This is a site for discussing roleplaying games. Have fun doing so, but there is one major rule: do not discuss political issues that aren't directly and uniquely related to the subject of the thread and about gaming. While this site is dedicated to free speech, the following will not be tolerated: devolving a thread into unrelated political discussion, sockpuppeting (using multiple and/or bogus accounts), disrupting topics without contributing to them, and posting images that could get someone fired in the workplace (an external link is OK, but clearly mark it as Not Safe For Work, or NSFW). If you receive a warning, please take it seriously and either move on to another topic or steer the discussion back to its original RPG-related theme.
NOTICE: Some online security services are reporting that information for a limited number of users from this site is for sale on the "dark web." As of right now, there is no direct evidence of this, but change your password just to be safe.

Author Topic: Good, evil, and fantasy cultures  (Read 5925 times)

jhkim

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9412
Re: Good, evil, and fantasy cultures
« Reply #75 on: September 24, 2021, 03:45:15 PM »
the level of content in ones game should always be measured for the audience.

My regular campaigns are for adults only. They hover normally at low-grade R, or a hard PG-13... but are wide open to go hard R. - Evil is as evil does. Dependent on the respective cultures (should they exist) of the creatures in question (human or otherwise).

I agree it should go with the audience. I regularly do Call of Cthulhu which is usually in the hard R range. Even when the players are on board for hard R in general, though, I find that having their PCs be raped is something they don't want.

S'mon

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11972
Re: Good, evil, and fantasy cultures
« Reply #76 on: September 24, 2021, 05:39:07 PM »
Even with "fade to black", I avoid having captured PCs be raped. In my experience, basically all players prefer it that way.

I have a 'no raping the PCs!' rule, which I'll mention to the players where appropriate. You can have it in your backstory if you want, but no getting raped in-game and no raping other people's PCs, of course.

I'm not sure what I'd do though with this 'infiltrating drow society' thing if PCs got captured. I guess I'd 'merely' have them tortured (off screen) and sacrificed to Lolth, but I can imagine some players might want to have their PC try to seduce their hawt-drow-chick captors. Probably some of the female players... I guess I'd be willing to go along* with that, and fade to black. It may technically be rape in law** and morality, but it seems like it's fundamentally the player's choice to go that way. And it is, of course, not real.

*If everyone playing was an adult.
**Except that females can't actually commit rape in many jurisdictions. 'Sexual Coercion' then.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2021, 05:41:14 PM by S'mon »

caldrail

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 13
Re: Good, evil, and fantasy cultures
« Reply #77 on: September 24, 2021, 06:44:27 PM »
Quote
The whole point of having problematic topics in RPG's and the cultures within them is to explore them from a gaming perspective. It's not an endorsement of anything.
Absolutely. In one episode from a campaign I ran, the players began exploring a city that had just been razed to the ground. They didn't know what to expect. At one point I described a potential enemy, a cruel VIP sort of minion with his followers, scouring the ruins for their own purposes. At first the players hid. Normally I approved of such wariness, but on this occaision there were things they they needed to find/loot. So I told they could hear a baby crying. A mother desperately trying to silence the child. The evil minion grinning and deciding the child must be put out of its misery.

The effect on the players was startling. They were out of cover and launching into a passionate and quite motivated melee. They found the info they needed to, the mother and child were gratefully saved.

But what if they had done nothing? Less experience points for sure. But the actual deed of slaying a young child wasn't necessary to describe. It could have been implied or perhaps delayed with a "Take it away!" leaving a bruised and or deceased mother behind. The act itself might not have been in sight. The result could be observed at some point and was no worse than having dead bodies lying around after the players had finished a fight.

Theory of Games

  • Disaffected Game Warrior
  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 282
Re: Good, evil, and fantasy cultures
« Reply #78 on: September 24, 2021, 07:52:45 PM »
Your question (How does modern morality fit a fantasy D&D setting) is weird.

Does your setting have Gods & Devils? Do they establish what is "Good and Evil"?

The modern "real world" doesn't have active Gods and Devils interacting with the world. At least, not in the way
fantasy realms work.

It depends on your setting: IF Gods & Arch-Devils impact the setting, especially concerning Divine Classes & Warlocks, then the realm's morality revolves around those cosmic entities. If you don't have those entities, then, anything goes.

Yeah?

Chris24601

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • C
  • Posts: 2083
Re: Good, evil, and fantasy cultures
« Reply #79 on: September 25, 2021, 11:00:15 AM »
Your question (How does modern morality fit a fantasy D&D setting) is weird.

Does your setting have Gods & Devils? Do they establish what is "Good and Evil"?

The modern "real world" doesn't have active Gods and Devils interacting with the world. At least, not in the way
fantasy realms work.

