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  1. - Top - End - #241
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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I took the dwarf calling the prisoner his to mean that, as a member of the capturing party, they were all morally responsible for the ogre’s treatment. Thus the paladin’s actions didn't just affect the ogre and the paladin, but also stained the dwarves conscience / honor / soul etc.
    Given that he followed up with killing an innocent animal, i find that a pretty hard sell.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

  2. - Top - End - #242
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I took the dwarf calling the prisoner his to mean that, as a member of the capturing party, they were all morally responsible for the ogre’s treatment. Thus the paladin’s actions didn't just affect the ogre and the paladin, but also stained the dwarves conscience / honor / soul etc.
    Well, here's a small point that I think a lot of you have overlooked.

    The party was torturing the Ogre. Whose idea was it to torture the ogre? Since the Dwarf referred to the ogre has "his" prisoner, we can infer that the Dwarf was the one doing the torturing. Is the Dwarf going assume moral responsibility for someone he just tortured? Doubtful.

    My take: The Dwarf player was enjoying his little role play session about torturing someone, and then the Paladin player suddenly ended his torture fantasy before he was finished. The Dwarf Player then lashed out at the Paladin player in a fit of anger, but since he was probably well aware that the Paladin (both character and player) would most likely kick the Dwarfs (both character and player) ass, he attacked his horse and then tried to morally justify his attack.

    This is bratty behavior at best, and borderline psychotic at worst.
    Last edited by Mutazoia; 2020-09-14 at 11:16 PM.
    "Sleeping late might not be a virtue, but it sure aint no vice. The old saw about the early bird and the worm just goes to show that the worm should have stayed in bed."

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  3. - Top - End - #243
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    Well, here's a small point that I think a lot of you have overlooked.

    The party was torturing the Ogre. Whose idea was it to torture the ogre? Since the Dwarf referred to the ogre has "his" prisoner, we can infer that the Dwarf was the one doing the torturing. Is the Dwarf going assume moral responsibility for someone he just tortured? Doubtful.

    My take: The Dwarf player was enjoying his little role play session about torturing someone, and then the Paladin player suddenly ended his torture fantasy before he was finished. The Dwarf Player then lashed out at the Paladin player in a fit of anger, but since he was probably well aware that the Paladin (both character and player) would most likely kick the Dwarfs (both character and player) ass, he attacked his horse and then tried to morally justify his attack.

    This is bratty behavior at best, and borderline psychotic at worst.
    My take:
    That assumption is unneeded as mostly irrelevant to answering how to handle & prevent these conflicts. The Paladin was going to take unilateral action that affects both the Dwarf and the Paladin. The Dwarf's Player objected. At that moment you have a disagreement between the Dwarf's Player and the Paladin's Player where both players have a stake. No other assumptions are needed. Take that moment as the opportunity to discuss the OOC disagreement OOC.

    All these irrelevant details do is disguise and distract from the actual situation. The actual situation is multiple players have a small OOC disagreement that can be addressed OOC while it is small. So do so.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2020-09-14 at 11:43 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #244
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia
    For that matter, people seem to be placing a lot of real world ideologies into a high fantasy game about killing monsters in a pseudo-medieval world.
    Placing real world ideologies into a game is not the problem; it's fine to put any ideology in a game. The problem is either inability or unwillingness to accept that the ideology holding true in a game world doesn't need to be the one you adhere to in real life.
    Last edited by Vahnavoi; 2020-09-15 at 02:28 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #245
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    All these irrelevant details do is disguise and distract from the actual situation. The actual situation is multiple players have a small OOC disagreement that can be addressed OOC while it is small. So do so.
    Screw that! They should have rolled initiative and hashed it out on a grid of 5 foot squares. It's the only way to be sure who's right in D&D...

  6. - Top - End - #246
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by HappyDaze View Post
    Screw that! They should have rolled initiative and hashed it out on a grid of 5 foot squares. It's the only way to be sure who's right in D&D...
    Why stop there?

    Adopt the Burning Wheel Duel of Wits for disagreements and make a game out of it!

    Could work for OOC too, just make sure to get players' CVs to make sure they don't cheat with their lifepaths.
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  7. - Top - End - #247
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Heck the first Ice Wind Dale stores is exactly this scenario using humans.
    And Bruenor is willing to fight an Icewind Dale soldier to stop them from murdering one of the few survivors, prisoners, (one that Bruenor has knocked unconscious early in the battle), in exactly that story. After Bruenor threatens the soldier with violence, they back down.

    So that doesn't support the "it's OK to kill prisoners" narrative.

    Conversely, later in that same novel, Bruenor is willing to torture a different captured prisoner for information - but since the prisoner is under a charm spell, and torture doesn't work well on charmed enemies, Drizzt convinces him that Regis and his own magic charm pendant, is a better option.

    So, here we have a dwarf who is both willing to torture prisoners, and willing to fight "good guys" to prevent a prisoner from being murdered.


