The term logistics usually refers to supplying units... not really applicable when discussing a battle between four-eight heroes and X many monsters, unless I'm misunderstanding you. If you're talking about issues of individual heroes moving around the board to flank baddies, that's a maneuver issue, not a logisitcal issue. Again, I could just be misunderstanding you.
Indeed. It's all a matter of degree. For instance, I like the difficult choices and their consequences dynamic, but I want the decisions to be difficult, not completely hopeless as in the emo-goth cut myself campaign you mentioned.
[QUOTE/] Love the gandalf quote, "Many who live deserve death, and many who are dead deserve to live... Can you choose?" Or something like that...
Which has always been ironic to me given that Gandalf and Aragorn were very much in the business of deciding who lived and died amongst both good guys and bad guys. Oh, there turned out to be a rational reason to keep Gollum alive, he got them to Mordor. But in war time, all decisions should be tempered with cold-blooded pragmatism and not reliant upon sentimentality. I'm not saying the ruthless Kill Them All, God Will Surely Know His Own solution is always necessary, but I don't think how well the hero sleeps at night is enough reason to leave a dangerous enemy alive at your back when the fate of the freaking world is at stake.
I've always enjoyed characters who stay true to their core principles but are willing to make hard choices and do things that do not make them feel good about themselves when it's clear that salving their conscience will only make things worse and get more innocent people hurt or killed.
Now I recognize the slippery slope there, and seeing a character wrestle with the Abyss is part of the fascination for me, because if real conflict shows us anything, it's that very few people get to oppose the forces of evil in a literal way, and still come away with a completely clean conscience.
Brian Bachman wrote:
Sure, I'm not all about the draconic code, I don't think a Lawful Good hero (or any Good hero, really) should be lopping off heads, or even hands, for petty theivery, or just because someone picked a fight with them. But if the aforementioned socio/psychopathic baby killer is intelligent enough to recognize the heroes will be squeamish about killing him if he surrenders, even without a court system to string him up legally, it would be perfectly viable for him to try and take advanatge of that weakness in order to live to fight another day. In which case I don't think it's an alignment violation for a Good character, after appropriate agonizing, to lop the sucker's head off. Now, they should realize they're walking a dangerous line in doing so, but it could be the best of bad options, and hence, the right thing to do.
You know, I actually would insist the convicted get a choice on the whole death of personality thing. I think even the basest monster of a human being still has a right to die who they are rather than be forced to be someone else.
Brian Bachman wrote:
Right, you can never know, but is it really worth a bet on the fantasy version of Ted Bundy's salvation to let him walk free in the hopes that some day you'll bring him back to Jesus? Or Iomedae, or Mishakal or whomever? What about the people who were already good that he terrorizes and murders? Is trying to redeem him worth ending the good lives they were ALREADY leading?
That being said, I think you hit it right on the head with your last paragraph. Each case is a judgment call. Mercy is a virtue, but like all things, in moderation. I just fall farther on the don't-risk-innocent-people-just-because-you're-squeamish side of the argument both in D&D and real life :)
Mercy's a fine thing, but what if the innocent suffer for your mercy? What mercy is it to the parents of murdered children that you spared the people who killed (insert horrible method of your choice, if it helps make the point) their children when you had a chance to stop them permanently? Is quasi-moral piety worth dead innocents? We're not talking about heroes who can defend themselves, we're talking about protecting innocents- THAT is the definition of "good." Mercy should be exercised whenever possible, but not at fatal cost to the people you're bound, as a "good" guy, to protect.
Hmm, and how does leaving them around to kill more innocents qualify as "good?" Sparing their lives when you know they will kill more innocents doesn't qualify as "good." It doesn't, it qualifies as moral cowardice. Your characters aren't doing what's right, they're doing what makes them feel good about themselves.
Now, I'm all about working within a functional justice system when available, but if the courts are hopelessly rigged and innocent people are living under the bootheels of the criminals, it's time to go Wyatt Earp, "I see a Red Sash, I kill the man wearing it!"
Get info from him if applicable, then lop his freaking head off and leave him in front of the BBEG's stronghold if you know where it is and can survive gracing its front door.
