Author Topic: Morality Question  (Read 9827 times)

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weenog

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #20 on: January 15, 2011, 06:08:32 PM »
Quote
Yes, good and evil is not absolute, but the value of life is.

This is just wrong. I personally hold no value to the lives of others unless they positively influence my own, it is a selfish philosiphy but one that i think more people have than would like to admit it.

I admit to it.  George Carlin had an amusing routine about the sanctity of life, but rather than rely on humour (witty and insightful though his was), I'm more interested in what a white shark thinks about the value of life, or what malaria has to say on the subject.  What about a bear that isn't particularly hungry, but thinks you're too near its young and isn't taking chances?  You know, things that don't invent moral problems to worry about.  That's not even getting into unliving phenomena like avalanches, riptides, drought and so forth.
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Gods_Trick

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2011, 06:09:29 PM »
[quote author=SpoCk0nd0pe

Yes, good and evil is not absolute, but the value of life is. Every culture I know thinks killing someone is basically a bad thing, this knowledge is within our very nature. Everyone deliberately and willingly violating this has a reason to do so (or is insane), some are selfish and others are self-righteous, it does not make the thing any better though.
This is a good thing to keep in mind if creating non-monster villains for your campaign btw :)


[/quote]

Eh? Do you have anything to back that up other than your opinion? Now, you a perfectly right to have an opinion, and to state it, but its not an argument, aka it doesn't convince anyone.

Lets just say theres a subset of people that I feel deserve of death, (and I find it a pity that dueling is no longer legal today). I may fall under self-righteous or insane category and one day act on this feeling; its up to legal system and public opinion of the plurality I live in that'll ultimately decide if I'm guilty. You may say any society will find me guilty, but what if state official executioner? Does the fact its legal make it morally right?

In addition to the death penalty one, lets add another, death and violence on TV. It certainly doesn't seem like life is sacred. Now the common comeback is its fantasy ... ohh, like D&D? We generally kill folk in D&D. Dudes talking about the morality of D&D characters whos basic lifestyle is paean to violence and brigandry, so real world opinions really apply here.

SpoCk0nd0pe

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2011, 12:28:27 AM »
Quote
Yes, good and evil is not absolute, but the value of life is.

This is just wrong. I personally hold no value to the lives of others unless they positively influence my own, it is a selfish philosiphy but one that i think more people have than would like to admit it.

By saying that the value of life is absolute you are saying that a prostitue that you have never met in the middle of africa is worth just as much as your loved ones. The value of life is strictly subjective.
It was meant in an abstract way, regarding cultures, not individuals. To not be allowed to randomly kill anyone you want is the most basic rule of any social structure I know.


Yes, good and evil is not absolute, but the value of life is. Every culture I know thinks killing someone is basically a bad thing, this knowledge is within our very nature. Everyone deliberately and willingly violating this has a reason to do so (or is insane), some are selfish and others are self-righteous, it does not make the thing any better though.
This is a good thing to keep in mind if creating non-monster villains for your campaign btw :)



Eh? Do you have anything to back that up other than your opinion? Now, you a perfectly right to have an opinion, and to state it, but its not an argument, aka it doesn't convince anyone.

Lets just say theres a subset of people that I feel deserve of death, (and I find it a pity that dueling is no longer legal today). I may fall under self-righteous or insane category and one day act on this feeling; its up to legal system and public opinion of the plurality I live in that'll ultimately decide if I'm guilty. You may say any society will find me guilty, but what if state official executioner? Does the fact its legal make it morally right?

In addition to the death penalty one, lets add another, death and violence on TV. It certainly doesn't seem like life is sacred. Now the common comeback is its fantasy ... ohh, like D&D? We generally kill folk in D&D. Dudes talking about the morality of D&D characters whos basic lifestyle is paean to violence and brigandry, so real world opinions really apply here.
Maybe I thought the basic definition of good to be "do not do to others what you do not wish to be done to yourself" as given. I think it is a perfectly logical deduction from oneself (to start with, there are many more components to it, but they would fill an essay), you know how it feels when others hurt you, so don't hurt others.

I prefer to try to use real world morals in role playing games. In my experience it helped with the illusion (by being more cautious on when to pick a fight, diving deeper into the situation at hand).