    Maybe this dwarf, is a Bruenor expy?
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2020-09-15 at 06:28 AM.
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  8. - Top - End - #248
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    So... In my opinion we don't really have enough info to know if there even is a problem player. This whole situation could work very nicely with the PCs being angry and frustrated at each other while the players are having a blast.

    So, without an OoC view on the matter I can't say who is out of line here.
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  9. - Top - End - #249
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Placing real world ideologies into a game is not the problem; it's fine to put any ideology in a game. The problem is either inability or unwillingness to accept that the ideology holding true in a game world doesn't need to be the one you adhere to in real life.
    Kind of hard to apply real-world ideologies to a creature that never existed in the real world in the first place lol
    "Sleeping late might not be a virtue, but it sure aint no vice. The old saw about the early bird and the worm just goes to show that the worm should have stayed in bed."

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  10. - Top - End - #250
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    Kind of hard to apply real-world ideologies to a creature that never existed in the real world in the first place lol
    Not according to The Giant, at least:


    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    I CARE. I care, and every goddamn person in the world should care, because it's objectification of a sentient being. It doesn't matter that the sentient being in question is a fictional species, it's saying that it's OK for people who look funny to be labeled as Evil by default, because hey, like 60% of them do Evil things sometimes! That is racism. It is a short hop to real-world racism once we decide it is acceptable to make blanket negative statements about entire races of people.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    The idea of racism does not need to directly correlate to an existing real-world race in order to still be racist. All that is required is that you evaluate a person based on your preconceptions about others of the same biological group rather than on their own merits.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    I am not truly concerned with whether the people living in the fantasy world are or are not racist, because they do not exist. I am concerned with whether we, in the world of relative comfort, can identify whether or not they are being racist.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Forikroder View Post
    there is a gap between dehumanizing pixels or some thing that literally only exists in my mind and dehumanizing actual humans that is so large you could fit 5 universes in there and have room for a tiki bar
    There is not even so much as a hair's breadth between them. One leads to the other in a continuous spectrum.

    People want to play racist characters? No problem.

    People want to play racist characters and keep telling themselves and everybody else that these characters are not racist? Problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post

    My take: The Dwarf player was enjoying his little role play session about torturing someone, and then the Paladin player suddenly ended his torture fantasy before he was finished. The Dwarf Player then lashed out at the Paladin player in a fit of anger, but since he was probably well aware that the Paladin (both character and player) would most likely kick the Dwarfs (both character and player) ass, he attacked his horse and then tried to morally justify his attack.
    Only assuming "best case for the Paladin" - described here by dancrilis, is completely true:


    Quote Originally Posted by dancrilis View Post
    Best case for the Paladin - they were unaware of the torture (player having the character be 'doing something else') and the Ogre had engaged in crimes that they knew about, and the Dwarf was going to drag out the execution for no reason and only got annoyed as the Paladin stopped their fun when the player had the character stop 'doing something else'.

    Best case for the Dwarf - the interrogation of the ogre was non-painful and merely to disorient the creature and the information was extracted via promises of safety and release and then when they were about to release the captive the paladin kills them from, killing of the horse and threat to the paladin was an act of rage and grief.

    I don't think either of the above is likely.
    I agree with dancrilis that "best case for the paladin" is unlikely. "Best case for the Dwarf" may be unlikely too though - with the truth about events, falling somewhere between these two cases.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2020-09-15 at 11:51 PM.
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  11. - Top - End - #251
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    Kind of hard to apply real-world ideologies to a creature that never existed in the real world in the first place lol
    Are you one of those people who think that since Aesop's fables have talking animals, and since talking animals don't exist, they can't teach you anything? Because you're starting to sound like one. Even hardcore real life organizations such as US armed forces use counter-factual scenarios like zombie plagues as thought exercises; that there are no zombies doesn't stop people from asking "what if zombies were real?" and giving intelligent answers. And beyond that, vast majority of popular fantastic creatures "that never existed in the real world" were invented by real world ideologies for specific symbolic and allegorical purposes. Saying "it's hard to apply real-world ideologies" to them is like saying you can't apply math to Klein bottles or hypercubes; that is, it's hard if you didn't pay attention in math class.
    Last edited by Vahnavoi; 2020-09-16 at 05:08 AM.

