Candlekeep Forum
Candlekeep Forum
Home | Profile | Register | Active Topics | Active Polls | Members | Private Messages | Search | FAQ
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

 All Forums
 Realmslore
 Sages of Realmslore
 Explanatory Ethical Modeling for DM's and Players
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  

cpthero2
Master of Realmslore

USA
1189 Posts

Posted - 15 Feb 2020 :  22:36:04  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Good afternoon Sages, Loremasters, Scribes, Acolytes, and Distinguished Visitors,

I am seeking to create a platform here for discussing ethical modeling for DM's and players to develop their worlds and characters, respectively. Before creating this topic, I searched as per the Code of Conduct to see if there were any discussions regarding ethics here at the 'Keep. Most unfortunately, a search of the Sages of Realmslore resulted in a return of only (20) topics including a search term of 'ethics.'

While certainly a challenging and robust topic to have discourse and argumentation on, I feel it drives to the epicenter of why our favorite character, and more broadly, nation-states and organizations make the decisions that they do. It is an enigma to me to see a co-existent, dominate, and competing outlook between a seeming 'consistent' chaos and dogmatic rigidity in the behavioral models of characters, a good portion of the time. What if we discovered by using established ethical models that have shaped our societies here in the real world for thousands of years, that some of our favorite characters are "evil" [whatever that means] or our more detested "villains" [whatever that means] are misunderstood, and plotted against with disinformation campaigns that plaster them with a false label?

I've seen many opinion engagements here at the 'Keep that devolve into a series of back and forth exchanges that get no where. They more often than not end up with both parties (or more) repeating the same things, reconfigured, without providing incontrovertible or powerfully supporting evidence to support their arguments.

I really feel people would love watching a more formalized process of argumentation/debate unfold that can help those observing make more informed decisions. Those informed decisions can then be taken back to tables with DM's that have the confidence in knowing that they are enacting something that these fabled halls can be proud about.

Does anyone think ethical modeling and relevant discussions about that modeling would be an interesting approach to better understanding the Realms and why things happen?

Thank you for your time!

Best regards,





Robert McDonell
Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring

Kentinal
Great Reader

4409 Posts

Posted - 15 Feb 2020 :  23:38:06  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This sounds like it might be interesting, however not sure it would have much value.

The first problem I foresee though is agreeing on what is ethical. Some believe that the death penalty is wrong and others as justice. Both believe their position is ethical. In the game clearly this issue comes up if capture of a NPC occurs. There among this community are different beliefs on what is ethical. Another examples including raiding old tomes for personal wealth and attacking all Drow/orcs/goblins/foo on sight.

Understanding the realms better though an ethical code might even work for some editions I guess, however even the Realms are written/defined by many people all with their own views and opinions.

"Small beings can have small wisdom," the dragon said. "And small wise beings are better than small fools. Listen: Wisdom is caring for afterwards."
"Caring for afterwards ...? Ker repeated this without understanding.
"After action, afterwards," the dragon said. "Choose the afterwards first, then the action. Fools choose action first."
"Judgement" copyright 2003 by Elizabeth Moon
Go to Top of Page

Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
7024 Posts

Posted - 16 Feb 2020 :  02:20:20  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
D&D players (and sourcebooks) usually apply the term "ethics" only to a very specific context: the Law-vs-Chaos alignment axis. (Along with "morals" specifically referring to the Good-vs-Evil alignment axis.)

The broader (and proper) meanings of "ethics" are hardly considered in game, aside from some vague and lofty references when discussing paladin virtues or cavalier codes, etc.

Candlekeep scribes seem to be a generally educated and literate lot but I'd be surprised if more than a minority of the gamers-at-large could intelligently discuss legal or philosophical ethics or could even describe the differences between "immoral" and "amoral" conduct without first googling things up.

