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Thread: Thoughts on post-Ritual culture

  1. #1

    Default Thoughts on post-Ritual culture

    Once, I briefly played a character who feared the Gift because it took away the meaning of death and therefore the meaning of life. Although someone managed to convince her that being Gifted was not like being undead, she never got over the feeling that Gifted aren't in the same category of being as the Living (which isn't to say she believed that Gifted people were lesser individuals - she herself was Gifted, albeit one who avoided dying after her first death, to the point of retiring to the quietest and safest sort of life she could find).

    Conversations with some trainers and guards reveal hints of resentment toward the Gifted, or at least doubt that their efforts are as virtuous as efforts of non-Gifted. There is nostalgia about the times when death had meaning; it was glorious and challenging to fight at the risk of paying the ultimate price for defeat; it was an honor to make the ultimate sacrifice for one's cause, whereas now even a coward and/or a criminal will do so if they happen to be Gifted. Indeed, many Gifted have self-centred allegiances and live as mercenaries acting only for pay or fun. A few are so spoilt that they whine during Withered Aegis invasions about the deaths they experience and retreat from the battles.

    In contrast, some view the Gifted as heroes. Guard Barak and his men, for example, view those who come to their aid in the defense of New Trismus against its deadland as welcome and a great boost to morale. If it weren't for the Gifted Istaria might have fallen to the Aegis by now, and everyone appreciates that, even the people who do so (be)grudgingly.

    The non-Gifted accord the Gifted privileges like free vault space (at the Commoner's Vault level). This is perhaps a gesture of gratitude for the services of the Gifted, but also a practicality: If the Gifted can store their equipment and resources easily, they can train more efficiently up to the strength/power required to combat the higher Aegis, therefore as a whole they can protect the non-Gifted more effectively.

    On top of artificial privileges, Gifted have numerous Ritual-given traits that benefit them but may have unforeseen side-effects:
    • As mentioned before, they don't need to eat. They don't need to pause their activities to snack, they will never feel the pains of starvation, and they don't have to worry about maintaining a food supply of three meals per day. If a Gifted biped becomes pregnant with a non-Gifted fetus, does their not eating harm or kill that fetus? If a Gifted dragon has some non-Gifted hatchlings in their clutch, will they remember to have food on hand when hatching time comes and afterward continue to feed the hatchling(s) frequently enough until the hatchling(s) learn to obtain food for themselves?
    • Can survive long falls. When traveling with a non-Gifted person, a Gifted person doesn't consider the other's inability to do so. I played a non-Gifted hatchling whose own mother led him over a drop that nearly injured him.
    • Can be awake for extended periods of time, but at the price of unpredictable sleeping patterns including sleeps that last years. A Gifted person thus cannot be relied upon in time-sensitive situations and is in many cases incapable of adhering to a schedule with certainty.
    • Can and will do a lot of killing. Their lives are filled with violence at minimal risk to themselves, and most of them don't give that fact any thought. They often hunt not for food or materials, but just to get better at killing. Even when they do hunt for resources used in cooking or crafting, they only take one or two different things off carcasses.

      Fortunately the animal populations are mostly unaffected by such careless slaughter. For whatever reason, Istaria can ecologically afford the Gifted.
    • They don't get sick except for Zymosis Morbidae and, rarely, a headache or cold. How much patience and compassion would the average Gifted person have for a non-Gifted afflicted by an illness they can't understand first-hand, when they throw themselves into briefly painful combat every day? Which one has the monopoly on physical suffering?
    • Aging is either much slower or non-existent. The Gifted live longer, see more, gather more experiences and wisdom. In their twilight years, what sort of philosophical conclusions might they reach?


    In the post I linked at the beginning of this one, about playing a non-Gifted character, I suggested some questions the player of such a character could ask themselves in the process of determining how their character feels about Gifteds. Those questions are relevant to this as well, so I'll quote them:
    Think about what it means to face the constant possibility of dying while others (the Gifted) don't have to. What effects does this have on a personality?

    Though we all have permadeath in RL, one might not be accustomed to it in the context of an MMORPG. At least you can use as reference our vast history of preoccupation with matters of mortality.

    As for the second part of the situation I described in the first sentence of this section, you can use the way NPCs regard the Gifted as a template, or take it in a darker direction: perhaps your character is jealous and resentful of them. On the other hand, maybe they just don't care - what doesn't affect them doesn't bother them.