  12. - Top - End - #252
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Are you one of those people who think that since Aesop's fables have talking animals, and since talking animals don't exist, they can't teach you anything? Because you're starting to sound like one. Even hardcore real life organizations such as US armed forces use counter-factual scenarios like zombie plagues as thought exercises; that there are no zombies doesn't stop people from asking "what if zombies were real?" and giving intelligent answers. And beyond that, vast majority of popular fantastic creatures "that never existed in the real world" were invented by real world ideologies for specific symbolic and allegorical purposes. Saying "it's hard to apply real-world ideologies" to them is like saying you can't apply math to Klein bottles or hypercubes; that is, it's hard if you didn't pay attention in math class.
    Aesop's Fables used talking animals as a stand-in for humans. They were never actually intended to actually BE animals. And I could write a whole dissertation about why the military uses scenarios like zombie plagues as a method to further dehumanize potential targets. (It's easier to get a soldier to shoot someone who has been deamonized/dehumanized than it is get get a soldier to shoot a regular person, for example.) Klein bottles and hypercubes are pure math theory. But nobody is trying to justify a klein bottle going out into the world and get a job (or attack a group of adventurers) and then suddenly having a change of heart when it get's beaten.

    We've already more or less solved the original question put forth by the OP. At this point we're all just farting around discussing moral standards in a fantasy setting vs real world applications. People have put forth the theory that an Ogre would suddenly alter it's nature after that encounter and...I don't know...go get a job at the Quicky-E-Mart? Because that's what a real world human might do? Not buying it. A feral dog won't get domesticated if you smack it's nose with a news paper.
    Last edited by Mutazoia; 2020-09-16 at 09:54 AM.
    "Sleeping late might not be a virtue, but it sure aint no vice. The old saw about the early bird and the worm just goes to show that the worm should have stayed in bed."

    - L. Long

    I think, therefore I get really, really annoyed at people who won't.

  13. - Top - End - #253
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    Aesop's Fables used talking animals as a stand-in for humans. They were never actually intended to actually BE animals. And I could write a whole dissertation about why the military uses scenarios like zombie plagues as a method to further dehumanize potential targets. (It's easier to get a soldier to shoot someone who has been deamonized/dehumanized than it is get get a soldier to shoot a regular person, for example.)
    This is all correct, and also sort of shoots your initial point in the foot, because everything you've said about talking animals and zombies applies to demihumans.

    They're stand-ins for humans, designed to be broad so that you can make assumptions about them in the same way that the animals in Aesop's fables are broad so that you can make assumptions about them. The "monstrous" ones are designed to be just slightly dehumanized because it's easier to get your party to stab a character they don't have any empathy towards. If you think of an ogre as a "feral dog" rather than as a sentient being with rights and thoughts, you don't worry about why local tribes of them are upset about humans building keeps on their territory and you can go and have a nice day killing them.
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  14. - Top - End - #254
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Friv View Post
    applies to demihumans. They're stand-ins for humans,
    To be fair, sometimes they are stand-ins for non-human people. We need to shed the human centric morality eventually.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2020-09-16 at 01:00 PM.

  15. - Top - End - #255
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    To be fair, sometimes they are stand-ins for non-human people. We need to shed the human centric morality eventually.
    Run that one by me again? They're stand-ins for… aliens? AI? Kami / deities / angels / spirits? Animals that are recognized as self-aware? Am I anywhere close to the right ballpark?

  16. - Top - End - #256
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    Kobold

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Friv View Post
    This is all correct, and also sort of shoots your initial point in the foot, because everything you've said about talking animals and zombies applies to demihumans.

    They're stand-ins for humans, designed to be broad so that you can make assumptions about them in the same way that the animals in Aesop's fables are broad so that you can make assumptions about them. The "monstrous" ones are designed to be just slightly dehumanized because it's easier to get your party to stab a character they don't have any empathy towards. If you think of an ogre as a "feral dog" rather than as a sentient being with rights and thoughts, you don't worry about why local tribes of them are upset about humans building keeps on their territory and you can go and have a nice day killing them.
    Question:
    What is inherently bad about having the OPTION to have clear-cut good guys and bad guys based on the morality just... not being that complicated?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lorsa View Post
    I doubt you could find a less sensitive person on these boards than ImNotTrevor.

  17. - Top - End - #257
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Run that one by me again? They're stand-ins for… aliens? AI? Kami / deities / angels / spirits? Animals that are recognized as self-aware? Am I anywhere close to the right ballpark?
    Otherkin, 500 year old dragons?
    By the metric of being wholly dependent on the GM for noncombat interaction Fighter is an NPC class.

  18. - Top - End - #258
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by ImNotTrevor View Post
    Question:
    What is inherently bad about having the OPTION to have clear-cut good guys and bad guys based on the morality just... not being that complicated?
    Has anyone said that you do not have that option? It clearly exists, and a lot of people play that way.

    But there are certainly ways to have clear cut options that are not that complicated that do not require people to decide that every member of a particular species is inherently evil. The easiest way, IMO, is to have the good guys live by a moral code, while the bad guys exploit that code but don't live by it. So, things like torture, summary execution, theft, slaughter of non-combatants, and so on, would all be something that a good guy just doesn't do. The powers in the world (aka GM) can create a chivalric code or the like, lining out what a good person will and will not do.

