Shining blade oath and the PC's "death". - Page 2 — Guild Wars 2 Forums

Shining blade oath and the PC's "death".

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  • But, for what I understand, in this moment the Commander is free of this oath: "I will breathe my last breath before I will betray this oath.". This already happened. The Commander was dead already. He breathe his last breath once - as in the Oath. My interpretation for this is that in this moment the Commander is free.

    Well depends how the universe defines "last breath." Clearly, for some purposes the Commander is still breathing. Does the oath reactivate, because it applies to the body, which isn't dead? Or does it apply to the soul, which is no longer tied to the original body?

    I think it's ambiguous enough that I can see it going whichever way ANet feels like, if they decide to bring it back.


    For me, this is the other fundamental storytelling failure of Life After Death, GW2 Style. It solves some minor plot issues, offer some significant insights to lore (which might have been revealed in other ways, as LS4.4 has shown), but it opens up all sorts of other unnecessary issues. And worst of all, it has the impact of invalidating one of the core tensions: if the Commander (or others) can die and live again, then there's no true fear of death.

    To me, it's as weak a plot device as the "it was only a dream" trope from all sorts of TV shows, the "I can reverse time briefly" trope from Superman comix, and the "it wasn't me, that was my twin" trope from soap operas. It undermines the story. It's one thing to have an unreliable NPC or bookl that makes things interesting. But the "omniscient narrator" can't tell fibs; that makes us distrust the story, rather than simply be skeptical about the stories told by NPCs within the story.

  • perilisk.1874perilisk.1874 Member ✭✭✭✭

    Let's all assume it ends with death, so we can pretend that narrative atrocity never happened.

  • @Cristalyan.5728 said:
    An elaboration on why LS3 E6 "One Path Ends" is highly problematic for around 9 out of ten commanders.

    Not that the chapter is entirely bad. Siren's Landing shows that the living are attempting to reclaim Orr and the Sylvari have done great work in reviving the local flora. The royal ghosts of Orr have varied reactions for human or charr PCs. The risen are no longer a massive threat, even though they're still individually dangerous.
    And then there's the Shining Blade. I don't know what happened to them, but the way my Iron Legion engineer would see it, they are little better than Flame Legion when it comes to using magic responsibly. And if you don't want people spilling important intelligence, you do the Ash Legion counter intelligence course: Information is distributed on a need to know basis. And if you do get captured, keep feeding them false information, and always have an escape route ready. And if you get awakened, we have no clue how that oath interferes with other magic. (Maybe an awakened talks, dies and gets re-awakened? )
    What happens if a ghost reveals the secrets?
    Do awakened count as dead or alive? (Why can awakened be drunk, when they have no stomach, liver, or kidneys?)
    If you are in the mists, do you still die, if you talk about the Shining Blade clubhouse, or does that magic only work on Tyria?
    Can NULL be a target of your curse? (Maybe the curse only persists after death, if you bind yourself to an object, to prevent the magic from going unbound? The heap of swords would qualify.)

  • @Castigator.3470 said:
    And then there's the Shining Blade. I don't know what happened to them, but the way my Iron Legion engineer would see it, they are little better than Flame Legion when it comes to using magic responsibly. And if you don't want people spilling important intelligence, you do the Ash Legion counter intelligence course: Information is distributed on a need to know basis.

    I'd say the oath is case of post-traumatic paranoia - shining blade was after all nearly wiped out by betrayal - and you can't apply "ash counter-inteligence course" you speak of in here because dude that betrayed needed to know what he spilled out, and actually willingly went out to betray them after years of fighting together - so if someone like that can suffer change of heart it's no surprise they'd be a tad paranoic afterwards.

  • @Lord Trejgon.2809 said:
    I'd say the oath is case of post-traumatic paranoia - shining blade was after all nearly wiped out by betrayal - and you can't apply "ash counter-inteligence course" you speak of in here because dude that betrayed needed to know what he spilled out, and actually willingly went out to betray them after years of fighting together - so if someone like that can suffer change of heart it's no surprise they'd be a tad paranoic afterwards.

    You see, before I went into that instance, I would have been shocked that someone at the heart of the Shining Blade would betray it from within, but after Shining Blade Secrets I'm actually surprised how the hideout could possibly remain a secret. It is located in the Mausoleum, which is admittedly huge as it dates back to the time of Queen Salma, but while you may only enter it with permission by Krytan officials, Dougal Keane managed to enter anyway. Over the time it exists, some people must have found the secret hideout. How did the Shining Blade ensure confidentiality?

