D&D 5E Is it right for WoTC to moralize us in an adventure module?


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Ending the violence is a nice little win, but if you didn't solve the poems that led to the violence, aren't you just facilitating oppression? How good is that when you boil it down to basics.
You've negotiated a treaty.

Think of it as negotiating something like the Good Friday Agreement, rather than joining (or aiding) either side.

Finding a peaceful solution, that minimizes harm is generally always going to be the 'Good option'. Negotiating with the Kobolds to release the people they captured from the village, is the morally Good option over simply killing them. Digging deeper as to 'why' they captured the prisoners (and trying to avoid any further incidents like that in the future) is part of that.

Better yet is finding a way for the Kobolds and the local Village to work together, trade together, and learn to live together in peace. Maybe the village can provide goods and services the Kobolds lack, in exchange for the Kobolds trading something of value in return, and an agreement not to harm each other going forwards.

Genocide of the entire Kobold clan is the morally Evil option. It might be darm effective (no more Kobolds to worry about) but it sure as heck is not morally Good.
 

Clint_L

Hero
So did Hitler (and every other perpetrator of genocide ever), and I dont take him as my personal moral arbiter either thanks.

Genocide is evil. If we cant agree on that, we have nothing further to talk about.
My point is that people can and have disagreed about what we would think to be even the most fundamental assumptions of the alignment wheel. Including with the guy who invented it. This is because an alignment wheel isn’t an ethical system. It’s just a bunch of assumptions based on the writer or DM’s world view. Totally arbitrary.

Let’s please continue the discussion without further invoking the H-word.
 

My point is that people can and have disagreed about what we would think to be even the most fundamental assumptions of the alignment wheel. Including with the guy who invented it.

Im not using Gygax as my moral compass, and I see literally no reason why anyone would (or should). Even if his own personal moral compass of 'genocide and slaughtering children because Nits make Lice is LG' was the basis for the alignments in 1E (and that's debatable), it's in no way applicable to any other edition (particularly since the alignments themslves were redefined afterwards).

For example in 3E, I challenge anyone to read the Book of Exalted deeds and come away with a Gygaxian 'kill them all' interpretation of 'Good'.

I've provided my definition of 'Evil' and it's one that is used (and has been used) for millennia to regulate human conduct via criminalizing or prohibiting behaviors and is the basis for much of any nations criminal code.

Evil is broadly speaking 'harming others'. Murder, rape, slavery, genocide, torture.

Good is broadly speaking 'helping others, at personal cost'. Charity, compassion, empathy, mercy, altruism.

Captain America, Spiderman and Superman dont kill people, engage in slavery or genocide or rape people, because they're Good people. Thanos, Frank Castle, the Joker do do those things because they're Evil people.

It's a broad definition, that is commonly understood by most. I mean, good luck publicly arguing any of those things I mentioned are 'morally good' things, because (by consensus) they're not.

If Gygax wants to argue otherwise, he wasnt the first, and wont be the last, but I certainly disagree with him, as would most people.
 

Redwizard007

Adventurer
You've negotiated a treaty.

Think of it as negotiating something like the Good Friday Agreement, rather than joining (or aiding) either side.
This is funny. I was thinking of this exact example, but from the perspective that it only stopped most of the violence. Not all.

Finding a peaceful solution, that minimizes harm is generally always going to be the 'Good option'. Negotiating with the Kobolds to release the people they captured from the village, is the morally Good option over simply killing them.
Sure. A small win.

Digging deeper as to 'why' they captured the prisoners (and trying to avoid any further incidents like that in the future) is part of that.
It could be part of that, but it doesn't have to be. Powerful adventurers could force a cessation of hostilities in a number of ways that wouldn't touch the root causes.
Better yet is finding a way for the Kobolds and the local Village to work together, trade together, and learn to live together in peace. Maybe the village can provide goods and services the Kobolds lack, in exchange for the Kobolds trading something of value in return, and an agreement not to harm each other going forwards.
This is where we really start moving from good to Good.
Genocide of the entire Kobold clan is the morally Evil option. It might be darm effective (no more Kobolds to worry about) but it sure as heck is not morally Good.
It is the obvious Evil option, but not the only one.