    The other option, saying that all ogres are evil, is simply making teams to root for. Nothing wrong with that in your game, but there is something a bit squicky to me about then calling them good and evil sides. Let's say that there is a land where there are elves and ogres, and they have been at war since the dawn of time. In the beginning, both sides left each other alone and did their own thing. At some point, the elves decided that the ogres were evil, because they were ugly in the elves eyes, or because they used natural resources differently, or whatever. So the elves decided to drive the ogres away from their borders, and felt justified in doing so because they are the 'good guys'. The ogres get upset about this, see themselves as wronged and therefore the elves are the 'bad guys', and they attack back.

    Back and forth, elves attacking ogres, ogres attacking elves, killing for thousands of years, all because one side decided they were good and the other bad.And when other species come along, they look at the two, decide which one they like more, and immediately default to their enemies being the 'bad guys'. It's simple, sure, but it's not a world where there are clear cut good and bad guys, it's a world where there are clearly sides, and both sides think they are the good guys. And that could be a fun game to play! I would find it interesting to have a party form, perhaps from outsiders to the land who have no idea why either side is considered good or bad, or perhaps a party that has some members from both sides and they have to work together and see each sides perspective. And the PCs could absolutely be good, bad, or just on a team, in such a case. But it is hardly an uncomplicated good vs evil tale - it would only seem so if everyone is willingly ignoring the implications of the system.

    I just had a session on Sunday, and I think I made a couple of the players consider what they had really done. They had found a kobold cave before, but due to circumstances they had to abandon the cave for a while. Sunday, they got back to it. They found the camp where they were living, and when they were spotted, the women and children started to flee while the warriors set up a defensive line to give them time. The players hesitated at first, until one player unleashed his animal companion on them, and the fight was on. In the end, the non-combatants got away, as did most of the fighters. They captured the kobold sorcerer, and killed six regular kobolds. When they questioned the kobold sorcerer, he accused them of invading their home and killing innocent people - they had demonstrably never attacked anyone in town, as they had lived in the cave for decades without anyone in the nearby town even knowing. In the end, they let the kobold go, and I am certain that they would not attack a kobold camp without attempting to talk in the future. It wasn't complicated - the kobolds did not initiate combat, but was concerned with saving the women and children and then escaping. They would not have attacked if they hadn't been attacked. I even made it clear to the group what they knew about kobolds, and while they had all heard stories about the creatures attacking settlements, they had never had first hand experience, or even reliable second hand experience, of kobolds doing anything. In the end, I think they have changed their expectations a bit, to reacting to what various creatures actually do rather than what any given manual says they are. I believe that this is the way D&D as a whole is going, as well - I thought I read recently that they were eliminating alignments for sapient creatures.

  19. - Top - End - #259
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    Kobold

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Credence View Post
    Has anyone said that you do not have that option? It clearly exists, and a lot of people play that way.
    I didn't ask why we don't have that option. I asked why having it is bad.

    But there are certainly ways to have clear cut options that are not that complicated that do not require people to decide that every member of a particular species is inherently evil.
    Sure. What's bad about doing that option in particular, though?

    Because a lot of people seem to be indirectly insinuating that a campaign where we're shorthanding that Ogres are just Evil and we're not gonna worry about it beyond that is some vague indicator of lesser morals.

    The other option, saying that all ogres are evil, is simply making teams to root for. Nothing wrong with that in your game, but there is something a bit squicky to me about then calling them good and evil sides.
    Why?

    Let's say that there is a land where there are elves and ogres, and they have been at war since the dawn of time. In the beginning, both sides left each other alone and did their own thing. At some point, the elves decided that the ogres were evil, because they were ugly in the elves eyes, or because they used natural resources differently, or whatever.
    So we have to insert gray morality to be OK.

    Why?

    So the elves decided to drive the ogres away from their borders, and felt justified in doing so because they are the 'good guys'. The ogres get upset about this, see themselves as wronged and therefore the elves are the 'bad guys', and they attack back.

    Back and forth, elves attacking ogres, ogres attacking elves, killing for thousands of years, all because one side decided they were good and the other bad.And when other species come along, they look at the two, decide which one they like more, and immediately default to their enemies being the 'bad guys'. It's simple, sure, but it's not a world where there are clear cut good and bad guys, it's a world where there are clearly sides, and both sides think they are the good guys. And that could be a fun game to play!
    I've played in games like that. They can be fun, yes.
    What's bad about *not* doing that?

    I would find it interesting to have a party form, perhaps from outsiders to the land who have no idea why either side is considered good or bad, or perhaps a party that has some members from both sides and they have to work together and see each sides perspective. And the PCs could absolutely be good, bad, or just on a team, in such a case. But it is hardly an uncomplicated good vs evil tale - it would only seem so if everyone is willingly ignoring the implications of the system.

