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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Implications of a demon-binding Neutral/Good military

    Quote Originally Posted by Catullus64 View Post
    From the perspective of "how could this create interesting conflict", I think that such a society's downfall would be the weight of its own bureaucracy. Your original post details that this society would have strictly regimented rules and procedures for all aspects of diabolic summoning. You know who are really good at exploiting rules and procedures? Devils.

    If the Powers Below are aware that an earthly system is exploiting fiends, and safely using them to advance causes of civilization and justice, they're going to take issue with that, and start looking for ways to mobilize that system for their own ends.
    Now I'm not totally sure that this is just how you'd want to go....just corrupting the place seems....simple and low stakes...if you are a devil you'd want to play a bigger, longer game wouldn't you.

    A neutral empire successfully using devils on the regular has various effects.

    Particularly if disgruntled/retired/not-good/neutral enough summoners are regularly leaving the place you'll see both the stigma of using devils go way down (since the good empire of blonk-de-donk is able to pull it off so can I) and the availability of teaching to do summoning goes way up....all throughout any place that the empire culturally touches (including exiles/fugitives/etc). If anything Hell would want the place to thrive as is. A smart devil will see it as a loss leader...

    wait for other nations start to do the same but without the moral spine.
    wait for groups taught by exiled summoners to grow and collect power elsewhere.
    wait for other nations to make the laws about summoning devils, complicated so that other devils may exploit things later.
    Wait for summoning devils to just be normal...to just become part of the background...wait for apathy to set in...let the stories of "evil" become a cultural joke...they can all see devils are under control and not a big deal.
    once summoning devils to do things becomes an acceptable in several areas for a generation or two then set them on a race for the bottom to corrupt them.
    But just corrupting the one nation will inspire backlash too soon...wait for a bit and you can get the most of worlds population normalizing LE behavior over time and just farm the world for souls.

    but for now play nice...and show off how good an idea it is to have devils on your side, maybe even eat some of the cost yourself (if you can) so the ones doing your work gain a competitive advantage.

  2. - Top - End - #32
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    ElfWarriorGuy

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    Default Re: Implications of a demon-binding Neutral/Good military

    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    Now I'm not totally sure that this is just how you'd want to go....just corrupting the place seems....simple and low stakes...if you are a devil you'd want to play a bigger, longer game wouldn't you.

    A neutral empire successfully using devils on the regular has various effects.

    Particularly if disgruntled/retired/not-good/neutral enough summoners are regularly leaving the place you'll see both the stigma of using devils go way down (since the good empire of blonk-de-donk is able to pull it off so can I) and the availability of teaching to do summoning goes way up....all throughout any place that the empire culturally touches (including exiles/fugitives/etc). If anything Hell would want the place to thrive as is. A smart devil will see it as a loss leader...

    wait for other nations start to do the same but without the moral spine.
    wait for groups taught by exiled summoners to grow and collect power elsewhere.
    wait for other nations to make the laws about summoning devils, complicated so that other devils may exploit things later.
    Wait for summoning devils to just be normal...to just become part of the background...wait for apathy to set in...let the stories of "evil" become a cultural joke...they can all see devils are under control and not a big deal.
    once summoning devils to do things becomes an acceptable in several areas for a generation or two then set them on a race for the bottom to corrupt them.
    But just corrupting the one nation will inspire backlash too soon...wait for a bit and you can get the most of worlds population normalizing LE behavior over time and just farm the world for souls.

    but for now play nice...and show off how good an idea it is to have devils on your side, maybe even eat some of the cost yourself (if you can) so the ones doing your work gain a competitive advantage.
    That's certainly a thorough approach, and reminiscent of the much-repeated saw that "The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world he doesn't exist."

    I will say that that only seems like a fruitful approach for certain types of games and game narratives; ones that take place in a pessimistic setting where evil has more or less already won. There is no moment where the devils reveal themselves and "fulfill" their evil designs, no way to "foil" their evil plan; their evil plan is basically the status quo. In that kind of setting, there is no single heroic action that can undo such a thorough corruption of a society's morals. That's a good setting for amoralistic, self-driven heroes, or simply an atmosphere of despair, but for D&D standard heroic fantasy, not so much.

    Keeping it limited to a single nation may be less ambitious, but it does provide a framework in which a story of heroic fantasy can thrive, as thwarting the goals of that nation is a blow against fienddom. Having a contrasting society that has not yet been seduced by the promise of "safe" conjurings provides something for the player characters to protect.
    Last edited by Catullus64; 2021-03-08 at 12:27 PM.
    Le désir de paraître habile empêche souvent de le devenir.
    The desire to appear clever often impedes actually being so.

