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    Canonfire :: View topic - Orc Stereotypes
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    Orc Stereotypes
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    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:55 pm  
    Orc Stereotypes

    So with the increasing popularity of Drizzt and the drow, people figured out how nonsensical it was to have a whole race that was wholly and completely EEEvil, so they added the goddess Eilestrae to allow for communities of good-aligned drow. And it starts me thinking, why hasn't this happened with orcs? Why do we see the absurdity in having an underground race that deep fries kittens for breakfast just because it's evil, and we swallow whole the idea of a surface dwelling race that does the exact same thing.

    Where is the depth and nuance in the orcish race? Anyone else looking to add some of this in their campaign? Anyone know of any canon resources that would support it?
    GreySage

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    Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:10 pm  

    Deepshadow, I agree with your premise and constructed a previous thread in the General Forum that somewhat addresses the whole typical stereotype regarding humanoids:

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=5351

    It doesn't directly pertain to the whole Good vs. Evil idea you are mentioning with humanoids, but it did get people to think about their ideas of humanoids. There's another one about orcs that I need to dig up and link for you, too, from an even older thread.

    (EDIT: found it!) Here it is:

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=5087

    There is also this, too, about the 'type' of orc people prefer, a Poll conducted by our very own "PollMaster" BaronZemo:

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=5189

    -Lanthorn


    Last edited by Lanthorn on Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:15 pm; edited 3 times in total
    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:11 pm  

    The entry on Montesser in Ivid the Undying is probably what you are looking for. It is an orcish community in the Ruins of Medegia (page 105) that has settled down to a pastoral life amidst the ruins, raising crops fishing, and keeping goats. They are lead by a priestess of Luthic, ("Cave Mother") and are essentially Lawful Neutral. They even conduct limited trade with the Sea Barons.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:38 pm  
    Re: Orc Stereotypes

    DeepShadow wrote:
    So with the increasing popularity of Drizzt and the drow, people figured out how nonsensical it was to have a whole race that was wholly and completely EEEvil, so they added the goddess Eilestrae to allow for communities of good-aligned drow. And it starts me thinking, why hasn't this happened with orcs? Why do we see the absurdity in having an underground race that deep fries kittens for breakfast just because it's evil, and we swallow whole the idea of a surface dwelling race that does the exact same thing.

    Where is the depth and nuance in the orcish race? Anyone else looking to add some of this in their campaign? Anyone know of any canon resources that would support it?

    The village of Montesser in Ivid is an above-ground, "civilized" community of orcs verging on LN lead by a matriarch of Luthic.

    A rebel orc demi- or hero-god might be fun, but Luthic covers the practicalities of healing and fertility well enough that orcs don't need additional, non-evil deities to justify the nurturing aspects of the race.

    Finally, nothing in GH mandates that all orcs are evil. The Flanaess is fairly cosmopolitan. Until recently, non-evil humans and orcs were living side-by-side in the Wild Coast and many still live in the Free Cities. Quij lived in Greyhawk. A hill giant owns an inn. Heck, half-breeds are a player character race in 1E and 2E canon. Greyhawk orcs have plenty of diversity.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:50 pm  

    tarelton wrote:
    The entry on Montesser in Ivid the Undying is probably what you are looking for. It is an orcish community in the Ruins of Medegia (page 105) that has settled down to a pastoral life amidst the ruins, raising crops fishing, and keeping goats. They are lead by a priestess of Luthic, ("Cave Mother") and are essentially Lawful Neutral. They even conduct limited trade with the Sea Barons.


    I agree that this is a lot of what I'm looking for. IMC I'm going to have this religion spreading out a lot more, working kinda underground among other orcish communities. The Cave Mother's faith IMC will basically be the voices of sanity that no one wants to listen to, but they are getting a few followers in many communities as many orcs are seeing the futility of their hyper-warlike lifestyle.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:01 pm  
    Re: Orc Stereotypes

    vestcoat wrote:
    Finally, nothing in GH mandates that all orcs are evil. The Flanaess is fairly cosmopolitan. Until recently, non-evil humans and orcs were living side-by-side in the Wild Coast and many still live in the Free Cities. Quij lived in Greyhawk. A hill giant owns an inn. Heck, half-breeds are a player character race in 1E and 2E canon. Greyhawk orcs have plenty of diversity.


    I think this is the other element I needed: showing it to my players. At some point this diversity got lost along the way, and while they are all very thoughtful people, they speak of orcs far too monolithically.

    They are moving up the Wild Coast soon; I think I'm going to arrange an encounter with the ghost of an orcish missionary of Luthic who was killed on the Night of Terror in Narwell. Laying his bones to rest will give me a chance to drive home that orcs are not just little bags of XP.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:02 pm  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    Deepshadow, I agree with your premise and constructed a previous thread in the General Forum that somewhat addresses the whole typical stereotype regarding humanoids:


    Thanks for all of these! I'll be checking them out.
    GreySage

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    Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:03 pm  

    The problem I have with the possibility of good-aligned orcs is simply one of game play. In my youth, as soon as my friends and I encountered the first good-aligned orc (or, maybe, it was a goblin), we had a seemingly unresolvable ethical quandary. If one orc could be good, we had no right to slaughter every orc we encountered out of hand. As we began trying to play that way, our PCs got killed constantly as they tried to parlay with every humanoid they encountered before engaging in battle to ascertain with certainty whether the humanoid was a true threat to humanity.

    We had to extend that same question to chromatic dragons, beholders, fire giants, kuo toa, mind flayers, wererats, etc. This kind of ethical caution and questioning seems to fit a game of Gangbusters where the PCs are police and all the bad guys are human, but it just didn't work for us in the fantasy realm of D&D.

    Instead, we concluded that since (at that time - AD&D) all the canon gods of the humanoids were evil-aligned, there was no capacity for good in their creations. The human and demi-human gods included those of all alignments and had agreed to create their mini-me's with agency. Those pantheons with only evil gods (mostly humanoid) had denied their creations the capacity to choose between good and evil and basically created mortal demons. Thus, humanoids, chromatic dragons, beholders, and the like could safely and cheerfully be assumed to be evil through and through and slaughtered without moral compunction.

    That worked for my group in High School and it still works for me and my players today.

    Oh, I remember now. The adventure that brought all this to a head for my original gaming crew was, Ogres of the Blinding Light. It is one of the adventure cards in the '83 Greyhawk Boxed set, IIRC.

    I'll point out that Tolkien's orcs were originally elves that were twisted by Sauron's evil. I don't recall Tolkien discussing orc procreation, but it seems pretty clear to me that all Middle Earth orcs were completely evil without the option to turn to goodness.

    If your group finds that they enjoy gaming in a Flanaess that includes good and neutral-aligned humanoids, I say more power to you. I just want to warn you that it slowed the game down too much for my taste and tied the PCs hands, ethically, when they found they couldn't use stealth as often as they'd like to take out a forward guard, etc. that they had just encountered and weren't sure of who or what they were guarding.

    I'll add that, though I have enjoyed reading all the Drizzt books, for the most part, I really didn't like the orc kingdom being established north of Mithril Hall and living peacefully and trading with the dwarves there. My image of orcs is that they were created by hateful, thoroughly evil gods and goddesses for the purpose of war. Orcs in my campaign, don't have the mental capacity to live a peaceful, agrarian life.

    SirXaris
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    Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:14 pm  

    I want to add that the acceptance of orcs amongst the human population of the Wild Coast is, in my opinion, largely because of the attitude and alignment of the authorities and the populace itself. The authorities in Furyondy and Veluna are not likely to tolerate evil humanoids of any kind within their borders. Their tolerance is much more likely in places like the Wild Coast, the Bandit Kingdoms, the Great Kingdom, and the cities of the Pomarj. Note, specifically, the general alignment tendencies of those regions.

    Secondly, the existance of magic makes odd things possible. If a humanoid proved himself able to function within a goodly human society in a positive manner, it is possible that he would eventually be accepted as an exception to the rule. Perhaps people assume Quij had his alignment magically altered. Lanthorn's city up on Lake Abanfyl is openly inhabited by beholder whose alignment was changed by a Helm of Alignment Change. It has been a beneficial part of the community for such a long time that people have accepted the beholder as it appears to be - a good-aligned beholder. The brass dragon, Clonocsplurcat, in the Clatspurs is possessed by a demon and currently evil-aligned.

    So, even with my previously explained attitude toward humanoids and other generally evil monsters, there are plenty of ways to introduce exceptions while maintaining the rule.

    SirXaris
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    Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:16 am  

    This is an interesting topic DeepShadow!

    In my games I don't believe that most races (with the exception of planar creatures and other obvious choices) are inherently evil but instead the alignment is perpetuated through cultural norms with religion often used as the moral compass for these standards.

    Cultural traits do often exist by being perpetuated through expectation and social conformity. Perhaps, somewhere deep down, many creatures see the value of the pack over the vulnerable loner. However there is scope for every race and culture to show deviations in alignment but they are minority cases.

