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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Sometimes, monsters are meant to be just that, monsters. They are made to be that way because they are personifications of our fear, have radically different physiology, drives, and brains (if they even have brains) or because they come from their own cultural-framework which simply doesn't value human life (if it even values life). Monsters are this way and they can be appropriately killed (though perhaps not made to suffer needlessly) because that is their role in the story.
    Let us drop the question of "sentience" for a moment, and replace "monster" above with "shark".

    Is it thus ok to indiscriminately kill every great white shark we see?

    Now consider the historically documented craze of shark killing that was inspired by the book and movie Jaws in the 1970's.

    Now tell me again that this sort of portrayal in fiction is without real world consequence?

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Solara View Post
    What if Sauron's army and Xykon's mooks had been human?
    Isn't it interesting that Tolkien depicted Sauron's forces as deformed dark-skinned monstrosities who are the result of corrupting the tall white blonde superior race, and his human allies as dark skinned arabic-themed people?
    Last edited by The Pilgrim; 2013-09-16 at 10:58 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    And let's go back further into the history of literature, back before the establishment of the modern fantasy genre. Then we see that the "always evil other we can kill without guilt" not infrequently WAS other people. The moors, the muslims, the christians, the germans, and on and on. Or very thinly veiled stand-ins thereof.

    When in modern times it gradually became less and less acceptable to do this to actual real groups of human beings, we substituted fantasy creatures in their place.

    The unsavory impulses that these portrayals address and satisfy, however, are unchanged.
    Last edited by Amphiox; 2013-09-16 at 10:54 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Has anyone ever noticed that nobody ever complains that I don't include peaceful altruistic goblins who are wholly alien in their ability to get along better than we do? No, they always want rampaging monsters who can be killed with impunity. It's always, "Why are you making me feel bad about murder?"
    It should be noted that such peaceful altruistic golbins wholly alien in their ability to get along better than humans do exist in fantasy literature.

    But when they do, they are usually called "elves".

    And sometimes they even have green skin....
    Last edited by Amphiox; 2013-09-16 at 10:58 AM.

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Scow2 View Post
    And this is the biggest hole in the "Supported Fantastic Racism is Bad" argument - Just because something is true in a world does not mean it's true in our world.
    Every story is about our world, because it is the only world that actually exists. Even if we were to discover another world tomorrow, it would still only be an extension of this world, and all the same moral truths would apply there as well. There is no value to considering the events of a universe that has never existed and will never exist unless it is to reflect upon our own.

    This argument is like saying that you would be the greatest football player who ever lived if football involved doing differential calculus while riding a pogo stick. OK, maybe you would be, but so what? That has no bearing on the actual game of football. Maybe you can sit and daydream about it if you want, but the only actually worthwhile point that such a fantasy could have would be what it might illuminate about the actual game in the actual world.

    EDIT: Amphiox is on-target here.
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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by The Pilgrim View Post
    Isn't it interesting that Tolkien depicted Sauron's forces as deformed black monstrosities who are the result of corrupting the tall white blonde superior race, and his human allies as black skinned arabic-themed people?
    Actually, only one group of elves are blond- the Vanyar, and elven families that have intermarried with them.

    The vast majority of elves in the LoTR-verse are dark-haired.
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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post

    You can write (or play) non-humans any way you want to; I am not required to do the same. I would much rather deal with the more pressing issue of how we treat the other humans walking around this planet who look or act a little differently from us. When alien intelligences show up and start getting discriminated against, I will be happy to write about those, too. Until then, priorities. There are literally billions of words written in other works about killing orcs or goblins or whatever with nary a peep about the morality of such; I'm not going to feel guilty about raising one lone objection.
    I feel like playing Director Lees advocate with this, so bear with me in case I leap a building trying to get to the conclusion...

    It seems that we are forgetting a simple fact about humanity, and that is that we have in-bred animal traits just like any other animal. Furthermore, one of the most common of traits in animals is the instinct to protect "us and ours" vs. "them and theirs". It is a need born of necessity, as resources in the wild are often scarce. Darwinians call this survival of the fittest. In any situation where resources are scarce, it is both logical and natural to compete; whether such competition engenders conflict is irrelevant. You have a right to protect yours by whatever means you deem necessary. It's only natural.