    Also: I found a hint to where the power of the curse may come from:
    "This parchment is dated 1088 A.E. It describes the Oath of Confidence, with its trials and final vow, including all the spoken elements."
    "The oath is the cornerstone of Shining Blade security and is required of all members beyond the rank of recruit. No other shall ever betray us as Markis did."
    "The spell, originally conceived of by Master Exemplar Livia, was imbued into the Shining Blade Sword by her and the inner circle."
    "Rolled into this parchment is a paper that lists all those who broke their vow and died as a result. It is not a long list."

    This means one of those shining blades in the heap has been linked to the commander. Breaking that one might end the spell. At least it confirms @Konig Des Todes.2086 theory, that the spell persists after death. It has an external power source, which preserves the information on the spell, even if the target dies, making it impossible for awakened Shining Blade members to betray their organization, even if compelled by Joko. It may still have a limited range, though, so questioning the ghost of a former Shining Blade member in the Mists may be an option for the highly curious.
    This would not have helped against Zhaitan, since the elder dragon could just read the information directly from the brain, which requires no betrayal. Aurene is likely to know the location of the Shining Blade hideout and while the Commander is bound by a spell to keep his mouth shut, Aurene has sworn no such oath and can relay that information at her own discretion.

  • draxynnic.3719draxynnic.3719 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 17, 2018

    @Cristalyan.5728 said:
    2. The magic can be activated by members of the Blades: "You will have special freedoms, so long as you're not working against Kryta". Taking into account that "working against Kryta" is very subjective and in one's opinion you can be a criminal of the Krytans while for the others you can be a true hero (see Queen Jenna's in the Head of the Snake - some ministers accused her of despotism - even some non enemy ministers - others considered the actions as being the right thing). WHO or WHAT decides when you act against Kryta? The magic? I doubt it. That means that a person decides if you are an enemy or not. This is the reason of: "You will be an agent at large. You will have special freedoms, so long as you're not working against Kryta."

    This logic... doesn't necessarily hold.

    As an example, I've come across a case where magic was enforcing a particular set of restrictions, but there was no external entity who determined whether the restrictions were broken. Instead, the magic triggered if and only if the transgressor believed that they were breaking the restrictions.

    So the oath might work in a similar manner. The magic might be bound into the oathtaker's mind and emotions (which might explain the trials: the trials serve as a form of "calibration" so that the magic can operate properly) and the trigger for the oath might be when the oathtaker believes that they are breaking the oath.

    Such a mechanism would allow agents a fairly wide range of freedom - even to work against one another if each genuinely believes they're doing the right thing (although it also reduces the chance of that happening, since Shining Blade agents will know that if another agent seems to be opposing them they will have their reasons that aren't related to betraying Kryta, and thus may be more inclined to talk it out).

    If that is the way it works, the only problem with taking the oath is if you believe you might need to turn against Kryta at some stage. That's mostly a problem with charr, and even then, the following considerations apply:

    1) It's pretty clear at this point that the charr PC is supposed to support the truce and be hoping that it develops into a permanent agreement. In the charr PC's mind, the oath isn't swearing to an enemy, it's a necessary part of information sharing with a significant (potential) ally.

    2) There may be means through which knowledge of Shining Blade secrets can benefit the legions without breaking the oath. An Ash Legion charr PC, for instance, might be the only individual that both the Krytan and charr intelligence services are willing to grant top-level clearance to, which might allow the PC to offer advice of a "I can't tell you why, but you should do X instead of Y" nature, as long as such advice would not involve betraying either side.

    3) PCs of all races are, to a degree, all indicated to be at a point where they're largely focused on more important things than local politics. If a new charr-human war broke out, the PC would probably be inclined to either a) try to end the conflict as soon as possible with as little damage to either side as possible, which probably would not count as a breach of the oath, or b) stay out of it entirely and focus on other problems that represent a threat to both sides.

    4) Even in the case of a war, the Imperators might actually find it useful to have someone who is magically bound not to work against Kryta and who is known by the Krytans for that to be the case, as it presents an avenue for communication that the other side won't immediately regret. Smodur performed this role in Ghosts of Ascalon - a charr PC who's undertaken the oath might be able to do the same in the case of a renewal of hostilities.

  • @draxynnic.3719 said:

    This logic... doesn't necessarily hold.

    As an example, I've come across a case where magic was enforcing a particular set of restrictions, but there was no external entity who determined whether the restrictions were broken. Instead, the magic triggered if and only if the transgressor believed that they were breaking the restrictions.

    So the oath might work in a similar manner. The magic might be bound into the oathtaker's mind and emotions (which might explain the trials: the trials serve as a form of "calibration" so that the magic can operate properly) and the trigger for the oath might be when the oathtaker believes that they are breaking the oath.

    Such a mechanism would allow agents a fairly wide range of freedom - even to work against one another if each genuinely believes they're doing the right thing (although it also reduces the chance of that happening, since Shining Blade agents will know that if another agent seems to be opposing them they will have their reasons that aren't related to betraying Kryta, and thus may be more inclined to talk it out).