    I just had a session on Sunday, and I think I made a couple of the players consider what they had really done. They had found a kobold cave before, but due to circumstances they had to abandon the cave for a while. Sunday, they got back to it. They found the camp where they were living, and when they were spotted, the women and children started to flee while the warriors set up a defensive line to give them time. The players hesitated at first, until one player unleashed his animal companion on them, and the fight was on. In the end, the non-combatants got away, as did most of the fighters. They captured the kobold sorcerer, and killed six regular kobolds. When they questioned the kobold sorcerer, he accused them of invading their home and killing innocent people - they had demonstrably never attacked anyone in town, as they had lived in the cave for decades without anyone in the nearby town even knowing. In the end, they let the kobold go, and I am certain that they would not attack a kobold camp without attempting to talk in the future. It wasn't complicated - the kobolds did not initiate combat, but was concerned with saving the women and children and then escaping. They would not have attacked if they hadn't been attacked. I even made it clear to the group what they knew about kobolds, and while they had all heard stories about the creatures attacking settlements, they had never had first hand experience, or even reliable second hand experience, of kobolds doing anything. In the end, I think they have changed their expectations a bit, to reacting to what various creatures actually do rather than what any given manual says they are. I believe that this is the way D&D as a whole is going, as well - I thought I read recently that they were eliminating alignments for sapient creatures.
    So you have fun with the gray morality thing. I also do, most of the time. But having a simple game of "look, here's some monsters, let's have pretend sword fights with them while we crack wise and eat cheetos," can also be fun. Where we know the ogre is evil because, in the wise words of The Hulk, "Big monster!" And that's pretty much it. It's not that serious.

    My question is:
    Why is that bad and indicative of a personal moral failing on the part of the players?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lorsa View Post
    I doubt you could find a less sensitive person on these boards than ImNotTrevor.

  20. - Top - End - #260
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Both party members were wrong, at least in the sense that they were both committing evil actions.

    The paladin was wrong to allow another party member to torture a helpless prisoner (no one had a Charm spell or a good Intimidate check?) and then wrong again to unilaterally kill the same helpless prisoner. If I didn't have him fall from paladinhood outright I would certainly warn him that he had committed evil actions and was on his way to falling.

    The rogue might be excused from an alignment infraction for using a comparatively mild form of torture if he's not good aligned, but it was an evil act to go and kill the paladin's horse in retaliation for depriving him of a chance for further torture.

    How does a paladin deal with an ogre prisoner? There are a few options. He could turn him over to local authorities, he could extract an oath of good behavior that he thinks the monster may actually keep, he could stash him tied up somewhere (with food and water) that he can come back to later to deal with the ogre, or he could untie the ogre, give him his weapon back, and say "if you can kill me (or "us" if he's not feeling very cocky) you're free to go" and kill him in a fair fight.
    Last edited by Jason; 2020-09-16 at 04:23 PM.

  21. - Top - End - #261
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by ImNotTrevor View Post
    I didn't ask why we don't have that option. I asked why having it is bad.


    Sure. What's bad about doing that option in particular, though?

    Because a lot of people seem to be indirectly insinuating that a campaign where we're shorthanding that Ogres are just Evil and we're not gonna worry about it beyond that is some vague indicator of lesser morals.


    Why?


    So we have to insert gray morality to be OK.

    Why?



    I've played in games like that. They can be fun, yes.
    What's bad about *not* doing that?



    So you have fun with the gray morality thing. I also do, most of the time. But having a simple game of "look, here's some monsters, let's have pretend sword fights with them while we crack wise and eat cheetos," can also be fun. Where we know the ogre is evil because, in the wise words of The Hulk, "Big monster!" And that's pretty much it. It's not that serious.

    My question is:
    Why is that bad and indicative of a personal moral failing on the part of the players?
    Honestly, every 'why' you have here comes down to a discussion that is not allowed on the board. There is a reason that the good guys are beautiful, and the bad guys are ugly. There is a reason that in a situation where the elves were clearly the bad guys, it comes across as gray morality since elves are traditionally 'good'. But this is not the place for a detailed response getting into those issues.

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Credence View Post
    Honestly, every 'why' you have here comes down to a discussion that is not allowed on the board. There is a reason that the good guys are beautiful, and the bad guys are ugly. There is a reason that in a situation where the elves were clearly the bad guys, it comes across as gray morality since elves are traditionally 'good'. But this is not the place for a detailed response getting into those issues.
    I dont think I've ever seen a scenario written where elves were behaving like orcs traditionally do that portrayed them as anything other than solidly evil. Any work that took morality remotely seriously made it clear those elves or what have you were firmly in the wrong.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Complete Book Of Elves, back in 2e, both painted Elves as "in the right" and had them doing pretty horrible things.
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    I dont think I've ever seen a scenario written where elves were behaving like orcs traditionally do that portrayed them as anything other than solidly evil. Any work that took morality remotely seriously made it clear those elves or what have you were firmly in the wrong.
    The scenario I just posited was that the elves and ogres were leaving each other alone, then the elves decided to attack them and drive them off. To that, I was told it was gray morality. It wasn't - the elves were the bad guys. This was a direct response to the previous posts being quoted.

