Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Otaku-sempai » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:38 am

Wanton wrote:
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 you are killing helpless slaves--even goblin-slaves--then I think you have definitely merited Shadow. I gave a poor example citing Orcs in the Woodland Realm; such an instance might need to be judged on a case-by-case basis. I don't think that example applies here, though I don't remember the details of the adventure.
"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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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Enevhar Aldarion » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:20 am

Otaku-sempai wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:38 am
Wanton wrote:
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 you are killing helpless slaves--even goblin-slaves--then I think you have definitely merited Shadow. I gave a poor example citing Orcs in the Woodland Realm; such an instance might need to be judged on a case-by-case basis. I don't think that example applies here, though I don't remember the details of the adventure.
They are only helpless for as long as you are watching them and they are restrained in some way. Set them loose and turn your back on them and see how quickly there are goblin claws around your character's throat.

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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Otaku-sempai » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:46 pm

Enevhar Aldarion wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:20 am
They are only helpless for as long as you are watching them and they are restrained in some way. Set them loose and turn your back on them and see how quickly there are goblin claws around your character's throat.
Then you don't turn your back on them and, if they do attack you, you fight in self-defense. The slaves are probably going to be too cowed to immediately turn on the heroes though. It would be ignoble to just slaughter them indiscriminately. You can only control the actions of your own characters; what others do is up to the Loremaster and their own natures, but the goblin-slaves might just want to put as much distance as possible between them and the lair of their former captors. If any of them become a problem later, you deal with it then. At least that's my own opinion.
"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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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Hero_of_Canton » Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:24 pm

The Professor unequivically stated that Orcs were "irredeemably evil". That's good enough for me. I suppose one could try to oath-bond them into your service, like Frodo did with Gollum/Smeagol, but do you believe the oath of an Orc?

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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Glorelendil » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:09 pm

Wanton wrote:
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:
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.
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Otaku-sempai » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:24 pm

Hero_of_Canton wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:24 pm
The Professor unequivically stated that Orcs were "irredeemably evil". That's good enough for me. I suppose one could try to oath-bond them into your service, like Frodo did with Gollum/Smeagol, but do you believe the oath of an Orc?

Hero of Canton
Actually Tolkien, in Letters, did equivocate a little bit on that subject, though he acknowledged that attempting to reform an Orc would be very difficult and likely to fail. Raising one from infancy would be the best bet.

However, this all misses the point: because your enemy is evil is not an excuse to behave evilly yourself. Or, to quote Friedrich Nietzsche: "Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster... for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you."
"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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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Wanton » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:34 pm

Otaku-sempai wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:24 pm

However, this all misses the point: because your enemy is evil is not an excuse to behave evilly yourself. Or, to quote Friedrich Nietzsche: "Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster... for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you."

Okay, so we are diametrically opposed so I will probably make this one finally entry and then leave it we just agree to dis-agree... (I will of course gladly respond to any questions... I just don't want to beat a dead horse .... and we obviously aren't going to agree on this issue.)


but here are my two thoughts.... if I was fighting two enemies at one time and NOT in a position where we could just imprison any captives (although I not sure a lifetime of imprisonment is better that just dying on the battle field.... but I digress) and came across where Enemy A had capture some of Enemy B.... I wouldn't just say: "okay.... since you were held captive my moral compass says I have to let you go..." In this case above, we have two factions (orcs and goblins) that hate the "good races" (humans, dwarves, elves, and hobbits, etc).... they also mistreat each other, but I'm not here to "rescue goblins". In wars, you kill the enemy.... you do realize that EVERY SINGLE ADVENTURE is trying to kill orcs, goblin, trolls and other bad guys. You are singling these goblins out strictly because they were captives (and helpless). Do you REQUIRE that your players never sneak attack any group they are not 100% guilty of some evil act? No of course not, you let them attack with any and all the advantages they can come up with.

Point two: How many shadow points will your players get when they hear that the goblins were good while they were being monitored but as soon as your players left the area, they killed a farmer, his wife, and their 7 children.... I sure hope they get 9 or 10 points for the despair they must feel after such a feat.

In contrast, I reject your conclusion... in your final statement, you make the statement: "because your enemy is evil is not an excuse to behave evilly yourself." This statement assumes that killing these goblins is an evil act, and I disagree with this. I propose this conclusion.... it would be MORE EVIL to allow these goblins lose on an unsuspecting world at large. :ugeek:

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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Glorelendil » Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:09 am

Wanton wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:34 pm
Otaku-sempai wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:24 pm

However, this all misses the point: because your enemy is evil is not an excuse to behave evilly yourself. Or, to quote Friedrich Nietzsche: "Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster... for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you."

