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Author Topic: The Hands of Their Winged Overlords: (DnD 3.5/ NC-E)  (Read 8505 times)

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Offline Ryvaken

Re: The Hands of Their Winged Overlords: (DnD 3.5/ NC-E)
« Reply #75 on: January 01, 2010, 05:27:54 PM »
It specifically says they do not come out of admiration or desire to serve. It refers to suitable candidates as "mentally pliable." It voids penalties for being cruel or uncaring towards your herd. This is not Leadership with effective advertising.


I could see such a class as you describe being constructed as a variant of thrallherd, throwing in longer delays for new recruits to show up to account for the fact that you are not simply grabbing weak-minded able bodies to fill your ranks, returning some of the conditions to your effective leadership score, and balancing that with various bonuses of morale and coordination within your following. But that is not what Thrallherd represents.

Offline NobleWolf

Re: The Hands of Their Winged Overlords: (DnD 3.5/ NC-E)
« Reply #76 on: January 01, 2010, 05:46:45 PM »
It specifically says they do not come out of admiration or desire to serve. It refers to suitable candidates as "mentally pliable." It voids penalties for being cruel or uncaring towards your herd. This is not Leadership with effective advertising.


I could see such a class as you describe being constructed as a variant of thrallherd, throwing in longer delays for new recruits to show up to account for the fact that you are not simply grabbing weak-minded able bodies to fill your ranks, returning some of the conditions to your effective leadership score, and balancing that with various bonuses of morale and coordination within your following. But that is not what Thrallherd represents.
It doesn't say that they can't develop those qualities. After all, they haven't met you yet. They simply follow a beacon to you. You probably wouldn't feel admiration or desire for someone from a simple message in a bottle. This is also a reasonable excuse as to why it doesn't follow standard leadership rules.
Mentally pliable is much too vague to make that assertion. It can also refer to the resonance the class speaks about.
It is not simply advertising as you put it, it's a powerful connection. One that apparently goes beyond spells and powers, as can be proven by the fact that the ability is extraordinary in nature.
I'm not implying thrallherds can't be evil. I'm giving credible observations that the class itself isn't evil. In fact, it's left intentionally vague so it's easier to mold it to your interpretation. My interpretation is just correct as yours.
There is no need for wasting any more time on a variant of the class, the class already encompasses many options. We wouldn't make a separate class for rangers that prefer ranged attacks and another for melee.

Offline Ryvaken

Re: The Hands of Their Winged Overlords: (DnD 3.5/ NC-E)
« Reply #77 on: January 01, 2010, 06:00:10 PM »
...pliable really isn't that vague at all. If you find that argument credible, I do believe we are done here, and I look forward to keelhauling you should we meet.

Offline NobleWolf

Re: The Hands of Their Winged Overlords: (DnD 3.5/ NC-E)
« Reply #78 on: January 01, 2010, 06:08:00 PM »
...pliable really isn't that vague at all. If you find that argument credible, I do believe we are done here, and I look forward to keelhauling you should we meet.
One last thing; You like definitions right?
pli·a·ble  (pl-bl)
adj.
1. Easily bent or shaped. See Synonyms at malleable.
2. Receptive to change; adaptable: pliable attitudes.
3. Easily influenced, persuaded, or swayed; tractable.


It was a reasonable debate, at the very least.

Offline Ryvaken

Re: The Hands of Their Winged Overlords: (DnD 3.5/ NC-E)
« Reply #79 on: January 01, 2010, 06:19:40 PM »
...that does anything other than enforce my point that the thrallherd seeks out individuals of convenience to fill the ranks, as opposd to those that would choose to follow?

Offline NobleWolf

Re: The Hands of Their Winged Overlords: (DnD 3.5/ NC-E)
« Reply #80 on: January 01, 2010, 06:39:06 PM »
...that does anything other than enforce my point that the thrallherd seeks out individuals of convenience to fill the ranks, as opposd to those that would choose to follow?