    The write up of orcs in the 2nd ed Monstrous Manual is pretty useful;

    “Orcs are aggressive. They believe other species are inferior to them and that bullying and slavery is part of the natural order. They will cooperate with other species but are not dependable;....as allies they are quick to take offence and break agreements. Orcs believe that battle is the ideal challenge, but some leaders are pragmatic enough to recognise the value of peace, which they exact at a high price. If great patience and care are used, orc tribes can be effective trading partners and military allies.”

    It goes on to say how they value battle experience, wealth, and lots of offspring and then says;

    “Orcs have a reputation for cruelty that is deserved, but humans are just as capable of evil as orcs”

    Here are a few thoughts;

    i) Does it make sense to assume that all orcs throughout the Oerth are the same. We don't assume that of humans so why should we of the other races?

    ii) In the Flanaess, orcs are still mostly organised into tribes (even those that are settled) that on a social level are relatively small. Within such small social groupings the likelihood for moral deviation is smaller and there is more of a pressure for orcs to conform to their tribal cultural expectations. Bear in mind that pre-3rd edition orcs are Lawful Evil not Chaotic meaning the toleration of social deviation is even less. If orcs formed a huge LE nation akin to the Great Kingdom where the tribal groupings gradually lost their significance for anyone other than the noble houses then I could easily see lots of LN, NE or N orcs cropping up, especially as their culture became more exposed to others through trade and the introduction of other faiths.

    I like your Luthic idea. If there is one way to justify a group of orcs with different cultural values it's through the moral compass of religion.

    iii) Perhaps the Hateful Wars caused an alignment shift in some groups of orcs. Their former tribes fragmented, their spiritual leaders slain. Perhaps many started veering towards Chaos or found new gods who are guiding them along a different path.

    iv) orc women have always been described as little more than breeding fodder. When have you ever seen a male dominated society where women have been relegated to such minimal status and instead aren't asserting a subtle yet significant influence behind the scenes!? Orc women have to deal with orc men, that by default makes them strong in my eyes. Orc men take pride in fecundity and need women for that. That already gives the women a strength. Add depth to orc culture by developing their women.

    v) people see orcs as dumb but according to the Monstrous Manual their average intelligence is that of an average human that already casts a new light on them for many.

    I do think SirX has a very valid point. You have to be careful about making your adventurers have a moral quandary with every foe you come across. I don't think introducing more benign orcs has to be problematic though. Certain tribes may be more peaceful than others, have your PCs be mindful of the insignia of the orcs they are fighting or the tribal territory they might be in. Perhaps encourage a little research from the PCs. Knowing that one tribe values certain trade items but is grossly offended by a non orc making direct eye contact with them for example.
    GreySage

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    Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:14 am  

    Good points, Wolfling. Treating orcs and other humanoids more like humans is a very doable thing. I just don't care for the extra work. But, contrary opinions are perfectly valid.

    You also reminded me of the issue of extra-planar creatures. There are canon cases of angels falling to evil (Asmodeus and a couple of angels in The Savage Tide AP), so it begs the question of whether demons/devils may rise to goodness. Assuming that is the case, our adventurers can't even be sure that every lower planar demon or devil they encounter is truly evil and must, ethically, give that fiend the benefit of the doubt. They can't attack it unless it attacks them first. Furthermore, if we apply today's morales to the situation, they can't even attack to kill if it attacks them. They should attempt to subdue it or knock it unconscious, arrest it, and give it a chance to repent of its evil ways.

    That's just another reason why I dislike these kinds of possibilities. IMC, once a soul has passed on to its eternal reward, its alignment is fixed for eternity.

    SirXaris
    GreySage

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    Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:59 am  

    SirXaris wrote:
    Furthermore, if we apply today's morals to the situation, they can't even attack to kill if it attacks them. They should attempt to subdue it or knock it unconscious, arrest it, and give it a chance to repent of its evil ways.


    I'm not an expert on the subject, but I'm pretty sure police and soldiers today are not ethically required to try to spare the life of someone who is actively trying to kill them, and I think they'd be very surprised if someone suggested they were. Batman's morals aren't the same as today's morals. Someone can have all the good qualities and potential for redemption that they want, but if they're trying to kill you then you're entitled to defend yourself by any means in your possession.

    "Ogres of the Blinding Light" is in the City of Greyhawk boxed set, I think. The 1983 boxed set didn't have adventure cards; it was just two booklets and two maps.

    There are a few canonical examples of risen fiends (in the Planescape book Faces of Evil: The Fiends) but they're so unthinkably rare that it would be insane to spare fiends on the off chance that one of them is secretly nice. Fiends aren't just creatures who happen to be evil, they're evil incarnate, evil itself walking around on two (or however many) legs. Becoming anything else requires the transmogrification of their basic nature, like a fire elemental learning to become a water elemental, and the change will be obvious in their physical appearance (in the same way that fallen angels grow horns and hooves, risen fiends will presumably grow halos and feathers or the like - not that this couldn't be faked with fiendish illusions, but a risen fiend is something so inconceivable even to other fiends, let alone potential victims, that I wouldn't expect any to bother with this tactic). Fallen celestials should be every bit as rare.

    "Two days ago," Mieszko said, "I would not have seriously considered selling myself to Hell. You are very good at this, Nilaia."

    "Perfection is in an angel's nature," Nilaia answered.

    "Mieszko frowned. "Then how did you fall?"

    "With great difficulty," Nilaia admitted. "I must struggle constantly lest I return to grace."
    - from the Nobilis RPG by Jenna Katerin Moran.
    Paladin

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    Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:54 am  

    I skimmed this thread and find it entertaining... I will revist in detail, but would in short say this, I agree with assessment of others that the "malism some divine creators possess" could not / would not have the capacity for such "good" creations... they are, as they say, inherently evil. That is not to say there are not aborations in all species. So, Could there be some good Drow, Orc, Demon, Baneling.... sure I suppose, but they would be the exception.

    And in that unlikely of exceptions, is where heros are made ....
    Drizzt, and IMOC Krug the 1/2 Orc that Believes he is .. in his words... "A PA-LA-DANE". Can Krug truely ever become a paladin, no, his player knows that, and Krug is just happy to have a quest that is uniquely his... who knows, may be one day he "could" become a knight... and for Krugs' mind... Knight= Paladin.... Wink
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:58 am  

    I endorse the idea of good, even non-evil humanoids being a rarity, unless a group of players actually enjoys the resulting moral quandaries (though they would likely come up in urban campaigns anyway). One easy way to signal a difference to players would be through religious symbols - a splinter group of orcs worshiping Ehlonna might have her symbol plastered all around their camp to help communicate their allegiance and deter attacks from those who assume they're up to no good. Also there would be the LACK of typical evil accoutrements: skulls, enemies rotting on stakes, shields painted with blood, etc. Unless a DM is purposely trying to mess with the players' heads, these signs would be pretty clear. The same could work with individuals - the half-orc paladin featured on the cover of Dragon comes to mind.

    I like Rasgon's idea that the fallen good should roughly equal the risen evil - but we don't seem to get that represented in published works. Fallen celestials, evil elves, etc. seem to pop up far more frequently than redeemed demons, good goblins, and so on. Not saying that's how it should be, or that what's published represents the actual in-world ratios, just that not a lot of redeemed evil gets written.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:51 pm  

    Wolfling wrote:
    ... Certain tribes may be more peaceful than others, have your PCs be mindful of the insignia of the orcs they are fighting or the tribal territory they might be in. Perhaps encourage a little research from the PCs. Knowing that one tribe values certain trade items but is grossly offended by a non orc making direct eye contact with them for example.


    -Exactly. Ratik is at war with the Vile Rune. If you see a lot of red, and the stylized cave on their shields or helmets, you can kill them, just like if if you're a Shield Lander fighting the Horned Society (or any other war).

    BTW, when you use humans as adversaries a lot (as I do IMC), you run into the same issue. Every once in a while, you might make a mistake.

    So it goes.

    rasgon wrote:
    ...I'm not an expert on the subject...


    -I was about to do a double take on that one, then I read the rest...

    rasgon wrote:


    SirXaris wrote:
    Furthermore, if we apply today's morals to the situation, they can't even attack to kill if it attacks them. They should attempt to subdue it or knock it unconscious, arrest it, and give it a chance to repent of its evil ways.


    I'm not an expert on the subject, but I'm pretty sure police and soldiers today are not ethically required to try to spare the life of someone who is actively trying to kill them, and I think they'd be very surprised if someone suggested they were...


    -Obviously, the military does not have to "strike to subdue." To use an analogy from above, If I guy has an AKM, is wearing a black turban, and is wearing an ammo vest, you can assume he's Taliban and shoot. If a friendly doesn't want to get shot, he doesn't wear a black turban. If he isn't color coded, then you have to use context and sense.

    So it goes.

