Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

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BookBarbarian
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by BookBarbarian » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:16 pm

As far as I recall, after the War of the Ring King Elessar does not go on a campaign to wipe Orc-kind from the face of they world despite the fact that they are irredeemably evil.

Though he does have wars in his reign, I believe they are defensive ones.

Likewise I could see Aragorn in this situation taking responsibility for escorting the unarmed goblins slaves out of the lands that are inhabited by free peoples of middle earth with a warning to never return under penalty of death.

Now if my player decided to slay the goblin slaves because he couldn't bear the thought of them doing evil to innocents later on. i would give him shadow points... and Inspiration for roleplaying his character well.

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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Otaku-sempai » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:29 pm

Hero_of_Canton wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:05 pm
Ah yes, but in the Loremaster’s Guide pg. 49 it is written “Absolute good and absolute evil exist in Middle-earth. Sauron is irredeemable, a fallen angel who has chosen a ruinous path. The Orcs and other monsters created by the Enemy are similarly evil; they are a monstrous plague, and deserve only a merciful death.”

So in light of this passage, if you give the Goblins in question a “merciful death” why should you accrue any Shadow Points?

Hero of Canton
The first Orcs were, in their origins, once Elves or Men. They have been twisted and corrupted, but they are still living beings deserving of pity--if only for what they might have been. Killing them is not an act of mercy, unless it is to relieve them from a harsher death. Killing any enemy who is helpless and pleading for mercy is a Misdeed no matter how well you can justify it. And remember that Shadow points are not simply a punishment, but also reflect the weight of the world oppressing the souls of your Heroes. You might not feel that the characters deserve a full 5 points of Shadow for such an act, but awarding them none shows disrespect for the graveness of their actions.
"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."

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Rich H
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Rich H » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:53 pm

Hero_of_Canton wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:05 pm
So in light of this passage, if you give the Goblins in question a “merciful death” why should you accrue any Shadow Points?
It depends if you think giving something a Merciful Death (and that needs defining/agreeing from person to person) should/shouldn't award Shadow. So, what is a merciful death? An Orc lying mortally wounded on the battlefield that is then killed is a Merciful Death whereas Goblin Slaves being killed in cold blood, isn't, in my opinion. If that is a merciful death in your game and your LM/players agree then that's fine.

And that last bit leads into another question. If LMs are putting these kind of situations in their games knowing that their views may clash with some of their players' views (ie, they aren't signed up to the same ideas and what-is-what within the game) then they really need to question why they are giving themselves such a headache. I mean if leaving this kind of thing out of the game, because of differing viewpoints, avoids potential meltdowns then people should really avoid them. However if they are being deliberately put in the game to provoke these discussions then cool.

Shadow Points aren't really about punishments as people have said (myself included) upthread so that should be understood and when it is the awarding of them in game is not as contentious. There isn't always a solution to a situation that works out perfectly. Killing the goblin slaves in cold blood is a Misdeed but letting them go would be foolish. Sometimes those are the tough decisions that player-heroes have to make.
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BookBarbarian
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by BookBarbarian » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:18 pm

Rich H wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:53 pm
And that last bit leads into another question. If LMs are putting these kind of situations in their games knowing that their views may clash with some of their players' views (ie, they aren't signed up to the same ideas and what-is-what within the game) then they really need to question why they are giving themselves such a headache. I mean if leaving this kind of thing out of the game, because of differing viewpoints, avoids potential meltdowns then people should really avoid them. However if they are being deliberately put in the game to provoke these discussions then cool.
Yep. It's always helpful to have a talk with your players about what they like and dislike about how you are running the game. I start off with this conversation at session 0 and I like to check in every few sessions.

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Hero_of_Canton
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Hero_of_Canton » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:28 pm

Otaku-sempai wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:29 pm
Hero_of_Canton wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:05 pm
Ah yes, but in the Loremaster’s Guide pg. 49 it is written “Absolute good and absolute evil exist in Middle-earth. Sauron is irredeemable, a fallen angel who has chosen a ruinous path. The Orcs and other monsters created by the Enemy are similarly evil; they are a monstrous plague, and deserve only a merciful death.”

So in light of this passage, if you give the Goblins in question a “merciful death” why should you accrue any Shadow Points?

Hero of Canton
...remember that Shadow points are not simply a punishment, but also reflect the weight of the world oppressing the souls of your Heroes. You might not feel that the characters deserve a full 5 points of Shadow for such an act, but awarding them none shows disrespect for the graveness of their actions.
As someone in a posting up thread suggested, viewing Shadow Points more like Sanity Points in CofC than Dark Force Points in SW offers me a more nuanced view of how the should be used.

In that light what you suggest sounds like a fair course of LM actions - “award” some Shadow Points for the grim but necessary deed, but ameliorate it somewhat given the irredeemable evil of Orcs/Goblins - but only if the executions are done as mercifully as the situation permits.

OR it might also be possible to use the old “enemy of my enemy” rationale to offer the Goblin slaves a way out...“Help us defeat these who enslaved you and you will win not only your lives and freedom but revenge as well...Plus you get to keep their stuff!”

Hero of Canton - “Nothin buys bygones quicker than cash.”

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Majestic
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Majestic » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:48 pm

Another great way to view Shadow points is to think about Frodo and his journey to Mount Doom. Or even Samwise.