    I took such an explanation into consideration, but I rejected it. Because this only works on mentally sane persons with normal personalities, somebody having an emotional balance considered "normal" by the society.
    In an extreme case, where the Oath bearer is a monster of egotism, full of himself, considering that everything serving HIM is just and serving Kryta, the oath is useless. Think about Caudecus. For this individual, lying, murdering, plotting against the Queen were "honest" activities as long as he was the beneficiary of the results.
    This kind on individual will never admit (even in his inner self) that he is working against Kryta. Because, in his megalomania, HE is Kryta. He may admit he is working against a certain person (in this case the Queen) but only because the Queen is a bad and HE can bring a better future for Kryta - that means he is working in fact to help Kryta.
    This was the reason I considered that an external trigger is required. In this case a Blade member.

  • Lord Trejgon.2809Lord Trejgon.2809 Member ✭✭✭
    edited October 18, 2018

    @Castigator.3470 said:

    @Lord Trejgon.2809 said:
    I'd say the oath is case of post-traumatic paranoia - shining blade was after all nearly wiped out by betrayal - and you can't apply "ash counter-inteligence course" you speak of in here because dude that betrayed needed to know what he spilled out, and actually willingly went out to betray them after years of fighting together - so if someone like that can suffer change of heart it's no surprise they'd be a tad paranoic afterwards.

    You see, before I went into that instance, I would have been shocked that someone at the heart of the Shining Blade would betray it from within, but after Shining Blade Secrets I'm actually surprised how the hideout could possibly remain a secret. It is located in the Mausoleum, which is admittedly huge as it dates back to the time of Queen Salma, but while you may only enter it with permission by Krytan officials, Dougal Keane managed to enter anyway. Over the time it exists, some people must have found the secret hideout. How did the Shining Blade ensure confidentiality?

    because it's not same "mausoleum" dougan keane was raiding - he was paying a visit to catacombs below Divinity's reach and if I recall correctly entrance to aforementionec catacombs was in different section of a city.

    now it's still under Divinity's reach and it is not beyond range of possibilities that entrances other than this specific mausoleum would lead to that hideout, but it is not as open as you believe ;)

    and then personally I was thinking that it was more of hideout outpost akin to what order of whispers have in LA (that one also didn't seem to have much in terms of physical locks to deny entrance to people) than main base similar to the druid's circle.

    (heck main chantry of secrets is just a cave in stormbluff isles that anyway can randomly wander into, and no one seems to have learned their secrets just yet ;)

    Also: I found a hint to where the power of the curse may come from:
    "This parchment is dated 1088 A.E. It describes the Oath of Confidence, with its trials and final vow, including all the spoken elements."
    "The oath is the cornerstone of Shining Blade security and is required of all members beyond the rank of recruit. No other shall ever betray us as Markis did."
    "The spell, originally conceived of by Master Exemplar Livia, was imbued into the Shining Blade Sword by her and the inner circle."
    "Rolled into this parchment is a paper that lists all those who broke their vow and died as a result. It is not a long list."

    This means one of those shining blades in the heap has been linked to the commander. Breaking that one might end the spell. At least it confirms @Konig Des Todes.2086 theory, that the spell persists after death. It has an external power source, which preserves the information on the spell, even if the target dies, making it impossible for awakened Shining Blade members to betray their organization, even if compelled by Joko. It may still have a limited range, though, so questioning the ghost of a former Shining Blade member in the Mists may be an option for the highly curious.
    This would not have helped against Zhaitan, since the elder dragon could just read the information directly from the brain, which requires no betrayal. Aurene is likely to know the location of the Shining Blade hideout and while the Commander is bound by a spell to keep his mouth shut, Aurene has sworn no such oath and can relay that information at her own discretion.

    sounds about right :)

    with one tiny bit of nitpick - location of hideout on it's own is not secret bound by spell on it's own - remember we are shown the hideout long before anyone gets a thought of making us take the oath.

    EDIT:

    @Cristalyan.5728 said:

    @draxynnic.3719 said:

    This logic... doesn't necessarily hold.

    As an example, I've come across a case where magic was enforcing a particular set of restrictions, but there was no external entity who determined whether the restrictions were broken. Instead, the magic triggered if and only if the transgressor believed that they were breaking the restrictions.

    So the oath might work in a similar manner. The magic might be bound into the oathtaker's mind and emotions (which might explain the trials: the trials serve as a form of "calibration" so that the magic can operate properly) and the trigger for the oath might be when the oathtaker believes that they are breaking the oath.