    IIRC, in current philosophical (Just War) terms, war is considered a continuing state of voluntary mutual combat, even if you didn't volunteer, and even if you don't know you're a target (i.e., you don't have to tell the enemy to turn around before shooting).

    I'll leave an extended discussion of police ethics to others, but I know that they are a little stricter (they are dealing with citizens, not fighting a war, etc, etc).

    rasgon wrote:
    ..."Ogres of the Blinding Light" is in the City of Greyhawk boxed set, I think...


    -I've probably been waiting two decades to DM that adventure!

    rasgon wrote:
    ...There are a few canonical examples of risen fiends (in the Planescape book Faces of Evil: The Fiends) but they're so unthinkably rare that it would be insane to spare fiends on the off chance that one of them is secretly nice...


    -In the late Dragon Core Beliefs articles (Sargent?), there's one on Wee Jas which gives here a devil (Erinyes?) who was converted to LN, but that was a magically induced (but voluntarily accepted, sort of) alignment shift.

    Chevalier wrote:
    ...Also there would be the LACK of typical evil accoutrements: skulls, enemies rotting on stakes, shields painted with blood, etc. Unless a DM is purposely trying to mess with the players' heads, these signs would be pretty clear...


    -Hmmm... how about scalps?
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:23 pm  

    Even though I favour a nurture over nature approach to aquiring alignment I agree that actual Good specimens of an evil races should be used sparingly.

    Although not about drow and not orcs there is an interesting entry in Chapter 12 of Queen of the Spiders (p83) about some of the residents of Erelhei-Cinlu referred to as 'Rakes';

    Those roaming the streets of Erelhei-Cinlu include those bands of bitter youths, who are often outcasts. The group includes drow and half-drow/half-humans, the remainder being either half-orcs or half-drow/half-elves....They are hostile to all they perceive as part of the system which prevails in their world, and the drow with them are of the few who are neither totally degenerate not wholly evil; they hate the society around them and see no good in it.

    It was this passage that first got me thinking about whether or not evil races are inherently so.

    I suppose 'not wholly evil' might mean as little as CE(N) and it's not an example of Goodness in an evil race that we're looking for but at least it's a start!
    GreySage

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    Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:02 pm  

    I've been taking my own time reading all these interesting statements, perspectives, and couterarguments, and have finally decided to cast my own thoughts on the topic (which, by the way, I like), for whatever it is, or is not, worth:

    Firstly, if you take the stance that the Gods of Evil (for instance, Gruumsh, the Creator of Orcs) are utterly unable to create spawn with even the potential to deviate from Evil, then it is a closed case scenario. But this means you won't have good drow, good giants, good goblins, etc. in your campaign, and need to make the necessary adjustments to NPCs like Gruenab the hill giant (CG alignment) in the Falcon series, and any other 'aberrations' that may crop up.

    Taking this same stance, perhaps the reason why humans have such an array of alignments (Good to Evil, with Neutrality in the middle) is due to the variety we seen in the human Powers themselves, some of which have a benevolent aspect (Pelor and Rao, for instance) while others (Nerull and Incabulos) are malign. Is there a Creator Power for humans in WoG? Not sure. Maybe Beory, who is Neutral...so why aren't humans all Neutral? Maybe Beory allowed the other Greater Powers a chance to 'sway' her creations off the path of Neutrality.

    Then that same argument must apply to demi-humans, one would think. All elves, products of Corellon, must be inherently good, and thus, should not stray from this path. The same is true for dwarves, and halfling, and gnomes. But not so, and we have many cases (NPCs for starters) that substantiate that argument: Keak, Lord Obmi, Gleed, etc. (all, coincidentally, serve Iuz as his Boneshadow agents) Maybe it is due to the fact that each of these pantheons (except for halflings, at least in accordance to Monster Mythology) have 'fallen' members in their enclaves, who have darker hearts filled with evil: Urdlen of the gnomes, Lloth of the elves, and Abbathor of the dwarves (still no mention of a 'fallen' halfling, mind you). Thus, one can speculate that although the demi-folk were "created" good, they can turn to evil given the presence of such fell Powers...

    Still, no hope for humanoids, it seeems, using this philosophy, since nowhere have I read about "good" humanoid Powers (at best, most are LN or Neutral). Cry

    However, though I can "rationalize" this argument, it is not one I use in my own campaigns. I like the shades of grey that 'free choice' grants sentient beings (am I starting to sound like Optimus Prime here? Wink ), especially when the Evil influences (primarily environmental in my mind more than inherent nature...some John Locke tabula rasa reasoning here) are removed. Or perhaps there is that one individual who has a strange deviation from the norm. Just as sociopathic behavior is deemed "abnormal" in our society (more a chemical or neurologic issue, mind you, than necessary poor parenting, or the schoolyard bully beating on you), perhaps the glimmer of benevolence seen by a drow child, or orc whelp, is deemed in the same light.

    Personally, I thoroughly enjoy shades of grey. Nothing is cut and dry, unless you make it so. I like the idea of a Good-aligned orc. Do I think this is the norm for humanoids? No. Do I think there is the capacity or chance for goodness in them? Yes.

    I like the idea of characters having to deal with moral conundrums. It says much about the DM and the players. Do I think every situation needs to have a moral dilemma? No. A cult of Nerull will NOT elicit parley from me (unless a greater 'good' can be achieved in so doing against a greater Evil, of course).

    Furthermore, bear in mind that even good people make 'bad' or snapshot, even 'evil,' decisions, for a variety of reasons that are utterly too long to list here. However, do you think that elves and dwarves, both races considered to be "good", are likely to spare orcs (perhaps even female and young)? Not likely. Would a priest of Trithereon whose family was slain by humanoids while a kid? Not likely. Would a priest of Pelor, or Rao. Most likely...but their philosophy likely demands a different, and more rational, response.

    And so on and so forth.

    In the end, to each his or her own, but I take the stance of "freewill" with only a few cases of irredemable Evil...or Good.

    -Lanthorn
    GreySage

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    Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:26 pm  

    Wolfling wrote:
    I suppose 'not wholly evil' might mean as little as CE(N) and it's not an example of Goodness in an evil race that we're looking for but at least it's a start!


    Nilonim, from page 90 of that module, was said to have good tendencies.
    GreySage

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    Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:27 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    SirXaris wrote:
    Furthermore, if we apply today's morals to the situation, they can't even attack to kill if it attacks them. They should attempt to subdue it or knock it unconscious, arrest it, and give it a chance to repent of its evil ways.


    I'm not an expert on the subject, but I'm pretty sure police and soldiers today are not ethically required to try to spare the life of someone who is actively trying to kill them, and I think they'd be very surprised if someone suggested they were. Batman's morals aren't the same as today's morals. Someone can have all the good qualities and potential for redemption that they want, but if they're trying to kill you then you're entitled to defend yourself by any means in your possession.


    Point taken. I was thinking more along the lines of a police force, but they can still automatically shoot back and aim to kill, if shot at themselves.

    Regarding your point about fiends and angels being evil/good incarnate: You point out that risen fiends should be so rare that PCs can assume that they will never encounter a fiend that isn't evil through and through and may attack such creatures at will. Playing Devil's Advocate (hope that's not forbidden here), couldn't the same be said of the drow? If one applies the rule of the majority to all, then it is acceptable to kill every drow one encounters first and ask about alignment later. This would also apply to every human one encounters within the lands of Iuz and the Horned Society and probably within the Pomarj and the Scarlet Brotherhood as well.

    Now I'm inspired to write an adventure including a risen fiend as an NPC. Maybe I'll include it in my Vaillage submission. Razz

    Lanthorn wrote:
    I like the idea of characters having to deal with moral conundrums. It says much about the DM and the players.


    And you do it very well, Lanthorn, from what I've read of your campaign logs. Happy

    SirXaris
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    Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:43 pm  

    SirXaris wrote:
    Lanthorn wrote:
    I like the idea of characters having to deal with moral conundrums. It says much about the DM and the players.


    And you do it very well, Lanthorn, from what I've read of your campaign logs. Happy

    SirXaris


    SirXaris, you do me great honor and credit. Thank you. In like turn, I greatly appreciate your continued discourse, debate, and Canonfire! friendship.

    humbly,

    Lanthorn
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    Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:53 am  

    jamesdglick wrote:

    rasgon wrote:
    ...I'm not an expert on the subject...

    -I was about to do a double take on that one, then I read the rest...

    I must admit THIS made me laugh out loud.... because that was my first summation as well.
    I guess the Achilles of Savant Sages's weakness has now, Finally, been exposed.... Evil Grin
    Now.... (slowly and carefully rubbing finger-tips together) how can we the dark forces exploit this new found information??? Evil Grin Cool Confused Mawwaahhhhhaaaaa
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    Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:58 pm  



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    Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:42 pm  

    tarelton wrote:
    The entry on Montesser in Ivid the Undying is probably what you are looking for. It is an orcish community in the Ruins of Medegia (page 105) that has settled down to a pastoral life amidst the ruins, raising crops fishing, and keeping goats. They are lead by a priestess of Luthic, ("Cave Mother") and are essentially Lawful Neutral. They even conduct limited trade with the Sea Barons.