Frodo didn't make a ton of "wrong" decisions along the way, where he was doing "bad" things (killing, looting, and stealing his way across Middle-earth). But going through places like The Dead Marshes and Mordor take a heavy toll, as does carrying the One Ring, and by the time he reached Mount Doom each of them had wracked up a bunch of Shadow Points.

[Aside to Rich: the Shadow mechanic works very much the same as it does in TOR]
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BookBarbarian
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by BookBarbarian » Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:24 am

Majestic wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:48 pm
Another great way to view Shadow points is to think about Frodo and his journey to Mount Doom. Or even Samwise.

Frodo didn't make a ton of "wrong" decisions along the way, where he was doing "bad" things (killing, looting, and stealing his way across Middle-earth). But going through places like The Dead Marshes and Mordor take a heavy toll, as does carrying the One Ring, and by the time he reached Mount Doom each of them had wracked up a bunch of Shadow Points.

[Aside to Rich: the Shadow mechanic works very much the same as it does in TOR]
Oh yeah, Frodo had a bunch of shadow points, bouts of Madness, and Permanent shadow points for sure. So much that *spoilers for a 60 year old book* the hurt couldn't be healed in the Shire and he had to set sail for the Undying lands.

Shadow Points are a great tool for roleplaying a character in Middle-Earth.

Glorelendil
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Glorelendil » Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:10 am

Hero_of_Canton wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:28 pm
As someone in a posting up thread suggested, viewing Shadow Points more like Sanity Points in CofC than Dark Force Points in SW offers me a more nuanced view of how the should be used.

In that light what you suggest sounds like a fair course of LM actions - “award” some Shadow Points for the grim but necessary deed, but ameliorate it somewhat given the irredeemable evil of Orcs/Goblins - but only if the executions are done as mercifully as the situation permits.

OR it might also be possible to use the old “enemy of my enemy” rationale to offer the Goblin slaves a way out...“Help us defeat these who enslaved you and you will win not only your lives and freedom but revenge as well...Plus you get to keep their stuff!”

Hero of Canton - “Nothin buys bygones quicker than cash.”
Ah, the irredeemability of orcs debate. Now all this thread needs is a discussion of Balrog wings.

Bear in mind that whether or not orcs are 'redeemable' in an absolute sense is not something anybody less than Elrond or Gandalf...if even they...would have much insight on. We have full knowledge of the Silmarillion and Tolkien's letters and even we can't agree. I hardly expect your typical Hobbits and Dwarves to be considering such factors when deliberating whether to execute captives.

"Well, on the other hand, they were originally Elves, you know..."
(Scottish Accent) "Blimey you're right. We'd better slit their bellies so they suffer longer..."

Again, Shadow points are not a measure of the absolute morality/justifiability of an act, they are a measure of the toll on one's psyche. Even if orcs are irredeemable, most people would balk at executions.

There's a reason that the Hangman is never portrayed as an emotionally stable, family-man kind of guy.
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Otaku-sempai
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Otaku-sempai » Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:38 am

Hero_of_Canton wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:28 pm
...it might also be possible to use the old “enemy of my enemy” rationale to offer the Goblin slaves a way out...“Help us defeat these who enslaved you and you will win not only your lives and freedom but revenge as well...Plus you get to keep their stuff!”

Hero of Canton - “Nothin buys bygones quicker than cash.”
Yeah, if the Orc overseers are actually giving the company problems then that might be worth a try. The bottom line for me is: if the goblins are presenting a clear and present danger then you deal with them as such. If this is not the case then you have more options.

Of course Shadow can be gained through absolutely no fault of the Hero. Witnessing a Haradrim or even an Orc be incinerated by dragon-fire might be horrific enough to require the Hero have to attempt a saving throw.

He robbed from the rich and he gave to the poor.
Stood up to the Man and he gave him what for.
Our love for him now ain't hard to explain,
The Hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne!
"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."

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Anarfin
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Anarfin » Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:20 am

Glorelendil wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:10 am
Bear in mind that whether or not orcs are 'redeemable' in an absolute sense is not something anybody less than Elrond or Gandalf...if even they...would have much insight on. We have full knowledge of the Silmarillion and Tolkien's letters and even we can't agree. I hardly expect your typical Hobbits and Dwarves to be considering such factors when deliberating whether to execute captives.

"Well, on the other hand, they were originally Elves, you know..."
(Scottish Accent) "Blimey you're right. We'd better slit their bellies so they suffer longer..."
-Frar, for the love of Varda, what are you doing?!
-I am givin' those goblin slaves a merciful death, lad...
-You're beating them to death with your mattock!
-I 'ave no other option, lad. 'ave no other weapon and those buggers are not cooperatin'.
-Maybe because you are covered in their blood from head to toe?!
-It's a 'eavy work, laddie... I told them to stay still and make things easier for me and them, but they're screamin', cowerin' in fear or beggin' for mercy. It would be awful, if I hadn't known better.
-Known better?
-Yeah. I pity 'em, but they're irredeemable, ya know?
-How can you know this?
-Some wise-ass professor wrote that in one of his letters. That's enough fer me to make it ok. Well, little buggers, do not make a scene, stop runnin' in circles, come 'ere, let the Frar be merciful today...

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