Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

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Anarfin
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Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Anarfin » Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:30 pm

Hi
Currently I am running the adventure converted from TOR - Ruins of the North, "Harder than Stone" for my mixed elven/Dunedain party.
On the last session, a pair of player's heroes (backed by few NPCs) decided that they are going to enter the tunnels, where (as they know) the group of goblin slaves, guarded by few orcs, is working on some mysterious excavations. And there, at the end of the gaming session, the question was asked "what we should do with the goblin slaves?".
I am very curious how this would end, but I found that very interesting moral dilemma, not only for players but also for the NPCs I am running. What the elves and Dunedains would do with imprisoned servants of the Enemy, after they will overpower their guards?
Killing them or leaving there chained is certainly worth some shadow points. Freeing them would result in alarming the Enemy - especially the goblins of Mount Gram, from where the most of the slaves are, and my players are travelling further north, to the Nan Angmar and Carn Dum.
One of the NPCs is inclined to vengeance due to his past, but rest of them are rather noble, archetypical heroes, so "what Aragorn and Legolas would do" in such situation?
I am eager to hear your opinion.
Also, do any of you guys played or run this adventure (not necessarily in AiME) or was faced with similar dilemma in Tolkien-based universe?

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Terisonen
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Terisonen » Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:06 pm

Sometime, there is not a good solution. Going into the world mean inevitably corruption.
Nothing of Worth.

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Anarfin
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Anarfin » Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:59 pm

Of course, and I am not asking for perfect solution. That would be the player's decision, but I am curious how do you think how would archetypical elf or Dunedain would act in such situation.
Also I am curious if you would find that moral dilemma interesting for your playing group (or have you faced such so far) that's all :)

Otaku-sempai
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Otaku-sempai » Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:49 pm

The heroic approach might be to free the Goblin slaves, but with a stern warning that their lives are forfeit if any are caught raiding settlements of the Free Peoples. Don't expect much in the way of gratitude though.
"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."

Scarytincan
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Scarytincan » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:19 pm

I'm pretty sure that the orc kind of middle earth are to a rule irredeemably evil, and I think the peoples of the elven and dunedain races would be wise and experienced enough to know this being among their primary foes. Personally I think they would find it distasteful, but would ultimately execute the prisoners without remorse as there is absolutely zero potential for good in that race any more than a wight or nazgul, just less evil then those last ones perhaps. At least that's my opinion.

I think it could be interesting and well within role playing for a different culture, especially a hobbit, to want to attempt to redeem one first though and sadly learn the hard way...

Gilrohir Arncelevon
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Gilrohir Arncelevon » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:41 pm

I agree with Otaku-Sempai. I think the elves at least have the wisdom of ages and would know that murdering slaves is the fastest route to a bad end. You have to live by example, even if the chances are the freed goblins will just see it as weakness......one might remember and do the same itself one day......who knows

Bottom line is that a hero is just that......he frees the slaves, but as Otaku suggests, a strong warning never goes amiss.

One final thought, if they do free the goblins, i would reward them at some point in the future by having one of the freed slaves "help" them in some minor way.

Remember, Frodo never gave up on gollum even though gollum never truly found redeption, but in the end, Frodo's compassion was rewarded, because he could never have destroyed the ring without gollum's "help".

Anyway, i hope that helps

Enevhar Aldarion
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Enevhar Aldarion » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:57 pm

It would be a moral issue for a lot of players, but for elf and human characters living in Tolkien's world, it would not be a moral issue at all, as there is no such thing as a non-evil goblin or orc, or any creature at all created by the Shadow. Let them live today and tomorrow they may be cooking your children for breakfast. The only reason Hobbits would not think that way is because they have lived in a sheltered and protected area that has not seen the same eons of conflict with evil.

MrUkpyr
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by MrUkpyr » Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:07 pm

I would say that even for Hobbits and Dwarves, there would be no real moral quandary. Both have been attacked multiple times by orcs, goblins, trolls, and the like.