    I've looked up Luthic on the wiki, and I'm not clear on how her worshippers would be LN. Did she ever have a different alignment?


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    Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:56 pm  

    In 1st and 2nd edition orcs were LE not CE and their gods were similarly aligned.

    Originally, Luthic (in Monster Mythology) was the LE lesser goddess of fertility, medicine & servitude.
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    Mon May 06, 2013 6:29 pm  

    Depth and nuance of the orcish race? I find human emotions percieved in orcs to be just that percieved. The nobility of the Orc is that he survives anyway he can, and nothing more. Painful and violent lessons learned from the cradle lead to quick death or supreme survival instinct. No time to try and ponder what "kindness" will bring you. This is where the depth of the Orc is to me as a DM
    Years ago I had a campaign where some novice players encountered an orc lair. They fought like heros until they encountered the warchief's common room. The sight of children kind of shocked them. The party hesitates and the orcs spring to attack - the children too grab stones and join in the fray. Survival is life to an orc no matter how old. Eventually the chief and one child (one of his sons and heir) are the only ones left. The warchief fights without fear and charges the whole party after growling some words to his son(noone could speak orcish). He is cut down and the son is cornered. They all were kind of sad at the sight of the young orc standing before them having just watched his whole tribe cut down by these heros. They felt pity and let their guard down. Just the thing an orc (even a five year old orcling) knows will turn things to his advantage. He wails and drops to his fathers bloody corpse. The guys are all like " aww man mebe we shoulda ..." when the young orling grabs his fathers sword and tears past them for the door- pausing only briefly to disembowl the startled mage. The orcling (named Raznak) continued to plague that party for years. I leveled him up about the same speed as the party was progressing, always lurking, testing the party, ready to avenge his tribe. Years later when the main warrior had halfway completed building his first castle the orc (now 80+ hp and leading an army of some 400 troops) returned for the final showdown.
    Needless to say it was terribly fun for all. Good ol Raznak was a true survivor, and the party never again confused thier morals with those an orc might have. I worked him in to many adventures much to the payers delight, and played him hard and smart until the end(he was about 9th level when he finally died). The payers all agreed it would have been easier if they had killed him when they first had the chance, but a lot less fun.
    The "good" in orcs might exist, but will never mature. They are the ones who die first.

    GreyMaus
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    Tue May 07, 2013 10:22 am  

    Nice, GreyMaus. Smile

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    Tue May 07, 2013 1:43 pm  



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    Tue May 07, 2013 2:24 pm  

    BlueWitch wrote:
    "when you use humans as adversaries a lot (as I do IMC), you run into the same issue."
    Let's not forget, good people can fight other good people. it happens in the real world. I'm not saying they are all pure as the driven snow. I'm saying people who do not necessarily want to harm or kill anyone. Soldiers in wartime for example. I'm sure most of them would love to be back home, enjoying cookouts with the family, heading out on the weekend for a little good natured boozing, or whatever. But, these more or less good people still fight and kill each other.
    This ties into the game. Even if an individual orc isn't evil, the culture he is raised in most likely is. That orc would have spent his whole life being told humans, elves, dwarves, and do on, are the enemy and need to be eliminated. And on the other side of the coin, the humans, elves, dwarves, and so on, have been raised being told how vile orcs are. So, each seeing the other as "enemy" in a way so internalized, is not something easily overcome.


    BW, you are one savvy, insightful DM! I thoroughly agree with your assessment and philosophical rationale. I have occcasionally thrown a 'curve ball' to this end where 'Good fights Good,' partly to make a statement, and partially to deviate from the typical 'Good vs Evil' stereotype. It also prevents stagnation, challenges more 'mature' players, and causes some introspection, as much from the player as the character being played. In know some folks just want to hack and slash, without any forethought to spiritual/philosophical/ethical nuances...and so be it, for them...but I like shades of grey in a game causing me, both as player and DM, to think and ponder...

    Maybe a bit of Delleb and/or Rao crept into this 'follower' of the Summoner somewhere along the way... Wink

    Great points, BlueWitch. I appreciate your contributions.

    -Lanthorn
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    Tue May 07, 2013 7:20 pm  



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    Wed May 08, 2013 11:35 am  

    BlueWitch wrote:
    ..."If one orc could be good, we had no right to slaughter every orc we encountered out of hand."
    In games I played in when I was younger, the issue came up with infants and children. A toddler or infant, even an orcish or goblin one, couldn't have done anything qualifying as "evil", so any "heroes" slating them would be nothing more than bloodthirsty baby killers. But then, is it any less evil to just leave them in a cave to starve?


    -You capture them, and (perhaps) put them to work. This is sometimes called "slavery", but is recognized as the "Good" alternative even today.

    For EPWs:

    http://www.icrc.org/applic/ihl/ihl.nsf/Treaty.xsp?documentId=77CB9983BE01D004C12563CD002D6B3E&action=openDocument (particularly Articles 51-56; in the Flaneass, I'd assume that we can dispense with compensation beyond food, clothing, and shelter);

    For non-combatants:

    http://www.icrc.org/applic/ihl/ihl.nsf/Article.xsp?action=openDocument&documentId=FFCB180D4E99CB26C12563CD0051BBD9

    (In Flaneass terms, Article 27 boils down to "no raping the orc women", but you don't have to let them wander around loose).

    BlueWitch wrote:
    ...If you have access to it, the writeup in Dragon 63 (I believe) goes into the orcish mindset pretty well...


    -The Roger Moore articles rock. They're also (IIRC) in AD&D1 Unearthed Arcana, except for the article on non-orcish humanoids.


    BlueWitch wrote:
    ...While a human may see it as "You stole from me. You were wrong to do that" the orc would see it as "I stole from you. Therefore you did not deserve to have this in the first place!" ...


    -Not restricted to orcs. We were discussing this in a class. The Plains Indian attitude toward horses was "I you couldn't keep it, you don't deserve it."...[/quote]

    BlueWitch wrote:
    ...people see orcs as dumb but according to the Monstrous Manual their average intelligence is that of an average human"...

    I have pointed this out in at least a few threads here about humanoids.

    -This one I'll take issue with. IIRC, the AD&D1 MM does list the INT of orcs as "average", but the definition in the front (or the appendix?) defines "average" as 8-10 INT. I'd say that an average human has 10-11 INT. You'll even see that the AD&D1 MM listing tend to list men as having "aveerage to high," (IIRC).

    BlueWitch wrote:
    ...even if this 10 year old orc is on the bright side, we're still talking about the emotional maturity of a 10 year old...


    -FWIW, orcs in D&D 3.5 get -2INT and -2 WIS.

    BlueWitch wrote:
    ...Even if an individual orc isn't evil, the culture he is raised in most likely is. That orc would have spent his whole life being told humans, elves, dwarves, and do on, are the enemy and need to be eliminated. And on the other side of the coin, the humans, elves, dwarves, and so on, have been raised being told how vile orcs are. So, each seeing the other as "enemy" in a way so internalized, is not something easily overcome.
    "perhaps the glimmer of benevolence seen by a drow child, or orc whelp, is deemed in the same light." ("the same light" meaning abnormal or aberrant behavior)
    As I mentioned before, the reason we don't see much of this is may be that these behaviors get suppressed, whether by eliminating the "offender" or by the "offender" realizing it'd be best to keep his opinions to himself. The individual with these "not evil enough" tendencies may even see it as a personal flaw and try to overcompensate against his "wrong thinking". In that case, the "not totally evil" orc may be the most vicious and brutal one of the bunch, trying to overcome his "weakness" or die trying. Or at least, might want to hide his tendencies for fear of being ostracized.


    -This comes down to nature vs. nature. I figure, orcs might be innately aggressive (as some people are), but that propensity is like anything else, a tool; it can be used for good or evil. Orcish culture tends to glorify and reward evil.

    I figure that an orc with "glimmers of good" is a lot like a human or demi-human from an overwhelmingly good land, as you say: They either change or modify their attitude, or keep their thoughts under their hat until they can do what they want. Good origin for a non-evil orc PC, actually.

    BlueWitch wrote:
    ...Let's not forget, good people can fight other good people. it happens in the real world...

    -One of the drawbacks of the Flaneass in the "modern" (CY 576-591) era. It used to be a common phenomonon before CY 500, but now, the only nations that fight each other on a large scale seem to be non-evil vs. evil or evil vs. evil.

    Exceptions:

    Ket et al vs. Bissel et al (CY 583-584; although a noticable percentatge of Ketites are LE, most are LN or LG);

    Cold Barbarians vs. Tehn (cy 582-583; mostly CN vs. LN, and the barbarians drew the line when Vatun/Iuz told them to attack Ratik).

    Of course, you could throw in a good chunk of the various Bandit Kingdoms, not all of whom are majority evil (e.g., Greenkeep, Artonsamay, probably Dimre), raiding by the Nomads, Paynims, and Rovers (most of whom a CN or N).