Gods_Trick

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2011, 10:14:16 AM »

Read Leviathan good sir. The Golden Mean is a very Christian concept, and thus not very old. Humans build morality incrementally, and its a product of education. Not quite 200 years ago treating a human as a commdoity because they were of a different colour was morally acceptable.

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veekie

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2011, 12:06:20 PM »
Quote
It was meant in an abstract way, regarding cultures, not individuals. To not be allowed to randomly kill anyone you want is the most basic rule of any social structure I know.
Honor killing is far from random and culturally enforced in many parts of the world, even today.
To a samurai, it is right to punish someone besmirching his honor, and given that honor can be placed above life, they naturally project their values onto everyone else(who doesn't?). Someone without honor is better off dead and it is Right by most of their moral standards(Honor offended equivalent physical injury, Social status placed above peasant as peasant is above animal, and on the practical level, retaining the fear and awe that keeps the ruling lord where he is(you'd find this is the key to all the old school rulers really, to retain power over the people, you have to wield the power)).

Remember, a (theoretical) samurai would totally not mind being killed for violating honor, especially if he hasn't got the guts to finish it himself for a greater offense.
A realistic samurai has to value his power and authority above the lives of others, or he'd be unable to retain said power and authority in a world where others can.
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EjoThims

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #25 on: January 16, 2011, 03:26:59 PM »
I still say that, within DnD terms, right and wrong are subjective, but good and evil are not.

The right thing to do in a situation for a given society can still be an act of evil, and often an act of good is actually illegal.

Gods_Trick

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #26 on: January 16, 2011, 03:47:04 PM »
I still say that, within DnD terms, right and wrong are subjective, but good and evil are not.

The right thing to do in a situation for a given society can still be an act of evil, and often an act of good is actually illegal.

I'm not disagreeing, I'm following that up with another question. Can you be raised in an evil society, so you think your Evil actions are Good? Essentially, is there cultural relativism in D&D?

EjoThims

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #27 on: January 17, 2011, 02:55:00 AM »
I still say that, within DnD terms, right and wrong are subjective, but good and evil are not.

The right thing to do in a situation for a given society can still be an act of evil, and often an act of good is actually illegal.

I'm not disagreeing, I'm following that up with another question. Can you be raised in an evil society, so you think your Evil actions are Good? Essentially, is there cultural relativism in D&D?

Yes, but also an absolute. You may think you are doing good, and actually even be doing what is right culturally right, but still committing an evil act. Like an elf slaughtering an orc's children.

veekie

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #28 on: January 17, 2011, 10:07:41 AM »
^^
To be precise, people will call you what they will, but a Holy Smite tells the truth.
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
[/spoiler]

There is no higher price than 'free'.

"I won't die. I've been ordered not to die."

Gods_Trick

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #29 on: January 17, 2011, 10:59:24 AM »
^^
To be precise, people will call you what they will, but a Holy Smite tells the truth.

Except Holy is a label. As far as you know, Holy means Evil in your language and targets good alignment. Both parties walk away (or don't) still thinking they're Good and the other Evil.

veekie

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #30 on: January 17, 2011, 12:48:50 PM »
Yes, that works. Basically, MECHANICAL good, and the same force that angels and paladins work for, is a fixed thing. Cultural Right can be dramatically or subtlely different.
That said, alignments in D&D are somewhat different from what you'd expect, as they'd need to fit in the game's premise, killing bad guys and taking their stuff.

Dealing with enemies:
Lesser Good - Kill the bad guys.
Greater Good - Redeem the bad guys.
Lesser Evil - Kill without reason.
Greater Evil - Torment your victims such that they turn to evil to end their torment, and then you keep on going.
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
[/spoiler]

There is no higher price than 'free'.

"I won't die. I've been ordered not to die."

skydragonknight

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #31 on: January 17, 2011, 01:37:24 PM »
A man has a bomb detonator in a room with a dozen people. He hasn't spotted you and you have a clear shot to take him out with your rifle. Anything less than a kill shot and he presses the button. You know you can take him out. You also know that his demands for money will not be met and that the only outcome is violence.

Do you take the shot and become a murderer or do you sit idly by and risk the lives of a dozen innocents just because you refuse to dirty your hands?