    Where the moral issue comes in play is when people persist in letting their natural instincts dictate their actions while they live in abundance. Simply put, if there is enough to go around, continually competing over the right to hoard resources is wrong. It is this act that we call abject racism. The problem is, people suffer from the Hedonic cycle, and so see scarcity where there is none.

    That being said, in a fantasy setting like this one, scarcity abounds. All of that is abstracted from the player, of course, but is present in the setting. People live in huts, spend their lives in the fields, have to make their own clothes, etc, etc. On top of that, they have to contend with marauding barbarian attacks (be they orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, etc). And this is by design, for in our own world these things happened (with vikings, goths, clan rus, mongols, moors, etc etc etc - all from the point of view of the descendants of the roman empire of course). The fact is fantasy setting creatures are just another set of hat races.

    And here comes the kicker. In these settings, there are creatures, living in abundance (kings, liches... black dragons), who don't share. Now who (in story) is being racist?

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Scow2 View Post
    And this is the biggest hole in the "Supported Fantastic Racism is Bad" argument - Just because something is true in a world does not mean it's true in our world. Furthermoer, there is continued confusion between "Games" and "Stories". They are NOT synonymous. And Fiction and Non-Fiction are likewise opposed to each other.

    Seriously... a lot of the "People who find it okay to murder goblins for being goblins are evil!" are sounding a lot like Jack Thompson and Patricia Pulling right now.
    What about racism in D&D that isn't directed towards non-humans? For example, the Vistani are subject to persecution, and even the Lawful Good monster hunter Dr. Rudolph van Richten hated all Vistani equally, because a single family, from a single tribe was responsible for kidnapping his son Erasmus, and selling him to the Vampire Baron Metus. Dr. van Richten hated the Vistani so much that he unleashed a horde of skeletons and zombies (lent to him by Azalin the Lich) on the camp of the Radanovich family. Decades later, Arturi Radanovich, the last surviving member of the Radanovich family, sought Dr. van Richten out, seeking forgiveness, because the undead were still chasing him! Dr. van Richten was unable to forgive Arturi (who had been a baby when Erasmus was kidnapped), until Arturi took the Doctor to spend time visiting the Vistani, learning about their culture, and even meeting the legendary Madame Eva. Only then could Dr. van Richten recognize his racism, and forgive Arturi, and banish the undead that hunted him.

    (See "The Crucible of Rudolph van Richten" from Tales of Ravenloft, and Van Richten's Guide to the Vistani for more details about this story.)

    The Giant is using Goblins, Kobolds, Half-Orcs and Lizardfolk, who look much more inhuman than the Vistani, who are humans. But van Richten treated the Vistani with distrust and contempt for decades, and many of the inhabitants of Barovia refrain from harming a Vistana only because they fear the wrath of Count Strahd von Zarovich, a Vampire!

    That's not even getting into the works of R.A. Salvatore, and the influence they have had on how Drow are viewed in fantasy games. Without Driz'zt Do'Urden there would probably be no Night Elf PCs in "WoW".

    Even fiends and Aberrations can change their Alignments:

    In the planar city of Sigil, there is a shop called "The Friendly Fiend", owned by an Arcanoloth (aka Arcanodaemon, aka Ravastra) called A'kin. A'kin claims that he is no longer Neutral Evil, and he acts as an information broker. Before the Faction War, A'kin wrote The Factol's Manifesto, as a way of warning the inhabitants of the Cage about what the higher-ups in their Factions were really up to.

    In deep space, in a nearby Crystal Sphere, floats the Rock of Bral. On the Rock is a bar owned and operated by "Large Luigi" a Beholder who has rejected Evil.

    Arturi Radanovich, A'Kin the Friendly Fiend and Large Luigi are all from AD&D 2E sources. Driz'zt DoUrden appeared in 1988, towards the end of AD&D 1E. These aren't new concepts in D&D, they're just not popular ones.
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  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by rbetieh View Post
    And here comes the kicker. In these settings, there are creatures, living in abundance (kings, liches... black dragons), who don't share. Now who (in story) is being racist?
    That is only an argument for killing SPECIFIC Liches, or regarding specific Liches (or kings, or dragons), as evil, which has never been in contention.

    It does not have any relevance on the issue of saying ALL liches (or kings or black dragons) are evil and can be killed without consequence.

