Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

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

Post by Enevhar Aldarion » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:14 am

Glorelendil wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:09 pm

If you think your character could simply execute orcs or trolls that can’t fight back without being deeply affected...well, he/she must already be carrying a lot of trauma.
So you are in the Gondorian army and you just witnessed an orc or troll kill some of your comrades in battle. The orc or troll is now seriously injured and laying on the ground. The wounds are not terminal, but It cannot move. What do you do? Finish off the now helpless enemy or leave it there and hope it does not get better and later kill more of your comrades in battle? I feel a soldier in any army would finish off that enemy.

Now, a civilian who is new to the adventuring life, I could see having serious issues with it. But if he or she had just witnessed a friend or family member killed by that now helpless orc, as a LM, I think it would be perfectly fine that the character, in the moment of anger and loss, finished off that enemy. And I would not force a Shadow point on them, though if they wanted to take one for roleplaying purposes, I would accept that.

Now, back to the original question about goblin slaves, but like a previous poster said, lesser of two evils and all. Personally, my character would have more distress and worry wondering how many potential lives could be lost by letting the slaves live and leave, than by executing them for their potential past crimes against the Free Peoples. This would also be influenced by my character's race, as others have said. A dwarf would never let them leave alive. A hobbit would never take one of their lives or watch it happen, but would probably give in after arguing and let it happen. And elves and humans would be somewhere in between those two extremes, influenced by their personal history with goblins, orcs, etc.

Finally, this is not at you or most other posters here, but sometimes I think people get the Shadow of Middle-Earth and the Dark Side of the Force from Star Wars a bit muddled together. They do work similarly in some ways, and while I have never heard about Lucas being influenced by Tolkien, I have always wondered. The dangers of anger and hate are there in both systems, but I feel the penalty of having to do the lesser of two evils is punished less by Tolkien than Lucas.

Glorelendil
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Glorelendil » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:33 am

Enevhar Aldarion wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:14 am
Glorelendil wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:09 pm

If you think your character could simply execute orcs or trolls that can’t fight back without being deeply affected...well, he/she must already be carrying a lot of trauma.
So you are in the Gondorian army and you just witnessed an orc or troll kill some of your comrades in battle. The orc or troll is now seriously injured and laying on the ground. The wounds are not terminal, but It cannot move. What do you do? Finish off the now helpless enemy or leave it there and hope it does not get better and later kill more of your comrades in battle? I feel a soldier in any army would finish off that enemy.

Now, a civilian who is new to the adventuring life, I could see having serious issues with it. But if he or she had just witnessed a friend or family member killed by that now helpless orc, as a LM, I think it would be perfectly fine that the character, in the moment of anger and loss, finished off that enemy. And I would not force a Shadow point on them, though if they wanted to take one for roleplaying purposes, I would accept that.
Like I said, “he/she must already be carrying a lot of trauma.” I can see that if your character gains a bunch of Shadow witnessing something traumatic, it may harden them.
Now, back to the original question about goblin slaves, but like a previous poster said, lesser of two evils and all. Personally, my character would have more distress and worry wondering how many potential lives could be lost by letting the slaves live and leave, than by executing them for their potential past crimes against the Free Peoples. This would also be influenced by my character's race, as others have said. A dwarf would never let them leave alive. A hobbit would never take one of their lives or watch it happen, but would probably give in after arguing and let it happen. And elves and humans would be somewhere in between those two extremes, influenced by their personal history with goblins, orcs, etc.
Why would the Hobbit be more likely to “give in”? The ones we know about are pretty damned stubborn.

Anyway, the “lesser of two evils” is still an evil.

Why all the resistance to gaining Shadow? It’s one of the best parts of the game. If it’s good enough for Frodo it’s good enough for me!
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Enevhar Aldarion
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Enevhar Aldarion » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:38 am

Glorelendil wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:33 am

Why all the resistance to gaining Shadow? It’s one of the best parts of the game. If it’s good enough for Frodo it’s good enough for me!
Sam or Merry or Pippin would be a better example there, since Frodo had the One Ring forcing Shadow on him.

But hey, give me the One Ring and I too will take on some Shadow. lol

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Hero_of_Canton
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Hero_of_Canton » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:45 am

Enevhar Aldarion wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:14 am
Glorelendil wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:09 pm

If you think your character could simply execute orcs or trolls that can’t fight back without being deeply affected...well, he/she must already be carrying a lot of trauma.
....Finally, this is not at you or most other posters here, but sometimes I think people get the Shadow of Middle-Earth and the Dark Side of the Force from Star Wars a bit muddled together. They do work similarly in some ways, and while I have never heard about Lucas being influenced by Tolkien, I have always wondered. The dangers of anger and hate are there in both systems, but I feel the penalty of having to do the lesser of two evils is punished less by Tolkien than Lucas.
You're right they do sound like "Dark Force Points" from the old West End Games Star Wars RPG. If that is true then I'd agree with you that the use of them is handled better/more nuanced in AIM/5e.

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farinal
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by farinal » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:04 pm

Goblin slaves would immediately attack the heroes when they got them in their sight. There is no moral dilemma here. It is not Forgotten Realms it is Middle Earth.
Of Finarfin's children I am the last. But my heart is still proud. What wrong did the golden house of Finarfin do that I should ask the pardon of the Valar, or be content with an isle in the sea whose native land was Aman the Blessed? Here I am mightier.