It's not about right or wrong...it's about making the best choice you can at the time. Being a 'hero' means being willing to dirty your hands so that others need not suffer. Sometimes it is necessary to do wrong in order to do more right.
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Gods_Trick

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #32 on: January 17, 2011, 04:40:30 PM »

It's not about right or wrong...it's about making the best choice you can at the time. Being a 'hero' means being willing to dirty your hands so that others need not suffer. Sometimes it is necessary to do wrong in order to do more right.

Amen brother.

veekie

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #33 on: January 17, 2011, 05:56:40 PM »

It's not about right or wrong...it's about making the best choice you can at the time. Being a 'hero' means being willing to dirty your hands so that others need not suffer. Sometimes it is necessary to do wrong in order to do more right.

Amen brother.
Yep.
Thats one thing people tend to get wrong about paladins. They are not perfectly awesome good people(and don't need to remain so for their powers). They just try harder.
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
[/spoiler]

There is no higher price than 'free'.

"I won't die. I've been ordered not to die."

BrokeAndDrive

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #34 on: January 18, 2011, 05:37:55 AM »
Delete this shit please, I FUCKING HATE IT when I type a huge reply for the past twenty minutes and it ALL FUCKING DISAPPEARS because I was hitting Backspace and my FUCKING BROWSER decides that meant I wanted to go back a page! :shakefist :banghead
« Last Edit: January 18, 2011, 05:41:13 AM by BrokeAndDrive »
Random quotes:[spoiler]I think Roy's coinages are shitty and dumb, but Failroy has to take the cake for the dumbest new compound word of the year
~

That was kind of the point. I was trying to be a Roy parody, but I guess it didn't come across overly well.

==

JaronK is of course most famous for his massive thought experiments into placing classes into tiers. While a kind of nifty idea, and a decent enough way to think about stuff, his particular tier assignments were basically insane. Apparently the criteria he used was to assign classes relative strength based on what bullshit he personally would let them get away with at 20th level.

So Factotums were rated very highly, because apparently he would let them use Rokugan-exclusive skills with Forgotten Realms-exclusive weapons from the back of MM2 templated warbeasts. But Rogues suck donkey dick, becuase he wouldn't let them use Use Magic Device to read scrolls of Planar Binding. It was a very surreal argument.
~

And to think the system was immortalized in OOTS. As a general rule, I try to avoid all tier discussion there because it's the De Facto system at BG, and I'm not going to change anyone's mind.

Besides, I think if most people are pressed, they will admit that it's just an estimate, anyway, and that results can vary from table to table.
~

My only real complaint with the tier system is that at one point I was tired (tiered?) of hearing about it.[/spoiler]

weenog

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #35 on: January 18, 2011, 09:44:28 PM »
Delete this shit please, I FUCKING HATE IT when I type a huge reply for the past twenty minutes and it ALL FUCKING DISAPPEARS because I was hitting Backspace and my FUCKING BROWSER decides that meant I wanted to go back a page! :shakefist :banghead
In the future, if you're typing something absurdly long, type it up in notepad or kate or something, then copy and paste it over.  Then if you or your browser fuck up when you try to post, you don't lose your work as easily.
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Kuroimaken

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #36 on: February 09, 2011, 11:30:23 PM »
Quote
It was meant in an abstract way, regarding cultures, not individuals. To not be allowed to randomly kill anyone you want is the most basic rule of any social structure I know.
Honor killing is far from random and culturally enforced in many parts of the world, even today.
To a samurai, it is right to punish someone besmirching his honor, and given that honor can be placed above life, they naturally project their values onto everyone else(who doesn't?). Someone without honor is better off dead and it is Right by most of their moral standards(Honor offended equivalent physical injury, Social status placed above peasant as peasant is above animal, and on the practical level, retaining the fear and awe that keeps the ruling lord where he is(you'd find this is the key to all the old school rulers really, to retain power over the people, you have to wield the power)).

Remember, a (theoretical) samurai would totally not mind being killed for violating honor, especially if he hasn't got the guts to finish it himself for a greater offense.
A realistic samurai has to value his power and authority above the lives of others, or he'd be unable to retain said power and authority in a world where others can.