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by rbetieh View Post
    That being said, in a fantasy setting like this one, scarcity abounds. All of that is abstracted from the player, of course, but is present in the setting. People live in huts, spend their lives in the fields, have to make their own clothes, etc, etc. On top of that, they have to contend with marauding barbarian attacks (be they orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, etc). And this is by design, for in our own world these things happened (with vikings, goths, clan rus, mongols, moors, etc etc etc - all from the point of view of the descendants of the roman empire of course). The fact is fantasy setting creatures are just another set of hat races.

    And here comes the kicker. In these settings, there are creatures, living in abundance (kings, liches... black dragons), who don't share. Now who (in story) is being racist?
    As I said, I am not truly concerned with whether the people living in the fantasy world are or are not racist, because they do not exist. I am concerned with whether we, in the world of relative comfort, can identify whether or not they are being racist.
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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    turning your brain off, play DnD, and wallowing in racism and genocide just to enjoy the experience?
    it onyl becomes racism and genocide after you make it racism and genocide, until you yourself label it as such its just killing evil monsters who have done actions worthy of getting killed

    How does the existence of history books make stories less relevant to modern culture, philosophy, religion, and psychology?

    Saying the only purpose of stories should be entertainment is like saying the only purpose of ingesting food should be survival or the only purpose of architecture should be the to find the most cost effective structurally sound building plans.
    your comparing apples to oranges

    the existance of history books invalidating the neccesity of storys to deliver a message is because its more effecient

    if i want to teach my kid not to be racist should i have him read OoTS or should i open a history book and show real world examples of where terrible things ahve happened because of racism?
    When you choose not to empathise, it's what is called "dehumanizing". There's nothing wrong with dehumanizing stones, your computer, sky and sun; however, the more you dehumanize and the closer to real people these objects are, the more distant you become from real people too. Do you empathise with the characters of the newspaper article? People who you have never met and are not sure even really exist?
    there is a gap between dehumanizing pixels or some thing that literally only exists in my mind and dehumanizing actual humans that is so large you could fit 5 universes in there and have room for a tiki bar

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    As I said, I am not truly concerned with whether the people living in the fantasy world are or are not racist, because they do not exist. I am concerned with whether we, in the world of relative comfort, can identify whether or not they are being racist.
    You mean like the Team Peregrine Commander?
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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    It all comes down that Reddish Mage seems to would like to read a story about alien sentient beings. While there is certainly good literature/comics/movies (District 9 comes to mind) for that, this story is more about how goblins are misstreated by the way they are usually portrayed in D&D, as mere XP-fodder for the players who can be slaughtered on sight without further consideration and it will still count as a good deed.
    I would not expect that the OOTS story suddenly changes its fundamental background issue, it might be better to look for a good story that depicts what the OP is looking for in a story.
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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Cerlis View Post
    except its not (or could be argued as such) racism or genocide. As they are fictional creatures. and -NO MATTER- what they may -REPRESENT- the FACT that they are NOT real creatures NEVER changes.

    I would equate looking down on someone for allowing people to kill goblins "because they are goblins" with looking down on someone because they decided to have their character kill another one without a fair trial or any proof the person WOULD threaten them in the future (and just testimony).

    Yes it would be reprehensible for the character, but the character did it not the player. and the player is not guilty for the crimes of his character because those crimes are not his crimes. and also the crimes are make believe.
    and as such that there is no racism and genocide because the only person committing or feeling that doesnt exist.

    the only crime committed is possibly lazy roleplaying or a -game- that doesnt take into account real life morals. I mean i'd love to play in a dark gritty game where we where faced with real life decisions and where deeply attached to our characters. But you cant fault someone for glossing over something irrelevant to the game just because you want damage dealing bags of experience to have some semblance (<--emphasis)of life .

    -------------------------------------------

    separate from that i'd think that the main line is drawn at creatures that are known to exist only to create evil. That doesnt mean breed for it, or raised to it. As in this thing's was possibly created to commit evil, and that everything that exists about it exists in order to help it commit evil (for instance its ability to love only exists because it allows it to form lasting bonds with kin and protect each other for continued evil, and breed to create more evil monsters).

