Forum > Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion

Good, evil, and fantasy cultures

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Stephen Tannhauser:

--- Quote from: jhkim on September 17, 2021, 04:38:41 PM ---So I guess this is about - when have you had a problem with difference between what is good by modern morality and good in a fantasy RPG? What were ways that you dealt with it?
--- End quote ---

I'd suggest there's probably less conflict between historical morality and modern morality than one might think; the Ten Commandments have analogues in most cultures going back to ancient days. Even slavery was mostly regarded as something you only did to your people's enemies if you did it at all, and that if your own were enslaved they had to have sold themselves into it or earned it as punishment -- it was regarded as licit but not good, if you see the difference.

What often differs are which sins a particular historical culture or subculture has different practical standards about from ours, and why. Sexual infidelity was almost always condemned far more strongly in women than in men in the feudal Middle Ages, because female fidelity was the only real guarantee of a valid inheritance line back when wars got started over such things; as long as men fathered their bastards when they were conveniently out of their territory, no one much cared. And when the food-subsistence economy is much closer to the bone than a modern-day reader may realize, the harsh penalties for stealing food, and the sheer loathing most honest labourers or tradesmen feel for bandits and burglars, make more sense.

I have to admit that my own gaming history isn't much use because I had much less tendency to notice those things back when I was still actively gaming. I do recall at least one PC in a game I ran stealing a wagonload of furs and selling them for his own money without anyone in the group raising an eyebrow; he was True Neutral, so he had no alignment obstacles, but that sort of thing is definitely something I would have made more fuss with him about if it happened now.

Vidgrip:
I avoid mixing morality codes when I can avoid it. When I run a fantasy game that has the flavor and trappings of a a real historical setting, I always use the moral code of the historical setting, rather than a modern one. Yes, this means bad things happen that characters must consider business-as-usual. In that sense I would describe it as a bug, not a feature, that a fantasy game using tropes of medieval Europe would attempt to apply "modern sensibilities".

The last time I felt the desire for high fantasy that wasn't grimdark, I played Blue Rose. Modern liberal morality works fine in that setting partly because it is based on a high-fantasy literature that does not borrow much from real history. There is no dissonance.

I have read setting books that try to bring the modern moral sense into historical settings and they generally strike me as ridiculous. I suppose what I'm saying is that I appreciate your problem but I see no solution other than to allow Incans to be Incans, even if they they are fantasy Incans.

Shasarak:

--- Quote from: jhkim on September 17, 2021, 04:38:41 PM ---So I guess this is about - when have you had a problem with difference between what is good by modern morality and good in a fantasy RPG? What were ways that you dealt with it? I'll think if I can come up with some more examples.

--- End quote ---

This happened to me the other day.  Some arsehole could not tell the difference between fantasy Drow and real life people.

Luckily I was able to deal with it easily by telling him to fuck off.

oggsmash:
   Morally, which is worse, killing someone or making them a slave?   Given that slaves had the real life choice to be slaves or die, I think killing is certainly worse.  So unless you subdue the evil doers without killing them, I probably would not worry too much about any modern sensibilities.   I do think it would be fairly easy to make a "good" kingdom outlaw slavery, I mean, you have people throwing fireballs, so I do not know how much historical reality you need.   

   What is the cultural backdrop for the campaign?   You say exotic, so does it involve cultures that used a great deal of slavery/human sacrifice/etc?   

Mithgarthr:

--- Quote from: Shasarak on September 17, 2021, 06:56:07 PM ---
--- Quote from: jhkim on September 17, 2021, 04:38:41 PM ---So I guess this is about - when have you had a problem with difference between what is good by modern morality and good in a fantasy RPG? What were ways that you dealt with it? I'll think if I can come up with some more examples.

--- End quote ---

This happened to me the other day.  Some arsehole could not tell the difference between fantasy Drow and real life people.

Luckily I was able to deal with it easily by telling him to fuck off.

--- End quote ---

 ;D ;D ;D

Man, I've only been hanging around here for a short while, but you're quickly becoming one of my favorite posters.

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