The game itself tends to follow a generic "we are good, they are evil, so it's okay to kill them and not okay to ignore them" mindset, although recent decades have twisted tropes and averted/subverted expectations in all sorts of inventive ways.
The novels tend to explore ethical conundra and moral ambiguities in layered depth. Audiences have grown more sophisticated and now identify with dark heroes, anti-heroes, making the "right" choices from difficult tradeoffs between badly "wrong" options. Some writers excel at this element of their craft, others obviously not so much, and some of the best does indeed tend to trickle into the game material. But mostly the game seems to be deliberately "dumbed down" and simplified so it can retain easy appeal to audiences (especially newcomers) of all ages.

So I wouldn't expect much ethical/moral complexity really goes into the material, at least not consistently or meaningfully, unless it just happens to make good story. Even moreso when viewed across multiple editions, too many different people (and too many heavyhanded blunders) contributing to the tapestry of the Realms.

[/Ayrik]
Go to Top of Page

cpthero2
Master of Realmslore

USA
1189 Posts

Posted - 16 Feb 2020 :  04:42:40  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great Reader Kentinal,

Thank you for your reply. It is sincerely appreciated!

I can certainly appreciate why there may be a belief that it may not have much value, based on your later statement that:

quote:
The first problem I foresee though is agreeing on what is ethical.


What separates the wheat from the chaff in terms values, principles, morals, and ethics is that in fact people do not agree. In fact, what I am striving for are deliberations, dialogue, discourse, formal argumentation, etc., that produce the greatest variety, the greatest disagreement. People (or characters) don't have depth to them if they are linear and a like. That's the very reason why the dark heroes (as Great Reader Ayrik put it), anti-heroes, and others are so appealing to people:

We empathize with those characters because in one manner or another, we share in their foibles. :) It is the humanization, and the shared experience that we strive for when we read such tales. :)

quote:
There among this community are different beliefs on what is ethical. Another examples including raiding old tomes for personal wealth and attacking all Drow/orcs/goblins/foo on sight.


I am glad you started the discussion already Great Reader Kentinal! :)

I would truly enjoy reading your outlook on the raiding of old tomes for personal wealth and attacking all Drow/orcs/goblins/foo on sight, all within an ethical framework.

What I am hoping for though, is that while you pointed out that "even the Realms are written/defined by many people all with their own views and opinions", that is what we're trying to analyze. :) Why does Elminster, Manshoon, Arilyn Moonblade, Artemis Entreri, etc. make the decisions they do? Why are they not the same? Is it really as simple as saying Artemis is evil and Arilyn is good? There is always much more to a person, and a great degree of nuance, that makes every person, especially top tier characters like the ones referenced that make them as compelling as they do to us.

What do you think Great Reader Kentinal?

Best regards,




quote:
Originally posted by Kentinal

This sounds like it might be interesting, however not sure it would have much value.

The first problem I foresee though is agreeing on what is ethical. Some believe that the death penalty is wrong and others as justice. Both believe their position is ethical. In the game clearly this issue comes up if capture of a NPC occurs. There among this community are different beliefs on what is ethical. Another examples including raiding old tomes for personal wealth and attacking all Drow/orcs/goblins/foo on sight.

Understanding the realms better though an ethical code might even work for some editions I guess, however even the Realms are written/defined by many people all with their own views and opinions.



Robert McDonell
Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
Go to Top of Page

cpthero2
Master of Realmslore

USA
1189 Posts

Posted - 16 Feb 2020 :  04:49:26  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great Reader Aryik,

First of all: amazingly fantastic post. Thank you! The short and sweet of it is: I completely agree, 100%. You clearly have some degree of education and/or experience with philosophy in general, and possibly ethics, logic, epistemology, etc.

I believe when it comes to change, you have to start somewhere, or nothing happens. Even if a few of us started talking broadly in the framework of ethical models, it can be engaging for the few of us, and it may even pull in designers, authors, long in the tooth 'Keep sages, and maybe newcomers as well.

I really think talking about the application of deontology and consequentialism to the current alignment system through an inductive analysis model would be amazing. You're spot on with the alignment system being a wreck (well that is my interpretation on what you said).

Perhaps, we could start a separate topic that individually analyzes each religion through certain ethical frameworks? Would you be interested? We could start with.....