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Keep in mind that original D&D drew a lot of inspiration from Tolkien. In Tolkien, creatures like Trolls and Orcs were merely twisted mockeries of creatures like Ents and Elves. While Elves, for example, could choose to be evil, they had free will, and thus had access to a wide range of behaviors, from good, to selfish, to evil. Its not at all clear that Orcs had any choice, as they had been created by Morgoth to be evil reflections of Elves.

    The iteration of monsters that we saw in early D&D all have fixed alignments. Goblins, Orcs and Ogres are all Evil. They don't seem to have free will about their alignment: they are monsters, and that's that. Even the generic names imply a distinction: playable races (with implied free will and choice of morality) are Humans or Demihumans, whereas monsters are Humanoids. Early Paladins (and Rangers, for that matter) had to be Good. Killing an evil monster was not an inherently evil act. Torturing an evil monster definitely was debatable, more because deliberately inflicting suffering on a helpless being is seen, in most people's morality (I assume), as an inherently evil act, regardless of the nature of the target.

    More recent editions of the game have certainly muddied the waters. There are no longer any particular alignment restrictions: classes are just packages of skills and abilities. Picking a class is seen more as a step along the road to achieving a certain set of game mechanics advantages, and not so much establishing the character's entire background and ethos. Likewise, the popularity of 'reformed' monster race characters, like Drizzt and Deekin. established precedents for variable alignments. The very term Demihuman more or less got dropped, now most playable races are Humanoid.

    So, bringing this back to the scenario, who is in the wrong?

    I tend to think that the Dwarf was more in the wrong. Here's why:

    The Paladin slaying the tortured, but ultimately cooperative Ogre is certainly problematic. But how problematic depends on context. Is the Paladin Good? He might be Neutral. Does the Ogre have free will, or is it Evil by nature? If the Paladin perceives the Ogre as being irredeemably Evil, then killing it is the best choice under the circumstances. The party has a time constraint, they can't turn the Ogre over to the authorities, and if they just let it go, it is very likely to wind up committing more evil acts. I suppose that a rather pathetic middle ground would be tie it up and let Fate take over, but that's just ducking responsibility. I think the Paladin may have offended party mores by killing the Ogre without consultation, but really just saved several hours of useless yapping before the group as a whole would have to make the choice to kill it or release it. Which of those choices is really the best depends on whether, in this particular variation of D&D reality, the Ogre has free will or not. Being shown mercy might inspire it to change its ways if that is the case. We just don't have enough context. However, I will say that a Good Paladin should not have condoned torture in the first place, however valuable the potential information to be gained, and either killed it in honorable combat, offered swift merciful death, or simply let it go with a warning. If the party didn't agree with any of those options, the Paladin should probably quit the party and gone looking for more honorable companions (while the player reconsiders being part of that gaming group, and looks into rolling a more morally flexible character).

    The Dwarf apparently condoned the torture. That's not really a good sign to begin with, although we don't know whether the Dwarf intended to let the Ogre go as a reward for its cooperation or to murder it himself. Based on what the Dwarf apparently said, I really feel that he wasn't as angry about the Ogre's fate as he was about not being consulted before it was killed. More telling is how the Dwarf responded to the provocation: he killed a horse. Now, true, a Horse is an animal, not a sentient organism. We generally ascribe less moral onus to murdering animals than sentients, even in fantasy settings. However, Horses are neutral, innocent, and generally serve a useful purpose. They are also weaker and easier to kill than Ogres or Paladins. Murdering the Paladin's horse is a lot like slitting tires on someone's car, in a way (although worse). It's a cowardly act of destruction aimed at hurting someone you don't think you can take face-to-face. It was cruel to the horse, and it was a cowardly act because the Dwarf is effectively hiding behind the horse's status as an animal. "I killed your horse, but it's not a person, so you don't have grounds to kill me. Nyaa nyaa, neener neener!" It's just despicable. It also hurts the party, because it condemns the Paladin to not being able to be involved in whatever scenario the party was heading to next, and deprives the party of the Paladin's strength as an ally. The Dwarf's player has found a way of hurting both the party in-game, and the players out-of-game, and it's pretty disgusting.

    As a GM, I generally have a 'no torture' rule. I don't care to play games with people who want to act like outright villains. Morally gray I'm okay with, as long as it's thoughtful, but I prefer my gaming groups to be striving for heroism. I'd like to think that I wouldn't have let this situation get this far in the first place, but that may just be wishful thinking on my part. Certainly, if we did get this far, I would probably kick the Dwarf's player from the group and have a talk with the Paladin's player about respecting the play experience of the other players before making a rash roleplaying decision, even if it is in character. These are games, they are supposed to be fun for everyone, and not respecting other players' right to have fun is selfish behavior.

