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General Discussion and Questions / Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Last post by Drul Morbok on August 18, 2017, 12:04:20 PM »
Hehe, I can't wait to read about the Mandalar in the session summaries    ;D

Concerning what I said about heroic characters being amoral - I should have added "iin systems like D&D"
I think that moral is unique to living beings - that is, mortal beings. However, many RPG systems are essentially stripped of such needs as food, water, shelter, disease, reproduction..all I consider basic needs of a living being.
I'm not saying they are not mentioned (well reproduction rarely is, I guess), but the system effectively turns them into background notices, counting food rations or looking at skills -  and sooner or later, there will be spells or magic items produce food, generic cure spells get rid of anything that might befall a character...characters do easily become more like avatars than plausible parts of an ecosystem.

I think, moral is about treating your peers, those around and equal to you, and PCs and heroic NPCs aren't meant to be peers. So maybe I should rather call the PC-NPC relation amoral and not the character.

It takes a real good player to give an NPC the same respect and care for his life as for a party member...I mean in situations where ingame there is no reason to do so, like at the beginning of a campaign.

I'm not saying that there are no such good players - I would rather argue that they are not playing heroic characters.
General Discussion and Questions / Re: Timeline of Khoras creativity process
« Last post by Drul Morbok on August 18, 2017, 10:11:22 AM »
 :D Especially I'm really curious if the rumor about activities in dwarven tunnels below Asylum will ever grow into something big :D

This might well be my favorite loose end.
General Discussion and Questions / Re: Death Wish Ring?
« Last post by Drul Morbok on August 18, 2017, 09:54:54 AM »
Yeah, if the wish is undone, the wishmaker comes back - and has to stay until the wish is back in place...maybe with a geas upon him to work towards this goal.
This would be a terrible fate...a bit like the idea of ghosts bound to the mortal realm due to some unfinished business.

There might be rules shat no single wish shall ever be granted again to someone else, nor shall to wishes contradict or cancel out each other...this would work best in a setting where divine beings or cosmic entities interact rather directly with mortals.
Since long I have the idea that villages in my game world would feature a kind of blackboard where anyone can go and write a wish - which wold come true, but "at a price which all can pay, and which none should pay"... I never came up with what that cryptic warning could mean, but now I want to try what I can do in this direction.

I also start imagining a world where this is the story behind undeads. Rather than created by and infused with foul sorcery, they'd be tragic figures associated with pity and sorrow rather than horror.
Each one would have a story to tell...and maybe a potential adventure/campaign hook.

Or maybe, eons ago, there was a depraved figure who did not fear the effect of an undone wish, but used it as a means of gaining "live" after death, becoming the first lich and necromancer and still being the driving force behind all necromancy.
General Discussion and Questions / Re: Death Wish Ring?
« Last post by David Roomes on August 14, 2017, 09:06:37 PM »
Now that's interesting... the reverse being true. If the wish is ever undone, the wishmaker comes back...

I could see a person being SENT back by some cosmic force (or the magic of the ring) to restore order or balance and put the wish BACK into place... effectively dooming that person to death again. Oh my, so many possible story ideas...

And yes, inspiration begets inspiration!

General Discussion and Questions / Re: Timeline of Khoras creativity process
« Last post by David Roomes on August 14, 2017, 09:03:26 PM »
I can't think of any specific examples right now, but I do often put things in that I like, but I don't really have a long term plan for, or they don't connect to other things. Sometimes, later, I will stumble upon these "loose threads" and then come up with a way to tie them to something else in the world, making it fit into the whole world better. Or I'll come up with a great way to expand the idea and it sometimes blossoms into something big.

Related to that, there are hundreds and hundreds of these not-yet-developed mini-ideas scattered throughout the Khoras site... little ideas that hint at something deeper... a cool or interesting thought at the time, but not fleshed out...  many of those are in the descriptions of the various taverns and shops and other establishments.

General Discussion and Questions / Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Last post by David Roomes on August 14, 2017, 08:19:31 PM »
My players are eventually going to head into Borderlands territory and have to deal with the mandalar. I think some of these ideas about the mandalar, propaganda and moral conflict may have to get added to the mix. :)
Pieces of Eight Campaign / Re: Session 21 Summary
« Last post by David Roomes on August 14, 2017, 08:14:15 PM »
Yep. Nassan the "Dour". He was a prickly and grumpy kind of fellow, so no one was really sorry to see him go. :)
General Discussion and Questions / Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Last post by Drul Morbok on August 13, 2017, 03:43:54 PM »
At this point I feel that I, being a non-native English speaker, have used (and understood) the word "zealot" incorrect, i.e. different from how a native speaker understands it.

Up until now, I would not have called Jesus a zealot, or Mahatma Ghandi, but having read what you say about zealots, I think they'd qualify as epitome of zealots, considering personal devotion and impact on the world (as would many others I would not have called zealots) .

Considering this, I'll soon come up with a mr elaborate comment on the topic.
General Discussion and Questions / Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Last post by tanis on August 13, 2017, 01:24:27 PM »
Slavery is certainly a rather unpleasant topic, but your assumption is fundamentally correct; up until the racially and religiously justified chattel slavery of the modern era of European colonization, slavery was, while certainly nothing to be wished for, not as bad as the later form of slavery. Chattel slavery is something altogether more horrendous than other forms of slavery, though, from a modern, liberal perspective, it's just the most obviously egregious form of a fundamentally heinous institution.