    Ce qui nous rend la vanité des autres insupportable, c'est qu'elle blesse la nôtre.
    What makes the vanity of others offensive is the fact that it wounds our own.

    Les querelles ne dureraient pas longtemps, si le tort n'était que d'un côté.
    Arguments don't last long if the fault is only on one side.

    -Francois, duc de La Rochefoucauld

  3. - Top - End - #33
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Implications of a demon-binding Neutral/Good military

    now you see I have a different take on that (no shocker)

    I see it as producing lots of good classic D&D story lines where perhaps the PC's are not directly dealing that empire but the various smaller copycats and castoff summoners work...especially at first...and just think of all the hidey holes that have bound (esp as these guys seem to specialize in long term binding) that such castoffs would create...tones of little cults, hidden strongholds filled with bound demons (some with the summoner still active, some with them long gone (perhaps taken by Imperial summoner military police) but the bound demons still causing trouble)...so many adventure hooks and classic dungeons to delve with foes that make sense still being active after years locked away, a gift to DM planning. And over time PC's either deal with other threats (as I wouldn't assume this is all the setting is about just a major empire) or they have to rally a bunch of other nations into an alliance to actually doing something about it in the Empire doing the summoning. And that rallying would heroic and work in and of itself. It's easy to get people to declare that the obviously evil and wants to kill you Iuz or the like is worth fighting...but getting this nation to be seen as the long term threat it is would be hard. And hard makes good stories.
    It would also explain why other nations don't do the various things that need doing on a government basis and thus why the PC's are needed to hold back the devils slow advance etc. It also allows for other major threats to stand on their own...sure the devils are a problem and can be a good source of stories but if the DM wants to suddenly have an undead horde, domestic politics of their home nation, etc take centre stage this much slower motion threat can easily take the back seat for awhile...nobody will really turn their back to witch-kings necro-nation or the Empire of Iuz...which means the DM has more freedom in game play...of course that's exactly what the Devil's are relying on to win. Also clever players will see it encourages the PC's to develop SYSTEMS in other places to keep this nation's long term influence in check...and founding and building monasteries, organizations, etc can be another great source of adventures and pushes the players to engage and invest (and can even then become resources if the players want to play again after their previous group retire..which often makes player group really happy)

    also if the plan makes it sound like evil has already won, it's victory is inevitable, despair and gloom, and it is useless to resist....well then that sounds like what a good devil plot should be. They thrive off such despair and people giving up to evil's inevitable victory...that's why the world needs heroes...gestures to the PC's...and even if the the PC's win a battle the planner can just say "I'll get you next time"..to which the PC's if things are set up well can point to a tradition of their mentors or historical heroes and brave proteges and monologue on the nature of heroism and that as long as the nation of whatit exists there shall be heroes to throw back the darkness yadda yadda. So even episodic temporary victories can be used to lift the PC's up to the pantheon of greats and can see themselves as something part of a larger whole (works well for player satisfaction IME). But yeah...if you can get your players to despair when your villain reveals their plan +1 on roleplaying Asmodeus bonus!

    also can give interesting moral choices...they know working with this empire is very bad in the long term but could be good for their short term interest. . . Choices matter more when the players can go either way and this can allow players to actually make those choices to play with that in a more than classical way (deciding to play a bunch of blackguards and assassins). Or it could put the (presumably good) PC's in conflict with other good organizations (and thus can't/shouldn't be hacked through) who are simply short term thinking (perhaps for very good reasons...the empire may be a major source of international aid-digging and powering pumpwells with lemures for example)...making the players think or act differently. It can give a king's decision that the PC's are trying to shape real long term stakes while not seeming out of character for a "Good" king to do...

    I think it grants LOTS more flexibility in stories over the wider world. Creates opportunities and a scalable enemy as needed.

    plus, not every campaign would focus on THIS long term foe. But it gives good reason to a toss a demon summoner (of the classic sort) just about anywhere doing all kinds of classic nefarious things as a way to play off of the main focus of that other foe. perhaps as a break or perhaps as a three way conflict.

    and a lot of the stuff mentioned talks time, lots of time. Place the stetting start date where some of this stuff is just becoming visible to players who start looking for it but the full darkness of what the devils are waiting for has not yet come to pass. . . for maximum conflict, story, and heroic potential.
    Last edited by sktarq; 2021-03-08 at 07:02 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Implications of a demon-binding Neutral/Good military

    Adventure arc:

    Episode1
    New adventurers dungeon delve only to discover a low level sorcerer boss with a quasit familiar. The quasit betrays its 'master' and when the party defeats the boss the familiar fulfills its contract by dragging the sorcerer to the Hells.

