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Thread: Some (Long!) Stupid Questions From A Newbie

  1. #1

    Some (Long!) Stupid Questions From A Newbie

    Hello again all. As I've said in another thread, whilst I have a great love of these games and their story, I am rather new to the series. I like to think I've been able to follow the plot quite well. But there's just two issues which still really confuse me.

    Paradoxes and Raziel's 'free will'.

    I'm sure you guys are sick to death of these topics and it feels like LOK 101, but I just can't get my head around it. I think I get it, but I'm not sure. I've looked over articles, other threads, and interviews with the creators and such, but it all seems about as clear as mud! I need answers in idiot-proof, plain english.

    How about I say how I THINK it works, and you guys correct me where appropriate?

    ----

    Everyone and everything in Nosgoth is predestined. Someone like Moebius can know a man's life from the moment he's born to the second he dies.

    99% of the time, history cannot be changed. Even if you travel back in time, with the intention of changing something, destiny will alter your course, or you'll maybe even end up creating the very event you're trying to undo.

    History CAN be changed, but only through a paradox, which in turn, can only be created by two Soul Reavers coming into contact. I get it so far. Kain basically says all of this in William's chapel in SR2. The only way he could kill William (which would have been a classic ontological paradox - if he kills William, then Kain in his native time-line doesn't know about William, so he never goes back in time to kill him etc.) was because Moebius ensured both he and William were armed with Soul Reavers.

    Even then, there are rules. Push time too far, to the point where yourself doesn't exist because of the event you're trying to alter, and you initiate a Fatal Paradox. I think the terminology is slightly unclear on what happens during a Fatal Paradox. Is it purely literal? Even if the event you are trying to alter, does not directly affect you, it INDIRECTLY creates a chain of events that mean you died, before you could even have come back in time. Alternatively, is it that either you succeed in doing what you're doing (ie. going back to yesterday and stabbing yourself in the chest) but thus end up erasing your current self or time thinks the impending 'reshuffle' is too much to handle, cancels out what you were trying to do, and simply erases JUST YOU, with nothing changed.

    Back on track, Raziel's ability to spare Kain in the chapel, is only made possible, because there are two Reaver's coming into contact (actually three? Raziel + wraith-blade on his arm + himself inside William's Soul Reaver?).

    Slightly more dubious when Kain saves Raziel from getting absorbed into the Reaver the first time. The 'vertigo' seems to kick in when Raziel is both in and outside of the Reaver. That one always struck me as kind of iffy. Again, you could count it as three Soul Reavers at once (Raziel partially in the Reaver + Raziel partially outside the Reaver + the wraith-blade on his arm?). Do we think Raziel only feels the 'vertigo' when there's three Soul Reavers together? If the 'vertigo' turns on in the presence of paradoxes / just two Reavers, surely he'd have it going on all day every day, thanks to being the Soul Reaver, and having the wraith-blade on his arm?

    Like I said, slightly iffy with what counts as a 'Reaver Paradox', but I think I follow well enough.

    It's Raizel's free will, which really confuses me.

    He's got a future version of himself, bound to his arm, two Soul Reaver's permanently together, which makes him a (term is saw in an interview) 'walking paradox'. Because of this, he's sort-of omniscient-proof. Moebius could see what he COULD do, but nothing definite. With him being a walking paradox, I can then assume, based on the above, that he could alter any event throughout history, whilst being careful not to induce a Fatal Paradox.

    But if that's the case, can't his free will be replicated by anyone with two Soul Reavers? Don't all of the above paradoxes involve an act of will? If Kain, at the end of Defiance, goes and picks up William's Soul Reaver and starts duel-wielding them, does that then make Kain a walking paradox, able to change anything in Nosgoth's history?

    Or is his free will, the fact that he can CHOOSE the outcome of a paradox? When Kain is convincing Raziel to spare him in William's chapel, he keeps talking about choice and urging Raziel to prove his free will. Likewise it appears to take a monumental effort from Raziel to not kill him.

    But if THAT'S the case, then are we saying that history planned for / knew about the other paradoxes ahead of time? Was Kain ALWAYS going to kill William? Was Kain ALWAYS going to (temporarily) spare Raziel from the Reaver at the end of SR2? Because that doesn't really make sense either, seeing as we're repeated told about how much history hates paradoxes.

    One last thing. Assuming I'm right about time only being changed by two Soul Reaver's coming together - why must it be two Soul Reavers? Say that Kain and William got into a fight using two versions of Moebius' staff from different points in time - wouldn't that create the exact same paradoxical situation as two temporally displaced Soul Reavers?