It depends on your setting: IF Gods & Arch-Devils impact the setting, especially concerning Divine Classes & Warlocks, then the realm's morality revolves around those cosmic entities. If you don't have those entities, then, anything goes.

Yeah?
My preference for settings is distant deities who appear only in dreams/visions at best and where divine magic could be just a poorly understood variant of arcane magic.

I also prefer to have non-accessible otherworlds. the story reason for an otherworld was so that characters from the mundane world could visit a place where the fantastic was possible and then return changed in some fashion… a D&D setting IS the otherworld; it doesn’t really need other otherworlds on top except for very specific purposes.

Really, anything you’d want from the various D&D planes could just as easily be added to the material world; ex. Mount Olympus and Hades both existed in the material world (atop a tall mountain and underground respectively) of Greek Mythology. Heroes didn’t need magic portals or plane shift spells to reach them; they climbed (or flew) to the mountain or found a cave that led to Hades.

Elemental realms (massive volcano lakes, lands of eternal winter, undersea kingdoms, sky cities, massive underground caves, primeval forests, lands corrupted by demons or the undead, etc.) and similar strangeness can just as easily be built into the mortal world of the setting as sectioned off into separate planes and doing so let’s you keep things like the true nature of the gods or certainty about what happens after death as uncertain for the setting as they have always been in the real world; making reactions to religion and death similarly more relatable (and also evading the often unintentional cosmic horror that is the afterlife of many a D&D setting when it’s implications are fully considered).

jhkim

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9412
Re: Good, evil, and fantasy cultures
« Reply #80 on: September 25, 2021, 01:44:32 PM »
The problem is that modern morality can be a disconnect with a setting even remotely based on history.

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.
It depends on your setting: IF Gods & Arch-Devils impact the setting, especially concerning Divine Classes & Warlocks, then the realm's morality revolves around those cosmic entities. If you don't have those entities, then, anything goes.

Yeah?

The point of the question was about how players deal with gods and arch-devils, not internal consistency with the setting. For example, a good-aligned barbarian gets a vision from his god telling him to burn the people they just captured in baskets as a sacrifice.

Within the game, that's just what the gods say - and it's consistent with what historical religion held as good behavior. But the player of the barbarian PC might feel dissatisfied with doing that as a good act - even though the GM has defined it as good within the world.

EDITED TO ADD: That's a hypothetical example, which in retrospect is less useful - but I and others have posted a bunch of real examples from games over the thread.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2021, 01:46:10 PM by jhkim »

SHARK

  • Great White Hope
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3346
Re: Good, evil, and fantasy cultures
« Reply #81 on: September 25, 2021, 03:25:00 PM »
Greetings!

I don't know what all of these gamers are so "disturbed" by and fucking traumatized. Get the fuck over it. It's a fucking game, about fictional characters, living in a weird, fantasy world.

I had a Player character tortured and raped. He was tortured and raped every day. He had been captured by the Drow Elves. He was gleefully used as a breeding slave for 6 months. It took 6 months of *in-game* time for the Player Party to locate where exactly their friend was, determine he was still alive, and what Drow noble bitch had imprisoned him.

My player--and a friend of mine, too--of course exclaimed upon his character's capture by the Drow that he was fucked for sure. He was playing a Paladin. The whole group knew how depraved and wicked the Drow Elves are, with their nobles, their priestesses, with their whips and tentacle staves. Everyone was describing themselves what my friend could expect. Of course, he asked me, and I told him. Yeah, the noble priestesses torture you, each and every day. They ensure that you are being thoroughly used as a sexual play-thing and breeding stock, each and every day. A strong, handsome human Paladin like you can be used to impregnate several Drow women each day--who will then go on to give birth to bastard Half-Drow children that will be raised in communal orphanages and trained up in their lives to become soldiers for the Drow Kingdom--or to amuse the vast crowds in the Gladiator Arena. As long as you remain obedient to your Drow Mistress, and cooperate fully and completely with the Drow Elf handlers around you, then the Drow Elves keep you alive, and reasonably healthy and well-cared for. After all, they are using you as breeding stock to fuck several Drow women every day, to contribute offspring. Periodically your character is whipped by the tentacle staffs, humiliated, and degraded, just to keep you properly in place at the feet of your Drow Mistress--and groveling towards every Drow Elf.

My friend played his loyal Henchman traveling with the rest of the group, having several adventures before they were able to infiltrate the Drow Elf city where his main Paladin character was being kept imprisoned and enslaved. In a terrific adventure, the group managed to heroically rescue their Paladin friend. The group just wasn't the same without their Paladin friend along with them. My friend, the player that was playing the Paladin--is black, and a Christian, was raised Southern Baptist and fundamentalist too. ;D He played his Paladin character in some awesome and fun ways, with a particular style and approach, for sure! The Paladin and the rest of the group ensured that the Drow Noble that had enslaved him was defeated, and they brought the thunder down for sure on the Drow compound, the surrounding Drow Elves, before making their escape, loaded down with plenty of treasure.