    Such creatures would have to be very special as even upon hatching they would be inclined to make you suffer (or otherwise try to commit what evil acts they are capable.) For instance a larva or baby monster who can only hear when it is born but it knows that whatever it hears wants to make suffer.

    And most creatures in any books i've read aren't like that.

    I do think that in one dragonlance book we saw that Black dragons really where evil. We only got perspective from a black dragon weeks after it hatched so the big final question would be when it became sentient and how it felt then. But at the end of the story we saw that it was only using the children as a form of protection and that it was satisfied when it found its new home that when he was big enough he would be able to subjugate the surrounding area. And that the only reason it allowed the humans to live is so their families wouldnt go hunting for him. Basically this baby dragon was extremely evil with no other nurture than a girl who risked her life to save it.


    Also, i need to interject that Sentient does not mean telling right from wrong. its self awareness or "able to perceive or feel things." or basically not just seeing something but understanding it.

    So you can have a person who is completely evil and would only do something "good" for evil reasons (probably it being something that benefited him) but still be actually sentient.

    not to mention that inability to determine good from evil being sentience, means that alot of humans aren't sentient.....
    And a book about killing all brunettes wouldn't be genocide, but just because something isn't real doesn't mean it's right.

    Quote Originally Posted by Forikroder View Post
    it onyl becomes racism and genocide after you make it racism and genocide, until you yourself label it as such its just killing evil monsters who have done actions worthy of getting killed



    your comparing apples to oranges

    the existance of history books invalidating the neccesity of storys to deliver a message is because its more effecient

    if i want to teach my kid not to be racist should i have him read OoTS or should i open a history book and show real world examples of where terrible things ahve happened because of racism?


    there is a gap between dehumanizing pixels or some thing that literally only exists in my mind and dehumanizing actual humans that is so large you could fit 5 universes in there and have room for a tiki bar
    You may as well say we should all speak lobjan because it is more efficient. Maybe you don't use stories or literature to examine real issues or let fiction change your thinking. But if you think humanity as a whole lives that way you are dead wrong. The vast majority of people can see stories and literature as more than just entertainment. Whether or not you can or can't is hardly relevant to most others. Saying "I don't get anything out of stories except entertainment" doesn't change that there are seven billion other people who do.
    Last edited by SowZ; 2013-09-16 at 11:19 AM.
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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    And a book about killing all brunettes wouldn't be genocide, but just because something isn't real doesn't mean it's right.
    that depends entirely on the scenario in the book, is it a book about people who just hate all brunettes and go on a crusade to wipe them out? then yes thats wrong

    is it a book about the only humans who are Brunette come from a certain region known for being bloodthirsty brutal murderers? thats a grey area

    is it a book about microspic aliens who invade human bodys, turn there hair brunette (and only infected humans are Brunettes) and these aliens spend there time working on summoning there demon god who will wipe out all humans and the only possible way to remove the aliens is to kill the host? then looks like thats not wrong
    You may as well say we should all speak lobjan because it is more efficient. Maybe you don't use stories or literature to examine real issues or let fiction change your thinking. But if you think humanity as a whole lives that way you are dead wrong. The vast majority of people can see stories and literature as more than just entertainment. Whether or not you can or can't is hardly relevant to most others. Saying "I don't get anything out of stories except entertainment" doesn't change that there are seven billion other people who do.
    but the problem is that noone SHOULD i feel the world would be a better place if ones moral compass is calibrated based on whats real not whats imagined

    also a global language standard would help everyone feel the world as one large community instead of many fractured ones
    Last edited by Forikroder; 2013-09-16 at 11:22 AM.

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Forikroder View Post
    is it a book about microspic aliens who invade human bodys, turn there hair brunette (and only infected humans are Brunettes) and these aliens spend there time working on summoning there demon god who will wipe out all humans? then looks like thats not wrong
    ...never go work for the CDC.
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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    As I said, I am not truly concerned with whether the people living in the fantasy world are or are not racist, because they do not exist. I am concerned with whether we, in the world of relative comfort, can identify whether or not they are being racist.
    I think part of the issue is the mental habits we cultivate. Sure, saying that all dragons or goblins or whatever are evil in their very nature has no immediate and direct bearing on the real world, because there are no dragons or goblins to suffer because of these assumptions. But it seems to me a very short distance from making assumptions about a fictional people because of their outward physical characteristics to making assumptions about real people because of their outward physical characteristics. So why not take the few extra panels, sentences, or whatever to specify why the protagonists should kill these particular goblins or dragons, instead of just making "guilty until proven innocent" implicit in their nature? (Those reasons might be moral, tactical, personal, political, pragmatic, or whatever, but unless the character's a sociopath, he really should have a reason for killing.)