    Sorry if this is a lot to get through / explain, but I really love this series and I would be overjoyed to get these finer points nailed down. Thanks in advance to anyone who takes this on!

  2. #2
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    But if THAT'S the case, then are we saying that history planned for / knew about the other paradoxes ahead of time? Was Kain ALWAYS going to kill William? Was Kain ALWAYS going to (temporarily) spare Raziel from the Reaver at the end of SR2? Because that doesn't really make sense either, seeing as we're repeated told about how much history hates paradoxes.
    No.

    Do we think Raziel only feels the 'vertigo' when there's three Soul Reavers together? If the 'vertigo' turns on in the presence of paradoxes / just two Reavers, surely he'd have it going on all day every day, thanks to being the Soul Reaver, and having the wraith-blade on his arm?
    There is a vertigo only when there are two soul reavers (wraithblade and physical SR/Raziel´s soul being exposed) together.


    One last thing. Assuming I'm right about time only being changed by two Soul Reaver's coming together - why must it be two Soul Reavers? Say that Kain and William got into a fight using two versions of Moebius' staff from different points in time - wouldn't that create the exact same paradoxical situation as two temporally displaced Soul Reavers?
    Paradox is created by two same souls trying to devour each other, which is impossible.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by RainaAudron View Post
    There is a vertigo only when there are two soul reavers (wraithblade and physical SR/Raziel´s soul being exposed) together.
    Oh of course! Two Soul Reaver SOULS make the vertigo! I'd never considered that. Naturally it makes perfect sense. Raziel, trapped within the Soul Reaver, no longer has a body. He's just a ravenous soul. When the Soul Reaver gets broken in SR1, a fully formed Raziel doesn't come flying out, it's just the soul of the blade, which all that's left of Raziel. That shed a lot more light and logic on the paradox at the end of SR2 now.

    Quote Originally Posted by RainaAudron View Post
    Paradox is created by two same souls trying to devour each other, which is impossible.
    If the two Soul Reavers MUST be trying to devour each others souls, does that fit for all the paradoxes? It can fit for the killing William paradox, if we assume the Soul Reaver simply tries to absorb souls (even it's own within another Soul Reaver) on contact. That'll be why William's Reaver broke, sort of like the situation on SR1, but in a much more minor way. Again, this makes the SR2 end-paradox kind of dubious in my eyes. Are we suggesting that the bit of Raziel's soul, which was half-absorbed into the empty Reaver, was simultaneously trying to devour Raziel, creating the paradox? Likewise, in what way was William's Soul Reaver trying to devour Raziel, when he spares Kain in William's chapel?

    I'm not trying to be difficult, honest

    Also, can I impy from you only quoting three parts of my post, that the rest of what I said was right?

  4. #4
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    History CAN be changed, but only through a paradox, which in turn, can only be created by two Soul Reavers coming into contact. I get it so far. Kain basically says all of this in William's chapel in SR2. The only way he could kill William (which would have been a classic ontological paradox - if he kills William, then Kain in his native time-line doesn't know about William, so he never goes back in time to kill him etc.) was because Moebius ensured both he and William were armed with Soul Reavers.
    Time admits only the alterations it needs to, and in this case, it would create a similar scenario for Kain to need to use the time streaming device and go back in time, where he'd still face William. The most plausible reason now is that the Legions of the Nemesis have been replaced by Moebius' vampire hunters, and they would have cornered Kain instead of the Legions. If you haven't played Blood Omen 1, then this all might be completely new information to you.

    Even then, there are rules. Push time too far, to the point where yourself doesn't exist because of the event you're trying to alter, and you initiate a Fatal Paradox. I think the terminology is slightly unclear on what happens during a Fatal Paradox. Is it purely literal? Even if the event you are trying to alter, does not directly affect you, it INDIRECTLY creates a chain of events that mean you died, before you could even have come back in time. Alternatively, is it that either you succeed in doing what you're doing (ie. going back to yesterday and stabbing yourself in the chest) but thus end up erasing your current self or time thinks the impending 'reshuffle' is too much to handle, cancels out what you were trying to do, and simply erases JUST YOU, with nothing changed.
    The reason it's a fatal paradox is that it's an impasse time cannot alter around. So, rather than time being destroyed, it removes the irritant -- the one trying to cause the change. Let's say elder Kain tried to kill his younger self, for instance. Well, the irritant here would be elder Kain, so his entire existence probably would not need to be wiped out, only the older version of him. It would depend on what the irritant is/was trying to change. Trying to alter something like killing the elder god in the past, which would wind up nullifying most all of history, let's say, might be so grandiose a proposal that the entire existence of the irritant would be easier to remove for time, and then to alter itself around the absence, than to allow the irritant to live until the moment he tries such a thing.

