Author Topic: Modern values and Fantasy world  (Read 4478 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline tanis

  • Global Moderator
  • Forum Master
  • ***
  • Posts: 492
  • Karma: 2
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Reply #15 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.
He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

Offline Drul Morbok

  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 100
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Reply #16 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.

Offline David Roomes

  • Khoras Creator
  • Forum Administrator
  • Forum Master
  • ****
  • Posts: 884
  • Karma: 8
    • MSN Messenger - David.Roomes@paccar.com
    • View Profile
    • The World of Khoras
    • Email
Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Reply #17 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. :)
David M. Roomes
Creator of the World of Khoras

Offline Drul Morbok

  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 100
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Reply #18 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.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2017, 12:53:58 PM by Drul Morbok »

Offline David Roomes

  • Khoras Creator
  • Forum Administrator
  • Forum Master
  • ****
  • Posts: 884
  • Karma: 8
    • MSN Messenger - David.Roomes@paccar.com
    • View Profile
    • The World of Khoras
    • Email
Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2017, 03:59:44 PM »
Most players tend to use NPCs as cannon fodder, or healing spell ATMs or whatever. They often use them as a tool or a resource and don't really consider them equals or worthy of respect. However, that's most players. I have played with a few exceptional players that are different.

And my current group has a couple of really good players who do consider the NPCs, treat them with respect and so forth. I, for one, like seeing that kind of empathy displayed in the game.
David M. Roomes
Creator of the World of Khoras

Offline Drul Morbok

  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 100
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Reply #20 on: September 02, 2017, 03:06:58 PM »
Ah OK..in my case, reading the session summaries of the Pieces of Eight campaign was what actually gave me the idea that in a heroic campaign setting, I should not expect players to behave morally, but rather act as what I called avatars.

But oft course, tastes differ...
« Last Edit: September 03, 2017, 01:08:44 AM by Drul Morbok »

Offline tanis

  • Global Moderator
  • Forum Master
  • ***
  • Posts: 492
  • Karma: 2
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Reply #21 on: September 03, 2017, 01:47:15 AM »
This is part of why I have such a love/hate relationship with D&D's morality system. It's certainly not the most adroit tool for describing character morality and motivation, and it leaves a lot to be desired when compared to something like a personality inventory or other, slightly more "academic" tool when it comes to granularity and complexity, but at the end of the day, it's not an utterly useless tool, and it's nice that there is SOME sort of morality mechanic in the game, even if the two-axis Lawful/Chaotic, Good/Evil system is often too simplistic to differentiate between distinct characters with different values who happen to act in generally similar ways.

Plus, it's fun to use it as shorthand for human morality, problematic as it may be. For the record, I'm definitely Neutral Good irl. XD
He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

Offline Drul Morbok

  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 100
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Reply #22 on: September 03, 2017, 08:15:08 AM »
My main problem with D&D alignment is that I feel that different purposes got mixed up into a result that finally fulfills none of then:
- theoretical...giving words to abstract concepts, introduce some moral nomenclature. While not perfect, I also think it's not the worst attempt.
- metagame...character classes like the paladin and maybe the D&D 2nd ranger seemed to me to "balance" stronger classes against restrictions to what they could do ("no, a lawful good character is not allowed to ambush an enemy"). However  I think if you have to limit players that they do not behave out of character, the problem is deeper than rules. It also excludes what I consider valid choices (I can easily imagine lawful rogues or bards if I go beyond stereotypes, or evil priests that spontaneously heal others).
Everything about zones where good/evil/chaotic/lawful creatures are weaker/stronger and the like also is effectively mainly a tactical aspect.
- ingame...those ridiculous "discern alignment" spells often seem to guide players towards identifying the foe. The idea that your alignment is as identifiable as let's say your blood type is what I consider the by far most ridiculous idea. The whole legal system with trials and judges would get obsolete if you could just imprison every "evil" individual.

Offline David Roomes

  • Khoras Creator
  • Forum Administrator
  • Forum Master
  • ****
  • Posts: 884
  • Karma: 8
    • MSN Messenger - David.Roomes@paccar.com
    • View Profile
    • The World of Khoras
    • Email
Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Reply #23 on: September 03, 2017, 07:43:51 PM »
I agree completely with all of those reasons, but especially the last one. The idea that an individual can be objectively "evil" and it can be detected like a blood type or a DNA scan is ridiculous. This is one of the many reasons why I dislike the concept of alignment as a game mechanic.

I've actually thrown out the entire alignment system in my gaming. I also threw out detect evil, protection evil, magic items that only work for specific alignments, etc. It both simplifies things and also allows for infinite shades of grey.



David M. Roomes
Creator of the World of Khoras

Offline tanis

  • Global Moderator
  • Forum Master
  • ***
  • Posts: 492
  • Karma: 2
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Reply #24 on: September 04, 2017, 12:32:34 AM »
I agree, and I'd rather play without much, or any, of the alignment system's components, but I do like that they were at least trying to get players thinking about the ethical views of their characters.
He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

Offline Drul Morbok

  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 100
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2017, 03:24:56 AM »
Yes, I totally agree - even talking about how much D&D alignment sucks can  be valuable for trying to find a way about how moral could be categorized.  ;D

Offline Drul Morbok

  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 100
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Reply #26 on: September 04, 2017, 05:30:21 AM »
But I also have another idea that brings me back to my original post:

Since long I have the idea of giving orcs a slightly different reproduction cycle:
A female orc could either become pregnant with many female offspring. 4-7 being common, but as much as 12 not unheard of. They'd be born naked, blind and with only rudimentary limbs, like newborn mice. Few if any would reach adulthood, as it would be also common for male orcs to slay a female's existing offspring when mating (females would be possesions to fight for rather than individuals with any rights).
Or she could give birth to one single male orc, but this one would grow so big in her womb that she would not survive his birth.

This way, no orcish warrior (I guess it's not surprising that there's only male ones) would have a brother, and none would ever meet his own mother.
In some way, I think that this is an interesting background for a brutally paternalistic warrior culture...but than again, the words "interesting" and "brutally paternalistic" are no easy mixture, and I think many people would consider it tasteless. And yet again...having dozens of orcs being slaughtered by heroes is acceptable, but portraying them as sexist ist something I worry about? Morality is a bitch... ::)

Offline David Roomes

  • Khoras Creator
  • Forum Administrator
  • Forum Master
  • ****
  • Posts: 884
  • Karma: 8
    • MSN Messenger - David.Roomes@paccar.com
    • View Profile
    • The World of Khoras
    • Email
Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Reply #27 on: September 04, 2017, 06:35:58 PM »
I love that you DO worry about.  ;)  The internal debate is worth it. That's often where good ideas come from...
David M. Roomes
Creator of the World of Khoras

Offline tanis

  • Global Moderator
  • Forum Master
  • ***
  • Posts: 492
  • Karma: 2
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Reply #28 on: September 04, 2017, 09:30:58 PM »
Agreed, though I have to say that's not a terrible idea, and I think it would add a lot of flavor to the race. It's a very Freudian interpretation that would make a lot of internal sense.

Though I admit I do prefer Jung. XD

Though, Jung gets most of the fun stuff in D&D and similar hobbies, what with archetypes, his conception of the self, and the mythological extension of his work by people like Joseph Campbell.

But yeah, if you ever try this out, let us know. I'd be interested to see how it affected your players' perception of orcs in your game.
He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.