There was no whining, no crying, no trauma from the Paladin player, or anyone else in the group either. No one was fucking "uncomfortable". No one clutched their pearls and sobbed hysterically.

At other times, I have seen players have their characters sacrifice captured enemy bandits to their war gods after capturing them. The players were a Human Barbarian, and a Human barbarian Cleric. Offering captured enemies in sacrifice and homage to their fierce tribal gods seemed entirely normal for these players to do, and to embrace. They had their charcters cut the bandits throats, and burn them alive, as they performed their tribal religious ceremony. They then joined in with the rest of the group in feasting and preparing for the next trip into the nearby dungeon.

Again, no crying. No hysterics. No sobbing. No one being dramatically "uncomfortable". It's a fantastic game, played in a different world, by players that are fully comfortable with their Characters not being them, and the game is not connected to or a reflection of the real world in the present, or any ther weird bullshit. Basic Roleplaying 101.

The players also regularly slaughter whole caverns full of filthy, evil, savage Orcs. Males, Females, the young and the old. All are good for the sword. If they are Green coloured, they die--by sword and by fire. No one holds deep moral struggle sessions over the righteousness, goodness, and duty to routinely exterminate the Orc savages whenever and wherever they are found. They are evil monsters that threaten humanity and all of civilization. The Age of Man shall not go "quietly into the night". The players understand that their characters live in a world filled with very real monsters. Savage, evil monsters that want to enslave, subjugate, and conquer everything that their characters hold dear and cherish.

"No Quarter is Given!--And No Quarter is Asked for." ;D

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
"It is the Marine Corps that will strip away the façade so easily confused with self. It is the Corps that will offer the pain needed to buy the truth. And at last, each will own the privilege of looking inside himself  to discover what truly resides there. Comfort is an illusion. A false security bred from familiar things and familiar ways. It narrows the mind. Weakens the body. And robs the soul of spirit and determination. Comfort is neither welcome nor tolerated here."

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but is doing what you have to, in spite of the fear."
"Let Death and Fire Be Their Portion!"
"Delenda Est Parthia!"

tenbones

  • Poobah of the D.O.N.G.
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5095
Re: Good, evil, and fantasy cultures
« Reply #82 on: September 25, 2021, 04:19:11 PM »
the level of content in ones game should always be measured for the audience.

My regular campaigns are for adults only. They hover normally at low-grade R, or a hard PG-13... but are wide open to go hard R. - Evil is as evil does. Dependent on the respective cultures (should they exist) of the creatures in question (human or otherwise).

I agree it should go with the audience. I regularly do Call of Cthulhu which is usually in the hard R range. Even when the players are on board for hard R in general, though, I find that having their PCs be raped is something they don't want.

It's kind of funny. I have *never* run a CoC game. Most of my players would balk. I'm not sure if it's because they're not fans of the general Mythos over other horror games I've run or the fact that the idea I would run a CoC game would be too disturbing, because they feel I'd ratchet it up a notch (I wouldn't, I think doing the Mythos related games don't require anything other than staying true to the material - which is pretty horrifying.)

As far as rape is concerned, it's extremely rare to the level of being an evil Unicorn/Leprechaun crossbreed kinda rare. I can remember maybe twice where its ever happened in my games. And once it was to me many years ago as a player from another player (I was playing a Drow female if anyone cares to know and yes, it pissed me off, and yes I exacted revenge exactly as my character would have done).

I don't see rape in my games because
1) it's exceedingly rare for a player to have such degenerate PC's at my table
2) Most of my players play masculine males, when we have female PCs in the group they are naturally are protective of them. When we have female players the same holds true.

Being masculine is to be protective of the feminine that's how we evolved and it's instinctual to normal people (i.e. men).

The vast majority of the Hard R content in my games are combat violence, much of which is over-the-top Anime-inspired 30-ft rooster-tails of blood and guts gouting out of wounds, spraying the walls sorts of fare for over-the-top fun. I put my experience as an EMT to great use describing scenes of carnage - especially during investigations. Drug use (real and fantastical), sex - as appropriate and as detailed as it needs to be to get the point across, otherwise I fade to black unless something unusual is going to occur. My S&S games may have orgy scenes etc.

Mass combat and long-term campaigns of near genocidal mayhem occur, usually when it becomes obvious the enemy is unrelenting and likewise hellbent on their cause. Those events are long-term campaign issues that in hindsight are extremely dark.