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    I missed this earlier until it was just quoted:

    Quote Originally Posted by Cerlis View Post
    except its not (or could be argued as such) racism or genocide. As they are fictional creatures. and -NO MATTER- what they may -REPRESENT- the FACT that they are NOT real creatures NEVER changes.

    I would equate looking down on someone for allowing people to kill goblins "because they are goblins" with looking down on someone because they decided to have their character kill another one without a fair trial or any proof the person WOULD threaten them in the future (and just testimony).

    Yes it would be reprehensible for the character, but the character did it not the player. and the player is not guilty for the crimes of his character because those crimes are not his crimes. and also the crimes are make believe.
    and as such that there is no racism and genocide because the only person committing or feeling that doesnt exist.

    the only crime committed is possibly lazy roleplaying or a -game- that doesnt take into account real life morals. I mean i'd love to play in a dark gritty game where we where faced with real life decisions and where deeply attached to our characters. But you cant fault someone for glossing over something irrelevant to the game just because you want damage dealing bags of experience to have some semblance (<--emphasis)of life .
    The crime, such as it is, occurs when the people who roleplayed those actions then say, "And that character is Good." When they take those events and rather than saying, "Yeah, my character is a real piece of dog****, but I have fun playing him," they say, "My character is a hero." When they transfer the lessons of the game into their metagame analysis of it. Because that's when the fourth wall is broken and the stuff that happens in your game affects the real world.

    If you want to play a psychopath who kills orcs because they're orcs, awesome. Good for you, have fun. But don't write, "Good," on your character sheet. Or "Neutral." And don't expect me to write a 900+ page story condoning it.
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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by rbetieh View Post
    And here comes the kicker. In these settings, there are creatures, living in abundance (kings, liches... black dragons), who don't share. Now who (in story) is being racist?
    If you're painting worlds for us where every black dragon is greedy, you are, a little bit, even if you didn't intend it that way. At least, that's a good part of what the Giant wants to convey (and I agree completely with him, Amphiox, etc.).

    Other than that, I think you've wandered away from the question of racism quite completely. Inequality is a rather different discussion.
    Last edited by Toper; 2013-09-16 at 11:24 AM.

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Toper View Post
    Other than that, I think you've wandered away from the question of racism quite completely.
    I agree. Particularly when discussing kingship (i.e., political power and class domination) in a society, the topic has drifted from being necessarily about race.
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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Personally, the only literary merits that I care about are whether or not the story entertains and interests me. In the context of OoTS the author has used anthropomorphization to both make me laugh and make me think. Other stories I've enjoyed have achieved entertainment and interest in different ways. I'm not really clear on why exactly it matters how the author achieves that within the context of the universe he's created.

    Anyways I generally find that people who worry much about what other people enjoy as a diversion have an excess of idle time on their hands.

    Quote Originally Posted by Liliet View Post
    Who do you empathise with more - Roy Greenhilt or Adolph Hitler?
    Really lol? By the 2nd page?
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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    I missed this earlier until it was just quoted:



    The crime, such as it is, occurs when the people who roleplayed those actions then say, "And that character is Good." When they take those events and rather than saying, "Yeah, my character is a real piece of dog****, but I have fun playing him," they say, "My character is a hero." When they transfer the lessons of the game into their metagame analysis of it. Because that's when the fourth wall is broken and the stuff that happens in your game affects the real world.

    If you want to play a psychopath who kills orcs because they're orcs, awesome. Good for you, have fun. But don't write, "Good," on your character sheet. Or "Neutral." And don't expect me to write a 900+ page story condoning it.
    but what if they only say that "my character is good" based on the assumption that every goblin/orc they kill was evil and entirely deserving of being killed despite them the player not spending the time to ensure that for every single goblin/orc they kill?

    why cant they just take DnD as just a form of entertainment without spending so much time mulling over the moral implications in a made up fantasy game? as long as they dont let the ideas in the game invade in there thinkings of real life wheres the problem with turning your brain off and just enjoying playing a game?