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Terisonen
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Terisonen » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:11 pm

Goblin are very prone to flee as soon as possible... They must be really hard pressed to fight when underpowered. They are a bunch of undisciplined brat.
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Anarfin
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Anarfin » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:49 pm

Whoa...
I am surprised, that this topic caused so much disagreement on one of the basic pillars of this gaming system :shock:
My question was "what would typical elf and/or Dunedain do with goblin prisoners" (and I would like to thank you for your answers, they were most inspiring :) ), not the "if they kill them, would they deserve some Shadow Points".

On that point I agree with Otaku Sempai
Otaku-sempai wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:50 am
Killing helpless captives is a Misdeed regardless of the nature of the subjects. It may be seen as a practical necessity, but that doesn't make it right. Which action is the greater of two evils is a matter to be settled between Player and Loremaster.
From the very beginning, I had no (and still I do not have) doubts that killing prisoners (even the servants of the Enemy) is a Misdeed, worth some Shadow points. If you are executing helpless creatures (slaves, prisoners, unconscious enemies on a battlefield etc.), you are killing some your own innocence and sensitivity. Yes, you are on the path of being ruthless, and you are opening yourself, to some extent, for the Shadow.

Also, undertaking "Getting rid of the Shadow points" is not some kind of atonement or penance - it's "living a normal life", creating beautiful things and regaining some of this sensitivity. Without it, you'll be the ruthless, grizzled veteran, living alone with painful memories of his own misdeeds, atrocities and horrible things you've witnessed.

As pointed Glorelendil:
Glorelendil wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:09 pm
Shadow Points are not punishment meted out by the LM. They represent exhaustion of spirit and hope. You can gain Shadow just for witnessing things for example. I would even be ok with a Shadow point...or at least a roll for a Shadow point...the first time a PC kills one of his own race, no matter how deserved.

If you think your character could simply execute orcs or trolls that can’t fight back without being deeply affected...well, he/she must already be carrying a lot of trauma.
Whatever would be the motive of such action (revenge, fear of being compromised during secret mission, cold calculation or even pity), killing helpless (probably cowering, begging for his life) creature would result in some Shadow Points. It stains your spirit - if only for some time.
Hero_of_Canton wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:51 am
Now, if it were in my forthcoming AIM/5e campaign I'd give the Player-Heroes (Kili & Tauriel) a relatively easy DC to avoid getting Shadow Points because of their respective peoples very long histories of unending strife with Orcs and because both of them are veterans of The Battle of the Five Armies (wherein Kili lost both his Uncle and his brother), but there would at least be the risk of accruing Shadow Points.
You are missing some crucial point. We're not talking about the influence of the Shadow, that you can resist. We're talking about the Misdeed. When you are committing Misdeed, there is no saving throw.
But once again, if your players would decide that they will kill helpless slaves because it's the backstory of their characters, it's ok, but they would still get Shadow Points for that. Like Glorelendil said, It's not the "punishment" - it's the way how tainted by Shadow Middle-Earth works.
Last edited by Anarfin on Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Scarytincan
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Scarytincan » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:11 pm

Nicely summed up Anarfin. As stated, I believe dunedain and elves would kill the prisoners, though perhaps I also should have expanded that I too think it would incur shadow points. I just think that that is a price the dunedain especially would be willing to pay, acting as the 'grey' line between the blissfully unaware and the shadow as they do in their exile that they recognize is their burden and responsibility. I feel like they would get MORE shadow if they let them go fearing that a hobbit family death might be on their conscience later.

As to the elves, they continue to gain shadow throughout all their days until they reach the white shores, they know the sorrow the shadow forces on the free peoples who live in ME and do their part. It would simply be one of those things that speeds up the hour of their departure by sea.

I absolutely think both would dish out quick and 'merciful' deaths, and neither would torture for intel...

Glorelendil
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Glorelendil » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:20 pm

As an aside, in one of zedturtle's games we had this dilemma with a single orc prisoner. In the end we gave him back his spear and told him if he defeated one of us in battle he could go free. The coward threw his spear and ran, then we botched our Athletics rolls and he got away, but I still thought it was the best resolution for this dilemma I'd ever encountered. (Pro tip: form a tight circle around the combatants.)

Wouldn't really work with a whole bunch of prisoners, though.
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Otaku-sempai
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Otaku-sempai » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:40 pm

farinal wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:04 pm
Goblin slaves would immediately attack the heroes when they got them in their sight. There is no moral dilemma here. It is not Forgotten Realms it is Middle Earth.
There are about fifty of the slaves; however, they were being controlled by only three Orc overseers. I'm not so sure that they would have been ready to attack the Adventurers unless the goblins were convinced that they would be killed out-of-hand (admittedly, that's what they would do themselves if the roles were reversed). This is where the feature of Craven would kick in: the goblins might not expect mercy, but they might plead for it anyway. I've already acknowledged that the companions would be fully justified in defending themselves if the goblin-slaves attacked them; that is not being questioned at all. But I think that Gandalf, at least, would disagree with your assessment of "no moral dilemma here".
Last edited by Otaku-sempai on Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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