So while I don't require an Alignment system, I most certainly have Good, Evil, and Neutrality extant in my games. They only matter insofar as what the PC's do and for their stated intent. We're well adjusted enough to navigate what is "evil" - to put ones own desires first at direct the expense of others (which sounds pretty weak, but one should understand that I'm coming from a very atomic level on this). Just because you do little selfish things all the time doesn't make you inherently evil. We all do. Just like we ostensibly do selfless things all the time (good). Where does any of this matter in the game? This is where our various moral laws give us the big bullet-points and our ethical compasses lead us and our respective cultures to maintain the values that they hold.

This is not an invitation to moral relativism - I would hold that is an inversion of actual morality. This an invitation to set standards that produce optimal results.

That the Meso-American cultures believed that Human sacrifice really kept the world from imploding doesn't mean their intent made their culture good. It might mean the sacrificial offering (the person) might be good, because many of them willingly offered themselves up to the Gods as a mark of honor and pride. But culturally it's evil - they're squandering life purely for reasons that have no place in reality.

The interesting question is this: Is it evil because Life is held as a moral sacrament? Or that reality upon which the act itself exists is not real? (i.e. the world is not going to end if the makebelieve Gods are not given blood-sacrifice).

Because in a fantasy game where the Gods are real - what if it were true? I hold it's still evil, because Good deities would not intrinsically require or partake in such acts. To say they do, makes them "not Good". What this does is set the GM to decide the tone of the culture. This is where I think people get confused because ultimately we're asking what is the difference then between the Fantasy Aztecs, and the real Aztecs in this practice? The answer is simple - there isn't one. That's why it's evil. Whether you're doing it to appease the Gods, or you're doing it reluctantly to keep your world from killing you, at the atomic level - you're still doing it for your own ends at the expense of others.

The FUN is playing with those assumptions at the table, especially where players and their PC's might not really give this much thought to it. So the perennial question is WHAT DO YOU DO?

queue the conflict!

tenbones

  • Poobah of the D.O.N.G.
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5095
Re: Good, evil, and fantasy cultures
« Reply #83 on: September 25, 2021, 04:23:24 PM »
Greetings!

I don't know what all of these gamers are so "disturbed" by and fucking traumatized. Get the fuck over it. It's a fucking game, about fictional characters, living in a weird, fantasy world.

I had a Player character tortured and raped. He was tortured and raped every day. He had been captured by the Drow Elves. He was gleefully used as a breeding slave for 6 months. It took 6 months of *in-game* time for the Player Party to locate where exactly their friend was, determine he was still alive, and what Drow noble bitch had imprisoned him.

My player--and a friend of mine, too--of course exclaimed upon his character's capture by the Drow that he was fucked for sure. He was playing a Paladin. The whole group knew how depraved and wicked the Drow Elves are, with their nobles, their priestesses, with their whips and tentacle staves. Everyone was describing themselves what my friend could expect. Of course, he asked me, and I told him. Yeah, the noble priestesses torture you, each and every day. They ensure that you are being thoroughly used as a sexual play-thing and breeding stock, each and every day. A strong, handsome human Paladin like you can be used to impregnate several Drow women each day--who will then go on to give birth to bastard Half-Drow children that will be raised in communal orphanages and trained up in their lives to become soldiers for the Drow Kingdom--or to amuse the vast crowds in the Gladiator Arena. As long as you remain obedient to your Drow Mistress, and cooperate fully and completely with the Drow Elf handlers around you, then the Drow Elves keep you alive, and reasonably healthy and well-cared for. After all, they are using you as breeding stock to fuck several Drow women every day, to contribute offspring. Periodically your character is whipped by the tentacle staffs, humiliated, and degraded, just to keep you properly in place at the feet of your Drow Mistress--and groveling towards every Drow Elf.

My friend played his loyal Henchman traveling with the rest of the group, having several adventures before they were able to infiltrate the Drow Elf city where his main Paladin character was being kept imprisoned and enslaved. In a terrific adventure, the group managed to heroically rescue their Paladin friend. The group just wasn't the same without their Paladin friend along with them. My friend, the player that was playing the Paladin--is black, and a Christian, was raised Southern Baptist and fundamentalist too. ;D He played his Paladin character in some awesome and fun ways, with a particular style and approach, for sure! The Paladin and the rest of the group ensured that the Drow Noble that had enslaved him was defeated, and they brought the thunder down for sure on the Drow compound, the surrounding Drow Elves, before making their escape, loaded down with plenty of treasure.

There was no whining, no crying, no trauma from the Paladin player, or anyone else in the group either. No one was fucking "uncomfortable". No one clutched their pearls and sobbed hysterically.

