View Full Version : A list of sins, virtues and other metaphysical concepts

2017-03-17, 10:23 AM
So I'm creating an extradiemnsional realm based around virtues and sins, I need help brainstorming a list besides the classical 7 dedaly sins.

What I get so far:


The new ones:



New ones:

Any ideias?

Mark Hall
2017-03-17, 10:33 AM
I disagree that Sadness/Happiness should be Sins or Virtues. They are emotions, not things you do. By making Sadness a sin, you say grieving is a sin, which I think goes WAY too far.

It might be useful to look into Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar, which places 8 virtues under 3 Principles (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultima_IV:_Quest_of_the_Avatar#Virtues). It also has the bonus of being divorced from religious definitions of Sins.

The Principles are Courage, Truth, and Love. The virtues (and their associated principles) are

Honesty: Truth

Compassion: Love

Valor: Courage

Justice: Truth and Love

Honor: Truth and Courage

Sacrifice: Love and Courage

Spirituality: Truth, Love and Courage

Humility: None, though it is considered the root of all virtue.

2017-03-17, 10:53 AM
Well, Acedia used to be considered one of the seven deadly sins before it was substituted by Sloth. Sadness is just an easier way to say it.

2017-03-17, 11:05 AM
I think apathy or negligence are better translations for acedia than "sadness."

2017-03-17, 11:07 AM

What's the difference between those two?


Or those?

I think apathy or negligence are better translations for acedia than "sadness."

Those would fall under 'sloth'.

2017-03-17, 11:10 AM
Well, Acedia used to be considered one of the seven deadly sins before it was substituted by Sloth. Sadness is just an easier way to say it.

"Acedia" isn't Sadness, it's a state of total apathy and inability to complete one's basic duties. If someone's pet dog was hit by a drunk driver, they're sad. If someone's pet dog got hit by a car and their reaction was to quit their job and spend all day on the couch watching infomercials, that's Acedia. Well, nowadays we'd call it Depression and try to help them, instead of stigmatizing them as a sinner but that's beyond the point.

And yeah, Anger is literally the same thing as Wroth.

2017-03-17, 11:15 AM
What I think might be worth looking into before you collect lists, is asking yourself how you actually define "sin" and "virtue". Not with "Well, classical definitions", but how precisely to you frame the things? Or, to put it another way: What makes a sin a sin, and what makes a virtue a virtue?
Once that is nailed down, you have a solid framework to think up new ones.

Now, because of reasons I have thought about this a number of times, and have come up with definitions (Just as an example):

For the purposes of the setting I developed the definitions for, a "Sin" is defined as a base instinct that all/most humans feel, but that to (over)indulge in will spell desaster on a personal, interpersonal or other level.
A "virtue", on the other hand, is a positive aspiration, that generally can lead to "good" things, but that humans are mostly not always able to uphold.

Of course, my setting requires those to be highly relativistic, and if one is willing one can frame classical virtues as sins and vice versa with these definitions. Not something you might want for your setting, it sounds like, so be prepared to come up with a reason for that not working if your players might ask questions :smallwink:

2017-03-17, 11:21 AM
Well, I think wrath is more a constant state of explosive emotions that makes you get into fights all the time. And Anger is the buildup of emotions that make you mistreat everyone around you for being angry all the time but it doesn't need to end up being a physical action.

And charity is doing good ACTIONS for other people while Kindness is being overwell a kind person.

2017-03-17, 11:34 AM
I saw this recently:

2017-03-17, 11:40 AM
Wrath is literally extreme anger. Doesn't seem like you're coming up with new sins and virtues, so much as rewording the existing ones.

Grim Portent
2017-03-17, 11:44 AM
I would suggest arrogance as a sin, though it could probably be considered a form of pride, but then pride doesn't really make a whole lot of sense as a sin because there are many positive forms of it, such as pride in one's craftsmanship.

Actually in place of pride I would suggest arrogance and vanity, with pride itself being a concept technically divorced from sin/virtue or possibly found in some forms on either side.

I would also suggest mercy as a virtue.

Possibly trust as a virtue as well, in the general sense of having faith in the goodness of others and assuming the best of them.

2017-03-17, 12:03 PM
Here is Terry Pratchett on sin, by way of Granny Weatherwax:

There is a very interesting debate raging at the moment about the nature of sin, for example,” said Oats.
“And what do they think? Against it, are they?” said Granny Weatherwax.

“It’s not as simple as that. It’s not a black and white issue. There are so many shades of gray.”



“There’s no grays, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.

“It’s a lot more complicated than that . . .”

“No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.”

“Oh, I’m sure there are worse crimes . . .”

“But they starts with thinking about people as things . . . ”

2017-03-17, 12:46 PM
In Legend of the Five Rings, the three Sins are: Desire, Fear, and Regret.