    Episode 2
    The adventurers backtrack the sorcerer based on clues left in the loot to a hidden refuge of fifth columnists infiltrating the kingdom.

    Episode 3
    The adventurers uncover clues that certain lords have been converted and must get phe permission of an earl to expose and arrest them.

    Episode 4
    The guilty must stand trial and the party must keep them alive long enough to testify against them and expose the ones funding the assassins.

    Episode 5
    The duke sends them to check on border lords and ddtermine if any are in league with the devil summoners. This gets the attention of the enemy nation's 'diplomatic and cultural outreach department.'

    Episode 6
    A squad sent to stop the troublemakers is on the verge of instigating a war. The PCs must stop them and prevent or stop the war.

    Episode 7
    The king sends them to help the heir of a neighboring kingdom come into power without fiendish influence, but it turns out that the court is either compromised or afraid.

    Episode 8
    The summoner kingdom's neighbors try to recruit the party to overthrow the summoners so they can carve out and annex as much of the summoners' kingdom as they can.


    Yeah, there's enough meat on that bone to keep a party gnawing for a while.

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Implications of a demon-binding Neutral/Good military

    So it sounds like we have a very lawful society bending lawful-evil beings towards lawful-neutral or even lawful-good ends. That opens a lot of fun story opportunities centering on the conflict between the demon-binders and the forces of darkness. You could go for an apocalyptic, end of civilization story, but I think running a game during this kingdom's golden age would be more fun. Here is a setting pitch:

    The world is in a "Pax Romana" situation. There is no major conflict because nobody wants to fight an army of demons. Some small conflicts, proxy wars, rebellions, etc. are put down with relative ease. The kingdom is wealthy and the people are content but there are problems. Serious problems.

    The bureaucracy of the government is bloating and doing more harm than good, leading to a lot of people going outside the system to get things done. The demand for goods is exceeding supply and leading to tensions. And the realm's politics are starting to get heated. The solution everyone has is the same as we've always had: summon more demons.

    This leads to unsanctioned entities summoned by untrained casters and demonic manifestations become a serious problem. But we have to maintain control. The party's job is to investigate, contain, correct, and cover up these situations for the good of the kingdom and will answer directly to the inner court. Good luck.


    Ideas for missions (a.k.a. 2 or 3 session adventures).

    1) A low level bureaucrat has summoned a few imps to help in the office but he has lost control and things are getting out of hand. Dispel the creatures, arrest the idiot, make sure word does not get to the public.
    2) There have been a few murder cases in the capital flagged as being suspiciously fiendish. Investigate them and deal with the situation appropriately.
    3) A military commander has lost control of a demonic entity in a rebel controlled area. Re-establish containment and investigate the reasons for the breach.
    4) The secret police have uncovered a plot to destabilize control of one of the outlying provinces and believe they are working with demonic forces to enact their plan. Your team was specifically requested for assistance in the case.
    5) A rebel group is attempting to open multiple infernal portals in cities across the kingdom. Gather intel and disseminate it to the appropriate authorities to stop it in it's tracks.
    This would obviously be more RP heavy but I think it would be fun. Sort of an X-File, James Bond, SCP crossover in middle-earth.

  6. - Top - End - #36
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: Implications of a demon-binding Neutral/Good military

    Quote Originally Posted by SandyAndy View Post
    [...]I think running a game during this kingdom's golden age would be more fun. Here is a setting pitch:

    The world is in a "Pax Romana" situation. There is no major conflict because nobody wants to fight an army of demons. Some small conflicts, proxy wars, rebellions, etc. are put down with relative ease. The kingdom is wealthy and the people are content but there are problems. Serious problems.

    The bureaucracy of the government is bloating and doing more harm than good, leading to a lot of people going outside the system to get things done. The demand for goods is exceeding supply and leading to tensions. And the realm's politics are starting to get heated. The solution everyone has is the same as we've always had: summon more demons.

