RPG Blog Carnival October ’09 – Morality: In-Game & Real Life

RPGBlogCarnivalLogoFirst of all, thanks to Johnn at Campaign Mastery for hosting September’s Blogger Carnival (even if my entry was a bit late).

This month, I’ve chosen a rather philosophical topic for discussion: morality. Everything from alignments to your limits as a player.

There is good and there is Evil. Evil must be Punished. Even in the Face of Armageddon, I will not compromise on this.
– Rorschach illustrating his black and white moral sense, Watchmen

I’ve encountered games which encourage depravity from the darkest depths of the human psyche and which result in nobel behaviour that would put a saint to shame. I’ve personally murdered innocents on a whim, encouraged genocide, been sacrificed by my companions and have sliced my way through thousands of characters, creatures and assorted NPCs, often the in name of a deity or king.

Is there any chance I would ever act like that in real life? Not even the slightest chance.

Likewise, I’ve heard stories about in-game racism, misogyny, ethnic cleansing and the sort of death tolls that would make history’s greatest warlords turn pale. All this is before we even get started with notorious games such as F.A.T.A.L. or Racial Holy War, where all sense of conventional morals is abandoned in favour of blatant racism and disturbing mechanics. In fact those examples I cited come from Vampire, a home brew system and Dark Heresy – we’re talking mainstream games and normal, well adjusted players.

I’ll be discussing some of these stories in my own entry for the carnival, later this month. What I want to hear from you guys is how you deal with morals in-game and in real life. What are your limits as a player? How evil can you be? Do you just like to play by alignment or do you like a more realistic moral system? What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done as a player? How much difference is there between your real life morals and your in-game morals? If a God mandates Kolbolds are evil and must be destroyed, could your character kill a Kolbold pup in cold blood?

What ever your answer is to these questions, then, as always, post an entry about it to your blog. Once it’s up, come back here and leave a link in the comments. At the end of the month, I’ll compile the links and have a bit of a discussion about each.

For previous carnivals, please see the Carnival Archive at The Dicebag.

20 thoughts on “RPG Blog Carnival October ’09 – Morality: In-Game & Real Life

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  2. Emperor

    Morality in a game, is entirely what makes it enjoyable. There are no consequences for your actions, whether temporal or otherwise. So you can murder without feeling bad about it. Being a veteran having served in a combat zone, I know that real morality and real acts can tear a person apart, and put huge divides between the best of friends.

    So in your games, enjoy it. You never know when it might come that you dont have a choice but to make those types of decisions. Not saying its not a good grounds for thought, but enjoy your games.

    To that, check out my webpage. http://www.CrimsonStarEntertainment.com I publish my own campaign settings. Including one which allows you to be a mercantile lord in something akin to the Imperial era.

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  4. Hammer Post author

    Apologies to folks who’ve had their comments waiting in queues for a few days. I’ve been a bit busy with Uni in the past few weeks (which I also why I haven’t finished my own entry yet) 😉

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