can - which destroys the system.

    I have never been called a Protean before. I'll have to add that to my list. Obviously, I don't want the universe to go and do its own thing whilst we all die - but given this choice - protecting what is here and killing everything that is to come, or resigning to our own mutual destruction for the continuation of the cycle - it is difficult to come up with something that must be done.

    Although this sort of plot is rather outside the scope of D&D.

    I guess I like it when the story gets really epic. And then more epic. And then it starts getting so epic that your characters never die, can control all space and time, and have to start making decisions like these. Yeah. What's a level limit again?
    So, it's not really about the stability of physics vs. the stability of society anymore. Now it's more like 'my universe vs. all your universes.'

  9. - Top - End - #39
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    Default Re: Preserving order of the universe a bad idea?

    "I would rather exist than not exist."
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  10. - Top - End - #40
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    Default Re: Preserving order of the universe a bad idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Math_Mage View Post
    I think a lot of later posters are missing this second post by the OP:
    Thanks for posting that.

    In that case i would suggest that periodically ending the universe and starting a new one is not somethign the PC's should fight against. It sounds like the Big Crush followed by a new Big Bang, which is just the way the natural universe works. It won't happen for a billion years and by then all the heroes' loved ones will already be dead anyway. (For about a billion years before it happens there is no way life could survive so the heroes are not living 10 years before it happens or anything).

    Trying to stop the eventual end of the universe is kind of like trying to make every being in the universe immortal. You are trying to stop a fundamental law of the universe. Sure it may be possible with epic fantasy powers but it is about as much of an abomination as creating undead. Things end, people die, our time passes. These are fundamental facts that shape life, existence and morality. Even elves must face mortality long before the universe does.

    I don't believe it is heroic to stop the Big Crush. But then, maybe I have too many class levels in Druid and not enough in Paladin.

    ap
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  11. - Top - End - #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Another_Poet View Post
    Thanks for posting that.

    In that case i would suggest that periodically ending the universe and starting a new one is not somethign the PC's should fight against. It sounds like the Big Crush followed by a new Big Bang, which is just the way the natural universe works. It won't happen for a billion years and by then all the heroes' loved ones will already be dead anyway. (For about a billion years before it happens there is no way life could survive so the heroes are not living 10 years before it happens or anything).

    Trying to stop the eventual end of the universe is kind of like trying to make every being in the universe immortal. You are trying to stop a fundamental law of the universe. Sure it may be possible with epic fantasy powers but it is about as much of an abomination as creating undead. Things end, people die, our time passes. These are fundamental facts that shape life, existence and morality. Even elves must face mortality long before the universe does.

    I don't believe it is heroic to stop the Big Crush. But then, maybe I have too many class levels in Druid and not enough in Paladin.

    ap
    And it is with this argument that we now have real reasons for both possible courses of action. I like the link to undead. That works well. However, on the other hand, I doubt that the townspeople will think well of our heroes as they stand back and tell them that they must die. Normal people don't work like that. While they don't know any better, they still want to live, and this can be troublesome in the final days of the universe. And so they abandon their heroes, abandon their gods, abandon their senses - and perhaps end up bringing about the end of the universe through their own means like some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. (Throwing around ideas - I want to turn this into something possible, but fear that I may not be able to if there isn't a course of action our heroes can take that they can be happy with.)

  12. - Top - End - #42
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    Default Re: Preserving order of the universe a bad idea?

    If the Big Crush happens naturally, and it will be followed by a Big Bang, I wouldn't fight against that. However, if it were actually being accelerated/ caused by an Auditor-style villain, then it's time to punch out Cthulhu.

    And by the way, chiasaur, mind if I sig the white text?
    Quote Originally Posted by chiasaur11 View Post
    And two out of three leading anthropomorphic personifications of death agree on the matter.
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  13. - Top - End - #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Insanealien View Post
    If the Big Crush happens naturally, and it will be followed by a Big Bang, I wouldn't fight against that. However, if it were actually being accelerated/ caused by an Auditor-style villain, then it's time to punch out Cthulhu.