    Does your character blame anyone/anything for their state?

    Does their situation drive them toward or away from religion?

    How strong is their sense of self-preservation?

    How far are they willing to go for others? Perhaps they would sacrifice themselves for fellow non-Gifted for whom the consequences are familiarly dire, but not for Gifted?

    When Gifted complain about dying, how does your character react? Anger, reproach and admonition, sadness, indifference?
    In particular:
    At least you can use as reference our vast history of preoccupation with matters of mortality.
    Istarians would have the same thing, retaining strong instincts and societal factors arising from mortality. Aside from resurrection spells, they lived with true death for over six thousand years until a random few people started returning to life thanks to the Ritual of Everlasting Life a mere 23+ years ago.

    Shortly after the onset of the Gift, when it seemed the only way to learn whether one was Gifted was to die, some people probably committed suicide just to sate their curiosity as to whether they had it. Discovering that one is Gifted is an extraordinarily life-changing thing and can make a difference to many decisions.

    After the Aegis threat ends, how will the Gifted be treated and what will they use their power for?


    I think Gifted are amortal rather than immortal, since they can die by obscure arcane methods as well as extreme age, and falling asleep for-effectively-ever is almost equal to death.



    Discuss.
    Last edited by Vaz; November 2nd, 2008 at 04:16 AM.
    "Ohoh...someone is actually trying to sell something, I see an attunement coming. LOL" - Teto Frum


  2. #2

    Default Re: Thoughts on post-Ritual culture

    Well, while Kandrin doesn't -need- to eat, she does get the urge to. And when the urge hits, she'll go and try to eat whatever she sees first that looks more or less edible... which, for a Dragon, can be just about anything. Maybe it's curiousity, or maybe it's her subconscious need to fit in someplace that drives her to at least act like a "normal" Dragon. But, she treats the urges as "hunger", since Gifted apparently don't actually get hungry.

    She also doesn't like to die, since it's a very unpleasant feeling for her. (One temporary alt of mine actually loathed the Gift, because it made her feel like a freak and to her, being unable to permanently die was unnatural and nothing to be proud of). Despite the fact she's aware she can get up after being "killed", she doesn't just throw herself into a fight blindly and swing away till she or her opponent is dead. One constant thought of hers is "What if the Gift can suddenly go away?" So when she hears of Gifted constantly bragging that they've died this number of times, that fear of her's peeks up just a bit.

    For whatever character I play, even if a fall doesn't -kill- them, I will still have them react to it. "Ow, dang, my foot" or a slight cringe on instinct. If they hit their head on something, it'll hurt. Just because they can't permanently die, doesn't mean they can't feel pain. None of my characters really like pain, and they avoid it where they can. Sometimes it's unavoidable, in which case they buckle down and take it until it's over.

    Yes, Kandrin is aware she is stronger than the un-Gifted members of her race. Yes, she is aware she will live much longer than any of them, provided obscure magick doesn't take her out. She is also aware that they treat her differently because of it, and while it's to be expected, she doesn't like it. While she is thankful to be Gifted, and to be able to do all the things she's able to, she'd give it all up to be able to fit in and be part of a family, and to be able to live like a normal Dragon.

    (My human alt, on the other hand, thinks it's awesome. While she's still somewhat feral, she has the mindset and attitude of a mouthy, young adult, and "Whoo! I can't die, sweet! There's so many things I can do that others can't! *squee!*" Were the two to meet, Kandrin would feel a sudden need to chew the human's head open to see if there really is a brain in there. XP )

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Thoughts on post-Ritual culture

    I always enjoy reading your Lore posts, Xoshara. Always something I haven't though of or a point I hadn't considered.

    The Gifted always seemed to be very apart from every other member of their race. They're always endlessly traveling around, fighting, crafting, etc. Non-Gifted (at least the 'normal' NPC sort, a player one would be different probably) even in the same time span would never see as much of the world as a Gifted would. Racial cities are probably populated mostly by Non-Gifted because they carry on with life as they always had. It's the Gifted that leave cities and associate with all the other races.

    There are two ways that could go. One is that all races become closer due to increased contact with these Gifted outsiders, leading to a higher probability of peace even after the Aegis are defeated. The other way is that Gifted are seen almost as another race because they are so different, and those of the Non-Gifted retain all those racial hatreds and alliances but sort of set them aside for Gifted.