    Such a mechanism would allow agents a fairly wide range of freedom - even to work against one another if each genuinely believes they're doing the right thing (although it also reduces the chance of that happening, since Shining Blade agents will know that if another agent seems to be opposing them they will have their reasons that aren't related to betraying Kryta, and thus may be more inclined to talk it out).

    I took such an explanation into consideration, but I rejected it. Because this only works on mentally sane persons with normal personalities, somebody having an emotional balance considered "normal" by the society.
    In an extreme case, where the Oath bearer is a monster of egotism, full of himself, considering that everything serving HIM is just and serving Kryta, the oath is useless. Think about Caudecus. For this individual, lying, murdering, plotting against the Queen were "honest" activities as long as he was the beneficiary of the results.
    This kind on individual will never admit (even in his inner self) that he is working against Kryta. Because, in his megalomania, HE is Kryta. He may admit he is working against a certain person (in this case the Queen) but only because the Queen is a bad and HE can bring a better future for Kryta - that means he is working in fact to help Kryta.
    This was the reason I considered that an external trigger is required. In this case a Blade member.

    and note how shining blade is picky in whom is worthy to get even to the point of taking oath - the issue you speak off with system dude above mentioned can be easilly avoided by making sure that the person approaching is not mentaly unstable.

    caduceus may have believed what hewas doing was good for kryta - but no one was silly enought to offer him position at shining blade - and no one would bewilling to risk to vow for him being worthy (remember in PCs case it's Lady Anise herself who vowed for us to be worthy)

  • PseudoNewb.5468PseudoNewb.5468 Member ✭✭
    edited October 19, 2018

    It seems that the oath is only an oath of secrecy, and the secrecy is only covering certain top secret subjects.
    The loyalty stuff is mostly a part of becoming a member, which is implied and demanded before taking the oath.

    The dialog:
    "You will be an agent at large. You will have special freedoms, so long as you're not working against Kryta".
    Seems to be more about receiving status as a member of the organization rather than being a part of the oath. There seems to be poor editing here, because there is an awkward transition about what the commander has to do for the oath, to what the commander has to do for the organization.

    The oath itself only has this one promise. "The secrets of the Shining Blade are mine to safeguard beyond this circle".
    There is no loyalty aspect to the oath itself. It simply protects against double agents and spies.

    And there is perhaps an admittance that it isn't an absolute commitment anyways.
    "Whenever a class of recruits graduates. The oath has been part of our traditions since...I guess since we became a kingdom again. Knowing you'll die if you tell... It encourages loyalty."
    Notes that is is an encouragement of loyalty, but not a guarantee.

    At the end of the day, the only secret the Commander knows is information about Lazarus and, Lazarus subsequently is dead, so the secret would seem to no longer be that important. The commander and Kerida probably can't go around telling people Lazarus is gone for good, and they killed him. But I don't think that is of any particular concern to most.

  • Castigator.3470Castigator.3470 Member ✭✭✭
    edited October 19, 2018

    Yes, it lends itself to a particularly interesting loophole: A member of the Shining Blade may try to eradicate the Shining Blade itself. As long as he does not spill any secrets of the organization, he'll not breach the oath and after the Shining Blade is no more, it's no longer worth talking about. As established earlier, said agent may even be convinced that the demise of the Shining Blade is necessary for the survival of Kryta. This is why the members of the Blade have to be very selective about their recruits.

    Same with a non human agent. As far as the oath is concerned, it doesn't matter whether or not the rogue element is working for or against Kryta. It only ensures confidentiality (which might be enough to limit their foe's effectiveness.
    As for Kerrida: She is likely traveling around, seeking threats against Kryta. Maybe she has neutralized a few of them, but she may appear again in the future.

    I'm really curious how they measure up against the other factions in the shadows of Tyria.
    The Order of Whispers seems to be better organized, larger, with more resources and informants going as far as Anuris Smokebrother in the Black Citadel. But many people are aware of them, so whispers may have a harder time staying in the shadows due to being a larger target.
    The Order of Shadows has been more confined to Elona, which has served to protect them from the eyes and ears of central Tyria. They are similar to the Order of Whispers, but a smaller target and their methods are a bit more ruthless than that of their twin.
    The Ash Legion takes it to a new level: They are a state with likely millions of charr, which makes it possible that not only has the Order of Whispers infiltrated the charr nation, Ash Legion spies may have entered the order to give information to Malice Swordshadow. Not only that, being a state means being able to send official diplomats to other nations and gather intelligence that way, their presence on the political map is very noticeable, which makes them an extremely large target, so they'd have the hardest time keeping their activities a secret. That said they have a great potential for sneakiness, but since nearly all of their members are charr, they are not very inconspicuous in places where a charr would be an unusual sight. Also, their school of stealth has not as much emphasis on infiltration, but a broader focus, that covers scouting, counter intelligence, special operations and even the more mundane areas of logistics and economics.

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