Br Warming’s Philosphy

22 October, 2017

Our DM is asking us to kinda distil down the essence of what our characters are about. As in: if your character was a D&D god, what would he or she be the god of?

Brother Warming-Light-Of-Saranrae has a couple of things going on, character-development-wise. We have the “half drow who has repudiated his drow-ness” thing. We have the “dude who was very keen to keep out character who was a vampire from going full-on bad” thing.

But really, the thing he does more than anything else is charge into battle. However, we have a priest of Iomedae, goddess of valour, and a paladin of Gorrum, god of getting into bar fights. Aren’t we just doubling up?

Iomedae’s code is here. There are a couple of points in it that aren’t really Br Warming’s thing:

  • I will learn the weight of my sword. Without my heart to guide it, it is worthless-my strength is not is my sword, but in my heart. If I lose my sword, I have lost a tool. If I betray my heart, I have died.
  • I will guard the honor of my fellows, both thought and deed, and I will have faith in them
  • I will never refuse a challenge from an equal
  • I will give honor to worthy enemies, and contempt to the rest
  • I will suffer death before dishonor
  • I will be temperate in my actions and moderate in my behavior

Br Warming is maybe about valour, but he isn’t really about honour. He certainly isn’t about “I will never refuse a challenge from an equal”. His attitude to that is “Meh”. There’s a diffidence about him. Shame isn’t a big motivator for him, which isn’t to say he’s immune from it. He was rebuked, once, by Iomedae herself for lack of clarity of purpose, and he accepted and learned from it.

Gorum’s described here and . here.

The Lord in Iron is considered brash and impulsive; he takes what he wants, by force if necessary, and answers any direct opposition to his will with violence. His priests and followers tend to follow the god’s example, which means that there are more ruthless and exploitative members of his faith than those who espouse altruism.

(This passage would be better if the weasel-words “is considered brash and impulsive” was just made “is brash and impulsive”).

Br Warming is not really about fighting for the sake of it. He isn’t trying to prove something, he’s trying to accomplish something. Furthermore, he is good. Gorum isn’t. He isn’t going to get all offended by stuff and respond with violence – that is a part of the drow character that he has refused.

So, what is he about?


Choose your purpose. Choose your destiny. Choose your cause. Choose right. Choose redemption and rescue. Choose to stand against evil, great and small. Choose to protect the good. Choose to make a difference.

Do not fight for a cause for which you would not die. Do not hazard your life or the lives of others in mean, or ephemeral, or selfish causes; do not hazard your life for no gain. Act wisely as you may.

But then, fight! Fight extravagantly; fight without fear. Strike, and disdain to count the cost. Then strike again. If your life will win your purpose, spend it.

Have faith, and remember your reward in paradise. But first and last, remember the your goal here on earth. It must be worthy of you, so strive to be worthy of it.

“Fight extravagantly. Fight without fear.”

St Warming’s worshippers number a various orders of fanatical suicide monks. Humble as all get out, and prone to directly attacking the command tent or the heavily defended siege equipment. Whatever is going to win the day. It’s also quite common for battlefield medics and unarmoured sappers to venerate him.

They also number some people you wouldn’t expect – Andorran rogue/bards running the underground rail out of Cheliax. Spies infiltrating Red Mantis cults – sure to get caught sooner or later. Even some engineers building bridges in mountain passes find comfort in his teachings. Firemen, or the fantasy equivalent.

Anyone doing something they see as good, that’s probably going to get them killed doing it, whether or not it directly involves fighting, whether or not anyone ever knows about it.

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Environmentalism, Tony Abbot, and Satan.

11 October, 2017

A friend asked me for my perspective on this:

“Primitive people once killed goats to appease the volcano gods. We’re more sophisticated now but are still sacrificing our industries and our living standards to the climate gods to little more effect,”

Tony Abbot, reported by The Age.

My reply (which could stand a little editing):

I expect you are asking me specifically because of my past religious background, so I’ll add a perspective from that POV.

Some fundamentalist Christians see in environmentalism a strand of nature-worship. This may be understood as a philosophical pantheism, or a more naive tree-worship. There’s also an equivocation between the “paganism” of the modern hippie and ancient greco-roman “paganism”. They aren’t really the same thing at all, but we call them the same thing. And a person who isn’t a terribly clear thinker easily conflates pantheism with worship of the greek god Pan.