Now your just grasping. Mentally receptive to change and adaptable pretty much proves my point entirely. It implies willingness to comply! They come to the Thrallherd, not the other way around.
And just as I said about the class being intentionally vague on purpose, one could just as quickly assume it's meant as forcible control. Again, that's why I believe the class isn't inherently evil. If it were truly intended to be evil , it's flavor and rulings would have made it clear.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2010, 06:44:58 PM by NobleWolf »

Offline Ryvaken

Re: The Hands of Their Winged Overlords: (DnD 3.5/ NC-E)
« Reply #81 on: January 01, 2010, 07:30:02 PM »
...are you serious? "Receptive to change" means receptive to being changed. See point 3: easily influenced. As in manipulated, fooled, tricked, controlled, dominated. Even the first line, easily bent. The phrase "bend to his will" comes to mind instantly.

Something that is pliable can be many things, with one thing in common. There is someone shaping that thing into the shape that person desires. Trying to turn a line that says "the genuinely loyal people abandon you and people who are easily manipulated flock to your banner" is not a good thing. Trying to turn "pliable" into a compliment (outside of limited educational and behavioral growth contexts) is almost absurd enough to be funny. These are the exact same words I would use to describe cultists who shoot themselves in the head at the behest of a charismatic madman. The flavor is excessively clear.

Offline NobleWolf

Re: The Hands of Their Winged Overlords: (DnD 3.5/ NC-E)
« Reply #82 on: January 01, 2010, 08:22:01 PM »
...are you serious? "Receptive to change" means receptive to being changed. See point 3: easily influenced. As in manipulated, fooled, tricked, controlled, dominated. Even the first line, easily bent. The phrase "bend to his will" comes to mind instantly.

Something that is pliable can be many things, with one thing in common. There is someone shaping that thing into the shape that person desires. Trying to turn a line that says "the genuinely loyal people abandon you and people who are easily manipulated flock to your banner" is not a good thing. Trying to turn "pliable" into a compliment (outside of limited educational and behavioral growth contexts) is almost absurd enough to be funny. These are the exact same words I would use to describe cultists who shoot themselves in the head at the behest of a charismatic madman. The flavor is excessively clear.
Your not even arguing now, your just being contradictory. As I keep pointing out, that is a viable interpretation, but mine is as well. That's the point I'm making. You haven't any shred of proof to firmly support your argument that Thrallherds are inherently evil. You can only prove, which everyone knows, that they can be.
Besides "the genuinely loyal people abandon you"? Think about what you just said! They don't seem so loyal to me!
That weak argument is the only joke here. If that line is really so absurd, why not take it out! Oh wait! Because then people would have both leadership AND the Thrallherd ability, and that certainly wouldn't be fair! Your also assuming they already have the leadership feat, which is a poor stance to take.
Don't confuse necessary game saving mechanics with how "evil" a class is.
Being adaptable and receptive is anything but a character flaw. Actually, it makes you a decent, logical person. Just because a group of people put their fate in your hands doesn't mean you are evil, nor does it mean they are simply mindless puppets. By your logic, if a religious fanatic happily follows the whim of his benevolent priest, the priest is evil. While certainly such a relationship can be perverted, such happenings go on without such incident all the time.
You can keep pressing the "mentally pliable" idea all you want, but it is indeed more vague than you are willing to admit. Again, you have no concrete proof whatsoever to support your heavy handed claim that Thrallherd is an evil class.

Offline Ryvaken

Re: The Hands of Their Winged Overlords: (DnD 3.5/ NC-E)
« Reply #83 on: January 01, 2010, 09:54:55 PM »
Abandon, driven off, however you want to phrase it. The writers deliberately worded it in a way that did not imply that followers would be subsumed within the believers, but that they would leave. Given that followers are generally depicted as above-average but not extraordinary folk outside the typical comforts of hearth and home, it would stand that their wills would not be as easily sublimated as the farming folk and city trash that turn up as believers.
And no, I'm not assuming that they have the Leadership feat. You're the one arguing the tone of the writing, and I'm using what's written. Also, if we ignore balance game mechanics, we throw out all the noise you made on it being Extraordinary rather than Supernatural. Either way, my argument stands.