    If I ever played a Non-Gifted (or rather, a character that can permadie, since Mal technically isn't Gifted XP) I would probably go with the resentment of the Gifted. They get treated as heroes seemingly by default because they go out and fight. But there's no risk to it at all. My Non-Gifted character would be risking life and limb out there to protect people, and would probably get the same if not less appreciation for the task. I can imagine at some point someone would ask why they bother at all with the Gifted around, who can probably get the same job done even faster since they don't have to worry about injuries and death.

    As for Siivyra, she was not aware she was Gifted before she set off an energy bomb similar to the one at Tazoon in order to defeat Malestryx. When she came back and ended up on Skalkaar, she had no memories of her past, and she rather enjoyed the idea of not being able to die. She had no family to worry about outliving and she liked the idea of having so much time to learn things. In a way, she's a bit unique as the only thing she remembered was being Gifted at that point, so she had no reason to see it as unnatural. It was just what she was.

    With the demon's return she started remembering things. The Gift turned into a curse when she realized she had brought back the very thing she died to destroy, a thing that had wiped out her entire clan. She felt like she had doomed all the new friends she had made now too, and wondered if she was destined to keep bringing Malestryx back and watching him destroy everyone she knew.

    Malestryx's outlook on not dieing is much simpler. He sees death as an annoyance because all death effects for him is the physical body he is using. It's more a 'Drat, now I have fly all the way out here again' thing for him. He takes it very, very lightly, but he hates wasting time when he's trying to get something done so he does try to avoid it as much as he can.

    .:Malestryx:.

    Aegis Shatterer - Scourge of the Scourge - Blight's Own Decay

  4. #4

    Default Re: Thoughts on post-Ritual culture

    I've very much enjoyed reading these two replies and hope for more.

    Istaria's lore can be quite thought-provoking. So many games dump in a lack of death with no explanation whatsoever; it's amazing what a difference providing a reason for it can make.
    "Ohoh...someone is actually trying to sell something, I see an attunement coming. LOL" - Teto Frum


  5. #5

    Default Re: Thoughts on post-Ritual culture

    Gifted are no monsters that have no feelings, they can feel pain, sadness, happyness and so on, they can get injured, broken arms etc. like non-gifted. Yes, they can be healed, traditional, with bandages and medicine, or with healing magic.

    While they have not to eat, they sure can feel hunger, because noone knows they are gifted before they find out, so they sure have lived quite normal before they died their first death. There are also some gifted NPCs out, like the Kion Milita chef, he tells you how he found out that he is gifted.

    I think the people of Istaria see them as heroes that will destroy the undeads and end finally the war. The gifted are the counterparts of the undeads, they also cant die like them and will fight them.

    The Gifteed are living, breathing and feeling creatures, some of them see the gift as a curse or a present of the gods to them, noone can choose if they are gifted or not, they are simply gifted, or not.

    And if a Gifted dies, the soul gets weakened everytime, if they die too often, their soul can get shattered, because of that we find sometimes the soul shards. The gifted can eat the "soul food" to prevent the shattering and damaging of their soul. So dead is not a Gifted can take easily. They feel the pain short before they die, and it is for sure not nice to feel the life draining out our body before it gets sucked back in as you awake at the shrine. But everytime a gifted dies, a bit dies inside from the people that invoke the Ritual of Everlasting life, causing them big pain.

    Just my view of things.

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  6. #6

    Default Re: Thoughts on post-Ritual culture

    *pokes Xoshara* Have you been reading my mind? I've often thought about the way non-gifted view gifted. I know Lan was really shocked and a little hurt when he did his RoP and the quest giver made a snarky little comment about him being gifted.

    Lan tends to swing wildly when it comes to his opinion of the Gift and death. To him the Gift is both a blessing and a curse, he sees the Gift as the only way for the dragon race to survive. After the Great Schism ( I dont know if any dragons actualy died in this but Lan believes there were), the various battles with the bipedal races, the catastrophe that made dragons unable to age like other races, and then the massicar at Draak that nearly wiped out an entire generation it's easy for him to view non-gifted dragons as a dieing race (no pun intended).