It might behoove the DM in this situation to remind the players that there is a difference between Evil Men (who have been turned to evil by the Shadow), Creatures created by Shadow ( creatures created by Morgoth in the earliest days - Orcs, Goblins, Trolls, Dragons, Undead, Balrogs, and others / and also the Spiders who were created by Ungolliant), and Creatures warped by Shadow (evil bats and wolves and worgs).

Killing a bunch of evil men who are enslaved by orcs would (and should) be different then killing a bunch of goblin slaves.

MEN have the possibility of being turned back to good. Creatues created by Shadow simply do not. They were created by evil to be evil and are irredeemablly evil.
MrUkpyr
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Otaku-sempai
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Otaku-sempai » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:57 pm

Apologies in advance if this ends up coming off as preachy. As the question comes down to 'what would Tolkien's characters do?' I think it depends on which heroes we are discussing. Some of Tolkien's characters of the First Age probably would execute the goblin slaves. Someone like Beorn--with a deep, personal hatred of goblins--might do the same. But the Elves and Dúnedain of the late Third Age tend--as a whole--to have a more merciful philosophy. In fighting the Enemy, one does not act as the Enemy would act. Tolkien himself wrote that the Wood-elves only (generally) acted mercilessly with the giant spiders of Mirkwood. From The Hobbit, Chapter VIII "Flies and Spiders":
...Wood-elves were not goblins, and were reasonably well-behaved even to their worst enemies, when they captured them. The giant spiders were the only living things that they had no mercy upon.
The Elves might slaughter Orcs that have intentionally trespassed into the Woodland Realm, but any that were captured would most likely be treated with reasonable decency and, eventually, possibly even released. The Dúnedain are also raised to have such high ideals.

I stated before that the heroic thing to do would be to release the slaves. I never said it was the smartest course of action. Middle-earth requires heroes to make hard choices. But slaughtering them, unless in self-defence, would definitely be cause to hand out Shadow points.
"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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Wanton
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Wanton » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:20 am

Wow.... it is so great that we can have a forum where we can totally disagree and still discuss things.

If my Loremaster gave me shadow points for killing Goblins, I would be super upset (of course, I'm not thrilled to get a possible shadow point just because I found an item I like in a troll treasure either).

You cannot let the goblins go free, the blood of any innocent that the later killed will be on your hands! (I mean unless you released them with a stern warning -- I jest :lol: )

In my opinion any orc that came on Elf-control land would have their life be forfeit.

If a group comes upon a troll that is caged or fallen into some pit trap... do they have a moral obligation to free the troll with a stern warning, do they leave the troll to die of starvation, or do they kill the troll? I think they have to kill the troll, just like the party members have to kill the goblins.

If you meet the goblins in a camp in the wood, and had an opportunity to ambushed them, I have never heard a group say, "Hey, have these particular orc (or goblins) committed atrocities?" They say, "Can we ambush this group?"

So I guess, everyone just has to decided for their own group, because I don't think everyone will agree on this one.

So back to the OP's question:
Anarfin wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:30 pm
What the elves and Dunedains would do with imprisoned servants of the Enemy, after they will overpower their guards?
Killing them or leaving there chained is certainly worth some shadow points. Freeing them would result in alarming the Enemy - especially the goblins of Mount Gram, from where the most of the slaves are, and my players are travelling further north, to the Nan Angmar and Carn Dum.
One of the NPCs is inclined to vengeance due to his past, but rest of them are rather noble, archetypical heroes, so "what Aragorn and Legolas would do" in such situation?
I am eager to hear your opinion.
Like someone else said, sometimes this is a messy business, and they may have to take some shadow points to do the "right" thing, but I think the attitude with which the kill the goblins might influence how many points.... if they took great glee in the killing.... maybe give them more points.... but if allowing them to go free can destroy your whole mission.... well you know.... but I don't think I would give my group shadow point for destroying shadow creatures (which I include goblins). So in summary for me, you have to kill them and if you take shadow points, you work to cleans your soul later.

Concerning Legolas, if this were during the time that he was counting "KILLS" with Gimli, I don't think he would count these goblins in the total killed because that would be like cheating in their killing game.

:ugeek:

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