    Of course, individuals in a land might be of any alignment e.g., a good chunk of Aerdi's population is probably non-evil, but if you get called up in the feudal levy...

    We had a debate a while back about what Karnn Serrand might have been doing during the 578-579 border scuffles and the Greyhawk Wars: http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=posting&mode=editpost&p=59325

    When I get around to DMing a starting PCs in the year CY 581 or so, I plan on doing a "good guys in an evil cause" scenario, with young Perrenlander mercenaries hired (or conscripted) to serve a secret, mystery contract, stepping through the magic gate in the Clatspurs, and winding up in the Horned Society. A little contrived, but I think it'll work.


    Lanthorn wrote:
    ... I have occcasionally thrown a 'curve ball' to this end where 'Good fights Good,' partly to make a statement, and partially to deviate from the typical 'Good vs Evil' stereotype. It also prevents stagnation, challenges more 'mature' players, and causes some introspection, as much from the player as the character being played. In know some folks just want to hack and slash, without any forethought to spiritual/philosophical/ethical nuances...and so be it, for them...but I like shades of grey in a game causing me, both as player and DM, to think and ponder...


    -When CY 583 comes around, I'm also considering a scenario for Ket vs. Bissel.

    For non-military scenarios, there's always the Trithereon vs. Pholtus and St. Cuthbert you love, although those fights are overwhelmingly non-lethal, at least as I see it.
    GreySage

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    Wed May 08, 2013 11:51 am  

    jamesdglick wrote:
    BlueWitch wrote:
    SirXaris wrote:
    ..."If one orc could be good, we had no right to slaughter every orc we encountered out of hand."

    In games I played in when I was younger, the issue came up with infants and children. A toddler or infant, even an orcish or goblin one, couldn't have done anything qualifying as "evil", so any "heroes" slating them would be nothing more than bloodthirsty baby killers. But then, is it any less evil to just leave them in a cave to starve?


    -You capture them, and (perhaps) put them to work. This is sometimes called "slavery", but is recognized as the "Good" alternative even today.

    For EPWs:

    http://www.icrc.org/applic/ihl/ihl.nsf/Treaty.xsp?documentId=77CB9983BE01D004C12563CD002D6B3E&action=openDocument (particularly Articles 51-56; in the Flaneass, I'd assume that we can dispense with compensation beyond food, clothing, and shelter);

    For non-combatants:

    http://www.icrc.org/applic/ihl/ihl.nsf/Article.xsp?action=openDocument&documentId=FFCB180D4E99CB26C12563CD0051BBD9

    (In Flaneass terms, Article 27 boils down to "no raping the orc women", but you don't have to let them wander around loose).


    My problem with this solution is that you end up with a slum/concentration camp where young are being born and raised with their families in inhumane conditions. If you believe that orcs have as much potential for 'good' as do humans, you don't treat the young that way. It simply isn't ethical. And, if you aren't worried about ethics, you might as well kill them all anyway.

    So, if you believe orcs are just a product of their nurture, rather than their nature, your PCs should be trying to convert small groups of them to a good deity and setting them up in a community, possibly with sponsors, so that they can benefit from a good nurturing to support their potential for a good alignment. If you put them all in a work camp indefinately, you are admitting that they have no chance for redemption (they have an evil nature) and neither do their offspring. Why, then, keep them alive?

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    Wed May 08, 2013 12:20 pm  

    Wait a minute! Confused

    You mean to tell me that you guys wouldn't kill that nest of baby rattlesnakes because they might grow-up and not bite somebody? Shocked

    No wonder psychiatrist in the Real World are making a fortune! Evil Grin


    Mwahahahahahahahahaha!
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    Wed May 08, 2013 12:33 pm  

    SirXaris wrote:
    ...My problem with this solution is that you end up with a slum/concentration camp where young are being born and raised with their families in inhumane conditions...


    -IRL, we've done it with entire countries for a while, and IAW with the Leiber Code/Hague Protocals /Geneva Convention (see links, above), so the conditions don't have to be "inhumane" (Evil). Anyway, it may take a while, but it beats the alternative, which is cutting their throats, which I'm trying to convince the world I'm uncomfortable with. Razz

    SirXaris wrote:
    ...So, if you believe orcs are just a product of their nurture, rather than their nature, your PCs should be trying to convert small groups of them to a good deity and setting them up in a community, possibly with sponsors, so that they can benefit from a good nurturing to support their potential for a good alignment...


    -IRL, we've done that with entire countries, with varying degrees of success. When was the last time anyone worried about getting raped or scalped by a Comanche? And the last time I checked, the South got over slavery, and the Germans and Japanese are still relatively benign.

    Admittedly, the Vile Rune Tribe will be a bigger challenge! Wink

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    Wait a minute! Confused

    You mean to tell me that you guys wouldn't kill that nest of baby rattlesnakes because they might grow-up and not bite somebody? Shocked

    No wonder psychiatrist in the Real World are making a fortune! Evil Grin


    Mwahahahahahahahahaha!


    -Of course, rattlesnakes are non-sentient. As has often been pointed out, orcs are smarter than that. The same is true of Comanches, Germans, and Japanese. The jury is still out on Southerners... Razz Wink

    Again, I didn't say it was easy. If you want easy, shift alignment. Dealing with humanoids is no different than dealing with nations of humans which tilt evil. Would you kill every woman, child, old person, and cripple you came across in the Land of Iuz, the Horned Society, the Pomarj or the Scarlet Brotherhood? If you were on a secret mission and trying to avoid detection, maybe. But that subtle downshift toward evil in your alignment is the D&D equivalent of your conscience paying a call.

    Now, I don't have entire internment camps for orcs (or others), at least as of CY 577-578. There are several practical issues which prevent this:

    1) Not everyone on the good-guy side is good, and plenty are evil. They tend to kill everybody. Plenty of precedence IRL.

    Even those of Good alignment might do it (once). Depending on where they are, it won't neccesarily shift them to Non-Evil Neutral, if they do it once. But they're a little closer. That's their conscience calling;

    2) Orcs (and other humanoids) aren't that crazy about being taken prisoner. IRL, WWII GIs went to a lot of effort on Saipan and Okinawa to get civilians to surrender, but a lot of them killed themselves anyway. I've never used it in an adventure, but I think it would make an interesting downer. Maybe Lanthorn can use it Wink ;

    3) Actually getting to large numbers of "civilian" orcs. Most of ther orcs you see are fighters. There are plenty of "civilians" in the Caves of Chaos (wherever you choose to set it), but even then, most of the encounters are with warriors. When the going gets tough, I figure the population will probably just evacuate and move elsewhere. The exception is if the party is powerful enough to go through a tribe in one fell swoop. Then the PCs get to discover what they're made of.
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    Wed May 08, 2013 4:12 pm  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    Wait a minute! Confused

    You mean to tell me that you guys wouldn't kill that nest of baby rattlesnakes because they might grow-up and not bite somebody? Shocked b]


    As a herpetophile who owns a snake (non-venomous, mind you), I, for one (perhaps standing alone on this issue) would not kill a nest of rattlesnakes. They are not evil. They bite out of self-defense and would prefer to be left alone. Most bites are provoked or are used to acquire prey. Humans are obviously OFF that list.

    Zoology lesson over. Happy

    -Lanthorn
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    Wed May 08, 2013 4:42 pm  

    Actually, guys, I'm "half" serious here. It's all in the Point of View.

    For instance -- and take this as I mean it and not out of context, please -- white children and black children grow-up playing together, thinking nothing of it. (I am from New Orleans and know that of which I speak.) These children know nothing of "Nigger" and "Honky." In a very real sense, society teaches them that. Unfortunately, their parents do it in some cases too.

    It is our "nurturing" that influences this horrible attitude. But understand that we are all of the same species, just different skin colors. We apply the term "race" to our various skin colors, but cut us open and we are exactly the same. But that's not what we're talking about here.

    We use the term "race" in the game, but in fact, it's more like species. Elves, Dwarves, Humans, et al, they're really more like separate species -- like Humans and Klingons. Humans evolved from Monkies, Klingons evolved from Reptiles. Sure, the two "species" can breed now, but they evolved from very different life forms.

    Elves, Dwarves and Humans look a lot alike, but they're not. Is our physiology even the same? Or are there slight differences? I believe that there are.

    Enter the Orc. There might be one, or two, Orcs that might turn out "good," if raised differently. But my view is that they are inherently "evil." Take Tolkien, for example. Orcs are what they were created to be. Their "nuturing" plays no part. They were created and twisted by an evil "god."

    I know that the game is quite different from Tolkien, but Tolkien is how I play my Orcs. That nit is going to grow up to be a lous . . . no matter how it's raised. We teach ourselves to hate each other because of skin color, but is that how it works for the game's different species? Are Orcs taught to hate Humans, or do they just hate Humans? Do the Orcs even have a "good" God?