    This leads to unsanctioned entities summoned by untrained casters and demonic manifestations become a serious problem. But we have to maintain control. The party's job is to investigate, contain, correct, and cover up these situations for the good of the kingdom and will answer directly to the inner court. Good luck.
    I'm getting real wrapped up thinking about the propaganda of this nation, how everything you're describing would be portrayed to the people:
    • A pit fiend is bound in a summoning circle in the inner chamber of a massive cathedral. Every year, a festival celebrating the particular campaign that achieved this is held, and everyone can participate in a lottery. The few hundred who win get the chance of a lifetime: the chance to see the glory of the empire evidenced in this bound fiend. But that's not all! The chamber has tiers of seating, low to high like a small Roman arena. Everyone gets a bottle of holy water. Then a bell is rung and every lucky citizen gets to personally damage this fiend. They laugh raucously, jeering and clapping each other on the shoulder, trying to hit various parts of the fiend. The fiend stands stoic, bound to silence...
    • Unsanctioned summoning cause havoc. But that is not what the people fear. They fear the inquisitors. No one says anything - not in public - as these agents invade homes, abduct friends, and destroy families. Every disaster from unsanctioned summoning is repeated endlessly by the town criers. Everyone knows someone who has been affected. But the daily reality is the watchful eye of the inquisition.
    • A venerable paladin, war-weary and disenchanted, must vet recruits for the continuous conflicts at the edges and within. He sees the fresh young faces, hears the fervent affirmations of the empire's glory, feels his heart sink knowing what atrocities that this innocent youth is committing to as he signs the forms. But he can only affix the recruit badge, smile as warmly as he can, and say his line: "Welcome to the fight for our glorious empire."
    Last edited by titlebreaker; 2021-03-11 at 06:19 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #37
    Orc in the Playground
     
    GreataxeFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Implications of a demon-binding Neutral/Good military

    Speaking of propaganda... imagine the things that people and leaders of other nations would say about this demon-binding kingdom. Surviving soldiers from enemy militaries would share stories for generations about the time they fought a literal army from Hell. I imagine that this demon-binding state's reputation, no matter how good/lawful they are in their own society, would forever be tainted by the atrocities that other nations in conflict with them would witness. I think that outsiders visiting the demon-summoning kingdom would be surprised to learn that it is a well-run and peaceful society, as other countries' propaganda would paint them as slaves to devils or demonic summoners.
    Currently worldbuilding Last Haven: a setting formed on a titan's corpse! If you have a moment, I would love your feedback!

  8. - Top - End - #38
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: Implications of a demon-binding Neutral/Good military

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam113097 View Post
    Speaking of propaganda... imagine the things that people and leaders of other nations would say about this demon-binding kingdom. Surviving soldiers from enemy militaries would share stories for generations about the time they fought a literal army from Hell. I imagine that this demon-binding state's reputation, no matter how good/lawful they are in their own society, would forever be tainted by the atrocities that other nations in conflict with them would witness. I think that outsiders visiting the demon-summoning kingdom would be surprised to learn that it is a well-run and peaceful society, as other countries' propaganda would paint them as slaves to devils or demonic summoners.
    Yeah, the shock and awe that other nations would experience would be tremendous. If the citizens of other nations survive these onslaughts enough to mount a defense, you can bet they'd turn to similar means, as has been mentioned earlier. Any nation that didn't would need to try diplomacy if they wanted to maintain any cohesion. So the reputation of the demon-kingdom would be a major source of tension. After all, if survival requires a certain measure of acceptance of demon-binding, not everyone is going to be on board with that.

    But that's what I assume as long as we accept the "Pax Romana" premise. There'd need to be a different angle on how other nations are relevant, like enslaving modrons.
    Last edited by titlebreaker; 2021-03-11 at 06:43 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #39
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: Implications of a demon-binding Neutral/Good military

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam113097 View Post
    Speaking of propaganda... imagine the things that people and leaders of other nations would say about this demon-binding kingdom. Surviving soldiers from enemy militaries would share stories for generations about the time they fought a literal army from Hell. I imagine that this demon-binding state's reputation, no matter how good/lawful they are in their own society, would forever be tainted by the atrocities that other nations in conflict with them would witness. I think that outsiders visiting the demon-summoning kingdom would be surprised to learn that it is a well-run and peaceful society, as other countries' propaganda would paint them as slaves to devils or demonic summoners.
    I think this is broadly the tack I've been planning to take on this in the setting I'm developing. I figure this nation's warfare is comparable to what made Rome special: for most armies, a lost battle meant a lost war, but Rome was organized enough that they could retreat or lose a battle and still win the campaign. There's not really any more or less strife within the fiend-summoning nation than in others, though obviously more of it is fiend-related than is usual; the conflict is mostly in the border territories, where "noble" and "virtuous" nations (many of whom are basically the same minus the fiend-summoning, they're just afraid of being steamrolled) have banded together to stop this "evil empire."

    Though I do think this would make it difficult to have a campaign that "crossed the borders," so to speak, unless that was the point of the game; I think I'll mostly have to either keep campaigns entirely inside the nation and center them on a party working for or struggling with the government, or entirely outside the nation, viewing them as a hard-to-understand, vaguely sinister force.
    Last edited by jinjitsu; 2021-03-11 at 11:23 PM.