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Forikroder View Post
    but what if they only say that "my character is good" based on the assumption that every goblin/orc they kill was evil and entirely deserving of being killed despite them the player not spending the time to ensure that for every single goblin/orc they kill?

    why cant they just take DnD as just a form of entertainment without spending so much time mulling over the moral implications in a made up fantasy game? as long as they dont let the ideas in the game invade in there thinkings of real life wheres the problem with turning your brain off and just enjoying playing a game?
    Because its physically impossible to not let it affect you at all. The same areas of the brain trigger when you imagine playing golf or actually play golf. If one person never plays golf, one plays it in their head, and one plays it for real, there will usually be a wider skill gap between the guy who doesn't play and the guy who plays in his head than between the guy who plays in his head and the guy who plays for real.
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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Forikroder View Post
    there is a gap between dehumanizing pixels or some thing that literally only exists in my mind and dehumanizing actual humans that is so large you could fit 5 universes in there and have room for a tiki bar
    There is not even so much as a hair's breadth between them. One leads to the other in a continuous spectrum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Toper View Post
    If you're painting worlds for us where every black dragon is greedy, you are, a little bit, even if you didn't intend it that way. At least, that's a good part of what the Giant wants to convey (and I agree completely with him, Amphiox, etc.).
    Yes, exactly. It's important to remember that every fantasy world was invented by a human, and they made every decision that went into that world. Saying, "Those black dragons are greedy," is really just a way of saying, "That author made those black dragons greedy."

    Quote Originally Posted by Toper View Post
    Other than that, I think you've wandered away from the question of racism quite completely. Inequality is a rather different discussion.
    Agreed. And one we shouldn't have here, as it is inherently political.
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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Forikroder View Post
    but what if they only say that "my character is good" based on the assumption that every goblin/orc they kill was evil and entirely deserving of being killed despite them the player not spending the time to ensure that for every single goblin/orc they kill?

    why cant they just take DnD as just a form of entertainment without spending so much time mulling over the moral implications in a made up fantasy game? as long as they dont let the ideas in the game invade in there thinkings of real life wheres the problem with turning your brain off and just enjoying playing a game?
    If they're aware of this dissonance, and really are up to the task of compartmentalizing, then yes, in theory there isn't a problem. But if you're not mulling over the moral implications of the game, what are the odds that you're introspective enough to catch the bad habits you might be picking up from in-game thinking? Maybe I'm just more impressionable than most, but I think it's definitely worth underscoring the ugly assumptions behind a lot of D&D for no other reason than to make sure people know to keep them at arm's length.

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Forikroder View Post
    why cant they just take DnD as just a form of entertainment without spending so much time mulling over the moral implications in a made up fantasy game?
    Why am I obligated to indulge them in their ignorance? If that's what they want to do, I can't stop them. But I'm free to express my feelings that what they are doing is harmful, and I choose to express those feelings with a lengthy stick figure webcomic. As this is a free society, you have an equal right to express the opposing view in your own works of fiction.

    If you don't want to be subjected to my viewpoint, stop reading things I write.

    Quote Originally Posted by Forikroder View Post
    as long as they dont let the ideas in the game invade in there thinkings of real life wheres the problem with turning your brain off and just enjoying playing a game?
    Because it is literally impossible. Anyone who thinks that they can perfectly segregate their experiences in this manner is just fooling themselves.
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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by SowZ View Post
    Because its physically impossible to not let it affect you at all. The same areas of the brain trigger when you imagine playing golf or actually play golf. If one person never plays golf, one plays it in their head, and one plays it for real, there will usually be a wider skill gap between the guy who doesn't play and the guy who plays in his head than between the guy who plays in his head and the guy who plays for real.
    so your saying people who paly violent video games will inevitably become murderers?

    Why am I obligated to indulge them in their ignorance? If that's what they want to do, I can't stop them. But I'm free to express my feelings that what they are doing is harmful, and I choose to express those feelings with a lengthy stick figure webcomic. As this is a free society, you have an equal right to express the opposing view in your own works of fiction.