Okay, so we are diametrically opposed so I will probably make this one finally entry and then leave it we just agree to dis-agree... (I will of course gladly respond to any questions... I just don't want to beat a dead horse .... and we obviously aren't going to agree on this issue.)


but here are my two thoughts.... if I was fighting two enemies at one time and NOT in a position where we could just imprison any captives (although I not sure a lifetime of imprisonment is better that just dying on the battle field.... but I digress) and came across where Enemy A had capture some of Enemy B.... I wouldn't just say: "okay.... since you were held captive my moral compass says I have to let you go..." In this case above, we have two factions (orcs and goblins) that hate the "good races" (humans, dwarves, elves, and hobbits, etc).... they also mistreat each other, but I'm not here to "rescue goblins". In wars, you kill the enemy.... you do realize that EVERY SINGLE ADVENTURE is trying to kill orcs, goblin, trolls and other bad guys. You are singling these goblins out strictly because they were captives (and helpless). Do you REQUIRE that your players never sneak attack any group they are not 100% guilty of some evil act? No of course not, you let them attack with any and all the advantages they can come up with.

Point two: How many shadow points will your players get when they hear that the goblins were good while they were being monitored but as soon as your players left the area, they killed a farmer, his wife, and their 7 children.... I sure hope they get 9 or 10 points for the despair they must feel after such a feat.

In contrast, I reject your conclusion... in your final statement, you make the statement: "because your enemy is evil is not an excuse to behave evilly yourself." This statement assumes that killing these goblins is an evil act, and I disagree with this. I propose this conclusion.... it would be MORE EVIL to allow these goblins lose on an unsuspecting world at large. :ugeek:
And you hit the nail exactly on the head. Regardless of which course of action is more evil, the fact remains that there is no good way out of this. And that's the point. You can avoid Shadow points and possibly pay a bigger price later, or you can do the 'strategically smart' thing and corrupt your own soul. There is no win-win-win choice.

This is one of the things that makes TOR/AiMe great.
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Otaku-sempai » Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:50 am

Wanton wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:34 pm
Okay, so we are diametrically opposed so I will probably make this one finally entry and then leave it we just agree to dis-agree... (I will of course gladly respond to any questions... I just don't want to beat a dead horse .... and we obviously aren't going to agree on this issue.)
I think that everyone who has weighed in so far has made their positions pretty clear and there's no point in going around in circles. There are specifics in your last post I would like to address.
you do realize that EVERY SINGLE ADVENTURE is trying to kill orcs, goblin, trolls and other bad guys. You are singling these goblins out strictly because they were captives (and helpless). Do you REQUIRE that your players never sneak attack any group they are not 100% guilty of some evil act? No of course not, you let them attack with any and all the advantages they can come up with.
If every one of your adventures are about trying to kill orcs, goblins, trolls and other 'bad guys' then I'm glad I'm not a player in your campaign. I would want much more diversity than that in goals and adventure hooks.

In this case the goblins were not just captives, but slaves. It is a reasonable option to deprive them of weapons, let them take several days worth of the Orcs' provisions and send them away with a warning that they would be put to death if they trespass on any of the lands of the Free Peoples or otherwise start trouble. If this helps, it might make a difference if they were begging for mercy as opposed to acting belligerently. I freely acknowledge that there is an element of risk and this might be a difficult choice for some to make. There is a possible alternative, if it is feasible: take the captives to the nearest location where they can be judged by proper authorities (alright, I checked and the number of goblins is large enough to make this impractical).
Point two: How many shadow points will your players get when they hear that the goblins were good while they were being monitored but as soon as your players left the area, they killed a farmer, his wife, and their 7 children.... I sure hope they get 9 or 10 points for the despair they must feel after such a feat.
Maybe 1 Shadow point due to Anguish if Wisdom saving throw against Corruption is failed. And if the killer(s) have not already been brought to justice then a sense of responsibility to hunt them down. On the other hand, murdering the slaves when they were helpless captives: gain 5 Shadow points for the Misdeed.
In contrast, I reject your conclusion... in your final statement, you make the statement: "because your enemy is evil is not an excuse to behave evilly yourself." This statement assumes that killing these goblins is an evil act, and I disagree with this. I propose this conclusion.... it would be MORE EVIL to allow these goblins lose on an unsuspecting world at large. :ugeek:
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. I will leave it at that. Peace.
Last edited by Otaku-sempai on Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:27 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Fate of Goblin slaves - a moral dilemma

Post by Hero_of_Canton » Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:51 am

Otaku-sempai wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:24 pm
Hero_of_Canton wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:24 pm
The Professor unequivically stated that Orcs were "irredeemably evil". That's good enough for me. I suppose one could try to oath-bond them into your service, like Frodo did with Gollum/Smeagol, but do you believe the oath of an Orc?

Hero of Canton
Actually Tolkien, in Letters, did equivocate a little bit on that subject, though he acknowledged that attempting to reform an Orc would be very difficult and likely to fail. Raising one from infancy would be the best bet.

However, this all misses the point: because your enemy is evil is not an excuse to behave evilly yourself. Or, to quote Friedrich Nietzsche: "Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster... for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you."
Well quoted and well argued sir! However I believe that also in Letters The Professor mentions in disbelief how some critics ding him for not having his heroes offer quarter to Orcs.

Hero of Canton - "Ruttin' Goblins! Can we at least use 'em as meat shields?"
Last edited by Hero_of_Canton on Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:46 am, edited 3 times in total.

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