  26. - Top - End - #266
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Run that one by me again? They're stand-ins for… aliens? AI? Kami / deities / angels / spirits? Animals that are recognized as self-aware? Am I anywhere close to the right ballpark?
    Yes, that is the right topic and you mentioned some of the other members. They are sometimes stand-ins for "being with moral personhood that is not homo sapiens" rather than stand-ins for "fellow homo sapiens that feel like 'the other' ".

    Think of it as Morality 101 (other humans) and Morality 102 (other people). Of course the lessons also feedback and reinforce each other.

    Some demihumans I treat as "humans with hats" but others as "non human persons". Treatment should be the same, but it tests different intuitions.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2020-09-16 at 05:48 PM.

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by ImNotTrevor View Post
    Question:
    What is inherently bad about having the OPTION to have clear-cut good guys and bad guys based on the morality just... not being that complicated?
    The option of clear-cut good guys and bad guys is fine! I like a good game of clear-cut good guys and bad guys. An undead horde, murder-cult, or demonic invasion is a great time. An evil wizard's tower full of constructs and elemental horrors is a lot of fun. Fighting off dire animals and predatory dinosaurs is great. I even like a great "deal with the invading evil empire", although I'd rather have situations there where you can convert or shame Imperial individuals into defecting.

    Problems start when those clear-cut good guys and bad guys are determined by skin colour, especially when the clear-cut good guys use pseuo-European technology and culture and the bad guys have shamans, tribes, and raiders are are described as "primitive", "bestial", or by similar terms. I think we probably can't get into too deep of a discussion of that here because we're in danger of veering from philosophy into politics, but it normalizes a message that makes a lot of players feel unwelcome.

    And there are far more problems when your clear-cut good guys are allowed to do bad-guy things on the grounds that the bad guys are bad and thus not people. Stories of heroes involve being heroic. If your heroes are doing morally questionable things, you've introduced shades of grey, and while that's fine, having shades of grey while claiming that you're just doing morally upstanding things makes it sound a lot like you think those dark acts are actually morally upstanding as long as the target is One Of Them.

    I honestly think that the core of a lot of this has been that part. There are a lot of people in this thread who are uncomfortable with the expression of the idea that it's not evil to do evil to evil, and there are other people who have expressly said that they support that because some humans have forfeited their humanity. Those are not philosophical stances that can be reconciled, and they're both stances that are applying not just in-game, but in real life.
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  28. - Top - End - #268
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Credence View Post
    The scenario I just posited was that the elves and ogres were leaving each other alone, then the elves decided to attack them and drive them off. To that, I was told it was gray morality. It wasn't - the elves were the bad guys. This was a direct response to the previous posts being quoted.


    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Credence View Post
    Honestly, every 'why' you have here comes down to a discussion that is not allowed on the board. There is a reason that the good guys are beautiful, and the bad guys are ugly. There is a reason that in a situation where the elves were clearly the bad guys, it comes across as gray morality since elves are traditionally 'good'. But this is not the place for a detailed response getting into those issues.
    Apologies if my speaking.of "Gray Morality" seemed to belittle the obvious villainy of the elves.
    It was the phrasing that came to me, probably because it's the same general subversion of traditional fantasy expectations that I've become familiar with.


    Quote Originally Posted by Friv View Post
    The option of clear-cut good guys and bad guys is fine! I like a good game of clear-cut good guys and bad guys. An undead horde, murder-cult, or demonic invasion is a great time. An evil wizard's tower full of constructs and elemental horrors is a lot of fun. Fighting off dire animals and predatory dinosaurs is great. I even like a great "deal with the invading evil empire", although I'd rather have situations there where you can convert or shame Imperial individuals into defecting.

    Problems start when those clear-cut good guys and bad guys are determined by skin colour, especially when the clear-cut good guys use pseuo-European technology and culture and the bad guys have shamans, tribes, and raiders are are described as "primitive", "bestial", or by similar terms. I think we probably can't get into too deep of a discussion of that here because we're in danger of veering from philosophy into politics, but it normalizes a message that makes a lot of players feel unwelcome.
    So long as we're being honest about what the problem is, even if we've gotta dance around this mulberry bush.

    Just be aware of the accompanying accusation that comes with insisting that having ogres just be badguys is bad for this reason. It's not an accusation I'm willing to level lightly, and would be especially absurd of me given my play history.

    And there are far more problems when your clear-cut good guys are allowed to do bad-guy things on the grounds that the bad guys are bad and thus not people. Stories of heroes involve being heroic. If your heroes are doing morally questionable things, you've introduced shades of grey, and while that's fine, having shades of grey while claiming that you're just doing morally upstanding things makes it sound a lot like you think those dark acts are actually morally upstanding as long as the target is One Of Them.