....Loviatar?

Best regards,




quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

D&D players (and sourcebooks) usually apply the term "ethics" only to a very specific context: the Law-vs-Chaos alignment axis. (Along with "morals" specifically referring to the Good-vs-Evil alignment axis.)

The broader (and proper) meanings of "ethics" are hardly considered in game, aside from some vague and lofty references when discussing paladin virtues or cavalier codes, etc.

Candlekeep scribes seem to be a generally educated and literate lot but I'd be surprised if more than a minority of the gamers-at-large could intelligently discuss legal or philosophical ethics or could even describe the differences between "immoral" and "amoral" conduct without first googling things up.

The game itself tends to follow a generic "we are good, they are evil, so it's okay to kill them and not okay to ignore them" mindset, although recent decades have twisted tropes and averted/subverted expectations in all sorts of inventive ways.
The novels tend to explore ethical conundra and moral ambiguities in layered depth. Audiences have grown more sophisticated and now identify with dark heroes, anti-heroes, making the "right" choices from difficult tradeoffs between badly "wrong" options. Some writers excel at this element of their craft, others obviously not so much, and some of the best does indeed tend to trickle into the game material. But mostly the game seems to be deliberately "dumbed down" and simplified so it can retain easy appeal to audiences (especially newcomers) of all ages.

So I wouldn't expect much ethical/moral complexity really goes into the material, at least not consistently or meaningfully, unless it just happens to make good story. Even moreso when viewed across multiple editions, too many different people (and too many heavyhanded blunders) contributing to the tapestry of the Realms.


Robert McDonell
Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
Go to Top of Page

Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
7024 Posts

Posted - 16 Feb 2020 :  05:51:59  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm inclined to agree with Kentinel: I don't see any real value in overanalyzing or reconstructing the Realms. Philosophies of the Realms are basically too broken (because they must be shoehorned into conforming with the needs of conflict-driven gameplay) and too messy (because they're a collaborative effort designed around too many artificial, contradictory, and self-contained goals). They were never intended to be an accurate simulation of reality, they don't have natural mechanisms to evolve societies and social values along non-pretend paths.

Loviatar is the goddess of an established religion. So her faithful will adhere to whatever canon and commandments she dictates. They're likely a cruel, sadistic, sociopathic bunch who value their sacred duty (and the temporal or eternal rewards fulfilling that duty promises to them) more than they value the condition of anything or anyone outside the faith. Maybe there's even a minority of misguided Good-aligned sorts in their midst who somehow feel that the sufferings they inflict are actually compassionate in the long term, who knows? Religious fanatics/cultists serving an "evil" goddess of pain - in a fantasy setting designed around the endless forced clash of "heroes" vs "villains" - it's evident that further explanation is not required.

I see the Faerunian Powers as a petty and petulant bunch, vapid cookie-cutter archetypes and largely juvenile psychologies, quite unfitting of my personal expectations from exalted deities. Loviatar's values and motivations (entire identity and existence) seems to be based around somehow taking, corrupting, diminishing, or destroying the godly works of her betters; and I assume her adherents express a generally compatible worldview across human scales.

Ethics and morals might be quite well understood and commonly defined (or they might not, lol) ... but that doesn't at all impose a requirement for everyone (human or goddess) to agree with or abide by ethical/moral behaviors.

My interest (and outlook) on these topics comes from avidly studying "realpolitik", not any formal academia in soft-sciences or humanities.

[/Ayrik]
Go to Top of Page

cpthero2
Master of Realmslore

USA
1189 Posts

Posted - 16 Feb 2020 :  06:37:09  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great Reader Ayrik,

I can appreciate your outlook here. I should clarify that my intention is to attempt to have meaningful, thoughtful, and constructive discourse that perhaps DM's and players predominantly (though it would be great to have designers and authors participate) will see, and engage in, that will allow them to consider how to perhaps alter their version of the Realms at home to comport with more challenging, non-combat issues? I argue that my focus is not to overanalyze or reconstruct the Realms; rather, I see offer alternatives for a different kind of RP, that has the added benefit of having all of these great minds in one location to bring it all together.