And, as an aside, I don't think it's too radical in the least to consider wage-slavery as slavery in a real sense. It still vastly reduces one's possibility space for making choices. And the US economy, for sure, is a debt-based economy at this point. Companies here (even multinational banking and investment organizations) buy up packages of unpaid debt from thousands or even millions of debtors on the cheap, and then make profit by being willing to bug people enough to collect some of it. It's obscene, really.

As for your comments about how players are incentivized to play RPGs in an optimal way based on accruing XP and doing "heroic" things, and perhaps making the worlds they inhabit somewhat banal, I think you're absolutely right, BUT...

The thing about zealots is that, while at their worst they can be really horrible people that do really evil things and feel they're morally justified in doing so, basically anyone who makes a significant impact on their world is a zealot in some sense or other. Unprincipled people don't often make waves unless, like Hermann Göring (a notable example of an amoral person), they're very skilled at manipulating events to their benefit. Any truly exceptional person, if they're to be effective, must have sufficient drive, ambition, or some other motivating factor to compel them to action. That doesn't mean that they might not be humble or have fallen into their circumstances through no acts of their own, merely that they'll adapt and make the most they can out of those circumstances. But no zealot is amoral.

The old school, 70s-era D&D murder hobos may have been inspired by reading Conan directly, but most characters I see played today, while certainly mercenary in their behavior, have very tangible values that they are literally willing to kill in accordance with. That's not the behavior of an amoral person. They might be inconsistently moral, but that's as human as it gets, honestly. Everyone's a hypocrite, the question is just about what things, in what ways, to what degree, and, do they recognize their flaws and try to improve upon them. But as long as the players roleplay their characters well, and everyone has fun, any juicy psychological or philosophical exploration or growth on the players' part is just added depth and potential to what is already essentially a deep and interesting experience.
General Discussion and Questions / Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Last post by Drul Morbok on August 13, 2017, 09:31:55 AM »
I also thought about your mentionning of Hannah Arendt's banality of evil and the Eichmann trial.

In the end, I concluded that I consider all heroic RPG characters to be amoral figures, and even further, that their behavior, if displayed in our real world, would rise questions about personality disorder rather than about alignment or moral.
Here I beg to keep in mind my distinction between person, player and character...if someone said the same thing about me as a chess player, I might consider it unintuitive to have such thoghts, but to me it would be a valid judgement - it would not say anything about me as a person.... and about me as a chess player, it's natural that all I care about when moving figures is to win the game.
Judgements about figures as characters seem inappropriate.

I came up with the conclusion that players playing heroic characters (and even more so "evil" characters if a GM allows them) do not play that much different (and that they have every right to do so, it's their game).
Their behavior is driven by what they think (and learn) the GM and the system encourage and reward - and thats heroism. Sometimes, this reward is countable (gold and XP), sometimes its more abstract  - but for example, "spotlight time" and attention is also a (if not THE) ressource in RPGing, i.e. time when the character actions are the focus of the game, when other players comment on the action and talk abot it afterwards ("remember when this crazy bastard did THAT?")...all of this I consider reward for character behavior (and as many psychologists might confirm, even negative attention is attention).

Yet neither DM nor group talk, spotlight time and attention are ingame, so players are motivated by values and factors beyond the world they are supposed to live in.
Then again, this attitude of "I shall not be judged within your world, I'm only subject to rules beyond your comprehension" is often associated with some sense of mission....and if someone decides to base decisions on other people's life and death on this basis - well, I think we tend to call them zealots if this basis is at least somewhat integrated into society, and we start talking about personality issues when the basis only lies within the person itself...
I also tend to think this sense of mission is often rather prominent in people that were afterwards called ruthless dictators, but themselves might never had such thing as guilty conscience

In some way, I think such players banalize the world and every non-PC living being in it by never ever thinking of such a thing of peace of the death or reverence or any other kind of respect towards live and moral that does not translate into said rewards.

I just came up with an even more grim experiment:
I mentionned in an other thread that I intend some mission where players are sent to the Mandalar and might or might not doubt their orders.
I think about their mission being sent to Mandalar territory as advance party of a masterplan of mass deportation of Mandalar into detention centers in order to get new living space for the Empire's population, using ingame euphemisms that might initially make it seem a rather humane and sensible measure, where carrying out the order will be the most profitable way of character behavior.
I hope I can keep this one from getting tasteless, since the last thing I intend is some "genocide simulator", but rather some kind of parable (more or less the same way The Lord Of Flies is not tasteless for displaying children displaying fascist tendencies).

Edit: I mean...let it be argued that as long as the Border Clans remain "unclaimed", the Kingdom of Anquar and the Great Padashan Republic will fight for them, and such dispute will inevitably escalate into all-out war that neither of both contrahents (nor the Mandalar) will survive.
However as soon as both contrahents share a common border, they will enter into a "cold war stalemate", both sides grudgingly acknowledging that open confrontation will end in total annihalition of both sides.

I'm not saying this is "true" as far as the World of Khoras is concerned, but..ordinary soldiers would be sent into the Border Clans fueled up with propagand about glorious victory, while elite forces proving too smart for this propaganda (like the players might sooner or later), would be taken aside into a confidential talk where this argumentation would be presented...who are the characters to say this is "wrong", especially after they already are into it?
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