    In any case, time's very existence -- its infinite loop -- will preserve itself at any cost.

    Back on track, Raziel's ability to spare Kain in the chapel, is only made possible, because there are two Reaver's coming into contact (actually three? Raziel + wraith-blade on his arm + himself inside William's Soul Reaver?).

    Slightly more dubious when Kain saves Raziel from getting absorbed into the Reaver the first time. The 'vertigo' seems to kick in when Raziel is both in and outside of the Reaver. That one always struck me as kind of iffy. Again, you could count it as three Soul Reavers at once (Raziel partially in the Reaver + Raziel partially outside the Reaver + the wraith-blade on his arm?). Do we think Raziel only feels the 'vertigo' when there's three Soul Reavers together? If the 'vertigo' turns on in the presence of paradoxes / just two Reavers, surely he'd have it going on all day every day, thanks to being the Soul Reaver, and having the wraith-blade on his arm?
    Ok, so you only need two of Raziel's souls to create a paradox, but similar to what Raina noted, it is the conflict that winds up causing it. At the end, when the wraith blade turns on Raziel, that is different than at any point in the game(s) prior. Yes, the wraith blade is always on his arm, so in a sense, is a type of paradox, but it's not something that causes any sort of temporal distortion because the two are not in conflict with one another. Having free will means that each of them (both the same soul, simply Raziel being younger and the wraith blade being older) has the potential to destroy the other, which would be a definite paradox. It's this possibility that causes the temporal distortion. The wraith blade has turned on Raziel and tries to force him into the physical sword, in order that its very existence will be. Raziel fights against the wraith blade and the conflict here brings about an impasse, which seems to reach a peak that both are equally fighting, equally inside and outside of the Reaver -- both have the potential of devouring, or destroying the other, and both have the will to enact that end. Raziel has the possibility to pull free, however fleeting, of going into the sword also, which would be yet another outcome time would have to alter around. Not to mention, Kain is now fated to try and help him do it, being alive and kicking since Raziel spared him. So, all of these variables put time into flux, with its established course now in jeopardy to continue to be. If Raziel were to succeed in being freed from this fate here and now, then time has to alter itself around that grande change, or all of existence would be destroyed. If either version of this soul -- Raziel, or his elder form -- should look to succeed in destroying the other, then time would truly be in jeopardy. A lot of unknowns are possible during this moment.


    So, with that all, let me back up to your first question. The moments in William the Just's chapel are a bit different. This is a time period where the Soul Reaver has already been created, so a point in history where there is already yet another of Raziel's soul -- this time a younger version of the wraith blade on his arm -- in the broken physical Reaver. That means there is Raziel, his wraith blade on his arm, and another version of the same wraith blade in the sword. So, this trifecta of Raziels here is like taking all of what time would have to account for with just two of him and raising the probability factor exponentially. It appears that all Raziel needs to so is be in the vicinity anywhere close to the tomb of William, where the Reaver is placed, in order for time to already go into flux.


    It's Raizel's free will, which really confuses me.

    He's got a future version of himself, bound to his arm, two Soul Reaver's permanently together, which makes him a (term is saw in an interview) 'walking paradox'. Because of this, he's sort-of omniscient-proof. Moebius could see what he COULD do, but nothing definite. With him being a walking paradox, I can then assume, based on the above, that he could alter any event throughout history, whilst being careful not to induce a Fatal Paradox.
    It does not appear that he can alter just about anything in history, no. He still winds up on the path time has laid out, but he does have more will than anyone else and certainly can act within a paradoxical moment. I believe this comes about, in part, due to every one and thing around him still bound to fate. How would you alter things fully if the path of time is still fated around you to be a certain way? You would have to know what's coming to avoid it, first of all, which Raziel isn't privy to. I'm not sure his wraith blade on his arm is what's making him free-willed, also. His "remaking" is what's really been attributed to that change, waking up reborn in the Abyss as a wraith. It would follow that he should already have his free will, or two of him in two Soul Reavers interacting would not do much, as they would not have the free will to make choices time could not account for, so no temporal distortion and no paradoxical moment to change anything should occur. After Kain frees him from going into the Reaver at the end of SR2, however, it does appear that the events following in Defiance are in a sort of bubble, where time's course isn't as settled and where Raziel actually has more freedom to enact his will and choose differently than before. "The coin is still turning..." Kain notes to him and it is here, afterward, where Moebius says Raziel's actions are shrouded from him in exactly what he will do. Until he does enter that sword, time might be more malleable in flowing around his actions to get to that point he will be presented with the possibility of entering the blade, which is what eventually does happen.