  10. - Top - End - #40
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: Implications of a demon-binding Neutral/Good military

    So I'm curious, is there an underlying threat to summoning and non-summoning nations? Something that might cause people on either side to set aside their differences and mobilize against? That would be for a "crossing the borders" campaign, though.

  11. - Top - End - #41
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Implications of a demon-binding Neutral/Good military

    The thread seems to be looking at it as Devil-Binding, where the military in question is calling up the contract-ridden forces of Hell and taking great pains to make ironclad contracts. But the thread title is Demon-Binding. The hordes of the Abyss, callous and cruel and most importantly Chaotic in nature, unable to be trusted to hold to a deal because they have no inherent nature demanding so. This adds a very different character, because you can't rely on them for basic labor or trust them to hold formation. It means the summoners are going to just be the first part of it, as you need conventional men-at-arms holding the flanks against their own center and the rear echelons guarding against their own front lines as much as enemy flanking.

    And this direction makes it a much easier sell. Why in the world would anyone actually involved in the battles ever want to side with the demons when it takes such vast measures to keep them from razing the countryside? Of course, then you have the offer of Devils providing troops that will just follow orders, saving all those men tasked to keeping Demons on-track and cleared afterword to wage war directly...

  12. - Top - End - #42
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Implications of a demon-binding Neutral/Good military

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    The thread seems to be looking at it as Devil-Binding, where the military in question is calling up the contract-ridden forces of Hell and taking great pains to make ironclad contracts. But the thread title is Demon-Binding. The hordes of the Abyss, callous and cruel and most importantly Chaotic in nature, unable to be trusted to hold to a deal because they have no inherent nature demanding so. This adds a very different character, because you can't rely on them for basic labor or trust them to hold formation. It means the summoners are going to just be the first part of it, as you need conventional men-at-arms holding the flanks against their own center and the rear echelons guarding against their own front lines as much as enemy flanking.

    And this direction makes it a much easier sell. Why in the world would anyone actually involved in the battles ever want to side with the demons when it takes such vast measures to keep them from razing the countryside? Of course, then you have the offer of Devils providing troops that will just follow orders, saving all those men tasked to keeping Demons on-track and cleared afterword to wage war directly...
    You could absolutely bind a demon, just not with a contract. You don't sign contracts with elephants but you can still use them for war. You don't sign contracts with alligators but they can still eat the things and/or people you drive into them. Binding a demon would just be less of an exercise in rhetoric and more of an exercise in power. I think the effect would be largely similar; in fact, I think that the effects would be basically the same no matter what extra-planar entities you were binding.

  13. - Top - End - #43
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: Implications of a demon-binding Neutral/Good military

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    The thread seems to be looking at it as Devil-Binding, where the military in question is calling up the contract-ridden forces of Hell and taking great pains to make ironclad contracts. But the thread title is Demon-Binding. The hordes of the Abyss, callous and cruel and most importantly Chaotic in nature, unable to be trusted to hold to a deal because they have no inherent nature demanding so. This adds a very different character, because you can't rely on them for basic labor or trust them to hold formation. It means the summoners are going to just be the first part of it, as you need conventional men-at-arms holding the flanks against their own center and the rear echelons guarding against their own front lines as much as enemy flanking.

    And this direction makes it a much easier sell. Why in the world would anyone actually involved in the battles ever want to side with the demons when it takes such vast measures to keep them from razing the countryside? Of course, then you have the offer of Devils providing troops that will just follow orders, saving all those men tasked to keeping Demons on-track and cleared afterword to wage war directly...
    I'm more open to the devil-binding option now that some folks have explored it a little more, but I've always leaned away from it. I titled it "demon-binding" because - as I pointed out in the first post - rule #1 of this place would be "never let a fiend get power over you," and if they're dealing with fiends on a national scale, they'll know that many devils' whole schtick is convincing you that you're gaining power over them while they're really gaining power over you. That's also why, while I've enjoyed discussions of summoning osyluths and such, I'm still thinking of this strictly as a "CR 3-and-under" endeavor - on the one hand, my setting is such that an army of dretches is a serious but not utterly overwhelming threat, but it's possible (even likely) that in a whole army, not one person would be capable of even harming a rakshasa; on the other hand, especially for devils, increased CR usually correlates directly with increased capability to screw you over. Neutral fiends might be an option, but honestly I've never found a neutral fiend lore that I'm really happy with; D&D has increasingly pushed yugoloths out of their already-scant limelight, and daemons in PF just kind of strike me as "acting like devils to achieve the goals of demons."

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