But so what? So what if Greenies think trees are nice? So what if some of ’em have Viking rune tattoos?

It’s important to understand that a fundamentalist christian believes that demonic spirits are literally real. Jesus cast demons out of people. Now, either Jesus was wrong, or demons are actually a thing. There a story of Jesus fasting for 40 days in the desert and being personally tempted by Satan. The story is clearly, clearly allegorical, but the biblical literalist takes the position that if this story was meant to be understood allegorically, God would have told us so.

The ancient Christians believed that the miracles of the pagans were perfectly real, and accomplished by demonic power. Fundies more-or-less regard anything in the least bit “spiritual” that isn’t christian to be of the devil. Whether the gods of Greece and Rome, or the vague woo-woo of the hippies, it’s all demons. When a hippie talks about a sense of connection with nature, they are being connected to the devil.

Fundamentalist Christians see “spirits” everywhere. This modern notion that we ought have a care for the natural world is probably spirits, which is to say demons. It’s all part of the same old big ball of wax that Jesus came to deliver us from. We know it’s spiritual because it’s about values. The abstract idea that values like environmentalism are spiritual and the more concrete idea that the Druids were in literally contact with actual, real demons gets all muddled up and stuck together in a big tangled mess of worrying ideas. (A person who believes in devils is afraid all the time, despite their protestations that their faith in Jesus keeps them safe from them. It’s a constant undercurrent of worry, especially for parents.)

The general notion that science is a good thing, also, is a spiritual force in our society. “Science” itself is a spirit, perhaps. Or perhaps blind trust in science – scientism, if you like – is a spirit, a great evil spirit sort of hovering in the air over humanity. An evil spirit clearly of the devil, because we should be putting our trust in Jesus alone. From it springs a multitude of lies, perhaps the greatest being that we don’t really have eternal spirits and that the devil is not real.

I appreciate that none of this makes much sense, that there’s a truckload of non sequitur in all this mess. But it doesn’t have to make sense. These are fragmentary ideas in the minds of (many? most?) Christians and especially fundamentalist Christians. Remember that most people are not terribly bright. [edit – perhaps what I really meant here was that most people are intellectually lazy, and perhaps what I mean by that is that I was]

This next bit is important, and perhaps I should edit this mail to make it more central:

Fundamentalist, biblical literalist Christians are creationists. The bible says what it says about where the world came from. In order to believe in creationism, you must conclude that the theory of evolution is wrong, or a lie. Consequently, creationists must and do believe that the scientific community is committing a fraud against all of humanity. And has been for hundreds of years. The idea that “science” is actually a vast conspiracy to deceive humanity is not new. It was not invented recently in reply to this latest climate science business. It’s as old as Gallileo and Newton. I mean, sure – not every scientist is an active conspirator. Some are misinformed by other scientsts (we all know that those white-coats are intelligent only in their specific area, and outside that they are absent-minded fools, unlike us reglar folks who have common sense). Some are mistaken. Most are just going along with the general consensus. But “the general consensus” is, of course, a spirit. The bible speaks of a “spirit of the age”. And it all comes back to The Devil.

Now, not all fundies take the whole thing as seriously as all that. And many who do literally belive this stuff don’t really spend a lot of time thinking about the implications of it all. But these ideas are all part of the package, the big old mess of ideas sloshing around in the Hillsonger’s brain pan.

So we get to Tony Abbot, who is not a Hillsonger but is a Roman Catholic. There’s what the americans call a “dog-whistle” in this message – something that is heard by the people that it’s intended for, and is inaudible to anyone else. And that dog-whistle is the charge that environmentalism and the climate science establishment is literally Satanic. Literally motivated and orchestrated by The Devil. Ol’ Scratch. Lucifer himself. Really.

Sure, it’s a long stretch to cast coal-fired electricity plants as fighting the good fight on the side of God against the general corruption of the age. Ludicrous, when you think about it, particularly given Jesus’ views on excessive wealth. The trick, as always, is not to think about it, but to know it. What Orwell called “bellyfeel”, what Steve Colbert calls “truthiness”, what the average Christian calls “knowing it in your heart”. You just know by faith that those greenie ideas are all from the devil, and so we should dig up and burn more coal just to spit in the devil’s eye as much as for any other reason.