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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment

    Even if it is necessary, i would still qualify it as evil. It would just be a world where only Evil can triumph and Good has lost long ago.

  2. - Top - End - #32
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    Even if it is necessary, i would still qualify it as evil. It would just be a world where only Evil can triumph and Good has lost long ago.
    Or a system that handles a grayer spectrum of morality.

    If Good just doesn't exist in the first place, it kinda skews the results.

  3. - Top - End - #33
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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    Even if it is necessary, i would still qualify it as evil. It would just be a world where only Evil can triumph and Good has lost long ago.
    Hey, it worked in Dragonlance!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krellen View Post
    Remember, Evil isn't "selfish". It's Evil. "Look out for number one" is a Neutral attitude. Evil looks out for number one while crushing number two.

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    guileus's Avatar

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment

    Very interesting topic that keeps popping up in RPG circles. I remember reading a debate on this in the Forgotten Realms mailing list, and I'm talking... probably 18 years ago!

    OP: here you get to play the role that moral philosophers throughout history have kept talking about. You are God. Not God as in puny fantasy world gods, like Greek gods with their human passions, drive to have sacrifices, whatever. You get to be God as the compass of absolute morality. What is "good"? What is "evil"? You get to define them, because otherwise, the alignment system is unworkable.
    Something which actually makes me not really like the whole alignment system, I think it simplifies moral questions and makes for less interesting stories; a good premise of a plot is that any villain thinks he's doing good. It gets a bit dumber and less interesting when you can cast a detect alignment spell and tell him "No, see. You're evil. Like, no debating it, it says so on the spell".

    As God, you get to decide what Good and Evil are, and that also depends on who the moral subjects are. Are orcs moral subjects? It depends on the perspective you take.

    1) Orcs could be simple automatons. This was mostly the classic take on evil humanoids in fantasy works. Sure, they look humanoid to us, two legs and arms. But they don't reason, they don't make moral judgements. They simply act based on their nature, like animals. And that nature is harmful to humans and generates things we perceive as "evil" only because we get the illusion they are humanoid, but they are actually just harmful. Think about poison ivy. It harms you. If it could think and decide to harm you, it would be evil. But we know it doesn't decide anything, it's in its nature to poison you if it comes into contact with you. Or a hurricane might kill you or destroy your house, but it's not deciding so (in this case it's even more clear because it's not even a being!).

    Under this perspective, killing orcs, even baby orcs, could be seen as good. You're avoiding harm to other people. The issue gets a bit complicated if you define "Good" (again, that is why it's so important to define it) a utilitarian philosophers did: increasing the net amount of well-being and reducing the highest amount of harm possible. Because if we understand that orcs suffer when we torture them, even if they are not deciding anything, it could be evil to, in order to avoid a harm of (quantifying it) 1,000 (humans being killed by orcs) we commit a harm of 1,100 (torturing AND killing orcs). The net result is you made more harm than well-being.

    The issue of torture also complicates the "orcs are automatons" argument, because what sense does it make to employ psychological warfare with a being that doesn't decide anything? It will still act like that, it doesn't make sense to try to instill fear into it because that would somehow bring the idea that he can choose not to do something (and thus take a decision, a moral decision) out of fear: "I was going to kill them but now I won't because they are so cruel". This would mean orcs are capable of acting against what we perceive is their nature.

    2) If your perspective is that orcs are entirely capable of making moral decisions, but it's just that their culture and society, from times immemorial, has made them cruel warmongers... then torturing and killing orc babies is wrong and evil. They didn't choose to be born into that society and nothing binds them to become cruel and evil when they grow up. You could kidnap them and raise them in another society and they would then turn to be like humans: some good, some bad. This take is quite common in (post)modern deconstructions of fantasy works and it parallels the criticisms of traditional narratives: what you thought were the good guys maybe are in fact evil, or at the very least, doing something wrong because they are brushing a different group of people as all evil, when there is a high degree of variation in them.

    3) The third perspective is that orcs are not necessarily evil every single time, but something in their nature makes them inclined to evil. This is probably the most interesting take from a moral philosophy point of view, which is ironic considering that became more prevalent with the rise of the "anti-hero from evil race but who's good and is loved by 15 year old readers" (yeah, Drizzt, I'm looking at you).