Actually, people tend to forget that Bushido as a code is incredibly strict and at times self-contradicting. In your example, an offense onto another samurai's honor would be met with a duel. However, said duel would need to be consented to by the respective lords of both samurai, and one would NOT be allowed to challenge the other without his lord's express permission. That said, the outcome of such a duel would also be willingly accepted by both parties as a just solution to the issue at hand, and no regrets are supposed to arise from the resolution itself. Quite rational when you stop to think about it, although some things can get to the realm of silliness (for example, it was considered poor form to pour sake with one hand to anyone but yourself, as that is the way traditionally employed to serve it in a funerary service; so if you served a lord with one hand, you'd be equating him to a corpse, meaning you either wish he were dead or he will be in relatively short time. Naturally, as people got drunker and drunker, decorum would be likely to fall and observance to such etiquette was likely to plummet - though most of the time they probably wouldn't care).

Let's also not forget that the Bushido itself is a creation of later eras - at the beginning of their existence the samurai class was little more than a bunch of glorified barbarians. Heck, they had manuals describing the best way to sever heads so they would be easily recognizable upon return to camp for promotions.

All that said...

Cultural relativism MAY exist in D&D, but mechanically speaking, it doesn't.

In D&D, killing someone evil regardless of actions/etc. is a good act.
Killing someone good/neutral regardless of actions/etc. is an evil act.

Therefore the dread overlord Peckerus, who feeds on baby devils for breakfast and murders demons to the exclusion of everything else is mechanically good, even if he does so for no other reason than hatred or not wanting competition. Conversely, Dick the Champion of Kobolds, whom only murders paladins of a certain holy order dedicated to the extermination of pests in the world, and even so only when they are to kill a kobold, or in self-defense, is mechanically evil.

The potential for gray area morals in D&D certainly exists, but it has to be detached from the mechanics entirely, unless you want to rework the mechanics from the ground up.
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The_Mad_Linguist

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #37 on: February 10, 2011, 05:29:08 AM »
Conversely, Dick the Champion of Kobolds, whom only murders paladins of a certain holy order dedicated to the extermination of pests in the world, and even so only when they are to kill a kobold, or in self-defense, is mechanically evil.
I'd disagree with that.  Unlike rangers, paladins are not powered by racism.
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Kuroimaken

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #38 on: February 10, 2011, 06:10:47 AM »
Conversely, Dick the Champion of Kobolds, whom only murders paladins of a certain holy order dedicated to the extermination of pests in the world, and even so only when they are to kill a kobold, or in self-defense, is mechanically evil.
I'd disagree with that.  Unlike rangers, paladins are not powered by racism.
Paladins use Smite Evil.
Orcs are usually evil.
Smite Evil works on orcs, therefore Smite Evil is racist.
Paladins use Smite Evil as a power, therefore they are powered by racism.

Not the precise point, however. What I DID want to point out is that Dick the Champion of Kobolds is mechanically evil when he kills a vanilla Paladin (i.e. a Lawful Good Paladin) regardless of his reasons for doing so, even if the Paladin himself was about to commit an evil act (such as raping a kobold), because he killed a Good creature.
Gendou Ikari is basically Gregory House in Kaminashades. This is FACT.

For proof, look here:

http://www.layoutjelly.com/image_27/gendo_ikari/

[SPOILER]
Which Final Fantasy Character Are You?
Final Fantasy 7
My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Brother Katana of Enlightenment.
Get yours.[/SPOILER]

I HAVE BROKEN THE 69 INTERNETS BARRIER!


The_Mad_Linguist

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #39 on: February 10, 2011, 06:35:29 AM »
Conversely, Dick the Champion of Kobolds, whom only murders paladins of a certain holy order dedicated to the extermination of pests in the world, and even so only when they are to kill a kobold, or in self-defense, is mechanically evil.
I'd disagree with that.  Unlike rangers, paladins are not powered by racism.
Paladins use Smite Evil.
Orcs are usually evil.
Smite Evil works on orcs, therefore Smite Evil is racist.
Paladins use Smite Evil as a power, therefore they are powered by racism.

Not the precise point, however. What I DID want to point out is that Dick the Champion of Kobolds is mechanically evil when he kills a vanilla Paladin (i.e. a Lawful Good Paladin) regardless of his reasons for doing so, even if the Paladin himself was about to commit an evil act (such as raping a kobold), because he killed a Good creature.

If the vanilla paladin is trying to rape a kobold, he's going to fall so fast his ass'll doppler-shift.
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