That's right, all nouns are capitalized, and Deutsch is proper in any case. Oh, and I've always had trouble with possessive pronoun agreement. Danke.
It's been two years since I lived in Baumholder, and I was never that good to begin with. You see, every time I got out on the economy and tried to exercise my three semesters of college German, the person I was conversing with would allow me to butcher their language for about three sentences and then say, "Anglisch?" Which was very nice, but really, folks, how am I supposed to learn your language if you won't let me suffer in it for awhile?
I will say I was proud of myself and annoyed with my countrymen that most Germans and Austrians thought I was English rather than American because my grammar was more or less clean (in my native tongue, of course, we've established that I suck at German) and I minded my manners.
Sorry for the off-topic diatribe. That particular issue is just bound to get a reaction out of me.
As far as playing true neutral, I always saw the alignments as serving two purposes:
1) Being fun to argue about. See? It's working right now!
2) A vague way to make players roleplay a little more honestly, i.e. your Knight of Solamnia can't kill the innkeeper when no one's looking and take his money, and why would your Red Robe(I'm a DL nut) Wizard of High Sorcery REALLY want to do that, what's in it for her?
If you try to take them much beyond that, I think they fall apart rapidly.
A sliding scale would probably be more nuanced, but even that would be problematic, because, as that little sidebar about the morality of killing shows, no two people agree down to the letter about what constitutes good and evil. Even if they share a common culture, religion, etc etc, their opinions will still differ greatly. I have no compunction about killing my definition of a "bad guy" but there are several people within Christianity who are out and out pacifists and have good arguments for their position, at least scripturally, that is. I still don't see how submitting to someone who IS willing to use violence is a more logical option than resisting them and perhaps saving your life and freedom, but I digress.
I still think alignments have some value, though, in trying to make players act like a person with real principles of some sort, rather than an amoral construct than will take the shortest route to treasure and XP every time.
You, know I have a real hard time with this issue in Western Culture today. Like most rational people, I believe that you don't take human life lightly, but saying it's never justified, even when it ... is? Come on, now. You're saying it can be the right thing to do and not the right thing to do at the same time.
The bottom line, is it IS the right thing to do in many cases, it just makes us feel icky so we come up with pious platitudes about how, "it's necessary, but never justified." I think that distinction isn't about morality, it's about rationalizing and making oneself feel better about what must be done.
Oh, there's a million arguments for and against capital punishment, and sorting out people worth redeeming from people who need to be terminated isn't an easy task, but saying that killing is never justified is simply burying your head in the sand. Some people need to die, and the person who does it is committing no sin as long as their doing out of necessity and not to gratify their own bloodlust.
This is why, despite my love of comic books, I'm frequently frustrated with them. The way I see it, when Super Hero A spares Super Villain B's life, with the near-certain knowledge that Super Villain B will go on to murder and committ other atrocities, then he's accomplice to those crimes. Oh, Batman stays true to his morals at the end of the Dark Knight, but of what use is that to the next average Joe that the Joker terrorizes and murders? How about to his wife and kids? Is Batman feeling good about himself worth innocent people's lives?
You can do good without the willingness to kill, but you cannot effectively fight evil without the willingness to do so. Which is fine, if that's your thing, join the Peace Corps of your local Fire Department instead of the militay or the police to make the world a better place, but please don't try to sell me on the idea that one should feel guilty about killing a murderer or rapist or pedophile before that person can do it again.
Saddam Hussein and his sons, whether you approve of the war or not, (and I understand if you don't, I fought there, twice, and I think it was a mistake to invade) got what was coming to them. Ditto the Nazis at Nurenberg (err, not sure on the spelling of Nurenburg, es tud mir leid, mein deutche ist sehr schlecht), Timothy McVeigh, Ted Bundy, Richard Snell and the list goes on and on of people who swung or fried and, in doing so, made the world a better place. I'll waste not one tear on them and save it for their victims, I only wish more like them went to the same fate. I can think of a few right off the top of my head that pretty much got away with their crimes practically scott-free. A large number of Soviet troops in post-war Germany, LT Kalee (sp?) and his men from the My Lai Massacre. The list goes on, but the point is: our squeamishness about eliminating monsters is part of the reason they populate the world faster than good men and women.