    But if that's the case, can't his free will be replicated by anyone with two Soul Reavers? Don't all of the above paradoxes involve an act of will? If Kain, at the end of Defiance, goes and picks up William's Soul Reaver and starts duel-wielding them, does that then make Kain a walking paradox, able to change anything in Nosgoth's history?
    No-one can predict anything by simply wielding the Reaver, no. Kain also does not have free will, himself, so he cannot simply choose to pick up two versions of the sword if he's not fated to. It's the dilemma he's under in knowing he's fated, as everyone else is along time's flow, without the ability to change that.

    Or is his free will, the fact that he can CHOOSE the outcome of a paradox? When Kain is convincing Raziel to spare him in William's chapel, he keeps talking about choice and urging Raziel to prove his free will. Likewise it appears to take a monumental effort from Raziel to not kill him.

    But if THAT'S the case, then are we saying that history planned for / knew about the other paradoxes ahead of time? Was Kain ALWAYS going to kill William? Was Kain ALWAYS going to (temporarily) spare Raziel from the Reaver at the end of SR2? Because that doesn't really make sense either, seeing as we're repeated told about how much history hates paradoxes.
    Yes, I think that you can say Raziel has the will to make a choice in a paradoxical moment, where Kain would simply be acting out what he's fated to do. Before on the timeline, Kain does not kill William, but he should still go back in time and be fated to face him. Yes, the first paradox of two Reavers meeting should be fated to happen, but the outcome was fated that William did not die, be it however that occurred. The Reaver didn't break in battle, Kain had to flee, or whatever the scenario. However, in the paradoxical moment, it's all up to the two wraith blades clashing against one another in the swords, which ultimately make the other outcome of William's death a possibility. This time in their clash, William's Reaver breaks and Kain kills him; time then had to alter to accommodate that change. The alterations of time ripple both forward and backward and the entire looping course of it is already set in stone. Meaning that yes, now the other paradoxical moments are fated to happen, so the meeting in William's chapel with Raziel, this time fated to kill Kain, and his moment in the past after killing human Raziel and his brethren, where wraith Raziel then is fated to be pulled into the sword, all are points which are predestined along this new timeline.

    Indeed, even on the "first" timeline, where William does not die, Kain would still have to live and there is still a Soul Reaver, meaning that Kain would still have to abyss Raziel in the far, far future so that he would return and eventually wind up becoming the Soul Reaver. Only one soul is ever the soul inside of that sword when it is the Soul Reaver. This means that the paradox that shatters the blade in the future, which frees the wraith blade Raziel binds it to his arm, still has to happen, and so, too, does the paradox at some point where Raziel is forced by the wraith blade into the physical sword. I'd like to think of Defiance as time getting closer to the original course that it had, back before Kain was able to kill William. Perhaps it's not exactly the same, but events are closer than what they had been altered to be, and so yes, paradoxical meetings were fated to be, even before all of the alterations.

    One last thing. Assuming I'm right about time only being changed by two Soul Reaver's coming together - why must it be two Soul Reavers? Say that Kain and William got into a fight using two versions of Moebius' staff from different points in time - wouldn't that create the exact same paradoxical situation as two temporally displaced Soul Reavers?
    Reiterating what I mentioned above, it is only two free-willed Raziel souls engaging one another with the potential to destroy each other that is the paradox time cannot account for. Otherwise, first and foremost, all other beings are already fated along their paths. They cannot interact to destroy one another, as you suggest. Second, we see Raziel use the blood Reaver (a term to distinguish it before Raziel has entered the sword) to kill his human self and that was not a paradox. That was fated to happen and totally fine with time, as his soul was still intact and will linger on in the Spectral Realm until Kain raises Raziel as a vampire with it a millennium in the future, later executing him to where he is reborn as a wraith. This is all a neat little path fated already on the timeline and is not a paradox. Similarly, using two of Moebius' staffs wouldn't have any bearing on anything. If Kain were fated to, for whatever reason, go get two of his staffs from different points on the timeline, it would be set in stone by time to happen. There aren't any souls, and certainly not of Raziel's free-willed soul, within the staff, so it's just a staff with a fancy power to give vampires heart burn, heh.

    Hope that clears things up and welcome to the forum

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