At other times, I have seen players have their characters sacrifice captured enemy bandits to their war gods after capturing them. The players were a Human Barbarian, and a Human barbarian Cleric. Offering captured enemies in sacrifice and homage to their fierce tribal gods seemed entirely normal for these players to do, and to embrace. They had their charcters cut the bandits throats, and burn them alive, as they performed their tribal religious ceremony. They then joined in with the rest of the group in feasting and preparing for the next trip into the nearby dungeon.

Again, no crying. No hysterics. No sobbing. No one being dramatically "uncomfortable". It's a fantastic game, played in a different world, by players that are fully comfortable with their Characters not being them, and the game is not connected to or a reflection of the real world in the present, or any ther weird bullshit. Basic Roleplaying 101.

The players also regularly slaughter whole caverns full of filthy, evil, savage Orcs. Males, Females, the young and the old. All are good for the sword. If they are Green coloured, they die--by sword and by fire. No one holds deep moral struggle sessions over the righteousness, goodness, and duty to routinely exterminate the Orc savages whenever and wherever they are found. They are evil monsters that threaten humanity and all of civilization. The Age of Man shall not go "quietly into the night". The players understand that their characters live in a world filled with very real monsters. Savage, evil monsters that want to enslave, subjugate, and conquer everything that their characters hold dear and cherish.

"No Quarter is Given!--And No Quarter is Asked for." ;D

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK

Shark, you and I would have a lot of fun gaming together, I think. HAH

tenbones

  • Poobah of the D.O.N.G.
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5095
Re: Good, evil, and fantasy cultures
« Reply #84 on: September 25, 2021, 04:25:27 PM »
The problem is that modern morality can be a disconnect with a setting even remotely based on history.

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.
It depends on your setting: IF Gods & Arch-Devils impact the setting, especially concerning Divine Classes & Warlocks, then the realm's morality revolves around those cosmic entities. If you don't have those entities, then, anything goes.

Yeah?

The point of the question was about how players deal with gods and arch-devils, not internal consistency with the setting. For example, a good-aligned barbarian gets a vision from his god telling him to burn the people they just captured in baskets as a sacrifice.

Within the game, that's just what the gods say - and it's consistent with what historical religion held as good behavior. But the player of the barbarian PC might feel dissatisfied with doing that as a good act - even though the GM has defined it as good within the world.

EDITED TO ADD: That's a hypothetical example, which in retrospect is less useful - but I and others have posted a bunch of real examples from games over the thread.

But this is exactly why I don't care much about Alignment. BUT when it comes to the Gods - they will certainly have their ethos and creeds and if you are a follower of a God, which are very much real, then your prosecution of those creeds and that ethos is what will define you (and therefore your "alignment"). Being Good ain't easy.

Bren

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7619
    • http://honorandintrigue.blogspot.com/
Re: Good, evil, and fantasy cultures
« Reply #85 on: September 25, 2021, 04:31:37 PM »
I also prefer to have non-accessible otherworlds. the story reason for an otherworld was so that characters from the mundane world could visit a place where the fantastic was possible and then return changed in some fashion… a D&D setting IS the otherworld; it doesn’t really need other otherworlds on top except for very specific purposes.

Really, anything you’d want from the various D&D planes could just as easily be added to the material world; ex. Mount Olympus and Hades both existed in the material world (atop a tall mountain and underground respectively) of Greek Mythology. Heroes didn’t need magic portals or plane shift spells to reach them; they climbed (or flew) to the mountain or found a cave that led to Hades.
The point is debatable. In myths it was not every cave that led to Hades only certain ones and you couldn't climb just any mountain to reach the realm of the Olympians. It's entirely possible that certain locales allowed one to physically cross into another realm or other world. And, at least as far as the Underworld, there were physical barriers (River Styx) and guardians (Cerberus). And the Olympians who visited earth typically veiled their true form from mortal view. It's one of the reasons the gods often appeared in different forms. On Olympus they may always be in their true form because it is a divine other world.
Currently running: Runequest in Glorantha + Boot Hill 2E   Currently playing: D&D 5E + RQ
My Blog: For Honor...and Intrigue
I have a gold medal from Ravenswing and Gronan owes me beer

SHARK

  • Great White Hope
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3346
Re: Good, evil, and fantasy cultures
« Reply #86 on: September 25, 2021, 07:09:27 PM »
Greetings!

I don't know what all of these gamers are so "disturbed" by and fucking traumatized. Get the fuck over it. It's a fucking game, about fictional characters, living in a weird, fantasy world.

I had a Player character tortured and raped. He was tortured and raped every day. He had been captured by the Drow Elves. He was gleefully used as a breeding slave for 6 months. It took 6 months of *in-game* time for the Player Party to locate where exactly their friend was, determine he was still alive, and what Drow noble bitch had imprisoned him.