    And by the way, chiasaur, mind if I sig the white text?
    Not at all.

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  14. - Top - End - #44
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    Default Re: Preserving order of the universe a bad idea?

    Given the choice you just described our Universe vs. all other universes, I'd fight for ours I think. You may say genocide of all future people is an unimaginable atrocity, but then again, not stopping the unimaginable genocide of every currently concious being is also a genocide of enourmous porportions. The difference is, one way I'm capable of thought. The other I'm not. But it's not just me, it's everyone I know and love, everything I know and love, every fiber of every being I've ever interacted with. Now, you can call this selfish, but honestly, I'm not sure I care about the fututre "lives" (as life is no guarentee in a universe) of beings I've never met, who are nothing like me, who have no connection to me and who are inherently incomprihensible to me. I don't see it as all currently existing life vs. all future life. I see it as all currently existing life vs. the potential for life in a form we don't automatically understand or reconize. The beings in the this universe might be literally incapable of thought. Or they might not exist at all. It's kinda like the evil we know vs. the evil we don't.... only replace evil with life.

    Plus, as a hero in this spot, imagine that your calculations were WRONG. I'm not arrogant enough to think that even as a god-being, I couldn't have made a mistake. Somewhere in the unfathomably difficult experiments and incompriehnsible calculations you forgot a decimal point. And that decimal point meas that there is no subsequent big bang. There's just us and not us. A single mis-calculation and you're weighing the lives of everything concious now against the infinite unending void. Failure to act means that void consumes all life. Forever.
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  15. - Top - End - #45
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    Default Re: Preserving order of the universe a bad idea?

    At the end of the day, I think that preserving anything about the universe has to be compared to the alternatives in order to reach a sensible judgment. Hopefully we can all agree on that.

    aje8 makes a valid point. Often, moral dilemmas will be given with the stipulation, either explicit or implied, "Assume that you are acting with perfect knowledge of the situation and are justifiably certain of everything that I'm about to say. Even though there's no conceivable way that that could be true". Maybe, just for fun, we should try not doing that this time.

    OK, the Auditors and the Doomguard I know, but where are Proteans from?

    Quote Originally Posted by Arctura42 View Post
    Ending the universe in this stage is committing so much genocide on such a massive scale that there are not words to describe it. You kill the possibility of life in an infinite number of universes by attempting to keep this one active for as long as you can - which destroys the system.
    Contraception isn't murder. There are important similarities; for example, in each case someone would have been alive but instead isn't. But there are also important differences; for example, killing someone without his permission is coercive, but bringing a new mind into existence is also coercive, as consciousness is forced onto the created individual without its consent. (One could perhaps get around this by designing a mind to be consenting to its existence at the moment that it began operation.) Both the similarities and the differences should be given proper ethical consideration.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aotrs Commander View Post
    Personally, I'd go find the fracker that started that cycle in the first process (especially if it required me going outside of Reality) and kick his ass until he made it Not Work That Way. Is no such guy exists, I'd find a way to Make There Be A Guy and then kick his ass.

    Or failing that, permenantly destroy the entire of Reality up to and including whatever causes it to reboot and start from scratch.
    I like the way you think, my good sir.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arctura42 View Post
    Or is being evil consist of being more than just selfish, but being selfish enough to not care about anyone else?
    Selfishness is not caring about anyone else. And it's Neutral, not Evil. (Evil means trying or at least wanting to harm others.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Another_Poet View Post
    Trying to stop the eventual end of the universe is kind of like trying to make every being in the universe immortal. You are trying to stop a fundamental law of the universe. Sure it may be possible with epic fantasy powers but it is about as much of an abomination as creating undead. Things end, people die, our time passes. These are fundamental facts that shape life, existence and morality. Even elves must face mortality long before the universe does.