    For example, in my game, half-Orcs are the product of rape, which is going to give them one messed up attitude. But consider; have you ever seen the depictions of Orcs? Can you get that drunk? Shocked Laughing Laughing Laughing

    But . . . we each play it differently. Wink Cool
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    Wed May 08, 2013 5:08 pm  

    Mystic, you are dead right about the nurture commentary with children. I have two youngsters (5 1/2 yr-old son and 3 yr old daughter) and kids are, in a sense, 'color blind.' It's awesome. They see potential friends and playmates. Sure, they ask questions about skin color, face shape, and the like, but it is NOT out of racism, but curiosity.

    FULL AGREEMENT with you, Mystic, that kids are TAUGHT to be racists.

    We can all learn A LOT from children in this regard.

    Your interpretation of orcs in their 'creation' has real validity given that the game world has 'Creator Powers.' I am sure that SirXaris shares a similar perspective, in that the creations of a thoroughly Evil Creator, in this case Gruumsh, cannot spawn anything redeemable.

    If this is the philosophy of the DM, then it is sound reasoning that ALL orcs (and humanoids in general, and a good number of MANY other creatures!), are 'beyond redemption.'

    But...what about 'fallen' races? Drow...duergar...derro...irredeemable, or not?

    I think we touched on this earlier, somewhere, maybe even in this very thread? Confused

    However, if you are a DM who does not take this philosophy, the potential for Goodness in basically Evil races (species) makes this whole debate a TOTALLY different creature, entirely. Shocked

    Enter the shades of grey...

    -Lanthorn, whose favorite shade IS grey! Happy
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    Wed May 08, 2013 5:16 pm  

    Like I said, it's all up to the DM. But I take my "Orcs" -- and Halflings as well -- from Tolkien's vision.

    Lanthorn wrote:
    But...what about 'fallen' races? Drow . . . duergar . . . derro . . . irredeemable, or not?



    Does Drizzt Do'Urden come to mind? Wink Cool

    The "fallen" races of Greyhawk were not created "evil." Yes, I'd accept them "returning" to the "Light." Why not? Confused Wink
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    Wed May 08, 2013 10:29 pm  

    Yes, Lanthorn, I agree with Mystic's take and have expressed such an interpretation of the creations of a thoroughly evil pantheon of gods several times. It is an easy solution to a game that is, in my mind, an escape from reality, not a soap opera. Razz

    I don't object to other DMs playing it differently. I am hoping to point out some difficulties they are likely to encounter so that they can figure out how to deal with them when they crop up in the game.

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    Thu May 09, 2013 9:26 am  

    SirXaris wrote:
    I don't object to other DMs playing it differently. I am hoping to point out some difficulties they are likely to encounter . . .


    I concur. "Evil is as evil does." If there were anything "redeemable" about these races, then you would suppose that at least one god -- in their entire pantheon -- would be "good." Shocked

    But there isn't one. Sad

    The four Bugbear gods -- for example -- are all evil: 3 Chaotic Evil and 1 Neutral Evil. The same applies to the Gnolls, Goblins, Kobolds and Orcs. They don't even have "Neutral" deities, much less "Good" ones. And you can add Troglodytes, Yuan-ti, Xvarts and Bullywugs to that list.

    So, these species are created to be what they are . . . the enemies of Humans, Elves, Dwarves and all "good" peoples of Oerth. Wink

    Interestingly, the gods of the Lizardfolk and Nagas are listed as "Neutral." Perhaps "good" individuals can be found among these folk. Confused

    http://www.canonfire.com/wiki/index.php?title=List_of_Greyhawk_deities

    As for the Drow, they have chosen to serve "Evil" deities, but they were created by the Elven deities, which are overwhelmingly "Good." The Drow, as individuals and as a race, can "come back" to the "Light." Like Darth Vadar they simply need to "let go" of their hate.

    If they choose to do so. Wink

    Anyway, like I say, we all play it differently . . . but this is how I play it. I feel another Blog post coming on! Happy

    You guys are intent on keeping me busy! Cool Laughing
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    Thu May 09, 2013 10:37 am  

    I'll just leave this here.

    http://oglaf.com/abyss/

    ***WARNING*** Salty language in this link, and other parts of site may contain what some would consider pornographic content... no, some of it is definitely pornographic, but funny, so be forewarned before straying from the linked page.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Thu May 09, 2013 10:52 am  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    ...The "fallen" races of Greyhawk were not created "evil." Yes, I'd accept them "returning" to the "Light." Why not?


    ...and...

    SirXaris wrote:
    Yes, Lanthorn, I agree with Mystic's take and have expressed such an interpretation of the creations of a thoroughly evil pantheon of gods several times...


    -Ah. But even if the orcish gods created orcs to be evil, does that mean they can make it stick? Who created humans, dwarves, gnomes, and elves? If they were created to be good, why do some turn out to be evil? If they weren't created to be good (and able to make it stick), that would be something of an oversight for the human and demi-human gods, no? Does that make the orcish gods more powerful, or just smarter?

    ...or maybe we're back to freedom of choice and predestination?

    SirXaris wrote:
    It is an easy solution to a game that is, in my mind, an escape from reality, not a soap opera...


    -Ahem. Soap Operas are an escape from reality...

    I like drama. If I wanted simple, I'd read comic books...

    SirXaris wrote:
    ... I am hoping to point out some difficulties they are likely to encounter so that they can figure out how to deal with them when they crop up in the game...


    -I think it might cut down on the drama a little (if that's to your taste), but it doesn't prevent it. Again, how to you treat women, children, old people, and cripples from the Land of Iuz, the Horned Society, the Scarlet Brotherhood, the Pomarj, the House of Naelax? Even if not genetic, you still might have to deal with Evil non-combatants.

    FWIW.

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    ...For example, in my game, half-Orcs are the product of rape, which is going to give them one messed up attitude. But consider; have you ever seen the depictions of Orcs? Can you get that drunk? Shocked Laughing Laughing Laughing...


    1) In most cases, it's the human being raped;

    2) As for those conceptions which are mutually consenting, there are some people who will have sex with half of Old MacDonald's Farm and the Bronx Zoo. Why not an orc?

    Lanthorn wrote:
    ...As a herpetophile who owns a snake (non-venomous, mind you), I, for one (perhaps standing alone on this issue) would not kill a nest of rattlesnakes. They are not evil. They bite out of self-defense and would prefer to be left alone. Most bites are provoked or are used to acquire prey. Humans are obviously OFF that list.

    Zoology lesson over. Happy

    -Lanthorn


    -I don't go out on rattlesnake search and destroy missions, but if a nest showed up next to my house, they'd be dead.

    It's sort of like what they say about bears: "They only attack when they feel threatened." Unfortunately, they're the ones who get to define "threatened".

    Lanthorn wrote:
    ...kids are TAUGHT to be racists...


    -There's a song for that:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJhRYYjHThI

    FWIW... I've thought that there might be an evolutionary biology rationale for this: An impulse to beware of strangers, which would be applicable in a state of nature. On the other hand, opposites attract, which also could have an evolutionary biology reason behind it. Of course, that's at different stages in life...

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    ...Elves, Dwarves and Humans look a lot alike, but they're not. Is our physiology even the same? Or are there slight differences? I believe that there are...


    -IIRC, chimpanzees have 98% DNA commonality with homo sapiens sapiens (I'll defer to Lanthorn on that one, since I'm to lazy to look it up). I think elves and dwarves would be closer than that.

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    ...I know that the game is quite different from Tolkien, but Tolkien is how I play my Orcs...


    -I've always seen it that way, too, but to the best of my knowledge JRRT never made a pronouncement one way or the other. Incidentally, my halflings are JRTT-style, too. I never got the whole shift to the kender thing.

    SirXaris wrote:
    I don't object to other DMs playing it differently...


    -I do. See below...

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    ...But . . . we each play it differently. Wink Cool


    -Not for long. I've officially declared a moratorium on all non-JDG approved forms of D&D play. A server will be delivering cease and desist orders to each of you shortly... Wink Evil Grin

    smillan_31 wrote:
    I'll just leave this here.

    http://oglaf.com/abyss/

    ***WARNING*** Salty language in this link, and other parts of site may contain what some would consider pornographic content... no, some of it is definitely pornographic, but funny, so be forewarned before straying from the linked page.


    -Bad Smillan, bad! Razz Happy Laughing


    Last edited by jamesdglick on Thu May 09, 2013 2:08 pm; edited 6 times in total
    GreySage

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    Thu May 09, 2013 11:15 am  

    Actually, there too much there that I disagree with to even bother replying.