The PCs could force a hostage swap, make a huge show of force to cow one side or the other, wipe out the village, enslave either side, negotiate recompense, bribe those in power to force their followers into peace, force an arranged marriage to tie the kobolds and villagers together (yuck,) embargo either (or both) side, use mind-altering magic, etc. All of those are also some degree of less-good.

Does this matter in adventure design? Probably not, but in an ongoing campaign the methods of the PCs matter. Word spreads. Factions and powerful entities hear about the party's tactics, and form opinions based on how the PCs are perceived. Some will approve of quick, easy solutions, but others will appreciate the PCs taking time to identify and resolve the root of the problem.
 

This is funny. I was thinking of this exact example, but from the perspective that it only stopped most of the violence. Not all.


Sure. A small win.


It could be part of that, but it doesn't have to be. Powerful adventurers could force a cessation of hostilities in a number of ways that wouldn't touch the root causes.

This is where we really start moving from good to Good.

It is the obvious Evil option, but not the only one.

The PCs could force a hostage swap, make a huge show of force to cow one side or the other, wipe out the village, enslave either side, negotiate recompense, bribe those in power to force their followers into peace, force an arranged marriage to tie the kobolds and villagers together (yuck,) embargo either (or both) side, use mind-altering magic, etc. All of those are also some degree of less-good.

Does this matter in adventure design? Probably not, but in an ongoing campaign the methods of the PCs matter. Word spreads. Factions and powerful entities hear about the party's tactics, and form opinions based on how the PCs are perceived. Some will approve of quick, easy solutions, but others will appreciate the PCs taking time to identify and resolve the root of the problem.

Look, I generally dont have a problem with evil PCs (depending on my players and their maturity) including in a mixed alignment party. I have no real issue in such games with adult themes, or the PCs engaging in torture or genocide.

We're all clear that 'torturing the kobold' and 'engaging in genocide' are evil, and on the off chance we're not all down with that (rather uncontroversial) position, then I ensure my players know that in the 'in game' metaphysics of my game world, the Gods view those things as objectively evil, and engaging in them sends your PCs soul to the Nine Hells (and your 'actual' alignment might not be what you have written on your character sheet), regardless of how altruistic your PCs intentions might be.
 

Redwizard007

Adventurer
Look, I generally dont have a problem with evil PCs (depending on my players and their maturity) including in a mixed alignment party. I have no real issue in such games with adult themes, or the PCs engaging in torture or genocide.

We're all clear that 'torturing the kobold' and 'engaging in genocide' are evil, and on the off chance we're not all down with that (rather uncontroversial) position, then I ensure my players know that in the 'in game' metaphysics of my game world, the Gods view those things as objectively evil, and engaging in them sends your PCs soul to the Nine Hells (and your 'actual' alignment might not be what you have written on your character sheet), regardless of how altruistic your PCs intentions might be.
Oh, man. I didn't even touch torture. I was more focused on what fell into the realm of Neutral, with a couple notable exceptions. Blatant Evil does have its place, I play Dark Sun after all, but even most heroic parties aren't going to spend a lot of effort digging into why an evil race of humanoids is in conflict with a group of humans. IMO, it bears consideration how the major power players in the region react to that.
 

Oh, man. I didn't even touch torture. I was more focused on what fell into the realm of Neutral, with a couple notable exceptions. Blatant Evil does have its place, I play Dark Sun after all, but even most heroic parties aren't going to spend a lot of effort digging into why an evil race of humanoids is in conflict with a group of humans. IMO, it bears consideration how the major power players in the region react to that.

Neutral is 'generally seeking to avoid harming others while lacking the compassion to regularly go out of your way to help others.'

Most people likely fall into this category. Very few people go around regularly helping others (at their own expense) just like very few people (thankfully) go around harming others (raping, murdering, torturing, beating others up etc).
 

Redwizard007

Adventurer
Neutral is 'generally seeking to avoid harming others while lacking the compassion to regularly go out of your way to help others.'

Most people likely fall into this category. Very few people go around regularly helping others (at their own expense) just like very few people (thankfully) go around harming others (raping, murdering, torturing, beating others up etc).
I agree, but im not sure where you are going with this.
 

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