My player--and a friend of mine, too--of course exclaimed upon his character's capture by the Drow that he was fucked for sure. He was playing a Paladin. The whole group knew how depraved and wicked the Drow Elves are, with their nobles, their priestesses, with their whips and tentacle staves. Everyone was describing themselves what my friend could expect. Of course, he asked me, and I told him. Yeah, the noble priestesses torture you, each and every day. They ensure that you are being thoroughly used as a sexual play-thing and breeding stock, each and every day. A strong, handsome human Paladin like you can be used to impregnate several Drow women each day--who will then go on to give birth to bastard Half-Drow children that will be raised in communal orphanages and trained up in their lives to become soldiers for the Drow Kingdom--or to amuse the vast crowds in the Gladiator Arena. As long as you remain obedient to your Drow Mistress, and cooperate fully and completely with the Drow Elf handlers around you, then the Drow Elves keep you alive, and reasonably healthy and well-cared for. After all, they are using you as breeding stock to fuck several Drow women every day, to contribute offspring. Periodically your character is whipped by the tentacle staffs, humiliated, and degraded, just to keep you properly in place at the feet of your Drow Mistress--and groveling towards every Drow Elf.

My friend played his loyal Henchman traveling with the rest of the group, having several adventures before they were able to infiltrate the Drow Elf city where his main Paladin character was being kept imprisoned and enslaved. In a terrific adventure, the group managed to heroically rescue their Paladin friend. The group just wasn't the same without their Paladin friend along with them. My friend, the player that was playing the Paladin--is black, and a Christian, was raised Southern Baptist and fundamentalist too. ;D He played his Paladin character in some awesome and fun ways, with a particular style and approach, for sure! The Paladin and the rest of the group ensured that the Drow Noble that had enslaved him was defeated, and they brought the thunder down for sure on the Drow compound, the surrounding Drow Elves, before making their escape, loaded down with plenty of treasure.

There was no whining, no crying, no trauma from the Paladin player, or anyone else in the group either. No one was fucking "uncomfortable". No one clutched their pearls and sobbed hysterically.

At other times, I have seen players have their characters sacrifice captured enemy bandits to their war gods after capturing them. The players were a Human Barbarian, and a Human barbarian Cleric. Offering captured enemies in sacrifice and homage to their fierce tribal gods seemed entirely normal for these players to do, and to embrace. They had their charcters cut the bandits throats, and burn them alive, as they performed their tribal religious ceremony. They then joined in with the rest of the group in feasting and preparing for the next trip into the nearby dungeon.

Again, no crying. No hysterics. No sobbing. No one being dramatically "uncomfortable". It's a fantastic game, played in a different world, by players that are fully comfortable with their Characters not being them, and the game is not connected to or a reflection of the real world in the present, or any ther weird bullshit. Basic Roleplaying 101.

The players also regularly slaughter whole caverns full of filthy, evil, savage Orcs. Males, Females, the young and the old. All are good for the sword. If they are Green coloured, they die--by sword and by fire. No one holds deep moral struggle sessions over the righteousness, goodness, and duty to routinely exterminate the Orc savages whenever and wherever they are found. They are evil monsters that threaten humanity and all of civilization. The Age of Man shall not go "quietly into the night". The players understand that their characters live in a world filled with very real monsters. Savage, evil monsters that want to enslave, subjugate, and conquer everything that their characters hold dear and cherish.

"No Quarter is Given!--And No Quarter is Asked for." ;D

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK

Shark, you and I would have a lot of fun gaming together, I think. HAH

Greetings!

YEAH! Damn right we would, brother!

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
"It is the Marine Corps that will strip away the façade so easily confused with self. It is the Corps that will offer the pain needed to buy the truth. And at last, each will own the privilege of looking inside himself  to discover what truly resides there. Comfort is an illusion. A false security bred from familiar things and familiar ways. It narrows the mind. Weakens the body. And robs the soul of spirit and determination. Comfort is neither welcome nor tolerated here."

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but is doing what you have to, in spite of the fear."
"Let Death and Fire Be Their Portion!"
"Delenda Est Parthia!"

caldrail

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 13
Re: Good, evil, and fantasy cultures
« Reply #87 on: September 26, 2021, 01:05:21 AM »
Quote
The point is debatable. In myths it was not every cave that led to Hades only certain ones and you couldn't climb just any mountain to reach the realm of the Olympians. It's entirely possible that certain locales allowed one to physically cross into another realm or other world. And, at least as far as the Underworld, there were physical barriers (River Styx) and guardians (Cerberus). And the Olympians who visited earth typically veiled their true form from mortal view. It's one of the reasons the gods often appeared in different forms. On Olympus they may always be in their true form because it is a divine other world.
In terms of environment it's perfectly plausible to have pocket existences within an otherwise normal world, if FRPG's can be described as such. So a certain cave, a certain mountain pass, or even a split tree will lead to an otherworld, large or small. Shades of Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe? Of course. The concept works. Especially in a world where magic is a reality.

