Reciprocal Slavery - Yet Another Horrible Alignment Thread

Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Moral equivalency! In my D&D? UNTHINKABLE!

Don't worry about it. But the next time an Angel shows up in the Campaign have it put on it's best school master voice and chastize them for being naughty mortals.

Vod Canockers wrote:

There is a big difference between capturing a free man and forcing him into slavery, and convicting a criminal and incarcerating him.

That deals with the good vs Evil of the actions. I covered that earlier in the thread. That post was my explaining why I am calling the act chaotic. If this all took place in a lawless area, then the actions slide more toward neutral.

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Coriat wrote:

In general terms, my attitude is that slavery as a practice almost always pulls towards evil. It tugs its practitioners towards evil, it pervasively influences a society in which it exists towards evil. This does not mean that everyone involved with a slave system is personally evil - just as not everybody who does other evil things is evil-aligned - but that participation in a system of slavery naturally draws people in that direction.

Slavery is basically front and center in the definition of evil.

Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others.

So when confronted with any particular "is slavery evil" scenario, I tend to start with the assumption that it is evil or a pretty dark neutral until proven otherwise. Proving otherwise requires active demonstration of a non-evil attitude towards the situation. Once you have jumped in, swimming against an evil social current can be done, but it requires work... if you just kind of lazily float, you know which direction you'll be floating in.

So... what did your PCs do, beyond sell some people to a giant? Did you notice anyone trying to actively demonstrate a non-evil attitude towards the situation, whether minor (example: ensuring that conditions would not be horrible) or major (example: seriously exploring other alternatives)?

Indeed, even among other culture's Very Evil slavery practices, the U.S.'s version was arguably the most brutal and cruel in human history.

"Arguably" being the key word. I've studied classical slavery in extensive depth... once you scrape off the fairly widespread whitewashing that goes on to this day, it's can get pretty nightmare fuel dark underneath.

Which is not to give slaveowners in this country any undue credit. Just to note that their ancestors had matched and sometimes exceeded the various barbarities they dreamt up.

But that's a tangent for another time.

More of a technical objection. Slavery does not necessarily require oppression.

In theory, you could have a society that used a system of slavery as justice to rehabilitate criminals while letting them be useful to society. If done right, the overall system could be considered Good.

That said, that system of slavery is very, very, very, very, very(did I get enough verys in there?) unlikely to exist. It has less to do with slavery and more to do with human nature. A large number of studies(Google "stanford prison experiment") have shown that when you give one person power over another, it invariably corrupts and it is only a matter of time before the person in power abuses that power.

Thus, practically speaking, most systems of slavery are going to regularly tempt people to abuse their power and authority over the slaves. The practical result is that you are correct. Almost every system of slavery is going to contain some element of oppression that slowly but surely drags it to Evil.

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Grand Lodge

Helic wrote:
And evil people love pacifists, because they won't fight back.

Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Malala Yousafzai.

Fighting back does not always mean fighting with arms.

If nothing else, for a good person, violence should always be the last resort. In most scenarios in these games, it's quite well established that they're in immediate danger or the bad guy is too far gone and too dangerous not to be vanquished.

Now, if this were my game and there were a Paladin in that party and his response to that adventure hook were anything other than to offer the nobleman a peaceful way of resolving his pain, he'd fall like a cartoon character down an elevator shaft. (*whistle SPLAT*)

(Alternative: Pay the X-amount of GP for the ogre and bring him bound before the nobleman. Give the nobleman the sword and offer him the 'gift' of getting to take the ogre's life himself. This is something that could backfire in a big way, but I think would present a fascinating role-play opportunity.)

For a mostly neutral party, though? Yeah, I could see this being a justifiable, if somewhat dark, action. The Ogre and orcs are obviously chaotic evil beasts that are killing, maiming, and tormenting. Is what the party did to them right? Absolutely not. But a case could be made for paying evil unto evil.

This is again one of those things where motivations matter, though. The orcs, while enslaving goblins, are still doing so in a particularly evil way because they do not care one whit about what the goblin's alignment or previous deeds are. They're enslaving them because the orcs are bigger and can do so. If you're enslaving only those you know to be wicked in the first place, well it's not good and no good character should be part of it, but I wouldn't necessarily call it out as evil either.

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