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    Canonfire :: View topic - 2e Greyhawk and Moral "Gray Areas"
    Canonfire Forum Index -> Greyhawk- AD&D 2nd Edition
    2e Greyhawk and Moral "Gray Areas"
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    Novice

    Joined: Mar 17, 2021
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    Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:33 am  
    2e Greyhawk and Moral "Gray Areas"

    I noticed a minor but persistent theme in AD&D 2nd Edition Greyhawk products that emphasized the "gray area" in moral matters. Examples would include the "honest bandits" adventure in From the Ashes, the grieving Verbeeg in one of the City of Greyhawk adventures or the Ogre converts to Pholtus from the same boxed set. Monsters are not always what they seem in later AD&D Greyhawk. What is your take on this? Did Greyhawk regularly delve into the "grey" areas as a setting?
    CF Admin

    Joined: Jul 28, 2001
    Posts: 539
    From: on the way to Bellport

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    Fri Apr 02, 2021 8:34 am  

    Your post made me recall the old essay by Nitescreed, which is available in a Best of Greyhawk PDF.

    I think the original post was compiled into its own PDF, and possibly revised, but this version is the much-debated original, and it provides a time portal into the early online Greyhawk community on the AOL message boards.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 20, 2004
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    Sat Apr 03, 2021 2:26 am  

    Personally I like an element of moral ambiguity. I think Greyhawk totally lends itself to that vibe too. For example, during the Greyhawk Wars Perrenland made a truce with the unabashedly evil Iuz. Perrenland is officially a LG nation but they were prepared to overlook Iuz's horrific actions to safeguard themselves. Ket even sided with Iuz but they're not an 'evil' nation. I mean even most of the 'Good' nations have a history of seizing territory through force of arms and let's not get started on the genocide committed in the Hateful Wars by the goodly demihumans!

    So yeah, moral ambiguity is definitely there in Greyhawk.

    That being said it, how much ambiguity I use depends on my players. Some players enjoy the moral quandary of are orcs born evil or should they be given a chance whereas others just want to wind down and hack up some things whilst graverobbing the tonbs of their ancestors.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:49 am  

    Neutral alignments= moral ambiguity.

    It was always present in the game.

    But I think it can easily be taken too far. Good-aligned guys don't have to all be saints, but they ought to generally behave in a virtuous manner and try to do what's right.
    Evil characters needn't all kick puppies, but they really should be bad. If they aren't generally nasty and corrupt, then N may be a better choice.[/b]
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:45 pm  

    FormerlyKnownasNorker wrote:

    Evil characters needn't all kick puppies..


    I'm pretty sure that it states this as a requirement in the DMG!:D

    For me, moral quandaries are something that grow, organically, out of the game. Sure, you can set things up that way (I've used the Dungeon adventure 'Trouble at Grog's' for this very purpose), but I prefer it when the players themselves start questioning the motives of the good guys, the bad guys or their patron.

    I really, really hate WotC's corporate guff about 'not all drow are evil'. That is to confuse fantasy with reality & potentially devalues the seriousness of discrimination & oppression in the real world.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sat Apr 10, 2021 10:46 am  

    DriveByPoster wrote:


    I really, really hate WotC's corporate guff about 'not all drow are evil'. That is to confuse fantasy with reality & potentially devalues the seriousness of discrimination & oppression in the real world.


    I get what you mean but I don't think it devalues the seriousness of these topics in the real world at all. I don't think that it's possible to separate fantasy from reality as the former is a distortion of the latter. Topics such as discrimination & oppression are core themes in the majority of fantasy settings and in settings like Greyhawk they are understood to be cruel things not performed by good people.

    Personally I think that the 'not all drow are evil guff' or 'evil is nurture not nature' can be a really important thing to explore. In the real world it's very easy to point your finger and say 'oh this group are the villains' but reality is shades of grey not black and white. If anything, I'd say that perpetuating that binary moral approach undermines open-mindedness in the real world.

    I guess it very much comes down to the preferences of the players & the DM. Some players would rather not have a moral quandary during a game - they just want to kill some drow/orcs/cultists, take their treasure and go to sleep happy they stopped the bad guy which is a perfectly valid desire for a recreational game. Others are drawn to those moral quandaries.

    I belong to a historically much vilified minority as do many of the people I game with. To us, exploring the concept of people who vary from the assumed social expectation (eg a good drow/tiefling, cultured orc) is engaging & sometimes cathartic to explore through roleplay. Sometimes we also just want to blat things but having the option there is really nice. I think what Wizards & Paizo are enabling is variety of options to appeal to a wider range of players. Inclusion is a good thing. Plus it's not like you have to go with it as a DM I suppose and at the end of the day it simply comes down to whether or not alignment, in your campaign, is nature or nurture.
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