    Death has only recently taken on a new meaning for him, before, it was always just a very unpleasant experience, and to be avoided when possible. Now, with the changes in the deathpoint system he's begun to wonder if maybe the Gift is weakening or if maybe the Aegis have found some way around it.

    Food and (normal)sleep are more of somehting he does because he wants to, the long sleeps he finds unpleasant tho he doesnt know of a way to avoid them, yet.

    Immortality is something that confuses him, he wonders alot about what will happen when the Aegis are gone for good, will the gift just suddenly end? He knows many of his friends will probably take the Long Sleep and never awaken, as there's no longer a purpose for them. Will those that remain be elevated to leaders or perhaps viewed as gods of where ever they settle? Will the non-gifted that he and others fought so hard to protect suddenly turn against them? Will the Long Sleep at last overtake all the Gifted? He's often considered heading out and building a third dragon city, perhaps somewhere on the mysterious eastern continent, where he and other gifted dragons can live out their days in peace.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Thoughts on post-Ritual culture

    Shian's a little dense when it comes to the non-gifted.

    The only non-gifted she's ever met are trainers whom she ended up surpassing. This reinforced the superstition that gifted are stronger as they can take far more risks. She didn't understand the concept of 'not gifted' very well as most of her friends and family is gifted.

    She also dosen't remember a time where she was not gifted and is fairly young in dragon terms. This ignorance added to relative lack of age obviously caused a bit of confusion when she had her clutch.

    To her, finding out if one of her hatchlings wasn't gifted would be like finding out one's child has a horrible mutation or missing a limb. Her solution when someone mentioned the possiblility was to just forbid her hatchlings from binding at a shrine so she'd never find out.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Thoughts on post-Ritual culture

    mw is in the netherworld - neither wholly gifted or completely 'normal', but not by choice.....

    he is able to do, so far, all the things gifted can do, but he has never been able to complete the gifted quest - when i first started playing him, the quest was borked. when i got back to him, i thought i deleted the quest to start over. i was able to take all the quest again, but the soul and the swiftness assessor told me i had already done the quests and would not give me the tokens - and without all the tokens, stoopid pratt won't make me gifted.......

    so i can fall and recall and bind and all that, but technically, i am not gifted and my name does not include the gifted tag.

    so where does mw fit in the scheme of things? i don't know, but i hope it doesn't affect my ability to become adult and ancient....
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Thoughts on post-Ritual culture

    I'm not entirely sure what Hrough thinks of the non-Gifted, even though his adoptive father is one.

    He is very wary and makes sure to not abuse his Gift, as he has fallen into long sleeps often enough as it is. He believes that if he is to die too often, he will simply just never wake up. I suspect if Hrough were to ever find a mate and raise a clutch, he'd try and find out which hatchlings were Gifted, and it might not be pretty. =/

    Hrough's nestmate, the hatchling Yurie, is a 'weak' Gifted, in the sense that she spends most of her time asleep. She claims to dream of what others are doing, but she can't act upon them, and she's a rather wimpy/small hatchling, too. She only found out she was Gifted when she accidentally slipped off a cliff and was crushed by a boulder. Unlike Hrough, she doesn't fear that she'll never wake up, and figures that even if she doesn't, she'll at least be able to dream.

    I could easily see some people being jealous of those who have discovered their Gift, but are too afraid to risk death to find out if they themselves are Gifted. I suspect one of the easier ways would be to just not eat for a bit, and see what toll it takes on the body.

    This is a very well-thought out piece, and I had never really thought about it too much. Thanks for sharing.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Thoughts on post-Ritual culture

    Heh, Hrough I seem to be following you when posting today.

    Anyhow, your bringing up a valid point with this topic, I think most of us never really thought about this sort of thing before now, and well, you've got me thinking now to say the least. I've never put much thought into Avalina, her past, her personality, etc. She knows she's a Gifted, though now I am tempted to think up her background and story. I suppose if Avalina ever had a clutch, and there were hatchlings that wern't Gifted, she'd probably try to provide for them the best she could. She'd probably even dote on them more than the ones who were Gifted, thinking the non-Gifted weaker, and in more need of her protection.