You say adaptable and receptive. I say receptive and vulnerable. And let's take a look a few paragraphs up. "Thrallherds manipulate the minds of others as if they were clay in the hands of a sculptor." As I said, a pliable object needs someone to ply it. When thinking of others' minds in terms such as this, with a few exceptions, is a sign of superiority, arrogance, and corruption. But wait, there's more.
"Some creatures are more suceptible than others to the thrallherd's unconcious, but continual, call to service." The unconcious line is about the only save against evil they have, but unless your backstory has it that she doesn't know that she's an enslaving hellbitch that doesn't really address the point at hand. Moving on.
"And so they come, eager to be led, happy to follow, and completely under the thrallherd's control." Really, if that isn't a setup for "power corrupts" I don't know what is.
"In this way, thrallherds keep a minor menagerie of enthralled servants that are anxious to do their will."

If you are seriously going to defend that the tone of this is ethically neutral, I'm just going to call you quaintly naive right here and point you down another couple paragraphs to where the only example of thrallherd behavior in the entire writeup involves sacrificing believers without regard for their lives because the class abilities are geared to make that practical behavior.

Offline NobleWolf

Re: The Hands of Their Winged Overlords: (DnD 3.5/ NC-E)
« Reply #84 on: January 01, 2010, 11:26:03 PM »
Abandon, driven off, however you want to phrase it. The writers deliberately worded it in a way that did not imply that followers would be subsumed within the believers, but that they would leave. Given that followers are generally depicted as above-average but not extraordinary folk outside the typical comforts of hearth and home, it would stand that their wills would not be as easily sublimated as the farming folk and city trash that turn up as believers.
And no, I'm not assuming that they have the Leadership feat. You're the one arguing the tone of the writing, and I'm using what's written. Also, if we ignore balance game mechanics, we throw out all the noise you made on it being Extraordinary rather than Supernatural. Either way, my argument stands.

You say adaptable and receptive. I say receptive and vulnerable. And let's take a look a few paragraphs up. "Thrallherds manipulate the minds of others as if they were clay in the hands of a sculptor." As I said, a pliable object needs someone to ply it. When thinking of others' minds in terms such as this, with a few exceptions, is a sign of superiority, arrogance, and corruption. But wait, there's more.
"Some creatures are more suceptible than others to the thrallherd's unconcious, but continual, call to service." The unconcious line is about the only save against evil they have, but unless your backstory has it that she doesn't know that she's an enslaving hellbitch that doesn't really address the point at hand. Moving on.
"And so they come, eager to be led, happy to follow, and completely under the thrallherd's control." Really, if that isn't a setup for "power corrupts" I don't know what is.
"In this way, thrallherds keep a minor menagerie of enthralled servants that are anxious to do their will."

If you are seriously going to defend that the tone of this is ethically neutral, I'm just going to call you quaintly naive right here and point you down another couple paragraphs to where the only example of thrallherd behavior in the entire writeup involves sacrificing believers without regard for their lives because the class abilities are geared to make that practical behavior.
You're argument has degraded into hurtful flames and the very childish banter I was hoping to avoid. If anything, you've just done my work for me. The fact they come happily and anxious to serve puts them on the same level as followers, or did you capture all of yours?
How is this any different from warriors being drafted to battle against invading hordes? If anything it's better, since they actually want to do so. This supports my claim that psychic resonance binds them to a greater whole (See previous posts). In the hands of an evil thrallherd, their dedication will be abused. In the care of a protector, their trouble and teamwork will be rewarded.
As for "Thrallherds manipulate the minds of others as if they were clay in the hands of a sculptor." - So do beguilers, feyblooded warlocks, wizards, bards, and about a half-dozen other examples with good alignments being a norm. It's called charm and dominate spells and powers, but again, the powers and spells themselves are not innately evil.
As for the NPC Thrallherd suggestions, of course they're evil. In a typical campaign setting , evil NPCs play the villains while good (or at least non-evil) PCs fight against them. Do some research on other prestige classes with varied alignments and you'll find the same story over and over again.
See, all you have are opinions, nothing more. Preconceived notions and unwarranted bias against a character and class you don't even fully understand. It's all personal interpretation and opinions. At the end of the day, that's what these silly moral arguments end up being. Both sides will have good points, and neither side is particularly wrong, but it's doubtful either of us will change our minds anytime soon. We could flood the entire message boards with endless bickering, but it'll be the same.
I believe thrallherds aren't inherently evil. You believe thrallherds are inherently evil. I presented my case, but It ended up being a waste of time for both of us. But I'd like to think that if two mature adults can look at the same thing and come up with two polar opposite concepts, that they would both have to agree there is a bit of gray area in between.