    I say this is the most interesting take since killing these orcs is good or evil, again, depending on what is Good and Evil under your philosophy. Utilitarians could say that the net well-being of the world is increased when you kill them because, sure, some might grow up to be Drizzt, but most won't and they will commit evil acts. Other moral philosophers (for example, Catholic ones) disagree with this and would find killing orcs just because they are orcs (and killing orc babies) as evil, because they understand that even the slight chance one of them turns out to be good, to be worthwhile of the effort and work done in order not to doom them. Sure, if they are dangerous (as they are likely to turn out evil) measures could be taken, but nothing irreversible like killing them.

    These and other moral philosophers also value human dignity as a good in itself, which would preclude things that devalue it, such as torture. Utilitarians, on the other hand, would only care about the net amount of well-being. If torture achieves its increase, who's to oppose it? Sure, torture might increase "harm" by, for example, 1,000. So if you understood a killing of a human by an orc to increase "harm" by 500, just saving a human life wouldn't warrant the use of torture. However, saving the life of three humans... you get what I mean.

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Douche View Post
    You wrote all this and still don't think of yourself as evil?

    At best, you're pragmatic. But you're certainly not compassionate. You evil dawg
    I regard Azeroth as Soddom and Gamora. A place where good only flourishes so that it can be crushed down by the overwhelmingly evil people who inhabit it. Also, no one as stupid as the Alliance and Horde leadership deserves to live.

    Moreover, I don't appreciate being called evil by someone on an internet forum who has never met me in person simply because of how I view a work of fiction. I hope you were being sarcastic.
    Last edited by Lord; 2017-12-23 at 09:16 AM.
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  6. - Top - End - #36
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    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord View Post
    Also, no one as stupid as the Alliance and Horde leadership deserves to live.

    Moreover, I don't appreciate being called evil by someone on an internet forum who has never met me in person simply because of how I view a work of fiction. I hope you were being sarcastic.
    Let's not confuse RPG morality with real world morality. You can be evil in your perspective with regards to RPG morality without being an evil person in real life practice.

    Denying right to life based on a perceived lack of intelligence is a fantastic way to do that.

    There's no (intrinsic) real world evil in belonging to a fictional RPG evil, thus no reason to consider such accusations to be a judgement upon your character.

  7. - Top - End - #37
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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment

    Well to the OP, if your character is doing all this for the greater good then he must be in the right.....alignment be damned

  8. - Top - End - #38
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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment

    The thing is, in the World of Warcraft universe there is no alignment. So there's no objective alignment and therefore I wouldn't actually be meaningful in any way to know if your character would qualify as Big G good in the dungeons and dragons world.
    My Avatar is Glimtwizzle, a Gnomish Fighter/Illusionist by Cuthalion.

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  9. - Top - End - #39
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    Even if it is necessary, i would still qualify it as evil. It would just be a world where only Evil can triumph and Good has lost long ago.
    Oh the brutal murder, torture and mutilation of orcs (etc.) still are Evil.

    It's just that the Prince is engaging in a Necessary Evil in order to do Good to non-orcs (etc.). When immoral things are required for moral actions to be viable, this suggests a cosmic balance of Good and Evil where the moral sum total is zero, that is, the universe is morally Nihilist, that is, the universe is amoral, that is, the universe is Neutral, neither Good nor Evil.

    Though I do agree that there are universes where the only possibility for Good people is to die. Not because Good is impractical. Not because Good is stupid. But because those universes are cosmically Evil, that is, horrifying enough to live in that pretending life in them has some sort of positive value would be insane.
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
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  10. - Top - End - #40
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment

    Another thing to consider is population growth. Orcs are going to breed faster. Dragon issue 89 has an article about this
    Races such as Elves and dwarves may very well face extinction if they don't resort to killing Orc babies. If a thousand Orc warriors get killed so what they be replaced in 20 years if not sooner. If a single elf gets killed it might take over 100 years to replace him

    The conflict between Orcs and other races goes beyond alignment its biology. A short lived but quickly maturing race vs the long lived but slowly maturing race living in the same area. Orcs thrive when there is natural disasters and war, they recover a lot quicker then anyone else does and by the time they do the Orcs will be well entrenched