    In other thoughts, she probably takes for granted that she is Gifted, as she likes to put herself in life threatening situations. For example, she's found she rather enjoys swimming, and oftens see's how deep she can go before having to head to the surface before running out of air. Careless? Yes. But that's the way she is. She's also prone to falling asleep for long spouts of time, but then again, she also enjoys hunting, and feeding off her kills. You've sparked my interest in my own character's personality and back story, and now I think I'll make a thread and write her story. Thankyou for the brain teaser!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Thoughts on post-Ritual culture

    My take on things is a little different bear in mind this is some personal RPing fodder me and a few others came up with, so its a personal thing and not contradicting anyone else’s lore or take on events ^^


    The Gifted aren't merciless killers, but part of that Gift includes the urge to fight the Aegis because that is essentially what they were 'created' for. Although this isn’t a universal aspect, it is one that becomes stronger the more killing is done. A Gifted can rarely hang up his sword and go back to a peaceful life after decades of fighting the Lich King and his minions. Whilst this gives them a somewhat fearsome and mixed reputation, it is a part of their being they can no more help than a scorpion its sting. It is something that is sometimes referred to as ‘the Curse of the Gift’ by the more bitter members of this Order; no matter how war-weary and disillusioned they may become, a Gifted will be inevitably drawn to conflict like a moth to a candle flame and with much the same result. As the Gifted transcend mortality in the normal sense, not even death can provide a release from this bitter cycle.

    A part of this urge is innate fighting abilities; The Gifted require comparatively little training compared to non-gifted because the fighting instincts are already largely in place and need simply to be unlocked. A newly Gifted can be ready for war in a matter of days, and even novices can make themselves a force to be reckoned with. Also, the Gift allows a Gifted to push their corporeal form to the very limits of its physical abilities without fear of permanent harm, restrictions that usually hamper the progress of other warriors. Like all things though, there is room for improvement and experience obviously plays a part

    Gifted healing times may be superior to those of non-gifted (sourced from some dev-lore describing an encounter between a Fiendish commander and a Dralk Guard) i.e. a broken arm takes a matter of minutes to heal, compared to the weeks otherwise needed.

    Another aspect is that the Gifted have infallible memories. They never forget anything, allowing them to amass a vast store of experience in their field(s) of expertise- once a Gifted has learned a spell they cannot un-learn it, save through choice. Gifted do not age in the traditional sense; they seem to stop aging after their first death, indicating that whatever forces the Ritual put into play need to be activated. If the Gifted in question dies at a very young age, the apparent cessation of aging occurs when the person has reached full physical maturity. They will not age beyond that point.

    With a bit of role-playing licence, the Gifted need to eat to stay alive, but what is life to one who has no fear of death? Not eating will eventually result in death, but that is little more than an inconvenience, albeit an unpleasant one. Gifted may be reckless about the mortality of their person; whereas other people would take a risk assessment, this might be less-so with those in possession of the Gift. In short, the Gifted aren’t afraid to take risks, and a combination of experience and occasional disregard for caution might well give them a reputation for being reckless 'do or die' glory merchants amongst the non-gifted.

    The aspect of the Gifted's position in society is a little confusing, but my take on it is this; most of them simply don’t participate in any major way. A Gifted will maintain family ties and other bonds throughout their lives, but most do not show any significant racial/national bias. Essentially, being a member of a given society is optional. The reasons for this are twofold:

    Firstly, no government would be comfortable about another (in some cases, overtly hostile party) amassing hoards of immortal warriors, and so Gifted being tied to any one nation/race would be a precarious matter indeed. Most Gifted operate from Guilds. Guilds behave as freelance armies in their own right; responsible for their own recruiting, maintenance, combat doctrines and indeed, whether or not they even answer a call to arms. (WH40k fans might imagine a similarity to Space Marine Chapters)

    The second is that the Gifted tend to display abilities above and beyond those of others, and so grouping them with more mundane (npc class) warriors would only limit their abilities. Having the Gifted operate independently also frees them of Imperial red tape and allows them to pass through any lands. Being free of border restrictions gives them unprecedented ability to respond quickly to rising situations or Aegis assaults. This can be a double edged sword; having no homeland means that the Gifted cannot source their supplies from any official depot and so must live off the land. Gifted may join Imperial armies or militias through choice, although this is usually a de-facto arrangement, as (presumably) Imperial armies would be subject to the same restrictions as independant nations and also to discourage the usage of the Gifted as expendable meatshields.