    I don't believe it is heroic to stop the Big Crush. But then, maybe I have too many class levels in Druid and not enough in Paladin.
    "If God had not meant for there to be a smallpox, Dr. Jenner, he would not have placed it upon the Earth."

    Natural laws do not need to be enforced. They are not the sort of rules that can be violated. They describe how things do happen. Were a violation of the conservation of momentum to be discovered, that would simply demonstrate that conservation of momentum is not an absolute, universal law. By definition. A working perpetual motion machine would not be immoral simply because it would violate well-established scientific consensus. The notion is absurd.

    So I think that the proper response to that criticism -- one that E.J. actually faced, if I'm recalling a biography of him correctly -- is that if God doesn't want smallpox to be eliminated, then it won't be. And that if God didn't want anyone to try to get rid of it, then he wouldn't be doing that. Indeed, there rather seems to be an inherent problem with the notion of defying the will of an omnipotent being. Or a fundamental law of the cosmos, if you prefer. We are part of the universe; we do not interfere in it from outside of it.

    Human beings are sort of distinguished by a tendency to not idly allow things to take their course. We build, we rule, we control, we alter. We attempt to reshape the world according to our will. Sometimes these efforts are misguided. But not to the extent that civilization is inherently bad.

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  16. - Top - End - #46
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    Default Re: Preserving order of the universe a bad idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    Selfishness is not caring about anyone else. And it's Neutral, not Evil. (Evil means trying or at least wanting to harm others.)
    Selfishness in itself might be neutral- but the mindset, combined with lots of other people around- can lead to evil acts. Which, done enough, imply that the character has an evil alignment.

    Depending on the DM, a character who "never helps others" and works for the Big Bad, may count as being in collusion with evil- aiding and abetting it, furthering its goals.

    Even if the character never personally directly harms another, if their money and labour is making the villain better able to do evil things, and they know in general what the villain does but don't quit the villain's service, they are evil- for knowingly helping the villain in that way.

    "Lack of concern for others" is more commonly associated with Evil alignment than Neutral alignment. A neutral person has concern for others- but generally won't help them if it costs them an unacceptable amount, or puts them at unacceptable risk, from their point of view.

    From easydamus:

    http://easydamus.com/trueneutral.html

    The Philosophy of True Neutral

    True neutral is the philosophy that harmony and freedom are both important in society and that altruism and egoism are both legitimate ends. It is a philosophy of pure equitistic consequentialism. This philosophy holds that people should pursue a rational self-interest while balancing the needs of the state or social order with the freedom of individuals to pursue their own agenda. True neutral can also be associated with ethical equitism and skepticism. As the philosophical "average" of altruism and egoism, equitism holds that harm to others should be minimized when advancing the self and that harm to the self should be minimized when advancing others.
    A neutral person tends to have enough concern for others to not want them harmed when they are advancing themselves.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2010-07-12 at 07:17 AM.
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    Default Re: Preserving order of the universe a bad idea?

    The problem with moral problems on the scale of universe ending is that presuming to know the right answer is probably hubris. Any such question would need a lot of dedicated study to make sure it's properly resolved. The BBEG's speech isn't enough.

    Even so you can't know exactly how things will turn out in the future so it's probably best to deal with saving the here and now. All those future universes don't exist yet so even by preventing them from ever forming you wouldn't actually be killing anyone. Otherwise just think of all the babies that were never born because their parents didn't meet.

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    Default Re: Preserving order of the universe a bad idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ormur View Post
    The problem with moral problems on the scale of universe ending is that presuming to know the right answer is probably hubris. Any such question would need a lot of dedicated study to make sure it's properly resolved. The BBEG's speech isn't enough.
    Never tell this to a DM, of course. Otherwise, the next BBEG's speech on a cosmic moral dilemma will be sure to include all the 'necessary research', including a five-page bibliography at the end, and will take three sessions to complete.
    Last edited by Math_Mage; 2010-07-12 at 05:40 PM.

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