Regarding Loviatar, I agree with your point, but I found your possible caveat to be a strikingly good point as to why this kind of discussion might be good for discussion here at the 'Keep. Take for example some individual who had an awful, beating, abuse laden childhood in [fill in the blank Realms location]] 'x'. The child thinks that is normal behavior for a parent, and grows up acculturated and traumatized by how he grew up. He gets the wrong person coaxing him in to the Loviatarian faith with typical abusive language, and bam: new follower. However, during his youth he ends up playing around with some of the Liberty's Maiden faithful, luring him in with the promise of riches, fame, etc. Great villains and/or great heroes, as well as just those necessary NPC's in a town, etc. can have amazingly complex, rich, and difficult to contend with personalities this way. In opposition to that are the cut out villains like Lord Orgauth. I mean, his entry in the Villains Lorebook was:

quote:
On the surface he was a disarmingly blunt merchant and warrior, but beneath it all Orgauth was a subtle and merciless plotter.


So, I see an opportunity to make sense of these villains in this case by fleshing them out through dialogue. Attributing firmly defined ethics to these characters so that DM's or players can look at it and know why this character is the way they are as a villain, etc.

In terms of the deities, that is definitely a hot button to touch and a fun one I feel! Take for example Torm when he fought Bane in Tantras. He soul consumed his followers to defeat Bane. He died there, but Ao took pity. However, out of Torm's abominable behavior during the ToT, he and his followers have the Debt's to take care of for their indiscretions. How cool is that? A set of four principles they can stay devoted too so they don't repeat that set of actions again. There is a lot more packed into that stuff above that could be interesting and useful to DM's, players, and us here at the keep. :)

As to your interests (and outlook) being from an avid intake of the "realpolitik", that is fantastic. It isn't always about the academic. Real world matters just as much. Academic modeling just allows for a quicker possibility of efficacy in wrangling all of this dense, difficult, and challenging to keep straight material.

Best regards,




quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

I'm inclined to agree with Kentinel: I don't see any real value in overanalyzing or reconstructing the Realms. Philosophies of the Realms are basically too broken (because they must be shoehorned into conforming with the needs of conflict-driven gameplay) and too messy (because they're a collaborative effort designed around too many artificial, contradictory, and self-contained goals). They were never intended to be an accurate simulation of reality, they don't have natural mechanisms to evolve societies and social values along non-pretend paths.

Loviatar is the goddess of an established religion. So her faithful will adhere to whatever canon and commandments she dictates. They're likely a cruel, sadistic, sociopathic bunch who value their sacred duty (and the temporal or eternal rewards fulfilling that duty promises to them) more than they value the condition of anything or anyone outside the faith. Maybe there's even a minority of misguided Good-aligned sorts in their midst who somehow feel that the sufferings they inflict are actually compassionate in the long term, who knows? Religious fanatics/cultists serving an "evil" goddess of pain - in a fantasy setting designed around the endless forced clash of "heroes" vs "villains" - it's evident that further explanation is not required.

I see the Faerunian Powers as a petty and petulant bunch, vapid cookie-cutter archetypes and largely juvenile psychologies, quite unfitting of my personal expectations from exalted deities. Loviatar's values and motivations (entire identity and existence) seems to be based around somehow taking, corrupting, diminishing, or destroying the godly works of her betters; and I assume her adherents express a generally compatible worldview across human scales.

Ethics and morals might be quite well understood and commonly defined (or they might not, lol) ... but that doesn't at all impose a requirement for everyone (human or goddess) to agree with or abide by ethical/moral behaviors.

My interest (and outlook) on these topics comes from avidly studying "realpolitik", not any formal academia in soft-sciences or humanities.


Robert McDonell
Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
Go to Top of Page
  Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
Candlekeep Forum © 1999-2020 Candlekeep.com Go To Top Of Page
Snitz Forums 2000