    I honestly think that the core of a lot of this has been that part. There are a lot of people in this thread who are uncomfortable with the expression of the idea that it's not evil to do evil to evil, and there are other people who have expressly said that they support that because some humans have forfeited their humanity. Those are not philosophical stances that can be reconciled, and they're both stances that are applying not just in-game, but in real life.
    Indeed. Hence why I have thusfar preferred to look at this for the OOC problem that it is.

    I have not insisted that anyone else is stupid or wrong for their moral stances. I've worked in some lines of work which, by their nature, involve second-hand trauma. (You can only witness and hear about the trauma of others for so long before it affects you directly.) This is not a pity-party for me, mind. It's just facts of life. Having seen the depths of absolute horror that human beings are capable of inflicting on one another, on their own offspring, to protect themselves from punishment, etc....
    Yeah. Some people lose their humanity somewhere along the way. I refuse to give specifics because not only would many of my stories violate several rules here in the telling, but normal folks don't need to carry that weight. So I'll not hand it to you. Coming back around to my point, I know I'm cynical as hell and very brusque.

    I'm also pretty much fine with whatever people wanna do so long as it's not hurting anyone else. Playing your game a certain way that others find distasteful but everyone at your table is fine with it? Whatever. Even if I find it gross, dishonorable, or super sketchy, if everyone at that table is down, then I'm probably not going to say you're immoral, barring the obvious exceptions.

    Playing a game where, look, Ogres are just evil, ok? We've got a stat block, nobody cares, we're going into dungeons and killing stuff and we just need meat to thwack, we're really not worried about the morality of any of this, we're here for hijinks. I'm never going to insist these people are bad because someone decided ogres are ugly. Monsters generally aren't pleasant to look at by virtue of needing to be at least a bit scary, which puts a bit of a wrinkle in the "If they're evil AND ugly then it's suddenly political."

    I dunno about you, but I think Xenomorphs are pretty ugly, and I don't think there's much political messaging in that decision. (Not nearly so much as juxtaposition for the purpose of disturbing you, anyways.)

    Some of the criteria I get could be iffy, but getting histrionic about the monsters being unattracive is... a stretch, I think?

    In any case I've said my piece on where the conflict actually lies here, and I'm gonna leave it at that. Feel free to think of me as a bad person or morally lesser or whatever. I'm sure that's already the case, and I remembered that the opinions of randos on the internet have no bearing on my actual life or gaming, so... I can exit here.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lorsa View Post
    I doubt you could find a less sensitive person on these boards than ImNotTrevor.

  29. - Top - End - #269
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Friv View Post
    This is all correct, and also sort of shoots your initial point in the foot, because everything you've said about talking animals and zombies applies to demihumans.

    They're stand-ins for humans, designed to be broad so that you can make assumptions about them in the same way that the animals in Aesop's fables are broad so that you can make assumptions about them. The "monstrous" ones are designed to be just slightly dehumanized because it's easier to get your party to stab a character they don't have any empathy towards. If you think of an ogre as a "feral dog" rather than as a sentient being with rights and thoughts, you don't worry about why local tribes of them are upset about humans building keeps on their territory and you can go and have a nice day killing them.
    Not really shooting my point in the foot. The animals in Aesop's fables were humans but their descriptions was that of animals. They had human emotions, thoughts, and ideas...ones that any person reading the book could understand and relate to.

    An Ogre is a monster, described as a monster. It's emotions, thoughts and ideas are about as far from human as you can get without becoming totally alien. They kill because they are dumb, mean, and angry. They kill for fun. Stereotypically they eat other sentient races. Until Shrek rolled around, you would be hard-pressed to find a story about an ogre who car-pooled to his job at the bottling plant, was a member of the PTA and volunteered to read bedtime stories to orphaned kittens on the weekend.
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  30. - Top - End - #270
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    Aesop's Fables used talking animals as a stand-in for humans. They were never actually intended to actually BE animals.
    And what stops players from considering an ogre as a stand-in for human? Nothing. It doesn't matter if the ogre was "never actually intended" to be a stand-in for anything, it's still trivially easy to interprete it a such. Even when and where such interpretation is wrong.

    ---

    Quote Originally Posted by Friv View Post
    [Demihumans] are stand-ins for humans, designed to be broad so that you can make assumptions about them in the same way that the animals in Aesop's fables are broad so that you can make assumptions about them.
    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    To be fair, sometimes they are stand-ins for non-human people. We need to shed the human centric morality eventually.
    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Run that one by me again? They're stand-ins for… aliens? AI? Kami / deities / angels / spirits? Animals that are recognized as self-aware? Am I anywhere close to the right ballpark?
    They can be stand-ins for natural disasters, nation states, diseases, virtues, vices, ideologies or places. Even if you stay firmly footed in human-centric worldview, not all people-seeming things in fiction are stand-ins for people.
    Last edited by Vahnavoi; 2020-09-16 at 10:50 PM.

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