    For many of these reasons combined the non-gifted might very well view their Gifted counterparts with a mixture of fear, awe, revulsion and gratitude. On one hand the Gifted are the sword and shield of the Empire; they defend its borders, wage most of its wars and keep its homes safe. On the other, the Gifted were born from the same search for immortality that birthed the reviled Withered Aegis. To a layman the Gifted might be alternately seen as fearless heroes or reckless glory-merchants. From a political viewpoint the Gifted would probably be both the Empire’s greatest asset, and one of its major liabilities. After all, having a vast and incredibly powerful military force that owes allegiance to none but its own simply strolling through the countryside, free to come and go where it pleases with only the most tenuous centralised control is a politician’s worst nightmare. In many ways the Gifted are a contradiction unto themselves, but one thing is certain; when the Aegis are no longer a threat, life for the Gifted will become very interesting indeed.
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    Default Re: Thoughts on post-Ritual culture

    On second glance i've said nearly the exact same thing as Xoshara. My mistake XD
    Melanath- level 100 ADV/ 60 DCRA -
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Thoughts on post-Ritual culture

    Actually you brought up a lot of points and perspectives I didn't, thank you.
    "Ohoh...someone is actually trying to sell something, I see an attunement coming. LOL" - Teto Frum


  14. #14

    Default Re: Thoughts on post-Ritual culture

    i figure gnomes just take whatever they find in life and make the best of it. tinkering being inherently hazardous, they're used to folks surviving the unexpected mishap... gifted just do this a bit moreso. the fact that gifted then become more effective against the withered aegis is absolutely a positive thing, quite the progression of research!

  15. #15

    Default Re: Thoughts on post-Ritual culture

    What makes me sad, looking at us gifted ones is, that we did not learn from the mistakes of the non gifted. Especially cause we can remember the past and see what it lead to.
    And what a waste that we do not use the chance, having that many
    lifes to live.

    We too are trapped in our smal, egoistic mindset, and that causes the same troubles, sorrow , animosities and even wars, that exsist in other, well known realms.
    Envy, jealousy, greed and all such feelings should not belong to a gifted soul.

    I do not know what we are here for, besides fighing WA and protect and nourish our wonderful world-
    and I do not know how many lifes it will take to find out.

    We should not take for granted, that gifted ones can`t die.
    Whenever I see a mate of mine die, I hold breath, and a sudden thought comes into my mind:
    Did I tell him/her how much I appriciate his/her companionship/friendship?
    Did I ever tell him/her that I like him/her?
    And I`m so relieved, when he/she is on his/her feet/legs again!

    Another chance- a chance we all have , whenever we wake up again
    not only in Istaria..

    Great piece of philosophy, Xoshara.
    Istaria needs more philosophers.
    With their return, the gods may return too.
    YOU told me to play a dragon! [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  16. #16

    Default Re: Thoughts on post-Ritual culture

    If I may offer a somewhat lore-unfriendly and eyeball-rolling inducing view (unfortunately it's too late to change her history to be otherwise, sorry) :

    Draexiira isn't Gifted in the traditional sense - that is, she didn't die in Istaria but in a different realm; perhaps Earth or someplace like it. Who knows.

    Because of that she feels alienated and often alone, even when she's in the company of others and the concept of "Gifted" is alien to her in itself. Likewise the Withered Aegis: to Drae, what they represent, and what she sees them as, is the cult that killed her in the first place and nothing else.

    And since she isn't originally from Istaria, when fellow Gifted "die" there is always a brief panic where she thinks their spirit will leave Istaria and travel to a different realm, no matter how many times that has proven to not actually happen. Likewise when she "dies", she's scared she might end up where she's originally from. So that in itself is an incentive to be careful.

    Re: eating. I haven't really thought about that before, but my personal take on it is that since the Gifted are so used to eating it's actually a habit and not a necessity.

    I don't know if I contributed anything of value but there ya go.

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  17. #17

    Default Re: Thoughts on post-Ritual culture

    Quote Originally Posted by Dremora View Post
    If I may offer a somewhat lore-unfriendly and eyeball-rolling inducing view.. cult blah blah blah
    ((Okay, I realize I'm quoting myself and I'm putting this in parentheses because it adds nothing to the discussion so feel free to ignore it. But I just had a really duh-moment - in order to be more lore friendly, the cult could be in Istaria instead of a different realm altogether. Holy crap, it's so simple I can't believe I haven't thought of it before. Time for another revision, sigh.))

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