Regarding alignment, I've learned to hate it. The problem with 'evil' is that players tend to use it as an excuse to behave badly without restriction and that's not a good thing. It created huge headaches for me especially when society reacted and the players got punished for their deeds. In fact, in one campaign, I made a decision to scrap alignment for players. Their motives needn't be whiter than white, but it makes storytelling a whole easier and consistent if the players are the good guys. There's a wealth of literature and legend to fall back on.

Regarding divine intervention, normally that would be omens, signs, luck, or curses. Gods aren't likely to waste time with lesser beings. Personal appearances, disguised or not, demand attention and action. But yoy can still be subtle. Ah yes. The Blue Warrior. One of my players got himself a sword and became aware it was magical in nature. Players love +1 or +2 here and there. After a while, when the character got complacent about it, he began to experience assistance from a blue warrior when deep in melee. Only he could see him. It took quite a long time for the player to realise the Blue Warrior was actually his sword. What he never realised at all ever was that the Blue Warrior was a manifestation of the very god he worshipped. Eventually the sword became too onerous and the player, perhaps wisely, chose to lay it aside.

Wrath of God

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 113
  • Fearful Symmetry
Re: Good, evil, and fantasy cultures
« Reply #88 on: October 09, 2021, 06:12:47 PM »
Quote
The point is alignment is vital for fantasy gaming because it adds an extra dimension to gaming.

No... not really. It's not even close to vital, and most fantasy fiction does not delve into such categories at all.
Which does not mean characters should be utterly amoral, it just means that morality does not need alignments in D&D way to exist.


Quote
If a good character must enter a temple and encounters a blue dragon guarding it the result in heroic fantasy is obvious but suppose it is a bronze dragon sworn to an oath to let no one pass? The mission is vital and the lives of thousands of innocents depend on it, but how would a good hero deal with maybe having to kill a good creature- assuming he doesn't kill him first (how would the dragon feel? What would he do differently- maybe hold back and maybe die because he did?).

And why do you need alignment for such dillema to exist?

Quote
Problem is, RPGs are increasingly opposed to anything like that. Good and evil are becoming no-nos in an increasing relativistic society, and this has hurt gaming.

My friend - most of RPG's lacks alignment. Most of RPGs lacked alignment from freaking Ice Age. This is basically way of D&D and few of D&D clones. From 70s you have systems and settings without given alignment. And they worked just fine - because you don't need strict Gygaxian diagram to have morality in your setting - neither objective nor subjective.

Quote
which is why deities typically are worshipped by a swath of society across alignments - Lawful good sailors drop copper at Umberlee's (Chaotic Evil) shrines in order to have good fortune at sea.

I must say I always liked Faerun in this regard because while there was many stupid things - if you'd take some basic ancient pantheon (as it become more murky with all those mortal ascendants) - you have very good reasons for people to worship pantheon aligmentlessly. All warriors want Tempus favour, all farmers want Chanteua's, all people want to beg Talos to go slow with natural disasters, all wizards care about Mystra's favour, and so on and so on. Most of other big D&D setting were not really able to put CE gods worship as normal thing for common human civilisations.

Quote
I also have occasional "islands of hope" in my campaign, scattered about like little candle-lights flickering in the dark night.

I must say SHARK "few enormous human empires" and also 2/3 of Dwarven civilisation and 3/4 of Elven civilisation sounds like terribly lot of islands of hope, in fact whole continents of hope.
I mean few is at least three - so you can easily have LG/LN Roman, Persian and Chinese Empires and that's not the end :P

Quote
It depends on your setting: IF Gods & Arch-Devils impact the setting, especially concerning Divine Classes & Warlocks, then the realm's morality revolves around those cosmic entities. If you don't have those entities, then, anything goes.

Well but you can have Olympian like gods, not really into deep morality, or strict karmic laws which while impersonal, would impose immovable morality to all actions.

Quote
I don't know what all of these gamers are so "disturbed" by and fucking traumatized. Get the fuck over it. It's a fucking game, about fictional characters, living in a weird, fantasy world.

I had a Player character tortured and raped. He was tortured and raped every day. He had been captured by the Drow Elves. He was gleefully used as a breeding slave for 6 months. It took 6 months of *in-game* time for the Player Party to locate where exactly their friend was, determine he was still alive, and what Drow noble bitch had imprisoned him.