Well, nowadays we'd call it Depression and try to help them, instead of stigmatizing them as a sinner but that's beyond the point.Technically, even in "the old days," the teachings of most faiths exhort people to hate the sin, not the sinner. In fact, you were supposed to try to help the sinner, much as you would intervene with an alcoholic, drug addict, or other self-destructive behavior. Ancient peoples weren't that much less enlightened on these subjects than we are. Even if there were those who were more inclined to feel superior about themselves by looking down their noses at "sinners," much as there are people who will do the same for societal sinning today.

Grim Portent
2017-03-17, 02:19 PM
Decided to look at other moral systems from real life to get a few more suggestions.

In Buddhist teachings apparently the rough equivalent of the Christian virtues, or at least that's what the 10 perfections seem to be, include determination, serenity, insight and renunciation, the latter of which seems to overlap with chastity and temperance, but could probably be considered to be ascetism in general if I'm reading it right.

2017-03-17, 02:28 PM
Here is Terry Pratchett on sin, by way of Granny Weatherwax:

It's from Kant's categorical imperative. You must always treat people as ends in themselves, not merely means.

2017-03-17, 04:14 PM
You could try dividing the classic ones. For example:

* Envy
- Jealousy
- Malice

* Gluttony
- Intoxication
- Wastefulness

* Greed
- Fraud
- Hoarding

* Lust
- Abuse
- Infidelity

* Pride
- Contempt
- Vainglory

* Sloth
- Indifference
- Resignation

* Wrath
- Vengeance
- Violence

Gideon Falcon
2017-03-21, 04:23 AM
Here is Terry Pratchett on sin, by way of Granny Weatherwax:

That is a stellar way of putting it- when you get down to it, every vice is a manifestation of pride- the pride that can be best described as either that objectification of people or, as I've come to think of it, the obsessive fear that only one person in the world can have any worth, and that it isn't you. Pride turns everything into an unhealthy competition, because if you're behind in any way, Pride tells you you're worthless; as Pratchett would say, because you see yourself as an object instead of a person.
So, when it comes to delineating vices and virtues to base a cosmology around, maybe go for Pride and Enmity as the center point for vice, and Love and Humility as the center of the virtues. Think of ways that people manifest those aspects- often in ways that are mirrored on the other side, such as steadfastness vs obstinacy. As the above diagram illustrates, too much focus on the outward form of a virtue can be just as bad as the complete negligence of it- reality is horseshoe shaped that way. So, think in terms of facets, mirrors, and spectrums, and you should be able to start making a good framework.

2017-03-21, 12:19 PM
The root of all evil: love of money. The idea that satisfaction of any kind can be bought or should be buyable, from one's own desired infinite store of currency. Behind every sin is a false god and behind all false gods is love of money.

An unmentioned virtue: wonder, the prelude to glorifying the Above, and the basic driver of Science.

2017-04-15, 11:46 PM
Here is Terry Pratchett on sin, by way of Granny Weatherwax:

This!!! This one!!

Martin Greywolf
2017-04-16, 04:58 AM
There is no definitive list. Sins and virtues are, in most cases, based on religion, and religion is a specific way to express philosophy and morality of a given culture. That means that what one society considers a virtue, the other may consider a sin - independence is a good example, US culture has it as one of its core values, Confucianism influenced cultures, not so much.

When you come down to it, only limiting factor is that something that would make a society collapse has to be a sin, and that's about it. Since punching anyone who looks at you funny is always bad for a society, anger/wrath/whatever else you want to call it is a sin pretty much everywhere. Unless it's framed as justice or honor, and then we have trials by combat and duels at dawn.

You can't, by definition, decouple these from cultural influences - that means either religion or other morality system, like, for example, Nietzsche's philosophy.

And let's not forget that not everyone has a sin and virtue as a concept, this kind of dualism is rooted in Abrahamic religion and good vs evil struggle. Karma as a concept doesn't have this division, it just rebounds everything you do back at yourself, eventually. For an example where the good vs evil clashed with more eastern way of thinking about it, just look at Dark Souls - First Sin may well have been a good thing, so to speak.

So, step 1 is to determine what rough morality system does your culture/world have, step 2 is to extrapolate it into sins and virtues.

2017-04-16, 08:29 AM
Two further virtues:


2017-04-16, 07:17 PM
A bit of a digression, but other races might have different sins and virtues? For example, dwarves would have greed and wrath as virtues, but sloth as the worst of sins and charity to be avoided at all costs. Elves would have pride (and possibly lust), or beauty as virtues, while ugliness and humility are sins.

Just a thought.

No brains
2017-04-16, 08:21 PM
The root of all evil: love of money. The idea that satisfaction of any kind can be bought or should be buyable, from one's own desired infinite store of currency. Behind every sin is a false god and behind all false gods is love of money.