  11. - Top - End - #41
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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by jk7275 View Post
    Another thing to consider is population growth. Orcs are going to breed faster. Dragon issue 89 has an article about this
    Races such as Elves and dwarves may very well face extinction if they don't resort to killing Orc babies. If a thousand Orc warriors get killed so what they be replaced in 20 years if not sooner. If a single elf gets killed it might take over 100 years to replace him

    The conflict between Orcs and other races goes beyond alignment its biology. A short lived but quickly maturing race vs the long lived but slowly maturing race living in the same area. Orcs thrive when there is natural disasters and war, they recover a lot quicker then anyone else does and by the time they do the Orcs will be well entrenched
    That entire argument can be used on humans as well, and the character in question is stated to be human.
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  12. - Top - End - #42
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    AMFV's Avatar

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by jk7275 View Post
    Another thing to consider is population growth. Orcs are going to breed faster. Dragon issue 89 has an article about this
    Races such as Elves and dwarves may very well face extinction if they don't resort to killing Orc babies. If a thousand Orc warriors get killed so what they be replaced in 20 years if not sooner. If a single elf gets killed it might take over 100 years to replace him

    The conflict between Orcs and other races goes beyond alignment its biology. A short lived but quickly maturing race vs the long lived but slowly maturing race living in the same area. Orcs thrive when there is natural disasters and war, they recover a lot quicker then anyone else does and by the time they do the Orcs will be well entrenched
    That's accurate to D&D, but not so much to Warcraft, where that particular thing has been less clearly spelled out.
    My Avatar is Glimtwizzle, a Gnomish Fighter/Illusionist by Cuthalion.

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  13. - Top - End - #43
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by braveheart View Post
    That entire argument can be used on humans as well, and the character in question is stated to be human.
    That argument can be used to explain why humans tend to become the dominant species as they found the happy middle ground between Elf and Orc
    Elves have a low population growth but produce exceptional beings while Ocrs breed like rabbits but rarely if at all produce exceptional beings, humans are somewhere in the middle. Humans breed almost as fast as Orcs and produce exceptional beings as fast as Elves

  14. - Top - End - #44
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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by jk7275 View Post
    Another thing to consider is population growth. Orcs are going to breed faster. Dragon issue 89 has an article about this
    Races such as Elves and dwarves may very well face extinction if they don't resort to killing Orc babies. If a thousand Orc warriors get killed so what they be replaced in 20 years if not sooner. If a single elf gets killed it might take over 100 years to replace him

    The conflict between Orcs and other races goes beyond alignment its biology. A short lived but quickly maturing race vs the long lived but slowly maturing race living in the same area. Orcs thrive when there is natural disasters and war, they recover a lot quicker then anyone else does and by the time they do the Orcs will be well entrenched
    Higher survival expectancy of ork babies would make the orcs want to plan for smaller amount of children. The solution is not to kill the orc babies, but planned parrenthood for orcs
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  15. - Top - End - #45
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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Narmoth View Post
    Higher survival expectancy of ork babies would make the orcs want to plan for smaller amount of children. The solution is not to kill the orc babies, but planned parrenthood for orcs
    This assumes that the orcs have reached a post-expansionist society, which seems unlikely (I mean, they call it Warcraft for a reason). In olden times, when a population grew too big, it would just colonize or conquer some new territory. It's only in the modern world, where all of the territory has been claimed and not everyone is keen to fight over it, that we have any concern for population control.
    "Nothing you can't spell will ever work." - Will Rogers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Krellen View Post
    Remember, Evil isn't "selfish". It's Evil. "Look out for number one" is a Neutral attitude. Evil looks out for number one while crushing number two.

  16. - Top - End - #46
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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment

    First thingís first, as of fifth editon orcs arenít always evil, nor always chaotic: they tend towards both, but there are no guarantees. They have things that could be reasonably called villages, but those villages donít much resemble human villages, being mostly in caves, but they do distinctly have children in them.

    Second, if you are going by 5e lore, killing the women and children of a tribe would be difficult, since the women will fight more fiercely than the men, and the orogs who defended the children would fight even more fiercely than the women. Burning down an orc village would be a feat to behold, mainly because stone generally burns poorly.

    If you arenít using 5e lore, I canít help you.

    PS, since when is Drizzt an anti-hero? Heís consistently a goody-two-shoes, even compared to his normally-good allies.
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