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    GreatWyrmGold's Avatar

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    Default Deadly Sins in a D&D Context

    Rise of the Runelords has the Seven Deadly Sins as a major motif, and suggests that you keep track of individual sinful or virtuous actions to figure out which sin each PC is most associated with. I decided not to do this (partly because I was picking up the game from a DM who didn't do the legwork, partly because my attempts to do this in retrospect came up with results that clashed with characters' core personalities), instead having players assign their characters sins based on their flaws.

    One player is giving me difficulty. His flaw is that he is dangerously obsessed with magical knowledge. I figure that that's closest to greed, but the player points out that he's perfectly happy to let others peruse his store of arcane knowledge. He instead suggests lust (for knowledge), but both the standard image of lust (which RotRl sticks to very closely) and my interpretation of why a non-puritanical setting would consider it a sin (the sinful part is wanting to possess/control another) require an actual person to be the thing lusted after.

    I'm wondering if the GitP community has any interesting perspectives to provide on this issue.
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Deadly Sins in a D&D Context

    Sounds like Envy (i.e. feels his own magical power is inferior to that of other spellcasters), perhaps? Though Greed/Avarice/Lust could all still work - unlike consumable items (food, wealth) one can be greedy for knowledge while still sharing it.

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    Default Re: Deadly Sins in a D&D Context

    What is the danger in his pursuit of magical knowledge?

    Here are some links that I think could be made:
    • Pride: He is overconfident in his ability to control the forces he meddles with.
    • Sloth: He rarely thinks about the consequences of his experiments.
    • Greed: There are few things he won't do to gain magical knowledge.
    • Wrath: He is prone to terrible feats of rage when people withhold information.
    • Gluttony: He is sacrificing his health and social life to this addiction.

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    Default Re: Deadly Sins in a D&D Context

    It's probably worth noting that the character in question isn't actually an arcane spellcaster. He doesn't have an inferiority complex, or do magical experiments, or meddle with anything or whatever; so far, he's mostly just searched for arcane lore and grabbed any relevant books he found.


    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    [U]nlike consumable items (food, wealth) one can be greedy for knowledge while still sharing it.
    That makes sense. And it's a decent way to distinguish between greed and gluttony.
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    Default Re: Deadly Sins in a D&D Context

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    He doesn't have an inferiority complex, or do magical experiments, or meddle with anything or whatever; so far, he's mostly just searched for arcane lore and grabbed any relevant books he found.
    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    His flaw is that he is dangerously obsessed with magical knowledge.
    Well, here is the problem, he isn't "dangerously obsessed" with magical knowledge. Or at least, I don't see from what you describe how he is obsessed, and how this supposed obsession is dangerous. He is just "interested", which is not really a flaw.

    The sin associated to this flaw will come from what "dangerously obsessed" mean.

    From what you describe, I vote for Gluttony if he "grabbed any relevant books he found" may mean he just want "more books and more knowledge, without end".

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    Default Re: Deadly Sins in a D&D Context

    I'd also suggest that the more-specific terms be consistently used:

    Hubris, not just pride.
    Avarice, not just greed.
    Wrath, not just anger.
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    Default Re: Deadly Sins in a D&D Context

    Another thing to consider is that, at least in Rise of the Runelords' original setting, the seven sins are actually corruptions of seven VIRTUES that were supposed to be the rewards to a wise and just ruler.

    Envy = Charity
    Gluttony = Temperance
    Greed = Generosity
    Lust = Love
    Pride = Humility
    Sloth = Zeal
    Wrath = Kindness

    Given these ties, perhaps, you could say the character's sin/virtue is Greed/Generosity, since they're "greedy" for arcane information but "generous" enough to share said information they've found, or maybe envy/charity, since they're "envious" of arcane power they don't use themselves but "charitable" enough to let those who can access it.
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    Default Re: Deadly Sins in a D&D Context

    Quote Originally Posted by Archpaladin Zousha View Post
    Envy = Charity
    Gluttony = Temperance
    Greed = Generosity
    Lust = Love
    Pride = Humility
    Sloth = Zeal
    Wrath = Kindness
    Interesting. Kindness is usually pitted against envy because, beyond wanting another's fortune for oneself, envy is really about wanting another's misfortune.

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    Default Re: Deadly Sins in a D&D Context

    Greed or Pride Avarice or Hubris depending on his reasons for amassing it.
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    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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    Default Re: Deadly Sins in a D&D Context

    Quote Originally Posted by Archpaladin Zousha View Post
    Another thing to consider is that, at least in Rise of the Runelords' original setting, the seven sins are actually corruptions of seven VIRTUES that were supposed to be the rewards to a wise and just ruler.

    Envy = Charity
    Gluttony = Temperance
    Greed = Generosity
    Lust = Love
    Pride = Humility
    Sloth = Zeal
    Wrath = Kindness
    Based on this, I'd go with the people saying gluttony.

    Fact is, gluttony isn't about eating. It's about consuming without end. Gluttony isn't eating a good meal, it's eating far more than you need, and wastefully so. Its opposite here is temperance - that is, moderation. Limiting or denying oneself.

    In that context, gluttony is the total lack of self-denial or limitation. And that fits the voracious - word choice intended - scholar of magic perfectly. Sure, this person may be willing to share (which would contradict the opposite of generosity), but that's only because he doesn't care about the knowledge he has acquired once he has it. It's not about the purpose to which he might turn that knowledge, but the acquisition, without regard to need, use, or limitation. It's an all-consuming desire.

    It's gluttony.
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    Default Re: Deadly Sins in a D&D Context

    Quote Originally Posted by MoiMagnus View Post
    Well, here is the problem, he isn't "dangerously obsessed" with magical knowledge. Or at least, I don't see from what you describe how he is obsessed, and how this supposed obsession is dangerous. He is just "interested", which is not really a flaw.
    That's fair.

    From what you describe, I vote for Gluttony if he "grabbed any relevant books he found" may mean he just want "more books and more knowledge, without end".
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    In that context, gluttony is the total lack of self-denial or limitation. And that fits the voracious - word choice intended - scholar of magic perfectly. Sure, this person may be willing to share (which would contradict the opposite of generosity), but that's only because he doesn't care about the knowledge he has acquired once he has it. It's not about the purpose to which he might turn that knowledge, but the acquisition, without regard to need, use, or limitation. It's an all-consuming desire.
    That's interesting. I'll bring it up with the player.


    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I'd also suggest that the more-specific terms be consistently used:

    Hubris, not just pride.
    Avarice, not just greed.
    Wrath, not just anger.
    Aside from Wrath, those aren't the terms used in RotRL. So I'll probably stick to RotRL's mostly less-academic terms for this thread.
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    Default Re: Deadly Sins in a D&D Context

    To the extent that his interest could actually go someplace dark, the sin should be gluttony. He amasses this knowledge for its own sake, with no particular concern about its usefulness or whether it's healthy stuff to know.

    That said, the idea that temperance in the pursuit of knowledge might be a virtue has more than a whiff of 1985 to it. I'd try to find situations where pursuing this knowledge might be harmful, either because the knowledge itself might be better left unlearned, or because he lets his ethical obligations suffer while he indulges his passion for arcana.

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    Default Re: Deadly Sins in a D&D Context

    Deadliest sin in D&D: Splitting the party.
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