Offline Ryvaken

Re: The Hands of Their Winged Overlords: (DnD 3.5/ NC-E)
« Reply #85 on: January 01, 2010, 11:53:24 PM »
Check other NPC descriptions for classes. Neutral and good usually, but not always, get as much attention as evil. The point was more that the class is geared towards that abuse than that other possibilities were not mentioned.

When presented with an opinion, a mature adult examines it, the facts at hand, weighs it against his own store of knowledge, experience, beliefs, and arises at a conclusion. The terminology commonly used in those subgenres of science fiction, fantasy, and rarely contemporary fiction where mind control, memory alteration, or meme warfare are used and discussed match the terminology of thrallherd almost perfectly, with "believer" being the more cult-derived exception to the trend. Since the very nature of the thrallherd is also aligned with this genre, semantic arguments originating from other perspectives do not hold muster. I read your arguments, I analyzed them, and I dismissed them based on their lack of merit, nothing more, nothing less. You do me grave insult by suggesting otherwise.

Also, to quote Michael Stackpole, "The assumption of grey is sloppy, lazy thinking. The fact that one person takes a position that is diametrically opposed to the truth does not then skew reality so the truth is no longer the truth. The truth is still the truth." Ugh. I forgot how awkwardly worded that quote was. Still, it's a good line to bring out when someone mistakes conviction and analysis for stubbornness and immaturity.

Offline Mnemaxa

Re: The Hands of Their Winged Overlords: (DnD 3.5/ NC-E)
« Reply #86 on: January 02, 2010, 06:41:02 AM »
The flaw in your argument is where you placed the atrocity. It is in the act of violating the sovereign mind of another and enslaving him, not because he is a threat to himself or others, but because you can. How you treat your herd of slaves is far and away less telling than the fact that you have a herd of slaves.

Edit: Okay, my computer did something weird and posted an earlier draft without me realizing it. Let me play catchup here.

Okay, first off I reported every definition of thrall I landed on. Then I decided semantics was a rather pointless game to play, which is why it didn't make my final draft.
As to why the class wasn't more appropriately created, it comes from a psionic handbook. I've long since given up trying to puzzle out what those writers were smoking and is generally simpler to disallow the books in their entirety. However I find that expressing such opinions is generally counterproductive to making a proper argument, and mildly hypocritical as there is some material that is salvageable. Thrallherd is actually one of the least objectionable in this regard, needing only a nongood restriction. I do accept that not everyone shares my opinion that mental domination of this kind is one of the more depraved abominations of the human imagination, otherwise I would have had the class placed in Vile Darkness, although Lords of Madness is also appropriate with the Illithid aspirations.

Thrallherd is a misnomer. 

The people who come to serve a Thallherd do so because their minds are designed to respond to his telepathic need for servitors.  A thrallherd, in the mechanics of D&D is a telepath who "tunes in" to those submissive personalities that mesh with his goals and desires, and they respond to his call.  He is a Dominant personality with the power to call those whom desire to serve him and his goals specifically.  They actually have free will - he is not dominating them, he is simply providing the focus for their subconsciously submissive nature.  A Thrallherd can be good, evil, lawful, chaotic, or neutral, and his believers and thralls will support him in both deed and the nature of their service to him.


Offline Ryvaken

Re: The Hands of Their Winged Overlords: (DnD 3.5/ NC-E)
« Reply #87 on: January 02, 2010, 08:45:18 AM »
An interesting interpretation. I never argued that the thrallherd was dominating his believers into mindless puppets, merely that he was subverting their ability to choose. Something like the difference between Charm and Dominate. That his victims could be receptive to being used like that is...well I've certainly encountered stranger fetishes. I would still argue that using others in such a fashion is inherently nongood behavior, however you've made a solid case for a nonevil one.

Online Zaer Darkwail

Re: The Hands of Their Winged Overlords: (DnD 3.5/ NC-E)
« Reply #88 on: January 02, 2010, 09:32:50 AM »
So, in essence Thrallherd just lures more effectively people/followers than normal guy who has very high charisma and holds public speeches about his goals. Thrallherd does not need hold speeches, he just calls people who share his ideals and lures them towards him through telepathy.