    As I always say, I am not debating. I simply stated how I play it and why . . . your "philosophical" reasoning influences that not at all. Evil Grin

    Play it however you wish. Wink
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    Thu May 09, 2013 2:08 pm  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    ...As I always say, I am not debating. I simply stated how I play it and why . . . your "philosophical" reasoning influences that not at all. Evil Grin

    Play it however you wish. Wink


    -As

    You

    Wish! Laughing
    GreySage

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    Thu May 09, 2013 2:45 pm  

    James, chimps are our closest genetic relative. You are correct, with about 98-99% DNA concurrence with Homo sapiens, and it has been speculated we may be close enough to hybridize! Shocked

    Not that I am suggesting anyone try such a coupling...but I saw one show entitled "Humanzee" in which one interviewee claimed such a thing had been done in a research facility (in vitro?)! Shocked The resulting fetus was 'terminated' before it gestated fully.

    Neanderthals and modern humans have a greater degree of genetic similarities, and there is growing evidence that hybridization DID happen. In fact, Neanderthal genetic markers HAVE been found in most modern humans! Surprised

    From a scientific perspective orcs and humans would have to be at least 98%+ genetic similar in order to have viable offspring. The same would be true for human and demi-humans.

    But, I digress, as this is a fantasy game, and though I am ALWAYS one to interject scientific accuracies to my own campaigns (sometimes to the frustration of my main player), it may not work for everyone.

    -Lanthorn, Biologist DM
    GreySage

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    Thu May 09, 2013 3:02 pm  

    jamesdglick wrote:
    SirXaris wrote:
    Yes, Lanthorn, I agree with Mystic's take and have expressed such an interpretation of the creations of a thoroughly evil pantheon of gods several times...


    -Ah. But even if the orcish gods created orcs to be evil, does that mean they can make it stick? Who created humans, dwarves, gnomes, and elves? If they were created to be good, why do some turn out to be evil? If they weren't created to be good (and able to make it stick), that would be something of an oversight for the human and demi-human gods, no? Does that make the orcish gods more powerful, or just smarter?

    ...or maybe we're back to freedom of choice and predestination?


    You didn't get all of my position. On the first page of this thread I summarized a lengthier post in another thread wherein I mentioned that pantheons that included exclusively evil deities failed to gift their creations with agency. Pantheons that included good, evil, and neutral deities had to agree to gift their mutual creations with agency in order to avoid having them all create their own mini-me's. Thus, humans and demi-humans have the ability to choose any alignment, but humanoids do not. Humanoids are created by purely evil deities for the purpose of evil and are, in effect, mortal fiends with no capacity for goodness.

    The dragon gods could have gone the way of the human and demi-human pantheons, but they simply couldn't agree and Tiamat and Bahamut created their own, respective, mortals without bothering to give them agency. They did it selfishly, but they had no one to answer to, so they did what they wanted. One of the rather chaotic elven deities saw what the dragon and humanoid deities had done and got it into their head that they could do the same thing and secretly created an evil race without the input of the other elven gods. Others soon followed suit and quicklings, red caps, jinxkins, and other purely evil races followed. The chaotic neutral and good elven gods decided they could do the same thing, since the chaotic evil ones had done so and sprites, dryads, pixies, nymphs, slyphs, and others sprang into existance. Some of the other demi-human gods did likewise (e.g. pech, spriggans) and we have many races that lack the capacity to choose their own alignment because they were not gifted with agency upon their creation. Such creations share an essence with only a single (or similarly-aligned) creator(s) and return to that deity's plane of existence upon mortal death.

    An orc is intelligent enough to be taught what good is and how to behave in a goodly fashion, but it would only be acting. Its soul is born of evil and has no capacity to truly desire goodness. It is a cockroach (though that is an unfair comparison to the cockroach, since animals are Neutral) that needs to be eradicated. It was created by an evil god for the express purpose of gaining power for that god in order to spread evil to others. It doesn't matter the age of the cockroach - I kill every one I see in my home. If I knew the cockroach was intelligent and plotting to kill my family (like orcs), I'd kill every one I encountered in the outdoors as well. Evil Grin

    Does that help you understand my campaign philosophy better?

    SirXaris
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    GreySage

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    Thu May 09, 2013 3:30 pm  

    Actually, all you guys are doing is confusing Creation with Evolution.

    Are there Creator Deities in Greyhawk, or not?

    If there are Creator Deities, then Elves, Dwarves and Humans, et al, are different species, no matter how much they may look alike. They were not created the same.

    And if they all came about by Evolution, then explain the differences to me? Why do Elves live for "30,000 years" and Humans only live for 70?

    Where there's smoke, there's fire. But I'll listen to your nonsensical explanations anyway.

    And I'm only half kidding. Evolution does not account for Elves and Dwarves living FAR longer than humans.

    But Creator Deities explains it.

    Anyway, I'm still waiting for the explanations as to the VAST differences between species.

    Ready? Set? GO . . . !
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    Thu May 09, 2013 3:34 pm  

    SirXaris wrote:

    ...You didn't get all of my position...


    -I think I did, you're basically arguing "freedom of choice" (or lack thereof).

    Lanthorn wrote:
    James, chimps are our closest genetic relative. You are correct, with about 98-99% DNA concurrence with Homo sapiens, and it has been speculated we may be close enough to hybridize! Shocked

    Not that I am suggesting anyone try such a coupling...


    ...bigot! Laughing Razz

    Lanthorn wrote:
    ...but I saw one show entitled "Humanzee" in which one interviewee claimed such a thing had been done in a research facility (in vitro?)! Shocked The resulting fetus was 'terminated' before it gestated fully...


    -"...that would be playing God."

    "God, schmod! I want my monkey man!"

    I think there's a chromosomal issue there, although apparently the chromosomes don't necessarily have to match up.

    Lanthorn wrote:
    ...Neanderthals and modern humans have a greater degree of genetic similarities, and there is growing evidence that hybridization DID happen. In fact, Neanderthal genetic markers HAVE been found in most modern humans!


    -Up until about 3 years ago, they didn't think so. Then, archeo-biologists found commonalities between sapiens & Neanderthal. Last I checked, there was still an argument over whether that meant that they had interbred, or whether they had a common ancestor. For a short period, it was thought to be a slam dunk, then they found out that Neanderthals died out sooner than we'd thought, making the supposed interbreeding less likely. I know that they can tell (roughly) when a genetic mutation occurred, and whether one gene is an offshoot of another. I'd think it would be simple, but it might be too close to call.

    Lanthorn wrote:
    ...But, I digress, as this is a fantasy game, and though I am ALWAYS one to interject scientific accuracies to my own campaigns (sometimes to the frustration of my main player), it may not work for everyone..


    -I always assume that unless something is specifically (or obviously) magical, then normal science applies. When I calculate NPC families, I use the laws of heredity to determine hair color and consistency, eye color, and skin color, whether the child of a half-elf and a human is a half-elf or human (perhaps with a related feat), and what have you.
    GreySage

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    Thu May 09, 2013 4:54 pm  

    Glad to see that the laws of heredity and genetic evolution are alive and well, and apparently taught, in Tennessee (from whence you are derived, I see, Jamesdglick), in spite of the "Scopes Monkey Trial" fiasco. Happy

    You give me hope for science education throughout our country.

    You are right about the chromosome issue. Great apes, chimps included, have 48. Humans have but 46, and it turns out during our evolutionary past, a pair fused together, thus explaining their absence.

    But, back to orcish stereotypes, and the main focus of this thread:

    To address Mystic, I would take a Creation-Evolution blend to this gaming system. The Creator Powers made their respective races (species), and the rules of adaptation and evolution go from that point forth, barring "magical" intervention.

    -Lanthorn
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    Thu May 09, 2013 11:41 pm  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    Actually, all you guys are doing is confusing Creation with Evolution.

    Are there Creator Deities in Greyhawk, or not?

    If there are Creator Deities, then Elves, Dwarves and Humans, et al, are different species, no matter how much they may look alike. They were not created the same.

    And if they all came about by Evolution, then explain the differences to me? Why do Elves live for "30,000 years" and Humans only live for 70?

    Where there's smoke, there's fire. But I'll listen to your nonsensical explanations anyway.

    And I'm only half kidding. Evolution does not account for Elves and Dwarves living FAR longer than humans.

    But Creator Deities explains it.

    Anyway, I'm still waiting for the explanations as to the VAST differences between species.

    Ready? Set? GO . . . !


    I'm really enjoying this debate so here's my input!

    In essence I agree with SirXaris in that many people play our hobby for a bit of escapism. I think it is the DMs repsonsibility to guage the feelings of his players. Do they just want to kill things and not be made to feel guilty about it or have constant moral issues raised or are they the sort of party that enjoys that deeper aspect of roleplaying? In the 'we just want to hack things up' approach then there is still no harm throwing in the occasionaly anomaly as a plot hook.

    How do I feel about the nature / nurture of 'evil'? Well I studied anthropology at university and I came out from those years of study with the belief that BOTH play a part.

    IMC I use a mixture of evolution and creation - I don't think that it needs to be one or the other. However unlike the evolutionary process in our own world, Oerth has magic and THAT explains a number of mystically enhanced evolutionary changes. I also maintain in my games that races that are not of a planar origin have no intrinsic leaning to good or evil....nature is neutral....and alignments are a result of nurture.