I disagree with the idea of love of money being the root of all sin because the love of money itself has roots. Every being has needs. Money is a great resource for meeting needs. It is the fear of feeling need that causes those love money to do evil, just as those who indulge in wrath to supply their needs. Need is the root of all evil.

That said, "love" of "money" can be an interesting form of evil. "Loving" something that is designed to be traded away is a bizarre behavior that can lead to very misguided 'cart before the horse' thinking. Loving money keeps money from fulfilling its purpose. It's also debatable whether people love the "money" itself or the power that money gives. Love of any power can lead to people abusing it.

There's some interesting things to love about money that aren't evil. Economics are a complex pattern that can be appreciated. Gold itself gained value because it let humans mold enduring impressions of their imaginations. Even the physical form of currency is always given official value by the artistic depictions on it. Money is also something that can enable the powerful to meet the many disparate needs of many people. Any tool that can be employed with the versatility of money is worth a degree of admiration. Though it always helps to love the people the tool serves.

2017-04-16, 09:29 PM
Here is Terry Pratchett on sin, by way of Granny Weatherwax:

Plato had a great conversation on this in Philebus. I am not going to use the terms Plato used with Socrates as his mouthpiece for while the essence of it is pure how many words he used was obtuse and confusing and even the simplized version of wikipedia for Philebus is confusing.

There is the

1) The Limitless

2) The Limited or Concrete or Definite or Definable

3) Mixed States of 1 and 2 which are often more enjoyable than 1 or 2 by itself. Aka mixted states of the limitless / infinite and the limited. Such as a Pun / Double Entendre / Euphemism (these words do not mean the same thing) for it is a form of Joy for we are able to mix the infinite and the limited and yet derive a hidden insight and thus excitement on top of wonder.

4) A different form of mixed states than 3 where instead of merely experiencing you are now recreating. It is organizing nature to recreate the past, to understand the future, or to come to a better understanding of the present. It is the sense of discovery on top of wonder and on top of insight.

So Plato through his mouthpiece socrates defines, 1, 2, 3, and 4 as all forms of the good and forms of things we may like and define as pleasurable. But he in his obtuse way describes different styles of pleasure and different styles of the good.

Now for the most part we did not really advance the philosophy and science on this until Descartes and Descartes really got 3 but he did not understand 4 but by better mixing 3 the limitless and the limited with things like X, Y axis in mathematics, Mind / Body metaphor in Philosophy, X, Y, Z are unknown variables but if the quantity is known use A, B, or C and lots of other similar things that Descartes either discovered or created a unified language on that we now consider Descartes the father of modern western philosophical thought but also modern western mathematics and modern western science.

Note what separates someone like Plato and Descartes was not the knowing 1, 2, 3, and 4 were seperate but able to talk about how 1 and 2 interact and how 3 and 4 are different but related (bounded cases for 3 vs predictive bounded casis which is modern calculus aka 4)


Now back to the original subject.

Whether something is a virtue or a vice has relavance to what I said if its always a bad thing always a good thing or it is sometimes good or sometimes bad.

And whether it is always bad, always good, or sometimes good or sometime sbad and those quantites have predictive value of what you should do.

For example Pride is consider both a virtue and a vice. There is a holy form of pride that leads to better outcomes in a sacred sense or in a concerete sense but also this virtue can be one of the greatest vices leading to the most negative sense or the worse outcome. Now when I am picking in pride as the worse of the deadly sins it is not really worse for humans but is instead assign the first sin for supposedly Lucifer revolted against heaven out of pride according to some traditions note this is not a thing in the bible but instead apocrypha or just fan fiction that has lots of repeat use that people assume it must be in the bible. Now what was the first sin (not the original sin in Genesis and the Garden of Eden) can be debated other traditions both christian based but also other religions sometimes put other sins as the first sin to occur in the history that religion says actually did occur. Was it inaction or action or simply negating in some way and why did this action, inaction, or negation cause a nonproductive or null in the system.

2017-04-17, 10:31 AM
The two "faces" of pride, as we use the term, can be viewed as the virtuous face and the face of vice.

The virtuous face of pride is what we mean when we say, "Take pride in your work," or, "I'm proud of you, Son." It is expecting much of yourself, and the satisfaction in achieving it, or it is a joy at another's success (perhaps because, again, you helped them get there) wherein they expected much of themselves, and you are thrilled they've achieved it.

The face of vice for pride is really a form of vanity. It is an expectation that others will treat you in a particular way because you feel you deserve it. Far from setting and meeting high expectations, you believe you're inherently worthy no matter what you do.

The virtue is satisfaction at the results of your own efforts, or sharing in that satisfaction with others. The vice is demanding of others that they praise and glorify you and your works, rejecting their right to evaluate it for themselves if that evaluation is not what you wanted.

One is self-mastery (or celebrating the same in others). The other is selfishness.