    If you don't want to be subjected to my viewpoint, stop reading things I write.
    im not saying its wrong for you to express your viewpoint (or even that your viewpoint is wrong), even if i only looked at this thread its obvious that its neccesary for people to bring up this topic, but why should how i enjoy playing the game be demonized jsut because other people have a hard time seperating fact from fiction?
    Last edited by Forikroder; 2013-09-16 at 11:41 AM.

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Forikroder View Post
    but what if they only say that "my character is good" based on the assumption that every goblin/orc they kill was evil and entirely deserving of being killed despite them the player not spending the time to ensure that for every single goblin/orc they kill?
    Then the player, not the character, somehow does not realize that that grotesque assumption is invalid.
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    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    This, in a nutshell.
    Yes, exactly.

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    Then the player, not the character, somehow does not realize that that grotesque assumption is invalid.
    what if the DM ensures that every goblin that the chracter the person is playing was an evil monster and deserves to be killed and the palyer jsut relys on his character knowing that without him knowing it personally?

    why am i not allowed to play a game and jsut enjoy it without spending so much time comtemplating the moral question?

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by theNater View Post
    While intelligence is hard to define, almost all definitions include the ability to learn. Any intelligent creature can learn, and therefore can learn to respect human life.

    Of course, physiology or pre-existing culture can make teaching a non-human intelligence to respect human life impractically difficult. So if you want a story where humans are in the midst of an effectively unresolvable conflict with an species of non-human intelligences, such a story is certainly reasonable. But suggesting that an intelligence is unalterably evil, rather than that we lack the ability to alter it, fails to recognize a key element of intelligence.
    It is quite old in this discussion, but I want to say I appreciated that a lot. So yes, an intelligent creature cannot be "always evil". they may be at war with us for any kind of reason, they may have an evil culture that makes them our enemies (but be wary of what you define as "evil culture"), but labeling an intelligent race "always evil" is in my opinion a clear contradiction in terms.

    Then, there's also what someone call escapism. Sometimes you just want to have some fun and you know it's not real so you don't care. I played civilization a lot, I made war for fun, I launched atomic bombs against my enemies or I pillaged their fields to make them starve, and I had no reason for it except that they were controlled by the other player. I put cities to the torch, leveled them and slaughtered the population just because I didn't like their position and wanted to resettle them in a slightly different place.
    Of course I would never do that in real life. I do it because I know it's just fiction, those lives are just numbers into my laptop's CPU. and not numbers like a fully fledged matrix-like artificial intelligence, simply a few bytes telling how much inhabitants has the city and what kind of production it gets for that.

    So, there are stories made for escapism, and stories made with some deeper ideas. I see nothing wrong in either of them. I certainly would never criticize a player of D&D for saying "this is the kind of campaign where we just kill stuff, because I like to roll the dice and not have to think about it. Yes, of course in real life it would be wrong, but this is just a game". Also, nothing wrong in trying to apply real-life morals to the game. I actually prefer that kind of campaigning. Trying to apply real-world morale to the fiction and failing horribly instead is another thing.
    It's not that a semi-sentient race cannot be wholly evil. The orcs in LotR are the most known example, but my favourites are the koloss in mistborn, or the trollocs in the wheel of time. in all those cases, however, they weren't fully intelligent creatures. they didn't really have free will. that makes a difference. So it all depends in the way they are characterized. In D&D monsters are characterized just as humans, but evil. Like that, for no reason. they are evil because they like it, now stop asking question and kill them. I see that not much as racism, but as sloppy characterization
    Anyway, the more I try to delve into the problem, the more complicated it appears. there are many shades between the "story with a meaning" and the "I know it's not real and I just want to have some fun and see some action". I'm just going to end now.

    One last point about roy killing the goblins in strip 11: those goblins were incapacitated, but they were enemy combatants. they would have attacked the oots once they had woken up. tieing them was out of the table, some other goblin would have passed and free them. taking them prisoner was out of the question, they had no way of doing so. basically, it was not nice, but those goblins had to be killed in col blood. in war such things happen. if they were humans it would have been the same. If I were forced into that situation in real life, I may consider breaking their knees so that they'll never be able to fight against me again, but they will have almost normal lives - and before judging me, consider the alternatives. But with magical healing, that's also out of the question. there was no way to avoid those same goblins trying to kill the order the day after except killing them there.
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