With such feature I wonder why they did not add 'telepathy' power as they did to mindbender (which is arcane variant of thrallherd but he outright charms/dominates people with spells and is non-good alignment restricted PrC).

Offline Mnemaxa

Re: The Hands of Their Winged Overlords: (DnD 3.5/ NC-E)
« Reply #89 on: January 02, 2010, 10:09:02 AM »
So, in essence Thrallherd just lures more effectively people/followers than normal guy who has very high charisma and holds public speeches about his goals. Thrallherd does not need hold speeches, he just calls people who share his ideals and lures them towards him through telepathy.

With such feature I wonder why they did not add 'telepathy' power as they did to mindbender (which is arcane variant of thrallherd but he outright charms/dominates people with spells and is non-good alignment restricted PrC).

They have to have mindlink to gain the PrC, and as they go up in levels, they gain the Domination power, with much reduced costs at higher levels. 

An interesting interpretation. I never argued that the thrallherd was dominating his believers into mindless puppets, merely that he was subverting their ability to choose. Something like the difference between Charm and Dominate. That his victims could be receptive to being used like that is...well I've certainly encountered stranger fetishes. I would still argue that using others in such a fashion is inherently nongood behavior, however you've made a solid case for a nonevil one.

A cleric using the Entrhall spell is actually a more evil case study than a thrallherd.  The people who serve a thrallherd choose to do so out of subconscious need, but they retain their free will.  A cleric - any cleric - who uses the Enthrall spell is actually taking that choice away from those he casts the spell on, even if he uses his power over them for good purposes.  The fact that they may not be hostile to start with is irrelevant to the fact that he can literally take the free will of hundreds of people away.

A thrallherd who is evil can be a monster...but then, the nature of his believers will expect and conform to that, and they will expect nothign less from their master.  A lawful good thrallherd can be a potent force for good, with believers who will do their utmost to take care of those in need, protect the helpless, and help protect their master.  Imagine Robin Hood as a Chaotic Good thrallherd....

But, I'll leave you folks to it. 

Offline Fallenpaladin7

Re: The Hands of Their Winged Overlords: (DnD 3.5/ NC-E)
« Reply #90 on: January 02, 2010, 02:05:32 PM »
ok guys here is my character

Name: Gabriel Pyrestrike

Race: Dragon descended Human (red)

Gender: male

Class: Warblade

Alignment: LG

Character sheet: http://www.myth-weavers.com/sheetview.php?sheetid=175578

Description: Gabriel stands 6ft tall and weighs 180lbs.  He has Red hair that he keeps cut at about his shoulder length.  He also has red eyes.  He is has a slender build.  Gabriel usually wears leather pants and a simple wool shirt. 

Background comming soon.

Offline IdejTopic starter

Re: The Hands of Their Winged Overlords: (DnD 3.5/ NC-E)
« Reply #91 on: January 04, 2010, 01:13:33 AM »

Offline Delta Echo

Re: The Hands of Their Winged Overlords: (DnD 3.5/ NC-E)
« Reply #92 on: January 04, 2010, 06:15:50 PM »
I've finally finished my application, do I post it here or there?
(Or everywhere? :P)

Offline IdejTopic starter

Re: The Hands of Their Winged Overlords: (DnD 3.5/ NC-E)
« Reply #93 on: January 05, 2010, 10:49:32 AM »
You can post your character here if you want and at the character sheet thread if you want.  Posting it in the character sheet thread just shows that you are ready to go.

Offline Delta Echo

Re: The Hands of Their Winged Overlords: (DnD 3.5/ NC-E)
« Reply #94 on: January 06, 2010, 09:44:11 AM »
And it's posted. :)

Offline Bayushi

Re: The Hands of Their Winged Overlords: (DnD 3.5/ NC-E)
« Reply #95 on: January 15, 2010, 01:06:24 AM »
This game intrigues me.

I'd very much enjoy this game, makes me think of Council of Wyrms(<3 AD&D).

I think I'll work up a character here in the morning, and will be game for this game.

Offline IdejTopic starter

Re: The Hands of Their Winged Overlords: (DnD 3.5/ NC-E)
« Reply #96 on: January 17, 2010, 10:17:47 AM »
Go for it, always accepting players. :)