Fantasy cannibalism, a theoretical philosophy discussion

TiwazTyrsfist

Adventurer
Warning: I'm bored. Also this may veer into uncomfortable territory.

So the subject here is Need based emergency cannibalism in a situation that, in the real world, would be considered forgivable. I.e. marooned on a barren island, trapped by an avalanche, e.t.c.
Also for our purpose here we will consider the eating of ANY creature of humanlike or greater intelligence cannibalism. Debates and loopholes of the "if I'm a human and i eat a gnome is it really cannibalism?" nature should go elsewhere.

You're marooned on a desert island with a group of people. You have no supplies and no magic that would provide supplies or escape. Eventually, one of you succumbs to starvation, and the rest of you, in desperation, eat them.
Subsequently, you are rescued.

The eaten party can be restored by the 7th level spell resurrection. Since you obviously aren't casters of that power level, you would have to find someone who could cast it for you.
This would cost at least 2500 gold

So here's the question: how great is your duty of care? How responsible are you to restore them?
 

MarkB

Legend
That is dependent upon the assumed duty of care in the setting in general. Would there be an expectation of revival if the corpse were intact and eligible for the cheaper Raise Dead option?
 

Xenonnonex

Adventurer
No way to fashion things from resources on the island? To also hasten rescue?
No way to forage for things on the island or the surrounding environs?
 

Eltab

Adventurer
Since the person died of starvation, not by my hand, I would feel more obligation to provide them* a decent burial and/or contact their faith's representatives to properly lay their soul to rest.

There are too many vengeful undead in D&D. I don't need that kind of extra complication in my life.

* The inedible parts of their body, anyway
 
Depends upon the character I'm playing & setting details.
This. I've had characters that would kill and eat another PC just for fun. I've also had PCs that would volunteer to be killed and eaten. In some settings eating another intelligent creature is acceptable, while in others it will turn you into a ghoul. There's just too many variables.
 

Wiseblood

Adventurer
Warning: I'm bored. Also this may veer into uncomfortable territory.

So the subject here is Need based emergency cannibalism in a situation that, in the real world, would be considered forgivable. I.e. marooned on a barren island, trapped by an avalanche, e.t.c.
Also for our purpose here we will consider the eating of ANY creature of humanlike or greater intelligence cannibalism. Debates and loopholes of the "if I'm a human and i eat a gnome is it really cannibalism?" nature should go elsewhere.

You're marooned on a desert island with a group of people. You have no supplies and no magic that would provide supplies or escape. Eventually, one of you succumbs to starvation, and the rest of you, in desperation, eat them.
Subsequently, you are rescued.

The eaten party can be restored by the 7th level spell resurrection. Since you obviously aren't casters of that power level, you would have to find someone who could cast it for you.
This would cost at least 2500 gold

So here's the question: how great is your duty of care? How responsible are you to restore them?
I am under no obligation. I did not kill him.

If he was under the charge of a ship’s captain it might be different. I don’t know. Maritime law in a magical setting is not my forte.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
I have always seen the Revivify / Raise Dead / Resurrection spells not as actual parts of the setting or game world, but merely as game-playing conveniences. This is why kings and queens and nobles and high-ranking clergymen etc. all can die early in their lives as the story requires... without not just get raised again and again and again until old age finally catches up with them. If raising the dead was so ubiquitous, it would become commonplace. And truth be told also a lot easier and cheaper to do over time, such to the point that even the middle class and at some point even the lower classes could do it.

But since this sort of expected mass resurrection is never a story situation that appears in any setting, the idea or belief that someone who dies of starvation on a deserted island would or should be raised from the dead is not a logical or standard "next step" once the others were rescued. Nor especially that it was those people's responsibility to do it or pay for it.

The only reason why it would happen would be that the eaten person was a PC in the game and the player did not want to lose their character. But at that point, I'd question why the player would really want to continue to play a character that died from starvation and was actually eaten by the other members of the party, rather than accept the resultant story that occurred gracefully. While I think a lot of morbid fun could be had for a session or two by having a previously-eaten PC still adventure with the cannibals that devoured him... I don't know that it'd be a really worthwhile long-term partnership in the campaign.
 

Dausuul

Legend
If the corpse would otherwise have been eligible for raise dead and your eating it is what forced the choice of resurrection, and the person's heirs are wealthy enough that raise dead would have been an option, I could see the argument that you have a duty to make up the cost difference. I don't feel it's a very strong duty, but if you can do it without great hardship, you probably should.

Otherwise, I don't think there is a duty here. Many people would do it out of a sense of solidarity and "it could have been me," but that isn't the same as a moral obligation.
If you have spells to res, you have create food and water.
You don't have any spells while on the island. Read the scenario again.
 
I have a pretty blanket expectation that my players aren't eating members of sentient races. Hack 'em to bits and tief all their stuff, sure, I guess, but don't eat 'em. Somehow that's where the line is. Taboos are neat.

My general answer to why not? Heroes don't eat people. I'm not interested in making it more complicated than that. At least in my normal campaign, which defaults to, at worst, CG larceny. I try to strive for heroics mostly.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
You don't have any spells while on the island. Read the scenario again.
Fair enough. It would probably never come up in my campaign because being raised from the dead is not that simple.

Even if it were, eating the dead has long been seen as unacceptable. Mythology is rife with ghouls, wendigo and other monsters resulting from eating the dead. It's also just something that would never come up as a PC challenge because to me it's a no-win situation. I don't put my players through those as a personal preference.
 

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