    I'll summarise how I explain the differences in the races.

    Humans - evolved just like we did in our own world. They are not intrinsically tied to the magical energies of the world and their pure evolutionary origins allow them the versatility they are so known for.

    Elves - have their origins in the fey world, either by the Fairy Realm influencing advanced apes or through a kind of devolution of fairy creatures. Either way the connection to Fairy gives elves their long lives and mystical connections. The insinuative closeness of the Fey Realm to the Prime Material and possibly a connection of a shared ape ancestor allows elves and humans to breed. A drow baby has the same capacity for good or evil that any elf does but the worhsip of evil gods and a curel culture tempers most of these children towards evil.

    Orcs - I have orcs evolving just like humans. In my eyes orcs and humans are incredibly similar they have just evolved differently but with a shared common ancestor somewhere far back along the line. They are not intrinsically evil. A human baby and an orc baby have the same potential for evil or good but the nurture effect means that most orc children walk the path towards evil through their cruel and harsh upbringings.

    Dwarves & Gnomes are an example of a creation myth - forged at different times by Ulaa and Bleredd from the very earth but with gnomes being touched by the Fey Realm.

    Halflings & giants - a case of magic influencing the evolutionary process transforming a shared common ancestor (perhaps at an evolutionary stage equivelant to an australopithecene in the case of halflings).

    These are just a few examples. I'm not a huge fan of creation myths partly because I prefer the idea that most gods were raised to divinity by the races that worship them - that's not to say that those races don't have creation myths that they have made up to explain their origins!

    Those racial origins aside - even if you go for a purely evolutionary origin for each of the races then you can still explain differences such as vastly difference life spans. Although the difference between the life span of a dog and a human isn#t a vast as that between an elf and a human it still exists - throughout nature there are plenty of cases of differing lifespans between creatures that have all evolved naturally. Throw magic as an extra ingredient in the process and you can easilly rationalise such differences. For whatever reason certain races had more magically exposure during their evolution than others.
    GreySage

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    Fri May 10, 2013 7:40 am  

    Wolfling wrote:
    I agree with SirXaris in that many people play our hobby for a bit of escapism . . . Do they just want to kill things and not be made to feel guilty about it or have constant moral issues raised . . . ?


    And there you have it! The "nonsensical" debate.

    We've begun discussing morality in a . . . Fantasy Game!

    The discussion here is, why I let my players "murder" baby Orcs in their cribs and why you don't.

    But I suppose there is some "good" in knowing that the Sophists are still alive and well. Wink Evil Grin

    Laughing Laughing Laughing
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    Sat May 11, 2013 3:25 am  

    To all of you guys - this topic is golden, keep it up! Cool

    As to subtopic why there isn't any Good Powers in monsters pantheons - maybe they are killed/destroyed any time they can be created? If demihumans patheons are generally Good and Neutral, Powers in them are people that allow their Evil sibling to be confused - just like good aligment family would let they evil uncle to be different. In the end - they love him even if he is mistaken.

    But with Evil pantheons we have something different - Evil Powers are overpowering Good ones - to them, being altruistic is sign of weakness and they can't allow this to their people. So they destroy any sings of Good Powers when they emerge in they chosen society - cult of saint orc is slain on command of gods, ones Evil Power showing "weakness" is killed by his brothers and sisters before it's new version of religion would wide spread. Looking on Eilestrae example - she can be goddess of good drows only because she has protection of her Good alignment father, Corellon Larethian. Gods becoming Good Powers in patheon of Evil Powers don't have this support and are disposed by bloody brotheren qucikly.

    DeepShadow wrote:
    tarelton wrote:
    The entry on Montesser in Ivid the Undying is probably what you are looking for. It is an orcish community in the Ruins of Medegia (page 105) that has settled down to a pastoral life amidst the ruins, raising crops fishing, and keeping goats. They are lead by a priestess of Luthic, ("Cave Mother") and are essentially Lawful Neutral. They even conduct limited trade with the Sea Barons.


    I agree that this is a lot of what I'm looking for. IMC I'm going to have this religion spreading out a lot more, working kinda underground among other orcish communities. The Cave Mother's faith IMC will basically be the voices of sanity that no one wants to listen to, but they are getting a few followers in many communities as many orcs are seeing the futility of their hyper-warlike lifestyle.


    Bless you for this idea! I come to conclusion to our Caves of Chaos adventures, and it looks like the PCs will spare masaared orcs tribe and halved kobolds. If they really do this, I see tribe being lead by old shamaness of Cave Mother that say that this bloodshed is no sense that bring the ill on tribe, and they all want to just be left peace - changing steadly orcs alignment from Chaotic Evil to True Neutral.

    Don't have idea what to do with Kobolds, but my boyfriend made them venerate him as "Dragon-Master", so maybe will make theier own cult in complex...
    GreySage

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    Sat May 11, 2013 6:05 am  

    I assume the "Common" deities are available to any pantheon, including monstrous pantheons, to help flesh them out. That's any god with a 'C' next to their name in the Glossography or Player's Guide to Greyhawk lists, even if they have a specific ethnic origin in addition. So some monstrous tribes might well worship Beory, who's called a universal Oerth Mother figure in From the Ashes, and other common, neutral-aligned deities could fit in the various evil humanoid pantheons. Luthic might be Beory's daughter, or Luthic might even just be what orcs call Beory. Forest-dwelling kobolds might revere Obad-hai in addition to (or instead of) Kurtulmak. Certain hobgoblins might pray to Istus or even consider her to be the bride or mother of Maglubiyet. The humanoid pantheons represent the gods unique to those humanoids, but there's no reason they can't borrow gods from their human neighbors, or those gods might reach out to the humanoids themselves, inspiring prophets and priests. They probably worship evil gods predominantly because they're predominantly evil, but they're aware that prominent natural forces like nature, the woods, the sun, the moons, fate, the winds and the sea, and death and disease exist, so if they don't have gods of their own that represent these forces they probably propitiate the same gods that everyone else does.

    Even in a campaign where orcs and goblins are, Tolkien-like, scorned by all but the vile gods who created them, I can see some of them fearfully leaving offerings to the great gods in the hope that they'll be a little less scorned that day. "I know my kind is eternally cursed by you, O Obad-hai, so that the very trees wither and turn black in we inhabit your woods for too long, but if you'd see fit to curse our presence a little less today so that I can maybe catch a rabbit to eat, I would gladly sacrifice my cousin in your honor."
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Sat May 11, 2013 9:20 am  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:

    ...The discussion here is, why I let my players "murder" baby Orcs in their cribs and why you don't...


    -Actually, I don't stop anyone from doing anything. I simply allow them to suffer the consequences of their actions if they do... Evil Grin
    GreySage

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    Sat May 11, 2013 12:11 pm  

    jamesdglick wrote:
    -Actually, I don't stop anyone from doing anything. I simply allow them to suffer the consequences of their actions if they do... Evil Grin


    And that's exactly what I said: There are no consequences in my game.

    Not unless they fail to kill all the Orcs, in which case the survivors might hunt them down. Wink

    But there are no "moral" consequences. It's a game.
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    Mon May 13, 2013 10:34 am  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    jamesdglick wrote:
    -Actually, I don't stop anyone from doing anything. I simply allow them to suffer the consequences of their actions if they do... Evil Grin


    And that's exactly what I said: There are no consequences in my game.

    Not unless they fail to kill all the Orcs, in which case the survivors might hunt them down. Wink

    But there are no "moral" consequences. It's a game.


    -Well, there are (or could be) moral consequences withing the game.
    GreySage

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    Tue May 14, 2013 2:17 pm  

    jamesdglick wrote:

    -Well, there are (or could be) moral consequences within the game.


    As a 'righteous roleplayer' (term coined in one of my guide books), moral and ethical conundrums are some of the most intriguing...to me. Sometimes that is what makes heroes of some 'normal' men and women.

    Kinda reminds me what Gandalf told Bilbo about when to spare a life rather than take one.

    -Lanthorn
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    Wed May 15, 2013 7:15 am  

    Nope! It's a GAME!

    And it's for having Fun! No "moral" conundrums in my game.

    And, as the Over God of my game, I can assure you that Heironeous has no problems with his followers "murdering" baby Orcs in their cribs.

    Nope! No "moral" consequences what-so-ever. Evil Grin

    But, by all means, play it your way.
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    Wed May 15, 2013 12:31 pm  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    ...And it's for having Fun! No "moral" conundrums in my game...


    -Your statement falsely presupposes a contradiction... Wink
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
    Posts: 2591
    From: LG Dyvers

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    Wed May 15, 2013 7:15 pm  

    jamesdglick wrote:
    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    ...And it's for having Fun! No "moral" conundrums in my game...


    -Your statement falsely presupposes a contradiction... Wink


    Actually, it presupposes a contradiction in his campaign. So, it is not, necessarily, a false statement. Wink

    SirXaris
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