Because various people have various level of own experiences, and various level of immersion into their PC avatars, Shark.
As much as I'm not really fan of woke turn and all this safety-for-all-cost, nevertheless things like PTSD are very real, and can be quite easily triggered sometimes. That's one thing. There are people with phobias deep enough, mere mention disturbs people - and that can simply be no fun. And there's also immersion - which like with fictional characters in movies, books, show births parasocial relationships, and then people gets really upset that something bad happened to fictional character. I mean it's not rocket science or some deep psychology.

That saying I personally quite like your ideas (aside of orc hate, orcs are cool, I'm Warcraft school of smash) but alas not everything is for everyone.

Quote
Being masculine is to be protective of the feminine that's how we evolved and it's instinctual to normal people (i.e. men).

To your feminine. Family, tribe, kin. Looking at history I'd say we evolved to treat foreign feminine as more of... free game.

Quote
That the Meso-American cultures believed that Human sacrifice really kept the world from imploding doesn't mean their intent made their culture good. It might mean the sacrificial offering (the person) might be good, because many of them willingly offered themselves up to the Gods as a mark of honor and pride. But culturally it's evil - they're squandering life purely for reasons that have no place in reality.

The interesting question is this: Is it evil because Life is held as a moral sacrament? Or that reality upon which the act itself exists is not real? (i.e. the world is not going to end if the makebelieve Gods are not given blood-sacrifice).

Because in a fantasy game where the Gods are real - what if it were true? I hold it's still evil, because Good deities would not intrinsically require or partake in such acts.

That's assuming Gygaxian notions of Good and Evil hold any meaning for those Fantasy or Not Aztec Gods.
Because sticking Gygaxian square on settings which cosmology does not submit to it... well just won't work.

If metaphyscial neccessity is to sacrifice people so universe continues - then well then metaphysical continuity determines what's Good and what's evil and not some Wisconsin wargamer from different reality ;)
"Never compromise. Not even in the face of Armageddon.”

"And I will strike down upon thee
With great vengeance and furious anger"


"Molti Nemici, Molto Onore"

tenbones

  • Poobah of the D.O.N.G.
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5095
Re: Good, evil, and fantasy cultures
« Reply #89 on: October 10, 2021, 06:13:10 AM »
To your feminine. Family, tribe, kin. Looking at history I'd say we evolved to treat foreign feminine as more of... free game.

But you're making my point. We treat foreign masculine as threats to our existence and we kill them historically. These days we call them CIS White Males and cancel them. The degree of evil matters.

Quote
That the Meso-American cultures believed that Human sacrifice really kept the world from imploding doesn't mean their intent made their culture good. It might mean the sacrificial offering (the person) might be good, because many of them willingly offered themselves up to the Gods as a mark of honor and pride. But culturally it's evil - they're squandering life purely for reasons that have no place in reality.

The interesting question is this: Is it evil because Life is held as a moral sacrament? Or that reality upon which the act itself exists is not real? (i.e. the world is not going to end if the makebelieve Gods are not given blood-sacrifice).

Because in a fantasy game where the Gods are real - what if it were true? I hold it's still evil, because Good deities would not intrinsically require or partake in such acts.

That's assuming Gygaxian notions of Good and Evil hold any meaning for those Fantasy or Not Aztec Gods.
Because sticking Gygaxian square on settings which cosmology does not submit to it... well just won't work.

If metaphyscial neccessity is to sacrifice people so universe continues - then well then metaphysical continuity determines what's Good and what's evil and not some Wisconsin wargamer from different reality ;)

Not at all. In fact - I don't use Alignment as an overt mechanic in my games (D&D or otherwise) - but as a philosophical mechanism to explain cosmological realities in-game, I definitely use them. They're not defined by Gary Gygax as much as they are defined by the meanings of Good/Evil themselves.

I don't engage in moral relativism when the fundamental reality is that Good and Evil exists. Even metaphysical continuity does not transcend that reality - if it did, they would be rendered meaningless. If evil action is absolutely required to occur to allow reality to operate - fine. That reality is inherently evil. Your point is what? I'm not making a value judgement on the baseline of reality.

The question is whether or not you make it matter in the context of gaming. So another way of looking at it is this: what if you set your campaign in the Nine Hells? Fundamentally an axiomatic evil place. But that fact doesn't preclude the possibility that you create a culture that does not conform to that axiomatic reality. It's extremely unlikely - but it certainly has analog precedents in D&D.

Githzerai are a perfect example. They live monastic lives in the pure chaos of Limbo - within bubbles of pure will-driven Order.

As an abstraction of behavior and intent - if we're assuming these things matter, the GM has to make them matter only insofar that it matters for the game. For me - this is largely the province of Gods and their minions. Normal people don't need to justify shit to one another. What purpose does it serve?
« Last Edit: October 10, 2021, 06:15:08 AM by tenbones »